Wednesday, August 31, 2016


SAVASANA palms on belly - 2 to 5 minutes

Anger is an emotion that most people have trouble expressing appropriately.
Anger shows ups in our lives in many variations of including: resentment, rage, jealousy, frustration, and stress. The psychological qualities of stubbornness and over-criticalness are closely related to anger.
Anger is a natural response to an interaction or situation that is not desirable for us or those we care about.
Many of us have been taught that expressing anger is harmful or wrong.  We are ashamed and afraid of it. So we ignore, deny or repress their anger.  But anger doesn’t go away, it just goes underground and disturbs our physical and emotional well-being. We will feel unbalanced until we express our anger, change the circumstances that caused it, or forgive the person or people who sparked it.

Start by saying these affirmations
“I forgive myself for not being perfect”
“It is natural to feel angry sometimes”
“I am a good person”
“I can learn from and transform my anger”


Anger lives in the liver and gallbladder.
Connect to your liver and gallbladder by placing your hands under your right ribs and pushing gently there, There under your right ribs you will feel your liver. The gallbladder is below your liver
Sense in your liver if there is any anger, resentment, frustration, stress, imbalance
If there is any ask the message of this feeling of anger (pause)
Deep inhale and exhale and softly ssshhhhhh
With eyes closed: Looking left and looking right to delete any anger, resentment, frustration, stress, imbalance, constriction
Visualize anger, resentment, frustration, stress, imbalance,constriction leaving your mouth as a cloudy gray substance that disappears into the earth to be transformed

Now smile to your liver and your gallbladder they work they do in digestion, regulating blood sugar, and cleansing toxins. Continue smiling as you imagine breathing a spring-green light into these organs

SUPINE HALF MOON POSE aka BANANASANA - Both Sides - 2 to 5 minutes

Benefits: Stretches the whole side of the body.  Lateral flexes the spin. Stretches oblique stomache muscles and side intercostal muscles between the ribs.

Contra-indications: if you experience tingling in the hands place a bolster under the arms or bring the hands down,  If you have lower back issues be mindful and careful with this pose.

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism:The First Quarter Moon appears approximately a week after the New Moon.  We might call the First  Quarter Moon, as well as the Last Quarter Moon, “the half Moon,” because the Moon appears cut in half.  It is not a quarter of a Moon at all in appearance.At the First Quarter Moon, we might meet challenges we had not prepared for.  We may need to make on-the-spot decisions about how to proceed and then do what needs to be done in order for our intentions to
manifest.  It is a time for action. Last quarter moon is the time to let go, release, and forgive anything and everyone that you may feel has hurt you in any way.  It is a time of emptying self and allowing the universe to take over or whomever you trust in your faith.  It is out of your hands and no more action is needed from you


Anger lies in 1st,  2nd and 3rd Chakra.  1st chakra because it can be caused by expectations that relate to insecurity. Anger can be related to fear and become violent.  In the 2nd chakra it is caused by unfulfilled sensory desires and 3rd chakra when people don’t give us the respect we expect.  But mainly 3rd chakra.

Three characteristics to understanding how anger energy, or energy from the third chakra feels in the body
1) makes parts of your body or certain muscles harden (usually midback, shoulders and jaw)
2) you cannot connect to yourself and somehow you do not feel quite right in your own skin, can’t ground
3) you lose your natural ability to digest a full range of food and beverages because the make you feel nauseous

Benefits: Stretches the chest, neck, and spine. Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression. Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid. Rejuvenates tired legs
Improves digestion. Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause. Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported. Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia. Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinus issues

Contra-indications:People with neck injuries should avoid this pose


3. Nose breathing, one of the lasting traditional aspects of yoga, is an anger-coping mechanism that can be used anywhere. One of the best nose breathing exercises is the Three-Part Breath. The Three-Part Breath, also known as the Complete Breath, is the simplest and most rewarding of all yogic breathing exercises. It is both purifying and energizing and, if done slowly and evenly, can produce a sense of serenity and balance. The Three-Part Breath is done by sitting tall and inhaling, bringing your breath deep into your abdomen (try placing a hand on diaphragm or abdomen to make sure you’re breathing deeply enough), then into your rib cage, and finally into your chest and throat. Exhale completely and let negative thoughts and emotions go. Try to make the length of time you take to the inhale the same as when you exhale to achieve the full effect of this exercise.

