OPEN TO GRACE
KIDS NEED YOGA
OCTOBER 29TH, 2008: Guest blogger today, Mary Scudella. Please enjoy this amazing insight from Mary who runs our Kids Yoga Program.
Namaste Yoga Families!
Well, it is Halloween week. The school year is firmly underway and we are moving into the holiday season with busy schedules. Our kids grow so quickly, so don’t forget to take lots of pictures of them in costume!
Did you know that the CDC says that kids need at least 1 hour of exercise each day? Studies show that kids don’t get the exercise they need. A government-funded study, published on WebMD showed that children typically get less than 25 minutes of exercise a week in school-based physical education programs. We know we’re facing an epidemic of obesity and that is going to translate to more disease as our kids grow into adults.
Not only do our kids need exercise, but they are facing more stress today than ever. School, family and friends all play a part in stressing kids out. A study posted by kidshealth.org stated that about 25% of kids that are upset take their feelings out on themselves, often harming themselves. As parents, it is our duty to teach our kids coping strategies that they can use when they are feeling overwhelmed, upset or angry.
So, how does yoga fit into this mix? Of course, you already know. Yoga provides a full body exercise opportunity for kids. It teaches them body awareness and helps them to recognize when they aren’t feeling just right. Yoga teaches children to listen to their bodies and gives them positive ways to deal with their negative feelings. And, most importantly, yoga classes give them a place where they know that they are whole, beautiful, and full of inner goodness.
Although we can’t deny that times are challenging right now, we also can’t deny that raising our children surrounded by positive, healthy messages is what we, as parents, are meant to do. So, here is your opportunity – Kids yoga classes at TBY are held on Mondays at 5:00 and on Saturdays at 9:15. Classes cost only 10.00 per class if you purchase at least half of the session (otherwise the drop in rate is $14). We begin a new session on November 1.
We all know that as the days get colder, we move less. Give your kids the opportunity to get some needed exercise and to learn some positive coping strategies to manage stress. All of this fun in a non-competitive, creative, loving, environment. And, don’t forget – you need it too! Hope to see you and your families on the mat very soon!
Peace, Joy, Laughter, and Love to you and the ones you love, Mary
WITH AN OPEN MIND IT IS MINE
October 27th, 2008: Here are some of the lyrics to a favorite song titled Receiving Chant by Karen Drucker from her cd Songs of the Spirit III. It inspired tonight's practice. Enjoy!
With an open mind I do believe I will receive
I just have to hope and then declare it to be so
With an open mind and just a little bit of time
If it serves my highest good then it will be mine
Anything I want it is mine
Perfect health, it is mine
Joy and peace, it is mine
Love, Love, Love, it is mine
WITH MY TEACHER SHIVA REA
From October 22nd through 26th I will be in San Francisco with my teacher Shiva Rea. We are studying the energy body. I am always inspired by her and can't wait to share my creative energy with all of you! I love you for supporting my continued learning because more than anyone, I learn from you my students.
With a humble heart,
Silvia (Check out her website www.shivarea.com and see SHOP TBY for my DVD recommendations of hers)
OCTOBER 20TH, 2008: Two key influences into our practice tonight were the following quotes. Enjoy!
No matter how beautiful on the outside, a body full of tension is a difficult vehicle to drive. A body liberated of tension is a luxurious driving machine...maybe a few extra curves here and there but smooth around the corners. As Yogananda says, "You must first feel harmony on the inside in order to see it on the outside."
If you let go a little
You will have a little happiness.
If you let go a lot
You will have a lot of happiness.
If you let go completely
You will be free. - Ajahn Chah
HOW TO STOP DISCONNECTING? STRONGER MIND MUSCLE!
OCTOBER 16, 2008: It's easy to disconnect. Yoga brings us back into a state of connection. These are challenging times and this is when we need a strong MIND MUSCLE the most! Working out our mind muscle is just like working out a bicep, we have to do it more than once to see results.
On the mat we begin the pose with the mind first and then the breath and body follow. This is why the sophistication in cuing is so remarkable as a way to "work out" our mind muscle. How can we even begin to see the connections between ourselves and the world if our mind muscle isn't strong enough to see the communion or connection within our own body? And really what are we talking about here? With a strong MIND muscle can we fit into a size smaller pair of jeans? Why bother at all? Because a strong mind muscle is what keeps us living lovingly and fully! It is always about LOVE. Jack Kornfield says it like this:
"Love creates a communion with life. Love expands us, connects us, sweetens us, ennobles us. Love springs up in tender concern, it blossoms into caring action. It makes beauty out of all we touch. In any moment we can step beyond our small self and embrace each other as beloved parts of the whole."
