To retreat is to disconnect from the everyday routine.Read More
Sometimes we need to look to those we love and admire in order to realize what we value about life. We can take time to note what we like about others, and then turn the mirror to reflect the Light of those same words and feelings toward ourselves. It can be quite a revelation to see ourselves in this nourishing Light. When we can put the energy that we’ve been devoting to a phantom sense of achievement into the truly satisfying aspects of our lives, we can restore the balance between our inner and outer worlds and experience true joyful Peace.
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It is when you are willing to listen to yourself and be fearless that figuring out your next step becomes easy. Beneath the fear and hesitation and uncertainty lies your inner knowing that always knows which step you need to take next. If you can allow the taking of your next step to be as easy as putting one foot in front of the next, youll notice that your next step is always the one that is right in front of you. All you have to do is put one foot forward and on the ground. SW
Where will your next step lead you?
Every so often I take a class at SY that resonates or grabs me…and often for different reasons. Today, 10/24, I had the opportunity to take a Hatha class with Kat teaching. She was “subbing” for another wonderful teacher, Jill, and I knew with either of these accomplished guides, my journey would be lovely.
Both of these instructors have vocal power on their side; each has a very distinctive and commanding voice that bridges the direction-giving and soothing, encouraging aspects of a successful Yoga teacher.
Kat uses words in a way that conjures up spiritual and ethereal sensibilities. When she speaks of “Taking Grace” during a Sun Salutation, I feel exactly what that means, and where it comes from. The language of Savasana, the releasing, and yet finding that goes along with this sacred asana was enhanced by her expression of “Sanctuary” and “coming home”. Sanctuary is a safe place, and a holy place. In both a religious and social way, it is a refuge, and often considered “holy”. Whether a Bird Sanctuary, or a SafeHouse for children, it IS a place where one is free from harm…the Ahimsa, of Sanskrit.
I enjoy so many of the offerings one finds at SY, and to continue to discover new points of awareness and appreciation just makes me happier that this is a Yoga Home that is also a Sanctuary. Sheri W.
by Yoga Bodhi Bliss
Leading a yoga class Monday night, I had the students performing standing side-moon pose (parsva chandrasana). I invited, “On your next inhalation elevate your arms slightly higher, and on your exhalation lengthen from your waist and release into a deeper side bend.” One student in particular held my gaze. He took a breath and raised his arms strong and deliberate, and as he exhaled he extended through his torso and relaxed deeply into the pose with purpose, his face radiating triumph. I was touched by his proud, pleased expression and smiling eyes. It was the look of achievement. While it was apparent to me that he could have accomplished this all along, on his own and without my instruction, I was immediately struck by the realization that a teacher wields enormous power over her/his willing students. Teachers have the power to lead willing students toward accomplishments they would otherwise not undertake by their own volition. A teacher’s power is natural and great.
I love the notion that everyone is our teacher and that we learn when our hearts and minds are open to receive the knowledge being presented (gifted) to us. Why is everyone our teacher? Because we are perpetual students by nature, driven by curiosity and an innate need to understand the world and our place in it. We are students and we are also teachers, driven by our need to create, collaborate and contribute.
In my role as his yoga teacher Monday night he, my student, followed my direction and, without hesitation, took a breath and moved mindfully in the direction I asked him to, accomplishing something new to him, something he would not have done on his own. I was part of his success, both as his teacher and as his student. In that brief, fleeting moment he didn’t question me or himself, and neither did I.
What if we realized that we were our own best teacher? What if during each and every moment of the day we lead ourselves, our practice, in a deeper, more thoughtful and faithful direction? What if I taught myself, as my student, that I could accomplish anything and everything I wanted to do? And what if I listened?
From Sheri Weiner:
As we practice our asanas, we often find the natural or default position of our faces reflect effort, concentration or meditative relaxed countenances.The beauty of the SMILE is that it, too, can become the “default” expression, especially during longer meditations. At times we are encouraged to smile, and by willing it, we make it so, naturally.
Even off the mat we can have more influence on the face we put out to the world. We already know that beauty truly comes from within; but interestingly, by thinking about a smile during our mindfulness, we can express and even create the very happiness a smile represents.
A 19th century Frenchman, G.B.Duchenne de Boulogne worked with and theorized about facial expressions as part of his in-depth research. He was the first to observe that a spontaneously joyful smile cannot be faked. Most people can lift the corners of the mouth, but AUTHENTIC JOY lives in the eyes! Only the “sweet emotions of the soul” can cause the lower eyelids to move the skin around the eyes inward, thereby allowing the eyes to seem to sparkle.
Just another amazing benefit we receive from a Yoga practice dedicated to making our lives, and of those around us ever better, happier and more at peace.
If you find this to be true, please share your thoughts & comments!
"Often, during the day, our eyes become unfocused and our vision blurs. This can happen when we're "checked out" or when our eyes are tired from staring at a computer screen all day long. We may also keep our vision soft in order to avoid invading the personal space of others.
"In yoga, however, we learn to focus our eyes with precision. Instead of allowing the eyes to be soft, we direct our gaze purposefully. Our gaze (called drishti in Sanskrit) can help us direct the energy of a pose, helping us stay mentally clear. The gaze also has other benefits. In twists, using your gaze can help you turn further. In balances, setting your gaze can keep you upright.
The next time you're in class, notice how you use your eyes. Are you sharp and precise in your focus, or do your eyes seem to wander? See if focusing your eyes more carefully can also focus your mind." YJ