Friday, May 23, 2014

Requiem: Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day Schedule:  Monday 9 am All Levels Class with Shri (530 pm class cancelled)

Requiem:  a token or act done in remembrance

Connection without clinging
Devoted without desperation
Knee deep in love without neediness

One of my friends and I have been talking recently about non attachment.  It is perhaps one of the most difficult Yogic concepts to understand and one that is often argued over (debated really) in Yoga teacher training discussions, particularly in regards to the practice of non attachment in relationships.
The 2 wings of the Yogi are Abhyasa- Practice and Vairagya- Non Attachment.  These are the core principles on which the entire system of Yoga rests.  Abhyasa is the persistent effort to quiet the mind and remember who we are.  To become well established this needs to be done for a long time, without a break, and in all earnestness.  Vairagya is learning to let go of the many attachments, aversions, fears, and false identities that are clouding the true Self.  They work together- practice leads one in the right direction and non attachment allows us to continue the inner journey without getting sidetracked.
I just returned from a weekend retreat at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA to study with one of my favorite teachers Rolf Sovik.  Rolf says the path of non attachment is really the path and practice of moving toward balance.  Being assertive for example is the balance between passivity and aggression.  And ultimately non attachment matures into performing right action without being so concerned with the results of the action- learning to sweep the floor to sweep the floor rather than to clean the floor.  (I know it's a lot to chew on.). The more we practice (Abhyasa) the more we become self actualized- we rest in our own true nature more easily and stop looking on the outside to attachments and false identities for validation of our sense of "I -ness".  We are delivered to an understanding that searching for anything on the outside - love, approval, validation, connection, security, peace- is never completely successful until we find it on the inside first. (But many souls will need many lifetimes to exhaust the outside search effort before doing the spiritual about face.)
This Universe is built on a foundation of polar opposites- the dvandvas.  This is the basis for the concept of Yin and Yang in Taoism and Shiva Shakti in Tantra.  Though the Yoga Sutra tells us that the possibility is there for "the pairs of opposites to cease to have impact"- for most of us, life on planet Earth is a journey through the pairs of polar opposites- hot and cold, good and bad, success and failure, pleasure and pain, etc.  We exist in a realm of opposites and there is a little of one polar opposite in it's opposite- there is some good in bad, some bad in good, some movement in stillness, some stillness in movement.  Have you ever touched something so hot it's almost cold or had your feet get so cold playing in the snow that they are almost hot?  I have.  I also know that there is some joy in grief and some grief in joy.  And there is a fine line between loving someone and desperately needing them.  Yet, I know that if we cannot truly experience sorrow or grief, then we also cannot experience joy or ecstasy.  The pairs of opposites come in pairs for a reason and this framework is a necessary part of the human experience.   The symbol for Judaism (and part of the heart chakra symbol) is 2 intersecting triangles - part of each one is in the other.  There is individual soul and cosmic soul- part of us is in the divine and part of the divine is in us.  It is what we are here to remember.
Perhaps the most pervasive attachment is that of our relationship with our own bodies.  The practice of non attachment in the grand scheme is practice for the death transition- the big letting go.  They say deaths come in 3's.  I experienced my 3 deaths recently.  On this Memorial Day I remember and honor those I have loved and lost.  Thank you for your gift to me.
I am not this body.

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Holiday Schedule

Holiday Schedule:

Dec 23-27, Mon thru Fri: 9 am classes only and CLOSED Christmas Day
Regular schedule for weekend classes

For more up to date info like us on Facebook

Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 4 Holiday Schedule

July 4th Holiday Schedule:

9 am Warrior Flow with Shri (with a jammin playlist of FIRECRACKER hot summer tunes)
11 am Long Slow and Deep with Pam

no evening classes Thursday and all other classes for the weekend stay the same

Happy Holiday!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012


"The stone that the builder refused will always be the head cornerstone........what we refuse, we lose."
Bob Marley

I love all things Bob Marley.  He was a great musician, mystic and spiritual and social activist.  I recently watched the documentary Marley and found out more about him.  He was born the outcome of a brief affair between his mother, a poor black Jamaican,and his father, a white British soldier.  Bob had virtually no contact with his father as a child and attempted to establish a relationship with his father when he was a young adult.  His father refused to be a part of his life, an action which devastated Bob and was the inspiration for the song Cornerstone (above).  One can only wonder if Bob's father later regretted turning him away when Bob Marley became famous and wealthy.
This holiday season I have been thinking about reconciliation, the union with and embrace of what is.  In the Catholic church reconciliation is the sacrament of confession and penance.  After the rite, which an act of raw honesty and clarity of vision, we are reconciled with the divine once again.  "What we refuse, we lose."  By embracing whatever comes our way, even though perhaps it may seem like something we might not like at the time, we are returned to the divine embrace.

