The Mantra Currently On My Heart

MAHAMRITYUNJAYA MANTRA

Om Tryambhakam Yajamahe

Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam

Urvarukamiva Bandhanan

Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

Translation(s):

1. We meditate on The Three eyed reality Which nourishes alI like a fragrance. May we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality, even as the cucumber is severed from the bondage of the stem.

2. (My favorite translation – more detailed) I meditate on, and surrender myself to, the Divine Being who embodies the power of will, the power of knowledge, and the power of action. I pray to the Divine Being who manifests in the form of fragrance in the flower of life and is the eternal nourisher of the plant of life. Like a skilful gardener, may the Lord the Life disentangle me from the binding forces of my physical, psychological, and spiritual foes. May the Lord of Immortality residing within me free me from death, decay and sickness and unite me with immortality.

Regulators Mount Up!

Sorry to quote Young Guns via Warren G on a yoga blog, but it is appropriate seeing that a sort of “show down” is developing between state governments that want to regulate Yoga teacher training programs and teachers who want “peace, love and understanding” to be the only regulation required.

I am actually on the side of government here (yup, that’s right: regulators, mount up!). Having taken many varied teacher trainings and workshops, I can certainly say that not all teacher trainings are created equal. For the most part, I would say that the trainings registered with the Yoga Alliance are solid, but I did have a friend that took a YA approved training that I perceived to be lacking in many areas (no Philosophy or Anatomy sessions for example). The non YA registered training I took this year was EXTREMELY disappointing, and I could not feel safe recommending my friends or family to go to that studio in the future.

So, to sum up, why be afraid of validation? Yes standardization is limiting, but STANDARDS are not. I want my students to know that I have a quality training, and that I am required to continue my education. I want it known by my students that I am here to help them connect to overall a mind-body health that is proven, safe, and dare I say licensed by the state of California.

I mean, come on, even the people you seek out to paint your nails are State licensed. Don’t you want your Yoga teacher to be?

Listen to this story from NPR’s Marketplace and judge for yourself.

Link to story

Namaste,

Beth

Meditation and Forgiveness

A friend of mine from my 12- step fellowship, who is about to embark on a meditation practice for the first time asked me this question over email today:

“Hey Beth,

Do you think meditation will help me forgive someone?  I’m having a really hard time forgiving this person and I don’t even know why anymore.”

My answer [revised for this blog]:

“In short, yes.

I struggle with the same issue. I can’t quite imagine what it will look like to truly forgive certain people in my life, and drop my resentful base nature, but I have the faith that I will come to that place of forgiveness. My yoga practice has given me a pathway to access this faith, and to see that practicing dedicated, step-by-step work, does in fact work.

Of course, forgiveness is a process. Meditation and 11th step work will work in you as you work your 12-step program.

I have experienced in my practice and in my teaching, that the use of breath and mantra (verbal affirmations repeated over and over – aloud or in one’s mind) centers the mind, and to slowly helps to change one’s thought patterns. I like to really prepare myself before a period of meditation by practicing this mantra/affirmation repetition. I see this as a practice of re-programing my perceptions. A type of contrary/counter action practice for the brain.

When we meet together, we can do forgiveness meditations and focused mantras that deal with forgiveness. When I am teaching and practicing a “Yoga of Recovery” I usually use 12-step literature, or the Daily Reflections as the source for finding mantras/affirmations. We can find what works for you and with you.

This is what I am praying and meditating on currently from the BB page 552:

“If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don’t really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.”

You may have already tried this… I can talk to you about my experience with it. (I have yet to actually do it for two weeks straight – i always end up forgetting one day!!!!)

Side note: I believe forgiveness does not mean validation. In my opinion, it does not justify the person’s deeds against you. All I can do is clean up my side of the street. Then when I see my part, and let go of resentment – forgiveness will mean freedom!

Last note, science is also showing meditation helps with forgiveness. Again, we see that spiritual traditions (our 12-step program as just one example) already know what science is still discovering. “Almost any [12 step member] will tell how his affairs have taken remarkable and unexpected turns for the better as he tried to improve his conscious contact with God” (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 105).

