Monday, December 23, 2013


Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we will be exploring going beyond our self-imposed limits.

Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.

                     – William James

We think we are very limited creatures, very small, good for maybe only fifteen minutes of love or patience before we have to crack. Instead of identifying with our deepest Self, we are identifying with some biochemical-mental organism.

But when you calm the mind in meditation every morning, you will see how far you can stretch your patience and your love during the day. You will see for yourself how comfortable you feel with everybody, how secure you feel wherever you go. You will find that you have a quiet sense of being equal to difficult situations.

These discoveries give a hint of the heights to which a human being can rise. Once we see this for ourselves, we will catch the exhilaration of the mystics when they say that because the Lord is our real Self, there is no limit to our capacities.

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

The homework is to see how your Yoga practices can challenge you to go beyond your self-imposed limits.  Learn how going further in your asana practice relates to challenging your limits off of the mat.  Relate this challenge to things other than physical ability.

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 16, 2013

The Unity that Embraces us All


Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we will be exploring the unity that embraces us all.

If your heart were sincere and upright, every creature would be unto you a looking-glass of life and a book of holy doctrine.
           
                                              – Thomas a Kempis

The pure in spirit, who see God, see her here and now: in her handiwork, her hidden purpose, the wry humor of her creation. The Lord has left us love notes scattered extravagantly across creation. Hidden in the eye of the tiger, the wet muzzle of a calf, the delicacy of the violet, and the perfect curve of the elephant's tusk is a very personal, priceless message.

Watch the lamb in awkward play, butting against its mother's side. See the spider putting the final shimmering touches on an architectural wonder. And absorb a truth that is wordless. The grace of a deer, the soaring freedom of a sparrow hawk in flight, the utter self-possession of an elephant crashing through the woods - in every one of these there is something of ourselves. From the great whales in the blue Pacific to the tiniest of tree frogs in the Amazon basin, unity embraces us all.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran (paraphrased to change gender)

The homework is to see how your Yoga practices invite you IN to explore the unity of life.  Learn how to notice the unity that embraces us all through your practices.  This can only come from your own experience as a practitioner.

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 9, 2013

Divine Grace


Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we will be exploring divine grace.

At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.
                                                        
                                                                         – Thomas Merton

The impetus to gain mastery over one's mind and senses does not come from a distant deity. It doesn't come from any monastic rule, or even from one's spiritual teacher. It comes from deep within yourself. You have had a fleeting glimpse of the shining presence within, and in its bright remembered light, all your flaws and blemishes are thrown into sharp relief. You can't wait to start removing them.

To have the desire to travel deep into consciousness is a sure mark of divine grace. To be no longer content to pick up what is floating on the surface of life, and to want only the pearls at the bottom of the sea, this is grace, welling up from deep inside.

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

The homework is to learn for yourself how your Yoga practices encourage you to "travel deep into consciousness".  If your practices are not fostering this process consider how to deepen your commitment to yourself to make this exploration happen.

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, December 3, 2013

Pratyahara


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Pratyahara.

When thoughts arise, then do all things arise. When thoughts vanish, then do all things vanish.
                                                          – Huang Po

When meditation deepens, and the thinking process slows down, we will find that we don't have to think all the time. It sounds simple, even scary, but it is a mighty achievement that yields unimaginable peace. Thoughts are no longer compulsive.

Just as we turn the key in the ignition of our car when we want to go somewhere, we should be able to find the ignition switch in our own mind. When we want to think constructively we switch the mind on and drive all the way to Los Angeles without any detours or breakdowns. Anger is a breakdown. Resentment is a protracted detour that often makes us forget our original travel plan entirely and then leaves us out of gas in the middle of nowhere. But when we know where to find the ignition switch, we can start the mind out in Seattle on Interstate 5 and drive straight through to Los Angeles. We have a wonderful trip, and when we arrive and our project is completed, we switch the mind off and let it rest.  There may be a certain pleasure in letting the mind wander, but for how long? What the spiritual teacher asks us is simple: Don't you want to decide your destination? And don't you want to get there with your body still healthy and your mind at peace?

