Sunday, December 11, 2016

Love and Mercy and the Forces of Life that Reside Within

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering which Yoga practices can help us rule our decisions by Love and Mercy. And which practices helps us cultivate or connect with the “forces of life” that reside within.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

                                      -The Gospel According to Saint Matthew

Even if we agree intellectually with the Sermon on the Mount, how many of us act as if its words apply to us? We let mercy wait while we pursue goals we understand. A luxurious home overlooking the sea through a forest of pines, prestige in our job, success for our children: don't all of us dream that such things can make us happy?

"That is not enough," Jesus would say quietly. Our need is for love, and we can get it only in the measure that we give. Instead of pursuing external satisfactions, we need to let love and mercy rule our decisions from day to day, and our long-range goals as well.

Then the forces of life will rise up from within to protect us. They will protect our health by keeping us clear of physical addictions. They will protect our mind by keeping it calm. People will surround us with affection and support when they see we care about them more than we do about ourselves.

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

The homework is to reflect on how training the mind through Yoga practices can help us rule our decisions by Love and Mercy. Consider as well which practices helps us cultivate or connect with the “forces of life” that reside within.

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, December 5, 2016

Applying the Practices of Yoga to your Life off of the Mat

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering how to refine the practices of Yoga through Asana and apply these practices to our life off of the mat.

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.      

                                                                     -Ralph Waldo Emerson

A compulsive desire is like any other thought over which we have no control. It flows continuously: "I want that; I want that; I want that." There seems to be no space between the thoughts. But when your meditation begins to deepen, two things happen. First, the thought process slows down. Second, you develop a new attitude toward desires - you begin to realize that you needn't give in to the desire. You have a choice.

Now, when a very strong desire starts to overtake you, and your mind is just one long string of "I want that," you catch sight of a tiny opening between the demands. It may be only a split second in duration at first, but in time it grows long enough for another thought, another kind of thought, to make itself known. "Hmmm," we think, "maybe part of me does want that - but do I? Is it really in my long-term best interest to gratify this desire?"

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

The homework is to reflect on which of the eight limbs of Yoga help you to learn to slow your thought process down. Consider your breath (Pranayama), one-pointed attention (Dharana),  and ??????  Discover how you learn and cultivate these practices in Asana and how to apply them in your life off of the mat.

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 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