The focus of Yoga has many definitions.
I suppose they all can be correct, or proper, and even change as we change. I will throw out one broad definition that stands the test of Time, and that is:
Singleness of Purpose.
This Singleness can be strived for at the start of a class with a focus on the physical aspect of our being, just moving our limbs, joints, muscles and breath. Moving makes us limber and syncs up our scattered energies into the one body that we have and happen to be using at this very moment. Without knowing any more than this, that moving with singleness of focus on our limbs and breath, we get more solid. This is a great feeling and a great one to build on. As you continue with your yoga practice, at home or in the studio, a next step is to walk inward, into your ability to observe what you are doing as you are doing it. Not only does observation create awareness, but then awareness becomes the gate we have been searching for that opens the moment.
I invite you all to encourage your self when the mat looks daunting, or class looks too hard to attend, to still get to the mat. Nothing bad will happen, only the good of walking into the unknown will unfold.
Silence may arise, Silence may guide, Silence may be the Singleness of Purpose underlying all the others.
In any event, the awakened moment never lets us down. Good luck maintaining your practice during these Fall days, and when Winter is on us, you will be prepared for more subtle hibernating.
Dear Yoga Students,
The summer days are naturally transitioning into early Fall,
and seasonal changes come paired with Reflection. We don’t
need a yoga sutra or magic fortune cookie to tell us that
Life is passing, Time is flowing, and yet, we are somehow
still “here”. We all feel “here”. Even when the mind is
racing on with plans or stymied by a mood or an aversion, we
are still “here”.
Taking Three Breaths, as many times a day as you can
remember, is powerful enough to put you back in your body
and the “here” of the present moment. The body is doing one
thing at a time and the mind is doing ten things, the Three
Breath pause stops this gap from increasing, brings
awareness to what we are doing, and in the end, is deeply
The asana practice we follow is in the Iyengar tradition of
being aware of what we are doing as we are doing it. This
approach to asana does not champion speed or perfection, but
it does champion alertness and awareness and leads to a limb
of the practice called breath awareness. Taking time out for
breath awareness is the beginning of slowing down and seeing
the mind and body in one place, at the same time.
Reflection comes naturally in this process, insight comes
naturally and so does relaxing.
Please hold a special place in your calendar for Monday October 12th
with senior teacher Rebecca Lerner. She is coming from PA to teach a workshop.
More details soon.
See you soon, Namaste, Cathy
I have some exciting news to share, I will be going to India for one
week in December to study with Geeta Iyengar. Well, I and about 1,000
other Iyengar yoga students. She is giving a 1 week intensive on asanas
that lead to pranayama.
Pranayama is the branch of yoga that deals with breathing.
This direct focus on the breath takes the four phases of breathing,
inhaling, pausing, exhaling, pausing, and draws them out so they can be
noticed, elongated, smoothed out, and fully embodied. It is more subtle
than asana, and opens a door into meditation.
I will be adding asana/pranayama classes in Jan. 2016 based on what I
Take note of your daily routine: is there time for YOU in it? That is one of the benefits of a structured yoga practice, YOU get to see YOU.
And when that happens, the experience is totally unfiltered, never-before-happened, totally satisfying, and true.
These Seasons have reasons for changing, and maybe they nudge us to see where we can make changes, too.
Each time we don’t give into to a distracting thought or event, the seeds that are sprouting in the present are getting watered. Look at your life, your room, your car, your relationships, your wishes and fears; everyday they are there in some form to be watered.
A practice like yoga starts strong on the physical plane, but as the
seasons change and we change with them, the physical level is not in
competition with our hopes and drives and emotional lives.
We see they are not -two. We are not-two or three or even four. The only delusion is
the self that thinks it can divide.
Have a good rest of your summer. See you in the studio, or in the tea shops around town. Cathy Wright
Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me”
Look what happens with a love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.
Do you sometimes wonder if a yoga practice can help you love?
I wonder this many times. I wonder this when I am petty, jealous,
judging, and irritated.
When taking a deliberate breath in and out, slow and steady, calms me
down, its a great moment. But when it doesn’t, when the attachment to my
thinking/feelings is so strong and believable, then a physical yoga
practice helps stir my circulation on many levels and I am better able
to later reflect and respond to the situation at hand.
A simple sequence is down dog to up dog and back again. Ten times! Slow
or fast, hands on height or not, it matters only that you move and
breathe and keep going. There is an organic link from the brain to the
gut of intuitive wisdom and connecting the two together through moving
allows the nerves to communicate and become unified.
Become a pearl bead on a string of pearls, just begin the pose and go
forward. The dharma string will pull you along until you feel strong
again and on your feet.
There is a deep string of pearls threading all of us together. Every
time we practice, we are a pearl bead on the yoga thread. The thread
links us to the past teachers and to the even further past sutra
teachings of dharma, and concentration, and meditation, and the
indivisible oneness of existence. We have to show up, keep pushing our
thoughts aside, and jump into the practice at hand to get the link first
hand. But it works.
This is what I am saying: keep practicing. Over time the deep transformations
reveal themselves. And love is at the root, love turns the wheel,
love keeps the whole mess at peace. Do not struggle with your body,
your thoughts, your feelings, bring the whole mess onto the mat
and the transformation happens on its own. Flowers grow out of
garbage and compost. We cant even imagine what flowers will
grow out of us when we feel scattered or inadequate, when our inner
garbage is overloading our systems, but flowers grow everywhere! They
sprout up from the coldest winters, bloom on the hottest days, die into
the earth and grow again.
Yoga asana is an experience of waking up over and over from
self-absorption, ON THE SPOT.
Inner confusion transforms into direction and wholeness. A new day has
been offered to all of us. Lets live it beautiful, solid, and free.
I think that will feel like love.