Monday, July 28, 2014

Portraits of a Sadhu

Toxic Parents

People can forgive toxic parents, but they should do it at the conclusion—not at the beginning—of their emotional housecleaning. People need to get angry about what happened to them. They need to grieve over the fact that they never had the parental love they yearned for. They need to stop diminishing or discounting the damage that was done to them. Too often, “forgive and forget” means “pretend it didn’t happen.”
I also believe that forgiveness is appropriate only when parents do something to earn it. Toxic parents, especially the more abusive ones, need to acknowledge what happened, take responsibility, and show a willingness to make amends. If you unilaterally absolve parents who continue to treat you badly, who deny much of your reality and feelings, and who continue to project blame onto you, you may seriously impede the emotional work you need to do. If one or both parents are dead, you can still heal the damage, by forgiving yourself and releasing much of the hold that they had over your emotional well-being.
At this point, you may be wondering, understandably, if you will remain bitter and angry for the rest of your life if you don’t forgive your parents. In fact, quite the opposite is true. What I have seen over the years is that emotional and mental peace comes as a result of releasing yourself from your toxic parents’ control, without necessarily having to forgive them. And that release can come only after you’ve worked through your intense feelings of outrage and grief and after you’ve put the responsibility on their shoulders, where it belongs.

(Susan Forward, Toxic Parents)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why Do We Gossip?

“If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.” 
(Charles Bukowski)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Guru Purnima

Today on this full moon marks the day of Guru Parnima, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois's birthday. What is a guru? A dispeller of darkness. One who brings us out of darkness and into the light. One who removes our ignorance into illuminating wisdom. It is a day to celebrate our teachers and our light bringers. Happy Guru Punima! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ashtanga Yoga Retreat at Purple Valley - Goa, India

Ashtanga Yoga Retrea 
with Mark Robberds and Laruga Glaser

Purple Valley
Goa, India

20 December - 2 January 2015 

Course Description
The morning classes will be Mysore style under the guidance of Mark and Laruga. If required we will divide the group into those who already have an established self-practice, and beginners/and or those who are require assistance to learn the sequence. The afternoon classes will include a discussion on the essentials of yoga philosophy as well as valuable time for questions and answers with Mark and Laruga about the many layered aspects of the practice. This will be followed by various workshop themes which both Mark and Laruga will teach. Examples of these workshops are: Core techniques for developing the Primary Series, vinyasa/strength/arm balances, introduction to the second series, backbending and everyday essential hip openers, exploration of yoga breathing and developing a sitting meditation practice. These workshops will be multi-level and no matter what stage of the practice you are at they will be rewarding and insightful.

For more information and booking visit:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Maintaining A Meditative Energy During Yoga - Petri Räisänen

This is our little video on Ashtanga yoga, Mysore style, introducing those new to the practice or for those curious or simply too intimidated to try it out. Yes, it is a short video. It doesn't cover every aspect of the practice but does give one a little taste. I think what is most important to communicate is that any body is welcome. It is for one. It is for all. As a teacher I will never turn anyone away who is willing no matter the limitation that may seem to be presented. At the end of the day it goes far beyond the performance of the body. What is most valuable is the illumination of heart, mind and spirit.

I am extremely grateful for the support of Yogayama every step of the way since the inception of our program. We have been flourishing over the past 3 and a half years and have our sights on continuing to extend that support to our community of practitioners in every way we can.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Back in Mysore

KPJAYI - Mysore, India

I'm back in Mysore participating in a special course for selected authorized and certified practitioners/teachers of KPJAYI, directed by R. Sharath Jois. No, I won't be writing notes on the course here. Sorry to disappoint. I've actually never shared conference notes on my blog because I have always felt that no matter how well I may understand what is being spoken about it will still filter through my own lens, my own experience. And yes, may or may not always be accurate. I truly feel the path of yoga is one that is very personal in nature. One reason why I encourage many students of the practice to come to KPJAYI at some point to experience the community and the current holder of the tradition. Now that doesn't mean I never share my own insights on the practice because obviously I teach, but this usually happens with one on one contact over time, which again is born from my own experience. I think what garners maturity is the ability to tune in to each individual student through the practice. This naturally happens over time but can also come at anytime when steadfast at being open and receptive. Through that, my blog has always continued to be more personal in nature. I share things that inspire and I also write about my own experience within life and practice. Although, I haven't done so much of the latter lately. I'll explain more on why later.

Today we finished our first week and it was such a pleasure. A week of led Primary series to get into the groove and to land on our feet after for some grueling travel, and to simply feel settled. At the beginning of the week I was rather sore. Breathing and moving through Primary series is always different when done on your own no matter how you slice it. Sharath's led classes are extremely stamina building and at the same time I felt really good as the week winded down. It's true what they say, "Primary is like healing balm."

I did come to Mysore with a few tweaks that is for sure. I've had a funky right shoulder for over a year now. Also a tricky lower back depending on the day, and yeah, this temperamental right hip. No, I'm not completely broken, haha. It's just interesting how sensitive we become through the practice of yoga. Evermore receptive to the stuck energies of the body and learning how to navigate around that with more awareness and attunement. Much of it stems from adjusting students on a consistent basis. Teaching Mysore style is highly physical and demanding on the body at times, but by this point as teachers we are prepared for it in a sense from all the accumulated years of practice as well. However, no matter how you look at it it does have an effect over time. I think many teachers would attest to the fact that it is all worth it. The gift of teaching far out weighs the demands on the body.

As I prepare for my first rest day since arriving to Mysore I feel eternally blessed and grateful to this practice and to my teacher R. Sharath Jois for all of his selfless devotion and of course to Guruji. To have this time to focus primarily on practice and study is a gift and one I never want to take for granted.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday Quote: Pema Chödrön

Mysore, India
There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life. 
(Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Communication of Nonviolence