Category: Yoga Therapy

Where were­­ you in the Fall of 1982?  What was going on in your personal life?  What was going on in the world?  How old were you?

In November of that year Pluto and Saturn made a conjunction at 27 Libra.  Where is 27 Libra in your natal chart?  Is anything in your natal chart at 27 degrees?  Look at the cusps and angles too.

This is a good place to begin our self-discovery lessons in Saturn and Pluto.  We need some data for: discussion, transforming, healing, fixing, and most importantly, understanding and seeing a big picture view.  Answering those questions will help as we approach another Pluto/Saturn conjunction/cycle in January, 2020.  It’s a big deal and we astrologers have been holding our breath as we watch the state of the world change (again) before our eyes.  That’s where yoga helps this astrologer.  B R F W A, in Kripalu talk.  Breathe. Relax. Feel. Watch. Allow.         All is well.

There are lots of articles floating around the internet speaking of this culture-changing time and I encourage you to read them.  Every astrologer has their own specialty.  The mundane astrologers are doing a great job tracking the economic/political/geographical/cultural shifts that are going on.  I can recommend some good ones to read if you’re interested in the mundane.

As for me, I want to know how to live thru these cycles, with peace, serenity and reaping the best possible outcome.   It isn’t easy and it’s not always fun,  but the rewards are sure and deep.  Bringing your chart to life and seeing the symbolism play out in your everyday life is a great way to stay connected to something that is much greater than me.

 

Yoga teaches us how to be present in the moment.  Through practice and study we notice that how we think/feel/act in the world is always connected to some deeper cellular/tissue/muscle memory on the inside.   By choosing yoga practices that reflect the symbolism of current transits we get to release, in the moment, any tensions building up unconsciously.  In addition, we experience thru yoga nidra, breathwork, and meditation the release of old tensions held in the body from past lives., which is a whole different conversation having  to do with spiritual beliefs.

But  first, there’s more astrology to look at .

During the ’82 cycle Pluto & Saturn were alone in Libra.  In 2020  the south node of the moon, Ketu in the Vedic system, is tracking with them both in Capricorn, adding an entirely different dimension to our experience of this cycle.  Anytime the Lunar Nodes are involved in an aspect it increases the likelihood that an individuals karma is activated during this period.  I am in my Ketu MahaDasa in  the Vedic system and it’s a fascinating time to engage in self-study.  More reason to use yoga for processing.

In our dharma/karma workshops we investigate our natal placement of the lunar nodes and try to discern how they show up in our lives and more importantly how to learn from them, isn’t that what it’s *all* about, anyway, to learn, grow, evolve?  Otherwise what’s the point of anything?  So we investigate how south node holds the information from our past lives and encourages us to take the easy way out of most situations.  It feels wickedly ‘comfortable’ ,just like your old slippers.

There is no growth without conscious effort and we will be stuck in our old patterns doomed to repeat the wheel of karma without any progress, until we come to understand how the North Node leads us forward.

Inquire Within – Registration is open for weekend intensive & 5-day immersion.

 

 

 

 

Astrology Kripalu Pluto Saturn The Lunar Cycle Yoga Yoga Therapy

“Meet this world with neither grasping nor fear.  Trust the unfolding of life and you will attain true serenity.” 

~Bhagavad Gita

 

Another way to think about Yoga is as a neurological cleansing where the effects of past actions are released, not on the basis of meaning, but neurologically dissolved from the inside by the pure bliss consciousness inherent within us.  We do this in meditation and yoga nidra.  This is not a matter of belief or analysis.  It is a mechanical process. It will work for anyone who does the practices, skeptics & atheists alike.

Gurudev Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga & Amrit Yoga Institute, says, “Every time you withdraw from your reactions and move beyond your pre-programmed past there is the possibility for the resurrection of that part of you that lies beyond the ego.”

Western psychology likes to analyze, diagnose, and ‘fix’…ie psychoanalysis.  Most of the time they stay on the level of the mind and rarely do anything other than talk.  This is very helpful but not necessarily healing.  IMHO   Western psychology is like analyzing the waves coming up on the surface of the ocean.  Whereas Yoga Nidra & Meditation especially, are like cleaning the ocean from the bottom up, at levels where analysis is not possible.   Amrit explains obstructions as energy, and thinking is energy.  Yoga deals with the root issues by going beyond the ‘energy’ to pure bliss consciousness.  Meaning is a less fundamental form of neurological energy and it’s found near the surface of the mind.  Meaning is the tail on the dog of thought energy.  Using the tail to wag the dog is not very effective.

