Sanskrit/English Poses

Sanskrit/English Poses

“The vibrational purity and resonating power of Sanskrit is above all an opera on a grand cosmic scale that you can sing with your whole heart and being.”  ~Vyass Houston

All of life resonates at a specific vibration.  Sanskrit is considered to be one of the oldest languages on earth, comprised of sacred sounds of rhythm, melody and harmony. The Sanskrit names for the physical asanas, or yoga poses, were crafted to reflect the essential nature of that which they describe. The seed sounds, or bijas, that make up each Sanskrit title for a particular yoga pose, carry a unique and intentional frequency. Perfect pronunciation of these bijas resonate with the essential vibration of the universe itself. To call an asana aloud in Sanskrit while aligning yourself in that particular posture is a tangible way to deeply explore the energy of that pose while unifying sound and physical sensation.

I invite us all to welcome more Sanskrit into our lives!  🙂

I offer below a work in progress – I am compiling a list of yoga poses with their corresponding English names.
♥ I will update this as time allows. ♥

 

Sanskrit ame

Pronunciation

English Translation

Also Called

Classification

Dwi Pada Pitham dvee Pa-da PEET-ham dwi = two; pada = foot; pitha = stool,  chair Two-legged Table Supine Pose, Vinyasa
Savasana shah-VAHS-anna sava = corpse Corpse Pose, Final Resting Pose Supine Pose
Supta Baddha Konasana BAH-dah-cone-AHS-anna supta= resting, reclining, sleeping; baddha = bound; kona = angle Reclining Bound Angle Pose Supine Pose
Supta Virasana    soup-tah veer-AHS-anna supta= resting, reclining, sleeping; vira = a hero, brave Reclining Hero Pose Supine Pose
Virabhadrasana II               vira = a hero, brave; Virabhadra = name of a fierce mythical warrior said to have 1,000 heads, eyes, arms & legs Warrior II Pose Standing, hip opener
Parivrtta Trikonasana      par-ee-vrit-tah trik-cone-AHS-anna parivrtta = twist, revolve, turned around; tri = three; kona = angle Revolved Triangle Pose Standing Pose, Twisting Pose
Prasarita Padottanasana                  prasarita = spread out, expanded; pada = foot, leg; uttana = stretched out/over, an intense stretch Wide-Legged Forward Bend Standing Pose, Inversion, Forward Bend
Virabhadrasana I   vira = a hero, brave; Virabhadra = name of a fierce mythical warrior said to have 1,000 heads, eyes, arms & legs Warrior I Pose Standing Pose, Hip Opening, Backbend
Utthita Trikonasana oo-TEE-tah trik cone-NAHS-anna utthita = extended; tri = three, kona = angle Triangle pose, Extended Triangle Pose Standing Pose, Hip Opening
Parsvottanasana parsva = side, flank, lateral; uttana = stretched out/over, an intense stretch Intense Side Stretch Pose, Pyramid Pose Standing Pose, Forward Bend
Uttanasana            uttana = stretched out/over, an intense stretch Standing Forward Fold Standing Pose, Forward Bend
Garudasana          garuda = eagle, fierce predatory bird – (said to be the Hindu god Vishnu’s vehicle) Eagle Pose Standing Pose, Balance Pose
Supta Padangusthasana supta= resting, reclining, sleeping; pada = foot, leg; angustha = big toe Reclining Big Toe Pose Standing pose, balance pose
Virabhadrasana III             vira = a hero, brave; Virabhadra = name of a fierce mythical warrior said to have 1,000 heads, eyes, arms & legs Warrior III Pose Standing Pose, Balance Pose
Vrksasana              vrksa = tree Tree Pose Standing Pose, Balance Pose
Natarajasana not-ah-raj-AHS-anna nata = dancer; raja = king Lord of the Dance Pose, King Dancer Pose Standing Pose, Back bend, Balance
Adho Mukha Savasana AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna adho-mukha = face downward Downward-Facing Dog, Down Dog Standing Pose
Parivrtta Baddha Parsvakonasana par-ee-vrit-tah  BAH-dah parivrtta = twist, revolve, turned around; baddha = bound; parsva = side, flank, lateral; kona = angle Revolved Side Angle Pose (w/ bind); Standing Pose
Parivrtta Parsvakonasana par-ee-vrt-tah parsh-vah-cone-AHS-anna parivrtta = twist, revolve, turned around; parsva = side, flank, lateral; kona = angle Revolved Side Angle Pose; Standing Pose
Tadasana                tada = mountain Mountain Pose Standing Pose
Upavesasana upavistha = seated Standing Pose
Utkatasana  utkatha = fierce, furious Chair Pose Standing Pose
Utthita Hasta Padangustasana     utthita = extended; hasta = hand; pada = foot, leg, angustha = big toe Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose, Standing Big Toe Pose Standing Pose
Utthita Parsvakonasana                    cone-NAHS-anna utthita = extended; parsva = side, flank, lateral; kona = angle Extended Side Angle Pose Standing Pose
Upavistha Konasana           oo-pah-VEESH-tah-cone-AHS-anna  upavistha = seated; kona = angle Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend, Seated Wide Legged Straddle Seated Pose; Forward Bend
Ardha Matsyendrasana                    ARD-hah MOTS-yen-DRAHS-anna ardha = half; matsya = fish; indra = ruler, lord Half Lord of the Fishes Pose Seated Pose, Twist
Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana par-ee-vrit-tah JAH-new shear-SHAHS-anna parivrtta = twist, revolve, turned around; janu = knee; shiras = to touch with the hand Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose Seated Pose, Twist
Janu Sirsasana    JAH-new shear-SHAHS-anna janu = knee; shiras = to touch with the hand Head-to-Knee Forward Bend Seated Pose, Forward Bend
Kurmasana koor-MAHS-anna kurma = tortise; turtle Turtle Pose Seated Pose, Forward Bend
Paschimottanasana         POS-chee-moh-tan-AHS-anna pascha = behind, westward facing; uttana = stretched out/over, an intense stretch Seated Forward Bend Seated Pose, Forward Bend
Supta Kurmasana koor-MAHS-anna supta = resting; kurma = tortoise, turtle Reclining Turtle Pose Seated Pose, Forward Bend
Mulabandhasana moola-ban-DHAS-anna mula = root, foundation; bandha = binding, tying Pose of the Root Lock Seated Pose (for pranayama)
Baddha Konasana               BAH-dah-cone-AHS-anna baddha = bound; kona = angle Bound Angle Pose, Cobbler’s Pose Seated Pose
Dandasana            dan-DAHS-anna danda = staff Staff Pose Seated Pose
Gomukhasana    go-moo-KAHS-anna go= cow; mukha = face Cow Face Pose Seated Pose
Mahamudra ma-ha-MOO-dra maha = great, mighty, strong; mudra = sealing, shutting, closing The Great Seal Seated Pose
Padmasana           pod-MAHS-anna padma = lotus Lotus Pose Seated Pose
Siddhasana sid-DHAS-anna siddha = a sage, profet, proven Adept’s Pose Seated Pose
Sukhasana             suk-HAS-anna sukha = delight, joy, pleasure/ sukhata = comfort Easy Pose Seated Pose
