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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't Just Set a Resolution...Be Resolutionary!

Most of us have realized from painful experience that lasting change rarely occurs as a result of a New Year's Resolution. Why is it that we are so often incapable of becoming the person we want to be? Too often, resolutions are inspired by fear and are set up as self-imposed expectations that reinforce the gulf between who we think we are and who we think we want to be. It is time to establish our resolutions from a deeper place; 2010 is a year of deepening. People are beginning to understand the profound nature of the present moment and will begin taking action from this place. Rather than another New Year's Resolution, now is the time to become Resolutionary.

Reaction or Resolution?
In many cases our resolution is inspired by a negative self-image adopted from society or an influential voice in our lives. For example, we compare our bodies to those we see in the media and decide the way we look is bad. The pain from this comparison becomes the fuel for our change. The resolution is not sustainable and we end up in that familiar negative spiral that reinforces the unworthiness that inspired the resolution in the first place.

Gratitude: The Power of the Resolutionary
The resolutionary recognizes gratitude as the true power behind sustainable transformation. Chis Walker told me once "Don't leave anything until you love it." This is great advice rooted in the awareness that love is more empowering than fear. Love and gratitude are intertwined. The Resolutionary uses self-love as the inspiration behind this path of living transformation. The traditional resolution is based on fear and limitation and lacks fundamental acceptance. Be grateful for the miracle of your body and and allow the spontaneous gratitude for this sacred mystery to fuel your growth and expansion in 2010.

From Expectation to Anticipation
The old-school resolution is a self-imposed expectation and expectation is the root of all evil. OK, that may be dramatic but spend some time contemplating the possibility the expectations you put on yourself and those you place on others are the heart of the suffering that creeps into your life day by day. Expectation states that we will be "happy when...". Expectation is one of the root problems with the New Year's resolution. Let me introduce a new word to replace the thorny and insidious seed of suffering known as expectation. This word frees us from the dependence on some future event to be OK with ourselves and instead brings us back to the present moment. To access the present moment there is a requirement for a deep sense of acceptance and honesty, this is the starting point for a life-altering New Year's Resolution. This new word that holds the seed of freedom and guides the Resolutionary back to the moment of now is ANTICIPATION. The official definition describes anticipation as "pre-sentiment or pre-knowledge". Anticipation brings us immediately into the experience of our resolution rather than emphasizing the gulf between where we are now and where we hope to be as is the case with expectation.

A Resolutionary Practice
In order to anticipate we must make the experience of fulfillment real in our minds and bodies. Consider this an invitation to imagine the greatest version of yourself for 2010. The Resolutionary takes time to sit in silence and practice gratitude. Give yourself the gift of 5 minutes per day to sit and breathe with awareness and simply be grateful. Let gratitude flood your body soaking every cell with liquid light. Even now, you can simply breathe with awareness, relax the body, allow the mind to be and reconnect with the Source of life, with your Beloved. Gratitude is the mystical power that fuels authentic transformation and is the direct experience of your own essence. Gratitude is the fuel of the Resolutionary, fill up every single day and soon you will be filling up with every single breath.

Don't wait for some future moment to be the highest version of yourself. The future is a fantasy and the past is over; the Resolutionary realizes their transformation here and now. May this year be full of transformative moments and big-time gratitude. To all the Resolutionaries out there, I wish you a very HAPPY NOW YEAR!!




Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Condensation of Thought

Hello All,

Condensation is the bonding of molecules of a substance to form a larger denser molecule and often with the release of simpler substances like water. As we pay more and more attention to the thoughts that form in our minds and the emotions those thoughts trigger let's consider the process behind thought formation.

We must first break through the Western idea that thought has no substance. Our ability to detach from thought is impeded by our ignorance as to the substance of thought. The science of yoga has a word to describe the substance of thought called Chitta. Imagine thoughts as having characteristics of both a wave and particle much like light. Thoughts may travel like a wave but can also accumulate and increase in density like a particle. A "bad mood", for example, may be considered a condensation of thought. Thoughts of similar quality are attracted to one another and may condense. The same way condensation releases water, the condensation of thought releases emotion.

By observing these processes in your mind-body system you will be empowered to be somewhat detached from the ebb and flow of thought and emotion. The energy you conserve in stepping outside of the thought-emotion ping-pong match you can use to consciously design your life. The purification that results from our yoga classes releases toxins that increase thought condensation and resulting moodiness. Taking steps to release toxins is even more important this time of year. Stay tuned for a workshop targeted at cleansing mind and body early in the New Year.

We are entering the season where we tend to eat and drink too much which increases toxicity and increases moodiness. Be aware of the choices you are making and if you indulge be present for the consequences. Take responsibility for your thoughts and emotions and be vigilant about how you express them with others. We will be detoxifying our mind-body systems at the Milo Boathouse at 7 pm and then going even deeper in our meditation practice at 8 pm. Hope to see you there.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Monday, December 14, 2009

Subjective Serenity

Hello All,

I was reading a commentary of the Yoga Sutras recently and came across a translation of one line that related to both a fundamental intention of yoga and the result of our practice; Subjective Serenity.

One of the great misconceptions of yoga is that as we practice the mind will stop and with it the emotions and reactions that are an everyday part of our human life. My experience is that the Serenity that is the subject of this line goes far deeper than our mental modifications (thoughts) and their physiological counterpart (emotions). The process of yoga is like diving into the ocean. We pass through the waves at the surface like thoughts and emotions, then we pass through deeper currents that are like subconscious tendencies that move us in behavioral patterns of which we may not be aware and finally we arrive at a profound stillness that has no end. This is the serenity of yoga.

Everybody has this depth and everybody has the waves and currents of mind and emotion. The ocean may be rough or calm at different times of day and in different seasons but the stillness at its depth is always present. Similarly, your depth of stillness is always accessible and so too will the modifications of mind and emotions be present and dependent on the passage of time. The stillness and serenity at your depth is timeless. To choose to experience this serenity through discipline and practice is the "subjective" part of the equation. Every moment during the day we have the choice to be jostled in the waves of the mind, to be unconsciously moved towards addictive behaviors or to choose to be in our depth, our stillness, our serenity. That is your choice and one that is yours to make moment to moment.

On the yoga mat, we practice subjective serenity in the face of physical exertion as we lengthen and strengthen the body. In our conscious relating to others we can practice subjective serenity as we observe our own reactions and take responsibility for all of them as we choose subjective serenity. This is a powerful and life-altering practice that leads us to eliminate our tendency to blame another for what we are feeling or experiencing.

Tonight at the Boathouse we will practice Subjective Serenity, we will choose peace even as we bear witness to muscles burning.

Dive in to your depth often, it is the greatest gift you could give to yourself and those you love.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Interiority

Hello All,

I am back to Canada with family in tow and Yarmouth has never felt more like home than now. We will be getting together tonight at the Boathouse to celebrate the present moment with our bodies and breath. As the winter season descends upon us we may also notice a slowing down and gentle movement within. As the trees and foliage let go of the blossoms of the past so too may we let go of that which was and in that letting go make room for the emptiness and interiority of the winter season.

