Savasana Bliss

Happiness indeed is a quiet mind. The quieter I can become in my daily life, the more I can hear from within. Yoga is an infinite path & transformative tool that leads me to finding that happiness and my edge.

Yoga = connection, being open, attuning to my inner awareness, and easing into a state of meditative groundedness. Savasana is that place of stillness; the culmination of a yoga practice, that perfect possibility for tuning in to the power of ones own unity and balance.

“Savasana: savasana is being without was, being without will be. It is being without anyone who is.”
~ Light on Life, B.K.S. Iyengar

Shadow Yoga in the snowYesterday, as I sweated it out in my new-to-me Moksha hot yoga class, I was inspired by the cleansing effect of my sweating. I’m really not one to sweat. Rarely. So I found myself quite surprised by this intensely hot yoga class …. the humidity, my shortness of breath, the at-times unbearable uncomfortableness of so.much.heat. that produced an alarming amount of sweat dripping from my body. It was like a faucet that I couldn’t turn off. Drip, drip, drip. I ached to leave the room into the coolness of the reception area, yet I was determined to weave my way through this strange sequence of asanas that left me, admittedly, a bit befuddled. To be honest, the class took me by complete surprise.  After the standing practice led to the sweet release of my body to the reclining series, I found that my mind was completely clear and focussed while my body was entirely at ease and perfectly released. There I lay, almost comatose in a state of savasana bliss. Whisperings of the breath, unwinding inwards to complete surrender. Now this is the exotic tranquility of complete emptiness. Bliss seems like the inimitable and only way to define my state of surrender to the Moksha practice I experienced.

At first, I was reluctant to be drawn in to the ‘cult’ of hot yoga (that’s what it feels like when I read about and witness the flow of people entranced by this practice). But I was curious, and I had a 30 day intro offer that I couldn’t pass by. $40 for 30 days of unlimited yoga at the Moksha Yoga St Clair West studio was my idea of a good deal that I wanted to take full advantage of (even if it means a 30 minute walk each way to the studio). Oftentimes, at home, I find it hard to maintain a sense of motivation to practice daily asana. I may have the intention, but my day gets carried away by the spell of my internet and working journey. By having this 30 day commitment drop in to my lap, I have an incredible opportunity to explore a new style of yoga that will help me get through the cold brutality of this winter of Polar Vortex weather here in Southern Ontario. So far, I’ve attended 10 challenging Moksha classes, 8 consecutively (all late evening = 8:30pm!). Not that I’m counting. I just don’t want to miss out on this amazing window for growth and yoga. And the nighttime repose sets me up with the divinity of relaxation sublime after a hectic day.

I LOVE this poem from the website “Peace. Love. Free“. For me, it describes Yoga and Savasana perfectly. Release the stories that do not serve us … SUCH a difficult but necessary task!

The mind says ‘mistake. regret. punishment’.
The heart speaks ‘long. ache. grieve’
The body pulses ‘want. want. want’


Yoga answers ‘you are nothing but your breath. exhale’


The legs scream ‘go. run. escape’
The ceiling fan whispers ‘you are still here. be present’

The critic declares ‘not enough. do more’
The practice replies ‘exactly right. infinitely curious. eternally gentle’

The hips protest ‘no. I can’t’
Yoga says ‘release the stories. they do not serve’

The hands grasp ‘hold tight. don’t let go
The pose demands ‘loosen. relinquish. release’

The tension says ‘do not move’
The breath says ‘you are free’

The habit pushes ‘control’
The mantra answers ‘surrender’


The spirit cries ‘scared. so scared’.
The music sings ‘every little thing’s gonna be alright’


The head whispers ‘afraid of shadows’
Yoga answers ‘you are nothing but light’



The muscles complain ‘so tired’
Savasana responds ‘rest now. be still.’