Symbolism: progress, connections, stability, overcoming obstacles, transtions


- ankle rolls, wrist rolls, shoulder rolls, (pawanmuktasana series)
In anger, the eyes are opened wide (in Calmness eyes are closed). Eyes can express more anger than words.  Anger can cause the jaw, the hands and the whole body to become tight and tense. The entire body becomes tight including hands.  The breath becomes fast and shallow and sounds become harsh and koud. An angry person changes the entire environment and may affect the breathing pattern of others.  It is rajasic and the element fire.  Anger males the body chemistry acidic and causes problems in joints and muscles, destroys the eyesight, causes cardio vascular disturbances such as heart attacks and brings illness to digestive and nervous systems.

Benefits: Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine. Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines. Helps relieve stress. Improves digestion

Contra-indications:Asthma. Diarrhea. Headache. Heart Problems. Insomnia
Low blood pressure. Menstruation. Pregnancy. Neck injury: Sit with your back near a wall to perform this pose. As you tilt your torso back rest the back of your head on the wall.

Breathwork: In through nose out through mouth. Activate Uddiya Bandha.

Symbolism:  About navigation our lives: Where am I going?What do I consider my "True North" - my ultimate guide? Am I prepared for my journeying (spiritual and otherwise)?How am I navigating through life?How am I maneuvering through adverse conditions?


When anger comes there are 3 healthy ways to deal with it
1) dissolve it the moment it arises by analyzing the unfulfilled expectatiations the lies at the basis id it, and then shifting to one of its enemy rasas – Joy, Love and Wonder
2) Address the circumstances of the anger in a nonviolent way
3) be angry to person on circumstances to show lines have been crosses. Somethings we need to get angry about

Don’t suppress it because it just continues to simmer. Expressing doesn’t mean punishing.

BOW POSE - One Leg at a Time - 1 + minutes

BOW POSE Both Legs -  30 secs +

There are two types of anger: simple anger and complex anger: headache, stub your toe. Simple anger is an expressing of anger related to a single event. Complex anger is related to a series of events. Complex anger is an umbrella emotion.

Benefits: Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas). Strengthens the back muscles. Improves posture
Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck

Contra-indications:High or low blood pressure. Migraine. Insomnia. Serious lower-back or neck injury

Breathwork: Inhale and Exhale Ram

Symbolism:Doctrine of Truth. Kingship. Virility


As you practice these yoga poses for the 3rd you might experience different sensations.  The 3rd chakra the home to feelings of anger, rage, frustration, revenge, intolerance, judgment, jealousy, hard heartedness and violence. These are all natural to opening up the third chakra.  As you open it up you will move from anger to feelings of success, achievement and added confidence.


The deity of anger is Rudra, a wrathful aspect of Shiva who represents destructive forces. He is the chariot rider of the sun whose arrow causes destruction and disease reminding us that some parts of us need to be “burned away.” His name means the howler and he directly relates to the harsh sounds produced by anger.  By pleasing Rudra problems with anger can be reduced. We pleas Rudra by: giving love, meditating, caring about and for all beings, being disciplined and reducing ignorance.

Benefits: It is a good relaxation pose for all spinal complaints, especially cervical spondylitis and stiff neck or upper back.

OM NAMO BHAGAVATE RUDRAYA Om salutations to Rudra the protector, sustainer and destroyer of the world. This mantra is most suitable for Grihastas ( family people).


The most common areas affected in the body by neagative emotions and beliefs are: the shoulders, the trapezius, the sides of the neck, the armpits, the sides of the rib cage, the solar plexus, outside of the gluteus maximus and the outsides of the things.  All these parts of the body run along the gallbladder meridian.

 Benefits:  Deep compression and stimulation of sacral lumbar arch. Stimulates the door of lide. Tones the spine. In Seal stomache gets a great stretch.

Contra-indications: Bad back or tight sacrum problems. Pregnant use bolsters and don't put belly on floor

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism:Sphinx - Power, Watching Over. Seal - Being Comfortable in your own skin


Joy, love and wonder are enemies of the anger. Joy and humour relax and remove the seriousness of anger.

FLAPPING FISH - Both Sides - 1 + minutes

The third chakra is the center of your self-esteem. Every time you judge or criticize yourself, you deplete this chakra and weaken your willpower. Self love, self acceptance, and acknowledgement of your own worth are the building blocks of the third chakra.