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

The homework is to consider the fifth stage of Yoga, Pratyahara, or the withdrawal and emancipation from the senses.  Pratyahara is the transition from the external world to the internal world, to turn the senses inward toward the soul.  In the words of BKS Iyengar, “Here lies the true role of Pratyahara… It is the friend who releases you from the snares of the external world, and leads you towards happiness in the delight of the soul.  Observe how the practice of Pratyahara can direct you away from thinking all of the time and help encourage a meditative state.

References:

Light on Yoga and Light on the Yoga Sutras, by BKS Iyengar, Yoga: A Gem for Women, by Geeta Iyengar

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 18, 2013

Yoga Sutra 1:33


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Yoga Sutra 1:33.

Whatever I am offered in devotion with a pure heart -
a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water - I accept with joy.

                                                          – Bhagavad Gita

We can look upon everything we do as a gift to the Lord. If we hoe the garden carefully so that our family - or a neighbor's family, or someone in need - can have fresh vegetables for dinner, that is an offering to the Lord. If we work a little more than is expected of us at something that benefits others, that too is an offering to the Lord. Everywhere, in every detail of daily living, it is not a question of quantity or expense that makes our offering acceptable; it is cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and the capacity to forget ourselves in helping others.

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

The homework is to observe your daily rituals and see where you can forget yourself more and work to help others.  Yoga Sutra 1:33 says that "By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness."   - The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sri Swami Satichidananda

In one of Patanjali's most quoted sutras we are encouraged to cultivate Metta or Lovingkindness, Karuna or Compassion, Mudita or Sympathetic Joy, and Upekkha or Equanimity.  Patanjali suggests that if we do so we can keep the fluctuations of the mind at bay and realize our true nature.

In forgetting yourself more see if you can do so with sutra 1:33 in mind.

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 11, 2013

Tapas


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring the Tapas - the third Niyama.

In truth, to attain to interior peace, one must be willing to pass through the contrary to peace.  Such is the teaching of the sages.

                                                          – Swami Brahmananda

I once asked my grandmother, "Why shouldn't we go after pleasant things, Granny? It's only human. And what's wrong with wanting to stay away from unpleasant things?" She didn't argue with me. She just told me to eat an amla fruit.

It was easier said than done. The fruit was so sour that I wanted to spit it out, but she stopped me. "Don't give up. Keep chewing." Out of love for her, I did, and the sourness left. The fruit began to taste sweeter and sweeter. "Granny, this is delicious," I said.

"But you didn't like it at the outset. You wanted to spit it out." That is how it is with spiritual disciplines.

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

The homework is to review the third Niyama - Tapas.  Learn how the discipline we bring to our Yoga practice - part of our Tapas can help us challenge ourselves to progress in our spiritual practices.  Tapas means to use burning effort under all circumstances to achieve ones goal in life. 

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 4, 2013

Kriya Yoga


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring the concept of Kriya Yoga.

I was held back by mere trifles, the most paltry inanities, all my old attachments.

                                                             – Saint Augustine

Sooner or later, most of us encounter the haunting fear that if we turn our senses inwards, which is what diving into the murky water of consciousness means, we may lose everything enjoyable in life. This fear is one of the most formidable obstacles between us and deepening meditation. But if we persevere, we will see the day when these old attachments will fall away, almost of themselves, and no one will be as surprised as we are.

Gradually, with experience, our faith grows that deep within us the Self is willing and able to take responsibility for our ultimate welfare. Slowly we can surrender our personal will to an immeasurably more profound purpose. Bit by bit, we can work ourselves loose from the grip of compulsive entanglements in the faith that our capacity to love and be loved will thereby be magnified a millionfold.

