September’s issue of Thunder Press includes a 2021 review of Sturgis Bike Week and my story below. Thanks Kevin Duke (ed)., and Oliver Touron for this photo of Debbie and I heading west on I-8 closing in on Yuma, AZ. Riding for #MMIWC on the way to San Diego’s #MedicineWheelRide. Link to full issue below
Sunday, July 25, 3:00-4:30 at Buddhas Brew Coffee Cafe
RESERVE your place RSVP email@example.com (limit 18)
Feed your soul and spirit with song, breath, and yoga led by Greg and Somi, musicians and yoga teachers forming SAT SONG in a blending of East and West in meditative moves and song. All Welcome! $15 includes a cold brew coffee or tea from Buddha’s Brew. Once you go to Buddhas Brew, you will return as a customer. Located @ 710 E Main St., Mesa. Space for 18, no experience required. #buddhasbrewcoffeecafe… read more...
If my friends could get out of their summer houses, we met at the diamond to sharpen the angles of our wild fastballs. The guts of our dirty brown ball unraveled like a tongue, wagging at the glove skipping by, hurling past the catcher in angry air like an exclamation point.
The neighborhood boys and I played in Little League as the North Menomonie Orioles. We met on green fields and became friends stitched together by bonds of wood and leather.
We tried—and failed—to throw a curveball, cursing the cowhide and dreaming of the day we’d be big and twist a ball that skipped away from trouble. To be young and play ball allowed me to dream big.
Summer passed quickly in Wisconsin, and every game was a life event I couldn’t miss. I lived to swing a bat, and if a bus filled with ballplayers drove by my house, I raced to Wakanda Park to compete against other kids for foul balls during games.
Recorded with Audacity, Gregory Ormson lyrics and Washburn D-Series DADGAD guitar, played through Boss Acoustic Singer Pro Amp; keyboard by Randy Anagnostis on Yamaha PB125 with Focus Scarlet Gen 3 Audio Interface. One of several Anagnostis/Ormson original song collaborative pieces.
VIDEO link https://youtu.be/NfClYOCX3xA… read more...
My daughter returned from a study trip to Nicaragua several years ago and gave me this small painting from a local artist. Today, sunlight fell on it from behind so it appeared as if lights were on inside.
In the moment, it reminded me of Lighten our Darkness: Toward an Indigenous Theology of the Cross, by Douglas John Hall (January, 1980), a book I read in systematic theology that expanded my apprehension of the human condition and informed my interpretations for many years.
In these years, when my developmental task is to steer a way between generativity and despair, the reminder from Hall from many years ago is to lighten the darkness in the midst of darkness.
A breakthrough by the light – no matter how insignificant it seems – moves my hands to caress the wheel of generativity and hold to hope. A simple painting and sunlight; reminders to lighten our darkness within and without.… read more...
מאת Gregory A. Ormson. A writer and yogi from Israel asked to translate my yin yoga article for publication there. The copy below is it for my Hebrew reading friends. Yoga writing now published in five languages.
כתבה שהוא פרסם בפייסבוק ב- 27 ביולי 2020
למתבונן מבחוץ yin yoga נראית תירגול קל ופשוט אך זה ממש הכל חוץ מתירגול קל. מבחוץ נראה שהמתרגלים ישנים, או נחים בכדי להכין את הנשימה שלהם לתרגול ממריץ שעלול לבוא אחר כך. במצב “מנוחה” זה משהו אכן קורה. אבל זה לא שינה; גם זה לא תרגיל חימום לסדרה נמרצת הבאה.
תירגול של yin yoga מוביל לפתיחה פנימית מלאה שלוקח זמן להתנסות ולהבין אותה באופן מלא.
אחרי ש Gregory Ormson התחיל לתרגל yin yoga הוא הבין שהאתגר ב yinהוא נפשי ופסיכולוגי. הוא למד שהעקרונות היסודיים של yin שהם ויתור וכניעה – הם המפתח להשפעה הפסיכולוגית, הפיזית והיעילות של התרגול על ידי: כניעה, שחרור, וויתור. מבחינה פסיכולוגית, הכניעה ביוגה היא המפתח לכל דבר.
מזמין אתכם להתבונן פנימה, ותמתינו לכך שהקול הפנימי שלכם יומר לכם מה צריכים לרפא. לשחרר את ההתכווצויות בצוואר, בלסת, בכתפיים, את האי הנוחות בגב, ובקדמת הגוף. קחו נשימה ארוכה ושחררו אותה לאט. תרגישו איך בגוף משוחרר ומקורקע. למתרגל yin yoga, ככה זה מרגיש על בסיס קבוע.
