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Journal Post

We are surprised to find, or not find rather, Vrschikasana, Scorpion Pose, listed among the backbends or the arm balances on the Yoga Journal List of Poses. As we wind down our backbends as we approach the spring equinox, we would be remiss in not including this challenging backbend among our poses.
There is no one pose that is the most feminine pose. Some poses are more feminine than others and some poses make you feel more feminine on different days of your practice. Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon Pose, always feels very feminine to me. Perhaps it is because when I practice it on a good day, I feel extremely graceful and elegant. And while the name, camel pose, may not sound very feminine, Ustrasana, is very uplifting and powerful.
Defy - To challenge the power of; resist boldy and openly.
For any yogi who has a favorite friend of the canine variety, you cannot help but smile when they practice upward or downward dog. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, or upward facing dog, is another in our series of backward bending poses which is also clearly an arm and wrist strengthening pose. Poses such as Bhujangasana, Cobra Pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Bridge Pose, are excellent preparatory poses for Upward Facing Dog pose.
Bhekasana or Frog Pose is another challenging backbend which requires strength not only in the back but also in the arms and flexibility in the shoulders. Bhekasana is best practiced after warming up with standing poses or other preparatory backbends.
Sometimes we get carried away with backbends. They tend to be fun and energetic poses, but we also need to remember that it is still wintertime and we are slowly coming out of our caves of hibernation and what we often need is a restorative yoga practice. Most of us need this form of yoga practice much more often than we like to admit. We can become wrapped up in the physicality of yoga poses and how yoga can make us stronger and more flexible and more virile. But yoga also restores us to balance and helps us relax and truly rest our western overactive minds and bodies.
dhanurasana (bow posture) Dhanurasana, or Bow Pose, is a fantastic back-bending pose for opening the chest and shoulders and strengthening the back. This pose is challenging as it reminds how important the legs are in back-bending poses. In addition to the strength in the back required for backbends, there is even more strength required in the legs, particularly the quadriceps.
ChaturangaChaturanga Dandasana or the Four-Limbed Staff Pose is also called Plank Position. Chaturanga Dandasana is itself not described as a backbend but is often used to prepare for backbends because it strengthens the spinal muscles. Plank pose is the infamous Yoga Push Up which is one of the sequence of asanas in Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations.
It is wintertime. One of the best seasons to practice yoga simply because it is an excellent indoor activity. In the chinese tradition, wintertime is a time to focus on balancing the Kidney Energy (Qi). One way to access the Kidney Qi is to practice backbends. And since it is February, it is also nice to focus on poses that open the heart. One of the myriad backbending asanas to choose from is Matsyasana or Lord of the Fishes pose. Yoga Journal has a good description for practicing Matsyasana. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a good video description of this pose, so we will just have to create one...
It is still cold here in Central Virginia. We have had an unusually precipitous Winter. Personally, I enjoy the change of seasons after several years living in a tropical climate in Southeast Asia. This Winter we have been challenged to slow down, go inside, reflect, meditate and truly hibernate. This can be difficult for those of us who prefer the growth of the Spring Season or the Fire of the Summer Season.
The mission of the Africa Yoga Project is to empower youth, build a global community and increase well-being in East Africa. They have introduced hundreds of students in Kenya to the practice of yoga, as well provided educational scholarships, job training food stipends, temporary housing and health services. Our core group of students are from impoverished backgrounds in Nairobi, Kenya, are between 16-30 years old and live on under $2 per day. Many are personally affected by HIV/AIDS and are living/have once lived on the streets.�Â� Visit the Africa Yoga Project for More information.
Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1923 - 2009) RAM RAM SATYA HAI OM NAMAH SHIVA http://www.yogavision.net/home.htm
BRRR! It sure is cold out. Winter has finally arrived and looks like it is here to stay. Wintertime is a time when we are asked to be particularly smart and intelligent. Why? Because if you are not, you can freeze to death! Now, thankfully, most of us are not likely in a position to freeze to death but we do run the risk of leaking heat into the cold outside and therefore losing precious energy. Our immune systems can be easily taxed so we must preserve our energy to sustain us through the cold months ahead. We are no longer graced by the bounty of the summer harvest, so we must dig into our root cellars and preserved foods to carry us through.
2009 - December: Maha Sadhana Intensives with Chandra Come join Chandra for the advanced Maha Sadhana Shiva Namaskar advanced vinyasa series. The advanced series is a unique, beautiful and vigorous sequence, incorporating many of the little known postures and their advanced variations. For Intermediate thru Advanced Yogis, though all are welcome, and may work at your own pace. Chandra will help you according to your abilities and needs. Friday, Dec 11 5:30pm-8:30pm
Saturday, Dec 12 5:30pm-8:30pm $50/intensive (pre-registration),
$60/intensive (one week prior--space permitting)
2010 - January: 250 hour Teacher Training
John Schumacher is making headlines in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for his pioneering efforts to bring Yoga to the area 30 years ago this year! Watch a short News Clip of John on Washington Business Tonight and then go visit him at his Bethesda, Maryland Studio. If you do not reside in the area, remember you can Practice Yoga Daily with John Schumacher by downloading his classes. His Spring 2009 class recordings are now available through our download store and Summer 2009 will be available in December.
