[In-too-ish-uh-n]

fairy2

What is that thing that stops you in your tracks and commands your complete attention? Like you’ve been hypnotized. It grips you like nothing else. A direct knowing that is spontaneous and breathtaking. You just know. There is no reason for it. You just know it to be so. I just had a feeling not to get in the car with my brother and even after all these years of trusting my inner knowing, I questioned it on this occasion. I thought, come on, it’s so much easier to go with my brother than with my cousin. Like a mantra on repeat in my head, in my soul, all I knew was not to get in that car. But I’d already strapped myself into the seat. DON’T GET IN THAT CAR. The feeling was unbearable. Ok already, I’d been here before with that ‘knowing’ so against all logic, I got out of the car and into my cousins car. And less than a minute later, my brothers’ car was crashed into at full force from the passengers’ side. My side. He survived. The car did not.

Intuition is a barometer of feeling rather than thinking

There is always the question to trust or not to trust. It’s the fork in the road that can often present as a test to how far our faith can be stretched. My decision to unbuckle the seat belt from my brothers’ car was completely irrational. Even my brother questioned it and was persuading me to stay. Intuition is possibly the one completely illogical experience of TRUST, that when given faith, is a compass that charts a primal experience of intelligence that is beyond thinking and deeply imbedded in sensation. It is a barometer of feeling rather than thinking. “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”~ Albert Einstein.

Yoga is a graceful reminder of our innate knowledge of how little there is that separates us. Why? Because what you are thinking is what I am thinking

Intuition is like a pretty arrangement of fairy lights that allows you time to fall into a magical display of sparkling clarity, affording you tiny glimpses into limitless wisdom. This insight is like opening the cathedral door of your essential self: Your soul. I like to think that intuition could be the language of the soul and that when we step into ourselves a sacred unraveling of inner tuition is gifted. Sometimes we listen. Sometimes we twist it around so much we loose sight of it. It’s personal. It’s intimate. It’s sacred. Like a secret club we’ve pledged our undying allegiance too. It’s both comforting and tormenting. Or maybe we become slaves to it. Jung says that “In a very short time every actual situation becomes a prison to the intuitive; it burdens him like a chain, prompting a compelling need for solution”. Queue the yogi: in steps thousands of years of living by inner tuition bringing forth an ageless wisdom of connectedness. Sit and be still say the yogis. And feel. Feel your heart beat to the rhythm of raindrops. Yoga is a graceful reminder of our innate knowledge of how little there is that separates us. Why? Because what you are thinking is what I am thinking. Be present to this moment, withdraw from what was and detach from outcomes.

While I was studying in India I found out I was pregnant with my second child. It was 4.30am after I peed on the miracle stick to discover that a baby was growing in my body. I screamed so loudly that my new flat mate woke up and we screamed together. I heard her say something about her pregnancy. When we stopped jumping around I asked her what happened to her baby. She was in shock. What I thought I’d heard come out of her mouth came out of her soul. She told me that she had not spoken a word of it, yet it was the truth.

A day I will never forget was walking out of the specialist’s office juggling my devastation of being labeled SICK, Actually, DISESEASED and unable to have anymore babies. As I walked I heard the name of my friends new boyfriend being chanted at me. Continuously, over and over I could hear his name. The name of a person I had never met before. By the time I reached my home I was in such a state that I bypassed my husband and told him that I needed to speak to Nick. Nick who? I heard him say. When I finally got him on the phone, I asked him if he knew anything about Hashimotto’s disease. He paused. Then replied, yes, I have just finished my thesis on it. Nick was a naturopath. With his outstanding guidance I was cured with not one drug passing my lips. That pregnancy in India was my gift after three years of detoxing and trusting that inner knowing.

fairy3

It’s truly beautiful to get into the flow. Be still. Listen up and feel our wisdom connect. It is with pride that I stand before you with a new label. I am an intuitive yoga teacher, a title bestowed to me from that secret club of wisdom.

 

All about Eve!

Eve

Deep breath in. Yoga Royalty is in da house!

 

Just like starting a yoga class, I find myself wanting to gesture my respect by drawing my hands together in prayer position, bow my head and offer my deepest gratitude for all that Eve Grzybowski is.

 

The beautiful Eve is a whimsical yogi that exudes both strength and peace all at the same time. With her combined gently spoken wisdom and lightness of being, one could be forgiven for thinking that Eve floats, rather than walks her way through life. I first met this floating goddess some 19 years ago, in a class that was jammed packed with students half her age poised on mats in awe of Eve’s persuasive approach to yoga as being ‘fun’. That would often entail anything from an inversion with straps and blocks placed strategically as to not allow the slightest misalignment or to using a chair to split and expose all inhibitions. This was lashings of intense served on a bed of sweetness. That’s Eve.