השיעור yin yoga מביא אותנו לתחום של healing בו אנחנו משחררים משהו שאנו מגנים עליו או במשהו שאנו מתגוננים ממנו . זה מוחזק בגופנו, בפאסיה שלנו ובמוחנו. ב yin אנו מוזמנים לשחרר מתח, להפנות את המודעות שלנו פנימה ולהיפתח בכניעה ובאמונה ללב yin yoga המרפאת הזו. “… read more...
Here, original music score, videography, and editing by Mr. Randy Anagnostis (photographer, videographer, musician). I read a short piece on the inner workings of sitar. Enjoy the wild Mustangs cooling in the Tonto National Forest’s Salt River in east Phoenix.
An entry point to yoga often begins with quiet meditation or breathing exercises. We set our intentions and enter into our dedications with mindfulness. Through active imagination, we create positive mental space enabling us to move in every direction.
We may practice with others, but each yogi sets the table for their yoga banquet according to their capabilities. Setting the table well serves to elevate our mind/body readiness and prepares us to carry it through the session.
At the end of a one-hour session, I was moved when the teacher said, “Release into savasana.” This was a new phrase and a fresh way to enter the savasana moment.
In Living Your Yoga, Judith Hanson Lasater wrote that savasana taught her to dis-identify from mental storms and go within. “I learned to recognize more quickly when I had abandoned the present moment once again, and I learned not to judge myself when I had done it for the millionth time, and not to dance away so quickly with my thoughts.”
In a larger sense, releasing into savasana means to loosen my grip and to take a break from managing the persona, known as the outer image we construct, identify with, and project to the world. It’s important to get a grip on our lives, but it doesn’t have to be a stranglehold.
Perhaps this is why participation in yoga is growing. Many of us long for a place to release our grip – and we desperately need moments when the noise dissolves. We thirst for moments of freedom from the grasp of our ego, and are satiated by savasana as it leads us to soften investments in this life shaped by old fashioned hierarchical structures and obsessions with upward mobility.… read more...
The land was drunk on money and the illusion of freedom fired the Westlanders’ imaginations. Yoga’s eight limbs twisted in the creative chaos of post-modernism and strange ideas whispered in the wind. Gurus saw it all and wondered where the surf boards came from.
They didn’t understand what had happened to their movement and some of them lamented the loss of yoga’s mystical heart. They questioned the roots of atman and were agitated by vibrations from superhighways.
In time, yoga prospered, and people realized the teachers had brought good medicine. It seemed to help prisoners, alcoholics, those suffering pain, and even angry youth – but many feared it – especially the counsel to sit alone in silence.
Power brokers were terrorized by the nightmare of employees chanting Namaste and yoga threatened stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry.
Westlanders didn’t want gurus, they didn’t read books, they didn’t meditate, but they did compete. Soon the gurus were silent, confused by what happened and haunted by memories of peace and stillness. Some gurus returned to the source, giving up their mission.
One day, all the gurus were called to an ashram. They lamented the hubris of culture and false prophesies of comfort through technology, money, and convenience.
One reminded them of the illusions in misdirected ambition and they became silent. At the ashram, a yogi read a passage from Shelly.
“Life, like a dome of many-colored glass
Stains the white radiance of eternity.”
The gurus wept, and a world opened like the many petals of the lotus in a soft rain. A light from the crown of their heads went out to the dark and returned as eternal light in a deep, dark night.… read more...
In shadow and in light, we yoga, and our teachers observe. Together we’re co-creators in a new architecture – a yogatecture – and celebrate moments when a yogi gives shape to an old blueprint written on a banana leaf.
Everything is prepared as I enter yoga class where the nexus of a new identity is continually reforming me. I step into the room and hear the soothing melodies of dahina, tabla, and harmonium. Their compelling sounds pour over me like waves from the ocean. A pause . . . then class begins.
I’m present and following directions, but then mentally, I become unhinged for a moment. I try to concentrate on my pose, but my mind tracks the music, so I follow the sound like a rising cobra hypnotized by its flier. My reach aims for the sky, but my imagination takes me to a Hawaiian beach where I’m preparing for a dive.
My training reminds me of a breathing routine: a deep breath in, calm hold, and a slow release. Breath is my vinyasa, and for a moment, my yoga-pose rides side-saddle. My heartbeat slows, awareness creeps closer, and I focus on every sound.
