MARCH 30, 2010: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” -Dr. Seuss
Dr Seuss is a stud for sure. As you know I’ve been selling my house. I have bombarded myself with ever more complicated questions related to why no one comes to see my house, why I can’t sell it, why did I pour a gazillion extra dollars in this last year to prepare it, why did I list it lower than I wanted to…and on and on. Well bottom line is that complicating my life with too many why’s and questions is only hurting me. The answer here is simple.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo DaVinci
I am now trying to learn from this whole thing as it has been a really challenging form of yoga for me. I have come to realize that just like collecting poses doesn’t make you happy, well collecting too many chairs, tables, and “stuff” hasn’t made me happy either. So now I am simplifying. I am learning what Vernon Howard means “You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”
On the mat we look for ways to conserve energy, to become more efficient and simple or subtle in the practice of asana. Therein lies its beauty or Shri. And the more we practice simplicity in class the more clear headed we become to recognize and seek that off the mat. We certainly don’t come to yoga to practice being more complicated! Which I looked up means Thorny, Dense, Convoluted, Intricate, Difficult, Problematic
Ugh. That’s not anything I want. I aspire to Lao Tzu description “Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” That is true abundance.
The reality is that life is simple. We can see the Shri in the world around us more easily with less stuff in the way! So may we all be satiated with what we have, not over stuffed and with courage may we will simplify those areas of our lives that feel thorny, dense or difficult. Peace in all ways, Silvia
PS THE ANSWER? It is love.
GIVE GOOD, GET GOOD
MARCH 29 2010: Positive energy attracts positive energy. You give good and you get good. So simple! But not easy.
I talked about how I read about a California bride yoga teacher who raised $2,300 at her wedding and donated it to Haiti. This is yet another of the daily examples in my life and in others of the law of attraction. We can change the world we live in from the inside out. All we need to do is give good and equally through yoga we learn how to be sweet in receiving. For that too came out in this article this cool girl was so gracious in receiving the kindness that folks gave her. So let’s try it for one week. Join me and everyday this week just GIVE GOOD and humbly GET GOOD back. I love you all and wish you your own best beauty! Silvia
California Bride Raises $2,300 at her wedding, donates 100% of would-be wedding expenses to relief for Haiti.
My wedding was perfect. I still believe it may have been a dream if it weren’t for the photos.
If you read the first article I wrote for elephantjournal.com, you’ll remember how I described myself as not being “the wedding type.” I decided to have my wedding at Yogaco, where I teach yoga in Santa Monica by donation. I gave up my Sunday slot and turned it into my wedding. I asked that all the guests bring money for Haiti instead of towels, pots and sheets for my new husband Robert and me.
I planned this big hoopla and made it public on Facebook (assuming everyone was on Facebook). I did receive some flack after from people who missed the event because they are not on Facebook. I am still stunned. Not on Facebook? Apparently there are a few people out there who still rely on phone calls rather than texts, on actual communication rather than social networking. Hmm.
I was a bit nervous as to how it would all work out, but I kept reminding myself of the life lesson proven time and time again: It Always Works Out. And It did.
Emmy award winning stylist Brenda Cooper styled me in an amazing gown and jewels and my student Hilla Peer did my makeup.
Second lesson I have been re-learning lately: You attract what you are, or, likes attract. I must be doing something right because I have been attracting the most wonderful people and students into my life. At no other point in my life have I had such kind, generous, loving, and spiritual people surrounding me. Nobody would take money from me. I looked like a movie star and yet I did not pay one cent.
Another example of this Law of Attraction is the angel that showed up right before I got married and healed me.
My back went out before I was to wed. Yes, it sounds cliche, but it’s true. And I teach yoga. All around bad situation. I literally could not move or teach. How was I to get married? I tried doctors, heating pads, ice, rest, no rest, bath, massage, chiropractor. Nothing seemed to alleviate my pain. I finally managed to crawl out of bed to teach my Saturday evening class, where I announced my back was injured and I would not be demonstrating any poses. After class, a woman came up to me who I had never seen before and said that she wanted to help me. She would open her office for me the next day, a Sunday morning, because she was leaving for Japan on Monday. To make a long story short, this woman whom I had never met opened her heart and her doors to me on her day off and cured me. She gave me acupuncture and helped me release whatever it was I was holding onto, physically and otherwise. Mostly otherwise. She would not take money from me. It was as if she showed up just to help me and then disappeared.
I had a professional photographer at my wedding who also would not take money. It was as if all these people were conspiring with the Universe to help me pull this off. And did we ever!
As the people arrived, they brought home-cooked food and champagne. The children took the Red Cross buckets and began walking around to collect donations. Of course no one could resist them so we owe quite a bit to their charm.
Samadhi Bishop sang, I want to hold your Hand with a voice so powerful that people actually started weeping. Erica Rhodes was on cello and proceeded to mesmerize the audience. We had a didgeridoo player and drummer and people got up and said prayers and poems. One woman got on stage and asked everyone if they had seen the movie Avatar. We all nodded. That is like asking if everyone is on Facebook, isn’t it? She had us all gather and touch the person next to us, so the whole room was touching and we could all feel each other. It was a profound experience, much like the film. The energy in the room was palpable, as if it was a living breathing thing, which indeed it was.
One of my students brought tears to my eyes when I saw that he wrote a check to the Red Cross for $1,000. This is the type of person who comes to my class. I feel so blessed to even know this kind of person, let alone be their teacher. All in all, we raised over $2,300 for Haiti. It felt so good counting all that money knowing how far it would go.
I did register at Target because all my friends kept saying that I ” had to.” (I am human and there are a few things that I want. If you recall I mentioned a wok in my last article. Well, I have received seven woks.) After a while however, as you browse the pages of Target registries, all the stuff starts to look the same. I realized: It is Just Stuff. Whereas this $2,300 is going to go very very far in saving lives and helping people with basic necessities such as water. The stuff of life, rather than just stuff.
I figure that if this law of attraction stuff keeps up I won’t ever have to register for anything ever again because amazing things and people will just keep Showing Up in my Life. This is how it works. Going back to How may I serve?
When you give with a pure heart, the pure heart in others reveals itself to you. Case in point: my wedding and all the events surrounding it.
All in all, it was a huge success. I know my father was there in spirit as I felt his presence in the room and it was his spirit which helped me in all of this. It was truly a spectacular celebration with people I knew and people I didn’t know alike, singing and dancing and eating and raising a ton of money.
p.s. Not one person wore shoes!
Jennifer Pastiloff is a yoga teacher based in Santa Monica, Ca, who spends too much time on Facebook, Twitter, and elephantjournal.com. She tries to balance it out with writing poems and being the So Cal Director of Yoga teachers forYogabear, a non-profit that provides free yoga to cancer survivors.