Here are some links to abstracts on this field of study:

1. Meditation + Forgiveness

2. Meditation + Brain

Of course, we can start a dialogue over the phone/in person tonight if you like to discuss this in further detail. I look forward to the discussion.

See you soon.

Best,

Beth”

New Stuff

Hi friends,

I have some exciting things coming up for the month of September:

1. New YogaWorks Class:

I will be teaching a class at YogaWorks Westwood for the fall semester. The class will be a level 1 class on Wednesdays from 2:15-3:45. It is a limited time class Starting on September 23rd and ending on November 11th. It is a great opportunity for me, and it would really help to be able to show that I can draw students into my class. I know it is in the middle of the workday, but if you ever have a day off, or can take an extended lunch one Wednesday, I would love the support.

2. New Time Slot at the YMCA:

I am now teaching Sunday mornings at 8:30 at the Santa Monica YMCA. If you are thinking about becoming a member of the YMCA, come down and get a guest pass one morning to take my class!

3. Risen Yoga Soon to Return:

I apologize for the very lengthy delay, but I will be working with Trevor to find the best time to bring Risen Yoga back in September. I am assuming we will do it sometime on Saturday afternoon (3:00?). If you go to Risen and you have a time preference, let me know.

4. Recipes and Healthy Living Tab

As I have been cooking so much over the past few months, I have had many questions from friends about the dishes I have been making. In order to share my recipes most effectively I decided to start a recipe and healthy living section on my blog.  I will be adding to the page periodically, especially when some one asks me for a recipe or a suggestion (Tofu dishes coming soon for Ms. Amber Debenning).

That is all for now :) More coming soon!

Namaste,

Beth

ERYT

I just finished my six month 300-hour Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher Certification through YogaWorks here in Santa Monica. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much about many aspects of this wonderful path. The six months included:

•    Six-Month Apprenticeship with Jasmine Lieb
•    28 Weekend Workshops: focused on specialty topics and advanced content
•    10 Philosophy Sessions with teachers Robert Binberg and John Casey
•    9 Teaching Practicums with Lisa Walford
•    14 Pranayama Sessions with Annie Carpenter
•    Bi-weekly Mentor Meetings with Jasmine Lieb
•    Vinyasa Flow and Advanced Asana Workshop with Annie Carpenter

I will miss the community and fellowship I experienced with my fellow trainees, but I know this is another point in our journey. I look forward to using my knowledge to serve others on their personal path toward well being.


Sahana Vavatu Invocation:

Invocation between teacher and student from the Katha Upanishad

Saha na vavatu

Saha nau bhunak-tu

Saha viryam kara-vavahai

Tejasvi-na-vadhita-mastu

Ma vidvisha-vahai

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Translation:

May Brahman (Lord, the Indefinable) protect us (the teacher and the student).

May Brahman enable us to share the benefits of the learning equally.

May we be equally strong to grasp the meaning of the learning.

May the learning be equally fruitful to us

May we never be jealous of each other.

Om Peace (for oneself) Peace (for the environment) Peace (for the rest of the beings)

What’s Your Dosha?

So, I have been pretty obsessed with The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook that I bought my husband for Valentine’s Day (It’s one of those gifts, that is not really for the person you are getting it for, but he gets to eat what I make for him, so whatever!) 

When selecting which recipes to cook, I have been aiming for ones that are balancing for all three doshas, considering that I am a Vatta-Pitta and my husband is pretty hard core Kapha!

(Que self-righteous, snobby yoga giggling).

Ok, I don’t want to alienate my friends reading this why might have no idea what I am talking about.

In a nutshell, Ayurveda is an ancient Indian science for healing the body and the mind. You can think of it as a yoga practice for the inner body…(ugh, I guess that is an ok definition)

No, here is a better explanation: Ayurveda breaks the universe down as consisting of three main forces: energy, light and matter. It is recognized that these three forces work through The Elements of Air, Fire and Water/Earth in particular. So, broadly, it can be understood that an individual’s constitution is said to be made up of these three elements as well. According to Ayurvedic medicine, these three Doshas (1.Vata/Wind, 2.Pitta/Fire and 3.Kapha/Earth) can be used to describe an individual’s metabolic type. Most people are a combination of types, though usually identify with one predominately.

