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Journal Post

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
Take your seat in style and discover how what you wear affects how you feel and how
others feel about you.By Sara Avant Stover
Whether you buy your yoga wardrobe from WalMart or Lululemon, you can find just the right fashions to suit your size, budget, and mood. As a student, you might search for styles that show off your body or personality, but, as a teacher, there's more to consider. When you step into the seat of the teacher you become a role model. Then what you wear has a greater impact not only on how you feel but also on how others feel, too. The task is to dress in a way that uplifts your words, actions, and spirit in service to your students and your subject matter.
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?
It may seem complicated to manage the needs of parents and their children in a yoga setting, but parent and child classes offer your students moments of calm and connection amid the chaos of parenting.
By Sara Avant Stover
Being a parent doesn't have to mean zero personal time and a slimmed-down social life. Today yoga classes are not just for the super-fit, super-flexible, and super-serious. Anyone and everyone can find a class that suits his or her needs-including parents and children.
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?
How to work with, not against, your fellow yoga instructors
Many of us turned to yoga for its promise of happiness. The four walls of a studio and its community of like-minded Sun Saluters offered solace from the rat race outside. When we stepped onto our yoga mats, we stepped intoa world where joy and harmony reigned.
Later, we became yoga teachers. Sometimes this entailed leaving behind careers that brought big paychecks (for some) an even bigger burnout (for most). Ready to serve students by offering them the scrumptious fruits of yoga, we were bright-eyed, enthusiastic, and, in hindsight, naive.
The summer after I graduated from college I headed off to fulfill a dream -- I traveled solo through Europe for two months. Sauntering on Parisian streets; sipping vino in Italy; snuggling under down comforters in Switzerland and Austria; and noshing on pastries in Belgium, and Prague -- I was finally free of all the obligations that my schooling had entailed and was embarking on the path of my adult life.
At least that's how things seemed on the outside.
Sandra Pleasants, E.R.Y.T. 500
Certified Junior Intermediate Iyengar Yoga Instructor
Please contact Sandra directly for more information on her classes and class schedule at 434-361-2262 or sandra.pleasants [a] gmail.com
* Monday Level I/II at 9:15 AM held at Rockfish Valley Community Center in Nellysford, VA
* Monday Level II/III at 6:00PM held at Rockfish Valley Community Center in Nellysford, VA
* Wednesday Level I/II at 9:30AM held at Blue Ridge Yoga Center in Charlottesville, VA
* Thursday Level I/II at 6:00PM held at The Nelson Center, JABA room in Lovingston, VA
Classes Monday and Thursday are $15 for dropins and $112 if paying for a session which is 8 weeks.
Jyotisha: The Yoga of the Cosmos
Interview with Dr. Katyayani Poole, Ph.D
By Sara Avant Stover
She hadn't spoken to her brother in three years. Despite being a dedicated yoga teacher and practitioner and serving as Core Power's Colorado regional manager, Heather Peterson couldn't find the tools to mend this familial divide.
"All of the other work I've done to heal this relationship" she revealed, "are interesting and good, but to understand things from a larger, karmic perspective through Jyotisha (pronounced joe-teesh-ah) helped me to make bigger changes."
Use your yoga teachings to inspire social change.
Drinking ginger tea, omitting dairy foods from her diet and taking daily walks became as routine as brushing her teeth for Jennifer Cormier, a Pilates instructor at Inward Bound Wellness in Ashland, Oregon. To shed winter weight and brighten her complexion with spring's arrival, Jenn dabbled with Ayurveda (pronounced eye-yur-vay-dah), India's traditional healing science. After a month of adhering to these ancient daily rituals, Jenn began to feel more in rhythm with the budding of new life around her. She began to laugh more and sleep more soundly. Her digestion improved, her eyes sparkled, and she had more energy to exercise and enjoy activities with friends and family.
Sandra Pleasants, E.R.Y.T. 500
Certified Junior Intermediate Iyengar Yoga Instructor
Please contact Sandra directly for more information on her classes and class schedule at 434-361-2262 or sandra.pleasants [a] gmail.com
* Monday Level I/II at 9:00AM held at Rockfish Valley Community Center in Nellysford, VA
* Monday Level II/III at 6:00PM held at Rockfish Valley Community Center in Nellysford, VA
* Wednesday Seniors at 9:30AM held at Blue Ridge Yoga Center in Charlottesville, VA
* Thursday Level I/II at 9:00AM held at Rockfish Valley Community Center in Nellysford, VA
* Thursday Level I/II at 6:00PM held at Trinity Episcopal Church Parish Hall in Arrington, VA
A true artist can sense when he has achieved the perfect balance between tradition and innovation. In the category of "yoga rock stars" and kirtan ( a form of Indian devotional music) leaders, Jai Uttal is such an artist. I had heard his voice many times:bellowing through the speakers of the car stereo as I sped down the highway, whispering through the earphones of my iPod as I jetsetted overseas, buzzing softly in the lobby of yoga studios as I unfurled my mat. But meeting the face and the personality behind his victorious voice and eclectic melodies felt surprisingly like visiting with an old friend.
