Yoga Philosophy & Subtle Body Teacher Training

April 28, 2018

Nora and Tamar will be co-teaching the second 50-hour module of the Philosophy & Subtle Body Teacher Training at YogaWorks Westside in fall 2018. This training is open to all yoga practitioners and teachers and does not require previous yoga certifications. It is also part of the 300-hour YogaWorks Advanced Teacher Training.

We will be covering the following topics: Yoga Philosophy (Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutra, Ramayana, Hatha Yoga Pradipika), Meditation, Pranayama, Subtle Body Anatomy.

Dates: August 25, 26 / September 8, 9, 22, 23 / October 6, 7
Times: Saturdays & Sundays 12:30-6:30pm
Location: YogaWorks Westside
Fee: $700 early bird, $800 regular
More information here

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Restorative Soundbath 4/28

April 12, 2018

Dear friends,
you are warmly invited to another “Journey Into Sound” event at YogaWorks Brooklyn Heights on April 28th from 1:30-2:15pm. This is a one off Pop-up class of restorative yoga with live music (didgeridoo and handpan) where you can simply relax and absorb the sound vibrations. The last one was a great success, and if you missed it, maybe you will be able to make it this time around. Free admission to all YogaWorks members, class pack holders and new students!
Looking forward to see you,
Nora


Journey into Sound 3/3

February 16, 2018

I will be sharing a pop-up live music soundbath at YogaWorks Brooklyn Heights on Saturday 3/3 from 1:30-2:15pm. We will begin our journey with a short meditation and pranayama practice, followed by 30 mins of restorative live music soundbath (didgeridoo and handpan). It will be a delicious way to relax deeply and enjoy musical vibrations with your whole body and being!

This class is free for all!


New Restorative Class

January 29, 2018

I am teaching a new Restorative class at YogaWorks Soho on Friday 7:45-8:45pm. We start with a short Pranayama practice, then relax with 3-4 restorative yoga poses supported by props, and end with a short meditation. Restorative yoga has the potential to activate the body’s natural healing capacities through deep relaxation, which might be the best natural medicine always available to us.

In case you are not a YogaWorks member, you are warmly invited to come as my guest (please message me the day before).


Winter break

January 4, 2018

I will not be teaching in NYC from January 5-20. Back to my regular schedule as of 1/21.


WE

November 24, 2017

“Starting with WE: if we take yoga to be conjunctive – psychologically, socially, politically, ecologically – its study and practice will be intersubjective. This would mean that it is not passed from a self-as-subject to an other-as-object, but understood by those sharing it that it comes alive because we recognize each other as subjects-in-relationship.”

–Matthew Remski,  Threads of Yoga


Interdependence

November 24, 2017

“Awareness of interdependence is the fullest presence.”

–Matthew Remski, Threads of Yoga


Open-source yoga

November 17, 2017

“The yogi is a self-hacking Robin Hood. By strict cultural code, hackers share everything they learn. The discoveries of any individual must enrich the hive. And as they do, the individual expands, and her boundaries become more porous, and she craves yet more intersubjectivity. Yoga should in the end be completely open-source, where open-source is the medium of empathy, so that everyone can read the code, reflect each other’s creations, and alter it towards their novel applications.”

–Matthew Remski, Threads of Yoga


Purple as a beet

August 29, 2017

“It must be obvious, from the start, that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

(Alan Watts – The Wisdom of Insecurity)


Concentric Circles: Why I Am Vegan

August 28, 2017

Meditation and yoga practice begin with where I am at this moment, as a journey within. Aware that I have a body, I begin to pay attention to how this body moves, how this body touches the earth, how this body breathes, how it thinks, speaks and acts in the world. For a moment I am interrupting my habitual movements, I am pausing to open a space of increased awareness for what is right in front of me. I stop in order to see deeply into the circumstances and relationships of life.

This journey inward has often been compared to peeling off the layers of an onion. Layer by layer and step by step, I am cultivating the subtleties of paying attention to what is, and this practice of paying attention begins with myself. Yet as I move inward I begin to see that the movement of introspection is just as much a movement of expansion. The more I pay attention, the more I begin to see deeply into relationship and the fact that all of life is interconnected like a big beautiful spiderweb. This web is so complex and finely woven that I can infinitely look deeper and see more connectivity. The water in my own body constantly passes in, out and through me to become the clouds, rain, ocean, blood of an animal, sap in a tree. The air I breathe is being breathed by all of life.

