Mindfulness Via Yoga

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Mercy

The trick to understanding Mercy is not to think about it too much.

Indeed, it does droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven;  for Mercy is Divine. When I think about it too much or talk about it too often, then I get all mixed up in the mortal emotions that confuse the awareness of what mercy is.

I have chosen to decide that the first step, at least my first step, in learning to be merciful is to Suspend Judgement. That’s the only way I know I can avoid a circuitous road trip through thinking about forgiveness, compassion, identification and empathy, and all the associated concepts that take me down the blind alleys into confusion, dead ends, and just getting lost all over again.

Again, I think that we ( mortals ) can learn to be merciful. By being aware,of course, of just what is going on in any situation.  Here’s a story.

Right up front in my day, today, I found a set of neighborhood Facebook posts. Let me say that this neighborhood is blessed with neighborliness. They look out for one another and they care for one another. They are aware of everything that is happening on their streets . They help on another to solve problems and vet suppliers. And, in a big blessed way, they are constantly in giving mode:  Who wants my child’s outgrown coat? Can you use the rails from the fence I tore down today? and so forth.

Most of all they are careful to inquire about any sort of suspicious activity; this is a neighborhood full of children who can walk to school.

And so in this context, first thing this morning, I found a series of posts asking if anyone knows a “weird” guy in a pickup track who has been seen going through my garbage cans on trash day. Yes he has been seen sitting near the park in his truck. Just sitting there. Someone suspects he lives with his mother in this neighborhood. No one is sure. Should we call the police?

An experienced police officer once told me, ” Half the calls that take up police time would be eliminated if neighbors would talk to each other.”

What would happen if someone would talk/ ask the man in the pickup truck:  Are you hungry? Could I make you a sandwich?  Are you lonely?  Tell me where you live and are we neighbors?  Oh well,  you get the picture.  Suspend Judgement and thereby get rid of the fear of unknowns. Be free to be merciful.


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Joints Warmup. A Daily Opening

Dasha Chalana

10 steps joint warmup.

Do 20  repetitions of each with 10 rotations on each side.

Go right and then left or go to front and then to the back, depending on direction of the flow.  You can find many examples to follow in YouTube.    A Daily 10-Minute Practise.

  1. Standing ankle warmup. Feet behind, rotate on the toes
  1. Bend and rotate knees.

Keep tail tucked, especially if you feel discomfort in lower back

  1. Hips Rotation
  1. Waist Rotation. Arms swing
  1. Side bend. Whole body
  1. Ripple the spine top to bottom/ bottom to top
  1. Wrists. Clasp fingers and rotate wrists…

Unclasp and change clasp ( other thumb on top ) on second side

  1. Shoulder circles, front to back, revers
  1. Nose Circles to open the NECK
  1. Wings. Fingers on top of head

 

Joints like this       P1010075

18-e-reconciliation-statue    Not like this !

 

MindfulnessViaYoga BLOG            Roberta. Strickler @yahoo.com             November 2016


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The Senses on Tour in England

 

During the first ten days of this past month of July I spent ten days in England, traveling with a group of two dozen members from my Episcopalian community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  We started with a home stay in Lancaster, England, and traveled from the northwest corner to the southeast corners of England, including, but not limited to,  Canterbury, Oxford, London, and the countryside.

Many personal accounts have been written or presented in lecture or video. I promised the leader of Contemplative Prayer/ Christian Meditation to write a brief blog about the experience, my awareness of England, as I experienced it via the senses.  First the experience and then the sense of stillness or awareness.  Check back every so often as I think through the meanings attached to photos and events – and post awareness of personal sensory experience.

Here it is.

Hearing  Choir boys.jpeg  The visit.  The image.        We managed to visit A Cathedral A Day. Nowhere was the sound so sweet as that of the choir in the Lancashire Cathedral. We learned that the right to be a member of the choir included rigorous practice sessions and a very clear commitment to be present at all rehearsals. Memorable was the ceremony where the red-robed ( on trial ) young boys were invited to move up, to wear white robes and to sing fully vested.  As the priest welcomed them, he said, ” Malachi and Joshua. One of you is a book of the Bible.” Malachi and Joshua shrugged, looked at one another, and clearly wondered which of them was so honored. Who names their kid Malachi?