I’m still in class, but I’m also down in the deep blue of the Pacific. I pine to hear the whale, and imagine the sound from its massive heart. I leave my imagining, rise to the surface, and open my eyes where I’m back in the yoga room and yoked once more into my corner of eternity.
Yoga moves me to imagine a long line of yogis fed by the garden and connected to source for nourishment.… read more...
Piano, photography, and videography by the talented Randy Anagnosis. He’s been an east coast marketer, recording artist, and now photographer for Superstition Harley Davidson. Anagnosis’ first CD was “Dreams,” c 1996, sold in hundreds of yoga studios. A second piano-driven album was “Full Moon Rising.” He also did a jazz album, “Thunder and Light.”
Video courtesy of Anagnosis, and Superstition Harley Davidson. Thanks to all the bike and yoga folks that showed up too. #motorcyclingyogiG
“There was something about the way he played his Stratocaster that made it seem otherwordly.” –Eric Clapton on Jimi Hendrix
My sitar flows in 19 bands of light: their names are baaj, chikari, and tarab. Its journey to my hand is a mystery, but its music-medicine came to my doorstep from an old land, gripped me from the eons, and pulled my soul into its orbit. It’s a path unlike any other, bending more than notes. A musician friend and professor said, “Its all angles.”
Saraswati dances, sitar bends, and because I’ve heard its music and felt it in my chest I participate in its step. This step is toward the depths and from them rises a watery siren-song of the fathoms.
Sitar music is a never-ending river, shepherding me to a place close and yet far away. My teacher speaks in common tones and offers up clusters of daring: “Consistency, consistency, consistency,” she says. Her words; the kernel of all learning, teaching, and the core of every guru’s curriculum.
I’ve seen the rivers of India, but I can’t put myself and my sitar on their banks; but once at dusk, on a hot July night, I made my way with this rosewood, gourd, string & steel riddle to the banks of the Salt River in east Phoenix to listen. There, I realized sitar will not accompany me without shepherding along a river of souls.
Looking to the Salt, I could almost see a funeral pyre float past; a desert inspired mirage bobbing with the current, like a lazy raft ablaze in flames, scented smoke and grief trailing behind.… read more...
See you at Superstition Harley Davidson Jan. 8 and Jan. 22.
Stretch Ride on Jan. 26.
Check Superstition Harley Davidson events page on Facebook or their Website for current information on all events.… read more...
Thanks Superstition Harley Davidson for this 80 second video. See how yoga is similar to, but has one important difference from other movement oriented activities like motorcycling, judo, and ballet.… read more...
“Rough Road? Breathe . . .” Just published in H.O.G. Magazine. I’ve been reading H.O.G. Magazine since 2002 when I joined the national H.O.G. organization. This is the first time they’ve ever published a story on yoga, or yoga for riders. H.O.G. riders and all of us realize the times are a changin’ and if we are fluid we’re better able to adapt. Breathing well and being fluid is what we do in yoga. Check it out bikers. Thanks to H.O.G., (ed., Matt King), and Superstition H-D in Apache Junction, AZ.
Motorcyclists love to ride, they want to ride longer, and they want to ride skillfully. That’s why I started Yoga & Leather: Yoga for Bikers at Superstition Harley Davidson in Arizona. The story is now published in issue 51 of H.O.G. (Harley Owner’s Group) magazine in digital format accessed by HOG members.
Two pages of the hard copy I’ll pass it along here. Thank you Matt, ed., H.O.G. Magazine. Get your copy of H.O.G. magazine for updates from the world of H.O.G. and Harley-Davidson. it includes riding tips, vintage bike notes, mechanical advice, riding tales, and stories of the next ride.
Over the last 15 months, Soumya and I have been practicing music of the soul by working on bhakti music, blending traditions of the East and West. Our band Sat Song (truth song) has a first event Thursday night in Tempe. We’ll perform for the 10 year Anniversary Celebration of the Arizona Interfaith Power and Light organization. This is an organization demonstrating much needed cooperation and respect in our day of division along religious and cultural lines. I’m pleased to be part of this event. Wish us well!
(Colchester, Essex Co., UK) for including “Conducting the Awesome,” in your October HOT YOGA special.
This magazine is ‘with it.’ Last month, they celebrated their 100th issue, and have published extensively on inclusivity, body positivity, yin yoga, retreats, men in yoga, Western Yoga, and breath training as the new yoga.
