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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