Ayurvedic tradition believes that what you put in your body and the practices that you chose to subject your mind/body to, have a direct effect on your overall health and well being (well, duh). Depending on your dosha, (TAKE THE DOSHA QUIZ HERE TO FIND YOUR TYPE) certain foods, asana practices, breathing techniques, etc, will bring overall balance and health to your body, where as the same practices might adgitate someone who does not have your dosha.

 

Example: A firery, type A, perfectionist personality might choose to start the day off with a 5:30 am wake up call, unwrap a lo-cal protein bar, and down a Yerba Mate while they zoom off to their 6:15 Power Yoga class, because that is what they are elementally drawn to. Don’t get me wrong, all these can be beneficial practices. HOWEVER, over the long term if continued without rest, break, or tender self care, such practices can lead the PITTA toward injury and anxiety, perhaps contributing to the over-taxation of this type of body/mind type. 

Yet, apply this same morning to a slower, unmotivated person, desperate to inject their life with a little drive, excitement and activity, and the same practices might mean health, weight-loss and over all body/mind vitality.

So, basically it is about choices, and at many times, practicinging contrary action. And, don’t get me wrong, I am definetly just begining to PRACTICE what I am preaching here.

I have found that in order to make the most beneficial choices a great place to start is self-knowledge, and that is what the Yoga practice offers us. I start at the first two branches of Yoga, the Yamas and The Niyamas, and all the wisdom already offered to us when deciding how to treat ourselves:

The Yamas:
           Ahimsa – Non-Violence/Non Harming in word or deed
           Satya – Truthfulness
           Asteya – Non Stealing
           Brahmacharya – Divine conduct in relationships 
           Aparigraha – Non-Greed

Niyamas: 
          Shaucha – Purity.
          Santosha – Contentment.
          Tapas – Self Discipline
          Svādhyāya – Self-Study
          Ishvarapranidhana – Surrender to a Higher Power

As I Practice applying the Yamas and Niyams toward how I treat myself, just like I practice plank pose, I slowly begin to develop the skills and strength I need to make good choices that move me toward mind/body balance and health.

Ok, ok, when you are done meditating on all the juicy Ayurveda and Yama/Niyama connections, let me know if you would like to come over for dinner. I’ll need to know your Dosha ahead of time, of course :)

 

Namaste my tiny whirling forces of nature,

Beth

Service (Seva)

Seva means service, and I am grateful that I have been offered a seva teaching opportunity that will raise funds for the UCLA chapter of a organization called Nourish International. Nourish International mobilizes college students to develop, orginize and raise funds for service projects aimed at empowering impoverished communities. These projects ultimately enable students to be part of the solution toward ending global poverty.

I will be teaching for Nourish this Thursday, February 12th, in the UCLA sculpture garden at 4:30. The class cost is only $5, and all of the proceeds will go to the UCLA Nourish Chapter’s sustainable development project in Latin America.

If you are interested in learning more about yoga inspired Seva (service) opportunities check out the Off The Mat, Into The World website which seeks to help practitioners interested in activism and service.

Free Yoga/Yoga Day USA

Hi Friends,

This Saturday, January 24th, is Yoga Day USA. Besides being a good excuse to breathe, stretch, and reflect, Yoga Day is also a day when studios and teachers all over the country celebrate by offering free classes and workshops.

I will be in my ERYT workshop most of the day, but check out the link below to find some free events in your area. 

http://www.yogadayusa.org/find.php

Clean Plate Club

 

“According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), if just 5 percent of Americans’ food scraps were recovered it would represent one day’s worth of food for 4 million people.”

 

Alright friends. I need your help to keep me accountable. Many of you already know I am a major scavenger and food mooch, but I would like to take my food intake awareness to a new level.

For the remainder of the month, I have decided not to waste any of the food or beverages I purchase. This may sound easy, but I am one of those emotional eaters. What if I have left over salad from yesterday, but I don’t feel like eating a wilty salad today? What if I feel like eating a slice of pizza? 

Yeah, I am a wussy, whiner, spoiled American consumer.

Which is why I am doing this.

HA, this should be interesting!

I am also reading up on articles like these for gratitude and perspective.

Namaste my little dumplings.