Sunday, January 8, 2017

Jala Mudra

I was at first surprised that Jala mudra was chosen to balance Pitta Dosha because it balances both Pitta and Vatta.  I think I would have chosen Jalashaya Mudra because it is more specific to balancing Pitta.  But I am just a beginner.

Jala Mudra is formed by placing tips of thumbs to tips of little fingers hands up on knees or thighs.

The time went by very fast in this mudra meditation.

I loved the affirmation
"With greater fluidity at all levels of being, I move through life smoothly and easily."

My hands (I have a tremor) have a little bit of problems with these mudras where the fingers are extended but I do them the best I can,

I loved the voice of the guide,

Although I felt a bit awkward with the hand position I enjoyed the water imagery. I always feel a great connection to water.  If I am truly a Pitta-Kapha it explains why I am connected to water because there is a lot of water in me because there is both water in Kapha and Pitta.

Surya Mudra

For my IYT internship for I need to experience a mudra for each of the Doshas.  Here is the hand position for Surya Mudra which I practiced this morning with palms up on my lap sitting on my couch with support behind my back.

Surya Mudra was chosen to balance Kapha Doha.  I was surprised that was the Mudra - Joseph Le Page chose for the internship.  I thought we would chose Ratna Prabha Mudra which is just for Kapha balancing where as Surya mudra is for balancing both Vata and Kapha.

I felt the sun at my chest and my Solar Plexus.

My favorite part was the affirmation
"Awakening my inner sun's radiant energy, I live with abundant vitality."

Because of my tremor, my hands have a hard time using the mudra without tension and shaking.  I wonder if I practiced every day if we hand tension would ease.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


What do you want to manifest in your life?  Vision Boarding is a visual way to explore the heart and soul’s desires.  By vision boarding, we gain new insight and energy to manifest our dreams.

There are 3 main styles of learning: Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic. To harness the power of manifestation, we need a combination these three. When setting intentions, we often only say them in our minds -- only thinking about what we want. Manifestation often begins here in the mind space, but in order to make our intention more real, we need to engage other senses. Joel Barker says, “Vision without action is a dream.  Action without vision is simply passing the time.  Action with vision is making a positive difference.”

In order to manifest: (1) journal about intentions; (2) pledge them aloud to others; and (3) see them with your own eyes.  Vision boards triggers our visual learning style.  They serve to funnel and focus our 60,000 daily thoughts into clear intentions for ourselves.

A vision board is a sacred space where we display what we want. When we create a vision board and place it in a space where we see it often, we essentially end up doing short visualization exercise each time we see the board.

Visualization is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do. According to the popular book The Secret, “The law of attraction is forming your entire life experience and it is doing that through your thoughts. When you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the Universe.”

Visualization works!  Olympic athletes have used it for decades to improve performance, and Psychology Today reported that the brain patterns activated when a weightlifter lifts heavy weights are also similarly activated when the lifter just imagined (visualized) lifting weights.
To create a vision board that really works, focus on how you want to feel not just on things that you want. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to include the material stuff too. However, the more your board focuses on how you want to feel, the more it will come to life. There aren’t any real rules in vision boarding. Use your intuition and create your vision board on your own terms.

Basic “How To’s” In Making Your Own Vision Board

1. Collect magazines, scissors, glue, poster board, stickers, and markers.

2. Decide what kind of Vision Board this will be. Here are three key board themes:
 (a) Past, Present, Future Board - Paste pictures of where you’ve been on the outside rim.  Next, put where you are now.  In the center of the board, put where you want to go.
 (b) Single Focus Board - Decide on one key area of your life -- like Career or Relationships -- and choose pictures that support the vision you have for yourself.
(c) I Don’t Know Board - Go through magazines and simply start choosing anything that is calling to you.  Don’t edit, just allow things to happen organically.

3. Sit and meditate on the purpose of your board. Visualize it in the quiet workshop of your mind. Visioning requires concentration.

4. Go through magazines and cut out words, pictures, anything that might be a good fit for your theme.

5. Find a balance between being creative but not cluttered. If you end up with too much, it will only dilute the powerful experience of visioning.

6. Keep your Vision Board where you can see it every day, ideally first thing in the morning.

7. Bring your Vision Board on the road wherever you go by taking a photo of it and using it as your screen saver on your laptop and smartphone.

8. Show a trusted friend your Vision Board and explain what it means to you. By saying it out loud, you further reinforce the stickiness of your thoughts to keep them from being distracted.

9. Celebrate as you manifest your intentions one by one!

10. Finally, when necessary, don’t forget to make time to create another board for yourself.


(you will need to know the structure of Satyananda Yoga Nidra to use this guided relaxation.  The practice is just outlined here in a basic way)

(as usual)

(as usual ) or . “I am living the life I desire.”


Part 1
Breathing in and out of Eyebrow Center

Part 2

Working with mantra Hreem
HRIM (pronounced Hreem) is the prime mantra of the Great Goddess and ruler of the worlds and holds all her creative and healing powers.
HRIM governs over the cosmic magnetic energy and the power of the soul and causal body.
It awakens us at a soul or heart level, connecting us to Divine forces of love and attraction.
In Vedic terms HRIM is a mantra of the Sun, particularly in terms of illumination.
It increases our aspiration and receptivity to Divine light, wisdom and truth.
It opens the lotus of the heart to the inner Sun of consciousness.
It is a mantra of the region of heaven or the consciousness space in which all the worlds exist.


A red upside down triangle
Crescent moon
A red scarf
A friend’s smile
A tall tree
Ocean waves at sunrise
A pyramid
A sea shell
Drops of honey
Green Grass
Stars in the Night sky
A Candle Flame
Thousand petal lotus


