February 2010 - Issue 39
February already! Time moves fast.
In a few days we welcome the world to the Olympics in Vancouver.
I haven't any tickets for events, but I'm definitely going to check
out the free events. I'm not sure what I'll find, but I know
it will be busy and fun.
The Olympics have good and not so good aspects. One of the
downside ones, is it will affect some of our classes. We ran
Baby Sign Language at Roundhouse early, so that we'd finish before
February. Riley Park will be affected greatly. If you're
coming to classes there, arrive early. There is no street
parking, and the parking lot is for the community center patrons
only. Park your car, go in and get a ticket and bring it back
to your car.
Some of our classes run for 10 weeks and others run for 5 or 6
weeks and then begin another session. For the shorter
sessions, we begin offering them again this month. So be sure
to see what's available at
www.intoyoga.ca/classes.htm. Register early to secure your
In this month's Newsletter you will find the following topics:
Quieting the Mind and Being Present
Explore Tantric Yoga with Rod Stryker
Sheri in Caricature
Ginger Almond Pears
Nutritional Cleanse Seminars at Work
We Want Your Feedback
Promote YOUR Business
Quips and Quotes
Find us on Twitter and Facebook
Your Contributions Welcome
Email A Friend
the Mind and Being Present
by Gina Lake
Published in www.Yoga.com
The Self speaks to us primarily through intuition. It is
the language of the Heart. The value of meditation and other
spiritual practices that quiet the mind is that they make
intuition more accessible. Most people need these practices to
get over the hurdle of the dominance of the mind and into
greater alignment with the Self.
Meditation, or any other activity
that focuses the mind, causes the mind to become quiet because
it keeps it busy with a task. Actually any activity that we are
fully engaged in can serve as a meditation. When we focus all of
our attention on something, the mind becomes quiet and serves us
only when needed.
We tend to skim by on the surface of life, instead of diving
into the moment and really experiencing it. The mind keeps us at
a distance from the real experience and, instead, substitutes
thoughts about the experience. It distances us from the present
moment, where life is rich and alive. We can learn to be more
present to the moment by just noticing what is going on. This is
usually accomplished by taking our attention off of thoughts and
putting it on whatever else is happening in the moment.
Exercise: Being Present
This is a practice for every moment,
no matter what the circumstances.
Being present means giving your
attention to everything that is happening in the moment, not
just to your thoughts. If a thought arises, notice it and then
continue to notice whatever else is present. When you are
engaged in a task and your mind wanders off of it, bring your
attention back to the task, to the sensations that are present,
and to the entire experience of that moment. Soon it will be
natural to be present to whatever is going on in the moment.
Doing a more formal kind of meditation is another very helpful
practice. When done on a regular basis, meditation helps
establish a calm mental state, which makes the intuition (and
the Self’s guidance) more accessible. It is the most effective
spiritual technique available for shifting out of the egoic
state of consciousness and into the experience of our true
nature. It is also no more complicated or difficult than being
present to an activity.
Exercise: Sitting in
Set aside some time in a quiet place
for this. Start by sitting in meditation for 10 minutes, and
slowly increase this as your enjoyment of meditation increases.
Be sure to make this as comfortable, enjoyable, and pleasant as
possible so that you look forward to doing this. Try to do this
daily, even if only for a few minutes.
Choose something to focus on that
you enjoy so that your meditation will be pleasurable. If you
are auditory, you would probably enjoy listening to music or to
the sounds in the room. If you are more kinesthetic, you would
enjoy focusing on any physical sensations that are present and
also on any subtle energetic sensations. If you are more visual,
you might enjoy gazing at a picture of a saint, a work of art,
colors, flowers, or something in nature.
Whenever your mind wanders from what
you are focusing on, gently bring it back. Also notice what you
are experiencing as you sit in meditation. While the mind is
busy with what it is focusing on, experience is still happening.
This experience is who you are! As you practice meditation more,
your mind will wander less and for shorter periods of time, and
you will spend increasing amounts of time in the now.
Once you begin spending more time in the now, meditation becomes
very pleasurable. The now is intensely pleasurable. It has
everything: joy, bliss, peace, contentment, fulfillment, love,
and wisdom. You will wonder why you ever wandered from the now,
but then you will catch yourself doing it again. The mind is
very seductive even though the now is so joyous and full. Even
those who live mostly in the now find themselves wandering
through the corridors of the mind from time to time.
Thinking can be fun. The Self enjoys thinking when it is
appropriate, and thinking can serve the Self. Not all thinking
is a problem. It is our relationship to it that causes the
problem. When we become identified with our thoughts, we lose
awareness of the now. It is possible, however, to think and not
become identified with our thoughts. When we remain aware of the
Self while we are thinking, then thinking is kept in its
Thinking can be like any other
activity we are present to. We can be present to our thoughts
just as we are present to whatever else is part of that moment.
When we are present to our thoughts, it doesn’t feel like we are
thinking them but more like we are noticing them being thought,
which is very different from the usual way of thinking.
Exercise: Being Present to
You can practice being present to
thoughts whenever they arise. Through this practice, your
relationship to thought can change.
Notice whatever thought is arising
right now. Observe it as if you were standing at a distance from
it. What is the experience of thinking? Notice that thinking
seems to be contained in your head. What is aware of thinking?
Is this Awareness contained by anything, even your body? How big
is it? Does it have a boundary? What is the experience of this
Awareness? This is who you are. You are the Awareness that is
aware of thoughts coming and going.
