Sharath Backbending

30.4.08

Svatantra

Svatantra~ "free, independent, self-reliant."


Last night, met with the meditation group. Its a beautiful gathering of people who are opening, experiencing, and gracious enough to share their insight. We usually start with a theme...then meditate anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour...then, we share any insight that bubbles up with each of us if willing. Its an interesting way of group meditation. The woman who facilitates the space says that verbalizing our experience, or opening, allows for an unfolding and manifestation to begin with a new insight or way of being. When putting it out to the world, somehow it makes it more real. Our facilitator is a graceful woman who has strong intuitive gifts and I feel blessed and thankful to know her.

When it comes to practice this week, every morning, I've had this conversation with myself regarding wanting to stay in bed. I almost did. But, I went ahead and met my group for practice. Not sure why this bit of lethargy has come on. However, I really enjoyed my visit to the mat today. My back felt better...

Miley Cyrus...




WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!! Does a simple picture warrant so much controversy...This is craziness...

Listen

29.4.08

"The very fact that you are a seeker means you want to know the Power behind the universe. You want to unearth the mysterious laws behind events. You want to understand the independent joy that you come across every now and then. Think of a time when, all of a sudden, you were happy. You didn't go anything to make yourself happy, but you were happy. This happiness is called svayambhu, spontaneous. It is self-born joy. As a seeker you want to know what causes this."


~excerpt from, The Yoga of Discipline, by Gurumayi




Damp, cold, and chilly once again this morning...the meditative tapping of the rain against my bedroom window made me want to stay in bed, all cozy and warm. I wrestled with staying there for a moment. But, somehow, my desire to practice won out in the end, and I got myself out of bed. I always have to revert back to how I feel during, and after practice, to keep myself motivated. At this moment in my life I rely on daily discipline. Its an important part of keeping me focused, and clear headed...

Still maneuvering around my little muscle strain...its no big deal really, just something to be aware of, and obviously I don't want to make it worse. So, I backed off on third series, regulating only to several postures after 2nd series. Its all good...I need to feel its ok to give myself a break from time to time. Its about healing, its about wholeness...

Realized that some of my studies, as of late, put me in a bit of a frenzy. At times, I have the tendency to want to absorb too much all at once. Kind of like the saying goes...trying to drink from a fire hose. I need to scale back a bit. Take sips, let it sit in my mouth, and then swallow. Like tasting a fine wine. Thats better...and the experience is much sweeter to begin with. If I don't give myself the chance to sit with my questions, before moving on to the next, I will be left confused, and a bit overwhelmed. I can't deny my curiosity. Its something I've had for as long as I can remember. At my father's annoyance...I always had vast questions about God, life, and religion. I've always had that thirst...and well, I really don't know what I'm trying to say here, but, its an interesting time. I'm finally listening...really listening...

Eve Ensler: Finding Happiness in Body and Soul




A talk by Eve Ensler, the driving force behind The Vagina Monologues...An inspiring talk.

Infraspinatous

28.4.08




After some research...Its the Infraspinatous muscle (right) that's strained...


The infraspinatous muscle outwardly rotates the humerus. Infra means below, spinatus means spine, referring to the ridge of the shoulder blade (scapula). If you touch your shoulder blade you will feel a transverse ridge running across it. Below this ridge is the infraspinatus muscle. It is commonly weak and underdeveloped. However, not everyone needs to roll the humerus outwardly; some people have it naturally outwardly rotated. This movement should only be performed until a central 'neutral' position is achieved, which can assessed by a qualified teacher. Overworking the infraspinatous results in unnecessary shoulder tension and pain.

Ashtanga Yoga, Practice & Philosophy ~by Gregor Maehle

Strain

As you free yourself from everything and everyone, every place and every time, every moment and every year, every planet and every star, you feel this incredible rush of ecstasy. In fact, you enter into another realm, an expanded realm, a realm of light, a realm of understanding. It is inside. Even though we feel it is an out-of-the-body experience, it is within this body. When you have this experience, you become award of how this body is not a barrier, not a obstacle. In this body, there is a ruby. Kabir describes his Beloved as a ruby, so brilliant, so beautiful. This ruby represents the Self within. This is why it is said, the wealth is inside. By detaching ourselves from everything and everyone, we get in touch with our own Self, and the Self within everybody and everything. This is called love. It is for this that you meditate. It is for this you live--to taste this beautiful life inside.

~Swami Chidvilasananda, also known as Grurumayi



Cool, damp, and deary has descended on Columbus...wonderful...yeah, I'm being sarcastic. Not one one of my better traits.

I reluctantly got up this morning to practice. I came pretty close to postponing the whole thing, however, I went ahead and went through with it. I've been feeling strange...and, my digestive system is out of wack. Ok, I won't go into detail. But, its true, when that area isn't functioning at top level it really can affect you...doing a number on me and my wellbeing. Yoga masters have always expressed the vast importance of it. Now I know why...

So, this knot in my back isn't a knot. It seems I've strained something back there...almost where the tip of my shoulder blade is. It hasn't prevented me from doing my practice, but I feel it nonetheless. I must have been in denial earlier because part of me knows why this stain came about. Ha! It came about through my quest for perfection in a posture...which is silly to begin with. Part of that lies with in me still after working through much of all that. Looks like there's a bit of it manifesting in my practice...well, it all starts with awareness. Its a good little red flag, because whenever my focus moves toward perfection, more times than not...I'm not having fun, or enjoying. I love the saying...Its about progress, not perfection...

Conundrum

27.4.08




"Patanjali is the greatest scientist of the inner. His approach is that of a scientific mind: he is not a poet. Patanjali is a rare flower. He has a scientific mind, but his journey is inner. That's why he became the first and last word: he is the alpha and the omega. For five thousand years nobody could improve upon him. It seems he cannot be improved upon. He will remain the last word-because the very combination is impossible. To have a scientific attitude and to enter into the inner is almost impossible. He talks to the intellect but his aim, his target, is the heart. This you have to remember. We will be moving on a dangerous terrain. If you forget that he is a poet also, you will be misguided."

