Showing posts from July, 2010


I was inspired this morning while I practiced to write down the sequence as it unfolded organically. Afterwards I looked at the sequence to find the common thread. What was the bhavana that revealed itself through this practice?  I put it aside and continued my sadhana.  During meditation the mantra that was repeating itself in my mind was Om Gum Ganapatayi Namaha.  The mantra to Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.  The bhavana? -- Trust.

When the check engine light goes on in your car you take your car to a mechanic.   The mechanic gets under the hood, tightens a few screws, charges you $500. and you're on your way.  We get into our car and trust that the mechanic has fixed the problem.  Eknath Easwaran tells us to trust in God as much as we trust in the mechanic who fixes our car.  That's not so much to ask right?

Some people are lucky enough to have some knowledge about fixing cars.  Maybe you can change the oil or give it a little tune up but when the problem is beyond th…

Yoga Citta Vritti Nirodhah

"Tell me a story about Krishna!" says the beautiful little girl I met last night.  Luckily for me her dad, who was there for a  kirtan (devotional chanting) at Yoga on Main, answered her request.   He told a little story while her mother danced, acting out the story for us.   It was captivating!  It was a beautiful performance.

The story goes something like this.  There was a thousand headed snake that lived in a river.  He wanted the river all for himself so in an effort to keep others away he filled it with venom.   All the little cow-herders and the  cows they lovingly tended to drank from the river and fell ill.  Little Krishna, who was also a cow-herder saw  his friends and their cows near death and he leaped into the river to fight this evil snake.  He, of course, defeats the snake and  dances on his heads.  Each time the snake rears one of his heads, Krishna gives it a little stomp to put the snake in his place.   The storyteller explains that the snake symbolizes our…

Sthira and sukha

T.K.V. Desikarchar, in his book The heart of yoga, describes sthira and sukha as "the steady alertness and the lightness and comfort of being".    This has been my bhavana this week.  I wasn't sure how it would play out in my teaching or my life.  I set the intention and then opened up to the flow of grace. 

This delicate balance between the effort of sthira with the comfort of sukha is sort of like walking a tight rope while juggling coconuts.  Well, maybe that's an exaggeration but at least that's what it feels like sometimes.
The various students that I've encountered this week have confirmed for me that I'm not alone in this walk on the tight rope.

As I was signing people in for class at each of the four classes this week I heard students talking about their struggles to find balance in their lives.   One student talked about how drained she felt from teaching yoga full-time.  Another was feeling depleted from working at a full time job and trying t…

Living yoga

I spent most of the day sitting in a cubical in front of a computer.  The only light coming from the fluorescent lights over head and the only air coming from the air conditioner.  My desk is piled high with papers even though we boast about being a "paper-less" office.  After 8 hours my fingers are stiff from being on the computer and my neck hurts from being on the phone. I'll need to remember to do a little chair yoga while I'm on hold.

Upon returning home I'm greeted with "Mom, I'm hungry.  What's for dinner" while my little one cries "I'm so bored.  Can you do something with me."   My head is still reeling from all the work that I wasn't able to get done but I have to put that aside for now and focus on dinner.  Deep breathing is in order while I try to shift gears from work to home.  After a quick dinner, it's time to entertain Jake.

I needed to get  the vegetable garden cleaned up after the bad storms we had earlier …

Can you hear the whispers of the Divine?

We had the pleasure of having live music during yoga class tonight. We chanted a beautiful chant to the Divine Mother in the form of Amma.  "Unconditional presence, acceptance and love"........ these were words that were used to describe Amma.  "These are things all mothers try to offer."    Afterwards, Shiva Das
said that the world needs the energy of the Divine Mother right now.   I was so struck by his words and how true that statement felt to me.  

No-one is a stranger to challenge it seems.  More now than ever before.  Everyone I talk to is dealing with some challenge or difficulty in their life.  I feel helpless to try to alleviate their suffering.  How can I love and serve others?  What can I do?  I don't really know what I can do to help someone who has lost a loved one or  someone dealing with a serious illness, a broken heart.  How do I  comfort someone who is dealing with financial difficulties?   I look to Amma for guidance.  She provides "un…

"Oh! the things we think!"

