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
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
HUGGING AND INTENTION
December 10, 2010. As you breath and enjoy this holiday season make time to set an expectation for your life this next year. Are you on the right path so far? And whatever you decide just know we are all evolving in the direction of happiness. It is our right. Freedom and the pursuit of happiness is your destiny! It is like what’s written in the Alchemist,“Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” And when you need time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go get on the mat where you’ll always discover you have the power, the heart and the energy to achieve anything you want!
This is what we mean by hugging in. This practice of yoga helps us practice strengthening our connection to what we want and who we really are as authentic human beings. And just like a hug between two people takes trust, so does meeting yourself and making the healthy decisions that will propel your life forward. Love yourself, love the day, love your life! Silvia
Visit my website to learn more about my retreats classes and workshops www.silviamordini.com www.alchemytours.com
NEW SERIES IN THE WORDS OF A TEACHER TRAINEE JULIA JONSON COHN TELLS ALL
By Julia Jonson Cohn
Sure yoga’s a “feel good” kind of discipline, but anyone who practices regularly will tell you it goes so much deeper than that. As I go through teacher training I feel as if am drinking yoga by the gallon-ful… gulping down more classes and home practice, pouring over books, exploring places to observe classes and consuming web casts and DVD’s about yoga. I can best describe my current state of studentship by declaring I feel mighty!
I dusted off my circa 1985, three-inch thick, Webster’s Dictionary and looked up the word. It defines mighty as “great and powerful.” Another definition I found read “having or showing great power, skill, strength, or force.” Yes! I feel all of these things. But I’ve discovered that it is okay to feel weak and have obstacles that need to be conquered in order to keep feeling strong.
Our teacher Silvia had big things planned for last weekend‘s training. On Friday we would tackle handstands and Saturday would be all about arm balances. The sessions were challenging, fun and -- at for me at times -- frustrating. In my own practice, I had shied away from such poses… yet, I found I was being hard on myself for not being able to execute them. As I struggled to pull my feet off the ground in Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose) and sweat dripped from my brow, I muttered under my breath in irritation. My fellow classmate LeAnn Lockhart says she also experienced self doubt, but “(I learned to) just let go and realize some things take time, that I just needed to love myself for trying.”
As I scanned the room watching my classmates in, what seemed to be, slow motion -- it hit me that my inner strife had the potential to bring them down. Another reminder of how yoga reveals the effects our actions can have on one another. Then I watched in amazement at other students flying and felt exhilarated to watch them soar. Especially Ric Saguil who says “Through Silvia’s guidance I was able to reach a spiritual and physical place I only envisioned previously.”
So for me, being mighty means always remembering that every challenge I face represents a choice to either shine or wilt. I choose to shine and in doing so, have a subtly good impact on others by diligently practicing what scares me. For now I am taking baby steps by working on Bakasana (Crow or Crane), Parsva Bakasana and Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance). Guess what? I’m almost there. And I really do love myself for trying.
SLOW DOWN GEORGE CARLIN POEM
DECEMBER 13, 2010. Here is the George Carlin poem I read in class on this day that our theme was Slowing Down. Enjoy!
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
- We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
- We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
- We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
- We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We plan more, but accomplish less.We've learned to rush, but not to wait.
- These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion.
Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your loved ones, but most of all mean it.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment.
Give time to love! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
EMOTIONAL SPLINTERS, PIMPLES AND HANGNAILS
Have you ever had a hangnail? What about a pimple? A splinter?
This weekend I broke a nail. Tragic!! Oooh the pain, the challenge, the distraction! Yeah, I know its not that big a deal. But at the time it hurt. But to add insult to injury as life has a sense of humor, long past being a teenager I still get pimples. Terrible stuff. And that too, if I let it, creates a little drama inside my head. But enough about me, what about you? Do you lets little things like pimples, broken nails, splinters fully absorb all your attention?
It's funny that way isn't it? Here are these small inconveniences and yet we can get totally distracted where everything else seems to lose significance. All we think about is that one small thing!
One of my favorite writings puts it like this, "Negative emotions are like splinters. They pierce our consciousness grab hold of our minds and consume our thoughts to the point that we can lose sight of our desire for contentment compassion and deeper awareness. Most of us can recall the times we have felt hurt or angered by harsh words or actions of others and how we have held on to our pain processing it over and over in our minds like a never ending one sided argument. We often hold on to these emotional splinters for weeks months and even years. Holding onto negative thoughts always increases our pain, causing us to be distracted, dysfunctional and even depressed."
So what are your emotional broken nails? Do you have emotional splinters overriding your life right now? I'll tell you day 1 of broken nail my mind kept going back to it, I saw this was a problem and by day 2 I was already able to retrain my mind to be more present, by day 3 I only thought about my broken nail 4 times, by day 4 I only let it absorb my attention twice. You see yoga is for the mind. There is an answer to our emotional hangnails. Just like getting a splinter out of the body, once we decide we don't want to replay the negative or hurtful thoughts over and over can we begin to heal.