Of course, you don’t need to know any of this to experience the benefits…….   Yoga Nidra at The Sanctuary – April 28, 1-4pm

Geometric Art Yoga yoga nidra Yoga Therapy

 

Chiron enters Aries.

This is a big deal.   The asteroid named Chiron was discovered in the mid-seventies and I believe he was in Aries at that same time.  Some   senior astrologers out there might remember quite well what was happening during that time.  It was similar to now in ways we are about to find out as Chiron returned to Aries on Feb 19.   A Chiron Return is in place.

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For a richer *understanding*  of what this upcoming cycle might yield I turn to the Sabien Symbols as interpreted by  Dane Rudyhar..   I’ve written about them in past posts.

Rudyhar writes: “1° ARIES is the “first of the 360 phases of a universal and multi-level cyclic process which aims at the actualization of a particular set of potentialities.”  This 360 phase process is described symbolically thru out the book.   Specifically the first degree of Aries is the Sabian Symbol: “A WOMAN JUST RISEN FROM THE SEA.  A SEAL IS EMBRACING HER.”

Rudyhar goes on with the keynote:  Emergence of new forms and of the potentiality of consciousness.

There’s a lot to unpack there.

….more later

 

 

Astrology Holistic Health Yoga Therapy

Watercolor geometric patternMany years ago I had the pleasure of working at the NJ Center for the Healing Arts. A wonderful group of various therapists, psycho-, massage-, art-, and other practitioners of the alternative/complementary arts/sciences all worked under one roof. The founder had a vision for how to treat mental illness in today’s society. She was a beacon of light to many and I applaud her for her accomplishments and the ripple effect of healing & inspiration she provided to the whole community, clients, and the world-at-large.   I was honored to offer astrological & feng shui consultations along with some hatha & dancing yoga classes during my early years studying yoga therapy.  It was a rich time.

While there, it was clear that much of the physical space was dedicated to art….The walls were filled with paintings painted by past & present clients.  Every now and then new ones would appear.  I loved peeking into the art room to see them in action.   It never occured to me that art or painting or drawing could be therapeutic, or healing, or anything other than a means to an end, a picture upon which lots of opinions/judgements might be heaped.  “I like it” I hate it” etc.    Of course, I proved myself naive, again, it happens a lot.

Anyway, today  it’s nearly two decades later and I’m excited to be working around art again.  It’s in a different context, of course, but after such a long time learning & practicing integrative yoga therapy I’m comfortable teaching whever the winds blow me.

Anything can be therapized these days and that’s maybe a good thing?  It acknowledges that we all need healing.  All of us.   Everybody.  This is something I know to be true.

And, the kind of healing that occurs when we fully engage in a process that eliminates words can be felt thru and thru.  It has to do with how the hemisphere’s of the brain are organized.  Healing, though, is not a right-side/left-side experience, but rather what happens naturally when balance is acheived.  This is what yoga/meditation teaches us.  That amazing blissful state that occurs after one does some focused hatha practice, is the same calm, blissful state that occurs when we’re in the zone of: artistic expression, dance practice,, or musical harmonies & rhythms.

That zone, that particular kind of present moment is a very seductive state of being, and once you’ve experienced it your entire being becomes engaged with trying to have the experience again.  The challenge & difficulty is to get there naturally, chemically & substance free.  But, I digress.  Neptune is one of the astrological significators for spiritual practice, yoga, imagination, fantasy and more.  For more keywords of Neptune go here.

On July, I’ll be facilitating a weekend of workshops on yoga & creativity at The Sanctuary.  For the *intensive* on Saturday we’ll be at a local art gallery.  I’m excited to see what happens!   Namaste.

Blogging Geometric Art Holistic Health The Jersey Shore Uncategorized Yoga Therapy

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….and I’m still experiencing the joy of learning with every new pattern that I put together.  I’ve moved on now to what’s called stitching and weaving.  This pattern I focused on stitching.  I don’t have the energy right now to explain in words what that means artistically . .  Suffice it to say that I fell in love with the technique and choose to continue.  Here’s my latest, painted to celebrate grandson(s) and birthday’s.

I’m gonna start an absolute beginners yoga therapy class in June for 6-8 weeks, yoga….for the rest of us.

