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Journal Post

“Yoga is a science which liberates one's mind from the bondage of the body and leads it towards the soul." – BKS Iyengar, Tree of YogaMany scholars have searched for the date of the first reference to yoga, but BKS Iyengar reminds us in The Tree of Yoga, that Yoga, like Ayurveda, is apauruseya, not given by man. "Brahma is the Founder of Yoga” and also "Lord Siva is the Founder of Yoga, which he first taught to his wife, Parvati." (156). Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy, which was organized by Patanjali, in his classical work, the Yoga Sutras.“Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”
Cool Down, Chill Out and Help Others! Everything feels as if it bursting at the seems right now. This is appropriate for Summer, the peak season for growth and maturity. Anyone having a hard time sitting still? We are knee-deep in our site upgrade and we are so CLOSE! When things are heating up, turn your thoughts to someone you can help. Show love and compassion for another. Take your attention off of yourself and notice the cooling, calming effect this has on your well-being.
We REALLY want to know. What do YOU want? April feels like the culmination of a great deal of work on many levels. We have made it through a long, challenging Winter where we spent time downsizing and taking inventory of what is working and what is not. We have made some hard decisions and have let go of what is no longer serving us. With the return of Spring is the Return of Hope. , the spiritual quality of the spring in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Did anyone else feel like they wanted to start this year over? Thank God for the Chinese New Year, the first new moon of the Lunar Year. 2013 is the year of the Water Snake.  The moon takes close to 13 months to travel around the Earth. This New Year speaks more to me than the arbitrary day, December 31, marking the Earth's revolution around the sun. Imbolc, the Return of the Light, has just passed and with it the fact that we made it to the halfway point between the first day of Winter and the first day of Spring.
We are so grateful for your support! iHanuman is going through many changes as we work to bring our updated media platform online. We look forward to unveiling our new site and all of the great content you have been waiting for. We just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of you who have supported us over the years. We are a small company with BIG ideas and we look forward to sharing some big news withyou over the coming weeks. We have also had many requests for more classes from John Schumacher. His latest classes will be available next month, so stay tuned for an update.
Samhain (pronounced Sow Wen) is the Celtic word for Summer's end. And indeed the shift from any hope for more warm weather has settled upon us. We can all feel the change that swept through the air these past several days, reminding us who is really in charge. Tonight we don our masks and costumes to protect us from evil spirits that might be lurking about as it is said that the veils between worlds are thinnest this time of year. Many traditions choose to honor their ancestors and those that have passed during this vulnerable time.
Om Shanti. Shanti. Shanti. Peace. Peace. Peace. We have been a little out of touch with our newsletter subscribers this summer. The firey energy of summer called us to create and continue our work on iHanuman 3.0. Now that the summer is winding down and we transition to fall, we turn our energies toward harvesting the fruits of our efforts. As we put our new website into place, we spent time observing all of YOUR growth and movement during this time. So much has come into being since we launched the first version of iHanuman in the Fall of 2006. We have taken what we have learned and are so excited to offer it up to you all.
Over twenty years ago I walked into my first Ashtanga yoga class, a fairly stressed-out, exhausted, toxic, and depressed individual. An hour and a half later, I walked out, feeling relaxed, energized, happy, and cleansed from the inside out. Ever since that first class I've been fascinated by this transformative power of the practice, what I call the alchemy of Ashtanga yoga.
Encinitas holds the distinction of being the American birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga. David Williams began teaching here in the early seventies and sponsored Pattabhi Jois and his son Manju to come here for the first time in 1975. Brad Ramsey and Gary Lopedota, two of David's students, opened their own yoga shala, called the Ashtanga Yoga Nilayam, after David moved to Maui.
When I first began teaching yoga in 1981, yoga wasn't exactly entrenched in the mainstream as it is now. I had been meditating for four years and doing asana out of a book daily. There was never a thought about becoming a yoga teacher, as I had four children, ages 7-14, and it was all I could do to stay afloat and meet my commitments as an Air Force wife and mother. My daily meditation practice helped more than anything else to keep me on a fairly even keel during those challenging days.
Life is good. As free, joyful, and creative expressions of the One, we are blessed to be embodied in this life. Life is a magnificent gift of the Divine, not some sort of karmic punishment, nor something we need to transcend. Indeed, it is through our limited physical form that we are able to experience our Unlimited Being.
As we see and feel the changes that take place in our body/mind from coming to yoga class each week, there's often a gradual stirring to begin to practice on our own. Our yoga evolves beyond a class we look forward to once or twice a week, and into a regular home practice in which the benefits of our yoga only multiply. It's actually in a home practice that we discover the nuances of the Principles of Alignment, and begin to feel what we need more or less of. Both I and my fellow teachers are very often asked: how might I go about developing a well-rounded practice that fits into my already busy life?
