One of my all-time favorite teachers, Marko Galjasevic, said… "We are all aspiring yogis." People such as Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Ghandi… those are the true yogis. Many of us are taking a yogic journey and living a lifestyle to cultivate awareness, provide devotional service to those in need and are committed to being positive and nurturing positivity to all those you come in contact with. Those are attributes in a yogi.
Being a yogi is not doing handstand in the middle of a room, or getting into a full split with ease. Nor is it just becoming a yoga teacher and having a class full of admiring students.
It's about the life you lead and how you enrich the life of others.
A great man sets an example by his actions.
At any age... Welcome!
At 90-years young, B.K.S. Iyengar still practices asana and pranayama for hours daily.
Swami Yogananda Maharaj Ji is 105 and not only engaging in daily practice, but teaching as well. Tao Porchon-Lynch is still instructing too!
Others well into their 80s and 90s have a regular regimen of asana. Makes me wonder, where I will be 40-years from now.
I'll take my chances and practice some sort of asana, pranayama and meditation daily and hope to be as functional as some of these inspirations.
Join the club -- it's open to everyone!
Yoga Journal LIVE: New York City
Today is the final day of Yoga Journal: LIVE!
If you want to inform yourself about new yoga related products, retreats and see vendors showcasing the latest in anything and everything yoga... check out the marketplace, located at the Hilton on 6th avenue.
Did I buy anything? Nah! Did I get myself some schwag? Yup! Passes to free classes around the city are worth the visit alone. Enjoy your Sunday.
My Nephews Rule!
I have three nephews; Joshua, Dylan and Jason...
The two oldest - Joshua and Dylan - melted my heart when they got into their meditative states...
This after being buck-wild all day. LOL.
I love you guys!
Students in Savasana... priceless.
Nearly 20-students in savasana in a meditative state, feeling and cultivating awareness... it was quite a sight.
Thanks to the City Year organization, I was able to lead another round of meditation at I.S. 204 (Long Island City, NY), which led to bliss and students of varying ages finding some tranquility and arming themselves with techniques for relaxation and coping.
After participating in a few sets of Sun Salutations and engaging their breath in tree-pose (Vrksasana)... closing with meditation on their backs, the students turned the auditorium stage into a place of serenity.
The importance of after-school programs, presenting students with outlets for growth and disseminating all the knowledge we have, giving them tools like these, can only lead to productive scholars and fruitful development.
Many, many thanks to everyone involved.
The Daunting Morning Practice
A morning practice…
That's something that I truly need to develop more of. Many of us avoid it like the plague. Just when we made plans to wake-up early and meditate or practice asana, the alarm goes off … and we hit the snooze button.
Maybe we stay up late and that will be our excuse the next morning. Here's another one… we wash our mat, so it's too wet or put it somewhere we can't find to avoid going to a studio for practice. Excuses, excuses.
So what do you?
Makes your morning more efficient and you'll be primed to get going.
LOL… seriously, give yourself time to marinate. Yeah… marinate. To enjoy your morning, savor your departure from bed and allow your body to get acclimated to a new day instead of rushing out.
Yes… they'll get you up really early whether you want to or not.
You don't have to go to your local studio to get your meditation or asana practice in. Roll out a mat in the living room or any available space in your home and a few sun salutations later, you got yourself an effective morning routine.
Energizing poses; cat-cow to warm up the spine, sun salutations to build heat, back-bends to invigorate and finish with savasana to collect yourself and cultivate awareness for the day.
Let the Light In
Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.
Remember this when you step onto your mat. Asana practice is not about the ideal form. Nor is it about mimicking what's on a cover of a magazine. Or, what droves of people think is beautiful on Instagram or Facebook.
It's about feeling, which is individual and each one of us owns it -- that is beautiful.
Falling out of pose, trying to get into the next one, holding onto the frustration and making-up for the last pose… let it go. Move onto the next "atha." The next now. As I stated in another blog post, those are the necessary "cracks" that let the light in. Every breathe is a now. Every pose is a now. You fall trying to get into Bakasana… you move on.
The cracks are necessary. The light truly illuminates once it penetrates complete darkness. So embrace the falling, the toppling over, or the times where you perceive the "perfect offering" is not attainable.
Smile. Laugh. And then go towards your next "now" and remember that cracks truly let the light in. Why be in darkness?
Extra, extra: April is Occupational Therapy month!
As a practitioner, I've worked in hospitals with babies and in adult-rehabilitation, pre-schools, nursing homes and psychiatric clinics. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a client reach their capacity and meet their goals - to function at their most independent and highest potential. The same feelings apply when teaching and practicing Yoga. Breaking through real or perceived barriers.
Want to know what OTs do and how we do it?
The 'American Occupational Therapy Association' states,
"As an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, you are part of a vitally important profession that helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. Your holistic and customized approach to evaluations, interventions, and outcomes help a child with disabilities participate in school and in social situations, assist a person recovering from injuries to regain skills, aid an older adult to stay as independent as possible, and offer the specialized support and services to people of all ages and in all circumstances that only occupational therapy can provide."
Occupational Therapy Month started in 1980 to correspond with AOTA's Annual Conference & Expo.
Want to know more about Occupational Therapy? Click here!
Yes, even the auditorium at Intermediate School 204 can be turned into a meditation hall!
With the help of The Yoga Room, twenty students that participate in the City Year after-school program at I.S. 204 (Long Island City, NY) were able to experience the benefits of meditation, as I had the privilege to lead them through a breathing practice and exercises to get them into a mode of consciousness and awareness.
Many of the students immediately benefitted from the "relaxation," and grasped on to the techniques I instructed them through to improve and enhance their focus, attention span, reduce their stress and anxiety and increase their self-confidence, happiness and creativity.
At their official site, the City Year program states, "Our culture is the air we breathe - it is the set of values, structures and practices that creates an environment in which idealism can be successfully practiced."
That breathe and harvesting a culture of union is what I focused on and what the students grasped onto, as they were introduced to breathing techniques to alleviate stress and to guide them through their first ever meditation experience as a community.
We focused on relaxing the body, breathing deeply and connecting with the breath, concentrating the mind, expanding it with guided imagery and allowing the students to expand their inner awareness.
The results were reflective. The smiles and tranquility established in the auditorium was palpable.
A special thanks is extended to everyone involved and to those that facilitated this great afternoon.
For more information on the enrichment clubs (science, art & sports) service-learning (community service) and all things City Year, check-out their site here.
Get your savasana on!
Adho much vrksasana (handstand) on a busy New York City sidewalk…
Bakasana (crow) on an edge of a cliff…
Forget that! How about savasana (corpse pose) anywhere and everywhere?
Now that's the prime photo-op for every aspiring yogi and asana junkie! Arguably the most vital of poses, savasana, is the final gateway to bliss and complete absorption. After a rigorous practice, many times the benefits aren't truly realized because the practitioner deprives themselves of a enriching pause. Even during a hectic day, finding time to just lay down and feel your inhalations and exhalations in this pose can be valuable.
Besides all the impactful benefits; decreasing of the heart-rate, relaxation of the skeletal and visceral muscles, lowering of tension and anxiety along with increasing energy levels and stimulating the ability to concentrate… why wouldn't anyone want to deepen their awareness with a corpse pose anytime or anywhere?
At work. At home. Getting to your yoga class early and easing into it and ending your asana practice with a prolonged savasana. Alright… lets do it.
Anytime… anywhere. Get your savasana on!
If I'm doing it, I'll be talking about it. Yoga chatter & more.