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Journal Post

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.
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.
Have you been in a class at Willow Street where your teacher set the theme of the class as "change"? In our practice of yoga, we experience change in many ways, from the mat to what we take from the mat into our daily lives. Whether planned or unexpected, change permeates the flow of life. Change is the one thing we can count on.
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.
Your stomach is growling as you try to hold off from eating until yoga class is over - two hours from now. If you don't eat anything before class, you might keel over mid-Sun Salutation. If you do eat something, you'll wish you hadn't the moment you spring into Handstand. What's a hungry yogi to do?
Our ancestors lived in harmony with nature's changing seasons. In lieu of fancy spas and healing retreats, they relied on plants, prayer, and rituals to heal themselves. Today, we've lost our connection to that wisdom. The frenzied pace of the modern world, our increased exposure to environmental toxins, and a growing alienation from nature have caused most of us to fall out of alignment with an optimal state of health and happiness. But each new year brings another opportunity to perform the time-honored ritual of internal cleansing. Spring, which celebrates rebirth lasts approximately from March 15 to May 15 in the Ayurvedic calendar, is the perfect time for detoxification.
Hanging in my office's south-facing window is a prism, a flat plate of glass about four inches in diameter. For half the year, in the spring and summer, the Sun is high in the sky and the angle of its rays too steep to filter through the glass and into my room. Effectively out of sight then, as the old adage has it, it's also usually out of mind, though occasionally, when nudged by a breeze blowing through the open window, it taps against the pane ... clack, clack, clack ... and reminds me it's still hanging around. This morning though when I opened the slatted blinds that cover the window, a hint of rainbow sprawled across my floor, not nearly the full spectrum, just a long uneven smudge of red.
This weekend some of you may consider practicing 108 Sun Salutations to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox or to support the Global Mala Project, but have you ever stopped to think why it must be repeated 108 times? What's so significant about the number 108? Well...a lot of things!
108 is a sacred number found in many different religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, to name a few.  The malas we use when reciting mantra contain 108 beads, much like the Catholic rosary.  We practice 108 Sun Salutations at the Spring and Fall equinox to mark the changing of the seasons. The number 108 is all around us, all of the time.
The old saying "when it rains, it pours" seems ironically fitting for the past few weeks of my life. I've been knocked around by the Universe a lot more than I'd care to admit, and to be honest, I've had a hard time letting go. Of course, the logical part of me knows that these setbacks are only temporary, reminding myself that this too shall pass. However, the emotional side of me has had a hard time releasing and surrendering to the path before me. I've tried just about every meditation, pranayama, and visualization technique in my arsenal and hardly anything has worked to pull me out of my deep despair.
If you believe everything you read online, hear on the radio or see on TV, then you're probably convinced that we really are headed straight down the proverbial toilet bowl. But think again. Nothing you read, hear or see is absolutely true. News, although an attempt an objectivity, is nevertheless an account given by a person, just as history is a story told by the survivors. Many pioneering thinkers and coaches suggest taking a "news fast" for a week to ten days as part of a mental detoxification program.
 
We now find ourselves halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Earth-based spirituality celebrates the period from February 1st-February 4th by observing a holiday called Candlemas.  One of eight fire rituals in the traditional calendar, it marks an important time of purification and passage.  It is interesting to note its counterpart in the Christian tradition, in which the holiday Candlemas marks the ritual purification ceremony performed at the Temple of Jerusalem for the infant Jesus and his mother Mary.
The days are steadily growing longer and warmer, and the      nights are gradually losing their chill.  Coming out of a long,  cold winter, many of us are finding our energy levels rising  and our calendars growing busier.  It seems that every week  there is a different festival or other opportunity to get outside  and enjoy the spring breezes and birdsong.  There are so  many exciting events and projects happening that it can be a  challenge to find enough energy for it all.
In these last few days it has felt as though spring is just around the corner.  The snow that has been lingering for several weeks is starting to melt, exposing fertile soils to the encouraging sun.  Because it has been a gradual warming rather than a sudden rise in temperature, the streams and rivers are not strained beyond their capacity, and flooding has been kept to a minimum.
