Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Begin with sitting
I like to offer this period as the 'transition' from our outbound practice to our inbound practice, from the outside to the inside.
Staying in the the twist with the shoulders down and turning the head to the opposite side stretching the neck.
Yin style baddha-konasana, long hold, 1-3 minutes.
Transition to table for Cat Flow
Rounding the spine, scooping it out--move with breath.
Pad the knees if necessary and allow for personal expression of the foot on the extended leg.
Downward Facing Dog
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation A) x3
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Uttanasana (Forward Fold)
Inhale, lengthen spine and look up if possible, exhale and step the right foot back for...
Right knee to the mat, top of the right foot resting. Let upper body hang heavy over the lunging leg, neck relaxes and head hangs heavy.
From easy lunge, with inhale, brings hands to the knee and lengthen the spine.
Twist by taking the right elbow to the outside of the left knee, palms pressing together and the shoulders pull back.
Release twist and with inhale step to the front.
Repeat on the other side.
Just like Sun A but from DD, step right foot forward and rise to Warrior I, open to Triangle Prep (so turn to face the left, arms reaching out shoulder height) and ride the reaching out of the right arm as the hand makes its way to ground (somewhere along the leg or the inside/outside of the foot). The top hand comes down on a exhale, so hands are framing front foot, step back to DD.
Repeat on the other side.
I like to offer eyes closed as an option for those who want to explore their inner balance, their ability to rely on personal trust and equilibrium.
Flow to DD
One legged DD
Knee to chest plank pose, holding for strength for several breaths then rest knee down for...
Holding upright for about a minute, then folding forward.
Press back upright and move into DD allowing the blood flow to return to the hip.
Repeat on the other side.
Come down to seated.
Upward Facing Plank
Navasana (Boat) x3
Roll to back
I suggest that students practice the inversion they are working on or feeling for that night.
Supine Twist--Any variation
We usually stay for 10-15 minutes.
I've seen this story in a few places over the last couple of days and I really wanted to share. For me, there is something about men practicing yoga that softens me a little--we need more men in my home studio for sure.
I hope you too are inspired by this...
Yoga is the best thing for your sex life! It keeps you limber in all kinds of ways. It teaches you to love your body and your partner’s body. But more than anything, it keeps your mind liquid, and nothing’s sexier than that. Mind and body open to possibilities.
I read this quote from Bruce Lee, one of the greatest quotes ever. He said, “Be water.” We can become so rigid in our beliefs, in our thinking, and I think yoga is a great way to force you outside of your mental and physical rigidity. My mind was rigid growing up, as I’ve explained, but so was my body.
Yoga started curing the chronic pain I had, but it also released my mind along with it. In many ways I feel I’m battling to stay liquid, to be like water. I don’t want to be a superficial guy, you know? I want to get out from under all the superficiality of our culture and live free of the strictures our society places on us.
I want to be a sensory person but not be controlled by the senses.
I want to live a spiritual life but not be controlled by religion.
I want to live free but also devote myself to family and the love of the great woman I share my life with.
What’s great is that for the first time I’m finding that balance. I still have a long way to go in some areas, but that’s part of what keeps things interesting—figuring it all out. But in general, man, I wake up every morning asking, “What the fuck did I do in my last life to deserve the amazing fucking life I got in this one?”
(If you're interested, you can read the full interview here.)
Monday, October 19, 2009
I have a few things to get off my chest and really need you to read carefully.
You are an ugly little devil.
You are a perpetual thorn in my side.
You are an embezzler of my greatness and on most days, I'm tempted to kick your ass. No one likes a bully.
However, if I may speak frankly, I learn some of my greatest lessons from you but damn you for not teaching from the blackboard. Why must ALL my lessons be so freakin' public and real world?
Eagerly awaiting your reply.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I will say this about the symbolism: the lotus is a symbol of beauty and light in the darkness because it is a flower that grows in the mud. This is my life. The Buddha impression in the leaf of the lotus is my center...my path of the middle way.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
For now, I am sharing an excerpt from "Eat, Pray, Love" that really inspired to me look at myself, to look at my teaching and even to the people in my life...looking for dust and for opportunities to dislodge the dust.
'Dust', as it's used here, can best be defined as deception, that which prevents us from seeing clearly, as illusion or distortion. Dust keeps us stuck in place, prevents us from progressing, stunts our growth.
Buddhist lore has a story about the moment that followed Buddha's transcendence into enlightenment. When--after 39 days of meditation--the veil of illusion finally fell away and the true workings of the universe were revealed to the great master, he was reported to have opened his eyes and said immediately, "This cannot be taught."
But then he changed his mind, decided that he would go out into the world, after all, and attempt to teach the practice of meditation to a small handful of students. He knew there would only be a meager percentage of people who would be served by (or interested in) his teachings.
Most of humanity, he said, have eyes that are so caked shut with the dust of deception they will never see the truth, no matter who tries to help them. A few others are so naturally clear-eyed and calm already that they need no instruction or assistance whatsoever.
But then there are those whose eyes are just slightly caked with dust, and who might, with the help of the right master, be taught to see more clearly someday. The Buddha decided he would become a teacher for the benefit of that minority--"For those of little dust..."
I can say with relative certainty that I am one of little dust--I certainly don't have eyes caked shut but am no where close to 'seeing clearly'...as if. In fact, I am prone to frequent dust storms and often have to blink several times to see clearly through the debris before I realize that I am viewing the world through a dirty lens.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Cut to 7:15 AM when I'm startled awake, first by the glow of daylight--NO!