The thoughts that arise in your mind
have nothing to do with who you really are. What arises in your
mind is not up to you. It is just the conditioning you were
given. Without following a thought, commenting on a thought, or
holding an opinion about a thought, simply observe how your
thoughts come and go: One thought replaces another. Where do
they come from? Where do they go? Notice how little coherence
there is between thoughts and how they jump from subject to
subject. At times, it seems they are designed solely to get your
attention. What else do you notice about them? Are there
different voices attached to them? Do you notice certain themes?
How true are they? Do they have an impact on this Awareness?
Being present to thoughts this way
allows us to be objective about them. With objectivity, we can
examine them in a way that is not possible when we are
identified with them. Through this examination, a great deal can
be learned about the nature of our conditioning, and this can
free us from it.
This new relationship to the mind is very freeing. It not only
frees us from our conditioning but it frees us to be aware of
the fullness of the moment. Because the mind no longer has the
power to draw us into identification, we are free to give our
attention to the whole of life instead of only to our thoughts.
What we discover is that part of what is happening in the whole
of life is that the Self is speaking to us in its own
Excerpted from Gina Lake’s new book,
Radical Happiness: A Guide to Awakening. Thanks to
author Gina Lake who has a Masters degree in Counseling
Psychology and over twenty years experience supporting people in
their spiritual growth. In addition, she has authored several
books on spirituality, including: Pathways to Self Discovery
and Symbols of the Soul. She also compiled and edited
Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate
Self, based on the teachings of her husband Nirmala. Together,
they offer satsang (inquiry into the nature of being) and
spiritual retreats. You can visit Gina at
Explore Tantric Yoga with Rod Stryker
SUN, MOON and FIRE: AWAKENING THE
TRUE POWER OF YOGA!
South Okanagan Yoga Academy and Okanagan Yoga Essentials
A YOGA RETREAT IN NARAMATA with Rod Stryker
Explore Tantra Yoga Friday 6pm to Sunday 1pm June 11-13, 2010
For more information or to register go
Sheri in Caricature
While I was at the Bay Downtown the other day, there was a
fellow doing really cool caricatures of people. I had mine
done. I can't figure out how to embed it into this newsletter,
but if you'd like to see it, I've included it as an attachment. If you want more information talk with Mark at
Arm & Leg Stretch
1. Stand erect with your
arms at your sides
2. Find a focus point on the floor or
wall ahead of you
3. Slowly bend your
right knee bringing the
heel up to the buttock.
Grab the top of your
foot with your right
4. Inhaling, slowly
raise your left hand
overhead, keeping the
arm beside the ear.
5. Exhaling, push
your heel into your
6. Inhaling, look up
towards your raised hand
7. Hold posture and breathe
8. Inhale. Exhaling,
slowly lower your arm
then your leg
9. Repeat on the opposite side
DANCER’S POSE (Natarajasana)
A more advanced version of the Arm & Leg Stretch
Follow the first 6 steps of the Arm & Leg Stretch
7. Exhaling, stretch your left arm forward, leaning
forward from the hips, pushing your right heel away from
your buttock, while raising your thigh
8. Hold posture and breathe
10. Repeat on the opposite side
-strengthens and relieves pain in lower back
-improves balance, concentration, poise and posture
-relieves tension in back of thighs
-strengthens and tones the legs and arms
-expands the chest
-increases shoulder mobility
Ginger Almond Pears
Pears are one of the few fruits that actually improve in texture
and flavor after being picked a little green. You can store
them in a paper bag for a couple of days to speed up
ripening. A little softness around the stems and a change in
skin color means they're ready. Bartletts, red Bartletts, or
Anjou varieties have the best flavor and are good for
cooking. When the time comes for thickening the pear sauce,
I prefer arrowroot over cornstarch, although it is a little
harder to find. Arrowroot comes from a tropical tuber whose
root stalks are dried and ground into a fine starchy powder
that's very easy to digest. Sauces thickened with arrowroot
are a little finer than those thickened with cornstarch but
you can use either.
The most potent
ingredient in this dessert, and the one that gets it into my
cookbook though, is the ginger. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is
known throughout the world for its tonic and spiritually uplifting
properties. When used fresh, it's especially effective at improving
digestion and calming nausea and indigestion — making it a great
follow-up to any hearty meal.
5 firm ripe pears
3 cups apple cider
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
Salt to taste
1. Peel the pears, quarter them lengthwise, and core. Slice
pears thinly and place in a saucepan with the apple cider
and ginger root. Add a pinch of salt.
2. Bring to a
boil, reduce heat and simmer until pears are tender, about 15
cornstarch or arrowroot in 1/3 cup cold water and add to the
simmering pears, stirring, until the sauce is thick and clear.
4. Remove from
heat and stir in almond extract. Serve warm or cold.
Nutritional Value Per Serving:
0.9 g total fat (0 g sat)
0.0 mg cholesterol
46.7 g carbohydrate
0.8 g protein
4.7 g fiber
& Nutritional Cleanse Seminars
How are your New Year's Resolutions going? You can
help them along by inviting us to your office for on-site
Yoga/Pilates classes. We'll provide a qualified instructor to guide
you and your fellow staff in Yoga or Pilates classes.
We have instructors available to suit your time - early
morning, lunch time, or after work. You choose. Clear a
room, bring a Yoga/Pilates mat and we'll be there!
If you want to look and feel better this year, what could
be easier than taking a break at work and moving into a state of
perfect bliss for 45 minutes once or twice a week?
Classes start as low as $5.
Or ask us to come talk about nutritional cleansing. This is an
easy, affordable, proven method of ridding body fat bringing your
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charge for these talks.
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Quips and QuotesA
life of awareness and simplicity enables one to cultivate one's
inner life and to be in the state of complete harmony. Sato
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