Svastikasana sva-steek-AHS-ana svasa= inspiration Auspicious Pose Seated Pose
Hanumanasana                    ha-NEW-mahn-AHS-anna hunuman = name of the devine chief of monkeys that served Rama Monkey Pose Seated Pose
Balasana                 BAH-las-anna bala = infant Child’s Pose Kneeling Pose, Forward Bend
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana                 eh-KAH pad-DAH rah-JAH-cop-poh-TAHS-anna eka = one; pada = foot, leg ; raja = king;  kapota = dove, pigeon One-Legged King Pigeon Pose Kneeling Pose, Backbend
Parighasana         par-ee-GOSS-anna parigha = a beam or bar used for locking a gate Gate Pose, Gate-Latch Pose Kneeling Pose
Simhasana sim-HAHS-anna simha = lion Lion Pose Keeling Pose, Jaw Stretch
Adho Mukha Vrksasana Ah-doh moo-kah vriks-SHAHS-anna adho-mukha = face downward; vrksa = tree Handstand Inversion
Ustrasana              oosh-TRAHS-anna ustra = camel Camel Pose Backbend,  Kneeling Pose,
  Sphinx Pose Backbend
Ardha Bhekasana                ARD-hah ardha = half; Half Frog Pose Backbend
Ashtanga Namaskara Ashta = eight;  anga = limbed; namaskara = salutation, to bow, honor Knees, Chest, and Chin Backbend
Bhujangasana     boo-jang-GAHS-anna bhuja = arm, shoulder;  anga = limbed;  bhujanga = serpent, snake Cobra Pose Backbend
Bitilasana              Cow Pose Backbend
Camatkarasana Wild Thing Backbend
Dhanurasana       Bow Pose Backbend
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana      dwi = two; pada = foot, leg ; danda = staff Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose Backbend
Kapotasana          kapota = dove, pigeon King Pigeon Pose Backbend
Matsyasana          mot-see-AHS-anna matsya = fish Fish Pose Backbend
Pincha Mayurasana           pin-cha my-your-AHS-anna piñca = feather; mayura = peacock Feathered Peacock Pose, Forearm Stand Backbend
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana sar-van-GAHS-anna bandha = binding, tying;  sarva = all; anga = limb Bridge Pose Backbend
Shalabasana sha-la-BAHS-anna salabha = grasshopper, locust Locust Pose Backbend
Urdhva Dhanurasana        OORD-vah don-your-AHS-anna Urdva = upward;  dhanu = bow Upward Bow, Wheel Pose Backbend
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana               OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna Urdva = upward; mukha = face Upward-Facing Dog Backbend
Chaturanga Dandasana   chaht-tour-ANG-ah don-DAHS-anna chatur = four; anga = limbed; danda = staff Four-Limbed Staff Pose Arm Balance
  High Lunge, Variation
  High Lunge
  Dolphin Plank Pose
  Dolphin Pose
Adho Mukha Savasana Natarajasana AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna adho-mukha = face downward; nata = dancer; raja = king Downward-Facing Dog Dancer Pose
Agnistambhasana Fire Log Pose
Ananda Balasana Happy Baby Pose
Anantasana Side-Reclining Leg Lift, Sleeping Vishnu Pose
Anjaneyasana     Low Lunge, Crescent Lunge Pose, Grounded Warrior I
Ardha Chandrasana          ARD-hah ardha = half; chandra = moon Half Moon Pose
Ardha Uttanasana              ARD-hah ardha = half; uttana = stretched out/over, an intense stretch Standing Half Forward Bend
Astavakrasana    ahsh-tah-vah-krahs-anna Ashta = eight;  vakra = bent, curved Eight-Angle Pose
Baddha Parighasana BAH-dah baddha = bound Bound Gate
Baddha Setu Bandha Sarvangasana BAH-dah  sar-van-GAHS-anna baddha = bound; Setu = ; bandha = binding, tying;  sarva = all; anga = limb Bound Bridge Pose, Bound Half Wheel
Bakasana                Crane Pose, Crow Pose
Bharadvajasana I                  Bharadvaja’s Twist
Bhujapidasana bhuja = arm, shoulder  Shoulder-Pressing Pose
Eka Pada Galavasana eh-KAH pad-DAH eka = one; pada = foot, leg Flying Crow Pose
Eka Pada Koundiyanasana I             eh-KAH pad-DAH eka = one; pada = foot, leg Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya I
Eka Pada Koundiyanasana II            eh-KAH pad-DAH eka = one; pada = foot, leg Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II             eh-KAH pad-DAH eka = one; pada = foot, leg ; raja = king; kapota = dove, pigeon One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Halasana                Plow Pose
Krounchasana    Heron Pose
Kumbhakasana /Utthita Chaturanga Dandasana oot-T-HEE-tuh  chaht-tour-ANG-ah dan-DAHS-anna kumbhak = breath retention /
utthita = extended;  chatur = four; anga = limbed; danda = staff
Plank Pose
Lolasana Pendant Pose
Malasana               Garland Pose
Marichyasana I Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi, I
Marichyasana III                  Marichi’s Pose
Marjaryasana      Cat Pose
Mayurasana         Peacock Pose
Navasana nava = a boat Boat Pose
Padansthasana   pada = foot, leg; angustha = big toe Big Toe Pose
Paripurna Navasana         Full Boat Pose
Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana par-ee-vrit-tah are-dah chan-DRAHS-anna parivrtta = twist, revolve, turned around; ardha = half; Chandra = moon Revolved Half Moon Pose
Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana par-ee-vrit-tah parivrtta = twist, revolve, turned around; Compass Pose
Parsva Bakasana                   parsva = side, flank, lateral; Side Crane Pose, Side Crow Pose
Pasasana Noose Pose
Purvottanasana                    uttana = stretched out/over, an intense stretch Upward Plank Pose
Salamba Sarvangasana      sah-LOM-bah sar-van-GAHS-anna sa = with;
 alamba = support;  sarva = all; anga = limb Supported Shoulder stand
Salamba Sirsasana sah-LOM-bah shear-SHAHS-anna sa = with;
 alamba = support; sirsa = head Supported Headstand
Salambhasana sah-LOM-bah Locust Pose
Samasthiti sama = equal, same; asthiti = position, standing-place Mountain Pose
Supta Matsyendrasana mot-see-AH supta= resting, reclining, sleeping; matsya = fish; indra = ruler, lord Supine Spinal Twist
Surya Namaskar surya = sun; namas = to bow, salute, honor; kri = to do, make, act Sun Salutation
Svarga Dvijasana Bird of Paradise Pose
Tittibhasana        Firefly Pose
Tolasana                 Scale Pose
Urdhva Hastasana               Urdva = upward; hasta = hand Upward Salute, Raised Hands Pose
Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana    OORD-vah eka = one Urdva = upward; prasarita = spread out, expanded; pada = foot, leg Standing Split
Utkata Konasana cone-NAHS-anna utkatha = fierce; kona = angle Goddess or Victory Squat
Uttana Shishosana               uttana = stretched out/over, an intense stretch Extended Puppy Pose
Vasisthasana Side Plank Pose
Viparita Karani Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Virasana                 vira = a hero, brave Hero Pose
Vrschikasana Scorpion Pose
Yoga Nidrasana Sleeping Yogi Pose