The fear says ‘ordinary’
Nameste reminds ‘divine. divine. divine’


The self says ‘I am here’
Yoga says ‘yes. yes, you are’

om shanti shanti shanti om

I Married Up!

This would be our final morning yoga class of Alumapalooza 2013. With 23 people in attendance (many of whom are returnees from their first-time yoga experience here in our yoga tent this week and from previous years), we felt very privileged to build and share in the community that has grown at this field location each Spring in Jackson Center Ohio, end of May. For three years running, we’ve volunteered our yoga services to the greater Airstream collective, cultivating a sense of yoga solidarity and exploration that didn’t quite exist before in Jackson Center. We have always enjoyed the prospect of returning to the Mothership of Airstream’s birth and revisiting with our Airstream family (once a year gatherings it seems). It’s amazing how an aluminum home can draw such reverence, interest and pride.

I was thrilled to be offering a yogaFLIGHT class for kids with slaDE, once again. But in actuality, it’s more of a giant play session. My husband has such a wondrous knack with teaching children, skilfully weaving an engaging and spellbinding varying story that has us adults enamoured with his style of yoga play. This year, we taught something near and dear to our hearts … the 12 young participants learned how to skydive, from exiting an airplane, teaching them how to ‘steer’ their canopies, to landing with a finesse and flourish. And of course, slaDE took them all for an ‘airplane’ ride afterwards. A few of the children stayed around afterwards to try out some of the more involved yogaFLIGHT moves that we play around with … ‘4 Step’ and ‘Shoulder Stand’. The boys did marvellously! I had to laugh when the one young boy, who was being spotted by our friend Kelly (while I roamed to take photos), exclaimed rather independently: ‘I’ve got this’ ~ translation = “Don’t spot or support me. I want to try this on my own”. 🙂

Antsy Maclean finished off a magnificent day with a rip-roaring spellbinding evening of 3 hours of raw wicked talent, interlaced with many an Airstreaming song. Antsy is definitely a favourite with this rVing crowd :), especially when he sings songs like: ‘I Married Up’.

It being the final farewell evening to spend with friends here at Alumapalooza, we chatted and cuddled, sang and laughed until our weary bodies begged for rest. Oh how I will miss our friends! Until next time, fare thee well ….

Mount Madonna Center

Our Winter Home! Truly a last minute decision … and we’re elated to be accepted to attend this glorious mountain retreat: Mount Madonna Center. http://www.mountmadonna.org

Program Dates

January 3rd – April 1st, 2012

All the information below comes directly from the Mount Madonna website @ http://www.mountmadonna.org/programs/ysc.html.

If you are interested in an amazing opportunity for spiritual growth, yoga, community and service, MMC might just be exactly what you desire in this adventure of life.

 

A Conference, Retreat and Yoga Center in the Heart of California

  • Mount Madonna Center is a conference and retreat center located on 355 acres of mountain-top redwood forest and grassland overlooking Monterey Bay, between Santa Cruz and Monterey, in Northern California.
  • We are a community designed to nurture the creative arts and the health sciences within a context of personal and spiritual growth, inspired by Baba Hari Dass and sponsored by the Hanuman Fellowship, a group whose talents and interests are unified by the common practice of Yoga.
  • We offer a supportive community atmosphere for relaxation, reflection, and a wide variety of learning experiences. Program participants are invited to join in all ongoing Center activities – celebration, work, and play. Amenities include hiking trails, volleyball, tennis, and basketball courts, a pond (we call it “The Lake”) for swimming, a hot tub, a gymnasium for volleyball and basketball, and bodywork at the Kaya Kalpa Wellness Center.
  • A 12 WEEK RESIDENTIAL SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAM called Yoga, Service and Community is available at Mount Madonna Center for those interested in living and working within an intentional community with service as a primary value. Depending on the Center’s needs, work is assigned in housekeeping, event set-up, kitchen, recycling, general maintenance, gardening and landscaping. Participants receive single accommodation, meals, daily yoga classes, regularly scheduled group meetings, and participation in community activities. Please contact ysc@mountmadonna.org

