24131119_10214989709125307_6140000919978488213_nJanuary 2019 – New Beginnings

I wanted to start the year with the big announcement of  my Patreon page starting! However I’ve run into a little hiccup that being editing videos is hard work!  Learning to edit videos is even harder. I’ve got a new start date of February 14th just to iron out a few of these video bubbles I and my editing team have run into. Wit that being said I thought it was still good to offer some insight for those of you curious about what to expect.

This is my introduction level one monthly meditation.

This journey of my Patreon with something deep like dedicating our first month of our time together to Stillness or Silence. After trying to write for a good couple of weeks I had nothing and that is when I realized that I was starting from the wrong place. I had as I so often do rush ahead. I had put the idea of New Beginnings to the side thinking to myself it’s just so trite. Everyone starts the new year with a fresh new outlook or new beginning. I’m not like everyone else so of-course I can’t start with new beginnings that just silly – or so I thought in my own mind.

But then I remembered not everyone even knows where to start when it comes to the practice of yoga, and if I can’t remember that what kind of teacher am I? So we start with New Beginnings – a very good place to star to quote Ms. Julie Andrews the original Mary Poppins.

Let´s start at the very beginning

A very good place to start

When you read you begin with A-be-see

When you sing you begin with do-re-mi

In his book ‘Meditations from the Mat,’ Rolf Gates starts by saying our journey into yoga is much like us stepping into a canoe for a trip down the river of life.

More traditional Kriya-yoga (or the practicing of yoga through work) talks of our journey starting with the body. “The organs are the horses, the mind is the reins, the intellect is the charioteer, the soul is the rider and the body the chariot. If the horses are very strong and do not obey the reins and if the charioteer has no discrimination then the rider comes to grief BUT if the horse, the organs are well controlled by the reins the mind and the charioteer possesses discrimination then the rider, the soul reaches the goal.”  * Raja – Yoga by Swami Vivekananda pg 143

Our goal being Samadhi – the state of union of the self to the divine or greater consciousness of the universe. That journey doesn’t start in stillness or in silence that journey starts with action and taking the steps into a new beginning.

Our first steps together are to pick a book of daily meditation that calls to you. This year I am using “Alchemy 365 A Self- Awareness Workbook one full year of dedications towards your own Self-Empowerment and Authenticity” by Brenda Lightfeather Marroy. Last year (2018) I used three books “Yoga’s Devotional Light, Living your Bhakti Practice” by Julian Lynn, “Earth Bound, Daily Meditations for all Seasons” by Brian Nelson and “Meditations from the Mat Daily Reflections on the path of Yoga” by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison.

There are so many books on daily meditations out there pick one or three until you find one that sings to you. If reading books is not your thing there are websites like Daily Om that offer daily readings sent to you via email A few years ago I did their Year of Rumi quotes. Loved that they were sent into my email and they became the first email I would read that day.

Did I read from these books every morning? No there were some mornings I had to get up early, or mornings that started in chaos that kept me from sitting and reading first thing. This is the practice – we don’t have to get it right we just have to practice. That means that if you miss a few days or a few weeks that you don’t use your internal monologue to punish yourself for life getting in the way.  You just start back up with whatever day of the year it is. You can always go back and read the other days later or next year or the year after that. So you miss the whole month of May because of birthdays, anniversaries, travel or illness – no big deal try to start back up in June.

The second step pick a second book. The second book I would like for you to find is one that calls to you spiritually or scientifically – something to expand your mind. This is a book that you will read just one or two pages from each day depending upon the book. A book about quantum physics, about the physiology of the mind or how emotions work, a book about your favorite god or goddess and their mythology. This year I was torn between “The Greek Myths book 1″ by Robert Graves or “Karma- Yoga and Bhakti-Yoga” by Swami Vivekananda. Right now I’m leaning to the Karma- Yoga book but I might change my mind, because this is all about practice not perfection.

The third step is to pick a time and place for you to read. You want these books in a place where you will constantly see them. That might be next to your computer, or maybe you have a dedicated meditation yoga mat space in your house. As funny and weird as it may be for some of us the bathroom is a spot to read or on the nightstand next to your bed.

In Yin yoga we talk about consistency of practice and resolving to remain in the pose. The same will play true to your time spent reading these books. Consistency in finding a place and time to read and resolve in getting back into the practice after you have given yourself time to fidget. Allow for that self-sabotage that we do when we talk our self out of the pose before even getting settled. The same applies to a meditation practice. Just be gentle with yourself.