I think of the fullness of sound as I picture it rising —– in the acoustics of the high, high space within these beautiful cathedrals.  In yoga study, I think of the spaciousness of the crown chakra, indescribably floating above the head and the body, space within space.  The Buddhists might say,  Emptiness is form, form is emptiness.

The mind always wants to fill space and the meditator seeks to empty it.  One step in developing single focus would be to fill that cavern with sound, without words.  Harmony becomes a single sound uninterrupted by concepts devised by man.

 

Touch.  Tapestry.jpg Of course we were not invited to touch the beautiful tapestries, the ornate altar cloths, such as this one in the Chapel of Saint Thomas in Canterbury Cathedral. Yet their richness so exemplified the sense of touch in the the silk, the threads, the handwork of the artists, that we met at every turn in these ancient places of worship.

My own days of fine needlework are gone with aging eyesight. Yet, I remember, clearly, working in needlepoint on  chair cushions, as requested by my mother-in-law, so many years ago. She and I did a lot of needlework together which brought us close and in a relationship founded on the touch of the needle and the cloth. When I was soon to be a young bride, she took me to the downtown department store where we bought linen napkins and little cloth forms of thNeedlepoint chair (1).jpge letter S.  For many weeks, while I was waiting to be married, and while my father-in-law was dying, i stitched over those S letters in the corners of the napkins.  Later, I wonder how she must have thought of him when, widowed, she and I worked together, many weeks,  taking the needles in and out of the forms for the chair seats. Now she is gone, too, and the chairs are dispersed to the houses  of various people. Whenever I pull out one of those chairs for a family dining event, I think of her and I wonder: Did she or did I touch this yarn to cloth to form the bases for a family ritual half a century later?

SmellSmell of Irish Sea.jpg

Who could forget the salty smell of the Irish Sea, our first stop, the Norman graveyards at the ancient chapel of St Peter, not far from our landing in Manchester.

incense burning.jpg    Smell deserves another chance in this blog. The vigorous swinging of the brazier of incense at the high altar in the cathedral in Lancashire priory connoted years of practicing this art form by a very old priest.

Incense can be tough to take in the sense of smell. There is a mind over physical frailty to see oneself enclosed within it, a piece of holy ritual. This is one to work on, eh?

Taste.fish n chipsjpeg.jpeg  Not far from the site of the (above)Irish Sea, was the first of our stops for Fish and Chips in a proper British tavern.  The table is set. We waited for our food at a rough wooden table, clearly showing the hand of its creator. In the distance the same Irish Sea while we waited for the cod fished from it.
Palates and plates wTaste.jpgere full.

 

 

SightFoxgloves.jpg
The gardener in me will never forget climbing the winding road ( 6 feet/ 6 inches wide) up the hillside in the lakes district of the Cotswolds. At every turn we saw the wild foxgloves in their brazen pinks.

 


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Ayurveda. An Intensive Workshop

oil-like-yolk

 A Two-Part Ayurveda workshop

Ignite Power Yoga Studio in York  ignitepyoy.com

Sunday afternoons *  1 to 5

November 13 and 20, 2016

Week one

KPV 3 circles

Gain a true and deep understanding of your doshas mix. You may be delightfully surprised at what you learn about yourself when you study dosha qualities in a group setting.  We will use a more comprehensive set of tests, beyond what you can find online.  This workshop is perfect for the yoga student who wants to expand the practice or who has learned a smattering of Ayurveda knowledge and wants to move along.

Week two                   IMG_2010 (1)

Discussion of all the cleansing rituals and a hands-on chance to work with therapeutic and blended oils.   Your registration fee includes a free sample of an oil that compliments your dosha mix. We will apply oils, as much as you wish, and engage in broad discussion of the variety of oils available, where to get them, how to use them in a range of situations.

Sign up for both weekends, well before November 13, to get advance materials.

This workshop is practical in nature.   We look at these elements of your lifestyle:

√   Your true qualities in contrast to situations dictated by the stage of your life now.

√   Communication: Words and Strategies to get along with people unlike our selves.
Where Yoga teaches us the moral and physical practices for ease of body and mind, Ayurveda looks at health-care. It looks at individual ways we imbalance unknowingly.

