BAMBOOMOVES https://yoga-baltimore.com Thu, 05 Jul 2018 20:21:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 July Focus- Sovereignty https://yoga-baltimore.com/july-focus-sovereignty/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/july-focus-sovereignty/#respond Tue, 03 Jul 2018 23:01:44 +0000 https://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4903 This July for our practice of Self power or sovereignty; during your next time of seated contemplation, ask yourself, “Self, where is the boundary that keeps me from shining through and being my most auspicious self?”  And take time to listen to your body and what this amazing entity is expressing to you.

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By: Suzanne Scholten

Sovereignty -supreme power or authority 
Boundary– a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line. a limit of a subject or sphere of activity.

Sutra 1:16 The highest level of non-attachment, leading to self-realization, takes place when the aspirant is free from all forms of desire, including the desires resulting from the interplay of sattvic, rajasic and tamasic forces of nature. (The Secret of the Yoga Sutra Samadhi Pada, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD)

 

The other day, I was working with a person who had said they felt gripped while talking with someone. And preceded to say, I have difficulties with boundaries. So, we discussed how to create boundaries, but in hindsight what we were really discussing was how do we keep our power or authority in difficult situations.

I see this happen when there is an addiction, we talk about having boundaries to state that we don’t want to drink or use but boundaries limit us. In actuality, the addiction limits our full potential of rising above an attachment to be something great-our joyous, luminous being. Let us change our need of boundaries to a desire of finding our center, power and inner authority.

Boundaries are needed when our center is off. In our practice of seated contemplation and pranayama, we work with the aspect of the mind that keeps us from our true self.  Often this is fear of being alone, fear of looking at what has happened in our lives, fear of the addiction that we possess, fear of the voice panel that says we are no good or that we will not reach our goals or dharma, etc. This is why there is eight limbs to our practice, we practice each limb all of the time in every moment of our life, sleeping or awake. To have a boundary between me and another person, moves away from my personal practice that believes we were all created in the essence of God. God to me is an omnipresence that has created babies with complete love and joy, Atma is when I get the goose bumps when someone shares a heart to heart with me, I see my husband walking down the street, I share a hug with a friend, I sit for meditation and feel connection to everything. Your God may look different than mine, this is okay.

To be receptive to this greatness, I need to be in my center, my own sovereignty. I can voice what I want and how I want something without fear. I can listen to someone else’s observations or disagreements without feeling judged or judging. In my sovereignty, I can still evolve and become one with the highest good. If I block myself off, from sharing love or receiving love then I minimize my ability to evolve into this greatness of God. I feel this walking down the street when no one makes eye contact with me. Eventually when I stop for the no walk sign, someone sees me and we smile at each other.  Inwardly I know we shared a moment however small and I give thanks for this precious connection. If I had kept my guard up, this moment would not have happened.

Many people want limits or a fence around their property but this does not help us find our own center. Many of these projects take a lot of energy or manual labor, which may feed our affliction of ignorance that says we are not connected. But as humans we have the ability to evolve and feel the presence of God at all times, within one another.  I want to evolve, to create, and to reach my highest potential.

In asana class, we move to shake up these things that grip us from growing, I think of it as unlatching the gates of chakras (energy wheels) that sit within us. These are the internal limitations we have set upon ourselves. After movement, then we sit in contemplation to observe the thoughts that arose during the practice; we watch like a parade. They come floating across our minds eye and we feel the emotion associated with these thoughts and we decide to face them or to let them pass and watch them again on another day. Acknowledging our limitations are what free us, ignoring a limitation is what binds us. If we face them, we absorb the information needed to assist us to evolve, it is digested and we transform.  And then we can eliminate the information that we no longer need.

This July for our practice of Self power or sovereignty; during your next time of seated contemplation, ask yourself, “Self, where is the boundary that keeps me from shining through and being my most auspicious self?”  And take time to listen to your body and what this amazing entity is expressing to you. Find your center, so you can be comfortable in your own body, with your own imperfections and your perfections.