This is a perfect season to explore the mystery and simplicity of meditation. If you have not experienced meditation in a group format you may find the practice offers a deep relaxation for the mind the way yoga provides relaxation for the body. Regardless, this is the season of interiority. Take a moment today, maybe right now, to reflect on your own interiority. We all have an interior life in which we are always participating and may rarely reveal aspects of it to others. Reveal yourself to yourself by witnessing your interiority with great compassion. Be present for the inner dialogue that is on-going, for the reactions and the sensations that weave the fabric of your interior person. In our meditation group tonight we will set fire to that fabric with the power of concentration and reveal the spaciousness and the vastness of our interiority.

I hope you have a wonderful day and as you bear witness to your own interiority realize that every person you meet also has that complexity, depth and internal reality you may rarely have been present to.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Edge

Hello All,

My trip to the United States continues as does all of our trips. Mine is moving through Maine with three generations, very different ways of approaching challenges and opportunities. The spiritual path has been termed the Razor's Edge because the path of authenticity and compassion is such an infinitely fine line. Integrating the concepts of intention and surrender may also be termed the Razor's Edge. On the one hand we have the planning of details based on our best concept of how things will proceed. On the other hand we have the allowing of whatever comes our way.

There is a story of a great yogi who was sitting in meditation having achieved absolute control over his senses to the point where he conquered all his desires. His body was emaciated and skin was like leather after living in the forest for many years practicing intense austerities. In his younger life, he spent years giving in to all of his desires and realizing that path did not bring a lasting peace or happiness. In this moment a boat was passing in a nearby river and a woman was playing a stringed instrument. In that moment the yogi realized, like the stringed instrument, if we are too tight attached to our plans, the simple joy of being will elude us; if we are too loose and without focussed intention we will be forced to endure unnecessary hardships for lack of preparation and grounding. This realization lead the yogi to practice the "middle way" and he eventually became the Buddha.

I have existed on both extremes in fairly dramatic fashion; I have been the Type A "plan and execute" and expect everyone around me to perform at the highest level. I have also been the free flowing individual devoid of intention altogether except to be aware of the breath and the simple presence of life. Neither was sustainable. A regular yoga practice gives us the chance to live on this Edge balancing alignment and force with presence and relaxation.

The path is not easy but the dynamic interplay of planning and allowing comes up again and again so there is no shortage of opportunity to practice your response. I can't wait to be on the Edge with each of you at our next yoga class.

Enjoy the Edge.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PRANA...more than meets the eye!

Hello All

I ran into a fact of human perception that I thought was relevant in our on-going exploration of prana. According to neurological research, human beings are "only aware of 2,000 bits of information out of 400 billion bits of information we are processing per second." As a percentage, you are only aware of 0.0000005% of the information your mind-body system is registering...and we thought using only 10% of our brain was dramatic! To implicate a discrepancy this large into our lives is very challenging but let me help to give a small example of how this may work. Look around you, right now... what you see? Now, try to be aware of just how much you are actually seeing in this fresh new moment of now and how much you are simply remembering, based on past conditioning. It is VERY difficult to separate the two but spend some time on this exercise with people you meet and with the places you go and you will notice, if you are willing, just how quickly we default to conditioned responses as opposed to perceiving and experiencing what is right here right now.

Cosmic and solar prana are all around you even now as are radio waves, electromagnetic fields and many other phenomena that we do not see. With training and practice, certain subtle phenomena can become visible through heightened sensory perception that is a bi-product of concentration. These experiences however are only revealing a tiny portion of the full spectrum of reality that surrounds us in any given moment. Perhaps the biggest lesson as we scratch the surface of our perception and begin to deepen our awareness is that of humility.

What you thought may not actually be but rather possibility may be reality...

We will dive into the depth of awareness at Beloved Yoga and Meditation tonight starting at 7 pm....be there or be square ; )

Be out of the box.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nourishment of Prana

Hello All,

As we gear up for our Sunday morning workshop (9-12 at Milo Boathouse) let's begin to deepen our understanding of the vital energy that is the bridge between mind and body. The prana that nourishes our bodies comes first and foremost from the sun, it is the source of energy that is available in the fruits, vegetables and grains that we eat. As you can imagine the prana from the sun is absorbed into the waters of the earth and the land itself. Naturally, if our sun releases prana then it would make sense that all stars release prana, this cummulative pranic source from all stars we will call Cosmic Prana. All nutrition that we receive has, at its origin, solar and cosmic prana. In addition to receiving prana through the foods we eat and the water we drink the breath is also a major source of prana. In other ages where the air was more purified it is said the prana from the air was enough to sustain life. There are many examples of yogis who lived by sunlight alone and one was tested by NASA for over 100 days with no food intake. This is simply to demonstrate the life-giving power of prana and should not be attempted.

Most of us don't realize our mind-body system is photosynthetic. There are many cells in the body that are photosensitive including in the pinneal gland which relates to the third eye. As near as I can tell science does not yet understand how these cells respond to sunlight or even how sunlight would get to those cells. It seems to me the photoreceptors on these cells are triggered by the flow of solar prana to that region of the body. Suffice to say, science acknowledges we have cells inside the body that are photosensitive with no understood mechanism to solar-effect them. Nature is the greatest teacher we have to understand the mystery of life, take a moment and look closely at a flower or tree and realize the role of the sun in the growth and sustainability of that organism. Now, reflect on your own mind-body organism and realize that your growth and sustainability is also closely rooted to the sun and the sacred vital energy you receive in the form of prana. Breathe as though you are being nourished and granted life with every breath because.....of course.....YOU ARE.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Friday, November 20, 2009

Stress...The White Plague

The new social rituals forming around H1N1 are incredible. People are confused about whether to shake hands, bottles of anti-bacterial gel everywhere and you may have seen that look of shame and guilt on people's faces as they cough or sneeze worried that people may label them as "infected". I can't help but wonder what things must have been like during the time of a really dangerous pandemic like the Black Plague. Imagine how every facet of life was impacted as millions became infected.

I see H1N1 as the first successfully "branded" disease of our time, they tried with the Bird Flu and that was pretty well done but nothing compared to the Swine Flu and then of course H1N1. It seems people of our generation are more responsive to a technical term than to animal-based nomenclature. As a former advertising executive I have a fondness for effective advertising although the novelty wears off when I see such blatant disregard for the fundamentals of health as I am witnessing in this day and age.

You may not even realize but there is another global pandemic that is affecting many, many more people than the latest and greatest H1N1. In fact, it contributes to the death of 4 times more people than all the deaths related to influenza and pneumonia combined, according to the Center for Disease Control. The World Health Organization identified STRESS as a global pandemic years ago. The real problem seems to be one of marketing. People do not realize that STRESS KILLS. In fact, I gave a presentation on stress just yesterday and it is amazing how people cling to their stress. People think that if we ever took it from them they would be unproductive couch potatoes, the lowest of the low in our culture.

I think we need to re-brand STRESS to something more flashy, more deadly, perhaps THE WHITE PLAGUE. The all-caps thing can be effective too until we get a funky, ominous but fresh logo. The WHITE PLAGUE is here and the scary and yet attractive characteristic from a marketing perspective is that everyone is a carrier for this disease. You can look at a room and tell them straight up that 25% of every person there will be helped to the grave by the WHITE PLAGUE of stress. We don't even have to make up statistics, just share them with people.

