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  • 10/17/2019 6:55 AM | Anonymous
    Alison West, who came to yoga after years as a respected art historian (Ph.D, taught at Barnard/Columbia, published by Cambridge University Press), brings the eye of a sculpture specialist to the study of the human body. Her interest in scoliosis was fueled both by her own right thoraco-lumbar curve and her mother’s severe scoliosis, generated by having her left arm braced overhead for the first six months of her life. A boyfriend’s scoliosis is what originally brought her to yoga itself. She was looking for something that might help him with his back. Together they started yoga classes in Munich. When she returned to New York, she continued her studies, slowly making it her career path, and went on to train with both Elise Miller and Boby Fultz, the two Iyengar pioneers of Yoga for Scoliosis. She has developed new material and brought to her specialization the use of mudras, energy-channeling hand gestures that can deeply impact the body and mind.
     
    Alison’s studio, Yoga Union, is home to an extensive, dedicated back-care program for posture and back health, scoliosis, herniation and other sagittal issues of the spine. Every winter, it also offers a major 120-hour Backcare & Scoliosis training, the most comprehensive in the world. Alison will also be teaching a Yoga for Scoliosis retreat in Spain in June 2020. Others have described her work as life-saving. For Alison, helping students find health and well-being is her greatest reward.
     
    The YTA Yoga for Scoliosis workshop will give you basic tools for reading a back and understanding fundamental principles of action to help balance the spine as well as the entire, interconnected organic body.
     
    What others say:
    “I have been taking weekly classes with Alison [West] for four years. My own moniker for Alison is that she conducts the “Oxford" classes of Yoga. Alison combines the architecture, geometry, physics, anatomy, soft tissue and philosophy of Yoga in every class. She teaches seriously, but with joy. She wants us to, “Have FUN!"
    ~ Nancy Hoffman
     
    “Take every class and workshop you possibly can with Alison West, one of the most well studied teachers in today's yoga community! Her teaching is informative, enlightening, empowering and above all extremely safe. You will be under excellent care, while delighted with discovery and self- inquiry as Alison guides you through a practice, pose or workshop with precision and grace. I have participated in numerous workshops with Alison and I cannot wait for the next one!”
    ~ Michelle Nelson
     
    The best part [of the retreat] was being with Alison West, a master yogi and pioneer in yoga for scoliosis and back care for an entire week! She is a caring and sharing teacher who creates a collegial learning environment. By the end, I felt like all the participants were great friends on a wonderful renewed path of yoga.
    ~ Yoga for Backcare & Scoliosis Teacher Kristine Kuolt.
     
    I could go on about my experience, but to tell you this trip has changed my life is amazing to me. I am awake to things in my life that I was completely incapable of changing. Alison is quite an experience. Her years of study along with her ability to guide us as unique people with our own issues is more than unusual. It was a great experience!
    ~ Patty Arnold
  • 09/16/2019 6:45 AM | Anonymous

    From the base of the mountain, many paths. From the peak, only one moon.

    While yoga has its roots in Indian Vedic scriptures, qigong grew out of the Chinese Taoist pursuit of longevity. For me, they are different paths up the same mountain; the goal of each is to improve the health of the body, to calm and clarify the mind, and to strengthen connection to the human spirit and humanity. These forms complement each other so well, that for me a synthesis of yoga and qigong as a practice has become the most potent combination for the improving my life and the lives of my students. 

    Looking at each system separately (and I know I’m speaking in broad categorizations), yoga has been described as the “union of body, mind, and spirit.” The physical practices of yoga are geared towards the cultivation of strength and flexibility in the body. As I see it, for the most part the postures of yoga are quite lineal, with straight lines and angles predominating. Alignment and precision are not only important, but required; to really “stretch” the body we need to bring sustained effort to opening the connective tissue in ways that do not injure. This requires correct technique, time, and skillful application of effort. 

    Qigong translates as “life energy cultivation” and utilizes practices that enhance the flow of life force in our bodies. The exercises often involve connecting breath with gentle, circular, flowing movements, bringing suppleness to the body and flexibility to the mind. It is this suppleness that allows the free flow of healing life force (qi) and connects one to authentic being. Through qigong practice the senses are cleansed, and the movement of energy is experienced as pure joy.

