Practice Is Still Samsara Baby!

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Sati giving a lecture at Namobuddha Resort. Pranamaya Yoga. 2012.

The next time you see yourself grasping to your Yoga practice out of insecurity and fear causing an inflated sense of ego and compensation for a lack of self-worth (or you see someone else doing so) you may want to kindly remind yourself or someone else that spiritual practice is still Samsara! It’s still Prakriti! It’s still Maya! Our practice was born from the ego and the conceptual mind that we are attempting to transcend or disidentify with! Authentic Yoga is an incredibly intelligent technique and philosophy. But mostly, it’s a paradox!

It’s a vehicle to get us to transcend the mechanism that created the practice to begin with, namely—the individual ego itself. And until then, it’s a good idea to keep a sense of humor, keep it in perspective, practice with a ‘pure’ motivation, and stay as open-hearted as you can. The ego (ahamkara) when besieged by fear and thereby attachment, will use anything to affirm its authority and attempt to solidify its existence. You don’t need that to happen to be dedicated to your practice. Indeed, you shouldn’t have fear and attachment motivating you at all, because essentially, you’ll have to purify yourself of that at some point as well. It’s another delusion preventing the state of Yoga to be realized. It’s another toxin invading a potentially transformative relationship: the one between you and your spiritual practice.

About The Writer:

Shannon Rose Chmelar (Sati) is an American yoga teacher who teaches the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system and various philosophical traditions including Classical Yoga, Vedanta, and Mahayana Buddhism. She is also a writer, massage therapist, and multi-media performance artist. Sati teaches in the United States, Europe, and Asia and is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. She is the Founder and Director of Vasudhaiva, an educational institute and retreat company dedicated to the study of Classical Indian Thought, Buddhism, and Yoga. In all of her work, she strives to illuminate how ancient wisdom teachings may help us overcome our daily struggles and cultivate a more compassionate existence

To Learn More Visit Her Website: http://www.satiyogini.com

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Yoga, Dance and Cows at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Read about the Sri Aurobindo Yoga Ashram and the wonderful things that are happening there in yoga teacher Nicky’s report below:

‘Namaste Yogi’s

Saturday the 29th September marked our second visit to Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir Ashram out at Thankot, for a full day of Yogic sharing.  The Ashram is set in a backdrop of beautiful forested hills and has sweeping views of the Kathmandu valley.  Even though it is not far from the city, with all the hills, trees, clean air, plants and flowers you feel as though you could be miles away and this makes it a wonderful day retreat.

There are over 100 children and 20 or so adults living at the Ashram, in refuge, where they can embark on their educational studies and yoga, also learning to organically farm, paint Thanka paintings and weave.  The children come from very poor families or from the streets, thus giving them a sanctuary and a place where they can be happy.  The adults are there to teach the children or have been at the Ashram for many years and have learnt skills they are now passing on to the next generation.  They are running their own organic farm, growing many seasonal vegetables and have a small heard of cows to produce milk and yoghurt.  The cows are organically fed too and you can really taste the difference in the milk, it is delicious!  From the cows they are also producing their own biogas for cooking.

Our programs there have included the practise of kriyas, which are cleansing techniques for the body, and pranayama classes, which are breathing exercises, that also cleanse internally. These practices have many physical benefits but are also very calming for the mind.  Extended asana classes have given us a bit more time to explore some of the yogic postures than during our regular classes.  We have embarked on the practice of Karma Yoga, the practice of selfless service by doing some gardening on the farm for the ashram, with no expectation of results. In fact, this has been a very relaxing experience in itself with all of nature and a cool breeze around us.  Guided meditation sessions have also been given, as well as the practice of chanting mantra, which can be a very powerful and healing experience.

This time we were blessed with a performance by the children of the ashram of classical Indian dance including the Bharatnatyam, which comes from the state of Tamil Nadu in South East India.  It was so colourful and bright and all the children looked so happy and wonderful in their costumes and make up, and were so full of energy, it was a wonderful experience to see. Of course, every time we visit, we are fed very well with a delicious organic vegetarian lunch, all ingredients grown at the Ashram, and RamChandra the director can never let us leave without filling our bellies with more delicious snacks!