Little Altars EverywhereMy husband and I just returned from our honeymoon in Greece. As a novice traveling in Europe, everything was magnificent. I have been fortunate to have traveled extensively in Southeast Asia and Africa over the last decade and always knew I would explore Europe later in life.
September is Yoga Month so we hope to provide you with lots of ideas and opportunities for practicing yoga this month. On September 20, 2009, Los Angeles Yogis are inspiring yoga communities around the world to come together and practice yoga collectively. Events are being coordinated world-wide in the name of yoga, seva and collective consciousness. The aim is to show the power of prayer and meditation when practiced communally and intentionally world-wide. From the Global Mala Project website:
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.
Practice at home with Betsey and Jaye as they lead you through 12 progessively taught 55-minute sessions in Anusara Yoga. Betsey and Jaye teach a logically sequenced series of poses within each class, gradually advancing the poses across a series of 12 classes. Perfect for beginners or experienced students looking for inspiration in their home practice. Get the entire set and experience the fun and power of progressive teaching. View Samples of the Videos and Download...
Lighten Up Yoga, located at 60 Biltmore Avenue, announces FREE YOGA DAY and Fundraiser for Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project Saturday September 12th Open to all students, the classes are an opportunity to learn about yoga in a safe and supportive environment and support the local farms that nurture and sustain us. In the spirit of community, Lighten Up will be collecting donations for ASAP. Clear your mind and connect with heart at Lighten Up Yoga while helping this great cause.
A weekend program September 18-20 at the beautiful Barn at Split Rock Farm. Because it is sponsored by Charlottesville Yoga School, CEUs from Yoga Alliance are available. The intention behind an equinox intensive is to take advantage of the changing of the seasons to inspire students to rejuvenate their yoga practice. Given the time of year it is safe to say that over the course of the weekend there will be lots of core work and twisting postures; in the Level III/IV classes I also plan to work in some challenging backbends, deep forward folding, and work on inversions.
Fall LeavesSeptember has arrived and is nearing time to put away our summer clothes in preparation for the chillier days and nights of Fall. The change of seasons from summer to fall is the ideal time to "Take Stock" for the Wintertime: assess how we have grown over the summer months, put aside what no longer serves us and begin to save some of our energy for the long winter months ahead.
It is said that the Buddha's definition of truth is "what works." His pithy statement points toward one of the essential teachings about truth also contained within the path of yoga: impermanence. Knowledge and information come into our consciousness at an appropriate time, enhance our being and when we've integrated the lesson, it passes. The intelligence to accept the impermanence of all experience is the seat of true knowingness.
Yoga has an almost addictive quality to it. If you start doing yoga, it starts doing you too. The search for knowledge, wisdom and truth morph into numerous shapes and forms along the inner journey. When you enter the world of yoga sometimes you'll even find a whole Indian performance awaiting you: harmonium, chanting, flowers, pujas, small women demonstrating yoga postures, deities blessing you, henna painting and vegetarians--it's a Bollywood show that draws you in.
You create your reality by the thoughts that you think. Your attention is itself responsible for your life experience. No matter how awful the traffic jam is, how loud your neighbors are, how inconsiderate people may seem, how delayed the airplane is, you are the one who is in control of your reality.
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.
Lord ShivaHappy July Friends! iHanuman has been busy this month working on upgrading our website to offer our teachers and students new web features and communication tools, so we do not have a new feature this month, but we do have 6 new video classes with Anusara Yoga Teachers Betsey Downing, Ph.D and Jaye Martin.
Come immerse yourself in the practice of Ashtanga Yoga with David Garriques and the Charlottesville Ashtanga community !
The 6th Annual Ashtanga Summer Immersion is divided into three parts, held at Belmont and The Barn at Split Rock Farm:
Part 1: Daily Practice
Sunday, July 13 - Sunday, July 27:
Mondays - Fridays: Mysore Practice, 6:30-8:30am, at Belmont
Sundays: Led Primary Series, 9:30-11:30am, at The Barn
Part 2: In-Depth Study and Teacher Training
Monday, July 14 - Friday, July 25; 11:00am-4:00pm, at The Barn
This month we offer you a special interview with California Yogini, Heather Tiddens. Listening to her Interview and viewing photographs of Heather reminds us of the goddess energy present within all beings. And with Mother's Day just passing, Heather's gentle spirit is reminiscent of the nurturing energy provided by women, mothers and Earth sisters. She helps us remember the importance of being kind to ourselves, to our friends and family, and to the Earth, the ultimate nurturer.
Spring Cherry BlossomsJoyful Spring to You! The season of Spring represents the Wood Element and we are reminded with each new conscious breath; each inhalation brings a new earthy scent. If you pause, you can literally feel the earth moving beneath your feet and all around you. Buds and shoots push themselves from the ground in anticipation of the warmth and sunlight to come.
