Category: Yoga

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

 

According to Indian Mythology, Lord Visnu had decided to make the Deities (the seven planets) immortal.  Visnu had churned up the sea in order to extract a sacred nectar called amrita, with the intention of making the planetary Gods immortal. Visnu had all of the planetary deities lined up in order to receive the nectar potion. However, a demon called Rakshasha, who was dragon-like in appearance had sneaked in and disguised itself as a deity, in order to become immortal. Once Visnu had realised that he had been fooled into giving the nectar to the demon he took out his sword and chopped the demon in half. The head of the dragon became Rahu and the tail became Ketu, but now they could not be killed, as they had received the nectar. When the nodes, Rahu and Ketu saw how angry they had made Visnu, they did penance to him and were eventually given planetary status.  The symbol of Rahu represents the dragon’s head and Ketu represents its tail.

 

….to be continued.

 

 

Yoga

Last year I stumbled upon an online course teaching the basics of Islamic Geometry as an art form.  With joy I dug into the box that held my old drafting tools from college. I found my compass, triangles, and even some old architectural drawings from my classes.

I’ve been fascinated with the Sri Yantra  for years.  During some of our  yoga workshops we spent some time coloring it in, being mindful and present and watching our thoughts/feelings/sensations during the practice. Everyone enjoyed it.  It is a good way to practice dharana and dhyana, concentration and absorption.

 

The Sri Yantra, is considered the Mother of all Yantras, and there are many of them.  Together they, and many other geometric forms and patterns make up the library of sacred geometry, a science that has fascinated me since my teens.  As I attempted to recreate this ancient pattern I was reminded of the rich symbolism that permeates all  the Vedic sciences, including geometry & mathematics.   As I painted it. layer by layer, I once again recognized impatience., my yearning for perfection, and my struggle with ‘is it enough?’.

Sri Yantra is composed of 9 interlocking triangles, four point up representing the masculine principle and 5 point down representing the feminine.  Everything begins at the Bindu point  The circle represents cosmic rhythms.  The 8 and 16 lotus petals represent on-going creation and expansion.  The four gates representing the directions within a square representing earth, manifestation, and stability.

The Sri Yantra is sacred geometry, meaning that meditation upon it leads to expanded consciousness, enlightenment, or, as some report, extremely good fortune.

All that said, it has been amazingly pleasant to paint the Sri Yantra and I’m on my 4th one.  My patience is growing and I feel serene at completion.   Spiritual practice and meditation can come in many forms.

 

Geometric Art Meditation Yoga

I was running late to class and hobbling still on my sore ankle.  I’ll remember Mars turning retrograde at 4 degrees Aquarius (ruling  zodiac sign of ankles) for a long time!  As soon as I got to the top stair and turned the corner to the studio I saw it, a large white shopping bag with a big pink post-it to Ida…and a heart drawn with red markers.  It was sitting on the chair in the hall by the door to The Sanctuary.  I looked in the bag and saw a bunch of books with a piece of paper on top.  There was no note or card or any clue at all as to the giver of this gift.  I grabbed the bag and hobbled some more into the studio.

 

My curiosity was stoked!  The bag held a delightful assortment of astrology books, most very old, but well kept and well read with pages dogeared and jacket covers marking pages.  I already had a few of them but some I’d never seen before.

In addition to the books was a piece of paper with what might be a natal chart but there’s no name or birthday or birthplace or any personal data at all.  It didn’t look like any other natal chart or chart form I’d ever seen before, and I’ve been seeing charts since 1970 something.

The other item in the bag was an aspectarian, and that item lit me up like a firecracker!  But, that’s another story.

Students began to arrive and I put the books away holding aside Dane Rudyhar’s, An Astrological Mandala – 360 Symbolic Phases.  I have a yellowed paperback held together with a rubber band at home.  I can use this hardcover one for sure.  Usefulness is important when you have Mars and Saturn in Virgo like I.

Another Solar Eclipse was due on Aug 11 at 19 degrees of Leo.  I look up that degree in Rudyhar’s book thinking it would be a good reading for the class and might offer some timely discourse.

Class begins.  It’s a struggle, at first, to pull my mind away from the mysterious gift.  But, by the time we got to “OM”, we were all centered, grounded, and ready for our yoga practices.

After class, we chatted some and I remembered how I wanted to share the page on 19 degrees of Leo,   Instead, I opened the book to the page that was marked with the book cover.  I looked and it read Phase 279, 9 degrees Capricorn. An Angel Carrying a Harp.   Stunned, I looked from the page to the beige nubby carpet up to the creamy tan wall and over to the small, Wm Reese, fully levered, maple lapharp perched on her stand in front of me.

Was that page marked for me?  Even the remaining students in the room were curiously mystified.

After they left I considered what to do with the bag.  I pulled out the piece of paper and the aspectarian, packed the books up, and left it at the studio.

Later that night, I looked at what I brought home, and it does appear like a natal chart of someone born in the 40’s or perhaps early 50’s.  Sun in Sag, Moon in Taurus (?) the symbols here are unclear, Capricorn is rising.  I can’t think of anyone offhand that has that astrological signature.    But, Scorpio’s love mysteries.   Sometimes.

Is this a gift from a peer, an admirer, or a stalker, or someone who has found me on the internet and chooses to remain anonymous for nefarious reasons, or what?

I am well acquainted to what an imaginative monkey-mind can do.  Yet, the bag was left anonymously, on purpose?

Anyway, if you’re still reading this and you know who left it, would you please let me know.

Meanwhile, the solar eclipse has passed and we can now try to make sense of all this summer has revealed…….so far.

Om Shanti….

 

Astrology Blogging Creative Non-Fiction Yoga

The premier text for defining creativity is probably Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book: Creativity – Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.

The second  book that impacted my understanding of the creative process was the Bhagavad Gita.

You can’t not be creative.  We are born with galaxies filled of ‘potential’….inside and out.

Our Inquire Within Summer Intensive is scheduled for July 28   Today is the deadline to register.  Om Shanti.

Yoga

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Yoga

Within the city of Brahman,

which is the body,

there is the heart,

and within the heart

there is a little house.

 

This house has the shape of a lotus,

and within it dwells that which is to be

sought after,

inquired about,

and realized.

 

Even so large as the universe outside,

is the universe within the lotus of the heart.

Within it are heaven and earth,

the sun, moon,

the lightning

and all the stars.

 

Whatever is in the macrocosm is in this microcosm also.

Ancient Wisdom Astrology Yoga

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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Once again my own words fail me.   Here are some from the Buddha.

 

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

The Metta Sutra

 

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