Bring the awareness to the chidakasha the mind screen in front of the closed eyes.
In that space the chidakasha notice any patterns or colors
Bring the awareness to the chidakasha the mind movie
And in that space imagine you are sitting in a comfortable position in front of a very large blank movie screen.
See now images begin appearing on this large screen
The images are your  life exactly as you wish it to be.
You are watching a movie of the life you desire.
See the key people, the places, and the environment.
 Notice your surroundings. Are you at  home?
What are you doing right now? Notice the activities
Who is with you? Your friends?Family.
Notice what you are doing and whom you are with.
Notice your clothing. What are you wearing?
Notice where you are and the variety of experiences that move across the screen.
Feel yourself in this movie and now that it is both a movie and no longer a movie.
 It is now. It is real.
Feel yourself living this life you desire.
Experience the sights as they interact with you in the now.
Feel through body sensation the wide variety of emotions as you live your dream right now.
Notice the tastes and flavors moving through your mouth.
Listen to all the sounds that surround you.
Hear the conversations, the sounds of nature, of the environment.
 Inhale deeply and indulge in the scents. Engage in the environment, touching and feeling until your whole being is enveloped in vibration of your ideal life happening in the now.
Allow yourself to bathe in the experience of living the life you desire, creating it and feeling it into being right now. Trust and know it is happening now. Enjoy this experience.
Allow yourself to enter a deeper state of relaxation.
Ask for any messages from your angels, guides, loved ones, mentors or teachers you feel connected to. It may show up as images, words, or a felt sense or knowing. Give gratitude for the guidance.
Rest in stillness.
Bring the awareness back to the chidakasha and let go of the visualization practice

(same as usual)

(same as usual)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Case Study 3 - Larry

Read the study and answer the following questions.

Larry is 28 years old and single. He is tall and handsome, with a longish angular face. His outgoing and vibrant personality makes him popular with both men and women. He has an active social life. He is always on the move. His friends are amazed at how fast his life changes: from apartments to jobs to girlfriends. There is always something new and different going on with Larry, always a new interest. He approaches life as a happy vagabond, going with the flow. Lately, however, Larry has been having problems. The bills from his happy-go-lucky lifestyle have been piling up. His car has been repossessed and he has been feeling anxious, has trouble sleeping, and is experiencing problems with his digestion, most notably constipation. He has made an appointment for a Yoga therapy session, hoping it will help him sleep better.

1. What is your best guess for this individual’s Ayurvedic constitution and present
condition? Consider both their prakruti AND vikruti.


Larry likes to change, loves something new and different connecting to  Vata's main function is movement. His longish angular face is characteristic Vata

2. How do you see the dosha implicated in the individual’s health concern?

Bills are not getting paid and his car has been repossessed - Flightiness of Vata out of balance

Anxiety - Common Vata imbalance

Trouble Sleeping - Common for Vata when it is out of balance

Digestive Issues - Common for Vata when it is out of balance

Constipation - Common for Vata out of balance

3. What specific Yoga tools (asana, pranayama, mudra, relaxation, meditation, etc.) would you recommend to address their health concerns? Why?

- Try to get them to commit to a consistent practice atleast 4 time a week at the same time of day to get balanced
- Mindful practice so he doesn't get injured
- Stay focused
- Asanas that are close chained, both feet on the floor
- Slow, graceful sun salutations
- Back bends, squats
- Poses that engage the legs (Warrior 1, Camel,  Bridge)
- Hold poses 3 to 5 breaths
- Avoid overworking the muscles
- Standing and Seated forward folds
- hip openers
- warming inversions where both hands and feet are on the ground (downward facing dog, dolphin)
- finish with seated and lying twists
-10 to 20 minute savasana
- Avoid rushing after finishing the practice
- Use props

- During asana even ratio between inhale and exhale
- slow even ujjayi
- Surya bhedanana (right nostril breathing) to prepare for meditation - also in the morning and evening
- Chandra bhedhana (left nostril breathing) at midday
- Nadi shodhana at all times
- If students are feeling cold or tired, start practice with gentle kapalabhati


- Being in a womb-like environment
- Grounding, nuturing and warming imagery


-10 to 30 minutes of meditation after practice
- Mantra meditation is great

4. Based on their dosha and their presenting imbalances, how would you recommend
they approach the practice of Yoga? Include time of day, season, age of the client, and where appropriate, the koshas, the five elements, and/or the three gunas.

- Air and Space because he changes all the time

- Try to get them to commit to a consistent practice atleast 4 time a week at the same time of day to get balanced

- Larry at 28 it in the time of Pitta dosha

Case Study 2 - Brenda

Read the case studies and answer the following questions for each one.
Case Study Two: Brenda

Brenda has just been diagnosed with adult onset (Type II) diabetes. This diagnosis has
left her feeling depressed. Brenda is 65, a widow with five children and three grandchildren. Before her diagnosis, she was known for her pleasant smile, calm demeanor, and a readiness to help and “do” for others, even at her own expense. Her pleasant smile and calm demeanor have been replaced by lethargy. Her family is worried because Brenda no longer has a desire to socialize with
friends and family, and lately she has been spending a lot of time in bed sleeping and
watching television. Her family is hoping that Yoga therapy will help Brenda with her depression and with managing her diabetes.


1. What is your best guess for this individual’s Ayurvedic constitution and present
condition? Consider both their prakruti AND vikruti.

She sounds like a Kapha because of her pleasant smile, calm demeanot and readiness to help and do for others. She also sounds like a kapha because she is sleeping a lot.

2. How do you see the dosha implicated in the individual’s health concern?

Depression - this happens when Kapha is out of balance

Diabetes - this is a common Kapha condition

Lethargy - this is a common Kapha condition

Asocial behavior

3. What specific Yoga tools (asana, pranayama, mudra, relaxation, meditation, etc.) would you recommend to address their health concerns? Why?

General Info
- In the Kapha practice the poses are heldlonger and focus on conenction to the physical body and the earth
- Kapha's have a lot of stamina which is good for a life time practice
- Kapha's want clear instructions and clear boundaries as well as repetition and consistency
- Kapha's are cheerful and non competitive or perfectionist
- Because Kapha's tend toward immobility it is important for them to have a regular practice with heating, dynamism and variety

- Asanas that bring awareness to the senses
- Sound and music
- An active and warming asana practice to stimulate metabolism and circulation
- Need to sweat
- Practice in the morning
- Use sun salutations, fluid vinyasa between standing poses, squats, standing forward bend, back bends and lion pose
- breath with emphasis or exhalation
- warming inversions (headstand and forearm balance)
- During asana breath should be deep with emphasis or gentle retention after exhalation
- smooth rhythmic breathing during sun salutations
- asanas that massage the chest and lungs (locust)
- warrior 1

- Kapalabhati and/or surya bhedanana (right nostril breathing) in the morning before breakfast
- Bhastrika
- Ujjayi
- Jalandhara bandha
- Agni Sara Dhauti
- Focus on exhalation
- external retention

- Ratna Prabha Mudra

Guided Imagery
- Guided imagery using light and color
- Visualizations involving the chakras
- Solar or Space Visualizations

- Chanting mantras
- Kirtan

- use of painting and drawing and coloring
- Visualizations involving the chakras
-  Practices that incorporate spaciousness and warmth (eye open meditations, standing or walking meditations)
- Yantra
- Kum Nye

4. Based on their dosha and their presenting imbalances, how would you recommend
they approach the practice of Yoga? Include time of day, season, age of the client, and where appropriate, the koshas, the five elements, and/or the three gunas.

