To an experienced practitioner we understand that the yoga postures, even with their specific names, are only guides along a certain path. They are not finished products. There is no posture to be obtained. The only thing we seek to obtain is to be 100% present within our body as we move through opening, strengthening, lengthening, healing, restructuring, present to how our body transforms. In any posture, there is always something more that can be transitioned through.
To teach this path is a chance for those new to yoga to understand what it is we are actually doing in “yoga.”
Think of yoga asanas, or postures, as a ski hill. We all go down the same hill. Some take the bunny slope and others take the steeper trails. The hill is the same. This is why you see photos of people in Standing Bow Pulling Pose, some with their back stiff and straight and foot barely over their hip and others with their back nicely curved and leg way up over their head. It’s the same pose just different levels, same beauty.
The benefits are the same no matter what level one practices at.
Every advanced posture starts with a basic move. Just like the ski hill, learning to stand on your skis is the first step to conquering the hill. If you’re wanting to learn a one legged posture, then learning to stand on two feet without falling over must be mastered first.
Yoga teachers won’t expect you to reach completion, but rather be conscious of your movements. This is why all levels of practice benefit the same. It’s the process of what you are doing that activates the practice of yoga.
The proverbial man in meditation IS the clear depiction of yoga. One pointed focus. Whether sitting in silence or practicing your body movements with music. It’s that deep inner focus and attention to what is being done now, in this moment which provides your lessons.
I’ve taught beginners who are masters and so called masters who are still beginners.
It’s the path of mindfulness.
Any gymnast or dancer can do “poses” pretty easy. That’s not yoga.
It takes practice….lots of it. By the way, that’s why we call it a yoga “practice.” Keep it up.
Our coastlines boast great beauty, but can be something of a paradox. Coastlines are the merging of two worlds, water-world with land, the underworld with the over-world.
Where coastlines exist, humans find magic, ponder life, seek answers and appreciate nature’s magnificence. Through living most of my life within coastal cities, I have found this magnificence carries some interesting oppositions. Coastlines draw the wealthy to build homes and the houseless and homeless to find comfort. The coastlines is also where the waste pushed into the sea is returned to the land. On the most isolated beaches can be found tons of waste returned from the sea. On warm weather beaches, homeless and the destitute leave their own waste.
Coastlines are where we go for retreat . We swim in the water where it is safe, safe from the wild deep and dangerous creatures, but it’s the crust, the outer edge, the dregs of earth’s ripple we swim in. At times it’s akin to a kitchen blender stirring and breaking everything up into small pieces including body parts of those using the coastline as a sport.
Coastlines are transition points. Rogue waves consume land life. Others leap from the mystery of life on the edge of seaside cliffs. We feel a drive to it’s beauty unaffected by the reality of the boundary lines.
We fall into the fantasy of white water. As a child this white water was mingled with black tar which took hours to scrub off and fade away. Many go to the edge to sprinkle the ashes of others who’ve passed away on land as if the sea entitles them to merge with a stronger force, to spread throughout the planet and travel to distant worlds.
As an infant my mother screamed as a rogue wave washed her baby off the comfort of her shaded beach blanket. Found a short while later tucked into a sand berm, to this day I get anxious when I’m away from the sea for too long. Was my infant body replaced with the spirit of another, a more watery being? Or did the feeling of our saline earth washing over my new skin possess me to never forget….
We are water creatures on land. We are the mystery.
In yoga we seek to always be in the mystery. With surrender we experience the now. Yoga asana or postures are done with this surrender. There is no knowing, there is no expectation, for the wave of uncertainty looms in every moment. We seek to be present and let the subtle energy of life become who we are.
Need to Exercise? Short on time? Want to add more to your fitness routine?
Challenge yourself with this ancient fitness routine to boost your health.
For 30 days take the 15 minutes to do these rites everyday!
In the rare book “Secrets to the Fountain of Youth” a man shares his experience of discovery deep in the Himalayas where he found a tribe of Tibetan Priests who shared their secrets of health. These Lamas looked far younger than their age and lived a very long time.
Do these rites diligently over 30 days and see for yourself how much strength and agility you create. Start slowly the first week with as many repetitions as you can, maybe only three or four. Be sure to do the same amount of repetitions for each rite. Stay with it and increase the repetitions each week. Give yourself the chance to work up to the maximum of twenty one (21) repetitions of each rite.
Along with any longevity program, be aware of your eating habits and mental stress. Stress is the main factor in all disease. Eating more than one type of food at a time also creates stress within the body. Eat fewer combinations of food and utilize more herbs. Do not eat late. Learn to stop eating after 5 PM. Do not eat sugar in the evening and learn to eliminate sugar all together. Eat more good fats. For more dietary guidelines read my HEALTH INSIGHTS PAGE>
Reduce alcohol and increase water intake.
The biggest challenge to these rites for beginners is the process by which toxins or metabolic waste are squeezed out of the system causing nausea or dizziness. This is exactly what the body needs and shows how purifying these rites are. Start slow and get through it!
HERE WE GO!