Benefits: Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hips. Massages the abdominal organs. Relieves lower backache, neck pain, and sciatica. Helps relieve stress. Improves digestion. Especially good in the second trimester of pregnancy for strengthening the lower back. Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome

Visualization: Visualize a candle flame. Now visualize that flame  in your solar plexus down to your navel and up again through the trunk of your body.

TWISTING DRAGON POSE - 2 to 5 minutes

Fire is the element of anger and the Manipura; fire purifies the past and energizes progress towards mental awareness and spiritual development. This chakra is where we get our "gut instincts" that signal us what to do when we need guidance.

Benefits: Hip and Groin Opener.

Contra-indications: Can be uncomfortable for kneecap or ankle

Symbolism:The most common message a Dragon totem carry to us is a need for strength, courage, and fortitude. Dragons are also messengers of balance, and magic - encouraging us to tap into our psychic nature and see the world through the eyes of mystery and wonder.More specifically, Dragons are the embodiment of primordial power - the ultimate ruler of all the elements. This is because the Dragon is the master of all the elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind.

Breathwork: Start with an Upright Dragon and Do Breath of fire Before Completely getting in pose.
Ujjayi while in the twisting version.

SUPINE SPINAL TWIST - 2 to 5 minutes each side

In the Artist’s Way Julia Cameron writes “Anger is fuel that propels us into our new life. Anger is a tool, not a master. We feel it and we want to do something. Anger is meant to be acted upon but not to be acted out. Anger is a loyal friend that always tells us when we have betrayed ourselves.  It will always tell is that it is time, to act in our own best interest. Anger is not the action itself. It is action’s invitation.

Benefits: Twists rotate the spine and stretch the muscles of the back. This helps to restore and retain the spine’s natural range of motion. If we don’t employ our natural range of motion we run the risk of our joints hardening and fusing. The surrounding supportive soft tissue can also become short and dysfunctional. In twists you work with the spine and the action of ‘lengthening’ is to create space between the vertebrae. When there's a lack of space our spine tends to slump or get stuck and our energy levels drop. Through twisting we lengthen the spine and get space between the bones. Then our energy can flow better. Twists give us an instant energy lift and decompress the vertebrae in a safe healthy way. Twists are commonly known to aid digestion. It is important to realize what that actually means! Twists are great for creating movement in and around our organs (mobility and motility). So in terms of helping our food being moved along.. twists are great.

Contra-indications: Shoulder issues

Visualization: Visualize the color of the sun, bright yellow at noon, streaming into your solar plexus and radiating out to your entire body with warmth and light.

As the twist slowly open and close the mouth

FINAL SAVASANA - as long as you wish

Relaxation Breath is a slow-paced technique used to induce a state of deep relaxation and centeredness. It’s another simple exercise that can be utilized for stress and anger in daily life as it can help reverse the physiological effects of stress, including lowering the heart rate and decreasing blood pressure. To practice Relaxation Breath, lie comfortably on your back and relax your body from any tensity. Place your right hand on your chest and your left hand on the upper part of your abdomen. Breathe so only your left hand rises during the inhale and falls during the exhale. Your right hand should remain virtually motionless. Make sure to give an equal amount of time to the inhale and exhale




Benefits: Strengthens the arms, abdomen and legs. Strengthens the wrists
Improves sense of balance. Tones and stregthens the core, with a focus on the oblique muscles

Affirmation: I am strong and courageous

Breathwork: Inhale Strength, Exhale Courage

Yin Practice for Transforming Sadness and Depresstion into Courage, Letting Go and Right Action

Long deep holds such as the ones practiced in Yin Yoga  tap into tension in the hips, chest, and back. Stretching these areas slowly and methodically in a focused yoga class prompt emotional releases. Frustration and anger can manifest in spinal tension, heartbreak and depression can linger in the chest, and emotional pain from the past could lie dormant in the hip flexors.  I have developed this classes to explore yoga poses for emotional and physical healing by working through stiffness and blockages in our bodies.

This yin practice for transforming Depression/Sadness is focused on the 3rd and 4th Chakras (the places in the body sadness and depression are stored according to the Yogic System of Ayurveda) as well as the lungs and large intestines (where sadness and Depression are stored according to Traditional Chinese Medicine). The intention is to stimulate and stretch the places that sadness and depression live in our bodies in order that they can either leave the body or transform into courage, letting go and right action.


Sadness and Depression are found in the 3rd and 4th Chakras. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they are said to live in the lungs and Large Intestines. The Energy of Sadness is: Soft. Cold to the Touch.

