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It’s almost Summer!!!
The Solstice is just the corner and I can’t wait for Summer’s official arrival. Already, fresh food is flooding the markets and eating lighter, and enjoying thelong hours of daylight are upon us. This beautiful, steady, unchanging sun energy is the HA in Hatha Yoga; and its opposite, the ever changing Moon energy, is the THA in Hatha Yoga. The Pingala Nadi, or sun energy channel in the body is associated with steadiness, determination, the physical body, and heat. Its complementary opposite, the Ida Nadi, or moon energy channel, is associated with change, emotions, compassion and cooling. These energies influence us all the time, but can be particularly noticeable during different seasons. You might find that you’re more active, or on the extreme, more aggressive during the summer, while you’re more introverted during the winter months. In Hatha Yoga we seek to balance these two energies in the body. During the upcoming Summer months, it’s important that you take time to slow down, breathe deep, keep cool, calm the nervous system and do more YOGA! We’ll see you in class.
JOIN us in celebrating Summer Solstice this Wednesday & Thursday at the studio! Solstice officially begins Wednesday, June 20th at around 4pm. How will you welcome Summer?
Try to find the time to get on your mat with community and dig a little deeper into the Sun Salutation, celebrate the fertility of the earth and the longest day of the year. This is one of the most special days for a yogi, as we honor & salute the light that is all around us, and salute with deep reverence the sun within us.
RELIEF Summer Allergies
Spring is usually associated with allergy season, but Summer is high time for grass allergies. If you suffer from allergies, sometimes the summer is the worst because with our Sun energies (Pingala) running high, our overworked nervous system is also adding to inflammation. There are a few things that can help you through this time…
1. Asana- slow down and breathe deeply in your physical practice. This will in turn calm your nervous system. Vinyasa yoga also reduces the inflammatory response, and you will notice that even if you are sufferning from allergies, while you are practicing, they stop.
2. Pranayama- add a little kapalabhati (skull shining breath) to your practice *NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HEART DISEASE, VERTIGO, EPILEPSY, OR HERNIA.
3. Eat well- locale & organic! With the abundance of fresh food available in Portland during the summer, why eat anything else? Cut out inflammatory foods that your immune system will have to work overtime on and reduce it’s ability to combat allergies. Some Naturopathic doctors recommend the supplement & flavanoid Quercetin, thought to be a natural anti-inflammatory that can stop the allergic response in some people. Quercetin rich foods include citrus fruits, leafy greens, organically grown tomatoes, apples, onions and black & green tea. Michele has found that taking quercetin supplements during June eliminates her allergic response to grasses. A study recently showed that organic tomatoes have 79% more quercetin than conventional. It’s not too late to plant your tomatoes!
YUM Summer Recipes- Sprout Salad & Watermelon Pops
3/4 cup / 6 oz / 170 g plain Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 handful arugula, chopped
1 small bunch chives, minced
8 oz mung bean sprouts (or equiv. cooked mung beans), about 2 cups
a big handful of well-toasted, sliced almonds
1 ripe avocado, chopped
good extra virgin olive oil
to finish: chive flowers (optional)
In a small bowl combine the yogurt, salt, arugula, and chives.
In a larger bowl toss the mung beans and almonds with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the avocado, and gently toss once or twice more.
Serve the mung beans next to the yogurt mixture and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. If you had a few chive flowers in your bunch, sprinkle them across the top.
Serves 2 – 4.
Prep time: 5 min
* Recipe from one of my favorite websites… http://www.101cookbooks.com
1 Watermelon (Seedless)
1 or 2 Limes (depends on how big your watermelon is)
Sprig of fresh mint
Fancy sea salt (I like Sel Gris)
Slice and scoop the meat out of the watermelon and place it in a food processor or blender with mint and the juice of limes. Poor the watermelon mixture into the molds and place in the freezer.
When its frozen pull the popsicles out and sprinkle with a little sea salt. YUM!
*Recipe courtesy of me
STUDY Teacher Training Information Session July 7th
There will be an information session Saturday, July 7, 2012 from 2:30-3:30pm.
If you have ever thought about teaching yoga or taking an advanced course to deepen your practice, consider taking our next 200 hr program. This is by far the most exciting teacher training opportunity with visiting teachers Doug Keller and Michael Stone. For details and applications: http://theyogaspace.com/teacher-training.php or join us at the information session.
