Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.~Chinese Proverb
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omaha yoga path | Physical classes still suspended. Online classes open.

Omaha Yoga Path Post

Physical classes still suspended. Online classes open.

Dear Yoga Path Community

Out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of the health of the Omaha community, the Yoga Path will stay closed for now in response to the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. Until a clear picture of the threat is presented, we must follow the advice of the communities currently fighting the outbreak, who warn that the time to act is early and not after the virus becomes widespread. We hope to reopen as soon as possible, once the virus is better understood and contained. We hope that in taking this measure, we are playing a role in slowing down the virus’s spread so that hospitals and medical personnel can better prepare to care for new cases. 

This will be an opportunity for all of us to pause and practice safely at home. Given the wave of fear and anxiety pervasive today, we must continue to establish firm ground inside of ourselves. Through mediation, yoga, and compassionate presence, we build the inner resiliency and empathy to stay centered in this precarious time. Let us use our practice to nurture ourselves and those around us. 

Actually the best thing that can happen in the coming weeks is nothing. That our caution will result in non-harming(ahimsa) for ourselves and our community

“To meditate is to go home to yourself. Then you know how to care of things that are happening inside you, and you know how to take of things happening around you.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Helpful tips: Boost your energy and immune system by protecting yourself by eating healthy, nutritious foods, get plenty of rest, practice your asanas, get outside in every weather, and laugh/smile at every opportunity.

Along with the rest of the world, we will continue  monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds, at all levels. We are deeply committed to the safety and health of the Yoga Path community. Please be well and take care of one another. 

Please feel free to contact us should you have questions or concerns.

STORYTIME YIN WORKSHOP

Storytime Yin Yoga with Kim

First Sunday of the Month, 2-4pm Storytime Yin

IN THESE WORKSHOPS, KIM READS A SHORT STORY TO YOU WHILE YOU ENJOY RESTORATIVE YIN POSES, FOLLOWED BY TEA AND A GUIDED BOOK CLUB-STYLE DISCUSSION OF THE TEXT.

Next workshop: March 1, 2020,
2-4PM
Cost: $25
Sign up for the workshop here
for more information go to Kim’s website or email at ktschwab@gmail.com

Kim holds her BA in English and Classical Greek, her MA in English, and her 500 hour yoga certification through Prajna Yoga.

Readings from the 2019 Winter Immersion

Awakened Mind, Quiet Life

Meditating Zombie

Sometimes we travel through our day on a kind of auto-pilot. Gliding to where we’re going, at times, forgetting what we are doing. Meanwhile our mind is  in a cloud of ruminations about past regrets or future worries. Yet these states of mind are tumultuous, scattered, and dispersed. There is no quiet stability for us to listen.

This year for the Year-end immersion workshop, we will explore ways  to practice Awakening the Mind with Mindful Yoga. And learn ways to offer ourselves the gift of a Quiet Life in midst of a noisy world. In doing so we will touch the wondrous, refreshing, and healing elements that are in us and around us in every situation

“Then the soul is a lamp whose light is steady, for it burns in a shelter where no winds come.” 
Bhagavad Gita Ch.VI.v.19

The Essence of Stillness

When we release our ideas, thoughts, and concepts, we
make space for our true mind. Our true mind is silent of all
words and all notions, and is so much vaster than limited
mental constructs. Only when the ocean is calm and quiet
can we see the moon reflected in it.
Silence is ultimately something that comes from the heart,
not from any set of conditions outside us. Living from a
place of silence doesn’t mean never talking, never
engaging or doing things; it simply means that we are not
disturbed inside; there isn’t constant internal chatter. If
we’re truly silent, then no matter what situation we find
ourselves in, we can enjoy the sweet spaciousness of
silence.
There are moments when we think we’re being silent
because all around us there’s no sound, but unless we
calm our mind, talking is still going on all the time inside
our head. That’s not true silence. The practice is learning
how to find silence in the midst of all the activities we do.

Try to change your way of thinking and your way of
looking. Sitting down to eat your lunch may be an
opportune time for you to offer yourself the sweetness of
silence. Even though others may be speaking, you have
the ability to disengage from habitual thinking and be very
silent inside. You can be in a crowded space, yet still enjoy
silence and even solitude.
from the book Silence, Thich Nhat Hanh  p. 76 

White-Eyes
Mary Oliver
 
In winter 
    all the singing is in 
         the tops of the trees 
             where the wind-bird 
 
with its white eyes 
    shoves and pushes 
         among the branches. 
             Like any of us 
 
he wants to go to sleep, 
    but he’s restless— 
         he has an idea, 
             and slowly it unfolds 
 
from under his beating wings 
    as long as he stays awake. 
         But his big, round music, after all, 
             is too breathy to last. 
 
