Yoga for Hope Demo

Here’s the video from the Yoga for Hope event last August in Union Square. The energy of the Square was remarkable- practicing, with all the people who have been healed by yoga in mind, was emotional and so uplifting. I felt like I could fly!
Namaste

Hello again

Hey everyone,

I’ve been in silence for a while but feel compelled to reach out into the cyber-kula.

This year has been a very interesting year for many of us. We have entered  new decade and for me that has brought up many questions about life’s path and what kind of definitions we will give to this next period of 10 years.

As a 30-year-old woman I’m fresh off my  first “Saturn return”, shedding the skin of my youth for a new sense of maturity and the shifts that entails. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_return if you’re not sure what that means… It has opened my eyes to the importance of savoring the rights of passage we have in life, and how easy it is to fall back asleep once the excitement of the initial shift fades.

Our yoga practice can help us to regain this sense of wonder! In a simple breath we are once taken back to the moment we were born… a hug of your arms around your heart can take you back to a lover’s embrace… the thrill of nailing handstand can give you the confidence to go for that dream you’ve been sitting with… the examples are endless, but what feels so important is the choice to view these moments afresh and live each portion of life with immediacy! When we continually fuel ourselves, we are present to the wonder of the moment. I hope you can take this to heart today. And every day!

Namaste

From the Hatha Yoga Pradipika…

For your yoga home…

Hatha is the sanctuary for those suffering every type of pain. It is the foundation for those practicing every type of Yoga.

Chapter 1, Verse 10.

Here’s an interesting pair of thoughts when we study yoga asana so often in a class…

Yoga perishes by these six: overeating, overexertion, talking too much, performing needless austerities, socializing, and restlessness.

Chapter 1, Verse 15.

Yoga succeeds by these six: enthusiasm, openness, courage, knowledge of the truth, determination, and solitude.

Chapter 1, Verse 16.

And finally…

Success is achieved neither by wearing the right clothes nor by talking about it. Practice alone brings success.

This alone is the truth, without a doubt.

Chapter 1, Verse 66.

——————————

From the origional Sanskrit by Svatmarama, written in the 15th century C.E., translation by Brian Dana Akers 2002.

Om

Shanti

Om

Karma

karma–derived from the Sanskrit root kr meaning to do, to make. The word karma means action, work, and deed. Only secondarily does karma refer to the result of past deeds, which are more properly known as the phalam or fruit of action*

I’ve been thinking about intentions and goals  (or resolutions as we call ‘em in this month) lately, and I wonder how many of y’all are actually planning on the action behind them?  Keep in mind when you make goals at this time of year, our natural tendencies in the winter is to turn inward, slow down, and enjoy hibernating. When you set goals that go in direct conflict with this, it becomes an uphill battle that often is surrendered before it’s begun. I’m challenging myself and y’all to divide your resolution into segments. Create mini-goals within the larger that are more do-able in this slower time- setting the foundation for the greater intention to come into fruition as the months pass. Intentions without action never go anywhere and tend to fester in our consciousness, fuel self-criticism, and generally create more blockages that clarity.

Do yourself a favor and start your spring cleaning early- release all the “goals” yet met, clean the slate, and zero in on one larger goal you feel passionate about. Divide it up, put these little steps into your calander and get out there!

OM

*the definition comes from http://www.sanskrit.org, a wonderful resource for all your scholarly yoga Q&A

Breathing Deep

As the holidays march into our lives, for many of us it’s a time to get even more stressed and take less care, rather than more…

I challenged myself this year to be kinder to the heart, mind, and body I’ve been entrusted with and urge you to do the same. I call it the Breathing Challenge. Each day I promise to take the time to consciously breathe deep (5-10 count deep belly breathes) for 5 minutes a day. That’s all! Think you can do it? I bet you can…

Sit, or lay down…
Take a mental survey of your body, feel your heart/emotional center, and let the tension you feel accumulate into a fiery ball in front of you. Envision that ball of stress burning itself out, and let your focus come back to the breath. Ahhhhhh….. say hello to your lungs. Notice if they feel ragged, tight, or phlegmy, and begin your full breath. Starting at the belly, moving to the ribs, then up to your heart. Slowly let the breath out, feeling your torso deflate. Start by counting to five as you take each part of the breath, moving towards ten counts.

Suggestion: Set a timer so you can keep your focus on breath not time, and if possible turn off your phone, close the door etc. so it’s truly your time.

Namaste

In the Beginning…

I began my yoga studies out of a desire for healing after years of physical, emotional, and mental hardships stemming from pre-professional ballet training. I always felt something was missing in the dance realm, that the teachings were lacking in spiritual development, and the idea of healing and preserving the body was absent. My first teacher, Mathias Flury, taught me the Ashtanga primary series, welcomed me into his family as a surrogate daughter, and guided me through herbal cleanses to begin the purifications my body and spirit were crying out for.
As my studies continued, I felt an excitement and love growing for this amazing system that encouraged regeneration rather than degradation. Many of the emotional blocks that had confused and stymied me throughout my early teenage years began to unlock- feeling that my self worth had nothing to do with the size of my waist or the number of pirouettes I could do. This was a revolution! I needed to feel these amazing changes for myself, and rarely spoke about what I was doing with anyone.
Through my work with Mathias, I began to crave more, so he introduced me to Tim Miller of the historic Ashtanga Center and the spiritual teachings of P.Yogananda. I’d grown up with his center, the Self Realization Fellowship, overlooking Swami’s surf spot, in my backyard and began to spend many hours in their Meditation Gardens, just sitting with myself, many times wrestling with my inner demons, wanting to go unconscious, flee, anything to avoid the growing pains of realizing myself. Yet something kept me there, looking into the patient eyes of the glowing sunset, hearing the inevitable crash of the waves on the reef below. I had always heard from within a voice greater than myself, often shrilly advising me on doing the opposite of what I chose to do in my more disconnected years, when the tenants of honesty and non-violence to myself were ignored in order to channel the turmoil I was experiencing, often self-creating.

As with many times of great growth and expansion, the converse came to me as I entered college at UC Santa Barbara, choosing to dive once again back into dance, studying and earning my BA in Dance with a Certificate in Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences. While that time was magnificent for my love of the creative arts, again I felt the old habits, judgments, and disconnection of spirit come creeping back in. Frustrated by injury, sidelined from all the performing I knew I was capable of, I had left my asana practice hanging and felt that lifeline began to fade.
It was only when I left Santa Barbara for SF that I felt my desire to lead an enlightened life return. In many ways the fleeing and returning to this gift has been one of my greatest teachers. I knew if I chose to continue my confrontation with all the inner blockages peace and empowerment would continue- and if not, the inner turmoil and self-defeating choices would only get worse.
In 2003, traveling solo to Europe after the startling death of my roommate, one of the most angelic persons I have even known, I began in earnest to speak with her in everything I saw. Through my conversations with Jaia, I began to understand I could never go back to an unconscious way of living, and by treating others with love and kindness, another amazing gift she possessed wholeheartedly, I could make the things I yearned for, manifest. While in Vienna at ImpulseTanz International Dance Festival, wonderful and exciting new friends showed little ways of living their yoga in everything they did, with all the human contradictions and fumbles that I started to see as beautiful, rather than things to judge or pick apart.
Coming back to SF I dove into LEVYdance, excited to be working with a family of dancers, honoring each of us for who we are, not only what we do. The tenants of yoga had taken root, shown in the way my life was shifting, and more than anything, the realization that that had been going on my whole life!

Namaste

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