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Pitta Season https://yoga-baltimore.com/pitta-season/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/pitta-season/#respond Fri, 01 Jun 2018 19:17:32 +0000 https://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4892 We tend to get irritable and cranky during the hot Pitta months because  heat naturally rises in the body towards the head. This is a time to find more meditation and a cooler Asana practice such as Yin Yoga to compliment the heat-inducing Vinyasa that we may be used to

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By: Monica Ott

As we approach the official start of Summer this month, Pitta season is slowly arising. In Ayurveda, the ancient science/wisdom of life, the term Pitta refers to the energy of Fire and Water. Since Fire and Water are naturally antagonistic elements, they must work together to create balance in the season of Pitta. The hot and active Summer months from June to August are when Pitta predominates and we have to take extra precaution to keep ourselves cool and balanced. This is especially important for people who have a more Pitta/Summer-like constitution. If you tend to have a medium build, have an aversion to hot weather, have a tendency to anger quickly (hot-headed), have a healthy appetite, have a competitive spirit, and are very passionate, then you may consider yourself to have a greater amount of Pitta (fire & water elements) in your body.

Some great adjustments to make in the Summer months (especially if you are a Pitta-type person) are some tweaks to your diet and to make sure to find the cooling ‘Yin’ energy to the warmer, more active ‘Yang.’ Most importantly, since Fire is very drying, we need to make sure to stay as hydrated as possible. Coming off of Kapha/Spring season, the moisture of the spring rains are starting to dry up from the hot summer days. Pitta is also a very active season when our digestive fire is strong, therefore we need more energy to sustain us through the longer days. Foods like fruits, vegetables, and carbs help us to stay cool while giving us all the energy we need. It’s better to favor foods that are cool and liquid, sweet, bitter, or astringent. Try to avoid foods that create heat like spicy, salty, and sour foods.*  If you’ve been toying with the idea of going Vegetarian, or eating less meat, now is the time to do it. Animal protein is very acidic and creates a lot of heat in the mind and body. It’s also very heavy for digestion and increases fat.** Check out this comprehensive list of foods and tips for Pitta Season: https://lifespa.com/summer-grocery-list-pitta-reducing-diet/

Not only is food important to switch up in the Summer months, but our lifestyle may also need a makeover. We tend to get irritable and cranky during the hot Pitta months because  heat naturally rises in the body towards the head. This is a time to find more meditation and a cooler Asana practice such as Yin Yoga to compliment the heat-inducing Vinyasa that we may be used to. Some pranayama (breath work) techniques that are very cooling are Sitali breath: Curl the tongue (or pretend to sip in through a straw) and inhale through the mouth for four counts and exhale through the nose for four counts. Do this for seven rounds or until you feel cooler. Chandra Bhedana (Moon Piercing Breath) is also a way to access the cooling moon side of the body. Start by bringing the right hand into Vishnu Mudra (press your index and middle finger into your palm) and close the right nostril with your right thumb. Breathe in for four counts then block the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale through the right nostril for eight counts. Repeat the inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril only for about 10 rounds. Once we train the mind and body to work together and instinctually listen to what we need to find balance during these hotter months, then Summer will become more pleasant and a joyful respite from the colder seasons that came before it.

 

* ‘The 3-Season Diet’ by John Douillard
**’Prakriti, Your Ayurvedic Constitution’ by Robert E. Svoboda

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May is for Mindfulness https://yoga-baltimore.com/may-is-for-mindfulness/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/may-is-for-mindfulness/#respond Thu, 03 May 2018 15:23:40 +0000 https://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4882 Mindfulness is being in the present moment, simply watching what you are doing and inviting the mind to stay with the body.