Breath Training is what I do, having just completed two yoga workshops in Wisconsin and Michigan on “Yoga Breath, Breath of Life.” Breath training is a new – but very old – emphasis growing from the needs of Westerners. By engaging the breath, we learn to calm ourselves in a conflicted world. My workshop is integrative: meaning it includes philosophy, linguistics, biology, mobilization of prana, execution of the bandas, the embodiment of asana, a practice of mindful release, and attentive work on drishti.
At my teaching site, Superstition Harley Davidson in Apache Junction, AZ., when motorcycling yogis focus on breathing, when they hear sitar gently pinging above the roaring big twin engines, and when they receive my final salutation, breathe deep and exhale a final OM, it begins to look and sound like something not heard or seen before; indeed, Western yoga is changing (practice at a HD dealership proves it) and slowly taking on a unique form and function. For me, it starts with the building block of it all – BREATH.This fall, I’ll bring even more breath training to my teaching at YOGA AND LEATHER (Superstition Harley Davidson) in October as we start year 3 of Yoga for Bikers.
If anyone wants to learn more about this focus on breath, I’m ready to conduct a two hour workshop for you – with original music on sitar and guitar – “Yoga Breath, Breath of Life.”… read more...
YOGA & LEATHER: A New Road for Bikers
Every yogi is the same. But every yogi has been injured in their own way. Debbie McGregor, passionate yogi and motorcyclist, was first injured at age 11. It happened in a rodeo mishap when she was locked in a cramped chute with a panicked horse. A broken back sustained in a motorcycle accident in her early 30’s became major injury number two, and she suffered a broken neck in a car accident during her early 50’s.
“When I read about YOGA AND LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers,” she said, “I couldn’t believe it; something combining my two passions, I had to come.”
After her car accident, Debbie was told she’d be paralyzed from the neck down, but she resolved to walk and was determined to ride her Harley Davidson motorcycle again. She invested in physical therapy and added yoga as a daily routine. Three years after the accident, Debbie is doing yoga and motorcycling around the country. “It’s unexplainable how much yoga does in the path of healing. The more I do, the more I want and the more I heal,” she said.
Paul, a 79 year old retired Chicago police officer, is another dedicated rider of Harley Davidson motorcycles but new to yoga. Like Debbie, he found his way to YOGA AND LEATHER, and considers it healing balm and an island of peace.
Recently, Paul’s 900 pound motorcycle tipped over and landed on his foot. He hobbled into class wearing big boots and blue jeans, but did what he could. “I need it, it’s good.… read more...
Thank you BAD YOGI MAGAZINE for publishing #YogaInspirationals 76.
One reference for this article is Science of Breath: A Complete Manual of the Oriental Breathing Philosophy of Physical, Mental, Psychic and Spiritual Development (1905). Yoga Publications Society. The book is out of print now, but I borrowed a copy last summer from Laurel Gyland Kieffer. It has provided new insight on breath work in yoga. Some of this will be included in the “Yoga Temple Breath Workshops” I’ll be conducting this summer in Wisconsin and Michigan.
Thank you BAD YOGI MAGAZINE for publishing my 75th #YogaInspirationals.
This one is not an easy read, and not many places wanted to take it. But the editor agreed with me that sometimes a publisher ought to also challenge a reader, and not just feed them simple cookie-cutter articles like so many we see today e.g., “5 Ways to (whatever).”
If we stop expanding our vocabulary, quit reading to learn, or forego seeking out something new, our lives can easily fall into a rut. Then the mind and body go on autopilot and the spiral down begins.
Thank you to Bad Yogi Magazine, joining the following 15 publications sharing my visions of yoga, music, and wellness: Om Yoga and Lifestyle Magazine, Asana Journal, Yoga International, elephant journal, Yoganect, Sivana East, The Health Orange, Hello Yoga, TribeGrow, DoYouYoga, Yogi Times, Seattle Yoga News, The Yoga Blog, Boa Yoga and ArizonaRiderSouthwest.
In this episode of Here You Are Wausau (click link) Dino Corvino and I discuss writing and yoga, breath, ego, truth, ayurveda, teaching, and journaling along with people and places of Wausau.
I’ll forever see you (Dino) as the weird kid eating chickpeas from a can in the UW Milwaukee student union. Click link and listen to get the full story. WARNING: Some adult AF language.
