Sunday, February 28, 2010

Advaita Vedanta: We are all pretty great...you just have to accept how great that really is!


I have been thinking a lot about the perception of energy. The universe is energy...we are made of the stuff of the universe- the universe is pretty amazing.....hhhmmmmm- that must mean that we are too! Pretty easy on paper right? So where does it start getting muddied? It is when we start projecting ourselves-our perceptions onto that energy. The energy is there. It IS......kind of like the hot guy vs the kind of er- less hot guy hitting on a woman at a bar- woman thinks with hot guy-"oh, he's so great, seems like a good person- now he's going to buy me a drink- I want to talk to him!" woman thinks with average guy "oohh just leave me alone- I just want to hang out here with my friends...creepy!" So both guys put out the same amount of energy-it's the perception of that energy that makes all the difference. So it is actually is that easy...everything is and will always be. We are all a part of that IS...that I AM. We just make that IS personal in order to understand it. So maybe instead if trying to change the certainty (the energy) instead we can change the perception of the certainty.  Instead of "aaaarrrrgggggg idiot! He cut me off! People need to learn how to drive!!!!"....maybe try" woah- I am so glad I avoided an accident! great reminder to be more mindful when I am driving" the IS of the moment the same....just your perception that has shifted. Sometimes the smallest shifts make all the difference. Cause really since we are all made from the same stuff....we are all pretty great. Cause the universe is who we are, we are all pretty great.  Cause being happy is a CHOICE and not a priviledge...we are all pretty great. Cause happiness is a perception of energy it is a choice. It is that simple. Cause most importantly it is all subjective, it is all an illusion of our creation. The only reality is the energy. Pretty easy on paper- pretty easy in life.
read more about this philosohpy- Advaita Vedanta

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Emotions and heart openers and the brain...oh my!

So my favorite podcast EVER is Radio Lab on WYNC...I get a little flat hand clappy every time I hear  one (this is the program that I learned about the link between the domestication of cats and the sharp rise in schizophrenia in western society...Brilliant!!!!!!). If you have been in my class this week you have heard me talk about the fascinating story I  heard about the link of emotions and  physical response...theorizing that the physical response (racing heart, pupil dialation,  rise in blood pressure etc...) is what triggers the emotional response in the brain (ie, the translation of the physical manifestation of these responses). That begs the question to be asked "then what happens to the people who lose the ability to feel their body?" This question along with many others is answered in this article from the NY Times.....This made me think- if people who lose  all sense of feeling in their bodies suffer a profound dulling of the senses, to what extent of "emotional numbness" do those of us who are out of touch with  our bodies experience? It make sense why many people have profound emotional repsonses on their mats when they open up to the sensations of the body in hip openers and backbends.  Ah yoga- you never cease to rock my existence!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So hot today.....

Aaaaahhhh- It was one of those days- sweat pouring off me as I come into crow and slide off my arms. Dry off- better. Sweat coming out of my pores almost with force. Mat drenched, towel drenched, body saying "thank you". Air around me like soup- swimming through the air, breathing the moisture. The sweat dries on my skin during savasana , get up- slide into my sandals...perhaps a swim at the waterfall?
Oh wait. February 17th. snow. snow. snow. studio never over 72 degrees. cold. Okay- so I'm not dripping in the sweat, swimming in the soup,  a human sprinkler- not as bendy, rubber band-y in my practice as I am when summer is in full swing, my body is always warm, loose, willing. Instead my body is creaky, a little angry at me when I come to my mat- oh god not today- too cold...wait noooooo don't take off the socks! sob, sob, really-bind? right now? 5 minutes in? Oh come on Shan. So my practice changes with the seasons....Siff in winter, a little more brittle, heavy like slabs of ice. But like winter- times of profound stillness, quiet beauty, deep introspection. So different than my summer practice....pliable like green branches, light from toxins moving out of me, exhuberent like sunflowers. I love this time...i look forward to these moments of effortlessness...my body doesn't fight me Yes! let's get on that mat! of course take that bind, float forward, face on shins...let's do this for hours Shan!
But though summer is the time I day dream about in my practice, I think that it is in those dark, heavy moments in the heart of winter that I learn some of the greatest lessons on my mat....the times I am forced to be more patient, more understanding, more humble with my body. Hard lessons to learn, even harder to apply, harder still to work through day after day....and I make it through-and I breathe.  I know that the ice will thaw, having given the ground time to rest, and renew. Green shoots appearing in the fertile soil, made fertile by the slow, quiet, release of the winter water deep into the crust.
So though I know these are necessary moments- I still daydream about by summer practice. Tank tops and sweat seem so far away . I know that it will get here though- one day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh yeah- I'm a yoga geek...and you may be too.