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By: Suzanne Scholten

Did you know that May is national meditation month? I didn’t, until we were looking for a focus of the month. What a great theme, eh? In my own practice, I have found this to be one of the most positive practices, one that has really changed my life. Mindfulness is being in the present moment, simply watching what you are doing and inviting the mind to stay with the body. One can practice mindfulness during any activity—asana practice, walking, talking with a friend, working, doing laundry, etc. This practice helps stop the endless loop of the mind and its tendency to wander onto something that does not nourish the soul, and keeps us moving forward in the actions that heal us and connect us to our higher purpose. In short, we become a better friend, relative and human.

 

To become mindful in our daily, simple tasks, try practicing in these ways:

  1. Sit (anywhere) and watch the breath come in and go out for a few minutes, or even a few seconds. Notice if it is easier at a certain time of day or in a certain place. Let go of judgement and simply observe.
  2. Before you eat, take 3 steady breaths and give thanks for your food.
  3. During asana practice, try to focus the mind on the subtle sensations of the body, not outside noises. See if while you practice you can hear and feel your heart beating.
  4. Walking, focus the mind on your feet or repeat, “I am walking,” to keep the mind from wandering. Try doing this from your car to a store and notice how much more friendly and connected you are to the people helping you.
  5. Put cotton in your ears at night and listen and feel a relaxed breath while in bed; let your soft breath and awareness lull you to sleep.
  6. Notice the times when during a task, your mind is elsewhere. Keep track of when and how many times this happens in one day.
  7. Take time off from TV, phone and computer use. Use this time to share tea or coffee with a friend. Practice your listening skills.
  8. Practice point-to-point breathing or 61 points: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqtzQ3k6P0M
  9. Come up with a time, every day, when you can be mindful; the mind will end up finding stillness as you arrive because you have created an intention.

All of these steps will help you create a habit of stillness. Show the mind you want it to be still and it will become still. Because we often let it run after things/habits that do not represent stillness, the mind receives a confused message. Find out what keeps you from stillness and try to minimize that habit. It’s the small stuff that adds up, step by step.

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Kapha Dosha & Spring Detox https://yoga-baltimore.com/kapha-dosha-spring-detox/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/kapha-dosha-spring-detox/#respond Tue, 03 Apr 2018 19:34:12 +0000 http://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4860 As we learn to harness the magical energies of nature and live by and with each season, we experience a more balanced body, mind and spirit.

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By: Tara Hoxha

As we learn to harness the magical energies of nature and live by and with each season, we experience a more balanced body, mind and spirit. Before we became industrialized as a culture, people have been looking to the seasons and living this way since the beginning of time! While winter is more about resting, self-reflection and going inward, spring acts as a sort of rebirth and renewal, full of abundance. It is the perfect time to DEtox and Declutter in order to release stored, stagnant energies from the winter, making space for things that serve us better. Always remember, our inside world is a direct reflection of our outside world, so it’s important to keep our body, mind AND our environment clean, clear and organized. It’s also an ideal time to take inspired action steps towards the things that we desire. Energized by longer days of sunlight and greener earth around us, spring is when we come out of our shells – figuratively and literally!

In Ayurveda (the science of life), there are 3 different Doshas that are made up of the 5 elements (earth, air, water, fire, ether). They are Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. Doshas are disturbances that arise when the prana is out of balance within these elements. End of winter and most of spring are both Kapha-based in Ayurveda (water+earth elements), where everything seems wet and heavy in our internal and external world: snow, rain, runny noses, congestion, lethargy. One side effect or imbalance of cold weather is that acidity builds up in the body, weakening our immune systems and causing aches and pains. We can balance this by incorporating more alkalizing and detoxifying foods, such as broccoli, cucumber, kale, parsley, spinach and avocado. Spring relates to the liver and gallbladder, the organs that are essential in detoxifying the body. When thriving in combination, they are known to bring us increased life force energy (prana). Lemon also helps remove toxins and is an excellent tonic for the liver and gallbladder. Now is the time to start drinking more green juices and even simply having lemon in your water throughout the day!