I write this from the vantage point of 37,000 feet above our earth, looking both up at the bluest of blue skies and down at cloud patterns of marshmallow fluff, and am seized with a sense of gratitude for the supreme beauty of our planet, and all that is in my life since I embarked on a spiritual path over 30 years ago.
When and how can you get your students to commit to one practice- and should you even try?
Walk down the street and witness the shapes and sizes of pedestrians, the colors and makes of passing cars, and the dazzling array of merchandise in shop windows. Abundance bombards us from every angle.
This smorgasbord of options also seeps into yoga. Ashtanga, Anusara, Bikram, Iyengar, Sivananda - the list goes on.
At a certain point you need to make some important decisions. Just as you determined whether of not you would be a vegetarian, how you would earn a living, or in what neighborhood you'd live, must you also settle on one style of yoga?
Lull your students into deeper relaxation by integrating singing bowls to your teaching.
I sank into Savasana, wholeheartedly melting into stillness. Eyes closed, the once-distinct boundaries of my skin
dissolved while thoughts evaporated into a sleepy haze. Post-asana energy hummed and whirled through my limbs. My teacher sat in the front of the room, quiet, erect, cross-legged. With a singing bowl in hand, he circled the wooden wand around the bowl's rim, radiating a lullaby to the blissful yoginis in the room.
Those moments always felt like magic to me. Somehow the all-pervading sound of the bowl, like the mysterious
embrace of a whale's song, never failed to seduce me into deeper surrender.
Explore the pros and cons of hands-on guidance and learn to use skillful assists to empower
your students.
By Sara Avant Stover
"Come on! Extend, Karl! Don't be so stingy!" exclaimed Sharon Gannon, cofounder of Jivamukti Yoga, to student Karl Straub, as she assisted him in Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose). Straub, a Jivamukti Yoga teacher himself, as well as a Thai Yoga Bodywork practitioner, recalls the potency of Gannon's assist-one that he revisits every time he practices that
We're a little early with our newsletter this month because we have a time-urgent message about our next Advanced Studies program. You might wonder about this: why "study" Yoga, isn't it more about "doing?" Well, that's the active way Yoga is mostly presented in the West, but traditionally study is an important element of the Yoga discipline, going back a good 2500 years. Every school of Yoga has its "doing" element-and it's not always just doing asana-but that doing is always based on some kind of vision or theory about the nature of the world and human consciousness.
PRACTICE FOR THE MONTH:
From the Gheranda Samhita (late 17th century CE)
TADAGI MUDRA. Pond Seal
Lie on you back, stretch out through your heels and reach your arms overhead. If you have one, lay a sand bag over your wrists to help the reach of the arms. Continue to press actively and oppositely through the heels and hands. As an energetic response, your belly will hollow slightly, like a "pond," which gives this mudra its distinctive name. This is a good warm-up for asana or pranayama.
I'm just back from my third annual Yoga workshop in Hailey, Idaho. When I asked the folks up in Hailey what they wanted to work on this year they set me an interesting task: a weekend workshop based on poses named after Hindu gods. After digging through Iyengar's Light on Yoga (200 asanas), Yogeshvara Paramahamsa's First Steps to Higher Yoga (300 asanas), and the Lonavla Institute's Encyclopedia of Traditional Asanas (900 asanas), I decided to open things up and include in the workshop poses named after Hindu sages and one famous monster. And so we had a Virabhadra Class (the hideous demon created by Shiva to punish his father-in-law), a Sages Class, an Avatars of Vishnu Class, and a Shiva Nataraja Class.
Maybe this post will be a little too forward, but in the interest of learning and growing I felt I had to share an experience from today. I know that as I continue on my journey to do good, live good, and be good, these karmas will continue to work themselves out and I will eventually find myself closer to my dharma. This is me, being the Capricous Yogi that I am.
I have no shame admitting that I tend to get a little carried away every now and then. Let's be honest, I wouldn't be the Capricious Yogi if I didn't!  In fact, with all the recent transition and activity swirling around me, it's a wonder that I'm not floating amongst the clouds for eternity. I've been up and down and all around. Without yoga and a grounding practice, I can only imagine how much more off kilter I'd be. Grounding. It's that feeling of stepping on my mat, finding my seat, connecting all four corners of my feet that ultimately rejuvenates me. It's the moments when I can take off my shoes and walk barefoot or feel the warm sand between my toes.
There is a point in every marathon where no runner quits and there is another point where the majority drop out. The quitting point is painstakingly close to the finish line and, when measured in terms of percentage points, sits at approximately the last five percent of the race. The drop outs' hurdle is the last stretch of the race where the end remains hidden from view. It is here where athletes have been working for a long time that all the major mental and physical obstacles set in. Doubt, anxiety, disbelief, exhaustion, dehydration, hunger, the feeling of no end in sight and physiological stress compromise rational thought and convince many to throw in the towel.
