MOON SALUTATION FOR MY STUDENTS
April 1, 2011. As promised I wanted you to have a copy of this Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutation) that I taught in class on Friday. It has such an amazing inward feeling and paired perfectly with our theme of Self-Talk as Self-Study. Enjoy at home when you need to feel more centered. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
Moon Salutation - Traditional
Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar) consists of 20 steps starting and ending with the prayer pose.
Step 5: Transition Pose 1 Exhale as you return to vertical position. Inhale as you sidestep to the right, bringing straight arms down to shoulder level, parallel to the floor.
Step 6: Standing Legs-Apart Hands-to-Feet Pose Prasarita Paddatonasana
Step 7: Transition Pose 2 Inhale as you return to a vertical position, with straight arms over your head, palms pressed together, thumbs crossed, at the same time turning your torso & feet to the right (left foot slightly less).
Exhale as you bend forward and down, right knee locked, directing your forehead toward your left knee. At the same time, try to touch the floor with your fingertips as far ahead of your left foot as you can. Gradually straighten your left leg, keeping your arms and fingers extended. Feel the stretch in your legs, back, shoulders, and arms.
Note: If this is too difficult, you might support yourself with your fingertips resting on the ground on either side of your foot.
Step 10: Standing Hands-to-Feet Pose Forward Bend
Step 11: Crescent Moon Pose on Right Leg – Lunge Knee Down
Inhale as you place your fingertips or palms on the floor beside your feet. At the same time take a big step back with your right, raising your torso and head, briefly assuming the Lunge Pose. Still inhaling, if you wish bring your hands over head
Step 12: Squatting Pose with Forward Bending Inhale as you place your fingertips or palms on the floor and bring your right leg forward equal with your left. Your weight is supported by your toes and fingertips. Your thighs are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you bend forward, bringing your chest as close to your thighs as possible, fully stretching your back.
Step 15: Downward Dog Pose with Right-Leg Raise Inhale-exhale as you raise your right leg as high as you can, keeping your knee locked and pointing your foot. Inhale-exhale as you lower your leg & resume the Downward Dog Pose.
Step 17: Cobra Pose Inhale as you roll forward, supporting yourself on your legs, belly and palms.
Step 18: Squatting Pose Inhale as you roll back onto your toes with help from your arms. Exhale as you lift your knees from the ground, still supporting yourself with your fingertips.
Inhale-exhale as you raise your arms over your head, palms together, thumbs crossed. Your back straight, and your thighs parallel to the floor. Feel the stretch in your torso, shoulders, and arms.
Step 20: Prayer Pose Inhale as you stand up, simultaneously bringing your hands to your chest resuming Prayer Pose.
ANCORA IMPARO I AM STILL LEARNING
Like a bee seeking nectar, seek teachings everywhere. Like a deer, seek a quiet place to digest all that you have gathered." -Dzogchen Tantra
February 5th, 2011. I am a student of life a dedicated love anthropologist. I wear on my wrist Ancora Imparo words spoken by Michelangelo at the age of 75 years old. Translated this means "I am still learning". And anyone who knows me knows I take my love of learning seriously. I am dutifully always trying to live in a way that acknowledges the significance of each precious moment and what it teaches me.
The Yoga is always our best teacher. It stretches our mind muscle and teaches us how to connect with ourselves and accept the sense things make or make sense of things as they are. Its like working a puzzle which requires concentration and persistence in our bodies and in our hearts. It is not achieved without interest in our own learning.
So today start with the answer YES to all questions by opening up to the teachings that flow in your path whether they be good, difficult, interesting, or funny. Try to learn from all of them my friends! Keep close to heart some final inspiration from Michelangelo "And I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish." With heartfelt hope for us all to be students of life in the world with the desire to keep learning! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS Join me on retreat this year www.silviamordini.com Moab April 16-19, 2011 and Tuscany June 19-25, 2011 coming up!