As we get into Child's pose we can ask ourselves, "Why is this pose name child's pose?" The Sanskrit name for the pose is “balasana”, which translate to “child” and “pose” respectively. The pose is called Child's pose because you form the shape of a baby in the womb.  The emphasize is the naturally curved spine like a fetus. In this pose you can feel yourself safe as if you were in the womb. The pose addresses the 3rd chakra as it massages the abdominal organs. The full-body, gravitational pull of Balasana offers great physical, mental and emotional relief.  I find this pose a perfect place to begin as we explore sadness.  Is this pose we are completely protected.


Sadness is related to neurotransmitters in our brain.  It is also related to an absense of dopamine, serotonin and phenylethylamine.

Revolved Child's Pose is one of the least exposed twists.  Here you can twist without exposing the heart.

"In twists you work with the spine and the action of ‘lengthening’ is to create space between the vertebrae. When there's a lack of space our spine tends to slump or get stuck and our energy levels drop. Through twisting we lengthen the spine and get space between the bones. Then our energy can flow better. Twists give us an instant energy lift and decompress the vertebrae in a safe healthy way."


We usually translate the word Karuna as compassion but it originaly means sadness.  It is the sadness we feel when we need to let go of attachments. It is the most important to have compassion for ourselves.Embracing a sad person with love can work miracles on their mental state.  Also surrounding them with beauty and art.

Anahatasana is a beautiful heart-opening yoga pose that energizes the whole body. The name is derived from the Sanskrit, anahata, which means heart. Anahatasana improves posture, expands the chest, supports heart and lung function and promotes circulation. Melting heart also promotes the "let go" attitude, develops compassion, promotes harmony, elevates the mood and helps to achieve a sense of inner calm. Anahatasana stimulates the anahata chakra. A balanced anahata chakra promotes one's mind to a higher state where selfless love reigns supreme.


Sadness is related to the water element.  It is seen in our tears.  The moon influences the water element. The descending moon cycle is related to sadness.  The ascending moon cycle is related to Joy and Excitement

Let's go into a metaphorical water as we practice frog pose."Like a frog, this pose invites deep breathing and expansion of the lungs. Purposeful breath work in this asana helps relieve headaches, stress, and mild depressive symptoms.

In addition, focus on the exhale helps remove toxins in the lungs, decrease the heart rate, and release stress induced anxiety.Mandukasana also stimulates the pancreas which improves secretion of insulin. It has been linked to treatment of constipation, diabetes, and digestive disorders as well as improvement in sciatica for some people because the knee and ankle joints are stretched, and the shoulder and abdomen muscles are strengthened.

It reduces belly fat by firing the core and fueling the inner flame. Lastly, it helps reduce menstrual cramps (fun fact: the uterus is the strongest muscle in the body)."

There is a practice called Karuna Sadhana.  Mastering  Karuna means changing sadness to compassion.  Most people are so self-absorbed the do not understand that others problems are the same as their own.

The butterfly is the symbol of transformation as it was once a caterpillar that inched and crawled and now has turned into a butterfly that has wings.


Healing Sound of Transformation of Sadness into Courage is:

Close your eyes and put your hands on your rib cage.  Inhale slowly through your nose. Notice in you feel any sadnes, depression, constriction or other physical imbalances in your lungs.  If you do ask them if they have a message dor you.

1. Become aware of your lungs. Take a deep breath and, letting your eyes follow, raise the arms up in front of you. When the hands are at eye level, begin to rotate the palms and bring them up above the head. Keep the elbows rounded. You should feel a stretch that extends from the heels of the palms, along the forearms, over the elbows, along the upper arms and into the shoulders. The lungs and chest will feel open and breathing will be easier. Draw the corners of the mouth back, exhale, making the sound "Ssssssss", sub-vocally, slowly and evenly in one breath.

2. As you exhale, empty all feelings of sadness, sorrow and grief from your lungs.

3. When you have exhaled completely (without straining), rotate the palms down, close the eyes, and breathe in to the lungs to strengthen them. If you are color oriented, imagine a pure white light and quality of righteousness entering into your lungs. Float the arms down by gently lowering the shoulders. Slowly lower them to your lap so that they rest there, palms up. 

4. Close the eyes, breathe normally, smile down to the lungs, be aware of the lungs, and imagine that you are still making the sound. Pay attention to any sensations you may feel. Try to feel the exchange of cool, fresh energy replacing hot, dark waste energy.