The other day I got an email from someone.  The subject line was "Amazing woman's day".  When I read that my first thought was "why would he send that email to me? what do I know about being an amazing woman?"   Holy Hell! Where did that come from??   Where do these negative beliefs we have about ourselves originate?

There is a tendency for us to look to blame someone else, our parents, our environment.  People have spend millions of dollars and many years on a psychiatrist sofa trying to figure it why we think the things we do about ourselves.   Does it really matter why or when it started?  How do we know that these beliefs aren't karma carried with us from previous births?  Again, Does it really matter?

Practicing yoga and meditation has made me more aware of the quality of my thoughts.  I'm more conscious when the thoughts go against the  principle of  ahimsa (non-harming).  It's rather shocking how harsh we are towards ourselves, or at least I …

The adventures of a yoga snob continues........

I so badly wanted to love this yoga class tonight.  The teacher used to teach at another studio and was actually my first experience with vinyasa.  I really liked her.  She offered a challenging practice.  The thing was that she was so sweet about it that you didn't know how hard you worked until the next day when you tried to get out of the bed!

Anyway, when I found out where she was teaching I wanted to take her class.  What stopped me was the studio itself.  It's a bit intimidating for a not so typical yogini.  It's very much a fitness center.  But tonight, with my family having fun at the shore I found myself with a couple of hour to kill before they returned.  I checked the schedule and found that this teacher was teaching a class.

The reception area is totally intimidating.  The teacher comes to the desk as I'm signing in and she recognizes me.  (That's impressive since I haven't taken one of her classes in 5 years!)  She's still sweet and very welco…

The Amma Experience

Yesterday, I shared the Amma experience with my daughter, Tayler.  I was totally surprised that my 14 year old daughter said yes she would like to come with me.  A small group of us had planned to make the trip to New York city.  As the date got closer, the group got smaller.  I now feel like that was the Grace of the Divine at work.

By the time we arrived at the Manhatten Center all the chairs up front for the newcomers were taken.  We ended up having to sit in the balcony.  (BTW, the view is better from there) "Amma will be arriving shortly" someone announced.  I see that the devotees are preparing for her arrival.  Flowers in hand and camera in position.   I felt Amma's presence before I saw her.  "That was a strange feeling" I thought to myself.  Was that just my imagination or my excitement to see her?  Who knows.

I'd like to say that the meditation at the beginning of the program was good but unfortunately, the man behind me didn't know how to put…

Time flies when you're having fun!

"How could you possibly talk about yoga for 6 hours?!" That's what my husband wanted to know when I got home from a visit with my teacher.  I hadn't realized how much time went by.  I got a little glimpse of what Yogananda was talking about in the Autobiography of a Yogi when he talks about sitting at the foot of his master until dawn.  I could have stayed there forever.

For several months now my teacher, Ed Zadlo, has been opening his home to anyone interested in studying the Upanishads.  Each month a handful of serious yoga students show up with our translation of the Upanishads in hand ready to dive into this ancient yogic text.  Sometimes, we never even open the book, other times, we read the entire Upanishad and discuss it in depth.  Either way, I always leave feeling enriched by the experience. 

It's more than just sitting around "talking about yoga".  It's about being in the presence of like minded individuals discussing a subject that we fe…

Hari Om!

Have you taken a deep, conscious breath today?  If you aren't sure, take a few deep, yogic breaths now............ Okay, now we can talk.

 I could have used a reminder myself today.  By the time I left the office this afternoon I felt like I had spent the day in a pressure cooker.   It wasn't until I stepped outside and noticed the cool breeze and the warm sun that I realized just how tense I was.  I get into my car and roll down the windows.  Turn up the volume on the CD player.  I sing along to the ancient mantras set to modern upbeat music.  (David Newman was playing today)

Driving home, I daydream about how nice it would be to have the time to meditate outside before dinner.   But that's not in the cards for me, at least not at this point in my life. There's always so much to do and never
enough time to just be still.  There's always someone who needs something from me.   As I make dinner, I silently repeat mantras, and  breath deeply. Preparing dinner is my s…