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Journal Post

Have you ever walked into a string of extremely unfortunate events? Imagine that your partner leaves you for a younger, prettier, wealthier, funnier version of yourself the moment you feel deeply insecure about your body. Then the government slams you with $4,000 of extra taxes to paid right after you quit your job. And in your yoga practice you injure your hamstring right after your shoulder finally started to get back into shape. There are often weeks, months or even years that may have you wondering what the Divine plan for your life is really all about anyway.
Emotional vulnerability seems to snowball at all the most inappropriate moments. When you're feeling down the most insignificant comment can send you deeper into the darkness. On days when you feel torn open by life, your heart is raw, exposed, and injured. In this space everything hurts. Is it just chance and coincidence that dishes up misery for no reason or is there some hidden cosmic force that answers to a pecking order higher than your melancholic feelings?
If you're looking for a sense of ease, grace and effortlessness in your practice, the key lies in finding a sense of spaciousness in your mind. There is a way to practice and to be with your body to create the kind of neurological and structural foundations for a complete sense of openness. There is a way to literally get more flexible without collapsing the core stabilizing patterns of the body. In this way you may learn to practice all types of yoga with an inner awareness that has relaxation as its basis.
Yoga inspires us, moves us beyond our normal boundaries, and asks us to dedicate ourselves in new ways. Even if you are just beginning your yoga experience, you already know the unmistakable peace left in your body after an amazing session. If you are lucky enough to have a regular yoga practice already, then you have committed yourself on at least some level to the path of personal discovery.
In every yoga class, you renew your commitment to be present with ourselves. When you choose to create the time and space to practice yoga, you powerfully create the life that you want. Each breathe reaffirms your unwavering dedication to your own evolution.
The spark of interest in yoga often ignites an inner obsession that infiltrates every aspect of your life. At first yoga is life and you cannot get enough of it. Yoga reconnects you to long forgotten inner realms and you somehow fall in love with yoga. Yet if your yoga practice evolves into a daily, lifelong relationship it is almost inevitable that at some moment you will get bored with it. The insatiable hunger for as much yoga as possible will shift and change to a space where you will be absolutely full of it. This period of lackluster levels of initiative often comes ironically as a result of your full immersion in the yoga world.
It's easy to seem peaceful in the quiet cave of your own mind. It's much harder to face the test of integrating your learning with your life. No matter how peacefully you might leave your daily meditation or yoga practice, there is nothing like a seemingly callous or thoughtless comment from a friend to trigger the stickiest habitual patterns.
Living in North America, we are part of a society that exports the flashy famousness of the newly discovered. We are collectively in a rush to unearth the next hidden secret and produce our very own million-dollar invention. This makes us brilliant innovators, forward thinking dreamers and daringly ambitious artists, and yet simultaneously, history-deprived, beauty-obsessed shopaholics haunting soulless strip malls sipping mass produced lattes. Is it no wonder then that we as nation seem to be in search of spirit? What else is left for America to invent than an authentic self in the midst of such rampant materialism?
Have you every noticed how noisy we all are? In the last twenty years, we have invented and now need iPods, iPhones, CDs, portable DVD players, louder motorcycles, super jet engines, walkie-talkies, reality TV shows, music videos and Starbucks.
Silence is like a dirty word in the modern vocabulary. When you sit with another person there is an almost irresistible urge to speak. Sometimes you converse about important subjects and sometimes you just talk. This meaningless, friendly chit-chat about light-hearted matters is a kind of social sport. Imagine the awkwardness of a first date where you sit together without this lively banter--a boring disaster.
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.
Do you ever find yourself holding on so tightly to a desired outcome that you are a filled with anxiety, tension or blind ambition? Have you ever wanted to do a yoga posture so badly so that you are literally obsessing about it and can talk of almost nothing else? This is perhaps the definition of unhealthy attachment at its core. Yet at the same time the driven mind directed at a task at hand is one of the most powerful tools we have to change our lives. So the question then becomes not how to rid ourselves of our desires or our drive but instead how to train our mind to work towards our desires without the unnecessary tension of attachment.
I meet lots of yoga students who want to practice more often but just can't find the time. When I ask if they practice at home the answer is almost always, "No." Starting a home practice isn't really as daunting as you might think. One of the most important benefits is that you can do it when it fits your schedule. Below are some thoughts for how to get started.
What's the deal with Kapotasana???
