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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Mother's Day Tribute to a Magical Mom.

About nine years ago, two months after Mother’s Day, I lost my Mom. In my last memory, lying next to her, I held her hand and she let go. She didn’t pass that night. In fact, I didn’t understand why she let go of my hand. However, for Mom even dying became a teachable moment. It seemed as if she knew what she was supposed to do at every stage of her illness, so we learned from it.

She knew she had to let go. Let go of her attachments to this world: her roles as a professional realtor, a mentor, and a dutiful friend. She knew she had to release her attachment to being a loving sister and mother of the five heirs to her wisdom, passion, and sense of humor. I had a hard time letting go of that fact. The feeling of her freeing her fingers from their interlace with mine rewound in my heart time and time again after she passed.

Months later, I had a dream that she came to my bedside and took my hand. It felt like there was a distinct sense that she was in a different place than me, but the energy of her love and mine intertwined again. Mom made a point to say things when she was still alive that made us believe she'd be around us after she died, like she said she'd be a Cardinal. I think the Cardinal is one of the most frequently seen birds aside from the Robin. She didn’t want us ever to feel alone. When Cardinals fly by me, or perch on my porch I pause a moment and think of her. The energy of her love swoops in with a full wingspan and wraps her warmth around my heart.  Happens every time.

One evening, my printer turned on (without anyone turning it on) and printed out a page with Mom’s name on it.  It was a legal document on my computer, but not one that had been in my printer queue or even one that had been pulled up or edited for over six months. It woke me up in a fright. I can’t bring much logic to this incident, except to say that the very next day someone broke into my house and took my television. Luckily, I wasn’t there.  But my printer’s mysterious 'wakeup call' the night before felt like a warning of some kind. It stuck with me. I took the lesson from the experience and reinforced the security of my home.

A year or so later, driving home from a meditation class, I thought to myself, ‘Mom, why haven’t you tried to talk to me. I’d listen. I miss you. I want to hear from you.' Not two minutes later, I stopped behind a big white truck. The height of the truck put its license plate in direct line with my eyes. I did a double take.  It said, “I LUV U”.  I looked down and the state on the plate said, “Montgomery” where my mother was born.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I appreciated the synchronicity of these two events. Needless to say, I like to think of it as Mom giving me a timely and wonderful, heartwarming response to my question.


Who knows what’s on the other side of life. I don’t. However, I will say, my Mom set things up for us before she left this world, so it feels like she’s still very much a part of our lives. So this Mother’s Day, I’d just like to celebrate what great mother’s do to keep us believing in the possibilities of life and anything that might be beyond it. I love you, Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Triangles of Breath - New light from an old lesson by Prashant Iyengar

This week Kathleen Pringle taught a pattern of prāṇāyāma based on something that Prashant Iyengar taught in a class at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute many years ago. It is a pattern that I have found myself wanting to practice more and more.

At Geeta Iyengar's Birthday Intensive back in December of last year, she teased us about our prāṇāyāma practice. She said we get it over with as quickly as we can so we can say, "I did my Ujjāyī. I did my Viloma."

Guilty.

Even though I have heard Geeta's voice in my head ever since her workshop, other chitta vrittis (again read chatter) would inevitably sneak in and make me wonder how I would have the time to fit everything in my day that I needed to. The thoughts actually got in the way of my practice.  They shortened time. I couldn't stay present long.

This week, I could. The pattern Kathleen shared with us kept my attention and focus. Earlier in the class she talked about how BKS Iyengar explains in Light on Life that our vertical actions in āsana practice bring intelligence and our horizontal actions bring wisdom. She also spoke about atha, which she defined as the 'eternal now' as in the first sutra of Patañjali, 1:1 atha yogānuśāsanam, which BKS Iyengar translates as, "[...] now begins an exposition of the sacred art of yoga." Prashant's pattern of a breath seems to bring attention to the vertical and horizontal actions, and a peak at the eternal now.

His pattern is an inverted triangle pattern that Kathleen introduced during our Viloma I practice.  Like an āsana practice, there are many different types of prāṇāyāma you can practice.  Viloma means against the grain.  Basically, it's three or more equal volumes of breath taken in sections along the trunk of the body and separated by equally timed pauses. Viloma I might go something like this:  after a full exhalation, inhale and pause, inhale and pause, inhale and pause,  a very small inhalation and slow, soft, smooth exhalation - all followed by a normal inhalation and exhalation as needed.

