Monday, April 30, 2012

Sleepy yogi

I was kind of falling asleep in class today. Then I went to meditation and I was kind of falling asleep in that too. When I say kind of...I mean someone should have whacked my shoulder with a stick.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

When everything falls into place

I just taught the awesomest Yoga class this afternoon. My Dharma talk was about holding things (emotions, stress, tension) so tightly that we forget how to let go of them. Sometimes our bodies are still holding. Yoga and meditation helps us to release some of the holding and instead make space. I rarely do thorough, well thought out and fluid Dharma talks. Maybe that's my own story but whatever the case was today...everyone in class was super focused and super present that I felt it. The energy was still, and time stood still. During meditation and savasana there were loud motorcycles and an ice cream truck that kept driving up and down the street but nothing could break these Yogi's! They were so present, the whole room had lightness. I think this is the first time I've taught a class that really conveyed the "union" part of Yoga so successfully. It really made me appreciate my Yoga practice and also the people who come to my classes. Thanks for your support!

I like this photo because it looks like the crown of your head is a fountain. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


The first Sutra "Atha Yoganusasanam" translated as "And now the science/study of Yoga begins".

I like that this sutra starts us off on one of the most important aspects of Dhyana and meditation practice. The "now" part. The part about being present. Not thinking about what happened 2 minutes ago or what you will be doing later. Not thinking about how you felt a minute ago, but allowing all of those thoughts to pass by and being in the now. And this is when the process of Yoga begins. I like the idea of the yoga practice as a process. Its not about the end result -there is so much in the process. Every present moment there is something to be learned, and then moving on from that moment into the next present moment. This is why I always think of Yoga as a journey. You have to let go of the idea or desire of the end result - relaxation, being able to touch your toes, come into a headstand, etc. By doing the work you will eventually get there, but you have to surrender to this and trust it. If your mind is set on the goal only, you lose the intensity of the work and make it more difficult to reach your goal.

It is these desires and thoughts about the past or the future, that creates the ripples in our sea of consciousness. It distorts our journey and makes it more difficult to see what is really there. When you get into a stressful situation, you can feel your perception distort, we become defensive, angry, upset. But staying present helps us to see the reality and work through difficult times. Dhyana is being able to hold ourselves in the present place despite the challenges we meet in life day to day. It helps us through those times and brings us to a more calm state where we can see more clearly.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Instead of Meditating Try....

The sea of consciousness that occupies our minds can be a rough and stormy place. We're thinking about our to do lists for the day, things that might have upset us just a minute ago, the project that's due tomorrow and the meeting on Wednesday. And/or watching tv, eating and talking on the phone at the same time? Working on a project, checking email and on ichat at the same time? My point is...when do we give our brains a break? Our bodies intuitively want a break and that's why we find ourselves sitting in the park quietly, taking a walk, reading a book or in a Yoga class. Something within us knows we need to find some stillness in the mind and body. We always talk about meditating in Yoga to help us find that stillness...the problem with true meditation is that it takes a lot of practice and to truly meditate in its fullest extent, we have to start already relaxed and well practiced. So the question is how do we get there? We can work on our focus! Below is a list of things to help find focus and give ourselves a break. These are also great suggestions for those that are more tactile and fidgety like myself :)

Instead of meditating try:
Making paper cranes
Knitting, Crocheting or Weaving
Folding paper stars
Take a walk
Sit in a cafe and people watch
Making something: jewelry, soap, candles, crafting
Eat a meal alone without reading/watching tv/socializing
And last but not least....practice Yoga!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cleansing still...

So we're still on our community cleanse at Jai. I am not totally in the loop but I did caffeine this week, next week is alcohol though I will be doing gluten + sugars. I am deciding to significantly cut down on my sugar and gluten intakes in general anyways. Because I've learned that my skin gets much nicer when I cut both down and I am all around just more alert and energetic. It seems more and more as I analyze my diet that I need more red meat. And soon I will do a juice body is really dying for the greens, I can feel it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I used to hate Mantras and Chanting

I am lucky to have a friend who is so open and into Yoga that she has really pushed me further into my practice from being someone who did Yoga half heartedly to actually becoming a teacher and teaching classes. Without her I would not have learned as much as I have today due to my own closed-mindedness. Admittedly I have also not had many great Yoga teachers that I was able to make good connections with in the past until somewhat more recently.