It's intense, yes. I can only assume that even for a relativity flexy body, there's a good level of intensity. On a not so good day, I struggle one arm at a time to catch, pant out five breaths and barely straighten my arms in version B.  On a great day, I easy drop-in, my inner ear pops so no outside sounds comes in and tension in my spine feels radiant.  Most days are somewhere in between.
While in Mysore last year, Evan and I had the great pleasure of attending this event at the gates of the Mysore Palace. This year, tapas yoga shala will particiapte as one of 114 events in 34 countries worldwide. Here's just a bit of info on this spectacular organization:
* Odanadi Seva Trust is a pioneering anti-trafficking organization based in Mysore, South India, working for the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of t...rafficked women and children.
* Today Odanadi runs two residential rehabilitation centres in Mysore, housing up to 85 women and young people at any one time.
The Yoga Sutra offers a practical path for achieving the state of yoga--union between mind, body, and spirit. Join Kate Hallahan and the students at Charlottesville Yoga School for a free 90 minute lecture on this seminal text of classical yoga. This talk includes historical background and an overview of concepts contained within the text, as well as practical suggestions for implementing its wisdom in our daily lives.
[audio:http://www.ihanuman.com/media/audio/kate_hallahan/kate_sutra_1.mp3]
Listen to the Introduction to the Yoga Sutras Part 1 with Kate Hallahan
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.
I was talking with an old friend recently about the wishes of childhood that we have left behind, the deep desires that were once sent out into the universe with the superstitious blowing of a fallen eyelash, but that have faded with the passage of time.  To my surprise, I realized that although countless eyelashes in my younger years had been dedicated to one wish in particular, as an adult that desire no longer holds the same romantic appeal: I no longer wish to live forever.
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.
Now is a time for embracing the Darkness.  In a literal sense, the nights have become longer and colder; in a figurative sense, Hallowmas and the days that follow are the time of year when the veil between our world and the underworld is most transient, and when we are best able to shed light not only on our ancestral spirits, but also on the darkest corners of our own soul.
Many of us have made new year's resolutions regarding personal qualities that we would like to cultivate in the year ahead.  We can relate this practice of intention-setting to the yogic concept of svadhyaya, often translated as self-study.   Honest, intimate self-reflection is seen as integral to almost any spiritual path.  But yoga asks: can we engage in this process without taking ourselves too seriously?
For many of us, summer is a time that brings back pleasant memories of the carefree days of our youth.  These were the times before we had to take responsibility for attending to the details, such as paying the bills on time, that keep the utilities turned on and life flowing smoothly.
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.
NAMASTE,
It's such a cliché to remark on the speedy passage of time. Nonetheless, I have to trot out the "how time flies" line to comment on the arrival this year of Unity Woods' 30th anniversary. To tell you the truth, things are tumbling by so fast and there so much going on that I might have missed noticing it altogether had I not been prompted by the ubiquitous accolades to local (and national) media star, Diane Rehm, on her 30th anniversary. That's when I said to myself, "Hey, Unity Woods has been around for 30 years, too."
A couple of newsletters back I wrote about how the Unity Woods logo came into being and what my thinking was in creating it, and the significance of the various components. As there wasn't space then to talk about the three words that appear at the points of the triangle, I said I would do so in subsequent newsletters. In the last newsletter, I discussed the relevance of the first of the three words: health. Now we come to the second: serenity.
Paying attention to alignment in your yoga postures can be confusing.  Lift this, drop that; lengthen here, shorten there; soften one side and strengthen the other one.  And, in the meantime: don't forget to breathe. For many students, looking more closely at alignment can be intimidating. Alleviate that stress by breaking the postures up into sets with alignment points in common.   For example, in standing postures, we can say that we are either focusing on squaring the hips or on opening them.  Although this is somewhat of an oversimplification, it can help students that are newer to alignment principles get a handle on where to start.
Join Kate Hallahan, E-RYT for a lecture on yoga for women's health. Issues such as depression, anxiety, PMS, menstrual discomfort, and menopause will be addressed. This lecture is directed towards yoga teachers, or for yoga students with their own home practice. [audio:http://www.ihanuman.com/media/audio/kate_hallahan/Kate_Womens_Yoga_Lecture.mp3]
In keeping with the four-word theme of the amazing iHanuman community, I thought it appropriate to write a few quick words for each as my first post. Love: We have a Thought Board at my office. It's a simple dry-erase board at the entry that everyone writes on. Some days there are random thoughts but most days there are questions. The other day the question was: Which is more powerful, love or hate? A seemingly simple question but, in reality, more thought provoking and discussion sparking than everyone was prepared for that day. It was amazing to witness. My answer: Love is infinitely more powerful than hate and love in numbers cannot be broken or challenged.