- Client is in Age of Vata or Pitta/Vata depending on who you are following.  Yoga practice should focus on the spirtual.

- Brenda is in a tamasic (non-movement) state right now.  She has lack of movement and all she wants to do is sleep

- Brenda seems to have an over abundance of earth element right now rooting her in the bed.  I wouldn't give her an earth practice I would give her a fire, air or ether practice/

- It would be great if Brenda did an energizing yoga practice between 6 and 10am

- In the Kapha season of winter and early spring I would especially advise Brenda to have her most energizing practice because of the over abundance of Kapha. But in Life Force Yoga I learned that we have to meet the mood so I would start slow and stable and try to get her energy up as the practice went on.

Case Study 1 - Elena

Read the three case studies and answer the following questions for each one.

Case Study One: Elena

Elena is 51 and married for the second time. Her 10-year-old daughter is from her current
marriage and her 22-year-old son is from her first. Both Elena and her husband work long
hours at stressful jobs in the field of education. Elena tends to overcommit herself with
work, family, and social responsibilities. This results in a great deal of rushing around and a
short fuse on her temper. She is also in perimenopause. She suffers from migraines, menstrual irregularity, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and a variety of other menopausal symptoms. Her doctor has put her on hormone replacement therapy for her menopausal symptoms and Paxil to help her with the migraine headaches. She is hoping that Yoga therapy will help her control her
menopausal challenges, reduce her reliance on Paxil, and decrease her level of stress.

1. What is your best guess for this individual’s Ayurvedic constitution and present condition? Consider both their prakruti AND vikruti.

My guess is that she is a Pitta

2. How do you see the dosha implicated in the individual’s health concern?
Cues towards the dosha

married twice - Vata or Pitta maybe
stressful job - Common Pitta Condition
overcommits with work, family and social responsibilities - Common Pitta Condition
rushes around - Common Pitta Condition
short fuse on temper - Common Pitta Condition
migraines - Common Pitta Condition
menstrual irregularity - Common Vata Condition
hot flashes - Common Pitta Condition
night sweats - Common Pitta Condition
mood swings - depressed Pitta

3. What specific Yoga tools (asana, pranayama, mudra, relaxation, meditation, etc.) would you recommend to address their health concerns? Why?

a) Practice yoga in a non-competitve, cooling, nurturing, expansive and relaxing way
b) Emphasize the exhalation
c) Practice from a place of creativity and intuition
d) Practice with eyes closed when possible
e) Avoid creating to much heat and sweating
f) Root inhalation at navel center
g) Slow the breath
h) Practice Uddiyana Bandha
i) Incorporate moon salutations, twists, peacock and straight leg variations of standing poses, such as wide legged forward fold, forward bends that stretch the inner and outer legs, tree, triangle and balacing half moon.
j) In the morning, she can incorporate counterbalancing poses for poses that create heat such as sun salutations, arm balances, strong backbemds and inversions
k) Also incorporate calming poses that activate the parasympathetic nervous system such as supported backbends (supine cobbler), cooling inversions (half shoulder stand and legs of the wall and yogassage)
l) Cooling breathing pattern during asana - exhalation longer than inhalation
m) Smooth rhythmic breath during postures'
n) Suspension of breath after exhalation is also good
o) Shitali or Sitkari Pranayama
p) Chandra bhedanan
q) Pratiloma Ujjayi Pranayama
r) Focus on heart chakra to develop compassion and on 6th and 7th chakra to develop intuition, insight and spiritual awareness
s) Use cooling mudras
t) Cooling Imagery: Air, Ether Water or Goddess Guided Imagery or Natural Landscapes, Images of Peace, Harmony or Interconnectedness
u) Toning sounds like "ahhh" and "shh"
v) Meditation is recommended
w) Metta Meditation
x) Abdominal Breathing
y) Nadi Shodhana
z) Vipassana anf Yoga Nidra
aa) Jalashaya Mudra

4. Based on their dosha and their presenting imbalances, how would you recommend they approach the practice of Yoga? Include time of day, season, age of the client, and where appropriate, the koshas, the five elements, and/or the three gunas.

a)l Pitta-type can exaggerate their practice and aggravate imbalances by going towards aggressive types of yoga
b) Avoid heating styles of yoga, pranayama and meditation
c) Guide her away from externalizing and objectifying the Yoga practice

Time of Day for Practice

"Exercising in the morning when it is still cool is best for pitta as it will prevent them from overheating later in the day."


In the morning, Pitta's can incorporate so poses that create heat such as sun salutations, arm balances, strong backbemds and inversions as long as they counter balance them

"(In the evening) It is time to wind down from the days activities. Even though kapha is becoming dominant at this point, the effects of pitta and vata can carry over in the form of an overactive mind. Use this kapha energy to calm over activity and promote relaxation. The evening is a time for nurturing the self."


In the evening, Pitta's should incorporate calming poses that activate the parasympathetic nervous system such as supported backbends (supine cobbler), cooling inversions (half shoulder stand and legs of the wall and yogassage)


"The summer season is ruled by the pitta dosha. Composed of the elements fire and water, pitta is oily, hot, light, spreading, and liquid: Think humidity. This time of year can express in the body as agitation, low digestive fire, sour stomach, and skin irritations. Here are some simple tips to remedy the effects of the pitta season.....Try a restorative or yin yoga practice, both great for cooling the system." (


Elena is transitioning out of the Pitta stage of life (ends at 50) in to the Pitta/Vata stage of life (50-75).

"The late adult phase is called hermitage because in ancient times people left their homes and took up a small hermitage just outside the village, so that they could  live in retirement but still were able to provide help and advice as needed. This stage marks the transition between Pitta and Vata. We are seeking Dharma, honor and truth, and the need for wealth gradually subsides. At this time we show characteristics of both Pitta and Vata qualities and imbalances."

According to Srivitsa Ramawami

"During the early part of life, learning yoga as a physical art form is most beneficial for the self-confidence and discipline it instills. In middle age, yoga should focus on physical therapy and maintaining optimum health as far into life as possible. In the last stages of life, the practitioner will be ready to focus on the ultimate goal--true understanding of the philosophy behind yoga and the realization of truth."


