Enlighten Up!

Enlighten UpEnlighten Up!
A Skeptic’s Journey into the World of Yoga
Directed by: Kate Churchill, 2008

My friend Dudley recommended this movie, and I finally got around to watching it. Enlighten Up! is a documentary that takes Nick, a reluctant yet curious individual at a crossroads in life, and immerses him in yoga to see what happens.

The movie follows him as he seeks out many famous teachers, takes classes from them (sometimes to gain an audience) and interviews them. There are predictable scenes of Nick in uncomfortable poses, and clips from yoga proponents; some sounding wise, some appearing surprisingly grumpy, while others just seem a bit too far off in left field to be taken seriously. Continue reading

The Wisdom of Yoga

The Wisdom of YogaThe Wisdom of Yoga
A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living
by Stephen Cope, Bantam Books, Inc., 2007

Yoga is the practice of experience.  This is often lost on the western mind.  We see Yoga as a physical exercise and don’t understand or perhaps fear the depth of what experience beyond intellect can teach us.

The Yoga Sutras are incredibly distilled.  Much like the Taoist advice from the Tao Te Ching, the Sutras can seem maddeningly simplistic or even contrary.  In short, I’m not sure the Yoga Sutras would have made any sense to me had I not had the experiences I had in the studio. Continue reading

Jim Kallett and Bikram Yoga

Jkallett posterim Kallett – Lecture
Friday, January 4, 2013
Corvallis, Oregon

Jim Kallett was invited to town by my local studio to offer a posture clinic.  He also gave a lecture the evening before.  As a Bikram Yoga aficionado of 8 plus years, I was interested in what he had to say and looking forward to the Q&A.

The talk started out as I would have expected; a biographical review of Bikram Choudhury, his youth, his training and the history behind the sequence and bringing it to America.  As one who has read his books, I knew much of this and was a little impatient at the pace.  However, not everyone is as geeky about Yoga as I am, and lineage is a major element of Yoga.

Continue reading

Men’s Yoga; starting back up this week.

Gentlemen,

It’s a new year and after two weeks off, we start back up with classes the second week of January.  Days and times remain the same, but I’ll repeat it here:  Men’s Yoga on Mondays, 5:30-6:30pm and Senior Men’s Yoga on Wednesdays, 2:30-3:30pm.

I read a story recently about a women who talked of taking up the piano again.  She enjoyed playing as teen, didn’t mind the practice.  But she kept putting it off.

In her 20s, she was wrapped up with her career.
In her 30s, it was marriage, work and family.
In her 40s, she bought a piano for her son to play.

But she always put it off for herself until one day, it caught up with her, and a little voice spoke up…

“When?”

She decided to “commit to 15 minutes a day and see what happens.”

What she discovered was that she ended up practicing for longer than that most days, often 45 minutes to an hour.  And, she said, she couldn’t really tell you what she had set aside in order to play the piano.

“I seem to get as much done as before.”

“There had always been time; I just hadn’t known it was there.”

See you in class!

André

Update 01/02/2014 :  Barbara Shelly, who wrote the original article about finding the time and taking up the piano again wrote a follow up column a year later; Life seems much richer when ‘later’ becomes now.

Men’s Yoga new location, adds senior’s class

Starting in January, my Yoga for Men classes will move to the Willamette Wellness Center / FOF at 6735 SW Country Club Drive, Corvallis, Oregon. It’s a very nice space.  They have blocks, but folks should bring their own mats, if possible.  And the price is quite reasonable (price updated, January 2013):

$9.00 – drop in         $7.00 – 15 class pass ($105)         $6.00 – 30 class pass ($180)

Beginning Men’s Yoga – This class introduces Men to Yoga and establishes familiar routines for the continuing student to build competency.  The class is active and can offer a work out to those who desire it, but it also includes a focus on alignment, breathing and relaxation. Mondays from 5:30-6:30pm

Beginning Senior Men’s Yoga – This is an accessible class that focuses on the set up of basic and attainable postures and breathing exercises.  We use a chair for balance and comfort and classes end with deep relaxation. Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30pm

Please note, while both classes are labeled “beginner” a main focus of these “men’s” yoga classes is to foster community among men.  So, any level is welcome.

The Living Matrix

The Living MatrixThe Living Matrix
A Film on the New Science of Healing
Directed by: Greg Becker, 2009

Ten years ago, I would have been highly skeptical of a movie such as The Living Matrix.  Much of what is covered in the movie is criticized in the mainstream scientific community.   I would not have been able to believe it.  What can I say?  Some things change.  What has changed in me is my perception.  My perception has changed, in part, due to some experiences.  These experiences defy modern science and western explanations for the unknowable.

The Living Matrix is a documentary of sorts that seeks to explore and explain modalities that one reviewer described as a “mish-mash of different techniques with no commonalities and no coherent explanatory mechanism.” Continue reading

Fight disease with balance

Fighting Parkinson’s disease with exercise, balance: Not strictly Yoga, but certainly challenging and strengthening the mind/body in ways similar to Yoga.  And the story is local, Dr. Blatt is right here in Corvallis.  I don’t know Dr. Blatt personally, but I like his approach:

“It is time to challenge conventional expectations about what Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases are supposed to do to us.”  He is quite clear, however, that he used exercise and medicine to “maintain good physical function in spite of the disease.”

For more information you can check out his website and additional articles:

http://www.exerciseforparkinsons.com
Active healing: Exercise class serves Parkinson’s patients

Yoga and Tai Chi help with balance

Yoga for MS patients:  Starting with traditional yoga and modifying it to take into the balance, muscle stiffness and fatigue that patients can face.

As you know, I’m a huge proponent of Yoga.  However, there are many modalities.  This study found Tai Chi can help Parkinson’s patients improve functional movement, walking and balance compared to resistance training and stretching.

Special Needs Yoga

Yoga for Special Needs Youth: This is an article about a woman in Dallas, TX who does work similar to the work I do with youth in residential psychiatric treatment.  I work with kids who have attention, impulsivity and boundary issues that make it hard for them to function in mainstream environments.  Yoga is a practice that can increase self awareness in these kids.  It’s all worth while when I see little light bulbs go off as kids gain more self knowledge and self control.