Are you having a good “Yoga Outside” season?

wind chimes
sing
as summer hums along

Haiku-inspired poems at Summer Solstice

a Pileated Woodpecker

nearby

laughs from the woods

Hummingbirds dart

the wind shifts

distant thunder rumbles

daisies appear

overnight

a fawn is born

a bubbling moon

sails inside

the tightest crack

night of endless light

shifting seasons

eternal dawn

Spring Poems to Meditate upon

a wet bee

bobs along ~

the flowering thyme

a wind

disturbs

the rain

moonlight

sails inside

the mossy crack

birdsong

in all directions

a measured performance

listen ~

the rain

is about to fade

young plum tree

flushed cheeks

roots run deep

Yogems = Yoga + Poems :)

slug with a mission

do you prefer

mushrooms iced?!

brown all around

but sacred cedar

a fragrant reminder

shedding outworn armour

habitual hell

yoga cools

soapberries

could be snow

in the low light of dawn

Writing/Reading Poetry Helps Settle the Mind

west window sill
a spider crosses
the purple violets

rain pouring
still the sun
lightens the sky

hawthorn berries hang
ripe rosehips glisten
some colour remains

willow bends dripping
into the river
rain falls in a torrent

branches droop over
the pond on a grey day
reflects the sky

Yoga Book Reviews

Book Reviews:

Radha: Diary of a Woman’s Search

author: Swami Sivananda Radha
book published: 2003
“Imagine at 45 and in war time Germany, leaving everything behind to go to India to meet a guru that had appeared in a vision. Risky! But worth it, she went on to establish the first Ashram in Canada and it remains perhaps the finest in North America. A must read! Her legacy is a Canadian treasure.”

Autobiography of a Yogi

author: Paramahansa Yogananda
book published: 1971
“I never read books twice but I have read this one 3 times. His undying faith in our miraculous life force inspires me to be the best I can be! The stories he shares about his many teachers are like food for spirit, and in that, this book reminds me of Reflecting the Light by Swami Radha.”

Chakra Workbook: Rebalance Your Body’s Vital Energies

author: Pauline Wills
book published: 2002
“Used as a text book for some yoga teacher training courses. Very good. Pauline has done a great job putting together a diverse range of information on the dense topic of chakras. She is a colour therapist and the strength of this workbook is its use of visualizations. Very inspiring.”

The Poetry of the Body

author: Rodney Yee
book published: 2002
“He’s a dedicated master, with great insights to offer about yoga. This book is a manual for someone starting yoga and an inspiration for advanced practitioners.”

Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice

author: Christy Turlington
book published: 2002
“As you might expect this is a lovely book, with beautiful photos and layout to match (the hardcover one). I was skeptical “what could a supermodel have to say on the important matter of yoga?!? ” but I was wrong. She is a true yogin, and again I am reminded that preconceived notions can lead me to prematurely judge a book by its cover. As illustrated by my yoga trainer, it is a worthwhile endeavour for a yoga teacher to read every book on yoga she or he can get a hold of.”

Consider approaching each moment with the wonder of a child

new year’s day

coming to

from a dream

new year’s day

shifting only slightly

a weathervane looks on

barren orchard

a flock of Siskens

rise all at once

beyond view

a bird makes waves

in a cold pond

a range of mountains

cut by evergreens

in each direction

sideways

in a light filled sky

the hint of a storm

12/12/12

If there are obstacles to meditation, then compose yourself in a comfortable spot near nature, and, sitting in stillness, notice how the tempo shifts, and then… …shifts again.

This is an important era to hone the ability to settle the mind and let logic go. Remember how to receive moments instead of problem-solving them. You’ll need nothing with you, literally. Forget about the pen & paper until later. Let haiku inspire the memory.

sideways rain

yet, the light sky

shows no storm

light grey

it’s just rain

which is fine

pond-side

when the wind dwells

rattles the walls

unobserving christmas

finding

the great liberation

by foot to work

and home again

by foot

branches that glisten

overhang the pond

rain still drops

Use all senses at your disposal, and recognize how they interpret, or shape the  surroundings. Can you look at the unfolding landscape with the eyes of an infant? Be fresh in this. In the subtle silences lie connections between what you perceive and the pulse of an undying cosmos.

Ancient calendars from advanced human civilizations have pointed to this time, this yuga, or epoch – as holding huge potential for growth. Combine it with understanding and you have an effective weapon. (Destructive forces will seem faint compared to the dynamo of creative potential).

Use insight to dispel fear. Insight can be gained most effectively through your own practice of meditation.

The exercise is for you. (Think only of the process of writing a short poem, and how the heart responds). Be witness to the process and you might glean a secret about the link between your life and the force of destiny.

Distill the essence of a moment and taste it

snow dusts the pathways

standing out

in the sun

first whack of the axe

sends birds

scattering from tree tops

The Classic Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Eight Limbs of Yoga, first compiled in the classical Yoga Sutras by Patanjali in the second century BCE, are:

1. Yamas – universal guidelines for ethical standards and morals:
Ahimsa (non-violence)
Satya (truthfulness)
Asteya (no stealing)
Brahmacharya (moderation)
Aparigraha (non-attachment)

2. Niyamas – personal observances and disciplines:
Saucha (cleanliness)
Santosha (contentment)
Tapas (austerities/purifying practices)
Svadhyaya (study of spiritual scriptures)
Isvara Pranidhana (awareness of and surrender to the divine will of God)

3. Asana – Hatha (physical postures)

4. Pranayama – breathing techniques for controlling and directing the energy, or life force, in the body

5. Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses in preparation for meditation

6. Dharana – concentration and focus on an object to facilitate meditation

7. Dhyana – meditation

8. Samadhi – the ultimate goal of yoga, transcendence of self and merging with

The 4 main avenues to enter yogic practice:

1. Karma Yoga – the path of selfless service

2. Bhakti Yoga – the path of devotion to the Divine through prayer, chanting, rituals

3. Jnana Yoga – the path of intellect, wisdom and study of sacred texts

4. Raja Yoga – also known as the “royal path,” is the path to personal enlightenment, and is a balance of the first three types

Reading the Yoga Sutras is part of most teacher certification courses. A student must become familiar with the roots of this 9000-year old philosophy, and then, a yogin must unlearn what has been learned. This is a path to discovering the nature of truth.

Tree pose

Place your foot GENTLY on the side of your knee, or place it at the thigh or ankle

From what kind of soil does the tree of wisdom grow?