Pranayama

/Pranayama

May there be peace on earth

During the holidays we often hear the phrase "Let there be peace on earth." This a beautiful sentiment, one that I pray for everyday. Unfortunately, it's not a reality for many people. When I think about this, I often become overwhelmed. I'm unsure how to respond to all the needs within my family, my town, my country, my world. We are exposed to so much poverty, suffering, and terror on a daily basis. My prayers for peace feel inadequate. But prayers are powerful. I've been actively praying for the past 10-years. My personal understanding---and my theology---of prayer has changed radically ... (Continue Reading)

By | 2015-12-08T14:01:55+00:00 December 8th, 2015|Asana, Embodiment, Meditation, Practice, Pranayama, Religion, Scripture, Spirituality, Yoga|0 Comments

The Five Great Elements (Pancha Mahabhutas)

I've been called a tree hugger many times, which is a name I happily accept (and an action I admit to doing more than once!). I love trees. I love water. I love stars. I love nature. Recently I've been reflecting on the fact that I am nature. I've been studying Ayurvedic medicine (as part of my training in yoga therapy) and have been reading a lot about the Five Great Elements, which could also be called the five great states of material existence. As part of my study I've been reading about the creation story of Samkhya philosophy. Samkhya ... (Continue Reading)

By | 2015-08-20T14:49:02+00:00 August 19th, 2015|Art, Creativity, Embodiment, Meditation, Nature, Practice, Pranayama, Religion, Spirituality, Yoga|0 Comments

Pancha Maya Koshas

The study of yoga takes a lifetime (or lifetimes). I have spent several years in full-time study of this ancient art and science and yet I'm constantly struck by how much more there is to study and understand. I have far to go (we always do it seems), but I'm encouraged and motivated by the very real ways that this practice has been integrated into my life. Yoga is the lens through which I look. My study and practice have slowly shifted my understanding, attitude, and actions. Life is change. And through yoga I have been able to gently effect and ... (Continue Reading)

Internal Spring Cleaning – Prana, Apana, and Agni

A Practice for Internal Spring Cleaning: You've probably heard the term prana before. But have you heard of apana? Or udana? There are actually 5 pranas. They're called the vayus or the "forces of the air." They are: Prana vayu, which governs reception (eating, drinking, inhaling). Apana vayu, which governs elimination (going to the bathroom, giving birth, exhaling). Udana Vayu, which governs growth and transformation. Samana Vayu, which governs digestion (of anything... food, thoughts, etc.). Vyana Vayu, which governs circulation. Much could be said about the vayus and I plan to study and write more about them throughout my therapy ... (Continue Reading)

By | 2015-05-07T14:11:09+00:00 May 7th, 2015|Asana, Embodiment, Meditation, Practice, Pranayama, Spirituality, Yoga|0 Comments

Habits and Kleshas : Yoga Sutra 2.3-9

Now, the teachings of yoga [are presented]. Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind. When that is accomplished, the seer abides in its own true nature. These are the first three aphorisms in the Yoga Sutra-s of Patanjali. The goal of yoga practice is clear: to still the ever changing states of our mind. Once we have accomplished this goal, we will be able to rest in our own true nature (the tradition calls this nature Pure Awareness). Otherwise, at other times, [the seer] is absorbed in the changing states [of the mind]. There are five ... (Continue Reading)

By | 2017-11-08T09:24:14+00:00 January 31st, 2014|Asana, Embodiment, Meditation, Nature, Practice, Pranayama, Retreats, Spirituality, Yoga|2 Comments

Being Present with Suffering

When I'm wrestling with an idea I can sometimes (OK, often) be guilty of staying too high in the mountains, rather than down in the valleys---down in the mud. Lately I've been working with an especially tough subject though (did you read the title of this post?) and not getting very far. Mostly I've been writing and deleting, writing and deleting. Suffering and pain are in the mud. When one attempts to write about such things from a theoretical perspective, it can quickly sound hollow. Suffering and pain are real. They are aspects of life that can't be avoided. Last ... (Continue Reading)

By | 2014-11-18T14:35:14+00:00 December 10th, 2013|Embodiment, Meditation, Practice, Pranayama, Relationships, Yoga|10 Comments

A Yoga Practice to Welcome Fall

It's officially fall. It will be October next week and my body can feel the weather changing. I always try to mark the changing of seasons in some intentional way. A season change seems to provide an auspicious time for personal retreat. I have dreamt of offering seasonal retreats for years. Hopefully someday... When I think of fall, I think of the harvest, of scarves, of halloween and thanksgiving. I think of routines finally starting again and about making soup. I think about my skin losing its exposure to the world as I wrap myself in more and more layers. ... (Continue Reading)

By | 2014-11-18T15:37:01+00:00 September 26th, 2013|Asana, Creativity, Embodiment, Meditation, Practice, Pranayama, Retreats, Spirituality, Yoga|5 Comments

The 8-Limb Path of Yoga: Asana, Pranayama & Pratyahara

The 3rd limb of yoga is easily the most well known. When you hear folks say "I practice yoga" or "I have yoga tonight" they're usually talking about asana. It's not surprising how popular asana is considering how disconnected we often are from our bodies in this culture. Asana, or the physical postures of yoga, are wonderful exercises that help keep our bodies strong, flexible and healthy. When practiced properly--with the breath and mental focus--they can also be tools that foster a deeper sense of mind/body integration. And when practiced within the larger context of yoga, the practice of asana ... (Continue Reading)

By | 2012-11-12T11:26:21+00:00 November 12th, 2012|Asana, Pranayama, Yoga|0 Comments

Ujjayi

I love the presence of Ujjayi breath in my asana practice. Ujjayi can be translated to mean victorious. I also hear it referred to as the oceanic breath, because of the sound it makes. It is a powerful pranayama technique that can sustain and enrich your asana practice. Since you may not have explored Ujjayi breathing before, I thought I would offer a brief how to. Step 1: Take on an attitude of playfulness and be ready to feel a little silly! Step 2: Open your mouth and as you exhale pretend you're fogging up your glasses to clean them. ... (Continue Reading)

By | 2012-05-01T09:53:27+00:00 May 1st, 2012|Pranayama, Yoga|0 Comments

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

As many of you know, I am a seminary graduate. I love to study sacred texts. I've spent years studying the Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament and I have recently begun to study the Bhagavad Gita. For the past couple years, I have been studying from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Yoga Sutras provide us with the classic understanding of the practice of yoga. The sutras are 196 aphorisms spread over 4 chapters. Virtually all the sutras work to explain the 2nd one, which Mukunda Stiles interprets as: "Yoga is experienced in that mind which has ceased to ... (Continue Reading)

By | 2011-09-01T09:22:59+00:00 September 1st, 2011|Asana, Books, Pranayama, Spirituality, Yoga|0 Comments