Happiness is possible without getting high!

The following is a poem written by a participant of Y12SR Intensive workshop. The Y12SR program is designed for anyone dealing with their own addictive behavior or affected by this behavior in others.

For more details on the Y12SR program click here. The husband and wife team of Nikki Meyers and Nate Rush have developed this program in 2004. This program has been featured in the NY Times and The Yoga Journal and has helped transform many lives.

As recovery weekend comes to an end
I feel like I’m now surrounded by friends
I’ve learned a lot and my body is sore
And to be honest it leaves me wanting more

I thought we were different but we are really the same
Because everyone of us is dealing with some pain
That I don’t want to deal with acknowledge or feel
But with a little help I can actually heal

That I don’t have to go on living a lie
Or slowly watching my life pass by
Or hoping or wishing that I would die
And happiness is possible without getting high

Yoga and recovery are two things I didn’t think I could do
And I thank Nate and Nikki for teaching me something new
And although it leaves me wondering what happens next
I feel more prepared to give it my best

So as we separate and go through the journey of life
I feel more confident that I can live right
I will remember all of you and the time we have shared
And I realize that somebody in this world really cares

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Resources For The Sanskrit “Yoga Speak” Newbie

Angela Kukhahn

Angela Kukhahn

When I first found myself in a yoga class figuring out how to actually do Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) was a challenge enough,… let alone trying to learn the ancient language of Sanskrit. (the language of yoga)

To say I found Sanskrit intimidating is to put it mildly. All I knew is that all the names of the poses sounded alike since the name of each pose ends in the word asana. (asana means pose, so Trikonasana is Triko which means Triangle followed by asana which means pose.) All I have to say is Yogi rappers have a huge advantage, but I digress….

After deciding I wanted to become a yoga teacher I was a little distraught when I learned I was going to have to learn this ancient language of rhymes whether I liked it or not.

I must admit, at first I didn’t really see the point, however, as a teacher it has become essential for me to have a good grasp on both the Sanskrit names of the poses and basic Sanskrit terminology.

Click below for a few great online resources to acquaint yourself with the Sanskrit names of poses, and commonly used yoga terms from the Sanskrit language.

I found these websites extremely helpful for you “new to Sanskrit” yogis!

This one www.tilakpyle.com is great because it has audio. The guy recorded his voice pronouncing the names of the poses in Sanskrit. If you click on the name of the pose it takes you to a page with photos of the pose and a description.

Also try www.YogaJournal.com for pronunciation and great photos and descriptions as well!

Also check out www.YogaDancer.com which gives you the all of the poses (even ones I’ve never heard of! ) and when you click on the pose it shows you all the different variations as well,…very cool!

Also for the meanings of a lot of commonly used Sanskrit terms check out Yoga Glossary.

Good Luck on your yoga journey!

Angela Kukhahn is a yoga teacher. She can be found here. This article was originally posted here and has reposted with permission.

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Live In The Moment!

This inspiring video is based on a true story. 5 Taiwanese men, average age 81 embark on a road trip. One suffers from cancer, one has hearing problems, 3 have heart disease, and all of them have degenerative arthritis. Yet they decide to undertake a 13 day 1300+ Kilometer motorcycle trip! This must watch video shows us that even when it seems we have reached a dead end, life has much to offer!

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Swammie Mommie

Picture of children fighting

I squirmed impatiently in my seat as I waited for the parenting expert to finish his talk at my children’s school. I was eager to go up to the lectern to ask my personal question: How could I get my two older children to stop bickering all the time? His answer surprised me at first, but upon reflection, it fit perfectly into what I had learned through my study of yoga.

He suggested that I pay more attention to my own growth and self-awareness. He suggested that if I was clear and present with each child and each situation, the choices I would make would be the “right” ones. I was initially taken aback by the power of this answer, but tried his advice by re-dedicating myself to the study and practice of yoga, meditation, and other self-awareness techniques as a priority in my life. Not only did this eventually help the situation of the fighting kids, albeit indirectly, it also became the foundation which shaped most of my parenting decisions.

Being a parent is primarily just being in relationship with another human being, an amazing, at times difficult, and yet precious person, who happens to be my child. In order for that relationship to be what I want it to be, I have continued to learn that the most important thing I can choose is to be clear within myself. I need to be clear about who I am, about what my choices and priorities and values are, and then I try to live those choices in compassion and love. This does not mean that occasionally I do not feel angry, disappointed or confused in response to what my children say or do, or by what I say or do as a parent. It does mean that I try to remember that my children and I are at the same time expressions of the Divine and yet totally fallible human beings. Continue reading

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The Last Thought-Bender!

Thought Bender
“Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodha”. This is the second sloka (stanza) in the first chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. This sutra provides the definition of yoga: it says that yoga is the cessation of the modification of the mind. This means that the goal of yoga is to reach a state of mind that is so focused that the constant chatter of thoughts is bought to a complete halt.

The question then is: if yoga is connected with thoughts, why is practicing of yoga-postures part of yoga? Why did Patanjali make Asana (or Yoga Postures) one of the eight limbs of yoga? What is the connection between yoga-postures and thoughts?

To answer this we have to first ask the question: Can stress have an impact on thoughts? The impact of thoughts on stress is well known. Just by thinking we can create stress in our body. This is easy to demonstrate. Close your eyes and think for a minute of a situation where you felt insulted (or embarrassed). You will soon find that your heart rate and blood pressure has gone up, and you are sweating and flushed. Just by thinking you were able to cause your body to generate stress hormones! But the question being asked here is the reverse. It is not about thoughts affecting stress, but about stress affecting thoughts.

The key insight here is that bad stress is a “Thought Bender”. Bad stress can bend thoughts so that they bend inwards to create an endless cycle of thoughts. The presence of bad stress causes you mind to generate an endless cycle of thoughts where each thought feeds the next one in an endless unproductive cycle. This can lead to a cycle of worry, anxiety, anger, angst, or other negative emotions.

A mind that is flooded with stress will not be able to concentrate or focus. Some of these thoughts can in turn generate additional stress and create a positive feedback loop. When this happens, it is very difficult to break out of the cycle and the situation can best be described as a “Stress Trap”.

Thus from the point of view of yoga it is important to counter the “thought-bender” aspect of stress. This is done by countering stress itself. This is why Patanjali included Asana or yoga-postures as a separate limb in his 8-limb yoga system. Patanjali knew that the practice of yoga-postures would counter stress. This in turn would free the mind up because, in the absence of stress. the mind would be able to function normally and there would be no thought-bending taking place that then generates endless cycles of thought.

All of us can be helped by this new insight, even if we have no interest in the deeper goal of yoga. So no matter what your profession or your interest is, you can greatly benefit if your mind is freed from the thought-bending aspect of stress. When this happens you can benefit from increased focus and increased creativity along with lower anxiety and worry.

When the mind is freed from the last thought bender it truly becomes happy, free and boundless. Its thoughts are now in harmony with the deepest wisdom of the universe and limitless creativity, love, and harmony flow out. The question now is: are you ready to free your mind of its last thought-bender?

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