~ OSHO




Again, I find myself in a conundrum...I love that word...anyway, I can't think of any better way to express the upheaval of feelings that are present.

I have so many questions. Is it this or that? Is it all or nothing? Right, left? Up or down?

I guess, the truth is...there is a way of being that is beyond duality. My challenge, I find, is getting in touch with a balanced set point that feels good for me.

Some confusion has set in...

Anyway, I went to the meditation center again this morning, and sat in on the discussion group. Its blowing my mind every time I go, and I got in touch with some interesting insights. However, when asked if I had anything to share, part of me clams up, and has nothing to say. I've had the experience of feeling so much...however, it can be a challenge for me to decipher exactly what it is I'm experiencing, sometimes long after it comes. It takes awhile for all of it to soak in. All I know is that there is a deeper intelligence at work that can never be accessed through the thinking mind. So, in that regard, I am willing to be patient, and embody, and breathe in, some of this way of experiencing. Really, its all a mystery...a mystical dance...and maybe I don't have to have all the answers...but, maybe I need to continue to practice riding the wave with better ease, and cease to resist. It feels so much better to just go with the flow...
You must learn to accept everything--the pain experiences and the peak experiences, the pits and the highest. When you see everything is for your own growth, for your own expansion, then you won't feel contracted. This is right effort. Those who perform [physical] exercise are very much aware of this. You must stretch your muscles, you must expand them, and you let them contract. In this way, you allow them to get stronger and stronger...Sadhana is like that.

~Swami Chidvilasananda, also known as Gurumayi



Today I awoke with a heavy heart, and I'm not sure why. Often when this happens I get the realization afterwards. I'm gonna do my best not to worry, or let the feelings get the best of me.

Easier said than done...right?

I gave in to a Saturday practice because my friend wanted some help, and assistance. We were sweating like crazy...I guess a fair amount of tapas was being fueled.

Afterwards, I felt drawn to just sit and be.

Right now I sit here wondering why I worry so much. Its this constant back and forth, back and forth.

I had a scary nightmare last night. I had this feeling as if I will go through my whole life never realizing my purpose...or fulfilling my dreams. Ugh...it fills me with dread. How much is effort? How much is Grace? Do I surrender everything? How attached should I be to my dreams or desires? Have I confused you? Well, join the club. I guess, all I really know at this moment is that the fear will always be there. But, there comes a time when you do it...you go for it anyway. I dunno, this is just what I'm feeling today...like everything, this too will pass.

Amy Tan: Where Does Creativity Hide?

Guidance


You have to look for guidance because you don't know your inner guide is hidden inside you. You have to find the inner guide, and that's what I call your witness. That's what I call your dharma, that's what I call your intrinsic buddha. You have to awaken that buddha and your life will shower blessings, benediction. Your life will become so radiant with good, with godliness, more than you can possibly conceive. It is almost like light. Your room is dark, just bring light in. Even a small candle will do, and the whole darkness disappears. And once you have a candle you know where the door is.You don't have to think about it: "Where is the door?" Only blind people think about where the door is. People who have eyes and the light is there, they don't think. Have you ever thought, "Where is the door?" You simply get up and go out. You never give a single thought to where the door is. You don't start groping for the door or hitting your head against the wall. You simply see, and there is not even a flicker of thought. You simply go out.

Osho God is Dead: Now Zen is the Only Living Truth Chapter 7

Commentary:

The angelic figure with rainbow-colored wings on this card represents the guide that each of us carries within. Like the second figure in the background, we may sometimes be a little reluctant to trust this guide when it comes to us, because we are so accustomed to taking our cues from the outside rather than from the inside. The truth of your own deepest being is trying to show you where to go right now, and when this card appears it means you can trust the inner guidance you are being given. It speaks in whispers, and sometimes we can hesitate, not knowing if we have understood rightly. But the indications are clear: in following the inner guide you will feel more whole, more integrated, as if you are moving outwards from the very center of your being. If you go with it, this beam of light will carry you exactly where you need to go.

www.osho.com

The 11th Hour

Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight

25.4.08

If you want the truth, I'll tell you the truth:
Listen to the secret sound, the real sound, which is inside you.
The one no one talks of
speaks the secret sound to himself,
and he is the one who has
made it all.

~Kabir



Third time, went to the Siddha Yoga Medition center, for their Thursday evening satsung. I enjoyed myself as best I could. However, I was feeling waves of nausea during the chanting. I wasn't sure if it was the energy in the room or the green smoothie I had before...dunno, anyway, I stuck it out, doing my best not to be carried away be the unpleasant feelings. During meditation, I was amazed at how many thoughts, feelings, and past images kept popping up, almost as if it were a fast moving trailer to a movie. I felt out of it, almost as if I was immersed in a warped reality...very strange. However, afterwards, I felt good, and the nausea subsided. But, I feel as if something stirred up inside because when I awoke early this morning I was feeling a bit of anger for no apparent reason. Possibly past woes or pain. So, I did my best to observe what I was feeling, allowed myself to embrace it, and let it move through. After practice, the emotion had passed...I felt peace, but tired too. Not too sure what all this is about.

Anyways...

I had an interesting conversation with one of the elders at the meditation center. This gentleman is filled with wisdom, and I welcome any insight he has to offer. Along with the wisdom, he has the most piercing blue eyes I have ever seen. The type of eyes that can look right through you, but invoke a gentleness at the same time. I've only met a small handful of people like this in my lifetime. With that being said, when I observe this in another, I feel a sense of deepness there. The eyes always say it all. Somehow we got onto the subject of true Love vs. ego Love. He was telling me how many people my age confuse the two. I definitely couldn't argue with him on this point. The type of relationship he was speaking of takes a very evolved selfless way of being.

I find that at any given moment, the right message at the right time come eventually. Or even questions I've been holding in my heart get their answers in the most likely, or unlikely places.