Elena is in a rajasic state right now with her mood swings and short temper


Elena seems most closely connected to the Fire Element


Should not approach too aggressively
Perform asana in a non-competitive way, cooling, nurturing expansive and relaxing
Emphasize relaxing during exhale
Practice in ways that are creative and emerge from intuitive reflection rather than outer drive or competition including working with the eyes closed
Avoid creating too much heat
Root inhale at the navel center, and slowing the breath
Uddiyana bandha is one of the primary practices for balancing pitta
Moon salutations, all kinds of twists, mayurasana, straight legged variations of standing pose (wide legged forward fold, tree, triangle, balancing half moon) Include forward bends that stretch the inner and outer legs
Create counter balancing poses for those that create heat
Include supported backbends - supine cobbler, cooling inverted poses, half-shoulder stand, legs up the wall

long exhale
Suspension of breath after exhalation
Chandra bhedana
Pratiloma ujjayi
Focus on heart chakra to develop compassion and on the 6th and 7th chakras to develop intuition, insight and spiritual awareness

Cooling mudras
Water or goddess imagery
Tones like ah or shhh

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ayurvedic Principles in My Personal Practice and Teaching

This chapter outlines principles of Ayurvedic Yoga. In what ways can you implement
these principles in your Yoga practice and/or Yoga teaching?

1. "Ayurveda holds the view that illness begins at subtle levels and gradually becomes more apparent until it manifests as what we call disease. This understanding of health is closely related to the model of the five koshas. From this perspective, dis-ease originates at the most subtle koshas and, if
not detected, will gain momentum and eventually appear in the physical body."


"If our physical body is actually a manifestation of energies that arise at more subtle levels,
then treating only the symptoms of illness can never address the deeper roots of the
problem. These deeper roots need to be brought to awareness through an exploration
of each of the five koshas. From this perspective, an illness that manifests in the
physical body has an underlying cause at the energetic, psycho-emotional, and spiritual

- In my therapeutic and group practices I will stress that the physical body is last place the disease manifests so we can not just work with the physical body.

2. "All of the Vedas or ancient books of knowledge were written by rishis or “seers,”
those who could look deeply into the universe and fathom its mysteries through intuition and
meditation. We can imagine the earliest Ayurvedic practitioners as wandering yogis who were able to commune deeply with nature and bring their minds, emotions, and bodies into harmony with the universe through this deep level of communion."


"Both yoga and Ayurveda arose from the intuitive observations of the ancient rishis through meditation, observation of nature, and observation of human beings in relation
to the natural rhythms of life. These ancient holy men and healers spent their lives with a
primary focus on their own practice and spiritual transformation while assisting others
along the way as guides and mentors for the body, mind, and spirit. This is the mentor role
embodied by the IYT vision of the yoga therapist."

- For myself and my students it is of out most importance to have a connection with nature
- intuition and meditation are key to personal and global understanding
- As the therapist and the student or client, we all have to have a personal practice

3. "The life of these sages in harmony with nature and the universe would naturally include
meditation practices, breathing practices, asana and physical exercises, dietary regimen
including times of fasting, orientation to the times of day and the seasons, and the use of
herbs, both as tonics and as purification. What is key here is that the Ayurvedic vision arose
out of the practice of a kind of primordial yoga, not as a separate medical therapy for
the treatment of the body, but as a holistic vision of life and health."

- to be in harmony with nature we need to include in our routines meditation, pranayama, asana, physical exercise, dietary regime including fasting, orientation to times of day and seasons, use of herbs.

4. "It is only nature that cures. Healers are simply guides that help patients work through their problems and discover harmony with nature at all levels"
- I can't heal you, I can give you techniques and tools

5. "We see sattva at work even in illness, because dis-ease is actually a deep call to change and balance within the person and in the environment."

- Remind myself and students/clients that disease is a deep call to change and balance
- The body is seeking sattva so it is our partner not our enemy

6. "It is our awareness that makes the difference, and for this reason, we can say
that awareness is the foundation of Ayurvedic healing. While herbs, massage, and other
treatments can support our level of awareness, they cannot exist as a healing modality
separate from awareness."
- Use this to talk about the importance of the body scan or being aware in a yoga pose

7. "As in the macrocosm, so in the microcosm – what exists at the most minute level of
functioning within the body also exists at more complex and wider levels, and in the
universe as a whole...  For the microcosm to be in balance, it must be in harmony with the macrocosm, which includes all interactions of the individual with the external world,
including environment and relationships."
- Microcosm is the same as the microcosm is important concept to me in my whole practice.  I think of this especially when I am working with the mantra so-hum and Aum

8. "Understanding who we are begins with an exploration of the five elements – earth,
water, fire, air, and space – within our own being. These elements are the building
blocks of life and matter and are, therefore, fundamental to life and health.The five elements form the basis of the Ayurvedic constitutional types, called doshas, which means “principles.” The doshas allow us to take into account human differences and individuality in health and healing. Each human being has different quantities of each element and so each person’s relationship with the cosmos,
which is formed from the five elements, will be different. . . Understanding our Ayurvedic constitution gives our lives a sense of ease, safety, and belonging, because we know who we are
and what our potential is. We also develop greater compassion and understanding for
others since we see that life is a garden of flowers with all the colors and scents
imaginable, which together create the treasure that is life."

- When I teach trance dance or a five element yin class or yoga nidra I think it is really important to explain why the elements are relevant.  This gives the answer - the elements help us understand who we are.
- Five element names are prithivi, jala, tejas, vayu and akasha

9. Each time of day has its different dosha:
 10 am to 2 pm – pitta. This is when our digestive powers are strongest and this is why lunchtime should be our biggest meal.
 2 pm to 6 pm – vata. This is the time of day when we can benefit from avoiding
stimulants and choosing restorative, meditative
ways to balance our energies.
 6 pm to 10 pm – kapha. It is a good idea to have a light dinner in a soothing environment
and to go to bed before 10 pm without heavy desserts or snacking.
 10 pm to 2 am – pitta. You will often find pittas still working until late at night. When
pitta is imbalanced, this is exactly what they should avoid.
 2 am to 6 am – vata. This quiet time of the day is ideal for prayer and meditation, which
are very helpful for integrating our mind/ body and inspiring ourselves with reverence
for life and our day ahead.
 6 am to 10 am – kapha. A good time for exercise.
- My yoga classes and personal practice should take the time of day into consideration
- During the winter and when it is cold and damp I should do my physical practice in the morning

10. AGNI
"From the Ayurvedic perspective, all health problems at a physical level are problems of
digestion. Problems at a psychological and emotional level are also problems of digestion
at a different level. Therefore, the power of digestion and metabolism are keys to health.
The digestive fire which fuels metabolism and burns away impurities is called agni."

