Paradise in paradise…that was my month of June, 2012. I spent the month in Nosara, Costa Rica, studying, absorbing, learning, grasping, running (see photo), practicing yoga, and most of all discovering (or rediscovering) what is wonderful, beautiful and awe-inspiring about this thing called life. Some of you know I traveled to Costa Rica to partake in a 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Jivamutki Yoga (www.jivamuktiyoga.com). I cannot express how transformative this endeavor was, words will never be enough and only serve to dilute the experience. There are a few highlights I can summarize…
1. Nature is beautiful. We as city dwellers need nature. We need oceans, dirt, trees, flowers, plants, birds and all manner of living things to remind us of how perfect the natural world is, and how blessed we are to be able to enjoy it. We need to take care of and respect nature, and the living things with which we share the world. This is possible. It also feels good! Costa Rica is a great place to go to see abundant, vibrant nature.
2. Actions that are selfless generally produce better outcomes than actions that are selfish. This is because with every action we are creating and projecting our world. If we create and project a world where we are kind, compassionate, selfless and thoughtful, we suffer less. We are rewarded with experiences of peace, feelings of love and a bountiful stream of blessings, prosperity and feelings of unity rather than feelings of division, manipulation or guarded self protection. This takes practice, patience and an earnest desire to change. We are often up against social norms that tell us how great it is to succeed at the expense of others, and how being nasty, spiteful, vengeful and selfish is empowering, and being kind and of service to others is weak and leaves us open to pain and hurt. This shift poses a question only you can answer: Do you feel better around people who are mean, nasty, self-serving and seeking only power, revenge and control? Or do you feel good around people who are kind, thoughtful and generous in word and deed?
3. Teaching Yoga is a noble, humble and honorable profession. Sometimes in the competitive, high stress world of winner-take-all and survival-of-the-fittest, we forget that there is more to life than being “the best” or “the only” or “elite”…What about the space to enable peace and tranquility? How about providing relief from tension, pain, chronic agitation and worry? What about engaging not only the physical body, but the emotional, spiritual and energy body as well?
4. What we seek, I believe, is control (relative term) over the mind. We often take a circuitous route to control the mind by first attempting to control the body. We may live in a state of subtle or very obvious chaos, where whirlwinds, discomfort, dis-ease and often irrational thoughts of likes/dislikes/preferences only serve to limit us. Imagine for a moment if there were no concept such as “I am just not a morning person” or “I could never do that pose, its too hard for me” or “Yoga and I just don’t mix, I don’t have the time, and its too far away” etc etc etc…Think of all you could accomplish! We cant do it alone, usually. I was fortunate to meet a new lifelong friend, the beautiful and brilliant professor/yogi/runner H.M. We met almost every day for a 5:30am run in the spectacular hills and countryside of Costa Rica prior to our schedule of asana practice, practicals and lectures. Imagine if I confined myself to my perceived limitations! I didn’t even bring “running sneakers”…I made it work because I wanted it to happen. A tranquil run in the countryside alongside an inspiring and amazing person is just too incredible of an opportunity to miss! And guess what? It was never my body that said “dont run, sleep in today…sleep, so nice…” It was my mind! And I learned to discern what mental messages nudged me further towards who I want to become, and what messages kept me grounded in limitations. And I harnessed the power to choose. You can do the same.
Below is a link to an excellent article about the science of addiction. You don’t have to abuse drugs or alcohol to relate to having habits which we cannot seem to break, or tendencies that we wish we could overcome. It is a short read, with a wonderfully concise summary of how the breath can stimulate the relaxation response via the practice of yoga. I recommend it.
Below is my current teaching schedule for the summer of 2012. All classes are at Equinox Fitness Clubs, either Level 2, Level 2/3 or Power Vinyasa. I hope to see you there!Regular classes:Monday: Power Vinyasa, 7:30pm, 85th and 3rd AveTuesday: Level 2, 6:30pm, Columbus CircleWednesday: Level 2/3, 7:30pm SohoThursday: Power Vinyasa, 7am Columbus Circle, 6pm 54th and 2nd AveSaturday: Level 2, 12:45pm, 76th and Amsterdam AveSunday: Power Vinyasa, 9:15am, Columbus CircleSubbing: Sunday 7/29, 5-6:15pm, Vinyasa Yoga, 85th and 3rd AveSunday 8/5: 5pm, Vinyasa Yoga, 17th and 10th AveSaturdays 8/4 and 8/11, 9:30-11am, Vinyasa Yoga, SohoSunday 8/12: 5pm, Vinyasa Yoga, 63rd and Lexington Ave “It is the truth we ourselves speak rather than the treatment we recieve that heals us. ” M. Hobart Mowrer (1966)“Things do not change. We change.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden