Monthly Archives: July 2013

Stillness

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Stillness

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Dear Students and friends,

Today I stood in downward dog reminding myself to only be in the present moment throughout my practice. Have you had to remind yourself of that?
It is too easy for the mind to wonder during yoga practice. Stillness is
only achieved im being only in the present moment.

Stillness can be described in many ways basically It is the calmness you feel during the absence of noise.
Sitting in silence this morning I listen to the sounds of nature surrounding me on my yoga mat outside.
I begin to hear the variations:of birds and other wildlife in my tree tops.

I here the squirrels rummaging through the yard climbing all about.
I hear a distant plane flying overhead I imagine they are bringing tourists to Florida
I return quietly to my breathe as not to be easily distracted focus on the present I have to regroup my mind.

I am doing my Vinyasa practice today flowing in and out of each pose breathe in breathe out through sun salutation one and two and ultimately back to downward dog where it strikes me just how connected I am when I let everything else vanish from my thoughts and give dedication to my practice time on the mat.
Beads of sweat build up then begin to trickle down my forehead touching my eyelashes as I hold each posture.
I am drenched now on this glorious Sunday summer morning practice and as I release into corpse pose I feel each part of my body tingle in excitement each cell being rejevonated.

It is only here at the end of our practice that we fully can receive the benefits of stillness, the reward for all of our efforts and that is why Savasana “corpse pose” is so important.

Namaste
Kat

Following the beat of a different drum

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Dear Students and Friends,

Mediation tells us stir the pot of good intentions during our inner time. Mediation tells us to listen to our inner voice and let it resonate within us on the inside and on the outside in our daily actions. If you were listening to my voice inside like a tiny fly on the wall then you would here ” peace,OM,live in peace, live with nature, be active, live stress free, practice yoga, be one with the water, you are healthy and strong, you are blessed, share your blessings, less is more ,OM” and similar things going through my head during my meditative process. This is all part of a “self” inventory of a reminder of what is important to me and of anything that I may need to improve on or where I consider myself to need to work on.

Part of reaching inside is to bring what we learn to the surface and apply it. For my husband and I that is to follow the beat of a different drum and not just follow along with the mainstream. We both have always applied that to our work/ living arrangements and lifestyle as well. Basically we are artists in our own ways. Artists need a creative space to blossom. Speaking of that you know certain things can really be overrated and the differences in what American cultures and other cultures standards are are amazing. As an American I can tell you other countries are doing things a lot differently then we are and at the end of the day I think they are happier for it. I’ll explain what led me to believe this to be true and how I have incorporated it into my daily life practice.
If you’ve ever considered changing things up in your life you’ll enjoy this blog.

During the last decade not only have we have seen so many changes in government and the economy but also in the way people are “feeling” about their lives. Their not hiding it if they were before,no, they are expressing it mostly in outrage over the way things are going and others just hobble along (you know who you are so I won’t call you out) and the hobblers they don’t say much but they are suffering inside too. The hobblers just have a knack for putting one foot in front of the other and dealing with things as if they have no other options. Could it be the state of things in the US and in the World is just over the top and out of control?

I have been a travel agent as a hobby for 7 years always wanting to explore new places and for us the water and beach where 2 key elements we knew we needed in our life as I am a Pisces and he is a scuba diver. We live about 10 minutes away from the beach in Florida but we wanted to actually immerse ourselves into “island” culture and try living on an island and not just another beach town. We talked about it for about a year in 2010.

We did tons of research explored the possibility of living in Curacao which at the time was still part of the Netherlands Antilles. We also went to Nassau, Bahamas several times St.Thomas U.S.V.I. and St.Johns. We looked at many options. In the end what we found was that it costs a lot to move and reside in these places and was not going to actually “fit” our lifestyles once we landed as residents to live in any of those places day after day when we were no longer tourists.

