Archive for November, 2012


What is currently inspiring me:

U2 album similarity to Chehalis Tower eagles:



What my practice feels like. You have to see this moving to get it. Hint. The fish push up stream and then get pushed back. It is a joke.

salmon cam

Anyway it was a good week with some good practice, two new eagles eggs, and a nice weekend to enjoy.

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I finally figured it out. Go to this page and watch the third camera down that is labeled Underwater Camera. I promise it is not a bird.


At times the top cam has the feeling of the Joshuah Tree album cover.

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A lot of my family and friends roll their eyes when I talk about the eagles I watch on various cameras but the eagles have given me a new outlook on so many things.

For one thing, they take me outside of myself. When I think I am invincible, worthless, important, relevant, ridiculous, stressed out, I look at them and feel that there is a lot out there I am just clueless over. The yogis call it avidya. Ignorance. You can’t know what you don’t know about.

For another thing, they have taught me every living being has worth and animals are not just animals. They and their families have epic stories that no one knows about. If you believe in a God, you have to believe he loves all his creatures equally. Not one is more or less than the next. So you think you are better than a bird? Or a small flower? Or a little bug?

It sounds so hippie-ish and all.

But I do grieve when we lose one and one of my favorites, D14 of the famous Decorah Eagle nest died this week. He was electrocuted on a poll that was not protected. The same thing happened in the summer to his older sib, D12, and I cried for HOURS at how unfair it was. Now I am more aware of what we do to harm creatures and I can do small things to help.

Here are some pictures of D14:

The last one is the three Decorah babies from last year looking over the Y branch when they are on the verge of flying out of the nest. The Decorah nest sits on a private property overlooking a lovely white barn with horses walking around. The nest is huge and the Decorah parents are vigilant over these nutjobs. It is so hard knowing two of them are gone and I hope the other is flying free.

D14 was fitted with a means of monitoring him by the researchers. This way they can follow their migration patterns and learn how we can protect this species brought back from near extinction. When I saw pics of him in his gear, I always thought “Beam me up Scottie” and he was beamed up. I hope he flies free.

The Decorah parents are building a new nest and hopefully next year they can move the cameras where I can see them. I plan on visiting the fish hatchery in Decorah where they hang out and see next years batch after they fledge.

The day he was announced dead the Florida couple laid this:

Another miracle. A new family. Another epic story. New Hope.

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A guest instructor who really KNOWS his stuff:

Another Guest Instructor, a little inappropriate though, that Caroline enjoyed a whole lot.

Some REALLY focused sun salutations with STRICT form and SANSKRIT COUNTS:

Some soft ones when people were tired:

See all the fun you missed?

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Here is the recent update from Gregor Maehle on his new book on Meditation which should be out by the end of this year:

“We are still in Ubud, Bali, teaching our 200 hour Teacher Training Immersion, which turned out to be a fantastic format. I was always really sceptical about the value of short term teacher trainings, which is reflected in the fact that it took us almost 15 years to try out the format. The experience here has completely converted me. Becaus
e the students are completely taken out of their usual life they seem to be much more open to suggestions, teaching and change. Due to that the teaching also becomes joyfull for the teacher.

It appears to be difficult for a trainee to be fully open to such a complex teaching such as yoga while keeping up all their usual responsabilites and duties. That can make the teaching quite a chore. On the other hand when in a holiday and retreat setting students seem to be capable of taking in much more material in a surprisingly short time.

Before this experience I had concerns about students being able to assimilate 8 hours of teaching per day. However, here it seems to me as if our students are almost reluctant to be realeased into their 1-and-a-half day weekend once the time comes around. Because the trainees do not have to cook, clean, shop or go to work, they can assimilate a large amount of information and yet be at ease.

I also noticed that packing a lot of training hours into a short timeframe seems to produce a lot of change in the trainees. If you want to have a taste of this format then look at our Byron Bay retreat in February. This will again take place in a fully catered holiday setting packed with heaps of content but here with a quarter of the timeframe.


Now to another excerpt from my forthcoming book ‘Yoga Meditation’. We are a bit more than half through the editing process. Looking still at around the end of this year as a publication date:

“Hatha Yoga or The Physical Dimension of Meditation (Part 1)

Hatha Yoga is the physical dimension of yoga, its two main disciplines being posture and breath work. But Hatha Yoga is not – or at least historically was not – a style of yoga that reduced it to the physical aspect. In the beginning there was only the one yoga, sometimes referred to as Maha Yoga, the great yoga. Before the one greater yoga broke apart into small factions, Hatha Yoga was the physical school through which all yogis had to pass. No yogi, however, remained at the level of Hatha Yoga or even reduced yoga to this level. Hatha Yoga was thus the ‘primary school’ of the yogic education system. In a similar fashion Raja Yoga was the meditation school of Maha Yoga, which all yogis attended during some part of their journey. We could liken it to today’s high school level of education. In the ancient days you did not start this level of yoga without the primary education. Similarly we can look at Bhakti Yoga, the devotional discipline of yoga, as the tertiary education level. It was attended after proficiency in Raja Yoga had been gained: you would never go there straight from primary school or without any prior education. It is only in modern history that the link of these disciplines has been fractured and people practise one or the other exclusively.

The medieval yoga text Hatha Ratnavali states that, without success in Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga cannot be obtained (Hatha Ratnavali by Shrinivasayogi I.17). This statement means that spiritual realization has a physical dimension without which it is nothing more than self-hypnosis. Such self-hypnosis or belief can easily collapse in the next crisis. Yogis are not satisfied with belief; they want to know. For, if you believe, how do you know that your belief is not wrong?