THANK YOU A big heartfelt Thank You to Richard Freeman for a wonderful workshop. Thank You to Michele for working so hard to bring him to Portland and Thank You to everyone who joined us and made it such a success! If you missed it (or made it), here are some pictures from the event…
“One after another, then by almost geometric progression, things slipped away from me. [A] great burden fell off my shoulders, and I felt that I could not walk with ease and do my work also in the service of my fellow men with great comfort and still greater joy. The possession of anything then became a troublesome thing and a burden. Exploring the cause of that joy, I found that if I kept anything as my own, I had to defend it against the whole world…. And I said to myself: if [other people] want it and would take it, they do so not from any malicious motive but… because thers was a greater need than mine. And I said to myself: possession seems to me to be a crime, I can only possess certain things when I know that others who also want to possess similar things are able to do so. But we know…. such a thing is an impossibility. Therefore, the only thing that can be possessed by all is non-possession, not to have anything whatsoever. Or… a willing surrender….
Gandhi (1869 – 1948)
Aparigraha, the final Yama, is appropriately… the letting go step. Possessions and our need to define ourselves by what we have, what we can get and the abundance of these things, becomes an obstacle to liberation. The objects we surround ourselves with have always been used to define “me”- i.e. by my house you can tell that I am a wealthy, hunter, writer, libertarian (if I were Hemingway, let’s say;)
I think it’s even more pervasive in the age of the internet with pin boards, blogs, facebook, etc. Now, we don’t even need much money to virtually collect items that begin to tell a story about who I am and what I like. It’s easy to cling to these things, because losing them means we would have a harder time contextualizing ourselves to other people. Losing them also means we think we own them.
My interpretation of this yama is not that we should renounce all worldly possessions and roam about with the bare necessities; rather, I think abundance is acceptable on three accounts… you’re not taking from anyone else to gain, you’re not hoarding things you don’t need, and we don’t let these material possessions define us, so we can surrender them at a moments notice. Nothing we collect is permanent.
Another gem from Ghandi was, “My life is my message.”
This may be the most difficult, but also the truest way to define one’s self- by what I do, not what I have. Surrender.
Often interpreted liberally by Western modern yogis, Bramacharya is the abstention or restraint principle. As householders (rather than monastics) Bramacharya, or the conservation of our life force, is not a very practical practice in its literal form- celabicy. The concept of Brahmacharya is not a moral compass, but rather a guiding principle for choices regarding creative and creation energy.
From a creation perspective, this yama guides us in our approach to our own sexuality and where it interacts with others. My teacher likes to say that Brahmacharya is about not being manipulative in relationships, and acting in a spirit of compassion, non-violence and honesty.
On a creative level, Brahmacharya offers us guidance in how we choose to spend our energies. We face choices everyday to practice, or sleep in; channel your energies in to artwork (or work work), or to watch TV. Each day we have the opportunity to channel our energies into living this life to it’s fullest rather than letting it pass us by.
On a practice level, Brahmacharya relates to the practice of containing and channelling energy, especially energy from the lower Chakra triangle. When we practice using the bandhas, prana and apana can be directed in deliberate ways.
Energy is a driving force in our lives and in our practice. Brahmacharya is not only guided by it’s previous yamas, but it becomes our the Action principle for those to come.
Usually translated as not stealing, asteya is rooted in our desires and reflects upon the first two Yamas. When we steal from others we can cause harm either directly or indirectly, even if it’s passively taking incorrect change. Stealing can be thought of literally, taking something that does not belong to us or it can be conceived on broader terms…
Ghandi wrote, “One who follows the observance of non-stealing will bring a progressive reduction of his own wants.”
If we think of stealing in terms of commodities like energy, when we take more than we need we are stealing from others or the Earth. Our needs and desires are often confused in the increasing commercial world we inhabit.
In the realm of practice, asteya can be useful to cultivate an understanding of what we possess, not only on a material level but in terms of our own unique ideas, thoughts, feelings and abilities. The difficult part of asteya is not just becoming mindful of these possessions but grateful for where we are at, and not coveting or appropriating from others.
The practice of asteya should lead us to a simpler existence with appreciation for and abundance of our own unique creative aspects.