 

Go Ahead, Provoke Me!

Aside

Go Ahead, Provoke Me!

“Over time invite and create ever more provocative situations to deliberately trigger the psyche to be disturbed, to be challenged, to feel perhaps overwhelmed in order to strengthen your capacity to remain in the witness.  It’s easy to be peaceful when there’s not provocation. It’s not so easy where there is. Welcome to marriage. Welcome to children. Welcome to your life. Those provocations that are happening externally, are only reflections of our inner lack of clarity, lack of resolution. So, the yogi works internally.” ~Yogarupa Rod Stryker
(Moon & Sun Vinyasa: Mastering the Mind, Awakening the Vital Force, Nov. 15, 2013)

40 Day Journey: 40 Steps For Growth & Inner Freedom
Day 1: August 5, 2014

Trikonasana in marsh sunrise

Sometimes the biggest battle is getting out the door and onto the mat. The early morning dewy marsh air amply rewarded my effort. – Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary 8:30am

Utthita Trikonasana : Extended Triangle Pose
(oo-TEE-tah trik cone-NAHS-anna)
utthita = extended; tri = three, kona = angle

“The three angles (tri konas in Sanskrit) of a triangle make it one of the stronger and most stable shapes in nature…The triangle pose represents many sacred trinities in our world, such as the trinity of earth, space and heavens or that of birth, life and death. Trikonasana also symbolizes the three gunas, or qualities, that compose our bodies and minds.” (p. 36) Alanna Kaivalya & Arjuna van der Kooij, Myths of the Asanas: The Stories at the Heart of the Yoga Tradition.)