LIFE BECOMES PLAY SO PLAY BIG!
OCTOBER 15TH, 2008: JOY TO THE WORLD!
FULL MOON TODAY!
OCTOBER 14TH, 2008: Today is the full moon so we practice honoring the fullness within us. The moon side (left side of the body) is our receptive, intuitive, yin side. However this doesn't mean that the moon is any less luminescent than the sun! We can be bright and amazing and feel our own true magnificence in moon light as well as sunlight. This means that we can always 24 hours a day tap into our greatest potential.
I want your time with me on the mat to inspire you to yearn to discover more about yourself! To me all yoga is celebration. It is a FULL 100% connection with life! Now I know sometimes the practice is challenging but we need strength to live fully, to never give up, to keep blooming.
Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershsy puts it like this, "For yesterday I hold no aplogies, for tomorrow I hold no answers, Today is a gift and I will honor it by FULLY living in it!"
OCTOBER 13TH, 2008: One of my fave books is called "radical self-acceptance" check it out sometime. In Yoga there is that same idea called Atma Puja translated as radical self-love. Now I'd like to tell you all that it gets easier but the reality is at least for me it hasn't. In some ways I find myself more challenged to find new ways to fall in love with myself each and every day.
A starting point is where we stop the negative self-talk and then through the loving care of our bodies and minds make better choices in eating, talking, being in a pose, breathing, working, sleeping...all of it. And this leads to less reliance on getting approval from other people. But then it doesn't stop there.
We have to continue to work to ask ourselves better and better questions in our care and feeding. This refinement is deeply impactful just like refining a pose you've been working on a long time. This means you commit to a responsible relationship with yourself not just for one breath or even twenty but for the whole of your life. You are the lover and the beloved! Today and forever shamelessly love you more!
DETERMINED TO TRUST MORE
OCTOBER 9TH, 2008: William Shakespeare wrote: “Learning to trust ourselves is a worthy practice, the practice of authenticity. This is the work of aligning the standards we have for ourselves with our deepest passions and dreams. It’s the work of making promises to ourselves and keeping them. It’s the work of knowing who we are without judgment.”
TRUST MEANS I HAVE FAITH IN MY ABILITY TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE
I get it you guys we want to trust others but we are afraid they will let us down. Today instead of focusing on trusting others remember that there is something bigger; trust YOURSELF. Trust in your ability to be okay even if things are not okay.
THERE IS NO FAILURE
OCTOBER 8, 2008: NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE. There is really only observation. Please trust this. You can't really fail at anything, if we're up to bat and we miss the ball no big deal we just produced a result so we act upon the result. This is why I love Vinyasa Yoga, anyone can do it! Everyone can do it! No one and I mean not a single person can’t do it. I hope this knowledge helps to reduce your fear of doing the yoga wrong. There is no failure.
How do we accept and trust this? First we have to let go of any need to receive approval from others - let go of the "What will they think?" mentality or you stop your evolution. Simply put this is fear based living. I remember in the corporate world when facing on-going layoffs and down sizings thinking hey if I do everything right then I'll get to keep my job. This sets us up for disappointment. We can take whatever actions we choose to but the desired results may not be what we want them to be. But we need not take this as a failure. The key to finding the play in life is to stop worrying about the outcome. Just try to be patient in trusting what is happening is right, trust in a greater wisdom and know that life keeps flowing. Don’t be afraid to keep going!
OCTOBER 7TH, 2008: So I have been meditating on this poem. I hope you enjoy!
Reverse Living by Jack Kornfield
Life is tough.
It takes a lot of your time,
all your weekends,
and what do you get at the end of it?
Death, a great reward.
I think that the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first, get it out of the way.
Then you live twenty years in an old age home.
You are kicked out when you are too young.
You get a gold watch, you go to work.
You work forty years until you're
young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You go to college,
you party until you're ready for high school.
You become a little kid, you play,
you have no responsibilities,
you become a little boy or girl,
you go back into the womb,
you spend your last nine months floating.
And you finish off as a gleam in someone's eye
LIVE IN YOUR OWN TRUE SPLENDOUR!
There are really 2 ways to see life. One would be a darker view...that at any moment something could go wrong, we could get run over. The other would be a brighter view...what amazing miracle might take place today?! These are spoken about in the Yoga Sutras.