ADVENTURE REMEMBRANCE AND VICTORY
December 31, 2010. As I reflect on this past year, which was one of intense personal change one of the things I am most proud of is making a pilgrimage to Moab, Utah twice. Both times to help nourish my spirit and connect to the quiet sense of adventure that exists for all that visit Moab. For a while I forgot what it was like to make adventure. This was the year I remembered again.
And that is really at the heart of yoga. This practice helps us remember to remember. We all sometimes experience spiritual amnesia. Getting on the mat is that reminder of celebrating life and enjoying this time in this body on this earth right now.
Edward Abbey writes in one of my favorite books about Moab titled Desert Solitaire "Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards."
I will never again put my heart in a safe deposit box, I'd rather take chances in love, in life, in traveling and even in my poses so I can be a more active participant in driving my best life forward rather than sitting in the backseat waiting for it to happen. I will until my last breath run and cycle and yoga and explore and discover the small victories that exist in taking pleasure in life! And I hope if you have learned anything from your yoga that you will find this true for yourself as well. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Happy New Year, Silvia
PS Join me on an adventure with Alchemy Tours www.alchemytours.com or visit my website to keep up with upcoming retreats www.silviamordini.com
DELIBERATE SELF-STUDY PRACTICED WITH INTENTION
October 23, 2010. Today painting a picture with the words:
We all had other places we could be today but we chose to be on the mat. This was a deliberate choice. Just like what we say or eat or do or think is deliberate. In yoga we make a deliberate choice to show up and take responsibility for our actions where we place our hands, our self-talk and we study ourselves Svadhaya to learn about ourselves. This may be a huge paradigm shift as most of us go about life studying what everyone is doing to learn about ourselves. Or we are more interested in what everyone else has to think about us than we are of our own opinion.
The practice of yoga is defined in the yoga sutras is something that is practiced over a long time, repeated without break (consistent) and practiced in earnestness. A sort of serous studentship. And behind that practice is the power of intention. Intention is on purpose. It is in other words deliberate.
So you see how this creates a healthy feedback loop and helps to give us the means to end our suffering and come into our true nature which is joy and ever expanding happiness! You have the ingredients in deliberate self-study practiced with intention. Now all it takes is you. Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
ALCHEMY OF YOGA
OCTOBER 16, 2010. I along with my partner named our company Alchemy Tours because of the combined influence of the book The Alchemist and the practice of Yoga. Really Yoga is about taking the personal growth we experience on the mat as a result of this unique alchemy of yoga into making the changes we want in our lives, in our bodies, in our minds, in our hearts. Anytime you want to transform and move beyond your limitations to me this is the Alchemy of Yoga. And this what I call the life coaching work I do through yoga.
Chapter 2 verse 1 of the Yoga Sutras sets forth how the Alchemy of Yoga actually works. "Tapas svadhyaya ishvara pranidhana kriya yoga." Translated to mean that yoga helps us transforms ourselves on three levels:
1. Physical Alchemy - Tapas
2. Mental Alchemy - Svadhaya
3. Spiritual Alchemy - ishvara pranidahana
Tapas helps us ignite the changes we want to make in our lives. It is about the getting fired up, literally heating the body through moving and breathing in the vinyasa
While we are following the discipline of tapas and engaging in physical practice to help move our stuck energy we are watching ourselves. In yoga we study the self to learn about the self. (Different than studying what other people to do to try to learn about you, which many of us have tried in other modalities). Here the mental alchemy is through self-observation. We witness what is going on in our thoughts, what are we thinking, why are we thinking that (but without over analysis) more like an older brother would look after a little sister. In this way we are the actor on the stage starring in our life story as well as sitting front row center as the audience.
As we are doing and watching we let go of the ego of judgment. We move beyond wanting life to be different and begin to feel the surrender that allows what is being offered to mix together and marinate. We practice ishvara pranidhana as we trust the universal intelligence that hugs us from all directions to know what it's doing. And once we find this trust we begin to believe that beauty and goodness are within us flowing nonstop and there is no reason to stop this flow for its natural current is to align with the current of grace that is everywhere outisde us. Beauty becomes our way of life. Happiness becomes our natural alchemy.
