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ISSUE 4
News from SPACE

This May, Space held it’s first 200 hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training under the guidance of Ken Bond and our very own Naichen Tang.  In an intense eighteen days, thirty enthusiastic Yogis dedicated themselves to the study of yoga’s vast history and rich philosophy, human anatomy, the mechanics of teaching and pranayama.  The yoga student is confronted with difficult questions to which there are no definite or concrete answers:
What is yoga?
Why do we practice Yoga?
What is my purpose in life?
Who am I and why am I here?
Before sunrise until after sunset, these students truly experienced the wisdom of “beginner’s mind”.  They lived and breathed yoga discovering along this journey that yoga is different for everybody and perhaps yoga is not something we “do” but it is THE something we ARE.  Congratulations to these 30 new teachers, your devotion is extraordinary! May this be the first step to many years of discovering Yoga, sharing it with others, and going deeper into your own practice to uncover the peace and strength that is already present in you.

Namaste

Bodies Heal Themselves

By Ateeka & Fabrizio Dalle Piane

Like our planet Earth, the human body is a living organism in constant change. The human body carries an inner wisdom to maintain a state of equilibrium amidst ever-changing conditions. When we are not able to adapt to the vital pulse of change innate to all living things, stress, disease and suffering can arise.

From an evolutionary perspective, health can be defined as “the ability to adapt to any situation with flexibility and immediacy.” This adaptability relates to not only the body, but the mind and emotions as well.

While healing support and modern medicine can be valuable and important, it is vital to understand that the body can heal itself. Through the practice of “somatics”, the science of the body as a bio-morphic organism, we expand our body’s own capacity to adapt and thrive no matter what the circumstances. We develop deep sensitivity to the messages of the body and the environment (including plants, animals, elements and other entities) around us. We learn to respond to and respect our environment. The versatility of our system is amplified. Health flourishes in this fluid state.

The uniting source of all of our work with somatics is water. Water anoints every species on our planet. We have all evolved from water and continue to be composed of at least 70% water. Our home, Earth, is covered with more than 70%water. Water is the element of change and fluidity. Water is faithful to whatever frequency to which it is exposed. From fluid to ice to vapor, it changes its form according to the conditions of the moment

Because of this, water is the physical manifestation of our spiritual awareness. When a body is functioning in responsive equilibrium, we call it “an open system.” An open system, like a broadband satellite, receives an abundance of information from an infinite spectrum of sources, allowing it to thrive in nearly any situation. The fluid inside our bodies is able to pulse through our tissues in infinite ways. The open system is like a fresh flowing river that supports life.

Alternatively, a “closed system” is a body-mind that has limited response options. It is like a stagnant pond. A closed system is only open to certain “channels” of information that conform to the social conditioning, adaptive patterns and traumatic memories. Even the most gifted healer may not be able to have an effect when the organism cannot “tune in” to their frequency. Any “stance” becomes a limitation.

By becoming very sensitive to the movement of the fluid inside of our body and responding to this sacred movement, we enhance our connection with the earth, its inhabitants and the cosmos. Global, non-localized, non-repetitive movement creates global awareness. We realize that we have more options and choice. As egocentricity recedes and identity changes, we are able to viscerally understand that we are a part of the whole. From this perspective, a new resonance of community, cooperation and non-violence can emerge. The fluid inside of our bodies is imbued with these positive frequencies and this resonance amplifies infinite possibilities for health and peace.

Ateeka & Fabrizio are conducting international study and research for over 15 years and sharing their discoveries about resonant energy and evolution of man in relation to yoga and oriental practices. These fields all have an inherent connection through movement, sound, breath, contact in relationship to awareness of the fluid system. With extensive backgrounds in traditional yoga, martial arts, bodywork, aquatic therapies and fitness, Ateeka & Fabrizio offer a very modern perspective to health, healing and personal development.

ateeka111@mac.com & fabrizioateeka@mac.com

Interview with Gladys & Axl

What is your teaching philosophy?

Axl: There is no student that can not be taught, only teachers that cannot teach. It is important to always have an open mind and an open heart in order to learn.

Gladys : Personally I feel that "teaching philosophy" is an accumulated effect that expands through years of experiences and wisdom. Therefore, as a starter in the path of teaching yoga, I have yet to talk about the philosophy of teaching. I do expect myself, however to be a model of Yogic living, to focus on my studies, to share from the heart, and continue to learn.

What do you hope students will gain from Yoga?

Axl: The fundamental wish is for them to become healthier in practicing yoga. Furthermore, I hope their ‘hearts’ will also be healthy and their inherent beauty will blossom. At the same time, I hope they can realize the beauty and truth that is present in all that we encounter.

