Lyric narrative from the inside.
The Hawaiian island of Molokai is 31 miles long and 10 miles wide. Driving through the main street of Kaunakakai (the only town) at 8:00 pm, one might think they’d taken a turn to the wrong decade or century and were transported into an American western town. It’s deserted, old-looking, and silent. But its natural surroundings are spectacular.
Molokai is a place where transitions from modern to old ways happen instantaneously. Stepping off the plane, I saw wild goats grazing 100-yards away at the runway’s end. The airport consists of one building with two gates.
Count the stoplights if you’d like, the number is zero, and much of the island is an electronic dead zone but a vital natural-living zone. If anyone listens carefully walking through the rain forest, they could hear large groups of honey bees cooling their wings in a soft hum, or wild boars grinding their tusks. Forget about shopping mauls and your café latte. They do not exist. In Molokai, you’d grow old waiting for change.
Molokai is one of the rare Hawaiian Islands that has not been modernized or Californicated; but since 1996 -and maybe earlier – the National Parks have been exerting pressure to take away land and turn some historic sites into tourist traps. Sound familiar?
Top speed in Molokai is 45 MPH, and then for only a short stretch on its southern route 450 to the east end. I went in April, the slow time. During a 40 minute drive from my VRBO condo to the lush eastern valley where the road ends, I met 6 cars.… read more...
“My only duty was to describe reality as it came to me – and to give the mundane its beautiful due.”… read more...
STORAGE WARS AND YOGA’S EMOTIONAL RESCUE
A reality TV show on the Arts and Entertainment channel is called, “Storage Wars.” In it, a group of bidders look for five minutes at the contents of abandoned and locked storage units, but they can’t go into them. After competitive bidding, the winner is declared the owner of everything in that locker. They rush in with great hope and begin looking through boxes, drawers, and accumulated piles of mishmash.
Sometimes they find valuable coins or artwork, antique toys, or newspapers; however, their newly-bought pile could be old tee-shirts, magazines, or dirty linens and parking tickets, vestiges of life in transit. More often than finding gold, the winning bidder digs up a clutter of left over’s from a human pack-rat.
Storage Wars is popular because it’s a modern day version of the mother-lode gold strike. And in rare cases, the winning bidders of Storage Wars make hundreds of thousands in profit. One discovered Spanish gold coins dating back to the 16th Century valued at half a million dollars, another winner found a model grand piano, and a third uncovered classic toys worth nearly $13 thousand.
CONTINUED IN ASANA JOURNAL. http://www.asanajournal.com/storage-wars-and-yogas-emotional-rescue/
Five days ago, I went to a drum circle attended by about 50 people. It brought me back to my essay in progress.
Drumming takes place through the night until a last tired thumper wanders away in the fog of exhaustion. Their fully-charged reptilian brain shifts to the goal of finding their tent. Some can’t walk away, so they fall asleep on the ground near the fire as the sun rises, lighting up the dawn as shadows drop down from the tree tops.
Taking a path through the woods and away from the drum fire is not new, but our caves are. Tents of orange, green and blue cover the grounds. In the dark, glowing candles from within make them look like Japanese prayer lanterns lit in remembrance of ancestors.
These drummers demonstrate what the new physics teaches: We are all connected. In the drum circle, there is something mystical and unintelligible to senses, but the drummers understand and speak the language of time. They know this language. They’ve learned it by listening.
Listening, according to some experts, is the “most often used but least often practiced communication skill.” But something happens when listening to drums that is more than the sum total of communication. In his fine novel of India, Return to the Source, Lanza Del Vasto once wrote:
“The finest and most complete instrument they have is the drum. It is the voice of all speech, the Aum of all hymns, the foundation of all music. The drum is the bond between the musician’s voice and his body, between his body and the music to which it gives the earthly consistency of the steps it raises.”… read more...
Ever wonder what really happens in drinking communities. Here’s my take in a full article published 2/24/16 by The Good Men Project
Thank you to The Good Men Project.… read more...
DAY 17. Everything Changes: A Yoga Parable
The people were fueled by energy drinks, but ripe with anxiety and unexamined ambition. The land was drunk on money and the illusion of freedom fired their imaginations. The eight limbs twisted in the wind of post-modernism and creative chaos.
In time, yoga prospered and many realized the teachers brought good medicine. It seemed to help prisoners, alcoholics, those suffering pain, and even angry youth. But some feared its power – especially its counsel to sit alone in silence.
