Join me on Friday for Awakening the Kundalini

 Join me on Friday for Awakening the Kundalini

One of my long time students Zvia came to my pop up class at YogaWorks Southbay this week. So great to see you and practice with you! Zvia completed Teacher Training with me almost 10 yrs ago. I’m getting excited for this weekend’s workshops at YogaWorks. Please join me on Friday for Awakening the Kundalini with pranayama, mudra, and bandha and exploring the Chakras. We will dive into the Head Balance poses and Headstand practice on Saturday afternoon. And then we will take a look at the Shoulder Stand and Fish pose and the Shoulder Stand sequence on Sunday afternoon. If you are looking to take your practice a little deeper I hope to see you this weekend!

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The warm up is over!

The warm up is over!

The warm up is over! Time for the deeper practices. Head Balance is the King. Shoulder Stand is the Queen. The Fish Pose is their son. This Head Balance Pose is one of our viparita karani mudra’s. A Mudra is a position we put the body in to have an effect on the energetic body, the nervous system, and, ultimately, our state of consciousness.

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Head Balance & Shoulderstand.

Head Balance & Shoulderstand.

The Head Balance and Shoulderstand are unique asanas.  They are two of the original Hatha Yoga poses. The goal of these two poses is not to have an affect on the body.  They are mudras.  A mudra is a position that we put the body in to have an affect on the nervous system, the energetic body.  A mudra is sometimes called a seal too.  Mudras act on energy the way a mirror acts on light.  Energy that is normally moving down and out is turned back in and up.

The Head Balance and Shoulderstand are called viparita karani mudras, the reversing the flow mudras. The Head Balance is said to stimulate the pituitary gland, and the Shoulderstand stimulates the medulla oblongata and the vagus nerve. These two poses are the king and queen of the asanas in Hatha Yoga.  They are given these names because they stimulate the masculine and feminine sides of the autonomic nervous system.  They are also very powerful poses, like the King and Queen of a country.  

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Jnana & Cin Mudra

Jnana & Cin Mudra

The past few days in class I’ve been talking about jnana and cin mudra, two mudras that we use a lot in our practice.  Jnana mudra and cin mudra are very similar, both consisting of bringing the index finger and thumb together.  These mudras are most commonly used during meditation practices.  

Jnana means knowledge. When the index finger and thumb are placed together and the hands are placed facing down on the knees this is called Jnana mudra.  Cin means consciousness.  When the index finger and thumb are placed together and the hands are placed facing up on the knees (or thighs) this is called cin mudra.  

One of the ways to remember these two mudras is to think of knowledge as coming from below, from the world around you and from other people in the world -- and to think of wisdom coming from above, from inside of you, from the pure consciousness part of yourself.

My teacher Dharma Mittra always says, “you have to contemplate the knowledge you are learning.”

It is in contemplation that we receive wisdom and our understanding of things we are learning deepens.  If you never contemplate the knowledge you are learning then you never gain a deeper understanding.  Things just go in one ear and out the other.  Where does the deeper understanding come from?  You didn't gain any more knowledge during your contemplation.  Nobody told you anything new.  When you go inside you tap into Universal intelligence.  Wisdom and greater understanding of things comes from within and flows through you.

One of my teachers used to say, "You don't have thoughts, thoughts have you!".     

The little finger, ring finger and middle finger in jnana and cin mudra represent the 3 constituents of Nature.  In yoga we call these the 3 Gunas.  They are: tamas (stillness), rajas (movement) and sattva (illumination).  The index finger represents the individual self and the thumb represents the Universe.  

These 2 mudras symbolically represent our journey beyond the 3 gunas and the uniting of our individual self with the Universe.  This is what we are trying to achieve in yoga and in meditation. In my practice I want to let go of the world and the distractions of my mind and bring my individual self into alignment with the Universe.  

Jnana and cin mudra are primarily used in seated mediation practices but you can also find them in other asanas throughout your practice.

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Namaste!

Namaste!

Namaste, Yogis!

We were talking in class today about some common yoga terminology, words we use in yoga and what they mean.

What does "namaste" mean?

This is a traditional greeting.  It's often done with the hands at the heart in Anjali Mudra (a prayer like position), sometimes referred to as pranamasana, and a slight bow of the head.  The physicalty isn't necessary, though.  Sometimes you might just say, "namaste".  You could also do the physicality without saying the actual words and it would still mean the same thing.  I often touch my heart when I see a student and often they will do the same in return. Sort of the short form version of this greeting.

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