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

The homework is to study the Niyamas, the second of the eight limbs of Yoga and see where the concept of surrendering our personal will for a more profound purpose fits in.  The Yoga Sutras present the concept of Kriya Yoga.  This would be a good place to start your study.

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 28, 2013

Discriminative Knowledge


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring discriminative knowledge.

Goodness is the only investment which never fails.

                                – Henry David Thoreau

Discrimination is the precious capacity to see the difference between what is pleasant for the moment and what is fulfilling always. Today we are surrounded by a bewildering array of glittering lifestyles and models of behavior, most of which deliver just the opposite of what they promise. We need to make wise choices every moment just to keep from being swept away. For a long time, these choices are not easy. Often they go against the grain of our conditioning. It takes real courage and endurance to go on making such choices day in and day out. But once you begin to taste the freedom it brings, you will find a fierce joy in choosing something of lasting benefit.

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

The homework is to study Yoga Sutra II:26 which translates as "The ceaseless flow of discriminative knowledge in thought, word and deed destroys ignorance, the source of pain" - BKS Iyengar.  Mr. Iyengar notes that the seeds of false knowledge are to be burnt up through uninterrupted Yogic practices.  Ask yourself what it means to have uninterrupted Yogic practices and how discriminative intelligence is different than ordinary understanding?

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 21, 2013

Prema or Love Pure and Perfected

Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Prema or love pure and perfected.

Undisciplined love dwells in the senses, for it is still entangled with earthly things. . . . Disciplined love lives in the soul and rises above the human senses and forbids the body its own will.
                                            
                                          – Mechthild of Magdeburg

In the Hindu scriptures, the Sanskrit word kama means selfish desire, or any kind of private gratification. The opposite of kama is prema: love pure and perfected, a selfless love that does not ask what it can get but what it can give. The first leads only to spiritual starvation; the latter nourishes and heals.

In Hindu mythology kama is sometimes personified as the god Kama, who is a little like the Greek Cupid. Like Cupid, Kama is armed with a bow, and he has five arrows tipped with flowers, one for each of the five senses. Prema might also be said to have five arrows: five things we need to acquire in order to love. The first is time. Second is a one-pointed mind, which is the capacity to direct attention as we choose. Third comes energy, vitality. Fourth, we need discrimination. And fifth, we must have awareness of the unity of life.

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

The homework is to make the connections between the five arrows of Prema to your Yoga practices.  Then evaluate your relationships using the scale of nourishment and healing versus spiritual starvation and see where there is room for improvement.

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 7, 2013

Oneness or not Being Separate


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring oneness or not being separate.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin, - his control
Stops with the shore.
                                                             – Lord Byron

Alas, Lord Byron, no more! Industrial society's reach has extended deep into the sea. Pollution, depletion of the ozone layer, global warming - threats like these are changing the ocean.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord says, "Among bodies of water, I am the ocean." He does not say merely, "I made the ocean"; he says, "I am the ocean." To me, this is the basis of all our environmental efforts, and it accords with what ecologists tell us about the importance of the sea. The sea supports us, balances our climate, provides a home for whales and seals and dolphins. When we look at the sea, we should remember the infinite tenderness and compassion of God. When we pollute the ocean we are ignoring and abusing that compassion in a manner unworthy of us.

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

The homework is to observe how your Yoga practices connect you to everything that is.  Yoga means many things including oneness or not being separate.  The challenge is to learn how to apply this experience to our lives in every way and see how it impacts our behavior and choices.

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, September 30, 2013

Abhinivesah

Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Abhinivesah which translates as "Clinging to life" or "Fear of death".

We know only that we are living in these bodies and have a vague idea, because we have heard it, and because our faith tells us so, that we possess souls. 

                                            – Saint Teresa of Avila

I am not my body. This body is like a jacket that I wear.

