Archive for August, 2012

Feeling overwhelmed? Small in a big world? Like you just have TOO much going on? SIGH. I know how you feel:

When I am overwhelmed, full of anxiety, depressed, full of rage, needing a drink by seven in the morning, I find some restorative Yin is the best recipe to calm my rattled nerves. So tonight in my intermediate class, it will be more Yin. MY YIN:

I follow Sean Corn on Facebook and she is at the Repub convention in a special mindfulness room set up for people to drop in and talk or take some yoga:

She seems to be hanging out with Arianna Huffington in a lot of the pics so maybe the Huffington Post is sponsoring it. How cool to hang out with Arianna! The others there! Not so much. Wonder how many savy yogis and yoginis are there and realize the status of the Sean’s celebrity. They are doing the same thing at the Democratic convention next week.

I have some fantasy classes with partnering I would like to be teaching there including the celebrity Wisconsin pols, Ryan, Walker, and Priebus that involve a lot of Iyengar props etc, but let’s just say, you don’t want to know. (Here Paul and Reince, you take his arms and you take his legs and PULL like crazy)

Sean would NEVER!

Just found out from Babarazzi that Huffington Post and Off the Mat created what is known as The Huffington Oasis, “a unique, alternative space providing yoga, meditation, spa services, and organic food.” I am sure the Repubs are enjoying it, especially the spiritual stuff!

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Awwww. Aren’t they cute. I am not sure what their stance is on vegetarianism. Any thoughts on that? I read a lot of Iyengar and imagine they both taught vegetarianism.

I recently met someone who really inspired me on raw veganism. Now that my garden finally came around I am experimenting:


Most of this salad is out of the garden. I have a lot of kale, lettuce, cucumber, and tomatos. The avocado is not from the garden obviously. Last night I was out weeding and noticed the beans came back so I am going to pick what is there and tear it up. This time of they year we can pretty much eat nonstop tomatos and my large ones are not turning red so there may not be any canning. I did find a recipe for canned green tomatos so if they don't start turning, I will pull them and can them green so as to not waste them.

Fried green tomatos are very popular down south and very delicious and the canned version is supposed to replicate the taste so we will see. We have plenty of snack and romas so tomato sauce is also a possibility if time allows.

Richard Freeman put out the dates for the month long intensive and the sign up will start November 26. I haven't seen a date for the shorter five day one I am interested in taking but will keep watching for it.

I don't have much to say on yoga today so will go back to the salad which will probably take all afternoon to eat with all the kale.

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I am not buying it:




Yoga with weights can do this?  How?  It is Sherri Baptiste, Baron’s sister, who is doing this workshop.  I would like to know where Sherri got her expertise in resistance training from? If I wanted a good resistance program with weights I probably would not rely on a yoga teacher unless they had some certification from a reliable organization. I understand how weights can increase physical strength if used safely but not sure about the mental and spiritual claim. I think the mental edge people get from a program like this is that they are getting a good workout and burning more calories. The spiritual edge? Um. Sorry. Not buying into that and feel that is a lofty claim.

I just got through a tough primary series and to be honest and am not sure how weights could enhance the experience. I spent some extra time on my arms today working on some information from a Kino mini tutorial. I did a short pranayama session and feel revived in all three areas. I do like to workout at the gym, but do not get the same edge as I do from a good yoga/pranayama/meditation session.

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What are these two bitching about again? What a couple of has-beens. I am almost thinking they make up this bitch fest to stay in the press. Why are people paying good money to go to her concerts? Why do people still like Elton John? He did like two worthwhile albums in the 70s. These questions perplex me. If you are a ‘fan’, I apologize. NOT

Wonder if she is still into yoga?

Someone gave me this Zen garden:

I forgot to show it to my husband. He would not understand why there are NO directions. For him, this is a puzzle. LOL By the way, he really enjoyed the visit to Karyn’s vegetarian restaurant in Chicago. If you are ever there, go. He was quite proud of himself. He was even tentative about ordering the lemonade which had agave nectar instead of white sugar, but drank two glasses. He obviously enjoyed the salad and was very impressed that the potatos he got with his portabello burger had barbeque sauce on.

Next time we go I am going to try to convince him to go with me to the raw restaurant. I realize that is pushing the envelope, but last weekend was a big step.