As I practice, I am peeling off the layers of an onion, but I am also growing concentric circles like a tree. I begin as a seed, a sprout, and I grow, until I develop a strong stable trunk, deep roots, and far reaching branches. With every day, month and year of practice, I am adding concentric circles to my awareness and I widen my field of inclusivity.

My yoga practice is not just a practice of postures and breathing on a yoga mat. My yoga practice is a movement of expansion that grows concentic circles of awareness into all areas of life. I am opening myself to seeing the beauty and the suffering that is present in our lives. I become receptive to the wind as it touches my skin, to the fur of my cat as she strokes me with her tail, and to the inequalities present in the country I recently moved to, as well as the inequalities on planet earth.

I open my body to the raw sensation of realizing that I live in a society that is structurally racist and sexist, and a global community that is structurally speciesist. This aspect of my yoga practice presents itself as an open wound rather than a cloud of yoga bliss. And I am here to feel it, be present to it, ackowledge it. Because this is my practice: being present to what is.

I am acknowledging our tendency as human beings to divide ourselves into race and color and to develop hierarchical structures of exploitation, incarceration, and domination. I am acknowledging our tendency as earth family to divide ourselves into different species and develop hierarchical structures that sytemicly exploit nonhuman animals, incarcerating them, taking their lives in great numbers.

I begin to see parallels in how we divide the human family into black and white, favoring one over the other, and how we divide the animal family into domestic and farmed, loving one, killing and eating the other. And I begin to strongly feel that human rights are intimitely connected to animal rights and that I cannot be an activist for equality and humanity without being an activist for animals and the earth, meaning a vegan who leads a plant-based lifestyle. Veganism is a political issue, a race issue, a gender issue, and equality issue, an environmental issue, a mental health issue, a heart issue, a love issue. The concentric circles of my awareness have to include the animal family and all of life on mother earth, otherwise I am not a consistent activist and my vision is limited, not expansive.

Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki spoke of “small mind” and “big mind”. I practice yoga with the deep felt wish to awaken big mind in me and others, in us, moment to moment. I want my practice to be a commited practice: having the courage to speak up against micro-aggression and obvious discrimination when it comes to race, gender, religion, species or any other form of division expressed through rejecting “otherness” or even just seeing otherness. I want to cultivate the courage to speak up for justice and equality every time and not let one moment slip because I felt uneasy or afraid to stand up for my brothers and sisters.

If you consider yourself an activist, please also consider adopting a plant-based lifestyle. Let our vision be big mind, and the ripple effect of our actions immense.

*(7.5 billion humans consume 56 billion farmed animals per year globally, excluding ocean life, which is only counted in tonnes.)


Solar eclipse: moving into alignment

August 22, 2017

Today the sun had the power of bringing people together across the whole country, which almost felt therapeutic in the context of our current political climate. The simple gesture of sharing your eclipse glasses or self-made pinhole camera with a stranger on the street and exchanging a few kind words created an atmosphere of connectedness and togetherness. Could it maybe always be that way? Could we not turn our 8 million people city into a sanctuary of community and each other care? Could we not re-imagine our collective lives here and now, turning a landscape of paved roads and skyscrapers into a cozy oasis of creative expression, art, music, hammocks, roaming animals, wilding plants and a gentle breeze of real fresh air? Could we maybe for a moment just stop running and relax, arrive, notice each other, smile, and listen? Thank you sun for moving us into alignment.


Summer meditation at YogaWorks Brooklyn

August 19, 2017

I will be teaching a special summer meditation class (once only) at YogaWorks Brooklyn Heights on Saturday 8/26 from 1:15-2pm. Please join us in cultivating a cool mind during hot NYC summer days. Open to all.


Mother Ocean

August 12, 2017

Humans and all organisms are members of the system we call planet ocean. As members of this system we form a web, knotted together intimately and inextricably. We are born from the ocean, supported by the ocean, and return to the ocean, and we need the ocean to live. The ocean is not just what supports us; it sustains us. It cannot be considered a commodity, because it is our greatest resource.

(Michael Stone | “earth” has been exchanged for “ocean”)


We must act in the world

July 18, 2017

“When we first sit down to practice with our own body and mind, we might think that they are two. And we practice for a while and we recognize that body is mind and mind is body. And we start by thinking that we and the whole world are two. And we practice a while longer, and we realize that we and the world are one. And we practice a little longer, and we realize that we must act in the world, and that it is not a matter of one or two. It is just realizing our nature moment to moment.”

(Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara – Body and Mind Dropped Away)


Wake up!

May 16, 2017

Friend, wake up! Why do you go on sleeping?
The night is over – do you want to lose the day
the same way?

(Kabir)


Stand firm in that which you are

May 16, 2017

Be strong and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts
of imaginary things
and stand firm in that which you are.

(Kabir)


On Power, by Matthew Remski

May 6, 2017

One of the most helpful things I’ve understood from professional cult psychologists like Cathleen Mann is that the charismatic leader and the organization surrounding him could be selling any ideology whatsoever. The content of the cult is not the purpose of the cult. The purpose of the cult is to accumulate power. The only real function of the cult’s content is to enhance the mystique surrounding that power.

I remember arguing in great detail with my fellow followers of Michael Roach about whether his teachings on Buddhist emptiness were coherent — either internally, or with his purported tradition. They were neither, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that the more time we spent talking about the riddles he laid out for us, and the more time we spent not being able to answer those riddles, the more we inflated his importance in our lives, the more mysterious he became, and the more power he had.

The purpose of debate was not to actually further knowledge in the lineage. That would assume that Roach had a legitimate position within it, which he didn’t. It was to occupy the emotional labour and attention of the students, which was then co-opted into material and hands-on support. It’s like FB that way: it doesn’t care for the most part what you post here. It cares about whether you’re participating or not. The main thing it wants is for you not to leave. You are FB’s narcissistic supply.

One of the main prayers that Roach taught everybody to say was a reduction of an old Tibetan refrain in which the student requests the teacher to stay close. This got blown up into students weeping at his feet and saying “Please stay, please stay with me.” His email address for years was alwaysstay@aol.com. Attachment disorders? Of course. But the real kicker was that it was Roach who was demanding that we all stay. It didn’t matter what we were staying for. He got us to say what he needed to say, but couldn’t.

I see a potential application of this mechanism to understanding — or rather, stopping the attempt to understand — 45 and the GOP. It’s more than obvious that there is no coherent content, agenda, or worldview beyond the purely libidinal rape-pillage-and-run. Nothing makes sense, and they feel no need to hide that or apologize for it. Their understanding of history, the Constitution, and congressional etiquette is no more detailed than the average Yankee cultic appropriator of an Indian religion. This is all because the content doesn’t matter to them. Power does. That sole value will shift the goalposts of any discussion, create its own language and standards for truth, and hope that you spend time wondering what kind of universe their “reasoning” about things like pre-existing conditions comes from.

This is a grim view, but it might offer a small amount of relief in one important area. It might help conserve a little of the energy burn of misplaced attunement. It seems natural to spend a lot of time asking about how the AHCA could possibly make sense to anyone, to ask: what could they be thinking? But if it’s only always-already about power, they are literally thinking *nothing*. So thinking about them as though they are thinking and feeling like you do inflates their power and mystique while depressing your own. You are puzzling over a riddle that they don’t even care about and aren’t qualified to answer themselves. You’re engaging them on points of government when they have no interest in government, beyond how it can be a further mechanism of their dominance. In the cult, our biggest mistake was to believe that Roach was interested in Buddhism more than in himself. That’s what kept us in the room.

I wonder whether in the end it will be the cult psychologists, experts in altered and trance states, and scholars of New Religious Movements that will ultimately shed more light on 45 & co than the forests of paper we’re currently felling to print our progressive political think-pieces. If they are, I wonder what new pathways of resistance their work will offer.

I appreciate the poetry of “When they go low, we go high.” It feels pure. But I think it’s bringing sticks to a gun fight. I don’t think you can resist power with reason and content. Power doesn’t care. It feels no shame. The challenge would seem to be about how to answer irrational power with something equally visceral and compelling.


Sleep

April 20, 2017

“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama


FLOW

April 3, 2017

FLOW, also known as THE ZONE, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.

Six factors encompassing the experience of flow:
1. intense and focused concentration on the present moment
2. merging of action and awareness
3. a loss of reflective self-consciousness
4. a sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
5. a distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
6. experience of the activity is intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience

“The similarities between Yoga and FLOW are extremely strong; in fact it makes sense to think of Yoga as a very thoroughly planned flow activity. Both try to achieve a joyous, self-forgetful involvement through concentration, which in turn is made possible by a discipline of the body.”
(Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)

State of FLOW: the fusion of the body and mind, where time ceases and things happen by themselves.
(Breatheology – The Art of Conscious Breathing, by Stig Avall Severinsen)


Waves

March 7, 2017

Even though waves arise, the essence of your mind is pure; it is just like clear water with a few waves. Actually water always has waves. Waves are the practice of the water. To speak of waves apart from water or water apart from waves is a delusion. Water and waves are one. Big mind and small mind are one.

