Thursday, March 24, 2011

Foundational Questions for Spring

Welcome, Spring! I know it's rainy, cold and dark outside as I write this, but spring is officially here: time to surrender the past, rebirth, grow and change. It's always a busy time for me and this spring is no exception. Between teaching classes and planning future workshops, retreats, chanting sessions and other fun projects, my mind has been drawn to the foundational question of what is yoga? I've recently read several articles about what yoga is not; like shadows defining the form, we often use the negative to describe our subject. But it's important to remember that the shadow is not the form. So, what is yoga?

In promoting my work with cancer patients, I travelled to several doctor's offices to pass out flyers. When I let them know that I teach yoga to cancer patients, I often got a quizzical look. I then offered to give a demonstration to the staff to show that I would not be asking their patients to wrap their legs around their heads. Most people have one or two views of yoga: it's an excuse to take a nap, or it's a contortionist practice. After twelve years of practice, I can safely say it is both and neither of those.

To me, yoga is about relationship. It is a physical practice that helps us relate to our own bodies, an energetic practice that relates us to our own breath, a mental practice that relates us to our own mind and a spiritual practice that relates us to everything else. It can be as simple as a good stretch or as complex as a total quality of life overhaul. The magic ingredient is us; we plant the seed, we cultivate the practice and we reap the harvest. People need guidance to begin with and possibly along the way, but the guru is really inside. The articles that I've read all point to the subject leaving themselves out of the equation; often quite painfully, they learned that yoga is not that.

This spring, let go of what no longer serves you, stretch past your limits safely and watch yourself blossom, but always remember your inner guidance. Namaste.

Schedule updates and special events; please click description for more details...
  • Lorien will be away for a training March 27-April 1. Classes will continue with subs.
  • NEW! Starting Tuesday, April 5, Lorien will teach a Yin Yoga class noon-1:00pm at Breathe in Los Gatos.
  • Class change: Tuesdays 1:00pm class at Breathe is now a Wellness Yoga class, which means that anyone dealing with chronic pain, compromised immune systems or chronic stress from illness or injury can find ways to improve their total quality of life through gentle yoga practices. Class is offered by donation ($12 suggested, but no one turned away). Please help spread the word!
  • Saturday, April 23: Yoga as Cancer Support workshop 1:00-4:00pm at Breathe in Los Gatos; this workshop is donation-based and is for patients, caregivers and professionals working with cancer.
  • Sunday, April 24 (Easter) OM for Peace Annual Chant: 3:00-4:00pm at Breathe in Los Gatos; this free hour of chanting OM is our annual Easter ritual to connect with others in an effort to send a vibration of peace out into the world. No need to register, no previous chanting experience needed, just come with an open heart.
  • Friday, April 29 - Sunday, May 1: Yoga Retreat to the Beach Immerse yourself in this relaxing weekend retreat at the beach in Watsonville; only 2 beds lefts - register NOW!
  • Coming soon: Wellness Yoga DVD... stay tuned for more details!