Who We Are

The Mount Madonna Center (MMC) community, founded in 1978, is home to children and adults of all ages. Inspired by the teachings and example of Baba Hari Dass, a silent yogi and a master of classical Ashtanga Yoga, our aim is to create an environment where residents and guests are supported in the pursuit and fulfillment of their personal growth and spiritual goals. We eat communally, work together, share in study and meditation, and join in responsibility for our retreat and conference facility and our children’s school. The spiritual disciplines of yoga and selfless service are the foundations of our community life.

MMC serves the larger society through the retreats and seminars which it hosts; through Mount Madonna School, an independent kindergarten, primary and high school; and through the Mount Madonna Institute, which offers Diploma, Certificate, and Master of the Arts programs in several areas of professional and personal development. Most of the work of running Mount Madonna Center is done on a volunteer basis. We aim to work in the spirit of selfless service or karma yoga, one of our main practical methods of self-development.

What We Offer

Each Yoga, Service, and Community program includes daily offerings of many types of yoga classes, community service (kitchen, housekeeping, garden, maintenance, etc.), as well as evening classes and discussion groups in yoga philosophy and community themes. There will be free time for rest, study and recreation, and an invaluable opportunity to draw upon the 30 years of dedicated practice that many in our community have experienced. You are also invited to participate in MMC community retreats and special events occurring during your session.

Your Commitment

For the new three-month sessions beginning January, 2012, the fee is $975 with a weekly commitment of 24 hours work/service, 4 hours of weekly meetings, and 2 hours of instruction in yoga philosophy, pranayama and meditation; for a total of 30 hours per week. YSC fees include meals and indoor single accommodation.

The Flying Yogi

I have always been a lover of all things flight, far before the days where I took up skydiving { 20 + years ago }. Even as a child I dreamed of travelling the skies in an airplane, taking up the helm as perhaps the pilot-in-command. Or as a flight attendant … their lives always seemed so glamourous and inviting. Anything to get me places whilst viewing the earth from a different perspective and experiencing the sensation of flight.

The feeling of body control that occurs through yogaFLIGHT and skydiving are inherent reasons behind my passion for unique forms of body movement that reject the claims of gravity, while also offering a new sensation and interpretation of human flight. So you can only imagine how intrigued I was at the thought of suspension / anti-gravity / aerial yoga … a form of yoga that uses a hammock made out of parachute material. Well of course I would be endeared at the prospect, so close to our concept of yogaFLIGHT! And today I had the chance to participate in a 2 hour intro workshop at The Flying Yogi.

What a fabulous way to enhance my yoga practice with effortless inversion poses (not requiring a partner as yogaFLIGHT does) that invoke playful empowerment and creativity through the use of a prop. And a stunning revelation through this class was the ability to pursue not only increased flexibility beyond my normal yoga practice, but reach for an unlimited variety of strength training exercises that I really hadn’t thought of before today. Amazing! If you get the chance to try this sort of suspension yoga, I definitely recommend it. We’ve tried several different ‘methods’ which use various types of proprietary slings. I do like the ‘OmGym’. But I know that there are a few different types and varieties out there. I’m certain that this will become a fitness craze. How could it not, especially considering the incredible benefits of inversion therapy and the fight against gravity and aging?!

A Daily Resolution

Settling in to our new home for the summer, today was the beginning of something truly beautiful. An opportunity to practice yoga in a studio space within feet of our doorstep seems almost like a dream. So to make the most of our time here in Oshawa, I’ve made an agreement with myself … upon rising, each and every day, I will practice yoga, in whatever form that may take. Evolution of a daily practice has no time limitations or defined routine. It is whatever may show up for me in that moment. And today, it meant leading my own practise alone and finishing a beautiful one hour session with slaDE by my side. My husband joined me quietly, breathing and stretching in his own cadence and style. It was magic.