    These two systems, yoga and qigong, are not at odds with each other. On the contrary, they are mutually supportive paths up the same mountain, from which the  “one moon” can be seen in all it’s brilliance. Strength and flexibility through yoga (ability to hold firm) and suppleness  (ability to hold yield) through qigong.

    So, in the end, the objective is to meld the linear (expansion in all directions) and the circular (return to the source), creating a practice that improves strength, flexibility and suppleness. This brings balance to yin and yang, heaven and earth, sun and moon, male and female. Dancing with this “pair of opposites” brings balance to the whole being and connects us to all of nature. 

    For more about Daniel, visit yogaofenergyflow.com/.

  • 09/10/2019 7:05 AM | Anonymous

    From the late '60s forward, I had the good fortune to study with many of the renowned yoga teachers who had come to the U.S. from India. Yoga felt incredibly familiar to me and totally in alignment with my path and purpose, but I always felt that something was missing, something as yet undefined. It seemed that many of the Eastern teachers assumed that Western bodies and Western psyches were somehow not quite ready for the truly authentic, unabashed techniques that would deliver us to unprecedented breakthroughs and bliss. That all changed when Yogi Bhajan unveiled Kundalini Yoga, which I encountered as a student at the University in Chicago in 1972. 

    Kundalini is a tantric path. Tantra means that the seen and unseen are interwoven. It also posits that desperate times (Kaliyug or the Age of Darkness, which we're in now despite the onset of the Aquarian Age) call for desperate measures (i.e., what works!). Kundalini Yoga is immediate, powerful, and potent. It's a gift to humanity from the saints and sages of the ages and lets us enter into the profound process of our unfolding in the context of life as we know it. Life is the crucible for our transformation process. But we need to approach life with a firm discipline and the willingness to take our yoga beyond our mat and extend it to everything we do. 

    I first met Yogi Bhajan in 1973. He was not like the swamis and gurus I'd met previously. He was more like Sean Connery in the Wind and the Lion rather than Ben Kingsley in Ghandi. What I learned from Yogi Bhajan was exactly what I'd always been looking for in my yoga journey: something immediate; something with some spiritual juice; and, most importantly, something that I could pass on as a teacher to help people deal effectively with all of the issues they invariably encounter. 

    For many years I was the only Kundalini Yoga teacher in Manhattan. I had a number of yoga centers and throughout the '80s and beyond I published books, videos, and DVDs. In the 2000s I met Ana Brett, who was a sub for the Vinyasa teachers at my studio. We soon merged into one unit and began to teach together. We recently published The Kundalini Yoga Book—Life in the Vast Lane, a 10-year project. 

    This year marks my 45th year of teaching. Yoga now in the U.S. is a bit bipolar. On one hand, it's trendy and silly (goat yoga, beer yoga, nude yoga…) and conversely it's evolving into something amazing. What I foresee is a Grand Synthesis of yoga styles that will be woven through the fabric of our culture and consciousness. 

    A Kundalini Yoga teacher is a spiritual teacher because Kundalini Yoga is all about spirit. When spirit is present we can live our greatness. The purpose of Kundalini Yoga is to give us the means to live lit up. What I see happening among many modern yogis is that people are sometimes losing sight of what's important. The key is to remember what the saints and sages have been telling us for 5000 years. Successful living means bringing our minds and emotions under conscious control. Also, we need to deal with karma before it deals with us. We need to live in a way that honors and gathers energy. Our chakras, nadis, nerves, and all bodily systems need to be aligned and purified every day. Every day we need to ingratiate ourselves with the self that never dies. Kundalini Yoga gives us the means to do all that every day so we can live the high life. Then our life can become our yoga and yoga can be our life. 

    I look forward to seeing all of you on September 14 at the YTA's kickoff for the 2019 season of workshops. You will experience a yoga workout, and we'll also be focusing on yoga tools for every form of modern malaise. These include: thyroid issues, addiction, weight loss, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, issues around menopause, adrenal fatigue, digestive issues, depression, insomnia ... and anything you would like to request a protocol for. 