I sent an email newsletter to my list today.  Are you on it?  Do you want to be?  There’s a widget for easy signup onsite.

Asbury Park Blogging Doodles Geometric Art Yoga Therapy

There are many ways to practice yoga.   Seva, is one.

In 1997 I became a volunteer at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA.  I was offered room & board in return for my service.   Mostly,  I worked as a Faculty Assistant.  Other times I was on the  production team for the larger weekend conferences.  Eventually,  I became attached to the Inner Quest Intensive (IQI), Kripalu’s signature self-discovery program. For 10+ years  I led the Kripalu hatha yoga practice  and served as a Facilitator with this life-changing program.

Then in 2008 Kripalu’s governing body decided that faculty volunteers like myself were no longer needed and they began to remove us from the program rooms. It was a significant change for those who remember, and my time at Kripalu was greatly reduced.  The few of us who were attached to specific master teachers/programs were allowed to continue and  I was grateful. The IQI was offered three times a year and that would have to be enough seva at Kripalu.

In 2015,  Kripalu cancelled the IQI and soon thereafter cancelled all other remaining volunteer opportunities.  This decision  signaled a significant course correction for Kripalu Center.

Aside from the yoga experience, knowledge, practice and karma points I gained over 15 years of service at Kripalu, what was so unexpectedly rewarding was the experience of living together with others on the same path, to be a part of a spiritual community where like-mind and like-spirit came together.

So, last December, when the days were short and the nights were long I responded to a call for volunteers at the Amrit Yoga Institute in Florida.  In early March a call came and I have been invited to practice Seva there during the first weeks of May!

For those in the know, AYI was established by Amrit Desai, the guru who introduced Kripalu Yoga to the USA.  This means that the practices, philosophy, and methodologies will be consistent with everything I have learned thus far and for that I am grateful, and so excited, and terrified too.  And, he will be on the campus during my stay.

Florida is  not as easy as driving to the Berkshires, and this pitta person hates hot weather, but I am  honored and grateful to be invited to this campus  to experience Gurudev’s wisdom for myself.

Jai Bhagwan.  Namaste.  Om shanti.

to be continued.

 

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Blogging Dharma Yoga Yoga Therapy

FullSizeRenderTwo important announcements regarding my yoga community were made recently.  The first is that the International Association of Yoga Therapists, after years of work, have defined and developed a curriculum with which  to certify someone as a Yoga Therapist.  This new designation will read as C-IAYT.   This achievement comes on the heels of the Yoga Alliance announcing that they will not recognize the term yoga therapy within their certification requirements.  Their primary interest is in making sure that anyone who calls themselves a yoga teacher/instructor knows how to keep people safe while guiding asana practice.  Using yoga, therapeutically or in any kind of a ‘healing’ way is not what the Yoga Alliance is focused on.  Whereas, the IAYT which was founded in 1989 has been solely focused on using yoga therapeutically and they have dedicated all their resources towards that end.   Just as my yoga ‘career’ got started (1999) the dialogue on what is yoga therapy began.  Over the next few years they discussed just what were the most important aspects of a yoga (therapy) program and should we establish a required curriculum?  Much of this discussion occurred before the current explosion of  yoga ‘teachers’ hit the scene.   My feelings at the time were in line with others who asserted that yoga could not be strictly coded for anything since it’s very foundation was based in energy, spirit, and whatever overriding belief system was operating at any given time.   IMHO Yoga can not be quantified…and my personal practice of yoga therapy emphasizes that, which does not mean that I ignore the body during practice.  Quite the contrary.  But, a holistic practice should cover the whole as understood by the early yogi’s.

Today, all the debating is complete and the organizations have chosen their paths forward and it’s exactly what I feared would happen.  They’ve narrowed down yoga therapy to mostly asana & pranayama, and turned  the subtle & causal energy-bodies over to Ayurveda….which isn’t awful, just disappointing, for me, personally.  But, I have my karma to work thru just like everyone else.

All that said it seems that I do qualify to be grandfathered (or more appropriately) grandmothered in for their official certification of yoga therapy, I guess age does have some rewards. But first I have the daunting task of documenting 15 years of client contact.  Nevertheless, those that are wanting to call themselves yoga therapists are faced with a curriculum that would never have appealed to me, or anyone who understands that healing, well-being, and self-fulfillment is more than the body, more than the sum of the parts, more than anything that can be studied, measured, or quantified.

