Guess What The First Word Of The Most Important Yoga Text Is?

It is said that all yoga texts that have stood the test of time contain all of their knowledge in THE FIRST FOUR LINES.
The Yoga Sutras, which is like the Bible of yoga, was written by a sage who is said to have written three texts: one on medicine (Ayurveda) one of GRAMMAR, and one on psychology (the Yoga Sutras).
So Patanjali, the sage/writer, knew his GRAMMAR, he knew the power of words, and he knew that the first four sentences were critical.
Now, guess what the first word, of the first four sentences, of the Yoga Sutras is?
The first word is “ATHA” meaning…
NOW
Atha yoga-anuśāsanam
Which means:
Now here we start the study of yoga.
“NOW” is the first word, written by someone who knew grammar and the impact of the first four sentences of a book that we are reading TODAY.
That is how important it is to note that "NOW" is the only thing we have.
Some teachers interpret this as: “Well, now that you have tried everything else and it did not work, how about we try yoga”?
But that never quite convinced me.
The teacher that really brought it home for me and  made me go AHA! is Eckhart Tolle.
Also, lucky us, Oprah will be re-broadcasting their 2008 conversation on A New Earth. FREE.  They start soon, and I would not miss an episode because it is sure to transform your presence for life.
I am grateful for Echkart because it was listening to him that made me aware that nobody needs to spend 30 years meditating in a monastery anymore.  
We are running out of time.  
Understanding WHAT is we are looking for is key.
And what we are looking for is this:
"The question is no longer how far can I go or what can I achieve, but rather:
how present can I be with what already IS?"
If you can go deeper into this moment (he calls it the "vertical")... if you can feel the worries of the future and the regrets of the past BUT still return to feeling your body... connecting to the nature in you... releasing the addiction to thinking... and accept this NOW in full, as it is, then you are here!
You’ve arrived, here we are. Hola.
The rest takes care of itself.  And yes I know, there are two objections the mind will bring up: 
1- Does that mean I let everyone run over me? I accept everything?  NO! It means you ground yourself in stillness and the place of power within you which means your answer (which can be NO) will be a lot more powerful
and
2.- What do I do when anger takes over me and I can't shake it?  Yes, the pain body... the Incredible Hulk... In that case, we may not be able to release it, we are "possessed" BUT if we are aware that we are possessed, then at least we are not so much in it... we can observe it, we are more conscious, we are moving towards consciousness.
These are some things that blew my mind, literally, this month, as I practiced being NOW HERE:
  • Instead of constantly planning what I am going to say, I really listened and then, when there was a silence, and the inner prompt led me to say things, I let the words flow out of me, from a state of TOTAL presence.
  • This was new to me.
  • I feared doing this a bit because I thought: what if I am offensive? Can you catch the mind there again? The addictive thinking popping up?
  • Well, there was no such thing… Being fully rooted in the now allowed me to say things I did not know I was going to say, never hurtful and sometimes right on… But I only noticed them afterwards…
  • This does not mean I'm enlightened, that is another "concept" made by the mind.  And at times I was NOT present, for example, at times I was taken by the "pain body"...  BUT, being aware that I was taken over by it allowed me to remove myself from situations in which I could potentially hurt others  or try to instigate their pain bodies.
  • It did not always work... Sometimes it does...
  • I was able to be in the practice of yoga asana and pranayama while fully IN ITI felt the skin moving, the breath flowing, the activity of the nostrils, and the muscles engaging. I also paid attention to impulses to try other things like: retentions, or making a video in Spanish, when in the moment.
  • I was able to observe and let go of panic that came to me when an explosion happened in New York City an hour before I was meant to be there, exactly at the 125th train station.
  • When I felt the wave of fear I sat with it.  I felt it instead of going where my "mind" wanted me to go.
  • This had a calming effect AFTER A WHILE.  Feeling it in full was hard, but it was better than numbing it with TV, or mindless conversation, or looking for another active mind to confirm my fears.
BEING IN THE NOW works BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY REALITY.  
Whatever happens, accepting what is, and feeling it in full, letting go of the pull of addictive thinking is POWERFUL because when we allow space and silence then the right decisions as of what to do appear.
Now, some people are not ready to hear this.
I assume you are, because you are reading.
This is great news.
We are awakening together.