    Increase your professional palette. Share in a powerful group energy. Give your life and practice an energy boost. Manifest destiny and heal the world!

    To learn more about Ravi, go to raviana.com.

  • 12/01/2018 4:55 PM | Anonymous

    I just read a column for a newsletter that I wrote 9 years ago entitled Healing Through Dance.  I had written it after my 53rd birthday ... Yes, that makes me 62 years old now.  And the essence of what I wrote in that article still holds true for me today, that dance is healing.

    In the article, I was sharing how some painful feelings were opening up for me in celebrating my birthday. Any of you know that experience, where celebrating your birthday brings up issues!?

    A few days after that birthday, I was teaching at my studio and because of my struggles around my birthday, I had no inspiration to teach, nothing to give. Yet the music spoke to my spirit, and the pain I felt around my birthday transformed into the joy of dance.

    So as I’m in my 60s, I still have the same joy through dance as I had in my teens!! I would have never imagined when I was in my late teens and discovering dance as a career path that I would be dancing like this at 62!

    Not only that, I still feel as connected to the grace, power, and aliveness in my body—maybe even more so now than I had over 40 years ago. As I've cultivated more mindfulness and connection to energy within the body, it actually feels like I feel MORE joy and life force moving within me as I dance now. What a blessing!

    What's the secret to healing through dance? My sense is that what makes dance healing is that it keeps our spirit young. When rockin' music is playing what do kids do? Yes, they dance! Put the same music on in a room full of adults and what do they do? They usually talk. Something has happened to the spontaneity of our spirit that we had as children and how our spirit was intimately connected to our body.

    We can recover this lost connection of body and spirit. That's why I call Shake Your Soul "the yoga of dance." When our body and spirit return to each other—THAT is yoga! The key to recovering our spirit's youthfulness through dance can be as simple as putting on a piece of music that moves you and let it move you!  

    Honestly, that is a big part of it—trusting our movement instinct. Yet there is something even MORE wonderful when we have this kind of communion experience of our bodies and souls in a community of other bodies and souls. Dance, indigenously, was a community experience for the most part.

    For me, the art of teaching a dance class that invites people's spirits and bodies to unite is in the linking of meditative movement disciplines like yoga and qi gong into the dance experience. This provides participants a direct connection to embodied spirit that can then find its way into the dance. Alongside this, I build in creative dance exercises into my classes, what many of us did as kids, like follow the leader.

    We all need permission and support to reconnect to our creative spirits. We all get the encouragement to exercise,  become more flexible, and increase muscular strength and cardiovascular health—all so very important. Yet what about the health of our being that IS about reconnecting our bodies and movement with our life force or spirit? How can we be disciplined in terms of building movement back into our lives but at the same time connected to the FREEDOM of our spirits that dance can bring us?

    I invite you to answer these questions experientially through dancing with me at my Shake Your Soul workshop January 12th.  It would be a joy and privilege for me to support you in uniting your body with your spirit through dance. 

    To learn more about Dan, visit leveninstitute.com.


  • 11/20/2018 6:52 PM | Anonymous

    My background is in the performing arts. I have been presenting comic mime, health, literacy, and stress management educational programs in schools, libraries, and theaters for over 30 years. In 2009, Mary Rives and Keith Carlson offered a Laughter Yoga session at my performing arts guild. I loved it. I felt great on the drive home and for several hours afterward. That night, I read online everything I could about Laughter Yoga and Dr. Kataria. I ordered and studied several Laughter Yoga books, CDs, and DVDs. I shared Laughter Yoga with everyone I met. I set up a number of friends that I would call and, without a word, simply laugh together to relieve stress. 

    In 2010, I took my Laughter Yoga Leader Training with Rebecca J. Foster and immediately set up a weekly Laughter Yoga club. I started offering classes in senior centers. I also presented free public awareness programs and mini-demos everywhere I could. I started including Laughter Yoga follow-along segments in my comic mime shows, health shows, and stress management programs. I did over 500 of these shows, sharing Laughter Yoga with audiences of 200 to 600 people at a time. From a desire deep in my heart to share Laughter Yoga with people near and far, I created several “Laugh Along with Robert” YouTube videos. To my surprise, they became very popular and increased my laughing audience worldwide by the thousands. 