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
  ,"If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher."
 

28 Day Meditation Challenge
Anyone up for joining me for a challenge?   How about a month-long meditation challenge?  I'll go easy on you, we'll pick the shortest month of the year.
Sometimes the hardest part is just showing up.
At the end of many of my yoga classes, I remind my students to bow their head in honor of themselves for the, sometimes, Herculean effort of just showing up to class. It's so easy to get derailed. You know, we all have those "best laid plans."
Back in my office monkey life I remember dreading late afternoon phone calls because they were usually about last-minute-have-to-be-done-first-thing-tomorrow projects. And of course our servers only ever crashed at 6pm. On Friday. These days, I'm amazed that I get myself and my toddler out of the house at all, much less on time.
Last week, Southern Baptist Minister Albert Mohler made headlines when he charged that yoga is incompatible with the Christian faith.  At first my reaction was, perhaps, predictably cynical.  Being from the South, I'm not surprised that a literalist view of the Bible would preclude the teachings of yoga.
After reading his full essay, I think there's definitely food for thought for anyone practicing yoga and especially for anyone teaching yoga. The question is:  do you know what you're doing and why you're doing it when you step onto your mat?
"Love with our whole hearts, even if there is no guarantee."  - Brené Brown.
The new and improved Ashtanga Yoga of Charlottesville website is up. Check it out at www.ashtangacharlottesville.com
Charlottesville Yoga School is offering free classes to the community. The classes are being taught by our teachers in training. The classes are held at two different locations. The Thursday evening classes are held at the Jefferson Public Library, downtown Charlottesville. 3rd Floor, McIntire Room, BYOMat. The Saturday and Sunday afternoon classes are held at Ashtanga Yoga of Charlottesville, above MAS restuarant in Belmont. Dates and Times below Please contact Jennifer Elliott t 434-970-7980 or email info@ashtangacharlottesville.com for more information or questions.
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
Opened in September 2002, Georgetown Yoga is an "urban oasis" located in the middle of Washington's historic Georgetown neighborhood. The studio offers a wide range of yoga styles for all levels, from those new to yoga to those already practicing. Georgetown Yoga offers a beautiful, relaxing setting to begin, develop or enhance your Washington D.C. yoga experience.
There is an aspect of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice called tristana. Like "yoga" it is both a practice and the state achieved through the repetition of that practice. I'm hoping to get up a few blogs that will look at tristanafrom a few viewpoints, all of which have emerged organically from practice and teaching. First of all, though, let's lay the groundwork with some definitions and background.
Monday & Friday, 6:30am-7:30am, July 28-August 29
Sunday, February 3, 11 am-1 pm
On World Yoga Day, yoga teachers and schools around the world will donate their time and space to a two hour yoga session devoted to human rights in China through Amnesty International. Georgetown Yoga is proud to support this cause - we will be offering a 2-hour led Ashtanga Primary Series class (minimum donation $5). This extended length Ashtanga practice allows for more detailed instruction. An excellent class for those students looking to transition from our Beginning Ashtanga drop-in classes to our Ashtanga Primary Series classes! No sign up is necessary, all you have to do is show up. Space is limited so come early - doors open at 10:30am.
Ashtanga vinyasa yoga has an obvious, linear progression. As you master a posture, you add another posture. The difficulty of postures steadily increases, as does the challenge to your endurance. Adding postures, making the practice longer and smoother, being able to accomplish more and more difficult postures: these are all signs of progress.  
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
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
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
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
On-Going multi-level Hatha yoga classes at Common Ground Healing Arts in Charlottesville, Virginia:
Mondays 5:30 - 6:45 PM
Thursdays 5:30 - 6:45 PM And at Opal Yoga in Charlottesville:
Sundays 10:30 - 12:00 PM Private sessions in yoga, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, and structural yoga therapy by appointment.
Please email cynthiawoodring@gmail.com for more information.
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
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
In this 20 minute video, expert teen teacher Koren Palmaan teaches inner city teenagers in a Los Angeles High School.
Koren Palmaan creates a classroom dynamic that is magnetic for teenagers.  Watch and learn from her powerful teaching example where students are challenged, encouraged, and guided to have a profound yet fun yoga experience.
Purchase and Download this Video from Christy.

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