Dawn played tour guide around town, showing us the Friday morning farmer’s market along with the major areas of interest that would make life a bit easier and fluid whilst here in the city. A morning stretch in the park by Lake Ontario sealed the perfection of the day!

Yoga Beyond the Mat

Since leaving Canada, our momentum has kept us pretty busy as we’ve winded our way south away from the snow. Yet the Arctic Blast has followed us and the need to continually empty our water lines each evening, avoiding burst pipes, has been a constant reality. slaDE~s been really diligent about making sure that this is done. Our plumbing encounter last year with a water leak keeps us conscientious and on our toes, and makes us fore-go the option of boondocking (dry camping). Having a backup heat source beyond our propane furnace is a good thing when it dips and dances below freezing each night. Our Airstream is certainly not ideal for winter camping, I believe. The consistently cold temperatures has meant sleeping with PJs (at times with socks and multiple layers) and a hat, and learning to breath through the rigidity that tends to creep in to my body as soon it gets cold. An attempt at yoga off the mat perhaps? Yet my body rebels and stiffens, an automatic response that blows past any conscious thought willing my body into a different state of action / reaction. I’m learning to dress for the cold, even if that means surrounding my self with blankets and wearing layers and long johns. How I managed to live comfortably in Canada through the harshness of our winters, for so many years, amazes me with the onset of each cold spell! This also explains why I travelled and leaned toward warmer climes at the first sight of frost.

Part of dealing with discomfort is learning to find comfort and joy through other means, by taking our yoga off the mat. You might ask, how does one do this?? Through: Experience, Awareness, Self-reflection and Choice. Choosing to release my anxiety and look towards a more nurturing form of breathwork and experience, we opted to have some bodywork done whilst here on the Outer Banks. Blessed with amazing health benefits through my husbands work, we take full advantage of such luxuries with each passing year. And today seemed like a perfect opportunity to pamper a weary sore body. We booked an appointment with David Henderson, a highly recommended massage therapist on the Outer Banks. He works out of the Outer Banks Yoga and Pilates studio in Kitty Hawk where we attended a beautiful evening Karma Yoga class this past Sunday (led by Ticia). We spent a glorious warm afternoon surrounded by warmth and incredible yogic energy as each of us experienced a 2 hour hot stone deep tissue massage. David is extraordinarily talented at connecting with his intuitive sense of healing touch. I highly recommend his services if you ever make it to the Outer Banks.

Not only did we experience a blissful state of meditative healing, we made a wonderful connection with David. In getting to know him, during our session, we discovered that he and his lovely wife would be in Belize the same time we’re exploring that very same country (Belize is considered to be part of Central America, South of Mexico and East of Guatemala. It’s also considered a part of the Caribbean). Funny how the universe brings together kindred spirits.

Have you made time to play today?

Yoga rocksYoga is such a powerful tool, offering so many benefits beyond the physical and mental. For example, stress and anxiety relief. I love to center myself through focussed yogic breathing, slowing down my heartbeat, especially in situations where anxiousness does not serve me (such as when climbing to altitude in a jump plane, about to catapult out into the big blue unknown ~ aka skydiving). yogaFLIGHT is awesomeWhen I teach yoga, I love to see the reactions of those both new to the practise and those who flourished through time and dedication. Especially in teaching yogaFLIGHT workshops or even offering demos for the first time, the experience for most is unlike anything they’ve ever had, literally turning their world upside down. The rewards for offering play and light into our daily life can be joy-enhancing and life-changing. It can evoke imagination, generate curiosity, foster empathy, and of significant importance to us, it can build community. Often when we approach older adults about the benefits of yoga and the joys of yogaFLIGHT, we’ll hear such reactions as: “I’m too old for that”, “I’m not flexible enough.”, “I’m too heavy”, “I don’t think I can trust my partner (base) that much.”. Our challenge lies in teaching those with resistance to play that the joys of yoga and yogaFLIGHT is for all people, at all ages, at all times, regardless of body type, condition or age. For everybody and EVERY body (lovingly dubbed by our yoga mentor and quadriplegic friend Mary-Jo).

Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder and president of the National Institute for Play states that “When one really doesn’t play at all or very little in adulthood, there are consequences: rigidities, depression, no irony — things that are pretty important, that enable us to cope in a world of many demands.” He suggests that play helps us learn empathy, trust, and problem solving, and also enables us to develop our talents and character over our entire lifespan.

As play is woven into the fabric of social practices, we will dramatically transform our personal health, our relationships, the education we provide our children and the capacity of our corporations to innovate.

Here’s to playing more in our daily lives, creating an attitude of self-expression and pleasure that permeates everything we do, breathing joy and bliss in to an enhanced existence, living and playing with 100% of our being and essence.

** For those interested in learning more about yogaFLIGHT and our yoga classes, please feel free to . slaDE and I are more than willing to offer our passion for play and skilled instruction to those willing to take the leap in to the unknown, flying beyond the boundaries of keeping ones feet on the ground.

Yoga-Stream

Day 3 of Alumapalooza:

yogaMorning yoga. Opening up the body, enlivening the spirit, gifting the world with light, love and energy. What better way to start our days at Alumapalooza? After our Yoga and Healthy Living workshop, participants of this glorious Airstream rally were excited about the prospect of morning yoga classes. I don’t know why I was surprised? Perhaps it was because I came to Jackson Ohio with no expectations and an open mind to any and all opportunities for spreading the yoga / yogaFLIGHT love. The response has been rather overwhelming, but I love how friendly and passionate my fellow Airstreamers are. I’ve discovered during this spectacular rally of like-minded individuals that we are all travelling down the stream of life, navigating our own way whilst crossing paths at times, in celebration, breathing, loving and living fully. Much respect given to those at Alumapalooza who might have been dubious about the benefits and joys of yoga and yogaFLIGHT. It’s all about the breathing, the ability to communicate, the trust in both yourself and for us as teachers, and the willingness to play. I was thoroughly delighted by the audience of younger children, pets and curious adults who joined in on the fun.

To those who attended, thanks for the joyous yoga-streaming extravaganza. It’s been an awesome adventure thus far!Our days seem to be incredibly full, attending various workshops, covering topics that varied from the health of our zip-dee awnings, the techniques behind the polishing, restoring and towing of our Airstreams as well as covering the journeys of talented artists, such as Bert Gildart, Michael Depraida, Kristiana Spaulding, Becky Blanton, and Alison Turner.

Many more interesting and talented people were discovered around the corner of every Airstream, and I felt that my social stamina was in need of recharging. So that we did, eating with a group of fellow Canadians at Cafe Verandah in downtown Jackson Center. Surprisingly, for such a small village with a population of 1500 people, the food marvelled that of any 4 star restaurant I’ve ever visited.

yogaFLIGHT

 

To top of our evening of delight, slaDE and I returned to the muddy Airstream rally fields in search of play whilst enjoying the opportunity of introducing Kristy and Sean Michael to this ‘crazy lifestyle and concept’ we call yogaFLIGHT.  Kristy and Sean are akin to Airstream celebrities with their amazingly viral and popular travel videos on their blog LongLongHoneymoon.

yogaFLIGHT

Sean spent some time interviewing us for a video episode, and managed to catch some great yogaFLIGHT footage in between the rain showers. Finding a dry patch of grass was truly lucky on this temperate clear-skied evening. Our Airstream adventures keep getting juicier with each new experience! Check out the LongLongHoneymoon‘s Alumapalooza 2010 video here.

