Yoga Makes You Well

May you be filled with loving kindness, may you be well,

may you be peaceful and at ease, may you be happy.

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On the Passing of Robin Williams

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 1:17 AM Comments comments (24)
Now that man spread a lot of light while he was here on earth.

I have laughed so hard at things Robin Williams said that I have had water come out my nose.  He made the Vietnam war a topic that could be approached through his healing gift of comedy and his great love for humanity.

He did some amazing things with the spotlight he had on his life.  Having a spotlight on your life all the time cannot be fun or easy. 

I do not know what his mental health status was.  But he seems bipolar to me.  He was certainly manic on stage doing his stand up routines.  And I suppose he dealt with the lows that accompany those highs.

A lot of people I know try to judge if it is right or wrong for someone to take their own life.  I do not know and I do not think it is my place to judge it.  I just know it has to be so sad.

If he was bipolar, I have read that that tends to go along with a very high risk of suicide.  It usually happens in a mixed state.  A mixed state is a manic phase (high) with depression (low) at the same time. 

I am lighting a candle and dedicating my meditation and yoga practice to him to help him transition into a better place in his next life.  That is a Tibetan belief.  Also making things that smell good is supposed to help the recently departed to head toward the light. So I will cook some yummy smelling things, too.  For about a month, that is supposed to do some good.

One reason I study yoga and meditation is that it is so helpful for regulating moods and for helping to get thoughts more organized. 

Yoga is a practice to get the mind stable, basically.  And meditation is too.  The Yoga Sutras (the equivalent of a yoga bible that is 2500 years old) talk about the mind. 

Chapter one, verses 12-14 of the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali (translation by Mukunda Stiles):

The vacillating waves of perceptions are stilled through
consistent earnest practice
and dispassionate non-attachment.

Of these two, practice is the continuous struggle
to become firmly established
in the stable state of the true self.

That practice is indeed firmly grounded
when it is pursued incessantly,
with reverence,
for a long time.

Robin Williams, you were a light to many people.  I hope you find great peace.


Yogic Inspiration

Posted on July 10, 2014 at 9:59 PM Comments comments (19)
One of my favorite things about teaching yoga is getting to know such a great community of other yoga teachers.  Today's guest post is from a wonderful, magical yoga teacher and Reiki (energy work) healer.  Thiery is wise and kind and teaches a gentle yoga class that has some transformative powers! She also teaches Reiki and she would be a great person to learn it from. Aside from all that, she is funny.  Read on.  You'll see.

(Contact Thiery Goodman at <[email protected]> for her Reiki or yoga classes or sessions.)


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In anticipation of the arrival of my son George & his rescue dog Betty, I wonder what new tricks Betty might surprise me with during her 14 day visit. George will travel to a North GA wedding & then on to Thailand. So far Betty has chewed up 2 dog beds of Leah's, a rocking chair cushion- both sides, & a throw rug. She scratched a gouge out of my expensive chef's mat. She peed on my yoga mat several times and pooped on a student's yoga mat (Yikes !). She's peed, pooped & puked several times on the only carpet I have. But those are not her most challenging traits which include being able to transform into Houdini or alternatively Taz in an instant.
 
I have to walk her with 3 leashes- one on her collar, one around her muzzle and one connected to her harness. Needless to say, I can't walk Betty & Leah by myself.
For reasons known only to her, Betty will turn into a Tasmanian devil (usually there's a motorcycle or another dog involved, but not necessarily) and free herself of all encumbrances and act as though she will tear you up. She is equally adept at finding her way out of the backyard fence.

Do you think she comes when I call ? No, she does not. And since I have no hope of catching her by myself it will involve at least 3 of my hapless neighbors to do so. She deservedly earned a reputation after being here only a week. Over the years Betty nonetheless has endeared all (well mostly) who meet her. And to give her & George credit, she has calmed & is better behaved overall.

What Betty has that all of us could benefit from, is a happy face and disposition. 
She exudes joy & looks at you with eyes that say she knows something wonderful is about to happen. So much so that you feel compelled to make it so. Even when I have to put her in Pratyahara (yogic term of removal of the senses) which for her means a room with curtains drawn & a fan on so she can't see or hear so that I can conduct a class (she's still learning her yoga manners)- afterwards she exits with no hard feelings and ready for the next great thing.

If I feel so compelled to fill her expectations- what of the Energies that watch after us ?
Will They feel compelled to make it so in our behalf ?

Just in case, I think tomorrow I will rise, look up with a smile & say " I wonder what wonderful thing is going to happen today ! "


Mandala Project Day 2

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (28)
I went to the coffee shop and worked on my mandala today.  I forgot to bring in the rest of the pens, but I had a nice blue pen.  I used that to color in the next layer.

There were two ladies- one older, one younger- church ladies- seated beside me.  They were gossiping about the other women in their church and what bad decisions they were making about men.  

I stared at the eye of my mandala.  But then my tea and cookie came.  I continued for two more minutes, but... not much happened today.  I guess I was too busy thinking about the girls making terrible decisions about men at church.

Opposite Day

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 7:09 PM Comments comments (20)

I can gnaw on a thought for a long time.  Like some old pit bull, I can lie around worrying some bone I have to pick with someone for a long time.  I can spend a lot of my life being right. 

The question is this, though, "how much energy am I wasting being right?"  Is it worth it to be right this long?  How much of my life passes by with me worrying, fighting, obsessing, feeling sad and unworthy?  Is there another way?

Yoga offers some wisdom about this.  In the Yoga Sutras (a 2500 year old book of poetry in Sanskrit that is something like a bible of yoga), there is a verse that talks about this.  It goes, "pratipaksa bhavanam".  That means, "think the opposite."  

So what if the next time you feel like you might fail at something, you took this advice and pratipaksa-ed that bhavanam all over the place?  What if you cultivated the opposite thought: "Oh no!  What if I am a great success?!" 

Can't really hurt to try, now can it?

One thing yoga is great at is getting you to move into new positions and feel what it feels like to be upside down, or facing directly into your foot, or some other unexpected place.  It gets us out of our comfort zones.  And we have the chance to look at things from an opposite place, an unfamiliar perspective.  In this way, life takes on three dimensions and so do we, right along with it.

My friend and stellar yoga teacher, Lavonia Elberton (yes, she's a drag queen), is a guest on my yoga channel on youTube, Yoga Makes You Well.  She based her video on this idea of cultivating the opposite thought by demonstrating poses that she really doesn't like.  Check her out at http://youtu.be/4CE-_TsWaIw

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