Earth and Now

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October has brought a slower pace than the normal velocity that I've become accustomed to here in 2010. Without the demands of hungry tourist in Skagway or the intensity of ayurvedic studies in Albuquerque I have resumed efforts in teaching here in Florida, both on topics of yoga and ayurveda. The second weekend in October was spent in Orlando teaching and meeting the beautiful practitioners at The Yoga Shala, ( a quaint studio calmly placed in Winter Park, subtly hidden from the speed of the big city. If passing through the Orlando area for business or fun I highly suggest using any free time to practice with Krista Shirley or Sati Chmelar, both dedicated to the ashtanga tradition and both practice what they preach (a quality all teachers should have). This past weekend was spent teaching at the new Ananda Kula studio here in Jacksonville, Fl. The new owner and long time friend Tara Rawson kindly opened the doors for a delightful weekend on the great science of life, ayurveda. Meeting new friends and reuniting with old companions proved to be a warming experience and all the students expressed an authentic appreciation for the teachings of ayurveda. The next upcoming event will be held at Midnight Sun on Park St. in Riverside, Oct.29-31. Owner Maria Cox who has been a great friend for the past five years is opening her doors for me yet again, this time for ayurveda and all who wish to learn its beautiful teachings. Please contact me or Midnight Sun if interested in this seminar. But for now, be happy, be safe, and find love.

hari om

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My last evening in Skagway, AK was spent celebrating the last night of summer and the first morning of fall accented with a midnight dip in the ocean. 38 degrees and a full moon deemed to be a proper farewell to the far north and a town that taught me many lessons that never were expected. I left Skagway via the ferry Thursday morning and arrived to a rainy Juneau that evening, hitchhiked to the airport were I spent the night were the next day I traveled to Petersburg, Wrangle, Ketchican, to Seattle, the red eye to Atlanta, and finally to Jacksonville Saturday morning. I haven't spent much time in my hometown the past few years and my first week back has been a time of reunions and catch up. For the next few months I'll be teaching workshops on Ayurveda, with my whereabouts posted below. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Oct. 8-10 Introduction to Ayurveda, The Yoga Shala, Orlando, Fl

Oct. 15-17 Introduction to Ayurveda, Yoga Ananda, Jacksonville, Fl

Oct. 29-31 Introduction to Ayurveda, Midnight Sun, Jacksonville, Fl

Nov. 5-7 Introduction to Ayurveda, miami life center, Miami, Fl

Nov. 13-14 Ayurvedic Nutrition, Yoga Life, Jacksonville, Fl

Nov. 20 The Practice of Pranayama, Midnight Sun, Jacksonville, Fl

Friday, September 17, 2010

I deeply feel that there is something uniquely special when a person deliberately places themselves in a situation or place that strongly opposes their ideas or beliefs in order to see the usefulness of anything that has been learned up to a certain point in time. It's easy to understand the benefit of a certain practice when those around support and push you deeper into the imagined direction that is desired on a spiritual path. It is quite different when the support is gone or simply too far away and all that is left is the lingering memory of teachings or interactions that may have been taken for granted or not taken seriously. I met a woman this week that lives in Corpus Cristi , TX who expressed to me the difficulty of being in the 46% white minority and has no idea what the future holds for her and the town she lives in. I find that interesting. The point of this brief smattering of words is not to point a finger at a person but to bring awareness to the usefulness of what we know or desire to know. Let a practice be tested in the reality of the environment and give up the urge to prove the right-ness of anything that appears to be self-defining. Whether it be yoga or being a devote raw-food-ist let the practice speak for itself and let the need for being right die. A practice that works doesn't necessarily need to be told to anyone or proven to be more right than any other view, there is no fear of being wrong and there is no fear from the opposing thought it just is.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The departure of August is slowly introducing the first days of fall here in Skagway, AK with more rain and temps in the 50's. The natives of southeast Alaska appropriately called Skagway the land of the north wind and considered it a place no one should live with frigid 60 mph winter winds and temps that can drop 10 degrees below zero. With most of the lower 48 still baking in the 90's & 100's and the freezing Alaskan winter off in a distance I feel that my Florida bones are in a safe zone and that my return south next month will bring the best weather the Southeast US has to offer.

I've been in the works with several workshops that I'll be presenting throughout the fall in the hope of raising awareness around ayurveda and yoga. As my plans become more set I'll post my whereabouts for the coming season as well as being open for other ayurvedic interactions. I've noticed that my time in northeast Florida has been very little over the past two years, which pushes me to make the most out of every visit. It has been an interesting summer to say the least and reunion with my roots is going to be a warm welcome. I'm looking forward to being with friends and family and preparing yet again for another round of goodbyes as my time here in Skagway draws to an end.

