Welcome to Yogi Sticks!

Do you know your Gomukasana from your Adho Mukha Svanasana? Is your Vrksasana all it can be? And how do you feel about Supta Baddha Konasana? Do you know what I'm even talking about?

Sometimes the Sanskrit - however beautiful it sounds - is not very helpful. So, to encourage my students to expand their yoga practice into their home, I sketch the poses we practice during class on a chart and add the Sanskrit and common name. Hopefully, this is a useful tool to help them along in their yogic journey. I also troll the internet, books, and journals to find interesting articles about yoga and the yogic lifestyle.

Young Yogis

Check out these photos from a few recent kids' classes. Such energy and enthusiasm! This is my son, Ben, demonstrating "candle" - or what adults call shoulderstand.
How about a few bow poses? So good for the kids after a long day bending over their desks at school.

And tree is always a favorite (sometimes we pretend to be flamingos while in tree pose).

Another article detailing the positive results from a children's yoga practice. See you and your kiddos Wednesday at 2:30!

(If that link doesn't work, cut and paste this:

Neglected, but Not Abandoned

I have misplaced my class sketches for the past week in the chaos that is a normal week for me. So, I haven't completely abandoned my duties as Yogi Stick guide, just neglected them temporarily. I apologize for the disruption and plan to get it together ASAP.

On a side note, I will be subbing at the Indian Shores Community Center (next door to Salt Rock Grill) on Monday (3/8) and Wednesday (3/10) at 9:00. Only $6 for an hour and fifteen minutes of yoga, breath, and meditation, and a perfect excuse to spend the better part of the morning on the beach! Perfect!

Five Types of Restlessness

From Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

1. The first type of restlessness is due to the Place you are in. When you move away from that place, the street or the house, you immediately feel better. Chanting, singing, children playing and laughing can change this atmospheric restlessness. If you chant and sing, the vibration in the place changes.

2. The second type of restlessness is in the Body. Eating the wrong food, eating at odd times, not exercising, and overworking can all cause a physical restlessness. The remedy for this is exercise, moderation in work habits and going on a vegetable or juice diet for one or two days.

3. The third type of restlessness is Mental Restlessness. It is caused by ambition, strong thoughts, likes or dislikes. Knowledge alone can cure this restlessness. Seeing life from a broader perspective, knowledge about the Self and the impermanence of everything. If you achieve everything, so what? After your achievement, you will die. Knowledge of your death or life, confidence in the Self, in the Divine, can all calm down the mental restlessness.

4. Then there is Emotional Restlessness. Any amount of knowledge does not help here. Only Kriya (cleansing) helps. All that emotional restlessness vanishes. Also the presence of the Guru, a wise person, or a saint will help to calm your emotional restlessness.

5. The fifth type of restlessness is rare. It is the restlessness of the soul. When everything feels empty and meaningless, know that you are very fortunate. That longing and restlessness is the restlessness of the soul. Do not try to get rid of it. Embrace it! Welcome it! Usually to get rid of it people do all sorts of things - they change place places, jobs or partners, do this, do that. It seems to help for some time, but it does not last. The restlessness of the soul alone can bring authentic prayer in you. It brings perfection and miracles in life. It is so precious to get that inner most longing for the Divine. Satsang, the presence of the enlightened one, soothes the restlessness of the soul.

Your Heart's Garden

I came across this essay somewhere on the web and loved the visual nature of the meditation. So, with appreciation to the author, whoever you are, I'd like to share it with you here (and maybe in practice tonight).

"One of my favorite questions to meditate on is "If you planted your heart, what would grow?" It's a tough question to answer and even more difficult to answer truthfully. Sure, I would love to say that my heart would only grow a tree of fruit that is made up of beautiful light and nourishing love but the reality is my heart would also grow some less than favorable fruit at times. As someone who is comfortable wading in the light and the dark, and the area in between, I have grown comfortable seeing the bruised fruit.

When you think of nature and the fruit that gets damaged on the tree or is stunted and ceases to grow, you know it falls down to the ground. It falls and the nutrients seep into the soil. This enables the tree to grow. I relate this to the darker parts of my heart. The dark comes from experiences that may not have felt great, but those experiences provide for me. They nurture my soil and allow me to grow bigger.

So in honor of a month where we are surrounded by hearts in one form or another, I invite you to sit for a while and ask yourself, "if I planted my heart, what would grow?". Don't shy away from the ideas that are less than lovely. Embrace all the bits and pieces and honor the dark and the light in your heart. Once you take ownership of all parts of the tree of your heart, you will be aware of it's strength on all levels and see all the wonderful areas that it will continue to grow."

Yoga Festival

A Bay-area yoga teacher has organized an all-day yoga festival in Odessa on April 16th. Teachers from all over the region will be there with sessions of yoga, meditation, nutrition, ayurveda, music, dancing, and kids' yoga "stuff".

I plan on working at the kids' tent (run by Kidding Around Yoga) most of the day, but escaping once in a while to explore the other goodies. So it is going to be a family-friendly event. Bring your mat and wander the campground to learn what else is out there in the yoga community.

The festival has a Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/RasaLilaFest) or you can Google "rasa-lila yoga festival" and find the information there.

2-7 The Asymmetrical Body and 2-9 Fun Flows

Both classes this week were heavier in the vinyasa style of yoga. This means there is more of a flow between poses, with each asana moving gracefully and organically into the next. Like a dance.

Monday's class ended with this quote from Luke 12:48 - "Much is required from those to whom much is given."

Quote for Wednesday's class: "Remember, happiness doesn't depend on who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think. -Dale Carnegie

Yoga in the Trees

Yoga in trees? Yes. Join fellow outdoorsy people for a day of yoga, tree climbing, and adventure on Saturday, February 12th. Looks like fun!



Check them out on Facebook: Yoga in the Trees

Meditation in Prison

I heard this story on NPR this morning while driving the kiddos to school. I stopped in the parking lot for a while just to hear the end of it. Beautiful. The power of meditation is incredible.

Here is the link to read the story and/or download the podcast: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/08/133505880/at-end-of-the-line-prison-an-unlikely-escape

(If the link isn't working, just cut and paste the address into your browser or search NPR.org)

There is also a YouTube link to the documentary about the prison meditation program called The Dhamma Brothers.

I hope you are as moved as I am by it.


Due to popular request (or perhaps overwhelming curiosity), here is the recipe for my lentil cookies. Yes, I said LENTIL COOKIES!

(If this link doesn't work, do a search for "lentil cookies" at www.foodtv.com. It is an Alton Brown recipe)