Restorative Workshop with Athena Engelman

Athen Engelman, ERYT-500

December 6th, 3:00-6:00PM

This special restorative workshop will be led by Patty Dougherty’s teacher, Athena Engelman, a world-class instructor and facilitator.

This workshop is for the student who is looking for a deeper understanding of their restorative practice. You’ll learn how to bring the restorative poses explored in class into your home practice.

Restorative poses are beneficial for:
•    Hypertension
•    Depression
•    Stress levels and an overall improvement in wellbeing
•    Improves sleep quality
•    Metabolic processes

 $50 for early bird signups, $60 after December 1st.

To reserve a space, contact Patty Dougherty  /  865  951  6024 (text or call) Email: pattyyogamail@gmail.com

 

Om Alone

BY MARK EPSTEIN

Originally posted here in Yoga Journal

Quiet PeopleThe yoga class was just beginning, and I had not been coming for very long. I was pretty much in my own world and concerned with getting myself set up properly. The class was a little late getting started, and we were all lined up expectantly on blue sticky mats, like overgrown preschoolers ready for nap time. Ready with blocks, blankets, and belts, we waited for the teacher to gather himself into his leading role.

I was fond of this before-the-beginning beginning; it was a between-state, a bardo, a passageway from one world to the next. Dressed in our yoga clothes, we could be anybody, or nobody, but we were unmistakably ourselves. I could not even see very well, having left my glasses and keys askew in my shoes at the back of the Manhattan studio. The feeling in the room was anxious but cautiously optimistic, as it is in the therapy office when a new but eager patient has just come in, before she has told me much of her story. I like this period because of how unstructured but brief it is; it never goes on long enough for me to start getting anxious but gives me a needed respite from the rest of my structured day. As when flying between cities in an airplane, I am suspended for a time. The remnants of my outside life can settle down before the tasks of this inside practice take over.

I do not intend this to be mean, but I was taken aback by what happened next. (The unconscious knows no negatives, I was taught when studying Freud. If someone tells me they don’t mean to offend me, I know they probably do.) Nothing out of the ordinary really happened. The new yoga teacher sat down in the front of the class and took a deep breath. He told us to sit up straight and close our eyes. He sang a mantra and asked us to chant it back to him. It was not an unfamiliar mantra, but something in his tone disturbed my reverie. What was it? I wondered. He was only chanting Om, for goodness sake. But something else was coming through the sound, an insistent quality, not quite a demand but an expectation.

I felt a wall going up around me and noticed that he got a tepid response from the class. “It’s not just me,” I consoled myself; other people had also contracted. He continued, bravely, but his song had more of that unrelenting tone. He wanted something from us, all right. It was there in his voice. I was reminded of visiting a friend in Minneapolis and walking around one of the lakes with her one summer afternoon. Everyone we passed was so resolutely cheerful, I had trouble believing they were real. Their greetings seemed to carry an implicit demand that I be cheerful in return. Our yoga teacher had a similar agenda for us, and the class did not appreciate it.

The teacher only repeated the mantra three times; the whole thing was not a big deal. It would have been nice if we had come around and started to sing and turned it into something positive, a big exhalation, but we did not do so. A few people ventured a response. I did not give much of one. I thought back to another teacher’s chanting, though. Her class was the first I ever attended and her singing, too, caught me off-guard; it had never occurred to me that there would be chanting during a lunch-time yoga class.

Read more here on Yoga Journal….

Let’s Be Honest

by Sally Kempton, originally published here in Yoga Journal

BeingHonestThere’s an old joke about two American Mafia enforcers who are on a mission to recover money from a Russian drug dealer. The Russian speaks no English, so the Americans take along a Russian-speaking accountant to translate. One of the enforcers holds a gun to the Russian drug dealer’s head and demands to know where he’s stashed the money. “Under my wife’s mattress,” says the dealer. “What did he say?” asks the gunman. The accountant replies: “He said he’s not afraid to die.”

On a 1 to 10 scale, with polite lies (“No, that dress doesn’t make you look fat”) at the low end, and outrageous, destructive lies like the Russian accountant’s at the high end, your worst falsehoods would probably rate no more than a 3 or 4. Yet those lies are probably lodged in your psyche, still giving off smoke. You can justify them, but some part of you feels the effect of every lie you’ve told. How? In the cynicism, distrust, and doubt that you feel toward yourself, and in your own tendencies to suspect other people of either lying or concealing the truth from you.

Realizing the effect that lying has on your soul is just one reason that, at some point in your spiritual life, you will feel the need to engage in the yogic practice of truthfulness. As with all the great yogic practices, doing so isn’t as easy as it might seem.

Twenty-five years ago, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography, My Experiments with Truth, I decided to practice absolute truthfulness for one week. I lasted two days. On the third day, a man I was trying to impress asked me if I’d read the sage Vyasa’s Brahma Sutra, and I heard myself answering, “Yes.” (Not only had I not cracked that difficult text of Vedantic philosophy—I’d never actually laid eyes on it.)

