Yoga and Donald Trump

With all the upset in the “blue states” over Donald Trump winning the Presidential Election I have been asked to write an opinion about this in relation to Yoga.

As a general rule I try to stay out of politics mainly because I really do not trust politicians in general and I am so busy with my own life that my time lately has been very limited. I also have students that are in both parties and as a teacher I am aware that they both come to my studio to find peace. That cultivation of peace is my main focus when I teach.

As we are reminded in many teachings. This one’s influenced is from the Zohar but is also in just about all the other texts on spirituality.

When a man or woman wishes to be purified and strives for peace, the good Inclination that joined her/him overpowers the Evil Inclination and makes peace with it. As a result, the evil inclination becomes a slave to the good inclination.”

The more you focus on something the more it becomes your reality. Your anger is just that it is yours. When you feel the need to go out  and protest by all means go out and do that. But when your anger consumes you and you start to destroy property and block traffic and effect the peace of many people that have nothing to do with the Federal government and their actions or decisions at that point you have to ask yourself what am I doing?

Am I now cultivating evil? Is this not the very thing that I am against?

Go within yourself and see the root of the disturbance. From the sanskrit sutra Yogas chitta vritti nrodha. Yoga is practiced to make the mind calm.

We are all in for a lot of change these days some good some bad but lets do our best to cultivate the good in ourselves and others. Try to instill a dialogue not an argument or a judgement because that will get you nowhere in your attempt to sway opinion.

When you practice Yoga you are cultivating peace under varied circumstances. These times may be a perfect time to really practice this.
“When I am peaceful the world around me is a little more peaceful.”

 

Flower

 

 

Posted in Blog Site News

“MAP” Mental Anchored Physical

As many of you know I have been teaching something that I call “MAP” this involves consistently anchoring physical actions to mental beliefs.

A simple example would be when we are in a pose standing in the front of our mat as in Tadasana with our hands in front. We will focus on an opening like a space between your hands in prayer position and then set an intention. This ads a physical anchor to a mental belief. It is my belief and many others that this strengthens your ability to build synaptic bridges because it causes your brain to fire both mentally and physically.

This is what makes Yoga so powerful. Create strong anchors to your beliefs and your benefits will grow exponentially.

 

 

Posted in Blog Site News

The “Ten Day Yoga Teacher Training” LOL

It has taken a while to write this Yoga blog post because I really do not like writing anything political or offensive online. Lately there has been a proliferation of Teacher Training courses that just scream buyer beware.

As many of you know I have been teaching for a very long time and I have seen a lot of trends in the community come and go. This quick trip to becoming a teacher is a scam. First of all you really need to ask yourself “is this what I really want” and am I a good fit for this job? Do you really want to change the world we live in? I think that is a good place to start.

Any teacher training really is a primer and without follow up and consistent refinement you will become an average teacher at best. Online courses and then day Yoga teacher training retreats should be avoided like the plague. There is always the exception to this rule but I am a veteran teacher I can tell you there is a difference between someone that has been coached over years and years and the newly minted ten day trainee teacher that never had any follow up by a skilled veteran teacher.

Here are some things to consider.
Will I be given a mentor that I can practice with over a few years? Will the teacher come and audit my teaching?
Is there a detailed manual written by a qualified teacher and or teachers. I personally use Teaching Yoga by Mark Stephens because it is in depth and has the basic foundations I believe are necessary. You are required to read it cover to cover. Ask yourself do you want be great as a teacher or do you just want to have fun? If your answer is the latter go to Hawaii and take a yoga retreat with hiking, massage and a lot of time by the pool sipping margaritas.
Are there exams? Is there a final exam? Who has this school trained?
Again being viewed and audited teaching class is critical because habits form early on and they may need to be corrected. For instance many teachers speak way too low. This is very common and if you play music and students cannot hear you then you will have a lot of difficulty building classes. Without growth you will not be able to sustain classes for long. Even a gym with membership will watch class attendance and ask for feedback from students.

The teacher training needs to have clear curriculum and exams. How does one know if anything was retained? Exams allow the teacher of the course to rate their own effectiveness. This also helps the studio grow and course correct but more importantly this ensures and assists retention of information. Your final exam should also be the class itself. We have a list of more than twelve specific points that we look for that are assessed before the teacher is considered ready beyond community classes.