11. AMA
"When we experience or consume things we cannot assimilate or completely “digest,” the
outcome is what is known in Ayurveda as ama. Ama is a product of negativity at the
physical, psychological, or spiritual levels. Ama builds up over time as a toxic residue
that influences every part of our being. Over time, ama can obstruct the functioning of all
the physiological systems as well as the currents of subtle energy in the body. Ama
normally accumulates first in the colon and intestines. It is for this reason that Ayurveda
places so much importance on diet and gastrointestinal health. Cleansing the
digestive tract is a central feature of  Ayurvedic healing."


1. Samchaya is accumulation of one or more of the doshas and the resulting ama that
occurs due to disturbance of the digestive fire by the doshas. At this point, the
doshas usually accumulate in the sites that they have a natural affinity for, such as
kapha in the stomach or lungs, pitta in the liver, and vata in the colon. Symptoms are
usually noticeable but mild, such as fatigue, heaviness, or burning sensations.

2. Prakopa is the concentration or aggravation of the accumulated doshas. At
this stage, the doshas are still in their own locations but begin to put pressure on
them. Symptoms intensify. It is still relatively easy to treat the imbalance at
this stage.

3. Prasara is dissemination of aggravated doshas throughout the body. These toxic
influences will move toward points of weakness anywhere in the body.

4. Sthana samshraya is the localization of the doshas into tissues which are susceptible
to disease; the first signs of true disease begin to manifest.

5. Vyakta is the manifestation of full-blown disease.

6. Bheda is the spread,complication, and metastasis of disease.

13. Five Element Practices
- I love the 5 element practices I have taught classes and done my own personal practices with the Taoist and Yogic 5 Elements.
- I have done element meditations with Chris Chapple from the Visuddhmagga which he now teaches as a class mindful nature
- I will continue to use these practices and remind people as they do these practices be aware of what elements they are relating to and which are not resonating for them to help understand their nature

14. I think it is a very interesting concept to think about in yoga your true nature prakruti (maybe that includes you natural range of motion) and where you are now vikruti because of life style, stress, trauma.  And through yoga we try to get back to our true self our prakruti.

15. As yoga teachers we provide a safe space where students can explore and become themselves.

16. Time of day, year and life influence and effect what our yoga practice should look like.

Question 5 - Reflections on Ayurveda

A key aspect of Samkhya philosophy is that the physical universe is made up of the five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and space. In working with Ayurveda and Yoga, it will therefore be essential that you sense these five elements in your own body. Work with a partner, if possible, to experience the guided meditation “Healing through the Elements” (p 4.25). Which elements were easiest for you to sense? Which were most difficult to sense? The elements you sensed most easily and comfortably are probably the ones that make up your Ayurvedic dosha.

I recorded this meditation on audacity and played it while in savasana.  I did it twice a week a part.  I also used it in one of my Ayurvedic sessions. Each time I hear it it seems fresh and new.  It's one of my favorite meditations so far and I will try to incorporate it in my next Yoga Nidra Soundbath.  Here is a body map I made after listening to the meditation the first time.

The element I feel the strongest is fire and sunlight. That connects to the Pitta dosha in me. The sunlight was strong and very intense. I felt it everywhere and I felt it's warmth.

I also was connected with earth and water which connects with the Kapha in me.

I felt very grounded during the earth part of the meditation.  I also felt rooted and fertile like I was a garden.  Although most of the sensation I felt was from the front of the body,  During the earth portion, I felt roots coming out of my back. I also experienced flowers growing from my heart.  There was water all around my body but especially at the legs.  My hands and feet were very heavy.

I enjoyed the breathing through the left lung and the right lung and then the back. I connected the least with ether.

My conditions as they are associated with each dosha

Page 4.36 lists some of the common conditions associated with each dosha. Do any of the conditions listed coincide with your vikruti (your most common pattern of Ayurvedic imbalances)? What specific Yoga techniques could you use to support your process for coming back into balance?


Out of Balance Vata in me: anxious, fearful, confused, nervous, restless

Commone Vata conditions in me: constipation, low backache, painful joints, stiffness and tightness in muscles, insecurity, anxiety, fear; irregular menstrual periods (I am regular now for first time in my life); cold, especially in the extremities; dehydration, insomnia, weakness and exhaustion,

Nadi shodhana, diaphragmatic breathing, focus on inhalation, right nostril breathing, ujjayi,
gentle kapalabhati for warming without creating excessive movement, mulabandha for grounding.

Balancing poses for concentration; asanas placing pressure on pelvis, such as
boat; asanas with slow, steady breath; asanas with strong earth or water content, such as
hero II whose qualities are missing in the vata constitution; daily practice; restorative poses.

Grounding; earth, water, or sunlight as images; warming and calming, slow, steady,
soothing; places of safety in contact with nature.

Concentration, focusing on candle or breath with eyes open, grounding, affirmations
of safety and security, repetition of mantra to calm the mind, daily practice with
a set time and place, regular guidance from a grounded teacher, yantra to increase
focus, meditations with a specific beginning, middle,
and end.


Out of balance  Pitta in me : hostile, demanding, sarcastic, impatient, angry, sharp, cutting, stubborn, self-righteous, critical.

Common Pitta Conditions for me: Type A Personality, inflammation and hemorrhoids

Cooling breath, sitkari, shitali, abdominal breathing, exhalation, left nostril
breathing, nadi shodhana, soft gentle ujjayi to reduce blood pressure, gentle uddiyana

Postures to massage abdominal area; cooling poses, such as forward bends and twists;
postures that balance agni (digestive fire), such as knee to chest pose; restorative viparita
karani; restorative poses; poses using props and the Yoga Pro, which make practice

Cooling imagery; air, ether, and water; calming, natural landscapes; images of union,
peace, harmony, interconnectedness

Feeling unity and oneness, metta (loving-kindness), chakras, especially the heart
chakra, chidakasha dharana to release repressed feelings of anger and hostility, vipassana
to observe patterns of egotism and self-righteousness, yoga nidra for deep relaxation


Out of balance Kapha:  depressed, lethargic, sedentary, suspicious, plodding, hoarding.
Kapha Conditions in Me: dull aches and pains, obesity

Stimulating, energizing breaths: kapalabhati, bhastrika, ujjayi; right nostril breathing, jalandhara
bandha, agni sara dhauti to stimulate digestion; focus on exhalation, external retention to eliminate chest breathing.