As I was riding my bike to the studio to teach my morning Hatha Flow Class, I was listening to a workshop lecture I attended last year with Yogarupa Rod Stryker. The day before I had been momentarily deeply disturbed by some personal family drama with my son’s father. It was this disturbance that inspired me to proactively choose to take intentional steps in the direction of my own personal growth.

When life is comfortable and free from challenges, it is easy to get complacent in my personal practice and neglect my continued commitment to inner growth. This summer has been far from easy. Life has provided me so many delicious opportunities and reminders to not only return to the grounded space of calm that can view my life from a place of tranquility but also to notice, question and work with the mirror that my external circumstances are providing me. Tantric philosophy states that there is nothing outside my body that does not exist within my body. There is nothing within me that does not exist externally in the world. If I take the view that what is happening in my body is a mirror for what is happening in my life, than I can also see that what is happening in my life is a reflection of what is happening in my psyche. 

Back to my bike ride…

I had just finished a sweet early morning solo yoga practice at the Arcata Marsh and was arriving  at Om Shala Yoga 15 minutes early to meditate before teaching. As I crossed the front door I saw two of my students arriving on bikes and being verbally and physically threatened by a large gentleman who had left his truck in the middle of the street to get out and scream at them over some perceived right-of way indiscretion. This gentleman returned to his truck only to stop and get out 3 more times all the while threatening physical violence and property damage and warning them that he will “remember what their bikes look like.” At that moment I hear Rod Stryker in my ear saying “It’s easy to be peaceful when there’s no provocation.”

We all get provoked. How we handle it at any given moment is our yoga, is the practice of inner asana or posture. Life is challenging. Suffering is a noble truth. The yogi works from within. Regardless of whatever swirling mass of chaos or raucous celebration is present in our lives at any given moment – our ability to drop into the witness is directly proportional to our experience of grounded, calm, ever-present spaciousness and awareness.

I came into the world on fire. I seek not to drown my fire but instead to stabilize and create a pitim (or hearth) for that fire in the sacred temple of my body at the center of my belly. Practicing trikonasana is a way to physically plant our feet firmly in the earth and our awareness in the present moment while opening our hearts to the vastness within us alongside the support of the universe. The top hand reaching to the sky is a reminder to reach into the highest aspects within us as we connect our material self with the broader consciousness of the entire cosmos. The triangle is a messenger that no matter the pressures behind us or in front of us, we can plug into the inherent stability within and reconnect with the truth and beauty that we are.

Provocation is child’s play.
I say bring it on.
It’s just a training camp for the experience of inner divinity.

Just for today, how can you use whatever is provoking you to take one small step back home to yourself?


I’m on a 40 Day Journey for personal growth. I’m taking baby steps. One. At. A. Time. Read more about it and join me here.

 

Yoga, Sex, and the Teacher-Student Relationship

Aside

Yoga, Sex, and the Teacher-Student Relationship

Source: 90 Monkeys • Carol Horton, Ph.D. • September 24, 2013

Yoga Instructor with Students

Since I started tracking the steady stream of news, controversies, and online debates in today’s yoga world, I’ve had to struggle repeatedly with the challenge of confronting beliefs that are profoundly different from my own – both with regard to yoga, and many other issues as well.

On the whole, this has been a positive experience. Most of the time, when confronted with radically different sensibilities, I’ve been able to push the envelope of my own perspectives and find common ground. It’s been enlarging, and at times enlightening to discover ways of connecting with people who hold very different views on issues ranging from the advisability of “yoga for weight loss” to the foundational nature of the universe.

When I read Cameron Shayne’s recent post defending the righteousness of male yoga teachers who choose to pursue “hot, casual sex” with as many female students as they fancy, I knew that I’d hit a point where I didn’t want to bridge the divide separating our views. In this case, I believe that setting a clear boundary that says “NO” is more honest, clarifying, and potentially valuable than trying to find common ground.

The fact that Shayne’s post received a lot of enthusiastic support (including from the lead editor of Rebelle Society, which published it) suggests that a cultural rift has developed in the yoga community over the issue of whether teachers should enjoy open sexual access to their students, or respect long-standing norms requiring sexual restraint.

Considered in conjunction with the recent wave of high-profile yoga scandals, it’s clear that the issue of sex and the teacher-student relationship demands our attention – as well as an appropriate response.