The February issue of Yoga Journal includes an article by John Schumacher.
Regular readers of the magazine look forward to the monthly Home Practice feature for fully illustrated sequences of ten poses. This month's sequence is designed to build the strength and flexibility needed for arm balances, such as Bakasana (Crane Pose). Each pose is photographed, with John's precise descriptions guiding readers through the work in each asana.
It's not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted.
- Linda Conway It is awe-inspiring to watch how a sequence of poses can infuse students with energy, or calm them down, or engage their full attention, or invoke a deep relaxation response. The way we teach asana (postures) is important and I love to discover what works with teenagers and share it with you. However, many teachers are encountering road blocks in making their classes appealing and wondering why their classes are not retaining students.The answer is complex but there is a fundamental principal to teaching yoga to teens worth discussing and well-timed with the approach of Valentine's Day. Simply put, it's love.
Did you ever stop and wonder how you got here? Not here as in this website, but HERE, this spot in your life? How did I end up in this job? This relationship? How did I put on those extra 10 lbs?
In reflection we see that there were a lot of small choices that were made along the way. We may have had bigger dreams , but in the meantime, the groceries have to be bought, the bills need to be paid.....maybe sometime we'll get to those goals......right?
John is featured in the Yoga Journal Asana Column
When it came to the fitness benefits yoga can or can't provide, yoga teacher John Schumacher had heard it all. A student of B. K. S. Iyengar for 20 years and founder of the Unity Woods studios in the Washington, D.C. area, Schumacher was convinced yoga provides a complete fitness regime. But many people, even some of his own students, disagreed. Yoga might be good for flexibility or relaxation, they'd say, but to be truly fit, you had to combine it with an activity like running or weight lifting.
Schumacher just didn't buy it.
It is that time of year again... Time to come back deeply to ourselves. We shed our autumn skin and now is the time to be with what truly is. Winter, the most Yin time of Year, is Dark, Cold, and Emotional. It is also receptive, feminine, and intuitive.Traditionally this is a time for Retreat. Unfortunately, most of us find ourselves torn between gearing up for the holidays and physiologically slowing down. As we move towards the shortest day of the year, we encounter the Water Element of Winter; a time to nourish our deepest essences, gestating for the weeks leading back towards the light; a time of deep contemplation. What will you contemplate this season?
Summer is the Pitta or Fire Season of the Year. The time to fully blossom and express ourselves. The time when everything seems to be happening at once! Those of us who tend to run hot need to slow down and cool off. Others may use this time of year to purify by heating the body up to perspire and cool down.  Luckily the practice of Yoga Asana (poses) and Pranayama (breath awareness) offer us ample practices to chill. 

The first attempt at an English translation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra ("Threads of Yoga") was made by James Robert Ballantyne (1813-1864), a Scottish Orientalist and linguist. From 1846 to 1861 he was the principal of the prestigious Sanskrit College in Benares, established in 1791 by the British East India Company. Ballantyne, an adherent of a movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment (which also claimed as members poet Robert Burns, novelist Walter Scott, philosopher David Hume, and inventor James Watt), was also a prolific translator and writer.
The second day of Judith's workshop was equally as informative as the first. The sutra study for the workshop was from Pada II v.16, "Heyam dukham anagatam" or "The suffering that is to come is to be avoided." It is a fascinating concept because everything we do in life is to put our anxiety at rest. We constantly try to control our circumstances to appease our anxiety and avoid suffering.
On day 8 of my cleanse, I was blessed to attend one of two days of a workshop with Judith Hanson Lasater, author of several books including, Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times,Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life, and her most recent book which I am dying to read, What We
If you need some inspiration to reinvigorate your daily yoga practice, September is a great month to start.
I don't typically write reviews for these letters-in fact I've never written one here before-but I have a new book hot off the press that needs and deserves all the hype it can get. Last Fall I was fortunate enough to be invited to a yoga conference at Cavallo Point, just on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge, a beautiful spot (with a great restaurant) if you're ever looking for a retreat location. The gathering was billed as "An Opportunity to Consider an Authentic Voice for Yoga Today" three days of talks on topics like the relationship between yoga and buddhism, yoga and art, and yoga and tantra ... well, what did you expect yoga people to talk about when they get together?
Lately I have been practicing a series of poses recommended by Patricia Walden in Dr. Timothy McCall's book, Yoga as Medicine, which includes another of my favorite yoga poses, Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose. I love to enter Ardha Chandrasana through Utthita Trikonasana , Triangle Pose, another incredible asana. In case you had not guessed from my last Favorite Yoga Pose post, Anantasana, the external/internal hip rotation poses are a lifelong favorite of mine.