(Shunryu SUZUKI: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)


Balance

March 4, 2017

Whatever we see is changing, losing its balance. The reason everything looks beautiful is because it is out of balance, but its background is always in perfect harmony. This is how everything exists in the realm of Buddha nature, losing its balance against a background of perfect balance.

(Shunryu SUZUKI: “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”)

earth_growth


Smile

February 15, 2017

Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Being Peace”)

smile


Being Peace

February 15, 2017

Without being peace, we cannot do anything for peace. If we cannot smile, we cannot help other people to smile. If we are not peaceful, then we cannot contribute to the peace movement. A fresh way of being peace, of doing peace is needed. That is why it is so important for us to practice meditation, to acquire the capacity to look, to see, and to understand. Peace work means, first of all, being peace. Meditation is meditation for all of us. We rely on each other.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Being Peace”)

peace


Moved to act

January 30, 2017

“Once we wake up to the reality of interconnection and interdependence, we see that our actions have an effect and that we can’t only commit to stillness, especially since other beings are suffering.”
(Michael Stone: Feeing the Body, Freeing the Mind)


I’m with Her

January 26, 2017

im-with-her


My wish for 2017

January 1, 2017

Plant trees, not hate. ❤

tree


In good spirit for 2017, let’s focus!

December 30, 2016

rabbit
global-warmingvegan

Go Vegan ❤


Intertwined

August 10, 2016

We need to exercise both our body and our mind. The nature of the body is form and substance. The nature of the mind is consciousness. Because the body and mind are different by nature, what benefits them is different in nature as well. The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness. When we give our mind and body what benefits them, a natural harmony takes place. With this unified approach, we are happy, healthy, and wise.

(Sakyong Mipham – Running with the Mind of Meditation)

Intertwined


Remember Who You Are

August 8, 2016

“Inner work is as easy to exploit by the charismatic teacher as outer work is exploited by capitalism.”
– Matthew Remski

Remember who you are

artwork: chase


Vegan health risk

August 2, 2016

Found this on Jonathan Dickstein’s Instagram page.

vegan health risk


Healing from the heart

July 9, 2016

Yoga is my secret hiding place, a bright safe place in the eye of a storm. My calm center can be reached without saying a word, or forcing it. Just being. It brings awareness to the fact that I am completely a part of the universe.

(Saira C., female prisoner and yoga practitioner)

Healing from the heart

illustration: Lisa R., female prisoner and yogi in solitary confinement
book: A Women’s Practice: Healing from the Heart by Kath Meadows


The Guru trouble spot

July 5, 2016

In recent years, many people submitted themselves to a spectrum of spiritual teachers promising some form of salvation. Are gurus, as they claim to be, a necessary doorway to religious experiences that make life more profound? Or rather, are they filling deep needs and thus inadvertently pointing to trouble spots and lacks in the fabric of our culture, as well as revealing the depth of our conditioning to want authorities and mistrust ourselves?

(The Guru Papers – Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad)

Guru


Statistics of the invisible

June 23, 2016

1) 2.5 million humans incarcerated in the US
2) 9 million dairy cows incarcerated in the US
3) 9.2 billion animals slaughtered in 2015 in the US
4) 8.5 billion new chicken raised for food in 2015 in the US
5) 51.4 billion chicken slaughtered world wide per year
6) 56 billion animals slaughtered per year world wide (excludes sea animals)

Facts 2-6: GO VEGAN

Fact 1: You can send a yoga manual to a prisoner through this website (only $10)
prisonyoga.org

chicken cagesincarceration


Awareness in every pore of your skin

June 20, 2016

Yoga aims for complete awareness in everything we do.

(B.K.S. Iyengar)


Ethics are the foundation of yoga

June 20, 2016

There is no spiritual improvement without an ethical framework.

(B.K.S. Iyengar)


Pleasure in the Real

June 12, 2016

Awakening is joy that takes pleasure in the Real.

(Vimalakirti)


Empty space

June 12, 2016

Be sure mind’s nature is groundless voidness;
Your mind is insubstantial like empty space –
Like it or not, look at your own mind!