I have a LONG drive to work where I am a therapist. I get to sit in the car for an  hour and a half each way three days a week. The other day when I was driving to work while engaging in my happiest car past time, I realized with startling clarity... "I AM A YOGA GEEK."  "Uh yeah" you might be thinking right now- "you have a yoga blog and ALWAYS talk to me about yoga every time I see you.....GEEK!" It was not so clear to me however, until this lightening bolt realization hit me while driving and I was engaging in my happiest car past time. Okay, I will let in in on my car past time secret....I do yoga in my head while I drive. Yup- I sure do.....for an entire hour and a half on the way to CT. I put on my favorite play lists on my ipod, and have the most radical, amazing asana practice ever (you would not BELIEVE the things I can do- Handstand into scorpion?...uh yeah)! "NO WAY am I that GEEKY!" you may be thinking- but perhaps you are....I have devised  quite a sophisticated test to tell you....
IF YOU ARE A YOGA GEEK
1) Do you do yoga in your head when driving?
2) You discuss the merits of Muhla Bhanda with your friends (sorry M.A. :)
3)You no longer snicker a little bit when your yoga teacher tells you to take Titibhasana 
4)You understand question #3 (for all you non yoga geeks I'll enlighten you..."hee hee, she said titty")
5)You wear yoga clothes more than street clothes...and or also- have more yoga pants than jeans.
6) You think of your yoga mat as "your precious" and hiss at someone who touches it.
7) You start signing all of your emails and correspondences with  Peace and love or Shanti even when you're emailing your accountant (just like I did today).
8)You won't go out on a Friday night because you "don't want to be too tired for yoga tomorrow morning"
9) If you laugh out loud AND understand all of the references for the following pictures.......
 
  
  
  
 

Answer key:a)If you answered yes to one of the above you are an "APPRENTICE                              YOGA GEEK"  keep up the faith...you will be dorking it out in no time.
                      b) If you answered yes to two or more of the above questions...congratulations! you are a "YOGA GEEK!"
                     c) If you answered yes to two or more of the above questions, and one of them is #9, you are a "YOGA GEEK"and a "STAR WARS DORK".  
These unbelievably funny pics are from the website You will not believe us 

peace and love, fellow geeks. May the force be with you.
 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Awareness and action

 Many people know about what is happening to the dolphins in Taiji Japan, and many people do not. For those of you who do not, please watch this video. It is brutally difficult to watch and heartbreaking. Awareness however, is power.


What we can we do......
write to our leaders about this attrocity
calculate your mercury
Learn more about dolphins in captivity
Help Save Japans Dolphins on the frontlines
Stop buying Japanese products

Take your awareness Off the mat and into the world....

Awareness is power. We have the power to make a change in the world. DO....that is all it takes. ACT with your heart, with your love. SEE with clarity what you want the world to be. NO act is too small. SPREAD the awareness to others...help them see that they have the power too!

 Om Shanti dear friends!
(and thank you to my sweet sister Melissa who is always helps me see more clearly)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Second Chakra....be here now!


So this week we worked on our second chakra in class- a chakra of letting go...being in the moment, enjoying our bodies and all the physical pleasures of life...taste, smell, touch. Read more about the second chakra here....   Since I was so busy this week "being here now" I didn't have a chance to really compose my thoughts about the second chakra in blog form (sorry). I am getting ready for the third chakra this coming week- the chakra that is our "storage battery for personal power".  Here however, are some wonderful postures you can use to continue to your exploration of your second chakra (not a bad thing to do right before valentine's day!)
Upavistha Konasana
Gumukhasana
Baddha Konasana

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New song obsession

If you have been in any of my second chakra classes this week... we ended with an amazing chocolate meditation- this is the song I was playing. I just found out it was on a tv show. Sigh, I thought I had discovered this great original thing- oh well....I still adore it.
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