Showing posts from June, 2010

Observations of a pitta mind

Oh, score! I got a spot right in front of the fan tonight! I set up my mat and waited for class to begin.
I thought about my first real yoga teacher, Robert.  As soon as the temperature would start to rise, he'd
get out the fan and position it directly in front of me.  After a while I didn't even have to ask, he would just
know when I needed the fan on.  I really appreciated that. 

The bhavana for tonight's class was pitta reducing practices.  Remember from my previous blog, pitta relates to the elements of fire and water in our bodies and minds.  When the temperature rises outside, our internal temperature rises, both physically and mentally. In Ayurveda, summer is considered pitta season.  The practice tonight was all about cooling the body and the mind and keeping whatever heat that was generated in the abdominal area. 

We  began with several rounds of pranayama - Shitali breathing.  *This breath has a cooling effect and therefore it is not recommended for practice d…

Ask and you shall receive

Since I took my very first steps onto this yogic path I've been daydreaming of meeting a great guru.  My hope was that this great guru would light the way for me to reach this state of enlightenment.  Reading books about the great Indian saints and gurus only makes this desire stronger. 

I've been listening to Autobiography of a Yogi on cd in the car.  If you haven't read this book -  I would highly recommend you read it.  Or better yet, listen to it on CD.  This morning, I listened to Yogananda recount numerous stories about the miracles performed by his guru and other saints. One of the stories was about a woman who was on her way to visit her guru (I lost track of which guru performed which miracles -sorry).  She gets to the train station only to find that her train was leaving. She prayed that the train would stop as she was unable to stand the torture of being away from her beloved guru for a moment longer.  (Here's the miracle) -  The train suddenly stops - she&…

Food for thought

"Oh, will you give it a rest!" I tell my mind.  My mind shrugs and replies "What can I do?  It's my nature to think".   Just like my crazy dog who bolts out the door at the first sight of a squirrel.  It's his nature to hunt (he's a beagle) so that's what he does.   So too, our minds must do what it was meant to do -- Think. 

I've resigned myself to the fact that I can't run away from it.  Wherever I go, my mind will follow. Rather than allowing my mind to run wild,  I attempt to direct it.

This morning I noticed that I was obsessing over a thought so as I prepared for meditation I decided to read from the Upanishads.  Giving my mind some lovely verses to the think about rather than falling into the negative thoughts patterns. 

Taittiriya Upanishad:

"OM is  the supreme symbol of the Lord.  Om is the whole.  Om affirms; Om signals the chanting of the hymns from the Vedas. The priest begins with Om; spiritual teachers and their students c…

If only I could find the off switch... Oh wait, I did.

After a long and difficult week it felt so good to roll out my mat this morning.  As the class began I realized that I have spend most of the last week holding my breath.  My body felt tense, my mind scattered.  But then, the funniest thing happened.  While I was lying on my stomach in cobra pose I noticed the carpet.  That's right, while SD is talking about feeling the support of mother earth, I'm thinking about the carpet.  What I noticed was that up close, it's hard to see the pattern in the carpet.  Only when you stand up and look at it from some distance can you see the pattern. 

It's the same thing with life in general.  When you're in the middle of a difficult situation you can't really see the whole picture, you can't see the pattern in the carpet.  It's only when there's a little distance that you can see things more clearly.

One of the first steps in learning meditation is watching your breath.  It's a practice in stepping back from y…

Can you please be quiet?!

Silence is golden.  The movie theaters reminds us of this every time we go to the movies.  So why is it that no-one is listening??  I read somewhere once that what makes music is the silence in between the notes. (I'm not a musician so I have no idea if that's true but it sounds good). 

Yesterday, I spend 9 hours sitting in a hospital waiting room.  My husband was having surgery to repair his rotator cuff.   When we first arrived at the hospital at 6am, the TV in the waiting room was already on.  I sat there for about an hour and a half. I had intended to read but the TV was so loud I couldn't concentrate.  So I watched infomercials, one after another.  So many products promising to improve my life and make me less stressed.  Doesn't anyone realize that just by turning off the TV my life would be improved and I'd feel less stress?

Later I was sent to another waiting room.  I was so relieved to find that the room was empty and quiet.
This was about 7:30am.  I sat…

F.U.N. - Fun!!!

What do you get when you put one yoga instructor in a gym with 90 elementary school students?  Chaos, of course. 

Today I had the pleasure of teaching yoga to the students of New Foundation Charter School in Philadelphia as part of their health fair.  During the 5 hours of teaching yoga I made some interesting observations.  The most obvious was that the students who were the best behaved were the students who's teacher was present and involved.  A more subtle observation was the kid's level of self-consciousness.

The younger kids just came in and had fun. They all wanted to show off what they could do.  The flipped and "crab walked"  all around.  They were so free and happy.  There was no sense of guardedness that I noticed from the older students.  I started to wonder at what age do we start feeling self-conscious?  Is it just a rite of passage or did something happen that makes us self-conscious?   From today's observations, I would say that it happens aroun…


SD was reading my mind again tonight.  At least that's what it seemed like.  I wonder how long you have to be a yogi before you can read minds.  Remember that movie with Mel Gibson?  The one where he could read women's minds.  Would you like to be able to glimpse into someone's thoughts?  I would imagine that we'd be surprised to know that what goes on in other people's minds is not that different than what's going on in our own minds. 

So I wasn't going to go to class tonight. Believe it or not I actually considered not going.  I've been so cranky lately and just didn't want to go. I did go to class however, (I'm such a creature of habit)  and I'm glad that I did.  I chatted with another student about a book we're reading as I walked in. I'm greeted with a hug from SD. As I sat chatting with a couple of really lovely women before class I feel my mood start to shift.  The bhavana (intention/theme) for the class was letting go of the…