HOW HAS YOGA CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
MARCH 28, 2010: It wasn't so long ago that I was resistant to all the avenues of social networking. Then once I started I learned I loved it! I read an article about the Yoga of Facebook a couple days ago and something clicked. The way yoga has changed my life is that I now see yoga in everything. There is a yoga of facebook, the yoga of ordering Starbucks, the yoga of being in line at Target, the yoga of friendship, the yoga is what reminds us about what it means to live in alignment with what truly allows you to be your best self while at the same time serving others as a positive contributing member of humanity. And from being friends on facebook one of our clients asked if they could have a few minutes of time after class on Sunday to interview TBY students about how the yoga has changed their lives. Of course I said, that's great! As a result they inspired me to bring this as the theme for class. So during the course of yoga practice I "interviewed" each student, their answers were silent for themselves. I hope you take a moment if you couldn't join me Sunday and interview yourself about how your yoga has impacted your life. And if you too have figured out, "it's all yoga." And to my facebook friends, I love you guys!! Stay human, stay connected. Love, Silvia
For how long have you been practicing yoga?
And what kind of yoga do you like the most?
What drew you to the practice?
And what has kept you in the practice?
What now inspires your current practice?
What changes have you noticed in your life since beginning and/or maintaining your practice?
Have you noticed any changes in your personal relationships (e.g. familial, work, friendships, romantic, random people on the street, pets, etc.)?
When you first commenced your practice did you notice any aspect of your life fluctuating—in good, bad, or ambiguous ways?
Please describe a circumstance in which the presence of yoga in your life has clearly demonstrated how you may handle situations differently.
MARCH 27, 2010: Your life is the way it is because of YOU. Can you imagine a world in which everyone holds themselves accountable for the quality of their life? I dreamed of a place where no one places blame on anyone else for the circumstances of their life. There is no longer a victim mentality or as Rusty Wells said, Yoga is the anti-victim mentality. Your life is the way it is because of you.
When I first figured this out as part of yogic teachings the thing I was most blown away by was that this meant I had to work at my own development, happiness and spiritual growth. This in yoga we know as Sadhana, we work daily as a practice on our own inner evolution. This evolution is where we take responsibility moment by moment for what we say, how we act, how we breath, what we think.
This active living of life or as a best dear friend always says, “Try Life. Live it.” Makes it clear that we are living and learning from the experience of life moment to moment. And that this is true living of life is only taking place in the present. We can too easily fall prey to lamenting the past and pushing blame on things that have expired or forecasting some neurotic tendency towards the future. If we are taking full responsibility then we are living on purpose right now. Everything we do is on purpose or with conscious intent. Even something like kindness, where I go to sleep each night and say to myself “tomorrow I am going to be 11% kinder” requires me to stay present to each situation, person or thing that I encounter and see the best in it.
Kindness takes work. Taking responsibility for one’s life takes work. But the good news is that then we get all the credit too.
Every time we come together in yoga class I realize that my dream has come true. What we do person to person on the mat is hold ourselves accountable pose to pose and at the end we celebrate by resting in quiet meditation known as savasana. Well deserved too! So join me on the mat, become part of my dream…more importantly become part of my reality of making this world the best place possible. Love! Silvia
CLASS PLAN WITH SILVIA MARCH 26, 2010
Lie on mat roll long to long Roll to side Bharavajrasana sit right hip: sidebend, twist
Pigeon right inhale/exhale 5 breath hold
Plank to basic vinyasa
Bharavajrasana sit left hip (side 2 begins)
WAVE 1 Repeat above and add on Pigeon 1 breath I leg dog to core plank Pigeon hold 4 breaths Same as above side 2
WAVE 2 Repeat above and add on, variety Pigeon 1 breath 1 leg dog to twisted plank Parsva vascistasana 2 Pigeon hold 3 breaths Basic Vinyasa, side 2
TRANSITION Malasana Forward Fold tick tock back and forth Crow Basic Vinyasa
WAVE 3 MANDALA
I leg dog Open Hip 1 leg dog Close Hip 1 leg dog Twisted Plank Parsva Vascistasana 2 1 Leg Dog Low lunge to Side Lunge Transverse Lunge pulse side to side Quarter turn to Left foot 1 leg dog, jump switch 1 leg plank, basic vinyasa 1 leg dog, jump switch to core plank to hops 3-7 times Mandala Namaskar same leg again flow through
Krama 1: Jump FF Mountain Half Moon A Prana mudra arms (last time lift leg up sideways)
Krama 2: Hold wrist half Moon A, step foot behind like cow legs, to crane to eagle to eagle chair twist Then side 2 left leg begins
WAVE 4 1 leg dog, flipped dog, twisted plank, parsva vascistasana 2 Upavista Konasana Twisted upavista konasana Parsva upavista konasana Janu sirsasana Marychasana A Marychasana C Twisted Plank 1 leg dog, hop switches
Bridge with brick
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 1 MARCH 24, 2010 WITH SILVIA
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 1 MARCH 24, 2010
Sukhasana Seated: Buddha mudra in stages
- Right hand - accomplishments
- Left hand - goals
- Both, energy ball, sankalpa mudra
Change cross of legs - lie down in sukhasana
Cobbler Supine Bridge prep: inhale lift arms, exhale lower arms, inhale lift hips, exhale lower hips (flow)
Bridge hold: 1 legged bridge to pigeon bridge 5 breaths
Pigeon on back
1 legged bridge,
Bridge Side 2
Spinal rolls to forward fold
Rotate foot to right, walk hands out, back to center Rotate foot to left, walk hands out, back to center
Step back left leg into Prasarita Paddotanasana Ardha Prasarita hold (stand up)
Inhale Star, Exhale Warrior 2 Right (warm up ankles) Inhale Star, Exhale Warrior 2 Left (flow)
Second stage: Star, Warrior 2, Reverse Warrior 2, Warrior 2
Third stage: Star, Warrior 2, Straight leg Reverse Warrior 2, Triangle, Prasarita Twist (heart helicopter, 1 hand on ground)
Prasarita forearms down
Jump in and out (handstand prep)
Forward Fold, turn right foot out, lift into Ardha Chandrasana B
Jump in and out (handstand prep)
Side 2 (turn left foot out, begin above)
From Prasarita walk hands forward and 1 leg downward dog
WAVE 5 Dancing Warrior 2 (Warrior A, Warrior B, Reverse Warrior B, Side Angle, Warrior B) Basic Vinyasa
Cow dog (cross left leg behind right)
Walk dog standing cow
Seated Cow pose (buddha mudra)
Cow pose twist (optional koundinasana 2 legs bound)
Baby Cradle leg to Sundial pose
Seated Pigeon (optional koundinasana 2)
Seated Pigeon twist to open side straight arm inside instep of foot (arm balance option)
Upward facing plank with pigeon leg, then straight up with leg (like 1 legged bridge)
Upward facing plank
Basic vinyasa to Dog Side 2
From upward facing plank Bridge prep
Supported Bridge with block
Eagle twist (legs like cow face pose)
SPRING INTO NEW BEGINNINGS
MARCH 22, 2010
March 20th was Spring Equinox, and we know intellectually this means that the shadow of Winter moves on. But still that lingering bit of heaviness continues to remain, we are still wearing all our layers of warm clothing and you can feel the tiredness in the air. We have had a 2009 that was colder than usual, a lost summer and finding the getty up and go this Jan/Feb/Mar may have seemed insurmountable because of the record breaking number of grey days. So let's acknowledge the darkness and see it as the fertilizer making our souls more fertile for the new beginnings of Spring. We only make a new beginning by acknowledging the endings in our life.
Often/sometimes/who am I kidding most always challenge rides along side positive change (paraphrased from Sadie Nardini). Instead of denying we still feel a bit peaked let's stoke our fire gently. Think about how you want to share in the new beginnings of Spring. Do you want to see your life from a new perspective? Do you want to make a fresh start of things?