Postures that warm, dry, and stimulate, such as backbends; asanas that massage the chest
and lungs, such as locust, bringing energy into the seat of kapha; postures that build heat
and flexibility, such as hero I; postures that facilitate ether and air; flowing poses and
sequences, vinyasa.

Images of sunlight, light, air, prana, spaciousness, freedom; floating, free breathing,
transcendent; always energize at the end of session.

Yantra or imagery to keep them active and present, meditations which involve
movement, Kum Nye and other forms of meditations which facilitate feelings of lightness
and spaciousness, meditations which focus on the breath for clearing and opening the lungs.

An Ideal Ayurvedic based Yoga program for me

Question: The essence of Ayurveda in relation to Hatha Yoga is that the practice should be designed to meet the specific needs of the individual. These needs could be defined as that which brings the person into a state of balance at the level of body, mind, and spirit. Design an ideal Yoga practice for yourself, which includes asana, pranayama, and meditation.Outline your practice and describe it in relation to your Ayurvedic constitution and any imbalances with which you are currently working.

This a little bit hard for me to understand exactly what to do because I am a combined dosha although I feel like my dominant dosha is Pitta but Maria called me a Kapha.  I was analyzed as a Pitta-Kapha in India and that feels right to me. I did some research online and this is what I found helpful

"Pitta–Kapha types are composed of roughly equal amounts of both Pitta and Kapha doshas. Pitta dosha is comprised of the elements fire + water and tends to be hot, sharp, mobile, and penetrating. Kapha dosha is made up of water + earth and tends to be cool, moist, stable, and heavy.

Some of these qualities oppose each other. How do these two set of attributes combine in one person? The influence of Kapha brings a cooling to Pitta’s heat and intensity and takes the edge off of Pitta’s sharp intensity. Pitta warms up Kapha and motivates Kapha to get moving. This seems like a win–win, no? In fact, it is.

Pitta–Kapha types often have Pitta physical characteristics with Kapha mental attributes. This means that Pitta–Kaphas have great physical stamina and health along with a high capacity for exercise and athletic pursuits. In addition, they have great memories and a strong capability for learning new information.  Pitta–Kaphas tend towards balanced emotions and excellent physical health. The Kapha dosha lends stability while Pitta dosha gives adaptability. This is a dynamic combination, and the analogy of an elephant is probably apt here. . . . For balance Pitta–Kaphas benefit from active exercises such as yoga, walking, gymnastics, aerobics, bike riding, and running during the early part of the day as well as by incorporating some of the attributes of Vata, which are minimized in their constitutions (ie: dryness and variability). The common water element between Pittas and Kaphas means that there is an excess of wateriness or oiliness. This shows up in excess watery tissues of the body (phlegm, mucus) and in a tendency to oily skin and hair. . .  Likewise, Kapha’s tendency towards stability (= immobility) means that Pitta–Kaphas can get stuck in a rut. Doing something spontaneous will keep things interesting for Pitta dosha and will help to balance Kapha dosha. ....Pitta–Kaphas do well by pacifying Pitta dosha in the summertime and by reducing Kapha dosha in the late winter / early spring." -

"Being a pitta-kapha type means that two doshas are predominant in your constitution. It is usually best to manage a dual dosha prakriti according to the season. In general, as a pitta-kapha, follow a pitta-pacifying regimen during the late spring and summer seasons especially when the weather is hot. Follow a kapha-pacifying regimen during the cooler times of year like fall, winter and early spring and especially when the weather is cool and damp."

Since it is a cold damp winter a feel as if I need a kapha practice right now:

"The predominantly kapha yoga student will bring to the practice many of the strengths
and also weaknesses of the kapha constitution. Kapha-types will tend to practice in a way that
is steady and comfortable, which the Yoga Sutras highlights as the essential elements of
yoga asana practice. The kapha practice will tend to hold the poses longer and focus on the
connection to the physical body as well as the earth. The kapha body tends to have strong
joints and excellent stamina, which can support a regular yoga practice for a lifetime.
Kapha tends to maintain a cheerful disposition during practice and is not prone to the
perfectionism of pitta or the instability of vata. Kapha-types appreciate clear instruction and
clear boundaries for practice. They appreciate the idea that “this is the way we have always
done it and this is how it will always be done.” Repetition and consistency are important.
Kapha-types will resist anything being done so quickly that they cannot be fully metabolized
and digested. Kapha’s spiritual connection comes more from the earth and a sense of
grounding than from the angels. Kapha’s response to subtle metaphysics will be, “but
how can you make this practical for everyday life?” Given kapha’s tendency toward
immobility, a regular practice, which involves heating, dynamism, and variety, is essential.
The approach to working with the kapha student is not to remove these natural
tendencies, but to reduce the imbalances that can accompany the kapha constitution." - Joseph Le Page

"A yoga practice for a kapha individual should be one creating space, stimulation, warmth, and buoyancy. Kaphas can cultivate this by following some basic guidelines: Practice at a vigorous pace and intensity.
 1. Focus on the subtlety of the pose and how it creates an expansive presence in the body and energy field.
2. Practice in a warm space.
3. Use a strong forceful breath during practice.
4. When you are ready to release the pose, take one more breath.
5. Keep your chest and shoulders open and lifted as you practice.
6. Have a sharp upward gaze.
7. Feel a sense of lightness in your poses.
8. Pause for a moment between your inhalations and exhalations.
9. Challenge yourself.
10. Keep moving. Have short resting periods between poses.
11. Enjoy a restorative pose for final relaxation.
12. Be precise in your poses.
13. Pay close attention to your alignment.
14. Dont give up!"