With this new triangle pattern to focus on during Viloma I, the concentration required on the vertical and horizontal actions seemed to bring about a deeper sensitivity to their differences. Last week, Kquvien DeWeese gave lessons on the direction and focus of our eyes during poses. When we look up or down, on the horizontal plane, hard focus, soft wide and expansive focus - all bring about different sensations in the mind and body. The pattern brought about a similar realization and yet my eyes were closed and my focus inward.

What's more, with my intense focus and concentration on this pattern, the Sutra 3:53 Kṣaṇa Tatkramayoḥ saṁayamāt vivekajaṁ jñānam came into play. This is a Sutra that Nancy shared during Spring Training last weekend. Nancy has talked about Kṣaṇa often in her Saturday classes.  I kept saying to myself that I would remember the word and research it more, but by the end of class the word would escape me. I lost my focus; therefore, it didn't stick with me.

It did this time.  I wrote it down.  I looked it up and I could associate its meaning with glimpses of experiences in my āsana practice.  I also got a glimpse of why Nancy shared it. And in Kathleen's prāṇāyāma classes this week, I got to be with its meaning a little more. Now I'm beginning to hold onto a bit of understanding.

BKS Iyengar translates this sutra in Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali as "by saṁayama on moment and on the continuous flow of moments, the yogi gains exalted knowledge, free from the limitations of time and space." Saṁayama literally means holding together, it's the integration of concentration, meditation, and self-realization. When I finally took the time to read the commentary on the translation, it opened me up to something much bigger that my teachers have been trying to teach.  It turned on another light. We've all experienced time expanding. Unfortunately, it's usually only in a tragedy situation (read my blog Expanding Time in a Moment).  However, the idea of learning how to sustain being that present all the time is pretty incredible. An infinitesimal moment, now that could put a new angle on our day. I know I've enjoyed the peek at the possibility. I am forever grateful for my teachers who care enough to keep learning and sharing their experiences.

Namaste.

#StillIyengar #StillLightingTheWay #StillwaterYoga  #Stillit.









Monday, April 20, 2015

SPRING TRAINING AT STILLWATER YOGA - FINDING FAITH AND COURAGE

When you've studied and trained in Iyengar Yoga as long as is required for your Level 1 Assessment, which is a minimum of three to four years (or as long as it takes for you to be truly ready) and even longer for Intermediate, Junior Level or above Assessments, hearing the rumor that Iyengar Yoga may not offer Assessments after this year until 2017 took many of us aback. The chitta vrittis (read chatter) in my head whispered, "but what if I don't pass this year?" Fortunately, we all recovered from any lapse of focus and put our eyes back on what mattered: our Spring Training at Stillwater Yoga.

Stillwater Yoga owner, Kathleen Pringle is dedicated to training and assessing teachers. As one of only a few Senior Iyengar Instructors in the Southeast, she conducts Teacher Training in Atlanta as well as other states. Her curiosity and fascination with the mobility and stability aspects of poses with various body types and issues is infectious. She takes us on a journey of learning that I wish all academic teachers could witness. Charlotte-based instructor, Erin Bailey explained, "I feel like Kathleen is a great fit for me as a teacher. I appreciate how gentle she is. Since I am a very sensitive person, I am glad that she puts compassion towards her students as a very high priority. She comes across as patient and a very careful communicator in all aspects of her teaching. And her beautiful smile alone is enough to put anyone at ease."

In Atlanta, students come from far and wide to study with her. Teacher in training, Kim Blitch drove from Kentucky despite the fact Kathleen will be in her town in a few weeks to teach another training. Kim said, "Kathleen is an inspiration. Her dedication and love for Iyengar Yoga is obvious as a teacher and as a student.  She is generous with her time and knowledge for which all of her students benefit."

Learning from those in the Iyengar system who have more knowledge is what distinguishes an Iyengar Instructor. Iyengar teachers never stop learning. For example, mentor, Kquvien DeWeese is away for a few weeks training at two different workshops with Senior Advanced instructors, Patricia Walden and Manouso Manos. One of the ways Kathleen continues learning is by going Pune, India every winter to study with Geeta Iyengar. 

