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temple in Gokulam

Day 18 of Practice

Today’s practice was very rewarding. Not for any particular reason, the Maricyasana postures, mostly C and D were as challenging as ever to get the bind, and supta kurmasana is always a lot like being put underwater, then resurfacing in a different world. A powerful pose, one of my new favorites. I also am enjoying working on the jump back from budjapidasana, which is a transition out of the arm-balance, into titibasana, then into crow and a jump back. I am also really getting the hang of jump-throughs, quite fun to execute with control.

Saraswathi is really fun to practice with. She has a strict demeanor but is really quite flexible with everything, kind of puts her foot down when necessary, but mostly stays aloof and asks about binds, which poses you did, and focuses on assisting and cueing individuals. The room is a powerful place, when you walk in you can feel the intensity of the energy. I can see myself learning all of the sequences with her, I like the way she sings sometimes and has a balance of intensity and detachment. indian streets

I’ve had a couple of rough patches with my knees, but its taught me a lot about how to open my hips safely. It’s pretty easy for me to overdo it on the knees, especially because I think I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. So it’s been a challenge in patience, because of course, I want to move on to the next poses, which are the hardest in the series. And I don’t love waiting for lotus, Padmasana. Setu Bandhasana and Garba Pindasana are the only two poses left in the series that I haven’t done before, mostly because I don’t quite have lotus pose yet. I think it’s just a question of time, it will happen when my body is ready. And it’s pretty great to watch unfold, because it is really such a challenge in patience for me.

The lesson I am really learning is to be where I am. I spent extra time in most of the poses, especially the twists to get my spine mobile for the Maricyasana series. I enjoy spending extra time in Urdhva Danurasana, Sirsasana, and Sarvangasana, all three make my mornings pretty unbeatable. The intensity of the practice lends itself to a blissful day, especially when I have no obligation. I get to practice existing. It’s that simple.

I have spending more and more time in meditation, letting thoughts simply pass through, not attaching to anything. It’s getting easier and easier to drop in, like a stream I am becoming more and more familiar with. Thoughts still don’t really stop, but sometimes they do. I think it’s a question of letting my brain run out of fuel and its hard with all of the stimulation I am getting. The stream changes in countless small ways each time I drop in so it takes time to re-adjust and melt back in. It is getting to be quite the reward in and of itself. I have also been spending an inordinate amount of time listening to talks about eastern religion, mostly Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism by Alan Watts, Osho, and a few more random dudes. I find Jainism to be absolutely fascinating, same with Sikkhism, but they aren’t quite as well-known in the west so I don’t concentrate on them. I might have to do more digging into Indian culture to find more of the different practices within the spiritual traditions.

Hinduism is alive and thriving in Mysore, especially Gokulam.

Mysore_Streets
Mysore

Temples are everywhere and the gods are visible in the lives of the people. The philosophy behind Hinduism is ingenious, it really allows the people to live together harmoniously. There’s always talk about Shakti, or the movement of energy working itself out. You could probably stand in the middle of most streets during rush hour and be avoided by the cars, they are really mindful of everything around them when they drive around here. You have to be, everyone is on a scooter. India has a certain type of organized chaos that I have never experienced anywhere else and that I am really going to miss when I leave.

I am mentally preparing myself for a vipasana, I think I’ll start at the beginning of April when I arrive in Kathmandu. 10 days, only silence,Gokulam meditation, no human contact. I am really expecting that to change the way I talk and think.

Tonight, I am going to be loud and make tons of noise. I get to DJ at a resort in the outskirts of the city, for a club that wants EDM mostly electro house. I have really been getting heavy into music ever since I began teaching yoga, so this is a great opportunity for me. I think of the two professions as completely complimentary, representing the yin/yang relationship of silence and meaning to letting go and simply being. I could see myself teaching a couple of classes in the morning, practicing before, then doing a set in the evening at a club. I think that lifestyle would suite me well, I enjoy a thorough change in pace quite often.street_corner

My set is already created, I used Ableton to create the mix and transitions beforehand, so I can focus on effects and managing the crowd. Should have some great pictures and hopefully a couple of videos afterwards. I will also release my set (if I can find the bandwidth) on my music site: alienmusique.wordpress.com. I’ll also release all the song names.

Wish me luck, it’s a moon day (day off for new moon) so I can just focus on music all day.

 

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Sitting Still

It’s interesting how hard it is to sit still nowadays. People will almost certainly look at you funny in public, and it seems like people feel weird doing it alone at home.

We are addicted to being busy, or at least seeming to be. People check their cell phone to avoid talking to each other, or to seem important when in a group of people. Its always interesting to put people together and watch them avoid connecting with one another.

Its funny how people think they don’t know how to meditate, almost as if its an ancient mythological practice that isn’t just about sitting, taking relaxed breathes, and trying not to think about anything. Kids should be taught how to do it first thing at school. Imagine if you were in Kindergarten and they taught meditation? That’s the future I see…

Anyways, I taught two classes on Friday, both of which were a blast. I had 7 people in Auburn and 8 in Roseville and we did some cool stuff, lots of warrior 3, lunging, and half moons. Can’t wait for the next time, its interesting how you can kind of sink into a comfortable place when you teach yoga…

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Riding an edge

It seems like no matter what you are doing, you are always trying to find a balance between two opposing forces. It happens in surfing, snowboarding, biking, running, swimming, football tackles, rugby, relationships, daily routines, and even yoga. And when you’re riding an edge, time seems to slow, I really think it can signify true growth.

In yoga, its that edge of discomfort that becomes relaxation at the end of a class or practice. Starting to stretch initially isn’t too fun for anyone. But once you get started, it just feels so good, spending an hour and a half doing becomes easy. Hot yoga also boasts some incredible health benefits, and one of the cool things that it allows for is riding edges within your body.

So similar to a surfer riding a wave, or a skier plowing down a mountain at full speed, yogis experience a deepening and fulfilling practice because they get to see what their body is capable of. It is a deepening practice with fulfilling rewards.

Riding edges also allows people to dissolve their limits. No one really knows what they are capable of, they just have ideas and expectations. Expectations can be dangerous, because you don’t react to what is presently before you, you react to what used to be.Image

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Green Smoothies are the best

About a week ago, my mom bought a vita-mix. That was when my life changed. I use the jetplane sounding motor to grind up smoothies like never before and today, I mixed up a solid raw green drink with maca, bananas, spinach, and strawberries, added almond milk then ice and slowly rolled it up to the 6 on the dial. So it was puree.

I took about half into a huge jar I’ve been using for green drinks lately and used that for breakfast. I threw some in the freezer, and ate it after dinner, it tasted like ice cream because of the almond milk.

It was probably the most inoffensive green drink I’ve made, probably because I used two bananas and a nice amount of maca and almond milk. Spinach is usually pretty hard to drink, but I swear the ice cream was pretty amazing. Next time, I’d use some blueberries, raspberries to sweeten it, maybe a leaf or two of kale to base it out (be careful of ruining it though).

Raw Foods and juices have been used for thousands of years to recover from illness and detoxify the body. Quite simply, it takes life to give life.

-Paul Chek

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