Energy Anatomy

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By Gina Quincy

The Sanskrit word Chakra literally translates to wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to meeting points of subtle energy channels called nadi.  These channels carry Prana (life force) throughout the subtle energy body keeping us vibrant and healthy. There are seven primary Chakras which move along the spine from the tailbone to the crown. These swirling wheels of energy correspond to nerve plexus in the physical body.  Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of well-being.  Each Chakra controls a specific area of our physical, energetic and emotional body.  As we bring attention to each Chakra thru breath, color visualizations, mantras, and clearing statements we can illuminate fears that may be preventing energy from flowing freely.  When we let go of fear by opening and balancing the Chakras we can begin to see our life's purpose clearly.  

Chakra Clarity is like having a clear glass of water in front of you.  As the Sun shines into the glass you see a rainbow refracted onto the wall.  The glass of water is you; your body, your mind and spirit.  The sunlight is the white light of the Divine.  The rainbow is the energy of your True Nature spread out into the world.  As we step into the rainbow - a place of clear-seeing - we see that security, gratitude, happiness, unconditional love, peace, intuition, and source energy is the reality.  Everything else is an illusion.  When you feel negative emotions come up, remember this illusion. Bring yourself back to your breath and see yourself lit up in rainbow colors.  

The last Charka Meditation of the season is this Sunday, December 18th from 7-8pm. Step into Chakra Clarity and receive an energy anatomy "tune-up" that will keeping you dancing through the holiday hustle and bustle with grace and ease. 

Namaste: The Rainbow Light in me sees the Rainbow Light in YOU!

Greetings From Mysore, India

By Kacey Davy

Namaste, greetings to you, from India! Laura and I are in Mysore, the small South Indian city where the posture practice of Yoga that we know today was revived and codified by T. Krishnamacharya. All lineages and modern styles of yoga asana are likely influenced by Krishnamacharya's teachings in Mysore and throughout India. As I move about this town and immerse in my practice each day, I feel a deep reverence for the history of these practices that have transformed my life and am overwhelmed with gratitude. 

Here in India, gratitude for life is displayed everywhere you look. In every home, shop, cafe and even on the streets there are altars to honor the Divine that exists in all. Every day, several times a day, time is spent meditating and cultivating awareness for the Divine. The people here live every day with love, faith, gratitude, and respect. There is so much we can learn from the culture and practices of India.  Especially now in a time when so many people are feeling emotions such as fear or uncertainty about the future of our country. As Thanksgiving approaches let us be thankful for our life and for the lives of others regardless of our differences. Let us focus on finding ways to cultivate kindness and compassion instead of spreading anger and contempt. 

We can look to the practices and philosophy of Yoga to find the tools we need to interact with others. In the first chapter of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, verse 1.33 is powerful teaching that anyone can embody through practice. It says that through conscious cultivation of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity in relation to those who are happy, sad, virtuous and vicious, we develop clarity and serenity in the mind. Through the practice of this sutra, we can choose to cultivate kindness toward those who are happy and extend compassion for those who are suffering. When we meet virtue with joy we offer others the support to continue their virtuous actions. The cultivation of equanimity, even-temperedness, or simply the ability to remain calm with vicious or cruel people brings an end to feelings of hate and anger. Remembering these four keys to connecting with others is a choice we can make to bring peace to ourselves and promote love and gratitude in our relationships and our community at large. 

Tahoe Yoga Shala Clothing SALE

 

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Live Love Yoga is an eclectic shoppe for men and women, in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, California.

We offer a dream selection of yoga lifestyle clothing, accessories, handmade jewelry, essential oil candles, and unique gifts in our exclusive boutique.  Malena, the owner, hand selects each piece with customers in mind. From color to style Malena blends the seasons so her customers will get the most wear and use from their purchases.  

Come visit Malena and shop her signature take on casual elegance, and passion for customer service. The shoppe will continue to grow and change seasonally to represent Malena's favorite things. 

Brands carried:  ALO Yoga, Aquiesse Candles, Beyond Yoga, Eliz Jewelry, Free People Movement, Manduka, Nashelle Jewelry, Onzie, P.F. Candle Co., Spiritual Gangster, and much much more.

Address

2540 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Suite 6 South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Hours

Closed on Mondays

Tuesday - Saturday 10am-5pm

Sunday 12pm-4pm

Connect

tel. 530.600.4555

cell. 805.350.1125

malena@liveloveyogaboutique.com

 

 

 

Give Thanks!

The altar in our Indian "homestay"

The altar in our Indian "homestay"

Namaste, greetings to you, from India! 