(Padmasambhava)


The absence of struggle

June 12, 2016

The absence of struggle is in itself meditation.

(Chögyam Trungpa)


Animals matter

June 4, 2016

Abolitionist veganism, as developed by Gary Francione, is based on the simple idea that all animals, human and nonhuman, matter morally. We stop our cars in front of dogs, raccoons, and deer because we recognize that these animals do matter. They matter first in the sense that their own lives mean something to them, and this “meaning to them” produces the recognition in us that their lives also mean something for us. We intuitively grasp that how we behave towards animals does matter, it does mean something. As Gary Steiner states in Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism, “The origin of ethical principles is not some detached transcendent standpoint. It is a felt sense of lived kinship with other sentient beings.” Ethical principles derive from this intuition of “mattering,” not the other way around.

Live consistently. Go vegan.

Blue Wolf

(From: “Spirituality, Speciesism, and the Ethical Symmetry Gap” by Jonathan Dickstein)

See more at: http://www.ecorazzi.com/2016/05/30/spirituality-speciesism-and-the-ethical-symmetry-gap/#sthash.r0d0QyDH.dpuf

Black Wolf


Become an environment

May 16, 2016

The best we can do is become an environment that allows every person we meet to open in the optimum way they can open up.

(Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill)


A great letting go

May 12, 2016

Let us dare to abandon the frenzy of seeking. Let us dare to stand aloof, to doubt all that has seemed essential to us up to now, let us dare stop believing in anything at all; then we will have the experience of a great letting go. Then, in this relaxing, we will perhaps be able to taste of the essence of inconceivable freedom.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)


Stop all seeking

May 8, 2016

For those who have attained the Way, there is nothing that is not the Way.
You should observe your present state – what is the reason for it? Why do you become confused?
This is the most direct approach! Be free from both confusion and enlightenment.
Stop seeking. It is a sickness. Then monkey mind will stop. When you see things in this way, you will be free and independent.

(Ch’an master Foyan)


Forget the chakras

May 8, 2016

Forget the chakras. Perception of them is completely conditioned and illusory. It depends on your beliefs. If you believe there are seven of them, you will feel seven. If you believe there are twelve of them, you will feel twelve. If you do not believe chakras exist, you will feel a thousand chakras. What is important is that awareness become more intense, that the capacity to concentrate become keener, and this leads to the possibility of feeling intensely the openings as well as the closings.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)


It can be fully known

May 8, 2016

The Clear Light of your own intrinsic awareness is empty, like the sun rising in a cloudless illuminated sky. Even though this light cannot be said to possess a particular shape or form, nevertheless, it can be fully known.

(Padmasambhava)


You should look at your own mind

May 8, 2016

It is certain that the nature of the mind is empty and without any foundation whatsoever.
Your own mind is insubstantial like the empty sky.
You should look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not.

It is certain that self-originated primary awareness has been clear and luminous from the very beginning,
Like the heart of the sun, which is self-originated.
You should look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not.

You should look at your own mind, observing it again and again.

(Padmasambhava)


Mind

May 8, 2016

All activity deliberated by the mind is activity of limited consciousness.

(Chen-houei)


As the heart of the sun

May 4, 2016

As the heart of the sun
Cannot be veiled by an eternity of darkness
So too, the realization of the ultimate nature of the mind
Cannot be veiled by an eternity of samsara.

(Machig Labdrön)


Mahamudra

May 2, 2016

Abandoning all bodily activities,
Remain like a bunch of straw cut loose.
Abandoning all verbal expressions of speech,
Remain like a lute with its strings cut through.
Abandoning all mental activity,
That is Mahamudra.

This body of yours is impermanent like a feather on a high mountain pass,
This mind of yours is empty and clear like the depth of space.
Relax in that natural state, free of fabrication.
When mind is without any support, that is Mahamudra.

(Machig Labdrön)

Close your Eyes and Imagine

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Empty / Full

April 25, 2016

Within is void, without is void, like an empty vessel in space.
Completely full internally, completely full externally, just like a pot in the ocean.

Empty within, empty without, empty like a pot in space.
Full within, full without, full like a pot in the ocean.

(Hatha Yoga Pradipika IV.56)


Vijnana Bhairava Tantra (excepts)

April 5, 2016

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Fix attention on the inside of the skull. Close eyes.

