SHARING GENEROUSLY - XMAS EVE: GIVING AND RECEIVING
December 24, 2010. Doing yoga together in community is one of my favorite forms of yoga: we are all giving and receiving and I promise to be as generous as I can in sharing my lifetime if experience with you. And thank you for sharing in this experience of practicing yoga with me today.
To begin please take 5 centering breaths and just listen to the most generous teacher of all, your HEART.
Then ask yourself "Where in my breath can I be more generous, where am I giving and where do I need to receive more?"
As long as ever you can." - John Wesley
Generosity in yoga is really an interesting learning. It means the opposite of taking (asteya) whereby we give and share. And yogically to be generous asks that we be open but with a really focused effort. In our Western world we get caught up with the idea of doing MORE for the sake of more, this more is better idea (even if quality perishes) often leads to exhaustion. In the corporate world I used to rage against the machine when it came to an ever increasing aspiration towards mediocrity instead of excellence like when I first entered the workforce 15 years ago. Energetically this can make us feel totally run down not only because of how much we’re doing but more with the fact in our hearts we’d rather be doing something else.
"True giving radiant giving comes from the same inner place as deep happiness. It's having the self-esteem to feel that what we have to offer is valuable - our advice, wisdom, expertise, skills, physical labor. The manner in which we give these gifts is a reflection of who we are."
Philosopher Maimonides pictured giving on 8 spiritual levels. The first two get to the heart of yoga right away.
1. "The motivation for real giving finds its source in the internal self, not in the expectations of others."
2. "Anonymous giving - happy people don't expect a return. They give because it comes from the heart and they believe that joy and happiness are abundant. They aren't going to run out."
To emphasize generosity here is one of my favorite stories to enjoy! And in the spirit of sharing here is my class plan from Christmas Eve 2010. Love your day, love yourself, love your life, Silvia
A Story of Generosity: Stone Soup (From Daily Om)
There are many variations on the story of stone soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a town beset by famine. The inhabitants try to discourage the traveler from staying, fearing he wants them to give him food. They tell him in no uncertain terms that there’s no food anywhere to be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to make a soup to share with all of them. The villagers watch suspiciously as he builds a fire and fills a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the pot of water. He sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he mentions how good the soup would be with just a little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to share. This episode repeats itself until the soup has cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets—indeed, a substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village. This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food. We can share generously of our ideas, love, and energy. The traveler was able to see that the villagers had so much to offer each other and he had the genius to draw them out and inspire them to SHARE, thus creating a spread that none of them could have created alone. Are you like one of the villagers, holding back? If you come forward and share your gifts, you will inspire others to do the same!I
Seated side bend, twist right, combo, eagle arms, neck stretch each side, circle up, hands namaste, side 2
Childs pose, twist it
Puppy to Dog
Childs pose K1- vajrasana side bend, twist, circle up, hands namaste, puppy, dog
Childs pose K2 - camel side bend, twist, circle up, hands namaste, puppy, child's pose, side 2
Minne Vinne K3 - camel repeat above cobra, child's pose repeat repeat
1 leg dog core plank 3 times knee down, half spinal balance, dip down, open to half side plank
Plank, core plank, begin side 2
Mountain Side bend, Twist high chair, Forward Fold
Sun Salute C
Half Lunge side bend, twist high
Half Lunge transition to Half warrior 2, circle arm around 3 x's
Gate to Side plank facing back of room, plank, core plank, dog
Step left forward, side 2
Facing front again
Mandala Namaskar: 1 leg dog, half lunge, warrior 2, side angle, side warrior, warrior 2, star, pose of shiva, other side warrior 2, side warrior, basic vinyasa
Repeat right leg
Begin Mandala but with pigeon hold
Warrior 2, add eagle arms, neck stretch
Warrior 2 other side, side warrior basic vinyasa
Side 2 left pigeon
exit Warrior 2 right leg, side warrior basic vinyasa
Pigeon right as transition
OCTOBER 31, 2009: So last Friday night for a Halloween Birthday Party for a friend I made butternut squash soup for the first time. Amazing recipe given to me by a dear student. Now this was quite something for me to attempt to cook something new, but knowing that someone else had made it before and was encouraging me to try for myself helped immensely. Yup, that sounds pretty much like yoga. You may not know the poses but rest assured that your instructor has years of experience in the poses and wants to help support you as you try for yourself. And yes it can be a bit scary. But we learn from this practice that we don’t have to do it perfectly the first time and the whole reason for coming together to practice in a group is to have the group encouragement along with that of your teacher. Like family and friends that serve as the container of our greater life experience the kula embraces us. And we always know we are safe within the container of this sacred space of the practice room.
In this safety we can realize that as sutra 1.30 says “The Perception of our true nature which is peaceful joy is often obscured by physical, mental, and emotional imbalances. 1.31 These imbalances can promote restlessness, uneven breathing, worry and loss of hope. 1.32 These imbalances can be prevented from taking over our lives by consistently practicing yoga.”
Knowing I have a place to go when I need to replenish and address these imbalances has saved my life many, many times over. I could come into the practice room, into the group energy and be contained within myself so I could process whatever was going on in my life. I could let it cook and as a result feel more healthy upon leaving class. Speaking of containers I had to go out and buy my first crock pot at the Target on Friday (what an amazing selection!) because I realized once I made the soup I would need something safe to carry it in to the party. The container served to hold what I had personally created (along with help from my friend Janet dressed as Pee Wee Herman at the time) and as she drove us to the birthday gathering she made sure we were safe in her car until we arrived into the warm embrace of gentle friends. The whole thing was about containers.
We serve ourselves as that container of peace and love within and we connect to others in groups, tribes, families contained in that same way. So from my heart to yours know when you come to class you are safe, you are cared for and you can take time to feel all that is good within you. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much I did and just like doing a yoga pose, I will be making this soup for years and years to come. Love and light! Silvia
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup From Don P.
This recipe makes about 3 1/2 quarts which is about 18 6 oz portions so feel free to cut this recipe in half. It freezes well however so you can save it for a super quick lunch or dinner. I freeze this in 2 or 4 serving size containers let it cool before you freeze it.
2 Tblsp unsalted butter
2 Tblsp good Quality Olive Oil
4 cups yellow onion med dice
1 tblsp Curry Powder ( The curry is an interesting flavor combo that adds depth but you could substitute a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg if you dont like curry)
5 lbs butternut squash
1 1/2 lbs McIintosh Apples
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups water
2 cups apple juice or cider.
Heat the butter and oil in a large stock pot over med heat, add the curry and the onion to the pot and cook for 15 min stir the misture a few times and scrape the bottom of the pot. Peel the squash cut in half and remove the seeds with a spoon or the handle of your peeler and cut into 1 inch chunks. Peel quarter and core the apples and cut into 1 inch chunks as well.