On the mat we practice in waves that each have a beginning, middle and end to feel this natural cycle. For many of us endings are harder than beginnings. Or maybe you think they're both hard. I get that. We have even in each breath a CLEAN SLATE to breath in fresh air and rejuvenation. And yet so often our human tendancy is to RECREATE THE PAST (breathing in an old way, thinking in old paradigms, living the old stories). Just know you don't have to.
To begin again, to start afresh isn't always popular. As you change your energy impacts those around you and if they are resistant they may not see you as the superstar you are. This doesn't mean we have to keep doing what everyone else is doing and letting your life decisions be made by default. That way of life is staying in the Dark. It is living life unconsciously. Let go of making the opinions of others more important than your own. You're never going to get everyone to agree on how you should live your life anyway.
I didn't transition into teaching yoga to be popular or to be controversial, I simply taught because doing so brought me into full alignment with living a more loving life. When I made this new beginning one Spring many years ago I certainly was going against the grain of popular opinion (why leave a highly paying, glamourous corporate job with international travel for less money, less time, less travel?) But I had to follow the light and make my own choice. Our lives belong to us and so do our decisions. And eventually friends/family who really love you for you will appreciate any new beginning you wish to make.
Know this, when you come to TBY, we come together in Satsang (community) that is like minded. You will be with other people who want to make richer discoveries into who they are and through this self-discovery make more conscious choices. And that is the well-spring of all new beginnings! Love your life don't wait. Peace out, Silvia
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 1 FRIDAY EVENING WITH SILVIA
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 1 FRIDAY EVENING MARCH 19, 2010 CORE CULTIVATION FOCUS
Table Cat/Puppy Cat lift knees core cultivation
Plank: knee dips find core
Lower to belly locust with yoga mudra
Cobra Plank Dog
Krama 2: Table on forearms; forearm plank, knee dips, sphinx, cobra, plank, dog
Half moon A
Forward Fold with Yoga mudra
Sun Salutation A 3 x's
Half chair twist arms long
INHALE -- Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (1 Leg Downward Dog)
EXHALE - Core plank
INHALE - 1 legged plank
EXHALE - step forward
INHALE - High Lunge
EXHALE through basic vinyasa or one legged version
WAVE 3 Repeat above in Wave 2 Add the twist in High lunge
WAVE 4 Repeat above in Wave 2 Replace High Lunge with Warrior A
WAVE 5 Repeat above in Wave 2 Replace Warrior A with Low Lunge Option: twist fully, high lunge twist
1 Leg Dog
Low Lunge High Lunge option to Warrior 3 High Lunge back to Low Lunge (or have been waiting in Low Lunge)
Revolved Lunge Flying Warrior 2 Warrior 2 add eagle arms Reverse Warrior 2
Basic Vinyasa Side 2
1 leg dog, step forward Standing splits Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated twist) Twist to open side
Lizard (Parsva Vascistasana 1)
CLOSING Meditation, pranayama Savasana
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 1-2 FRIDAY MORNING WITH SILVIA
WORLD PEACE DIET
This is from Anna Ferguson, sent via Jivamukti. I am trying to spread the word, may we all educate ourselves regardless of our starting point. Peace out, Silvia (PS, the article by Will Tuttle link at bottom is AMAZING, FANTASTIC and INSPIRING!)
We are enthusiastic and overjoyed to tell you that over the weekend, thanks to many dedicated peacemakers, vegans and activists, “The World Peace Diet”, written by Will Tuttle reached #1 on the amazon.com Bestsellers list. This is an incredible moment in history! As Margaret Mead puts it, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” We are the ones we have been waiting for and we are the ones that can shift this culture from one of violence and domination to one of peace and kindness for all.
It's important to carry on the momentum going, and to keep “The World Peace Diet” in the top ten for a few days, to continue to perpetuate this powerful message to the people. This pro-vegan, pro-peace & pro-happiness book is now at #1 on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/ref=sv_b_3), and your continued support is necessary to keep the ripples of compassion and nutritional sanity flowing into the cultural mainstream.
We have the power to liberate millions and create peace on earth! Please participate by purchasing books online for yourself and for others. It is important that if you are ordering more than one book (which we highly recommend), please make each book purchase a separate order, rather than ordering several all in one purchase. By ordering the books individually, we have a better chance of keeping “The World Peace Diet” in the top 10!
Time is of the essence on this. Let’s keep the momentum going.
Here are links to the websites where people are ordering from:
We encourage you to read this inspiring blog entry written by Will Tuttle over the weekend the day before the book reached #1:http://www.vegsource.com/dr-will-tuttle/unexpected-success.html
With deep appreciation & gratitude for all beings!
YOGA LITE THIS WEEK MAR 15-21
Dear Yogis Hey I know a lot of you are getting ready for Spring Break, that's cool. So I thought I'd try an experiment this week and really focus on what I call Yoga Lite.
As you know for lots of years I've taught ALL 8 limbs of the philosophical "8 Limbed Path of Yoga" whereby I'd contexualize the yogic philosophy as part of our moving meditation with unique and clever sequencing of poses each class. Hey I know the spiritual stuff is not for everyone and bringing the full spectrum of the practice might be more than what you're looking for. Although we might enjoy a "gourmet" feast every now and again maybe there are times we just want sloppy joes and mac & cheese.
So this week I will not have any philosophy in the classes I teach and instead let's just focus on a SUPER GREAT WORKOUT to get you ready for Spring Break or Springtime in general. If you've been away from the practice because you just want stronger abs, more toned arms, weight loss but not the philosophy then come back and at least try it again (without all that spiritualization). Join me to get some exercise and just think of me as your personal trainer for a week of Yoga Lite!
Thank you for giving us another go I really appreciate it. Kindest regards, Silvia
THUS ENDS OUR HAMSTRING WEEK
MY PHILOSOPHY OF HAMSTRINGS & PATIENCE
Working with our hamstrings teaches us about patience. The hamstrings are layered with lots of tough connective tissue—the gristly fibers that help hold the muscles' structure together. So you can't rush or hurry the hamstrings into flexibility; they need time to change their length—time in the sense that longer stretches (90 to 120 seconds) seem most effective with connective tissue. And time in the sense that it can take months, if not years, for tight hamstrings to loosen their grip and become flexible. So take your time and relax, the goal is the process even more so than the end result.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
The hamstrings have two primary actions: (1) knee flexion (bending the knee) and (2) hip extension.
- When you're squatting, your hips are flexed; you bring them into extension when you stand upright, placing the thighbones in line with the torso.
- When you stand on your right leg in Virabhadrasana III (Warrior Pose III) and lift your left leg to hold it parallel to the floor, your left hamstrings are creating hip extension. When you lie on your stomach, bend your knees, and lift your feet so you can grab your ankles for Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), the hamstrings are creating knee flexion. (The hamstrings also assist in rotational actions at the hip and knee.)
- To stretch your hamstrings, you need to keep your knee straight and flex your hip (in other words, fold the front of the thigh and the abdomen toward each other). One of yoga's classic hamstring stretches is Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), in which the knees are straight, the torso hangs down, and the abdomen eventually rests on the front of the thighs.