I have a brown jacket with a Nehru collar, made in India, which has served me very well. I take good care of it, and I expect it to last me at least another five years. This body of mine is another brown jacket, made in South India and impeccably tailored to my requirements by a master tailor, whose label is right inside. This jacket has to last me much longer than the other, so I am very careful with it. I give it the right amounts of nutritious food and exercise. Just like my Nehru jacket, this body-jacket will someday become too worn to serve me well. When death comes I will be able to set it aside, with no more tears than I would shed when I give my old Nehru jacket away.

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

The homework is to review the fifth klesha (afflictions) called Abhinivesah.  Abhinivesah translates as "Clinging to life" or "Fear of death".  In the Yoga sutras it is written that the root of all of the afflictions is Avidya or spiritual ignorance.  The other afflictions are egoism, attachment to pleasure, and aversion to pain.  What does it mean to you to be "spiritually ignorant" and how would not being spiritually ignorant help us overcome the kleshas? 

References: Yoga Sutras II:2 - II:12 (and many more referenced).

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, September 23, 2013

Detachment


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring detachment.

Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.        

                                                             – Simone Weil

One of the profoundest laws of spiritual psychology is: you see what you are, and you are what you see. The observer cannot help conditioning what he or she observes.

Those who cannot love see a world where love has little place. Those who live to enlarge their love, by contrast, see a world of hope: a world of men and women who, despite their failings, are capable of love in the core of goodness in their hearts.

To see life from this lofty vantage, we need detachment, not from others but from ourselves.

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

The homework is to understand for yourself what it means to be detached from yourself and how your Yoga practices can help you in this process.  This concept is found in Yoga Sutra 1:12: “Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam Tannirodhah - Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness.”  Study this sutra and see how the concepts of Abhyasa : effort, willpower, practice and Vairagya : letting go, acceptance, detachment are explained.

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 17, 2013

The oneness that our Yoga practices encourages us to cultivate


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring the oneness that our Yoga practices encourages us to cultivate.

But charity means pardoning what is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all. Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all. And faith means believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all.   

                                                             – G. K. Chesterton

Every one of us can learn to love without qualifications or reservations. Naturally, we start with imperfections. But there is no need to throw up our hands as so many are doing today and say, "Let us be separate and have a relationship. Here are my duties, here are yours. This is the boundary line. If you stay on your side, I'll respect you; but if you cross over, you're an invader." Wherever people go their separate ways like this, love cannot grow. It is not possible to have both separateness and intimacy.

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

The homework is to embrace the oneness that our Yoga practices encourages us to cultivate and apply this concept to all of your relationships.  Observe the changes that come as a result of this effort.

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, September 9, 2013

The silence that our Yoga practices help us cultivate.


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring the silence that our Yoga practices help us cultivate.

People see his pleasure-ground; him no one sees at all.   

                                         – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

When I was a boy in my ancestral home in South India, the children used to play a game called kooee. One little boy or girl would run and hide in a room of the labyrinthine building. Then he would call out "kooee," and we would hear "kooee" echoing from all corners. "Kooee" would be coming from upstairs and downstairs; from the ceiling "kooee" would reverberate. We would race through the halls, tear through each room in search of the one who was crying "kooee." Then at last we would catch her, and the game would be over.

This is the game we are all playing. Some people hear the call coming from the bank. Others hear the call from the haunts of pleasure. Many hear it coming loud and clear from status and prestige. Still others, tragically, seek power that calls to them with a loud voice.

We need to open our ears, so that when we hear the elusive call we will say, "Oh, that is Krishna playing on his flute. That is Jesus beckoning to us to follow him. That is the Divine Mother calling us home. That is the Buddha trying to wake us up." Finally, we learn how to trace the sound to its source and say, "Caught you at last!"

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

The homework is to observe the silence that your Yoga practices helps you to cultivate and see for yourself what is calling you.  The practices of Yoga encourage us to create silent space and in that space comes openings to whatever divinity means to you.

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


Rushing Water Yoga in Camas, WA 

Monday, September 2, 2013

The impact of our energy on those around us


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring the impact of our energy on those around us.