So, it’s over. 
    In the pine-crown 
         he makes his nest, 
             he’s done all he can. 
 
I don’t know the name of this bird, 
    I only imagine his glittering beak 
         tucked in a white wing 
             while the clouds— 
 
which he has summoned 
    from the north— 
         which he has taught 
             to be mild, and silent— 
 
thicken, and begin to fall 
    into the world below 
         like stars, or the feathers 
               of some unimaginable bird 
 
that loves us, 
    that is asleep now, and silent— 
         that has turned itself 
             into snow.

Theresa de Avila

“Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. 
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. 
May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. 
May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
BREATH  
Kabir 
 
Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals;
Not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me you will see me instantly – you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, What is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

Winter Is the Best Time
David Budbill

Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.
 
Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world,
 
cold time, dark time, holed-up
pulled-in time and space
 
to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within
“Real solitude comes from a stable heart that does not get carried away by the pull of the crowd, nor by sorrows of the past, worries about the future, or excitement or stress about the present.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Thinking Less

While we practice conscious breathing, our thinking will slow down, and we can give ourselves a real rest. Most of the time, we think too much, and mindful breathing helps us to be calm, relaxed, and peaceful. It helps us stop thinking so much and stop being possessed by sorrows of the past and worries about the future. It enables us to be in touch with life, which is wonderful in the present moment.

 Of course, thinking is important, but quite a lot of our thinking is useless. It is as if, in our head, each of us has a cassette tape that is always running, day and night. We think of this and we think of that, and it is difficult to stop. With a cassette, we can just press the stop button. But with our thinking, we do not have any button. We may think and worry so much that we cannot sleep. If we go to the doctor for some sleeping pills or tranquilizers, these may make the situation worse, because we do not really rest during that kind of sleep, and if we continue using these drugs, we may become addicted. We continue to live tensely, and we may have nightmares.

 According to the method of conscious breathing, when we breathe in and out, we stop thinking, because saying “In” and “Out” is not thinking—

“In” and “Out” are only words to help us concentrate on our breathing. If we keep breathing in and out this way for a few minutes, we become quite refreshed. We recover ourselves, and we can encounter the beautiful things around us in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here. If we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.

 When we are in touch with the refreshing, peaceful, and healing elements within ourselves and around us, we learn how to cherish and protect these things and make them grow. These elements of peace are available to us anytime.

Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

“The mind is restless, impetuous, self-willed, hard to train: to master the mind seems as difficult as to master the mighty winds.”
Bhagavad Gita Ch.VI.v34

Yoga Concepts

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one’s health; and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.

Yamas – Restraints
Ahimsa -non-harming
Satya – non-falsehood
Asteya – non-stealing
Brahmacharya – non-indulgence
Aparigraha – non-possessiveness

Niyama – Observances
Saucha – purity/cleaniness
Santosa – contentment
Tapas – discipline/heat
Svadhyaya – study/reflection
Isvara pranidhana – devotion to the lord(aspirations)

Asana – Posture
Pranayama – Breath Control
Pratyahara – Sense Control
Dharana – Awareness
Dhyana – Attention
Samadhi – Communion/Absorption/ Stillness

Standing Poses

Here is a sheet displaying most of the common standing poses practiced in yoga. Working standing poses is one of the best ways to build and enhance your practice. When you can be stable and strong in these positions all other poses will be accessible to you.

Standing poses

Deep Relaxation

Deep Relaxation Practice

At the Yoga Path we are practicing being with the body. One of the ways to best do this to take time to rest and intentionally making a time to rest, and totally relax. Here are three links to help you do this. Please set aside a time to lie down and devote yourself to this practice. Turn off everything and make certain you give you time to taking care of yourself

  1. This is a 46 minute total relaxation narrated by Sr. Chau Nghiem
  2. This is a 35 minute total relaxation narrated by Sr. Dan Nghiem
  3. This is an 11 minute total relaxation narrated by Sr. Chan Khong

They are from the Plum Village tradition. Enjoy!

 

Why do this?images
Resting is a precondition for healing. When animals in the forest get wounded, they find a place to lie down, and they rest completely for many days. They don’t think about food or anything else. They just rest and they get the healing they need. When we humans become overcome with stress, we may go to the pharmacy and get drugs, but we don’t stop. We don’t know how to help ourselves.

Stress accumulates in our body. The way we eat, drink, and live takes its toll on our well-being. The practice of deep relaxation provides an opportunity for our body to rest, to heal, and to be restored. We relax our body, give our attention to each part in turn, and send our love and care to every cell.

If you have trouble sleeping enough, the deep relaxation practice can compensate. Lying awake on your bred, you may like to practice total relaxation and follow your breathing in and breathing out. Sometimes it can help you to get some sleep. But even if you don’t sleep, the deep relaxation practice can help because it can nourish you and allow you to rest.

