(Featured above is Janice O’Toole’s excellent cat, Stanley Swaggybuns, waiting eagerly for his glute excercises)
We don’t care how you look, or how “cool” you are (as long as you don’t over heat!), but we’d love to have you join us for on line classes. Kristine is working to expand her on line offerings. If you cannot join live, Kristine can send you a link to a recording (available to view for a limited period so you can practice at a time that works in your schedule. Please join us for an online class and stay tuned for new offerings! PS-if your pets join you for class, please send a photo so we can feature our Aloft support animal staff!
August 5 – 7 This introductory workshop will focus on basic anatomy and introduce the “subtle energy” systems of yoga (the nadis and chakras). Designed for yoga students, the workshop will explore the ways yoga asana, meditation, and pranayama effect the systems of the body. COST: $225.00
August 5 (Friday)
4:00 – 5:30 PM: Yoga Class — Anatomy Focus
5:30 — 7:30 PM: Anatomy and Asana
August 6 (Saturday)
8:00 – 9:00 AM: Yoga Class (anatomy focus)
9:00 – 10:00 AM: Introduction to Subtle Energy, Nadis, and Chakras
10:00 – 11:30 AM: Yoga As It Is — Nadi/Chakra Focus
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM: Break
1:00 – 4:00 PM: Anatomy: Learning the basics
4:00 – 5:30 PM: Yoga Class – Anatomy/Energy focus
August 7 (Sunday)
9:00 – 10:00 AM: Meditation
10:15 – 11:15 AM: Yoga Class ( Anatomy Focus)
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Anatomy: Learning the basics
12:30 – 1:30 PM: Break
1:30 – 4:00 PM: Anatomy: Learning the basics
July 22 – 24 Have you ever wondered about deepening your yoga practice? Join Kristine for a mini-retreat that will take your practice deeper as you learn more about yoga, asana, meditation, and the rich philosophy of yoga. We will take the time to explore the practices of asana, yogic breathing, and yogic meditation, as well as being introduced to yogic philosophy. COST: 238.00.
SCHEDULE FOR THE RETREAT
July 22 (Friday)
5:30 – 6:00 PM: Welcome/Introduction
6:00 – 7:00 PM: Yoga Class
7:00 — 8:00 PM: Meditation and Yoga (citta, purusa, prakriti, vrittis)
8:00 – 8:30 PM: Closing Yoga
July 23 (Saturday)
8:00 – 10:00 AM: Yoga Class
10:00 – 11:00 AM: Meditation and Yoga
11:00 AM –12:00 PM: Pranayama (yogic breathing)
1:00 – 2:30 PM: Yogic Philosophy
2:30 – 3:00 PM: Meditation
3:00 – 5:00 PM: Asana
July 24 (Sunday)
9:00 – 10:00 AM: Meditation
10:15 – 11:15 AM: Yoga Class
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM: Break
12:15 – 4:15 PM: Yogic Philosophy: Overview of Patanjali’s yoga sutras
I consider myself to be a reasonably serious meditator. I’ve taken the time to look deeply at my mind, with varying degrees of intensity, for going on twenty years now. I’m still no kind of expert, but I have noticed a few significant changes for the better. One big difference is that I find meditating to be less effort and more fun.
I was thinking about that as I drove home today after meditating with Kristine Zakarison and two other friends this afternoon, and I thought it might be a good subject for her blog.
One reason I have more fun meditating now is that I’m no longer imposing so many expectations on what I should experience. In the early days, I expected that by watching my breath and being aware of my thoughts I should be able to make the thoughts go away, or at least reduce them enough to produce a calm state of mind. If I didn’t manage that I gave myself a mental scolding. “Bad meditator!” I said. “Bad!”
I also thought I should never fall asleep, squirm on my cushion or fantasize about food. (Honestly, I remember a week-long retreat when I couldn’t seem to quit visualizing bell peppers. Go figure.) I had a long list of things I could do wrong.
Over the years, I have let that go (at least to a large degree). Each morning I approach my meditation with curiosity. “What will my meditation be like today?” I ask myself. “Will I relax into the joy of pure consciousness or will I feel like I’m half crazy?” It’s fun to see what turns up! I simply try to perceive what is present without identifying with it. All kinds of mental phenomena (or the lack of it) comes and goes.
I didn’t tell myself to quit having expectations and judgments. It just happened naturally over time. And, here’s what was surprising to me: the less I tried to force a sense of well-being into my meditations, the more it arose naturally on its own. I had made friends with the experience! Now, whether I struggle to stay awake, fight an urge to plan my grocery list, come up with a brilliant insight, acknowledge some worry, or sit in blessed awareness of the present moment, I consider it a privilege to live the adventure.
