This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Some things remain beautiful throughout all stages II

The vast nature of the science and technology of yoga

The science and technology of yoga is so vast, it can be overwhelming.  Be willing to embrace just a portion, one pose or a few practices:  for a few weeks, months or a lifetime.  There are many asanas (poses) named after sages.  The idea is that the particular sage embraced the one asana as their primary practice.  You don't need to know it all, do most of it "right" or whatever.  Whatever you do, feel, be open, embrace the life within what you are doing, be it breath, movement, concentration, study, etc.

And... can it be mentioned too often that the most inspiring and beautiful yoga texts do not or very, very briefly mention asana?

Yet another way to approach personality

Approaches to personality... let us count the ways...

In addition to more academic psychological personality theory, we have Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, Astrology, Yin-Yang Theory, Ayurveda (in some ways like Sheldon's Somatotype/Constituional Psychology).  Another is generational theory, in particular, as presented by Strauss & Howe. 

William Strauss (deceased) and Neil Howe collaborated for approximately two decades, including co-authoring several books.  I read the interesting and enlightening Generations (1991) a ways back, followed by 13thGen (1993) which examines my generation, more commonly referred to as Gen-X.  In more recent years I returned to their work with The Fourth Turning (1997).  It should be noted Strauss & Howe also focus on the sociological, historical (American history in particular) and cultural aspects of the generations.  And, the material contained within their work is so vast it captures the various generational personality traits, opening the ideas to personal application.

A few resources should you be interested:

Wikipedia overview of Strauss-Howe Generational Theory:

Neil Howe's blog:

The Virginia Beach Public Library holds most of their books.  Interestingly, 13thGen lacks mention in the above Wikipedia article and is not available at the Virginia Beach Library.  I thought it was quite good and relevant to my generation.

Recommended Intuitive in Norfolk, VA

You are your own best intuitive of course.  Judy Higdon agrees!  And I recommend her for consultation if you can't step outside your monkey mind in order to tap your higher knowing.  Below is Judy Higdon's website:


Contraction Following Expanded Experience

Having just completed Chapter 6 of Soul Without Shame: A Guide To Liberating Yourself From The Judge Within by Byron Brown, I am reminded of the phenomena of the rebound nature of enlightened experience.  But first, a little bit about the book.  If you pick it up, which I recommend, be sure to follow the advice in Note To Reader in the beginning.  In order to get the most of this body of work it cannot be rushed.  It not only contains text to read but it is to be absorbed.  And at the end of each chapter there are workbook-type questions and personal reflection exercises.  Regardless of whether you have this book or not, let's continue. 

To provide a foundation for discussion, there are many levels to enlightenment, most of which are beyond anything most of us could fathom.  But for our purposes here at least, any time one reaches beyond or out of their normal pattern, there is usually at least a sprinkle of enlightenment within the experience.

On page 84, Brown discusses the phenomena of ego retraction following expanded (enlightened) experience. In short, the unhappy ego turns on you.  I've witnessed it in myself as well as in particular people with whom I am close.  Have you ever had an inner lift or dared to take a new approach to only feel self-attack somehow, soon afterward?  Have you ever connected with another in a newer, "higher" way only to have them seemingly turn on you with either neglect or some level of aggression?  Well, it just may have been this phenomena.  Knowing this, I move closer to forgiveness, of myself and others when I suspect this sort of thing is at play.  As described in Luke 23:34 Jesus says:  Forgive them, for they know not what they do. 

Although not free from the judge that contracts after enlightening experience, I had the good fortune to have received instruction about this at age 30 by Kathleen Barratt during Breathwork training.  Yes, it seems too bad to have to somewhat warn the self after a certain "lift", with reminders to beware of the possible judge, that it may rear its ugly little head.  But, to do so will bring more, and deeper, understanding and yet another opportunity to step into the witness mind, the observer.  Again, the definition of yoga: The restraint or hinderance of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga*.

Work with this information as it makes sense to you, for the highest good, with harm to no one.  If you wish to discuss further, please leave a comment and we can discuss on the blog or email, phone or inquire in-person.

Happy practicing!  

*Patanjali's Samadhi Pada, Chapter 1, Aphorism #2, as translated by Dr. V.S. Rao of High Tech Yoga Institute:
YOGAH=Yoga; CHITTA=of the mind-stuff; VRUTTI=modifications NIRODHAH=restraint

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Carl Jung Quote & A Few Words About It Relating To Yoga

"The foundation of all mental illness is the unwillingness to experience legitimate pain."  - Carl Jung

Something yoga practice can bring to our experience is the opportunity to be with and observe sensation, including discomfort.  A slowed-down asana practice, as slow as easy pose or savasana, provides time to feel.

Isn't there an AA/12-Step saying about it being important to "deal with your feelings?"

Monday, March 19, 2012

Consciously Choosing Artwork for Your Home

Consciously choosing artwork is addressed in The Secret.  Even prior to the film coming out I embraced the idea of the artwork in the home working for (or against!) you subconsciously. 

In recent years I had a less than appealing subject on the wall.  It depicted a medicine woman with glow from a fire shining on her intense face.  It was a piece my art teacher chose for a student show.  After the show, not knowing what to do with the framed work, I just hung it on the wall.  It was fine for the intended class assignment but in terms of energy and tone for home life, not so much!