Of course we would need to create an expensive vaccination because just letting people know the incomprehensible power of simple breath-awareness would never fly. People need big-budget marketing and spoon-feeding by Big Pharma. I am sure we could create a placebo vaccination in the form of an inhaler to combat the WHITE PLAGUE we could name it DBN (Deep Breath Now) and make billions. Even better we could create a sugar pill that melts on your tongue but takes a couple of minutes and we could put on the label that you must remain relaxed and aware as the pill dissolves on your tongue. If your attention wanders a toxin is created that can do more harm than good. Is it ethical to scare people into mindfulness? Fear, it seems, is the only thing that motivates our culture. We could call this special tablet XALER...get it?

Well, I may not have the attention span for this marketing push but you can do your part by beginning to honor the role of relaxation and mindfulness in your own life. Observe the play of stress and try to educate your children on relaxation and mindfulness. Of course, the most effective way to educate the little ones is by example. There is no easy way out except the easy way in...through the breath.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Power of Perception

Hello All,

It is amazing how much energy we spend on arguing with what is. This means we experience a particular moment and then proceed to dialogue about that moment inside our minds. We take a stand against this moment in one way or another and sometimes from many different angles, then strong emotions are triggered based on the opinions we are formulating. Those emotions then trigger memories of past emotions of similar quality which triggers the thoughts related to those old emotions. PHEW! It is exhausting just describing the process. This is one explanation for arriving at work in your car with no idea how you got there. I know it's happened to you!

I call this the SPIRAL of INCREASING DRAMA. Consider that while we are spiraling into the rabbit whole of our fantasy world, life continues....the heart beats (faster due to drama), the body functions and the earth spins on its axis causing the sun to appear to move through the sky. The movement of the sun in the sky is a great support in illustrating the power of PERCEPTION. Everywhere in our language we talk about the sun moving across the sky because that is our visual perception. In fact, however, it is us (the earth) that is spinning and not the sun. This is the same in our lives. We are observing reality as though it is "objective" when, in fact, our perception of any given moment is made up entirely of our conditioned response (AKA reaction) to the information filtered by our senses. Still with me?

Consider the last person you saw....did you see them? Really? Or did you experience them as the sum total of your past conditioning (experiences, memories, fantasies). Look again, to look again is to RESPECT someone in the original Latin sense of the word. Look again at how you are perceiving the miracle of life spinning around you. At the end of the day, we are all spinning together on this glorious beach ball called earth. To practice meditation is to step to the center of your consciousness, of your life, at first everything is still moving but with practice and patience and the power of perception you may just discover what you didn't even know you were looking for.

Beloved Yoga & Meditation tonight at the Boathouse, hope to see you there. Then, I hope I re-member to look again and really SEE YOU.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Monday, November 16, 2009

Be Radiant

Hello All,

It occurred to me this morning as I got up from my meditation practice that I felt FULL. To sit in silent communion with your breath, with life itself, with the Universe, with your Beloved (there are an infinite number of ways to describe the infinite nature of reality) is to become full. The fullness may happen slowly over time or happen in a single moment but the effect is the same. It is always the same...GRATITUDE. Mind you, it is a different kind of sameness, it is a sameness that is never boring. It is a sameness that is always new, rejuvenating and energizing. When we are full then life becomes about sharing and giving and not about taking and getting. Fear is at the source of the getting and love is at the source of the giving. When we are full we can give without looking to see who is taking, we can become unconditional and radiant.

Take this moment to sit and still the body, take a very conscious, slow deep breath. Fill the lower part of your abdomen first and then right up through the chest. Feel as thought light were starting to leak out your pores. Take several more of these breaths and become radiant. As you walk imagine the people you see being touched by this radiance. Imagine the earth receiving the radiance through the soles of your feet. Imagine everyone you touch being touched by the unconditional being within. This is moving prayer, this is the ancient secret of the mystic.

We will come together and radiate at the Milo Boathouse at 7 pm....you may want to bring sunglasses.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yama #5: Non-Possessiveness

The final foundational discipline of yoga is aparigraha or non-possessiveness. Looking at the roots of the words, we again have the a which means not, pari which means away from or fully, and graha which means take, obtain or seize. From these words you can see how we arrive at non-possessiveness as a possible translation. It would be wise to keep in mind that any and all translations are mere approximations, this goes for all the wisdom literature of the world. I read recently that 50% of the youth surveyed in a Harvard study thought Jesus spoke English. Yoga teaches us to find ultimate joy and peace within and prescribes a path to attain that though we can easily fall prey to fundamentalism.

The Path of Poverty

The popular vow of poverty is related to this discipline and there is a great history of choosing poverty as a path to spirituality. Have you ever noticed the tendency we have to be possessed by our possessions? This is the mental affliction that we intend to root out with the practice of aparigraha. There is no need really to give up your possessions in order to deepen your sense of spirituality, however, we must find a way to give up our attachment and identification with our possessions. I spent many years living an unspoken vow of poverty that did more to cultivate resentment and anger than any deeper sense of spirituality.

The entirety of yoga can be characterized by the yogic axiom, "action without attachment". Yoga doesn't really seek to regulate ownership but rather the attachment to the possession. This is a very important distinction also in the process of meditation where practitioners may feel that to meditate is to push thoughts out of your mind so it is “empty”…good luck! Try instead, to relinquish your attachment to the thinking process or specific thought forms. A Tibetan Master was with his student and the latter asked, "Master, what is the difference between my mind and the mind of the Master", the teacher replied, "When thoughts arise in this mind they are like clouds passing in the sky". This is a beautiful expression of detachment.

Attachment and Aversion - Two Sides of the Same Coin

I have certainly experienced both sides of the proverbial coin when it comes to possession and material wealth. Generating large amounts of wealth as a young person was a powerful experience and having a tendency towards self-awareness I could observe the power and beauty of new-found generosity. I could also see how more wealth lead to a greater identification with that wealth. Later, joining a spiritual community that did not overtly preach poverty but certainly lived in poverty showed me the other side of the coin. Living with unresolved debt and a general disengagement from the material side of life was an expression of a subtle aversion to money. Simply the other side of the same coin from attachment. To truly practice yoga is to be fully engaged with the world but detached from the world. Easy to say but not so easy to live.

Freedom from Greed

According to Swami Satyananda of the Sivananda lineage, “aparigraha represents complete freedom from greed or covetousness.” Many Native American traditions seem to naturally reflect a certain non-covetousness. These ancient cultures can offer tremendous guidance towards simplicity in our world that seems to grow more complex every single day. I once heard of a native tradition whereby every seven years each member of the tribe would place their possessions in the center of a circle where they would then be redistributed. This is a powerful example of a practice that would help inspire the character trait of non-possessiveness.

Take a moment now and consider the fact that the things in your life do not come from you but are a part of the natural abundance of life. Those things are temporary and will not survive the test of time. So too is your physical body impermanent. The practice of aparigraha ultimately supports us in conquering the deep-seated and perhaps ultimate fear of human life, the fear of death. As we practice relinquishing greed and attachment to the things in our life we also start to chip away at the attachments to the body and to our life itself. Great peace descends upon the one who is able to act without attachment. This great peace is the fruit of yoga.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yama #4: Celibacy ?