And yoga does heal. It has healed me, it has healed hundreds of students I've seen through the years, it has healed the teacher trainees I've had the privilege of working with for 9 sessions. Yoga can offer you healing too. This philosophy comes from the Yoga Sutras, Chapter 2.33 Pratipaksha Bhavana. Where when we are faced with something hurtful we cultivate an elevated attitude, we move our mind away from the petty distraction and dramas. In other words WE DO NOT FREAK OUT. Do not Panic. All the stuff that is flying around outside us we call life is just external agitation. Yoga helps us to quiet the mind through concentrated focus on breath, movement, sensation to move away from the external pimples and to the place deep inside our hearts where peace always exists. Where there is no drama.
This comes as a result in great part simply by bringing awareness to the small stuff and often just laughing at ourselves and our humanness and what silly creatures we are. We learn to shift from a splinter to the important experiences of loving ourselves, loving others, living honestly and with total commitment to our overall happiness.
"Any of us in deep hurt know that shifting our feelings is much easier said than done. We actually become pyschologically and nuerologically habituated to sharp toxic emotions to that point we we often find ourselves over-responding making the tiniest splinter of perceived negative experience feel like shrapnel piercing our hearts. As we perpetuate this response it becomes such an ingrained habit that we often feel unable to control our behavior." So the firs step to healing your emotional broken nails is to know it is possible to change the habits of your mind. Every yoga class you experience will help you do that. And through this process of practice "we can transform our splinters to salve, anger into compassion, hate into love, fear into courage and yes even pain into joy!" Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
Join me with alchemy tours in 2011 www.alchemytours.com
GENEROSITY IS BEST HOLIDAYASANA!
How Can You Be Generous?
As a result of practicing yoga I have changed the way I think about generosity. I have learned to give without expectation and to always remain mindful of the quality of my generosity. It's one thing to give away those things you don't like or have tired of but what about giving what you value you most?
As long as ever you can." - John Wesley
And the thing that we all value is "time". So in this season of holiday giving take a moment to think of ways you can be more generous with your time. What good can you do that doesn't mean fancy/expensive? Can you start by being generous with yourself? Can you gift yourself the gift of a yoga class every week, every day this month so you feel the goodness of your own heart.
Once you start practicing generosity with yourself (just like how your legs support your body in a pose or your breath supports your spirit in life) you'll find it easier to share your goodness with everyone. Yoga is community. Sharing time with one another makes the best gift. It's not fancy, but it sure is special.
This week I'll be sharing my time at a fundraiser with all proceeds going to benefit Bikes To Rwanda, an Oregon-based nonprofit organization that provides specially designed "coffee bikes" to Rwandan coffee growers, helping them transport their beans to market and create a sustainable economy. Let's come together in union (yoga) and open our hearts to all the ways we can be more generous with something that is more valuable than currency - our spirit, our positive energy, our kind thoughts, our love, our time.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
*Join me on a Yoga retreat in 2011! www.silviamordini.com or www.alchemytours.com to stay in touch
WHY PRACTICE YOGA?
DECEMBER 4, 2010. We have lots of new friends in yoga class which I'm totally stoked about! And one of the greatest things about new students is how they teach us to really think about Why we practice yoga? Taking a step back lets just explain how cool it is that yoga is something we "practice". We are not trying to conquer it or complete it or perfect the crap out of it, we just show up and practice. That's all. And what is yoga really? Donna Farhi, Master yoga teacher and author says, “In its broadest sense yoga is a return to wholeness. There is an uncompromising belief in yoga philosophy that wholeness is our implicit birthright. But most of us forget our wholeness, or in yogic terms we forget our true nature, and we live in a kind of illusion that we are alone."
As a result we end up suffering from a kind of SPIRITUAL AMNESIA that makes us feel separate from our authentic selves, separate from others, separate from feeling better. Yoga is any practice that restores this original wholeness and sense of connection with the world.” And really the reason you practice or I practice is both the same and different. On the one hand we all practice yoga to feel better.
And how we go about it is unique and special to each of us. It could be we practice today for physical reasons (to lose 10 pounds), to relieve physical pain, to alleviate mental stress, to process our emotions or even to practice being more spiritual. All reasons are welcomed and all are good. Yoga is exactly what you need it to be for you. It's like taking a field trip to the ocean and we will all focus on one aspect more than another (the sun, the heat, the sand, the sound, the smell, the water).
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 why you show up to practice is yours to cherish and my hope is that by the end of class everyone feels better. That the yoga works to helps us all feel more comfortable being ourselves. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
Join me on a spiritual adventure www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com
ACUPUNCTURE DISCOUNTS UPDATES FROM WILD LAVENDER
Dear TBY Students,
It is the Season of Giving!! Bring in 10 cans of food and/or non perishable items and receive $20 off your acupuncture treatment. Bring in 20 or more and receive 50% off!! This offer is good once per month for both November and December. All donations will be given to the Freemont Township Food Bank.
It is also time to sign up for the CSA/Simply Wisconsin Food Share summer session. The earlier you sign up, the more discounts you will receive. Plus, if you sign up before December 15 you will be able to pick the meat you want in your monthly boxes. I have heard nothing but great feedback from the members who are participating in the winter session. Take good care of yourself by eating organic and local; take great care of the community by supporting the local farmers!