SHOUT OUTS TO: Basil Restaurant, Limericks Pub, Malarkeys Pub, NTC, Everest HS, Superstition Harley Davidson, Buffalo Springfield, Community Soul Yoga, Croix Croga Yoga, Lightbody Yoga, Gilbert Yoga, The Magees, sitar, satyagraha, Yoga and Leather, kids yoga, prana, agni, vayu, healing, and shout outs to: Debbie Iozzo, Robyn Bretl, Jim Daly, Kirsten Holmsen, Cory Holm, Blake Opal-Wahoske, Tyler Vogt, Nick Hoen, Jon Shea, Soumya Parthasarathy, Cassandra Wallick, Dan Meyer, kids yoga, Everest Family Fitness Fest, Asana Journal, slow down and breathe, freediving, hawaii, India, Ted Roe and freediving Hawaii, Mysore, India and the Calcutta sitar.
Thanks Eric Sorensen and Dino for @hereYouAreWausau… read more...
Shipra Saraogi (pictured) at the Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa, Arizona.
#MotorcyclingyogiG teaches yoga for riders (YOGA AND LEATHER) at Superstition Harley-Davidson in Apache Junction, Arizona. His classes demonstrate to riders how they might use their bike for a prop to stretch when taking a break from the road with the goal of keeping riders in the saddle.
Shipra Saraogi, yoga teacher and performance artist from New York City, stopped by Superstition Harley-Davidson and the Arizona desert for some warm up-on Greg’s 2016 HD Road King. This not recommend or taught in Yoga and Leather.
March 31, 2019 is the date for our next “Stretch Ride,” in Arizona led by #motorcyclingyogiG, Gregory Ormson. Meet at Superstition Harley Davidson 10:30 am. Ride to the desert, stretch, breathe, pose.
“Conducting the Awesome: What I’ve Learned from 7 Years of Hot Yoga” is live on elephant journal.
This is my 11th article for elephant journal since September, 2014, and the latest installment (73) of what I call YogaInspirationals, a collection of my yoga writing published by elephant and 12 other national and international magazines, Websites, and public social media sites.
I write lyric nonfiction and hybrid, and right now I’m pitching my latest work – a hybrid nonfiction piece – on drumming, and things that happen when I go to a rustic cabin in northern Wisconsin I share with my brothers. I call that place Oz no matter what roads I take to get there. It’s Oz to me even without a wizard, a Toto, or a Dorothy.
Thank you for comments, support, resharing, etc., Let’s keep on conducting the awesome in yoga, in writing, and in life.
Once upon a time a mystical movement became water and moved from east to west. The gurus of this movement dreamed it would take root, grow, and change people in the new land. A bold vision drove their mission; they were certain and sure. The gurus taught students but were confused by them. They were tall, loud, and rich, but they listened to their gurus and absorbed the way of wisdom and ancient discipline.
The gurus were overwhelmed by bright neon lights and an infant culture. They misplaced prayer beads and lost their way. Their movement danced and shape-shifted. It wasn’t what the gurus expected but better than they could have hoped for. In a short time, the practice prospered.
Many in the new land feared it, but someone discovered it was good for prisoners, alcoholics, the sick, those suffering pain, and even angry youth. The rich and healthy began to think that perhaps the gurus offered good medicine.
Western teachers, overlooking spirituality of the way, taught their version. The culture moved fast, like a river’s rapids. Westerners, motivated by money, fed off the illusion of freedom. The west land had great diversity and creativity; and when coupled with entrepreneurial spirit, energy drinks, and ambition, yoga flowed across the land. This was, after all, the guru’s original vision.
The movement became a symbol of youth, change, and the culturally hip. Athletes and celebrities endorsed the practice and photographs of yogis posed in peacock asana were featured in glossy magazines, billboards, and Instagram glossies.
But the Eastern gurus’ mystical remnant became a vanishing dream, a memory from a place and time long past.… read more...
Thank you OM Yoga and Lifestyle magazine (UK) for publishing my 72nd YogaInspirational, “Traveling OM,” December, 2018
By Dr. Gregory Ormson
THE POWER OF OM: rediscovering the deep, abiding peace of coming home in a frantic world.
“We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion-year old carbon…” Lyrics from the song Woodstock suggest that we are made of cosmic energy and matter. We have a hard time believing it because there are very few places that affirm such a grandiose and luminous being. But when we yoga, we participate in a pattern that moves the stars, and positions us to touch an inner OM at the core of our being.
In a soft chant of OM, rooted and expressed from the core, our cares are set free. Then we note our deepest truth: we are beings at one with a divinely animated critical mass of stardust and carbon waiting to meet and welcome us home.