Kathleen's ever-growing mastery of training teachers showed itself immediately. She set a seamless pace for the weekend by having us pick poses to teach in Nancy Mau's Saturday morning Level 2 Purva Pratana Sthiti or backbending sequence and then grouping us to fulfill a task. By focusing on our task together (eg. listing the linking actions between three poses in our sequence) each person in the group became a visible and viable part of our training. "We bonded right off the bat," said Phyllis Rollins of The Yoga Center in Charlotte, N.C.  


Phyllis demos a bad pose so Kathleen can 
teach us the correct hands-on adjustment.
We learn from Kathleen and we also learn a great deal from each other. In fact, Kathleen even learns from us. For example, she may witness common tendencies that teachers in training might have teaching specific poses. She shares those tendencies with us so we learn to avoid them. Aspiring Intermediate Junior Level Instructor, Phyllis Rollins explained, "I enjoyed working with the individuals to practice teach and get feedback on some of my problem poses."

Practice teaching is an important part of teacher training. Kathleen creates a safe space for us to brave the act of teaching some of the poses in our level syllabus. To keep us on our toes, she has the 'students' purposefully do common wrong actions to help us train our eyes to see them. "Kathleen makes the process supportive and helped me focus on the areas of my teaching that need improvement. It was a very positive experience for me," Phyllis concludes.

The secret to a great Iyengar class or training session is having some of what Patricia Walden calls your 'Yoga Vitamins'.  Nancy Mau explained in her seemingly flawless Level 2 class on Saturday that those 'yoga vitamins' are from Sutra 1:20 śraddhā vīrya smrti samādhiprajñā pūrvakaḥ itareṣām. śraddhā(faith) vīrya(trust)  smrti (memory) samādhi (concentration) and prajñā (wisdom) pūrvakaḥ.  BKS Iyengar translates this in Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali as,"Practice must be pursued with trust, confidence, vigour, keen memory and power of absorption to break this spiritual complacency."

In training, we have to put ourselves out there so we learn the most we can in the time alotted. That takes faith and courage. Luckily, Kathleen sets a tone of compassion that emanates to all of us. Erin adds, "It warms my heart to feel the support of everyone in our group. The feeling is certainly one of 'we are in this together' rather than that of competition."

No matter how raw or new to the system you may be you will get through it. Our Spring Training happened to be Atlantan, Corinne Lee's first Iyengar Teacher Training. Her openness to learning and willingness to put herself out there in an egoless way served as a reminder to us all to keep a beginner's mind. Corinne shared this about her experience, "Being new to the Iyengar lineage of yoga, I was thoroughly impressed and challenged by the rigorous and seemingly dogmatic practice and overall mindset. But I realized after my first teacher training, that the rules are there to keep your practice safe and steady as you progress into more advanced asanas. The Iyengar queing and sequencing has definitely strengthened and deepened my practice to a whole new awareness and communication with the mind-body connection."

Like Phyllis, I chose poses that I knew I needed work learning to teach. I'd done my homework, studied the material, and knew the primary actions; however, knowing it and teaching it through the Iyengar Method are two very different things. Kathleen explains, "In Iyengar Yoga, you teach one-on-one even if you are teaching a large class."  Everyone gets seen.  Therefore, we train not only to learn the actions of the pose, but also how to observe each student and know how to help support them where they are, further them along, or correct any wrong action that might come up for them.

After the Saturday Level 2 class where we each taught a pose, Erin Bailey of Charlotte admitted "Nancy Mau is a tough act to follow." Nancy's expert demonstrations, her economy of words in instruction, her clear and succinct corrections, not to mention her seamless linking of poses and yoga philosophy gave us a prime example of what we should all be aspiring to.

Becoming an Iyengar Instructor challenges every part of you in a very fulfilling way. You have to keep taking your 'yoga vitamins'. Your faith, trust, memory, and concentration are tested constantly. You transform and discriminating wisdom follows. Patañjali encourages us not to give up and not to loose focus with the Sutra (of which he has about 196 of them) that comes just after Sutra 1.20.