Acupuncture Happy Hour will soon be replaced by something even better. Starting in January, Wild Lavender will do Community Acupuncture once a month. Community Acupuncture is similar to Happy Hour. Each individual wanting a treatment will sign up for one 15 minute session and then have up to 20 needles placed in them. In order to accommodate multiple individuals in each 15 minute window, you will share a treatment room with others. This type of treatment allows more people to afford treatments. It also helps those who are nervous about receiving acupuncture and those who have time constraints. In essence, this allows more of the community to receive acupuncture. A whole body/ear acupuncture treatment will cost $35 and an only-ear treatment will be $25. There will be an additional $20 fee for first time patients for intake and diagnosis. A treatment will be given free to those returning patients who bring in new patients.
I want to thank Silvia and the rest of Total Body Yoga for making my first year there an amazing one!!
Please don't forget you will receive $20 off your next acupuncture treatment for each of your referrals I treat.
Carrie Wilhelm, Wild Lavender
Call 224-280-6228 or email: email@example.com
MY "BEST" PRACTICE BY GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS
December 1, 2101 My "Best" Practice? By Laura Mills, in the words of a New Yoga Teacher
When I was little, someone I admired advised me to achieve two objectives with my future: first, I must choose an endeavor that brings me happiness; and second, no matter what the endeavor, I must be my very best at it. Very shortly after I began teaching yoga, I knew this particular role model would be proud, for no endeavor of my past had shown me so much joy. But even now, more than six months into my teaching experience, the second objective trails a question mark.... Am I truly the best yoga teacher I can be at this point? And if not, how can I become so?
It's not a question of spending more time on class preparation. A yoga teacher can literally spend every moment sequencing poses and developing themes. Realistically, of course, that can't happen--and at this point, I believe I've found a place at which I reasonably weave together yoga teaching and practice with the other strands that together form my complete life, including the eating and sleeping, errands and chores, writing and reading, and other pursuits with which I enrich my time.
If I'm already reading, then, perhaps I should read more about yoga and yoga-related topics. Material abounds, for sure; one of the first things that struck me about teacher training, in fact, was the amount of reading material. Books about the fundamentals of yoga poses and the teaching of them, books on yogic philosophy, books on human anatomy, books on how to incorporate yoga into life off the mat...I confess that even now, six months after teacher training's end, I have yet to make my way through every last page. But even after I complete my first pass through this resource library, much more will remain to be read. Not long ago, for example, at a local bookstore I spotted shelf after shelf of translations of the Yoga Sutras (all different from the three I already own), the Upanisads, and the Bhagavad Gita, as well as books on different styles of yoga, yoga for various ailments and ages, and others. Yes, keeping the pages moving will always be an option.
But really, even while a stack of still-unread yoga books is never far away, I know that yoga-in-writing is really only a small part of what's left for me to learn. The more yoga I practice and the more yoga I teach, the more I feel as if I stand only at the beginning of a path that stretches infinitely ahead. Just connecting with other teachers and students teaches me new lessons all the time, like there's always one more way to sequence a class, one more way to incorporate a theme, one more reason why people come to yoga in the first place, and one more inspiration that brings them back class after class. In six months of teaching I have yet to leave the studio with the same mind with which I entered; at the very least, after every class I am strengthened in my knowledge that I don't know all that exists to know about yoga. And that I never will.
And actually, now that I think about it, perhaps keeping this very point at heart--with the greatest humility and the firmest commitment to yoga as a lifelong practice--is the essence of truly being my very best at this endeavor. Yes, I can continue putting my efforts into preparing classes, and I can pursue yoga-related reading whenever time allows. But I can also reaffirm my intention again and again to embrace my own studentship, letting myself just BE TAUGHT as life as a yoga teacher and everything else that I am unfolds. I can keep my heart open to the practice with the faith that, no matter how long I've been teaching, yoga will always have something left to teach me.
WHAT DO YOU SAY YES TO?
NOVEMBER 20, 2010. What do you say YES to? Are you conscious and alert to your Yes choices? Do you say Yes more than you say No? Or do you just pick the stuff that is the most convenient?
We are in many ways organisms of convenience so what Pema Chodran writes hits home, “when you hear some teachings that ring true to you and feel some trust in its being a worthwhile way to live then you’re in for a lot inconvenience. From an everyday perspective it seems good to do things that are kind of convenient; there is no problem with that. It’s just that when you really start to take the warrior’s journey – which is to say, when you start to want to live your LIFE FULLY, when you begin to feel this passion for life and for growth, when discovery and exploration and curiosity become your path – then basically, it you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it’s often extremely inconvenient.”
"There is only one way to learn," the alchemist answered. "It's through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey." (The Alchemist To Santiago.) In Tantric philosophy we start with "yes". It is our first response. We say yes to opening, softening, receiving and...
YES IS DOING!
Take to heart this blessing: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Wayne Gretzky is so right on. Doing something is the Yes. And when you decide you are clear on what you say YES to, then everything is there to support you. It is as is written in the Alchemist "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." At the end of the day what you say YES to isn't even as important as just doing something, saying YES is your commitment to living the moment full blast! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
Join me on retreat www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com