The fourth step for us is to create the space to grow. Once you have picked your books, picked your place and time to read, then pause. Take the time to make this a special moment for yourself. Be mindful of who what when and where you are. Work to set up a space and time that will work so if that is early morning for you make it early morning, if that is evening for you make it an evening routine. If you are someone who hates rules and being told what when and where to do something then you can be more scattered in your reading times and location. My only suggestion is to make it a special sacred time for you. Light a candle, brew a fresh cup of coffee or tea, create a sacred altar space for these books. Take the time to fluff the pillows of your chair or bed, remove the wrinkles from the blanket, brush the cat litter off the bottom of your feet. Make this as special and ritualistic as calls to you.

We are practicing together to find a home for our soul be that a canoe, a chariot or moped or some other vessel.   This is Duryona Yoga we are finding our home.



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The cat puked on my yoga mat

My introduction to my Patreon

I woke up the other morning to that sound that all cat parents fear, the sound of your cat getting ready to heave out a hairball. With three cats this is a some what common sound in our household. A normal part of cat life. The next step is the great hunt for where the cat has hidden their hair ball gift, they have given you. Searching around the house in their favorite spots – under the bed – nope, on the office chair – nope, in someone’s shoes – nope, on the couch – nope… not in any of the usual spots. I had started to think at this point maybe I had dreamed the hairball noise. So, I decided to go about my normal morning routine. I made myself a cup of tea, lit candles to our goddess, lit incense for my ancestors and made my way to the yoga room for my morning meditation. There in all its glory was the hair ball right in the middle of my yoga mat. It was one of those hair balls that makes you wonder about cat physiology. Do they somehow carry with in them inter-dimensional doors that allowed them to produce hairballs bigger than they? What is this cat magic?

With I sigh I got the rags and the spray and cleaned their mess.

And as I was cleaning, I realized this was a perfect metaphor for my yoga life. This was the representation that most of us have when we struggle with a home practice.
Our home should be our sanctuary the place where we practice the most holy of all yoga with our family, our memories and all the mess, joy, frustration, dirty dishes, phone calls, to do list and all the million and one things that distract us from doing our home practice. All of us struggle with making a home practice ours and just that home and practice.

Some of you are thinking to yourself – why don’t you just shut the door to your yoga room, the cats can’t get in, you will not hear the phone ring and you will not see the dishes waiting to be washed in your sink. Here’s the catch/ excuse all of us use – it’s my home. My house is old the doors don’t always close right, I can always hear the phone ring even when it’s on silent especially if it’s family or my children. There is always laundry to do and meals to be prepared. There will always be a cat puking on my yoga mat. It just is the reality of my yoga mat.

Our lives might not be the epic story of The Ramayana where Hanuman the faithful servant of Lord Rama leaps across the Indian Ocean to the Himalayan Mountains so he may find the herb Rama needs to heal his brother Laksmana. Though I have seen some piles of laundry in my time that could rival the Himalayas. We all have our own hero’s journey that all start within the self.

Home life is messy it’s real and it’s really the spot where we practice the most honest for of yoga with ourselves and our loved ones. Yoga isn’t the asana we do on our mat it’s the practice of yoga we have outside the studio and in the hearth of our hearts the home we created in this physical form for our soul to thrive grow and burn bright with it’s light.
This is where I came up with the idea of starting my own virtual studio that I am calling Duryona Yoga. Duryona is the Sanskrit word for home, dwelling, residence or housing.

In January of 2019 I will be starting my Patreon page Duryona Yoga

This is my current ideas for the levels – they may change and grow and we figure this whole thing out.

1$ a monthly meditation and/or breath practice that we can share together.
3$ a picture of me in a pose talking about its benefits, mythology behind that pose and ways to modify
5$ a 10 to 15-minute yoga practice – will be a variety of classes from restorative to flow to yin
10$ ??
20$ a 45 minute to an hour class – class will be a variety from restorative to flow to yin

Thank you all for being on this journey with me

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Myth of Hip Openers

The myth of hip openers good read my yoga friends
From Yoga U Online
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Yoga Weekends

sharing from my other blog

Walking A Moonlit Path

I was so lucky to attend a yoga nidra immersion with Tracee Stanley my mind is still growing. Yoga Nidra is sometimes confused with lucid dreaming or deep relaxation, but  it is so much more!

Breaking down the words into sanskrit roots Yoga Ni+dra

yoga – union; of the self and the divine

Ni means void or nothing

dru is to squeeze out or to bring to the surface

We had three definitions we used for our class.

  1. sleep with awareness
  2. sleep in a cloud of yoga where you are transcend beyond waking, dreaming and sleeping to just the state of awareness with out judgement
  3. Yoga Nidra is conscious movement into the body merging your jiva (soul) into another jiva (soul) which you wish to become absorbed

visoka va jyotismati (yoga sutra 1:36) – The joy that knows no sorrow

visoko – that which is devoid of worry and grief

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Meditation and the Empty mind

“The power of the Universe will come to your assistance, if your heart and mind are in Unity.”