In the counsel of quiet, someone passed a message about movement’s medicine and whispered that diversity is a source for creativity and road to enlightenment. A vision came forth of illusions in misdirected ambition, in Theodrama, and in the construction of culture and its false prophecies of comfort through technology and convenience.
* * *
Then someone at the ashram read a passage from Shelly, and a guru wept:
Life, like a dome of many-colored glass
Stains the white radiance of eternity.
The gurus didn’t understand what had happened, and while nobody claimed credit, people awoke to radiance within. Westlanders didn’t want gurus. They didn’t read books. But they went to their mats and a world opened like the many petals of the lotus in a soft rain, and a light from the crown of their heads went out to eternity.
Every happening great and small
Is a parable whereby God speaks to us
And the art of life is to get the message.
–Malcolm Muggeridge… read more...
Asana Back to the Innocent Age
On an overcast February day, my move toward balasana (child’s pose) began easily enough; “breathe into your truth, breathe into your center,” my teacher said.
The words moved me like someone taking my hands and gently walking me backward into a calm refreshing lake. I would have welcomed this after a slow and voggy day; I mean a day full of vog – volcanic gas cloud residue – suffocating everyone within miles of my writing desk. Things just weren’t happening. I blamed the vog.
Like anyone, I’m involved in making a living and positioning myself for security. I hope for happiness and peace for myself and my extended family. And like others, I want to register my mark in the world and hope my contributions help move the human family in a compassionate direction. I’ve had a good education and learned my civics lessons, so I also embrace my role in helping to alleviate suffering of those less fortunate than myself.
In my best efforts to make a mark in the short time I have to walk the Earth, I’m required to sift through ever-increasing complex data and stimuli that comes to me through my senses. Like all yogi’s living in a material world, I’m obliged to select what I’ll take-in or reject based on my priorities and values.
HARD CHOICES IN AN INTERCONNECTED WORLD
A yogi’s awareness of the world’s interconnectedness leaves him/her with sometimes agonizing choices over what course of action is least-harmful. One approach to this post-modern dilemma is to adopt the ethical creed of non-malificence, or do no harm, a part of the Hippocratic Oath.… read more...
On Feb. 3, 2014 my first yoga article was published in TheYogaBlog. Now, nearly two years to the day, the 30th is published in Asana Journal. Thanks for reading folks, and please pass these on.
You may not do yoga, but perhaps someone you know does or maybe someone you know is thinking about it. Right now my literary agent, Elizabeth Kracht, has my full yoga book and will be shopping it soon to publishers.
New Years’ Resolutions shot to hell? Pfffuf… so what.
Yoga time means a reductive mathematic, a Gandhian core and a shamanistic strategy.
That may mean taking a moment to swing through the trees.
From Yoga International #YogaInspirationals
In my twenties, I was the leader of an eight-member music group that toured through India for four months. Landing in Bombay, we took the rail south to Trivandrum, where the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and Arabian Sea merge. Going north through Andhra, Madhya, and Uttar states, we passed through Agra and ended the tour in New Delhi. It was my first international trip and I felt challenged by new customs, food, language, and climate. To a student fresh out of college, India was a new and vibrant world I did not understand.
Walking out of church one Easter Sunday, I saw an elderly man sitting on the church lawn near a busy sidewalk. He was practicing garurasana, eagle pose. Most people filed right past him as if he were invisible. I stared, and I thought he looked uncomfortable. That experience was 35 years before I began practicing yoga. I had no idea what he was doing.
After leaving Delhi, my transition back to the U.S. was rapid, and I felt strangely affected by my travels. I seemed to be seeing things differently. When I went into stores, I found myself looking for things to which I’d grown accustomed in India, such as the blue-faced representation of Krishna adorning wall calendars.
The quiet streets, typical of small town country living, was odd after I’d grown used to the shrieking sound of bus horns. In my music room, I replicated that dissonant and jarring pitch by simultaneously plucking my guitar’s E string on the eighth fret and the G string on the eleventh fret.… read more...
New article today in Yoga International
http://asanajournal.com/yogi-heal-thyself/… read more...
WRITE. Revise, annotate, put it down, parenthesize (it). Change the script, compose a new song, jot a saga, create a path, follow the crumbs, depict a vision.
TRACE the arc, endorse the light, follow energy, create curiosity, register my stamp, Trust the way . . .
Chart a course, chronicle a title, engrave my name, be true.
AUTOGRAPH my correspondence, draw up, reveal and dream. Deliver my rap, savage the critic, curse the blow-hard, kill the perfectionist, punch – u – ate the negative.
CHERISH my cloud, enroll my allies, extract all good, bless my colleagues, publish my creed.