You can help support the Ashram by coming along on our next visit. A donation of Nrs. 1500 goes to the Ashram directly from your payment for the day. During a visit you can also buy their produce; vegetables, shawls and towels, woven at the ashram, milk and yoghurt.  Otherwise you can find them at 1905 farmers market on Saturdays from 9am-12pm and at the Summit hotel farmers market on Sundays from 9am-12pm.  Or contact them directly here; www.auronepal.net Email sriaurobindo@gmail.com

One last little note to help the environment, if you are buying their milk and yoghurt please return the containers to them so as they can be recycled, you can return them to the Summit hotel or 1905 on the days that they are there for the farmers market.

Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
May all beings find balance and harmony

Om Shanti, Nicky

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What Turning Upside-Down Can Teach Us

Sivananda Yoga teacher Nicky will be teaching free headstand clinics every wednesday morning following her class. To get inspired, read her blog post below:

‘The Asvattha Tree is the Sanskrit name for the sacred Pipal tree; a relative of the Banyan. Asvattha meaning that which will not be tomorrow. Normally we don’t see the roots of a tree as they are under the earth, but by the very fact that the tree is there, we know that the roots are also there, as otherwise how does the tree stand? This Asvattha Tree is said to be indestructible, standing with its roots above the earth and its branches below.

Working with our inversions, essentially sirshasana (headstand) and sarvangasana (shoulderstand), can be a process that teaches us so much. Rather than worrying about getting to that perfect posture we would like to put on a postcard, it is the whole process of learning these poses that makes all the difference. It doesn’t matter how long it takes -and the journey may seem very long at the beginning – but giving ourselves time and being patient is key. Often we put so much pressure on ourselves to be better, stronger,
more flexible etc., that we forget the benefits of simply going slow, taking the asana step by step without racing onto the next stage before we are ready.

Remember often it is the process that teaches us most and not the final position. Inversions teach us a lot of patience and acceptance. Some days they may come easy and some days not so, we have to learn to accept that. They teach us how to overcome fears that we are facing and build on our confidence. Turning ourselves upside down can help us see things from a different perspective. Don’t worry if you think you can’t do it at first, the very fact that you are trying means you are doing it. So often in class I hear from my students “I can’t do that!” As I look at them and reply ‘You are doing it!.’

Suddenly when you approach a difficult situation in life with surprising confidence, where did that confidence come from? From practicing that headstand. When you endure something with more grace than you expected, where did that endurance come from? From practicing that headstand. So have faith, dig deeply into your heart, find your beautiful branches and leaves and turn them upside down for a while. We are limitless as to what we can achieve but we must have patience and acceptance. be courageous and battle on my friend, become the Asvattha tree and be strong and wonderful.’

Free headstand clinic after class every wednesday morning at Pranamaya yoga studio, Moksh, Patan, Kathmandu. Class: 9.30-10.45 am. Clinic follows class.

Just breathe and let the universe take care of everything else.

om om shanti om
Nicky/ Mangala

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Pranamaya Teacher Book Recommendation

As you may have noticed, the Moksh Pranamaya studio has some books on yoga, spirituality and health on offer. To inspire you and give you a clue on which books are not to be missed, the Pranamaya teachers will be sharing some of their all-time favorites with you. 

Starting with a recommendation from Power Yoga teacher Roshani:

BKS Iyengar’s Illustrated Light on Yoga is an amazing read! If pictures are worth more than a thousand words, these displays of Yogic perfection/mastery of Postures should be worth more than a thousand testimonials of what Yoga is capable of. This book is sure to move you back on your mat again & again :-)

 

♥ Rosh

 

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Yoga Video

Check out this video by our Power Yoga teacher Roshani:

Teaching in Nepal we have a very transient group of students. Many are expats who live in Kathmandu for two, sometimes three years, but often times students are contracted to work in the fields away from our beautiful studio. After loads of requests to have a DVD made, I decided to just go ahead and start making really simple Youtube videos for those who go away temporarily or those (like Hillary, the one who begged for a video the most) who return back to their respective Motherlands for good. It’s a super easy way to establish an at-home practice. This one is actually shorter than 7 minutes which makes it extra great!!

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New Pranamaya Blog

Hi all!

Welcome to the new Pranamaya Yoga blog. Check this blog regularly for posts on yoga and life in Nepal, as well as for yoga related info, teachings, video’s and lots more.

Enjoy!

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