You see when we come to the mat we are like the Alchemist in his laboratory mixing ingredients. For us as yogis our laboratory is our mat and the ingredients are our bodies, our poses, our breath, our thoughts and the mixing it all together creates a result every time. We are always different from the beginning of class to the end. Whether we want to be or not, we are changed, we are free. In that freedom is love. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS This is why and what lies at the heart of leading Yoga Retreats around the world. I want to help facilitate the Alchemy of Yoga, the changes that YOU want in your life. And I am convinced we can make amazing transformations in a long weekend, a week with the right facilitation and life coaching. Join me! Facebook Alchemy Tours. Set intention for 2011 this December 8-12 Haramara Retreat Mexico.
HOW TEACHER TRAINING HELPED ME FIND MY PURPOSE BY GUEST BLOGGER JANEEN HEINMAN
OCTOBER 5, 2010. On October 13th we start our 9th teacher training study group! I know I can't believe it either. Wow! I've seen so many amazing breakthroughs and incredible growth as a result of facilitating these trainings. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of previous trainees and send them love and gratitude for they have served as my teachers as much as I have been their teacher. And I have been deeply honored to see them all grow in discovering their Dharma, their purpose.
It's such a simple question: Why are you here? Or let me put it like this, What do you want to be when you grow up?
If you want to study yourself, then our program is for you. Enjoy this perspective from one of our 2009-2010 Graduates. Love in all ways, Silvia
How Teacher Training Helped me Find my Purpose By Guest Blogger Janeen Heinman
Last fall I took the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Total Body Yoga. I had only been a student of yoga for 2 ˝ years when I signed up for the program, so I was a virtual beginner. But for me, yoga had opened up so much. My health was better, my attitude and anxiety improved, and I was more relaxed. I felt like I had found something totally real. I spent time reading books about yoga, taking workshops and classes, but there was still so much I didn’t know. I enrolled in Silvia’s program to expand my knowledge, but I didn’t have a solid idea of what I wanted to do when I finished.
We learned a lot right away in the training, including asanas and how to teach them, yoga history and philosophy and some basics of Ayurveda. I learned a lot for myself, but even more so, I wanted to share what I was learning. After all, who couldn’t benefit from practices like a full three-part breath, or viparita karani? I tend to get anxious when speaking in front of groups, but the training program was a really safe place to practice. I worked on finding my voice, which in turn led me to discover my purpose.
Through the Yoga Teacher Training, I was able to look honestly at some dissatisfaction I had with my career in psychiatry. I realized I was not offering my patients enough, in my mind, to truly become well. Yoga was the next step. My goal now is to incorporate yoga into my career by offering people tools to help themselves . The training helped me open to possibility and realize I don’t have to follow the beaten path, but I can chart a new course!
I am only in the early stages of developing my new job description, but I believe the teacher training started me on this path. The practice itself keeps me open to grace, and I have enjoyed unbelievable support from my colleagues and peers so far. I was stagnant, knowing I was not fulfilling my true purpose professionally, but fear held me back for a long time. The teacher training program forced me to look inward, and that practice of self-study has led me to something totally new. I don’t believe I would have come to this turning point without the support and guidance of my teacher, Silvia, and my fellow trainees.
JOIN US FOR IN DEPTH STUDY OF YOGA, OF YOURSELF
SEPTEMBER 21, 2010.
If you plan your social life around your yoga, have a mat in your car, talk about yoga to friends and strangers then it is a really good bet that Yoga is important to you. And you're thinking "how can I bring more yoga into my life?"
Super Duper Namaste,
If this sounds familiar then spending time in our In-Depth Studies Program known as Yoga Teacher Training starting either Fall October 13, 2010 with Rachel and Silvia or Winter January 28, 2011 with Mara and Silvia is a fantastic idea! The program is not about how physically ready you are for the poses but how emotionally and mentally ready are you to gain deeper insight into who you are.