A few minutes later, I forced myself to confess the lie, which wasn’t so hard. In general during my experiment, it turned out to be fairly easy not to fudge the external facts of a situation. But practicing factual truthfulness made me even more aware of the web of unspoken falsehoods I lived with. Falsehoods such as the pretense of liking a person I really found irritating. Or the mask of detachment with which I covered my intense desire to be chosen for a certain job. It was an informative week, and it led me to one of the more searing self-inquiry practices of my life. I was forced to confront the multiple masks that disguise dishonesty. I was shown why honesty is so much more complicated than it first appears.

Tell It Like It Is

The conversation about the meaning of truthfulness has been going on for a long time. I see three sides to it. On one hand, there’s the absolutist position taken by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra: Truth, or satya, is an unconditional value, and a yogi shouldn’t lie. Ever. The opposite position—familiar to anyone who pays attention to the behavior of the government, corporations, and many religious institutions—is what used to be called “utilitarian.” This is the materialist position supported by Western philosophers such as John Stuart Mill and by texts like the Arthashastra, the Indian book of statecraft, which we might call the precursor to Machiavelli’s writings. The basic utilitarian posture goes something like “Always tell the truth except when a lie is to your advantage.”

The third position strives for a kind of ultimate balance and demands a high degree of discernment. It recognizes the high value of truth but points out that truth telling can sometimes have harmful consequences, and so needs to be balanced with other ethical values such as nonviolence (ahimsa), peace, and justice.

Read more here in Yoga Journal

Create a Life You Love!

Reconnect with the source of your happiness.

By Nora Isaacs (originally posted here in Yoga Journal)

yoga_meditation cropThere are times when you know just what to do, and life seems to rise up and support you and your ideas. And then there are times when it is all a little murky, and you might feel a bit lost. Thankfully, you have your yoga practice to come to—a time to tap into a deep connection with yourself and remember who you really are and what is most important to you. Nothing could be better.

When you bring the spacious awareness you experience in your yoga practice to your whole life, you’ll experience the kind of presence that will make you stop in your tracks, engage your senses, and find joy in daily life. But for most of us, accomplishing that is easier said than done. Often it requires a conscious effort to examine the status quo, push in new directions, and find fresh approaches to evoking that same sense of grounding, connection, and happiness we find on the mat.

Here, then, are 10 possibilities to help you get there. Put these ideas into practice one at a time, or try several at once. You might want to welcome one of them into your life as an offering to the New Year. Whatever approach you choose, here’s to feeling more alive, more present, and more aware of what makes you happy.

1. Get Energized About Your Future

Your yoga practice helps you live in the present, but life in the world demands a certain amount of decision making and planning. What’s your vision of where you want to go and how you’ll get there? When you take a proactive approach, your dreams are more likely to become reality. Knowing what you want is, of course, the first step.

If you need help discovering your life’s path, start by talking it out, says Nancy Wagaman, a life coach in San Diego. You can develop a goal list and create affirmations, she says. You can draw a picture of your future—even pray for guidance. “There are so many ways to energize the new vision you want for your life. The more you energize it, the more you draw that energy to that vision. And the universe tends to support you,” she says.

Of course, your vision may change over time, but the important thing is that you’re an active participant in your future.

2. Plug Into Your Spiritual Self

Reconnecting with your innermost self can open the doors to an entirely new and unpredictable path. At 33 years old, Susan Nicolas was a yoga teacher living in San Francisco and dating. But her singular focus on meeting a husband and starting a family was causing her heartache. On the advice of friends, she signed up for a vipassana retreat. During 10 days of silence and insight meditation, she came face-to-face with her attachment to getting married and to the unfinished dynamics of past relationships. “Through a lot of struggle and occasional glimpses of true stillness, it seemed the obstacles in my life dissolved,” she says. “I felt more in touch with my true self than I ever had.”

Getting away from routine relationships and environments makes it easier to drop into stillness and examine the undercurrent of your life. Once you do, you can plug into a connection with your divine nature. On retreat, you can also practice accessing your true self so that you can call on it anytime in your life.

A month after her retreat, Nicolas unexpectedly reconnected with an old sweetheart who is now her husband of eight years. “The experience during those sometimes difficult 10 days was like removing a stopper in the mouth of my life,” she says. “Everything simply flowed forth as it should.”

How to: Check with a favorite teacher or retreat center for upcoming dates. Even a weekend away that includes meditation, yoga, rest, and silence can be enlightening if you set an intention to retreat.

Continue reading here on Yoga Journal


 

Front EntranceThe planters are planted, the draperies are hung, the flowers are blowing lightly in the breezeway. Isn’t our entrance inviting?

 

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