 

To this youthful 70 year old yogi, who feels as energized today as she did when she first stepped on the mat some 44 years ago, her wisdom is simple: Life is about living fully awake. Eve continues to teach around the country, has published books and in the past nine years added blogging to her daily routine. Eve explains her experience with blogging as a process of self-discovery. “In blogging I discover who I am in the moment, what I believe, what I deem important. Especially as the way I write is mostly non-conceptual. Rather, I write from my experience, honestly as I can and often intimately”

 

Eve’s blog eveyoga.com is a very personal account of unraveling the meaning of yoga. Had she arrived? After all these years, had Eve reached the green card of enlightenment?

 

A chat with Eve.

Adriana: In your blog you undertook the arduous task of translating Patanjali’s Sutras. You reflected the meaning of each Sutra back to your day to day experiences and in the process shared some personal stories about yourself.

Eve: I don’t think I set out to translate Patanjali’s Sutras. It kept me asking the question, ‘What is Yoga? What does it mean to my students?’ I thought I could just open the book and see how each of the 196 sayings related to my life and me.

I love the Desikachar translation/interpretation of Sutra 1.2 that answers the question,

‘What is yoga?’

yoga citta vrtti nirodhah.

He says: Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.

Now that’s a Sutra I can get my head around. It describes a practice whereby I can discover the times when my mind is awake and focused and when it is not.

Sutra 1:3 is a beauty, too, especially the interpretation by Chip Hartranft. After we’ve quieted our minds, as per Sutra 1:2, then

tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam.
That is: Then pure awareness can abide in its very nature.

We’re talking about getting the ultimate reward – the carrot for the stick of disciplining the mind.

 

A: Can you define what it is to be a yogi?

E: To be a yogi is different than doing yoga, but it includes the doing. The doing part of yoga is your practice and it’s important. To me, being a yogi means weaving the philosophy that underpins yoga, especially the code of yoga – the yama and niyama – into your life. It’s an approach to life that expresses being attentive, mindful and self-aware.

 

Eve has a very pragmatic approach to unfolding yoga in the new student. Her book ‘Teach yourself Yoga’ outlines a no fuss approach to getting started:

– You roll out your mat.

– You sit on it.

– You do that at approximately the same time every day, to the best of your ability.

– You do what you can, even if it’s only a little.

– If you can’t figure out where to start, quiet your mind. Let the poses come back to you from classes you’ve attended.

– Use yoga books and DVD’s, on-line courses to inspire you.

– Most of all, remember you don’t have to do it well at the beginning.

You just need to start.

 

A: The journey of yoga is often defined as being on a ‘path’… You have been travelling this road for more than 44 years. What wisdom can you share?

E: The more practice I’ve done over the years, the less likely I am to be able to nail down exactly what yoga is. Maybe any wisdom I have comes from the values I hold. I value relationships with people, with Nature, with the animal kingdom. I value honesty, respect for individuals, the inherent goodness of people, and the practice of gratitude. As I’ve become older, I see that the friendships and family ties we cultivate are the highest form of practice, equal to having a loving relationship with oneself.

The big question is how do we do we cultivate these practices? Simply through our intention and our attention.

 

A: Has there been a moment of arriving and completely grasping the meaning of yoga?

E: No way! It’s slippery, the meaning of yoga. You think you’ve got it, you think you’re practicing it, and then you realize you’ve fallen asleep again.

 

A: What does Union mean and how have you related that to your day-to-day living.

E: Yoga is often defined as ‘union’. Ha and tha. Sun and moon. Small self and Higher Self. Perhaps that is the meaning, yoking two things. I can’t quite get my head around those ideas. The times when I’ve experienced union are in intimate relationship with another, in my community choir, in the quiet of a natural setting. And, significantly, when I’ve become internally quiet in meditation or pranayama. Not often, but tantalizingly enough so that I understand the importance of regular practice.

 

A: Has yoga assisted in overcoming an illness…or injury.

E: Yes, I’ve used yoga for healing from symptoms of osteoarthritis, from a hysterectomy, from a strained acromion joint, and from little things like colds and flues and fatigue. I use yoga therapy as needed or requested in my classroom teaching and love to serve students in this way.

Yoga helped me heal from a double hip surgery that I underwent five years ago. Having new hips gave me a new lease on life. I fully admit to being mortal. I’m weaker than I was when I was 50. I’m stiffer than I was when I was 60. And, no doubt I’ll have more wrinkles and saggy bits next year than I do now. Am I happy? Am I blessed in my life? A resounding YES!

 

A: Do you feel that the yogic path should involve a trip to India? What do you feel India offers yogis? Is there still a valid connection?

E: Although I loved my experience of being in India, I don’t know that it’s important to do yoga there. There are marvelous teachers all around the world, not the least right here in Australia.

