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

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Karma and the Yoga of Action

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering Karma and the Yoga of Action.

God loves a cheerful giver.                                 
                                                            - II Corinthians

In India we have a story about a man who was the perfect model of respectability, who always did what the letter of the law demanded. When he died, he was taken before the cosmic auditor. The auditor looked at the man's record. There was not a single entry on the debit page. The auditor was impressed. Then he turned to the credit page and stared in astonishment. This page, too, was completely blank. He didn't know what to do. The man had never helped anybody; never hurt anybody; never offended anybody; never loved anybody. He couldn't be sent to heaven, but he couldn't be sent to hell, either.

So the cosmic keeper of the books took him to the god of creation, and said, "You made this guy. What shall I do with him?"

The Creator looked at the statute books and couldn't find a precedent to cover the case. And since this is a Hindu story, he said, "Take him to Krishna."

Krishna said, "The buck stops here." He examined the record very carefully and there, almost illegible, was an ancient credit entry: "Gave two cents to a beggar at the age of six." "There," Sri Krishna said, "return his two cents and send him back to earth to try again." Until we have learned to give freely of ourselves, we have not learned how to live.

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

The homework is to review Karma and the Yoga of Action as presented in the Bhagavad Gita (mostly chapter 5). Karma is the universal law of cause and effect, the Yoga of action, for every action there is a consequence or reaction.  This means we are responsible for our actions knowing that we may face them again in some way. Evaluate your present situation in light of Karma and the Yoga of Action and consider what it would mean to become a more “cheerful giver”.

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, May 17, 2016

Aparigraha, the Fifth Yama

Greetings Sadhakas,



Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering Aparigraha, the fifth Yama.

It is no little wisdom for you to keep yourself in silence and in good peace when evil words are spoken to you, and to turn your heart to God and not to be troubled with the judgment of others.                                    
                                                            - Thomas a Kempis

Most of us appreciate praise, but it is disastrous to become dependent on it. If we are going to allow our security to be bolstered up by the praise, appreciation, and applause of others, we are done for. I have heard about a well-known movie star who goes to sleep at night with a tape of recorded applause playing. This is going to make him more and more insecure.

Why should we get agitated if someone ignores us? There are, after all, advantages to being ignored. We can go anywhere in freedom. Nobody recognizes us - how good it is! In life, there are occasions when we are ignored and sometimes forgotten. That is the time for us to remind ourselves, "Why do I need anybody's attention?" This attitude can be cultivated skillfully.

Even those of us who are the most sensitive to praise and appreciation can learn to be so secure within ourselves that the word rejected can be expelled from our dictionary. The one person who will never reject us is the divine Self within, and that is enough to make up for all the rejections we may have to undergo at the hands of everyone else.

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

The homework is to review Aparigraha, the fifth Yama. *Parigraha means hoarding or collecting.  To be free from hoarding is aparigraha. By the observance of Aparigraha, the yogini makes her life as simple as possible and trains her mind to not feel the loss or the lack of anything.  Then everything she really needs will come to her by itself at the proper time.  The life of an ordinary woman is filled with an unending series of disturbances and frustrations and with her reaction to them.  Thus there is hardly any possibility of keeping the mind in a state of equilibrium.  The sadhaka (seeker, aspirant) has developed the capacity to remain satisfied with whatever happens to her.  Thus she obtains the peace which takes her beyond the realms of illusion and misery with which our world is saturated.

*Paraphrased from 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, May 10, 2016

Tapas


Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering Tapas.

People say, "What is the sense of our small effort?" They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.                                                       
                                                            - Dorothy Day

It is repeated acts of unkindness that make us unloving and repeated acts of kindness that can make us loving. How do I become patient? By trying to be patient every day, little by little, poco a poco.

We shouldn't expect to go to bed one night the most impatient man or woman in the county and get up in the morning flooded with patience. Every day, every night, it takes continuous practice, continuous striving. If you are doing everything to be patient, you are going to become inexhaustibly patient. If you are struggling everywhere to become loving, you are going to be unfailingly loving.

In the gradual development on the spiritual path, it is better to concede that most of us start with a good deal of inertia. This shows itself as an attitude of avoiding challenges, shutting our eyes to the problems that confront the world. This inertia is slowly transformed into energy, just as ice when heated becomes water that flows - which can be used for irrigation and harnessed for any useful purpose that we approve of. In the same way, all of that locked-up energy can be released. But it requires steady effort, one step at a time.