    In 2011, I attended Jeffrey Brier’s Laughter Yoga Teacher Training and began leading two-day Laughter Yoga Leader Trainings and presenting Laughter Yoga in corporations, schools, hospitals, fitness studios, minimum security drug and alcohol rehab facilities . . . you name it. In  2013, I attended and assisted Dr.  Kataria’s 5-day Laughter Yoga Teacher Training in  Orlando, Florida , and was invited to Japan to share my style of Laughter Yoga.  In 2015, I became a Laughter Ambassador and in 2016 I was trained and mentored by Dr. Kataria to be a Certified Laughter Yoga Master Trainer. I have taught over 30 Laughter Yoga Leader Trainings in the USA and Japan.

    Personally, the real benefits of Laughter Yoga came when I committed myself to practicing pranayama and Laughter Yoga everyday.  I have witnessed myself become more playful, joyful, generous, giving, friendly, peaceful. and relaxed. I am more present with my family and friends. I had a difficult/distant relationship with my father and in his later years he happily attended my Laughter Yoga classes. I believe it may have eased some of the symptoms of his Parkinson's disease. My younger sister occasionally attends my Laughter club and my older sister graduated from my first Laughter Yoga Leader training in 2012.

    Mentally and physically, I am much healthier now. I get sick less often, can exercise more, and breathe more easily than ever before. In my early 30s, I suffered from several trauma-induced and stress-related illnesses including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and allergies. To heal, I practiced mindfulness meditation, Tai-Chi, Qigong, and yoga. Since 2009, Laughter Yoga has been a major part of my healing process and has helped to greatly reduce many of my symptoms.

    Socially, things have opened up for me too. I am a better listener now and more understanding and compassionate. People everywhere are friendlier to me. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of a social network of  laughing, caring, Laughter Yoga friends all around the world!

    Professionally, I am much more understanding of my clients’ needs and am able to “go with flow” with greater ease when "surprise" situations occur. Laughter Yoga has been exceptionally beneficial for me as a performer and speaker. It has given me tremendous control of my breathing and vocal quality. I am able to give more of myself and be of greater service. Laughter Yoga has helped me reach, and truly connect with, an even more diverse group of people, in an ever-widening circle of joy. I have cotaught with several Laughter Yoga professionals and look forward to more laughing partnerships in the future. The ripple effect of Laughter Yoga is amazing and very profound.

    Robert Rivest is presenting Laughter, Expression, and Joy on December 8.

    Find out more about Robert at robertrivest.com.

  • 10/23/2018 12:32 PM | Anonymous

    One night while I was in college, some friends and I began discussing philosophy, reaction to the Viet Nam war and the military presence at our college, and if there was a common point between spirituality or activism. Our feeling was that spiritual practice is an internal process where we see external reality as an illusion, and activism is believing that only focused political action can create change. That night, we spoke into the wee hours. In the morning, my friend needed to stop at the library to work on a paper. I accompanied him and was drawn to the philosophy section. My body drew me to the yoga section—right to the Bhagavad Gita. I spent the next 2 hours totally enthralled in the Gita and felt as if I had read it many times before. What Krishna was teaching Arjuna was the conversation we were having the night before!

    Arjuna cannot see a place for connection of spiritual practice and political action. Krishna teaches him that people can only be in spiritual practice if they act in the world in the moment from their truth and bring their spiritual knowledge into the human condition. This was so powerful for me; it showed me how I could deepen my spiritual practice by following my activist feelings against that war. This was the beginning of my true spiritual path and exploration. As I demonstrated against the war and the injustice and hypocrisy, I also began practicing yoga and meditation. I felt rather than demonstrating in anger that I was coming more from conviction and true wanting to shift my consciousness and that of the people I was close to.