Addressing the Conflict

To be clear, I’m not advocating some sort of war between the forces of sexual freedom and restraint. Nor am I in favor of issuing wholesale condemnation of any particular individuals or groups. The last thing we need is for the yoga community to replicate the same sort of hateful, vicious, polarized dynamic that infects so much of our culture and politics.

At the same time, I believe that the ethical standards and teaching protocols advocated in Shayne’s article should be unambiguously rejected.

How, then, to deal with the fact that Shayne and his supporters will undoubtedly think that it’s my views that are wrong, and not theirs? Is it possible to assert strong differences on the highly-charged issue of sex and the teacher-student relationship without falling into damaging negativity and conflict?

Only time will tell. But I’d suggest trying to accomplish this by:

  • Acknowledging that the divide on this issue is too big and too important to ignore
  • Working to depersonalize the conflict by debating ideas rather than attacking individuals
  • Strengthening the role of a regulatory body (e.g., Yoga Alliance) capable of distinguishing teachers who support norms governing sexual restraint from those who reject them as outmoded “dogma.”

Analyzing the Argument

Shayne believes that yoga teachers should not be subject to ethical or regulatory restraints that limit free sexual access to their students. (Presumably, this means adults capable of giving formal consent, although these criteria aren’t stressed.) To my reading, his argument (which is echoed in many of the comments) reflects a mixture of two larger streams of thought that are quite influential in U.S. culture: hyper-individualist radical libertarianism, on the one hand, and irrational New Age spirituality, on the other.

This, in my view, is a toxic mix: capable of legitimating all sorts of power abuses, while at the same time advancing a twisted logic that “blames the victim” when they occur.

Here’s how I’d break it down most simply:

1)    Hyper-individualism refuses to recognize the fact that systemic power differences really do exist. The idea that there are no power issues in play in the teacher-student relationship because we’re all free and equal individuals replicates the larger cultural logic which holds that it’s wrong to limit individual contributions to political campaigns because a billionaire and a homeless person have an equal right to “free speech.” (Yeah, right.) Any sort of more realistic understanding of how individuals are necessarily affected by the larger social context of which they’re a part is rejected out of hand in favor of a dogmatic adherence to the hyper-individualist view.

2)    Hyper-individualism easily slides into self-serving “blame the victim”-style reasoning. For example, Shayne asserts that the “issue of vulnerable idealistic adult students being taken advantage of by egomaniacal male teachers for me is like the war on drugs: another completely corrupted strategy designed to deal with the symptom rather than the disease”:

The guru/students manipulation — like cocaine — is the symptom of a larger problem; the student’s lack of self worth, identify and voice. Clearly the corrupted guru is a problem, but the student, like the user, is the real disease.

By extension, it is solely up to the individual student to cure her personal “disease” of vulnerability to the predations of others, not least including the yoga teacher whom she may have turned to for guidance and support.

3)    Radical libertarianism represents the logical extension of hyper-individualism into the social realm. If you believe that the only proper way to see people is as individuals divorced from any consideration of social context, then it makes sense to see all norms or regulations established for the collective good as illegitimate and oppressive.

Again, you see this sort of reasoning in American society frequently: for example, the belief that any sort of gun control laws – even limiting convicted felons from acquiring machine guns! – is an intolerable infringement of individual liberty.

4)    Combine hyper-individualist radical libertarianism with New Age magical thinking, and unrestricted teacher-student sex is easy to justify. Anyone who’s spent any time in the yoga world is probably familiar with New Age spiritual platitudes such as “everything is exactly as it’s meant to be,” “everything happens for a reason,” and so on. In general, this pairs nicely with hyper-individualist radical libertarianism, as it provides a “spiritual” explanation of why we should never concern ourselves with pesky issues of abuse of power and exploitation – after all, everything’s perfect just as it is!

Hence, Shayne assures us that “you cannot have sex with the wrong person — only a person that provides you with another intrinsic part of the whole that becomes your story”:

As with all action, its meaning is assigned by us, created by us, experienced by us and remembered by us . . . the very idea that you can project onto sex a special quality that may exist for you, but not for another, is arrogant, assuming and stepped in antiquated dogmatic ideology.

5)    Logically, then, if a student ends up feeling sexually exploited by a yoga teacher, that is simply because she is “choosing” this negative perception. Notably, there are also many “Tantric” variations on this sort of irrational New Age thinking, which I won’t go into there as they weren’t featured in Shayne’s post. They do, however, come up in some related comments – and, I’m sure, are quite familiar to those who remember the recent Anusara debacle.

The Teacher’s Responsibility: Zero

Illogically, Shayne’s argument that exploited students “chose” their negative perceptions is presented in conjunction with an explanation that the reason that yoga teachers “sexually misbehave” today is “because they finally can”:

The majority of all yoga sex scandals involve one or more desperate devotes and a teacher who figures out, maybe for the first time in his or her hopelessly hip-less life, that they can get laid . . . They are doing what any male or female given sudden persuasive license would do when bombarded with adoring energy — engage it. Only the naive and emotionally underdeveloped would fall prey to it.

There is a horribly circular logic at work here: the exploited student is the “real disease” because she is “naïve and emotionally underdeveloped” – yet, when she is exploited by a power-hungry teacher, she is faulted for “assigning” a negative meaning to the encounter, rather than embracing it as an independent choice that she made to support her own self-development and spiritual growth!