A couple of weekends ago, I attended a workshop with the illustrious Bobby Clennell. Bobby wrote AND illustrated The Woman's Yoga Book: Asana and Pranayama for All Phases of the Menstrual Cycle.
A Guru is a person whose very presence imparts truth and awakening in the disciple. When I traveled to Mysore for the first time at the age of 22 I asked Sri K. Pattabhi Jois where I could find the illusive state of inner peace that all yoga practice seeks to instill. Known as Guruji to his students, he said "You take it practice many years, then Shantih is coming... no problem" and my heart opened to the grace of his teaching. It is my great fortune to consider this amazing man my teacher and I attribute the depth of my personal practice and teaching to the light that Guruji's fire ignited within me.
My thanks to our conference co-coordinators and my dear friends, Patricia Walden and Linda DiCarlo, for their tireless efforts and their deep devotion that made this conference possible. Thanks also to all you workers and volunteers, in front of and behind the scenes for your invaluable and essential assistance. And, of course, thanks to all of you attendees for being here. Without you there wouldn't be any conference.
Fine tune your approach to Corpse Pose through an exploration of varying teaching philosophies.
By Sara Avant Stover
Don't Forget to PracticeNamaste! As the year comes to a close, we can already feel the potential energy and hope building for the new year. In the spirit of the holidays, iHanuman would like to offer you a few end-of-the-year gifts in hopes of reducing your stress levels!
At the end of February we left off with one foot in the door of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the oldest surviving Hatha Yoga manuals. Hatha Yoga emerged sometime in the 9th or 10th centuries CE, strongly influenced by both Hindu Tantra and Indian alchemy. The Pradipika was written four or five hundred years later, though remnants of these ancient disciplines are still evident in this text and others like it. The Gheranda Samhita for example, a companion text that's a few hundred years younger, calls Hatha Yoga the "Yoga of the Pot" (ghata yoga), "pot" here referring to the human body (or more precisely the torso) which is compared to an alchemical vessel.
Devika Gurung was one of my first yoga teachers. I met her while traveling to India to study Yoga. But Devika had just returned from India and opened a Yoga Centre in Pokhara, Nepal. I decided to spend 6 weeks with her helping her with her Yoga Centre and learning English and in exchange I lived with her like she lived in the Ashram in India. We practiced Jala Neti in the morning, meditation, asana twice a day, karma yoga, yoga nidra, and pranayama. It was an incredible experience and helped me on my path towards a daily yoga practice. She is an incredible inspiration to women and yoga teachers everywhere. I was particularly inspired by her dedication to helping Nepalis study yoga.
Traditional Hatha Yoga, as it's described in the school's oldest surviving instruction manuals, is an odd-looking duck, at least to our modern Western eyes. Take the granddaddy of these books, Svatmarama Yogendra's Hatha Yoga Pradipika (literally "Light on the Forceful Union-Method"), which is a venerable 600 years old, possibly older. It consists of 389 verses divided into four chapters on asana, pranayama, mudra ("seals") and bandha ("bonds"), and samadhi or enstasis. We moderns might expect the longest chapter would be on asana. And why not?
Happy Holidays!
We have some special early gifts for you to help you celebrate. Give yourself the gift of yoga this year and enjoy a free class with Senior Anusara Teacher Betsey Downing. Our way of saying thank you for supporting us during our first year. We have some other gifts for you coming soon. So stay tuned. We are working to improve our communication with you through our newsletters. Please feel free to let us know how we are doing by contacting us as newsletter@ihanuman.com. Happy Healthy Blessings to All. Thanks for helping to build the bridge with iHanuman. Namaste. The iHanuman Family.
If you're like most people nowadays, you probably spend a good portion of your waking hours sitting, mainly at your desk at work, but also driving in your car, at home reading or watching TV. But in fact humans aren't well adapted to spend long hours every day sitting in a chair. Our bodies crave and thrive on movement. Sitting, especially for prolonged periods of time, is actually more stressful on our spine, and the little spongy disks between the bony vertebrae, than standing. This stress is compounded by two other problems: most modern chairs are poorly designed for healthy sitting, and most people have poor posture (and not only while sitting but standing as well).
There is much focus around the equinoxes around 108 sun salutations. Many yoga teachers encourage this practice as a way to move through the change of seasons. This September 21-23, a large global event will take place, centered in Los Angeles, with the intention of spreading peace around the world like a mala or garland.
Channel YogaKira Ryder and friends at Lulu Bandha's have launched Channel Yoga, a video search site akin to YouTube but devoted solely to yoga. The staff there have scoured the internet and compiled a collection of hundreds of streamable video clips including teacher interviews, asana demonstrations, yoga video clips, and much, much more! You can also submit video links to share your practice with the wider yoga community.
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