Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Patience

As the season begins its change from summer to fall this week, I thought about this little quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.”

Recently, I discovered the context for this Emerson quote. In fact, it is part of a longer piece on education. In it, Emerson urges teachers to have patience. Rather than resort to punishment, he encourages teachers to give their young students both the time and opportunity to bloom into adulthood on their own.

I think it’s good advice for us, too. Why hurry toward every goal we set for ourselves? Instead, we should take time to explore and enjoy the journey itself. What a nice gift to give oneself -- the gift of a bit of time and a bit of space where you can enjoy this moment, without hurrying off somewhere. (Easy to say, I know. Much more challenging to actually do!)

In the spirit of the quiet rhythm of nature, be mindful of this moment now – try not to stretch your neck into a future you can’t control (you won't get there any quicker and you'll only hurt your neck). Be patient with your journey and kind with your self. Take the time in the days ahead to watch and enjoy the change of the season ... the changes in the trees, in the plants, in the wildlife, in you.

And, breathe.

Namasté

Friday, September 15, 2006

White & Gold -- A Balancing Breath

The “White & Gold” breath is a mindful way to fully expand the lungs, draw in fresh prana (the life force that surrounds us), balance and harmonize the body’s rhythms, and empty out negative congestion in the body (those things that slow us down).

We practiced this breath in yoga class on 9/14 ... and we will use it in next week’s classes as well. (So you can try it out before class if you like!)

Sit comfortably. Or lie down (if you promise not to snooze). It is possible to do this breath while sitting at your desk or sitting in traffic. (I wouldn’t advise you to do it while driving ... but I have been known to slip a breath or two in when going from here to there.)

Just relax a bit and find your breath. Try to ignore the other distractions of life, and just listen to air as it journeys in through the nostrils and finds it way into the lungs and journeys out through the nostrils. This sound of the breath can be very quieting for the body and mind. (I always like to imagine that even as I am doing nothing – being completely lazy – the restful rhythm of my breath is carrying on ... sustaining and renewing me.)

After a minute or two, begin to focus on just the right side of the body. Imagine the breath coming into the right side of the body as though it were a vibrant and radiant white light, flowing into the right nostril and filling the body – filling the head, the torso, the right arm, and right leg – with healing prana white light.

As you begin to exhale, gently move your awareness to the left side of the body and imagine the left side of the body exhaling fully – from the left leg and left arm, from the left side of the torso, and the left lung – sending a strong golden light of empowerment and cleansing out through the left nostril.

So, the in breath becomes a vibrant white light for healing, coming into the right side of the body, and the out breath becomes a radiant golden light of cleansing and empowerment as it goes out through the left side of the body.

Try this for several breaths and then switch sides. With the white light now coming in on the left, filling the left side of the body, and the golden light now moving through and out on the right side.

This is not the alternate nostril breath we sometimes practice in yoga, where we physically block one nostril as we breathe. Instead, we are simply using our inner awareness – our imagination – to focus our attention on the breath ... to pay attention to just one side of the body as the breath flows in and out.

By moving attention from right to left we help to not only calm the nervous system, but to harmonize and balance the energies of the body.

Visualizing the healing energy of the in breath as a white light is a nice way to remind ourselves of how healing our breath (and yoga practice) can be. And, as we cleanse with the golden light of the out breath, we also are reminded of our own personal power – that we can, indeed, rid ourselves of stress and other challenges. We can control our tension and stress and we can let it all go ... with simply a breath.

I hope you enjoy this nice little practice. Play with it ... and simply breathe!

Namasté

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

"Even though life is hard, even though it is sometimes difficult to smile, we must try." Those words come from Thich Nhat Hanh in his book Being Peace. He continues: "A human being is like a television set with millions of channels. If we turn the Buddha on, we are the Buddha. If we turn sorrow on, we are sorrow. If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile."

This is the meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh used in yoga class on 9/11 and 9/12. Each line corresponds to either an inhalation or an exhalation. Play with this meditation and see what blooms in you:

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.

You may shorten this meditation. Simply follow your breath with the words: Calm ... Smile ... Present Moment ... Wonderful Moment.

Enjoy your present moment today ... let go of the past and try to not stretch into the future. Let a little smile creep onto the edges of your lips. And, then let your body smile.

Namasté

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Madison Yoga - Fall Session

The fall session of Madison yoga begins on Monday, September 11.

There will be 2 classes each Monday: at 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. and at 5:30 - 6:45 p.m. Classes are held in the Library at Wetsel Middle School in Madison (next door to the High School on Route 29).

This will be an 8-week session, running September 11 thru November 6. (There will be no class on October 30.) Cost is $64 for the 8-week session or $11 per class for drop-ins. (If you're new to my classes, your first class is free, so you can try it out.) Classes are offered through Madison Parks & Facilities.

We practice basic hatha yoga and explore and play with many different yoga practices -- including gentle Tibetan yoga, Anusara yoga, and energizing Ashtanga yoga. In addition, I like to blend in other beneficial practices, including a bit of pilates and tai chi now and then.

Yoga is a wonderful way to bring health, flexibility, and strength to the body; calm the mind and relieve stress; and rejuvenate the spirit. The class is appropriate for adults of all fitness levels.

If you're interested in the class and have any questions, you can leave your question as a comment here on this site, or you may email me at peacefulhands (at) gmail.com

I hope to see you at class!

Namasté

Friday, September 01, 2006

Fall Yoga & Massage Schedule

The fall yoga sessions begin soon, so I wanted to let you know my upcoming fall schedule for yoga and massage.

Yoga ...

MONDAYS ... Yoga in Madison. All-Levels Classes are held at 4:00 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. Eight-week session begins Monday, September 11. (More info coming next week.)

TUESDAYS/THURSDAYS ... Morning Yoga in Culpeper at Namaste Yoga Studio. All-Levels Classes at 10:00 a.m. Eight-week session begins Tuesday, September 5. (More info online at www.culpeperyoga.com.)

Private single and group Yoga Sessions available by appointment.

Massage ...

TUESDAYS thru FRIDAYS ... Massage appointments available in Orange or Madison office. (Tuesday/Thursday appointments are available after 1:00 p.m.)

SATURDAYS ... Massage appointments available in Orange only.

Private on-site sessions by appointment.

I hope to see you soon!