Therefore, because it's winter and I also have a lot more Kapha in my vikruti than my prakruti I will work with a Kapha reducing program. Dr. Vasant Lad suggests for Kapha - "All posture should be performed with doing deep, quiet breathing"


This practice has some elements from the sequence I learned from Amy Weintraub in Life Force Yoga, some pieces I learned from Maria Mendola and some things I have figured out for myself

CHECK IN with Myself  - Ask myself where I am at

Set an Intention for myself for today's practice or repeat my SANKALPA

If possible write morning pages - stream of consciousness journaling

Body scan to a recording on self-guided

Fill out a Body Map and/or journal about any revelations


Stair Step Breathing with intention or bhavana

Other Recommendations: "Kapalabhati breathing and/or surya bhedana (right nostril breathing) in the morning before breakfast. Bhastrika is excellent for reducing excess kapha in the head, provided that it does not disturb pitta or vata." - Joseph Le Page

Ratna Prabha Mudra for Balancing Kapha Dosha

WARM UPS - I may not be able to do all the poses in the joint freeing series but I feel best when I do the complete sequence.  It is also a gentle way to ease into the practice.

Joint Freeing Series with Ujjayi breath

Other Recommendations:

"Do an active and warming asana practice to stimulate metabolism and circulation. Work
in postures that create sweating and sustained intense physical effort. However, if there is excessive muscular effort, then prana does not move properly in the channels which will obstruct the proper flow of kapha and upset the nervous system; the body will, in turn, try to stabilize this by creating more kapha. This is very important to understand. Effort does not equal kapha reduction. It is necessary to protect the balance of vata while doing things specifically for reducing kapha." - Joseph Le Page

"During the practice of asana, incorporate a deep breath with an emphasis on a gentle retention after exhalation. A smooth, rhythmic breath while performing the postures, particularly sun salutations, is key for maintaining concentration and ensuring that prana spreads the heat equally throughout the body. Students will actually sweat less when working this way, because the heat stays inside the body. This inner heat melts excess kapha in the tissues so the body can eliminate it. If the breathing is
erratic or overly aggressive, however, it will disturb both pitta and vata doshas, so kapha won’t budge. It might even increase slightly as a response to the stress." - Joseph Le Page

CORE STABILIZATION - I have a extremely weak core that I want to develop

Side Plank
Forearm Plank
Head stand Prep
Leg Circles
Leg left with Band - part of my Physical Therapy regimen
Clam Shells with Band - for Physical Therapy for Glute
Boat Pose with Mantra Ram (mantras and making sounds help with my tendency toward depression)

Other Recommendations:

"With an emphasis on exhalation and warming inversions, such as headstand and
forearm balance, the elimination of physical, mental, and emotional stagnation or
heaviness will be encouraged, building a foundation for strength and vitality." - Joseph Le Page


Standing - Breath of Joy -
Rolling Feet with Ball and Bunion Protocol - (work on bunion problems)
1/2 Sun Salutes with Ma-ha-ra or I am her
Sun or Moon Salutations with traditional Mantras
(or Surya Namaskara A and B) - Chair pose is helpful more my weak knees
Warrior 1, 2, 3
Dancer Pose - I need to work on balance especially since my feet and ankles are unstable right now
Balancing Stick - work on balance
Tree Pose with Mantra Lam - work on balancing
Deviasana with dhi-ri-ha
Malasana with Mantra Vam
Cobra to Sphinx to 1/2 Locust to Full Locust - asanas that massage the chest and lungs are good for Kapha
Camel Pose - Back bends are good for balancing Kapha
Moving Bridge to holding Bridge with a therapeutic band (from my PT regimen) using Vyaatri Mantras  - Back bends are good for balancing Kapha
Pawanmuktasana to Spinal Twist with Angel wings (work on my shoulder issues)

Other Recommendations: "Do an active and warming asana practice to stimulate metabolism and circulation. Work in postures that create sweating and sustained intense physical effort. However,
if there is excessive muscular effort, then prana does not move properly in the
channels which will obstruct the proper flow. Practice asanas in the morning that include
sun salutations and fluid vinyasas between standing poses, squats, standing forward
bends and backbends, and lion pose. With an emphasis on exhalation and
warming inversions, such as headstand and forearm balance, the elimination of physical,
mental, and emotional stagnation or heaviness will be encouraged, building a
foundation for strength and vitality." - Joseph Le Page




Ratna Prabna Mudra with Joseph Le Page's recording


- So hum meditation  or Seated Mindfulness Meditation
- Chakra meditation with energizing sounds (Amy Weintraub)

Other Recommendations:
"Kapha-types have the innate stability and devotional character to meditate easily.
Incorporate practices that promote spaciousness and warmth, such as eyes open
meditations, solar or space visualizations, and standing or walking meditations. Kirtan is excellent for clearing emotional heaviness from the heart and strengthening the lungs." - Joseph Le Page

- Time permitting some stream of consciousness writing or Art making to follow the practice.

Other thoughts:
"Kaphas should come away feeling warmed, invigorated, and light. Their circulation should
be energized, with their chest and lungs open. Their minds and senses should be sharp and
clear, with emotional heaviness released and forgotten." - Joseph Le Page


I tried cryotherapy and shirodhara last week in my exploration of Ayurveda.  In my shirodhara treatment I used the oil for kapha dosha since it's the season of Kapha and that is my prominent dosha right now.  I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do the cryotherapy because I don't like to be cold but I was able to do the full 3 minutes in the cryo tank. I will do both of them again when I have the time and money.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Question 6 - Reflections on Ayurveda

Page 4.52 offers a humorous and poignant view of the doshas. Do you see yourself in any of these stereotypes and do they confirm the results of your Ayurvedic test (refer to Required Assignment #3 below)?
Did any of these stereotypes make you uncomfortable? These may be parts of yourself you are avoiding

- I have characteristics of Vata in myself in my joint issues and my creative life although it isn't my defining characteristics.

Has a sign on the desk that says: “Don’t organize anything here or I’ll be completely lost.”

I tend to be very disorganized and messy, so I relate to this statement on some levels although it's hard for me to find things in my chaos.

Read fifty books of interest found in a library unrelated to the subject of the exam and then wrote the most creative essay. 

I don't always want to follow the exact rules to the letter and I have a lot of curiousity.  I love books and keep buying them. I know I should focus on my internship but I do get distracted by other interests every day.

First became hysterical; then decided to just let it flow since it is all part of the universal plan. 

I get hysterical from time to time. I can be really moody and changeable. Then I get upset with myself for getting upset. Sometimes after all that I can get reasonable and let it go.  Sometimes I can't

Threw a party with an invitation which read: “Life is just an illusion, so why not live every moment to the fullest.”

I am too tired to throw parties but I definitely like the statement.

- I am achievement oriented and an overpreparer. I also have a fiery personality. I feel like Pitta is my dominant characteristic but that doesn't always show on my Ayurveda tests.