12. Meditate on the inner emptiness of central nadi.

15. Listen to the Anahata sound.

16. Meditate on Om and the void at the end of it.

20. Meditate on the void in one’s body extending in all directions simultaneously.

21. Concentrate on the void above and the void below.

22. Meditate on the three voids: below, in the heart, and above.

23. Contemplate on the body which as the limited subject is void.

25. Meditate on the skin as being like an outer wall with nothing within it.

26. Merge the mind and the senses in the interior space in the heart.

27. Dissolve mind in the Brahmarandhra. (This is the so-called 1,000 petalled lotus.)

35. Concentrate intensely on the idea that the universe is completely void.

36. Meditate on the empty space within a jar.

38. Concentrate on the space which occurs between two ideas.

39. Contemplate on the gap between one thought while suppressing another thought.

40. Contemplate on one’s own body as the universe and as of the nature of consciousness.

69. Concentrate on one’s own self as a vast unlimited expanse.

77. The same self is in every body.

81. Think: “I am not my own body. I exist everywhere”.

83. Contemplate that the same consciousness exists in all bodies.

100. Develop Sama towards all.


The origins of Iyengar Yoga!?

April 3, 2016

Swastikasana with belt support will put your practice on fire.

Pranayama Kundalini


The journey inward

March 29, 2016

We must discover what each sheath of being longs for and nourish it according to its subtle appetites. After all, it is the inner or subtler kosa that support the layers exterior to them. So we would say in yoga that the subtle precedes the gross, or spirit precedes matter. But yoga says we must deal with the outer or most manifest first, i.e., legs, arms, spine, eyes, tongue, touch, in order to develop the sensitivity to move inward. This is why asana opens the whole spectrum of yoga’s possibilities. There can be no realization of existential, divine bliss without the support of the soul’s incarnate vehicle, the food-and-water-fed body, from bone to brain. If we can become aware of its limitations and compulsions, we can transcend them.

(B.K.S.Iyengar, Light on Life)

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.08.55 PM


Dreamless sleep

March 15, 2016

When one is absorbed in dreamless sleep,
She is one with the Self, though she knows it not.
We say she sleeps, but she sleeps in the Self.

Rest Dream

When a person is sleeping soundly,
Free from dreams, with a still mind,
That is the Self, fearless and deathless.
That is Brahman, the supreme.

(Chandogya Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Salty

March 15, 2016

As a lump of salt thrown in water dissolves and cannot be taken out again, though wherever we taste the water it is salty, even so, beloved, the separate self dissolves in the sea of pure consciousness, infinite and immortal. Separateness arises from identifying the Self with the body, which is made up of the elements; when this physical identification dissolves, there can be no more separate self. This is what I want to tell you, beloved.

(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

Salt


Between states of dreaming and waking

March 10, 2016

As a great fish swims between the banks of a river
as it likes, so does the shining Self move between the
states of dreaming and waking.

(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

Form and formless


Who?

March 9, 2016

When a man is sleeping, who is it
That sleeps in him? Who sees the dreams he sees?
When he wakes up, who in him is awake?
When he enjoys, who is enjoying?
In whom do all these faculties rest?

(Prashna Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

Take rest

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Two birds

March 7, 2016

Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree,
Intimate friends, the ego and the Self
Dwell in the same body. The former eats
The sweet and sour fruits of the tree of life
While the latter looks on in detachment.

(Mundaka Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

Two birds 1


Those who see all creatures in themselves

March 2, 2016

Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no grief.
How can the multiplicity of life
Delude one who sees its unity?

The Self is everywhere. Bright is the Self,
Indivisible, untouched.

O mind, meditate on the eternal Brahman.
Remember, o mind, remember.

(Isha Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

I feel like this is the beginning of a longer story

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Brahmaloka – City of Brahman

March 1, 2016

In the city of Brahman is a secret dwelling, the lotus of the heart. Within this dwelling is a space, and within that space is the fulfillment of our desires. What is within that space should be longed for and realized.

As great as the infinite space beyond is the space within the lotus of the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained in that inner space, both fire and air, sun and moon, lightning and stars. Whether we know it in this world or know it not, everything is contained in that inner space.

Those who depart from this world without knowing who they are or what they truly desire have no freedom here or after. But those who leave here knowing who they are and what they truly desire have freedom everywhere, both in this world and in the next.

All those we love, alive or departed, and all things we desire but do not have, are found when we enter that space within the heart; for there abide all desires that are true, though covered by what is false.

Like strangers in an unfamiliar country walking over a hidden treasure, day by day we enter the world of Brahman while in deep sleep but never find it, carried away by what is false.

The Self is hidden in the lotus of the heart. Those who see themselves in all creatures go day by day into the world of Brahman hidden in the heart. Established in peace, they rise above body-consciousness to the supreme light of the Self. Immortal, free from fear, this Self is Brahman, called the True. Beyond the mortal and the immortal, he binds both worlds together. Those who know this live day after day in heaven in this very life.

(from The Chandogya Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

Your heart is a sun

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


A comparative study

February 29, 2016

When the five senses are stilled, when the mind
Is stilled, when the intellect is stilled,
That is called the highest state by the wise.
They say yoga is this complete stillness
In which one enters the unitive state,
Never to become separate again.
If one is not established in this state,
The sense of unity will come and go.

(Katha Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

I.2 Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind.
I.3 When that is accomplished, the seer abides in its own true nature.
I.4 Otherwise, at other times, the seer is absorbed in the changing states of the mind.

(Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translation by Edwin F. Bryant)

I am the silent witness

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Inspiration for practice

February 19, 2016

Scorpion Monkey


Fresh as a flower, solid as a mountain

February 15, 2016

Yumi Sakugawa meets Thich Nhat Hanh.
“My intent is to be as fresh as a flower and as solid as a mountain.”

TNH + Yumi


Flow

January 25, 2016

We begin to develop the power of our minds through concentration, through one-pointedness. Following the breath, we develop the capacity to put the mind on one thought and keep it there and let everything else flow by. We don’t stop our minds. We let them flow. But we bring one thought constantly to the surface. We keep coming back to one thought all the time. Breathing in, breathing out. Breathing in, breathing out. Rising, falling. We note breathing in, breathing out. A one-pointed mind is free of the intellect. It is a supple, useful mind.

(Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill)

Turtle 2Turtle 1


You ARE the meditation

January 25, 2016

We are the meditation. There’s nothing to do. Our whole life is a meditative act. There’s no time we leave meditation. It’s not just sitting on our meditation pillows. Whatever we are doing, it’s all meditation.

(Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill)

Waves 2Waves 1


Focus

January 6, 2016

To stay in the present moment takes concentration. When we have concentration, we have a lot of energy. We won’t get carried away by visions of past suffering or fears about the future. We dwell stably in the present moment so we can get in touch with the wonders of life, and generate joy and happiness. If you focus on your breathing in a relaxed way, you are already cultivating an inner strength. Like that happiness arises lightly and easily.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud No Lotus)


Focus

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa


Lungs of the Earth

December 26, 2015

My intention for 2016: Plant trees! Restore the lungs of the Earth.

Lungs of the Earth

photo by Tamar Samir


Paradox

December 25, 2015

Vegan


Your Mind on Meditation

November 27, 2015

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa

Your Mind on Meditation


Self-portrait of me / you

October 11, 2015

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa

self-portrait of me : you


Free the almond

July 30, 2015

free the almond


Be a still pond

July 13, 2015

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa

Be a still pond


You are not your thoughts

June 16, 2015

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa

Not your thoughts


Contact Earth.

May 28, 2015

“We are always seeking contact with Heaven. But how many of us have made any reasonable contact with Mother Earth?”

–B.K.S. Iyengar, Sparks of Divinity


Photography by Andreas Lie

May 5, 2015

Double-Exposure-Animal-Portraits-by-Andreas-Lie-3Double-Exposure-Animal-Portraits-by-Andreas-Lie-4


WAKE UP – go vegan!

September 24, 2014

“When we’re mindful, we can see the destruction that has been caused to the animals and the planet in order to produce meat and dairy for our consumption. With this awareness, eating vegan food becomes an act of love towards ourselves, towards our ecosystem and the planet.”

Thich Nhat Hanh
hugging carrots

Blue Lung | Captain Paul Watson

September 16, 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHEbmk-1Bj8

Planet Ocean


Tree Savasana (Vrksavasana)

September 13, 2014

Best asana = Savasana. On a redwood tree in CA.

Tree Savasana


Community

August 8, 2013
“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community—a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living.
This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth.”
—THICH NHAT HANH

Lazy slacker – hello from Berlin.

June 19, 2013

NoraOnLine


Rooftop Yoga

January 10, 2013
 

 


Tada-Asana (Mountain Pose)

October 31, 2012