REMEMBER, advocate, strip away adiophora, exalt all heroes and discern.
CHOOSE to do, walk in sure steps, choose to be, hold my own. Honor each word, aim for truths, love creation, write the project, accept what appears. Wait.
Yoga improves brain and bodily intelligence though its attentive repetition. It’s the discipline of one asana at a time. In the midst of each asana, our brains search to interpret the intelligence of our bodies and picks up the yogi’s growing ability to learn from the soles of their feet, from the twists of their spines, from the mindful placement of their palms and fingers.
Focus on the contact figure opens the mind and allows for it to receive the body’s intelligence, and in doing so, the soles of our feet become like a microchip feeding information to the mother board. It’s stunning to think that this is a two-way communication and that our brains are enriched by feedback from the soles of our feet. Breathe deep the gathering wisdom and learn what your bodily contact is teaching
Think of standing on your mat in class holding tadasana, mountain pose, and that your mat is the entire focus of your attention. In your mind, shift your awareness to the place where the soles of your feet make contact with your mat and pretend as if that place is all that exists. Your entire world is made up of the space that forms two outlines on the bottom of your feet. This is what Gestalt calls the figure, and everything else – except that one patch where your two feet make contact – is the back ground/landscape of perception and awareness.
Now imagine standing in mountain pose, lifting one foot from your mat. With one foot lifted, only a small patch of earth/foot contact is directing your life and that one patch is the outline of your right foot.… read more...
Perhaps you’ve watched the A&E Network’s show, Storage Wars. In it, a group of people look for five minutes at the contents of a storage unit from its periphery, but cannot enter the unit. Then they bid to own the unexamined contents inside. The winner is the highest bidder, and his/her reward is ownership of everything in that unit.
The highest bidder might find valuable coins or artwork, antique toys or newspapers. In rare cases, they find instruments. However their newly-bought storage unit could be filled with dirty tee-shirts accompanied by soiled linens and parking tickets, vestiges of life in transit. More often than finding gold, the winning bidder finds the clutter of unresolved issues and remnant droppings of a human pack-rat.
The show is popular because it’s a modern day version of a mother-lode gold strike. In a few cases, bidders have made hundreds of thousands in profit. One bidder discovered Spanish gold coins, some dating back to the 16th Century, valued at half a million dollars. Another winner found a model grand piano and a third stumbled into classic toys worth nearly $13 thousand.
In our yoga bodywork, it’s not long before we are like most of those treasure seekers who run smack dab into unwanted leftovers and are faced with cleanup. It’s widely understood in our yoga communities that our bodies are storage units of past traumas. This includes mental and psychological trauma along with physical injuries.
Dr. David Berceli describes his work treating “deep chronic tension created in the body during a traumatic experience or that has accumulated from prolonged stress.” His therapy to clean up the human body’s storage unit is called TRE, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises. … read more...
It’s odd to think of yoga and freediving as complementary activities, for it’s accurate to identify yoga as bodily movement led by breathing and freediving as bodily movement while breath-holding. Yet yoga practice can help improve freediving by expanding lung capacity and improving tissue flexibility; and lessons learned beneath while moving under pressure can improve yoga practice.
Living in Hawaii provides me with the opportunity to practice both yoga and freediving as often as I like. These activities are intimately related and both connect to the same core principle: breath work.
But the subject is important to anyone taking 20 to 30 thousand breaths a day, and that’s a big group, including everyone living.
But since practicing yoga, I’ve noticed a big improvement in my ability to hold my breath while diving. In yoga, I do breath-work to make yoga practice satisfying and my dives into the Pacific extraordinary.
It’s not so much the depth to which I can go in either the asana or the dive, but the satisfaction of getting the most from my potential as a diver, a yogi, and a breathing and grateful sentient being.
Growing up in the Midwest, I never dreamed that someday I’d be freediving in the ocean and swimming next to sharks, dolphins or rays. But it’s happened. Neither would I have thought that one day I’d be bending like the palm trees outside the yoga studio, experiencing the depths to which yoga would take me. But that happened too.
BREATH, YOGA’S FOCUS
Anyone stepping into a yoga class learns immediately that the first action focuses on breathing.… read more...
Think of standing on your mat in class holding Mountain Pose, and that your mat is the entire focus of your attention. In your mind, shift your awareness to the place where the soles of your feet make contact with your mat and pretend as if that place is all that exists. Your entire world is made up of the space that forms two outlines on the bottom of your feet. This is what Gestalt calls the “figure,” and everything else – except that one patch where your two feet make contact – is the background/landscape of perception and awareness.
