Monday, October 29, 2007

Clarifying Standing on One Leg, #1

Human beings can do a lot of things,
many of them fairly stupid,
and some
marvelous and we don't even know it:
such as standing on two feet.

Lo and behold,
why stop there:
How about standing on one leg?

Turns out
in its quest to help us clarify what this
body thing
body mind thing
focusing and attention thing
is all about
has a bunch of one legged postures.

And great:
every time we walk
we are one legged
for a little while.

in yoga,
we hang on one longer.

So, let's take the simplest
and make one set of clarifications
this week
and some more next week.

The pose:

How to do it:
You know,
but just in case:

Stand on one foot,
bring the sole of your other foot
to your ankle
or your calf
or your thigh,
or bring your ankle of the up foot,
across the standing up leg thigh.

Anyway: there you are on one foot,
and the hands?

In prayer pose:
at heart
or above your head.
Or arms parallel above your head.

then you stay there awhile,
and if you want to get fancy,
close your eyes and stay there.

the affirmation:
"I am calm. I am poised."


And to clarify:
try this.
First experiment with your two legs
and discover which side does Trikonasa better.

Then do it on the "second best" side again,
and see how it is,
and specifically notice:
where is your hip joint.

Then lie down.
Stand the foot on the ground/ floor,
of the "second best" balancing leg.
Leave the "first best" leg lying straight and
it will just do nothing for awhile.
So we'll call this "second best" leg,
the Leg.

Now: imagine where your hip joint
is for the Leg.
Hint: it's not at the outer edge we
call our hips.
Nor is it in the crease where our pants
make a fold, in the groin area.
So where is the hip.
Find out.

Move the Leg, with foot in place,
the knee to the right and left.
Search for where the hip joint is.
Really slowly.
Take rests.
Do this again.

Let the Leg down, and rest like that.

Now bring the foot of the Leg
to standing again, and do this interesting
once breathe out, and lift that knee, and bring it
closer to your head
and then breathe out,
and push your belly out and
press that foot into the floor/ ground so that
side of the pelvis raises a little.
Go very slowly.
Search for the hip joint
in all this.

Take another rest.

Do that again.

Take another rest.

Now combine:
Bring the Leg to standing,
and rotate that knee in a circle
in such a way that sometimes the belly
is going out and the knee is going away
from your body
and sometimes the knee is to the right,
and sometimes the knee is coming toward you,
and sometimes the knee is going to the left.

Slowly circle.
Slowly circle the other way.

Search for the hip joint.

Come to standing.

See now which leg stands
more easily in tree pose,
and what knowing about
your hip joint
has to do with helping this.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Marvelous Marlie

plan B

don't need one

will post here
if we do

Monday, October 22, 2007

Yoga on a Monday:


This one is

and oh, so beautiful

Stand with your feet firmly planted
on the ground

bring your eyes to the horizon
go a little below
and a little above

see if you can find a position for your neck
that leads your eyes to being directing parallel
to the Earth

spine up and down
eyes at right angles to that

if you want:

play a little with eyes and nose:
eyes up as your nose goes down
nose down and eyes up
and then find the two together
and pointing to the horizon

directions we learn and learn and learn
as babies
and then forget about

how are we doing now
at the computer:
is the screen such that our backs
can be upright
and our eyes looking neither up
nor down at the screen????

back to tadasana:

rock a little forward,
feel what happens in your back
lean back on front of feet

rock a little back
feel what happens in your front
lean on heels forward

notice the tension in your back
when you rock forward,
the tension in your belly
when you rock back

find the middle ground
neither forward nor back
(minimum tension, front and back)
and then
come back to your eyes and neck
and let them line up with the earth

this is good

try this, too,
which is a bit like the above
and a little more advanced,
and very toning to the brain
and the nervous system:
pull your belly in just a little
and rock your pelvis so the top goes back
and your tail bone (the bottom of the pelvis, in a way)
tuck under

alternate that with pushing your belly out
a bit (this can be done to sweet effect
at our chairs in front of the computer)
and rolling the pelvis so the top part comes forward,
and the tail comes back
as if lifting your butt in the air