Many times, in the past, I have actively seeked, searched... and yearned for....which is part of the whole process, I guess. But, now I'm finding that it doesn't come from outside myself. I struggle with this from time to time...like we all do...but, accessing this inner landscape has been interesting. I feel as if I'm still at that point where I'm unraveling things...making a mess, before I can get it all lined up. Kind of like when cleaning out a closet. First, you have to toss everything out, see whats there...making a bigger mess than before...then, clearly...and hopefully, I'll be better equipped to make some sense of everything. That's kind of where I'm at.

I AM

24.4.08



A yogi in a steady posture easily becomes immersed in the heart.


~Shiva Sutras


After all the actions of breathing, bending, flexing, stretching, binding, twisting, balancing, engaging, folding, lifting, and surrendering...the favorite place I come to in the practice is when sitting in padmasana, after breathing my ten conscious breaths...everything ceases...and I feel as if I'm being bathed in silence...immersed in stillness. I linger there, tasting, experiencing a type of fullness...and completeness. The mind stops...the heart fills. When I come to this point, I understand what its all for. And, in that moment, there is no other place I'd rather be. After all the effort, and non-effort, I just Am...nothing more, nothing less. I love That...

Passion, by 1 Giant Leap

Last night I went to sleep as a child.
Only to wake up this morning and find I was a man.
In my hands I discovered the tools and the rage of my father,
And in my heart I found the love and the fears of my mother.

Confrontation between the night and day.
The land of the sea.
The fire and the air,
the sacred and the profound.
The holy and the unholy,
the focused and the miss directed.
The bullet and the flesh.
The mind and the spirit and the sound when you hear it.
The oppressor and the resistor,
the brother and the sister.
We are not walking with the ghosts of the dead.
We are alive with the spirit of our passion.

We are not walking with the ghosts of the dead.
We are alive with the spirit of our passion.

~Lyrics, Passion, by 1 Giant Leap

I Have Dreams of the Ocean

23.4.08




I'm making a point to do a bit of this when I go to Asia... :)
The thought makes me happy...

The Splendor of Recognition

"The one you are looking for is the one who is looking."

~Francis of Assisi






Images by Carl McKinney ~ farrisbulen.wordpress.com





Yes, I'm daring to take a crack at The Splendor of Recognition. I picked it up several years ago, and wasn't in a place to really get into it. So, along with my studies of A New Earth, I'm gonna take a stab at this text once again. Do I have too much time on my hands? Hahaha. Well, I can't complain, things will be getting busier in the next several months.

Which leads me to my overseas teaching endeavor. I feel good about it. And, I'm gonna do it. Things are coming to together. The studio owner couldn't be more gracious and kind. Its a great opportunity, its a good time in my life to explore and experience. So, what else could I want? Hmmmmm...good question. Something I'll have to share at a later date.

Practice this morning was pretty smooth. Except, I've acquired a nice little knot in my upper back, right side. More of an annoyance than anything. My cure is rounding up a tennis or racquet ball and digging it into the knot...ahhhh...it always seems to do the trick.

All Alone, by 1Giant Leap

If you stay, or if you go
I won't try, I won't hope
'Cause if you stay
Or if you go

If you stay, or if you go
I won't try, I won't hope
'Cause if you stay, or if you go
I won't try, I won't hide
'Cause if you stay...

Despair
Depression
Feeling abandoned
Lonely
Worthless
Frustrated
Worry
Doubting
Vulnerable
Forgetful
Losing self confidence
Heavy
Irritable
Fear of the future
Obsessed with possessions
Meaninglessness
Friendlessness
Fear of being penniless
No-one to touch
Lost of psychological power... because there is change afoot.

Be with the changes, and at the same moment, cultivate equanimity, spaciousness, emptiness, awareness, clarity... may it be so.

If you stay, or if you go
I won't try, I won't hide
'Cause if you stay, or if you go
I won't lie, I won't try
'Cause if you stay
'Cause if you stay...


~Lyrics, All Alone (On Eilean Shona), by 1 Giant Leap

Defenseless & Complete

22.4.08



Give up to grace,

The ocean takes care of each wave

Till it gets to shore.

You need more help than you know.


~Rumi



What is true power? One of my favorite books, Power vs. Force, by Dr. David Hawkins, delves into the topic extensively. Its a fascinating read. I highly recommend it.

Going along the premise of the book, something I heard in the last several days resonated with me... When owning one's power there is an element of being defenseless...but in the same breath, feeling totally complete. Being defenseless doesn't mean you just let people roll over you. However, because you feel so complete and connected to who you are, there is no need to defend yourself or identify with things that have nothing to do with the one's essence. That's true power my friends! It reminds me of Gandhi's plight. Because of his complete alignment, and trust of his own power, and universal truth, he was able to change a nation on the foundation of nonviolence. Now that's true power. It takes a massive amount of trust and inner strength to adopt this way of living. Its simple, yet challenging. This is something I've been chewing on the last several days.

I logged onto the Ekhart Tolle webcast yesterday...and I'm starting to read A New Earth for the third time. There is just so much to soak in...Anyway, one of the topics discussed was tuning into the meaning of enlightened living. And, in his interpretation...which goes along with being defenseless and complete...is practicing non-resistance, detachment, and non-judgment. Again, simple concepts, but challenging to implement. I guess that's why he calls it practice.

Speaking of practice...I had a bit of a shock when my alarm clock went off this morning. However, I was able to get my mind out of the mix, and get moving, getting an early start. I've been plugging away at 3rd Series. Ha! I actually got a little hang-time in Eka pada bakasana today. Its been coming along better than expected...just gotta remember to keep having fun with the process...

Hope everyone has a wonderful Earth Day. I plan on celebrating by spending some quality time outside. xoxox.


Happy Earth Day!



No, my soul is not asleep.

It is awake, wide awake.
It neither sleeps nor dreams.
but watches,
its eyes wide open,
far-off things, and listens
at the shore of
the
great silence.

~Antonio Machado




I was really looking forward to practice this morning after taking Saturday off, and Sunday, for the moonday. I came to my mat stronger and more in tune, surprisingly. There's something to taking the appropriate days off. The previous two days brought a greater integration into my body. Kind of like the cells were re-aligning during the days of rest. The challenging postures were more fluid and steady. My mind felt clear and centered. And, I have to admit, with the weather getting warmer, my mood feels lighter...which often translates into a lighter feeling body.