Happy Spring From The Yoga Space!
Greetings Yoga Space sangha! I write to you from afar, as I am currently on a personal retreat in Thailand studying advance pranayama with Tiwari, a wonderful Indian guru, and Paul Dallighan a beautiful certified Ashtanga teacher. It’s hard, I’m sick with a bronchial cold (making deep breathing an interesting experience), and I’m home sick too, missing my sweetheart & Portland sangha (community)…Happy Birthday Alena! I have been taking a great deal of time this year to personally advance my practice before I begin teaching the next 200 hr. Yoga Space teacher training this September. But also to deeply connect to the self, that deep guru that isn’t the self that Michele thinks she is, but that light within that is free. It emerges with practice, just like Springtime will reveal the life that has been buried under the frozen ground of our Portland winter. I know you are being delighted by the spring bulbs that are pushing through even as I write this. I am continuously amazed by this miracle of nature. But bulbs and seeds have to be planted in fertile ground and given the right conditions to shine forth. We do the same in our yoga practice. If we neglect it, it falls apart. If we commit to it, to nurturing ourselves, it blossoms, we blossom and create beauty. Beauty in our relationships, in our work, in our community. That’s why twice a year, the sangha at the Yoga Space gets together to encourage each other with a little jumpstart to our practice with our brilliantly fun 30 day challenge. I will be home and teaching next on Sunday, April 1st, which is the 1st day of our next 30 day. I hope you will consider joining the fun. It’s not just all about the cool stickers, although I am very motivated by them! Read on for details, the April class schedule, and more. With love and the light of Spring, Michele
30 Day Challenge April 1-30.
Get Details & Register & pay online here: http://theyogaspace.com/workshops.php
or at the Yoga Space
April Schedule Changes
Sundays 12:30-2pm RESTORATIVE YOGA (taught by Lockett, Manda, Michele, Erica, & Jen)
Sundays 3-5pm ASHTANGA MYSORE (OPEN TO ALL) ($10 DROP-IN) or use class card: Taught by Johnny & occasionally Michele
Wednesdays: 12:15-1:30pm HATHA YOGA Taught by Rose
Mondays: 12:15-1:30pm VINYASA YOGA Taught by Kris
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 12:15-1:30pm VINYASA YOGA Taught by our new teacher Kaitlyn McConnell
Saturdays 4:30-6pm: VINYASA YOGA Taught by Rose
New! Ashtanga Mysore Sundays 3-5pm
Starts April 1st. $10 drop-in or use your class cards.
Mysore is the classical way, and in my opinion the only way, to teach Ashtanga. You don’t have to know a thing about the series to attend. You will be guided and assisted to learn the series, and you will be given poses progressively as you condition with practice. You work at your own pace. This is a dynamic and strength building practice that is extremely transformative. Check it out!
Yamas & Niymas Workshop with Emily Hicks
Your Ethics will Set You Free
A workshop on the Yamas and Niyamas
with Emily Hicks
April 28th from 2:15-4:15pm
The Yoga Space
Most of us consider the 90 minutes we spend on our mats a few times a week to be our yoga practice. But what can we do to continue our practice during the rest of the day? And how can we become happier, kinder, more compassionate people?
The path to Yoga is said to have eight “limbs” (ashta – eight, anga – limb), which are most famously outlined by Master Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra. The first two limbs are “Yama” and “Niyama,” our ethical restraints and observances. These are the foundation of our practice, as well as the key to our continued success on the path.
Join Emily Hicks for an introduction into the Yamas and Niyamas, and learn how to supercharge your practice and transform your life by mastering your ethics.
Great for all levels! This is a philosophy workshop, so wear something comfortable to sit in and bring paper and pen for note taking.
$15 suggested donation, or pay what you can. No one turned away due to lack of funds.