Laura & I are in Mysore, the small South Indian city where the posture practice of Yoga that we know today was revived and codified by T. Krishnamacharya. All lineages and modern styles of yoga asana are likely influenced by Krishnamacharya’s teachings in Mysore and throughout India. As I move about this town and immerse in my practice each day, I feel a deep reverence for the history of these practices that have transformed my life and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. 

Here in India, the gratitude for life is on display everywhere you look. In every home, shop, cafe and even on the streets there are altars to honor the Divine that exists in all. Every day, several times a day, time is spent meditating and cultivating awareness for the Divine. The people here live every day with love, faith, gratitude, and respect. There is so much we can learn from the culture and practices of India.  Especially now in a time where so many people are feeling emotions such as fear or uncertainty about the future of our country. As Thanksgiving approaches let us be thankful for our life and for the lives of others regardless of our differences. Let us focus on finding ways to cultivate kindness and compassion instead of spreading anger and contempt. We can look to the practices and philosophy of Yoga to find the tools we need to interact with others. In the first chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, verse 1.33 is powerful teaching that anyone can embody through practice. It says that through conscious cultivation of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity in relation to those who are happy, sad, virtuous and vicious, we develop clarity and serenity in the mind. Through the practice of this sutra, we can choose to cultivate kindness toward those who are happy and extend compassion for those who are suffering. When we meet virtue with joy we offer others the support to continue their virtuous actions. The cultivation of equanimity, even-temperedness, or simply the ability to remain calm with vicious or cruel people brings an end to feelings of hate and anger. Remembering these four keys to connecting with others is a choice we can make to bring peace to ourselves and promote love and gratitude in our relationships and our community at large. 

With Gratitude, 

Kacey

Why Yoga?

By Hannah Ouellette

It wasn’t something I planned on, I had just come down off of losing a significant amount of weight and the gym got to be boring. I saw an advertisement saying “$10 for 10 days of Unlimited Yoga,” so I figured for $10 what could I lose. I say this and act as if I was not intimidated or mildly afraid of what I might find when I got to the studio, but really I had serious trepidation. That trepidation led me to call the studio and leave a message. The call I got back was kind, open, and interested. 

Laura Josephy, the studio manager at the time and now owner, took no less than 20 minutes of her day to talk with me about my body, my previous experience with yoga, and what I wanted out of my practice. It was like having a small therapy session in the best way. I was encouraged and excited, but like any new physical effort or practice I had preconceived notions. 

I came from a weird tangential background that was an amalgam of different sports and physical practices. I had loved Pilates because in some ways even when I was heavier I could get my body into positions of flexibility other people didn’t have. (Are you sensing that mild/moderate competitiveness?) But I had only done a yoga class in college where at the end of practice each week I would compare myself to other people who made more rapid progress mastering asana. I was stuck in the asana and what I thought yoga was. So it was with this complicated background I proceeded to the then Mountain Yoga studio. 

Finding whatever brazen woman that lives inside me, I decided to practice at a advanced beginner’s class taught on a Saturday. In complete honesty, I figured this was where I would have the best chance blending in. I was met by a bright sprite of a woman who radiated energy. I knew then I was in a special place. I rolled out my old mat that I had used in previous Pilates classes, thinking that I might look the part. Little did I know that back row has the heat of a small sauna, but what I noticed more was how many different types of people where in attendance.

Often when people say the word yoga, usually one of two scenarios come to mind: a nubile barely dressed young woman arching gracefully into something that makes you sigh in awe and cringe in presumed sympathy pains, or the wise and hardtack bodied old yogi who seems to levitate off his prayer rug. Of course because I am a slightly hyperbolic person I imagined both of these types of individuals and they also didn’t sweat. 

That wasn’t the case in this class. I found myself comfortable with not only my choice to practice but with myself in a new way. As the practice began the directions were clear and intuitive making it easy to try and not stare at the people around me. Did I get lost and confused at times? Obviously, but I became less of a critic and breathed. Granted, the breaths I took were mostly off-cue but at least I was trying something that I didn’t know about. 

As the class came to a close I felt warm and unified with my fellow practioner in a way I had never experienced at the gym or in other sports. I was so grateful, that I spoke with my instructor for a solid 15 minutes after class. Again, there was no rush because she wanted to provide advice and assessment that would help me on my way. 

Like with anything, a large part of my beginnings with yoga was spent comparing my asana practice to others and trying to make sure I broke a sweat in class. This began to cause a minor burn out because I was in a tangent of sweat and burn without breath. So as I continued to attend more and more classes I began to need something different. That is when Mysore came into my life.