Yesterday morning, I made my way back to the Siddha Yoga Meditation center. I'm putting my feelers out for it. I always like to give something new a good run before coming to any conclusions. But, I must say, I leave there feeling incredibly good. After meditation, I sat in on the discussion group, and was blown away...It was one of the most elevating discussions I've ever been a part of. I felt expanded in every direction, and ripped open in a way. Its all very interesting. Its been an interesting time for me. I feel like a sponge...ready to soak as much in, as I can...

Roots of Break Dance

This'll get your motor running on a Monday morning...

The Great Protein Debate

20.4.08

I get so tired of people asking me about where I get my protein. C'mon people! There is so much more out there then the conventional way of doing things...xoxo.






What is Love?

It is my nature that makes me love you often,
For I am love itself.
It is my longing that makes me love you intensely,
For I yearn to be loved from the heart.
It is my eternity that makes me love you long,
For I have no end.

~Mechtild of Magdeburg



One of the lessons I've learned vastly in the last year is on the subject of love.

Love is more about letting go than about gaining or acquiring.

Love is much more than our expectations. More than roses, chocolates, the dream wedding or longs walks on the beach. Those are fine and good things.

But...

A while back...I finally realized its essence. When through the pain of someone I deeply cared for, I felt absolutely no separation between the two of us. When I looked into the eyes of someone I loved, I felt as if I merged and accepted every imperfection, every pain without judgment or strife. And, without the worry if I will be loved in return...I continued, and gave the only thing I truly had.

Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the fantasy of what love is that we miss the moments that are right in front of us.

I've heard that love is supposed to be easy...and it should, I guess...but many times we in our minds want control...we want to have a say in the way things should 'Be.'

I've had to ponder this...

Also, most importantly I've had to remember to take care of myself...and not get pulled down with someone who is drowning in their own pain...how do you love, and set limits at the same time? Its always a hazy gray area for me.

Somehow I've gotten drawn into situations where I not only was I carrying the weight of myself, but began to take on the pain of the other person. Before, unconsciously, I would do that...feeling that is the way...that's what you do if you love someone. As my awareness has grown...I've realized that is something I picked up at an early age. And, it isn't necessary for me to carry the emotional load of another anymore. Whoa! Its exciting when you realize a past conditioning that can easily be changed. However, still, I'm left wondering what are the limits? How do I stay compassionate, and loving...without losing myself...without taking things on that aren't my stuff? I'm still discovering that balance.

I've had this tendency for a long while. And, I finally connected the dots when piecing together my past...and the emotional responsibility I took on very young that I felt was my duty.

A body worker and healer I have seen on a regular basis for a while individually and in group meditations...told me that I'm an Empath by nature. Naturally feeling strongly in others...I have a hypersensitivity when it comes to those around me. I guess, a good thing to learn moving forward.

Another realization...a soulmate isn't necessarily destined to be your life partner either...

I've had to take a hard look at my choices too...My roommate and dear friend told me boldly once..."You like bad boys." Hahaha! I got very defensive when she told me that (Bad sign)...I quickly was like..."NO I don't...no way, never."

Well, at least, with experience, lets hope I've gained greater perspective, and wisdom. The good thing is, from this point on, I have the freedom to make more conscious choices.

At the simplest level, however, I've found that the deeper I connect within the better I love. And, its in the giving where the true solace lies. If I can continue that...without the fear of being hurt or misguided...that act will take me farther than I can ever hope or dream. It always comes down to two choices...do I choose Love or do I choose Fear? Fear is rooted in the past...past this, past that, past pain. Fear is ever concerned about the future.

Love brings it back to what is right in front of me at this very moment.

While staying rooted with who I am...knowing who I am...I no longer need the validation to come from an outside source.

I'll admit, there is nothing like being in love...but, again, I'm not looking for a scratch the surface type of thing...so, we'll see...

I'm constantly learning...

From the Ashes

How could we forget those ancient myths... the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

~Rainer Maria Rilke



Virgo~


Your planet, Mercury, is being supported by dark lord Pluto, ruler of our unconscious minds. More than ever, you can use language to shine light into obscured areas of your imagination. You are now like the mythical Phoenix, a bird that was reborn from the ashes of the ruins of destruction. If you can visualize the creative forces of evolution at work, then whatever difficulties you have faced can be released. Saturday, April 19, 2008





This horoscope got me thinking. It got me digesting much of the evolution of my life in the past year and a half. More than any other time, in this phase, I've been tested, stretched, knocked down, challenged, disillusioned, provoked, disappointed...and, the best part, more real with myself than ever. So many things needed to be cleared...destroyed, for me to wake up and listen. Often I've had to ask...'who am I.' Many times I've questioned if I even had the energy to move on and discover this side of myself. On many occasions I wanted to give up. Too many times I felt lost, alone, and sad. Numerous points have filled me with uncertainty,and doubt, and left me feeling as if I was losing that spark that I had. But, it had to happen. And, when I look back at what I've gone through...I just shake my head and go...'you did it'...finally the authenticity of who I am is being reborn. Its starting. However, many weeds had to be pulled first. And, even though I write this blog to openly share my feelings. Many things that have happened I've kept to myself...not even sharing with my closest of friends. Because well, some stuff I'm still trying to process and let it reveal its self. Which is a new approach...you know, I'm doing my best not to over analyze...And, well, I wouldn't take anything back...its gotten me here today...feeling more of who I am than ever...And, really, I didn't just do it...by Universal Grace it happened. Because I remember the critical point...I remember the day exactly...when I owned it and stated..."I'm not happy with the way things are." From there, like a Divine tornado...that Grace destroyed everything in its path...and it was like..."Ok, Laruga, its time for you to rebuild something new...but its not gonna be on the outside...its time to reconstruct what's on the inside...and, another thing, its gonna be a bumpy ride...brace yourself...hahahaha." Yeah, its true, many times I've felt as if God were laughing at me..."Ha! you think your special now? You think this will bring you happiness...take that!! Go back inside, go within." Constantly, I've had to be reminded of that. Soooo, many times.