WHAT DOES THE QUAD DO?
- Contract your quadriceps (the muscles on the front of your thighs) in forward bends by simple actions like lifting your toes. If your hamstrings are tight, this is an excellent way to help them loosen up. The quads will stabilize your knees and hold them straight in forward bends. By contracting your quads, you'll be taking advantage of a kinesiological law called "reciprocal inhibition," in which your nervous system tells a muscle to let go of its contraction when the opposing muscle has work to do. In forward bends, contracting your quads facilitates the release of the hamstrings.
WHAT AND WHERE IS THE HAMSTRING MUSCLE?
- The hamstrings are the large group of three muscles that fill the back of the thigh.
- The hamstrings insert below the knee on the two lower leg bones, the tibia and fibula.
- Two of the muscles, the semitendinosus and the semimembranosus, are in the medial (inner) section of the thigh. The third, the biceps femoris, is in the lateral (outer) portion of the back of the thigh.
- All three muscles originate on the ischial tuberosity—the bony protuberance at the bottom of the pelvis that is commonly called the sitting bone—and the biceps femoris has an additional attachment on the back of the femur, or thighbone.
SUGGESTED POSES TO RELEASE HAMSTRINGS:
- Both hips are externally rotated
- This is abduction of both hips
- This is outer spiral
- How to perform: Hold feet and press elbows into the lower leg while firmely pressing up wiht the legs, hold for a few breaths then release slowly and press kneeds down with elbows. Repeat this process then squeeze outer buttock muscles and press lower and upper leg together
SEATED FORWARD BEND (PASCHIMOTTANASANA)
- Internal rotation of both legs
- This is adduction of both legs
- This is inner spiral
- How to perform: place hands at a point on thighs with bent knees and push into it breath in and then exhale relax deeper into the pose with legs more straight, Repeat this process a little at a time.
- Why this works: this small amount of pressure to trigger muscle spindles that helps release
HALF SPLITS (ARDHA HANUMANASANA)
- Contract front psoas muscle to go deeper by titling pelvis
- To stabilize hips one psoas is moving one way the other is moving in opposite direction. Try to drag back knee to front leg, drag front heel backwards to feel this.
- Contract back leg buttock and front leg quad strongly.
- Apply shins in manually with brick under calf.
SUPER SWEATY SHOULDER LOOP
March 14, 2010: Our physical focus was the shoulders today. We applied the principles of alignment and concentrated on Shoulder Loop energy using a variety of techniques like unplugging and plugging in which we performed in a variety of poses. I hope you enjoyed the sweaty fun and that it provided a great work out for you. Peaceful blessings, Silvia
SHOULDER LOOP: One of the seven energy loops within the body. This loop originates in the upper palate and flows backward to the base of the skull and down the back of the body to the bottom of the shoulder blades. When you engage Shoulder Loop, the head moves back slightly and the shoulder blades move down the back. At the bottom of the shoulder blades, the loop begins arcing forward and upward as it draws the bottom tips of the shoulder blades in and upward, toward the heart. The loop continues forward and up to the palate again as it lifts the chest and opens the throat.
The Universal Principles of Alignment
OPENING TO GRACE Having the intention to place oneself—body, mind, and heart—in alignment with the flow of supreme consciousness. This involves approaching asana practice with an attitude of softhearted devotion.
MUSCULAR ENERGY A drawing of energy from the periphery of the body into the Focal Point (see below), which increases stability, strength, and physical integration in the pose.
INNER SPIRAL An ever-expanding energy spiral that moves outward from the core; it runs from the feet up through the pelvis into the waistline area. Inner Spiral rotates the legs inward, moves the thighs backward, and widens the thighs and pelvis.
OUTER SPIRAL An ever-narrowing spiral that moves inward toward the core; it runs from the waistline area down through the tailbone and out through the legs and feet. Outer Spiral rotates the legs outward, moves the tailbone and thighs forward, and draws the pelvis and thighs closer together.
ORGANIC ENERGY An outward extension of energy from the Focal Point through the core lines of the body to the body's periphery, which increases expansion, flexibility, and freedom in the pose.
BASICS CLASS 9:15AM MARCH 13, 2010 WITH SILVIA
BASICS CLASS 9:15AM MARCH 13, 2010 WITH SILVIA
Philosophical Theme: Acceptance
Sphinx cat/cow Spinx look rt, left, lift center
WAVE 1 Cat/Cow Cat 1 legged to plank to core plank other leg, alt once each side
Dog pose From Dog Kneeling vastistasana hold
Cat/Cow Child's pose, circle wrists Vajrasana kundalini mudra center, circle wrists down, 1 arm up side bend, other side, both up
Table, puppy, cat 1 legged (side two)
Dolphin table twist alternating
Thread the needle Leg extends behind like kneeling side plank
Table to Child's pose Cat/Cow (side 2)
Dog Basic vinyasa
Cobra lifts look rt, look left
Lunge back to Revolved lunge
Extended superman warrior 2
Warrior 2 Extended angle Warrior 2 Exit other side, do side 2
Dolphin Dolphin Plank, Sphinx
THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES: BY DR GARY CHAPMAN
March 12, 2010: From www.5lovelanguages.com and the book by the same name. Check it out! "After many years of counseling, Dr. Chapman noticed a pattern: everyone he had ever counseled had a “love language,” a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. He also discovered that, for whatever reason, people are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own.
Of the countless ways we can show love to one another, five key categories, or five love languages, proved to be universal and comprehensive—everyone has a love language, and we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
Since The Five Love Languages debuted in 1992, over five million copies have been sold, making The Five Love Languages a perennial New York Times bestseller.
30 SECOND QUIZ: Which is your love language?
- I feel especially loved when people express how grateful they are for me, and for the simple, everyday things I do.
- I feel especially loved when a person gives me undivided attention and spends time alone with me.
- I feel especially loved by someone who brings me gifts and other tangible expressions of love.
- I feel especially loved when someone pitches in to help me, perhaps by running errands or taking on my household chores.
- I feel especially loved when a person expresses feelings for me through physical contact.
Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE
March 12, 2010: In the book The Five Love Languages Dr Chapman talks about figuring out your primary way of expressing and interpreting love. Cool concept. I was told about this NYT best seller 2 years ago or more. Finally yesterday I read the book. What really came through to me from a Yogic perspective is this understanding of how we communicate is the practice of Svadhaya or self-study/self-observation. If you don't know who you are or what language you're speaking gosh it's going to be a bit more difficult to ask someone else (whether it be a friend or family member or partner) to speak your same language. And from becoming more expert in your own humanity you learn about other humans.
In the corporate world I used to tell my staff to apply a variation of the Golden Rule. I said to them don't communicate and treat them the way you want to be spoken to but communicate with them the way THEY want and need to be related to. This was at the heart of my efforts to teach/coach or otherwise inspire my staff to build relationships with both clients and fellow staff. Many times they'd come back to tell me a story of how they applied this to home life too and it worked!