The Mysore four-week program was where I really found my stride. The intimacy of small class and the sequencing became more important than comparing. It became about my breathing and how that resonated with the others practicing. The progression of movement was linked with breath, but I was also developing a community of people who loved yoga. Through that love of yoga, I found myself falling in love with the people as much as the practice because they were there breathing with me. Suddenly, I was practicing with people who had been working on asana for years, but they were grunting or deep breathing right alongside me. It was an eye-opening experience because yoga wasn’t about mastering complicated poses in that space. It was instead how unified breath with other people and the self created a conduit for a deeper awareness that where I could go on my own. 

Yoga is something people come to in different ways, but when you find a community of people who love it and want to teach more than the physical aspect of it, that is when you truly find yoga. I am glad everyday that I saw that advertisement and that the people Tahoe Yoga Shala keep embracing me. Every time I find myself losing focus, there is always a kind friend who tells, listens, or shows me a new facet of yoga and how I might bring that to my wheel house. 

Hanuman Chalisa

Every Tuesday between the two morning classes the Tahoe Yoga Shala community gathers to sing the forty verses of the Hanuman Chalisa by Tulsidas, the great sixteenth century poet. The Chalisa is a devotional song that recounts and praises the life and exploits of the Great Monkey Hero, Hanuman. Tuesday is considered Hanuman's Day because it is said that he was born on the full moon of Chitra (March/April) which sets his birthdate on a Tuesday.  Further, in Vedic Astrology, Tuesdays are associated with conflict and accidents because it is governed by the malefic planet, Mars.  On Tuesdays, we may feel more fiery than normal and it is advised to channel this Martian energy into our yoga practice. Hanuman represents the ability to transform this primal energy into tejas - radiance, strength, courage and penetrating insight.  The forty verses of the Hanuman Chalisa is traditionally sung on Tuesday to invoke his qualities of strength, intelligence and devotion.  If ever there were a single deity representing devotion, it is Lord Hanuman.  Hanuman dwells in the heart and thus chanting the Chalisa has powerful heart-opening capabilities.  All are welcome!  Join us at the Shala every Tuesday at 9:15 a.m.

Recommended Resources:

Flow of Grace CD by Krishna Das

Hanuman Chalisa Translation

Having polished the mirror of my heart with the dust of my teacher's feet, I narrate the pure fame of Raghupati (Rama), who bestows the four fruits of life - dharma, kama, artha, moksha. 

Knowing myself to be devoid of intelligence, I invoke Sri Hanuman, the son of the wind. Grant me strength, intelligence and wisdom and remove my shortcomings and sorrows. 

1. Hail Hanuman, ocean of wisdom. Hail Monkey Lord! You light up the three worlds.

2. You are Ram's messenger, the abode of matchless power. Anjani's son, "Son of the Wind."

3. Great hero, you are a mighty thunderbolt. Remover of evil thoughts and companion of the good.

4. Golden hued and splendidly adorned with heavy earrings and curly locks.

5. In your hands shine a mace and a banner.  A sacred thread adorns your shoulder.

6. You are an incarnation of Shiva and Kesari's son. Your glory is revered throughout the world. 

7. You are the wisest of the wise, virtuous and clever.  Ever eager to do Ram's work.

8. You delight in hearing of the Lord's deeds.  Ram, Lakshman and Sita dwell in your heart.

9. Assuming a tiny form you appeared to Sita.  In an awesome form your burned Lanka.

10. Taking a dreadful form you slaughtered the demons, completing Ram's work.

11. Bringing the magic herb your revived Lakshman. Sri Ram embraced you with delight.

12. The Lord of the Raghus praised your greatly, "You are as dear to me as my brother Bharat!"

13. "Thousands of mouths will sing your fame!" So saying, Lakshmi's Lord drew you to himself.