What have I learned you may ask? Absolutely nothing...hahaha...only kidding.

Well, that's kind of true. The deeper I go...the more I realize I don't know squat. I don't know anything. But, its ok, because delving into the unknown...and being comfortable with it, allows me to look at life much differently. And that's pretty darn cool. :)


So...like the Phoenix...I can't even imagine what will become of these ashes I've acquired...

Bring in the Light

18.4.08


"All the darkness in the world can not extinguish the LIGHT of a single candle."


~Francis of Assisi



The weather here is finally getting warmer...its soooo nice. One thing about living in Columbus is that when nice days come you never take them for granted.

Practice this morning was good. Nothing earth shattering...just showed up, and I'm happy and thankful to.

Yesterday our morning practice group workshoped instead of doing our respective traditional practices. Its was fun. I have to admit the whole mind body connection thing is my passion. I enjoy being a student of the whole process, and studying practitioners as well. Finding the balance of strength, and alignment, with the combination of effort and surrender intrigues me to no end.

Also, I've been asked by a friend to help out by giving feedback regarding a project of his, and I'm kind of becoming a glorified guinea pig, if you will. Right now he's in Bejing, China teaching English. I met this Australian bloke in India, and we've continued to stay in touch periodically. Anyway, he and some friends of his have a really great idea brewing regarding an interactive yoga experience. I don't want to go into too much detail because for one its in development stages, but two...its his idea. Geesh, why didn't I think of it first? Hahaha. Well, if anything I'm happy to help.

One disturbing thing came up though when I was talking to my friend. He told me about all the biased information being pumped out in China regarding the Dali Lama, and the Tibetan people. He also went on to tell me that propaganda is continuously fed to the Chinese on a daily basis. Its really disgusting. Hopefully in time the truth will be revealed. I have faith it ultimately will. Its easy to get caught up in the negativity of a situation. However, the most powerful thing we can do is extend peace to the area, and even extend love and light to the oppressors as well. A tough lesson...and many times a challenging thing to do. But the minute we start to believe that we are separate its all over...


Inappropriate Yoga Guy





Four Minutes



Ok...Madonna is gonna be 50 this year. She looks amazing. I just gotta give her props. Whether you like her or not she is a master at reinventing herself, and its very inspiring.

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.

~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters

"The attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one's whole being. Nothing less will do; there can be no easier conditions, no substitutes, no compromises."

~C.G. Jung




Blah, blah, blah...I feel out of my mind. Practice this morning was alright...but, I really wasn't feeling it. I've had alot on my mind. The yoga helps to settle the thoughts, however, it also makes getting through a physically demanding practice a bit challenging.

One day, I feel completely at peace with my process and how things are unfolding. Then too quickly I find myself being consumed with worry. Why do I worry so much? Its such a useless waste of time. But, it happens , I find myself getting swept away by it. It all starts with the awareness I suppose.

Well I got an update on my overseas teaching opportunity. Looks like they want me to leave at the end of June. So I can start teaching on July 1st. From there they would like a 6 month commitment. I think I'm up for it.

I know its useless to look too far ahead toward the future. But, there is something I've been desiring for the past several years. I need a teacher. Someone I can study with longterm. The majority of my practice has developed through my own self practice...with workshops sprinkled in here and there, as well as my trip to India. All of that proves to be invaluable. And, I so much enjoy being a student, and learning, and I ride that wave and deepen what I learn on my own for as long as possible. There are fabulous teachers here in the Columbus area. However, where I'm at in the series there isn't anyone to assist me further. I can continue on like this for a little while longer. And, of course, the true teacher is the practice, and can be found inside. However, there is a powerful link that can happen when practicing regularly with a teacher who has been doing it for a long time...that in turn is priceless. And, its just time. Also, what I seek in a teacher is more than someone who can get me through 3rd series. In the end it really isn't just about that. So...well, when I get back from teaching overseas, I really feel that I want to make my move. God willing.

Much Love

15.4.08


Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me... We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability to man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium though which we look...To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

~Thoreau, Walden


I got so much Love for Tim Miller who made his annual trip to Columbus. My picture came out blurry... :( But , I thought I'd post it anyway. He's truly one of my favorites...

Effort-less

14.4.08


Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?

~Lao-Tzu, Tao-te-Ching




Saturday I allowed myself a day of absolute rest and relaxation. Its hard not to feel guilty for doing such a thing...wait...hold on...please! Who am I kidding...ha! If felt great. hahahaha.

Anyway, the interesting part is that when I made it to my mat today it was one of those rare times where everything...I mean everything, felt effortless. As I stepped back as the observer I truly enjoyed the ride. My body felt at ease and relaxed. You see, I have a dirty little secret. Many times I practice on Saturdays...going, going, going without a break. And well, thats just another word for attachment. So, I tell you, its made a difference to take this break...for my mind, my body, and my spirit...see, my achiever, goal oriented...self-consumed-self...is slowly dying off...its gotta go. And, that doesn't mean that there aren't gonna be things that I want to accomplish, discover, or reach in my life...but, moving forward its gotta come from a deeper perspective...from a more evolved, genuine place inside. Its so true...the only thing that really needs to happen...is to be open...be open...then miraculously grace descends...things become more clear, or maybe not...but, all I need to do is be open...just be open...

Food Matters

12.4.08

Connection

11.4.08


Images by Nick Fancher, www.shutterthink.com






I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,


And if each and all be aware I sit content.


One world is aware, and by far the largest to me,
and that
is myself,

And whether I come to my own today
or in ten thousand
or ten million years,

I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness,
I can wait.