In Sutra 1.21 tīvrasaṁvegānām āsannaḥ, which BKS Iyengar translates as, "The goal is near for those who are supremely vigorous and intense in practice." The goal is Samadhi and here I will use the definition of that to be self-realization in every fiber, cell, and synapse. Self-realization so you can share what you have learned with an honest and pure heart. You can deliver your simple demonstrations and clear instruction with enthusiasm and ease.

I believe Corinne Lee saw the results of that vigorous and intense practice in Kathleen's Spring Training, "Once you've sat through an Iyengar teacher training with Kathleen, you can understand why she is so highly respected and well-known in the Iyengar community. Her succinct teaching approach paired with her genuine tenacity for the practice and her dedication to her students is inspiring."

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this article. To Nancy Mau for showing us how it's done and once again allowing us to teach in her class.  To my training peers who I've enjoyed learning from and getting to know better. And of course to Kathleen who is committed to passing this great lineage along with the utmost dedication, integrity, and respect. 

If you'd like to learn more about the Iyengar Method visit iynaus.org and our Southeastern Iyengar Association at iyase.org. To learn more about Kathleen Pringle and her other great instructors please visit stillyoga.com #stillteaching #stillinspiring #stillwateryoga  #stillit.


Namaste.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Fooled by Form and Other Thoughts on the Journey To Self-Mastery - Part 2

"When stability becomes a habit, maturity and clarity follow."  - BKS Iyengar Light on Life


As an advertising writer and creative consultant, I am more than aware of how our human desires are enticed with sensual displays of everything from electronics to food and fashion to pharmaceuticals. However, as much as we like to blame advertisers for the many ills of the world, they can also do a lot of good. They can change behavior, caution, educate, employ, and raise money for good causes just to name a few. 

Those of you who are old enough to have children may have experienced how the exponential growth and omnipresence of advertising is beginning to teach our kids the need for discrimination. Learning to make wise choices is integral to finding balance in an over-stimulating, ever-changing world. The eight-limbed path of yoga is a well-tested systematic way to build the intelligence of the mind so we can think, speak, and act with discriminating wisdom.

It's been said advertising can get you to try a product or service, but only a good product or service can get you to buy it again. Learning to build good products is an art. Most of us have heard our parents say, "Well they don't make [insert product] like they used to." These days, we've come to believe some products are built with embedded obsolescence. In other words, after a certain time, it's actually made to break down so you have to buy a new one. It seems as if some manufacturers have lost their passion, drive, and sense of integrity when developing new products.

And yet, we are detoured constantly by them. Look, a shiny new phone. Where did you get those awesome shoes? Can I take a picture of your car? Is that a new lip color? Wait! How did I get here? Where was I? ADD/ADHD comrades aside, our world has become a massive detour sign destabilizing our connection to who we are and why we are here.

It has been my experience that when we apply passion, drive and integrity towards the 8-limbs of yoga, we have a better possibility to extend our life cycle so we are made to last. We can also develop control over the millions of distractions around us. We begin by building stability in the body through the postures. In the postures, we get to know ourselves by learning to ground our feet on the earth and extend our arms and legs and spine. 

Extension creates space in the body. It purifies our nerves and wakes up the skin so it's like every pore becomes an eye showing us more and more of ourselves. What is my left side doing?  What is my right side doing?  Which side is stronger?  Which side needs to work harder? As we progress we move from the skin inwards to the muscles, to bones, to the organs, and suddenly you find yourself wanting to go back and visit this fascinating place again and again so you can explore it more and more.

It's just you, yourself, and the unexplored sheaths of your body that are slowly unveiled as your stability and inward focus expands. You get glimpses of a quiet place deep inside you that offers stillness and peace.  It is from this place of stillness that you gain clarity like you've never experienced before. The moment you question it, you lose it.  The chatter in your head returns but like any other pleasurable occurrence you want to try to go back to it again.

Fortunately, along the way you have learned that with practice and detachment you build on the stability you've gained and the experiences of stillness, peace and clarity begin to grow too. You begin to be able to apply this stability and clarity to other aspects of your life. Over time, your desires and attachments are put in a perspective you can see with more eyes than you knew you had.

