Feedback from the August 2005 Yoga Teacher Training Newsletter
In Reference to: Meditation and the Monkey Mind
Whilst traveling in Thailand, I came to understand, how the monkey, on a ‘basic dualistic nature’, exists. Whilst on the ground, the monkey adopts the social etiquette of the nearest troop of people, thus its behavioral patterns arise in co-existence with whomever are lucky enough to share space with them.
When I made it to on e particular beach, where the monkeys lived, I saw climbers armed with catapults and stones to drive the monkeys from the cliff face they wished to scale. Whilst walking along the coast at low tide, I walked past the local troop, so disenchanted with human encounters that as I came into proximity with them, they took fright and became hostile, driving me back into the sea across broken coral leaving me with bloodied feet. I caught my breath, waited for the troop to calm down, and continue their route along the coastline.
The tree is the heart of the monkey, and whilst in it they are good and their wistful nature becomes apparent. With archetypal fashion they can be seen calm and still, together arm in arm. Their sinewy limbs breathing strongly, and gentle rounded eyes winking through the shadows.
In reference to your last letter to the editor:
Whilst on a discovery of yoga… our paths may lead us astray from our original troop…
To the girl whom has resent for her family… I would liken this problem to the leaving of one tree and migrating to another… the limbs of yoga reach deep into the hearts of all world religions and cultures… in embracing deeper roots through the process of practice and devotion… we need to clip back some of the weaker branches to enable others to shape, and form our life.
Just as the monkey is capable of destruction and discourse…
So too are the faces we know if they are always showing us the same reflection…
An alter, or a space, for the ones we love can help to recognise the divine within them, beyond that of their roles in our life… yet they do not learn what we learn, and may not be able to be what we want them to be.
The monkey in the heart, is still…monkey see monkey do.
Shiva in natraj is still… a dancer emotes and celebrates through the emotion.
Yoga can Prevent the Root Cause of Failure
Within our Yoga training we learn, but life is where we put yogic principles into practice. It is always a wise practice, to learn from the mistakes of others, but it is also wise to learn from our own mistakes.
Failure, stress, and depression, all have one common link. That is the link within your own mind. You cannot afford to cultivate a negative mindset, even for a moment.
Blaming, comparing, and contending are tasks that occupy the negative mind-set most of the time. Powerful emotions like fear, jealousy, envy, and greed, put us into a negative thinking “tail spin.” Worse yet, this can occur quite suddenly and without just cause.
The result being, that we hurt others around us, without thinking about the end result. All of a sudden, we forget to assess the situation, and react, without considering the consequences. So what is the solution?
All of us are “wired” differently, as far as emotions are concerned, but we all have them. For some of us, emotional outbursts are routine, while others show no reaction to stressful conditions. How do you learn to control your emotions?
You don’t have to. They will be under your control, if you learn to look at every tough situation as a learning process. In fact, none of us has control over the universe. We impact it in a small way through our actions, but we cannot control natural disasters or “Acts of God.”
You have to learn to accept, “the glass as half full,” all of the time. If you fall down, you must pick yourself up and move forward. Don’t trouble yourself over past mistakes. Learn from them and put them behind you.
Find solutions and opportunities within your problems. Don’t be afraid to take a calculated risk or make a mistake. Try new things, learn to meditate, and ask for help when you need it.
One last point to mention, about asking for help; it is much easier to ask for help, when you have been helpful, in the past. Helping people will make you feel better about yourself, but it will also form strong relationships. Everyone appreciates a “helping hand,” and when you need help, it won’t be hard to find.
Alliances and “positive-thinking” groups get more done than a “lone wolf.” Remember the saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of its Parts.” If you are immersed in collective thought, you may not have to find all the answers, solutions, and opportunities, alone. As a group you will find them together.
Yoga Teacher Training – Question of the Month
Q: I decided to become a yoga instructor more 25 years ago. Within the past few years, my new female students are more interested in Yoga training to enhance the muscle tone of their legs. I see you are developing many new yoga certification courses, but wonder if you are considering developing more specialized yoga instructor training course for continuing education?
A: We do have new Yoga teacher training programs on the drawing board, but haven’t developed a Yoga course leg development yet. However, we are open to all suggestions. For now, we can offer some advice on the subject.
Yoga, although not necessarily the be-all, end-all for exercise routines, does offer a lot of advantages for consistent practitioners. First, yoga training relaxes the mind and body. Second, yoga stretches and increases the body’s flexibility. Third, yoga strengthens muscles and improves cardiovascular health. Overall, a relatively healthy individual will benefit from a regular yoga routine while someone who needs to improve mind-body health can benefit enormously from a consistent practice.
Yoga for Legs
Yoga training is an especially good practice for lengthening and strengthening muscles while re-aligning incorrect joint and vertebrae problems. One area that is especially prone to injury, and thus will benefit from the rehabilitative nature of yoga, is that of the legs.
Legs are the load-bearing vehicles of the body. Together with the spine, they absorb impact, trauma and injuries and for the most part allow us to continue daily life as normal. They propel, lift, mobilize and compensate for other areas of the body. But a leg that under-functions or functions improperly can contribute to a build-up of health problems, including back and neck injuries that are incredibly debilitating.
A weak hamstring, for example, can lead to inflexibility in the lower back and an over-extended or imbalanced quadricep muscle. As a result of inflexibility or imbalanced muscle groups, knee and ankle injuries often occur. A persistent knee injury can prevent a person from exercising or even walking correctly, which can lead to further damage that eventually inhibits daily life.
Yoga allows practitioners to focus on strengthening muscle groups evenly while also increasing flexibility. This in turn can lead to less chronic pain, improved joint health and better quality of life.
Asanas for Shaping and Toning the Legs
Certain yoga postures lend themselves well to strengthening leg muscle groups. A yoga student can first start out with a basic sun salutation series, which is often the starting point for any yoga routine as it serves to warm-up the whole body.
Asanas that focus on the legs include warrior pose, downward dog, chair pose, bridge pose and crescent lunge pose. Since yoga emphasizes whole-body strengthening, many poses also integrate a variety of muscle groups into the posture, and it is pretty easy to realize that there are many poses that can help strengthen and lengthen the legs. Most balance poses will build muscle while some relaxation poses offer deep stretches.
A yoga student wishing to emphasize leg health can create a series incorporating leg poses and practice this series with multiple repetitions to receive maximum benefits.
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