power in the pause

How do I open my hips?

How do I open my hips? Hip openers – because hips get tight!

I would like to suggest an alternate to the traditional pigeon, Eka Pada Rajakapotasanaand, because not everyone can flow into pigeon. Using the side of the bed to help open the hips is a great option for opening your hips. This blog is really for those of us that tend to have tight hips. As you age,  hips can seem to get tighter if you don’t work at keeping them working.

DcatspawGcatspaw 150px-Posterior_Hip_Muscles_1 150px-Posterior_Hip_Muscles_3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a lot of variations for pigeon or rotating the hip flexor, any figure four, where you cross your leg just above the knee, which can be done seated, on your back or standing. Or your can simply sit on the floor in a cross-legged position, letting your hip flexors rotate outward.

UnknownFYI – Hips are the home of the the second chakra Svadhisthana and associated with emotions, check out Caroline Myss’ book Anatomy of the SpiritAlso the Latin meaning of pelvis is basin which adds to the interest as an emotion center. There are also deep 6 muscles that are: (the lateral rotator group is a group of six small muscles of the hip which all externally (laterally) rotate the femur in the hip joint. It consists of the following muscles: Piriformis, gemellus superior, obturator internus, gemellus inferior, quadratus femoris and the obturator externes.)

There is a lot going on in the hip area. Pause to help your hips work.

 

Singing Kirtan-The Art of Chanting

One of the most precious things in the practice of yoga is the spirit of community that comes from practicing with other yogis. Kirtan, a call and response style of chanting takes that feeling of community felt in yoga class and expresses it in musical form.

The practice of Kirtan originated in India in the 6th century with the development of Bhakti yoga. A Kirtankara calls a mantra and the group repeats. Although it is an old practice, few in the western world were familiar with it. George Harrison of the Beatles was a fan, and helped bring it to the mainstream with the release of his song, Hare Krishna Mantra. Since then, with the increasing popularity of yoga, Kirtan has become a frequent part of many yoga studio schedules. Want to hear for yourself? Check out these artists before heading out to your local studio to experience kirtan for yourself.

Colorado has a strong kirtan community Colorado Kirtan on Facebook. An upcoming event put on by Bhavapalooza Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda  May 28th in Boulder. We hope you will enjoy the beautiful sounds of Kirtan. Please contact us for more ways to deepen your practice. (image above is from a local workshop with Krishna Das presented by Bhavapalooza – Bryan Lopez of Visual Voice Photography )

Krishna Das is one of the best known Kirtan artists in the western world. His strong deep voice, deep voice is perfect for calling mantras. His album, Live Ananda was nominated for a Grammy in 2012. Don’t miss the documentary, One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das 

 

 

Jai Uttal is another Grammy nominated Kirtan artist whose voice is a familiar sound in many yoga studios. His album, Kirtan! is one of his better known offerings.

MC Yogi offers Kirtan with a modern twist. His version includes a touch of hip hop. You can hear his version of Kirtan  by listening to one of his albums, Mantra.

CC White love her blend of soul and kirtan and with her signature red outfit!

 

Kirtan Central is an online resource for fans of Kirtan. You’ll find a schedule of Kirtan events nationwide, and an online store where you can buy printed materials, CDs and DVDs.

 

May I Be Clear

For this month my topic is various approaches to meditation, mantras and yoga practices.  When I begin my personal meditation I begin may I be clear… I also us this at the end of many of my yoga classes more as a blessing and I substitute we for I. ( a person’s name)

May I be clear 
May my heart remain open
May I awaken to the light of my own true nature
May I heal
May I be a source of healing for others.

A variation from Joan Borysenko  LovingKindness 611Y0jAwwXL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_(Metta) Meditation  (you can add what is appropriate for you i.e. may I be safe etc. as well using I, we, or name) 

 Metta meditation is defined as from Sharon Salzburg’s website 

Lovingkindness meditation is the cultivation of  a steady, unconditional  sense of connection that touches all beings without exception, including ourselves. The quality of lovingkindness is associated with three other qualities: Compassion, Sympathetic Joy & Equanimity
.

meditation

Pause to  be clear …
 

What do you Want?

What do you want? This is one of the hardest questions we face on a regular bases.  Do I turn right or left, do I eat an orange or apple, should I _______ (fill in the blank).  Clarity is what we all look for.

Through the month of March we will explore the theme of clarity and are there things we can do to help the decision making progress.

41r-apwQYFL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_In the classic book, Yoga – The Spirit and Practice of  Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann.  Renowned yoga master Schiffman, speaks to clarity and decision making in chapter 11 Listening for Guidance.

 “If you were clear there would be no need of a decision”

Schiffmann from the beginning walks us through the path of using yoga movement and meditation to get to the techniques toward being clear.

With the idea of moving toward quiet or stillness so that we can be clear has been taught from Rumi to Thich Nhat Hanh.

As a student of yoga, we use yoga movements to prepare our bodies to come to meditation and move our minds into stillness.

The Story of Catspaw,  is about seeking support for Catspaw’s  yoga practice and she found a the zafu – meditation cushion she needed to move into stillness.   It is though this fable that reminds me of the journey toward clarity.

Remover of Obstacles

Throughout  the month of February we have been looking at yoga, myth and inspiration. I wanted to include MC Yogi aka Nicholas Giacomini, through hip-hop teaches traditional hindu stories and he is a yogi as well.

The short story of Ganesha is said to be the remover of obstacles or putting and obstacle there so to find your true path.  MC Yogi’s album called Elephant Power with his tribute to Ganesh is entitled Ganesh is Fresh, shares the myth with hip-hop.

Ganesh is Fresh by MC Yogi

1st verse 

Ganesh is so fresh chillin on his throne / surrounded by incense fruit and gold
with a heap of sweets piled in his bowl / he guards the gate and protects the threshold
when your blessed by Ganesh than you can travel / on a sacred journey to an inner temple
he paves the path that leads to the soul / & he’s known for removing all obstacles
now some may think it’s illogical / a myth or it’s just philosophical
but Ganesh makes everything possible / because elephant power’s unstoppable

chorus
Jaya Ganesha, Jaya Ganesha, Jaya Ganesha Om

2nd verse
To the god of all wisdom loved by all children / known for blessing homes that we live in
to the lord of all creatures with divine features / inspiring the minds of all truth seekers
to the son of Shiva and Parvati / with an elephants head and a fat belly
with a snake for a belt to hold up his pants / he rides on a mouse and he loves to dance
with a lotus unfolding inside one of his of his hands / & an axe to attack all ignorance
a broom to remove all hindrance / and a noose to reduce all selfishness
he writes the pages that the sages chant / droppin ancient vedic science so we can
comprehend / all the many ways that we can transcend
singin Jai to Ganesh he’s a yogi’s best friend

chorus
Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha Om

3rd verse
I pray to Ganesh to take away the stress / and pave the way into a place that’s blessed
centered in the chest where the breath is felt / when your blessed by Ganesh than the
stress can melt / he destroys the knots that confine your thoughts / he dissolves the walls
& he breaks the blocks / he unlocks the door to the sacred core / & he guards the gate
at the pelvic floor / the benevolent elephant who’s super intelligent / at the base of the
spine he’s the earth element / he’s the ruler of the muladhara chakra / his brother rides
a peacock and his names is Skanda / to the son of Uma and Mahadeva we offer this puja
to Shri Ganesha / to the son of Parvati and Mahesh dedicated to Ganesh cuz he’s so fresh

chorus
Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha Om

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