Friday, November 30, 2012

Living Yoga - On And Off The Mat

Photo from here.
One of the parts I really heart when I practice Ashtanga Yoga in a class is the fact that I am blessed with an amazing teacher. Each and every time we finish practice, right after Savasana, we will sit to a comfortable sitting pose and our teacher will speak for 4-5 minutes about something. That something ranges from some detail he noticed to the world around him, a thing that happened to him during his daily activities or practice, something he read and thought he should share, a personal thought or emotion… pretty much everything. The great thing is that whatever he shares is inspiring me to search inside me, it gives me food for thought and helps me understand deeply that yoga is not only about the hours I spent in class but is what I do all 24 hours of the day, every day. As he said: "It doesn't matter if you come here and practice in the studio everyday but then forget everything when you leave. You must practice yoga all day long. Help an elderly woman pass across the road, recycle, give a loaf of bread to the homeless person you run into every morning, feed the stray dog in your neighborhood, do things that benefit others without expecting anything in return."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

50 Ways To Do Something Good - Selflessly

 “Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that: It lights the whole sky.” - Hafez

Selflessness is the sincere interest for the good of others and is connected to love and empathy. It is connected to faith and to making a difference. You might be one person but you are unique. You may not be able to achieve everything, but you can do something. Just smile and enjoy the fact that you have the possibility to make a difference. And as BKS Iyengar states in Light on Yoga: “He who works selflessly for the welfare of others with love in his heart is thrice blessed”.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"I am what I am because of who we all are."

I read a post in a Greek blog today which I found really inspirational and would like to share:

An anthropologist asked the children of an African tribe to play a game.  He put a basket full of fruits under a tree and told the children that whoever got there first would get the fruits for himself.When he asked the children to run, they grabbed each other's hands, ran together and then all together sat down and enjoyed the fruit.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Vipassana Meditation Retreat

Photo from here
Reading Claudia's blog a few days ago I read a post where she mentioned Vipassana meditation. I had never heard of it before and I was curious to learn more so I Googled it. Visiting the official Vipassana Meditation website I read that this is a technique that was taught in India 2500 years ago which aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. It is a way of self-transformation through self-observation, it is taught in 10-day retreats in centers all over the world and it is completely free, even food and lodging. Old students donate so you and me can have access to the technique.

Yesterday's Dream Is Today's Reality.

Hand to Toe Pose
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana
I have only been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for a tiny amount of time but there is no doubt it feels that this is what I should be doing. Yesterday I had a wonderful led class in the evening. It was the first time I was so concentrated in my practice, no wandering mind, no random thoughts, no distractions. Just me on my mat, breathing Ujjayi breath, feeding the fire inside, trying to keep my internal body locks (Bandhas) and practicing the sequence of asanas. It was the first time I got so further into most of the asanas and the time completely flew by.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Time For Ashtanga!

After of a long period of self practice due to lack of funds and a few months unemployed I finally found a new job. I spent 9 months more before I finally signed up for an Ashtanga yoga class and during that period the first 3 months I did go on home practicing but the last 6 I didn't. Something really intense happened to my life and I went through a period of letting go of everything. I just went to work, got back home, ate and sleep. I even started smoking again, a bad habit I managed to let go years ago. After reaching bottom line I decided I had to do something for me. I stood up, gathered my pieces together and searched for a studio of Ashtanga. I talked with 3 different ones till I decide and this September I got my very first lesson.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hello Mr. Rodney Yee! Nice to Meet You Mr. Bryan Kest!

As soon as I quitted the Hatha Yoga class I took at the studio in my neighborhood I knew I needed to keep practicing until I find out more about yoga and studios and get myself a good teacher. That was when Mr. Rodney Yee came along.
The first DVD I tried was Power Yoga Total Body which I loved at that time. It was exactly what I needed. Challenging power yoga with progressing exercises, beautiful setting and great description of the poses and how to get into them. It was perfect for my level at that time and I used it for a long long time. 

Diving Into a Hatha Yoga Class

After home practicing with the Power Yoga & Five Tibetan Rites DVD for a while I started needing something more. I accidentally found out that there was a new yoga studio just 5 minutes walking distance from my house and decided to enroll. I dropped by and  the teacher informed me that they had daily Hatha Yoga classes, beginner and intermediate level, and two times per week they had a Vinyasa Flow class while every other weekend they would do seminars on meditation, chakras, traditional medicine, ayuverda etc.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Power Yoga, the Five Tibetan Rites and How a DVD CAN Be a Starting Point!

Yoga. Such a magical word!

I will never forget the first time I heard it. I was around 18 and I had no idea what yoga was, I just overheard someone mentioning it on the street. And I felt something moving inside me. I knew I had to learn more! I read a little general information about it but at the time I knew I could not commit to it due to college and working responsibilities. Kept it on the back of head. 

Eight whole years later, in 2009, I had just came to the point describing in my previous post. I finally achieved being promoted in a managerial position which was my dream for years and felt that everything I did to get there was for nothing. I needed to start fresh, give my own self some time, get it all back together. I started again dance lessons (which I had dropped for 2 years in order to focus in my job and so-wanted promotion) and although dancing did make me feel a lot better I felt I needed something more. One day I got a free Yoga DVD with my local copy of SHAPE magazine, it was my first one ever. I felt that something moving inside me again. So I got home, put it in the player and watched it. It was a beginner’s power yoga sequence followed by the Five Tibetans Rites and a 15 minute relaxation in savasana. The setting was great, the background music was amazing and the voice of the woman featured in the DVD (famous local trainer that was one of the first to bring power yoga in my country) was peaceful and calm. I liked what I saw and I decided that I would try it on the first day I had enough free time.

That Saturday night I didn’t go out. I stayed home, made some space in the living room, lighted up 2-3 candles and an oil burner with jasmine incense, put a mat I had on the floor (foam mat I had for crunches, not good for yoga) and put the DVD on. As soon as I started I felt a strange kind of energy inside me, like electricity. By the time I finished relaxation I was feeling lighter, less worried, happier, tranquil. I could not explain how it was possible to feel this way after just one hour of practicing but I didn’t care. The fact was that I did. I was feeling that something is changing, I was feeling that what I did was right and that feeling was way too strong to question it. I went to the bathroom and looked at the mirror: you could see it in my face, I looked calm! 

Next day I ordered a yoga mat and I kept practicing with this DVD for a while doing my own ritual: turning off most lights, lighting my candles and burning jasmine . 

(Photo from here.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Beginning of the Journey – The Voice Inside Me

I believe that we all have a voice inside us which speaks of personal growth, self acknowledgement and inner self discovery. We just have to hear closely to actually listen to what it has to say. The daily life of most people living in western part of the world is so fast paced and demanding that we rarely have time to do so. However, this voice is so persistent that it never stops. And when the time comes that we actually hear it, it is our own decision if we will embark on this journey or not. We may then begin but somewhere along the way lose our path, forget our goal and abandon. But the voice will still be there and remind us that at some point, the point when we will be ready to hear it again, we must get back on track. This is what has happened to me the last few years. 


And welcome to my blog. I am very pleased to have you with me on my journey. I will use this blog as a journal in which I will keep my notes through the road to myself, the various paths I take and the crossroads I face. It will be a way of describing my inner thoughts and emotions, my hopes, my fears, my realizations, my drawbacks and my progress and I hope that some of you may find similarities and (in the future) some of you might get inspired of embarking on your own journey. Most of all I hope that through this journal I will have the blessing of meeting common minded people, co-travelers of a similar parallel trip with whom I can share, discuss, help and be helped in becoming better and taking steps further down this rocky path.


(Photo from here)