Really fun class in Fuzhou yesterday! Great group of students. We did a lot of hip opening and focused on going deep into the fire and staying calm. I talked a lot about getting out of your comfort zone in this class. It’s always so hard when you are a beginner. You don’t have the strength and the ability to focus and the minute things get uncomfortable you are trying to make yourself comfortable, fidgeting your body, and getting distracted. It’s a practice! You will get really good at the things you practice. If you keep practicing concentration, you get really good at concentrating. If you practice letting yourself become distracted, you get really good at distracting yourself. Feed what you want to grow!Read More
Fun Shiva Power class this morning at Baja Soul Yoga! Nice to see everyone.
Yoga philosophy teaches us that yoga is the stopping of the movements of the fluctuating mind. When the mind is quiet — in stillness, we experience the true nature of our Self. When the mind is constantly moving and distracting us, we never really get to see who we are because we are caught up in all the movements, and all the distractions. It’s like things are upside down. The senses are leading the mind, and the mind is dragging us along for the ride. Yoga is the practice of taking charge again. You are directing your mind to control your senses, and focus on the things you want to focus on. Every time you concentrate on something and hold your focus — you increase your willpower. Every time your mind wanders off and fidgets, distracting you — the pattern of distraction gets stronger. The greatest battle you will ever fight is the one with your mind. Concentrate! Without concentration there is no yoga.
Lots of twisting in our warm up last night led us into some deep backbends.
My teacher, Dharma, always says, “3 is the bare minimum, 7 is better, and 10 is the best.” I usually shoot for 10 rounds of backbending in my own practice, and somewhere between 7-10 rounds of backbends in my classes.
The backbends are energizing! They lift us up! They help us to concentrate! And they also teach us to surrender. All of the intensity in the backbends brings your stuff to the surface — and then you get to practice letting it go.
We held a backbend pose recently with Dharma — when I was practicing with him in New York, for almost 40 breaths. At first, I kept fighting and pushing and resisting — but, finally, I just let go. I was still breathing, still in the pose, but not resisting — and something opened up for me. It took that really long hold for me to work through all that stuff that was coming up, all the fear and resistance and fighting. Sometimes you just have to hold the poses longer than you want to.
I love working with students on the full bow pose with the mama Kuka straps. Great work last night and this morning everyone! Thank you for your practice. Hard to make the transition to the full bow — but if you use the different length straps it’s not such a big jump. Over time you can get there. Slowly, one step at a time — and all is coming.Read More
Another Shiva Power class, on our retreat to Maui last week! Come into stillness. Concentrate. And breathe. Practicing asana reduces Rajas. Practicing pranayama reduces Tamas. Practicing concentration increases Sattva. This is Samkhya Yoga. This is Ashtanga Yoga. Reduce Tamas and Rajas. Cultivate more Sattva. Make the mind fit for concentration and ready for the higher Raja Yoga practices of concentration, meditation, and Samadhi. Ommmmm!Read More
We started our Shiva Yoga 200hr Teacher Training this week at Baja Soul Yoga in Cabo San Lucas! We are off to a great start. This is a really nice group of trainees and future teachers. Here’s some highlights from our first day together. Our first class on Wednesday morning was a big hip opening Shiva Power class. It’s hot here in Cabo and this was a hot and sweaty morning. I had fun practicing with this group and taking them into the fire. Lots of fun variations and peak poses. I gave a Dharma talk about yoga practice to begin our class. What is yoga practice? There’s a big difference between practicing yoga and doing yoga as an exercise. You can practice yoga on and off your mat and you can not practice yoga on and off your mat too. If you want to make use of this technology? If you want to practice yoga? — concentrate, let things get uncomfortable, hold your focus, and don’t distract yourself; stay present, look at the mind, look at your distractions, look at your habits, study yourself, what is being revealed; and let go, surrender, whatever comes up for you, let it go. This is yoga practice. Over and over. Every pose. Every moment. Use the technology. Concentrate, stay present, and surrender. Quiet your mind, and in stillness experience a deeper connection to your Self. This is yoga! We are off to a great start, Yogis! Excited to spend this month with you. Namaste.Read More
Yoga has taught me to hold my focus on what matters. There will always be distractions. There will always be people and things that cross your path that are challenging. Stay focused. Concentrate on what matters. There is so much noise. Don't get caught up in the noise. People who are connected to the most superficial aspects of themselves, and who are living a small life, will sometimes try to drag you down too. Don't let them! Rise up and fly high. Don't let anyone make you feel less than you are. This is your time to shine! Let yourself shine so brightly that you help others to see the light. This is your time!Read More