, the highly regarded Yoga teacher and Buddhist practitioner, was interviewed by The Agony Column's Rick Kleffel on her new book Insight Yoga: Integrating Yin/Yang Yoga and Buddhist Meditation. In this excellent interview they discuss Sarah's unique approach to yoga practice which she developed through her wide-ranging personal explorations into Yoga, Buddhism, Chinese Medicine, and Transpersonal Psychology. As one of today's most authentic, grounded, and spiritually mature voices in Yoga, this interview with Sarah is not to be missed.
The Courage to Feel, Matthew Sanford on Yoga, Disability, and Mending the Mind - Body Relationship
By Sara Avant Stover
On a cold and misty Sunday afternoon in 1978 Matthew Sanford and his family were driving home from a Thanksgiving weekend in Kansas City, Missouri. Matthew, then thirteen, was asleep in the backseat when their car crossed a bridge, skidded on a patch of ice, and toppled down a steep embankment. Three and half days later, he woke up from a coma to learn that his life as he had known it was over. Both his father and sister were dead and he was paralyzed from the chest down.
The Karma CollectioniHanuman is pleased to announce the release of the Karma Collection, a special collection of recordings available for purchase from iHanuman's Yoga Digital Download Store that directly benefit charities around the world.
iHanuman was honored to present Ramana's Garden founder Dr. Prabhavati Dwabha with a check for 5% of the profits from the iHanuman Digital Download Store during her most recent visit to the U.S. We would like to thank each and every yogi and yogini who has purchased an audio class, yoga video, or workshop from iHanuman! Know that your purchase not only benefits you and your practice, but through the included charitable contribution it goes on to make a direct, positive impact in the lives of people around the world.
Valentine's DayNamaste and Happy New Year Friends! The New Year brings the opportunity for shedding the old aspects of ourselves and our lives that no longer serve us. This allows us to make room for the new growth that comes with the warmer winds and longer days of Spring. iHanuman has been in hibernation this Winter to develop our media platform which will be released later this summer. Stay Tuned!
Fine tune your approach to Corpse Pose through an exploration of varying teaching philosophies.
By Sara Avant Stover
Annie Carpenter shares her wisdom on APARIGRAHA the fifth of the five yamas, or disciplines, set out by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras.
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!
Dear Friends,
The International Association of Yoga Therapists (www.iayt.org) is presenting the third annual Symposium for Yoga Therapy and Research (SYTAR); the premier professional forum in the field of Yoga therapy is designed for experienced yoga teachers, yoga therapists and those involved with health care and Yoga research. SYTAR 2009 is geared for yoga professionals to learn, meet, discuss and practice among peers. Up to 22 continuing education units from Yoga Alliance serve to enhance this event. As well, SYTAR 2009 will have CEUs available for other related fields.
Yoga As MedicineNamaste! Happy Yoga Month! September is National Yoga Month.The ideal month to establish or re-establish your daily yoga practice. Find a reputable teacher in your area or visit our download store and practice with one of our world-renowned teachers.
AUGUST 22-24, 2008
Early registration by August 10: Entire workshop $125. After August 10: $140
Friday pm, 5:30-8:30 pm - $35
Mysore Practice and Yoga Philosophy
Saturday am, 9:00-11:30 am - $35
Mysore Practice
Saturday pm, 12:30-4:00pm -$50
Ashtanga and Healing: Moving with the Breath and Adjustment Clinic
Sunday am, 9:30-12:00pm - $35
Led Primary Series Class and Introduction to Pranayama
Eagle PoseNamaste! Our Yoga Community in Central Virginia holds an Annual Summer Yoga Immersion. This seems to be what the height of summer in July portends: Immersing yourself in something you love, like yoga, so you can come into your full bloom like a stunning sunflower. Harness the fire and heat of summer to express yourself to the fullest.
First DaffodilsNamaste!
Spring is here and feels great as it invigorates our joints, hearts and minds. We begin to move out of hibernation to feel the sun on our skin. Relationships are renewed and it is a great time to set an intention or sankalpa for our practice as we move into the woody growth phase of spring.
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.
By now, given yoga's broad popularity, many people know that the word yoga means to unite or yoke together. When one moves past the common notion that yoga is mostly about exercise, flexibility, and relaxation and begins to delve into the underlying philosophy of yoga, one begins to encounter conceptually and experientially what this business of unity is really about. From the moment you stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and ground through your feet, you become aware that the actions of your feet have a direct and palpable effect on your ankles, your legs, your spine, indeed, your entire body. In other words, all the parts of your body are connected to one another. Well, duh!
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.
Spring DahliaSpring is on the way! Breathing deeply feels like the right thing to do. Continuing to stay centered from the internal reflection of winter and beginning to feel the expansion of spring as the days stay lighter longer and the sun feels a little bit warmer each day. Spring is a great time to cleanse the body with natural herbs, teas and water and a great time to renew your commitment to your regular daily practice.

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