We are college students, retired types, professors, moms, dads, men, women, professionals, able-bodied and living with disabilities, pre-teens and teens . . . We are young(ish) and old(er) . . . We are a whole lot of different types of people, and we get together to engage our bodies, minds, and spirits through exercise, stretch, yoga, and dance. Mostly, we are an open community that welcomes you to come and try a class and find a fit. We laugh together, and we also enjoy the practice and discipline that yoga and Nia bring into our lives. We support one another and we take things at our level. Our teachers make it a priority to help you find you body’s way in yoga and Nia. We have a variety of classes . . . Why not give it a try?
I think that most of you know that, very soon, I am heading out to Boston to have brain surgery to attempt to remedy my epilepsy. I am very fortunate to have a talented and loving community of teachers to teach and substitute while I’m away, although classes will be more limited, so please be sure and check the schedule every week. I feel incredibly graced to have such a wonderful group of friends/teachers who have agreed to teach while I’m away, and also to have a loving community of students who have been understanding and supportive. I’m convinced that it takes a village to face up to brain surgery . . . Thanks for being my village.
I’m going to write a separate post about this, but one of the things I find myself wanting to do, as I face this surgery, is dance, and dance, and dance. I have loved having the opportunity to do Nia with many of you, and the joy and the freedom of dancing together seems to be keeping me in just the right, hope-filled space, living in the moment of now, that I need to be in to deal with what is coming up. So keep dancing with me while I’m away and send me your good energy!
Another thing I’ve learned a lot about is the incredible power of the stillness that yoga and meditation/prayer have taught me. About a month ago, I had an extensive series of brain scans at the Martinos Center, a research center of the Mass. General Hospital. Turns out I have a strong ability to make my body and mind very still for long periods of time, which makes for great brain scans. It has been interesting to “see” the images of my own meditating mind, and to discuss with researchers and doctors the power of learning stillness and how it does create a different looking brain.
So dance with me, or be still with me, in the weeks ahead. If you want to follow the details of what’s going on, I have another blog, epileptica.com, that is specifically about the surgery. My husband Jonathan as well as myself will be posting about my journey. In the meantime, I am grateful for the presence of all of you in my life, and it is an honor to teach you . . . One that I don’t take for granted.
Let’s take another look at a fun posture, good for opening us up for spring. “The Roaring Lion Posture (whose original Indian name is Simhasana) in Yoga is suitable for people of all ages and types (including old and weak) because it is relatively easy to perform. The posture is sometimes referred to as Bhairavasana . . . The posture gets its name because the face of the person performing it resembles the face of a Roaring Lion (Simha Mudra or Lion Face Gesture) because of the open mouth and extended tongue.” Kind of fun to combine lion pose with some spring bunnies . . . Everyone is doing it!
I live in a place that is filled with Sri, the sanskrit word for beauty. This area is known as the “Palouse.” My family has now lived here for four generations, and I’m a part of a group of women who lovingly know ourselves as the “Daughters of the Palouse” (our self-proclaimed acronym is “D.O.P.e S.”). My love of this small corner of the world pulled me out of a forward-advancing career in Cambridge, MA, and back to the hills and fields where I have grown up and that I love. For me, my yoga practice is not only good physical exercise, but it is also a spiritual practice that allows this sense of connection to deepen. Because of yoga, I am regularly pulled off of my mat and into community. I find that my yoga practice feels “complete,” not when I get into a perfect asana, but when I find that I am able to fully integrate the lessons that I learn on the mat into the actions that I take in my community and world to make it a better place. So working toward preservation of our local eco-system, understanding food security, participating in developing more sustainable solutions to growing issues of homelessness in our community . . . These are all a part of my practice. The mat is my “launching pad,” as well as one part of my home base.
As you can see in the photo, we are now in the season of harvest around the Palouse. The native people of our area recognized this time as a separate season — the time of gathering in and taking stock, a time in which abundance was celebrated and shared, rather than horded. I feel this same need in my yoga practice. Harvest yoga is a season to take stock of the wisdom of our bodies and celebrate that abundance — however it looks — rather than focus on how we may perceive ourselves to be lacking. And then, out of that sense of abundance and spaciousness, we take it beyond ourselves and into our lives and communities. Where does your yoga lead you in the world? More about being a Palouse yoga gal, though all the seasons, to come . . .