We have been discussing the foundational disciplines of yoga known as the YAMAS and the fourth in our series is Brahmacharya and is most often translated as celibacy. This, as we so often discover, is a very limited view of a vast and powerful concept. The word Brahmacharya has atleast three distinct roots which are Brahman meaning expansion, evolution or the Absolute, char which means go, act, practice, unite with and ya meaning relating to. We may look at this as a committed practice of merging with the Absolute.

Make a Commitment Towards Growth

On this spiritual path we all must make a commitment. This commitment could take any form but in your own way, in your own time resolve yourself to this process of expansion and evolution. Brahmacharya is one characterization of that commitment. A practice of Brahmacharya is to continually direct your attention towards the Absolute or the essence of unity and one-ness. We can do this with every step, every breath, at work, at home and in the bedroom. During your day pay attention to those moments of expansion and evolution and allow your life to be about growth and transformation. Be vigilant and notice when you experience a moment of contraction…this is an evolutionary opportunity.

Relentless Forgiveness

When contraction happens due to the ego’s reaction resist the urge to blame another and come back to expansion through forgiveness, first of yourself and then of the other. The practice of relentless forgiveness is the path back to the expansion that is the subject of Brahmacharya. A simple example may be to begin noticing the more subtle reactions to thought processes happening throughout the day. Given the fact that Brahmacharya so often relates specifically to restraint of sexual activity take a moment and consider your relationship with sexuality. Where are you contracted around sexuality; in thought word and deed? You may notice a sharp contraction resulting from a sexual fantasy or memory. You may contract around the possibility of a sexual encounter with your partner or another. The sensations in your body are a language that can lead us to great realization when we pay attention.

Redirect Your Attention

Once you notice a contraction relating to something you are thinking or something you have said or done, be grateful. You may be feeling shame or anger or sadness or regret but whatever you are feeling simply feel it deeply and hold yourself with an attitude of loving kindness. Do not indulge the mind that will take that emotion and spawn a thousand thoughts. Stay with the feeling and let it move through the body. This is a body practice of forgiveness. Know that there is a powerful photon of energy that is bound by shame and guilt and by simply allowing yourself to feel the mind-body reaction you can liberate that energy and allow yourself a quantum leap in your consciousness. Be brave and know that you are not your thoughts, not your past, not the decisions you have made. You are a being of light, radiant love and unlimited power. You are an integral part of the Absolute, Brahman, the Source, the One without a second. Direct your passion, raw and powerful, towards the realization of who you really are.

Brahmacharya is a commitment. It is a commitment to take responsibility for our thoughts and emotions, to be present with shame and guilt and practice deep forgiveness for ourselves and others. It is the liberation of expansionary energy trapped in memory and fantasy. It is the passionate union with the One Being, the Absolute. It is the path to the unbounded joy and bliss of conscious living.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yama #3: Non-Stealing +

The next step on our yogic disciplines that help to lay the foundation for a deeper yoga practice is most often translated as non-stealing (asteya). In researching the deeper meaning of this Sanskrit word I found that "steya" relates to adornment or envelopment and the "a" at the beginning is a negation. Therefore, asteya could be seen as not adorning oneself or becoming enveloped in a thought, word or deed. These translations come from Vishvananda Ishaya...thank you!

There are many externally imposed ideas around right and wrong but this is an invitation to go deeper into a very important principle of conscious living. Clearly taking something from another is inappropriate but this form of discipline is self-arising which means we practice asteya in order to preserve and protect the sacredness of our beingness not out of some externally imposed sense of morality. Taking on another's belief system or mimicking their actions is often a form of "covering up" a void that we are not willing to feel in our lives.

When I was a child I was so enamored with my father that it was clear to me I was going to be like him, no matter what. He was a pilot in the military and so that was my automatic preferred career path. I was devastated as a young teenager when I was hit in the eye with a puck and being a military pilot was no longer an option. Still, as a young adult in university I joined the military as an Aerospace engineer which lead me to a period of deep sadness and profound lack of fulfillment. I see now how this was a violation of the asteya principle. I had taken on my father's vocation as a means to fill a void of love that was painful for me. Just like taking money when we do not feel we have enough we take on beliefs, language and behaviors because we feel we lack something in our lives. A practice of asteya would be to begin to notice the ways in which we do not feel like we are "good enough" and adopt attitudes, behaviors and belief systems as a way of compensating.

You are perfect just as you are. You are an integral part of the great consciousness continually manifesting as life itself. The spiritual path inspired by the ancient teachings of yoga begin with the five yamas. This word yama may also be translated as "death" and when we make the effort to deeply let go of old patterns and habits that are so ingrained in how we identify ourselves it may feel like a death. The absolute beauty that is your simple essence is waiting to shine through the clouds of the ego. Commit yourself to the practice of asteya by being so full and complete within yourself and your faith that you need not seek to be filled by another.

We will use our practice tomorrow morning at 8:45 at Milo Boathouse to fill up on the simple essence of life through a deep awareness of body and breath. I hope you can make it.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yama #2: Truthfulness

Hello All,

We continue our exploration of the grounding principles of yoga known as the YAMAS. These five disciplines can provide a powerful grounding influence in our daily lives. The second discipline that follows non-violence is truthfulness (satya). This word may also be translated to be genuine, real or honest. Like all aspects of yoga the more we are able to cultivate these principles within the more effective we can be in expressing them in our relationships with others.

Let's look to the paired opposite to deepen our exploration of truthfulness. In which ways are we not honest with ourselves? One of the things that has been coming up for me is a tendency to look for a distraction in a painful or uncomfortable moment. I can imagine these distractions taking many forms from as simple as changing the subject to having a drink to expressing anger. There are infinite possibilities but as we become more aware we can hesitate and hold that "uncomfortable space" and be honest with ourselves by allowing ourselves to feel what there is to be felt.

This is a practice of compassion, of honesty and most certainly of yoga. On the mat we get accustomed to being present with sensations in the body and this training is directly related to practicing this presence with our emotional nature. We are all carry conditioned reactions based on our past, family and society; to indulge in these conditioned reactions is to avoid reality. We all have the opportunity to experience and express, more fully, the principle of truthfulness in our lives. Become familiar with the triggers that "set you off" and start to infuse a little space between the trigger and the reaction. Be courageous in your truth and be forgiving in your reactions.

Truthfulness is about Getting Real and when we take steps to be present with ourselves and with one another there is a tremendous amount of energy released into your life. What we do not see is that holding onto these conditioned reactions consumes a tremendous amount of energy. The process of enlightenment is like small photons of light being released in our being each time with choose to act with compassion and awareness.

Our yoga class tonight at the Milo Boathouse (7pm) will center on developing the skills of truthfulness by learning to be more present with our bodies, our minds and our breath. Meditation (8pm) allows us to go even deeper into the process of releasing unconscious reactive tendencies. If you have never experienced our meditation group consider joining us for no other reason than to more fully experience your own nature.