My husband and I have country property and we're working toward getting it back into functioning agricultural land.  One day I came across the piece below, showed it to my husband who also liked it, promptly ordered a print and had it framed. It depicts a "landed gentry" couple.  The landed gentry were people from the old days who were connected to and enjoyed the benefits of having working land.  For us it functions as a visual mantra so to speak, reminding us of our long-term goal. 


Have you noticed farmhouses often have cornucopia art as though to attract abundant harvests?  Such as:

Even if you don't want to change out the art in your home, take some time reflecting on each piece and what it means to you.  If your story behind it needs to shift consider re-writing the meaning.  Allow the intention to shift if needed. 

TED Video: Susan Cain makes a case for the quiet and contemplative


Thursday, March 15, 2012

On resisting the urge to point to a particular thing as rescue

I've written about this before and will attempt again to put into words something I have (finally) learned along the way.  A wise teacher once told me to resist the urge to point to a particular person, place, thing or experience as the answer to the broad suffering we humans will often experience.  He encouraged me instead to adopt a broad view.  How right he was.  Note:  the word "encourage" has the word courage in it!  Getting out of your thought groove often requires courage.  Overriding the idea of your happiness depending on a particular person, place, thing or experience is indeed the work of buddhism, yoga, etc.  Perhaps I/we will not be completely free in this lifetime but consider softening the narrowing of your mind.  It is yet another practice to notice thoughts and ideas clinging to something or someone in particular as your savior.  I'm applying it differently but remember the saying, "the devil is in the details."  

Have you ever heard the sunscreen song by Baz Luhrmann?  This lyric comes to mind:  "Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either."  Baz Luhrmann is stating the details don't matter as much as you think:


A.R.E. Events

I've written about it before but here it is again.  The Edgar Cayce Foundation/Association for Research & Enlightenment on 67th Street is a wonderful resource for all things holistic. 

The daily free lecture is at 3:30.  Topics include Feng Shui, Meditation, Body, Mind & Spirit, Psychic Experiences, Stress Reduction, Dreams, Health & Diet. 

They also hold free meditation classes every Saturday at 11am and Sunday at noon. 

The annual membership of something like $40 provides not only discounts but a library card for one of the largest metaphysical library in the world.

I must say the people there are very pleasant and warm.  You will never be asked to believe in anything in particular.

Their number is 757-428-3588 if you would like more details. 

Bodywork Availability (or lack thereof)

My availability for bodywork is very limited. I'm not taking on new clients.  Gift certificates/appointments are not possible.  Canceled appointment times will not be filled.  At this time there are no time slots open until the end of April.  If you wish to have regular sessions I can recommend other therapists.  

Massage is wonderful and good for your health.  As result of its success there are more schools than ever before.  The newer massage therapists could use the business as many of them graduated into a down economy.  Give them a chance!   

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Next Yoga in the Park - Monday March 26th - 9am

If there is particular theme or approach you are interested in please let me know.  We will probably continue our exploration of concentration with candle meditation and discuss Dharana in addition to asana of course.

Bring a bed sheet if you don't like the sand, yoga mat and any other yoga props you think you'll want and need.  Wear appropriate clothing for the weather.  Sunscreen too!  Class is usually 75 minutes in length, although we often go to 90 minutes.  There is no fee.  "Love offerings" are accepted.

Remember, if you would like to practice (asana, concentration &/or meditation) together in the park simply connect with your fellow students to select a mutually suitable day & time.  You don't need me! 

Happy Practicing! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lesa Leiden, the Life Cairns Blog & Neuro Waves

Lesa Leiden


Visual Sketch of "The Path"

I stumbled on this sketch I made years ago and snapped a picture of it.

Yoga provides tools for cultivating the part of us that serves as the witness.  This consciousness self, at least the more conscious self, helps us find more, at least a little more, balance.  We may "lose it" a bit (or more if life circumstances are difficult) but the practice serves to bring us back to firmer footing in awareness.

Remember... it is about PRACTICE... NOT PERFECTION

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) Poem

I wish I could give credit to the author of this poem.  Years ago I copied it from a book.  Why do I think it came from an edition of Our Bodies Ourselves?  Hhhmm... if anyone has the book please check the glossary for "yoga" and let me know if it's in there!  The photo you see is of a poster I created.

With hands in prayer I face the sun
Feeling love and joy in my heart.

I reach out and let the sun fill me with warmth.

I bow before the sun's radiance
And place my face to the ground in humble respect.

I lift my face to the sun and then remember,

To achieve such heights,
I must be as the dust of the earth.

I stretch up towards its light,
Trying to reach the greatest heights.

And again surrender.

I stand tall as I remember,
the true sun is within me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top 10 Yoga Book Recommendations

It's not necessarily easy to narrow the list down to 10 but below is what I put together. 

2 focusing on the physical postures with some coverage of breathing & 1 exclusively on breathing:
Yoga the Iyengar Way by Silva, Mira & Shyam Mehta  
Teach Yourself Visually - Yoga
The Breathing Book by Donna Fahri

For a more "poetic" approach:
Awakening the Spine by Vanda Scaravelli
Breath, The Essence of Yoga by Sandra Sabatini
Anything by Angela Farmer or her husband Victor Van Kooten (may be more difficult to find in libraries or book stores)

More philosophical:
Bhagavad Gita - there are many translations.  Graham Schweig from Christopher Newport University wrote a beautiful translation. 
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle - although not exactly yogic philosophy but his approach and wording capture the essence of yoga
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
Yoga Sutras by Patanjali (probably available to read online)