Monday, November 28, 2016

The Source of all Strength and all Joy and all Love

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering how our Yoga practices can move us move closer to the source of all strength and all joy and all love.

Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all else shall be added unto you.     

                                          -The Gospel According to Saint Matthew

The mantram is one of the best of prayers - one that we say not just when we get up or when we go to bed, but countless times throughout the day, and throughout the night as well. This prayer is not addressed to someone outside us, but to our deepest Self, the Lord of Love, who dwells in the hearts of us all. When we repeat it, we are not asking for anything in particular, like good health or solutions to our problems or richer personal relationships. We are simply asking to get closer to the source of all strength and all joy and all love. To use Jesus' words, we are asking for "the kingdom of heaven," and we find at the same time that our health improves, our problems begin to be resolved, and our relationships blossom.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to reflect on how your Yoga practices can help move you closer to the source of all strength and all joy and all love.

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ishvara Pranidhana

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering Ishvara Pranidhana - surrender to God.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity....It turns problems into gifts, failure into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates vision for tomorrow."

                                                                                                                                - Melody Beattie

Consider Ishvara Pranidhana the fifth Niyama. Ishvara represents that living symbol of the divine that is in our hearts and Pranidhana a profound recognition of that which sustains us and gives meaning to our lives. Literally it means surrender to God.

Ishvara Pranidhana is fundamentally about a relationship to something higher than or beyond ourselves.  It may be a higher force, as in the context of traditional religious traditions, or it may be in relation to human values, such as kindness and compassion.  In either case, it will manifest in our lives as the ability to let go of the tyranny of our self-importance – whether it reveals itself as pride and arrogance, or self-pity and low self-esteem.  It will awaken in us attitudes such as gratitude and appreciation.  As a result, we will be able to simply wake up in the morning and say,”Ah, I’m alive another day.”  We will feel grateful in our hearts for the gift of this life.  We will take the time to look and appreciate the beauty around us.  In our relationships we will become open to receiving each other with respect and appreciation.       

Homework:  What does the concept of “sacrificing your own self-importance” mean to you to?   Does this sacrifice have to come before the qualities of kindness, compassion, gratitude, appreciation and respect can be cultivated?  What little step can you take today to begin or deepen your practice of Ishvara Pranidhana?

References:
Quoted and paraphrased from Iyengar the Yoga Master, edited by Kofi Busia, Kriya Yoga: Transformation Through Practice – A Western Perspective, by Gary Kraftsow.

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Monday, November 14, 2016

Going Deeper into our Consciousness to Bring out Greater Resources

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering how to go deeper into our consciousness to bring out greater resources.

Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.
                                                               - Buddha

In order to work for peace, we should have an adequate sense of detachment from the results of our work. If we are going to get agitated when there is a reversal, we ourselves will become violent. As we know, sometimes even demonstrators against violence become violent.

To paraphrase the wise words of the Buddha, "Violence will not cease by violence. Violence ceases by nonviolence. This is an unalterable law." In order to win over opposition, we have to be serene and compassionate. Most of us look upon defeat and reversals as weakening us; but when we are defeated it is possible to go deeper into our consciousness to bring out greater resources. Mahatma Gandhi was at his best when seemingly defeated. He used to say that
he struck his hardest bargains from prison.

Defeat is found very often in the lives of selfless people as an opening into opportunity. When you follow the spiritual path, living for others, there come to you increased challenges, to make you go deeper and deeper into your consciousness. If there were no difficulties, you would only be skimming on the surface of life. Gandhi, in a rare statement in which he gave himself away, said, "I love storms."

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to use your Yoga practices to “go deeper into your consciousness to bring out greater resources”. Consider Ahimsa, the first Yama and Dhyana the seventh limb of Yoga as starting points. This practice could involve meditating on non-violence or better yet L.O.V.E.. Or possibly the Buddhist practice of Metta or Lovingkindness. Both of these practices incorporate Ahimsa, non-violence or L.O.V.E.. Try it out. Start slow and notice the impact on your consciousness and the flowering of your innate inner resources.


Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Higher Purposes of Yoga.


Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering the higher purposes of Yoga.

Who has not found the heaven below

Will fail of it above.

God's residence is next to mine,

His furniture is love.                                                
                                                               - Emily Dickinson

Love is not physical; it is a state of consciousness. That is why I consider loving a skill, a great skill that can be learned. It calls for great effort and enthusiasm, but it can be mastered. And when it is mastered, every loving relationship grows richer and more romantic with the passage of time. You can be more romantic, more tenderly in love during the second part of your life than you were in your twenties.