Once we start to balance and energize Kapha, we will find great strength and endurance to ‘spring ahead’. Start [or revisit] a daily mindfulness practice such as reading sacred scriptures, pranayama, asana and/or meditation. Kapalabhati breath is cleansing and wonderful for balancing all of the doshas. It is especially powerful for excess Kapha because it is energizing and helps to clear the lungs, nasal passages and nadis. Most asana are balancing to all of the doshas as well. Practice simple sun salutations to invite heat, grounding and increased circulation. Twisting poses to help release stagnation in our organs. Warrior II is perfect for heat building and burning excess kapha, as are wide heart opening poses that bring space to the front of the body, where kapha lives.

Spring is a time for new beginnings, so why not pursue something creative? Do something you’ve always wanted to do but never made the time for! Or think of ways to serve your community: you can volunteer somewhere; become a mentor, or help clean up a park. Think of service as an energetic cleanse for your soul. Everything mentioned will raise your vibration and increase positive life force energy. The more we do these things day in and day out, we become that much closer to the divine, to our purpose and to achieving our hearts desires.

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Kula: A Community of the Heart https://yoga-baltimore.com/kula-community-heart/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/kula-community-heart/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 20:53:11 +0000 http://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4846 Tribes have rituals, similar beliefs that go beyond words but connect them energetically and emotionally. When we use this word as a yogi, it doesn’t refer to family traits, but to the deep-rooted beliefs we know as truth.

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By: Suzanne Scholten

When I was young, living on a farm in Iowa, I remember lying on my back in the tall broom grass with my eyes closed, allowing my body to feel the vibrations of the ground shaking from the Sioux Indians riding. I opened my ears to their cries of excitement and exhilaration as their horses galloped across the rolling hills. I loved stories of Red Cloud, Sacajawea, Harriet Tubman—all people who were leaders of their tribes.

Kula is a Sanskrit word for community, clan or tribe. At BambooMoves, we often talk about community but sometimes I feel we lose touch with the deep-rooted connection we have with one another through the soul and our energy. Tribes have rituals, similar beliefs that go beyond words but connect them energetically and emotionally. When we use this word as a yogi, it doesn’t refer to family traits, but to the deep-rooted beliefs we know as truth.

The ritual at the studio is to remove shoes before entering, say a silent prayer to prepare us for walking into a spiritual space and then dedicate our practice to the greater good. I recently heard of the concept of mirror neurons—brain cells that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action. I started looking into this because I noticed that before class, as I sit and feel out the room, I often feel overwhelmed with joy and love. Or when I visit a temple, church or mosque, I often have tears in my eyes before I even start praying. These are mirror neurons, that help us empathize and be lifted by those around us.

Claudia Pinkola Estes talks in one of her audio shows about the importance of tribe, the feeling of belonging to help your soul thrive. In yoga, we speak of a false sense of self (Asmita), and our tendency to believe those voices of, I am not good, I can’t do this/that. As we connect to others in our tribe, these voices minimize. We might initially come to yoga to lose weight or because our back hurts, but then we blossom and something far greater takes hold. This is the letting go of the grip of ignorance and celebrating your earthly tribe or Kula. We all have a tribe that lifts us up to be our better self.

Suggested Practice: Take time out of your day and feel your practice space, say your prayer before going into the studio and mentally give thanks to the space and the teacher. Be receptive to what you are putting out into the space of practice and watch how you can help lift your tribe, those around you, with your intention.

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The Wisdom of Love https://yoga-baltimore.com/the-wisdom-of-love/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/the-wisdom-of-love/#respond Mon, 05 Feb 2018 17:50:58 +0000 http://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4832 “Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.” ~ Thích Nhât Hanh

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By: Stephanie Miller

This month we’re exploring the Buddhist teachings of the four qualities or aspects of love.

“Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.”    ~ Thích Nhât Hanh

 

Maitri/Metta (Loving kindness)

The first aspect of love is Maitriloving kindness.  Loving kindness was a practice taught by the Buddha to develop the mental habit of altruistic or selfless loveThe practice always begins with developing a loving acceptance of yourself. If you feel any resistance here, feelings of unworthiness are usually present. Regular practice frees the mind from old habitual negative patterns and allow us to experience the real essence of love.  Real love is being able to see through another person’s eyes.  To love with no strings attached or no conditions.  In this Buddhist practice of loving kindness there are said to be four persons with whom to develop loving kindness towards:

– A beloved, respected person – such as a spiritual teacher.
– A close family member of friend.
– A neutral person – someone you know but have no special feelings towards (a person who serves you in a shop.)
– A hostile person – someone you are currently having difficulty with.

As this practice matures it naturally flows into karuna, compassion.  From the roots of love and kindness we can empathize or feel compassion towards another person’s suffering. We can provide strength, support, and hold space for that person in need.   “The boundary to who we include in our hearts is the boundary to our freedom.” (Tara Brach).

 

Karuna (Compassion)

The second aspect of true love is the ability to relieve suffering in another being. This practice requires a deep understanding of how to transform this energy and not become overwhelmed by the suffering of others.  This is a constant practice of mine with being vegan.  When I think of all the animals that needlessly suffer and die every day for human consumption I’m overtaken with grief and heartache.  When I feel myself shift into that space of despair I try to just sit, be still, and breathe.  Otherwise I’m reactive, emotional, and helpless. I do allow myself to cry though when needed, I think giving yourself permission to feel is so vital to our growth and evolution.  When your heart is open you’re inevitably going to feel pain, it’s simply part of the cosmic deal.  So after a great cathartic cry I come home a little softer, a little clearer, and understand the dance between light and darkness.  Karuna is the deep listening, the ability to experience someone else’s pain as your own, and then transforming that darkness to light.  That transformation of energy is compassion, using your strength and loving heart to help another in need.

 

Mudita (Joy and Passion)

The third aspect of love is Mudita; joy and passion.  When we’re passionate about what we’re doing we feel an organic sense of joy.  A joy for the happiness of others that is filled with peace and contentment. The cultivation of mudita is known as the antidote to envy and jealousy.  If we experience a lack of joy or passion this may be the soul’s way of communicating a course or even a career change is needed.  The heart’s compass is trying to navigate you back towards your truth.  That truth is love, and boundless joy.

 

Upeksha (Equanimity)

The fourth practice of love is equanimity; the ability to see everyone as equal.  When we can shed all discrimination and prejudice we’re able to remove all boundaries between ourselves and others. We discover that we’ve unconsciously subscribed to societal myths which create separation and perpetuate our suffering.  For example, if we’ve been blessed with money and success we may feel superior to others.  If we grew up financially insecure we may feel inferior to others. The practice of equanimity frees us from the illusion that we’re greater or less than and reveals the goodness that lives in all beings. We are always being pulled in one direction or another by conditions or things we either want or hope to avoid.  These include success and failure, gain and loss, praise and blame etc.  The Buddha said, the wise person accepts all without approval or disapproval.  Equanimity is the practice of standing in the middle, of remaining calm, even minded, and centered. It’s remaining in that space of love and compassion.

 

Suggested Practice: The Circle of Awareness. Throughout the day take a moment to pause, close your eyes and just visualize a circle.  Inside the center of the circle is a horizontal line.  Ask yourself if your actions or thoughts are below the line or above it.  Below the line represents old habits, emotional reactivity; fear, clinging, insecurity, anger etc.  Above the line is a state of wakefulness, presence, and love. Enjoy.

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Sankalpa: Our Vow for the New Year https://yoga-baltimore.com/sankalpa-vow-new-year/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/sankalpa-vow-new-year/#respond Sun, 31 Dec 2017 19:23:02 +0000 http://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4811 Like a superhero who vows to 'save the day,' we are all called upon now to perform our duty of being the best version of ourselves. Rather than creating a New Year's resolution based on the short-lived fulfillment of our desires, now is the time to create long term goals called 'sankalpas.'