Friday, August 20, 2010

प्रण Prana is the unique subtle phenomenon that lies deep within all living beings that gives and promotes the energetic expression in life. It's much more than extracting energy from the food we eat and the air we breath as you can fill a dead body up with this things and nothing will happen yet we are the essence of our diet and mental persona in a mystic exchange of our external environment with our internal physiological make up. Prana enters mainly through the forms of water, food and air as our bodies extract the nutrients, minerals, and oxygen that are needed to sustain life. It seems in modern day many things are happening all at once (is this not the era of instant internet and cell phone gratification) and the nervous system is bombarded with objects that pull the senses outward thus disturbing the even flow of the pranic energies within. Prana has the tendency to flow where your attention goes and if awreness is directed mostly inward prana will remain calm and even though as attenion is pulled outward it becomes something more irregular and superficial known as vata. This is the case in which prana looses its deep roots within the body and the vata qualities of mobility, lightness, and clearness express themselves as poor memory, spaceyness, and unfortunatly fear. As a side note, think, how many people do you know really have a great memory.

The practice of pranayama is to stretch one's prana bringing it from the superficial level to the subtlest levels of the tissues and to find some kind of control over its flow and possible tendency to become vata. In order to stretch your prana the breath must be elongated and slowed and with awareness directed inward, bringing the outer reality into an inner feeling. This can be experienced by completely empting the lungs of air and focusing the awareness about 9 inches from the nostrils, slowly inhale bringing the awareness along with oxygen from the nose inward to about 2 inches behind the naval. To exhale, reverse the path by slowly following the breath from the naval to a point 9 inches from the nostrils. Start with 5 minutes and increase to 15 minutes with the consistency of practice.

Breathing is both a conscious and unconsious act and will have a direct effect on the flow the prana takes. Like increases like and the quality and pace of breath have a unique relationship with the activity of the mind. Simplcity simply starts with being simple and in my simple opinion, a simple mind is a proundlt inspiring mind.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ojas is the very essence of a human body, which is the end product of all ingested food. It gives strength to both the immune and reproductive systems, which in return produces the qualities of love and compassion as well as creativity or laziness, attachment and dullness if poorly nourished. According to ayurveda it takes 40 days for each ingested meal to become mature ojas that flows within the general circulation, though certain substances such as milk, saffron, and ghee have a special affinity toward directly supporting ojas shorty after its consumption. Ojas is usually depleted when an individual has undergone tremendous physical exertion, excessive sex, insomnia, or general negative distractions of the mind.

Simple practices that develop strong healthy ojas are as follows:

1) Singing in the shower every morning has a special influence toward rasa dhatu which is the precursor for kapha dosha. Ojas is the essence of kapha dosha which is predominately the elements of earth and water and is created from rasa dhatu. Rasa can be translated as juice, sap, melody, or fluid. Thus as you bath every morning let yourself sing a juicy sappy melody while in the environment of so much water the soul is nurtured and harmonized.

2) Every night before bed drink a glass of warm milk with saffron, if vegan or lactose intolerant substitute almond milk. If you take triphala wait at least one hour to drink. Milk is considered the ojas of a cow and are one of the few animals that derive pleasure from being milked. Milk, saffron and almonds act directly on ojas and help strengthen immunity and induces sound sleep.

Put these into practice if so desired, learn from personal experience from what works and what doesn't then adjust to what your body needs.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's hard to believe that it's already been over a month since my arrival here in Skagway and it's even more interesting to believe that I've worn a jacket everyday since I've been here considering it simmering at 90-100 degrees in most parts of the world (35-40 degrees for the Celsius users). My days are spent tending to the needs of tourist who infiltrate the 20 blocks of Skagway and I'm constantly reminded that loving your neighbor is easier said than done. One of the most unusual encounters that I've been having on a somewhat regular basis is that certain travelers will say they're from a state such as Kentucky and then imply that its a state in the United States of America. From the time I've spent here thus far it's easy to say that Alaska doesn't feel like the rest of the lower 48 and though Skagway is only 20 miles from the border it's far from feeling like Canada, it's a beast all its own.

The word ayurveda is mostly a mystery to the towns 810 residence, which is a reminder that this great science is still hidden from plenty of the western world. Change is difficult but creating something new in daily life is profound and from simple alterations according to the ayurvedic perspective unique things will unfold. Thus my next seris of blogs will elaborate over simple practices that I have found from my personal experience to be of great benefit. So, stay tuned and for the time being be happy. Hari om and amen.