5. Repeat the sequence 3 to 6 times. 


Traditional texts say that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens Kundalini. It also Strengthens the spine, Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
Firms the buttocks, Stimulates abdominal organs and Helps relieve stress
Traditional times of great sadness can be adolescence and middle age.  Also we can have a mid-life crisis.  We can be very sad after a death of a loved one. Sadness is a natural response to loss.


Concentrating on Love, Joy and Humur are powerful ways to release and remove sadness

SWAN - Sitting Swan - Sleeping Swan and Swan Twist

The deity of sadness is Varuna the lord of the water. He is the keeper of the laws of dharma and his palace is a Submerged Mountain.

Here’s the Varuna Gayatri:

Aum Jalbimbaye Vvidmahe
Nila Purushaye Dhimahi
Tanno Varunah Prachodayat


Om, Let us meditate on the reflection of water
O person of ocean blue, give me higher intellect
And let the God of water illuminate my mind


Painful emotions tell us what's our of balance.  

Benefits of Fish Pose. Fish Pose stretches the front of the body, particularly the throat, chest, abdomen, hip flexors, and intercostals (the muscles between your ribs). It strengthens the upper back muscles and the back of the neck, which improves spinal flexibility and posture.Stimulates the anahata chakra (heart psychic center). Brings more prana to the neck and shoulders
Mental Benefits are to Helps to regulate emotions and stress


Lungs allow oxygen to function.  Large Intenstines receive waste and food materials from stomache and small intestines.
Supta Baddha Konasana opens the whole front of the body: pelvis, belly, chest, and throat. It is especially beneficial for the pelvic organs. In this pose, the legs are supported. The inner groins can soften and the lower belly and pelvic area can soften. This pose calms the nervous system.


Too much sadness can lead to things like colon cancer, colds flu, skin problems, asthma, ephysema, lung cancer

Helps alleviate stress and mild depression.
Calms the brain and central nervous system.
Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands, and abdominal organs.
Improves digestion.


Fall is the Season of the Lung. Fall fruits are wonderful to eat for sadness relieve as well as green leafy vegetables. The element of sadness is metal.

SAVASANA with Yoga Nidra

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Essential Nature and Yoga Therapy

The yoga therapy process opens the student to their essential nature, which is already whole and healed. When students come to you who are suffering from physical or emotional pain, it is sometimes hard for them to believe that there is a part of them that is already complete. Give one concrete example of how you could bring the student into contact with their own inner healing.

The yoga therapy process says we are already whole and healed. Health is our essential nature. But how does that help us when we feel sick and broken. As a yoga therapist we are to stress to the client that they have everything they need to be whole.  This is not an easy process to convince somehow who feels incomplete that they are complete.. I believe it takes time and a lot of effort to shift perceptions and beliefs about one's self.

I have a student who experienced physical abuse from his father during his childhood which included his father burning him with a poker. He also mentions that his father beat up his mother when she was pregnant.  He has low self esteem, anxiety and episodes of great sadness and loneliness.

I taught a 12 week version of Artist's Way which included some Yoga Poses and Pranayama and this student told he experienced a great shift in his life through journaling in the morning and doing the exercises in the Artist's Way.  After about 7 weeks of the course he had an "aha" moment where he told me he was worthy.  He is a writer and he shifted his life through the process of therapeutic writing.

"To work with our thoughts and make them more adaptive and realistic, we first need to know what they are. We can't allow our self-talk to remain background music, affecting us without knowing it.

One of the most useful things you can do to combat stress and anxiety is keep a running record of your thoughts on paper. There's simply no better way to learn about your thought processes than to write them down." - Barbara Markway Ph.D

I always suggest to my students to record their dreams, write morning pages, do stream of consciousness writing and intuitive painting as ways to get in touch with their essential nature.  Being open to the subconscious and unconscious tools I believe is the basis to self-healing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Yoga Therapy: How to Remain True to the Tradition while being open to creative new ideas?

1. The techniques of yoga therapy come mainly from the yoga tradition, but this tradition is changing and expanding rapidly in the West. How can you as a yoga teacher and therapist remain true to the tradition while still being open to creative new ideas?

I will answer this question in a very personal way.  What brought me to yoga was a bad knee injury that caused me a great amount of pain.  I had knee surgery in 2000.  During the surgery I had a patella release and two meniscii trimmed.  The doctor said the patella release was what would be the hardest to recover from.