I wish you all great courage in practicing truthfulness this day in every way.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yama #1: Non-Violence

Hello All,

Perhaps the most potent aspect of yoga is its universality and inherent secularism. Patanjali, the founder of the yogic system was very clear that this path of awakening was not ever to be tied to any particular religion, culture or creed. The eight steps of awakening known as the Ashtanga Marga (eight-limbed path) are a step-by-step guide to becoming who we are as human beings. The first step on this spiritual ladder is self-control or the five YAMAS. The first of these five points of discipline or principles of conscious living is non-violence (ahimsa).

In our yoga practice we honor those who have come before us and practiced the disciplines and realized the fruits of that practice. In looking for a model of ahimsa, Mahatma Ghandi comes to mind. He was a passionate practitioner of non-violence though dealt with some very challenging questions. Many would suggest that in starving himself and emaciating his body he was in violation of this principle though he did it for the "greater good". In small ways in our own lives it is important to strive for non-violence in thought, word and deed and it is not always clear what behaviors are having a violent effect in our lives or the lives of others.

Our practice on the yoga mat provides us with an interior focus that serves to empower our reflective nature. This is an important step in giving us the ability to be present with our thoughts. When we can be present with our thoughts we gain the ability to hesitate before saying or doing something that may be of a violent nature. One of the dictionary definitions of violence is, "intensity of feeling or expression". As we continue on the path of yoga we invariably become more and more subtle in terms of our awareness. We learn to transmute our intense feelings and emotions without denying or repressing them. This is something that I am continuing to learn and it can be very difficult.

We all have violent habits that can be rooted out with awareness, practice and discipline. I tend to put up a wall in moments of feeling hurt. This defense mechanism is designed by the ego to protect me but invariably makes me emotionally unavailable. In moments of intense feeling this can lead to a "violent silence" that can be quite painful to the person with whom I am relating. My practice this week will be to cultivate the courage to lower that ego-based guard and be vulnerable as a path to deepening my understanding and expression of non-violence.

Take a moment and consider the role of violence in your life. Subtle forms of violence include gossiping about someone, thinking negatively about another, secretly hoping for another to suffer, indulging in gratification over another person's pain. There are infinite ways in which we may step towards the principle of non-violence. Please let me know if there is something that "clicks" for you with respect to the practice of non-violence in your life and practice.

Yoga with Claudette (thank you!) at the Milo Boathouse in Yarmouth tonight at 7pm. I will be back in town for our Wednesday class. Remember that by developing your Beloved Yoga practice you are improving your ability to practice non-violence and thereby improving the quality of your life, those around you and at some level the entire planet. Afterall, we are all connected!

Namaste: "The ONE in me greets the ONE in you",

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Friday, October 30, 2009

FOODMATTERS

Hello All,

I hope you are enjoying the wrap up to your week. The central practice of yoga is awareness first and foremost which is like a never ending spiral that dives into the present moment through body, mind and spirit. One of the areas in which our culture has slipped into the habit of ignorance and neglect is food. Every human being on earth knows the very simple and extremely inconvenient truth that, our bodies are what we eat.

Take a moment and recall what you have nourished your body with this week and be honest with yourself. Consider the meals you have eaten, the snacks and the choices you have made. Look at the ingredients on the labeling if you are eating processed foods, consider the source of the foods, the animals and plants, the human hands and hearts that have assisted in the planting, harvesting, preparation, innovation, distribution, transportation and all the many elements involved in getting food to your body.

In my experience, simplicity is always the answer to life's pressing issues of energy, vitality, health and wellness. Give yourself the gift of awareness and forgiveness when it comes to food and nutrition. Our recent Beloved Yoga workshop featured delicious organic food prepared with the intention of love and gratitude. You could feel the difference.

I have attached an invitation from Monique Bastien, one of those special people who share the gift of abundant health through food. Please consider attending the movie screening of FOODMATTERS....because it really does!

Claudette will guide our Saturday morning class at 8:45am. Our yoga practice helps purify the body and release toxins that invariably come through the food we eat and the air we breathe. A regular yoga practice is the perfect remedy for your mind and body.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta


Subject: Invition to Raw food and Movie

Hi Everyone,

I'd like to invite you all to Dinner & a Movie. That's right! On Sunday Nov. 1st from 4-7pm. That's this Sunday at Sobey's community room, Yarmouth.

There is a $10.00 charge per person at the door to cover the cost of the food. The Movie (Documentary) called 'FOOD MATTERS' is free. You do not want to miss this!

You can watch the trail by clicking on this link:http://www.foodmatters.tv/

You will find more information in the attachment.

Please reply ASAP if you will be attending. This way I'll know how much food to prepare.

See you Sunday at 4pm.


Monique Bastien
http://www.makingitraw.com
monique@makingitraw.com

Monday, October 26, 2009

Different Types of Yoga

Hello All,

First, let me thank those that attended our Beloved Yoga Workshop yesterday. They committed the full day to a deepening sense of self and an exploration of prayer through body movement and breath. We had exquisite organic and nutritious food from Sue Leblanc of Chester Organics who reminded us how important it is to honor our bodies with the abundance of the earth. Thanks again.

Yoga has an extremely broad body of work with many different styles with different practices. Nearly every style of yoga that you may have heard of in the West all relate to one type of yoga...Hatha Yoga. Whether it goes by the name Ashtanga, Anasura, Sivananda, Bikram, Kundalini, and on and on they are all concentrated on physical movement, alignment and breath. These all fall under the category of Hatha Yoga. HA means "sun" and relates to the right side of the body, the masculine principle and THA means "moon" and relates to the left side of the body, the feminine principle. The union of the two is HATHA yoga. This union is a function of the physical practices and breathing exercises that serve to cleanse the body-mind system and prepare one for the activation of Kundalini (spiritual energy) that rises up the central channel along the spine resulting in an enlightened state of awareness where we may directly perceive the interconnectedness of life.

In addition to HATHA yoga there are four other main disciplines of yoga (and many, many more) all with ultimately the same outcome. Yoga is not a religion. It means "union" and is both the practice and the result of practice that lead us to a deepening awareness of life.

KARMA YOGA is the path of selfless service where, through this path of action, we realize the person we are caring for is none other than our very own reflection. A tremendous amount of energy is released upon this realization. Service may be the best way, in this current time, to cultivate humility and conquer pride. Every faith-based tradition encourages service to community for this reason.

JNANA YOGA is the path of knowledge and encourages study of scriptures and self-enquiry as methods to strengthen our connection to the Divine. Again, every faith-based tradition has some form of scripture that can deepen one's awareness and connection with Source with study and contemplation.

BHAKTI YOGA is the path of devotion and is the simplest and most accessible of all the paths. This path requires nothing more than an ever-deepening love and surrender to your Beloved in any form that is uplifting to your spirit. Practices include all forms of prayer, adoration, singing, chanting, contemplation and meditation.

RAJA YOGA is the path of meditation and pure awareness. It may be the most demanding of all paths but is also the most direct. It requires absolute concentration on the present moment with the vehicle of the breath. There is no isolated practice for raja yoga but rather life immediately becomes a moving meditation where the role of the observer or the witness is emphasized above all else. This is known as the Royal path.