My yoga class sometimes reminds me of lectures in Gestalt psychology when my professor spoke about making contact; and with that heightened contact, the impact of fully digesting food and digesting experience. His inference was that one can digest both life and food when one takes time for focus on the figure of awareness.
Recently, while absent-mindedly walking barefoot on a wood floor, I reached for something and felt a little off balance. Immediately, I was aware of a strong corrective to my imbalance, but it wasn’t coming from my brain, it was coming from the soles of my feet.
I was surprised, for I had never before felt a corrective to in my balance coming from my feet. I asked myself, Are my feet becoming smarter, or am I just becoming more aware of their contact and catching up to that reality? This small example is the wider truth of yoga practice. It increases bodily intelligence and directly related mental intelligence.… read more...
THEY were fueled by energy drinks, but gross with anxiety and unexamined ambition. The land was drunk on money and the illusion of freedom fired the people’s imaginations. The ‘eight limbs’ twisted in the wind of post-modernism and creative chaos. And in that land, people learned diversity was a source for creativity and road to enlightenment.
In time, the practice prospered and many realized the travelers brought good medicine. It seemed to help prisoners, alcoholics, those suffering pain and even angry youth. But some feared its power – especially its counsel to sit alone in silence.
There, in the counsel of the quiet, the student found reasons for the false prophecy of money, misdirected ambition, the severance of limbs, the medicine of movement. He heard surrender and its yield: balm for the captive and great music composed by stones.… read more...
Tourist guides say there is not much to see and to call Waiohinu a “town” is being generous. But there are incredible vistas from which to view the ocean when driving the hilly roads above this once thriving sugar cane community.
Its claim to fame is that Mark Twain once planted a Monkeypod tree there. Some people say a second or third generation offshoot of that tree remains standing; maybe so, but his dispatches written to the Sacramento Daily Union during his travels on the Big Island in 1866 are singing literature and reportage. Twain wrote:
“In this rainy spot trees and flowers flourish luxuriantly, and three of those trees- two mangoes and an orange- will live in my memory as the greenest, freshest and most beautiful I ever saw – and withal, the stateliest and most graceful. One of those mangoes stood in the middle of a large grassy yard, lord of the domain and incorruptible sentinel against the sunshine. When one passed within the compass of its broad arms and its impenetrable foliage he was safe from the pitiless glare of the sun – the protecting shade fell everywhere like a somber darkness.”
Twain was here, and maybe that’s why the Waiohinu bookstore lives on. I’ve posted a few photos of the bookstore. Its only open from 10 – 3 on Wednesdays, so there’s a short window to explore this relic. I think the photos speak of what this bookstore is not and what might be . . .… read more...
I’m sharing this piece written by David Rosenberg. I met Dave, one of the original founders and President of the Kauai Writers Conference, at the Kauai Writers Conference in May. I highly recommend this writers event for your opportunity to attend sessions by authors, agents and other writers. In 2016, the conference will offer workshops from Oct 31 – Nov. 3, and a three-day Writer’s Festival on Nov. 4, 5, & 6. Full event information is here: http://www.kauaiwritersconference.com/
I received Dave’s story because I’m on the conference mailing list. It made me think of my brother and all the small mom and pop stores around the country that are suffering the effects of “big box dominance.” Yes, we can save a dollar at Wal Mart, but without a supported middle-class, made up in part by small town merchants, stores like the one David writes about will soon be gone.
Of Leaky Pipes and Writing
by Dave Rosenberg
This is the story of what leaky pipes made me realize about writing. It started when the water line to my refrigerator developed a pinhole leak. I cut the pipe, removed the piece with the pinhole and was left with the task of figuring out how to rejoin the two pieces of pipe without leakage.
First I spent some time online trying to see what products Home Depot had to help me out. But not having a clear sense of what was required, I was quickly confused. So I called Home Depot for advice and, after being on hold for 20 minutes, I was transferred to the plumbing department where my call was promptly dropped.… read more...
My teacher speaks in clusters of daring “The way in is the way out.” It’s her graceful word rising from years looking at the blank slate over the Pacific, her lungs breathing deeply of this rolling mist. Her wisdom “the way in is the way out,” comes to me from her bloodline far to the east, from a practice that bent and molded her matter-mind, from evidence etched into the soles of her feet.… read more...
“Because breath is life, the art of judicious, thoughtful
ungreedy breathing is a prayer of gratitude we offer to life itself.” B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life.
Original illustration for my book by Kira Kamamalu, Hawaii.… read more...