Deep knowledge, or vijnana as yogis call it, holds even in moments of crisis. Such knowledge has to hold even if it is tested in the difficult moments of life. For this reason, to attain the total transformation of the human being it is not enough just to change your mind by sitting down and meditating. This will not lead to lasting change. The body and the breath have to be included in the change as well. The higher yoga of meditation is a seed that can sprout into the blossom of spiritual freedom, but for that to occur the seed has to be sown into ground that has undergone preparation through Hatha Yoga.”

I enjoyed the first part of the blog because I am the teacher trainer director at Inner Fire Yoga in Madison, WI and we have done one immersion for the 200 hour plan and Gregor pretty much said exactly what Marit and I learned. They are in the lifestyle mode of a yogi so they have fewer distractions. Their progress was actually quite stunning in the month we spent with them. We were not on a beautiful tropical island but maybe some day……

The last part is an excerpt from his upcoming book on meditation. I am STILL going through his recent Pranayama book. Gregors books have so much information and I would recommend any of his books highly. His two first books on Ashtanga Primary and Intermediate are great reference books for any style of yoga. His explanations are just like Richard Freeman. In fact, all last weekend I referenced back to Gregor’s books every day. Richard is not the prolific writer, but it is almost as though Maehle has scripted him. So we are fortunate Gregor is such an exact writer.

Pranayama and Meditation, being the higher limbs, do require a teacher. The Pranayama book is great, but I would advise people to find a really good teacher. I have mentioned before Richard’s online session through Soundstrue. You can’t find any better than that in most neighborhoods.

As a sequeway to his Meditation book, Gregor insists the paths of yoga stay as they are prescribed. In order. In other words, you have an asana and pranayama practice before you become a meditator. Most people go right into meditation and struggle because they have not explored the subtler energies of pranayama. Patanjali yoga is meant to be practiced in order, not haphazardly.

So I am looking forward to this book. I do have my own pranayama workshop next week at Inner Fire. I would highly suggest this for the beginner or the more advanced practitioner.

I will post more pics from the Freeman workshop this week with some explanations.

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I am back after a long drive and a short night of sleep.

Yesterday was about a four class of the primary series with the sun salutations, standing series, and navasana through the end. Richard was a little pickier yesterday about the physical alignment of the poses.  He stopped at many points, like almost every pose, where he noticed patterns or habits of the workshop participants.  He corrected the form and then explained the method.  For example, he noticed many of the workshop participants lifted the front arm over the head before going into trikonasana.  I don’t do that myself but have seen students do it.  He explained it changes what you want to do with the bottom hip.  So the day was pretty much like that pose to pose so it took a long time.


Again, by the end of three hours you are quite physically spent plus the poses are held for so long. I was very lucky to get some great assists from his wife, Mary Taylor.  She has been doing this a long time and as I watched her go around the room, I could see her accommodating everyone for their level. I learned a lot watching her.  Plus she is a sweet soul and always has a kind smile for everyone.


Richard is hilarious.  I think that is a good thing or one would get too much in the brain with him because there is SO much to learn. I thought the workshop participants would be all hot shot primary series practitioners but there was a variety of levels and ages etc in the participants.  Richard really believes in making the series doable for everyone and that is really not ORTHODOX in the practice even though he is quite orthodox in the way of teaching the poses the way he was taught by Jois and Iyengar.  I could go on and on about the knowledge he has but no matter what your practice is or who you teach, there is a lot to learn here.


I always come back from workshops wishing I could spend three to four hours practicing every day of my life but I know that won’t happen.  At best I can get even a two hour practice in at the most three times a week.  I am not sore but am definitely physically fatigued.  When you get into those deep poses, you get to a lot of deeper tissues etc that you may be cheating yourself of if you go through your daily practice in a rote or routine manner but that is just how it is sometimes.


You do the best you can do.

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Almost did pictures but still haven’t figured how to upload from IPhone to WordPress. If you have any ideas tell me or I will figure out once I get to a real computer. Blogging from IPad which is less than ideal.

Did you ever feel like the universe was restraining you from doing what you really want. Then someone reinforces to you that you are doing what you should. In other words it isn’t telling you to quit something, but that you should do something else.

Today was kind of like that.

This morning was primary up to Navasana. In three hours. I felt pretty good until the end of it then was overwhelmed with physical fatigue. The afternoon was short and mostly pranayama. Richard kept saying we would be doing third series and then the people in the group kept asking questions. The questions were actually pretty basic but to be honest maybe they were distracting him from more asana.

Richard was very psoas focused again today. We did some movement I swear I did with Tia’s Little. I love it but some don’t get it. I love it because the sacrum DROPS. I looked over some of the anatomical talk from yesterday and see the connection. It really is about a focus on internal alignment. When Richard talks about alignment it is very internal and subtle. I mean where else can you go in that three hours to Navasana but internal.

He gave a dharma talk on the Ashtanga invocation. The talked about Ida/Pingala, sun/moon, and fundamentalism. The invocation is out of reverence for ALL our gurus and we get in trouble when we worship one to the point of diminishing someone else’s and then he talked about us being a DANGER to society. It was humorous to a degree. He is great at bringing the light side to heavy philosophy. If it was just heavy it would be boring to some people I suppose.

When he talks about the Boulder community he is hysterical.

I am beginning to think to get to the deeper Richard teaching I am going to have to hit Boulder for Immersion or Intensive. I will have to think this over. Will probabaly not happen in 2013.

I will put up a final post when I get home. I have another 500 mile drive to Wisconsin tomorrow so I will have a lot of time to think about and absorb it all.

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