If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.  

                                                             – Confucian tradition

In a home where one person can be patient and forgiving, even if the rest of the family does not see eye to eye with him or her, they will share in a spiritual bonus. All of us benefit by living with someone who does not live for himself or herself.

It is misleading to think that people who meditate are seeking only their own illumination. They are contributing to the removal of selfishness and separateness in the world.

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

The homework is to learn for yourself how your Yoga practice can contribute to the removal of selfishness and separateness in the world.  Use the observation skills you develop in your Asana practice to notice the impact of your own energy on those around you.

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, August 26, 2013

Tapas (discipline, austerities, heat and effort) and how this concept relates to the cultivation of our Yoga practices and the impact of our practices on daily life.

Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Tapas (discipline, austerities, heat and effort) and how this concept relates to the cultivation of our Yoga practices and the impact of our practices on daily life.

I think the world today is upside-down and is suffering so much because there is so very little love in the homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. 

                                                – Mother Teresa of Calcutta

An obsession with hurry has been so worked into our social system that we scarcely notice we do not have time to love. Everywhere the slogan is "Hurry, hurry, hurry." Yet to be aware of the needs of others, to spend time with others, to speak and act with thoughtfulness, patience, and consideration, we must give time - a lot more time than most of us are willing to give at present.

We all need warm, deep, personal relationships to thrive, but modern life seems to place such a small value on them - compared with the high value placed on money and prestige and pleasure. It is so easy to be distracted and to fritter our attention away in countless ways, until we find we have little left for family and friends. By simplifying our lives, dropping less important activities, we allow more time for what matters most. But it is also essential to slow down our pace of living, so that we can free ourselves from the grip of time-driven thinking and behavior.

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

The homework is to experiment with yourself to see if bringing more consistency and dedication (Tapas) to your Yoga practices increases the time you have in the day to develop warm, deep, and personal relationships.  See for yourself if your practices can support simplifying our lives, dropping less important activities, and slowing down our pace of living.

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, August 19, 2013

Abhyasa : effort, willpower, practice and Vairagya : letting go, acceptance, detachment and how these concepts relate to the cultivation of Love.


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Abhyasa : effort, willpower, practice and Vairagya : letting go, acceptance, detachment and how these concepts relate to the cultivation of Love.

Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.          

                                                             – John Donne

Loyalty is a precious quality that we have almost lost sight of today. Instead of loyalty, almost everyone talks about freedom, especially in relationships. The idea is that if two people come together in freedom, each can walk out of the arrangement. This is supposed to be a complete safeguard against unhappiness. But even where both are free to walk out - where there are no obligations, no bonds, not even any ties - they go on doing this over and over and do not acquire the capacity to love. Without loyalty, it simply is not possible to love deeply.

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

The homework is to consider how your Yoga practices can help foster the cultivation of the capacity to love.  The practices of Yoga require a full commitment even when the practice does not go well.  This commitment requires us to keep coming back to the mat, back to the mat.  This coming back is without expectations and is with sincere effort and will power. 

This concept is found in Yoga Sutra 1:12: “Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam Tannirodhah - Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness.” - Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by B.K.S. Iyengar.  The concepts of Abhyasa : effort, willpower, practice and Vairagya : letting go, acceptance, detachment are the keys to the development of a Yoga practice.

How can these concepts be applied to the cultivation of the capacity to love and to other areas of life?

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, August 5, 2013

Tapas


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Tapas, the third Niyama.

You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars; and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you.  

                                                             – Thomas Traherne

In our relationship with the environment, the real power does not lie in the hands of technologists or politicians or directors of multinational corporations. It is individuals like you and me who make the final decisions about what is bought and sold in the stores, how much carbon dioxide is pumped into the atmosphere, and what is dumped into the sea. Each of us can begin to heal the environment right away by changing our daily habits.

