“The secret is not in what you do to yourself but rather in what you don’t do.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Sound & Silence

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As a Yoga practitioner I have experienced being both student & teacher. As a student I have learned that it takes years of persistent practice to assimilate, realize & appreciate teachings. I have heard my teachers repeat ideas over and over, many times over the years, and I am still in awe every time my experience catches up with their teachings. Ideas can float in my mind indefinitely with very little substance – and then, after years of practice, there is some crystallization and the ideas gain body.

As a teacher I am blessed to be in situations where I resonate in the presence of a student and then make a choice and offer a teaching. It is humbling to realize that what I offer as a teaching in the present will take years of patience and movement to manifest. I am reminded again and again that teaching is sowing seeds. It is then in the hands of the student to nurture those seeds and create the conditions for them to grow and bloom.

As a Shakuhachi player I am again a student. Yet, due to the nature of the Shakuhachi and it’s place in my life, it is not just an instrument I am learning to play, but also a spiritual practice. So, musically I am a complete beginner – I meet myself every time I try to get & hold a note in Kan (the second register on the Shakuhachi). But “myself” that I meet already has some experience as a spiritual practitioner. I am less prone to confusion, frustration and over-exertion.

I know that my Shakuhachi teacher has sown seeds within me. I still have expectations to enjoy the fruits of my practice every time I play, but when those expectations are not met – I do not experience disappointment. I step back from the practice, create a new empty space and then step back in to practice some more… again and again… day after day. A part of me is looking forward to experiencing fruition of my Shakuhachi training – both for the sounds and the silence.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to add your comment

Yoga Asana: Dvipada Pitham

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The name Dvipadapitham literally means “two foot support”. It is a fairly involved asana because almost all parts of the body are involved in some kind of movement. The starting point for the posture is lying on the back with the arms alongside the body, the legs bent at the knees and the feet on the floor. As you inhale you simultaneously raise the arms and the hips (by pushing down on the feet), as you exhale you bring everything back – the arms return to the floor alongside the body and the hips are placed back down on the floor.

dvipadapitham

This posture introduces an interesting challenge when it comes to coordination of breath and movement – since there are two movements happening at the same time. One movement is the arms – they have a fairly long journey to make. Another movement is the hips which have a relatively short journey. It takes caring attention to coordinate these two movements. The arms and hips need to begin moving together and reach the end of their path together – this means that the arms are moving much faster then the hips. The two coordinated movements need to be aligned with the breath … and over time refinedover … and over … and over

You may find that there may be a natural tendency to compress the neck due to incorrect effort and the dynamics of the movement – this can be prevented by (1) placing the neck in a correct (chin tucked in) position when you start practicing; (2) remaining attentive to it throughout the practice; (3) checking yourself every time you come back down to the floor (making sure the chin is still tucked in and not rolled back).

neckonfloor_range

This is also a great posture for practicing correct placement of the arms every time they reach the floor above the head. You may even experience more reach in the arms – due to the opening and raising of the chest.

armsonfloor

The feet should be placed apart from each other – at a distance that is approximately the width of your hips (if you have narrow hips they should be closer together, if you have wide hips they should be further apart). Your feet are your base in this posture – so they should be firmly rooted both in the starting position and as you practice.

dvipadapitham_feetTry to avoid placing your feet too far apart, too close together , or, when in the correct position from letting your knees fall open to the sides.

dvipadapitham_escapes1Also try to avoid having your feet too far or too close to your body – a middle-ground is usually a good place to start. You may try a few variations until you discover a placement that gives you good support and good mobility.

dvipadapitham_escapes2

Posted in Asana, Basic Movement, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

Yoga Asana: Apanasana

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Apanasana is a very accessible posture. If you have very little time to practice – this is a great posture to do. Lying down on your back, bend your knees and bring them over your chest, placing a hand just above each knee. As you inhale let the knees move away from the chest (up to a 90 degree angle between your torso and thighs), as you exhale let them come back towards the chest. Lengthen the neck and use Ujjayi breathing to create space and attention. That’s all there is to getting started with this posture. Some possible focuses for this practice are soft, long, refine & center.