~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass




Through the course of synchronized events, last night I made my way to a Siddha yoga satsang. There were too many things that aligned for me not to deny that it would be a good idea to check it out. Lately, I've been in a kind of investigative mode, if you will...desiring to deepen and discover devotional practices. In Siddha yoga there is a strong foundation placed in meditation and chanting...so, I was open to looking into it. I've been feeling a pull to bring some of those aspects into my already established Ashtanga yoga practice. The group was made up of some of the most lovely, open, and kind individuals. There always seems to be a strong aura around those who meditate regularly, and for a sustained period of time. One cannot deny it. Energetically one can feel it. I like to call it "the glow."

This being Friday, was my primary series practice. What a treat. Every Friday is like coming back home. It may sound strange. But, keeping in line with the tradition I've found the connection for me. From Sunday thru Thursday...I'm pressing forward, charting new territory...igniting expansion...maybe even struggling with some of the postures that I'm learning...especially toward the end of my practice. But, when Friday roles around for my primary series practice, there is a comfort that comes with it...a greater appreciation...a coming home to something that is more familiar. However, it isn't a time to take for granted. I feel on this day that I use it as an opportunity to deepen and become more present...more in my breath...finding a deeper oneness in what I'm doing. So, my practice at the end of the week has become something very special for me. And, when Saturday roles around, that is a day of integration...no striving...just being. Like a flower that blooms...just by its very essence and stillness...there is beauty.

Lost

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,

Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,

I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying
Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,

You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows
Where you are.
You must let it find you.


~David Wagoner

Eka Pada Bakasana

10.4.08


"Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness."
~Shakti Gawain


Met with a former student of mine for tea last night, and we had the most enlightening conversation that we completely lost track of time. What a wonderful evening, talking about things that are truly important. I've missed many of the students who took my classes. Now, it is as if they are the ones offering me support and encouragement instead of the other way around.

Not too long ago I was telling someone that I have learned just as much, if not more, from those who have taken yoga class from me as I have passed along to them. Feeling as if I still have much to learn and deepen, I wonder if I have enough to offer others. I mean, it has crossed my mind. That is part of the reason why I took a step back from teaching for a while. I really put it out of my hands...and asked the universe...ok...if this is what I'm supposed to do, or if there is something else, just guide me and I'll walk down the path. But then, I've realized for me to think for one moment that its about me and if I'm offering enough is absolutely ridiculous. That's a selfish pursuit. Its about much more. Its about being present, and holding a space of that Presence...with a selfless attitude of service...facilitating an environment rich for the practice of yoga. It must go beyond the limitations that I have placed upon myself...there is something greater to bring forth, and all I have to do is invite it in. What a relief. What a gift as well.

Practice was long today, but I felt strongly connected and at ease. I was able to laugh at my attempts at eka pada bakasana too...Whoa...this is gonna be a tough one. Pressing from sirsasana B into this bitch of an arm balance (excuse me), is really gonna take some work and finesse. But, wasn't I saying several posts ago that I like a challenge? Well...this is gonna be a good one. There's something not quite connecting. Maybe I need to develop more strength. Not too entirely sure. Its gonna be fun trying to decipher. Ricardo was telling me that my upper body is pretty well developed, except for my forearms, they're a bit on the skinny, got no muscle side...hahaha, well...its all a bunch of minutia. I just gotta keep practicing...

A Word of Thanks

9.4.08

"...If we were to go just beyond sleep and enter into the state of meditation, we would be able to drink the nectar of love and happiness that lies in the heart. The nectar is what we are looking for in all the activities of the outer world. What we are really seeking is the supreme Truth, and through meditation we can experience that Truth vibrating in the form of sublime happiness in the heart..."

~Swami Muktananda


Last night was the first time since getting back from Mexico that I made it to my meditation group. The group has grown, and real magic happens when collectively meditating. Its feels as if I'm linking up to an incredible energy, and being in a group somehow makes it that much easier. I felt as if I received strong guidance and reassurance...it was really what I needed. My awareness has deepened regarding a certain pattern in my life...and I feel ready to let it go...and somehow I feel lighter, I feel more connected internally, I feel more connected to my breath. Like everything, its a cyclical process...once something clears, there is then new ground to cover and discover. I just might be starting to enjoy this process...I guess that's the better attitude to have than to shrink and hide from it. If through all this clearing I get to linger and stand in the truth of who I am...to really establish a genuine relationship with it...then I'm down. I've come to the conclusion that this is what is of utmost importance in my life. My relationship with THAT is what has to come first...it all came to me so clearly...then everything will fall into place. I feel I'm finally ready to surrender to it...

Practice this morning was everything I needed and more. Still playing with this scattering of energy that I have been feeling...interesting process...getting into the subtleties. Lining up the mind, body and spirit when developing and learning challenging asana has been a fun territory to play in. I can begin to feel when my mind blinks. That is what I mean when I talk about subtleties. Its much more than a physical outer alignment...there's a component of an internal alignment which has to take priority over anything else. Where the focus is razor sharp, but the mind is relaxed...the breath is full and deep, without being forced...and, of course, a strong connection to the core, the bandhas. Sometimes it all lines up spontaneously. However, as always, the less I think, and the more I feel, it all comes about on its own accord. And, as with everything...it takes practice.

Today, I was given an incredible gift from an inspiring group of friends and mentors. And, it warms my heart to its fullest capacity...not only by what was given, but by the thoughtful, loving act itself. Words cannot describe how I feel...I've been sincerely touched. Just when you feel all is lost...everything is found. I've had to learn much about acceptance, and just in that simple act, miracles happen. But, the true miracle is when I asked God to show me an example of his grace...and he showed me in the physical manifestation of 3 amazing, strong, beautiful women. And for that I'm eternally greatful and indebted to them. If I become half the woman they are...I just might be ok...

Dwelling inwardly for extended periods, we come to know something of the poverty of always looking outside ourselves for happiness, understanding, and wisdom. It's not that God, the environment, and other people cannot help us to be happy or to find satisfaction. It's just that our happiness, satisfaction, and our understanding, even of God, will be no deeper than our capacity to know ourselves inwardly, to encounter the outer world from the deep comfort that comes from being at home in one's own skin from an intimate familiarity with the ways of one's own mind and body.

