We have some exciting news. After much consideration, the teacher licensing program is now a one-time $100 fee rather than annual. It makes much more sense on a lot of levels, especially now that the world is basically in an economic recession. Please see more info about Becoming a Teacher. Also on the horizon will be some teacher training. Stay tuned.
As we approach Christmas, many in the yoga community turn up our noses at the holiday. Certainly there are many issues with Christmas at least in the United States. One only needs to look at videos from Black Friday to realize the celebration of Jesus’ birth has been extremely perverted in US culture.
But yoga practitioners can find significant meaning in the celebration of Jesus’ birth once we get beyond the beyond the “more evolved than thou” sneer.
Let’s first consider Jesus’ fundamental message: love and compassion. This is no different from the message of the Dalai Lama. Even in death, Jesus remained steadfast in his commitment to non-violence, perhaps even to an extreme. Jesus lived, breathed, and taught many of the principals of yoga to which we all aspire. Many speculate that Jesus learned teachings of Buddhism while he traveled.
One does not have to believe the mysticism of Jesus in that he was considered both the son of God and also God himself, nor do you have to be accept the concept of a creator God in the Judeo-Christian traditions. In yogic tradition, we have the concept of the brahman, or an eternal, universal spirit, and the goal of yoga is to unite the self, the Atman, with the Brahman. The actions and kindness of Jesus demonstrated a man who had truly evolved. We do not need to accept the creationist beliefs to view Jesus as a man who had united himself with the eternal.
Finally, as many people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, they are not celebrating hope. They are celebrating the purity and the light in all of us that Jesus represented. According to the lore, the light of the North Star guided people to visit Jesus on his birth. As the Northern Hemisphere is in darkness, this is the perfect time to focus on our internal light and allow it to guide us.
Forget the marketing and the packaging, Christmas can be a time for reflection on hope for all of us. You don’t need to hang a stocking and fill yourself with egg nog, but just as an experiment, try contemplating some of the words of Jesus and find some meaning for yourself in them.
For me, I am working on the concept of loving my enemy. I have been reading some works of the Dalai Lama where he talks about extending compassion first to yourself, then to everyone you know, and finally to everyone else, including people who have harmed you. This is a truly difficult thing to do–to not only forgive people who have harmed you but to also extend compassion, or love your enemy. This time of year, as many celebrate Christmas in their own way, is the perfect time to attempt this extension of love and compassion, and to try to find our own light.
Want to order our stuff for the holidays? Here’s how:
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Read this amazingly told personal journey as a punk evolves into a multidimensional yoga practioner and punk. Read about some of the ills in modern yoga and some cures she offers. We’re hoping she joins the PRY crew very soon.
The Punk Rock Yoga mothership has landed in Montreal which means Canada Post prices on shipping. The bad news–shipping costs for t-shirts will be going up. The good news–shipping costs will stay right where they are through the end of the year. The web site reflects current sizes, colors, and styles available:
Get them now!
As the United States Federal elections approach labels are flying around. The contest is being framed as just that–a contest–with emphasis on winning and losing, and more disturbingly, “us versus them,” which is coming from both political parties.
It is right to be educated on the issues and to care about the outcome. It is right to show compassion for others and to care that people in need get assistance. It’s easy to get angry. I have found myself infuriated at times, and have needed to step back and observe my reaction.
The challenge is to not get caught up in the hatred, and in the labeling. It is difficult because there are strong sentiments of greed and bigotry in the dialogue. There is lots of labeling, which according to the teaching of yoga, is untrue. People are more than a set of labels.
My challenge to you, and to myself of course, is to try to practice the essence of the word “namaste” during this process. Remember that inside of everyone there is a common essence–you can think of it as a universal spirit, our shared humanity, or simply shared DNA.
Before engaging in debate, try for one minute to see inside someone with different views and try to find some sense of shared humanity or shared spirit. Work from the very basic level of “namaste.” If you can start from there, from a point where we all share a common essence, then maybe you can figure out some shared values and concerns. Or maybe you can recognize that many people are operating from a place of deep-seeded fear, and that the fear is manifesting in misguided, and rightfully objectionable ways such as prejudice.
I am not suggesting in any way that you will be able to persuade someone who disagrees with you. Instead, I am offering that you can maintain your emotional balance during this time by literally seeing through or seeing inside someone else and to perhaps even develop a sense of compassion. Again, I’m not suggesting you change your positions but to try and find for yourself a way to still recognize the humanity in others, and to rise above some of the ugliness we’ve seen so far.
Good luck and namaste,
London–it’s time is coming.
Classes starting in 2013. Join our mailing list to be notified when she kicks off classes.
We are thrilled to announce our newest teacher, Lindsey Ramirez, who will be teaching in Houston, Texas. Once again Lindsey will be teaching at Girls Rock Houston and will be offering regular classes as well. You can contact her at email@example.com.
This is the final of three posts based upon our forum discussion in NYC this June.
According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the definitive texts on yoga, the final step, or limb, on the yogic path is liberation. This term can mean so many things, so let’s look at it.
In a classic Indian view, it can mean your soul is so evolved and so pure that it no longer has to repeat the cycle of reincarnation. It’s free to just be.
I have a slightly different view, as described in this excerpt from the Punk Rock Yoga Manifesto: “I view liberation in a much subtler way, and as more of a temporary state. This liberation, where we transcend every biological impulse and every mundane thought, is like a butterfly. It will land upon you for an instant, and if you are very quiet and still it may linger long enough for you to notice. I cannot describe what liberation feels like for others. I can only share my own glimpse into transcendence, which, frankly, is difficult to put into words. I perceive it as absolute serenity, quiet, peace, and joy, where my normal concerns, aches, and pains fade into obscurity.”
Some students in the discussion group described their view of liberation as being unbound and unrestrained. We can look at this in a classic sense of feeling so free that we no longer have the needs of the flesh, such as food and water. Another way I choose to look at it is that while we inhabit a corporeal body, we do have bodily needs–either we cook the food for ourselves or pay someone else to do it.
The challenge is–can we find liberation while undergoing our duty?
Can we perform tasks such as scrubbing the toilet, taking the subway, calculating taxes, etc. but view them without feeling retrained or inhibited by them? Can we view them as merely tasks–nothing more nothing less–and can we detach our negative view from them. We can perceive our tasks as nothing more than our participation in dharma, or the regulatory order of the universe. They are part of the natural order of things–neither good nor bad.
But even beyond, I believe we go so far as to cultivate a sense of joy in the day-to-day. Yoga can be this spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. A mindful practice, or true time for ourselves no matter the amount, can help us shed the negativity that surrounds our chores and develop a a more neutral perspective–perhaps even a joyful one. can help us cultivate that sense of liberation even as we fold the laundry.
This is an excellent challenge–take the joy you feel after finishing a yoga class and challenge yourself to find that same serenity and joy in a routine task, maybe by just doing some deep breathing and staying focused on the task instead of letting your mind race light years ahead. By first becoming aware and concentrating, we can in fact turn our day-to-day lives into a giant extension of our yoga class. This is difficult, as so much of the world–it’s loud noise, it’s ubiquitous anger, it’s flashing lights–causes us to disconnect and think about anything else. But starting small, such as starting at home, can help cultivate this freedom even in a small amount and help us find liberation in more of our daily life.