WHAT YOGA BOOKS SHOULD I READ?
JULY 17, 2010: I get asked all the time what books I recommend for students of yoga. Well the list I personally suggest is as follows:
1. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,Swami Satchitananda or Secret Power of Yoga, Nichala Joy Devi (ALL TIME FAVE!)
2. Yoga The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, Eric Schiffman
3. Jivamukti By Shannon Gannon and David Life
4. Yoga for Wellness, Gary Kraftsow, Penquin, 1999
Professional Ethics/Connecting the Heart of the Student:
5. Teaching Yoga: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship, Donna Farhi
6. Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual, John Friend
7. Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life, Judith Lasater
8. Anatomy of Movement, Blandine Calais-Germain
9. The Anatomy Coloring Book - Kapit & Elson
Pranayama and Breath:
10. The Heart of Yoga: Developing A Personal Practice, Desikachar
Yogi Bare by Philip Self
The Language of Yoga by Nicolai Bachman (to learn how to pronounce stuff)
Yoga from the Inside Out by Christina Sell
A Path With Heart: A Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life & Wherever You Go There You Are by Jack Kornfield
LIFE IS THE DANCER, YOU ARE THE DANCE: GUEST BLOGGER MARA CAMPBELL
OCTOBER 14, 2009: As I taught a yoga class this morning, I so wanted to give the class a long, peaceful savasana. Then the banging and the yelling of the workers next door started... and then the music....and then...my breath started to get shallow and my body tight....and oh yes there it is: I am frustrated. Why couldn't they just quiet down a bit?! And then..release...a hint of laughter.....this was actually pretty funny. For as much as I want to control what happens, as much as I've prepared my class, as much as I have the perfect temperature in the room: what happens in a class is largely out my control whether I like it or not.
For me, I connect this idea of surrendering with Aparigraha, the Yama (or ethical restraints), that invites us to let go of false truths, fears and old beliefs. Letting go of control, doesn't mean we are apathetic, lazy, or don't have intentions in our lives. It simply means that we humbly know that we don't have control of the universe and we consciously decide to join the flow of life instead of trying to fight it. I vividly remember when someone told me, "Life is the dancer and we are the dance." This made no sense to me as I saw myself as the dancer, the doer, the controller. How come we aren't the dancer?! This bothered me for some time until it finally sunk in one yoga practice where I completely surrendered and simply allowed myself to be carried away. I left that class with more energy than I had in weeks and I finally got that I simply just needed to stop trying so hard. We do what we can, we work hard, we love hard but in the end, we surrender and witness the universe's lovely mysterious ways.
"Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance. If we were capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things would happen to us. One, we would free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and two, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe." -Carlos Casteneda
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
SATYA GRAHA - HOLDING ON TO TRUTH
JULY 19TH, 2008: “Satya” is the Sanskrit word for “Truth.” The word “Graha” means “holding to.” Satya Graha, commonly translated as “Truth Force,” is the name that Mahatma Gandhi gave to his movement of social change through nonviolence. In class today we focused on the muscular action of Hugging In (or holding on to) so that we might feel more grounded in the Truth of our own experience.
We are surrounded today more than ever with the gratification of dishonesty. We see folks on TV rewarded with money and prizes for being the most adept at lying. This will change us as a society if we let it. So we dedicate our yoga practice to TRUTH, Satya. This means truth in our bodies - recognizing what they most need today, observing the truth of our breath (what does it reveal about how you are really feeling, not how you are pretending to feel), and ultimately the truth of our hearts and minds.
The yoga is always transportable so the we apply this self-awareness to all the choices we make: in how we eat, what we buy, who we spend time with. This is how we LIVE our truth. And it is not always that easy to "hold onto" as the truth of of our own intentions. So join me, take off the masks you might wear, see yourself as the amazing, gifted person you are and let the yoga of holding on to your Truth help you be MORE YOURSELF! As Neem Karoli Baba says "Love everyone and tell the truth." Jai! Silvia