Saturday, August 28, 2010

Anusara

"What's hard about the pose, is the pose." --CS

Christina Sells (see blog list on right column) is powerful, insightful, direct and offers a whole bag of UPA (universal principals of alignment) to go safely deeper into a pose.

Theme for the workshop today: twisting and working the kidney loop which is a wheel of energy that flows up from the back from the waistline to the bottom of the shoulder blades, then down the front from the base of the sternum to the waist again. This gives a balance of strength with softness and is the key to twists, balances and chatturanga (4 limb staff pose).

All I have to say right now is... my eka pada koundinyasana will never be the same.

Practicing with cheer!

Mel

Friday, August 27, 2010

Who Inspires You?

Who inspires you?
Lisa inspires me with her
endless positive spirit &
never sees an obstacle,
only a challenge
to be taken

I've been reading the Daily Imprint (from Australian Real Living editor)... I love design and the endless creativity of it. Even more, I enjoy reading about creative people and what inspires them. Hands down, it seems that authenticity, and real people who are passionate about what they do is what seems to inspire most of her interviewees.

When someone is genuine, loves what they do, and are confident in their own dharma (life's path) it bleeds through in all that they say and do. Who doesn't want to be around someone who exudes positive energy and a lust for.... well, life. Doesn't matter if they are a shoe salesman, painter, yogi, or teacher... if they love love what they do, isn't it infectious? I want that... don't you?

What or who inspires you?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Empathy

Giving & receiving empathy (to be heard, just for who we are, without judgement) opens doors of connection & love. How can we be more mindful of this today?


Cambodian boy who knew the capitals of every city in the US.
sells trinkets to help his family who lives in the villages near Angkor Watt



"All spiritual practices teach about being present and living with an open heart." -- JL

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Set an intention

Hiking in LA with Chrys
Takes mindfulness






After a brief conversation with a lovely student this morning, I realized two things about my teaching: 1. everyone is watching your every move as a teacher, whether they think they are or not and evaluating what you say and do. (Even though the practice of yoga emphasizes non-jugdement and non-attachment. We're human. Within the power of the spoken word, we habitually place a symbolic label on everything.) For example, if I say, imagine the breath as water flowing in and out. You might think of a river, while others might think of a pitcher of water pouring into and out of a glass. Or, if I said, allow your thoughts to flow into that river and drift away, you might picture actual words in the river instead of logs floating. Or, perhaps in your mind the thought itself swirling along the water. We think in symbols and then we label those images based on our past experiences.  2. I can choose to be concerned about what someone else thinks or instead release it. 


I've never been overly concerned about labels given to me (I've heard everything from mean instructor... to soothing voice). I do however, feel the sting when someone I greatly admire, like my father or aunt, puts a typecast on me. 


Everyone's invited to get angry (or ________ fill in the blank). You can choose not to accept the invitation. 


My theme for class this morning was to set an intention and follow it. All day. Just one sentence. Keep it brief. Say it out loud. And, now, go do it. 


My aim for today is to remain unaffected by circumstance. Whatever the day brings, remain open to the possibility of the day rather than the discord of a situation. It is a choice. 


“Knowing where we are, moving slowly, and determining our action carefully, we are stabilizing our strategy for bringing meaning to our life.” – Sakyong Mipham

Monday, August 23, 2010

MIracles


“Miracles happen to those who believe in them.” Bernard Berenson
Artwork on porcelain by Paula White

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Simple



"There are a lot of instructions, don't feel like you have to use them all." --Leeann Carey


Nathan strikes a pose 
My son lost it with me the other day when I gave him a "Rambo-like" to do list. We were in a hurry (always), and I spit out: brush your teeth, clean up your breakfast from the table, why is there a sock in the middle of the floor, where is your notebook, go get your brother... on and on. Finally he said, mom, one a time please. Sigh.