Do you want to know why Yoga makes you feel better not for just one hour but all day long, why when you practice yoga do you grow more patient with the annoyances of your life, why do you feel happier from doing yoga? This program helps give you the answers to those questions. It gives you time to become more aware of why you treat others better and why you want to treat yourself better: learning how to love who you are and refining what it is you are supposed to be doing in this life. This program is about doing yoga from the inside out and really studying how much heart you are putting into designing your BEST life ever. To be honest, in my perfect world every Yoga Student would attend a Teacher Training Program. Why? Because we are all models for living our yoga and making the world a more peaceful place. We'd love to help you celebrate you! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
(Yes, payment plans always available)
LEARNING ABOUT YOU, DESIGNING YOUR LIFE
SEPTEMBER 15, 2010. If you want to get to the root cause of what is stressful in your life, what is holding you back, what is it that you really want for your life then our certified training program (that by the way qualifies you to teach yoga) is for you! I encourage you to fill out the application, and then read it to yourself and see if this reveals to you whether you should apply or not. This is not about teaching Yoga to other people. THIS IS ABOUT LEARNING ABOUT YOU.
CYT – Certified Yoga Teacher Application (YA 200 hour)
Send completed application and materials via email to:
Please include: name, emergency contact, address, city/state, zip, day/night phone, cell phone, and e- mail address.
STEP 1: PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR YOGA PRACTICE
-How long have you been taking yoga classes and/or practicing? -Who have been your most influential teachers and why? -List any trainings, intensives or retreats attended and why? -What style(s) of yoga do you practice?
-How often and how long do you practice?
STEP 2: WHY DO YOU WANT TO TAKE THIS PROGRAM?
-Why do you want to be a certified yoga teacher? -What are your expectations for the training? What do you hope to gain, learn, or improve? -Do you teach yoga now? If so, please describe in detail. -If you plan on teaching after completing the program, why do you want to teach yoga?
STEP 3: WHAT DOES YOGA MEAN TO YOU?
-Describe how your life has been impacted by practicing yoga. -Tell us about your hobbies, interests, community service, etc. -Describe your physical health (major illnesses, surgeries, physical conditions). -Tell us about your emotional and mental health. -Do you have a support network of friends or therapist? -Does your family support this journey you've decided to take? -This program requires a significant time commitment. Do you have any other major commitments (grad school, 2 jobs, etc) that would prevent you from participating fully?
IS YOGA SPIRITUAL
May 18, 2010, I have this conversation with someone or many folks quite frankly every week without fail. Is Yoga Spiritual? And the first thing I do when I receive this question is ask (as I am doing here with you), What does it mean to you to be Spiritual?
What yoga is and what it isn’t is often hotly debated. My best friend just sent me a link to a movie called Yoga, Inc which also includes this topic. Our 6th chakra Ajna sensibility is really about perception. The encyclopedia of events in your life influence how you define the circumstances and attitudes of your life. To me the key point is that you get to decide what your thoughts are and you are responsible for managing your view of your life. It’s that old saying:
“Watch your thoughts for they become words
Watch your words for they become actions
Watch your actions for they become habits
Watch your habits for they become character
Watch your character for it becomes your destiny!”
My all time favorite definition of yoga that I take on as my own as well is by David Frawley, Yoga and Ayurveda:
“Yoga is one of the most extraordinary spiritual sciences that mankind has discovered. It is like a gem of great proportions, containing many facets whose light can illume the whole of our lives with great meaning. Yogic methods cover the entire field of our existence – from the physical, sensory, emotional, mental, and spiritual to the highest Self-realization. It includes all methods of higher evolution in humanity – physical postures, ethical postures, breath control, sensory methods, affirmations and visualizations, prayer and mantra, and complex meditative disciplines. Yoga understands the nature and interrelationships of the physical, subtle and formless universes into the boundless infinite beyond time and space, and shows us how these also exist within each human individual.”