Meanwhile, the teacher is conveniently off the ethical hook and gets a pass – and, no matter what his abuses of power, should presumably remain so to prevent oppression by dogmatic social norms.

Ethics, Community, and Tradition

Personally, I find Shayne’s argument so shallow that it would be laughable were it not for the fact that many yoga practitioners apparently embrace it quite fiercely.

Initially, I was shocked to see how much support his post was generating. Quickly, however, I realized that given its resonance with influential currents in the larger culture, its popularity is not so surprising.

Yoga, like any other tradition, necessarily evolves in interaction with the larger society of which it’s a part. If it didn’t, it would quickly lose its relevance and meaning to most people. Therefore, we can expect that variations of the cultural divides that we experience in the larger society will continue to replicate themselves within the yoga community.

As noted above, however, one dynamic that I’d really like to avoid is the establishment of mutually hostile camps that are constantly hurling hate at one another. Right now, I think we are pretty far from that point. But things can change quickly. And there’s no question that the tone in the yoga blogosphere has become frequently meaner in the past few years.

I’ve tried to avoid gratuitous meanness in this post by critiquing what I see as the central ideas in Shayne’s post, rather than attacking him as an individual. For all I know, he could be a great guy in other ways. On the issue of teacher-student sex, however, I believe that the views he’s advocating are dead wrong and need to be forcefully countered.

The contemporary yoga community needs to honor the historic yoga tradition by adapting it to speak to today’s needs and concerns. The Yama of Brahmacharya has informed the yoga tradition for thousands of years. Given the materialism, hedonism, and sexual confusion that trouble our society today, this is a particularly bad time to simply throw it out as antiquated “dogma.”

Instead, we need to reflect on how best to interpret and adapt this restraint to support the meaningful transmission of yoga in our time. Considering the profusion of recent scandals involving teacher-student sex in the yoga community and the incalculable suffering they have caused, the need to do so is urgent. Shayne’s provocative post is helpful to the extent that it spurs those of us who believe we must uphold sexual norms that protect vulnerable students in the yoga classroom – and, by extension, support and elevate the practice for everyone – to reflect on what we can do, and take action.

 

* * *

CH photo   Carol Horton, Ph.D., is the author of Yoga Ph.D.: Integrating the Life of the Mind and the Wisdom of the Body, and co-editor of 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, and Practice. She holds a doctorate in Political Science from the University of Chicago, served on the faculty at Macalester College, and has extensive experience as a research consultant specializing in issues affecting low-income children and families. A Certified Forrest Yoga teacher, Carol teaches yoga to women in the Cook County Jail with Yoga for Recovery, and at Chaturanga Holistic Fitness in Chicago. For more information visit her website.

Rod Stryker on Tradition

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Eight Pearls of Wisdom from Rod Stryker’s Tradition Talk

Rod Stryker shares some compelling and controversial thoughts on the role of lineage and tradition in the study and practice of yoga. Below are eight peals of wisdom I gathered from the 1 hour dharma talk.  Watch the video below to gather your own favorite insights!

  • yoga is waking to the essence of being, the essence of life – the hight of becoming
  • you can do asana and not be established in yoga and you can be in yoga and not do asana…
  • asana is the adjunct, a tool that we use to achieve a greater freedom but we can have the freedom without the asana
  • you can only go so far as the quality of the thing you’re paying attention to
  • if you have that hunger then do the work of getting ready – when you are prepared the teacher will come
  • mentor-ship is an extraordinary model based on mutual love and respect
  • your teacher’s job is to turn you to your inner guru to give you the boat to get to the island that is your teacher
  • for those of us who have been practicing yoga for a while, we can’t ultimately reach the destination if we’re practicing in a one dimensional way

Enjoy the video!
Love!
~ artemisia shine

To schedule a private yoga session contact Artemisia Shine at 707.234.5411 or [email protected] / www.artemisiashine.com

p.s. Also check out this sweet short video “Is Tantra a Religion?” from Rod Stryker’s teacher and founder of The Himalayan Institute, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD – “Find freedom in the world, not freedom from the world.”

Is Tantra a Religion? from Himalayan Institute on Vimeo.

Taking a moment to answer a few questions received from facebook and Twitter, Pandit Tigunait discusses some interesting topics, such as:

  • Is tantra a religion?
  • What is tantra?
  • How does yoga intersect with tantra, and how does tantra differ from yoga?
  • What advice do you (Panditji) have for yoga practitioners interested in studying authentic tantra?
  • What do you (Panditji) mean when you say: “Find freedom in the world, not freedom from the world”?

If you are interested in learning more about the Living Tantra Series, visit http://www.LivingTantra.com

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Tradition: Modern Yoga’s Missing Treasure or Obsolete Relic?
Rod Stryker at the Wanderlust Festival Speakeasy – Colorado 2012

Source: Wanderlust Festival You Tube Channel Rod Stryker • March 2013

Published on Mar 11, 2013

The sacred teachings of yoga have thrived from time immemorial thanks entirely on lineage—-the unique relationship between master and student. Yet, modern yoga is practically devoid of it. Why was this ancient paradigm for study considered so precious? Moreover, can the most elevated understanding of yoga (in the modern age) be realized without it?

