Archive for October, 2008

Ten Commandments – What are they?

Friday, October 31st, 2008

At lunch last week the topic landed on the Ten Commandments. Not sure how we got there but two topics came up. First, most of the Ten Commandments are things you should NOT do. Secondly, we couldn’t remember them all. The best we could do was seven out of ten.

How about you? How many can you name from memory?

Yoga Banned in Schools

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

A while back I read a newspaper article about some schools banning yoga. Some of the parents saw yoga as a religion and therefore not appropriate in the schools (church and state!). The teachers were using yogic relaxation techniques to help quell the nervousness in students before exams. Some of my lunchmates had also read the story and asked me what I thought.

The yogic texts define yoga. In Patanjali’s writing he defines yoga as the ‘art which brings an incoherent and scattered mind to a relective and coherent state.’ He also says in the sutras that yoga ‘quiets the fluctuations of the mind.’ These definitions or explanations seem to be spot on with the teachers’ intent … to help quiet the minds of the students and lower the test anxiety in the moment so the they can have clear minds for taking tests. Not to practice a religion.

That’s not to say that some yoga goes hand and hand with religion. There certainly are parts of the sutras that point to God. Some of the sutras sound much like the ten commandments (non-violence, non-stealing, speaking the truth) and the overall objective (as I understand it) is for the yogi to work in the poses and through self study of the texts to come to know herself better. Once there is an understanding, a union, or deeper knowledge of her individual soul then her individual soul can unite with the Divine.

Personally, I struggle with this part. I know that ‘communion with divine’ isn’t something I expect to every get to and, since I consider myself a non-believer, I suspect even if I got there, I wouldn’t recognize it, believe it or understand it. Maybe *if* I ever closer I’ll change my mind.

So, should yoga be in the classroom? I can see how parents would object. The texts talk about the divine, God, even ‘surrendering to God’. I certainly wouldn’t want the teachers asking the kids to pray to God for a good grade right before the test. After spending a weekend (and a good number of days before the weekend) at assessment with a high level of anxiety, I’m all for a little ‘calm the mind practice’. So, maybe they can do it but call it something else … meditation, focused breathing, positive self talk. Much of it is the same … but different.

It’s all in how you practice it and what your objective is. What do you think?


Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Seems these days there’s a lot more public profanity. Or, maybe I just notice it more. Or, maybe it bugs me more as I get older. Anyway, I ran across a quote the other day that summed it up for me. It wasn’t attributed to anyone so I don’t know who to give credit to.

“Profanity is the common crutch of the conversational cripple.”

Some Words of Wisdom

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

I had several mantras over the last month or two while preparing for assessment. Throughout the weekend I directed my attention to them, to those words of wisdom I had received, to help quiet my mind … to especially quiet the doubts floating up. Here are a few of the quotes that helped me through.

“Just do your best.” Sara Lindberg

“Just be yourself. Don’t worry about the time.” Melissa Benzie

“Be in the moment!! Don’t think about where you’ve been, how you got there and what the results will be, just think about the students in front of you. Teach like you teach The Posse and what follows is what follows.” Bev Gengler

“Just teach well.” John Lofy

“I believe in you.” Daniel Alberda

Another Quote

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Here’s another quote from my assessment journal.

“If you’re able to be yourself, then you have no competition. All you have to do is get closer and closer to that essence”. Barbara Cook.

I don’t know who Barbara Cook is, but she could be a yogi. That’s what this yogic journey is about … it’s about self realization, about finding and *being* the true essence of yourself.

Christmas Lights? It’s only October!!!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

On the way home tonight I noticed a house with Christmas lights. Yicks! It’s only October 7. We’re not even into double digits in October, not even close to Halloween, much less Thanksgiving. This is *way* too much “holiday creep” for me!


Monday, October 6th, 2008

I ran across this in the journal I’ve been keeping this year. Bev gave me this journal for my birthday and I’ve been using it to record my thoughts, fears, and ideas about assessment. Here’s the quote on the page the day I traveled to Pittsburgh.

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

I Passed!

Monday, October 6th, 2008

I passed the first step to becoming a certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher over the weekend in Pittsburgh. Along with eight other candidates, I went through a three-part two-day test. Phew! We were a bundle of nerves! The anxiety was palpable at the candidates meeting … and before in the morning open studio time. We all got through it. In fact, all nine of us passed the assessment. This week I’ll get something in writing from the assessors and some time in the future, after all the assessments are done for the season, will get back the written test.

I’m happy and relieved it’s done. I’m pleased I passed. And I feel pretty confident about continuing on to the next step.

Assessment Here I Come!

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Tomorrow I take off for Pittsburgh where I will take the first step to becoming a certified yoga teacher. After I pass this level I have another assessment (either this time next year or the year after) to be officially certified. I feel prepared, strong, and supported for the three part/two-day test.

I especially feel supported. Sunday night I realized I feel like that Verizon guy on the commercials with ‘his network’ behind him. I feel like I’ve got my network of support behind me: my family, the love of my life, my students, coworkers, friends, and especially the Advanced Yoga Posse. The posse has been coming to my dining room for two years, doing yoga with me, giving me feedback and becoming an even more ‘advanced’ yoga posse. They let me try out poses, sequences, and instructions that sometimes get a physical response and other times get burst of laughter. I’m looking forward to more of those yoga laughs.

More when I get back from Pittsburgh.