My first teacher, Master Sivananda suggested we follow a path that is a synthesis of all of these and that we find balance through service, knowledge, devotion and meditation. It is interesting to note these four practices integrate into any faith-based tradition. Yoga is not opposed to any religion but rather provides valuable insight into how we may actually "practice" our tradition. I wish you vigilance on your path.

Tonight we will gather to honor our bodies and breath and to PRACTICE our individual path.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Friday, October 23, 2009

As Above, So Below

On this Fall day with the cool breeze blowing and the sun hiding behind the clouds I am reminded of that global axiom..."As above, so below". Many ancient traditions acknowledge what quantum science now confirms. What we observe at a macroscopic level is a simple and elegant reflection of what is found at the microscopic level. When we compare the structure and dynamic of a galaxy with that of a single atom the truth of this statement is revealed in its other form, "on earth as it is in heaven".

This universal property of reflection can be found all around us but given our yoga practice and the strong emphasis we place on the breath I thought we could explore our own respiratory system. The teachings of yoga tell us the primary source of prana (subtle energy) is the sun. Our bodies absorb the prana of the sun through the breath, the skin and a little-known receptor at the crown of the head. Like the human body, trees absorb the rays of the sun and perform photosynthesis converting the light of the sun into energy for growth. The tree uses carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. We, in turn, absorb the light of the sun and inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. The design of the elements of our respiratory system mirrors the design of the tree. Not only do we have a completely symbiotic relationship with trees but the internal structure of our respiratory system even looks like trees. As above so below may also be stated, "as within so without". Take a moment, breathe slowly and deeply acknowledge the trees that have served you that breath, now perceive the tree-like branches in your lungs that are passing that much needed breath to the body. Be grateful for the miracle that is happening right now!

Tomorrow morning (8:45 am at the Milo Boathouse) we will acknowledge our photosynthetic nature and transform the light of awareness into a healthy body, mind and spirit. Hope you can make it.

Our workshop on Sunday will take us deeply into the breathing, movement and vibrational principles of yoga. We will also explore the ancient connections between "as above so below" and that beautiful line of the Lord's Prayer "on earth as it is in heaven". There are still spots available for Sunday but please let me know so we can arrange for your organic, vegetarian and delicious lunch. Have a wonderful day, and don't worry that prana from the sun can pass through the clouds in the sky just as the light of awareness can pass through the clouds of the mind....there it is again, AS ABOVE SO BELOW.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Perfect Workout

Hello All,

By now you have all heard about our workshop on Sunday. The morning session will be dedicated to the most popular of all yoga sequences, the Sun Salutation. This series of twelve postures has been called, "The Perfect Workout" and provides many benefits including:

1. Tones up the digestive system by the alternate stretching and compression of abdominal organs.
2. Strengthens abdominal muscles.
3. Thoroughly ventilates the lungs, and oxygenates the blood.
4. Acts as detoxifying agent, by getting rid of enormous quantity of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.
5. Tones up the nervous system and improves memory.
6. Promotes sleep and calms anxiety.
7. Normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands - especially the thyroid gland.
8. Refreshes and beautifies the skin.
9. Improves muscle flexibility.
10. Helps reduce fat.
11. Revives and maintains the spirit of youthfulness.
12. Makes the spine and waist flexible.

On Sunday we will learn and take home with us the perfect workout that is both challenging and accessible. It will contribute to health and wellness at every level of your body and mind....AND we will add a pinch of prayer to create the Perfect Workout for mind, body and spirit.

Namaste,

Jayanta

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Spiral Hook

Hello All,

A bit late in the day but better late than never. My mind is on spirals today and I have often noticed the magnificent symmetry in the natural world. Everything grows in spirals. Look around at shells, flowers, plants, galaxies. Energy is optimized in spirals as illustrated by tornadoes. It is clear to me that energy centers in the body are also organized as spirals. Beloved Yoga is about continuing to go deeper in our awareness of these magical bodies and the intricate relationship between our physical body, energetic (pranic body) and the breath. Tonight I will introduce a deeper level of engaging with our bodies and breath by introducing the Spiral Hook.

As you look around the natural world today, imagine you are looking inside yourself and see all of the natural healing processes of the body reflected in the world around you. This universe is ultimately elegant and filled with consciousness. Breathe, be aware and be grateful.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Monday, October 19, 2009

Feminine Wisdom

Hello All,

A quick re-minder today that we have yoga tonight at the Milo Boathouse at 7pm. I also want to remind you all about the Beloved Yoga Workshop coming up this Sunday. It is a full-day experience and we will be diving into the subject of moving prayer and the ancient Aramaic language of the Lord's Prayer. There are a number of potent connections between yoga and the original language of this incredible prayer. One of them relates directly to the Divine Feminine that was left out of the prayer we now know in English.

The word that became "bread" in the English version is the same word that is "Sophia" in Greek and is the embodiment of Feminine Wisdom. Let us all receive the "bread of understanding" on this day so that we may find joy even amidst the chaos of our life.

Look forward to connecting with you tonight if you can make it.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Friday, October 16, 2009

Discrimination

Hello All,

On this blustery day in Yarmouth my attention is drawn towards the classical teachings of yoga. The two wings that carry the yogi beyond the suffering of the world are detachment (vairagya) and discrimination (viveka). Discrimination refers to the discrimination between the real and the unreal, the impermanent and the permanent. A practical place to start may be the way we constantly pull the past into our present situations. For example, begin to notice how your mind tends to drudge up past emotional situations in fresh new moments.

You may be enjoying your day and then you see someone who you may feel has wronged you and you remember the emotions of that moment and now you are back in the past. This is not real. You are not responding to the person and moment at present but are living in memory and fantasy.

To learn to discriminate we must learn to become rooted in the present moment and observe the antics of the mind-body system. See how gracefully the leaves die and fall from the tree? There is no resistance only beauty and simplicity. Permanence is that eternal part of yourself that is the subject of all religions. Look to that part of yourself and reinforce your faith. Faith is like the sword of discrimination. Have faith in kindness, have faith in love, have faith in simplicity. The ancient word for faith meant "connection to life itself". Use that as your starting point for discrimination. Never mistake discrimination for judgement. Discrimination is an internal process and judgement is another name for the blame game.

See you in the morning at the Boathouse...8:45am. You can do it, you are amazing!

Namaste,

Jayanta

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Detachment

Hello All,

While we enjoy this beautiful Fall season I thought it appropriate to consider that central aspect of yoga known as detachment. My mother actually reminded me as we appreciated the majestic colors of the changing leaves that what manifested as such diversity and inspired such beauty was actually death happening before our eyes. Perhaps hidden in plain sight is the key to our enlightenment.

Yoga is a very rich word that is the practice, the process and the product of enlightenment. To realize the Great Joy that is the fruit of faith requires a certain letting go that can be called detachment. This concept is present in most faith-based traditions. The Buddha said that all suffering in life is caused by attachment. In the Aramaic language of Jesus the Christ, to be attached was to be unripe and that word was translated through Greek and Latin as "evil" and to be detached was to be ripe and that word became "blessing". To practice detachment is then to be blessed in the ancient Christian concept.