Welcome to iHanuman: Love Service Devotion Yoga. We are an online community of yoga teachers dedicated to serving our students through new media. We have created a bridge between students, teachers and the ancient teachings of yoga. Please check back often for new information and updates. In the meantime, you may want to browse Our Community of Teachers or listen to audio and video of Our Latest Features or perhaps browse and Download Audio and Video Classes in Our Download Store.
Thanks for helping to build the bridge with iHanuman.
Namaste
It was a late lunch/early dinner (linner? Or lunner?) with a good friend, and after addressing and quickly solving a number of thorny issues that have troubled humankind for millennia, our attention wandered from swerve of shore to bend of bay and settled on the strange case of the Yoga Sutra. No one knows much of anything concrete about the origins and authorship of this little curiosity of about 1200 words, maybe 100 fewer than the Declaration of Independence. Estimates of its date of composition range anywhere from 200 BCE to 200 CE, its authorship, or more precisely compilation attributed to a semi-mythical figure named Patanjali.
I recently was out on Long Island in New York state to participate in a teacher training. Two of the students in that training are starting a website titled Breath Repeat (www.breatherepeat.com) and asked me to contribute. Here's what I had to say.
It was my great good fortune last Fall to attend a small yoga conference at beautiful Cavallo Point, just on the Marin side of the Golden Gate. One of the speakers there, Anne O'Brien, a local teacher, gave a fascinating talk about state of yoga teacher training here in the US, presenting in the process some innovative ideas about how such a program should be organized. I naturally began to think about the training program here at PYS, which was just beginning its third cycle in September 2009. Our two previous programs together graduated about 40 students, several of whom are now teaching here in one way or another.
The last time we checked in we were in India in the last quarter of the 18th century, with the British East India Company (EIC) serving as much of the country's governing body. Unfortunately for India, like most businesses-except Piedmont Yoga of course-the EIC was in business to make money, and when that aim conflicted with good government-surprise!-making money won out. When a severe drought hit India and food shortages threatened, despite plenty of early warnings the EIC sat on its collective hands and did nothing...nothing that is except allow merchants to RAISE the price of foodstuffs, thereby exacerbating an already catastrophic situation. The result was predictable: uncounted millions of Indians died of starvation.
I reviewed my first video for Yoga Journal in 1991, and since then I've reviewed at least a couple in every single issue for the last 18 years. Just this year I reviewed my 300th video (though I've probably watched at least half again as many that didn't pass muster), and by some strange alignment of planets or more likely some cosmic comedy of karmas, it was a presentation by our very own Rod Yee.
After a month's hiatus, we return to the story of Yoga in the US. In the July newsletter we looked at one of the unsung female Yoga pioneers of the 20th century, Sita Devi Yogendra, and I promised you then more about our female trail blazers. So this month we'll visit with a woman whose life spanned the entire 20th century, and whose followers lovingly called her the "First Lady of Yoga."
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.
This link to an online Newsweek article, dated May 13, 2010, came from a friend through my email the other day. Titled "The Clash of the Yogis: Do the Hindu Roots of Yoga Matter?," author Lisa Miller, the magazine's religion editor, raises several issues that beg responses, though because of space limits I'll only be able to deal with the question asked in the piece's sub-title.
One thing about PYS that may be a little different from many other yoga schools is the plethora of props. If you're a regular student here you no doubt think all the blocks and blankets and chairs and straps and bags and bolsters are par for the course, but there are a good number of schools around that have only a handful of props or-heaven forbid!-no props at all. In 21st century yoga, the presence of all this stuff is usually a sure sign that the majority of teachers on the staff, including yours truly, grew up yogically in or around the Iyengar system, which is widely known for its innovative use-or in some students' estimation, overuse-of props.
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.
