One of the most valuable skills we learn through practicing yoga is how to feel calm inside a storm, how to be strong and steady and yet still “go with the flow”. We learn to balance opposing physical actions to find a sweet, spacious middle ground. We practice balancing “activity” and “passivity” (or, better yet, “receptivity”) inside the poses and in life. During the hectic bustle of the holidays, it often feels like there’s no time to be passive—got to get it all done! Here I offer a way to find a bit more balance without sacrificing anything on your to-do list. In the poses we actively engage certain muscles to align and stabilize the pose. At the same time, we seek to be receptive to the sensations the body sends back to the brain. We then analyze that information and make adjustments to find a safe posture with the right amount of challenge. For most of us, telling our bodies what to do comes more naturally than hearing the quiet messages it sends…until those messages get too loud (painful) to ignore. When we are active (busy, focused) we feel in control. When we are receptive (quiet, open) there is a sense of vulnerability. We humans are creative and have all kinds of ways to avoid feeling vulnerable, but in doing so, we block everything out—including opportunities to feel love and connection. The holidays are chock-full of togetherness, so there’s […]
Learn about Ahimsa (Nonviolence) and how yoga can help you attain freedom from fear and operate from a place of love and compassion.
Every moment is an opportunity to change, to make different choices, shift our path toward positive, meaningful goals. Yet there is something about the beginning of a new year that feels fresh, full of opportunity. This winter session at Eden Yoga, we will be offering tidbits of inspiration and guidance to help you craft a blissful 2017. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras have been a source of guidance and inspiration to yogis for around 2000 years, so it seems a great place to start. Patanjali codified a system referred to as the “Eight Limbs of Yoga”. The path begins with the yamas (moral codes) and niyamas (personal observances), on which we will focus here. The path then leads to asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), darana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and finally, samadhi (enlightenment). I will write in more detail about each of the ten yamas and niyamas each week during this session, and we will briefly discuss them in class. For now, here is a list of the five yamas and five niyamas and their translations: Yamas (morals codes): ~Ahimsa – nonviolence ~Satya – truth ~Asteya – refrainment from stealing ~Bramacharya – self-control, celibacy, directing your energy & efforts mindfully ~Aparigraha – non-hoarding, renunciation of unnecessary possessions Niyamas (personal observances): ~Saucha – cleanliness ~Santosha – contentment ~Tapas – austerity ~Svadhyaya – self-study, study of scripture ~Isvara Pranidhana – surrender to God or the infinite, humility
Buddhist monk Pema Chödrön writes “Meditation helps us to clearly see ourselves and the habitual patterns that limit our life”. (Yes it does, and that is rather uncomfortable at times. It is so much easier to blame others for my discontent!) Albert Ellis, creator of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy asserts that feelings come from thoughts and we can control our thoughts. We are therefore responsible for our own emotional state. (Geez, always???) This is a tough one to talk about, but through meditation, I’ve noticed that one of my limiting patterns is how readily I close my heart if I perceive a possibility of rejection. So I’ve been paying close attention to it lately…to how my heart feels (via sensations inside my chest) in various situations, and how my behavior correlates. It feels wonderful when my heart is warm and open, my breathing soft, full and relaxed. I feel light, loving, connected to those around me, and generally at peace with myself and the world. Situations flow with ease, and I welcome interactions with others. Then the tide changes and the happy-go-lucky attitude gets whisked away. I grasp at it like a candy wrapper zig-zagging across the boardwalk on a windy fall day. It escapes. Carefree summer is gone, winter storms in. I notice a hardness or heavy feeling inside my chest. Thoughts are predominately negative. I avoid social interaction. Is this re-frozen heart inevitable like the changing of the seasons? When I look at the alleged cause (maybe a casually dropped […]