back and forth

then make it bigger,
letting the arms come up and back when your
belly goes forward,
arms back

and the arms come a up and a bit forward
when your belly comes back
arms forward

feel the rocking on your feet as you do

what is different
if you do this with your eyes open
and with your eyes closed

search for the middle in
all this
the place neither forward

and you'll have a sweet

The affirmation here is:
I stand ready to... connect with my Highest Self
I stand ready to obey Thy least command
I stand ready to live in the Here and Now
I stand ready to live life to the full

you pick


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Parenting, and Love in Action

Parenting is not something our children ask for. It’s something we do, and they live with. They suffer with, they put up with, they thrive with. Parenting is our job. In some systems, the soul decides to come back, chooses the parents, blah, blah, and maybe yes, maybe no, and most children have the complete right to say, “I didn’t ask to be born.”

So what’s our job as parents?


To love.

That’s it, and on the “good days,” this is easy, and on the rest of the days, it’s a job.

A good job.

The best job in the world.

Have you stayed with me: on the “bad days,” parenting is the best job in the world. Why? Because when they are being little turds, then we have to get our …together and learn what loving really is.

You know the thing from the bible, where Jesus, almost with a sense of humor, says “Anyone can love really groovy people, but can you love them when they are sinners.” Something like that, and He has to drag in the old sinners thing, or maybe it’s just the translators. Over the eons.

Doesn’t matter.

The point: when they are good, they are very, very good, and when they are “bad,” they are horrid. (Little curl in the middle of the forehead, and so on.)

And when they are “bad,” we get to discover that “bad” is in the eye of the beholder, even if they are breaking our really great stuff, or hitting their innocent angle little sister/brother, or saying “No,” for the ten thousandth time to our Wise and Reasonable Rules, Demands, Requests, Pleads, and Barks.

So, how to do that?

Well, the Work of Byron Katie is the way to go at night, later, when we aren’t on the battlefield and we need to get clear about where IS the obstacle to love: in the little horrid child’s behavior, or in our mind that doesn’t know how to unconditionally love?

Loaded question, eh, and the Work, never posits one right way. It does allow us to get into our mess (Judge your neighbor/child), and slow down the mental mess (Write it down), and sort out the mess (Ask four questions), and bring the wisdom on home to our own hearts and minds (Turn in around).

But no rules: Thou Shalt Unconditionally love the little angels/beasts.

Nope, it’s all about understanding our suffering when we don’t love.

And then: back to the battlefield. What to do there, when we are ready to blow our stack, or at the very least, throw away love and get into Boss gear?

Same thing: Know what our habit is. Listen inside our minds to the voice and the words we are about to hurl out. Notice the habitual actions we want to take.

Slow down. Which is kind of already required, isn’t it: since we’ve slowed down enough to notice, instead of charging ahead in the old habit.

So, maybe way near the beginning is this: knowing we are going into the judge, anger, reaction mode. Then watching it.

Then, without the questions, raising the idea of the results of the questions: we have options. What else could we do than what we usually do.

But here’s the key, or one of the keys: follow our breathing. Look at the child without a story of how they should be different. Come to a calmness inside our own bodies, and look, look, look. And wonder: what is going on? Wonder, if I were this child, what steps could the Giant make that would make it easier for me to shift out of my doo doo? Wonder, about what the child imagines the world is and should be at that moment and see if you can help the child make sense of it’s anger or fear or stubbornness.

“If I were you, I’d want to stay here all night, too. You are really having fun. And it makes you angry when I take you away when you are having fun. And you really don’t like me when I take you away and you don’t want to be taken away. And it doesn’t seem fair that I get to tell you what to do all the time. Is that pretty much how it seems to you?”

Something like that.

Hmmm. Come to think of it, this wouldn’t be a bad way to be if a mate or parent of co-worker or friend got angry with us, would it? (Notice or don’t notice, that I stay out of the non-truth land that NVC gets you into when it starts talking about the “needs” of another. The child/ mate/ coworker doesn’t “need” to stay, or to feel in control, but they certainly “want” to.).