apanasana

Since the head and torso are supported by the ground and fairly static, most of the work is in the legs and arms. Make sure your hands are placed very lightly at the end of the thigh, just above the knee. There should be no tension in the joints of the fingers – there is no need for gripping.

apanasana_correct

Gripping tends to occur when the hands are placed too far down the leg, as if holding the knee. This invites tension in the fingers and that tension tends to quickly radiate up the arms and shoulders. Gripping also creates a tempting opportunity to pull the knees closer to the chest – which is an excessive tendency.

apanasana_escape1

Try to keep the legs parallel and if possible close together. Try to avoid overlapping the legs by placing one over the other or by letting them open to the sides.

apanasana_escape2Apanasana is a gentle practice. It carefully works the lower back. If you stay within your boundaries then you should experience very little effort in the abdominal area – which also relaxes and softens. It is an opportunity to practice a long and peaceful exhale.

Posted in Asana, Basic Movement, Yoga | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Chanting – Panca Maya

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Chanting is one of the more intriguing tools in Yoga. In my first years of practice I was uncomfortable with chanting – it took me time to overcome my fears of letting my voice be heard (I don’t even sing in the shower). Since then, I have had an opportunity to learn only the basics of voice and chanting and know only a few chants. I would be happy to learn much more.

It is said that a practice of Asana & Pranayama is an effective preparation for meditation. My experience of chanting is that it can pierce directly into the heart of meditation and beyond. Over the past few days I have re-opened my chanting resources and re-introduced some chanting to my practice. Tonight I also made a short recording and was surprised to (1) thinking of uploading it and (2) actually doing it.

Placing the sound of my voice online feels like a whole new dimension of exposure. Especially now, when I am alone and on some days almost completely silent:

click to play

I don’t have the tools to present a proper transliteration of Sanskrit – so this is as close as I can go for now.