And beyond that, there is another area which deserves our immediate attention: the world within. For each of us has an entire world within, an internal environment as real as the one we see around us. This internal environment has a powerful effect on the external environment: the way we think affects the way we treat the earth. When we purify this inner environment, we are not only making ourselves more secure and fulfilled, but we are also making an important contribution to the health of Mother Earth.

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

The homework is to consider the third Niyama, Tapas.  Tapas is translated as discipline, austerities, and heat.  Tapas can also mean effort.  Through this effort impurities are burned up and we purify our inner and outer environments.  Evaluate your effort as it relates to your Yoga practices and see if there is room for change.

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, July 29, 2013

Samadhi


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Samadhi, the eighth limb of Yoga - contemplation, absorption, union, bringing into harmony, self-realization.  

The concept of samadhi is found in verse III.3 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  In addition chapter 1 is devoted to samadhi.

III.3 tadeva arthamatranirbhasam svarupasunyam iva samadhih

When the object of meditation engulfs the meditator, appearing as the subject, self-awareness is lost.  This is samadhi.

Samadhi is not a practice but is the result of practice.  It is a state of being.  Meditation culminates in the state of Samadhi.  It is not that you practice Samadhi.  Nobody can consciously practice Samadhi.  Our effort is there only up to meditation.  You put all your effort in dharana (concentration).  It becomes effortless in dhyana (meditation); and you are just there, knowing that you are in meditation.  But in Samadhi, you do not even know that.  You are not there to know it because you are that.  You think first with a lot of interruptions; that is dhyana.  Then you become what you think, that is Samadhi. 

A person experiencing Samadhi is not sitting stiffly with eyes closed.  They do everything we do but without attachment and they are not affected by what they do.  They are living liberated people.  They are active – more active than other people, always doing for others.

Homework:

How does contemplation with eyes closed prepare me for contemplation in action, with my eyes open?

Is contemplation an act of will or surrender?

References:

Light on the Yoga Sutras, by BKS Iyengar, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Essence of Yoga, Bernard Bouanchaud, and Yoga: A Gem for Women, Geeta Iyengar

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, July 22, 2013

Dhyana


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Dhyana, the seventh limb of Yoga - concentration.

The concept of Dhyana is found in verse III.2 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

III.1 tatra pratyaya ekatanata dhyanam

A steady, continuous flow of attention directed towards the same point or region is meditation.

Dhyana is described simply as meditation. However, unlike the act of meditation that we typically understand, Dhyana comes as a result of our efforts. Instead of coming to the mat to meditate, we come to the mat to focus our attention – on asana, on our breath. Dhyana is achieved when we are completely absorbed in that upon which we have focused our attention.

Dhyana is described in Hindu scriptures as pouring oil from one pot to another. The stream of oil does not bubble or break. It is a continuous steam. In dhyana time and space stand still. Unaware of the external world, your attention is focused without distraction. Your mind is steady and open. The awareness of your physical body falls away.

A quote from BKS Iyengar, “True meditation leads us to wisdom (jnana) and understanding (prajna), and this specifically helps in understanding that we are more than our ego.”

Homework:

It is said that meditation removes stress and brings stability of mind and emotions. In the context of dhyana, meditation is only possible when stress is already removed and the mind is still. Consider how your asana practice can bring you closer to this elimination of stress and stillness of mind.
  
References:

Light on the Yoga Sutras, by BKS Iyengar, Light on Life, by BKS Iyengar

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, July 16, 2013

Dharana


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring dharana, the sixth limb of Yoga - concentration.

The concept of dharana is found in verse III.1 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

III.1 desa bandhah cittasya dharana

Fixing the consciousness on one point or region is concentration (dharana).

Dharana means focus of attention.  Focusing the attention on a chosen point or area, within or outside the body, is concentration.  By it the functions of the mind are controlled and brought to one focal point.

