Portraits of a Sadhu

28.7.14



Toxic Parents

People can forgive toxic parents, but they should do it at the conclusion—not at the beginning—of their emotional housecleaning. People need to get angry about what happened to them. They need to grieve over the fact that they never had the parental love they yearned for. They need to stop diminishing or discounting the damage that was done to them. Too often, “forgive and forget” means “pretend it didn’t happen.”
I also believe that forgiveness is appropriate only when parents do something to earn it. Toxic parents, especially the more abusive ones, need to acknowledge what happened, take responsibility, and show a willingness to make amends. If you unilaterally absolve parents who continue to treat you badly, who deny much of your reality and feelings, and who continue to project blame onto you, you may seriously impede the emotional work you need to do. If one or both parents are dead, you can still heal the damage, by forgiving yourself and releasing much of the hold that they had over your emotional well-being.
At this point, you may be wondering, understandably, if you will remain bitter and angry for the rest of your life if you don’t forgive your parents. In fact, quite the opposite is true. What I have seen over the years is that emotional and mental peace comes as a result of releasing yourself from your toxic parents’ control, without necessarily having to forgive them. And that release can come only after you’ve worked through your intense feelings of outrage and grief and after you’ve put the responsibility on their shoulders, where it belongs.

(Susan Forward, Toxic Parents)

Why Do We Gossip?

20.7.14


Why do we gossip? A good question to contemplate. 

Third Week

19.7.14

Mysore, India

Just rounding out our third week in Mysore. The weather has been touch and go with bouts of daily rain and glimpses of sunshine. Most trips have been during the winter months, usually December/January. The last time I was in Mysore during monsoon was in 2007. I like it here during this time of year. It's still warm but not stifling with refreshing breezes. The rains clean the air. The dryer months are lovely too with endless sunshine. Mysore is like an oasis.

Practice has been running rather deep. With it being Friday I can feel it. A good tired. Like everything has been rung out of the body at an intense level. There are lapses in the practice where I feel as if I have no more to give but somehow I make it through anyway. More than a physical challenge it's a mental one. No matter how high the climb all you can do is take it one breath at time.

As the toughness of my practice arises there is an opportunity to dig deeper inside. To be in it, fully. Not wanting to be anywhere else.

Leaning in. Letting go.

The Gold

17.7.14

KPJAYI - Mysore, India 
You are perfect, whole and complete right this very instant. You are the whole itself, Being itself, watching a show in which you are the entire canvas, you are the entire cast - you are literally looking at your Self in everything. 
We are seeking something that is already present, already the case. It’s as if we held a diamond in our hand while we dig for pennies. Gold itself, taking itself as a mere chain, seeks to find out the truth of this elusive essence called Gold. By what means can Gold find Gold? It can only BE what it already IS - there is no reaching itself through any method. 
There is an expression - you can’t see the forest for the trees. You’re focused on each tree and missing the forest, which is already the case. Each tree IS forest, in expression. Each tree is a manifestation of forest - the collection of trees we call “forest”. Each thing IS the whole in expression - but we’ve given each “thing” an independence of existence. We say it came into existence - we think of “things” this way - this very concept is the obstacle - this way of thinking of reality. 
(Randall Friend)

This Moment

16.7.14


There is a very simple secret to being happy. Just let go of your demand on this moment. Any time you have a demand on the moment to give you something or remove something, there is suffering. Your demands keep you chained to the dream state of conditioned mind. The problem is that when there is a demand, you completely miss what is now. Letting go applies to the highest sacred demand, and even to the demand for love. If you demand in some subtle way to be loved, even if you get love, it is never enough. In the next moment, the demand reasserts itself, and you need to be loved again. But as soon as you let go, there is knowing in that instant that there is love here already. The mind is afraid to let go of its demand because the mind thinks that if it lets go, it is not going to get what it wants - as if demanding works. This is not the way things work. Stop chasing peace and stop chasing love, and your heart becomes full. Stop trying to be a better person, and you are a better person. Stop trying to forgive, and forgiveness happens. Stop and be still. 
(Adyashanti)

KPJ

15.7.14

"If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter – if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self.”         (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois)

Yoga Gear: Onzie




I live in yoga clothes. Practice, teach, repeat, practice, teach repeat, and with all that being said I have tried just about everything out there. In the beginning I remember I used to practice in anything that gave free range of movement. Often that meant some type of sweat pants I had lying around. That didn't last long because I would sweat so profusely the bulky fabric would not only soak all my sweat but literally weigh me down because there was no evaporation factor. As I became more serious about daily practice wearing something that hugged the body with no distraction became essential. Breathable fabric, comfortable fit, all that good stuff.