    The next semester I walked into a class on Eastern philosophy with my best friend. The teacher taught the basics of yoga philosophy eloquently, and I felt as if I was back in India learning outside in a field with a breeze, flowers, and birds. We could almost hear the birds chirping. The course turned out to be life-changing for me—studying the full realm of yoga philosophy from the Rig Vedas up to the words of Shankara. The depth of the discussions and their relevance in our day-to-day life was transforming as we explored the Gita, Yoga Sutras, Narada and Shiva Sutras, Vedas, and other ways to look at reality. The key here was that they all involved some type of physical or mental regimen that allowed me to experiment with various practices, from pranayama to chanting, asana, and meditation.

    I continued to explore yoga and philosophy in college, making philosophy a minor in my program. I took yoga classes, taught yoga, deepened my outdoor pranayama and meditation practice, and chanted on the quad with some friends. I felt my consciousness opening and inner clarity deepening. 

    My medical education was tedious and often boring as most of the materialistic philosophy that was applied to healing made no sense to me. I was firm in believing in prana and an energy body by then and craved to learn about natural methods. My education was supported by my yoga practice. The postures kept my body healthy, as what meditation did for my mind. The lessons of the Gita and Yoga Sutras kept me feeling centered and in myself. When on call two nights a week, I used pranayama rather than coffee to stay awake all night, and I found it to keep me clearer and more relaxed than were the other students and interns. I was able to relax the patients and doctors around me. The practice had a profound effect on my belief in yoga practice and the philosophy of the existence of subtle bodies. I encouraged patients to relax, stretch, and breathe, resulting in my patients being released much more quickly from the hospital than patients not encouraged to do this.

    While in medical school in 1976 I saw an advertisement about the Kripalu ashram and that the Guru and a few residents would be visiting Chicago. I attended the meeting and fell in love with the idea of living a yogic lifestyle while doing work that was uplifting for people and society. 

    I began to lead the Kripalu group in Chicago while in medical school, and later when I was in DC in 1979 during my internship. We spent much time studying the yogic writings and ways to integrate the teachings into our day-to-day life. This led me to meet some people who were being treated with homeopathy. I saw how they were helped medically in a nonviolent way and began an apprenticeship in homeopathy.

    I moved into Kripalu in 1980 and spent most of the next 15 years there. It was a great training ground to learn more deeply about yoga practice, to study the yogic scriptures, and to teach them to other residents and students. 

    Since 1997, I have led workshops around the world on yoga practice, teachings, and lifestyle and how we can integrate the teachings into our lives and practice for greater health, vitality, and consciousness. I feel that my initial experience of finding and reading the Gita while in college was one of the greatest and best turning points of my life.

    Jeff Migdow will be leading "The Practical Wisdom of the Yogic Scriptures" on November 10, 2018.

  • 10/17/2018 6:29 AM | Anonymous

    It's 1957. The 6-year-old boy is outside in the dead of winter looking at the Orion nebula with his new telescope. He is alone, as no one else wants to come out into the Chicago winter wind. He can’t look for too long at a time as the freezing metal eyepiece burns his skin. He pulls back from the telescope and gazes into the magnificently clear night sky. He is drawn to the red shoulder star in Orion, Betelgeuse. He feels a pull up and towards this star and feels at the same time joy and pain in his heart. He feels his connection to all things but also his confusion around the sadness in the eyes and face of one of his classmates. In this moment he sees the boy’s face and feels not only his pain but the pain of humans in the world. Tears start to flow from his eyes, freezing as they stream down his face. He gazes into the soul of Betelgeuse and asks out loud, “Why can’t all people be happy?” And then wishes for the happiness of all beings. His first memory of the Oneness in both joy and sorrow.

    It is now 1971. I’m outside on a cool autumn evening. I instinctively look up and see a group of stars, including a reddish star at the upper left. I feel a connection to these stars and a long lost memory begins to float into my awareness. What are these stars? What is this longing feeling? I have a fleeting image of a young boy looking at these stars in wonder and deep connection. “Was this me, was it in a dream?”

