Showing posts from October, 2011

Vairagya - Nonattachment and the Freedom to Soar

What weighs you down? What keeps you in bondage when you most yearn for freedom - and just want to soar? Nicolai Bachman , in his book, The Path of the Yoga Sutras , defines "vairagya" as nonattachment to sensory objects. Every major religious or spiritual tradition teaches the concept of nonattachment in form or another. Bachman begins this section in his book with this quote from the Buddha : "The secret of happiness lies in the mind's release from worldy ties." Catchy verse. It rhymes. And it is so true! The practice of vairagya enables us to cultivate a sense of letting go - not only of material things and possessions, but also of all that does not serve us as well. In my classes, it seemed fitting to link this concept to the Anusara Yoga principle of "Organic Energy" because when one has truly embodied this notion of nonattachment and letting go, while still drawing in to that which binds us, grounds us, and keeps us honest - we are fre

Dharma of Relationships

I just spent three whirlwind days in Montclair, NJ, where Emma Magenta and the Anusara kula there, graciously hosted John Friend , in the company of over 300 Anusara yoga teachers and practitioners. The energy there was simply amazing! I was so happy to connect with friends I hadn't seen in a year or longer, who had traveled from all corners of the world! And, I was just as happy to meet new friends as well. While there is so much that I could say, I would like to just list some of the things that John spoke about on the dharma of relationships that resonated with me in one way or another. Perhaps they will speak to you as well. I know I will be reviewing and reflecting on the material for some time to come... "What is our sadhana? It is our life... In Anusara, we are always in relationship to the Universal. Grace is the intrinsic power of spirit that enables us to shift, open, and reveal something that is already there. To the degree that you can align with the shakti,

Viveka - The Embodiment of Keen Discernment

This morning, I told my students, that they cannot embody "Inner Spiral" without engaging "Outer Spiral." And conversely, they cannot truly embody "Outer Spiral" without engaging "Inner Spiral." You simply cannot have one without the other. There is always a dance that exists between the two. They are always in dynamic relationship to each other. And for those familiar with Anusara Yoga parlance, it can take a lifetime to embody both. Some will require more of one principle, while others will require more of the other. Sometimes the engagement required is dramatic. More often, it is quite subtle. For some of us, the engagement of both principles requires about the same amount of effort. Each of us, has certain tendencies. It is only through keen observation and discrimination that we become more fully aware of what our tendencies are in our various practices. It is through the cultivation of viveka - which is after all, a form of mindfulness,

A Day for Casting Off and Forgiveness

I arise early on a very busy day. Part of my morning will be consumed with righting mistakes from my insurance company, which has managed to mess up the billing resulting from all the various medical procedures I underwent this summer. But instead of giving this task my immediate attention, the wonderful fog beckons, and with a cup of coffee in hand, I head down to the river... It is breathtakingly beautiful on this day of Yom Kippur, which is the Jewish Day of Atonement. It is a day set aside for casting off what does not serve, and forgiveness. It is also a day for expiation, and making amends... In the coolness of the morning, I drink in the visual feast of a sky that seamlessly merges with the water, partially cloaked by the density of the fog, and I cannot help but recall the day, three years ago, when I lost myself in the fog on Rosh Hashanah. I launched Grace, my kayak, and paddled into the void - losing myself in its embrace, as the Voice within chanted over and over again,

Abhyasa - Slow and Dedicated Practice

Of all of Anusara Yoga's Universal Principles of Alignment , the hardest one for me to embody is "Inner Spiral." Of the seven loops, it is "Kidney Loop," and this seems to be the case with many other practitioners as well. We are all students seeking to embody these principles and unlock their hidden wisdom. But, it is not an easy journey. Because of spinal degeneration and other physical issues that I have, the integration of both of these principles of alignment are crucial for me - along with their close friends and partners - "Outer Spiral" and "Pelvic Loop." Just last week, I was chatting with a friend at a social gathering, and sharing with her the details of my summer surgery. She laughed and then said to me, "I can imagine your kundalini is really flowing these days. After all, you had a rock sitting on your snake!" Hummm.... That certainly gave me pause. No one had quite worded it that way! But, in a way, she was right!

With a Winged Heart

Yesterday, I had the honor to officiate at the wedding of a friend I have known for a long time... Years ago, I officiated at the memorial service for his wife, a dear friend and fellow yoga teacher. But now, here we were, celebrating a more joyous occasion. The wedding took place on a beautiful estate on the Eastern Shore , under a trellis, and very close to the water. Just as I was about to start, our breaths were taken away by the impromptu "fly over" by a flock of birds. I smiled, imagining that my friend, was bestowing her blessing, upon this union. I also had the opportunity to visit with a former yoga student of mine, from many years back, and with another couple whose wedding I had also officiated at years before. This one was particularly memorable because the bride and groom arrived in matching vintage Porsches! The wedding on the first of October, of 2011, was short and sweet in so many ways. I leave you with this wonderful piece by Kahlil Gibran, which was sha