Gladys: I strongly believe that every yoga practice is a gain, though we may not be aware of this at times. Asana practice brings health to the body. This is often the first benefit we experience. Whatever happens after differs for everyone. What is most important is not how long one has been practicing yoga, but what attitude one has while practicing yoga. As the Yoga Sutra’s mention “ satu dirghakala nairantarya satkarasevitodrdhabhumih” (1.14), only after keeping a truthful heart for a long continuous period of time does yoga practice grows strong roots. Be present, then each practice is a present.

What does Yoga mean to you?

Axl: It is an attitude of life, an attitude of learning.

Gladys: It is the connection between self, others, and all there is, to be aware of “ Genuine Kindness”.

What is the most important thing you have learned from your teacher?

Axl: To be humble, learning to advance in study everyday.

Gladys: To me, Guruji is forever a ‘wealthy man’, he keeps on giving with no end, giving selflessly. From him I see countless yoga mala.(yoga mala ﹦yoga garlands)

Originally, what attracted you to yoga?

Axl: My first experience with yoga was encouraged by my girlfriend. Since then I have fallen in love with the depth of beauty in yoga and its incredible effect on the body.

Gladys: I remember when I was little, I once saw an Indian man demonstrating yoga asanas on the television. I recall thinking he was perverted and self tortured, having bent the body in such awkward positions. After I grew up I did not immediately come in contact with yoga. I think it may have been my feeling of being dissatisfied with life, which led me to my continuous Yogic search. It was not until Paul Dallaghan opened the door of yoga for me, that I discovered its place in my life. Ever since then I contently walk on this ‘path of no return’.

What motivates you to practice today?

Axl: The passion for yoga.

Gladys: The heart of compassion.

How would you describe your personal practice?

Axl:I enjoy different levels of exuberance in each day’s practice.

Gladys: Other than six days a week of asana practice, I feel that every moment in life provides me an opportunity to practice ‘yoga’. When I show filial respect to my parents and elders or when I do charitable deeds, I have the chance to practice ’bhakti yoga’;when I study and read classical text and sacred scriptures, I am practicing ‘jnana yoga’;even when I share ashtanga methods with students at Space, I am practicing ‘karma yoga’. All is practice, wouldn’t you say so?

Yoga Tradition

By Nicole McNamara

Yoga today has been popularized as a means to relax from our long busy days or as a way to lose weight. Modern society’s commercialism has streamlined this ancient practice, and boiled it down to another product to sell. But we must ask ourselves, what is really being lost by streamlining these ancient teachings? What does one stand to gain by studying the sacred texts and wisdom of traditional Yoga?

As we follow the history of Yoga, we come across Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras, written approximately 2000 years ago. The Yoga-Sutras define Classical Yoga and outline its eight principle limbs. The first two limbs are the Yamas (restraints) and the Niyamas (observances), which outline a moral code for yogi’s to adhere to. The Yamas are non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, sexual responsibility, and non-greed; the Niyamas are purity, contentment, practice, study, and devotion. If followed, this moral code offers a person the practical means by which to live a balanced and centered life.

Contrary to our concept of ‘yoga as a workout’, the Bhagavad-Gita, dated fifth century B.C.E., refers to itself as the Yoga scripture yet does not mention postures or breathing. Instead, it describes Yoga as Karma, Jnana, and Bhakti. Karma yoga is explained as selfless service. Jnana yoga is outlined as wisdom, study and meditation. Bhakti yoga is described as ritual, devotion and love. Ultimately, through the Bhagavad-Gita, modern society can find a spiritual purpose behind work, guidance on meditation, and a way to offer daily activities as devotion to the Divine.

Whether studying the Yoga-Sutra or the Bhagavad-Gita, the benefits of Yoga are never explained as superficial. These texts outline yoga practices for clearing the mind, ridding ourselves of natural human pitfalls, and ultimately reaching enlightenment. In the end, the question comes down to self-transcendence versus self-improvement. Do we choose to advocate Yoga as a method by which to attain hard abs and relaxation? Or do we dig deeper into the history and traditions to find its original spiritual context?

Yoga Practice and Natural Therapy 4

By Mario

The human body and mind, or our physical and psychological bodies, are two sides of a whole. The principal concept of yoga practice is seeing the body and the mind as one, and nurturing and exercising them simultaneously.

Food is a necessity for survival, hence eating sensibly is a major contributing factor to our state of health. Over time, we may consume various types of food without paying attention to whether or not the things that we eat are potentially hazardous to our physical health. Only with the recent advent of studies on disease and healthy lifestyles have we started to be aware, that we have been unknowingly taking in all sorts of junk and toxins into our bodies. Many people practice yoga asanas to keep their bodies 'healthy' without making any significant changes to their diets and junk food intake. This is like attempting to clean a room without removing the existing garbage, and thus never attaining a truly clean room.

