Thursday, April 29, 2010

the layers of you ~

Yoga philosophy says that we are like an onion (I like to imagine a Walla Walla sweet oninon) with many layers.

The outermost layer of our onion is the Annamaya Kosha, or physical self. This is the layer we hydrate, stretch, strengthen, and worry about. The Annamaya Kosha is what at first glance, makes us very unique.

In from the Annamaya Kosha is the Pranamaya Kosha, or energetic sheath. This layer is compromised of breath and energy. It gives us life, power, the ability to do.

Next is the Manomaya Kosha, or the mind layer. This layer is what makes us interesting and causes many problems. It jumps around like a monkey, having fun and exhausting us all at once. When we meditate, this is the layer we try to let go of attachment to, since it pulls us around so much.

The layer of wisdom comes next, the Vijnamaya Kosha. When we meditate and study and look inward, we nourish this layer. This is the layer of “I am”. When this layer grows clear, we come very close to the truth of who we are.

The final layer moving inward is the Anandamaya Kosha, or the blissful sheath. This is where joy and love reside, without any doing or trying, just being.

At the very center of our onion - self, is our true Self, called Atman. Atman is light. Atman is at the very basis of understanding and being. Atman is indescribable because its light changes quality as it shines through all 5 layers.

Atman is beyond your cells, beyond your actions, beyond your worries, beyond your studies, and beyond your happiness. When all of your layers become clear through yoga practice, study, and meditation, the true light of Atman will shine through you in a most amazing way.

let me know when that happens!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back Pain ~ help from the yoga world, and beyond!

I wrote a long blog post about back pain on
It's a serious topic, and one very present in my own life.
Do check it out for help ideas and more!

And while you are there, feel free to vote for me on their yoga blog contest, I sure do need all your good yogic vibes :)

vote here: I love living room yoga!

read about back pain here: Help my back to feel better, please!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yoga and the Earth (Day!)

In yogic thought, our bodies are a microcosm of the macrocosm of the earth.

If we are able to find calm in ourselves through practicing yoga, can we find calm in the world through yoga as well?

The gurus say that when our minds are jumping all over the place, we are like a broken mirror, not reflecting what it is really there. But when we calm our minds, the mirror pieces become whole again and able to reflect.

Our world is not a calm place. It's certainly having a hard time now!
(Hey, our persons know all about that)
Its loud, and its crowded with people and stuff.
There is competition and the need to survive in challenging places and unfriendly times.
But could the earth become calm?

When we practice hatha yoga, we calm ourselves by combining our intention (to do the pose, the breath, the movement) with awareness (now, what were we doing again?:)).

If we are a microcosm of the macrocosm, then we the microcosm must have some idea how we can help to calm the macrocosm, The Earth!
We can also let it calm itself.

Here are a few ideas:

remove distractions (stuff!)
touch it, lay down on it
notice it
Plant trees (trees are like the lungs, they even look like lungs!)
Connect the different parts to the whole


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Becoming a great teacher

I heard that if you can heal yourself, then you can become a great teacher.

This can take years I think, not just days.

I also think that when you are great, you don't want anything from your students. You are just like the sun and the rain, giving without expecting. Teaching really is (or can be) *karma yoga.

*from wikipedia "Karma Yoga is described as a way of acting, thinking and willing by which one orients oneself toward realization by acting in accordance with one's duty (dharma) without consideration of personal self-centered desires, likes or dislikes. Acting without being attached to the fruits of one's deeds."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

cilantro and yoga

This has (almost) nothing to do with yoga, but has solved a major mystery for me.
And because yoga is about enlightenment, freedom and mystery solving, or at the very least mystery viewing, I want to share what I have found ~

The question is this: Why do some people (myself included) hate cilantro and think it tastes like tarmac (me again), and other people love, love, love it?

And the answer can be found in The (lovely) New York Times column, the curious cook.

Now, yogically speaking, it is good to remember that some people love, love!, to be in a Sarvangasana (shoulderstand), and others can't stand it.

Those same people might switch preferences completely in Virabhandrasana II (Warrior II).

Now this may not be for the same reasons that some of us are anti-cilantro, but it is interesting, satisfying, and calming to celebrate our uniqueness.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Garden Yoga

Lately gardening feels to me more like yoga than yoga itself!

moving dirt = circulation

waiting for seeds to sprout = patience

getting dirty = working hard

breathing of plants and trees = pranayama

dying, beginning new = savasana and getting up from savasana

enjoying the beauty of what you have planted and knowing that the plant sprouted because that is what plants do = yoga