Are you ready for change?

A new year signals new choices.  New choices mean we get to discover new versions of ourselves–if we are open to being curious, brave, and adventurous.  Are you ready to dive deep into your roots, your ground, and be transformed?


“Here in this body are the sacred rivers, here are the sun and moon, as well as all the pilgrimage places. I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body.”
–Saraha Doha


The body can be thought of as a container, even a storage battery, for subtle energy (prana).  All life experiences are recorded at a cellular and energetic level.  Love, compassion, empathy, and deep bliss are available to all of us, if we are willing to dive deep into our sacred rivers and explore.

This month we will delve into what it feels like to be grounded and stable.  From a place of abiding steadiness we can then dive into opening, changing, and shifting with a sense of adventure and curiosity.  Another way to think of change is to simply realize that it is motion.  Change is momentum and progress.  Feeling stable, safe, helps us move into change with a sense of ease, equity, and a certain degree of courage–like having all four wheels of your car on the ground as you negotiate a winding road.

Grounding through our feet is one of the primary ways we stabilize ourselves, pressing downward through all four ‘corners’ (big toe, little toe, inside/outside corners of heels).  A second pathway is working with the first bandha in the body–the Mula Bandha (root lock)–located at the base of the spine, the “root.”  Working with the Mula Bhanda is a way to help ground the energetic body, or more specifically the central channel nadis (Sushumna, Ida, Pingala).  To find and engage the Mula Bandha, feel for the space between the pubic bone and tailbone, and the space between the sit bones.  Imagine drawing those four points together into the center and lifting upwards just a bit (about a 2-3 on a scale of 10).

So, the next time you feel anxious or fearful, or resisting change, ground yourself by dropping into the sensing body–slow down, watch your breath, press down through the corners of your feet, and practice engaging Mula Bandha.

We will be practicing all this, and more, in class.  See you on the mat!


Beginning this month!
On the LAST Wednesday of each month, I will be LIVE streaming a 15-minute, guided meditation, at 8:00am. The first session will be Wednesday, 1/31!  Like and/or follow my FB page for notification:  https://www.facebook.com/physiquebyfountain/

Change Your Thinking, Change Your World

“The world as we have created it, is a process of our thinking.  It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein

Summer is sliding to a close, bringing the shift into Autumn.    I love witnessing the beautiful bloom of fall colors in the trees, the slow drift of leaves, and the hint of crispness in the air.  It truly is my favorite time of the year.  Fall always helps me reconnect with the practice of working with change, and the art of letting go.  

“Change has long been a fearful thing for human beings…and at the same time, it is our most Divine opportunity.  Clinging to the banks of the river may seem safe and more secure, but life’s possibilities are truly engaged only when we trust, release, and become part of the Flow of the Universe.”  –Chelle Thompson

There exists a radical release of suffering when we free ourselves of attachment and the need to control all that we have, or think we need.  Expectations are like leaves.  Let them drop.  Live as though this moment is exactly enough. 

This month brings us an asana practice rooted in prana, the flow of breath.  We are moved by breath–flowing, pausing, letting go, resting our awareness in the rhythmic inflow and outflow of prana.  Aware that this breath, this moment, this shape, this sensation is perfect, and exactly enough, just as it is.

See you on the mat!

P.S.  A simple 6-minute Falling Leaf Meditation to help with practicing non-attachment to thoughts:  https://vimeo.com/288997646

It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new year!

Here in the heart of winter, bitter dry winds, cold rainy days, or a sense of heaviness and stagnation are often the hallmarks of this dark time of the year.   This is a prime time to focus on wellness for body, mind, and spirit; and, to deepen our relationship with self, spending time in meditation and self-exploration.

This month we will practice Bhastrika pranayam, stoking the fire residing in our solar plexus–the Manipura Chakra.  This fire warms us, and lends steadiness and flow to our vinyasa practice as we release stuck energy and patterns.  Ultimately, the vinyasa practice prepares us to simply sit.

In the Modern Western Yoga practice, we have come to associate the flow of poses practiced as ‘asana.’  The direct translation of ‘asana’ is to ‘take a seat.’  If we can achieve a sense of steadiness and ease in each pose, then it could be said we have achieved ‘asana.’  But…….

“By tradition, the conditioning asanas of hatha yoga were practiced in the service of the meditation postures:  they provided enough suppleness and strength for the yogin to remain in a meditative posture–usually the lotus posture–with steadiness and ease for a long time.”  [Elliot Goldberg, ‘The Path of Modern Yoga’]

Once we have released the disturbances that arise from the physical body, our contemplative practice begins.  A still body allows us to move our attention inward and witness the flow of phenomenon–thoughts, feelings, sensations, sound, breath.  As the mind begins to settle we experience the pauses and quiet spaces in between thoughts, sensations, and breath. The pauses, gaps, are where we ultimately connect with the awareness that resides behind it all. Those are the golden moments we seek!

Let’s breathe, and flow, and sit together, shall we?!

See you on the mat!

How does your garden grow?

Sunrise prayers and blessings to be offered on the Ganges.  Varanasi, India.

 

Namaste my fellow yogi/yoginis!