When we come to the mat we have a chance to figure ourselves out a bit and ultimately refine the primary language we speak and practicing in a group we can look around and see maybe the people around us have their own yoga, speak another language. It is not enough to come from love. We are all hopefully doing that. We have to take that next step and learn the love languages of our friends and loved one's too. If I keep speaking Italian and don't ever attempt to learn Japanese which my partner speaks then likely we are not going to be able to connect on a deeper level. So enjoy this 7th Chakra Namaskar (Salutation) which asks us to unify our energies from 1st through 7th chakras. And some of the great flow music I choose today I've included below too. I will offer a second posting about this book all on its own for your non yoga friends to share in if you want to pass it along. Here's to all of us speaking the languages of Love! Blessings, Silvia
LOVE LANGUAGE PLAYLIST
Gobinday Mukunday, Spirit Voyage Om Padme Om, Wah!, Ananda, Solar Quest Diarabi, Issa Bagayogo Nogo, Issa Bagayogo High Low, Michael Franti, Spearhead feat. Zap Mama Nobody Right, Nobody Wrong, Michael Franti Aja Uttama, Dave Stringer Ganesha Windmix, Jai Uttal Guru Ram, Mirabai Ceiba Ahimsa, Baird Hersey & Prana
7th Chakra Namaskar
Start standing in Mountain with HASTA VINYASA – “Conductor arms”
INHALE – Reach arms down and out lift left knee Crane
EXHALE – Arms to sides and reach forward Flying Lunge
INHALE – Low Lunge circle arms out and up
EXHALE – Half Splits circle arms down and out
INHALE – High Lunge circle arms forward and up
EXHALE – Prepare
INHALE – Warrior 3 circle arms down and out
EXHALE – Crane circle arms forward and up, lower foot to Mountain
Side 2 begins
INHALE – Tip Toe Pose
EXHALE – Forward Fold arms sweep back and up
INHALE – Tip Toe Pose
EXHALE – Plow
INHALE – Tip Toe Pose
EXHALE – Forward Fold arms sweep back and up
INHALE – Jump to Vajrasana
EXHALE – Camel (Flow circular arms)
INHALE - Plank
EXHALE - Chatarunga
INHALE - Up Dog
EXHALE - Down Dog
BEAUTY GRACE AND COURAGE
March 11, 2010:
"Be water my friend" says Bruce Lee http://www.wimp.com/brucelee/
With all the rain we've had we allowed water and the flow of surrender to inspire our practice today. When we have the courage to surrender we find our highest potential reveals itself. Like water cleanses us, and washes away the dirt we wash away through breath and asana the outer labels of limitation. We put aside the self limiting beliefs and go beyond limiting perceptions and old stories.
Chapter 2 Verse 1 of the Yoga Sutras: Tapas svadhaya isvara pranidanah kriyah yogah.
The translation of this sutra means: "This letting go focuses us on the process of practice rather than the goals of practice."
May this practice help you practice how you want to live your life. If you aspire to live a life of beauty, graceful and courageous then your life becomes that. Like the Bruce Lee clip suggests that water takes the form of the container it is in. If you want the container of yourself to be beauty you then embody beauty. If you want to live in love then move like love, breath like love, flow like love. Be like water my friend! Become that which you want and the process of experiencing yourself courageously is the life practice. Love yourself, your your day, love your life! Silvia
INTENTION SANKALPA GROWTH AND EVOLUTION
MARCH 10, 2010: As you know I just put my house on the market. As part of this process the experts encourage you to simply, streamline, neutralize and otherwise declutter your living space. So I had this big indoor plant that got moved into the garage, then a week later I felt bad so moved it into the basement from the garage (mostly because you know plants do like light) well then I forgot to water it because it was now in the basement. This all went on for a month, just last night with the help a dear friend finally moved it outside in our 60 degree temperatures today. It finally got light, water and is not forgotten.
This plant had a strong intention and desire to LIVE! After all I put it through and changed about its surroundings it kept steadfast to the intention of surviving and thriving. I have to believe that if a plant can stay single minded in its intention we can too. So today ask yourself: HOW DOES THIS CLASS INSPIRE YOU TO BE MOVING TOWARDS MEETING YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
When we begin class and take our hands together at our hearts we create SANKALPA MUDRA a Mudra of internal commitment, a gesture of commitment in outer form and everything that goes into it is our intention. Intention is defined as setting an expectation for yourself, an expectation to your OWN GROWTH AND EVOLUTION.
Take a moment to think about deepening your breath into the commitment you've made to grow. The breath expands our connection to this promise we have made ourselves. And what I wish someone had told me a long time ago was to expect that there will be times that will be a little challenging – this is part of the growth process. Spiritual maturity comes as a result of using our expectations as little markers demonstrating our progress. And we have all COME A LONG WAY ALREADY. So on the mat we keep breathing to deepen our commitment and our intention whether the poses are easy or hard or whether we hold them a breath or a long time. We stay focused on experiencing ourselves.
The power of our intention is that focus on one clear thing. Not 50 things at the same time. It is like the Buddhist parable of how to dig for water: it is not fruitful to dig 100 holes when instead we should focus and dig 100 times in the same place and then for sure we'll strike water. So we took time to think about one pose from this practice that we woudl want to develop mastery of and promised to do it for 1-2 minutes per day for 28 days, a minimum of 28 minutes total to see if we could develop mastery in this pose and stay with one intention for this period of time.
So today, refocus your promise to yourself and the kind of life you want for yourself. And with Spring approaching let's really grow in our lives what is most important to us, to our health, to our hearts, to our peace of mind. Love the day! Silvia
PS - My plant is doing great!
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 2 WITH SILVIA
TAKE TURNS WITH YOUR EMOTIONS
MARCH 9, 2010: So I read this great article abou Gary Lauder's clever idea to reduce traffic accidents: a traffic sign that says "Take Turns". I love this. It's solo yogic! It's simple, cheap, smart and kind. And if 50% of traffic accidents happen at intersections it could save lives. The yogi in me takes this suggestion and applies it to our emotions. So imagine you approach the intersection of your emotions (just like you would in your car) and you look around and politely allow the emotion you are feeling to cross over. Then the next emotion takes its turn quite politely. Splendid!
Yet as human beings we often push back our feelings creating in the flow of our lives a flood at some point of pent of emotions. Or we deny what we are feeling trying to run away from it. Neither of these works. When we allow our feelings to take turns we are really CARING FOR OUR FEELINGS. As Rumi writes; "It's good to leave each day behind, life flowing water, Yesterday is gone and it's tale told. Today new seeds are growing."
This is really getting to the heart of a Tantric practice which encourages us to embrace all of who we are. The sadness and the joy, the tiredness and the vigor, the fear and the love. This is a nondualistic approach to see that there is not a winner/loser or bad/good that we don't have to battle our emotions, thoughts or feelings any longer. Running away from what we feel will only prolong it. And all of our feelings can be put into 3 buckets: pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. So as hard as it might be to heal and remain in a state of being healed we are taught through yoga to embrace your feelings, care for them.
A great meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh suggest we take a feeling, let's say sadness, and talk to your feeling: say to your sadness "breathe - I am taking care of you now." Acknowledge this feeling is you and as you breath out, let it go. Then allow for the next moment to unfold and the next feeling. Breath into that one. Take one at a time and stay with the flow taking turns. Most importantly know that whatever you're feeling is part of your humanness, love and hurt co-exist, one is the compliment to the other so to prevent staying in a state of suffering it helps to embrace all you feel and care for yourself. We literally learn about ourselves as we experience emotion, feeling and thought. We also become expert through this in the human experience. We can by caring for our own feelings learn how to care for how others feel.