    The next night I walk outside late at night to look at these stars again, and I begin to hear the words Orion, then Betelgeuse. “That’s a strange word,” I thought, and then a rush of memories flooded into my being. I was that boy gazing at the stars, loving Orion, the cosmos, living so fully and praying for all people to be happy. What had happened to that full experience? Where had it gone all these years? Where had I gone?

    These questions reopened me to my inner self and connection to life on a deeper level. The connection I had until I was 7 years old, when I became embarrassed to be free in my actions and thoughts and constricted myself into a typical American boy. Here I was 14 years later, reconnecting to that freedom of thought and wonder and connection to life, activated by my recent delving into the science and practice of yoga. I had discovered and read a copy of the Bhagavad Gita at the college library. I had gone to the library with a friend and was magically drawn to the yoga philosophy section. The wisdom of the Gita felt so profound as it touched my soul. As if I had read these words hundreds of times before, the wisdom of the Enlightened Self guiding the ego mind, the connection of all things within ourselves.

    Yoga practice—yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and the depths of meditation—taught so clearly in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, has brought such presence, richness, and openness into my life. It has led me to connect with wonderful people, find deep relationships and friendships, given me the confidence and clarity to spend my life earning a living practicing what I love: energy medicine, Reiki, and teaching all aspects of yoga all due to the knowing that the prana flow is real, more real than my mental concepts and judgments. It led me to living for 15 years at Kripalu ashram, where every day was a deep journey into life within and around me and to transition to day-to-day life in our cynical, materialistic culture. Through yoga workshops I have traveled all around the world, meeting people of many different cultures and connecting to yoga aspirants in an open clear way.

    I have deep gratitude for the practice of yoga and philosophy and the profound effects it has had on my life and the life of many of those I have touched—family, friends, colleagues, students. It’s the vibration that is opened through the practice of yoga/union that not only vibrates throughout my being but affects the world around me. The energy of light/love/presence that resounds and travels is palpable and has been a true blessing in my life.


    Jeff Migdow will be presenting "The Practical Wisdom of the Yogic Scriptures" on November 10, 2018.

  • 10/01/2018 6:38 AM | Anonymous

    Tension is who we think we should be. Relaxation is who we are.
    —Unknown

    Tension is the underlying cause of so many pesky things: headaches, pain, injury, prolapsed organs, cardiovascular disease, crabbiness, low self-esteem, hamstring tightness, inability to feel, and collapsed arches—to name just a few!

    The lucky among us discover yoga and meditation, which shifts our relationship with tension. The unlucky among us might find themselves in the above paragraph. 

    Take note: Unattended tension becomes pain.

    As a professional figure skater doing four shows a day, five on weekends, seven days a week, I know a bit about tension. With years of that skating schedule, the tension turned to pain. I loved skating and performing so much that I ignored the pain.

    Until I couldn’t.

    After nine years of professional skating, I discovered yoga. Sometimes yoga helped relieve tension. Sometimes it made the pain worse. I couldn't understand why.

    My own experience, mixed with the opposing information on poses and body position, coalesced into a search to understand the body. That search lead to modalities such as SomaticsPilates, and finally the Franklin Method Imagery.

    In the Franklin Method, we picture our own anatomy through “embodiment.” This practice causes tension to melt away and pain to disappear. It completely changed my neck, shoulders, hips, sense of myself, and in turn what I teach.

    I begin every yoga class with a tension-relieving embodiment. This helps students feel more connected to their bodies. Tension melts away as they move through poses. The Franklin Method helps students move with more ease.

    It is tension hidden in the deeper layers of the body that often cause the most pain. When the tension is released, the benefits ripple outward: reduced pain, ease of movement, and emotionally expanded sense of self.

    Here are two warm-ups for deep muscles. Please practice them and share with your students.

    Hanging Psoas Release

    Obterator Internus Stretch

    In Pelvic Power, my workshop with the YTA on October 13, we’ll use embodiment to picture and feel the bones of the pelvis. Tuning into bone rhythms is the fastest way to relieve tension and make pain disappear. The tension is replaced by vitality and pain-free living.