It has been a little over a week since I returned from India.   And, what a week it has been!  Jet lag, a head full of thoughts at 3:00am in the morning, and deep and tender silences that linger in my heart.  India has a very certain way of challenging body, mind, and soul.

The number one question I have received since returning home–“So, how was your trip?”  My responses each time I have been asked have all been some succinct variation of “good.”   “Good” does not even begin to cover it!  If forced to sum it up in one word, intense is what comes to mind.   There exists within me, at the moment, a certain amount of cradling as if I am in a state of processing before ripening.  And so, I look forward to slowly sharing some of my experiences with you–as they unfold–during the coming weeks and months.

In just the short time I have been home, I have begun considering retiring from something that I have been doing for 30+ years!  Almost a scary thought, but it also carries a sense of relief.  Change is inevitable, and my interests have been evolving and shifting.  By letting something old and tired go, I make space for possibility!

The seeds of change have been sown.  Now is the time to water them, and watch them ripen.  This month we will touch on and contemplate our relationship with money, being in service to others, and our purpose in life. How would we describe right-livelihood?  Who are we giving our time, money, or love to; and are we doing it appropriately? Why do we make the choices we do?

One way to do such contemplating on your own is with daily meditation, taking walks in nature, journaling, prayer, or simply resting quietly, even if only for five minutes.  This precious and dedicated time, unplugged from distractions, helps settle the mind and is extremely helpful when considering the important questions in our lives.  How much time, daily or weekly, can you commit to watering the seeds of change?

See you on the mat!

The Heart of the Matter

Namaste my fellow yogi/yoginis!

“Love was born first, the gods cannot reach it, or the spirits, or men…Far as heaven and earth extend, far as the waters go, high as the fire burns, you are greater, love!  The wind cannot reach you, nor the fire, nor the sun, nor the moon:  You are greater than them all, love!”
–Atharva Veda 9.2.19

This month we focus on our center of peace, the still center point of our energetic body–the Anahata (Heart) Chakra.  This peaceful, loving, compassionate energy is reflected by the Golden Rule:  Treat others as you would wish to be treated.  Love yourself, as well as your neighbors.  What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself.   Where in your life are you being less than any of this towards either yourself, or others?

The element associated with the Anahata Chakra is air.  Air is most commonly associated with expansive knowledge, openness and spaciousness, freedom to breath and a sense of lightness.  This love is empathic, compassionate, and is experienced within us as a state of being which is not based on need or desire.  We will work with prana (breath), back bends, and chest openers to help us connect with some of these elements.

For your meditation practice, I offer you the seed (bija) sound for the Anahata (Heart) Chakra:  Lam.  Repeat this seed sound silently to yourself as you gently follow the rise and fall of your breath with your attention.  You might also envision a green, glowing light centered in your chest.  Feel this essence of compassion, drawing it in on the inhale, and radiating it out on the exhale.  

An interesting side note:  The translation of Anahata from Sanskrit is “sound that is made without any two things striking.

A couple updates to my teaching schedule:

1)  I have stepped out of the Saturday morning Vinyasa class rotation at the Palo Alto Family YMCA.  The class will continue to be taught by the remaining teachers on a rotational basis.  Check the online schedule at: http://www.ymcasv.org/paloalto/html/downloads.html

2) The Friday Breath & Meditation class at Breathe Together Yoga is at a new time:  2:30-3:00pm beginning Feb. 17th.

See you on the  mat!

 

Countering Stress & Anxiety

Almost a month ago, I received a call that no one likes to get–my mother had fallen while walking her dog and broken her hip.  I spent a moment in disbelief, before quietly shifting my attention to breath awareness and calmly beginning the process of making phone calls and preparing to make the trip up to Oregon where she lives.  Thus began two weeks of immersion in seva (सेवा), taking care of my mother as she navigates her recovery from a hip fracture.

The holiday season alone can be stressful, without the added pressure of worry for a loved one.   My meditation practice has been essential in helping me handle my anxiety and stress during the initial weeks of her healing.   As such, I would like to share with you a podcast meditation by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.  My primary meditation training has been with Mingyur Rinpoche’s ‘Joy of Living’ program.   This particular guided meditation gives you a taste of Tibetan Buddhism meditation practices.

Find the podcast here:  https://www.mindpodnetwork.com/guided-meditation-body-space-awareness-yongey-mingyur-rinpoche/

For more information on Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and the ‘Joy of Living’ program:  http://tergar.org/programs/what-is-the-joy-of-living/

See you on the mat!

Meditation Myths & Truths

Truth.  No one type of meditation is better than another.  What matters most is consistent, persistent practice of a method that feels right to you.  We will be practicing consistency today, 2:00-2:30pm at Breathe Los Gatos.  See you on the cushion!

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/3-myths-about-meditationand-the-truth?utm_campaign=Weekly+Newsletter&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=32798269&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9Dx_s7Oh_Q-UtMXlxtezt6nrzvMwLh14Ofd_Lva_I8wRswj_A5YBMx2DjMyMZ5JIXWWc1EFyNQ0COSo-wDeOi077EIesHQokeoImRBKDtoEoCE7Uo&_hsmi=32798269