OK. One at a time. When I teach I tend to do the same thing, spew out all that I know of a pose. When all that is necessary is a few simple cues.

A
Simple
Few
Instructions
.




Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yoga Sutra 2.38

Brahmacarya Pratisthayam Virya Labhah. 

When you work with more energy, you are more energetic. When we scatter our energy we are less effective in all areas of our lives. A still mind (not an empty mind that comes with boredom), establishes vigor. 


Yoga Sutra 2.38

Brahmacarya, one of the yamas in the 8 limbs of yoga, is usually associated with celibacy. After-all, yoga (asana) was created for young boys and men in India in order for them to release their energy to be able to sit for long periods of time in meditation. The energy contained is transformed into life force or prana. Having prana allows us to give more to others and ourselves. When we observe Brahmacaraya, we're building our life force.
Heart Gate garden, Hood River, OR

Observing Brahmacaraya for me is clearing out, making room, creating "white space" in my calendar so that I can have the energy required to do what's required of me in all my life responsibilities. Releasing the patterns created by years and years of habitual over-scheduling is refreshing. There's something to be said with no longer needing to fill my time to feel special or loved. To be content (santosha) with the perfections and imperfections of myself is like releasing a weight on my ankle.

This mornings reading from Judith Lasater's, A Year Of Living Your Yoga:

Which do you want: perfection or wholeness?
Often we strive for perfection. But perfection is unattainable, and striving for it limits us. Today sit quietly for a few minutes. As you breathe, imagine becoming a large container within which to hold your perfection and imperfection. When you can hold both, then you experience your wholeness

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eat Pray Love Part 1

In front of theatre before Eat Pray Love

I've blogged about parenting a lot... a whole lot. It's my life right now with young children, who still need me to help them do even the most basic things. They're not quite independent yet... although my 4 year old seems to think he can do everything on his own and has told me so since he began to talk at 1! My need to teach the boys how to do things on their own, and my desire to still mother them without trying to control their every move is challenging. The only way I know how not to project my own fears and worries on to them is to step back. Step away for a bit. Teaching, being with adults helps. Travel is refreshing, too. I have been bitten by wanderlust and have an insatable desire to travel and meet people and have these unique experiences.
If you've ever read the book The Mommy Wars... working mom's and stay at home mom's dialog about the trials of it all or even if you look at the media who fuel the fire of the debate... then, you might be interested in our conversation that unfolded over facebook, of all places. 
It began with a photo of friends going to see Eat Pray Love (which is a whole other blog topic! Would Liz's decision to leave her marriage have been different if she had children?) The FB conversation turned to a friend's comment about travel and my upcoming trip to India....


  •  Me..eat pray love.
     "Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation"


  • H.. yes it is :)


  • M.. How was it??? Did you like it compared to the book?


  • Me...Book is a must. Movie is gorgeous. Come with me to India in November! Going with anand and puja.
      ·  1 person


  • M... When do you depart?? Yes, I read the book, but have not seen the movie yet. Don't want to stand in line!!


  • Me...
    India: nov 19- dec 1st. come!
    movie: no line tonight.: )


  • Friend in Malaysia...I am reading the book now. Fantasizing about having the freedom to travel.


  • Me.. set a goal... a date.. and go for it. I think if I thought someday, someday... then it would not happen. Your kids will be fine... in fact, I think my kids and I thrive more when I do go for short trips here and there. They appreciate mom, and I appreciate and love the time with them. I'm more focused and present when we're together.


  • L... yes, I found that too after a little time away and I realized how deeply grateful I am to be with my sons; and they definitely appreciated me more too!


  • S... When I started doing trainings, my husband became much closer to my daughters...but, there came a time where there were a few too many soccer games and weekend life events I was missing. Its nice to find a happy balance.


  • S... India in November will be great


  • M... Thanks for that. I agree... have to find a happy balance for sure! : )  am looking forward to the trip!


