Saturday, March 14, 2015

Two Lines of Energy from the Core - Building on Your Core Values

Tadasana, or Standing Pose, is the one of the most foundation pose in asana practice.  The importance of the pose became apparent when we spend two whole days teaching a roomful of adults how to stand.  We all know how to stand, right?  Tadasana is more than just standing, it is a powerful pose that engage all the muscles.  It is simultaneously grounding and lifting.  In proper alignment, there should be two lines of energy extending from the core, one down to the ground to your feet (the base) and one extending through your heart and head ascending to the stars.  Standing tall requires just enough energy to keep your body rooted, but relaxed enough so that we can be at ease and focus on the breath.  My favorite explanation is "root down to rise up."
When we learn how to stand like a mountain, we can start to see how every other pose is built on tadasana.  Every pose asks that we engage in two directions, with just the right balance between effort and ease.  Every pose has a base, which may not always be our feet.  And every pose has a lifting or opening.
As I was practicing tadasana this week, I connected the duality of the pose to what I identify as one of my core values -- that I strive to find balance in all things, yin and yang, and sometimes these may be in conflict.  I believe inner conflict can be essential for growth.  Or maybe it's not, but I think it's probably not a stretch to say that most of us have inner conflicts of beings.  The very concept of identify, I've often seen, is a conflict between wanting to express individuality and wanting to fit in, or be a part of something bigger than one's self.
Nietzsche famously said, we must have conflict within ourselves in order to give birth to dancing stars.  I interpret this beautiful aphorism to mean that we can hold conflicting ideas simultaneously and explore them, rather than fight with them or try to be right.  The key is to find how the duality of both sides resonates with your being.  What does this mean to me.  That is what I learn from tadasana and it's one of my most fundamental values -- there is no right or wrong, but there are different paths.  The path that explores both sides will be more fruitful than one that says 'only this path is the right path.'  Even if this inner struggle is subtle, it helps me to think of every challenge in this light.  Every difficultly is either an opportunity to learn and grow or a chance to step back and try a different route.  The same is true in culinary arts.  It's all about balance, folks.  How can we cook with more balance? Is it possible to maintain the base of a recipe while stepping outside what's written and try to make it rise above what's been done before?  What do we need to engage in our minds and bodies to create healthy food and where can we find comfort and ease in our diets.  Great questions to meditate on...more to come.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Taking the Teacher Training Plunge

I can barely contain my excitement for the new journey I embarked on this past weekend.  I finally began a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program and will be certified to teach yoga by the Summer.  This is something I have wanted to do for a long time and had been seeking the right opportunity.  My hesitation in enrolling sooner was not for lack of available teachers or programs, rather there were too many that I wanted to study with.  I am blessed to live in an area with such a vibrant yoga community with a plethora of amazing teacher.  When I heard that Honor Yoga, a new yoga studio in town was offering RYT-200 training, I felt a calling.

I did not know a lot about their program but I knew many of the teachers there and learned that the studio's owner and I had a friend in common -- who happens to be the very first yoga teacher I had in Princeton.  I came to learn that the owner of the studio and I had studied yoga with the same teacher for many years, our mutual friend, who was a major inspiration for me deepening my interest in yoga over the past 7-years.  We were students of the same teachings and shared a strong connection to the philosophy of yoga.  My difficult decision as to where to study seemed to be not so difficult at all -- the opportunity connected with my identity -- I could not wait to begin.
So here I am, only a few days into training, and I'm loving it so far.  I hope to post more regularly on the blog, not just about what I'm cooking in my kitchen but also reflecting on my deep immersion into yoga philosophy, asana, anatomy, and more.  Stay tuned for more.
All things go-