I began to literally live in my yoga clothes when I became a full-time yoga teacher. Now I like to have fun with what I wear. To feel light. To enjoy. To have a bit of fun. Not to take myself too seriously within a quest that at times can feel rather serious, if not arduous. No, clothes don't make the yoga practitioner. We know this already. It really doesn't matter what one wears when they practice just as long as they feel comfortable within themselves. But if you are looking for an alternative to what is out there already, I'd like to recommend Onzie. I just recently tried them out and have to say I'm a satisfied customer. With fun prints, breathable fabrics and quality wear, they bring it all together at an affordable price without skimping on durability.

Some of my favorite pieces include: Elastic Top (So comfortable!), X Back Fitness Top, Racer Top Bra, Capri Pants and Long Leggins.

Visit: www.onzie.com

To The Light

14.7.14


Finished our second week of the course, starting our third. There has been a gradual build up which has been nice. It reminds me how important it is to simply deepen the areas already visited many times before, exploring each movement with a fresh open mind. Coming to our mats with a beginners mindset everyday brings it alive. It's a way of being present within everything. More postures don't always bring maturity in the practitioner. Doesn't matter how fancy or complicated they are. It can be a feast for the eyes but the true beauty is the intentional mindset of the one who inhabits the posture. An alignment of what this practice points us to. Being here has continued to re-establish the beauty of this tradition and also the brevity of it. There is lightness in it. It brings us to the light. We can't cling to it, we can only dwell in it, because we are it.

Monday Inspiration: Go All The Way


“If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.” 
(Charles Bukowski)

Guru Purnima

12.7.14


Today on this full moon marks the day of Guru Parnima, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois's birthday. What is a guru? A dispeller of darkness. One who brings us out of darkness and into the light. One who removes our ignorance into illuminating wisdom. It is a day to celebrate our teachers and our light bringers. Happy Guru Punima! 

Ashtanga Yoga Retreat at Purple Valley - Goa, India

11.7.14

Ashtanga Yoga Retrea 
with Mark Robberds and Laruga Glaser

Purple Valley
Goa, India

20 December - 2 January 2015 

Course Description
The morning classes will be Mysore style under the guidance of Mark and Laruga. If required we will divide the group into those who already have an established self-practice, and beginners/and or those who are require assistance to learn the sequence. The afternoon classes will include a discussion on the essentials of yoga philosophy as well as valuable time for questions and answers with Mark and Laruga about the many layered aspects of the practice. This will be followed by various workshop themes which both Mark and Laruga will teach. Examples of these workshops are: Core techniques for developing the Primary Series, vinyasa/strength/arm balances, introduction to the second series, backbending and everyday essential hip openers, exploration of yoga breathing and developing a sitting meditation practice. These workshops will be multi-level and no matter what stage of the practice you are at they will be rewarding and insightful.

For more information and booking visit:
www.yogagoa.com

Maintaining A Meditative Energy During Yoga - Petri Räisänen

9.7.14


In this video I really appreciate Petri's approach in creating a meditative environment in the Mysore room. It is something I do my best to emulate, maintaining an atmosphere that is healing and conducive for practitioners to discover the practice of Ashtanga yoga on the inside, observing their internal energies. No one is a better example of this than Petri Räisänen. 

What is Truly Important?

8.7.14

Mysore, India

Remember that nobody is who you think. There is no person walking this Earth that you will ever fully know for you each have a different experience of each other based upon what it is in you that connects or does not connect with the other person. Know this. The truth is that the more you connect to your love and to who you are, the more clearly you will be seen by all. Some will not be able to see this. You will be invisible to them. Trust that. Allow them that. Just be you, unashamedly, and gloriously. You came here to experience being you; and the more you give yourself to the highest heights of that, the more you give change to the world. 
(Lee Harris)

Throughout my journey in this life I have been forced to look honestly at my shortcomings, but sometimes our own shortcomings have a way of being projected onto what we may or may not think are the shortcomings of others. An easy trap to fall into. For when we look to the failings of others it only distracts us from our own work, our own growth. I find it interesting that even in the yoga community we can get stuck on viewing people as right or wrong. Duality consciousness. What I have gathered is it seems that the ego doesn't even care who is right or wrong just as long as we can label others as such and continue the ongoing belief of separation. An illusory comfort that inhibits us from going beyond the material world. 

With all this being said, I am in no way saying I have reached the apex of non-judgment thinking in my day to day life. I'm working on it.  However, whenever rubbed up against thinking this person is right and this person is wrong, as a practice I do my best to investigate further on what is really going on inside. Why do I have to compartmentalize right now? What am I afraid of? Why is this bringing up the need to make someone or something wrong?