    The format of the workshop is embody, practice, teach, repeat. You will leave the workshop with a clear picture of posture, felt alignment, practical tools, and pelvic empowerment. I look forward to being with you at Pelvic Power!

     Learn more about Christa at intelligentbody.net.

  • 08/18/2018 6:14 PM | Anonymous

    The goal of all humanity is to free ourselves from the self-created prison of the mind.
    ~ Albert Einstein


    Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity, is the most widely known and worshipped deity in the pantheon of deities of India. Ganesha has the head of an elephant, the body of a boy, and rides around on a mouse. He represents the lord of auspicious beginnings and is the great remover of obstacles. With belly-breaking humor, he reminds us not to take life so seriously. Ganesha's name is chanted at the beginning of new ventures to invoke blessings of grace and remove the obstacles to bring forth the most benevolent outcome. 

    The mouse is Ganesha's vahana (vehicle). It's what he rides around on. All of the Hindu deities have a vehicle, which serves as a metaphor specific to that deity. Ganesha's vahana is particularly important with respect to obstacles because have you ever tried to catch a mouse? If you have, you know it's impossible. Mice can squeeze through very narrow openings. They seem to disappear into thin air. Their skeletons are extremely elastic, which allows them to slip through cracks in the wall or floor without you ever noticing. 

    Ganesha rides around on a mouse for several reasons. The first of which is humor. I find it ridiculous and humorous that one of the largest animals on the planet rides on one of the smallest animals. Ganesha just wants to make sure you are laughing. Life is too short to be serious all the time. As a teacher of mine used to say, "Seriousness is the highest crime in the court of God." A great way to find your way back to your heart is through humor. 

    On a recent family visit, my sister and I were with my mom, my dad, and his wife. My mom just had back surgery and is recovering nicely. My dad is hard of hearing. It's always a stretch to be in a room with him and several people sitting around a dinner table. He has hearing aids, but he still can't hear that well. After yelling a communication to my dad three times, my sister broke out into hysterical laughter. Maybe it was frustration or perhaps exhaustion from trying to get through to my dad. Then she whipped out her iPhone and told us all about a “Saturday Night Live” skit about Alexa, the digital device that responds to your questions, similar to Siri on iPhone. Except this Alexa is programmed for "the Greatest Generation"—seniors. Alexa includes special features including the ability to respond to any name remotely close to Alexa, like Amanda, Odessa, and Anita. It also has an "ah ha" feature for rambling conversations. If you want to laugh, please watch this skit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvT_gqs5ETk 

    Ganesha's choice to ride on the mouse also represents humility. A mouse is considered one of the most lowly creatures. So why would such a great being as Ganesh ride on a mouse? Humility is a virtue of the heart. With humility, all egoism and the need to prove yourself or the need to be right is released. Your burden is much lighter. Also, Ganesha tells us that when you're humble, you'll always have friends. 

    The reason I like the most about why Ganesha rides on a mouse is because mice can always get out of tight places. Whenever you feel trapped by life or out of options, you remember that, through grace, there's always another way. Because Ganesha rides around on a mouse, he is never in his own way. The biggest obstacle most of us have is between our ears. You need to release self-limiting beliefs such as fear, anxiety, and doubt. This is what gets in our way most often. 

    What Ganesha is telling us is that no matter how big you think your obstacle is, you can always rely on the still small voice inside, the voice of your heart, to get you out of tight places. 

    Come join me in listening to your heart in this workshop and discover that the power to remove obstacles is already within you. 

    Namaste, 
    Todd 

    Todd Norian is the founder of Ashaya Yoga. Learn more at ashayayoga.com.

  • 07/06/2018 11:51 AM | Anonymous

    YTA’s 2017-2018 season ended on a high note with the celebration of Tao Porchon-Lynch’s 100th birthday. In her inimitable style she took us through Sun Salutations and some of her signature poses. We celebrated her soon-to-be 100th birthday with snacks and refreshments and, of course, cake, as she graciously posed for photos and signed copies of her books. Even with the large group, Tao got to speak with everyone and offer her wisdom. She’s looking forward to next year when she will be back for another workshop. Hope to see you there!




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