 

A: You have a busy year ahead with a jam packed teaching schedule.

E:Have mat will travel’ is my phrase of life! I’m thrilled that people still seek me out for teaching as I still feel I have much to give.

 

A: Eve took her first class in 1971 and to this day she has a daily practice that includes asana, meditation and pranayama. Here is a sample of her daily devotion

E: I start off with 30 minutes of mindfulness mediation which I do with my husband upon waking up. My asana practice goes for about 1.5 hours, after the meditation. I do a variety of asanas, making sure to include inversions – sirssana, sarvangasana, halasana, setu bandhasana, and viparita karani. In my ideal practice, I do pranayama at the very end, after relaxation.

 

A: Do you ever see yourself stopping teaching… or for that matter, stopping practice?

E: Can’t imagine it. Recently though, I’ve been in training to be a palliative care volunteer and last year I did an on line university course called ‘Understanding Dementia’. We never know our future. If I became disease-ridden or had dementia, I might not have the luxury of doing the yoga practices I do now. I’m deeply appreciative of what I have now, but it’s all subject to unforeseen changes.

 

…and just like getting to the end of a yoga practice and taking time to pause and reflect on the healing and wisdom of the session. I too pause, feeling satiated for the opportunity to dip into Eve’s contagious life of yoga. I haven’t seen Eve for many years and it’s encouraging to know that her age has not discouraged her thirst for this ancient practice. On the contrary, she is thriving! Age is merely a number of little to no importance. It’s the vitality and energy of the soul that we’ll always hold onto, and what I’ll always remember about Eve.

Bless you!

Check out Eve’s bookshelf for all her favourite reads about yoga! Eve travels the country teaching… drop her a line to find out how you too can be touched by such a divine soul. eve.grzybowski@me.com

Two wings of the same bird!

Jim Tsinganos

Jim Tsinganos

I confess, I am a collector of words. Not just the everyday words, but the ones that seem to manifest from a pause in thought and the drawing in of a longer than usual breath. In my palm size book I have collected words from known and unknown souls that share a passion for linguistic dance. Small snippets of insights caressing my mind away from chaos, swirling whirlpools in my being to cherish beauty in all things.

Each have expanded my horizon to see beyond my peripheral vision and into that place that only the radical of thinkers would dare to couple such images together. Like this one…. a hindu proverb “The poet can reach where the sun cannot”. It’s the words that I will always remember long beyond the action. The words will always reach into me and eloquently bring to life a stillness. That very stillness that I return to, during and after each yoga practice.

Some people say they can live on air alone and for me I truly believe that words are my nourishment. While most kids were deep into fairy tales, I instead was weaving a tapestry of new and uncharted adjectives, skimming the dictionary like a scavenger in search of MORE. There is always something more to reach…

surrender

surrender

I don’t often talk about my yoga practice, not even with my students or to colleagues really. It’s very personal and honestly it’s hard to put into words what goes on…  It’s not the jumping around and the contortionist moves that keeps me keen. Today in the silence of my practice, the words that surfaced painted another landscape of understanding. One pose at a time, I sculpt a place in me that beautifully holds my essence. I am suspended from attachment to either bliss or torment. As I move my body attuned to the rhythm of my breath, I seek out that pause that naturally occurs between the paths of inhale and exhale. It’s here that I experience my most treasured gift of all. Emptiness! That emptiness is like an exquisite freedom. Perhaps like an iceberg dislodged from the land… just floating, buoyant and an island in itself.

‘Oh beloved, take away what I want,
take away what I do,
take away what I need,
take away everything
that takes me from you’ Rumi

ahhh yoga! the two core principles of yoga as outlined in the Yoga Sutras: Abhyasa and Vairagya!
Abhyasa – devoted practice
Vairagya- detachment from anything that takes us away from Remembering the self.

They are two wings of the same bird!

“they are companions in play as they flap in unison enabling the bird to fly”
The secret power of yoga by Nischala Joy Devi

Yoga Intensive

October yoga Intensive

October yoga Intensive

Tall Ones!

dancin-tree

I am split open with immense gratitude for the forrest I live in. The Tall Ones watch me practice and I watch them grow. In the silence of my meditation I hear them speak of their wisdom of being; Beautiful, bountiful, bendable and dependable… grounded and loyal. We breathe each other alive, rooted in a dance of oneness. This is my church, my temple where the preacher is unobtrusively sharing ancient wisdom completely applicable to me right now. What is the greatest gift of being a yogi? Being awake to the teachings of a wise master. 

Hermann Hesse says this about trees“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.”

Om shanti… peace, peace, perfect peace!

…now this is yoga!!!!