Join Rod Stryker as he explores the concept of “Tradition: Modern Yoga’s Missing Treasure or Obsolete Relic?” at the Wanderlust Festival Speakeasy in Colorado 2012.

Rod Stryker is the founder of ParaYoga and the author of The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom. Rod is widely recognized as one of the West’s leading authorities on yoga, Tantra, and meditation. His teaching weaves a profound breadth of knowledge and experience, along with his unique ability to make the deepest of the ancient teachings accessible to students of all levels. Rod has taught for more than 30 years and leads retreats, workshops, and ParaYoga Master trainings worldwide.

For more information on Rod, you can visit his website athttp://www.parayoga.com/. You can also dig deeper on his writings by exploring his book “The Four Desires” or his meditation CD’s, “Meditations for Life” and “Relax into Greatness”, available in his online store here: http://parayoga.com/store/. Follow Rod on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/RodStryker and keep up with his tweets here: https://twitter.com/RodStryker108.

Wanderlust Festival is also endebted to Hay House (http://www.hayhouse.com) who helped us realize the entire 2012 Speakeasy Lecture Series across all four festivals (Stratton, VT in June 2012; Copper Mountain, CO in July; Squaw Valley, CA in late July; and Whistler, BC, Canada in August). With Hay House’s amazing roster of speakers (which you can witness in person at their incredible “I Can Do It” events), it’s no wonder that they helped elevate the conversation at Wanderlust’s Speakeasy this summer. We encourage you to stay tuned to the Hay House FB feed to make sure you know the next time one of their authors is speaking near you (https://www.facebook.com/hayhouse).

Speakeasy Series Realized in co-operation with Hay House
Speakeasy Video Production by C3 Presents & Greenheart Creative
Speakeasy Series produced by Karina Mackenzie
Makeup services provided by Dr. Hauschka
Music in introduction by MC Yogi “Sita Ram”
Motion Graphics by Victoria Nece

Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Come Alive!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

In the past five months my heart has been roaring during my wakefulness, composing sonnets in my sleep, whispering sweet encouragement when I tremble and serenading me each time I meditate.  That’s my heart for yah. She’s pretty wild, courageous, optimistic and deep. Working with people in the arena of personal wellness and healing feels like a big full body “YES!” I know with every cell in my being that this is my life’s work.

Still, there’s this sharp prattling creature of a mind full of fear, shame, hesitation, financial insecurities and a healthy dose of occasional self-doubt. What if you don’t find what I offer worthwhile? Every time she comes to gnaw at my dreams and undermine my efforts I call her a slew of names. Nothing I couldn’t say in a studio full of 5-year old yogis – just naming what she is: “thinking.” Thinking, self-doubt, anger, fear, resentment, insecurity…  I’ve been whittling her claws down calling her by name and although she still sinks her teeth in from time to time, lately she isn’t making any serious flesh wounds.

This month I am embarking on a journey of becoming a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Practitioner. Over the next ten months I will be travelling to Canada and Vermont to attend a host of intensives. Even as I write this I have no clue how I’m going to get to British Columbia in less than 10 days. To throw in an extra measure of awesomeness, days after my first PRYT training, I am registered to study with my favorite teacher, Chrisandra Fox Walker, in her 60 hour Tantra Yoga Immersion in San Francisco. My vehicle registration is expired and I’ve got a boot on my car that just ate up my plane ticket funds. I’m not certain how I’ll pay for gas, I don’t know where I’m going to sleep, I’m not sure how I’ll navigate the trainings after that… What I do know is that I believe deeply in the work and I hear the small deep tenor of my heart singing a resounding “Yes!”  Over, and over, “Yes!”

This week has been a great opportunity to practice equanimity, faith, and creativity. This is my yoga. All I have to do is listen in for guidance and show up with all of me: fear and courage in tow. These minor obstacles are a magical invitation to reaffirm my commitment to my path. I live to reveal whatever it is that dims my heart’s shine.

So – here I go! I’m on a mission to put myself out of a day job and unlock deeper avenues of healing in my community and myself.  Yes! Thank you all for your support!

~ artemisia shine

From Artemisia Shine’s March 2013 Newsletter: Issue # 01

 

What Makes Your Heart Sing?

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What Makes Your Heart Sing?

by Artemisia Shine

We each waltz with a unique vibration that adds to the richness and texture of the unifying symphony of the Universe. We are here to playfully embody our deepest passions, gifts and skills in harmony with the cosmic dance. Let’s get our boogie on!
 
As you rise each morning, what is your life in service to – your work, your loved ones, amassing material resources, clinging to momentary pleasures, seeking validation, creating beauty, avoiding pain? What part of this equation is in service to your highest calling? WHAT ANIMATES YOUR SPIRIT? How do you honor that each day? 
 
