Really fun Core Workshop on Saturday afternoon!

Really fun Core Workshop on Saturday afternoon!

Really fun Core Workshop on Saturday afternoon! We sometimes think of the core as just the belly — but there is more to the core than just the Rectus Abdominus (the 6 pack) muscles. And you want your core muscles to be strong but also flexible. Just like the whole practice — balance is key.
The Rectus Abdominus flexes the spine.
The external and internal obliques flex and rotate the spine.
The transverse Abdominus provides stability for the low back.
The pelvic floor stabilizes the pelvis.
The diaphragm and intercostal muscles facilitate respiration.
The psoas muscles flex the hips.
The quadratus lumborum laterally flexes the spine.
The spinal erectors extend the spine.
The serratus anterior helps to stabilize the shoulders.
We broke things down in this workshop and isolated these muscles to really feel how each one is working and what it’s supposed to be doing when it’s functioning properly. Then, lots of practice to really feel these muscles in action and apply our work to some common yoga poses. Great job everyone who came out to practice on Saturday. It was really fun to practice with you!

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What is yoga practice?

What is yoga practice?

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.

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What is your practice bringing to the surface for you?

What is your practice bringing to the surface for you?

Fire Ceremony and Cleansing Ritual during my Shiva Yoga 200hr RYT Teacher Training Program last month. What are you ready to let go of and release? What are you ready to leave behind? What are you holding onto? What is holding you back? What are you ready to burn in the fire?

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Handstand Workshop!

Handstand Workshop!


Handstand Workshop today at Aladdin Yoga in Shenzhen! We kick off our 3 Day Weekend Intensive today. Excited to work with these students. There are so many poses you can practice to improve your Handstand. Plank Pose is one of the best warm up poses for Handstand. If you have a solid Plank Pose and a solid Chatturanga (Low Plank) you are strong enough for most arm balances, including the Handstand. See how long you can hold your Plank Pose this weekend. Can you hold for 3 mins? 4 mins? 5 mins? I used to be able to hold the Plank Pose for 8 mins before I’d completely lose my form and fall apart. Some of you remember the days when we used to regularly hold a 5 min Plank Pose in my classes in the Southbay in Los Angeles. The Handstand isn’t an essential pose in yoga. It is great for teaching us core strength and shoulder stability. strength. Handstands take us out of our comfort zone. This means they can teach us courage and be very empowering. How quickly can you move passed your fear and resistance and go into the fire? 🔥💪. This is Yoga! It all starts with tapas. Have a great end of your week and start to your weekend! Let me know how the hold in Plank Pose goes

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Get out of your comfort zone!

Get out of your comfort zone!

Get out of your comfort zone! No one in the history of the world ever said... I never challenged myself, always stayed in my comfort zone, and when things got intense, I avoided them and often ran away and hid under the bed, and I’ve lived a very fulfilling life, and I think I achieved my full potential...

You know all the good stuff happens when you are vulnerable, when it’s intense, when you are out of your comfort zone. So, you’ve got to override that voice that keeps telling you to get back in your comfort zone. The yogis know that if you feel vulnerable, you’re in the right place. If you are afraid and there’s some resistance, you’re in the right place. You’re job is to dance with the fear, push through the resistance, and go there. Show up for yourself. Courage in yoga isn’t about doing some fancy pose. It’s about sitting in the fire and letting it burn. The hotter the fire, the sharper the knife. The stronger you are, the more intensity you will be able to handle, the more vulnerable you will be able to be. Are you ready to feel vulnerable? Are you ready for the temperature to rise? Are you ready to get on your mat and get to know your Self?

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Are You Practicing Yoga On Your Mat Or Just Doing Yoga Exercise?

Are You Practicing Yoga On Your Mat Or Just Doing Yoga Exercise?

I was talking today before my event about the difference between practicing yoga and doing yoga exercise...  

There's nothing wrong with a class that is simply a yoga exercise class but it's very different than a yoga class.  The goal of yoga is to quiet the mind.  In stillness, we have the opportunity to experience the deepest aspect of who we are.  Yoga is really answering the question: Who am I?  

So, if the goal is to quiet the mind?  How do we do that?  How do you quiet your mind?

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The Journey is into the Fire and Through the Fire!

The Journey is into the Fire and Through the Fire!

The journey is into the fire, and through the fire.

Yoga is not about rainbows and unicorns! It's supposed to be challenging. It involves looking at darkness and the darker parts of ourselves on our journey towards the light. You can't by-pass this work. This work is your yoga practice!

Take your journey into the fire and look at yourself. It's going to get hot. It's going to get uncomfortable. It's supposed to be uncomfortable!

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Clean Your Pot!

Clean Your Pot!

This week in class I've been talking a lot about having to go through the fire to get to the other side.  

There is a saying in yoga and spirituality called spiritual by-pass.  This is where you don't do the work.  Where you pretend that you are already there.  Everything is love and flowers and sunshine and everyone is so amazing and so incredible.  Have you ever met someone who says things like this but immediately the voice of your intuition says something doesn't make sense with this person, something doesn't feel right?  It's like you can feel the tension within them that they aren't acknowledging.  These people scare me a little.  They are pushing their stuff down and repressing so much and one day they are going to snap and on that day everything isn't going to be all flowers and love and sunshine.  