So I guess there you have it. You now know for sure I believe this is a spiritual practice, or at least it is for me, and can be for you if you want to make it such. And if you don’t believe yoga is spiritual you gain all these amazing benefits anyway. So I say, let everyone do their own yoga. And if it makes us all nicer and kinder than regardless of anything more, we have succeeded in making the world a better place right now. Love to you all, Silvia
TRUTH OR DARE? WHICH DO YOU CHOOSE?
"Attend the birthing of the radiant light within you" - Vijnana Bhairava Tantra
JANUARY 12, 2010: I was recently thinking of the game TRUTH OR DARE that we all played as kids. Wondering if you were someone who chose dare or truth more often? Me? Well I consistently chose Dare. I was more than a little afraid of the truth – I’d have to tell the 11th grade boy Ben I was in love with him or maybe admit I really wanted the lead role in the next musical or that it hurt my feelings when I only got 2nd chair in Symphony orchestra last week. You know the important stuff. The dare was a whole lot easier….I would rather take my chances and eat a bug than let everyone else know my truth, and reveal my heart.
Well what you choose now as an adult? Truth or Dare. And more importantly why.
Yoga helps to reveal the self to the self and we wake up to our own truth. As John Donohue writes, “Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.” So really Yoga is asking us to DARE TO TELL THE TRUTH. First to ourselves then to be that real person out in the world.
Tapping into your own creative potential and full-filling the purpose for why you are here is what Yogis call “Sva-Dharma. This means self-duty.
I can’t think of a more DARING thing to do!
"Your own duty done imperfectly
is better than another man's done well."
-Bhagavad Gita 3:35
Yoga is Truth and Dare. And when we each are following our true paths we are at peace with ourselves (no more pretending, no more 10th grade self afraid to show others how you feel). And from daring to fulfill our duty we give permission to everyone else to be themselves and the world finds peace. This is not easy. So on the mat we try out new poses, we hold poses or we sustain a flowing sequence to experiment with daring ourselves to learn more about who we are. And the way we practice our yoga becomes the way we live our lives.
This year accept the Dare and stay connected to your intentions for meeting the destiny for which you’ve been called to in this life. Follow your svadharma and go beyond your fear and what you thought possible. Don’t hide behind work (that’s the adult equivalent of eating a bug because you don’t want to be honest) and get on with it! Be the peaceful warrior you are. Act as if your life depended on it….for it does. Let the lovefire burn bright! Silvia
"Look to your own duty;
do not tremble before it;
nothing is better for a warrior
than a battle of sacred duty." -Bhagavad Gita 2:31
THE CURE FOR UNHAPPINESS IS HAPPINESS
Namaste Beautiful Friends,
To be happy is DEEP WORK, it is not surface stuff. And the reality of yoga is that it helps us explore ourselves to find out as Anthony DeMello writes, "there is not a single moment in our life when we do not have everything we need to be happy." As we study ourselves the yoga helps us explore through movement a freedom in our bodies and a kind of flowing meditation where we can find peace and tranquility in our minds. This in turn allows our hearts to open to our own best adventure.
"Exploration really is the essence of the human spirit!"
There is this great story in the book "How We Choose to Be Happy" and the individual being studied for why they are happier than everyone else says this, "I tried my hand at a lot of things. Some of these I liked, some I didn't. And I have no regrets. The point is, I kept moving. Any one of these choices was far less important than the fact that I just kept choosing.
I have a philosophy: Any choice can be reversed, but not choosing at all is irreversible." So this Winter please keep choosing to make time to explore yourself more deeply. And if you can take a break join me for the Spiritual Adventure of a Lifetime in Moab April 15th (here I am at Arches National Park) or in Tuscany June 20th!! It would be so awesome to take this road trip together. But no matter what keep finding your own best adventure! Big love in all ways, Silvia
"It's better to have traveled and gotten lost than to never have traveled at all." -George Santayana
CHECK YOURSELF OUT EARN A PhD IN YOUR LIFE
JANUARY 21, 2010: This is the year and decade we stop analyzing everyone else around us trying to figure out who WE are by what other people do or don't do. The first chapter, first verse of the Yoga Sutras: “With humility and an open heart and mind we begin the study of Yoga. This study is using the Self to study ourselves first.”