There are many books available on the market that can educate us on how to eat well and how to cleanse ourselves of toxins. By taking the time to become aware of what we put into our bodies and practicing asana, we will surely discover amazing results.

Yet, the process of cleansing the spirit and mind and learning to let go of stress can seem like an abstract concept and difficult to put into practice. If we start by improving our dietary habits, we will become healthier physically. This, in turn, will definitely affect our emotional balance. In today's society, our materialistic desires and high levels of stress often keep us out of balance, thus making the task of ridding ourselves of toxins and stress more difficult.

Organic Recipe
Green Papaya Salad(Som Tam)
  • 1 red chili, diced
  • 4 green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 2 cups dark green papaya, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 limes
  • 2 cloves garlic

Grind in a mortar and pestle the garlic, chili, green beans, peanuts, and tomatoes. Pound until well crushed. Place the papaya, soy sauce, sugar, carrots and lime in the mortar and gently combine by mixing with the pestle and spoon. Serve cold. Optional: Add in 2 tablespoons fish sauce.

Optional:
Add in 2 tablespoons fish sauce

Som tam (Thai) is a spicy papaya salad originating in Laos and the Isan region of northeastern Thailand. Som means "sour," and tam means "pounded” The main ingredient is grated, unripe papaya, seasoned and pounded to a softened state in a mortar. Chili, garlic, lime and fish sauce are also usually added, while yardlong beans and tomato are optional. There are many variations of the dish, some made with carrot instead of papaya. The dish combines the four main tastes: sour lime, hot chili, salty fish sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar. The papaya itself is unripe and fairly neutral tasting. It is served at room temperature, traditionally with sticky rice.

Yoga Vocabulary

The Sanskrit word Bandha means to “hold” to “tighten” or “lock”.   This definition describes the physical action involved in the bandha. and their effect on the pranic body.  The bandhas aim to direct prana into particular areas of the body and re-direct their flow into the central channel(Suushumna) for the purpose of spiritual awakening.  Performed individually or together with mudras in asana and pranayama practice. There are four bandhas: jalandhara, mula, uddiyana, and maha.

Jalandhara Bandha.
Commonly known as chin lock. On a simple level this is the action of dropping the chin towards the chest or the chest towards chin. The chin draws in towards the chest so the neck stays long. It helps to regulate the circulatory and respiratory systems during pranayama or meditation.

Mula Bandha
In this lock there is a slight contraction of the muscles at the perineum. It is a drawing up on the muscles of the pelvic floor.  This bandha increases energy, concentration, and mental clarity.

Uddiyana Bandha
This movement draws the abdomen upward and inward toward the spine. Abdominal organs are massaged and toned, digestive fire is increased, and the solar plexus is stimulated.

Maha Bandha
(the great lock) All three locks are used together during certain pranayama practice. This is a powerful practice that requires guidance of an experienced pranayama teacher.

Please ask your teacher for details before attempting to practice the bandhas.

YOGA Wisdom “Yoga Sutras” - Samadhi
transdlation by Sally Evans

2. Yogascittavrttinirodhah
Restraining the tendencies of citta is Yoga
Patanjali begins by describing the way our mind holds us back from knowing our true-self. The “citta” is the voice in our head, the one which attempts to know and identify.

But what constitutes this entity that the path of Yoga attempts to restrain? The “citta” combines our sense of I, egoism (ahamkara), the discriminatory faculty or intelligence (buddhi) and the emotional, feeling mind (manas). These elements combine together and without restraint separate us from our true selves.

We can not control our “citta” as it is an abstract entity. We therefore aim to control the tendencies or the habits of the “citta”. The tendencies manifest themselves as “vritti”. Vritti can be understood as fluctuations.

Imagine yourself standing beside the most beautiful lake. You wish to see the bottom of the lake. However, this is very difficult as its surface is covered with ripples and the water is cloudy. It is only possible to catch a quick glimpse of the bottom when the ripples subside. Only when the water is clear and still can we hope to see the depths within.

Imagine your true self as the bottom of the lake. The water represents your “citta”. The ripples that restrict your vision are the “vritti”. The vritti therefore causes ripples, “cittavritti” which disturb the stillness possibility within the “citta”.

The “citta” wants to return to its natural state of stillness. It is through following the path of Yoga, as described by Patanjali, that we can control these distracting tendencies. Only then can we remove the clouds and ripples that restrict our view of our true-self.

Therefore, from the very beginning of this mammoth work he reminds the student of the Divine, again reminding us of only its ability to reveal our true-selves. We are simply aided by the path of Yoga.

One’s own thought is one’s world.  What a person thinks is what he becomes. That is the eternal mystery.”

- The Upanishads
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