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Journal Post

  Here we are again at the end of what has proven for me and my family to be quite a challenging year. We are encouraged to practice renunciation as we enter the last few weeks of the year or the letting go of the results of our efforts. This is the foundation of yoga as we read Sutra I.12 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - abhyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhah - "Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness." - BKS Iyengar
Halloween has always been a favorite celebration of mine. I love coming up with a costume and actually creating something beautiful or scary to wear. I teach yoga this Halloween so I have had a lot of fun turning my creativity towards designing a sequence of poses that are in the Halloween theme. My sequence includes poses like Skeleton Pose, Full Moon Pose, Zombie Pose, Rabid Dog Pose, Headless Headstand Pose, Frankenstein Pose, Swarming Locusts Pose, Dead Bug Pose and of course Corpse Pose. You can see a link to the traditional names of these yoga poses here.
We have entered my most favorite time of year. Earth is the name that the Chinese give to the energy of late summer. Earth is the time of harvest and gathering. It is the midpoint in the cycle of life. The time when we raise a family, create a body of work, settle down, and begin to reap the rewards of our labors. Our thoughts turn to nurturing, parenting, mentoring and mothering.  Earth governs our bodies, our flesh and our ability to nourish ourselves through the foods that we eat. Earth governs our cycles - sleeping, eating and breathing. Earth energy also helps us on a mental level to digest ideas, process experiences and form thoughts. Out of balance Earth can be obsessive, obstinate and stubborn. 
Can we finally begin to breathe a sigh of relief? July was unbearably hot. August invites a cooling down period or at least tells us there is an end in sight! We kept visions of cool ponds, pools, rivers and oceans everywhere we went. In southwestern Virginia, we were lucky to receive plenty of rain in the spring and early summer, but now everything is dry and hot!
Wow Friends! We are almost halfway through the year and there is so much to celebrate! The summer solstice is right around the corner and with it the peak growth and full blooms of all of our hard work this year. The first official day of summer is also the day that the United Nations chose to celebrate International Yoga Day! There are events happening globally. It is an opportune time to be with your community to celebrate the gifts of yoga and share those benefits with others.
As we discussed last month, Spring not only brings with it the ability to plan and organize, as the time of year of Liver/Gallbladder Energy. But now is the time to lighten the load on these organs by consuming more of the fresh green (and sour) foods that are in season. One of the best things about these foods being in season, is that they can also be foraged and free. As long as you have access to an organic wild meadow, you can find dandelion greens, chickweed and violets everywhere you look!
Happy Spring! This is always an exciting time of year. After a long winter's rest the spring flowers are beginning to bud and bloom. There is so much potential! Spring brings with it the energy of Wood in Traditional Chinese Medicine. We see this in the energy of the green shoots sprouting out of the ground. If used wisely, Liver energy is perfect for envisioning, planning and organizing. We till the ground and plant the seeds for the fruits that will come later in the year.
While we spent January in introspection and reflection,  February brought a welcome lightness as we passed through the midway point from the Winter Solstice to the Spring Equinox. We also recognized the Lunar New Year and I found myself getting even more excited about the New Year and the possibility of things to come. It can be challenging to stay grounded in the present moment as we contemplate the potential of the coming spring.
Most of you know, if you have been subscribed to the iHanuman Newsletter for some time, that we pay a lot of attention to the changes and transitions of the natural world. Every year, we are prompted by traditional healing philosophy to reinvigorate pranayama practice in the fall. The fall is the season of letting go and releasing as well as the organs of the Lungs and Large Intestines.
Dear Friends, As the sun shifts into Virgo and the late summer's earth element, we are enjoying the fruits of our labors along with the slowing & cooling down of summer. The earth element brings us stability and a space to pause and collect ourselves between the seasons. The calm and steadiness of earth helps prepare us for the shifting unsteadiness of the air element which visits us in the fall. I love this time of year! The weather is a perfect mix of warm days and cool nights.  AND September is National Yoga Month! This is a wonderful time of year to get the word out about the benefits of yoga. Reference our resources below on the benefits of yoga as a place to start your conversation with new students.
Today marks the halfway point between the summer solstice and the fall equinox. It's called Lamas and it signals the beginning of the harvest season. We are about to transition into Late Summer as we move beyond the peak of  summer. Before we do, take with you the lessons learned from your growth this year. Take some time to honor what you have accomplished before you begin to reap what you have sewn.
Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of the summer season. Summer ignites the fire element. The warmth of fire has the power to bring us out of the contraction of the cold dark winter into a state of expansion and joy. We have more energy to accomplish our tasks and more hours of light within which to accomplish them. Fire is known for its dynamism, transformation and passion, but also gives us the capacity to feel joy, compassion, empathy as well as deep sadness, because only a strong heart can truly feel deep sadness.
I taught a restorative yoga retreat last month where we contemplated the energy of the Ayurvedic constitution made up of Earth and Water, Kapha. We contemplated stability, density, structure, boundaries and flow. We discussed ways to antidote the excess and deficiencies that arise with these elements, which are predominant in the winter and early spring.  One of my favorite topics to discuss as a remedy for Winter stagnation is the creation of clear un-obstructed space. This time of year is ideal for space clearing of any kind. As a Virgo and a Pitta Kapha, this brings me joy. 
It has been a little while since you have received an email from us. If we are being totally honest, this past year was a particularly challenging one on a number of different levels, personal and professional. I remember reading and sharing about last year being the Year of the Fire Rooster, in Chinese Astrology. What I read, indicated that Rooster years are about doing the constant disciplined day to day work. I certainly found this to be true this last year. It was a year of keeping my nose to the ground, putting one foot in front of the other and doing the work. Have any of you found this to be true? 
Even though it is almost 90 degrees where I live in central Virginia, we have now officially transitioned into early Fall. If you cannot yet feel it in the temperature, you can see it in the colors of everything around you. What was lush and green a few weeks ago has started to turn yellow. Aptly, this is the color of this time of year, the color of the stomach and spleen meridians, our digestive organs, the Earth Element. 
Does this heat make it feel as if the summer could go on forever?  As we start the month of August, we are entering into the late summer period, the fifth season, recognized in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine. BUT before we get ahead of ourselves, I wanted to share some final insights from the end of the summer season. As we mentioned last month, the element associated with summer is fire, which shows up in the external environment, but internally as well.
It's Officially Summer! AND the International Day of Yoga! In honor of these two special events, we are offering some sequences for you to enjoy on International Yoga Day, as well as a discount in our download store from today until the end of June!
I made it through another Mother’s Day, but this year was different.  I have been inspired by women around the world who are sharing about their struggles with Mother’s Day; mothers who have lost children, women who have lost mothers and women who are not able to be mothers. Mother’s day has always been difficult for me, since I lost my mother, tragically, 28 years ago, just months before my thirteenth birthday. Once I recovered from the shock of the loss, which actually took about 5 years, I finally started to grieve. That grief, for me, has taken the better part of the last two decades. Thankfully, however, for about the last ten years, I have been deeply committed to healing that pain.
Dear Friends, It has been an exhausting couple of weeks here in the United States. In addition to everything we normally have going on in our lives, we are being tormented by misinformation, lies and deceit in the executive office of our government. It is hard to keep up with it all and this is leading to frustration, hopelessness and overwhelm. What can we do?
"In his search he discovers the three noble ways of word (jnana), work (karma), and worship (bhakti), which teach him that his inner light is the only guide leading to mastery over his own life.” - BKS Iyengar, Light on Pranayama
"The Three Months of Fall are called the period of tranquility of one's conduct... The mysterious powers of Fall create dryness in Heaven and they create metal upon the Earth."At the end of October and for some of us not until November, we transitioned from the late summer energy of early Fall into the true Fall Energy of Metal or the quality most closely associated with the Ayurvedic element of Air. Air and Metal energies concern mental and spiritual activities, including the workings of the mind, the intellect and communication.
Are we finally on the downswing from the peak of a very firey and fiesty summer heat wave? As tensions and frustrations flair, we are truly called upon to utilize our yoga practice to cool us down. Two of the primary ways you choose to counterbalance the heat depend on your personal temperament. You can sit calmly and quietly, practicing slow deep breathing or pranayamas specific to cooling you down, like Sitali (sheet - ah - lee) pranayama or practice a quieting asana practice focused on forward bends and other cooling poses. The alternative is to get active, move and raise your internal heat .
Happy New Year! It is going to be another fantastic year for Yoga Media and Technology. We have so many new classes to share with you in the coming months. TODAY, Enjoy over 50 new Iyengar Yoga Classes with John Schumacher AND his free quarterly discussion on the question, "Is Yoga A Religion?" Look out for more yoga media coming soon.... Until then, be well. 
Sara Miles Pope Agelasto 
Love. Service. Devotion. Yoga.
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