But cultural voices bombard us with an unending cacophony of negativity and dismissal. This poisonous milieu is designed to make us feel small and inadequate, serving us from a menu of strife and anxiety. News and current events can leave us feeling like we’re a nonsignificant cog in a great drama that’s happening elsewhere.
The world is effective at labeling and objectifying. It does so with convenient categories submitted for fast indexing and stereotyping: age, race, sex, job, income, and education level. But a mountain is more than a geode, a river more than an eddy, men and women more than insignificant pieces of something more important.… read more...
In a lifetime practice, the yogi inhabits a ritual container where they are steeped in hours of wordless, focused being. In a deep breath and release, the gathering-round is moved by that which has not yet had the luminous drained from its presentation; and in its sound, a mystery of centuries in the awful exhale shifts matter into new shapes and in steps uncounted.
Their inner fire is animated by breath and stilled in meditative gaze. Their embodiment of asana and mobilization of prana rises anew in the “fierce breath” of simhasana. This breath elevates sleepy diaphragms and makes avatars of humans.
Yogis come to know their practice braids them to a light not of this world, for their choice of assembly over disassembly shapes them through a soul dialysis that cleanses. Carl Jung once said yoga is “psychic hygiene” and in their time on the mat they are cleansed from the inside out.
Yoga is not like the rest of life; neither is a yoga class just another class but a life-saving reclassification of the nature of being. Steeped in a history of insight, and grown from the dimensions of meditation and mindfulness the yogi looks out from another summit.
Yoga as a moral and physical compass is revealed in stages, starting when the yogi begins practice with sankalpa, or solemn vow. Step by step, through intention and awareness, the yogi encounters the core tenants of hatha which bring them to self. There, hand in glove with self and the philosophical satyagraha of the practice, the yogi is transformed.… read more...
Thoughts on Run to the Rez by #motorcyclingyogiG
For the second year, I attended the 15th Annual Run to the Rez, a motorcycle ride and rally sponsored by the San Carlos Apache. Its intention is to honor veterans and provide a glimpse of Apache culture to those of us not part of its nation. They have a great deal of pride for the warrior way since their land is the homeland of Geronimo.
One of the events I participated in both years is the Apache sweat ceremony for men. I recommend it for a bunch of reasons, but one is that when we get out of our comfort zone we may learn something new. I was honored to participate in an Apache sweat lodge ceremony with the Apache tribe on the San Carlos Apache Nation. The San Carlos reservation was where Geronimo lived and hid out .
New experiences – as in the sweat lodge – are not something that one goes out to get, something one achieves or competes for; rather, a new cultural experience is something to receive. That means one attends them with humility and respect.
The prayers and songs of the sweat were in Apache. One of the singers that led our sweat ceremony has been learning the Apache “Holy Ground” songs for years. We sat on the ground in the small space, crouched toward the middle while another man drizzled water over the burning rocks. All of these elements have a special name and significance in an indigenous nation sweat lodge: songs, the names of rocks, the sweat ceremony, the directions, and the construction of the lodge to name a few.… read more...
YogaInspirationals number 72 #motorcyclingyogiG
I remind myself that in spite of the surrounding maladies, I must manage to hope. I also counsel myself, and anyone who will listen, that the yoga we do is not just a hobby or something to fill up the time; rather, it is the door through which happiness and joy enter into an arena where we share a divinity that transforms stories from iatrogenic to generative.
68th published yoga article, Issue 187 ASANA JOURNAL
Louie Netz, Director for Harley-Davidson’s Styling and Graphics Department once said, “Form and function both report to emotion.” It’s likely when observing a yoga pose, or the stylish symmetry of a Harley-Davidson taking a curve, to believe motorcycles are about speeding through curves and yoga is about perfectly aligned asanas.
A yogi on the mat or a Harley-Davidson on the highway both perform their function at a high degree and garner attention, but the brilliance of yoga – and a great motorcycle – is its move from form to function and ultimately to emotion.
Like many newcomers, when I started yoga, I thought it was about what I saw; and I noticed people bending into forms that were – at first – perplexing. I also thought it was about what I heard yoga could do for my injured back. I believed if yoga could heal my injuries I would feel better and that would be all I could expect.
My yoga evolution was gradual; I practiced to feel better, then to learn good alignment and accomplish more asanas. As a dedicated student, I paid attention to words from my teachers as they led me to correct placement of my feet and hands. I followed their instructions which led me through breathing techniques and transitions.