The seer dwells in his own true splendour. (Yoga Sutra 1.3)
At other times, the seer identifies with the fluctuating consciousness. (Yoga Sutra 1.4)
In today’s turbulent times it is important to keep practicing to stay positive and peaceful. From a peaceful center we can respond instead of react. Feel as you say these phrases this sense of calm radiate from your center.
Breathing in, I calm my body
Breathing out, I calm my mind
May I be balanced
May I be at peace
With a peaceful heart whatever happens can be met with wisdom. It's a choice, we can view ourselves strapped to the whipping post of a "fluctuating consciousness." Or we can practice the art of peaceful perception, the ability to see the eye of the storm, and weave its splendour through the conflict. To find peace we have to let go of our struggles, to stop making war with life. This is going to require quiet courage and action. As Sri Baba says, “ “It is only when you have both divine grace and human endeavor that you can experience bliss, just as you can enjoy the breeze of a fan only when you have both a fan and the electrical energy to operate it.”
NO GRABBING, BITING, PUSHING OR PULLING
OCTOBER 5TH, 2008: Today our practice was focused on learning more about Attachment and Aversion by experiencing our breath, thoughts and physical sensations. It was also inspired by the book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. You remember stuff from that age things like no pushing, no pulling, biting, or grabbing. Well this was yoga. Who knew!?
Yoga Sutras Chapter 2, Verse 7
Excessive fondness for pleasant experiences causes longing. Attachment (Raga) which is PULLING
Yoga Sutras Chapter 2, Verse 8
Excessive avoidance of unpleasant experiences causes disdain. Aversion (Dvesa) which is PUSHING
As Judith Lasater writes, “in life we are pulled between trying to get what you want and trying to avoid what you don’t want. Pulling and Pushing away both limit our freedom.” Now this doesn’t mean that we don’t have preferences of course we do! Attachment happens when we don’t get our preference. The still meditation allowed us to let our minds rest away from the push-pull energies that drive ego.
We started class with Pranayama geared towards observing our breathing patterns especially to see if we are “Breath Grabbers”. A single breath really has three parts: exhalation, PAUSE, inhalation. Breath grabbers tend to grab the next breath without taking the pause. This pause is where we experience a quiet sense of peace and relaxation. Breath grabbers often feel that if they don't grab what they want, then they'll miss out or be left behind. For the breath grabber time is always running out which cultivates a constant feeling of anxiety. In practice it causes folks to speed up and run out of breath.
In feeling out poses (asana) we took our time building each wave to its peak with time to focus on where our thoughts might have that “PUSH” energy and where they have that “PULL” energy. Push thoughts are things like “I don’t want to hold this pose, I don’t want to try this new or difficult variation”. And pull thoughts might be things like “I want another Sun Salutation, I should be able to do 35 vinyasas per class no matter what.”
Ultimately I hope this practice gave us time to stop bullying ourselves in poses like a bully on the playground pushing or intimidating folks and that it also helped us lessen our attachment to doing the practice in the same way (only vinyasa’s plank chatarunga, up dog, down dog a million times) like a lovesick second grader chasing after a crush. I wish that today helped you find the stillness that comes from finding the balance between the push and the pull.
Stay sweet and steady my friends! Silvia (www.robertfulghum.com)
OCTOBER 4TH, 2008:
WELCOME NEW TBY TEACHER TRAINEES!
OCTOBER 3RD, 2008: I am deeply touched by the amazing welcome of our TBY teachers to our newest teacher trainees. I want to share with you a welcome letter from one of our senior staff members, Mary Scudella:
I’m very excited that you all have found the path of enriching your experience of yoga through the TBY teacher training. I know you will all learn so much about yoga practice, life, and yourselves over the next several months. Please know that you are traveling a path that is beautiful and right. Wherever this path leads you, enjoy the journey, the moments, and the light within.
During my teacher training, I attended a workshop led by Todd Norian in
We call down grace,
and gaze without wavering
into the fires of creation.
We find the place where
love embraces fear, and
tears taste like faith.
We let our radiance
be revealed in laughter
and in longing.
We hold the whole of life,
sweet grapes and bitter,
healing herbs –
We hold until we overflow
and offer back the gifts
that we’ve received.
The vessel never empties.
The glowing love between
us keeps it filled.
POWER OF RELAXATION: THE ANTI FEAR LIFE
OCTOBER 1, 2008:
From "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke
I want to beg of you much as I can to be patient
toward all that's unsolved in your heart,
and learn to love the questions themselves,
like locked rooms, or like books that are
written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you,
because you would not be able to live them,
and the point is to live everything.
Live the question now,
perhaps you will then, gradually, without noticing it,
live along some distant day into the answer.