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By: Monica Ott

As we reach the end of a year filled with many ups and downs, emotions, and heaviness, something feels a little different about the coming of 2018. Usually there is a spirit of excitement and curiosity about what the new year will bring, but there seems to be a greater importance on the choices we make to support not only ourselves and our family, but the collective consciousness. Like a superhero who vows to ‘save the day,’ we are all called upon now to perform our duty of being the best version of ourselves. Rather than creating a New Year’s resolution based on the short-lived fulfillment of our desires, now is the time to create long term goals called ‘sankalpas.’

 

One of the most ancient yogic texts, the Rig Veda, mentions the concept of ‘sankalpa’ as a ‘principle that your mind has measureless capacity to affect the quality and the content of your life.1 Rod Stryker describes in his book ‘The Four Desires’ that ‘sankalpa’ means:”determination or will, an intention, conviction, vow, or, most commonly, a resolution, one that reflects your highest aspirations. In practical terms, a ‘sankalpa’ is a declarative statement, resolution, or intention in which you vow or commit (to yourself, your teacher, a priest, or even God) to fulfill a specific goal.” What makes a ‘sankalpa’ different from other intentions is that ‘sankalpas’ are like little seeds that sprout to nourish and support our greater path, our purpose, our ‘dharma.’ These intentions are not simply things that we desire or want to change about ourselves, they are resolutions that help us continue to awaken what’s already there; our true Self.

 

In order to tap into this boundless sea of possibilities, we must first learn to improve our determination and will also known as ‘sankalpa shakti.’ Swami Rama says: “Overcome your resistance. Expand your capacity…you must order your body and senses to function under the leadership of your mind.”2 Through meditation, we can direct our mind to a specific intention or ‘sankalpa.’ Stryker says that one of the best ways to achieve these goals or ‘sankalpas’ is to recognize the intention in the present tense. For instance, rather than stating ‘I want to be more health conscious,’ you should state ‘I am health conscious.’ Through repetition of stating your ‘sankalpa’ in the present tense, you can start to alter your ‘samskaras’ (impressions & habits) and create new healthy patterns that ultimately come from the heart, the seat of our sankalpa.

 

As we continue on our path, sometimes we fall ‘off the wagon’ which leads us down the dark road of punishing ourselves, throwing our hands up in the air, and giving up. Instead, accept the misstep and let the mind become the observer so that we can begin to understand why we ‘slipped up’ and how we can put ourselves back on track without judgement. This continues to keep our ‘sankalpa’ as a more permanent goal that we can achieve over time. The more we see ourselves reach our goals, the greater our desire is to set more intentions and the more our determination gets stronger, the brighter and less dull we become. If we all allow ourselves to truly follow our path, understand our purpose, and experience our progress, then there’s no telling how strong we can become together.

 

Practice:Yoga Nidra-You can start by lying down comfortably on your back and once you settle in, start to create a ‘sankalpa.’ Remember to repeat it to yourself in the present tense. Once you’ve created this, start to scan the body starting from the right foot moving up the right side of your body slowly. You can even silently repeat each part of your body. Once you make your way to the crown of the head, stop. Start again from the left foot moving up the left side of your body slowly. Stop when you get to the crown and then feel both sides of the body merging into one. Begin to focus on the third eye. You can stay in this savasana like state for however long you’d like but try not to fall asleep. The ‘sankalpa’ will start to seep into the mind.

 

1.’The Four Desires’ by Rod Stryker pg. 82
2.’The Four Desires’ by Rod Stryker pg. 82

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Mouna (Silence) https://yoga-baltimore.com/mouna-silence/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/mouna-silence/#respond Fri, 01 Dec 2017 17:59:32 +0000 http://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4790 In silence we can hear, we can feel, we can process and we can digest (physically and mentally). During our practice of silence, we accumulate prana, our vital life force. Spend just one day observing how many times you verbally speak something of no importance or as a space filler - I am sure you will be amazed.