When I first started to practice yoga I think I thought a little bit like this.  I had a lot of negative stuff moving through me and yoga was bringing it to the surface.  I was embarrassed.  I thought this isn't very "yogic" to have all these negative emotions moving through me and coming up in my practice.  I didn't really understand that this was the practice.  Bringing these emotions to the surface, processing them and learning to let go of things was and is a big part of yoga, healing and a spiritual path.

I was talking with a student recently about this and I think there was some confusion and is some confusion in our yoga community that if you're in your yoga practice and negative stuff is coming up for you then there must be something wrong with you or with your practice.  Isn't yoga all about fun?  

There is nothing wrong with you if your stuff is coming up for you in your practice.  This is the practice!  This is exactly what you want to happen.  When you go into the fire your stuff comes to the surface.  And in the beginning a lot of your stuff is going to be negative.  Think of your emotions as one of the ways that you process stuck energy and tension that is stored in your body and in the sub-conscious part of your mind.  These raw and powerful negative emotions that often rise to the surface during your practice are not a bad thing.  You're releasing a lot of tension.  Let it go.  Let it come up and let it go.  This is the place to feel sad and cry.  This is the place to feel angry and frustrated.  This is the place to process grief and pain.  This is the place to let it all go.  This is also the place to laugh, to feel joy and release and to surrender.  This is not a place where you pretend, where you fake it, where you pretend that everything is love and flowers and sunshine.  

You have to go through the fire first in order to get to a place where you find peace and quiet and calm.  And there's no b.s. when you get to that place.  It's real and authentic and true and it's as real and authentic and true as the crap you had to go through and the stuff you had to burn off in order to get there.  It's earned.  You earned it.  You don't accidentally quiet your mind and achieve a state of enlightenment.  You show up and you do the work.  

Whatever comes up for you in your practice is okay.  Whatever things need to process let them come up.  And then let them go.  And it's important to remember that the fire, the practice didn't create these feelings that are coming up for you.  Your teacher didn't create these feelings that are coming up for you.  The room being too hot or too cold didn't create these feelings that are coming up for you.  The pose you are in didn't create these feelings that are coming up for you.  All of these emotions that are coming up for you represent stored, unprocessed tension that is inside of you already and needs to be released.  You can choose to look at it and bring it to the surface and then let it go or you can pretend that it's not there.  

Show up for yourself.  Do the work.  You have to go through the fire to get to the other side.  You have to look at the pain and feel the pain in order to heal.  

There's an old story that is often told in yoga to illustrate what we are doing in the practice...  

Think of your mind like a dirty pot that is sitting in the kitchen after dinner.  If you pretend the pot is clean and you put water in the pot it's going to be murky, foggy, cloudy.  This is our mind.  It's cloudy.  We're in a fog.  We are trying to connect to the present moment but there's all these patterns and habits and attachments and things that are constantly pulling us out of the moment.  We have to clean the pot before we can fill it up with water again or whatever we want to put into it.  What happens when you clean the pot, though?  And this is why we avoid going into the fire in our practice.  It gets dirtier before it gets clean.  When you clean the pot and start to scrub all the crap off the sides and the bottom it comes to the surface.  The water in the pot while you are cleaning it is way dirtier than it would be if you just used the dirty pot as it is and things are way messier than before you started cleaning things up.  And it also takes some work to get the pot clean.  You have to put in some effort, especially if there's a whole lot of crap there and your pot is really dirty.  But it's worth it!  It's so worth it.  After you put in the effort eventually the pot is clean again.  It's like it was brand new.  You can pour water into the pot and it's clear.  

The tapas in your yoga practice is cleaning your mind.  We're scrubbing away old patterns, habits, impressions and letting go of the phyisical and mental tension that is holding us back and keeping us from seeing the world clearly and being connected to the present moment.  

Clean your pot!  Show up for yourself.  There is no such thing as spiritual by-pass.  You can pretend that your pot is already clean but everyone else can see the dirty water in it.  You can pretend that everything is love and flowers and sunshine but if you are repressing things, if you are pushing down against the tension, one day you are going to explode and things are going to come rushing to the surface anyway.  I don't want to be around when that happens.  

Everything isn't always supposed to be flowers and rainbows and sunshine.  If it was then flowers and rainbows and sunshine would have no meaning.  Earn your flowers and rainbows and sunshine.  Go through it and get to the other side.  

Clean your pot!

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Go into the fire!

Go into the fire!

There is no growth without discomfort. There is no healing without pain. Go into the fire. Go towards the heat, the discomfort, the pain. That's how you're going to heal yourself. Yoga is not about avoiding things. Stop distracting yourself. Sit with your suffering. Breathe into it. Heal yourself. Take the journey. It's all about the journey. And if the journey is leading you anywhere but inward and closer to your Self then you aren't really on the journey at all. What's this journey all about? Learning to love. Learning to love every moment. Learning to accept yourself right here and right now. This moment is all there is. Imagine there is no future and no past. There is only right here and right now. Can you open up more in this moment? Can you expand more in this moment? What are you waiting for? Contract and you get ego. Expand and you become pure consciousness. How much could you open up right now? How much could you expand? How incredible is this moment right here and now? Are you loving it all? Are you breathing it all in? This is your life. Don't take even one second of it for granted. And stop running away from your pain. Stop! Right now. Back yourself. Show up for yourself. Now is the time! Go into the fire!

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