And recovery was brutal.  I felt much worse after the surgery than before. I tried lots of healing modalities in my quest to get out of pain: acupuncture, Pilates, herbs, supplements, and hatha yoga. But, it wasn't until I started doing Bikram Yoga in 2004 that I found relief.  I moved away from my Bikram Practice in 2012 and now I find myself moving back toward it again with the discovery of the Ghosh Lineage.

Lineage and tradition are things that I am beginning to really value for myself in Yoga.  I studied Satyananda Yoga Nidra instead if Irest or other systems because I wanted to go back to the source, And when I can, I want to go back to a brown source.  This is me. This is what important to me as a non-white practitioner of Yoga in the West.

I spent a lot of time at Kripalu this spring listening to doctors try to prove or disprove yoga but what spoke most to be was the ancient tradition, the ancient knowledge, not the proof of the knowledge.  My body is my proof of the benefits of yoga.  Dr. Ananda was the perfect blend for me of ancient and modern.  He is a medical doctor but he is a part of a tradition.

The first question is "how to remain true to the tradition. . . "  I think to remain true to the tradition you have to have a tradition.  I am now accepting in myself my tradition is the Ghosh Lineage.  That means my teachers are Paramanhansa Yogananda, Bisnu Ghosh,Swami Kuvalayanda, Francesca Asumah and the reviled Bikram himself.  I have taken his class many times and studied exclusively at his world headquarters for 8 years.  It's who I am it's how I got ease in my suffering.

I don't condone Bikram.  I won't have anything more to do with him or his name.  I. myself, have been raped. I can't be at ease with just saying bad man good yoga.

Another part of being true to the tradition is studying and practicing the tradition. After being at Kripalu I promised myself that I will go to Calcutta some day soon and study at the Ghosh Yoga College and learn more.  And one day I will do 26 x 2  training with someone I believe in like Francesca Asumah.

I also have done some training at Ananda Ashram which I also consider with Self-Realization fellowship to be an important part of the lineage.  I will continue to explore what these organizations have to offer.  I may one day do the correspondence course on meditiation that Parmahansa Yogananda made famous many years ago.

So this is how I remain true to the tradition: I study the tradition, I practice the tradition, and I explore the branches and leaves of the tradition and relate it to myself and what I feel comfortable with and believe in.

How do I remain open to creative new ideas.  I do this by reading, listening and taking workshops inside or outside of yoga.  I listen to my intuition about what I need.   The ideas that are really interesting to right  now are.  I am not sure how much or when I will be able to study everything I am interested in, but, I like listing them and thinking about them.

finishing 800 IYT Training

Lee Albert's - Positional Yoga Therapy

The Gokhale Method

Coherent Breathing - practicing with recording

Yoga Tune Up Balls - taking a one day working in September

Life Force Yoga - will do in November

anything by Nischala Joy Devi

further training on Yoga Nidra at the Himalayan Insitute, Level 2 Yoga Nidra Training and/or Dream Yoga in Tibetan Tradition

Spiritual Counseling Training at Ananda Ashram - taking a 5 day training in October

Ghosh College of India Yoga Therapy Training in Calcutta

Gaia School of Healing and Earth Education - on the waiting list for this years program, guaranteed place for next year's programe

Trauma-Informed Expressive Art Therapy

I am reading Bessel Van Der Kolk and will continue to read and follow up on the things that I was exposed to at Kripalu, the Ancient Yoga Center, Abundant Well being, and Lalita Sanctuary with the 400 plus hours of therapeutic yoga training I did this spring.

Right now, I don't see a contradiction between the tradition and creative new ideas because I see the tradition as creative and new even though it is ancient wisdom.  I guess it's new because it's new for me.  Having so much access to ancient secret and sometimes male only practices is very creative new and I hope I can make these practices my own and use them to help myself and others.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Rumi: A Yoga Therapy Perspective, "Say I Am You"

Here is my answers to another reading assignment for my Integrative Yoga Therapy Internship.  The assignment was to chose an unfamiliar poem by Rumi and explore it.  I love Rumi so this assignment was something I considered a lot of fun no chore at all.

After thumbing through the book, Essential Rumi, looking for a poem to write about I choose this one on p. 275

Say I Am You

I am dust particles in sunlight. 
I am the round sun. 

To the bits of dust I say, Stay. 
To the sun, Keep moving. 

I am morning mist, 
and the breathing of evening. 

