Sunday, September 26, 2010


Have you ever set an intention to go to bed at a certain time or get up at a certain time and find that you were unable to fulfill your commitment? Have you ever made up your mind to eat only those things you say you want to eat and/or not eat those things you say you do not, only to fail here too as well? Controlling the 5 senses is certainly not an easy task. Masters say that each sense organ is like a dog and that each dog wants to go in a different direction. The sense of sight wants to go off in search of beautiful sights, the sense of smell wants to go off in search of lovely fragrances, and so on. And we are attempting to walk these 5 dogs rather than let these dogs lead us around.
Master Patanjali and Classical Yoga give us a recipe for controlling the senses...... We are to practice Pratyahara, the conscious withdrawal of the senses away from the outer world. With pratyahara, we make a choice to tune into the inner experience, the inner landscape. This is one reason why many Yoga studios are sparsely decorated and why many Yoga teachers choose not to use music for asana practice. We are encouraging you to go inside, even if only momentarily. We spend so much of our lives with external world focus. Let your Yoga practice be a time for internal awareness and dwelling. Practically in class, we cultivate pratyahara by focusing on our breathing patterns and scanning the physical body for sensations. The pelvic floor technique moola bandha is well suited to develop pratyahara as well because the muscle group is located deep inside the body and we almost always lose the technique if we shift awareness to the outside world by looking outside the window or looking across the room at other Yogis.

When the senses withdraw themselves from the objects and imitate, as it were, the nature of the mind-stuff, this is pratyahara.
Yoga Sutra 2.54
Then follows mastery over the senses.
Yoga Sutra 2.55

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Karma for Yoga Teachers

There is a story in the scriptures about one of the gods making a sarcastic remark about a human. The human was very sensitive so she could hear the nasty remark about the way she looked. She said to the god, "had you been an ordinary person, I could have forgiven you". And she cursed the god to only have ugly children from that day forward.

When we call ourselves "teacher", we choose to no longer be ordinary people. Karmic consequence becomes greater for teachers. Teachers' words and actions need to be thoughtful and for the greater good, to the very best of our ability. Great teachers see their students as children who are to be cared for and instructed with loving respect.
We cannot give away that which we do not possess. As teachers, we need to be constantly culitvating light so that we are able to illuminate the path for others even a little. Muktananda Stiles says that teachers need to make sure that they are able to meditate peacefully for at least 20 minutes, otherwise we are passing on our stress and tension to our students.
No one said that teaching is easy, but not enough people are saying that teaching is hard and a great responsibility that not everyone is up for. Will you honor your role as teacher with the full commitment to be of service or will you use the role selfishly for personal gain?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day Holiday Schedule

Schedule for Monday, September 6:

9 am Class ONLY Mixed Level with Shri

Happy Holiday!
(Regular schedule resumes on Tuesday)