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

The homework is to learn how the discipline we bring to our Yoga practice - part of our Tapas can help us move through life as described above.  Tapas means to use burning effort under all circumstances to achieve ones goal in life.  Tapas needs to be applied in three areas: body, speech and mind.  Practicing non-violence towards your own body is one way to practice tapas of body.  Speaking kindly and truthfully can be one way to practice tapas of speech.  Developing an even mind that stays balanced in sorrow and joy and practicing self discipline is tapas of 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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mantram and Dharana

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering mastering the thinking process through a Mantram and Dharana.

The mantram becomes one's staff of life, and carries one through every ordeal. It is no empty repetition. For each repetition has a new meaning, carrying you nearer and nearer to God.                                             
                                                            - Mahatma Gandhi

The mantram, in some traditions called a prayer word, is the living symbol of the profoundest ideal that the human being can conceive of, the highest that we can respond to and love. When we repeat the mantram in our mind, we are reminding ourselves of the Supreme Reality enshrined in our hearts. The more we repeat the mantram, the deeper it sinks into our consciousness. As it begins to connect with this Reality, it strengthens our will, heals old sources of conflict and turmoil, and gives us access to deeper sources of strength, patience, and love.

In every religious tradition we find hallowed prayer words and mantrams. In the Christian tradition, the name of Jesus is precious; in India we have the name of Rama; in Buddhism Om mani padme hum is an ancient mantram.

The mantram or prayer word can be repeated in the mind at any time, anywhere. But to meditate we must sit in a quiet place and concentrate on a memorized inspirational passage.

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

The homework is to discover for yourself what word or phrase you can use to slow the mind down when it begins to race. Look to your traditions and values and choose something that really means something to you. Use this mantram whenever you need a tool to slow things down and regain your focused attention. This is another way of practicing Dharana, the sixth limb of Yoga, which means one-pointed concentration.

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, April 11, 2016

Mastering the Thinking Process


Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering mastering the thinking process.

In deep meditation the flow of concentration is continuous like the flow of oil.                                                                          
                                                            - Yoga Sutras

There are two basic tools for mastering the thinking process. The first is meditation, which is described in the yoga texts with a beautifully precise image: there should be a smooth, unbroken flow of attention on a single subject, like the flow of oil poured from one vessel to another. My method of meditation is to make the mind go slowly through the words of a particular passage from the scriptures or great mystics, as slowly as possible. Whenever the mind wants to slip off on another line of thought, bring the attention back to the words of the passage. It may take practice, but eventually thought flows smoothly without interruption.

The other tool is the mantram, or mantra, which is a name or phrase with spiritual meaning and power.  Meditation on an inspirational passage for half an hour every morning slows down the thinking process. Then during the day, the mantram keeps the mind from speeding up again. The mantram keeps the stream of concentrated thought flowing throughout the day.

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

The homework is to figure out for yourself what technique or practice you can use when you notice the mind speeding up. Use this process to learn to master the thinking process, slowing it down. Review the 5th, 6th and 7th limbs of Yoga for inspiration.

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, April 4, 2016

Yoga Angels


Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering the cultivation of Yoga angels.

Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you.                                                                        
                                                            - Saint Francis de Sales

When the word "angel" is used, we can understand it as a personification of the forces for good in the world. Who will deny that forgiveness is one of the greatest forces on the face of the earth? Show me a man or a woman who can forgive completely and I will show you an angel.

If you want to see an angel, you have only to see a person who can return love for hatred. He is not just a person, he is a force. Similarly, a woman who has boundless patience is a powerful force that can transform antipathy into sympathy, ill will into good will, hatred into love.

There is another meaning as well: there are beneficial forces in life, ready to support those who are sincere but who find their capacities not adequate to the challenges that life presents.

When you are needed by others, when you have something valuable to contribute, these beneficial forces will support you, and give you greater health, greater energy, longer life, and deeper creativity. Life may strike at you, and challenges can hurtle themselves against you, but you will feel equal to them. Deeper forces from within will support you, hold you up, and act as a shield.

We are not alone in the universe. We are surrounded by mighty creative forces.

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

The homework is to consider how the cultivation of Ahimsa (non-harming, Love) and Satya (honesty and truthfulness) the first two Yamas from the first limb of Yoga can help you create the energy to become a creative and loving force in our world. Beyond these first two Yamas study the practice of the remaining Yamas and the elements in the other 7 limbs. Could these practices cultivate Yoga angels?

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, March 28, 2016

Why we Practice Yoga?


Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering why we practice Yoga.