If we can take turns in our emotions we can allow others to feel what they need to feel and take turns appreciating them too for their humanness. Through this we create a more polite world. A world of peace and authenticity. Love yourself, Love your life! Silvia
A great meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh suggest we take a feeling, let's say sadness, and talk to your feeling: say to your sadness "breathe - I am taking care of you now." Acknowledge this feeling is you and as you breath out, let it go. Then allow for the next moment to unfold and the next feeling. Breath into that one. Take one at a time and stay with the flow taking turns.
Most importantly know that whatever you're feeling is part of your humanness, love and hurt co-exist, one is the compliment to the other so to prevent staying in a state of suffering it helps to embrace all you feel and care for yourself. We literally learn about ourselves as we experience emotion, feeling and thought. We also become expert through this in the human experience. We can by caring for our own feelings learn how to care for how others feel.
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 1 WITH SILVIA MARCH 8, 2010
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 1: MARCH 8, 2010 EARTHY ENERGY, CALMING BHAVA
Table with toes under wrist stretch
Vajrasana toes under (broken toe pose)
FF Malasana FF
Supported W3 Lunge back low Lizard, variations
Triangle to side angle flow (inhale tri/exhale side angle)
Half Splits Low Lunge
FF Malasana (Side 2 begins)
Lunge back Lizard variation toes out
Quad breather Twist
Half Splits Low Lunge
High Lunge Warrior 2 (W2 for short) Rev Warrior 2 straight leg Triangle Prasarita twist
W2 to reverse W2 straight leg Side 2
FLOW Namaskar from Wave 2 in between Sun Sal A
Malasana to Crow
Twisted Upavista Konasana to Parsva Upavista Konasana (side bend)
Pigeon Quad breather
Wall Vinyasa for Quad Breather with the wall
King pigeon prep
ITALY YOGA RETREAT JUNE 20-26!
TUSCANY, ITALY YOGA & CULTURAL ADVENTURE JUNE 20-26, 2010:
EARLY BIRDS ONLY $1825 ALL INCLUSIVE!!!
QUESTIONS? firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-772-9642
Tuscany is a life-changing place for many, including myself! Explore the dimensions of your yoga practic e while exploring the rich Italian culture by biking, hiking and walking tours. Jointly led by Vinyasa Flow Yoga teacher Silvia Mordini and International Travel Guide Jacob Young, this spiritual and cultural gem is found in the heart of the Tuscan food and wine country.
We will be guests at an 800 year old classic Tuscan farmhouse converted into a stylish yoga retreat. Looking out one of the many windows of the different accommodations in Ebbio, you will be captivated by the undulating hills swept with thriving vineyards, olive trees and enchanting evergreen forests. The amazing part of Ebbio is that it is still a working organic Tuscan Farm with its own Chianti wine production and uses only garden-fresh produce or goods from open aired markets to create exquisite fine food for our meals prepared by our private host Franz.
8:00am - 9:30am Vinyasa Flow Yoga and Meditation
9:30am - 10:30am Breakfast
10:30am - 12:30pm Daytime Excursion or Free Time
12:30pm - 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm - 5:30pm Afternoon Excursion or Free Time
5:30pm - 7:00pm Vinyasa Flow Yoga
7:30pm - 11pm Dinner, Group Fun and Relaxation
SPECIAL CULTURAL PROGRAMS (ALL INCLUDED!)
Day 1, June 20, 2010: Arrivals, Deplane Yoga, Farm Hike, Welcome Dinner
Day 2, June 21, 2010: Monteriggioni morning, Siena afternoon
Day 3, June 22, 2010: San Gimignano morning, Chianti tour afternoon
Day 4, June 23, 2010: Morning drive to Rapolano Hot Springs, afternoon wine tasting at Castelnuovo Berardanga
Day 5, June 24, 2010: Morning free time or bike trip, Volterra afternoon
Day 6, June 25, 2010: Morning free time or bike trip, Montalcino afternoon
Day 7, June 26, 2010: Departures
ALL IS INCLUDED IN THE TRIP PRICE
7 days and 6 nights accommodations
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
All day trips and walking tours
Private wine tours and tastings
Traditional Tuscan cooking class
Soaking in the healing crystal waters of the Rapolano hot springs
Visits to the art cities of Italy
Two Daily Yoga Classes and Evening Group Activities
Spa Treatments are available upon request
A quality bicycle and an experienced cycling guide with knowledge of the greatest rides in the region
Entrance fees to all group events/activities organized TBY Travel Adventure
All transportation during the trip
Comprehensive trip literature
All gratuities for special events, lodging and restaurants
PRICE $1950 (Early birds only $1825 by April 1st!)
You can pay with check, direct bank deposit, or credit card or Paypal on line but we most prefer checks. Please send checks to Total Body Yoga Retreats, 210 Terrace Drive, Mundelein, IL 60061.
Early-bird discount: $100 OFF before April 1st! Deposit: A $500 dollar deposit will reserve your space. Balance must be received by May 20th, 30 days prior to retreat.
Airfare to and from the trip, gratuities for your guides, and personal items purchased during the trip.
DETERMINATION AND PERSEVERANCE
MARCH 7, 2010: Make up your mind right now about the kind of day you want to have. As Robert Frost writes, "First thing I do in the morning is make up my bed, then I make up my mind." So we begin every yoga practice and our daily life practice resolute and determined about our intentions. Now the reality is that when we wake up our minds like our beds might be a bit rumpled up. So we have to go about the work of tidying up our minds. We do this by conscious breathing, the breath combs our energy just like combing our hair in the same direction brings order to it. And inherent to the breath we are reminded that every inhale we get to begin again, so if we forget what we want, lose track of it or simply stop trying we can persevere and simply BEGIN AGAIN.
What determination is NOT is it is not anger. We cannot SUSTAIN a determined effort if we are in a state of fear or contraction or isolation. We can only maintain a quiet courage and determination when we open up, we have faith and allow our actions to demonstrate trust in the good of the universe. You can't be motivated by fear or darkness and expect good things to come of it. Determination has this quality of perseverance that is that long term practice.
This is why during the course of our yoga class we practice conscious breathing the whole time until Savasana, to practice staying with and sustaining interest in something (our breath, our life seems to be a good choice). And then this we apply to our greater intentions. What do you believe in? Do you really believe peace is possible? As Eckert Tolle says, "if peace really mattered to you, if it was really important, you would find peace." Imagine if the whole world could maintain its interest in world peace not just for an hour, a day, a week, a year but forever?! And if we forgot we'd just remember how important it was to us and our determination to persevere would continue to ignite our spirit. Like an unknown author writes, "Our I CAN is more important than our IQ."
So stay with it. Whatever it is that you've determined is important. And do not hesitate. Cast away the doubts of whether you're doing the right thing, just stay with it. Too often we give up in our heads way too soon. Or we allow our hesitations to steal our energy. Or we let our energy get pulled apart by trying too many different things, at some point the Yoga Sutras advise in facing our obstacles we have to develop a mastery of something. And put your whole heart into that.