Panca Maya

ma aham – ahama annam
me I am – I am the body

ma aham – ahama pranam
me I am – I am energy

ma aham – ahama manah
me I am – I am the mind

ma aham – aham vijnanam
me I am – I am the personality

ma aham – ahama anandam
me I am – I am the emotions

ma aham – aham sarvam
me I am – I am all

ma aham – aham aham
me I am – i am I am

Posted in Chanting, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-15

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  • once they've been committed to memory you can't tell apart perception & imagination: http://twurl.nl/53jq5u #
  • getting to know your pulse in life and in yoga: http://bit.ly/vt5f0 #
  • @DinoSoldo watched it a 2nd time (http://iLike.com/t/L2YI), very different, very demanding … looking forward to hearing more in reply to DinoSoldo #
  • Life extension with Yoga http://bit.ly/3dpcMA #
  • we lived in an age where everything was explained, but little was understood #
  • ripping of my Dave Mathews Band cd's! http://twurl.nl/ibxfvl #
  • OK – I had to have more DMB and now u-do-2 http://twurl.nl/jy8lao – make 16 minutes of your life vanish… poooof… #
  • Happy 5th birthday, Firefox! http://bit.ly/Fx5yr1 #Firefox5 #
  • RT @SaraJChipps: rt @bradygaster: RT @NathanRichie: "Holding a grudge is like taking arsenic and waiting for the other person to die." #fb #
  • RT @t: "Cynicism as an attempt to appear cool is just sad. Create, build, invent! Critcizing is too easy. … Take a risk!" – @stubbornella #
  • how can I get off a twitter list I don't want to be on? #
  • sometimes removing hairs from the shower drain seems to go on forever… that I expect a surprise 2 appear at the end #
  • @Yariv6s אנא הסר אותי מהרשימה … תודה מראש #
  • RT @ronenk: סיעור מוחות עם מטומטמים זה בעיה. #
  • quick look… this is what the sky looks like right now!! http://twurl.nl/mio6gr #
  • אולי יש למישהו דיסק קשיח כזה שמלפני כמה שנים למחשב נייד? ברכות :) #
  • חומוס מבושל, טעים ככל שיהיה, פשוט לא הולך עם אטריות עם כרוב! #
  • @ronenk מקאווה לטוב? in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk אין לי אפילו מושג איך להגות מקאווה – בטח ובטח אין לי מושג מה זה :) in reply to ronenk #
  • ultimate weather – cool enough to enjoy wearing long clothes while sitting outside :) amazing! #
  • its been many months since I wrote a glimpses – i was happy to find it's still moving inside: http://bit.ly/334gDG #
  • RT great stuff!! thank u @ronenk: http://bit.ly/12Hi1i #
  • off to condense http://twurl.nl/riwhli my prana http://twurl.nl/nq00ey #
  • cooking dinner with Nick Cave – Do You Love Me? ♫ http://blip.fm/~g8qgh #
  • @ronenk אהבתי איך שיצא לך "קבל עוד" באנגלית :) תודה על ההפניות… אני בדרך… מתאים לי מוזיקה חדשה in reply to ronenk #
  • casualties, refuge, unknown, faith, surrender, surprise, wonder, presence #
  • "When Gandhi 1st heard thesound of the shakuhachi, he supposedly wept&said he had finally heard thevoice of thedead." http://twurl.nl/ri3leh #
  • I'm in the shower and iTunes does a radical switch from shakuhachi to robbie williams' new album! woah! #
  • RT @yogawithluc: Complete guide of barefoot running http://bit.ly/1ft9uu #
  • working on a series of posts on counter postures, processing images #
  • you're alive – is it really you?: http://twurl.nl/k73faq #
  • @CambridgeYoga thank u liz :) looking forward to publishing them … getting it right in writing is always more work then it seems at first in reply to CambridgeYoga #
  • some great chanting guides from Srivasta Ramaswami who studied extensively with Krishnamacharya: http://twurl.nl/c4vdhj #
  • @ronenk חיים טובים ידידי :) in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk אתה קולט כמה אנשים נחשפו בפעם הראשונה לצ'נטינג בזכות הגלגול שלך לאור הילד? in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk הבאת לי צחוק… חיפשתי וזה מה שמצאתי – דווקא נראה לי מתאים http://twurl.nl/abfmrz :) in reply to ronenk #
  • מישהו זוכר איך מנביטים גלעין של אבוקדו? איזה צד למטה? בתוך מים? כמה זמן זה לוקח? #
  • if you copy from Photoshop and paste into a document editor and it crashes … you know it's Microsoft software! #
  • a preparation for upcoming posts on #yoga counter postures – correct placement of the neck: http://twurl.nl/f4vzar #
  • @yogawithluc not easily (unless there is a pathology). excess chin-lock requires much focus&effort… eventually evolves into a bandha in reply to yogawithluc #
  • RT @SirKenRobinson: Love this-thanks LM. Imagination meets the pleasure principle. http://bit.ly/3uQwz #
  • another great one http://twurl.nl/patavb from http://twurl.nl/m7mcv7 #
  • Moon: http://twurl.nl/lhdbmh #
  • another step in preparing for basic #yoga postures – this time placement of the arms http://twurl.nl/5pvpvh #
  • @CambridgeYoga @yogawithluc Ive created a Paul Harvey students list http://twurl.nl/nnrk38 pls let me know if u know of others on twitter :) #
  • image of today at redbubble: http://twurl.nl/2xps07 #
  • when someone comes to you outlining a problem and offering a solution – you are being used – walk away! #
  • does anyone have any idea why transform in the photoshop menu would be disabled when there is an active layer with content selected? #

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