All was going well when my life turned upside down…

Vernette Butler

Vernette Butler

I tried yoga years ago at school, but I was never really dedicated any time to it after I left. This was because I thought it was closer to meditation, something I wouldn’t have thought of as exercise at the time. Instead to lose weight, I tried running, aerobics videos, bike riding, etc. The novelty always wore off and the weight piled on over the years.

However it was in 2002 at a weight of 13 stone (I’m 5’2), my heaviest, that I felt the need to do something about it. I saw an advert on the TV for a yoga DVD that said you only had to do 10 minutes a day. I just thought, “even I can do that,” and I remembered how I felt when we did the yoga meditations at school!

So I bought the DVD and started doing ten minutes at first, then thirty, until I could work up to the whole eighty minutes.

Within a week of doing just the ten minutes however, I had lost four pounds. I hadn’t really changed my diet or anything, so I thought it could only be the yoga. That seemed a remarkable amount to lose in just a week and it spurred me on to continue the yoga.

From then I was hooked on doing it, sometimes even twice a day! I loved the way it made me feel, both physically and mentally.

Slowly I felt my tastes and attitude towards food were changing. I only seemed to want or crave ‘naughty’ foods at the weekend and in smaller amounts. The rest of the time I just didn’t want or need that kind of food.

After a year and half of doing yoga DVDs, classes and self-teaching, I was 6 stone lighter and feeling better than I ever had, and was eating healthier (although still had my weekend naughties!). My body looked and felt better than when I was 18.

I even started teaching it to my partner as he saw the obvious benefits it had given me, and was into it much more than I thought he would be. So both of us started practicing together and studying yoga’s history and philosophy.

All was going so well when I was suddenly struck out of the blue by the devastating news that my partner of nine years had committed suicide. Continue reading

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Just Kidding?

Black eye A wife asked her husband to describe her.

He looked at her, then said, “You’re A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K.”

She asks, “what does that mean?”

He said, “Adorable, Beautiful, Cute, Delightful, Elegant, Fabulous, Gorgeous, Hot.”

She smiled and said, “Oh, that’s so sweet, but what about I, J, and K?”

He said, “I’m Just Kidding.”

His eye is swollen, but it will get better.

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Marichasana C with Kino MacGregor

Please note this is an advanced posture and there is risk of injury if not done properly. If you are doing this for the first time make sure you do it under supervision. Do not try this on your own. If you cannot do this posture, that is normal. There are simpler variations and twists that can be done instead. Do not view any given yoga posture in isolation. The sequence leading up to a posture may be as important as the posture itself as it prepares the mind body system for the posture.

The Ashtanga Yoga method purifies the internal systems of the body, clears emotional and psychological blockages and frees the student to experience a new depth of consciousness within themselves and their lives. When you begin the practice there are a series of simple movements in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series that will help you tap into the immense power of this sacred lineage to heal your body and train your mind. One easy tool is the simple seated twisting posture called Marichasana C. All Marichasana postures are named after the great sage Marichi. This posture is the third variation and it cleanses the digestive system, opens the muscles along the back and shoulders, helps build a deeper awareness of the essential breath-bandha connection and encourages the life energy rise along the central column of the subtle body. Continue reading

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Elena Brower

Elena Brower

“Your family will see you as they see you… The important question is, ‘How do you see yourself? ’If I think that they need the Work, I need the Work. Peace doesn’t require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you… [it] begins and ends there. If your truth now is kind, it will run deep and fast within the family and will replace manipulation with a better way. As you continue to find your own way into inquiry, sooner or later your family will come to see as you yourself do. There’s no other choice.”

Byron Katie is responsible for the above quotes. A brief interpretation offered as support for my own process as well as yours. Our attention is all we have. Like light, air, water, our attention is an actual substance that we can bring to all of our interactions and exchanges. When we do, there is more space, even more luminosity in our experience of others and our circumstances. When our attention is elsewhere at any time other than the present, we’ve forfeited the opportunity to experience the light in the moment.

Use your attention to listen to yourself, your surroundings, your family. We have the capacity to be open enough, via our breathing in every single moment, to hold space for that potential light, as well as our deepest resistances; to hold space for the ones who give to us freely, as well as the ones who seem to take from us. Each person in our lives is there to show us the way to our freedom. Sometimes the ways in which people seek acceptance are so confusing; in the face of such moments it is our work to breathe, and through our breathing, soften more, and through that softening, listen well. Once we are listening we have access to our own freedom, as the openings, as the light.

Founder and co-owner of Virayoga in New York City, Elena Brower has been teaching yoga for 14+ years. After graduating from Cornell University in 1992 with a design degree, she worked in textile and apparel design for 6 years, living in both New York City and northern Italy. After completing a year studying Art Education at the New School and teaching art in two schools in downtown New York City, she trained with Cyndi Lee, subsequently met John Friend, and began studying Anusara. More than ten years of study with John Friend, Douglas Brooks and Hugo Cory led her to the Handel Group™, with whom Elena collaborates to bring practical, day-to-day relevance to the yoga.

This article was originally posted here. Reposted with permission.

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Who is in charge?

Ego In Charge
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Pettry amzanig huh?

The above paragraph illustrates that we do not read by assembling letters into words from left to right. Instead we use forecasting to predict what a jumble of letters means. This allows us to read fast and correct for errors.

The key idea here is that forecasting is central to how we function. This is not limited to just reading but pretty much everything we do. The central aspect of forecasting is that it needs a model. A model is an idea of how something works. Once the model is in place we can input a limited number of details and simulate the rest. When we read the words in the first paragraph we are able to simulate the words in the original sentence through the model of English Language in our head. Somebody who is not a native English speaker may find it hard to read the first paragraph because the English model in his head may not be very good.

When sight is restored to somebody who has been blind since birth, he does not immediately begin to “see”. All he sees is fuzzy formless light. It may take months, if not years before normal seeing commences. This is because the person has no model for vision. Only once this is built can normal sight work. When we look around the room we do not scan every part of the room starting with the top left corner zigzagging down. Instead we take in the details of a few spots and simulate the rest using our in-built model for sight. Continue reading

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