Researched what kinds of questions would be required on the exam and then wrote sample essays in preparation.

I tend to prepare a lot for things, maybe over prepare then sometimes I get overwhelmed by the preparation.  I pride myself on my preparation.  It also makes me feel less stressed because I feel very stressed when I am not prepared.

Chose the package vacation with the best prices and options, and visited every spot in the guide
book, checking them off along the way.

I would never go on a package vacation but I do love to research and use guidebooks and internet.  I like planning.  I like reading.

- I never considered myself a Kapha but my body is a kapha body and maybe the stable parts of my personality are kapha.  Sometimes people call me mellow but I feel like the don't really know me.  But Kapha definitely shows up in my Ayurvedic profile.

Looked through items collected through the years to see if any of them were on the shopping list.

I did something similar to this with Christmas gifts. I looked first at home to giveaway things I have never opened and then went shopping.

Took the back roads because, although slower, they are less stressful and more familiar; arrived before vata and pitta. 

I don't like to be stressed.  Sometimes the pitta in me uses waze to travel fastest but often I like taking the roads I like taking.

Reflections on Ayurveda - Question 2

Samkhya philosophy is a story of the universe. It is an evolutionary view of life in which all of the elements of the universe emerged and have evolved over time. This means that even though the shape of the atoms, which compose our present body, have changed over time, the basic energetic material, which we are, has existed since the birth of the universe. This view coincides with that of modern physics and its significance is that it gives us a practical means of understanding the yogic concept of the true Self as immortal. From this perspective, there is an essential part of the Self, which is unborn and undying. What is your own view of the origin or development of the universe? You may journal on this or illustrate your vision as a drawing or picture of the universe as you see it and your place in it at this point in


This question is so complicated. I don't know what caused the origin of the universe. My father believed in science and taught me the big bang theory.

"When the universe began, it was just hot, tiny particles mixed with light and energy. It was nothing like what we see now. As everything expanded and took up more space, it cooled down.

The tiny particles grouped together. They formed atoms. Then those atoms grouped together. Over lots of time, atoms came together to form stars and galaxies.

The first stars created bigger atoms and groups of atoms called molecules. That led to more stars being born. At the same time, galaxies were crashing and grouping together. As new stars were being born and dying, then things like asteroids, comets, planets, and black holes formed!"

My mother's side of the family were Christians and preferred this explanation

"The Genesis creation narrative is the creation myth of both Judaism and Christianity.[1] It is made up of two stories, roughly equivalent to the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis. In the first (Genesis 1:1–2:3) Elohim, the Hebrew generic plural word for God, creates the heavens and the earth in six days, starting with light on the first day and ending with mankind on the sixth, then rests on, blesses and sanctifies the seventh. In the second story (Genesis 2:4–2:24), God, now referred to by the personal name Yahweh, creates Adam, the first man, from dust and places him in the Garden of Eden, where he is given dominion over the animals. Eve, the first woman, is created from Adam's rib as a companion."

I am drawn to Hindu philosophy and drawn to the idea that the universe has always been and will be although it hasn't always been the same.

"According to Hindu philosophy, the universe (or multiverse) never came to be at some particular point, but always has been, always will be, but is perpetually in flux. Space and time are of cyclical nature. This universe is simply the current one, which is in flux and constantly changing, when it finally ceases to manifest, a new one will arise. An interesting parallel to these ideas can be found in the ekpyrotic model of the universe. This concept is also accepted by Buddhist Dharma.

I feel closest to this interpretation but don't believe in all the gods as glorified humanoids I see gods as archetypes and ideas

The birth of the universe (Brahma) is followed by the life of the universe (Vishnu) and the destruction of the universe (Shankar) Or (Mahesh).

(Shiva) is the supreme power, whose (Shankar) is just a part, who was given form on request of Vishnu and Brahma, because they believed they couldn't maintain the balance of the universe alone, without Lord Shiva's supervision, and he, (shiva) After creating Vishnu and brahma and settling a balance in the universe wished to go for eternal meditation, henceforth, creating Shankar (often confused or considered same as Shiva) who was assigned lord shiva's power and entity. And thus maintaining the balance of the universe.

I love the idea of Vishnu dreaming the world and if I could just chose a creation myth I like that would be my favorite.

In a number of stories from the Puranas the continual creation and destruction of the universe is equated to the outwards and inwards breaths of the gigantic cosmic Maha Vishnu."

I think if we want to know about creation we can turn to our own indigenous peoples for their explanations.  Here are some other creation myths that I love -

Apache Myth

"In the beginning nothing existed, only darkness was everywhere. Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above. When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the east, he created yellow streaks of dawn. To the west, tints of many colors appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colours. He also created three other gods: a little girl, a Sun-God and a small boy.

Then he created celestial phenomena, the winds, the tarantula, and the earth from the sweat of the four gods mixed together in the Creator's palms, from a small round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean. The world was expanded to its current size by the gods kicking the small brown ball until it expanded. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.

The tarantula, the trickster character, spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the east, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the south, a yellow cord to the west, and a white cord to the north. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to immeasurable size--it became the earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared. Then the Creator created the rest of the beings and features of the Earth."

Iroquis Creation Story

The Iroquois account of demiurge is that in the beginning there was no earth to live on, only a watery abyss, but up above, in the Great Blue, there was a community called the Sky World including a woman who dreamed dreams.

One night she dreamed about the tree that was the source of light. The dream frightened her, so she went and asked the men in the Sky World to pull up the tree. They dug around the trees roots to make space for more light, and the tree fell through the hole and disappeared. After that there was only darkness. Distraught, they pushed the woman through the hole as well. The woman would have been lost in the abyss had not a fish hawk come to her aid using his feathers to pillow her.

The fish hawk could not keep her up all on his own, so he asked for help to create some firm ground for the woman to rest upon. A helldiver went down to the bottom of the sea and brought back mud in his beak. He found a turtle, smeared the mud onto its back, and dove down again for more. Ducks also brought beaksful of the ocean floor and to spread over the turtle's shell.

The beavers helped build terrain, making the shell bigger. The birds and the animals built the continents until they had made the whole round earth, while the woman was safely sitting on the turtle's back. The turtle continues to hold the earth on its back.

After this, one of the Spirits of the Sky World came down and looked at the earth. As he traveled over it, he found it beautiful, and so he created people to live on it and gave them special skills; each tribe of the Iroquois nation was given special gifts to share with the rest of humanity.