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By Suzanne Scholten

In our 200 hour program, Advanced Practitioner Training we strive to have students practice silence between lectures, practices, and during the four months they are in training at the studio. Some groups do an amazing job while other groups find this part to be the most difficult aspect of the training.

In silence we can hear, we can feel, we can process and we can digest (physically and mentally). During our practice of silence, we accumulate prana, our vital life force. Spend just one day observing how many times you verbally speak something of no importance or as a space filler – I am sure you will be amazed. If you were to have a conversation with someone and you both talked the whole time, you wouldn’t know what your friend was trying to say; it would be a very unproductive connection between the two of you. This is what happens without silence with ourselves. In silence or with the practice of mouna, we get to know our true selves. Sometimes the silence starts as falsehoods from our upbringing or culture, example “you are not pretty enough.” This is untrue but may be the first voice you hear. But through sitting in silence and observing the breath, you will begin to realize that is a lie and you are an “island of excellence” (Pandit Rajmani Tigunait). Practicing mouna and focusing the mind on the breath, the mind will anchor into something much greater than our superficial thoughts, an essence of Divine consciousness. This practice is called pratyahara, one of the 8 limbs of yoga.

On the Bihir School of Yoga site, it gives a great practice. For one month, try not talking during your meals; see and feel the difference in your digestion on both a physical and energetic realm.

If you’re interested in our Spring 200 Hr. Teacher Training, please click here: https://bamboomovesyoga.com/yoga-teacher-training/

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The Five Kleshas: Avidya (Ignorance) https://yoga-baltimore.com/five-kleshas-avidya-ignorance/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/five-kleshas-avidya-ignorance/#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 15:54:07 +0000 http://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4779 by Tara Marie Hoxha According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, there are 5 main kleshas (or afflictions) that we as humans, suffer with. The one we’re focusing on this month is Avidya, which is known to be the root cause of the other kleshas. An easy way to describe it would be ignorance or even a…

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by Tara Marie Hoxha

According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, there are 5 main kleshas (or afflictions) that we as humans, suffer with. The one we’re focusing on this month is Avidya, which is known to be the root cause of the other kleshas. An easy way to describe it would be ignorance or even a veil shielding us from shining brightly as our highest, true selves – with love, light and peace. The root word, Vidya, is true wisdom, highest understanding, so when we experience pure consciousness, we are knowing and living in Vidya.

There are several different parts or layers to Avidya that stem from our beliefs about ourselves and the world based upon our experiences; How we identify ourselves, others and why. What we need to remember is that ‘we are not this body, we are not this mind’ and that the goal of Yoga is to become more ‘wise’ by lifting the veil and acting from a place of clarity.

1) Mistaking the impermanent for the permanent. We are constantly changing and everything around us is always shifting. Practice being present and non-attachment are ways in which we can lift this veil.

2) Mistaking the impure for the pure. Sometimes we can convince ourselves that something is true when deep down we know it is not. For example, you may think that the food you are eating is fair, sustainable or sourced compassionately when in reality it may have involved torture or slavery, which is impure.

3) Mistaking pain for pleasure. Think of immediate, self-gratification or things that feel good initially but may eventually lead to pain. Over-indulging or being attached to the way a certain food, place or person makes us feel but then lets us down. On the flip side, remembering things that might bring discomfort or are challenging can often reap the greatest reward.

4) Mistaking the non-self as the Self. Identifying “our Selves” by what we do and who we think we are. We are not our jobs or hobbies, habits or desires, likes or dislikes. Avidya is merely creating a false identity and alienating us from our true Self. When we are mindful of this and do things each day to bring us closer to God and the higher Self, we are reestablishing harmony on a Universal scale.

