Tag Archives: Pranayama

Mat Revelations

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A practice I find myself constantly refining is a return to the present moment.  The more I learn about this world and people, the more I believe that the secret to happiness is moving our consciousness away from the constant chatter of the mind and into the here and now.

I know I’m not revolutionary for thinking so.  All of my inspirations essentially say the same.  Whether it’s Patanjali saying “yoga chitta vritti nirodha,” yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, or it’s Ram Das reminding us to “Be Here Now,” this simple teaching is oft repeated by teachers throughout the ages.

This is a good an helpful thing.  Because of the fluctuations of the monkey mind and the strong distraction from the present moment, we often need to hear something said multiple times in different ways before it sinks in and we can integrate it as truth.

I had this realization in the middle of a yoga class when a teacher was offering a refinement cue for Warrior Two. As I worked to ground my back heal into the earth and inner spiral my back thigh, it suddenly hit me that *this* is what my other yoga teachers had been trying to correct.  It just took a different combination of sound bites and a mind unclouded by what to buy for dinner for the wisdom to sink past the thought bubble and into my body.

Virabhabdrasana II

It’s no accident that I consistently return to the practice of yoga.  Revelations like this on the mat reflect right back to life experiences.   Read the rest of this entry

Abhinivesha Klesha: Clinging to Life

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Our exploration of the Klesha has given us an opportunity to explore the different games our minds play with us to keep us from the true and ultimate reality.  These games fuse together into the great dance of life, dropping one foot and then another into the earthly world, the world of duality, where we live and love and learn the deep lessons that our souls are craving.

In this way, each klesha is a blessing for the gifts we learn from living wrapped in the illusion, then from awakening to observe the illusion, and finally in its unveiling.

The final klesha is Abhinivesha, the klesha of clinging to life.  In this gripping to a particular version of reality, we are unable to turn our gaze and twist deeply, looking over our opposite shoulder to the beauty of the non-dual world of which we’ve always been a part.

Marichyasana Three - Yogic Twist

Marichyasana Three – Yogic Twist

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Yin Yoga

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Prior to leaving the US, Vinyasa and Anusara yoga were the main components of my regular asana practice.  Yin Yoga is a style of yoga that involves holding the poses for a longer time in order to allow the body to receive deeper benefits.  While yang yoga, or faster moving yoga, often is structured around a peak pose with a goal to attain, yin yoga presents the challenge of showing up and being present.  As we sit with each pose, connective tissues and fascia slowly heat and soften.  Most asanas in a yin yoga class are held for a minimum of three minutes, and up to as long as twenty minutes.  Sitting with the poses allows us to watch the reactions in our mind and gives us practice in simply being present.

Image courtesy of Yoga Shala

Image courtesy of Yoga Shala

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Kali, Tearing Down Time

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This is the pretty roof of the room I call home these days.  On Sunday, said room began to smell a little mousey.  I cleared out all my things, shook out and then refolded each item of clothing and each bag and suitcase, yet did not find a mouse.   My friend correctly guessed that some small animal must have crawled between the tiles on the roof and the bamboo on the ceiling before Spirit left the body behind.  Unfortunately, there was nobody who could tear the roof apart for a day and a half, so the smell permeated the space I sleep and practice.

I can’t help but bring Kali to mind.  Kali, the  Hindu goddess of destruction and time whose devotees dance in graveyards and spread themselves with the ashes of funeral pyres.  Read the rest of this entry