There is an ancient yogic axiom related to detachment that simply says, "praise and blame, no difference". Consider for a moment the actuality that praise and blame in the form of words are actually subtle vibrations of sound that travel from a person's vocal chords through the air and are received through our hearing sense. The brain interprets specific vibrations as words and the mind then interprets those words based on past experience (conditioning) which then stimulates the endocrine system leading to an emotional reaction based on our conditioning. Before you realize what happened, you have been triggered into a new emotional state without any consciousness whatsoever. How many of our relationships play out this way throughout the day? Be aware.

Begin by simply observing this process occurring again and again throughout your day. Through our yoga and meditation practice we cultivate the ability to remain present with this mind-body drama without defining ourselves by it. These intellectual approaches assist us in realizing the deeper aspects of detachment but direct experiences of these states of consciousness are the building blocks of yoga. This is why we are meeting to practice yoga (and meditation) this evening at 7pm. Hope you can make it. I may even praise you if you make it and blame you if you don't but SO WHAT?!

Unconditionally Yours,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ether

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Hello All,

I hope you are each celebrating the healing, transformational, liberating, soothing, relaxing, energizing, vitalizing, simplifying, unifying experience of GRATITUDE on this special day. Gratitude is the antidote to the isolation and separation of the ego-mind. Spending some time everyday in silent gratitude will add years to your life and spaciousness to your day regardless of what is going on in your world. If gratitude is hard to find then dig deeper, get simple and come to yoga class!

We will wrap up our exploration of the 5 elements of the yogic system with the most subtle element of ETHER. The Sanskrit word for this element is Akasha and may also be interpreted as space. The throat center is the focal point of the ether element in the body. To activate this element begin by inhaling as you raise your shoulders to your ears and exhale as you lower them away from the ears with an audible sigh. Feel the vibration of your voice in the back of the throat. Do this three times. Next raise your chin towards the stars (they are still there in the day time), let the shoulders fall naturally away from the ears and look up. Try to see the space between here and there, soften your gaze and concentrate your attention...you may just perceive this most subtle building block of the universe...ETHER.

See you tonight as we explore the spaciousness within your own being, 7pm at the Milo Boathouse.

Namaste

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Friday, October 9, 2009

Air

Hello All,

Tomorrow morning's class at 8:45 at Milo Boathouse will be dedicated to the AIR element. The breath is the most obvious aspect of our physiology related to the air element and will be emphasized (as usual) during the class. The heart chakra is the home of the air element in the body and we will, therefore, concentrate on the heart too. The nature of AIR, like the heart, is to EXPAND. We all have layers of tension around the heart that have helped protect us but also keep us contracted.

Take this moment to bring your attention to your heart and raise your chin up to the sky, draw your shoulders back and down and raise the sternum (chest). Set the intention of expanding the chest with each inhalation and release tension with each exhalation. Do this atleast three times. If you have the opportunity tonight look up and if the stars are visible gaze and allow your vision to expand into that great spaciousness. Merge your attention with your heart and bring that sensation to your chest. This is a simple practice can help release the contraction around the heart and leave us feeling simply connected to this vast universe.

Hope to see you tomorrow morning, a great way to start a weekend dedicated to gratitude. If I do not see you, I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fire

Namaste All,

Today on this wet and windy day we will focus on the sacred element of FIRE. The very essence of fire is transformation. The fire of digestion transforms the food you eat into energy for your day. This is a critical process and with the work we do in yoga your digestive fire will benefit giving your body a better ability to transform food into energy. There is another digestive process that is fire-driven in the mind-body system. This is a little understood process in the West that is the digestion of psychic reactions or thought-forms. Begin to notice your reactions to stressful situations in your day, there is a residue left after those reactions. Bring that residue to class tonight and we will practice "burning" that residue and transforming it into emotional resilience and strength.

A third fire that I want to mention is that of compassion. I happened to view a video with my mother today who has worked with and fought for the rights of people living with intellectual and physical disabilities for as long as I can remember. I have always been inspired and proud of her. This video was produced by People First, an organization whose members are self-advocates for issues that are important to people living with disabilities. De-institutionalization is their primary goal. Many members of People First have lived in institutions and experienced, first-hand, the terrible abuses there. After watching this video I felt a fire activated in my body, a passion to fight for the rights of others and to protect those who need our protection from the indifference and neglect of a population often stuck in fear and ignorance. Mothers and Fathers feel this fire when there is a moment to protect your children. Through yoga we begin to understand that every human being is worthy of love, protection and compassion. Ignite the fire of awareness and so too will be lit the fire of unconditional love and that fire will bring warmth and comfort to all those with whom you connect.

Namaste,

Jayanta

Monday, October 5, 2009

Water

Hello All,

We started a series of re-minders based on the 5 elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether and I wanted to continue today with Water. We often look at our bodies as being a single "thing" and forget the brilliant elegance and complexity that make the human mind-body system so extraordinary. Perhaps taking a bit of time to consider the miracle of your body may provide some additional inspiration to respect that and to treat your body with a well-deserved reverence.

In the yogic system, the water element is represented by all of the fluids in the body and there are many. Consider the various systems of the body that create, circulate and eliminate fluids in the body. Functions such as oxygenation through circulation of blood, systemic balancing by releasing hormones, cerebral spinal fluid, lubrication, purification, pro-creation. Place your left hand on the center of your chest with the right on top, find your heartbeat by touch or feel and take a moment of gratitude for the reality of your circulatory system. Now, consider the characteristics of the Water element and recognize those traits within your life and being. You have great resilience and ability to flow around obstacles without being obstructed entirely. Over time you can wear down tendencies and habits that do not serve you by consciously directing the flow of your life in an empowering new direction. Water sits between Earth and Fire and is the bridge between the two.

The tides that we see in nature, particularly in our part of the world, are a reflection of our emotional natures that also ebb and flow with the lunar cycle. The gravitational pull of the moon is what inspires tides and currents and our bodies are over 70% water so we too are greatly affected by these forces. Observe the physical and emotional currents of your life with compassion and awareness. Bear witness to the miracle of your body and activate your inherent ability to "go with the flow".

For those in the Yarmouth area, we will do just that tonight at the Milo Boathouse at 7pm.

Namaste,

Jayanta

“Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it.” Lao Tzu

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Earth

Hello All,

Spent some beautiful time enjoying the outdoors today walking on the sacred Nova Scotia earth. Tonight we had decided to do some concentrated work on our lower body, strengthening legs and our connection to the earth. This class will concentrate on developing our connection to the earth and the fruits of that connection that manifest as feelings of safety and security. We will continue to develop our ability to be simultaneously engaged and relaxed. This skill may manifest in your moment as being aware of your interiority, body and sensation while also remaining present with external perception, senses and relationships. This is another interpretation of the balance that we achieve by harmonizing mind and body. Even now you can split your attention with 50% internally focussed and 50% concentrated on your external moment. Experiment with your awareness. You will be amazed at your abilities to concentrate and to remain present with whomever you are.

Hope to see you tonight at the Boathouse.