I am wind in the top of a grove, 
and surf on the cliff. 

Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel, 
I am also the coral reef they founder on. 

I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches. 
Silence, thought, and voice. 

The musical air coming through a flute, 
a spark of stone, a flickering in metal. 

Both candle and the moth crazy around it. 
Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance. 

I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy, 
the evolutionary intelligence, the lift, and the falling away. 

What is, and what isn't. 

You who know, Jelaluddin,
You the one in all, say who I am. 
Say I am you.

- Rumi

Read the poem twice and answer the following

a) What are your first impressions?

I chose this poem because I liked the rhythm of it and I like the message which I interpreted as we are all one.  I was thinking: I am you and you are me.  We are all the same.  I had the impression that the poem was asking for us to accept things as they are.  I was attracted to the poem because of its references to beautiful moments in nature.  When we see ourselves as part of nature perhaps we are less likely to destroy it.

b) What do you think inspired Rumi to write this poem?

Perhaps Rumi was out in nature in all its glory and came to the realization that we are all connected and we are all a part of nature's beauty.  I think a lot about how the universe inside of us is the same as the universe outside of us.  I once saw the Eames movie "Powers of Ten" that hit this point home to me.

"I do believe we're all connected. I do believe in positive energy. I do believe in the power of prayer. I do believe in putting good out into the world. And I believe in taking care of each other."  
- Harvey Fierstein

Perhaps Rumi was looking for some assurance from nature of his place as a part of this marvelous system.

"Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation." -  Charles Cook

Perhaps Rumi wanted to stress that as humans we aren't the master of nature but in fact a part of nature.

“Man, do not pride yourself on your superiority to the animals, for they are without sin, while you, with all your greatness, you defile the earth wherever you appear and leave an ignoble trail behind you -- and that is true, alas, for almost every one of us!”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Perhaps Rumi was marveling over this beautiful universe created by God and how he is thankful to be apart of it.

"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” 
– William A. Ward

c) Read the poem again, this time slowly: What happened? What is described? Who is involved? What mood, thoughts, feelings, emotions and/or ideas do you think Rumi was attempting to bring up in the reader? Did he succeed?

I am dust particles in sunlight. 
I am the round sun. 

First two lines Rumi describes himself as both particles of dust illuminated by sunlight and the illuminating sun itself.  He is both microcosm and macrocosm.  He is the dust that we usually try to clean away, He is dust that has escaped the broom and is triumphantly shinning. We don't usually want to see dust or be dust.  But I am the dust is the first statement in the poem.  So Rumi, for me, as saying even things that we consider distasteful are also important to acknowledge and can be beautiful.  Also this seeing ourselves as dust can show how insignificant we are when we compare ourselves to the vastness of the universe. We are as small as dust. We are as dirty as dust. We are as undesirable as dust.  But, conversely, we are very significant because we are the round sun.

 To the bits of dust I say, Stay. 
To the sun, Keep moving.

I interpret these lines in a few ways.  I first interpreted them as be who you are not matter what that is. Accept yourself.  Dust which doesn't move should stay and be dust. The sun that moves can keep moving.

But with further investigation I can also  interpret that Rumi is asking us to acknowledge and be ok with the dirty and undesirable parts of ourselves. He invites us to befriend our undesirable parts and welcome them to stay,  This means a lot to me as a Black and Jewish woman I have often been considered by others and myself dirty and undesirable.  But Rumi speaks to me personally when he says that dust can stay!!

I am morning mist, 
and the breathing of evening. 

Now Rumi has moved more ephemeral aspects of the Self. Both the morning mist and the breath of the evening can't be contained or quantified.  He also describes the whole day from morning to evening in these lines. Declaring that he is the entire day from light to darkness. Meaning he is timeless and therefore we as humans are also all aspects of time. Also I can interpret as he is all colors from white to black.  As a interracial person I can relate to being white as the morning mist and black as the breath of evening.  I have spend my life trying to embrace my differences and put them together as a beautiful sentence that is me.

I am wind in the top of a grove, 
and surf on the cliff. 

Again Rumi defines extremes from the top of the trees to surf hitting against a cliff.  He shows the vastness of what we are as humans.  It also ties us back to nature: the wind, the trees, the water surf, and cliffs.

Both wind and surf can be rough.  Maybe Rumi is saying that we all have our rough parts, our destructive tendencies.  The surf on the cliff erodes the cliff.  But being tough, mean, angry, abrasive perhaps is also part of who we are, all parts of nature have their roughness.