Very, very few of us are born with this skill. We have to learn it, mostly by making mistakes. In my early days I too made many silly mistakes. Every one of us has made mistakes in our relationships and gone through difficulties which led us to move away from people who were dear to us.

A spiritual perspective on life is meant not to torment us with the past, but to comfort and console us. An untrained mind cannot be in love very long, while a trained mind can never fall out of love.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to review how the practices of Yoga helps to cultivate a “trained mind”. Consider how this fits into the higher purposes of the practices of Yoga. What are the higher purposes of Yoga? Go well beyond any of the physical effects of Yoga and consider the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects and effects of the practices of Yoga.

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Third Yama Asteya


Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering the third Yama, Asteya, often translated as non-stealing.

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.                                                         
                                                                       - William Blake

One day, when I was a growing boy, my grandmother asked me a question, "Have you ever looked in Hasti's eyes?" Hasti was one of the elephants that frequently served in our religious ceremonies and that I had been learning to ride. Hasti's eyes, like the eyes of all elephants, were tiny - ridiculously small, really, for an animal so huge. "She has no idea how big she is," Granny said, "because she looks out at the world through such tiny eyes."

If the world seems hostile and lifeless, and if we seem insignificant in it, it is because, like the elephant, we look at it through such tiny eyes. Through those small eyes, shrunken by the desire for profit and personal gratification, we appear just as insignificant as all the green things - and all the other human beings, animals, fish, birds, and insects - that stand in the way.

When we are absorbed in the pursuit of profit, we live in the narrow world of the bottom line. In that world, our only neighbors are buyers and sellers, our only concerns property, profit, and possessions. Yet all around us is a world teeming with people, animals, organisms, and elements - a deeply interconnected environment that responds to all we do.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to consider the third Yama, Asteya, often translated as non-stealing. A practice of Asteya seems simple for most people. On a deeper level however it can be a bit more complicated. We are sometimes lulled into thinking that we are “entitled to” or “deserve” things, time, money, status, praise, a higher salary, bigger house, etc. This pursuit of that which we do not have can be considered stealing, as well. Sri Swami Satchidananda said that, “richness has nothing to do with monetary wealth. The richest person is the one with a cool mind, free of tension and anxiety.” In our pursuit of bigger and better, it is easy to overlook the precious jewels of the life we have already. It is said that a practice of Asteya allows us to abandon attachment to the possessions of others and gives us the opportunity to be content with the world as it is. And by this definition, a practice of Asteya allows us the opportunity to enjoy what we already have instead of aching after what others have. In what ways do your actions and thoughts change when you make a commitment to Asteya? It is said that if you are established in Asteya you feel integrity and satisfaction. How could a deeper observation of Asteya in your life allow you to be more content with the world as it is? What would be different?

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Facilitated Practice Time at Rushing Water Yoga



Greetings Students and Friends of Rushing Water Yoga,
I hope this note finds you and yours well.
An amazing student has offered to facilitate a practice time at RWY on Thursdays from 9:30-11 am. This will be as a pilot for September depending on participation.
She will open the studio, do a reading, lead the invocation to Patanjali and then guide a group practice using some of the asana sheets or other tools that are available at the studio. I would call this “facilitating practice” rather than teaching since she not qualified to teach. Students would need to to rely on their own body awareness and experience to modify poses as needed. It would be free but I request that people make a donation to the studio so that you can help contribute to the costs of renting the space during my absence.
You do not have to register for this offering. Just show up. The student who is facilitating this is Elisa Wells, email: eswells@comcast.net; cell: 360-931-1442
If there are other students would would like to help facilitate other times please let me know.
Love, Light and Blessings.
paul

Monday, June 27, 2016

Oneness

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering Oneness.

Love, and do what you like.
                                                            - Saint Augustine

Learning to love in the way Saint Augustine is talking about is the most demanding, the most delightful, and the most daring of disciplines. It does not mean loving only two or three members of your family. It does not mean loving only those who share your views, read the same newspapers, or play the same sports. Love, as Jesus puts it, means blessing those that curse you, doing good to those that harm you.

Most of us do not begin by blessing those that curse us. That is graduate school. We start with first grade - being kind to people in our family when they get resentful. Eventually comes high school, where we learn to move closer to those who are trying to shut themselves off from us. College means returning good will for ill will. Finally, we enter graduate school. There we learn to give our love to all - to people of different races, countries, and religions, different outlooks and strata of society, without any sense of distinction or difference.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to consider that the practices of Yoga are centered around the idea of oneness.  Oneness in the pose, oneness with our environment, oneness with each other, oneness with God.  Learn for yourself how practicing the eight limbs of Yoga moves you towards a state of detachment and how that places you in a position to experience oneness.  What would this experience of oneness be like?

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003