  • Y... Mel, I have always admired moms that could leave their little ones because I never could. Now when I notice that I have been married to my husband for 22 years, what is 18 years of my life for my little ones? My oldest will be leaving for College soon and now I am more glad than ever that I never left and still managed to build a career around them! Looking back at the precious moments of my life! Wow! Longer time with my husband than with my children!


  • H...We all have a different AUTHENTIC path in this life. I'm happy that you find peace and contentment in your walk. I would be careful about judging others' choices, and them following THEIR authentic journey. Children are aware-- and feel joy.




  • Y...Not not contradictory, at least not for me. I admire because it takes strength (at least for me) to give my children room to grow and leaving them. Admire, because I couldn't do it then because I lacked inner strength. Admire, because I never had the chance to leave them with a grandparent. Admire, because I now see what I could have done if I had learned earlier in my life how to balance my mothering with my life. I can now leave them without guilt. I have found the "balance". But now that I do see them closer to leaving my nest, I see it was my need and also the fact we didn't have family. Would it have been different if grandparents had been around? I wonder. I didn't mean to offend anyone because I do admire all of you who were able to do something I could not.


  • L...Having someone you trust is very important, my second child didn’t have the opportunity since my mom had passed while he was young. He does have trips with his dad and they come back with interesting stories, dads are different than moms of course. Having my oldest son going to college was very difficult for me I really felt upset at his leaving. The surprise I found was that we remained close even though I didn’t hear from him as much as I would want. Funny part at the end of the school year my biggest thought was I made it through the year. I checked on him a lot over the summer since I felt happy he was in the house. Now sophomore year and I feel much better I will miss him immensely but I ok with him going. A big maturity on my part. To balance being a mom and truly taking care of ourselves is not a simple lesson, still working on it everyday.


  • Me...Wow, morning ya'll! You were busy dialoging while I was... well, a joke about being with my son, tucking him in bed while ya'll were on FB seems inappropriate. ; ) But if you know me, you know I'm just teasing. Right, I know each of you... and isn't it great that we all have a different path. And, from the wisdom of our years thus far, we can make the best choices for our kids. Y- you have grown so much in your journey-- I know right where you are coming from. H & L... I also know where you are and how much sacrifice you each have made... ALL of us have made in our own lives for our children. 
    Parenting really does refine you in ways you never dreamed! Isn't it beautiful that have this shared passion for yoga and understanding, and we all care so deeply...
    For me, in my life right now, I have had to stop wishing things were different... in my marriage, with my children, everything... and start choosing based upon what is best for my life right now. Love you all! Thanks for caring so much!! xxoo


  • L...Humor is great, kids leaving the nest brings a lot of contemplation. I hope I am more comfortable for the second child to go..... but I am starting to have desires for a grandchild!!! That is a really strange feeling lol!


We are so passionate about our children. Is it the guilt and regret that we tend to carry on our shoulders? For me, I've had to release the guilt and apply what I know to be true about parenting...that I really don't know what I'm doing... I'm just learning as I go. And, I have so much to learn. My kids teach me more than I want to learn at times.  Realizing I don't have to control every thing.  Maybe, just maybe, they will come away with knowing just how deeply loved they are, knowing what amazing kids they are, and that if they wait (release the temptation of instant gratification) and have a teachable spirit.. all good things will come.

All good things will come. Mom's what do you think? Yoga and parenting... possible to apply it off the mat? 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meditation

boys watching mama bird protect her egg


"So meditation can take place even when you are sitting in a bus
or walking in the woods full of light and shadows, or listening
to the singing of the birds or looking at the face of your wife or child." 
--Meditations by J. Krishnamurti



Monday, August 9, 2010

Planet Yoga


― Howard Thurman
Returned from LA last night. What an amazing, somewhat overwhelming, and fun trip! I have just begun a journey with Planet Yoga Teacher Training as a teacher trainer (mentor). Loved meeting all the "Angels" (as in Charlie's Angels; I know cheesy... who says you have to be such a serious yogi, anyway?!) while training with Leeann this past week. 