RITE number ONE
The first rite is a simple one. It is done for the express purpose of speeding up the vortexes. Spinning helps open the vortexes better than anything else. Spinning is also known to elevate consciousness and bring one into a heightened state of awareness. Children do it all the time when they’re playing. Stand erect with arms outstretched, horizontal to the floor and begin to spin to the right. At first, adults tend to get dizzy easy because they are not used to it and the energy centers spinning open creates a surge we are not used to. Once the body becomes used to spinning, it become quite an energizing experience. stay diligent.
Also do what dancers do. Focus on a single point as you begin to spin and when your head needs to turn turn quickly either 180 degree and focus on another point or turn the full 360 and focus again on that single point as long as you can again as you spin.
RITE number TWO
Rite number two continues to open the vortexes.
Comfortably lie flat on your back. Place your hands along side your body and bring your chin to your chest. Raise your legs straight up and even a little more towards your head if you can, keeping your back flat on the floor. Do not bend the knees. With each repetition use a rhythmic breath. Do your best. You will get stronger as you go. you will amaze yourself.
RITE number THREE
This rite should be practiced immediately after rite number two.
Kneel on the floor with your toes tucked under your feet.place your hands on your butt as if you were placing them in your back pockets.
Tuck the chin to the chest and them move it safely and swiftly back at the same time create more of an arch to the back and feel as if your heart is opening.. Move back and forth chin to chest and then arching back. Find a rhythmic breath and keep going. This is very powerful.
RITE number FOUR
This rite may seem very difficult at first. Over time you will get the hang of it and find the tremendous benefits it produces.
Fist, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front. Place your hands on the floor along side your buttocks. Bring your chin to your chest. Now thrust your head back as you raise your body up off the floor as if to create it as a table. As you come to the table position breathe deep and hold the breath for just a moment as you firm every muscle in the body. Come back to first position with your buttocks in the center of your hands and your chin to chest.
To this with rhythmic breath and continue in an even flow the entire set of repetitions.
RITE number FIVE
Palms on the floor be;ow your shoulders and toes tucked under. Drop your hips towards the floor and keep your shoulders down, ears pushed up away from your shoulders. Keep your neck long, chin up.
Then lift your hips to the sky and tuck your chin to your chest. Push your heels down to the floor and your hips back. This is a downward dog position. keep your back flat and your shoulders broad and open.
Continue back and forth using rhythmic breath.
This will create tremendous muscular strength.
Congratulations! I look forward to your comments!
Growing up a middle class family, I never felt I was missing anything. We always had Christmas presents. There was always food on the table. I could join sporting teams and given every opportunity the privileged 15% of people in the world get to experience.
Later in life, when I realized how privileged Americans were, I began to wonder what it must be like to be someone who wakes up to wonder if they would have food to eat, or where they might be sleeping. In our privileged culture we have the opportunity to experience such disparity by choice. That is, if a person over-extends themselves or entrepreneur experiences a venture collapse lifting oneself, or a family up from the bottom can be a traumatizing experience, but we still have the opportunity to do it again.
Anyone who’s trekked into the landscape of creating their own way, developing new ideas or companies, and mastering new ways of doing business will eventually encounter a roadblock, hit a wall, even experience complete destruction of well-thought-out plans. Every entrepreneur knows of the risks involved. It is often said, if you’re not ready to lose it all, you won’t have the strength to make it through. Those who’ve ever accomplished anything had to encounter pitfalls and failures. The failures, however, are not failures of self, but only lessons to direct the next step.
There are hundreds of examples. Here are a few you may or may not know:
~Soichiro Honda’s unique vision got him ostracized by the Japanese business community.
~R.H. Macy had a series of failed retail ventures throughout his early career.
~Colonel Harland David Sanders was fired from dozens of jobs before founding a fried chicken empire.
~Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything”.
~After Harrison Ford’s first small movie role, an executive took him into his office and told him he’d never succeed in the movie business.
~Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.
~A young Henry Ford ruined his reputation with a couple of failed automobile businesses.
~While developing his vacuum, Sir James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes and his savings over 15 years.
~J.K. Rowling was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing the first “Harry Potter” novel.
(Business Insider online 2016)
These pitfalls are part of the process. Through my recent encounter with failure, I discovered the truth of what I’ve spoke about as a teacher. If one has access to water, the battle is half solved. Having access to water and exercising is the foundation for a healthy life. Food can be found. In Hawaii, you can find many wild edible plants that are healthy and medicinal. Maintaining a healthy mind through it all is what keeps you going. It means letting go of attachment and expectations. Maintaining physical and mental health really is the primary force for living well. From there, one can use the strength to create anew.
I see many people with lots of “things” who can barely move and seem so uncomfortable in their body. In this fundamental knowing, I see the stark contrast of how we’ve created living in this material world. People who are fit and at their natural body weight do not need to each so much. It is the nutrient density of the food that determines the quantity. Wise ones know this. I eat a simple dish of dark greens and find fullness and vibrancy. If we as a species moved into this simple wisdom all our problems would be solved, but gluttony and external gratification have become the teaching methods of the young, so much so that there is a generation of people who know nothing else. It is also these attachments that puts stress on the one attempting to lay it on the line and risk it all for a new life.