So, anyway: if we slow down, find peace in our own bodies, look at the child as someone who has real and valid and deeply felt reasons of their own. Maybe these reasons are understood, probably not, and that’s our job, too: to help them make sense of why they have good and righteous reason to hate us for a moment or a day or an hour.

So love is….

Something to learn. And learning how to slow down, give them their fury or “badness,” help them see what’s going on, work from a framework of listening, and paying attention and deep concern for “their side” of the deal: wow, that’s a long way toward love in action, isn’t it.

And if love isn’t in action, it’s probably not love.

Ciao, for this Wednesday’s parenting essay.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Yoga for a Monday

Warrior II
or Virabhadrasana II
Vira 2:

Ah, hello Monday,
and how about a little Vira 2
to start the week.
Let's skip the warrior name,
just go for the gusto,
down and into the ground,
open heart,
up into the sky,
looking forward,
rooted backward,
and all its wonders.

And so,
let's go:

and with depth
and exploration
and joy
and discovery:

DNA yoga, Discovery, Nature, Ananda/Awareness

In DNA yoga,
we are up to all sort of variations:
lean "too far" forward,

lean "too far" back

arch you back "too much"

fold and round your back "too much"

try it out
find what feels real
and good
and strong
for you

find the power of connecting to the ground
find the freedom and joy in the upper arms,
feel them floating free,
whether palms are oriented up
up palms

down palms

try different depths of the pose,
not deep

find what's right
and good
and strong
and happy for you,
for YOU,

find the power and the joy
and affirm
while in this pose
and then
in a resting pose before
the next one:

"I joyfully manifest the power of God."
"I joyfully manifest the power of Life."
"I joyfully connect with the power of my Higher Self."
something else
of your own chosing

have fun
go deep
be strong
and present

that's yoga

you are yoga

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cow, belly down, ready to Moooo about:
Yoga for a Monday

Cat and the Cow

Cats, when they hiss, round up their backs, raising up their belly
and creating something like a half circle from
front feet to the back.

Cows, when they stretch out for a big old loud mooooo,
arch their backs, so the belly gets lower,
and the head gets higher.

Now, if a person did that,
we could have something like this:

1) For starters. Come to your hands and knees. Do this the normal mindless way, and then, hmmm, what would it be like to do it with awareness? Just how do your hands feel on the floor or Earth, and your knees? Are your feet flat to the ground or do you have your toes bent, in what they call the “for running” shape? Where are you looking? How does your spine feel? Are your hips over your knees, your shoulders over your hands? Fool around, play around, shift around, find what feels right for you today.

2) Breathe easily. Notice your breathing. Notice a happiness in breathing. See if there is any way that this simple act, the act of breathing can be easier and more pleasurable for you.

3) Now begin to arch your back and push out your belly as you breathe in. As you do this, lift your butt toward the sky, by tilting your pelvis so that your tailbone, too, is lifting. Do this each time you breath in, let yourself push forward with your belly, arch your back and tilt your butt to the sky. On the out breath, just come to “normal,” whatever that is.

4) Now try the opposite. As you breathe out, pull up your navel, lift the middle of your back toward the sky and tilt your tailbone under, as if you are going to tilt the front of your pelvis ( your sex) toward your face. Look down as you do this, so you are becoming nicely folded, with the center of your back being the high point of the curving you. This is the cat.

Cat, belly in, ready to hiss and ???strike

5) Alternate cat, with belly pulled in and back toward the sky, and cow, with the belly pushed forward and back arching so that shoulders and butt are the high points. Notice the tilting of your pelvis as you do this, and allow your head to come up when your butt comes up (the cow gives a big Mooooo), and allow your head to come down, looking between your legs when your pelvis tilts the other way.

6) Rest on your back and feel how you feel in your whole self. Notice your spine. Notice your breathing. Once again concentrate on being present and the happiness that comes from simple being at the moment with yourself.