But right away, I sensed there was something happening well beyond what was taking place on my mat. I didn’t know, but I was on my way to connect, or yoke deeply to my full self, and at the same time, something much broader and deeper than just me.… read more...
In the workshops I’ve done at MOTTO YOGA, I’ve included others to help lead the experience. In January, Dan Meyer showed up and dropped a REAL SWORD down his throat and talked about how that is worship for him. In the other workshops, I’ve had Cindy Cain and Lee Swenson accompany me with fiddle, guitar, and voice/rain stick.
The assumptions of my inherited culture: the Euro-American, Lutheran-Christian, dualist WASP-centric perspectives have shaped my perceptions and limit my ability to truly inhabit the culture of others. But I am open to understanding others and in spite of my conditioning, I’m positioned like a hungry-man at a feast; I taste the food, but the flavor escapes me.
Each yogi stretches and lifts at the direction of the teacher: man, woman, Asian, African, American, and each one contributes to the curriculum growing into a great melting pot of diversity and energy. This restless American pastiche is soothed by the flavor of an ancient culture, and in the yoga room, we become part of its recipe.
My play to be a yogi brings me to discernment where the contraries press me to awareness and lead me to examine the how and why of fate. How did I, a Midwestern male, end up lying on my stomach – top and bottom of my spine arching up at the direction of an ancient Indian mind/spirit/body science – impersonating an Egyptian tomb-protector? My inhale takes me to the mystery of purushamrigasana, a figure with the face of Pharaoh that we call sphinx.
Seekers for a new way are everywhere – because we see the old way is clearly broken – and I praise them. They take off with tender wings to do asana as if they were nimble dancers or the stony sphinx. On the surface, we are childlike; but with each asana, with each breath, I witness a hope in reaching and lifting, learning and growing.… read more...
They practice yoga in a 104 degree room when it’s 105 outside. They come from all walks of life: age, race, physical condition, gender, profession, and status. But they all do YOGA to sharpen their mind and focus their will. They show up to strengthen their bodily systems, to ground their minds in the present and deeply draw breath to hold the vital principle.
This is inspiring to observe and compels me to write. I love yoga, and I love these yogis and yoginis that keep working, keep activating, keep grounding, keep breathing, keep centering, keep on keepin’ on to make their lives better, deeper, and more leonine.
They yoga to embody their asana, mobilize prana, focus the monkey mind, and surrender cares; and when they do, the transforming medicine of yoga in its physical, non-physical, and metaphysical form makes them anew.
The yoga journey is a process of transformation, and it’s stunning to observe. This is the privileged observation of a yoga teacher: nothing more or less than friend, companion, and witness to the truth of being.
It’s been a good experience these last seven months teaching YOGA AND LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers.
Next year, I will pan once a month for riders to meet at Superstition Harley Davidson, and then ride bikes to a separate location (park, river-flat, desert plain), where we’ll practice yoga. This practice will also provide each of us with ideas on how to put our minds and bodies at ease when we stop or take a break from riding.
Here are photos from one class in January that will set the stage for next year’s YOGA AND LEATHER.
In the meantime, I hope you all find a home studio or a place near you to practice. I’m convinced that yoga will benefit us on the road, and the more all of us practice yoga the more we’ll discover this for ourselves. Thanks for a good 7 months. We’ll see you again in October.
and many thanks to M.J. Britt for these photos of YOGA AND LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers in the Eagles Nest at Superstition Harley Davidson. Thanks also to Brina Brown and Superstition HD for opening the nest for yoga.
Today, spiritual notions of integrated unitary consciousness are popular but suspect. Some people require facts, and without verifiable facts proving esoteric dimensions, will dismiss such notions and think of consciousness and chakra activation as nothing but wild speculation.
But quantum studies in the subatomic realm more than suggest that everything is composed of vibrational energy even if we cannot prove it. Yogic philosophy treated this idea by suggesting that anything in matter has previously existed in the unmanifest cosmic womb. Indian philosophy even had a name for this place of pure potentiality, calling it hiranyagarbha, or the Golden Womb, the origin of all creation. Technically, ‘hiranya’ means ‘golden’ and ‘garbha’ means womb, and its symbol is a golden egg.
The science of physics has opened up big ideas like the notion of energy as vibration, or a not-yet manifest form of matter. It has helped Westerners accept that matter is not as concrete as we thought. Quantum thought maintains that the unmanifest is as real as each of us here and now, but is unrecognizable until energy and matter manifest or bring it into material form.
