The December 2019 Om Yoga Magazine has published “Silence and Slow Time,” the 82nd of my #yogainspirationals. Thank you OM. Also see in this fine 114 page issue features on yoga at home and office, aromatherapy, meditation, breath work (pranayama), body positivity, and many more necessary reads for your yoga practice. In addition, as an end of year bonus OM Yoga Magazine has included a 2020 calendar and a 50 page insert on “incredible yoga retreats from around the world.” I’m honored to be a regular contibutor for OM Yoga and Lifestyle Magazine.
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.” The texts are: Yoga Sutras, Breathology, and The Science of Breath, and others.… read more...
One good thing about Facebook is that every now and then someone reaches from the past and makes contact with us in the present. This is the case from someone that contacted me yesterday and I’m glad he did.
Today (Aug. 13) is Kristen and Greg’s 25th wedding anniversary. Back then, I was the officiant for their wedding when I was working as a clergy for the Lutheran church and my assignment was to Northern Michigan University. Marquette was my home for 12 years, and two of my children were born there. Except for the cold – which I can’t stand – it was the best place I ever lived.
Along with his Facebook note, Greg sent one photo from his and Kristen’s wedding ceremony. I had never seen it, and it brought back many good memories of my time as a YOOPER in Upper Michigan.
Greg reminded me that I played my ceremonial wood duck drum as part of their wedding. Playing a drum wasn’t that far out of bounds -since I started drumming with a set at 14 – but I made the drum I used in their wedding and have used it in many ceremonies. The oak body for the drum came from a large tree that had been struck by lightning. The deer skin on top was from the last deer my dad had shot in Indian-head Country of Northwest Wisconsin.
Text below is from “Anchors,” a piece about drumming.
From early on, I heard text and sub-text in drums and memorized tom-strike patterns, rim hits on snare, and foot work for the high hat.… 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 75. Read and share.
Thank you #YOGANECT for publishing yogainspirationals number 74.
During my seventh year practicing yoga I started learning the sitar.
Immediately I realized it was a hard instrument to play and its technology is ancient: there’s a huge gap between frets and the strings which are painful on the fingers; the metal sitar pic winds tightly on the finger and pinches; the instrument’s lightweight strings go out of tune easily and there are 21 of them; but most of all, the traditional playing style requires sitting on the floor with the left leg crossed under the right while the sitar neck rests over the right thigh with the sound gourd perched on top of the left foot. This position is hard on the left knee, back, legs, hips, and both ankles.
At one point during my practice in the last few months, I started doing yoga before playing. I needed to set my legs, hips, and back at ease. When I did this first, I realized I could sit longer and concentrate better and my yoga practice tied directly to sitar practice became my daily ritual.
This two-step approach to sitar practice – beginning with yoga – became my entre into the world of classical Indian music. I now view yoga as my commencement ritual, and I won’t even try playing sitar without first doing yoga, or at the very least, until after breath work. Yoga and sitar, including savasana, tune me up for my day; now I hesitate to go out in public before this commencement.
A NEW TAKE ON AN OLD SKILL
I sang in a boys’ choir at age 10 and once performed with a small group at the World’s Fair in New York at age 11.… 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.
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...
Asana is the body of yogic truth, and individual expression of yoga’s eight limbs reveals the efficacy of its healing medicine. Yogis breathe deeply in yoga and experience a perceptual shift. This new vision opens to the sacred horizon at which we gaze, and the shift – formed in concentration and attention – purifies our dysfunctional self by transmuting negative poison.
Asana and breath follow and yogis learn to re-route any short-sell of self. These elements move us from the core where a magnanimous grounding in the foundational principles (of yoga) proves yogis can handle the dreadful deceits and misapprehensions of our avidya (misperceptions and their consequences).
Asana, and the individual embodiment of asana, is made for flawed and taut souls; its work is to release the human beings caught in a play – sometimes not of their own making – as through asana yogis are welcomed into the practice of ease and steadiness . . . where they begin with the exhale.
Following the exhale, and its gentle massage of the nervous system, yogis take the deep inhale and their bendable habit grows to a lifetime practice. We keep on keepin’ on and stand in true presence where feet meet the ground.
Blossoming directly into self-care, yogis open like the petals of a lotus in a soft rain, and through the soul dialysis in yoga’s energy exchange, every samskara (action with intention) is transformed.… read more...
By mobilizing prana – accompanied with mindful movement – effortless, joyful expression is set into muscle memory. The premise that cellular health aligns with thought and intention (the biology of belief) is the reason yoga pays attention to mental outlook, for while stress is perceived in the mind, it is felt in the body. Activating the joy paradigm provides the opposite effect yet happens through the same process.
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.
” . . . a story is a grid, an archetypal narrative, a divine scaffolding that organizes experience into a complexity of meanings and forms. The life that may otherwise appear to be unbearably random or intolerably chaotic becomes whole when made known through the revelation of the intrinsic narrative.”
Imagine the stories . . .… read more...
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...
On Sunday, Feb. 11, we’ll hold the second of three YOGA TEMPLE workshops at MOTTO YOGA in Queen Creek (Power and German Rd).
I hope to see you… 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...
Sandpaper reshapes and refines wood by friction and pressure; and when rubbing sandpaper over wood, one sees fine particles fall away and the sandpaper gets hot to the touch. This is how asana and pranayama work together to kindle an inner fire by movement and pressure.… read more...
Thank you to Asana International Yoga Journal for publishing this 56th Yoga Inspirational.… read more...