Then comes the realization that my dog is barking because my mom has been knocking on the door to be driven to the airport AND my poor daughter is (understandably) freaking out because she woke up on a sodden pillow of cat piss.
No yoga for me--I have to get to work so I can be home in time to take the children to the park before I leave to teach in the evening...blah, blah, gasp, moan, whine.
So I wrestle my now irritated ass out of bed, open the door for my mom, collect the piss-soaked items from my daughter's bed--comforter, sheets, BRAND*NEW*WORLD*MARKET*PILLOW and Memory Foam mattress cover--instruct her on the proper use of Lysol and literally pole-vault myself into the shower WITH the pillow.
As I begin to soak it under the flow of water from the shower head (and breathe in the ammonia of cat piss as it fills the hot, steamy shower) I see that it is a zip-off cover...but of course.
So, I unzip the damn thing...throw the pillow to my daughter for Lysol intervention and soap up the cover.
Because it is a BRAND*NEW*WORLD*MARKET*PILLOW, the coloring is fresh from the factory and I realize as the turquoise bleeds from the fabric that I am slowly turning blue.
After my excruciating lower body transformation into a reject Smurf, I finish washing the case and pass it to my daughter--we're a regular mom and daughter tag team with cat piss being the glue that binds us.
I hop out of the shower and blaze through the rest of my 'process'...my chest is gripped in stress.
CRAP, CRAP, CRAP.
On the drive in to work I alternate between a mind laden with expletives and tiny, almost imperceptible shards of clarity that I can perhaps *be* my yoga...this is what I practice for EVERYDAY, yes?
Here's to holding on for the ride...to holding on for the crazy, unpredictable, often comical and bumpy ride...come what may.
Bring it on...I got this.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Seduction is an apt description of what happens when we commit the mind to a particular state--it can be as strong as the pull of a body against which you want to press yourself, the warmth in which you want to lose yourself, as the senses dissolve all reason compromising the ability to think clearly.
The post before this one is from another blog I follow, Buddha of Hollywood--it's called Training Wheels and the author is writing about her daughter's accomplishment of riding her bike without training wheels and how adults slip into a comfort zone somewhere along the way when we run out of things that we must learn to do 'on our own'. I imagine this to be an imperceptible shift that fortifies its hold over us over time.
Ergo, with the help of my practice of yoga, meditation and overall mindfulness, I have been stepping up to, and in to, that which scares and overwhelms me.
I don't want to wear training wheels on my bike anymore--I don't want to be 'comfortable' at the expense of experiencing this ride.
I will no longer live as a monument to my fear, to the voice inside that attempts to minimize me. I am writing a new story about a warrior--a heroine of her own life who cools herself in her shadow now instead of cowering.
Sit with yourself.
Close your eyes.
Find your breath.
As you travel deeper within, dare to ask yourself...what?
Then begin...take off the training wheels.
When we enter this world, we have no fear.
We learn to crawl because of sheer will and inspiration to move toward our object of interest. We learn to walk because we have no fear of falling and we learn to talk because we have no concept of proper pronunciation...we take chances because we don't yet know how NOT to.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I have always known this pose as 'Flipping the Dog' but learned it from a John Friend presentation as 'Wild Thing' in the Anusara tradition...but of course, it IS an intense heart opener.
I'm sure my chakras are spinning like mad, crazy little machines in this pose because when I come out--it's on!
We protect the heart--physiologically, psychically and emotionally. Naturally, we are comforted by folding in and around our heart--we can breathe here because we feel safe and the heart is secure. When we open the heart and kick it up to the universe, come what may, we heighten our senses, enliven our prana (life force)--we become hyper-aware and alert.
Sure, it's comfortable and safe to stay folded in, to guard the heart but I don't want comfortable and safe anymore.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
This morning, because of my recent love of 'Wild Thing' and the courage to go for it, I arrived at the shala 10 minutes early so that I could warm my spine up and flow open...open-wide, heart to the sky and throat chakra spinning wildly, craving voice to birth the energy bubbling inside!
What an amazing way to start this class--I was already tingling inside, my heart was open, I was centered and at peace.
The flow began as it always does, with Surya Namaskar A, and I jumped in...heart first. Then head.
I was full of love and peace throughout the class, pampering a cranky hamstring on my right side didn't even quake my stillness, and my face reflected the serenity inside as I summoned my inner Buddha.
Then...Shri, in a successful effort to boldly distinguish between standing poses and floor poses, had us, from our last Warrior Flow, lie back in Supta Bhada Konasana (Supine Bound Angle) to...breathe and, while breathing, allow the body to open passively--simply THE BEST sort of melting open.
Then, supported bridge...ahhh, again.
Then, easy supine twist--JUST~WHAT~I~NEEDED.
During our practice of Yoga Nidra, I'm pretty sure I tip-toed into Samadhi but we all know how that works--once you stare it in the eyes, once you know it's there...it's gone.
I left there and headed into my day inspired, creative, open, charged with life, teeming with love and so very, very thankful for this time that I make for myself everyday.
It's not easy and it takes serious work and commitment on my part but what I receive in return restores me and prepares me to serve myself and others for another day.
It's all so, so good.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
I love books written for children, especially this one...their messages are less shouts from a podium of authority and more delicate whispers to the soul, reminding you of what you already know.
We wear the crown and we hold the staff...let the wild rumpus start.