The body is mortal, but the person dwelling in the body is immortal and immeasurable.                                                                       
                                                            - Bhagavad Gita

When I say that this body is not me, I am not making an intellectual statement. It is an experiential statement. If you were to ask me, "Who is this body?" I would make an awful pun: "This is my buddy. I give him good food and good exercise, and I look after him very well, but he is not me."

My body has always been my faithful buddy, through many trials, and during many difficult times; and I let him know how much I appreciate his faithful service. We have an understanding: I take very good care of him, and he looks up to me as the boss. As Saint Francis used to say, "This body is Brother Donkey. I feed him, I wash him, but I am going to ride on him." Whenever we use drugs, or smoke, or drink, or even overeat, the donkey is riding on us. Francis challenges us: "Don't you want to get that donkey off your back and ride on it?"

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

The homework is to revisit why you practice Yoga considering how the eight limbs and other philosophical concepts provide you with the framework for “getting the donkey off of your back”.

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, March 15, 2016

The Fifth Yama - Aparigraha

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering the fifth Yama - Aparigraha.

Got no checkbooks, got no banks,
Still I'd like to express my thanks;
I've got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.
                                                                      
                                                            - Irving Berlin

Even people with money, power, prestige, and everything they have been seeking in their careers can have emotional problems. No amount of money and prestige can prevent profound dissatisfaction and boredom, as well as psychosomatic disorders and drug addiction for millions of people. To me, this is proof that money and power are not our need, that the human being cannot be satisfied by them.

It is natural to feel that a little status or recognition would not be unwelcome in addition to earning a good livelihood, yet all the world's great religions teach us that getting something out of life, whether it is money or recognition or power or prestige, is not our real need. Giving to life is our real need.

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

The homework is to review the fifth Yama - Aparigraha. BKS Iyengar writes that, “Parigraha means hoarding or collecting.  To be free from hoarding is Aparigraha.  By the observance of Aparigraha, the yogini makes her life as simple as possible and trains her mind not to feel the loss or lack of anything.  Aparigraha means not only non-possession and non-acceptance of gifts, but also freedom from rigidity of thought.”  Consider Mr. Iyengar’s deeper understanding of Aparigraha as it relates to our thoughts. How could letting go of rigid thoughts and opinions lead you to seek the real source of happiness?  How would discovering the “real” source of happiness help us contribute more to the lives of others?

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, March 7, 2016

Baggage or Samskaras

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering baggage or Samskaras.

The grace of God is a wind which is always blowing.
                                                                      
                                                            - Sri Ramakrishna

All that you and I have to do is to put up our sails and let the wind of grace carry us across the sea of life to the other shore. But most of us are firmly stuck on this shore. Our sail is torn and our boat is overloaded with excess baggage: our likes and dislikes, our habits and opinions, all the resentments and hostilities which we have acquired.

But just as it is we, ourselves, who have acquired this baggage, it is we who can gradually learn to toss it overboard. The wind is blowing, but we have to make our boat seaworthy. We can patch up our sail, and unfurl it to catch the wind that will carry us to the other shore.

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

The homework is to learn the Yogic philosophical concept of Samsara or Samskara. A Samsara is like baggage. Through selfless action we can start to lessen our baggage and not become attached to the action or to the fruits of the action. “Action done in selflessness is nourishing. You nourish yourself and you nourish the other person….Whatever you do, do it without self. Do it with selflessness.”1

1 Excerpts from Time to be HolySwami Sivananda Radha

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, February 29, 2016

Aourishment, Pratyahara and Dharana

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering nourishment, Pratyahara and Dharana.

The control of the palate is a valuable aid for the control of the mind.
                                                                      
                                                            - Mahatma Gandhi

I first became interested in improving my diet under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi, who used to include articles on diet and health in his weekly newspaper along with all the latest political news. I had been brought up on traditional South Indian cuisine. I had enjoyed it all thoroughly, but I had never asked what the purpose of food is. At Gandhi's prompting, I started asking this kind of question and concluded to my great surprise that food is meant to nourish the body.

I started changing. I began to eat foods that wouldn't have appealed to me in earlier days. Now asparagus tastes better than chocolate torte.

The palate is the ideal starting point for getting some mastery over your senses. You have three, four, maybe more opportunities a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any number of between-meal snacks. No need to talk of fasting or strange diets. Just resolve to move away from foods that don't benefit your health and begin choosing foods that do.