What are we refusing, denying, hiding, refusing to see or pushing away?
Shine the light of truth on the subject- how do we feel, what do we believe, what part did we play in creating the situation?   (this is fertile- what do we believe to be true- this  will never change for example- when the reality is that all things change all the time)
What can be done now?  Is there penance or a remedy or do we need to simply embrace what is at least for now?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Schedule 2012

Holiday Schedule:
Christmas Eve:  9 am Rishikesh Flow with Shri with MUSIC (only class of the day)
Christmas Day:  closed
Wednesday, Dec. 26:  915 am Warrior Flow with Erin (only class of the day)
normal schedule back on Thursday, Dec 27
New Years Eve:  9 am:  108 Sun Salutations with Shri  (only class of the day)
New Years Day:  closed
normal schedule back on Jan 2

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scent Alchemy

This week in the shala we were working with the use of scent to facilitate alchemy- growth and transformation.  Many traditions use scent and perfume for healing and growth- the bible has over 500 references to essential oils and the plants from which they are harvested and at the birth of Jesus, the 3 wise men came with gifts of essential oils, fragrance and resin.

Or the concentration on subtle sense perception can cause steadiness of mind. 
Yoga Sutras 1.35
Patanjali tells us that one of the ways to quiet the mind (and to move toward enlightenment) is by working with subtle sense perception. 
The sense of smell is considered exalted because of its connection to the breath- the vehicle for prana.  The experience the scent of something is to commune with its essence.
Scents may be categorized into solar scents and lunar scents.  Solar frangrances are energizing and invigorating and lunar fragrances are calming and soothing to the nervous system.  A solar scent, like orange, would be great to use before a hot practice, like sun salutations. Lunar scents, like lavender or sandalwood, would be great to use before meditation.
The scent of burning aromatic artemesias like sage and mugwort purify the pranic body and help us to let go of what no longer serves us.  They are nice to burn before or after a Yoga practice.

A perfect perfume has 12 notes, or scent ingredients, that come together in 3 chords chosen for their harmonic affinity.

The first chord is the head, the first impression the perfume makes, which lasts a few minutes.
The second chord is the heart, the theme of the perfume, which last for several hours.
And the third chord is the base, the tail of the scent, which lasts for several days.

A relationship with Yoga practice has similarities- there is the first impression- we may decide that we like or do not like practicing Yoga right away.  Then we experience the heart chord- the honeymoon is over and we either decide to stay with it and dive deeper into the theme of the practice or we decide to quit all together.  The base chord is the result of practice which we start to see in all areas of our lives.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Schedule 2012

Thanksgiving Day Schedule:
9 am All Levels Flow with Pam (our only class of the day)

Shiva Wisdom:

This week in the shala we were working with archetypal Shiva energy.  The archetypes are energies and/or forces that we may choose to align ourselves with.  In order to learn about the nature of the archetype's energy and to understand the best means to create the alignment, we look to the mythic stories of the deity.  Shiva is a master meditator.  He sits in perpetual meditation with his physical eyes closed and his third eye, his inner vision, remains open.  In mythic art, vertical lines represent action and horizontal lines represent stillness.  When a Yogi performs a ritual offering to Shiva, we may use the sacred ash to create a symbol on the forehead (like holy ash on Ash Wednesday) to remind us of our act of devotion.  The symbol for Shiva is 3 horizontal lines- the wisdom of Shiva is instruction on the power of stillness and of meditation.
Shiva has a relationship with the concept of Tripura- the 3 worlds.  Tripura is where the roots of suffering lie- it is the 3 worlds of Me, Mine and Not Mine.  Me is my body and my mind.  Mine is my property, my family, my self image.  And Not Mine is everything else on the planet that is not under our authority.  All suffering dwells in the realm of the the 3 worlds.  One of Shiva's 108 names is Tripurantaka- the destroyer of the 3 worlds.  Shiva energy is a means toward the alleviation of suffering.  It is through the cultivation of awareness, Shiva's 3rd eye is always open, and the practice of stillness and meditation that we move toward happier lives.  Through a dedicated practice of meditation, the transitory nature of the 3 worlds is revealed and we begin to understand the futility of clinging to Tripura as our source of happiness.  Each meditation serves as an introduction to the part of ourselves that is beyond the 3 worlds, the part of ourselves which has always been and always will be- for many people this essence is called soul.
The sound structure that we may use to align ourselves with Shiva energy is
Om Namah Shivaya