,,,To be continued. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Fooled by Form and Other Thoughts on the Journey to Self-Mastery - Part 1



     "Mastery of the body is the gateway to mastery of the mind"  - BKS Iyengar Light on Life


Yoga is a path I stumbled upon on my way somewhere else. It attracted me because it expanded on a mind-body concept that I'd gained from ballet without a promise of tutus or toe shoes. It offered something better: Freedom. The Cliffnotes version of yoga might be as follows: Mastering yoga precepts brings the discipline to master postures, which leads to mastering the breath, which leads to mastering thoughts and desires, which leads to one-pointed focus, which leads to supreme stillness that leads to self-realization. Mastering anything takes a lifetime of practice, discipline, and commitment. 

Most of us have encountered the idea of mastery at some point in our life. We are driven to become proficient at something in hopes of some reward.  As children, our first reward is usually some form of acceptance or love. Smile. Pick up your toys. Say 'thank you,' and master the social skills your culture demands and you gain acceptance into your tribe. School rewards your mastering the skills the 'system' deems important to becoming an active member of your community. Employers reward you with raises for mastering the skills the 'corporation' figures will give them the most return on their investment. Like Pavlov's dog, we learn very quickly that if we do something 'they' want we get a treat. 

We have been trained well, and yet the process of modern existence has distanced us further and further away from our connection to our own body. It's wild to consider that America's Puritanical beginnings have nothing over the digital society of today in its ability to isolate us from our own skin, but I'm beginning to believe it. Whatever we think we need these days takes on some form outside ourselves. It's beginning to get dangerous where we don't even think for ourselves. As former Harvard Business Review editor, Nicolas Carr asserts in his latest novel, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us. 

Iyengar Yoga is not an ascetic practice of denying the body or the material world. Being part of a household, neighborhood, or community are all opportunities towards self-mastery. The simple duties of cooking and cleaning can become wonderful exercises in mindfulness. However, by living at the speed of society these days, we have become automatons. BKS Iyengar says in Light on Life, 'They move from bed to car to desk to car to couch to bed, but there's no awareness in their movement, no intelligence."  We continue doing the same thing in order to attain some nebulous prize that promises to gratify our ego. What we discover is that no matter how much we get it's never enough. Reverend Jaganath Carrera explains in his book Inside the Yoga Sutras that if we believe something will give us happiness or pleasure, we are doomed to repeat it. However, the feeling is fleeting, so the craving returns, which is why he says fulfilling desires will never eliminate them. 

...to be continued.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Eye Ur Veda and Other Lessons from Ayurvedic Practitioner, Sonam Targee at Stillwater Yoga in Atlanta



Sonam Targee is a man of many talents with a list of degrees and certifications as long as most of our resumés. Stillwater Yoga practitioners, Tom and Anastasia Ragland brought him to Atlanta, and he offered a free lecture at the studio.


An Ayurvedic and herbal medicine practitioner for 30 years. He currently practices and lives in Rochester, NY. He was born in Tamil Nader, South India. He holds a masters degree in Chinese Medicine, a practitioner's certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a Bachelor's Degree in Ethno-musicology, a graduate of The New England School of Acupuncture, and a member of the National Ayruvedic Medical Association having studied extensively with renown Doctors of Ayurvedic Medicine Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. Robert Svoboda, and Dr. Mahadevan, as well as His Holiness The 16th Karmapa Master Mantak Chia, Baba Mktananada, Dr. Hawkins, and Yeshe Donden (personal physician to His Holiness the Dalai Lama). 

I usually never regret attending a lecture at Stillwater, and this turned out to be no exception. When I entered the studio, Sonam's sense of calm struck me immediately. Non-plused by late comers, he directed us to gather up several handouts to take home. Once we settled, he chanted an invocation. Apparently well-versed in yoga alignment techniques, he sat on blankets with his inner thighs weighted with sandbags. He began writing on a whiteboard some key points about Ayurveda. Marking an easy way to remember how to pronounce it by breaking it down to eye • ur • Veda.

He began by explaining that the Gunas or qualities in nature in Ayurveda are the results of the balance or imbalance of the basic elements earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Too much fire creates heat and dryness. Too much water creates dampness and cold. Too much air and ether create gas and spaciness.

In Ayurveda, Doshas are what make up the primary constitution of a person. There are three basic doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We can be a single, double, or tri dosha.  Our constitution is determined by things like the mind space around your conception, the pregnancy, and childbirth, as well as seven generations or more of your ancestors --- not to mention the snake, frog, or swan pulse pattern on your wrist felt by your index, middle and ring finger.