–  Lakota Saying, passed down from White Buffalo Calf Woman

I’ve debated with myself about posting this and decided that it’s something that needs to be said again.  It’s a conversation I have all the time with people when I teach a yoga class and we touch on meditation. Someone will ask “when will my mind empty?”

Well honey, I hate to be the one to tell you this but if your mind is empty your dead…

Somewhere in the translation of Citta has been distorted. One of the first times I heard the word citta it was attached to the phrase monkey mind.

In chapter two of his book “The Path of the Yoga Sutras..” Nicolai Bachman write about citta and he suggests that citta is the outer mind, the inner mind, ego and memory.  With awareness on our inner light (purusa) that we can try to understand citta

The second of Patangjali’s Yoga Sutra is:

Yogas citta vritti nirodha = The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga.

Yogah (yogas) = Yoga

Chitta = the mind-stuff, mind field

Vritti = midifications

Nirodhah = restraint

No were in either of these translations is the word empty.

I remember once being in a class on meditation and the instructor saying to us “Your mind is meant to tell you stories, to solve your problems, to analyses and teach you.”  I loved that your mind is meant to tell you stories because oh my goodness my mind loves to tell me stories, all the time.

Meditation is hard, we don’t need to make meditation more difficult by perpetrating the myth that when we meditate we think about nothing.  I blame Hollywood and its portrayal of eastern mysticisms.  When I meditate my mind is always going if it is focusing on counting my breath, repeating a mantra or letting my mind wander these are all different ways of meditation and learning to restrain the mind stuff.

If I’m taking a class and we are sitting in meditation at the end I try to focus on my breath but inevitably my mind will wander off to what I need from the store, how much is the price of gas, what should I make for dinner.  I try to remember not to feel frustrated when this happens, my mind is doing its job – problem solving and telling me story. But because I’m in a yoga class and trying to focus on this idea of restraint of my citta I go back to my breath. I focusing on the inhale on the exhale maybe say a round or two of my mantra then back to the breath. Once in a great while I get a synchronization a moment between an inhale and an exhale that is quite then poof it’s gone and the thoughts are off and running only to repeat the conscious pause and gentle refocus back to the breath.

Perhaps this is why I enjoy guided meditation and path working so much. Someone is giving you a story for your mind to follow to help you find this purusa, inner peace or enlightenment.  I have just started working with self-guided meditation where you focus on an idea or a deity.  No where in these styles of meditation is your mind empty in both you encourage the story telling aspect of your mind opening again to your inner wisdom your inner peace.

Meditation is a part of daily practice on my yoga path. On some days  I have an easy time meditating other days it’s a struggle and hard work. Learn to accept that my mind will chatter at me has been a delight in this work.

Let your mind tell you a story my friends learn to listen to your inner wisdom.

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The Path of The Yoga Sutras

Atha yoga anushasanam
Now, the teachings of yoga.
—Yoga Sutra 1.1

When most of us start our path of Yoga it’s because we went to a cool class, met a cool teacher and something just clicked. We (I) liked the physical aspect of how yoga helped you to reconnect with your body. And you keep going, taking more and more classes each week, becoming stronger more connected with yourself. Then IT happens one day, maybe it’s a substitute yoga teacher that you don’t mess with, or a class full of extra twisting but you come home and you cry for hours. That is the day you realize yoga is not just physical but spiritual, mental and emotional work as well.

This is the point where some of us give up yoga – its no longer that perfect pose you see in a yoga calendar – you know the one the beautify body doing some extravagantly  hard poses in the sunset on the beach.  Yoga is not longer about juices cleanses or the gluten free, vegan ethically harvested chai latte. Yoga becomes about the Yama(s), Niyama(s), dealing with your samskara and kleshas.

With luck you are introduced to Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga and the Yoga Sutras. Later in your studies you find the Bhagavad Gita as well as the Upanishads. These are not light I’ll breaze though them over the weekend kind of books. They are a mindful read. You will have to go through a few incarnations of these texts before you find the translation that sits right with you.

One of my latest finds has been Nicolai Bachman’s version of the Sutras “The Path of the Yoga Sutras a practical guide to the core of yoga”

I am going to be using this book over the next couple of months and sharing with you the journey.

We start with Atha – translated means the beginning of the study of who what and were we are.This is how the practice of yoga begins. A resolve to practice everyday, to move at the pace that is right for your body, mind and spirt  and to let yourself grow and evolve at your speed.

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Sweet Potato Bean Enchiladas – Missouri Style Sunday Dinner

One of the best things about being part of Millsap Farms CSA is the on farm experience.  I enjoy getting out once in a while and playing farmer then going home to the nice urban life style. I enjoy the connection that is created by my CSA to the farm, cycles and the vegetables grow on the farm

CSA Work Day 002

Last October youngest daughter and I got to go out to the CSA for our work share day and among a number of tasks we got to pick sweet potatoes

.  She’s also the reason why we are a mixed family. She’s my vegetarian daughter.