Those who’ve been stripped of external things either move into wisdom or panic at the loss, and fall victim of ego control. Drugs, alcohol, complaining, and blaming will only continue the experience. A strong person can say, thank God I have the ability to make new choices, and I will start with the choice to appreciate my body and my ability to learn.
Helen Keller is one of my inspirational mentors. One of her many quotes: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
So if you find yourself in a state of deconstruction, read the stories of those who’ve been through it. Keep your head up. You’re not alone. There is a lot of deconstruction happening these days throughout the world. Cry when you need to. Let it out, then lift yourself up. Pray regularly and look for the signs. Perform a ritual to shed unwanted energy. Burn some sage around you and your home. Love yourself. This too shall pass.
Share the love.
All I know is that when I was about ten years old I felt the excitement of speed beyond what my own two feet could go. With a little metal between my legs I could explore a new level of existence. Power, speed, altitude, free-falling and crashing were the new sensations.
What I learned quickly was how the physics of my body and a small rocket worked. Once I understood the physics behind it and how to use inertia to turn ideas into matter the fun remained endless.
Thought into matter? Yes. Knowing the time vs speed ratio when traversing over dirt and rock at high-speed requires the ability to think about things before they happen. Knowing what I want to create, using the power, speed and terrain ahead of me, my body would automatically ignite the neuromuscular response to put the idea into form, like a high-speed stunt, jump or acrobatic.
All athletes know how to place the mind before matter. So if you ponder it, one can see how this can become the belief in all areas of life for the one who is in practice of such power.
In the process of traversing with great speed over rough terrain is the knowing that as I approach obstacles I must see it ahead and pick the best course of action at that moment. Then I follow through with the action as I continue to look AHEAD. Seeing the obstacle ahead and focusing on it as it approaches rather than looking beyond it will always lead to the obstacle taking the power. In that lack of foresight comes the consequences of focusing on the problem rather than looking ahead and usually a crash or unsuitable experience of one kind or another.
Isn’t this everything in life? What we focus on approaches, takes over.
Stay in your foresight. Use your intuition to pick the line. WFO.
Today, more than ever, many are seeking methods to keep us feeling stable, balanced and aware of where we are going. Meditation is the answer – an ancient intelligence by which one can find that sense of peace and balance within. It is a method whereby one can feel the sense of completeness. In that sense of completeness comes a feeling of bliss and comfort. Meditation comes as a big challenge for many people. Sitting still, without thought, might seem like a simple thing to do, but when one is faced with silence, the mind with its prolonged state of thinking – days, weeks, years of thinking – wants to continue. The momentum can be so great that not thinking becomes nearly impossible, even painful.
Meditation is an exercise. It is a method that needs constant practice to develop. Like learning a language, one lesson will not make thee wise. We say fifteen minutes twice a day is a common time span to begin training in meditation. There are many methods for learning meditation, but the paradox is that thinking about how to meditate defeats the purpose.
Mindfulness is a part of meditation, but more so, it is a process by which one can transition into the deeper aspects of meditation by becoming more focused in the moment. Mindfulness brings you into a state of intelligence because mindfulness is whereby the mind is full of only the current physical undertaking. Think of it like drinking a glass of lemonade. The experience will be of drinking lemonade. If you were to add cranberry juice, oatmeal, beer and french fries, it would become so convoluted that the focus becomes thwarted. There is confusion. This is how many people run their minds on a day to day basis. The body may be on a task, but the mind is elsewhere. This is the most applicative understanding of what mindfulness is.
Mindfulness is being focused on “what is” in this moment. This is not to be confused with how we create ourselves through vision. We say circumstances don’t matter, but rather the state of mind matters. The mind creates the matter. One can be frustrated about a circumstance with all kinds of fruitless or impractical thoughts, or instead, find joyful feelings that will guide to more joyful experiences regardless of the current circumstance.
This does not conflict with mindfulness. Mindfulness is knowing what you are doing – be it making a cup of coffee, sitting in the park, or sitting in jail. Mindfulness brings a sense of commitment to the moment. It is to know what you are doing, or about to do, and do it with full intent. It does not mean you cannot do two things at once. It simply means to understand what it is you are choosing to do. This in itself can help lead you towards meditation.
A mindful person can be quite pleasant to be around because mindfulness brings a sense of peace and bliss. Knowing who you are and owning what you choose in the moment with a state of commitment breeds confidence and honor.
How to practice mindfulness? Here are a few exercises:
- Get yourself a grape, raisin or slice of apple. Spend five minutes eating it. Savour it. Narrate it. Mindful eating is the best way to be sure you are chewing your food enough and can even be combined with healing visualization of the food providing health and vitality to the body.
- In the temple, we learn walking meditation. Spend one hour walking. Feel exactly how your foot is placed on the earth. Do this barefoot if you can. Narrate out loud to yourself while walking: right foot, step, left foot, step, right foot, step, left foot, step. Allow each step 5-10 seconds. Do it.
- There are many ways to apply mindfulness exercise. Come up with some of your own.
When mindfulness is present, truth exists. See if you can find it.