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Trouble Sleeping? Try This Oceanic Yoga Breathing Exercise To A Drum Beat And Drift Off

The exercise is INCREDIBLY POWERFUL and very simple.  Here is the link to YouTube in case it is not showing on your browser.

At our last workshop in the Berkshires of Massachusetts people were so happy with it that they asked me to record it.

I had known the power of it and within my own system, but suddenly having sixty people tell me they LOVED it was a game changer.

They told me the drum and the hypnotic nature of the oceanic breathing,  had left them relaxed, with a calm disposition and ready for bed.



I was finally able to use my brother's studio in Buenos Aires to do the proper recording, with the right sound for the drum, to get the right vibration to shine through, and here it is.

In the first four minutes there is an explanation of what is to happen.

We need to "SOMEWHAT" (as in: don't force it) isolate the three parts of the torso into which we will be breathing, like so:

- Lie down with knees bent (so you don't fall asleep the first time)
- Take a deep breath and relax
- We will breathe in waves, just like the ocean does
- We will isolate breathing first through the abdomen, in and out
- Then through the rib-cabe, in and out
- Then through the ceiling of the chest, in and out

- Then we put it together, taking one long breath divided in 3 parts for the inhale and 3 parts for the exhale, with a pause in between:
   - In with the abdomen, pause
   - In with the ribcage, pause
   - In with the chest, pause

- Hold for 3 counts
  Then
   - Out with the chest, pause
   - Out with the ribcage, pause
   - Out with the abdomen,

And we take one count of rest.
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I suggest you listen to the first four minutes first so when the DRUM KICKS IN you are ready.

Don't force, don't try to do it perfectly as there is no such thing, just try as best as you can, and use it to go within.

I learned the exercise from a dance teacher, about 20 years ago.  She used yoga breathing techniques and had an incredible effect on her students, her name is Mary Anthony and I believe she still teaches in NYC.

Use the exercise at any time during the day or before going to sleep.  Enjoy!





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Ashtanga Yoga 400 Photographs (3 sec intervals), 1 Min Practice at High Speed


If you have a camera with an interval shooting capability you may be in for a treat, I know I am.  This was a lot of fun to watch...

It's the present moment changing form, throughout the practice...

From the Marichasanas (sitted forward bends and twists) to kurmasana (the turtle pose)



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3 Reasons Why It's Best NOT To Use A Strap On Forward Bends



Michael asked this wonderful question in my private newsletter: What about using a strap for forward bends? [Here is the link to the video in case it does not show]

Great question! 

Here is my take In 3 Steps:

1- NO NEED FOR STRAPS IF ALIGNMENT AND BREATHING "ON YOUR EDGE" IS HAPPENING 


The issue with straps is that you can be very tempted to force...  so, if instead, you work on getting the right alignment and breathing, you will already feel the forward bend.

Right alignment takes you into the pose without even moving forward!  Check out the first few minutes of the video...

So, use proper breathing, get to your edge, stay in the edge with right breathing, and just let the head fall down to use gravity as you breathe and you will be doing a much more efficient forward bend, because your body will be fully involved.

2- THE POSE NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER ENDS

Where is the end to the forward bend? 

- Just being sited? 

- Mid way? 

- Grabbing feet? 

- Grabbing wrist?

- Putting my head between the legs?   (And yes, I know there is a joke there...)

A forward bend Is a PROCESS that never ends. The deeper you go the more nuisances you find in it, the more interesting it becomes, and the more benefits you get.

Also a forward bend is PORTABLE (your don't need to be carrying anything around, like a strap, so wherever you go, you can always practice it)

For example, I shot this video in Buenos Aires... as the sun was rising as you can see in the last shot.  And you know how it gets when you travel, the least you have to carry the better, but also, when practicing at home, the less fluff the better the chances you'll actually show up at the edge of the mat and do your ritual.  