An Ayurveda counselor has gone through some level of this intensive “medical school” of eastern medicine.

Drawn from understanding of nature’s rhythm and laws, Ayurveda is built around the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth and helps you place yourself in harmony with their roles in the natural world.

There, our emotional, physical and psychological selves can stay balanced with the laws of nature. Learn, through Ayurveda’s science for practical living, how to recognize your special tendencies through cravings, personality preferences, and relationships that we don’t always understand at a deep and objective level.

√    Food. Eating food is a practice in Ayurveda. Food is medicine.iphone December 21-2013 071 Our choices and how we prepare them go a long way to influence the movements of our minds and the energy and strength of our bodies.

We look at origins of cravings and we look at ways to evaluate broad fads and media hype that seek to eliminate or emphasize specific foods in our diets.

√  Seasonal and Daily Routines of Cleansing and Caring for the body are at the core of this science of health and wellbeing. Choosing the proper base or blended therapeutic oil  considers your true nature as well as adjustments of the seasons.

Sign up  here    and sign up soon. Early bird pricing is special. That’s done because you want to be prepared to fully immerse yourself in these teaching. And get an early bird  discount !

You may want to bring along a close friend or someone of a relationship that will benefit from deeper communication tools (emphasized in this presentation).

Roberta Strickler RYT-E-500 is a graduate of the Foundations of Ayurveda certificate program and a 20-year practitioner /teacher of the elements of Ayurveda and Yoga.Version 2


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What the Wild Flower Says

Consider the shy, grounded hepatica.

hepatica_nobilis_plant

 

The wild hepatica stays on the same rocky shelf, maturing year after year. As its fuzz ripens to open to leaves that will frame the blue flower, the lovely hepatica never complains of growing old, even though it is stiff all day from sitting on a rock in shade. Instead it enjoys what others see in it – a wise and beautiful, rooted living creature full of wisdom from its years of experiencing and opening.
Noted during a walk on the Red Dot Path, Himalayan Institute, March 16, 1996.


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Hands & Feet. Balance & Stability

 

Start with the feet to learn yoga. Use certain areas of the feet to access other points in the body. That study, called marma therapy, is one I relish.

I’m teaching a class called Yoga for the Joints. Its held Wednesday mornings at West End Yoga Studio (221 West Walnut Street, Lancaster).  For now, it will happen at 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.  every other week:  

We began these sequences by finding points of energy flow via the  hands and feet.  The heels govern stability and the mounds of the toes encourage flexibility.  Following these principles we apply them to poses. Each time, we review.

img_3089October 12.  Soon we move on to those all – important, delicate, troublesome, but amazing joints:  Your Knees. There’s a lot to cover, including a trip past the shins, the calfs, on our way to the next class:

Hips on October 26.

Soon thereafter:  Connections to the torso….

And on we go to shoulders, the cervical spine, the skull, the third eye, and the sky is the limit.

Stay tuned to this space for dates and updates.  Add your email dress for notifications.

Go to http://westendyogastudio.com  for the schedule.

 

 


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Restorative Yoga

I will be teaching Restorative Yoga on certain weekends of every month.

Watch my blog for dates of the Sundays at 5 p.m.:

We use a lot of props, hold poses for 5 minutes or so, and seldom get off the floor. Definitely no ups and downs.

Now we have sand bags, thanks to the creative sewing skills of Teri Butson. They add a feeling of roundedness in the final poses.

img_3101Just come whenever it suits you. The class is always held at 5:00, whether I am there or not you will find a teacher trained to this relaxing style of yoga

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5:00 to 6:00  p.m. at Bridge Yoga Studio, 1705 Lincoln Hwy East.IMG_3077.jpg


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Ayurveda Workshops

The food you eat – or don’t.   The lifestyle you choose to enrich and cleanse your body and your mind.  A new realization of how natural elements affect your mood, your body, and even your relationships.

For natural elements, consider the qualities of wind, cold and warmth, sun and moon, extreme changes in barometric pressure, humidity.  Ayurveda increases your awareness and sensitivity to the effects of these elements of the world around you every day.IMG_0239

While you learn new ways, new attitudes, you adopt new values that help you to go with the flow. You are likely to acknowledge factors you cannot change without a lot of struggle.  Part of the process is learning how to approach  your everyday routines with an understanding of how they can bring balance or else they bring dis-ease to your body or mind.