My original intention for this month was to write about one of the pioneers of modern yoga, Shri Yogendra. But just this morning I received a newsletter from a yoga school-here unnamed-where I found a short essay, "About Yoga," that begins with: "Yoga is an ancient science practiced for thousands of years." Friends, as Joan Rivers says, can we talk? Let's start with "thousands of years." The Sanskrit word sanatva means "ancientness," it's an idea that's found everywhere in Hinduism.
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.
My formal Sanskrit education recently passed the one year mark, so I suppose it's time to share a bit of What I've Learned So Far. First let me say that before starting this weekly class last Fall, I spent 20 frustrating years trying on and (mostly) off to teach myself Sanskrit. I went through maybe three or four "teach-yourself-Sanskrit" primers, which for the most part were about as readable as Finnegans Wake. So if you have an irresistible urge to humble yourself with Sanskrit, take my advice and find a good tutor.
Whenever you practice or read about Yoga, you'll inevitably run across Sanskrit. Sanskrit is the classical language of India, much like Latin is the classical language of medieval Europe. Nowadays Sanskrit is pretty much a dead language, and though it's still one of a dozen or so official languages of India, even in its heyday Sanskrit was spoken only by a relatively small circle of academics and priests.
No sooner than I heard the words "you already know" then I realized that becoming a yoga teacher would change my life forever. A light bulb immediately went off during my training and the sheer power of this statement resonated so deeply with me that I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. When I am faced with the fluctuations of life, the anxieties of the unknown, and the temperance of ambitions, I stop to breathe and listen, and remind myself that "I already know."
No matter how long you've been practicing yoga you are sure to be familiar with Anjali mudra (prayer position). By understanding the gesture of bringing "hands to heart center" as more than a physical act, you have the power to change your entire practice.
"We are here to love each other, serve each other,
and uplift each other" -Anonymous
It is with practice and self-inquiry that we come to understand how yoga is much more than a series of poses and breathing exercises. In fact, we see quite clearly that the practice is about relationships, to one another and most importantly to ourselves. With continued practice we learn to serve others, creating an atmosphere of compassion, acceptance, and tolerance, and a more peaceful way of living.
Atha Yoganusasnam
Yogash Citta Vrtti Nirodhah
Tada Drashtuh Svarupe Avasthanam
-Yoga Sutra-s (1.1-1.3)
The Yoga Sutra-s of Patanjali is handbook for yoga, but you do not have to read much further than first few lines to understand what yoga is all about. Patanjali makes his intentions clear from the very beginning.
1. Atha Yoganusasnam (YS 1.1). Now is the time for Yoga.
With the very first sutra Patanjali sets forth the path of yoga. What follows are complete instructions on what yoga is and how, through practice, we begin to still the mind, reaching Samadhi (bliss). But, you must start now. Now is the time.
Stepping on to your mat for the first time can be a daunting experience. The excitement of trying something new, moving your body in ways you've never imagined, and stretching your limits can be exhilarating, if not overwhelming. The same can be said for more practiced students, who with time and experience may feel ready to push beyond their limits, but end up feeling frustrated when they cannot "go beyond."  That being said, whether you're brand new or you've been practicing for many years now, following are a few tips to keep in mind whenever you come to your mat.
Happiness is, and always will be, a beautiful and unique human desire.  Yogi Bhajan stated that it is "our birthright to be happy" and H.H. Dalai Lama has artfully taught us what it means to be happy.  With every breath we take, every intention we make, happiness is the source that drives us.
Happiness can be so many things and what might make one person happy, could absolutely bore the next. It can be as simple as smile or as complex as a long-standing completed project.  Just like life, happiness is what you make it. I say, you must participate in order to understand what true happiness really is.
Welcome to iHanuman: Love Service Devotion Yoga. We are an online community of yoga teachers dedicated to serving our students through new media. We have created a bridge between students, teachers and the ancient teachings of yoga. Please check back often for new information and updates. In the meantime, you may want to browse Our Community of Teachers or listen to audio and video of Our Latest Features or perhaps browse and Download Audio and Video Classes in Our Download Store.
Thanks for helping to build the bridge with iHanuman.
Namaste
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.
Welcome to iHanuman: Love Service Devotion Yoga. We are an online community of yoga teachers dedicated to serving our students through new media. We have created a bridge between students, teachers and the ancient teachings of yoga. Please check back often for new information and updates. In the meantime, you may want to browse Our Community of Teachers or listen to audio and video of Our Latest Features or perhaps browse and Download Audio and Video Classes in Our Download Store.
Thanks for helping to build the bridge with iHanuman.