Of all the virtues involved in the science of yoga, there is none higher than ahimsa. Ahimsa is the golden thread that runs through all Yoga practice and is the foundation on which all Yogis build the Divine life. Practice of Ahimsa develops pure, unconditional and universal love. The one message of all saints and sages is the message of love. Ahimsa is the highest of all traits found in the mind, speech and actions of all perfected souls. There is only one religion—the religion of love, of peace. There is only one message—the message of unconditional and universal love. Ahimsa is the supreme duty of a Yogi. If you are established in Ahimsa, you have attained all virtues. All virtues spring forth from Ahimsa.
As we step into spring, we move forward out of darkness and into light. Flowers bloom and babies are born. It is a time of renewal.  If you're like me, there are times when your practice has become routine and lackluster. Stale. Even boring.  Use spring as a time to introduce a new sense of play and investigation into your practice.  Take this time to address a pose or series of poses that are challenging to you and approach them without attachment. I particularly like arm balances and inversions(who doesn't love a little handstand at the wall at impromptu moments?) but any remix of your old routine will do.  Always do triangle first? Maybe make a pact not to do it for the next week.
Terry Dobson, an American martial arts master and former U.S. Marine, was a big, powerful man who learned nonviolence by studying the Japanese discipline of Aikido, which means "Way of Harmony." In Aikido, the emphasis is on restoring peace rather than winning a battle. Terry told many stories to illustrate that the "enemy" is usually no further away than our own mind and heart. This is one of our favorites:
The train clanked and rattled through the suburbs of Tokyo on a drowsy spring afternoon. Our car was comparatively empty - a few housewives with their kids in tow, some old folks going shopping. I gazed absently at the drab houses and dusty hedgerows.
Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again. Chinese inscription cited by Thoreau in Walden
Discipline is one of those qualities that many of us wish we had more of! In fact, a study several years ago listed lack of discipline as one of the most common regrets as people looked back on their lives. My favorite definition is framed on the wall in the yoga center and in my office: Discipline is remembering what you want. This definition established discipline from the inside out, so it's an inspiration rather than a control imposed from the outside in.
A friend and delighted owner of a new puppy sent me this story that explains all about pets.The Institute for Biblical Archaeology today announced the discovery of an early version of the Book of Genesis in the Dead Sea Scrolls. If authentic, it would shed significant light on the question, "Where do pets come from?"
... And Adam said, "Lord, when I was in the Garden, you walked with me everyday. Now, I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me."
...God responded, "I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and will be a
It's not too late to start over! Did you rise on January 1, 2012! with the best of intentions and then life just started to take over and you lost some steam? This is just a reminder that you can start your new year over anytime you want! In fact, it may feel more authentic to you to take this time now between the full moon and the upcoming new moon to reset your intentions. This is when the Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first new moon of the year.
Credit: Woven - Montauk Beach Finally March has arrived and we can begin to wake ourselves up from our long winter's nap. In March, we clear away the clutter from the windy cold winter to allow the new green sprouts to show their color. We plant seeds for what we want to grow and blossom this spring and summer and prune the last of the dead limbs. What remains? What are we bringing forth into the new year to nourish the seeds and tender green shoots? And who are the people in our lives that will support us on this journey?
GaneshThe Solar New Year has returned again, not only ringing in a new year, but a new decade! It is a time most of us vow to rid ourselves of the excesses of the holidays in favor of resolutions for our highest expression of ourselves.
I had so much fun with my 30 days of gratitude that I am commencing on another project, 90 days of yoga!�Â�  2011 marks the tenth year of my serious studies as a yoga student. And I will take back the seat of the teacher in the Spring of 2011! I finished my teacher training in 2004 and immediately began teaching. It was something I absolutely loved! But then we started iHanuman which took up a tremendous amount of time and energy and I could feel my energy for teaching begin to wane. I also had some personal healing to attend to.
Today we shifted our life around literally and figuratively. Literally because we are moving spring and summer clothes up to the attic in favor of the warmer variety.�Â�  We did so just in time for our first heavy frost last night of 25 degrees! And I am just about to receive many boxes from my childhood which were waiting for us to create space. In some senses it feels like a grandiose task. Figuratively because this is what happens when you move things around.