I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed
I am false.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
Fluid yoga, going to six years, continues remaking and each remaking is connected to another. Born in water, I am dragonfly, now rabbit. I shift to camel, fish, or embody an ever-watchful sphinx. Then I evolve once again, going back and yet forward at the same time to my child in his innocent, trusting repose. My evolving is your evolving: inward, backward, downward.
Your asana is my asana, my bending and shaping is your bending and shaping, your practice of eustress and release morphs into luminous savasana. Your savasana is my savasana, and mine is yours: a cloud, salty and damp.
YOUR LONGINGS ARE MY LONGINGS
This cloud, a safe home for witnesses and their truths, where every joy and sorrow bursts forth in prophetic rain. And as colors bend to make a rainbow, these witnesses bend into their longings. Your longings are my longings.
We breathe into sweet release, and the turning becomes a roadmap for traveling outward. The trail makes little sense; it leads down to the place where gravity rests. Tracking energy for centuries, the Tao notes that water flows to low places. My gravity is your gravity.
My guru said the way out is the way in. Her wisdom comes from a bloodline far to the east, from a practice that bent and molded her matter-mind, from evidence etched into the soles of her feet. Tucked in like a child, she steps over the soles of my feet, and your East meets my West.… read more...
MUSIC from an Internet radio station plays in the background. Tablas and harmonium weave a soft melody. Sometimes a flute or sitar joins the song, and it pours over me like waves from the Pacific. It’s compelling to my ear. I try to concentrate on my pose, but sometimes I wander and follow the music.
I follow the sound, slow my heartbeat and ground my awareness. I’m still in class, but I imagine diving below and swimming deep. I listen closely and believe I hear the octopus changing colors. I open my eyes and breathe sound of the room.
In the tapas of my practice and its link to my muscle and sinew, a moment turns into a hour and my tribute to those who have gone before. An epic prayer from ancestors is on my lips.
Music stills me and I stay in the room until I hear my teacher give her blessing.. Her soft voice heaps a lavish blessing upon the gathered yogis which we accept and hold, “May your practice bring strength to your bodies, clarity to your minds, kindness and compassion to your hearts.”
I take this and know that I have been brought around and past my edges. I will go into the world with slightly less border and boundary, inhabiting a conscience of wider circles and deeper draws of inclusion
I realize this reshaping is the nexus of my identity, the ring of fire connecting my courage and passion. I have been showered in wholeness and connected by the strength, clarity, kindness, and compassion of the words that take me to the heart center.… read more...
Yoga will not be televised, its moves are not dictated by chart, table, or graph; yoga will not whiten your teeth, but you will be astonished in moments of fluid inspiration, and the deep breaths you take will sustain apprehension of a true presence at once ecstatic and sublime.… read more...
My Purpose? That’s simple.
This fluid journey called yoga – four years in the making – continues its remaking over me.
My practice takes place in the heated mist of a hot yoga room. It’s a practice of eustress and relaxation which morphs into a luminous cloud, salty and damp.
I am connected to you through drops of sweat.
Your asana is my asana, your bending and shaping is my bending and shaping.
To return again and be in that dusty – but it’s not really dust – cloud becomes the road-map for traveling outward as breath moves to sweet release.
My longing is your longing, my travel is your travel.
I’m dragonfly, now rabbit, then camel, now fish – now myself.
Then I evolve once again, going back and yet forward at the same time to child in his innocent repose.
Your evolving is my evolving: we go back to child.
“The way in is the way out,” my guru said
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. Tucked in like a child, she steps back and forth over the soles of my feet and east meets west.
Moved to low places like water, propelled by gravity, heating, bending, and shaping, I’m an ongoing story of learning. My teachers are ancient yoga reformers.
My reformation is your reformation, my learning is your learning.… 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.
Put your best wishes forward for this effort not for me, but for words that will encourage many people to try something new for their health and well-being.
Thanks and ALOHA.
Here’s the link www.asanajournal.com/the-missing-link/
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...
Published June 5, elephant journal. Link below.
Yoga and the Place of Soul.
Via Gregory Ormson Jun 5, 2015
On a recent trip out of state, I attended yoga class seven days in a row with no duplicate sessions. Some featured music, some included chanting near the end and some used scented oil.
I was surprised that being in an unfamiliar place and experiencing new forms of practice created an opening within me that I hadn’t previously experienced. In one situation, during a slow-moving class, I was connecting in a new way. Afterward, I realized that is what yoga was made for: to tune into a deeper and more authentic self.
I think I briefly touched what I can only describe as my soul. The music, scented oils, meditations, slow movements, breath work, chanting and bell-ringing were new vehicles that helped me find previously untraveled roads. In those few moments, a fresh mantra came to me, which I now use in meditation. It’s a spiritual mantra, helping me focus on being a better person and presence in the world, both to myself and others.
B.K.S. Iyengar also wrote about how yoga goes beyond mere physical practice: “My own body was the laboratory in which I saw the health benefits of yoga, but I could already see that yoga would have as many benefits for my head and heart as it did for my body.”
I’ve had more than my share of spiritual experiences, including spiritually focused sweat lodges, Andean mountainside pyramid building and centering rituals, Indian prayers and meditations at the Gandhi Center in New Delhi, Gestalt doctoral-level group practicums centering on spirituality and psychodrama, spiritual retreats, peace center events, drum circles, church choral gatherings, 14 years working as clergy developing and leading a variety of rituals, and even an encounter with a shapeshifter in India.… read more...