“To run with the wolf was to run in the shadows, the dark ray of life, survival and instinct. A fierceness that was both proud and lonely, a tearing, a howling, a hunger and thirst. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst. A strength that would die fighting, kicking, screaming, that wouldn't stop until the last breath had been wrung from its body. The will to take one's place in the world. To say 'I am here.' To say 'I am.” 
― O.R. Melling

Yesterday, I was angry and I wasn't sure why. I looked in the mirror and I thought "Am I becoming an old mean lady."  I was the surf eroding the cliff.  I was the wind blowing the leaves off the trees.  I was a person angry that the people around me were having fun and I wasn't.  I decide to go to yoga and try to shift my mood

Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel, 
I am also the coral reef they founder on. 

These lines show the complexity of being human.  Not only are we the parts of the boat but we are also the coral the cuts and sinks the boat. I see this in myself, that I am equally my best friend and my worst enemy.  Many of the obstacles that are in my way are ones that I have put there.  Many things I resent in my life are there because I haven't made any changes.

I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches. 
Silence, thought, and voice. 

Not only is Rumi the graceful silent tree.  He is also the parrot that makes noise in its branches. Meaning that as humans we are both sound and silence.  We are also the branch and the one who sits on the branch.

It's interesting to me that the parrot is a "trained" parrot.  Why does Rumi need to say that?  It reminds me how sometimes we are all just trained parrots repeating what others have to say.  My first instinct when interpreting this poem was to look on the internet and see what others had to say about it.  But, I decided to suppress that instinct and do my own interpretation.  It's so easy to be a trained parrot.  It's much harder to be a wild one.

And being quiet.  It's so important and yet a struggle with it.  Sometimes feeling it's my duty to fill up the air with talking.  I think the real yogini knows how to shut up.

"Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about." - Saskya Pandita

The musical air coming through a flute, 
a spark of stone, a flickering in metal.

The vast potential of being human is being able to create brilliant instrument like a flute, as well as, the ability to spark a stone and make fire. Fire is one of the things that distinguishes us from other primates. Flickering in metal may mean that I am also the reflection of the fire that I myself made by hitting the stone.  I am also the fire that is used to mold and create the flute.

I feel close to God when I am making art, creating, using my hands.

Both candle and the moth crazy around it. 
Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance. 

Again Rumi shows the depth of human existence. Not only are we the candle we are also the moth that is mesmerized by the candle, thus, we are mesmerizer and mesmerized.  Another example of this is that we are both the rose that makes the fragrance and the nightingale that is bedazzled by the fragrance.  It's important to me in these lines that the moth is "crazy" around the flame and the nightingale is "lost" in the fragrance.  When we are crazy and lost we have no control of the site, situation or our surroundings, the surroundings are controlling us.

I am often lost and sometimes found.  Circle the flame, confused, not sure what to do.

I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy, 
the evolutionary intelligence, the lift, and the falling away. 

This stanza reaffirms that vastness of the human experience: we are galaxy and evolutionary intelligence.  Also as humans we are the lift up and the falling down. Perhaps Rumi is also pointing to the ups and downs that we experience in life. I feel like I have falling down so many times and then eventually I brush myself off and get up.

What is, and what isn't. 

As humans, As Rumi, as Nya we are everything that is and isn't.  We can define ourselves equally by what we are and we are not.  I am female/I am not male.

You who know, Jelaluddin,
You the one in all, say who I am. 
Say I am you.

Then he uses his first name which implies to me, you who know me intimately enough to call me by my first name.   You who are important to me.  You who are my one and all.  Tell me that I am you which for me means we are the same.

Equally, this feels like he could be looking in the mirror and saying to himself.  You know who you are.  I am the one who looks at myself in the mirror.

d)Is your final conclusion different from your first impression? If so, how?

When I break this poem down I realize it is so much more elaborate and detailed than I had seen upon the first two readings.  It reminds me right now of our world full of dualities: Republican and Democrat, Black and White, Christian and Muslim, Rumi asks us to see the other as ourselves.  This is revolutionary.  This is something that seems way too difficult for the human race.  To me this is a revolutionary statement.

I wish the cop see himself as the perpetrator and perpetrator as the cop.   The white man as the black man and the black man as white man.  If we saw each other as ourselves I believe there wouldn't be so much violence in the world. For me, the path to enlightenment surely is down this road of "Saying I Am You."