Sarah

Flying with the Airstreams and air storms

Day 2 of Alumapalooza:

Airstream
Before today, I have never witnessed a tornado siren in person. I’ve heard about storm warnings being sounded, but this alarm caught me off guard — so much so, I had to question what in fact the noise was. Tornadoes might be a standard in the Midwest, but in Teeswater (Ontario, Canada), it’s a rare occurrence indeed for a tornado to flash through, let alone have a distress signal vibrate. I don’t even think such an alarm exists in our community? Thank goodness for small mercies. At least we make up for the extreme weather with the abundance of snow and sucky driving conditions with our cold daunting winters :).

What was supposed to be a fairly rain-free week has turned into freakish weather patterns across the Midwest. Whilst teaching our yoga class yesterday morning, the rain suddenly pounded down, drowning out slaDE~s booming voice (slaDE wasn’t interested in using a microphone). At times, he was a mime, demonstrating his poses. In fact, the deluge of water accompanied by the wind and lightening flashes enhanced our overall presentation as being flashy and adventuresome on top of being a healthy meditative practice towards healthy living. 🙂 And then after the outpouring of noise and torrent, quiet reigned down on us all with glistening sticky sunlight heating up our very yoga core. And all was good in the world of sKY & slaDE~.

The afternoon skies opened up to azure blue skies painted with fluffy cotton balls and the humidity settled in like a sodden woollen blanket.  I kept a vigilant eye on the sky for a green haze associated with strong thunderstorms (which sometimes produce a tornado).

In the evening, I managed to catch Eleanor at a moment of quiet, and convinced her to give yogaFLIGHT a try. Seduced by the benefits of yogaFLIGHT in relieving her migraine and therapeutically relaxing her body, Eleanor was excited to persuade the other Alumapalooza staff in giving our style of partner yoga a try. Everyone’s experience was quite noticeably different from each other. And with each flight, I am always delighted to see how a person can come alive with their inner playful child. Connecting and deepening one’s experience with communication, trust and the ability to let go is a gift of tremendous value.

For this reason, I am a huge proponent of yogaFLIGHT, yoga and inversions. Anybody else care to share their own experiences?

Nerves of Aluminum Steel

Day 1 of Alumapalooza:

AlumapaloozaToday was the day! At 9am, with much anticipation (mixed with a healthy dose of nervousness), slaDE and I took front row and centre stage at the Alumapalooza main tent to offer some basic yoga stretches, along with ‘Healthy Living on the Road’ tips. I wasn’t certain as to what our turnout might be, so early on in the rally. The impending threat of rain was also a possible deterrent. Yet we had at least 20 participants on this damp wet early morning behind the Airstream Factory. I broke the ice by offering homemade mung bean sprouts (a bigger hit than donuts, go figure!). And with this amazing start, my heart soared. With ease and familiarity, I fell in to a relaxed state of cadence and ease as slaDE and I co-taught a morning yoga routine along with yoga stretches for tight enclosed seated spaces (i.e. heavy focus on stiff, potentially stressed, RV passengers and stationary drivers). Of course, what would any workshop be without our display of yogaFLIGHT!

yogaFLIGHTWhy not dazzle the crowd before launching in to a discussion on healthy living on the road? Made perfect sense to uS! Shame I didn’t have any photos taken on our camera. Would have been a nice momento. Next time!

We followed with words of wisdom and experience for nutrition and healthy living on the road. slaDE and myself certainly try to walk the talk in our daily lives. Hopefully, our participants found the information useful.

Before we knew it, our hour was up. I was quite surprised to see the number of other people who had dropped by to listen to our interactive dynamically fun seminar. How fantastic is that?!

In celebration, I offer you my notes from Alumapalooza 2010, sKY & slaDE Workshop as a tool for your own steps to healthy living on the road. EnjoY!!!

Please share this download freely with your RV and road tripping friends. A healthy planet is an incredible goal. Baby steps ….

PS If anyone is interested in purchasing a Vita-Mix, the company offers free shipping on your order when you use our affiliate code. Click here for more info :).

Namaste.