3.- THE TIP THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND:

If you go to your edge within the pose, and then you can get someone (help from a friend or partner) who can grab your hand from the other side of your feet and touch your feet as they are grabbing your hands, THE MIND CANNOT TELL THAT WHAT IS TOUCHING YOUR FEET is NOT YOUR HAND...

So you begin to get the idea that...

You are the kind of person who can touch her or his feet.

You enlist the mind in a subtle way....

Love that or what? I love it!

---

Enjoy the forward bend and take your time with it because it relaxes you, massages your internal organs, and makes for a long life with contentment.

Join my private list at ClaudiaYoga NOW so we can keep a more private conversation, I love questions.  

If you can't see the video at the top here is the link for it
http://youtu.be/6Fr4LUm4ea4

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5 Steps To A Headstand: Yoga's Anti-Aging Secret

Yogis, smart people that they are, look at inversions in a revolutionary way:

They think that if, because of the effects of time and gravity, the skin is sagging, then obviously the internal organs are also sagging.

And so they work from the inside out by practicing daily postures that make use of gravity in their favor.

We can all use this force (gravity) to restore our organs to their original position in the blue print of the body, meaning the body we had when we were born, and slow the effect of gravity both internally and externally.

As you probably guessed, we do this by practicing inversions.

FEAR OF INVERSIONS

Inversions can feel scary, but, when approached slowly, and in steps, they become more manageable.

The headstand and the shoulder stand are known as the "king and queen" of poses because of their rejuvenating effects as well as:

- their work in the pituitary gland (headstand)
- thyroid gland (shoulder stand), which...
- consequently give us access to intuition (6th chakra) , and
- proper regulation of our physical energy which is regulated by the thyroid. (5th chakra).

This video teaches 5 steps to learn the headstand, the "king of asana" over some time.

I’ve broken it into FIVE PARTS so you can approach it one at the time, and carefully but surely build your confidence before you move on to the next.

For example, as you start learning it you can incorporate just the very first step to your practice, and do that until you feel very confident with it. 

Usually the headstand is practiced towards the end of the practice.

If you don't have a regular, integral practice, sign up for my newsletter now,  to receive a one-year, open-level, course that teaches you how to develop a personal, whole practice, month by month.

(As of  the February/March edition of the newsletter we are on class number 3 and the headstand has just been incorporated).

As you start getting into a headstand basic triangle (part 1 of the video above) remember that it took you a couple of years to walk up-right. You crawled as a baby for a very long time before you could walk...

So let’s say that we will give the headstand a good six months to a year, or maybe even two years, or three, or whatever it needs, of regular practice.

It’s only fear.

In my case it took a whole year of daily practice to get to the middle of the room in a full headstand.
If you practice daily, then it’s bound to happen. Do you practice and all is coming as K.P. Jois said.

If you have a medical condition always consult a doctor, remember to be smart about your practice and how you treat your body. 

There is NO RUSH.

The only way we are going is inwards, and nobody knows about your own inwards but you, so there is ZERO competition. Take your time and respect your body.

Progress in yoga is measured by how our lives improves, not by scales, figures, numbers, asanas, breath retentions, minutes or anything like that.  Taking our time and going at our own pace means we are mature enough to respect our own nature.

BENEFITS OF HEADSTANDS
- Restores the internal organs to their original position in relationship to your own body because they use gravity in your favor
- Helps the body maintain a youthful state when practiced regularly and with deep, slow breathing
- Stimulates intuition (sixth chakra)
- Cleanses the body
- It’s restoring and relaxing
- It gives us a different way of looking at the world because the body is upside down.
- It helps build self-esteem because it is always a work in progress but the progress can be clearly seen.

Take your time, breath, and enjoy.

P.S.:  The shoulder-stand also needs this approach of breaking it down into pieces, and I will be offering a video for it soon.

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What I'm Sweating Now... IS FEAR

I understand why the first and second series of Ashtanga yoga are called what they are. The first: "Yoga Therapy", becomes clear because when I go through it I am sweating "Toxins"... 

