Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wring out the old...

Are you still carrying around residuals from 2011? Is 2011 still stuck in your gut, skin, head, or heart? Is there more putrefication than purification at the moment? Do you want to embrace 2012, but having a hard time getting kick-started?

If so, I'll see you Sunday, 29 January, 10h30 - 12h30 at Paris Yoga for:
"Wring out the Old and Ring in the New"
(the detox workshop that I've decided not to call a "detox" workshop!)

This will be two hours of dynamic and rich asanas and pranayama techniques for purification. We'll safely explore the poses designed to stimulate the digestive fires and eliminate toxins, as we breathe deep and release negative thoughts and feedback loops; cleaning our system physiologically and energetically from the outside in. This workshop is perfect for anyone feeling a bit sluggish, heavy, fatigued or lacking in vitality after the holiday season.
Bring water and a small towel and please come on a relatively empty stomach (refrain from eating 1.5 - 2 hrs in advance).
Email Joelle ~ ~ to sign up.

en francais:
Ce dimanche Amanda enseigne l'atelier Hatha Flow Yoga. L'atelier sera focalisé sur les postures et les respirations de purification. Nous allons explorer les postures qui stimulent le feu digestif et éliminent les toxines à l'aide d'une respiration profonde qui nettoie le corps de l'extérieur à l'intérieur. Accessible à tous niveaux, à part grands débutants. Venir avec l'estomac léger et apporter une bouteille d'eau et une petite serviette.
Dimanche 29 janvier 2012, 10h30 à 12h30, prix 40 €

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sub City Paris and Yoga

Paris Metro
Originally uploaded by snarkle

Nearly everyday I traverse Paris, teaching yoga all over the city. 98% of the time, I rely on the Paris Metro to get me to and fro. It is so easy to get lulled into a state of urban dweller apathy or (maybe worse, maybe not), disgust. Throw on the headphones, go through the motions, head down, think about my plan for the next class, make as little eye contact as possible...

There are those (thankfully, rare) days when the negative stimulus consumes and all I take in are the grumpy faces, hunched shoulders, delayed train announcements, same five accordion tunes played badly, delightful wafts of urine (and other unmentionables), a scurrying rat, and the occasional pained soul smoking crack at the far end of the platform, surrounded by empty €1.50 wine bottles.

But then there are those days when the breath is flowing and all is moving at a graceful pace, and I pick my head up and see and feel and hear the beauty, history, and romance of this phenomenal public work project. This will occur when, while walking between trains, I pass a tastefully designed poster for an art opening, theater show, or salon. Maybe it happens when I see sepia-toned signage that's been there since the Belle Epoch period. Sometimes it happens when up ahead I witness the kindness of a stranger, helping a senior or parent with a stroller climb the never-ending stairwells between platforms, sans escalator.

Mostly however, it happens when I begin to ascend at my destination. I gaze up and draw in the tops of the Haussman with their ornate iron-work, or the ubiquitous cafe chairs and awnings, or the twinkling of the carousel music, or the glow of a fabled landmark too awe-inspiring to ever conjure apathy...

That's when my heart opens wide and my eyes make contact with a stranger. Without question we know what each other is thinking and it simply has to do with beauty. Ezra Pound was right.

Spend the next three minutes of your life taking in a bit of regular, simple beauty...
Sub City Paris by Redglass Pictures.

Thank you yogateau for introducing me to this beautiful piece of art ~

Monday, January 2, 2012

Remember: Vous Etes Parfait!

Originally uploaded by moechslen
Happy 2012 and a bright new day to you and yours!

On this day, 2 January, after the partying, hosting, gift giving and general end-of-year merriment is over, many people wake up and focus on every one of their flaws. They take a long look in the mirror and focus in on every little thing they don't like about themselves or what they perceive to be lacking. All the gratitude conjured up over the holidays seems to fly out the window. Therein begins the process of making resolutions. The idea is, once acknowledged and perhaps spoken aloud, one will make a plan to change something that is "wrong" into something that is "right": lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, eat less junk food, make more money...and so forth.

The problem as I see it with this annual routine, is that very few people I know actually achieve their desired result. Like with so many things, when we begin a process emphasizing the negative; the flaws and imperfections, then our energy to maintain the process wains and we go right back to the same old patterns that got us there in the first place.

I like intentions. One of the most meaningful things ever taught to me by my beloved teachers is about the power of intention-making. Intentions are inherently positive because they are a silent reminders to self that we are not flawed, we are absolutely Perfect. We are absolute Perfection. How's that for a new year's wake-up call?

However, in the process of walking this path we've been put on this earth to walk; living this life we've been put here to live, we find ourselves saying or doing things that feel just plain off. We've over-indulged. We've stayed too long. We've walked out too early. We've said things we regret. We've lost it. We've judged. We've grudged. We've hurt. And so forth. (You know the things; while in the midst of them there's this little voice inside that says, "Uh oh, probably shouldn't, nope. Here I go again.")
10 pounds later (for example), we're beating ourselves up and making New Year's resolutions to lose said 10 pounds that we never actually lose. The ego wins again!

As we delve deeper in our practice we realize that this life journey will intersect with the machinations of the ego, over and over and over again. That is certain and unavoidable.
That is Karma.
As one of my great teachers put it several years ago, "The ego's job is to give us insomnia; to help us forget that we are Perfection and therefore keep us in negative, unconscious patterns. Our job as yogis is to train ourselves to have better memory recall. That's why it's called a Practice."

When we make pure and honest intentions to foster and manifest our best selves in areas of our lives where we may have had momentary memory loss, we are literally re-training ourselves out of the old habits. We begin with a positive reminder (Perfection) and from there strengthen and reinforce good habits, instead of feeding the bad. It's a re-calibration of sorts. It's Yoga.

So, instead of "I'm going to make a resolution to lose 10 pounds in 2012." How about, "I am going to love and forgive myself. I'm going to make an intention to access the highest level of health and well-being I can, in all areas of my life."

Intentions need to be accompanied with a practical plan. If that plan is too lofty, expensive, or generally unrealistic, it won't last. But in order to lift our conscious awareness from the resolution level to the intention level and begin shifting the patterns, we must do something small, everyday. And it must begin now.

2012 classes resume tomorrow. Come set an intention and let's collectively help each other begin the year in the most positive way we can.

My new favorite quote which I intend to use over and over this year:

"Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, fire worshipper, lover of leaving. This is not a caravan of despair. It does not matter that you have broken your vows a thousand times, still come, and yet again, come... " ~ Rumi ~