 

 

west-bank-yoga1west-bank-yoga-prayer-2 west-bank-yoga-hilltop-4 west-bank-yoga-room-3 west-bank-yoga-savasana-5

Images by Tanya Habjouqa for the Wall Street Journal.

It may sound like a simple, yet sweepingly optimistic statement, but we can’t help feel a flutter of hope and positivity that yoga may somehow help to bridge a gap in the conflict and maybe even help build a path to peaceful resolution. Or at the very least, promote a culture and people of deeper compassion and compromise, even if the political muckety-mucks are still trying to figure it out.

 

 

Dissolving separateness!

The notion of ‘oneness’ can be a hard one to grasp. For instance how can a homeless beggar and me ever be as ‘one’? Because the spirit only knows one thing: pure, thick, deep love!

I had a dream one night where a mans face kept being flashed to me. I awoke feeling deeply disturbed by the vision of that man. It was only his face I saw and he appeared dishevelled and wild looking. It was not a face I’d seen before yet it was an image that was being etched into my psyche. That morning I was driving to my studio and I was a little lapsed with noticing the change of traffic lights. When suddenly a man stepped in front of my car and I narrowly missed crashing into him. The distance between us was the bonnet of my car and he turned his whole body to looked at me. He was emotionless, not panicked, not alarmed, not scared. He just stood there untouched by the terror of what could have been. I leaned a far forward over my steering wheel as possible to get a clear look at his face and my heart sank when I realised I knew this man. OMG! This was the man that was been flashed to me in my dreams. He’s homeless! and just like that he continued on his way. For the rest of that day I felt intensely stirred by the whole crazy thing. I couldn’t explain how suddenly I felt connected to that man. It was nuts! As I sat in my studio not doing much work I made a spontaneous decision to go to the city library (which I’d never been to before that day). Along the way I passed a street cart selling some fruit and I bought two of everything. Some part of me (the part of me that I now refer to as the ‘knowing’) was already wised up to the purpose of why I was buying two of everything. I was starting to feel like I wasn’t me anymore and that I was being led somewhere I needed to be. One of my reasons for going to the library was to research ‘fatima’. In a psychic reading I’d had only a few days previously I was told I needed to know more about ‘fatima’. Ok, so here I am in the library with a bag full of twinsy fruit. I looked up which isle I might find some books for my research. When I get to the entrance of my isle I am completely overwhelmed with what I see and all I can do from falling over is hold my chest for fear of my heart leaping out of my body. I was frozen with astonishment. The man in my dreams, the man I had nearly run over with my car was calming sitting before me flicking through some books. All I could do was walk over to him and I very gently gave him one part of each of the fruit I had in my bag. He looked at me with a gaze that penetrated my whole being. “thank you” is all he said, as he humbly reached forward to receive his fruit. I asked him for his name and he said “john”. In that moment I understood the meaning of ‘oneness’. This clip about the cat and the dolphin took me right back to my experience with John. Devotion to love is the path to a unified heart. ONENESS! The yogis say that the purpose of being dedicated to the path of yoga is about living a wholehearted devotion to the Divine and Divine creation. Devotion is the key to unlocking our hearts. When living with an open heart, we see clearly as the pathways of our lives unfold. Thank you John.

 

cat and dolphin

Under my skin; a yogis story!

adriana

A yogis prayer before she leaps around her mat:

‘It is my hope that as I sit here my mind will clear and the fog will lift from my eyes.

It is my hope that throughout this practice layers upon layers will shed and I will be able to expose myself to all beings.

For this opportunity I am forever grateful. Om Shanti’ (perfect peace)

A yogis prayer as she rolls up her mat:

‘To all the great ones, known and unknown who have shed their light on the path and given me the strength to follow, I am deeply immersed in your magnificence. My heart is expanded with no boundaries in sight. I am infinite, with my soul I feel no beginning and I have no end. I am floating in the beauty of wisdom in an ocean of pure love that fills all space; that always is, that only is! Om Shanti’

….and so the yogi continues on her way; mother, wife, sister, friend, student, teacher…

PURE BLISS

Rainbows are magnificent! So regal in appearance and intensely loyal as the glory between rain and sun. The stream of colours across the sky are so luminous and radiant I am always filled with wonderment about that illusive pot of gold. I’m really struck by it’s simplicity and the pantomime of childish delight it ignites in me. And as a yogi I am particularly inspired by the brilliant devotion and unwavering focus the rainbow serves at that exact time when light and water intwine. This for me represents an exquisite expression of unconditional love. Like the rainbow, the yogi’s role is of devotion and focus. From there all is possible. The old yogis tell us, that with ‘focus’ we will achieve a life of PURE BLISS! The work of Mark Mawson is truly poetry in motion… it’s as though he’s capture a rainbow reaching it’s place of ‘pure bliss’. Enjoy… and blessings to Mark Mawson for his extraordinary vision!

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