Mindful breathing, total relaxation of the body can be done at home at least once a day. It may last twenty minutes or longer. We can practice it either with a group, with our family or alone. When we do deep relaxation in a group, one person can guide the exercise using the guide below or some variation of it. When you do deep relaxation on your own, you may like to record an exercise to follow as you practice. One member of the family can lead the session for the whole family, perhaps in the living room.

Significance of 108

The Significance of the number 108?
Why do we do 108 Sun Salutations in Yoga…?

Y_bk_two_121_1

 

Here are many of the symbolism for 108:

A japa mala or mala is an eastern rosary with 108 beads. The mala is used both in Hinduism and Buddhism for counting mantras, chants or prayers. 108 has been a sacred number for a long time, and this number is explained in many different ways.

Traditionally, Buddhist have 108 beads, representing the 108 human passions that Avalokiteshvara assumed when telling the beads. This number ensures a repetition of a sacred mantra at least 100 times, the extra beads allowing for any omissions made through absentmindness in counting or for loss or breakage of beads.

Sometimes smaller divisions can be used: 108 is divided in half, third, quarter, or twelfth, so some malas have 54, 36, 27, or 9 beads.

Regardless of the meaning of 108, it is important that if a mala is used to count mantras, the mantra be given sincerity, devotion, feeling, and full attention.

108 may be the product of a precise mathematical operation (e.g. 1 power 1 x 2 power 2 x 3 power 3 = 108) which was thought to have special neurological significance.

  • POWERS of 1, 2 & 3 IN MATH: 1 to 1st power=1; 2 to 2nd power=4 (2×2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108
  • SANSKRIT ALPHABET: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet.
    Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.
  • HARSHAD NUMBER: 108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (Harshad is from Sanskrit, and means “great joy”)
  • DESIRES: There are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals.
  • LIES: There are said to be 108 lies that humans tell.
  • DELUSIONS: There are said to be 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance.
  • 9 x 12: Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is 108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108.
  • TIME: Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to past, 36 related to present, and 36 related to future.

ASTROLOGY: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas.
9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.

PLANETS AND HOUSES: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equal 108.
Gopis of Krishna: In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 gopis or maid servants of Krishna.

SUN AND EARTH: The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

NUMERICAL SCALE: The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 … 10, etc., where 0 is not a number.

DANCE: There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions.

PYTHAGOREAN: The nine is the limit of all numbers, all others existing and coming from the same. ie: 0 to 9 is all one needs to make up an infinite amount of numbers.

STAGES OF THE SOUL: Atman, the human soul or center goes through 108 stages on the journey.

SRI YANTRA: On the Sri Yantra there are marmas where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersections has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti qualities. 54 x 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that define the Sri Yantra as well as the human body.

ANAHATA (HEART) CHAKRA: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.

MARMAS: Marmas or marmastanas are like energy intersections called chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 marmas in the subtle body.

MERU: This is a larger bead, not part of the 108. It is not tied in the sequence of the other beads. It is the guiding bead, the one that marks the beginning and end of the mala.

BUDDHA’S FOOTPRINT: All Buddhists accept the Buddha Footprint with its 108 Auspicious Illustrations. These areas are considered to have been marked on the Buddha’s left foot when his body was discovered.

BUDDHISM: 108 beads on the Hindu maalaa {rosary} 108 Arhats or Holy Ones

HINDUISM: 108 Gopis {consorts} of Lord Krishna 108 Holy places for Vaishnavas 108 beads on the Japa maalaa {rosary} 108 Upanishads 108 Divyadeshes – Divine or Sacred Tirtha throughout India and Nepal 108 sacred water taps in Muktinath – Nepal

ISLAM: The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to God.

JAIN: In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 virtues respectively.

SIKH: The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads.
Chinese: The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each.

SHOSHU BUDDHIST: 108 beads in their malas.
They implement the formula: 6 x 3 x 2 x3 = 108 6 senses [sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought]
3 aspects of time [past, present, future]
2 condition of heart [pure or impure]
3 possibilities of sentiment [like, dislike, indifference]

TAI CHI CHU’AN
108-form Wu family Tai Chi Chuan
The different slow motion solo sequences of T’ai Chi Ch’uan are the best known manifestation of T’ai Chi for public. In English, called the hand form or just the form; in Mandarin it is called ch’uan: 拳 They are performed slowly by beginners and are said to promote concentration, condition the body and acquaint students with the inventory of motion techniques for more advanced styles of martial arts training.

