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Archive for June, 2011

Last night this was my yoga. It involved planting, digging, visualizing, pruning, weeding, and mulching. The rest of the night was quiet for me. I spent about an hour out there. As I said, didn’t feel like talking a lot.

I am going to a silent retreat in Esalen in November so am practicing being still and quiet as much as I can. Even just SITTING a few minutes extra here and there during the day is very beneficial. It is the only method I know of for reducing anxiety. Much better than drinking, smoking, drinking, caffeine, etc.

This week in my classes I will explore blocks in many different ways. I am looking forward to this. I came up with some really fun ideas that will take you out of the box.

Had a great phsyical practice this 5 am. Lots of inversions, lots of core, and lots of dolphins so those will be included in classes too.

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PHLOX IN A BOX

My evening meditation will be on these phlox and evening primroses going in the Buddha garden. I will post the results tomorrow. There is a huge gap in the garden from my last planting which became rabbit food quickly. Must have been a clover relative, because the rabbit keeps going back and looking for new growth and nibbling whatever is there down to nothing. You are welcome bunnies for the 30$ snacks. It was a really cool flower too and looked great but I think these are really pretty.

The garden is getting a little overgrown so might also be time for some pruning so it doesn’t get too crazy back there.

I was reading an interview with Duncan Wong and he expressed getting back to nature is what it is all about for the yogis and I agree. As I have stated, I keep manifesting the country life with a small at home studio but mentioned that to the hubby or building one off our current house and it is a no go for him. Sigh. He told me to rent space but then it goes all commercial and I have to hire people etc. I want a place where students can come and drop a donation into a jar and get a great two hour class with myself or guest/group teaching.

One thing I think would be great about that is as a teacher I can move out of what I might feel I am EXPECTED to do, according to someone else’s marketing etc, into more of a intuitional free form type of class. I like the idea of a longer class, more pranayama, less distractions. I have eyed two or three perfect properties outside of my town for this venture so if they come up for sale, then I will have to reapproach it. I picture long windows and Buddha gardens.

Back tomorrow with updated Buddha garden pics.

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YOGA OF TANTRA

Going to visit this studio in Chicago next week. I love studio pictures becauise I am manifesting a home studio in my intention. Love these floors. Picturing more windows overlooking gardens though.

My studio I am manifesting would be at home, not in a commerical area. I would have a smaller one just for my own practice, privates, workshops, and two classes a week for intermediate/advanced students at a per student rate.

On a small farm, which husband is saying big NO to. Still I manifest.

What does that have to do with tantra. I am revisiting tantra and doing some svadhyaya on the subject. I studied yoga therapy with some tantra people and tantra is about manifesting yoga on your life. The studio I am visiting has teachers who work in that tradition so I am interested in how they convey that to their students.

I am a teacher and student interested in the classic forms of yoga am trying to figure out to MANIFEST it in my classes. Westernized yoga is obviously very athletically based right now. Amazing teachers and students are learning amazing asana skills, but I want to work on revolving it back into what yoga is about. Knowledge of the SELF and integration into the cosmic whole. Daunting I know.

Yoga to me is pretty much everywhere though and different things to different people. Ohm to my husband is on his Harley and I totally get it when I am biking on my Trek. There is a dissolution of outward and inward distractions and coming into the present is easier when I am, for example, working my desk job. No ohm quality there, except looking out a window. Sigh. See below political post.

But the best is just stillness too. Meditation is so hard but the tantric meditation is the best for me. I like the rhythym of mantra like my feet turning the pedals of a bike.

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HIP ROTATORS

Pose of the week. I think I have worked on this before. I love this pose. There are many many phases of working into it.

I think I am attracted to this being a hip rotator struggler. While I have many students who ease comfortably into padmasana, this is practice of patience. I have to say after many years, it is better. Now my hamstrings go on forever and that is also an advantage to this pose, but like I tell my students, if you can do bakasana you can learn most depending on your level of flexibility and willingness.

Why do I set myself up for reaching high? I have always been a challenge person. I always go for the hardest challenge. You can read my Ana Forrest post earlier. When I did that advanced training at Kripalu I am pretty sure it was the hardest one there. I have no doubt about that. Even though I went there falling far short of what the other students could do, it is almost a year later. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now if I hadn’t gone there.

So I set the bar high and inch towards achieving my goal. That is how I roll.

I am going to Chicago over the 4th for a U2 concert and everyone knows I LOVE visiting Chicago studios. I usually try to hit something over at Moksha but this time I am in the far South Loop and am going to Tejas. I needed a class the morning of the 5th and they have a high level one and the studio is right around the corner! So I can walk there and don’t have to get the car out of the parking lot. I will be pretty excited to go and I know the class will challenge me. I think I will start doing studio reviews of my travels.

So big hip rotator week here we come.

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I see a lot of students who stubbornly refuse to use props. In one studio I teach at, there was a point where we had no props, teaching only Bikram style yoga at the time and Bikram does not believe in props.