This is how healing consciousness moves too, for consciousness of a thing also changes the mode of being in that thing which is beheld. The Heisenberg Indeterminacy Principle, from the field of physics, affirms this insight and points out that it’s not possible to observe matter without influencing its actions. And while it’s true that the principle was developed while observing the velocity and speed of quantum particles, it applies to all matter.
The paralytic man’s friends (story from the Gospel of Mark), were determined to place him in close proximity to the pure consciousness of healing in Jesus.… read more...
The Christian church used to be central to my life, vocation, and identity but it’s not anymore.
Still, I bring my past theological training to my yoga practice and on occasion I remember a word or idea from my past to interpret how I express and experience yoga.
I think of a scriptural passage where the writer is reminding his community that they are not alone. He tells them that they are, in fact, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
Traditionally, the cloud meant a mass of condensed water vapor, usually white, or tinged in various shades of grey and black. But in our day, a cloud has come to mean a digital storage space. Ok, that’s cool.
But I also see a cloud as a continually morphing group of people that see me on my mat—sweating and putting forth effort—and it’s exactly how I see them. When practicing yoga, I am one member of this cloud, a group of people that witness to each other’s’ effort, practice, time, and presence.
I practice in studios with many members. I try to learn names so that I can address them personally. In one studio, I know over fifty people by name. These names remind me that I am not alone—even when my yoga feels like a solitary pursuit. Still, I work to remember each name in our studio because a name concretizes the amorphous nature of a cloud and it tells people they are not just a number but a person with a name.
Written out, these names would fill only one page, but if they were added to all the yogis and yoginis that have gone before, the pages would fill stacks in the tallest libraries.… read more...
TITLE: YOGA TEMPLE: Embodying the Healing Grace of Yoga
WHAT: An integrative workshop series exploring Christian and Eastern thought / tradition. Workshops will embrace: asana, pranayama, philosophy, and experimental movement.
WHY: To address the inherent spiritual dimensions of yoga.
WHO: Anyone with questions about spirituality, faith, belief, and yoga.
WHERE: MOTTO YOGA, 7529 Power Rd. Queen Creek, AZ
Register at MottoYoga.com
January 14, Sunday NOON
Februray 11, Sunday NOON
March 4, Sunday NOON… read more...
TITLE YOGA TEMPLE: Embodying the Healing Grace of Yoga
WHAT An integrative workshop series exploring Christian tradition and yogic tradition.
WHY To address spiritual dimensions inherent in yoga.
WHO Anyone with questions about spirituality, faith, belief, and yoga.
As yoga awakens consciousness, spiritual questions come to the fore. It doesn’t have to be problematic, for while yoga comes out of the non-Christian context of India, India is not anti-Christian. Yoga embodies Christian spirituality in a way the Christian church has neglected.
The content behind the first workshop will (briefly) address:
- The thought (philosophy) behind our Western cultural inheritance
- The nature of consciousness
- The metaphysics of God
In 90 minutes, workshop participants are invited to: engage with spiritual themes, practice pranayama, and explore the theme in asana and other integrative movements deepening their experience of yoga as a body, mind, and spirit practice.
WHEN First Workshop is scheduled for Jan. 14, Noon to 1:30, followed by two others on:
Feb. 11, Noon to 1:30
Mar. 4, Noon to 1:30
WHERE Motto Yoga, Queen Creek, AZ.
These workshops on yoga and spirituality sound heady: the nature of consciousness, Western philosophical inheritance, the Metaphysics of God.
But in reality, the base idea is bringing us back to what we already are.
Yoga does this by reversing the familiar paradigm. For rather than accessing spirituality by mind or word, yoga takes the radical step of moving the entry point of spiritual practice to the body.
This is how yoga heals the broken of spirit and broken of body. By finding a time and place to come home and to re-member, to bring us back to ourselves.… read more...
With the inhale, exhale, and hold, I’m moved to completeness. I learn that my place, my contentment, is anchored in the link that is welded into me by yoga. These simple moves are a stunning antidote for worry. They have become my spiritual DNA, lodging in my soul and energizing my spine.
I fasten to this deep core with breath and meditation pioneered by music and time. I embody asana and rejoice in a glimpse of the periphery turned central, a new identity refined by fusion of the particular and the universal. Moment by single moment, I inhabit a contentment and know we are all a beautiful crush of salt and pepper.… read more...