I am pretty sure this is a one of the sweet potatoes I picked because well, see the two brown spots on the top, those are where someone might have stuck a pitch fork though the potato as they dug them out

Feb 2013 048

These sweet potatoes are HUGE bigger than my hand and oh so tasty because we picked them.  Got all sweaty and muddy doing so as well. If you have never dug potatoes you should give it a try some time it’s lots of fun.

The other great part about being in a CSA is that you have to come up with very creative recipes to use up all your vegetables. We are in the middle of our winter CSA so it’s a lot of greens, squashes and sweet potatoes. Sunday night for dinner we had Sweet Potato and Bean Enchiladas, I’ve added the Missouri style just because I’m not sure these can really claim and true enchilada family status.

Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a pan with parchment paper or silicon and dice up those sweet potatoes I used one huge potato and one smaller potato. Feb 2013 050Drizzle with olive oil and then empty your spice cabinet – really just empty the thing out. Because I was going for that Tex-Mex flavor I grab cumin, smoked paprika, paprika, garlic,  chili  powder, ground cayenne pepper, pinch of salt  and a bit of curry powder because it was there. Start with about a teaspoon of each adding more to taste – go ahead and taste your food.

Roast the potatoes in your oven for 20 to 30 minutes the size of your dice will determine how long they need to cook. Let cool as you assemble your other ingredients .

Drain and rinse two cans of your favorite kind of beans. Add one chopped onion, one chopped pepper – can be bell, Anaheim, jalapeno, poblano this is a chance to add the heat leave of your choice.

Feb 2013 0611 cup chopped squeezed cooked greens of your choice – spinach, kale, chard whatever you have.  Mix it all into a bowl.

Add grated cheese to taste – I am partial to a good sharp cheddar but use what you like.

Now pick your enchilada sauce I love a good roasted green pepper enchilada sauce but feel free to use red. I had a can of each and made  two pans of enchiladas so I mixed.

Now get your tortillas I had flour on hand but corn are more authentic and work just as tasty. I was just far too lazy to go to the store and buy more tortillas. Feb 2013 064Dump about 1/2 cup of your enchilada sauce into the bottom of your pan and start rolling up your enchiladas  About 3 to 3/1/2 tablespoons per tortilla is a nice ratio. Tuck the filled enchiladas seam side down snug up to one another and fill your pan.   Cover with more sauce and a good sprinkle of cheese be artist if you wish or just dump. I’m a fan of the dump method.

Feb 2013 065

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake again at 350 deg. for around 30 to 40 mins, everything is already cooked so you are just warming it

 all up into a bubbly goo

ey mess of goodness.

When they have come out of the oven and have cooled from boiling hot lava to blister of the mouth serve and enjoy. We like ours topped with  sour cream, more cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, salsa, avocado  and meat

chorizo or diced chicken sprinkle on the top.

Feast and enjoy!

Sweet Potato & Bean Enchilada

2 sweet potatoes

2 TBL olive oil

Cumin, smoked paprika, paprika, garlic,  chili  powder, ground cayenne pepper, pinch of salt  and a bit of curry powder

2 cans of beans – your choice drained & rinsed

1 onion chopped

1 pepper of your choice – bell, bell, Anaheim, jalapeno, poblano

1 cup chopped squeezed cooked greens of your choice – spinach, kale, chard whatever you have

3 cups grated cheese – divided into (2) 1 ½ cups mix it up cheddar, mozzarella, jack

Enchilada sauce  (make your own or use store-bought).

Corn & flour tortillas ~ 20

Topping to feast upon out of the oven – sour cream, cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomato, pepper, chorizo ect…

Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a pan with parchment paper or silicon

Dice up the sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and add your spices mixed everything well start with about a teaspoon of each adding more to taste – go ahead and taste your food.

Roast the potatoes in your oven for 20 to 30 minutes the size of your dice will determine how long they need to cook. Let cool in a large bowl appropriate for mixing.

Turn your oven down to 350 deg

Drain and rinse two cans of your favorite kind of beans add to the sweet potatoes one chopped onion, your chopped pepper, your squeezed (trying to get the extra moisture out of the greens so your enchiladas are not soggy) cooked greens. Mix it all into a bowl.

Add grated cheese to taste

Dump about 1/2 cup of your enchilada sauce into the bottom of your oven safe pan and start rolling up your enchiladas   3 to 3/1/2 tablespoons per tortilla.  Tuck the filled enchiladas seam side down snug up to one another and fill your pan. Cover with more sauce and a good sprinkle of cheese.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake again at 350 deg. for around 30 to 40 mins, everything is already cooked so you are just warming it all up into a bubbly gooey mess of goodness.

Serve and enjoy with toppings of your choice.

Feast and enjoy!

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