Last night was the full moon and I spent the entire day in ceremony. This full moon was a particularly auspicious one because it is the Full Moon of Initiation and the Lunar Celebration of the Beginning of Winter. Traditionally�Â�  all of the harvest had been stored for the winter and all debts for the year were paid. Traditionally ceremonies were held to release our shadow selves to the eternal flame that burns through the winter and let it burn in transformation for the spring. We release those parts of ourselves that no longer serve us so we can preserve energy for that which we want to flourish in the new year.
Attitude of GratitudeNovember is Gratitude Month at iHanuman. Our intention is to make gratitude a daily practice, and in an effort to set that practice in motion we are encouraging you to join us by posting something that you are grateful for every day during the month of November.
For the last nine months, I have taken an herbal medicine course with Sacred Plant Traditions under the tutelage of Kathleen Maier. Herbal Medicine combines so many of interests in health, healing, botany, language and beauty. This weekend I am finishing my final project for the course and I am thankful for the opportunity to share what I have learned. First and foremost, I have been introduced to the plants ( most of which grow in my backyard ) and the energetics of the plants. I have also learned how to preserve the plants through tinctures, teas, salves, oils, honeys and vinegars.
, we were taught how to lead a ceremony. This particular ceremony's intention was to let go of grief from this past year; this could be the loss of a loved one, a job, or anything else which you chose to let go. Three days later on the autumnal equinox our cat died and I found myself holding ceremony for 24 hours which concluded with a full moon circle.
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
As much as we all hate to admit it, summer has wound down. However, as I mentioned last month, the late summer season into Fall are my favorite seasons. I say seasons because Ayurveda, the science of Life or sister science to Yoga, claims there are six seasons. The additional seasons are the late summer/early fall and the late winter/early spring.
I always heard that people start to get allergies as they age and I all but prided myself on being such a picture of health that I "did not have allergies". But a young healthy woman in her teens and twenties SHOULD be healthy and free from allergies, right? This is the prime of your life. Honestly, if you want better health as you age, you must claim it for Yourself. Health is not something that is handed out to anyone on a Silver Platter.
I spent most of yesterday indulging in the last day of a mini 5 day retreat. Don't get me wrong, I love a good retreat as much as the next lady and I try to take mini retreats every week, but this one was somewhat forced upon me because of an unexpected slide down our studio stairs. I was blissfully day dreaming about starting a women's circle when I carelessly stepped down the stairs and proceeded to bump my left side down the well-worn oak stairs.
In looking for some inspiration for writing this newsletter, I did not have to do much more than walk outside. It is amazing how beautiful and wonderful the world is, especially in the springtime after a long cold winter. It was not that long ago when people depended on new shoots and leaves of spring as the first fresh food since at least the Winter Solstice. IMAGINE if you HAD TO wait until the middle of March to eat fresh greens!
Although some are talking about another 40 inches of snow this month, March is the month of the spring equinox and therefore heralds the beginning of spring. Until then, we are still in the water element and the end of the winter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Colorful TurbinsAhhh August! Summer begins to come to a close; a bittersweet feeling. But this also means the cool winds and vibrant colors of Fall are on their way. iHanuman is busy upgrading our website to offer our teachers and students new web features and communication tools, We hope to roll out our new features next month, September, so please stay tuned.
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.
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.
Spring is the natural time for restoration and renewal. After a season of drawing the energy inward, it is time to undo the stagnation and accumulation of ama (stagnation of toxic particles that clog our energy channels) that has occurred over winter. I just returned from an amazing 3 days at Prama Institute, Marshall, NC (pramainstitute.org), with the most wonderful, brave, curious explorers! We dedicated the weekend to our own journey inward, seeking the truth of our own consciousness, with the help of some great meditations and cleanses. If you are interested in partaking in your own cleanse (cleansing physical, emotional and mental toxins), please click here for some recommendations.
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!
National Institutes of HealthMay Day! May Day! Sorry to sound alarmist, just trying to get your attention! It seems to be what the earth is trying to tell us this month. Wake up and bloom, flowers! Wake up and smell the flowers, people. Just wake up! There is much to celebrate in May.
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.
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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