Recipe for a Light, Bright Spring
The Dinner Shake
I am on day 17 of a 21 day cleanse that has been a very beneficial in not only detoxing my body, but also becoming mindful about my patterns of eating. Learning to distinguish when I’m really hungry and when I’m eating because I’m bored, or stressed out has been a challenging process, but also very rewarding. I have learned that I developed the habit of eating to calm myself and comfort myself, rather than to nourish myself. That being said, I’ve been satiated and have never once been truly hungry on this cleanse. I’ve learned that sometimes a shake really is what’s for dinner! I feel lighter, more awake and happier in Mysore at 6:30am (who am I kidding, I always roll into class at 7!). Here is one of my favorite recipes. It’s thick, filling, easily digestible, full of good fats (so you’re truly full and not craving bad foods the next day) and delicious. This is a perfect compliment to your 30 day challenge; challenge yourself to eat lighter, cleaner and healthier to accompany your 30 days of yoga.
1/4 -1/2 Papaya (depending on how big it is)
handful of Lacinato Kale
1/4 can of Coconut Milk (make sure to get the kind that is pure doesn’t add fillers like guar gum)
Coconut Water (add to consistency)
1/2 of an Avocado
Pinch of Cardamon
(optional add 1 date to sweeten)
Blend well and enjoy! – Heather
Check out Michael Stone’s short film about his upcoming trip to Japan & his work to help the people and the country affected by the Tsunami and the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. http://www.indiegogo.com/Reactor
And thank you to all those who came his workshop. It was such and enlightening weekend.
Satya guides us to be honest. This means, listening and speaking from the heart and letting the preconceptions of who and how to be fall away. Satya reflects back on Ahimsa. Having an open heart towards someone often requires us to reflect on the truth of our own mistakes and limitations to find compassion and see that we are all connected.
It’s also particularly important in our physical practice, because it’s easy to “fake it” in certain poses. I find myself doing this more than I would like. I can cheat my leg a little higher in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, but if I am honest with myself and drop my hip in line with the other, the limitations of my hamstrings come into play and I have to work a lot harder. Being honest with your body and where you’re at safeguards you from injury. If you’re not strong enough in your core and shoulders to lower in chatturanga, practice with your knees on the floor until you build strength. Use props as tools to guide you deeper in your practice and support you.
When we practice the precept of Satya, our hearts open to others as well as ourselves.
So, over the next couple months we’ll be focusing on the foundation of our practice. One thing you’ll hear in Asana class is, “build your foundation from the ground up.” This tenant applies to the physical practice as well as the overarching practice of yoga, or the Eightfold Path detailed by Patanjali. The path begins with the Yamas, or restraints. These detail the way we should act toward others. The first of these being Ahimsa!
Ahimsa means to cause no harm or pain through thought, word, or action (to others, to yourself, to the planet, to creatures, etc.). Truly the foundation and really the #1 principle to struggle with every single day. If this were really a linear path, where you couldn’t progress until you’ve accomplished this one thing, we would probably all be stuck here. Luckily, this is simultaneously linear and non linear. We need to start with the foundation of Ahimsa (usually translated as non-violence) but each step of our practice is informed by the other, so we will always be working forward, back and between them all. For example, cultivating Ahimsa before we begin the Asana practice allows us to slow down and back off when we need to, so that we don’t injure ourselves. Conversely, practicing asana can help us become more compassionate toward others who might be alternately abled or inflexible in their bodies.
Ahimsa can be practiced by cultivating loving kindness toward others. There are a few practices that I find helpful…
First, is inspired by Namaste (I bow to you). This is the idea of reverence for another person and at the same time reverence and acknowledgement of the piece of you that resides in them. I had a teacher once who said, “if you don’t see yourself in everyone, then you don’t see yourself in anyone.” Translated… you have to find true understanding and compassion for everyone by recognizing that they are on the same journey, faults, perfections, and all- just like you. Their set of circumstances are just different than yours.
Second, is the idea of serving others. By putting ourselves at the disposal of others who need us, and serving with gratitude, we take the attachment out of love. This means at holidays, we let go of all the built up feelings, no matter how antagonistic those family members are and we just turn back around and ask, “how can I help, let me scrub the toilet if that’s what needs to be done.” Hard, right!
Third, don’t judge yourself! Eat a piece of cake and enjoy it, don’t chastise yourself. If you’re hamstrings are tight, be kind and bend your knees.
Fourth, make changes in your household… eat organic/local, don’t use chemicals around the house. Recycle. Think about converting to solar. Changes big and small, make an impact.
Maybe for the next week, just try it out on the person closest to you (spouse, best friend, roommate) and yourself (just try not judging yourself for one day). Good luck!