14. Sanak and the sages, Brahma, and the munis, Narada, Sarasvati and the King of Serpents,

15. Yama, Kubera, the guardians of the four quarters, poets and scholars - none can express your glory. 

16. You did great service for Sugriva. Bringing him to Ram, you gave him kingship.

17. Vibhishana heeded your counsel. He became Lord of Lanka, as the whole world knows.

18. Though the sun is millions of miles away, you swallowed it thinking it a sweet fruit.

19. Holding the Lord's ring in your mouth, it is no surprise you leapt over the ocean.

20. Every difficult task in this world becomes easy by your grace.

21. You are the guardian at Ram's door. No one enters without your permission.

22. Those who take refuge in you find all happiness. Those who you protect know no fear.

23. You alone can withstand your own splendor.  The three worlds tremble at your roar.

24. Ghosts and goblins cannot come near, Great Hero, when your name is called.

25. All disease and pain are eradicated by constantly repeating your name, brave Hanuman.

26. Hanuman, you release from affliction all those who remember you in thought, word and deed.

27. Ram, the ascetic King, reigns over all but you carry out all his work.

28. One who comes to you with any yearning obtains the abundance of the Four Fruits of Life.

29. Your splendor fills the four ages.  Your glory is renowned throughout the world.

30. You are the guardian of saints and sages, the destroyer of demons and the darling of Ram.

31. You grant the eight powers and nine treasures by the boon your received from Mother Janaki.

32. You hold the elixir of Ram's name and remain eternally his servant.

33. Singing your praise, one finds Ram and the sorrows of countless lives are destroyed.

34. At death one goes to Ram's own abode, born there as God's devotee.

35. Why worship any other deity when from Hanuman you get all happiness.

36. All affliction ceases and all pain is removed for those who remember the mighty hero, Hanuman.

37.  Victory, Victory, Victory Lord Hanuman! Bestow your grace on me as my Guru!

38. Whoever recites this a hundred times is released from bondage and gains bliss.

39. One who reads this Hanuman Chalisa gains success, as Gauri's Lord is witness.

40. Says Tulsidas, who always remains Hari's servant.

Son of the Wind, destroyer of sorrow, embodiment of blessings. With Ram, Lakshman and Sita, LIVE IN MY HEART, King of Gods!

The Many Names of Hanuman

Hanuman is one of the most beloved figures in the Hindu pantheon of Gods.  There are many ways to approach a deity but perhaps the easiest is to relate as a personal archetype. The word archetype was coined by the Swiss psychotherapist, Carl Jung.  An archetype is a symbol or form that is imprinted in the subconscious. Archetypes live within our collective unconscious and surface in times of transition to guide us toward our True Self.  Part divine, part human and part monkey, Hanuman is the archetype of wisdom, self-control, devotion, valor, righteousness and strength.

Hanuman is the son of Anjana. His second most common name is Anjaneya, literally "son of Anjana."  There are many stories surrounding the birth of Hanuman.  His paternity is linked to two gods, Shiva and Vayu, and a simian father, Kesari, as well.  The most commonly accepted story claims he is the son of Vayu, the wind god.  Hanuman is known as Vayuputra, Pavanaputra and Maruti, all of which name him as the son of Vayu.  As Hanuman has been credited with a number of birth stories, there follows a number of different dates on which he is said to have been born. The most popular is the full moon of the month Chitra (March/April) which sets his birthday on a Tuesday just five days after that of Rama, his ishta devata.  According to Vedic astrology, Tuesdays are associated with conflict and accidents because it is governed by the malefic planet, Mars.  On Tuesdays, we may feel more fiery than normal and it is advised to channel this Martian energy into our yoga practice.  Hanuman represents the ability to transform this primal energy into tejas - radiance, strength, courage and penetrating insight.  The forty verses of the Hanuman Chalisa composed by Tulsidas, the great sixteenth century poet, is traditionally sung on Tuesday to invoke his qualities of strength, intelligence and devotion. Sankata Mochan, Hanuman is the dispeller of sorrows.

Hanuman is perhaps best know as the great monkey hero of the Indian epic, the Ramayana.  We can gain understanding of the Ramayana by recalling Homer's Odyssey, another ancient epic, in which the Greek hero Odysseus goes through many trials and adventures before reuniting with his faithful wife Penelope.  In the Ramayana, Rama is on a divine quest to subdue the demon king Ravana, rescue his beloved wife Sita, and restore the balance of good and evil on Earth.  Rama is seen as the supreme glory of mankind and teaches us how to act with valor, dignity, compassion and chivalry.  His wife Sita is the embodiment of grace, beauty and virtue.  Hanuman is the life force that unites them.  

Hanuman is a karma yogi - one who practices the yoga of action.  His entire life was spent in the service of others. Hanuman was totally free from the desire for personal fame or glory.  In the whole of the Ramayana, all of his feats were done for the sake of others.  He performed all of his duties with humility, modesty and great devotion.  For that he is called Dasarama, one who serves Rama.  Hanuman also personifies bhakti through his single pointed and immutable devotion to Rama.  Thus he is named Ekagrabhakta.  Hanuman was the first to sing songs of adoration (bhajans) and songs of praise (kirtans).  His music was an outpouring of his infinite love for Rama.  Hanuman attained liberation solely by chanting the name of Rama, his personal deity, and the utter surrender of his personal will to that of his Lord.