Namaste
ONGOING CLASSES Yoga - All Levels, Sundays 10 - 11:30 am at Balance Studio Yoga for Osteoporosis, Wednesdays, 9:30 - 10:45 am ~ contact Kym directly
Gentle Yoga for Health, Wednesdays 11:00 - 12:15
Gentle Yoga for Health, Saturdays 10 - 11:15 am ~ contact Kym directly Moving Forward, a program including yoga and therapeutic exercise for cancer survivors
Mondays 6 - 8pm October 2016, Hope Connections for Cancer Support, Bethesda MD IION, Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation retreat, Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts
"Yoga as an Integrative Healing Tool"
Welcome to iHanuman: Love Service Devotion Yoga. We are an online community of yoga teachers dedicated to serving our students through new media. We have created a bridge between students, teachers and the ancient teachings of yoga. Please check back often for new information and updates. In the meantime, you may want to browse Our Community of Teachers or listen to audio and video of Our Latest Features or perhaps browse and Download Audio and Video Classes in Our Download Store.
Thanks for helping to build the bridge with iHanuman.
Namaste
Every argument with your partner, every honk in a traffic jam and every annoying TV host gives you the chance to check in with yourself to see where you really stand on the inner plane of reality. It's easy to postulate the choice of peace over war, but in the midst of a heated stand-off we are often more interested in being right than in being peaceful. Whenever you care more about the validity of your argument over the connection with the person you're with, the hard truth of the matter is that you would rather be right than be at peace.
This year's political season in the U.S. highlights some of the most monumental achievements and pitfalls of the past century and inspires a renewal of the dream of peace, hope and change. Yet in such an atmosphere we must also ask ourselves where the realization of such broad specturm dreams is to be found if these ideals are really to be more than just a dream after all is said and done. We know now that the ultimate resolution of the seemingly eternal problems of humanity is not to be found in a battle between nations fought with weapons of mass destruction, nor in a war of words among politicians, nor in the battle of the sexes. So where and to whom do we turn to answer the most difficult questions of our lives?
Our life is short, yet a real sense of time eludes us. It is more common to get hooked on the world of sensory pleasure than to live a spiritual life. E-bay, appointments and shopping consume the grasping mind. Television seems calmer than silence. Pain and loss are more addictive than gratitude and joy.
When we begin practicing yoga the deepest part of our consciousness asks for clarity, awakening and truth. What is sometimes the first step in taking positive steps towards the peace that we all yearn for is a recognition of exactly how deeply we are entrenched within our ways of warfare. Yoga for example can sometimes be riddled with fierce competition. You might find yourself competing with a new yoga practitioner in your daily class who is naturally very flexible. Or you might find yourself competing with yourself and comparing your body in a negative light with the way it was last year, last week or yesterday. Yet still you might be competing with your friends and peers.
Can there be any doubt that we are in the midst of great change? From the historic campaigns waged by both American political parties to the rise of China as a superpower to the generational shifts in the workforce to catastrophic weather patterns to changes in the face of yoga, everywhere you look the tides are turning in some form or another. When Shiva as the great destroyer dances on the small ego we all have, it is change itself embodied the great equalizer of the Hindu deities. Resist change and you resist the law of life. Fight it and you will only hurt yourself.
How you think, feel and act influences the kind of interactions you have in the world. While there might not always be an easy causal relationship between thought, action and experience, if you dig deep enough the connection is almost always evident. There is an ancient Zen parable that tells of a young monk-in-training who searches the world for a true master and a peaceful place, but finds only angry, unhappy people everywhere he goes. After roaming through many towns the young aspirant meets a Zen teacher in disguise who asks the traveler what he has experienced during his journey.
From Top Chef to Judge Judy's Courtroom Theater to the Tragedy of Tosca drama sells. At its best drama entertains, teaches and makes people laugh. At its worst it brings out division, hurtfulness and hatred. Yet human beings are somewhat enthralled with the ups and downs of their own emotions. You might even venture to say that we are addicted to them. It is all too easy to get dragged down into the habit pattern of the mind's sometimes sordid past when emotions flare and all too hard to choose the higher, more peaceful ground above. There is truth to the notion that our inner world is a kind of jungle in need of healing.
A yoga posture demonstrated by a master level practitioner is often the epitome of grace and ease. Yet when the novice student attempts to mirror these same movements the degree of difficulty is immediately evident. The real test of a yoga practitioner comes when the path ahead is laid out clearly and the student choose whether to commits to each step of the journey regardless of difficulty.

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