Is there something inherently magical in the particular sequencing of Ashtanga Yoga? Maybe — Specific poses, flows and series undoubtedly effect our body-mind-spirit’s organs, systems and faculties in different ways.
Today is the New Moon. No class. This is also celebrated as Saturn Jayanthi here in North America, a celebration of Lord Saturn, Śanideva, the Lord of Destiny and Discipline….Read More
“All you are going to be, you are already. What you are looking for is already within you. Embrace your sufferings, for through them you will reach me…Read More
The elastic, shared, contemplative bodies of Malin Bülow."Oslo-based artist Malin Bülow creates performative installations in which humans resist and submit to tension created by stretchy lycra suits.Read More
If you've got some spare time for a rabbit hole MandalaGaba is a drawing board that specializes in mandalas and other artistic mathematical magic.Read More
We consider ritual to be an essential part of our days. So we were intrigued when David Brooks wrote a piece musing on the small acts that keep society together…Read More
"Om meditation not only affects the various parts of the brain, such as pre-frontal cortex, vagus nerve, amygdala and others but also affects the heart rate and respiratory rate." This study published in Psychological Thought shows promising evidence that Om mantra meditation may be helpful in healing anxiety and depression. [Read on PSYCT]
19 April 2018
Hanuman is the son of the wind (like our own breath), his father was Vayu and his mother a beautiful apsara known as Anjani. On this full moon we celebrate Lord Hanuman’s glorious appearance day.Some of you readers know that Hanuman brought us, Erica + Spiro together, so this is a most special holiday for us personally. For those of you don’t know the story, you can read about it here.
"Performing tapas, the spiritual seeker fuels the sacrificial flames residing within his spiritual heart, the abode of Brahmaṇaspati. As Agni blazes, a loud (but soundless) thunderclap is perceived: the cry of the Vaṣaṭ call by Brahmaṇaspati. The Vaṣaṭ call alerts the gods that an offering is made for their partaking. Eagerly, the gods rush to receive the oblation. In return, the gods shower the yajamāna with an abundance of divine plenitude.The yajamāna (sacrificer), fully integrated in all aspects of his being, awakens to a new consciousness. A single ray of light (immortal truth) now shines forth from within with the brilliance of a million suns. Facilitated by Brahmaṇaspati and his holy power of brahman, heaven and earth are wedded together in the cave of the spiritual heart of the aspirant." -The Divine Forces of the Lunar Nakṣatras as Portrayed in the Vedas: Mystical Forms, Ancient Epithets and Sacred Mythology, by Radhe
Tune into last week's Expanding Mind podcast, Erik's description— "Yogi, psychonaut, and dear old pal Spiros Antonopoulos returns to talk about the Ashtanga lineage, Crowley’s yoga chops, the gifts of rigorous practice, NYC punk yoga, psychedelic Patanjali, and the ups and downs of opening his & Erica Magill's new Los Angeles Yoga Club amid the Instagram storms of LA body culture." [Techgnosis]
Our pals Ashley & JC pushed us to The OA this past week, so we've been catching up. Beyond the tasty cinematic references, and compelling storytelling style, several pop California tropes emerge with resonance to our yoga practices. Here's a few we found compelling (and often concurrently silly)—▵The idea that we live locked in the prison of our own mind, and that to #examine ourselves—our blindspots and preconceptions—involves work, struggle and perseverance.▵But there's hope. The possibility to reach out and feel beyond our shackles, and experience something outside of ourselves (transcendence).▵Consciousness (and our identities and histories and memories) can move into other bodies.▵A diligent practice. A practice with many repetitions of a particular sequence of physical gestures (kinda looks like a fusion of Tai Chi with modern dance) with specific inhalations and exhalations tied to focus. So it’s easy to read as yoga.▵Through the practice of the five gestures, healing can occur.▵Specific methods (e.g., dreams, near-death experiences, and more) other worlds may be revealed or explored: “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” —TS Eliot▵One promising thread, which sadly dwindles a bit in season 2 is that some of the practices need multiple humans to access energies beyond the individual self. Togetherness. Collectivity. Small groups.Read more—
March 21, 2019 ❖ Full moon | Vernal EquinoxBegin with an inhalation (for a comfortable amount of time).Exhale for the same amount of time.Imagine inhaling the daylight, and exhaling the night.Repeat for a few minutes—focusing upon the feeling of balance, homeostasis, equilibrium and equality. Feel the subtle line between effort and surrender, between inhaling and exhaling, between ourselves and the solar system.
Strange that breathing can be at once so everyday, so forgettable – yet at the same time, the material plane on which all of life and death manifests. Read this worthwhile article, which surveys a good slice of the latest science on "conscious breathing" on Aeon… (And yes, DO HOLD YOUR BREATH with us at LAYC's next series of Breath Meditations!)
13 February 2018, The Malibu Hindu Temple
Śivaratri photo by @shivam_sharma_01
In the 1993 film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays a crotchety weatherman, Phil, ceaselessly reliving February 2nd over and over again, waking day after day to find that he must once again report on Punxsutawney Phil, the prophetic groundhog. According to lore, if Punxsutawney spots his shadow upon emerging from his burrow we’d better bundle up for six more weeks of winter. If, on the other hand, Phil's shadow is nowhere to be found then it’s said spring is around the bend.In other words - it’s bloody dark outside and we’re all in a hole. And we get one day out of the whole year to crawl out and IF there happens to be sun, it will reveal our shadows. This emergence offers a wake-up call, a break from the rut, from our habits, from the dark, dreary, damp, cold, dormant life. Hallelujah! There’s a crack and that’s how the light gets in.But what do we do after we’ve seen our shadows?In the film, Phil the weatherman experiences life as a time-loop, watching his self-centered mistakes and missteps happen again and again. Until he figures out that he can stop the loop by examining his ways, and, like Phil the groundhog, face his shadows.Phil’s repetitive, unending groundhog day can be seen as every day of our lives. Years might go by without our noticing - days, seasons and cycles passing one after the other right before our eyes. Like Phil, can we break free from the time-loop by paying attention?Contemplative practices, which are in themselves repetitive, hold the promise of this insight. We might stare at a wall day in and day out; or focus on the tip of our noses; or concentrate on the breath; or roll out a yoga mat and practice the same ashtanga yoga sequence that we did yesterday, today, and that we’ll do again tomorrow.In the Hollywood version we get a hero and a romantic ending to the tune of Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe.” In our version, we just go back to the mat. We habituate ourselves to a rhythm and method, to a sequence and breath count so that we might, through the tireless repetition, better see where we’re a little rough around the edges.Rhythm setting, we learned from the 2017 Nobel Prize winners for medicine & physiology, is present in all multicellular life, and in fact circadian rhythms keep our lives attuned to the Earth’s diurnal cycle - we rise and set with the Sun because of our biological clocks.So science reaffirms what perennial wisdom has always known. Groundhogs, humans, and creatures of all kinds crawl out of their holes to greet the dawn, or Uṣas, in Vedic cultures. Shining and radiant, Uṣas, who resides in the Gāyatrī Mantra brings relief from the dark, but also possibility, hope and a luminous path before daybreak.