Saturday, April 21, 2007

To Repeat, or Not Repeat, That is the Question:

I think we have a tendency to say the same thing each time we teach a pose. The same words come out for getting students into Tadasana, Downdog, etc. so students may begin to stop hearing us. They can be thinking about their grocery list in Trikonsana and their taxes in downdog since what you are saying is so familiar.

And yet, sometimes repeating the same things can be helpful. I bet you have experienced finally “getting” what your teacher has been telling you each and every time. Or understanding it on a deeper and deeper level. Other things are so important they are essential to mention every time. (Like, “Fold from the hip hinge when you forward fold.”) And still other times, the pattern might be comforting. I like to say the same thing each time students return from Savasana because I think it helps their minds stay relaxed, there is habit in it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Gazing Up

I have been working quite actively in the world of manifesting and the Law of Attraction for several years now. The premise of the law is you get what you think about, whether you want it or not. So if you are feeling negative, you get more negative in your life. (The main theme in the entire Year of Living Compassionately was learning how to consciously do things to bring more positive in your life.) Feeling joyful is the key to manifesting whatever your heart desires. I have an easy process for uplifting your mood – lift your gaze.

I was in an intensive earlier this year with Jo Zucovitch, a wonderful Iyengar-style teacher based in San Diego. She gave this very simple direction throughout the weekend and I was amazed at its power. Just lifting your gaze lightens your mood, your energy, and lifts your consciousness. It is one of the reasons we so much desire to look up in Trikonasana even though it may be straining our necks. Looking up just feels good!

Try it on yourself and try it in your classes. Be sure to lift only your gaze, not your chin.

Asteya: Non-Stealing

“We fail when we steal from ourselves – by neglecting a talent,
or by letting a lack of commitment keep us from practicing yoga.” - Judith Lasater

How about this quote for a thought? In my Advanced Study group we spent the past two months considering the yama, Asteya, or non-stealing. The yamas are part of Ashtanga, or the eight-fold path to a yogic state. The yamas are the first rung and refer to the way we act with other people. (The other yamas are non-violence, truthfulness, moderation, and non-greed.)

Over the years of teaching the yamas, I find Asteya is the one people most easily gloss over, thinking only of the material, physical items. Most of us don’t steal objects directly from others. There is so much more to Asteya, as this wonderful quote from Judith states. Have you ever considered not doing your practice as stealing from yourself? Take a moment to think about what you are stealing. What are you missing? What are you not sharing with the world because you are not doing your practice?