Ayurveda gives you a new way to examine the choices you take for yourself in most arenas of your life, including your relationships.  One Ayurveda student started her study by bringing her significant other to a similar basics workshop. They heard about it early in their courtship and about the time they decided they would give their relationship a go by living together.  She and He both say this knowledge has given them a certain vocabulary for communication that is blameless and brings neutrality when argument threatens to spoil the day.

Many times a partner is slow to adopt yoga but is interested in meditation, food, and everyday harmony.  This workshop is good for anyone in your circle of friends, relatives, co-workers, family.

Yoga and Meditation

Kim Nobbs Pigeon Milestones at Prison  Apt 7 012The end goal of classical Yoga is Meditation and the quiet mind, a spiritual practice. In the Victorian age when India was all the rage,  the Western world discovered, expanded and adapted the few asanas in the yogic history, designed for relaxation of the body to quiet the mind.  Yoga came to America in the late 19th century and eventually was dominated by a gymnastic or athletic practice. Today, yogis who are by now adept at the athletics, seek the quiet mind.

 

Ayurveda uses Yoga as a therapy for all of these purposes:  relaxation of the body, focus of the mind, alignment and balance for physical, mental, emotional, practical needs appropriate to the individual.

Nature

Ayurveda shows us how to balance our constitution with harmony for nature. We can’t stop a snowfall or chill the sunshine. But we can consider our own tendencies to overreact to certain weather patterns or seasons. Sunrisejan2009 004

Stop to think what makes you happy or grouchy:           Is it windy? Is it cold? A hot summer day? Is the ground frozen?

Consider the time of day:  Is the sun burning high  in the sky?  Is the cool moon streaming clear light?  Is it dusk and a transition to quiet activities and soothing routines?

 

How can we de-stress body and mind?

These are a few of the tools that we examine in this workshop. First we will look at our yoga practice from the context of Ayurvedic principles. Then we will test our tendencies by asking:  What are the life patterns?  What are patterns of behavior that are paramount this day or this year?

We’ll take IMG_2010 (1)time for that discussion before we move on to the Ayurvedic tools  we can use to prevent the discomforts of imbalance.

For the most part, Ayurveda is best thought of as a Mindfulness practice.  The first steps are to be aware of who we are and what patterns determine our balance, our happiness, our ease of well being.

We will be offering additional workshops throughout the next year. For specifics please contact us through the form below.

 

 


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Tomato Ricotta Pie

And so it is a cold, but promising, March day. Nothing better than to put on some good music , go barefooted around the kitchen and cook for the week.

Since this is to be a blog site related to Mindfulness and to Yoga and Ayurveda, well be Mindfully aware of how wonderful it is to splurge on red beautiful tomatoes in March. Not such a good example of ayurveda because these tomatoes had a long ride to my kitchen. Note that all this cheese is a lot to handle for a Kapha who is going out of balance in this cold moist weather right now .  Great for Vata; very grounding and warm and moist. Good for Pitta, also, rather neutral for them. Pittas probably want to add some hot spices to warm it up that way; use good judgement by checking your vkruti before you splurge on fire.  Nonetheless, here’s a record of how to do it.

I baked a pie crust and, in this case, I wanted to carefully count the calories. So I bought a premade refrigerated crust. The idea is to use the crust as a liner and not really eat it. I could look up the calories in the entire pie. 880. Well so much for eating any of that in a day.

Then I whisked together 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese grated, 1 cup of ricotta cheese ( made from yummy whole milk in this situation), some wonderful pink sea salt, some basil leaves dried from last summer, and 2 lovely Central Market eggs. Ground some pepper into the mix. This entire mix went into the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust. On top of that you see the layered tomatoes. Sprinkled some thyme, savory, and the like from my herbs and drizzled 4 tablespoons of olive oil that Betsy brought to me from Boothbay Harbour last summer.  Into the 450 degree oven for 35 minutes.

If you promise NOT to eat the crust.  the entire filling of this pie adds up to a 1200 calories, rounded out for the math.   So a piece that is cut from 1/4 of this pie ( a generous slice) is worth 300 calories + 220 calories if you decide to eat the crust

That’s my pie day today.