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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ten Lessons in Life from the Yoga Mat

It is easy to feel stillness and peace while we are practicing yoga.



It is not so easy to remember our connection with the Self once we roll the mat and resume our
mundane activities.

We call it “doing our practice” because we are practicing for life in the world off the yoga mat. The more we give to the practice, the more it enriches our lives.



As you practice the asanas like the ones shown here, consider how they embody these qualities of character in you. Turning the mind inward as we practice is the beginning of the part of yoga called Pratyahara, or withdrawal of the mind from the objects of the senses to fix it on the Self. What we focus our minds on, that we become.



1. Strength: Virabadrasana II
2. Flexibility: Matsyendrasana
3. Heart: Vasisthasana
4. Roots: Vrksasana
5. Balance: Bakasana
6. Stillness: Karnapidasana
7. Courage: Sirsasana
8. Trust: Vrischikasana
9. Grace: Chakrasana
10. Joy


My graded sequence of DVDs will help support your home practice. They make an excellent adjunct to regular practice with a qualified teacher. Available at Banyen Books Vancouver, Let’s Move Studio Kamloops, and by emailing Details on Oddities of Enlightenment YogaBlog and at Meru Mountain Yoga

photo credits: Jane Weitzel
Jaime Kowal

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grasslands Pup

August heat braised the desert river valley.

As the shallow water

disappeared downstream,

the salmon run began.

Roosting inland gulls foraged on warm sand flats, and eagles fished

while on the dusty hillsides, brush and lichen crackled underfoot, dry as tinder. Deadfall branches snapped.

Lightning strikes kindled wildfires in the grasslands, torching conifers ravaged by pine beetles.

A haze of smoke half hid the distant golden hills.

At last rain came.

Along Fiona's shady street, mountain ash bore bright berries and crab-apples ripened.

Apricots grew round and heavy then fell to the ground, but Fiona missed her friends. 
"Why did we have to move here?"  she asked.

In the emptiness beneath the rainbow, she longed for a puppy. 
"All right," said Mom.  "Let's go look at these pups at the farm."
"There should be laughter after pain, there should be sunshine after rain," crooned the tenor on the car radio.

They followed the rainbow to the ranch at Coldwater Road.

"Our farm dog had thirteen puppies," explained the lady at the ranch. "We want to find good homes for them."
The family said goodbye. The girls whispered to the puppy in her travel crate.

"Goodbye, pup," waved the sun-fresh laundry on the clothesline.

"Goodbye, pup," leaned the ladder against the unpainted plank shed.

"Goodbye, pup," nodded the sunflowers beneath clear blue sky.

There were rainbows in the garden where fences make boundaries and endings make beginnings. Gladiolus spires nudged dahlias. "Goodbye, goodbye."

At first the pup was timid in the big room. She missed her old family.
"Are you my friend?" she asked.  Fiona laughed, and sat close.
"Let's call you Soda," said Fiona. "You have freckles on your legs like fizz in Ginger Ale."

Next morning Fiona and her mother took the pup to the park. Soda liked it there. She shook off raindrops, and trotted along gravel around the bend in the road.

With a backwards look,

with a moment for rest and reflection,

in the dry grasslands, Soda pup came home like gold at the end of the rainbow.

(credit to Dire Straits for the lyrics "Why Worry" from the album Brothers in Arms.)