I am going to make a political statement and then will TRY to refrain although the upcoming dog and pony show next week in Tampa will lure me out of my promise unless the hurricane comes through and postpones it. I mean, come on you tea party people even the RNC won’t let Palin come in and give a major speech. I am sure there are a lot of hurt feelings, but these people just don’t seem smart enough to realize nothing she says makes sense anyways.

Also the current flap over Akin. WOW Politicizing a sensitive issue to women. I don’t know what else to say about it but that these people make me ill. They know who they are.

I had a student last night, Sarah, ask me about the jump back from bakasana. Here is a nice little tutorial from Kino:

Kino gives a great tip on bringing the upper body forward. I think of it more of a drop of the upper body and bringing the legs back. Most people want to fling the legs back into a high plank pose. This can be harmful to the low back and causes a lot of stress to the shoulder and hip joints. The movement should flow right into low plank and not pause at the top. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see most people make. Visually you can see the swaying low back and it is harder to stabilize the core. The movement into the low plank utilizes the triceps and other upper body muscles to support the jumping. In general, try to stop jumping into high pushup. Make the movement flow to the next. That is why we call the movements flow or vinyasa. As you learn to ride the waves of breath, the poses become less static in nature and the vinyasa movements just ‘flow’ from one to the next in the vinyasa dance.

I am working on a pranayama and bandha workshop and doing a lot of study and practice. The Maehle book on Pranayama is still blowing me away. Yesterday I was reading a section on the abdominal wall and how to use uddiyana on the exhale to keep the spine more upright and not cave into the chest. Richard also does a lot of splaining on this in the Pranayama course so I am studying the two in conjunction with each other. I am still only through the first three sessions of Richard but I am going on vacation next month to a quieter place than Chicago and will indulge in the other three. It is a nice long week in the woods with vegan food and lots of yoga and pranayama. Don’t tell my husband though.

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Fundraising the Celibriyoga Way.

Wow wonder what you get for a $10,000 yoga session. I am glad it is for a good cause however I am wondering if the draw is more about Mrs. Baldwin and being close to a real live wife of a celebrity.

At least it is worthwhile and the money isn’t going to some political campaign. I can’t imagine what kind of people DON’T balk at the 50,000 dollar a plate fundraisers that the Koch brothers and others put on for Romney/Ryan. Most people don’t make that in a year.

At any rate, Alec’s wife IS really pretty. I read an article a while back where young women yoga teachers are the new trophy wife in the larger cities like New York etc.

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Last weekend, I took a four day time out in Chicago and we stayed across the river from the Trump Tower:

I go to Chicago frequently and it is not the first time I have seen the building, but we also went on a sunset tour off the lake in the evening. We FORGOT our cameras so I can not display it but between the boat ride and the walking around, I noticed that there are not too many points in the loop or offshore where the Trump Tower is not in view:

I am no expert on architecture and normally find the more classic old Chicago buildings much more appealing than some of the newer stuff, but I have to admit there is something pleasing about this building, whether night or day or from many of the various planned views. And at least it isn’t entirely symmetrical like some of the surrounding buildings. I also LOVE this:

HA HA. It IS real and can you imgine the quality of air in your high rise?

There is something to say for alignment and the stacking of form and body that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I enjoy it immensely in yoga class, especially when teaching. There is a delight when a class somehow aligns a Vira II pose with all joints aligned and a steady gaze at a far away Trump Tower, which IS a monument to ego or a tribute to a monumental ego. I do not, however, feel that trying to build a pleasing yoga pose with perfect alignment is all about the ego.

Richard Freeman says injuries are not caused merely from misalignment of the body, but misalignment of breath and feeling. A well aligned pose feels good:

I ran into this pose yesterday and it is rather a hot mess but it probably feels awesome:

Especially with the thong sticking out but I would love to FEEL and BREATHE in this pose!

I imagine coming out of it you would feel very OPEN.

Getting very contracted and then coming out of something that DEEP opens the channels of prana and pretty or not, we align in form and nonform in yoga to experience our force of life.

Yoga asana, like buildings, are derived from thought, planning, making mistakes, and then breathing back new life into the next attempt at the divine. A blogger can post pretty pictures of magnificent form but the practitioner has to JUMP in and experience the feeling or view for themselves.