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

The homework is to cultivate the practice of Pratyahara - the refinement or the withdrawal of the senses and combine this practice with Dharana - one pointed concentration to help guide us in directing our attention in meaningful ways in relation to our nourishment choices. See if your nourishment patterns can be refined through challenging your automatic ways of consuming. Consider making meal time more of a sacred event.

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 1:12

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 1:12.

The restriction of these fluctuations is achieved through practice and dispassion.
            -Yoga Sutra 1:12

One of the most frequently studied principles of yoga’s sacred texts is the concept of letting go - also called detachment or surrender.

Why is detachment so difficult to understand?  Perhaps the problem lies in confusing being detached with being uninterested.  Actually, they are opposites.  If you are uninterested, you withdraw, you turn your back on life, which, in a way, denies the difficulty of life.  To be detached is to stand in the middle of the marketplace, with all its confusion and noise, and to remain present to yourself and to all that is.

Detachment beckons you to cultivate the willingness to surrender as you go along, right here and now, but not because you despair or are uninterested.  On the contrary, detachment requires total engagement.  When you allow yourself to see things as they really are, then -  and only then – can you love yourself and others without hidden expectations.  Detachment is the greatest act of love.

The next time you feel yourself caught in the grip of attachment, such as wanting something to turn out a certain way, take time out – right then and there –to notice what is happening in your body.  How does your belly feel?  Has your breathing changed?  Is your jaw tight?  Your forehead drawn?  Notice your bodily sensations.  These are the manifestations of your attachment.

Practice Suggestions.
If you notice that you have a strong desire to be right, try not venturing an opinion the next time someone else expresses one.

If you are in a situation in which you notice your attachment to the outcome of a problem, offer your help and then step back; this will free others to do the same.

When the occasion arises, go along with what your partner or friend wants.  Let her pick the restaurant or movie.  Or, if you always rely on her lead, you pick.

Mantras for Daily Living.
-Detachment is the greatest act of love.
-I am willing to engage life.
-This moment is the perfect moment to let go.

Excerpts from “Living your Yoga, Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life”, by Judith Lasater.

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, February 8, 2016

Dhyana or Meditation - the 7th of the 8 Limbs of Yoga

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering dhyana or meditation - the 7th of the 8 limbs of Yoga.

This life of separateness may be compared to a dream, a phantasm, a bubble, a shadow, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning.
                                                                      - The Buddha

Time runs out so soon! In our teens and twenties, even our thirties, we have ample margin to play with the toys life has to offer. But we should find out soon how fleeting they are, for the tides of time can ebb away before we know it.

As we grow older and our family and friends begin to pass away, we see how relentlessly time is pursuing all of us. There is no time to quarrel, no time to feel resentful or estranged. There is no time to waste on the pursuit of selfish pleasures that are over almost before they begin.

All-devouring time follows us always, closer than our shadow. As long as I live only for myself, as a little fragment apart from the whole, I cannot escape being a victim of time. It is good to bear in mind how evanescent life is so that we do not postpone the practice of meditation.

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

The homework is to consider why it is said that meditation removes stress and brings stability of mind and emotions. In the context of the Yoga Sutras definition of dhyana (meditation)*, dhyana 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.

* III.2 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.”
References: Light on the Yoga Sutras, BKS Iyenger 

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, February 1, 2016

Being Present and Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 1:2

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering the definition of being present and Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 1:2.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
                                                        - The Buddha

When the mind is at rest, we are lifted out of time into the eternal present. The body, of course, is still subject to the passage of time. But in a sense, the flickering of the mind is our internal clock. When the mind does not flicker, what is there to measure change? It's as if time simply comes to a stop for us, as we live completely in the present moment. Past and future, after all, exist only in the mind. When the mind is at rest, there is no past or future. We cannot be resentful, we cannot be guilt-ridden, we cannot build future hopes and desires; no energy flows to past or future at all.

Past and future are both contained in every present moment. Whatever we are today is the result of what we have thought, spoken, and done in all the present moments before now - just as what we shall be tomorrow is the result of what we think, say, and do today. The responsibility for both present and future is in our own hands. If we live right today, then tomorrow has to be right.

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

The homework is to consider PYS 1:2* which states the goal of Yoga, "The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga" (The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sri Swami Satichidananda). BKS Iyengar writes that the "Restraint of the movements of thought brings about stillness (dharana), which leads to silence (dhyana) with awareness." Is BKS Iyengar's quote a definition of being present? In light of the reading consider for yourself what your definition of being present is.

*1:2 yogah cittavrtti nirodhah

References: Light on the Yoga Sutras, BKS Iyenger  and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sri Swami Satichidananda

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