Namaste,

Jayanta

Monday, September 28, 2009

CASTLE Principles: Effectiveness

Hello All,

I hope everyone had a great weekend. To reiterate the CASTLE principles of Conscious Leadership as outlined by Lance Secretan in ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership; Courage, Authenticity, Service, Truthfulness, Love and today's theme of Effectiveness. Regardless of how deep we enter the silent space inspired by our yoga practice we still must be effective in our area of engagement. Whether we are at home, at the office, with our children or with clients the principles help us to apply the intention of oneness in every moment of our day.

To be ultimately effective in whatever we do we must begin with awareness, simplicity and gratitude. Then, we must show up! The ego is the great obstacle of oneness. At some point we must recognize the important role the ego has played in protecting our heart. Then, in a conscious choice, honor the wisdom of the heart (and body) and wield the instrument of the mind in an effective way.

We will be practicing the art of Oneness at the Milo Boathouse tonight at 7pm.

Namaste,

Jayanta

Friday, September 25, 2009

CASTLE Principles: Love

Hello All,

Well the next step on our Conscious Leadership ladder is Love. It just so happens that today has been a contemplation of the Joy of Love in my own personal practice (related to a series of Mother Teresa prayers a good friend gave me, thank you). We have all heard so much about love and yet it is also full of attachment, conditioning and misunderstanding. One thing we can all agree on is that love is expansive. The experience of love is the opposite of contraction and tension. We often associate love with the pain of losing but the truth is that in the face of love there is only love.

Love is simple and is not a function of the mind. As you may know by now I like to call the yoga I practice and share Beloved Yoga. Hidden in that precious word is BE LOVED. A regular meditation practice may also be coined a self-love practice. Taking time each day to sit and feel unconditional love raining down on you, surrounding you, penetrating every cell until you become so full that for the rest of the day you are spilling over love. My teacher often said, "Love without looking to see who takes". I am so grateful for that example of unconditional love. If that is too tall an order than atleast notice your tendency to look for something in return for your acts of love and be gentle with yourself. We all do it!

In this very moment raise your chest forward and up and let the chin fall gently towards the chest, let the energy of the intelligence of your mind descend into the loving wisdom of the heart. Fall in love with your life and life will love you back...is that conditional? I think what really happens is you just start to notice the love all around you.

Practice loving without looking back. Be radiant because you are THAT!

Hope to love you (I mean see you) at the Boathouse tomorrow morning at 8:45am.

Namaste,

Jayanta

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CASTLE Principles: Truthfulness

Hello All,

I hope your week is flowing with beauty and presence. As we continue through the Principles of Conscious Leadership we arrive at Truthfulness. This principle, like all of them, has an experience that is internal and an expression that is a bridge to those with whom you live, work and play. We all have moments where honesty is sacrificed out of fear and insecurity and those disempowering moments result in tension which becomes a knot in the mind-body system. This knot then obstructs the flow of energy in the body and also obstructs the quality of the emotional connection we enjoy with ourselves and/or individuals with whom we have been untruthful. On the yoga mat, we practice a deep honesty with our bodies by engaging in compassionate action and maintaining alignment in-spite of the mind's desire to go further and deeper. Patience is also a function of truthfulness.

Commit yourself this day to truthfulness as a path to relaxation and presence. Be vulnerable in your honesty and honest in your vulnerability. Allow others to be in their truth whether or not you agree, that is not the point. As you offer space to others to stand in their truth you too will find the courage, compassion, patience and power to stand in yours. As always, nature is a marvelous demonstration of this principle. Truthfulness is the simplicity of being who you are and yields tremendous freedom. The flower does not try to be anything it is not, it grows, blooms and dies with grace and simplicity. Truthfulness is the essence of your heart. Be in your beauty and you will begin to see that beauty reflected all around.

See you at the Boathouse tonight for yoga at 7pm and meditation at 8pm.

Love and Victory,

Jayanta

Monday, September 21, 2009

CASTLE Principles: Service

Hello All,

I am writing you after our Beloved Yoga workshop yesterday in Mahone Bay. It was a wonderful day celebrating the body, the breath and the sacredness of life. I can't wait until we can spend a full day together in Yarmouth on Sunday, October 25...mark your calendars!

The third principle of Conscious Leadership (after courage and authenticity) is Service. Karma Yoga is the process of achieving a unitive state through the service of others. Living for ten years in a community dedicated to yoga and to the service of humanity gave me the privilege of meeting many wonderful people who were extraordinarily committed Karma Yogis. One of these special people has worked for 30 years as a palliative care nurse supporting people at the end of their lives and invariably supporting their friends and families in challenging times. She told me each and every day as she walks into her place of care she would say to herself, "It's not about me". She said this was the key to serving others and being joyful in life.

Look for small moments to care for another being today, practice empathy by being intimately aware of the person you are with. Be aware of your breath and theirs, in that order. Often when caring for another person we become emotionally attached and our ability to be unconditional is jeopardized. Take three breaths into your heart and exhale out the top of your head, imagine yourself rising above your thoughts and emotions into an unconditionally radiant space above the head. We call this ancient space, the Chidakash; the heart space above the head or the sky of consciousness.

I will share a series of movements tonight at the boathouse designed to help move us into that sacred sky of consciousness. Love the one your with without condition or expectation....you will realize the great benefit of Karma Yoga.

Namaste,

Jayanta

Friday, September 18, 2009

CASTLE Principles: Courage

Hello All,
I have been feeling my heart in a new way and have been noticing how an open heart inspires courage not by battling through fear but by gently rising above it or simply dissolving it in the face of the subtle but profound energy of the heart. The root of the word courage relates to the beautiful French word for the heart, "la coeur". When the heart is opened love and acceptance dissolve fear like the light of a candle dissolves darkness.
As we practice yoga and meditation we become more aware of our interior space, more sensitive to the blossoming of the heart and to its slamming shut in a moment of contraction due to stress and fear. In addition to allowing yourself to become more courageous through a commitment to love and accept yourself, I encourage you...(there is that word again) to inspire courage in others. This doesn't mean trivializing someone else's fear! I learned long ago that you cannot compare one person's fear with another, ever. What you can do with your growing sensitivity is create a loving space of acceptance so another person need not be so courageous because your compassionate presence eliminates the fear.
Practice compassion by breathing into your heart and imagine a space emanating beyond your body and embracing others around you. Be generous with your presence and your space, don't be quick to fill the silence but allow someone else to step into the light of the moment and receive the blessings of your heart space.
We will work on opening our hearts tomorrow morning at the Boathouse, hope to see you there at 8:45am. Oh yeah, and we will get a great workout for the body too!
Namaste,
Jayanta

Monday, September 7, 2009

Relaxation

Hello All,

A quick yoga re-minder on this beautiful Labour Day. I shouldn't have to remind you to relax on a long weekend although sometimes we try so hard to get so many things in that we lose many of the benefits of time off. Just in case you found your long weekend a bit hectic there is one sure-fire way to get some good relaxation in this weekend....Beloved Yoga at the Boathouse.

Hope to see you there. And just in case you can't make it take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed and feel your body connected to the earth. Imagine the vibration of Mother Earth moving through your feet and up your legs traveling through every part of your body and connected with your breath. Feel this wave of relaxation moving through your body and seeking out tension. Feel the blessings and healing quality of relaxation provided by the earth. Be Simple.

Namaste,

Yogi Jayanta