~
excerpt from Wherever You Go There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn


Practice this morning felt good...however, I must say that I felt as if my energy was scattered. I didn't have that one-pointed focus today. But, I dealt with it, and all was not lost. Some days the energy just feels that way for whatever reason...just gotta keep plugging away. Oh yeah...as for laghu vajrasana...I popped up as if it was nothing today. Yesterday must've been some type of fluke...who knows, who cares...some days we have it, some days we don't, just gotta keep moving forward...

I picked up a primary series class on Tuesday mornings...Its a great group of woman who are able to fit in a class after they drop their kids off at school...A very gracious, hardworking group. They seem to appreciate that I'm focused on taking them through the practice with integrity, doing my best to keep in line with what I gathered in Mysore. Sometimes, that can be a challenge if one is used to doing things a certain way before. Its all good...its all in the delivery. ;)

I had one student asked me how often I practiced a week. When I told her...her eyes got a bit wide. But, then we got into a discussion about the beauty of showing up regularly to something, making a honest, heartfelt commitment. I explained that it doesn't really matter what it is...and it may not be yoga for many...but something happens when we simply show up and become one with whatever we have committed ourselves to...it was an interesting topic. I would never push a 6 day a week practice down a student's throat...no matter how beneficial it may be for them...but, I can only speak for myself. And, my daily practice has been my rock, my anchor in a life that is filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. We all need our sanctuary, and its different for everybody...

Much Love for Ekhart Tolle


Nothing else needs to be said...

Bandha Break Down

7.4.08


The heavy is the root of the light.
The unmoved is the source of all movement.

Thus the Master travels all day
without leaving home.

However splendid the views,
she stays serenely in herself.

Why should the lord of the country
flit about like a fool?

If you let yourself be blown to and fro,
you loose touch with your root.

If you let restlessness move you,
you lose touch with who you are.

~Lao-Tzu, Tao-te-Ching



When my alarm clock went off at 4:50 am this morning...I had to question myself for a moment...why do I do this again? Ohhhh...and then I quickly remember after getting out of my early morning haze...yes, I'm stretching my body for God...hahaha...I stole that phrase from a friend of mine...I hope God appreciates it...hee, hee...only kidding...

My mind was calmer this morning...the beauty of getting up before dawn. Yesterday, when practicing later in the day...I found such a startling difference with the activity of the mind vs. the early morning.

Anyway, I also learned that one just can't take anything for granted. When I made it to laghu vajrasana...shockingly I couldn't get up...I had to do it again...same thing...I was like Bandhas!...testing, testing...1, 2, 3...Bandhas...testing...Nothing!! Ha! I couldn't believe it...so I took it with a bit of grace, shrugged it off, and moved on...I guess it wasn't my day for good old laghu...very strange...I've never had a problem with it...what gives? Let's see what happens tomorrow, until then, I'm not gonna worry about it. Well, I'm just not gonna worry about it at all...to be honest. These postures are tools...not self-esteem breakers...actually the whole thing was kind of funny...seriously, however, it was a good little wake up call...at that time I wasn't totally present with what I was doing...and it was a good little nudge to wake me up a bit. And, I really needed it...

After asana practice, I've added a pranayama practice, ending with meditation, after the drive home. I've been wanting to add these practices in...and now is no better time than any to start. My meditation practices have always been sporadic...I'll be gong-ho for a while and then it falls off...then I'll pick it up again. Its a welcome addition to the asana...every time I meditate, I'm always like...why don't I do this more often? Its nice.

Too Many Thoughts

6.4.08

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.

~Kabir


Took much of my day to read, read, read...is that healthy? Lately, I always seem to have my nose stuck in a book.

Practice today felt as if I was moving in sloooowwww motion. My mind was heavy with tons of random thoughts. All those images can really weigh a girl down. I did my best to observe, but I found myself being taken over by this dance in my head, and then I would snap out it and be like...where was I again?...strange. I'm not a big fan of practices like this. However, on the other hand, when my mind is cluttered, its a sign of something else going on. I'm harboring a dash of worry in there too...not fun...(sigh).




I couldn't resist...I had to add this little tid-bit in here...I always enjoy Bill Maher's candor...

My Piece of the Puzzle



Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe

~Lao-Tzu, Tao-te-Ching




I had lent out one of my favorite books to a friend of mine, and just got it back...I couldn't help it, I started to read it yet again. Yeah, you got me, I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love, another go around...its like this manifesto to women of a certain generation and/or mentality. But, c'mon! This book is better than eating a piece of chocolate...I identify with it...It reminds me that I have to live life on my terms...no matter what society says is supposed to be next in line...

I have plenty of friends who are married and have children...and I admire how well they have the capability to balance everything in their lives. But, for me to be in that position at this point feels foreign to me. Must mean I'm not ready. Honestly, I used to think there was something wrong with me. Both my siblings have been able to settle down and start families. Seriously, I feel like I'm gonna be that crazy aunt that's gonna be off on another adventure...that makes no sense...and I probably didn't put too much thought or planning into it...that's what I do sometimes...don't think, and just say, hey that sounds like fun...why not...I for some reason can't stomach analyzing my 401K, charting my retirement so I can plan when to really start living...blech! But, also, am I living in instant gratification? I question these things...

However, I always find myself in some sort of committed relationship. But, then when it gets to a certain point. If freaks me out. This is something I have taken a good hard look at...and I'm ready to address it. There is no point to be in fear...everything is always in a state of the unknown. There really is no need to predict the future. And, Honestly, I'm not too sure how many people could keep up with me. I have met one person though, where, at times I felt, I'm not too sure I could keep up with him. But, I like the challenge...is that crazy or what?

Which brings me to my thing with challenges. Why oh why do I always like a challenge? There is something about breaking the bounds of what I conceived as possible. Hence, my love for Ashtanga yoga. I remember when I was first introduced to it, and much of the stuff I couldn't do or even wrap my brain around. But, I didn't care. I was mystified and instantly attracted to this discipline. Somehow with that attitude, it allowed me to progress with leaps and bounds...because I enjoyed the process just as much as I enjoyed the result...to me there was no one part that was better than the other.

