Archive for April, 2013

I come from a family of five children. Two of my siblings are deceased. One deceased and one living were/are very artistic/crafty/creative. I thought I missed out on that gene, but am rather proud of Buddha garden phase one.


It will look much better when the lavender, sage, and lupine start to grow and other flowers. Under the dead leaves we cleaned out, and between the weeds we weeded, there was some small growth.


If you read my blog, you know this is the time of the year I start my outdoor meditation, my buddha garden. This year I am recycling an old dead tree from the front year and took the rocks I had and stacked them as Zen art. There are a few green things sprouting up and today was weeding, uncovering and cleaning duty.

It also turned into art therapy. My neighbor even came over to see what the fuck I was doing. Sorry for the profanity but I am inspired by Thug Kitchen.

I also am trying to draw hummingbirds so found a cute feeder and recycled a broken coke glass to draw them in:


Fellow yoga teacher Amy Roland is out in her garden too. I am hoping to see some pictures and be inspired. She actually has taken courses in garden landscaping. Mine will be real sad in the later summer.

Tomorrow I can’t wait to take a class with UpperMidWestFacingDog, who just got back from six days of yoga with Sharath! I am sure she will be inspiring too.

For the rest of the day I am going to engage in some reading:


Watch these two misbehave:

harmony and peace

And plan my yoga classes for next week:


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What a hypocrite I am, first I condemn someone for not checking the blog facts and then I go and do the same thing about Gwyneth. A very nice reader posted a video from 2005 of Gwyneth talking about Intermediate Ashtanga practice. Her arms look really great. I am wondering however why she quit the yoga for the pink weights.

I have issues and this is an obvious one. I can not forgive the academy for giving her the best actress award award in 1998 over Cate Blanchett for playing Elizabeth over that Shakespeare in Love. I confess. I LOVE Cate:


And I LOVE the Tudors. All of it, the show, all movies, the history, all books.


The Windors are a snoozefest for me.

So taking off the Moon Day, was great. I had a great practice today. I am injury free and almost pain free. I have several students suffering through injuries and I always stop when someone tells me of their injury and say a little prayer of gratitude for being injury and pain free.

I am pretty lucky for my age, I don’t have a lot of physical disabilities. I have a little knee issue and some recurring neck pain and a slight tendonitus in a foot, but nothing huge like back pain etc.

So thanks to the reader who corrected me. Good thing I am not a journalist.

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Last week I joined the gym again and this blog is about rationalizing it to myself. Pay no mind. Ashtanga Yoga should be enough. However, I enjoy the mindless gerbil wheel, the elliptical, and when I go to the gym, no one talks to me. This never happens in yoga. When I first started going to Bikram yoga I had that experience for at least two years. No one talked to me. No one knew my name, even the teachers. It was great.

I am sure I will have that experience at Yoga View in Chicago when I attend the Richard Freeman weekend workshops on May 11-12. Once in a while though I do run into someone I know in Chicago at a yoga studio.

richard mary b

When I joined the gym again, they, of course, tried to get me to get a trainer, but I don’t want to build more muscle by rolling tires around a parking lot. I told her I practice Ashtanga, she gave me a ‘look’, because they have YOGA there.


Interestingly enough I read a blog yesterday about Gwyneth Paltrow being People’s Most Beautiful Person and the blog attributed it to her practicing Ashtanga. I hate it when bloggers don’t do their research. Gwyneth may hang around with Ashtangis like Eddie Stern and her buddy Madonna, who I believe no longer practices, but as far as I know walking around with a yoga mat with someone who teaches or practices does not make you an Ashtangi.


If I find out that that works, I will go to the nearest shala and walk around outside with a yoga mat and have my pic taken and call myself that. Actually she works with a trainer with very light weights for two hours a day so you don’t bulk up. No pushing tires around a lot. That is her trainer Tracy someone or other. They have a set of videos and a 700 calorie a day nutrition plan for 30 days. If you buy it, review and let me know about it.


Even my husband uses heavier weights than that. Yoga does not have to be exclusive or have a goal, just like any other activity. Biking, running, walking, or pushing tires can also be fun and worthwhile activities. What are you doing moon day?


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a href=”https://yogagodess.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/252px-five_kleshas_yantra.jpg”>252px-Five_Kleshas_YantraI have been thinking about the kleshas lately and the obstacles to the path. It is good to KNOW the path is eight limbs as your focus but being aware of what is in your way is crucial.

Not recogninizing your obstacles is not being aware of the enemy. A lot of times we THINK something is an enemy, when it really is not.

The five kleshas are avidya, asmita, raga, evesa, and abhinevesah.

Teachers talk about the ego a lot but not about ignorance, because it sounds like such an insulting word. Being ignorant is not being dim or stupid, you just don’t know what you don’t know. One of keys to overcoming ignorance is svadhyaya. Study, learn, question, ask, don’t take much at face value because the veil of maya is over everything.

There is always discrepancy between what we see, what is actually there, what people are telling us, and what the truth is, but the power of knowledge is the opportunity for a discerning mind to determine the truth of the true nature of the self.

The people telling you something is true may be fine for you, but if you don’t know he whole story, it won’t resound with your own truth. Once you are able to own your own truth, the path is easier.

You can also proceed on your path with your best knowledge and a discerning mind. Kind of like Arjuna, or you can just continue and rely on someone elses truth or message. It isn’t an easy path and oftentimes you will find yourself at odds with friends and family.

My husband turns on Fox and Friends and then leaves the channel on knowing I will turn it and I also say, John those are NOT your friends.

Be discerning. Ask, question, study, you can’t know what you don’t know.


Know your obstacles. They are all over the place. Right in front of you.

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Yoga community is cultivated over a period of time with people coming together with similar values to establish Sangha. Sangha is a community of a spiritual nature. Many of us grew up in a specific faith or church where we had specific practices, spiritual texts, spiritual leaders, and ceremonies. This is Sangha. Family is Sangha too. Friends are Sangha. So is a basketball team. Sangha does not mean we have to be on the same page, but we need a base of values that we agree on.

It is always extremely difficult when we find the situation where our values do not match at all with the Sangha. If your ideas and values are extremely odds, you start to feel like you have lost your base. You still want to assimilate, but it no longer feels natural. I know for myself, personally, my family and personal values have always been more aligned to this sort of Sangha:


I try to align with my Core belief of respect to the earth and all its creatures. A lot of people make fun of me for loving bald eagles. Uh and I THINK they are crazy to not understand a love for all creatures, not just their pets. I get this a LOT. Like DAILY. And my family does NOT look like that, but in my spiritual family Sangha they do.

I also think my true Yoga Sangha looks more like this:

old yoga dude

Then this:


Which may also seem a little crazy to some and not that is not any affiliation to Bikram. Which I don’t even think about. The second looks a lot more fun after all.

Being true to your real or imagine Sangha does take some integrity if it doesn’t look like what people think it should. I am fine with that actually. Or what you were born into and practiced at one time. Sangha changes. People move on and it doesn’t mean the old one was a bad one. It may have been right for a time, then it quit working. The real craziness is sticking with something not working and then INSISTING it is the only way. That is dogma and dogma is okay for sheep. I always believe people eventually find their tribe.

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