Stephanie's Gentle Blog

A group of bats, hanging at the ceiling of a cave notice a fellow bat, STANDING upright below them on the floor of the cave. Surprised by this unusual behavior, they ask their friend: "What's wrong? What are you doing down there?"
And their friend shouts back: "Yoga!"
This month in our morning Gentle class we will focus awareness on finding softness and ease in inversions. By bringing our hearts gently above our heads, we inspire confidence and youth within ourselves. As always, we will start slow, use our blankets, blocks, straps, and the wall as we incorporate asanas such as Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge) as well as Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) in our morning practice. Inversions are an important part of our asana work. They not only bring balance to hormone production and tone our internal organs, but inversions increase blood flow and circulation, improve the lymphatic system as well as the immune system.  By practicing these gentle inversions we can begin to see things from a wonderful new perspective and find contentment within ourselves along with the world that surrounds us.  
In our meditation practice this month will introduce the five functions of the mind with a focus on
Pramana (correction perception) and Viparyaya (misconception). We will continue Ujjayi breathing (inhale/exhale through the nose) in our Pranayama (breath work) practice, however, with flowers, plants, pollens and molds beginning to bloom in North Texas we will also incorporate some Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breath) to help clean, clear and purify our breath and sinuses.
Our group intention throughout the month will focus on the
Niyama: Santosha (Contentment).
Our mantra this month will be inspired by the wonderful and incomparable
Diana Ross’s “Upside Down”.  
As always I encourage everyone to let me know what else you would like to include or exclude in your practice.  Remember this is YOUR practice and I am happy to lead you down whatever path your body, mind, and spirit need on a Monday morning.

A Sutra and Bhagava Gita Study

The famous chant from BHAGAVAD GITA:
Karmanye Vaadhika-raste, Maa Phaleshu Kadachana; Maa karma-phala-hetur-bhoorma, MaTe sangostwakarmini.
Your right is to work only,
But never to its fruits; Let not the fruits of action be thy motive, Nor let thy attachment be to inaction.
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, Verse 47.
Sutra 2.7
Excessive attachment is based on the assumption that it will contribute to everlasting happiness.
Pleasure is often times followed by attachment. In this sutra Patanjali wanted us to look at all of our attachments’ and determine if those attachments are the pattern of our emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual attachments. Pleasure always comes from holding on to things that you like, and pain is always followed by aversion of the things that you dislike. When a particular things or person gives us pleasure our energy travels along with the mind to that person or things as a result and we can get so attached to it. We can’t image our life to live without those things and this is what Raga (attachment) is. For example we always think that eating chocolate or having a new car will give us a new happiness in life. However we fail to realize that the chocolate or the new car has not given us any new happiness, but it just triggered the old happiness within us.
When we rely on something or someone for our happiness the balance of energy and mind is tipped outside. As an outcome of this we are unable to find the centered state of being with us. Finally one should not get oneself confused that excessive attachments are based on assumption that it will contribute an everlasting happiness. Eventually all attachment will need to be released to find peaceful contentment and liberation from this wheel of Karma.