Some of that residual resistance is still there but I try to reinforce that props are used twofold:

To enhance the pose
To allow the pose

When a pose is enhanced it gets bigger. The body is allowed to open. In this respect, it allows the body to go into a deeper practice.

When it allows a pose, it is a support. If you can’t pick up your foot when you stand up, maybe a strap can help.

I love working with teachers who use a lot of props, like Ana Forrest and Tias Little. My own home practice is HEAVILY reinforced with blocks of various sizes, like my renowned jumbo blocks and sometimes two straps to support advanced back bends. I also use two ottomans, various chairs, walls, and a husband.

I have never taken an Iyengar class but plan on it soon. I love the influence he had on restorative and I also have plenty of bolsters and blankets and eye pillows for at home restorative. What could be a better home practice after a long hard week working and teaching.

I am still working on some themes for classes this week and will post something by tomorrow. So get your props and come on down this week for a very enhanced practice.

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YOGA FOG

Yesterday I posted about Yoga Nidra which is fitting for me. I have been experiencing a lot of yoga nidra lately. My dream world has intertwined and wound into and surfaced in my reality.

When I trained with Dr. Richard Miller, he guided us through 6 yoga nidras. One was particularly intense for all of the trainees. It was on a Thursday afternoon. I can’t explain it. It was like I was asleep but wasn’t. I was in the room, but I was somewhere else. There were other people around. Conversations going on.

All of us had similar intense experiences. I have seen that happen to students in yoga classes, especially deep Yin classes. They come out and tell about their experience and it is way beyond about stretching. They are just experiencing deeper levels of conscousness. Yoga nidra can and does happen spontaneously.

Last night I had an odd dream experience and when I woke I was still in it. It is foggy today which is fitting. It is as though the fog won’t lift. I just taught a class in that state too so not sure what it was like or if I was able to tune that in to my class. I hope so, because I think that would be very authentic teaching. Either that or they hated that loooonnnnggg balance series.

On the way into town to teach I kept going over and over in my head the words to “A Day In The Life” by the Beatles:

Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up, I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream
AH

I love that song because the Beatles were exploring levels of consciousness and they put it into so many songs and this one is timeless and I related to it today. It is about the normality of our life and how we have obligations to our life and society. Waking up is rude and abrupt and then we go on our way through our day. But in the middle of it all something can trigger us into a different place. We are all running against time on a day to day basis. Every day can be so much the same but so differeent. The dream world is an escape and we all have ways of escaping, possibly through addictions or numbing out.

Sometimes I have felt as though yoga is an addiction for me and it is. As an ‘addict’ in my own sense, I need transference. Addictions never die. They can only be transferred to something else. It is just a different level of exploring new levels of consciousness that we are seeking through addiction.

I will be theming more on this and relating it to the blog as I move forward.

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YOGA NIDRA

Yoga Nidra means yoga sleep. It is one of the early Hatha yoga practices and allows one to go from a restful savasana place into deeper levels of consciousness. It is a state of conscious sleep where the body rests, but the mind is awake.

An experienced guide takes you into a deep restful state of pratyahara. Although many first time practitioners will fall asleep easily after reaching a state where the body is totally relaxed, the goal is to guide you into that state while allowing yo to be present and aware of what is going on. As many external distractions as possible should be removed.

At the beginning of the session , the practitioner is asked to set a sankalpa, or a resolve. This can help you to reshape your personality as the resolve is repeated and is absorbed by the subconscious. During the deeper states, samskaras, or old impressions from our past or past lives, arise and we are able to acknowledge them since we are in a state of awareness.

Some people will achieve dream like states as the subconscious arises and they will have experiences and insights that they may not understand. It is a good idea to take notes on this after the session to reflect on later.

These images could be universal archetypes that are so deep we would never be aware of them in most states of consciousness or semi-consciousness. Carl Jung recognized the universal consciousness and his work on archetypes, along with his own experience, has helped to solidify this practice as a valid form of therapy.

I learned Yoga Nidra from Dr. Richard Miller, a yoga and psychotherapist. He brought me into some very intense levels of awareness as well as the other people in my program. He has used his methods to help the homeless, people with depression and people with PTSD.

Transformation happens when we approach these impressions and realize they are manifested in every level of our being. Removing them is difficult, but acknowledging they rest in our psyche, spirit, and body and waking up into being present can allow us to start to move forward out of our traumas, illnesses, disappointments, and anxiety.

Yoga asana is a profound experience because we are exploring them on such a physical basis. And as we explore the feeling body, we experience our former impressions even if we can’t associate them such as: my hips are tight because I didn’t get enough love as a child. It isn’t important to label. As we approach the practice of pratyahara, we learn that we don’t remove sensory impressions but we try to stop reacting to them.

So continue to explore new avenues of yoga. There is so much out there and so much more every day. I love the classic system of yoga, but even Dharma Mittra explains yoga as a practice that is transforming itself every day. It is great we can take a practice like Yoga Nidra and use it to help people now.

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