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The Five Kleshas: Raga (Attachment) & Dvesha (Aversion) https://yoga-baltimore.com/4759-2/ https://yoga-baltimore.com/4759-2/#respond Tue, 03 Oct 2017 21:09:11 +0000 http://yoga-baltimore.com/?p=4759 "I am going to agree with my student that I will be working on this concept for the rest of my life. But I rest easy in the knowledge that I am now able to find this wonderful space inside me; when I slow down my breathing and allow my focus to go deep inside. I can take a break and assess the current push and pulls in my life as they are ever changing."

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By: Loren Abrams

raga-dvesha-viyuktaistu vishayanindriyais-charan
Atmavasyair-vidheyatma prasadam-adhigacchati

“But the disciplined (lower) Self, moving among sense-objects with senses free from attraction and repulsion and mastered by the Higher Self, goeth to Peace.” (Gita, II-64)

This idea of two currents of the mind, one driving me towards things and the other away from things, is a concept I have worked long to try and gain some understanding. I have spoken to my yoga teachers, spiritual advisors, my therapist, my parents, and read books all in the pursuit of understanding my minds insatiable motor. Never at peace, rarely at rest. Most of my teachers have asked me to attend to this area as they felt once I gained some perspective about the polarities of: LIKE vs DISLIKE, PLEASURE vs PAIN, EXHILARATION vs DEPRESSION, LOVE vs HATRED, I would find some PEACE as the Bhagavad Gita states above.

I remember speaking to a teacher a number of years ago. She wanted me to find a space in life where I wasn’t running. She brought up a term we all have heard, she asked me to become CENTERED. This word at the time was just that, a word. I had no practice to achieve this. She coupled that word with CONTENTMENT. She told me that if I could include more moments of centeredness in my life, these push and pull energies that had been negatively affecting my life to this point, would begin to serve me. I had no idea of what she was teaching me at the time. But I believe she was referring to this concept of Raga and Devesha.

I later learned the concept of true self, the WATCHER. And I have been trying to cultivate that aspect of my being over the last few years as I became immersed in the yoga world as a teacher and healer. Teaching and healing people daily required that I practice this skill. Meditation and Pranayama, learning to breathe in a rhythm that relaxed my mind and quieted my thoughts. Allowed me refuge from my “MONKEY MIND” and access to my true self (my spiritual higher self). I actually started to feel more centered through practice. I had more energy to do the things I wanted to do.

My study of these concepts has flourished by teaching others. My student and I discussed this concept this week. And she reminded me of the following experience she had with her asana practice :
I love headstand. I mean, to me, headstand equaled advanced yoga practitioner. Never mind that almost every eight year old I know can do one. All I wanted was to do a headstand – that would make me a yogi. I thought of myself as a devoted yoga student and not an obsessed lunatic. Even though my back was stiff, my shoulders were tight and my hips needed serious work I practiced nothing but headstand. When I finally achieved a proper headstand, it felt so good it was all I wanted to do – literally. Some people identify themselves by their occupations, their large homes, their families. For me, it was headstand. Then, the worst thing happened. I fell on the way to work and got a concussion. No headstand for a month. At first I was miserable. But something else happened too. I started to understand how attached I was to the idea of the importance of doing a particular pose and how delusional that was. In fact, I was the opposite of an advanced yoga practitioner. I still enjoy being upside down; but am not obsessed with it. My teacher says be the watcher. So I watch, I feel and I breathe (the best I can anyway). This is how I am trying to master attachment and aversion. I have a feeling, like everything else in yoga, it is the work of a lifetime.

I am going to agree with my student that I will be working on this concept for the rest of my life. But I rest easy in the knowledge that I am now able to find this wonderful space inside me; when I slow down my breathing and allow my focus to go deep inside. I can take a break and assess the current push and pulls in my life as they are ever changing. And then direct my energy in line with my higher self not the fluctuations of my mind.

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