Interestingly, the monkey is often used a symbol for the human mind, which is ever restless and never still. This monkey-mind happens to be the only thing over which we can, in theory, have absolute control. We cannot control the world around us, but we can tame our mind through consistent practice.  Hanuman's name gives us a idea of his character.  It is a combination of two Sanskrit words, hanan (mastery) and manas (mind).  Hanuman is symbolic of the perfected mind and embodies the highest potential it can achieve.  According to yogic thought, the physical body is an extension of the mind.  Hence Hanuman, with perfect mastery of his mind and senses, had superhuman strength.  He is often called Bajarangabali - ones whose body is like a thunderbolt.  Hanuman is so strong that he can lift mountains and so agile that he can leap across the sea.  Flying Monkey!

Hanuman is associated with the physical culture of hatha yoga. Hanuman is said to have composed the practice of surya namasakra, the sun salutation, which combines the essential yoga postures with the energy of devotion, to honor his celestial guru, Surya.  His celestial father, Vayu, taught him pranayama, the science of breath control, which he in turned taught to humans.  Air sustains all living beings.  One can go days without food and water, but it is impossible to exist even for a short while without air.  Air is life.  As such, Hanuman is also called Pranadeva, the God of Breath or Life.

Hanuman is a Chiranjevi, those who live until the end of this cycle of creation.  He is know for his mighty intellect and is thought to have learned the Vedas from Surya, the sun god, himself.  He is the wisest of the wise - Gyaninama Graganyam - the strongest of the strong and the bravest of the brave.  Rama himself describes Hanuman thus: "Heroism, cleverness, strength, firmness, sagacity, prudence, prowess and power have taken up their abode in Hanuman."

The Hanuman Chalisa declares that there is no blessing that Hanuman cannot bestow.  Sita granted him the power to bestow the eight siddhis (divine attainments).  However, the greatest boon one can ask of Hanuman is the uplifting of the spiritual qualities for which he himself is known.  

Having polished the mirror of my heart with the dust of my teacher's feet, I narrate the pure fame of Raghupati (Rama), who bestows the four fruits of life - dharma, kama, artha, moksha. 
Knowing myself to be devoid of intelligence, I invoke Sri Hanuman, the son of the wind. Grant me strength, intelligence and wisdom and remove my shortcomings and sorrows. 
~ Hanuman Chalisa by Tulsidas

AUM SRI HANUMATHE NAMAHA!

Recommended Reading:

Hanuman: The Devotion and Power of the Monkey God by Vanamali

The Ramayana by Ramesh Menon

Niyama - Personal Observances

Last month we reviewed the yama or universal observances. This month we examine the niyama or personal observances. As the first two limbs, the yama and niyama establish the foundation of Patanjali's eight-limbed practice of Yoga.

As yama is universal social practices, niyama evolves from individual practices that strength one's character. The Sanskrit word yama translates as; to bridle, to restrain, to check or hold-in. The prefix 'ni'  as inniyama, is an intensifier signaling an internal restraint and discipline.

The five niyama are purity (shauca), contentment (santosha), discipline (tapah), self-study (svadhyaya) and the perfect aligning of attention with the True Self (ishvara-pranidhana). Purity extends beyond the external cleanliness of the physical body to include the nourishment that goes into body, the sensory impressions taken in via personal relationships/media and the subtle quality of thoughts and beliefs.  Contentment as an internal practice means embracing an Absolute Joy that is independent of external circumstances or conditions.  It is relaxing into the world as it is and the letting go of external attachments that allows one to abide in the here and the now.  Tapah, literally "to heat," is an intense commitment to the internal process.  Each time a distracting impulse, intense emotion or outdated habit surfaces but is not obeyed the heat of this friction moves us closer to discriminating awareness.  Self-study is independent study of philosophical texts and, more importantly, how one applies them to one's own life in order to "walk the talk."  Lastly, isvara-pranidhana.  Isvara is pure awareness, the omniscient Self, the Seer or the God within.  Pranidhana is orienting every thought, word and deed toward knowing pure awareness. Chip Hartranft in his commentary on the Yoga Sutras sums it up beautifully, "Isvara-pranidhana provides the point of focus to which the yogi continually returns in the course of practice (abhyasa) and the inspiration to cultivate non-reaction (vairagya)."

The inner life of every human being is visited by unwholesome and negative thoughts of all kinds. Patanjali doesn't find fault or judge but rather regards this as the natural state of affairs.  He does, however, state that we have the power to neutralize unwholesome thoughts by cultivating and realizing their opposites.  Otherwise, our unwholesome thoughts are bound to manifest and contribute to the cycle of suffering, pain and delusion.  The ten yama and niyama serve as a baseline "karmic management" program that encourage us to take actions that allow us to gain mastery over our lives while minimizing karmic burden.