YOGA Teachings: Finding A Path of Your Own
Start with a class or schedule
an individual or group session
Yoga Class Offerings
at Shambhala Yoga & Dance Center
367 St. Mark’s at Grand St., Prospect
Monday Open Vinyasa One Hour, 8:15-9:15 AM $10 drop in
Monday Chair Yoga for Women, 3-4pm $5-$10 sugg donation
Tuesday 20 minute Meditation 5pm donation
Tuesday Beginner’s Yoga 5:30-6:45PM $15
Wednesday Chair Yoga for Every Body
3-4PM $5-$10 sugg donation
right where you are, no prerequisites.
Yoga is an essential
inquiry that brings you into the present moment, allowing you to focus your attention and cultivate awareness. I offer yoga
that allows freedom from mental chatter and physical pain. Our sessions will offer you a path and a process to fully be your
self, on and off the yoga mat. I do this through traditional Hatha Yoga postures (asana) and philosophy, breathing practices
(pranayama), and inventive warm ups and sequences that are mindful of the technicalities of alignment in bodies of all ages
and sizes. Your practice opens the possibility for equanimity as a continuous frame of reference,
and the resultant freedom in the only moment you have: this moment. I believe this is available to
each person who has the courage to practice yoga, at any age or at any point in one’s life history. It is a privilege
for me to teach yoga, making this experience accessible.
Rates available upon request.
Using Judgment Wisely
The state of non-judgment is such an open space in which to experience
yourself and others. It seems, though, that we are designed to categorize people, events, signals, scenes, memories -- everything
really -- and judge it all! We take a quick scope of whatever data seems relevant and stash it away in a category that helps
us function. A good deal of the time we use judgment to make life and death decisions like crossing the road, health decisions
like starting a juice fast or eating a third slice of pizza, relational decisions as to when and how to offer help or stay
out of something, myriad intellectual decisions, financial decisions, career decisions. Honestly, is there any decision that
doesn't involve judgment - even what to say and when to say it?
Yet as my yoga practice deepens, I find more and more often I urge
my students to release judgment. How do we do this? It is sometimes so difficult to allow the mind to simply notice and accept,
rather than judge and categorize. We can establish ourselves too firmly as having a particular problem, and perpetuate that
problem by doing so, often shutting out alternate ways of understanding our situation. We so quickly estimate our abilities
and then manage to function only within the parameters of what we estimate, rarely finding out what our true range might be.
As with nearly everything, the trick is in the balance: how do we use our ability to make judgments to help us remain
open to the vastness of possibilities in a safe and conscious way.
Within the practice of any asana or sequence
in a physical yoga practice, we can explore this balancing act. A big part of this is the process of developing witness consciousness,
that aspect of your nature that observes you even as your mind chatters away and your body willfully places itself in a posture.
Perhaps you have disappeared for a moment in resting Kapotasana, a prostrate pigeon pose; for a few seconds losing track of
the acuteness of that one hip opening, even of the breath moving up and down the spine. It is as though you can see yourself
folded on one side, extended on the other, your upper back releasing, belly soft against your opposite thigh, as the hips
rest squarely, one leg lengthened infinitely behind you. Your mind may be speaking volumes about how you cannot stay in this
one more minute, or about how different this side is from the other side, busy noticing, commenting, bringing feelings and
experiences into the moment. Your breath may be shallow in your chest, or deeply soft in your belly, or perhaps awareness
has brought the breath to your hip joints, encouraging their opening. The witness can let all of this go, just be there, watching
how all this is happening, meanwhile simply being and resting in that open space that your own prana, life energy, can give
you. It is in this space that you can observe the way you function: how you make choices, criticize, explain, act, feel.
Yet even as the witness develops, judgments are made. Should you use a folded blanket under that hip? Are you forcing
too much stress into the lower back, or shoulders? Could you tuck your toes and extend that back leg a little more to increase
the lift in the inner thigh? You can learn to make these choices, being the one who judges, using what the witness can see.
So it is as though there is a whole committee with you as you practice, some advising about the physicality of the
pose, some clamoring for attention to the emotional matters brought up by the hip openings, some reacting to the way the teacher
adjusted you. Let the witness help observe the committee, like a recording secretary, and let your true self determine the
advice for that moment. Watch out for the competitor who wants to force you into going past what is safe for your joints!
Watch out for the worrier who will caution you against trying something new that might be risky! Notice all the players at
the table, all part of you, and allow the witness to help you use your judgment wisely.
Give yourself the entirety
of experience without limiting it. Use your judgment to open the experience further. Try the prop, remove it if you don't
find it squares your hips. Release into the teacher's adjustment and let go of the ego who wants to do everything for itself.
Let the asana practice help you see how you make your choices on the mat, and you will find that you can understand yourself
much better off the mat too!
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