Posts In: meditation

It’s spiritual

October 17, 2013

Why is yoga a spiritual practice and not just exercise?

Yoga was developed thousands of years ago. The ancients wanted to know why we are here and while we are here, how can we be happy? What they came up with back in the time of the oldest teachings, the Rig Veda, was that we are inherently happy. That is why we strive for happiness all the time.

But through years (or lifetimes?) we have developed patterns, physical and mental attitudes, that block our way.

The sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda come from these teachings and explain how if we are balanced, find out our own unique attributes and live in such a way that we are healthy, then we find the fountain of youth: physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health. The path of self-knowledge IS the removal of suffering, and we can reach liberation (moksha).

The problem begins with the body. If we have any malady, that’s all we can focus on. “Ouch! I stubbed my big toe.” Now all I can think about is that physical pain. Any injury or illness can become all-consuming. We focus everything around it and even learn to identify with our illnesses.

The more focus something has, the more energy it has. It can grow this way.

The practice of yoga is to optimize physical health so that we can find liberation. We need to remove the obstructive patterns. We need to develop a relationship to our bodies for maximum health. Our patterns will then become apparent and we can do something about them.

Yoga is not a religion. It enhances our religions and our relationship to ourselves.

See you in class.


Blowing in the Wind

October 4, 2013
They say that this weekend we will be blowing again.
In Yoga and Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga) we say that the wind is Vata. Wind is good, it keeps things blowing or moving around. It keeps us dancing, talking, questioning.
But when we get too much wind – we get spacey. The wind can make us ungrounded, unfocused and depressed. If we cannot concentrate – we cannot get anything done. Getting things done gives us a sense of self and accomplishment.
In today’s world everything is Vata! There are planes, trains, cars, cell phones and Twitter! Everything is moving too fast. Not to mention that as we age, well, we get a little drier in the skin and bones department. So while we want to keep moving, we need nurturing and grounding. We want to learn the secrets of living longer and feeling whole.
Your yoga practice can make a HUGE difference. A focus on the elements can bring greater balance.
For example, the elements that balance wind would be Earth and Water. So bringing in the earth element can stabilize and ground you. The water element can hydrate and nourish you. A flow-y water like practice can counter that fast-paced wind but keep you moving and happy. Forward folds are a great way to bring in earth. Balancing with your gaze fixed on a spot on the floor can help too. What we want is calm and steady. So we flow a little and then stabilize. Easy right?
The idea is not to get rid of what we cannot change – the wind, but to balance and support what we can change – ourselves.
See you in class.
Namasté, René

Posted on 2013

Never been to a yoga class?

September 12, 2013
Anyone can go to yoga. You do not need to be flexible. All ages are in the same room.
But you want to pick the level that is right for you.
Some of us need gentle yoga. We want to calm the mind, stretch out and get strong, yet with out the strain on the wrists and knees. Maybe our low backs are tricky and we just want to build strength with out aggravation there. Maybe we have had a health issue that keeps us from more vigorous exercise or even that we haven’t done any physical movement for a while and need to work in slowly. Gentle class is great for this. We learn to go inside and choose what is right for us.
Beginning class is for the student that wants to get moving. You get all the benefits of the gentle practice, but with even more strength. You learn alignment and how to do the poses. You learn breathing exercises to help you build stamina and tame the thoughts. Any class creates greater focus, but beginning is the place to start if you are in ok shape and want to get all the benefits of a yoga class. You can learn meditation and mantra.
All levels is for the student that knows a little bit of yoga and is ready for a bit more challenge – but the great thing is you get to work at your own level. Advanced and easier modifications are given. More challenging breath options and more of the ancient teachings work their way in.
You don’t generally have to make a reservation for class in our neighborhood.
You can just show up a few minutes early to meet the teacher and tell them your specific needs. You don’t need to bring anything but yourself. Wear comfortable clothing. You’ll go barefoot. Most studios have mats to borrow or rent. You just need to get there. The teacher takes care of the rest.
If you have ever heard someone say “ I went to a yoga class, and it was too hot” or “ I went to yoga and everyone was doing all these crazy poses and I was lost” – then you need to come to Yoga Madre. It’s not too hot and it’s really friendly and accessible.
You will be so glad you did!
See you in class,


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