The “teacher within you” is your guide. Yes there is some truth to this in meditation, ultimately you need to find what works for you. We are not talking about meditation alone. Yoga is a very broad and detailed subject. You are moving people through sequences and they can be very complex. Plus, people are complex. To work with students you have to take into account psychology, physiology, injuries, goals, personal history of the student both physically and emotionally. How you deal with all of that may make or break your career.

To be honest there really is no set time that it takes to become a teacher. But these points should serve as a guide. You will always be refining your skills.

Posted in Great Teachers

Yoga in Africa

http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/20/world/africa/savannah-to-slums-kenya-yoga/index.html

This a repost from CNN that I just had to share.

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) — There he stands, Mount Kilimanjaro in the background, striking a pose on a purple mat, bathed in the light of dawn. Breathing. Stretching. Opening up his mind — a group of young children following and copying his every move.

Watching a Maasai warrior practice yoga is a rare sight, but Jacob Parit is not only a warrior in one of Africa’s best-known tribes, he’s also an instructor with the Africa Yoga Project.

“Yoga will be part of Maasai tradition because the young need to be strong warriors,” Parit says. “It is a peaceful thing and it brings people together.”

Originating in India, yoga is practiced globally, and is now spreading across Kenya. And it’s not only about the practice — here, yoga is transforming lives, contributing positively to communities and creating jobs.

Watch this video

The catalyst for this yoga boom in Kenya is the Africa Yoga Project. Started in 2007, the non-profit organization is the brainchild of American Paige Elenson.

“I have been teaching Baptiste Power Yoga for about 15 years and I was on a family vacation here in Kenya in 2006. I saw a group of youth doing handstands. I got out of the car and did handstands with them. That day changed my life,” explains Elenson, who saw yoga as a way to create jobs for young people in Kenya.

Read this: Maasai Cricket Warriors

Maasai warrior embraces yoga

‘I’m proud to be deaf yoga instructor’

It started as an experiment, mainly in the city slums, to see if it could bring about positive changes and help people to cope with their lives.

Today, the Africa Yoga Projects says it has 71 educated and employed yoga teachers, who earn a living wage. It offers more than 300 free classes every week that are serving around 5,000 people. The project is funded by volunteers and donors and is bringing together people from all walks of life.

Relaxing future warriors

Parit is from the Alasiti village, the first Maasai community to combine their traditional lifestyle with yoga. “(For a) Long time we believed it is like a magic. But after we do it, we realize this is something anyone can do,” he says.

Parit and the other Maasai yoga instructors believe that the combination of yoga and their lifestyle can bring mental and physical benefits to their community. “Yoga helps me knowing who I am,” Parit says. “Every morning when you get out of your bed your body will ask for yoga.”

Yoga will be part of Maasai tradition because the young need to be strong warriors.
Jacob Parit, Maasai warrior and yoga instructor

In the early mornings and evenings, members of his community wait for his instructions. At night, they are eager to stretch their bodies after a long day of work looking after the livestock, taking care of their houses, cooking and cleaning.

“I have been doing it for seven good years and I think I have taught 8,000 to 9,000 people now,” Parit says. The yogi in traditional Maasai dress encourages his students: “Reach up, be strong like a warrior.”

Bringing calm to city slums

Even in the city, the instructors with the Africa Yoga Project are not limited to yoga studios. Many of the free classes take place in Kibera, Nairobi’s biggest slum, where most people live under the poverty line.

Rufus Ngugi is one of the deaf instructors working with the project. He teaches yoga to a group of orphans in a Kibera center calledFruitful.

“Whatever I do, I start by demonstrating,” he explains. “I show them how to breathe, I show them the different postures, and in this case I don’t even involve a hearing person.”

Ngugi has been with the Africa Yoga Project for a year now. He thinks the children feel connected to him because of his disability. “These are children who don’t have parents, children who have been neglected by their parents,” he says.

“This really motivated me, touched me because I could relate what they feel because I had the same experience. So that is why really inspired me to teach them.”

Standing in a circle inside the center, Ngugi stretches his hands up, the small children doing the same. Then, suddenly, they break into a dance.

“They call me Michael Jackson because of the different dance moves that I do. I try to give them the best I can. To have them have a good time. To have them forget about life and enjoy it,” he says.

“This makes me feel good because I can see the future; they can grow up to be good people in society.”

Posted in Blog Site News
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