"The proper study of mankind is man." (Alexander Pope) from my new book News of the Universe (Poems of Twofold Consciousness chosen and introduced by Robert Bly). That's what we do in yoga. We are when we come to the practice essentially making a commitment to get a PhD in our own Humanness. Nischala Joy Devi says "As students of life we often need to look at where we have come freom to see where we are going. Our present position has been determined by the past - all those crossroads where we made decisions, each path we've taken that brought us to our life as it is."
Blaming other people for the choices we've made or how we came to be what we are won't help us evolve towards greater happiness. We have to accept accountability and just look inside. Rumi writes:
"If you're lugging a heavy bag,
don't fail to look inside it
to see whether what is inside is
bitter or sweet.
If it's really worth bringing along,
otherwise, empty your sack
and redeem yourself from
Only put into your sack
that which is worth bringing."
When you think about it what do you keep lugging around that is weighing your life down? Unless you start looking inward and stop blaming others for the quality of your life, it won’t change for the better. Maybe in the past you thought “I'm not something enough” to do this important work of self-exploration and self-discovery. BUT NO MORE. Be honest with yourself: you are young enough, old enough, smart enough, rich enough and you have enough time. If it is really important to you to set positive intentions for yourself you have to slow down enough to look inside. Take to heart the words of Rumi: "There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O traveler, if you are in search of That don't look outside, look inside yourself and seek That.” Yes, SEEK THAT. In the new year, a time of setting intentions just remember this – it is near impossible to set an intention for your life until you study yourself and where you’ve come from first. Otherwise it’s like trying to get a PhD when you haven’t finished First Grade yet. And in this PhD program, there are no grades, it is simply pass/fail. And this subject (YOU) is not one you want to fail at. Life is too short to fail at being you. So starting today get real, look at your life, study yourself as you really are and ignite the beauty of who you are yet meant to be! Love in all ways, Silvia
HAPPINESS SELF-STUDY (SVADHYAYA)
AUGUST 12TH, 2009:
How do you know if you are happy? And if happy what makes you happy? When’s the last time you had a conversation with a friend or family member about happiness? Hmmm, I know interesting huh?
In Yoga the practice of self-study is known as Svadhyaya it is one of the Niyamas or fundamental philosophical tenants of the practice. How this applies as we breath and move is through the relationship we have with each pose. Just like we can observe how we relate to people in our lives (past and present) because every relationship has a purpose. All of this to help us better feel our TRUTH so that when chaos surrounds us we are able to remain grounded
HAPPINESS IS THE WILLINGNESS TO CHOOSE THE TRUTH
I have a lot of books on happiness, my newest one I love is “Be Happy” by Robert Holden. So during the course of the practice today I offered for your contemplation questions related to Happiness and our Mothering/Fathering Influences. The right side is the solar or masculine side, the left side of us is the feminine or lunar. So we played this out between right, left all in a practice to arrive better to the TRUTH of our center and learn more about ourselves.
So think about this:
· Your relationship to happiness is influenced greatly by your family’s story about happiness
· Your family story is about how your family expresses its joy
· What is your mother’s definition of happiness? What is your fathers definition of happiness
· How does your mother’s definition of happiness influence your life? How does your fathering influence impact your life?
· When is your father happiest?
· When is your mother happiest?
· Growing up what did your mom (or mothering influence) teach you about happiness?
· What did your father teach you about happiness?
· Who is the happiest member of your family?
· Who is the unhappiest member of your family?
I hold dear this from Robert Holden, “The joy of relationship is found in deep acceptance, in unconditional love, in really seeing each other, in valuing each other, in offering mutual support, in showing appreciation, and in giving trust. Happiness is found in loving the truth in people.” Observe your TRUTH and you change your life. Love the day, the night, your life, yourself! Silvia