Close your eyes and tap into your deep inner-rhythm; what inspires your heart to sing? Do you create time each day to listen? How much of your life is organized around this song? You are the eyes, the ears, the breath of essence experiencing life through you. Your entire being is a sacred offering. This body, this lifetime is a precious gift and we are each a miracle wrapped in temporal skin. Every moment is ripe with opportunity to tune into your unique rhythm. Take a moment right now to breath and listen for your own heart wisdom. How does the universe hum through you? Consciously offer up your enchanted vibration to the collective symphony.

Choose what you give your attention to. Not tomorrow, not next week, not after you loose those pesky 8 pounds or when you get a better job. Now. Right now. This moment. This breath. Step into the limitless stream of beauty, strength, love and inspiration that moves you in line with the joy of your own beingness.
 
Let your day unfurl from a continual return to conscious awareness. Find your heart beat in between the big moments even as minor irritations and major obstacles clamor their dissonant chords. Nestle into that pulse of aliveness. Open up to whatever arises as a tuning fork for your soul. 

This practice is not about becoming someone else or morphing into a better version of you. It is about revealing who you really are when you’re not diverting your attention by people-pleasing, minimizing your gifts, affecting a façade, making excuses, or safe-guarding your heart. It’s about realizing the Self through your most tender moments of expression.

You were born to revel in the exhilaration of doing what you most love. Let your presence bring you back to what is sacred within you. Dive headlong into the river of music within. Live on purpose. BE that which most lights you up. Wildly belt out your “YES!!”

Originally Published in the  March 2013 – Issue #01

5 Reasons for Teachers to (re)Commit to your Home Practice

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5 Reasons for Teachers to (re)Commit to your Home Practice

Source: Yogaglo • Jason Crandell • February 12, 2013

 

Commit to your Home Practice

Every training I teach includes a module about home practice and personal studies. And, invariably, it includes a slow dirge-like conversation that reveals the students’ personal practices are not—how can I say this in yoga-speak—thriving.While my teachers were not so forgiving about a lackluster home-practice, I get it. Practicing at home is not always as easy as taking a class and, the truth is, there are a lot of good classes out there (and, some lousy ones). But, developing your home practice is essential for the development of your self-awareness and the cultivation of your voice as a teacher. So, whether you’re practicing a YogaGlo class or doing an old-school, offline home-practice, the following reasons should remind you of the value of your personal practice.

  •  Practicing at home helps you develop the skill of self-care:

Actively participating in the wellbeing of your body, mind and breath is essential for your health. No, it’s not always easy. And, yes, it is always important. It’s incredibly easy for our wellness to take a backseat to our countless daily responsibilities. Yet, when we take care of ourselves with our practice everything else falls into place with a little bit more ease—and, if not, at least we’re in a little better shape.

  • To focus on specific needs such as shoulder opening, core strength, or deep relaxation:

Most of you know what your body needs in order to experience greater balance. Your home practice provides you with the opportunity to target specific areas of need—like shoulder opening and so on.

  • To focus on specific postures such as backbends or inversions:

A friend of mine began practicing at home for the sole purpose of working on handstand. The one class a week that she went to didn’t provide enough repetition for her to develop the posture. As such, the posture went nowhere for months until she took matters into her own hands and started a daily practice focused around learning this inversion. Not only did she learn the posture by focusing on it more regularly, she fell in love with her home-practice and has been committed to it ever since.

  • To do the poses you love:

Uggghhh and Arghhh. Those are the sounds I make when someone says they have to spend more time practicing poses that they loathe. I make the same sounds exponentially louder when someone says this is the advice that their teacher gave them. Why, the sounds? Simple: The advice is only partially logical and nearly impossible to enact. You will only white-knuckle yourself through things that you have an aversion to for so long—especially when those things are optional. And, since doing poses you don’t like is optional, very few people do actually do this. This is why people always say they should practice the poses they butt heads with instead of say do practice these postures. Instead, treat yourself! There are plenty of reasons you love the poses you love—one is that they are probably very good for you. So, dear ones, do some postures that you like and fall in love with them over and over.

  • To deepen your experience of yoga:

Honing your skills in any subject matter requires repetition. Taking 1 or 2 classes per week probably wouldn’t be enough to learn a new language—not without doing some homework each day. Deepening your yoga practice also requires an immersive experience. At very least, it requires consistent repetition. Sure, 1 or 2 classes per week is absolutely reasonable for a more casual student—and, it may be all that someone can muster at various phases of their life. But, in order for teachers to feel honest, authentic and inspired you need to dive in to your personal practice with much greater frequency.

Jason Crandell was recently named one of the next generation of teachers shaping yoga’s future by Yoga Journal for his skillful, unique approach to vinyasa yoga. Jason’s steady pace, creative sequencing, and attention to detail encourage students to move slowly, deeply, and mindfully into their bodies. Jason credits his primary teacher, Rodney Yee, teachers in the Iyengar Yoga tradition such as Ramanand Patel, and ongoing studies in Eastern and Western philosophy for inspiring to him bring greater alignment and mindfulness to Vinyasa Yoga.

Jason is a contributing editor for Yoga Journal and has written over 13 articles for the magazine and website – many of which have been translated internationally (including Japan, China, Italy and Brazil). His integrative and accessible teachings support students of every background and lineage, helping them to find greater depth, awareness, and well-being in their practice – and in their lives. Follow Jason on Facebook and Twitter.