After more research Ira and I took off for a year to live in Key West Florida a tiny island on the southernmost point of Florida exactly 90 miles to Cuba. That was a magical journey a beautiful charming quirky city that everyone should experience. Key West although US (almost felt like it’s own country) was just as pricey similar to the other countries.When we moved down to try it out we thought we were never coming back. Once we landed and went through “culture shock” and adapted to their way of survival we soon realized that we could never afford to buy a home there and renting long term was a huge financial investment and not a very nice experience. We were on this tiny island and becoming claustrophobic and it was not at all what the “island” experience we dreamed of would be.We made some awesome friends there and so I believe we were sent there for many reasons which included making these special friends. We had a business working out of our rental home which was way cool but we could do that from anywhere we had decided to move back to our home and the island residency was not going to work for us in Key West.

A bit disappointed we both carried that with us inside for about the next year until we reasoned with the facts. We went back 2 weeks ago and visited again and of course questioned in our head “did we make a hasty move back home?” and the end answer was “no”, we did the right thing it was not meant to be a long term island experience for us in Key West. However, the US is not all it’s cracked up to be these days and with Obamacare don’t get me started, bottom line we will be making changes and Ira and I will find that island in the sun where they actually make health care a priority and affordable. We aren’t giving up on living here in Florida part time because they truly need 2 crazies like us to keep the crazy population thriving but we will consider our options to not make the US the only option throughout the year for living arrangements as we move ahead.

Who says you have to live in one place? Is that a rule? I never saw it in writing. I saw this article that pointed out a funny story that I want to share do you see yourself in it?:

Go to school, buy a car, find a job, get married, buy a house…

Raise the kids, get a better car, get a better job to pay for the house, the kids, and the car…

Get a better house, get better kids (wait a minute!), get a second car, build your career to pay for the better house, the bigger kids, and even more cars…

Get the kids out the door, keep paying for them, keep working…

Keep paying into your pension, retire at 65, get a gold watch, move to Florida, collect your pension…and enjoy your declining years.

That used to be the answer. Before you had to worry if you could afford to live in the US and if you would have enough to survive off of in the older years to come, it is truly a sad story but it does have potential for a silver lining or a golden rainbow if you think outside of the box like we do.

People are changing because we have to do something to afford to live and if you don’t understand politics let me just spell it out for you the Government doesn’t have your back people.
I hope the White house meditates on where it needs to do better as hard as I meditate on my weak spots because that is where we truly need change.

I don’t usually talk politics but I feel so disturbed by our current Government I am sharing the facts:
http://www.fool.com/how-to-invest/personal-finance/taxes/2013/05/12/how-much-will-obamacares-penalties-cost-you.aspx

(in a nutshell:
Obamacare imposes penalties of $695 per adult and $345.50 per child up to $2,085 or 2.5% of income above the filing threshold. For any month without coverage, you’ll pay a twelfth of the penalty amount, although you can have up to a three-month gap in coverage without incurring a penalty.
Moreover, what constitutes “eligible insurance” gets complicated as well. Insurance has to cover at least 60% of an average person’s medical costs, which may exclude certain high-deductible health plans. In addition, policies have to cover certain categories of benefits, including mental health, maternity care, and hospitalization, among others.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/05/29/is-obamacare-too-complicated-to-succeed/americans-dont-want-obamacare
(in a nutshell:
But the main reason Obama care is encountering obstacles is simple: the American people do not want it. Recent polls show 54 percent of Americans oppose the law, 53 percent want opponents to “continue trying to change or stop it,” and 56 percent want to return what we had before. This June will mark four solid years of public opposition. Some polls show a mere third of the public supports Obama care. Unions that supported it are now “frustrated and angry” over its unintended consequences. One such union is calling for repeal

http://www.roanoke.com/news/obamacare/2065160-12/details-still-murky-about-health-insurance-exchanges-under.html

(in a nutshell: lady makes $19,000 at a $9.25 per hr job and can’t afford to have kidney stone fixed and can’t qualify for help even with new program under Obama care)

As for us yogis we will learn to live with less, be proactive, help our neighbor, and live in peace.