Earth Training was.... beyond my expectations. Although I have been practicing yoga for some time, really taking the time to review a select number of postures in detail with so many variations and adjustments was so refreshing. The tools given in this training allow me to tailor the class experience to meet the students right where they are at. 



Angel's out to eat in LA
Trikonasana
What makes PY training stand out from my previous RYT 200 & 500 experiences is the theraputic approach that's taken. PY method lays the foundations of postures with safe alignment skills and weaves in an incredibly unique method to sequencing a class which I have not yet had in all of my training over the past 10 years. The method is a balance of logical and yet creative postures put together in a way that will encourages my students to begin to take their practice to the next level. Simply put: It's  centered and well-rounded. It truly is mind, body, spirit in action.


Leeann & Charlie


Leeann's personal vision of living yoga out in daily life is infectious. Her method and her teaching sets her apart. When I took my first training last year with Leeann, what I was most impressed by was her calm, yet direct way of communicating. Her thoughtful responses to inquires are out of her over 30 years of experience. In fact, I was so impressed, that I wrote her a hand written note and told her that I would work for her, for free! Ok, maybe that was a bit nutty, but to this day, the short training that I took with her over a year ago has changed how I teach: I see props in a new light, a creative tool to enhance the students experience. I see restorative or therapeutic yoga as a healing, non-intimidating approach that can be used in any style of class. And, finally, I know how to weave a theme such as in the chakras or even a simple meditation, in such a way that my class has noticed a renewed awareness of their bodies and minds.


There's are trainings throughout the US and opportunities for studios to license the RYT 200 training or to begin a series of weekend trainings to complete a RYT 500. Leeann will be in my hometown, Houston for the Texas yoga Conference in February 2011.  


Chrys
Utanasana
After we finished training, Chrys Kub and I rode bikes to Venice Beach to explore and people watch but ended up teaching folks on the street some yoga... see Chry's blog post and how we got some rappers shooting a video on the beach to do a few asanas.










Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ordinary Joy

“We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.”
― E.B. White

5 words to describe me: Study-aholic, connector (of people), mover (yoga, dancing, cycling, walking), do-er, mom

Not sure what my friends would say would describe me... but when I think about what I love and what moves me and gives me JOY... I am inspired by the ordinary... a woman on the plane with a spinal injury who views every day as a gift... a friend who is quick to smile and laugh (even at your worst attempts of humor)...new ways to look at the same thing.... the sunshine! It's the ordinary in our lives that make is extra-ordinary. Life moves so quickly, learning to give myself room and time to feel, listen, and respond thoughtfully. Nurturing the ordinary joys of life.

crested butte sunshine

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yielding to the Pose

I began this past week to use the phrase: yielding to the pose in my classes without really fully understanding it's meaning. Previously when I thought of yielding, I pictured a street sign... yellow... wait...thinking of it more as a cautionary sign or something where you must pause, look both ways but continue on without necessarily stopping. 

To yield means "to bring forth or bring about; produce; give or to give up; surrender" (Webster's dictionary). Or as a noun, it means "the amount produced". I think in our power vinysasa-like American classes, we are quick to take the latter definition. How much can we yield or produce in an hour? If we do the salutation faster, is it better? If we do more of them, does that make us stronger? Becoming almost robotic in our movements from one to the next.


"There cannot be flow until there is deep stillness, a yielding within."-- Anand


When I yield to salamba sirsasana (head stand) or to a situation in life, it doesn't mean I'm weak, but that I have shown the wisdom or vision to see beyond the circumstance and view it as an observer might. When I am not yielding, I am imbalanced, giving way to my fears. But when surrender deepens, I tap into the balance of strength, the fluidity breath, and a powerful centering emerges from that grounding to the earth (muladhara chakra). Yielding holds infinite potential.