I remember the last time I was in Sedona, Arizona for a retreat, and I participated in a traditional Native American sweat lodge ceremony. When I asked what it was all about I was told...well, you'll have little or no clothes on, its gonna be pitch black...and unbelievably hot in there...but, its all about breaking the barriers of your mind and being transformed. Ha! That's all I needed to hear...sign me up!! Yeah, strange I know. It was a little bit like torture...but, believe me...I wasn't thinking about the past, or the future. I was mystified by the intensity of it...it was probably one of the most intense experiences I've ever had. When it is so unthinkably hot, it puts you in a place that is unexplainable...It was so funny because the leader of the sweat lodge started talking and sarcastically he was like...What! What could be better than this on a Friday night...what, are you gonna watch a movie? This right here is for real, this is the good stuff." I really couldn't say I disagreed. Its an interesting place to be when you go to your edge. There comes a point when you truly face yourself...straight in the eye...and there aren't many times in our lives when we consciously decide to do that...

Sometimes I feel fearless...other times, it attaches to me like a bad rash...its this dance I'm constantly playing with...

So what critical mass is it gonna take for me to move forward with this next phase? Many times it has felt like I've taken about 50 steps backward before I've made one step forward...I'm just learning here. Am I brave enough to live this life on my terms without comparing myself to others...without being insecure about it? Dunno. All I know, is everyone has their own piece of the puzzle to the larger mosaic...and I'm still trying to figure out what that is...





This clip has been floating around. Looks very interesting. The scenes from India make me miss it even more than I already do...

One Step at a Time

4.4.08


Don't go outside your house to see the flowers.
My friend, don't bother with that excursion.
Inside your body there are flowers.
One flower has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit.
Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty
inside the body and out of it,
before gardens and after gardens.

~Kabir


Feeling a bit better. Practicing acceptance. Today was my primary series day, and it was strange, I felt as light as air, that it being pretty close to the new moon it seemed a bit unusual. However, I get an inkling that it had to do with many of the feelings that have been coursing through me, and today I was especially connected to my inner body. Observing, watching...trying not to get too caught up in the waves of negative emotion. During these times I have a tendency to really withdrawal. I know people around me sense something is wrong but I prefer not to speak, or talk about it. Because sometimes I don't even know what to make of it. And, if I sit and analyze, it will just put me all up in my head, which isn't really the best place for me. The stories that get conjured up there...its all craziness. If anything, I've learned that its the false part of ourselves that gets hurt...and I'm on the path to recognizing that.

I'm still working out this overseas teaching gig. Not sure how long it will be for and such. We are still in talks...getting some type of platform established. If anything, I'm excited about the prospect of immersing myself into teaching again. After India, I have taken the time to soak and marinate what was brought forth in Mysore...and I feel more than ever that I want to give and be of service. Observing and assisting others on the road to transformation is unbelievably inspiring...

Along with that, I have ideas that I will be bringing forward here at home. I've picked up several classes...and, I've had several former students urge me to rent a room somewhere and get something started. If I do this, its gonna be a simple endeavor...focused on the journey of the practice...nothing more nothing less. More than ever, I've realized its the practice that is the true teacher...and, I'm there to cultivate a space for that...we'll see how it goes...however, I'm gonna take it one step at a time...

Impermanence

3.4.08



My religion is kindness. ~The Dalai Lama



It seems as if nothing in my life lasts for long. And, I'm learning the true meaning of impermanence. When I thought just about everything could be stripped away...something else is lost. And, to be honest, it makes me feel sad. It must be my dharma. I'm supposed to walk alone on this one. I'm supposed to walk alone. I guess there is something greater at work here...and maybe I'm just weak, but for today, I feel sad and there is nothing more I can say. Tomorrow will be another day...and at one point I'll be able to see the beauty in this too...


The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic just because the body is rotten-- that is all fantasy. What is found now is found then.

~Kabir



I've added more sleep into my routine, and somehow its made me feel groggier...moodier. So, dunno, maybe I function better on less. Trying to work it out.

Also, its strange, lately my body has been screaming at me with its cravings for protein, protein, protein!!! No, I haven't succumbed to eating meat. But I've been getting most of my calories from vegetarian protein. Its done me well. And, the highest percentage of protein comes from vegetarian sources anyway...but don't get me started on that...that's for another day. ;)

As I grow into the subtle aspects of the practice I'm noticing shifts in my body more and more...almost as if I am able to maneuver with greater awareness and intelligence. It really becoming interesting to observe...and, also how the mind plays a big role in it all. Its so true when you hear that the process is never ending...there is always somewhere deeper to go...new things to discover. And, even though there is a repetitive nature to the practice in the Ashtanga Yoga system...How could anyone get bored? There is always some new aspect or attitude you can bring onto the mat on any given day. I love it. Its kind of like my place to experiment with energy.

I sound like a yoga geek don't I...ha! Excuse me...




Today we celebrated Lina's birthday. Above are the group of ladies I practice with at 5:30 am every morning, Monday thru Friday. Lina is the 2nd one from the left. I know I've said it once...and I'm sure I'll say it again...I feel blessed to be part of this group of fascinating women who are in love with the practice as much as I am...I guess you'd have to be to get up that early!! Ha! Anyway, I just feel thankful. Happy Birthday Lina!!








"I am large; I contain multitudes." ~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass


Practice this morning was a delight, and I was able to start a bit earlier...but, somehow I was still the last one finished...haha. Anyway, my marathon practice left me pooped at urdhva kukutasana. I should be up to eka pada bakasana, but I flaked out. Gonna break myself in slowly. No hurry. I got the rest of my life for this practice.

Most importantly, it isn't really all that significant how far I go. But, how deep I immerse in each moment, in each posture. Am I conscious of my breath? Is my drishte inwardly focused as I look out? Am I connected to my bandhas? All the fancy stuff is fine and good...and fun. However, if I continue to connect from the inside first...then everything has a beautiful way of blossoming on the outside...

 

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