During class we experienced a 3 minute Salutation, an easy Dancing Warrior 1 (from downward dog, 1 leg dog to Warrior A to basic vinyasa) that taught us how to stay with it and persevere. We also practiced an arm balance or two which are poses of concentration, single mindedness (not about actually getting our feet off the ground, just about the trying.) And we did a long series on one side of the body to teach ourselves something about sustaining interest. Just like the power of this little French girl in this clip to stay with a single story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM35grvNkss
I've included our class plan (modified up or down depending on level of class) and the key take always from yesterday's epic practice are this: 1. Make up your mind
2. When you forget, get lost, stop trying then Begin Again is your mantra
3. Stay with it (Determination is perseverance, the ability to sustain interest/action over a long period of time)
4. Don't hesitate.
So today engage yourself in your life and really go for it! No more waiting or making excuses. Determine what you want and let's get started. Big love! Silvia
OPENING Supine Cobbler Cobbler abs Frog abs Happy Baby k1 and supine 1 legged twist each side Happy Baby k2 rock and roll to cobbler Cobbler to Upward Plank flow
WAVE 1 Malasana to Boat 3-5 times Malasana to Forward Flow pulsation Tip Toe Pose (Krama 2 arms up Kalabhati breathing) Hold Crow Tripod 1 legged tripod Half Moon B Standing Splits Pyramid I legged dog, basic vinyasa Jump to Malasana
WAVE 2 Dancing Warrior 1 Salutation DW1 (Warrior A to Pyramid flow)
WAVE 3 (Mandala Salutation) Low lunge to Half splits (or full splits) to Low Lunge twist, High Lunge twist, Low Lunge Revolve lunge Transverse lunge (optional half crow) Low Lunge to Half Splits to Half virasana Low lunge Basic vinyasa (or 1 legged version)
WAVE 3A - Second Half of Salutation Standing Splits to 1 legged squat 3 x's hold standing splits Bring back foot through to front and sit after balancing in another variation of tip toe pose Right knee is bent/left leg is straight becomes Marychasana C: inhale up, exhale twist Level 1: Janu Sirsasana to Pigeon to Downward Dog (Optional basic vinyasa) Level 1-2: Marychasana C stand up to Crane to Eka Pada Galavasana to Basic vinyasa
WAVE 4 Dog Child's Pose Cobbler Seated Cobbler Supine Savasana
YOGA MAKES ME HAPPY, SO DOES WINE AND CHOCOLATE
MARCH 4TH, 2010:
Dear Chicagoland Yogi Friends,
I have the perfect way to warm up this weekend! Join us at TBY to be inspired through laughter, awesome music, wine and chocolate with my good friend David Romanelli, recently written up in the New York Times. So I've been asked a ton of questions about this weekend so here's the inside scoop:
1. If you're dying to learn how to balance on one finger in a pretzel like position then know we are NOT doing that this weekend. No super funky poses so that means it is open to ALL Yogis of all abilities. The only prerequisite is a sense of humor.
2. If you want to learn 25 new seriously strict alignment principles then this weekend isn't it.
3. If Yoga makes you happy, (or for that matter wine or chocolate) and you really just want to have a great time laughing out loud with a bunch of easy going yogis. Then YES! this weekend is perfect!
Ultimately why I love having David here each year is that he helps create an atmosphere of friendship. When you get on the ride with David its going to be a good time and we can all use more fun in our lives just like last week where I said Yoga is like recess for Adults.
My greatest intention for TBY is that it be a place where strangers become friends. I DON'T WANT YOU TO COLLECT POSES. I'D RATHER HAVE YOU COLLECT FRIENDS THROUGH YOGA.
So come have some fun, peel off a layer or two of seriousness. I promise, it's good for you! Love, Silvia
With Wine, Anything is Possible
This event is perfect for:
--people whose health is always a bit off
--people who love amazing stories about human potential to beat the odds, overcome adversity, take the bull by the horns, and kick ass!
--people who have been soured by the bad economy and could use a shot of faith and hope
Yoga + Eternal Youth: Saturday, March 6th Time 12:30PM
Who Needs Botox when We've Got Chocolate
This is just the right workshop for people who:
--want to embrace aging with grace...not to mention great chocolate
--might have a wrinkle or two on the outside but feel like 32 on the inside (if not 25)
--love to have fun and think serious yoga is for the dogs
Yoga + The Grateful Dead: Saturday, March 6th Time 4:00PM
Living each day as if it could be your last
This event is perfect for people who:
--love THE GRATEFUL DEAD b/c rockin' Dead tunes will play throughout
--need to slow down and savor the moment before life slips through your fingertips
--are squeezing too tight and stressing too much
Chocolate- Covered Happiness: Sunday, March 7th Time: 2:00PM
--Do you feel like you could use more laughter?
--Do you sometimes wanna just say WTF, kick back, and enjoy?!
--Why is it that people in the most primitive and extreme conditions can find happiness while us Westerners struggle to crack a smile?
--Do you just wanna eat more chocolate and everything will be ok? This is a perfect workshop for you!
FEELING CENTERED 9 LIFE LESSONS YOU LEARN FROM CLIMBING (AND YOGA)
MARCH 3, 2010: What does CENTERED mean to you? To me it means balance, peace, happiness, patience, a oneness with others instead of a tug of war, and most of all BEING PRESENT. It is that “isness” of now that Echkart Tolle writes of in A New Earth. When we practice yoga we are actively seeking to make the adjustments necessary to be more present to keep returning to our center by studying ourselves or as Socrates says, "To know thyself."
The third chakra, often called the solar plexus, is our personal power centre, the magnetic core of the personality and ego. The Sacred Truth of the third chakra is ~Honor One-self~. The energies that come together in this chakra have but one spiritual goal; to help us mature in our self understanding - the relationship we have with others, and where we stand on our own and take care of ourselves. The spiritual quality is self-respect. We have all faced or will face an experience that reveals to us our own internal strengths and weaknesses and hence is what throws us OFF balance. Here below is a beautiful summary of 3rd Chakra key learning points we went over in class together. And one of my FAVORITE TED CLIPS about the 9 life lessons rock climbing (which is so much like yoga!). Enjoy!! Love and light,
Primary strengths – IN BALANCE: Self-esteem, self respect, and self discipline, ambition, the ability to generate action, and the ability to handle a crisis; the courage to take risks, generosity, ethics and strength of character.
Primary Fears – OUT OF BALANCE: Fears of rejection, criticism, looking foolish and failing to meet ones responsibilities, all fears relating to physical appearance, such as fear of obesity, baldness or ageing, fears that others will discover our secrets.
How we feel about ourselves, whether we respect ourselves, determines the quality of our life, our capacity to succeed in business, relationships, healing and intuitive skills. Self understanding and acceptance, the bond we form with ourselves, is in many ways the most critical spiritual challenge we face. In truth, if we do not like ourselves, we will be incapable of making healthy decisions. Instead, we will direct all of our personal the hands of someone else; someone whom we want to impress, or someone before whom we think we must weaken ourselves to gain physical security. People who have a low sense of self esteem attract relationships and occupational situations that reflect and reinforce this weakness. Nobody is born with healthy self esteem. We must earn this quality in the process of living as we face our challenges one at a time.
Key points about the Third Chakra:
- When our thoughts are scattered in several directions at once and we are no longer conscious of what we are doing or why, it is time to center ourselves.
- When we center ourselves, we begin by acknowledging that we have become spread too thin and we are no longer unified inside.
