Don't laugh at the production - I'm learning.
They've been singing about it since the 60's, now we're finally here - on the final cusp of the transition from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age. We've planned a workshop to get everyone tuned in and ready for the shift: More details on the Workshop page. I hope to s
Ascent to the Age of Aquarius – An 11-11-11 Celebration
Friday Nov. 11, 2011, 9:30-11:30 p.m.
“Elevate yourself to be angelic. This age which you will serve is an age of awareness and experience.” – Yogi Bhajan
The signs of a transformation from one age of humanity to another are everywhere – an overload of information and choices, political, social and financial unrest and rapid global change.
In this workshop, held on the final cusp, we’ll discover the tools needed to handle this profound shift in both outer and inner worlds, and generate the energy to serve as a guiding light for helping others co-create an age of peace, love and abundance for all.
Halloween and Maya 11/03/2011
I love Halloween. It presents a remarkable opportunity to just let loose and be, well, any damn thing you want to. It's a sensual feast, both visually and gastronomically. It's theater for the absurd, a carnival-esque display of fantasy and taboo. We down a drink, don a mask and, suddenly, we're no longer the "us" that shows up the other 365. We can be a pirate, a genie, a zombie or a celebrity. The more I thought about Halloween, the more I thought about maya, a yogic concept that means illusion, in particular, the illusion of individual identity.
According to this idea, most of us get quite caught up in 'who' we are, and get attached to exhibiting a certain personality, based upon all of the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that comprise it. When I assume the role of man, brother, uncle, yoga teacher, writer or fiance, I have to act according to the social norms that govern those roles. Halloween blows the doors off of that by allowing us to assume the role of another.
What's most fascinating to me, however, is that although I saw hundreds of people dressed in costume for Halloween this year, almost body actually immerse themselves in character. Even when pressed to assume the actual identity of that character, most could only toss out a single catchphrase, hint at an accent or muster a momentary impersonation.
So, if we cannot abandon our identity, even while willfully donning another guise, how powerful an influence must maya exert in our daily masquerade of self-created identity? What roles do you play in everyday life? And what would be the consequence of stepping out of character?
Yoga helps Back Pain - Scientific Study 09/17/2011
While prepping for the Yoga for Back Pain Workshop at Inside Out Body Therapies coming up Sept 24, I came across some interesting scientific research. It's great to see mainstream medical communities confirming the legitimacy of yoga as therapy.
This study, published in the Journal Spine in 2009 showed that people who did Iyengar Yoga were more successful in reducing their chronic low back pain (CLBP) and they suffered less depression than people who received standard medical therapy for low back pain
The results were promising:
Compared with the control group, the Iyengar group experienced a 29% reduction in functional disability, a 42% reduction in pain, and a 46% reduction in depressive symptoms at 24 weeks. There was also a greater trend toward lower medication use in the yoga group. There were no reports of adverse effects.
You can find the full article on Harvard Medical School's Healthbeat website.
If you have back pain or know someone who does, join me in two weeks at Inside Out Body Therapies for a 2-hr workshop. We'll learn how yoga treats all of the dimensions of dis-ease to help you overcome chronic back pain. We'll cover:
What does 3 hours of chanting feel like? 08/26/2011
All I can say is WOW! I feel like I went to outer space, dropped off all of my baggage, and then came back, ecstatic and relaxed.
This is the second year I've met with a small group in Chapel Hill to celebrate Yogi Bhajan's birthday by chanting the long Ek Ong Kar mantra, or morning call for about 3 hours.
If you've never practiced this mantra from the kundalini yoga tradition you should try it; the sounds are simple but the effect is profound.
Don't worry - you don't have to do 3 hours. Try starting with just three minutes. Here is a link with a little bit of background on it and a looped 3 minute recording to practice along with:
Long Ek Ong Kar mantra on Guru Singh's blog.
Did you practice? How do you feel?
START today! 08/04/2011
“Inspiration is just the universe becoming aware of itself through you.” -- Ram Dass
Inspiration comes in many forms, but that doesn't mean every inspiring moment will change our lives. As Ram Dass says, we have to be aware enough to recognize opportunities right in front of us and motivated enough to take action. I tend to fall into the latter category -- someone who needs to work on taking action to make positive changes, that's why I was thrilled to find this great acronym yesterday.
I’m going to place a sticky note on my bathroom mirror so that I’m reminded of it everyday when I wake up: START today!
S-top living in the past. You have to quit blaming, pointing fingers and making excuses. You have to start taking responsibility for where you are and where you have been. You have to quit looking for a scapegoat and start looking for a new road. Until you stop living in the past you can’t start over.
T-ake an honest look at your life. You have to realize that you are in control and you have the power that is needed. God made us with a great capacity to problem solve and to be resilient. He placed in you a will and you will need to use it to move ahead. You must be honest about what is right in your life and what is wrong.
A-llow others to help you. You can do a lot on your own in starting over, but to truly succeed you will need the support and help of other people. You will have to let your guard down, be willing to share your problems and listen to the good advice you receive. Without others, you will continue to smother any possibility of starting over and getting ahead.
R-ecognize that starting over is not the only option but the wisest option. You have to realize that if you continue to do what you are doing you will continue to struggle in the quicksand of life. Once you realize this is the best way, you are on your way to a great payday.
T-rust that God will help you with the impossibilities you face in starting over. With God on your side you cannot fail so make big plans. You are not alone, so get going. With enthusiasm and excitement, turn around, start over and make the best life possible.
Do you have any tricks, mnemonics or even, ahem, acronyms to help you be present and start over?
First Post - A Chance to Start Over 07/30/2011
“Atha yoganusasanam” – Now begins the teaching of yoga
– Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, 1.1
We begin learning yoga in the Now. We take a breath in, perhaps paying attention to our breathing for the first time that day. Our exhale signals relief, and just as often exposes our incessant wondering, worrying, planning and remembering.
We breathe in again, and perhaps with this exhale we let some of those botherations go, Each breath signals a potential chance to start over, a chance to come back to Now, a chance to begin our understanding of yoga.
If we learning nothing else from yoga, we always have that first crucial lesson – go back to the beginning, back to the breath, back to the Now. Everything you need to know is right there waiting to be discovered.
Ram Dass implored us to Be Here Now, Eckhart Tolle extolled the Power of Now and Pantanjali posited that yoga begins in the Now. Their message is clear – wisdom and understanding don’t come only from concepts collected over time, but also from our willingness to start over – Now, in each new breath.
This is the end of a month and the end of this post. But, it’s the start of a new month and a new journey of discover with the my yoga matt blog. I sincerely hope you'll stop in some time to share your thoughts on what brings you back to Now.
To learn how to use yogic breathing to help you start over in the present moment, listen to my 5-minute guided breath awareness recording.