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Another piece of yoga news was the announcement that Integrative Yoga Therapy will become a part of the Kripalu Yoga curriculum, officially.  This is not a big surprise to me as Joseph LaPage was part of the early Kripalu ashram, but it’s so wonderful to have them together in this form.  All of my teacher-trainings have been within this lineage of teachers and I feel so much gratitude to be a part of the community.

I never expected to be a pioneer of anything, but it seems as though I have been blazing a path for sure.  Just the fact that I’m posting this to all of you is evidence of that.  My studio is 14 years old  and continues to be a safe and sacred space for those who seek healing, inspiration, and enlightenment thru yoga.  Om Shanti.

 

Holistic Health Kripalu Yoga Yoga Therapy

YogaNidra Here’s the astrology chart for our yoga nidra this Sunday.  I find it makes for a delicious experience  if I take the time to study the Timescape© for the event.   Timescape is a word I invented in 1989 to describe the particular astrological technique I use to help people manage their time better.  Time, and our management of it, is a major stress factor for our modern day society .  And, then, given the fact that most people look at life from a linear, finite point of view, just adds to the stress of it all.   Birth…then, death.  The End.

Cyclical thinking and cyclical time-keeping really does feel better….at least it does in this aging female’s body.

Anyway, in the chart we find Uranus rising, Mars setting,  with Pluto and Venus culminating.  The sun and moon are drawing closer together for a New Moon at 6:39 am on monday in 20 degrees of Aquarius.  This means that our yoga nidra experience will be happening under the auspices of a balsamic moon.   It’s a wonderful time to go in and light your fire around something close to your heart.  Om shanti.     That said, the Sun square Mars in the middle degrees of fixed Aquarius and Scorpio, will keep flames burning right into the new cycle.

At the beginning of our yoga nidra practice you will be asked to create a sankalpa, or intention for your practice.  The theory says that if you plant a sankalpa into a deeply relaxed body it’s like programming your brain for success.  The details do matter so come on Sunday so that we can all practice together.

There’s a widget over there on the right where you can sign up for my newsletter.  Do that.  Then you can be informed about new events in advance.  Or, send  your contact info directly to me here at ida@ifcullen.com

Til then,     May all your dreams take root and grow.

 

 

Astrology Stress Management yoga nidra Yoga Therapy

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The emphasis is still on yoga at The Sanctuary and more of you are discovering what is possible with a commitment to practice.

Kripalu Yoga & Integrative Yoga Therapy are my chosen yogic methodologies to teach.   The group classes are slow, gentle, challenging and oriented towards healing and removing the obstacles that prevent us from being fully authentic.   If you are interested in simply exercising your body, another class/teacher might be more appropriate.   Please read some of the articles on this website to gain a sense of the teachings that are offered.  I began my yoga studies in 1976, became a full-time teacher in 2000.  I teach  from decades of experience & years of training.

Group Yoga classes are multi-level and suitable for all bodies.  If you are a beginner to yoga call ahead and let me know you’re coming. I’ll be happy to meet with you before/after class. Or, just show up if that’s the best you can do. 732.531.9013 is the number to leave a message if you wish to speak to me. Be patient. It may  a day or two to return your call.

PERSONAL YOGA THERAPY is available by appointment.  To support your commitment to well-being and spiritual development I’m offering a Summer Special for  new clients and returning clients.  Please call to arrange a free interview to see if this is right for you.  Sessions can be at your home or at The Sanctuary.

  For up-to-date- info   Go to Class/Workshop Schedule Page

The Jersey Shore The Sanctuary - Schedule & Stuff Yoga Yoga Therapy

Yoga is looking so different today from how it was represented when I first began to define the word.

I’ve heard one of my personal guru’s say many times, “Yoga has become very popular, but what is popular is not yoga.”. That said, this weeks classes will focus on heart-openings, feels really appropriate given all the planets that are in water signs right now.  While in CA, I participated in some workshops that really focused on heart health.  Look at those two words together, heart/health.  Obviously there’s a strong connection.  With yoga, we get to explore the much broader context of the Heart………….perhaps we’ll begin by toning yam, the bij mantra for the 4th chakra?

Summer Session Begins.   Drop-in’s Welcome.  More about my classes   here and here.

 

 

Asbury Park Yoga Yoga Therapy