Enjoy the following drum mediation and learn to live to the beat of your inner music.

http://

I gave you a video of where we are headed next on our travels to show you what I mean.

Namaste
Kat


The Root Chakra

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The Root Chakra

Hello students and Friends,
Greetings on this warm summer afternoon. Some babies crawl before they walk. In 1970 there was this cute silly little baby girl that crawled backwards first (me). With that in mind studying our Zen we will review the Chakras starting from you guessed it -the bottom up to the top backwards. Is it really? I mean we could start at the top but that would mean we made it straight to enlightment without the hard work involved to spirtually grow up to the top as a student.

The Root Chakra-Muladhara is said to be located near the basal end of the spinal column and it’s symbol is a yellow square lotus that is surrounded by eight shining spears on the sides and corners with four red petals. The diety of this region is Indra who is yellow in colour with four arms holding a vajra and blue lotus in his hands. Mounted on the white elephant is Airavata who has seven trunks which depicts the sevel elements vital to phyicial functioning of the body. sometimes you with see Ganesha instead of Indra and Ganesha wears coral orange skin and a lemon dhoti with a green silk scarf holdina laddu in his hands, a lotus flower and a hatchet the fourth is raised in the mudra of dispelling fear.

The Root Chakra is the foundation chakra “Muladhara”.Muladhara is located at the base of the spine, and is related to the perineum, near the anus. Being associated with the sense of smell, it is associated with the nose, and being associated with excretion, it is associated with the anus.

The Root Chakrais were Kundalini awakening begins. This is also referred to as the “red bindu” which meets up with the “white bindu” in the head to unite female and masculine energies or “shakti and shiva”.It is associated with the element of the earth and smell.

By meditating thus on Her who shines within the Muladhara Chakra, with the luster of ten million Suns, a man becomes Lord of speech and King among men, and an Adept in all kinds of learning. He becomes ever free from all diseases, and his inmost Spirit becomes full of great gladness. Pure of disposition by his deep and musical words, he serves the foremost of the Devas.

Namaste,

Kat

What is Zen?

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Dear Students and friends,
Happy holiday week. As we look at studying Zen the first question we ponder is what exactly are we studying? What is Zen?

Zen is formally known as a school of the study of Mahayana Buddhism. The more important question is what are some aspects of Zen living and how do I incorporate them into my lifestyle?

I like to define “Zen” as silent space. So then my challenge simply becomes clear in order to practice Zen I need to find a way to quiet my mind mainly all that chatter in between my two ears this will be easy I thought to myself. Day #1 clear my thoughts empty the bucket okay I got this. Day #1 not so easy a task once you start practicing. Thoughts come and leave my mind things I need to complete, chores I forgot to finish it goes on and on. “Shhsh” I tell my mind ” be quiet already” I stay seated ion my yoga mat closing my eyes tighter as if that is going to help any.

Day number two “Oh great!”, reading my guidelines I have just learned that besides my normal exercise routine in order to succeed at “Zen” I need to have self-discipline on a stronger level and sit for periods of time. At first I freaked out “maybe I’ll do this another time” , after all I’ve got tons of other yoga related things I can study this summer… I put the book down and go outside to my yoga mat. Mimi cat is stretched out next to me on my large round yoga mat next to the pool. The birds were out chirping away even the woodpecker was up early. The squirrels were out in full force chasing each other around the trees. The sun peaked through the screen above me and warmed the cat’s fur as he rubbed against my feet stretching in his normal downward paw position all 22 lbs. I sat there quietly enjoying the warm sunshine of our Sunday morning routine together. Then that is when it hit me, I am already practicing Zen, this is Zen. My decision had already been made for me. I will make this effort to get to know myself and my inner abilities better. I will study Zen beliefs.

Namaste,

Kat