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So far ashayayo has created 19 entries.
1 04, 2018

Freedom & Bliss

By |April 1st, 2018|Yoga Off the Mat|0 Comments|

The temperature was a perfect 32º F, at 1:30 p.m., crystal blue sky and sunny. I had on my red and black ski shirt with one layer underneath and a single layer pant. Wearing my red headband and my new Smith sun glasses, I held my skate ski poles firmly in my hands in disbelief, skis on, standing in front of the lodge at my favorite place to ski, Notchview Reservation in Windsor, MA, ready to go. “Could I do it?” “Would I have to go slowly?” “Would I be in pain?” I was about to find out…

My heart thumped with the exuberance of a teenager. I was so excited to try out my new hip on skate skis. My smile broke ear to ear and off I went. A little timid at first, I was amazed – no pain. As I warmed up after a few minutes I began to dig in as I loved to do before my bone-on-bone hip a few years ago. Having skied since age five, my body knew exactly what to do. It was second nature. I gathered up speed and roared down the trail, down hills, up hills and around turns, whizzing by people, dominating the trail with authority and prowess! I am back! My hip is back!

After a quick 45 minute sprint, I returned to the lodge glowing more brightly than I can remember. I told everyone I saw, “I just skate skied for the first time with my new hip!” “Congratulations”, they exclaimed back to me. My joy was contagious. As I walked into the lodge a woman asked me how the skiing was. She told me I had the glow of great conditions. I […]

13 02, 2018

Healing is Part of Our Nature

By |February 13th, 2018|Yoga Off the Mat|1 Comment|

Healing is part of our nature if we allow it.

Since having my hip replaced the first week in January, I’ve been recovering at home and learning a lot about letting go and allowing nature to heal me. The first week was a little challenging.  Physical challenges from digestive issues to a fever thankfully passed in a couple of days. The second week was much better. Now walking without crutches and doing my PT and yoga exercises, I started to gain back my strength.

In the first 10 days, I tried to soldier through the pain. I had an aversion to taking the pain medication since I have heard so much negative about them. However, I was in more pain than I knew and lost hours of sleep every night trying to tough it out. Then I learned that getting a full night’s rest is the key to healing.

Inspired by a friend who had hip surgery recently and claimed her healing increased when she took her medication regularly and slept well, I decided to surrender my resistance and take the pain medication. What an amazing difference that made! I slept well and found new strength the next day. In fact, that day, I added on more yoga poses and then drove to my friend’s house to watch the Patriot’s game. What an amazing game! I really enjoyed myself. Just the release I needed after feeling so bound up with pain.

Now in my third week post-surgery, everything is going well. I feel less pain, am able to move around better, and I can finally flex my hip a bit. Hip flexion takes a while to come back but it helps tremendously with walking, putting on socks, and getting dressed! Today […]

24 01, 2018

Enlightenment: Simple Pleasures & Regular Practice

By |January 24th, 2018|Yoga Off the Mat|0 Comments|

Welcome to 2018! May this be your best year yet!

Recently I’ve been reflecting on the term “enlightenment”. It’s a big word that holds a lot of meaning, power, and misconceptions. I honestly do not know what enlightenment means, nor am I focused on reaching it. In fact, I think the whole idea of achieving enlightenment is a diminishment and insult to consciousness itself. If there is an “end game” called enlightenment, is that something we’re supposed to be going for? Doesn’t that suggest that we are deficient and somehow flawed as we are now? If you believe that, then you might also believe that the universe is flawed. And if the universe is flawed and has made a mistake, then you might subscribe to the belief that YOU are a mistake. Yikes! This kind of view really smacks of a shame-based paradigm that is outdated and no longer useful. The superficial understanding of enlightenment to me is tinged with perfectionism, hierarchy, and judgment.

In the Tantra, you are already free.

Enlightenment is not something other than you that exists somewhere else. It’s a state of recognition that comes from the heart with clarity of perception of what’s happening now. It’s like trying to tune into a radio station (non-digital) with a fuzzy connection compared to a clear, pristine, static-free connection. When your connection is clear, you hear the music. When it’s fuzzy, you hear the static. Instead of being a state of consciousness or a place you go, to me enlightenment is a simple experience of clear perception, free of past conditioning, free of the angst of worry, free of any pattern of unworthiness or personal struggle through your willingness to embrace all states and experiences […]

13 12, 2017

The Brahmas Viharas: Four Celestial Abodes

By |December 13th, 2017|Yoga Practices|0 Comments|

Given this time of holiday cheer, we usually find ourselves visiting our families or hanging out with friends more than normal. If you are anything like me, being with family can bring up old issues and minor irritations. I’m pretty good at letting things go and using my yogic practices to ward off judgment. But there are times when, for instance, your Uncle Lester just won’t stop talking. Or in my family, I often get triggered by well-meaning, bothersome patterns.

My mom is very loving and I adore her. But I still get activated sometimes when she tries to suggest things or take care of me without my asking for help. I go back into my pattern of isolation because I feel smothered. Clearly that’s my issue and no matter how much I work on myself, I tend to fall into that old habit. Or it could be something my dad says. He tends to be prickly on the outside but a sweet, mush ball on the inside. He is a very loving and generous man. But I still get activated sometimes when he uses judgmental language and a harsh tone. Even though I practice yoga, I still get activated. It happens. What’s different now after many years of practice, is that I can more fully witness my patterns without getting caught in them for too long.

In terms of the Holidays and the practice of gratitude, it can be really difficult to feel authentic gratitude when you’re with the people you love most. How do you manage your relationships and your reactions to family and/or friends? This is a great contemplation worthy of your attention.
Ancient Meditation Practice (with a few personal twists)
I want to share an ancient meditation practice […]

5 06, 2015

It Takes Strength to Follow Your Heart

By |June 5th, 2015|Todd Norian, Yoga Off the Mat|0 Comments|

Greetings!

I want to continue with the 13 vitamins for living a happy and healthy life. But after returning from a phenomenal weekend workshop at the Arlington Center near Boston last weekend, I want to share a little inspiration with you first. I feel so graced and uplifted by the receptivity and authenticity of the students in attendance.

I taught about the heart being the center of the universe and that the highest purpose of the practice is to return to your heart and learn how to follow your heart. Ashaya means, “abode of the heart” and underlines the essential purpose of the practice – to regain access to the wisdom of the heart. When you come home to your heart there’s a moment of recognition, a pause, and a space where you realize you are already whole and complete. You realize that life is a gift and a miracle meant to be savored, not a problem to be solved.

Following your heart takes strength. You need strength because when you follow your heart, you may disappoint others. To keep you from abandoning your own center and caving into what others want and expect of you, you need strength, a kind of steadfastness to stand by your own side. If you don’t regularly disappoint others, you’re probably disappointing yourself instead.
 
There are two kinds of strengths needed to follow your heart, humility and high self-esteem. Humility relates to your capacity to open to a bigger energy greater than yourself. “Greatness is knowing you are greater than yourself.” (Dr. Douglas Brooks). But without self-esteem, humility leads to self-rejection or making yourself small.

When I moved out of Kripalu many years ago, I had no job, no money, and no business plan. On a walk with a close friend, I complained about how bad off I […]