Each dosha has specific food propensities, for example, Vata like dry and salty foods, Pitta like spicy and sour, while Kapha prefers sweet and creamy. There are also physical cues to a dosha type Vata may have long legs short arms or short legs and long arms.  Every dosha has a planet and day association like Monday and Friday are Kapha, Tuesday and Thursday are Pitta, and Wednesday and Saturday are Vata.

In addition, when a dosha is out of balance, it creates specific changes in the physical and mental constitution of a person.  A Kapha imbalance may lead to sadness and cysts.  A Pitta imbalance may lead to anger and rashes. A Vata imbalance may lead to anxiety and respiratory issues.

It is difficult to give justice to this 5000-year-old practice in just two hours - a practice that can even boast surgery techniques like the "nose job" which are still being used (unchanged) by plastic surgeons today. However, Sonam gave a wonderful overview and left us knowing there's a lot more to Ayurveda than meets the eye.

Namaste.

To learn about other workshops and lectures at Stillwater Yoga visit Stillyoga.com. To contact Sonam Targee in Rochester, NY call 585-256-1841. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Further discussion on freedom from suffering by "Cultivating the Opposite", Pratipaksa Bhavana

In my last blog, I explored the idea of pratipakṣa bhāvanā, "cultivating the opposite".  I talked about the importance of using this concept to counter the afflicted acts or thoughts that keep us in an endless cycle of suffering. The klesas or afflictions are avidya, ignorance, followed by asmita, egoism, raga, attachment, devesa, aversion and abhinivesa, clinging to life. I focused mainly on raga or attachment.

In an effort to deepen our understanding of how to use this new counteracting tool, lets look at its application in prānāyāma - regulating the breath. BKS Iyengar, in Aṣṭadaḷa Yogamālā, Vol. 1 goes into great detail about witnessing the breath and noticing how we breathe without the interference of other thoughts.  However, he says to do that we have to first establish silence.  In the same breath, he explains that "breath stimulates and creates thoughts in the brain."

Do you notice we have two opposing things going on here?  How can we find silence to breathe if breathing stimulates noise in our head? But that's life isn't it? Life is full of opposites. There's positive and negative, hot and cold, happiness and sadness, laughter and anger just to name a few. To cultivate silence in our head, we have to remember the Sutra Tivrasamveganam Asannah that Iyengar translates as, "The goal is near for those who are supremely vigorous and intense in practice."

We have to practice quieting the brain while witnessing the in-breath, the out-breath and the natural retention. If we don't discipline the brain to be quiet, it will suck all of our attention away. In my last blog, I describe a tornado of spiraling thoughts. To avoid thoughts from spiraling, the student "[...] has to learn to develop the sovereignty of intelligence and sobriety of brain so that the brain remains as a witness and not an actor. This is called pratipakṣa bhāvanā."

Once we find silence, we can begin to experience the wonders of our internal world. We can discover the origin of the in-breath. We can follow the breath and notice how one nostril or lung seems to engage in the process more than the other side.  If the left side is active or pakṣa the other side is the opposite or pratipakṣa bhāvanā.  

This week at Stillwater Yoga, we will be working on prānāyāma. Kathleen Pringle often asks us to notice the two opposing sides of the body as we breathe. We can strengthen the breath by bringing attention to the inactive side, which helps to balance our awareness of our breath.  This is also a form of pratipakṣa bhāvanā."  

Using the breath is also a good way to calm ourselves down when we are suffering deeply from any one of the five afflictions or klesas, which BKS Iyengar describes as 1. Nescience 2. Egoism 3. Attachment to lust or greed 4. Aversion, hatred or malice; and 5. Selfishness or fear of losing the joys of life.  The breath enables us to step away from those negative sensations. Instead of painful noise, we cultivate silence and breath.

We build strength one breath at a time, moment by moment, countering debilitating thoughts or feelings first with the breath. We create space, silence and awareness of our internal world. It brings us closer to our true self. It gives us an ability to gain clarity --to think and act in a more positive way than ever before. I encourage you to learn about how the breath can help you develop a habit of pratipakṣa bhāvanā.  It can become a strong force to fight the pains in our heart and head that keep us bound in suffering.

Namaste.