TANTRA SHASTRA: 108 Pitha {Sacred Places} The story goes that Lord Shiva was in deep and incessant meditation. His asceticism was creating great heat in the universe. All existence was in peril and Lord Brahma was deeply concerned.
Lord Brahma asked the Mother of the Universe, Maa Shakti, to use her strength and wile to seduce Lord Shiva. Maa Shakti agreed and was born as Sati, daughter of Shri Daksha. Lord Shiva was so entranced by Sati’s asceticism and extraordinary beauty that he took human form and they were married. Years later, at a feast, Sati’s father insulted Lord Shiva. Sati was so humiliated that she began a deep meditation which led to her immolation. Lord Shiva was completely heartbroken. He reached into the sacrificial fire and pulled out as much of His beloved’s body as he could grab. As He ascended to heaven, bits of Sati’s body fell to earth. 108 bits to be precise! In time, these places were acknowledged and worshipped.

SANATANA DHARMA: In a book by Khurana, the explanation mirrors original Vedic justifications: A circle has 360 degrees, which when multiplied by 60 gives 21,600 minutes in a circle. 60 comes from the 60 ‘ghatis’ which Sanatana Dharmiks believe in. One ghati is equal to 24 minutes and 60 ghatis come to 24 hours.

One ghati is divided into 60 parts or ‘palas’. So the 60 ghatis multiplied by 60 palasa comes to 3,600. This is further multiplied by 60 (becase a pala contains 60 vipalas) which gives us 21,600. Half of this is for the day, and the other half for the night. So, 21,600 divided by 2 gives us 10,800. For practical purposes, we use 108.
Using the number 108 helps us coordinate the rhythm of time and space & we remain in harmony with the spiritual powers of nature.

108 UPANISHADS FROM MUKTIKOPANISHAD: Rigveda(10): Aitareya , Atmabodha, Kaushitaki, Mudgala, Nirvana, Nadabindu, Akshamaya, Tripura, Bahvruka, Saubhagyalakshmi.

Yajurveda(50): Katha, Taittiriya , Isavasya , Brihadaranyaka, Akshi, Ekakshara, Garbha, Prnagnihotra, Svetasvatara, Sariraka, Sukarahasya, Skanda, Sarvasara, Adhyatma, Niralamba, Paingala, Mantrika, Muktika, Subala, Avadhuta, Katharudra, Brahma, Jabala, Turiyatita, Paramahamsa, Bhikshuka, Yajnavalkya, Satyayani, Amrtanada, Amrtabindu, Kshurika, Tejobindu, Dhyanabindu, Brahmavidya, YogakundalinI, Yogatattva, Yogasikha, Varaha, Advayataraka, Trisikhibrahmana, mandalabrahmana, Hamsa, Kalisantaraaa, Narayana, Tarasara, Kalagnirudra, Dakshinamurti, Pancabrahma, Rudrahrdaya, SarasvatIrahasya.

SamaVeda(16): Kena, Chandogya, Mahat, Maitrayani, Vajrasuci, Savitri, Aruneya, Kundika, Maitreyi, Samnyasa, Jabaladarsana, Yogacudaman, Avyakta, Vasudevai, Jabali, Rudrakshajabala.

Atharvaveda(32): Prasna , Mandukya, Mundaka, Atma, Surya, Narada-Parivrajakas, Parabrahma, Paramahamsa-Parivrajakas, Pasupatha-Brahma, Mahavakya, Sandilya, Krishna, Garuda, Gopalatapani, Tripadavibhuti-mahnarayana, Dattatreya, Kaivalya, NrsimhatapanI, Ramatapani, Ramarahasya, HayagrIva, Atharvasikha, Atharvasira, Ganapati, Brhajjabala, Bhasmajabala, Sarabha, Annapurna, TripuratapanI, Devi, Bhavana, SIta.

Joseph Campbell says it’s 1+0+8 = 9, the number of the goddess.
Or one can look at 1, 0, and 8 as:
1 = God or higher Truth
0 = emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice,
8 = infinity or eternity

Tea on the Brain

Been a long time since making an entry in this category — tea, but I always marvel at the relationship of tea in Buddhism, Yoga, and meditation. Now here is a neurological explain for human predilection for Camellia sinensis.

[vimeo 114499613 w=500 h=375]

  • January 6th, 2015
  • Posted in Tea
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Sitting Spaces

Students at the Yoga Path have been invited to share images of the meditation space in their homes. Here are some of the initial entries.

“One of the most important ways you can transform your home space is to make a place to sit. Creating a peaceful sitting area can transform your whole house. This also an important way to support your meditation practice. If we sit in the same place each day, it takes us less and less time to remember to stop and return to our breath. Here, in this place, our bodies and minds can help each other relax”  Thich Nhat Hanh

  • June 4th, 2014
  • Posted in Stories
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