The beautiful thing I have learned through this investigation is having the opportunity to have any judgement I held inside to be proven unjustified when I simply get to know someone further, beyond what I may "think" of them. Often I am pleasantly surprised that what I thought was portrayed on the outside or even through the gossip of others that it was usually way off base. 

Separation consciousness is alive and well and can happen anywhere in any community and is something I have had to continually be vigilant in regards to how I look at the outer world. Within myself when I feel the need to make others wrong it only points to the fact that I am disconnected. An unfortunate fact and one that I have to remain conscious of.  

Within all of this, within all the drama that can produce itself in the mind I am reminded by the question, what is truly important?  Beyond right and wrong? Beyond silly criticisms of yoga selfies and who is truly spiritual? Beyond who gets it and who doesn't? The things that deter us from what is important. Where there is judgement there is death. Where there is love there is life. Infinite love is where we are born and where we return to. Why not rest my consciousness in that? There is no force more accepting, more accommodating, more receptive, more forgiving, more healing and it sits in the heart of who we are at our very core. 

The Mysore Program at Yogayama - Stockholm, Sweden

7.7.14



This is our little video on Ashtanga yoga, Mysore style, introducing those new to the practice or for those curious or simply too intimidated to try it out. Yes, it is a short video. It doesn't cover every aspect of the practice but does give one a little taste. I think what is most important to communicate is that any body is welcome. It is for one. It is for all. As a teacher I will never turn anyone away who is willing no matter the limitation that may seem to be presented. At the end of the day it goes far beyond the performance of the body. What is most valuable is the illumination of heart, mind and spirit.

I am extremely grateful for the support of Yogayama every step of the way since the inception of our program. We have been flourishing over the past 3 and a half years and have our sights on continuing to extend that support to our community of practitioners in every way we can.

www.yogayama.se

Back in Mysore

5.7.14


KPJAYI - Mysore, India

I'm back in Mysore participating in a special course for selected authorized and certified practitioners/teachers of KPJAYI, directed by R. Sharath Jois. No, I won't be writing notes on the course here. Sorry to disappoint. I've actually never shared conference notes on my blog because I have always felt that no matter how well I may understand what is being spoken about it will still filter through my own lens, my own experience. And yes, may or may not always be accurate. I truly feel the path of yoga is one that is very personal in nature. One reason why I encourage many students of the practice to come to KPJAYI at some point to experience the community and the current holder of the tradition. Now that doesn't mean I never share my own insights on the practice because obviously I teach, but this usually happens with one on one contact over time, which again is born from my own experience. I think what garners maturity is the ability to tune in to each individual student through the practice. This naturally happens over time but can also come at anytime when steadfast at being open and receptive. Through that, my blog has always continued to be more personal in nature. I share things that inspire and I also write about my own experience within life and practice. Although, I haven't done so much of the latter lately. I'll explain more on why later.

Today we finished our first week and it was such a pleasure. A week of led Primary series to get into the groove and to land on our feet after for some grueling travel, and to simply feel settled. At the beginning of the week I was rather sore. Breathing and moving through Primary series is always different when done on your own no matter how you slice it. Sharath's led classes are extremely stamina building and at the same time I felt really good as the week winded down. It's true what they say, "Primary is like healing balm."

I did come to Mysore with a few tweaks that is for sure. I've had a funky right shoulder for over a year now. Also a tricky lower back depending on the day, and yeah, this temperamental right hip. No, I'm not completely broken, haha. It's just interesting how sensitive we become through the practice of yoga. Evermore receptive to the stuck energies of the body and learning how to navigate around that with more awareness and attunement. Much of it stems from adjusting students on a consistent basis. Teaching Mysore style is highly physical and demanding on the body at times, but by this point as teachers we are prepared for it in a sense from all the accumulated years of practice as well. However, no matter how you look at it it does have an effect over time. I think many teachers would attest to the fact that it is all worth it. The gift of teaching far out weighs the demands on the body.

As I prepare for my first rest day since arriving to Mysore I feel eternally blessed and grateful to this practice and to my teacher R. Sharath Jois for all of his selfless devotion and of course to Guruji. To have this time to focus primarily on practice and study is a gift and one I never want to take for granted.

Friday Quote: Pema Chödrön

4.7.14

Mysore, India
There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life. 
(Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape)

Communication of Nonviolence

2.7.14


I really appreciate the work of Marshall Rosenberg in nonviolent communication. It is something I would like to study more in the future. It carries with it such resonation within the heart of what I feel we are really after in terms of our interaction with each other. It goes much deeper than what we think. 
 

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