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Here are some notes on a recent workshop held by Sharath in the US:

Here are notes on a talk from Sharath at Jois Greenwich Yoga:

“Every day we must experience our self.”-Sharath Jois

This Sunday’s conference focused on the difficulties that arise in our yoga practice. Sharath began the discussion by outlining seven of the nine obstacles of yoga detailed in the Yoga Sutras (1:30). These are vyadhi (sickness), styana (idleness), samsaya (doubt), pramada (carelessness), alasya (sloth), avirati (lack of determination), and bhrantidarsana (confusion). Primarily, he focused on pramada and bhrantidarsana. These two are worth repeating because, as he says, they are common to many practitioners. Pramada, or carelessness, happens when our body is on the mat but the mind is someplace else. We become too comfortable and complacent in the posture or our mind is agitated and thinking about something other than the practice. Either way, physical injury and vrittis (fluctuations or activity of the mind) can occur. For bhrantidarsana, or confusion, Sharath explained “two gurus, one student is dead.” Confusion in our practice can happen when we look to too many teachers for answers. We must be intelligent with the information that comes to us. We should not seek many different teachers on a regular basis for our practice. Jumping around to different teachers is not helpful to understanding our practice. He cites Guruji’s famous 99% practice, 1% theory adage. Knowledge will improve with experience over time. We must experience our self everyday in order to feel the changes in the body and in the mind. Later he refers to this intelligence as a way to help us decide what is good and bad, spiritual and nonspiritual yoga.

Questions from students brought up related issues. He stressed that teachers can become “bigger than yoga,” meaning they can become too important and the ego becomes bigger than the yoga practice. As students claim this or that has changed about Mysore or about the practitioners around them, it is likely they who have changed. This causes their worlds to appear changed. He reminded us, as he did last week in detail, that asana is only one limb. Proficiency in physical asana does not make us great. He emphasized for us to be humble and steadfast when transmitting this yoga. The flower does not have to overly state that it has nectar, and the bees find it anyway.

Returning to the earlier idea of knowledge gained through practice, Sharath emphasized a need for nonattachment in our practice. I have heard him admit that attachments develop with the addition of family and loved ones. These are attachments formed with love. We are human beings and it comes up, for example, when we are responsible for our children. Today he cautioned that attachment to negative emotions wastes time. We have four stages of life. We begin as babies, grow to become teenagers, and then take on family life or responsibilities. In our final stage, as we grow old, responsibilities fall away. In the meantime, we should not waste our time by fighting, being angry, or worrying about what other people are doing. This, especially, goes for what practitioners are doing beside you. With correct drishti and proper attention we should not be bothered by that wayward limb, loud breath, or the accidental or intentional bump.”

The notion of one teacher in the West is contradictory to our nature I believe. I see students become absorbed in a teacher and then move on. As a student I have done the same. I have explored many teachers and one particularly resonates with me but I find it is difficult to be absorbed in one teacher due to time/location restraints but I do find I try to work with teachers who have a common philosophy/teaching/background. I love teachers who have a strong Iyengar/Jois background. I also find it interesting to experience different styles and learn something new.

You know I always find it funny when teachers say attachment to asana is bad. I do it myself. It is like there you/they are teaching a strong asana based class with a focus on aligning the body and then you tell them well it is not that important. I mean that in a funny way because I hear myself talk about that a lot in class. I almost feel hypocritical. Also normally the teachers who really practice that themselves, the nonattachment thing, have been practising for 30 years, such as Gregor Maehle. I am still absorbing the pranayama book and am now anxious for his book on meditation. He seems to sincerely believe and practice that, but again, he has practiced for 30 years. I haven’t and neither have most of my students.

Practice evolves all the time. Sometimes I do feel like being absorbed in asana practice, especially if I have been away from practice for a while or haven’t had the focus I like to have.

I do appreciate that Sharath talks about the obstructions to the path of yoga and yes attachment is one of them. I think it is important to recognize them and most people can relate. I relate to carelessness myself for the days I am just putting my time in so I can get it done as opposed to the days, like Sunday mornings, when I am focused and have no time issues or anywhere to go.

I am going to Chicago next weekend for a vacation and am going to try to hit a class or two. I am not in an area that has a lot of choices and Moksha isn’t close so maybe Tejas which is in walking distance.

Also I had another tragic loss of a bird yesterday from the eagle world so RIP little Stephi in Estonia. She was hunted and killed in her nest by a terrible Groshawk. She was SO beautiful and really fought him off hard. He had attacked her a couple of times and she fought him off bravely. She is a lesser spotted eagle and their parents don’t watch them every minute as American bald eagles do. An ABE parent would have torn him up. Actually the hawk would never have gotten that close to the baby.

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