- Our thoughts might be out of sync with our feelings, and our actions may be out of sync with both. The main signs that we need to center ourselves are scattered thoughts and a feeling of disconnection or numbness, as if we are no longer able to take anything in. In addition, we may feel unfocused and not present in our bodies. Centering ourselves is a way of coming to terms with all the different energies within us and drawing them back into ourselves.
- Centering yourself means that you are working from or being aware of the core of your being in the solar plexus area of your body. We naturally know how to center ourselves when we take a deep breath, for example, before making a big announcement or doing something big. Another way to center ourselves is to sit down and engage in breath meditation. We can start by simply getting into a comfortable upright position and noticing as our breath enters and leaves our bodies. Our breath flows into our center and out from our center, and this process can serve as a template for all of our interactions in the world. In conversations, we can take what our friends are saying into the center of our beings and respond from the center. Our whole lives mirror this ebb and flow of energy that begins and ends at the center of ourselves. If we follow this ebb and flow, we are in harmony with the universe, and when we find we are out of harmony, we can always come back into balance by sitting down and observing our breath.
- When we center ourselves we can imagine that we are gathering our straying thoughts and energies back into ourselves, the way a mother duck gathers her babies around her. We can also visualize ourselves casting a net and pulling all the disparate parts of ourselves back to the center of our being, creating a sense of fluid integration. From this place of centeredness, we can begin again, directing ourselves outward in a more intentional way.
Matthew Childs' 9 life lessons from rock climbing (6 minutes)
- Don't let go (you think about letting go way before your body does, hang in there, watch for creative solutions)
- Hesitation is bad
- Have a plan (plan ahead to get to the top but you can't forget you have to complete each individual move)
- The move is the end
- Know how to rest (best climbers know to to get themselves into a position where they can regroup, calm themselves)
- Fear sucks (you are focusing not on what you're doing but on the consequences of FAILING at what you're doing, anything effective requires you focus on what you're doing)
- Opposites are good
- Strength doesn't always equal success (pull up example guys and girls)
- Know how to let go (once you get to that point where you know its going to happen, think about how you are going to fall, that's how you won't get hurt, fall in a way that you can control the fall, don't just hang on until the bitter end)
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 2 WITH SILVIA MARCH 2, 2010
CLASS PLAN LEVEL 2: MARCH 2, 2010 Theme: Yoga is not boring
WAVE 1 (3 times) Dog pose Plank hold 5 Table Child Modified plank Cobra low Up dog Dog Walk dog
WAVE 2 FF to malasana Up to half moon a each side Malasana to Crow hold 5 (Perform 3 times, 2nd krama tripod) Walk dog out
WAVE 3 I leg dog hips closed inhale, hips open exhale, hips closed inhale (mini vinnie) 3 part plank (mini vinnie) High lunge, high twist DW2 (Dancing Warrior 2: Warrior A, Warrior B, Reverse Warrior B, Side Angle, Warrior B) Basic vinyasa, side 2
WAVE 4 Jump forward fold Monkey, mountain, chair Half moon a hold wrist, cross legs Eagle Eagle to high lunge to high lunge twist DW 2 1 leg dog to plank 1 legged Core plank to 1 leg chatarunga 3 times Basic vinyasa 1 leg dog right leg again 3 part plank (koundi 1) Twisted plank to parsva vascistasana 2 - hold 5 Pigeon Ardha matsyendrasana Standing splits Forward fold, side 2
WAVE 5 Chair to half moon A to eagle to pigeon chair agni mudra kalabhati breathing Eka pada galavasana to jump basic vinyasa Jump to half moon B Standing splits Arhda matys Cow side and twist Pigeon Twisted plank Upavista konasana side bend Marichyasana C 1/2 cow 1/2 seated forward fold Side plank exit, Side 2
CLOSING Shoulderstand eagle legs Eagle twist Supine Child's Pose Savasana!
YOGA IS NOT BORING
I can't say this enough: Yoga is not boring! This practice is inspiring us to make each day memorable. It is as my teacher Shiva Rea says, "Celebrating being alive is the essence of a spiritual experience."
When we practice on the mat we are really cultivating the ability to see the sun inside ourselves. Especially as we practice Namaskars (Salutations). "One is offering salutation to the divine represented by the sun, as a source of light removing the darkness of a clouded mind and as a source of vitality removing the diseases of the body. (Mohan) Or as an unknown author writes, "Darkness isn't the absence of light... it's the absence of you." Yoga helps us to find ourselves in spite of the darkness of challenges and hardships in life. With every breath we remove the kleshas, which are like 5 lampshades covering up our inner brightness. This brings us back to LIFE! With every breath linked movement we allow our mind and hearts to integrate this basic quality of celebration or joy into our very being. By the time we leave the mat we feel joy infused into every single cell! So please join me, keep making time to stoke the flame of celebration, make your own mini olympics for yourself each practice! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
MENTAL DIGESTION AIDS US WHEN WIRED AND TIRED
FEBRUARY 6, 2010: As Americans we spend a lot of time thinking about physical digestion (what we eat, when we eat, what we're not going to eat, how many calories stuff has) but what about Mental Digestion. When we have poor mental digestion we experience stuff like poor sleep, obsessive worry, lethargy, impatience, fatigue, anger and an annoying degree of anxiety. How does this happen?
1. Being too sedentary keeps us in our heads, leading to overall mental stuckness. We need to move and breath, like we do in yoga.
2. Watching others move like on dancing with the stars doesn't help our mental constipation. We still need to move and breath.
Two articles that support this:
(1) Well, health experts say that sitting is deadly. "Scientists are increasingly warning that sitting for prolonged periods - even if you exercise regularly - could be bad for your health. ANd it doesn't matter where the sitting takes place - just the overall number of hours it occurs. Several studies suggest people who spend most of their days sitting are more likely to be fat, have a heart attack or even die. After four hours of sitting, the body starts to send harmful signals says Elin Elblom Bak of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences as reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
(2) In the January 29th, 2010 issue of the The Week, page 23 an article suggests "TV can kill you. Watching too much television may shorten your life by years. Australian researchesrs tracked the medical conditions of 8,800 healhty adults for several years; the more television the participants watched, the more likely they were to have died during hte years examined. On average, for every hour per day spent watching TV, a subject was 18% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, 9% more likely to succumb to cancer, and 11% more likely to die of any cause. The culprit is the inactivity TV promotes. Prolonged watching of TV equals a lot of sitting, which invariablly means there's an absence of muscle movement, study author David Dunstan tells CNN.com. Long, unnatural periods of doing nothing physically, he says, clearly lead to premature death. The antidote is to just get up and move, he adds. The more you move, the greater the health benefits likely to be."
Our mental digestion is relieved by using the breath led poses in vinyasa yoga to help us circulate our energies, both physically and mentally. Otherwise our minds feel both WIRED and TIRED. We have this need to burn off excess energy that's pent up from sitting too much and we also need to breath and refresh our brains. Remember as John Doulillard, Director of LifeSpa School of Ayurveda in Boulder, Colorado says, "everyone thinkgs that when you can't sleep, you have too much energy, but usually people have too little energy: they are TOO exhausted to get to sleep." Please stay with your commitment to yoga and let your life be free of all constipation, mental or otherwise! Peace and light, Silvia