The movement became unpredictable, and while nobody could take credit, yoga unveiled a curtain and people awoke to radiance within. But Westlanders didn’t want gurus, they didn’t read books. But took to their mats and the world opened like many petals of the lotus in a soft rain.
Ch. 17 Yoga Inspirationals
July 20, 2015 DoYouYoga.com/the-three-stages-of-a-yogis-transformation-59820-97291/
July 2, 2015 Yogi Times http://www.yogitimes.com/article/peace-just-a-pause-now-accepting-practice-yoga
June 20, 2015 elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/relinquishment-how-a-trip-to-India-can-redefine-our-lives
June 12, 2015 elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/why-bad-prayers-are-good-prayers/
June 5, 2015 elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/yoga-and-the-place-of-soul
2015 Yogi Timeshttp://www.yogitimes.com/article/yoga-covenant-agreement-vow-commitment
Marach 2015 elephant journalhttp://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/03/how-yoga-makes-us-kinder/
February 21, 2015 DoYouYoga.comhttp://www.doyouyoga.com/why-yoga-should-bring-us-to-social-action/
February 15, 2015 Yogi Timeshttp://www.yogitimes.com/article/who-moved-the-yoga-mat-practice
January 6, 2014 DoYouYoga.comhttp://www.doyouyoga.com/4-reasons-teachers-should-use-touch-in-yoga/
December 27, 2014 elephant journalhttp://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/12/the-yoga-pose-that-healed-my-lower-back-injuries/
December 11, 2014 Yogi Times http://www.yogitimes.com/article/story-of-yoga-poem-parable/
November 24, 2014 The Yoga Blog http://www.theyogablog.com/favorite-quote-practice/
November 21, 2014 DoYouYoga.com http://www.doyouyoga.com/mantra-the-power-of-word/October 22, 2014
The Yoga Blog http://www.theyogablog.com/doing-yoga-30-years-now/
October 16, 2014 elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/10/ego-injury-10-questions-for-yoginis/
October 2, 2014 The Yoga Blog http://www.theyogablog.com/find-silence-yoga-practice/
Sept. 21, 2014 DoYouYoga.com http://www.doyouyoga.com/how-yoga-moves-from-it-to-it/
Sept. 17, 2014 elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/09/mapping-yogas-breathcentric-diamond-body-gregory-ormson/
Aug. 15, 2014 The Yoga Blog http://www.theyogablog.com/take-inventory-yoga-yoga-like-aa/
Aug. 2, 2014 elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/08/the-savasana-cloud-gregory-ormson/
July1, 2014 elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/07/the-importance-of-living-in-alignment-gregory-ormson/
March 12, 2014 The Yoga Blog http://www.theyogablog.com/yogas-hidden-benefit-unconscious-mind/
Feb. 3, 2014 The Yoga Blog http://www.theyogablog.com/365-days-yoga-completely-changed-life/… read more...
24th Installment Yoga Inspirationals. July 2, 2015
Peace just a pause away. July 2, 2015
With thanks to the following, where these articles first appeared:
TheYogaBlog.com, elephant journal.com, DoYouYoga.com, and YogiTimes.com
June 12, 2015 http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/relinquishment-how-a-trip-to-india-can-redefine-our-lives/
June 5, 2015http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/why-bad-prayers-are-good-prayers/
April 12, 2015 Yogi Times http://www.yogitimes.com/article/yoga-covenant-agreement-vow-commitment
March 11, 2015 elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/03/how-yoga-makes-us-kinder/
February 21, 2015 DoYouYoga.com http://www.doyouyoga.com/why-yoga-should-bring-us-to-social-action/
February 15, 2015 Yogi Times http://www.yogitimes.com/article/who-moved-the-yoga-mat-practice
January 6, 2014 DoYouYoga.com http://www.doyouyoga.com/4-reasons-teachers-should-use-touch-in-yoga/
December 27, 2014 elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/12/the-yoga-pose-that-healed-my-lower-back-injuries/
December 11, 2014 Yogi Times http://www.yogitimes.com/article/story-of-yoga-poem-parable/
November 24, 2014 The Yoga Blog http://www.theyogablog.com/favorite-quote-practice/
November 21, 2014 DoYouYoga.com http://www.doyouyoga.com/mantra-the-power-of-word/
https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=3262854555252514049#editor/target=post;postID=7609855544855442390;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=0;src=postname… read more...
If one strikes a covenant with yoga, they do not inherit guarantees and neither are there predictable outcomes; but a time-tested truth demonstrates if the yogi bears their weight of the oath, the yield will be rich. Yoga will always do its share in this bendable arc of change.… read more...