I used to be really anti-spiritual chanting yoga stuff. Really. I always felt like...crazy Yoga people should not be pushing their issues and spiritual stuff on me and/or their students -I actually still believe this. On top of this I used to hate chanting. I thought...many of these in experienced Yoga teachers are chanting all kinds of crazy things they may not even understand and I'm not going to participate. Especially when they are chants to a diety. I am just saying...respect that people are not into what you're into is all. I also still believe this! However, being at Ananda Ashram and learning Sanskrit and chants from people who can really break it down and explain the meaning and also give commentary about these ancient words is something different to me. I found it much more eye opening and I didn't mind participating. I suppose in a Yoga class there isn't much time to sit there for an instructor to break it down piece by piece but it is what it is.

Also learning that the Sanskrit language is meant to resonate with certain chakras in your system, moving energies. A chant I chose recently for Japa "Om Namah Shivaya" because I liked how it sounded, heard a few teachers I practice with use it and its also easy for me to remember. But learning more about it...the sound Shiva connects you to the "universal intelligence" or I just say...the energy of the universe. In general the chant can help bring energy back into your body. It is also said to help bring in positive energy and dispel negative. It honors the divine/God within yourself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yoga to avoid using a walker?

Says Alan Finger. His meditation classes are pretty awesome.

Day 4 at Ananda Ashram

The buzz of the city seeps back into you as you realize you have to leave!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 3 at Ananda Ashram

Meditating to a fire and sanskrit chanting every morning and every evening sounded hokey to me...until I did it. I practiced my tratak, learned some sanskrit and did some readings from the Yoga Sutras + The Bhagavad Gita. I am realizing more and more in my "Yoga" journey that its all about having the right teachers. It means everything! So gratitude to my 2 main Yoga teachers, my Yogi friend who loves Yoga so much she helps me to love Yoga and the people at Ananda. As a whole, all of these people have played a huge part in process.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 2 at Ananda Ashram

This past week at Jai we gave up sugar for our Spring Cleanse. I thought it would be easy to do while at Ananda...but they put vegan cookies out almost everyday! ACK! I still resisted. All our meals were vegetarian, home cooked and clean. Natural or organic ingredients and no junk food. Eating like that really felt good. Coming home and being surrounded by junk again..not so great. This eating clean + the Spring Cleanse has really made my skin nice and clear!

Also there is a cat that lives at Ananda named Pebbles who is quite possible they nicest cat ever. See below the picture of her meditating.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 1 at Ananda Ashram

After 4 days in Monroe, NY..away from the city. I finally feel like my Shen is recharged!

The fresh air, trees, away from city sounds. Every day is simple: wake up, breakfast, meditate + chant, yoga, lunch, look at trees, yoga, dinner, yoga, meditate + chant...then sleep. If people lived like this...maybe they would be bored..or maybe they'd live longer.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Regaining my perspective

4 days of meditating, yoga and this....

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What an amazing day!

Live Sitar turns out to be a seriously amazing thing to have in a Yoga class. Thanks to all the amazing people who showed up today. If you missed out, don't worry...we will make it happen again!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Yoga + Sitar

If you didn't get the memo..this is happening tomorrow!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Things are happening at Jai in Bushwick!

April is Dhyana month! We are focusing on honing our meditation skills. All last month we worked on Dharana focus and concentration. As we practice that we can get to a place where meditating just happens. I like this idea that if you just sit and do...and even fake it will find yourself in it. Meditating. That is Dhyana. I think we all get there sometimes but we just don't realize it. Come to class and meditate with us!

This week we've been cleansing ourselves of gluten. Its going pretty well for me. I don't feel as sleepy and on top of that, have less a need for caffeine! Next week we're giving up sugar! my LIVE Sitar music class! So If you haven't been to Jai Yoga Arts yet...its a great time for you to try it out -so come on down!

And to be random...a link to 13 simple steps to get you through a rough day...
I know its not Friday yet...I personally work all weekend so I am not much for looking forward to the weekends but if you're feeling down and out...things could be worse...or you can just read this.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sitar music blends

This Saturday coming up...Egemen Sanli will be playing Live in my Yoga class!
Check out some of his music here

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Foos + Still its Gluten!

3 people posted that it was their birthday on FB today as an April Fools joke. I figured that out about 2 people...not knowing it was April 1st, but because I am just good at remembering bdays. HA! Yes, I did start this blog post with my side note.

I am super glad I am giving up gluten this week as I follow the community cleanse at Jai Yoga Arts. Gluten it is. Its exactly what I need this week. Eating cheese again has made me go buck wild with bread. So the way I am going about this diet is just simply gluten and not things with "traces of gluten" since I don't have celiac. Though I will probably learn that I digest better without the gluten.