Once mastery of the five stages of yoga from yama to pratyahara is achieved, the art of focusing the mind and consciousness is undertaken.  Dharana is established when the mind learns to remain steady on its own, or hold on to an unmoving object.

The practitioner can cultivate dharana in asana when the practice is turned inward by directing the organs of actions and the senses of perception towards the mind and the mind towards the core.

Dharana is a practice: the mind running, your bringing it back; its running, your bringing it back.  You are taming a monkey.  Once it is tamed, it will just listen to you.  You will be able to say, “Okay, sit quietly.”  And it will.  At that point you will be meditating.

Dharana is the beginning of meditation and meditation is the culmination of concentration. 

Homework:

Why must we stop running all over the place to attain a state of concentration?

Is concentration a matter of work or of will?

Consider all of the limbs of yoga we have discussed so far: from yama to pratyahara.  How do they all work together to support the practice of Dharana? 

References:

Light on the Yoga Sutras, by BKS Iyengar, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by Sri Swami Satchidananda, and The Essence of Yoga, Bernard Bouanchaud

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, July 8, 2013

Pratyahara, the fifth limb of Yoga - the withdrawal and emancipation from the senses.


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Pratyahara, the fifth limb of Yoga - the withdrawal and emancipation from the senses.

The concept of pratyahara is found in verse II.54 and II.55 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

II.54 svavisaya asamprayoge cittasya svarupanukarah iva indriyanam pratyaharah

Withdrawing the senses, mind and consciousness from contact with external objects, and then drawing them inwards is pratyahara.

II.55 tatah parama vayata idriyanam

Pratyahara results in the absolute control of the sense organs.

Pratyahara is the transition from the external world to the internal world. Yama and niyama eliminate interruptions by instructing the yogini to live peacefully and purely. Asana removes distractions of the physical and mental being. Pranayama prepares the yogi for meditation. And, pratyahara – control, or refinement of the senses – is the result of the yogini’s work in the first stages. It is also a new step for the yogini – to turn the senses inward toward the soul.

The sense organs allow us to perceive the external world in a personal way. We see, touch, smell, taste, and hear things that we enjoy or do not enjoy. If left uncontrolled, the mind will tell us to continue our quest for more, bigger, and better sensual pleasures. Inevitably, our senses become dulled from over-stimulation and are no longer able to be satisfied. This leads to unhappiness and suffering. In the words of BKS Iyengar, “Here lies the true role of pratyahara… It is the friend who releases you from the snares of the external world, and leads you towards happiness in the delight of the soul.

Homework:

Select a day (or an hour!) to study your sensual experiences. Note which experiences bring up feelings of attachment – “I want more!” and, note which bring feelings of aversion – “Never again!” Consider what actions follow those sensual experiences. Are your actions based on an intellectual decision that you’ve made? Or are your actions based on the unconscious drive for more or less of the sensual experience?

References:

Light on Yoga and Light on the Yoga Sutras, by BKS Iyengar, Yoga: A Gem for Women, by Geeta Iyengar

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, July 2, 2013

Pratyahara


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Pratyahara, the fifth limb of Yoga. 

This is an important secret of life: if you remain idle without doing something useful your mind thinks scattered and random thoughts, and wastes its energy.  Your good thoughts should definitely be brought into action.  A though is like an unripened fruit that is not yet eaten by anyone.  Ripening fruit means bringing a positive thought into action.  She who is great, successful, creative, and dynamic knows how to bring all her good and creative thoughts into action, and how to give a shape and form to her creative thinking process.

                                                                        -  Swami Rama                                                                                                                                  
Yoga Gems: A Treasury of Practical and Spiritual Wisdom from Ancient and Modern Masters – Edited by Georg Feurstein  

The homework is to learn how your Yoga practice can help you “give a shape and form to your creative thinking process.”  Consider how the 5th and 6th limbs of Yoga, Pratyahara – refinement of the senses and Dharana – concentration, can assist you in this process.  Finally, bring one of your good thoughts into action.

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