The body smells badly at first, and eventually not so bad... and within a few years it is "just sweat". 

The second series is called "Nerve Cleansing"... and that is the right name Because what I am sweating right now is FEAR... 

Pure fear.

As I face poses that open and twist the back to olympic levels I can see the anticipation in every cell. 

Everything screams No! (or tries to negotiate a later day, another time, another life) When in reality the body is now pretty bendy, malleable, ready.

I had a session a few weeks ago where literally my body was laughing at my mind for not getting into a pose just "because the mind says so"... 

It was frigging mocking it. 

And "I" was not even in the equation, I don't even know who I am anymore (which is a great thing)... it was just a conversation between body and mind.

Can the body make fun of the mind like that?

Can the mind be so persistent in its desire to control things? 

Even in the evidence of the power of a long-term daily practice in which... well... all comes...

Dear fear, I understand you are there, I understand your evolutionary strong desire to protect me and do anything in your power to keep me safe. And I am grateful for you. 

However...

I have three things that I will use to work through you, or with you, or alongside you, during my practice:

1- I will smile internally
2- I will relax the mind and will relax the face
3- I will practice

TODAY

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How to Be The Best Sales Man/Woman in the World TODAY

A man was begging on the subway between 42nd and 14th street yesterday.   "Oh nooo!" - That's what I was thinking so I put on my noise-cancellation headsets to try and be invisible. 

I was above the crowd of vulnerable New Yorkers with simple headsets.

But this guy was no homeless; he was THE WOLF OF 42ND STREET.

"I am not here to sell you candy, or tell you about my hardships, or ask for money" he said.

I somehow heard THAT over my noise cancelation. 

- I am here because I wrote a book, he said

He pulled a copy and showed it to us. It was obviously self-published with the Create Space templates, the same way I published my first book.  

It did not look "professional", but heck, the guy had a book!

- It's called "Changing Your Game Plan" he said.  Momentum growing.

The book tells the story of my life and the mistakes I made that landed me in prison.

I removed the noise cancelation at that point. 

The exclusive membership club of the express train lifted their heads at once.  How could we not? Prison?!

What followed was the best copy-writing / sales-speech I EVER heard on a subway:


- You can grab a copy now and look at the back to see what it says. Totally free.   

There was nothing to lose right?  You COULD HOLD IT for free. He did not say the book was free. 

What did you have to lose by simply holding it? 

The woman next to me (probably in her 50s) STOOD UP to grab a copy.  A few others got a hold of one as well.  

Everyone who had one was half-convinced already, some were reaching for the four bucks. It didn't matter what the back of the book said.

There's a trick called Investment Bias. And by now he had already made you invest your time and interest in his book. You were IN. 

Also, by now he had:

 a) Identified the ones that might buy, and 
 b) Had put a copy in their hands.  They were holding it already!

- Look at the back of the book and see what it's all about.

He repeated that...  The man knew what he was doing.

Two more people grabbed a copy as he walked up and down commanding the stage of a frigid January subway audience.   

- If you want the book autographed that is for free.  The book cost four dollars, but the autograph is free.

Genius again: he was already offering extra value.  

The price was introduced as an after-thought, after the "extra value"... 

Now, you may argue the extra value (autograph) was "perceived". Who cares? It works!

And... he said "free" thrice already!

- The book cost 4 dollars. Today.  (It's 12 in Amazon paper-back).  I just want to help others.

Now we knew that:

a) We had a bargain and the guy had something to offer (prison!)
b) There was a sense of urgency. Why? Because of the next line.... the line that killed it!

-Don't wait for the book to be on Oprah people, this is your chance!

Everyone who was holding the book bought it.  All of them. That was 6 people in a 5 minute ride.  All of them wanted it autographed too.  

He asked everyone for their names and autographed them with a personal message.

I just bought my own copy.  2.99 in Kindle


You go R. Kearse!  You've got yourself a fan. ME. And those six people.

Because incarceration is not always of the metal bar kind... No!

Many times incarceration is of the metal MENTAL bar we set up for ourselves.


I'm off now. Gotta read a book, bro.



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