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Issue July 2012
Join us on:
Welcome to the July edition of The SunBeamer.
Are you peeping out from the under the winter hibernation covers yet? Have you noticed that the days are starting to lengthen? As I write it's a glorious, crisp, clear, sunny day and what a difference it makes! As the light returns our spirits are lifted and we find our energy stirring...
So, if you've found the couch altogether too seductive in the dark depths of winter then perhaps it's time to shake off the snow and start moving back into action?
Perhaps you're simply fed up with the cold and dreaming of a dose of tropical warmth? Maybe I can tempt you to join us on our week of beautiful, fun, restorative yoga and holidaying in the tropical bliss of Bali? We still have spots left, so click on the link below to find out more.
SunYoga Bali Holiday, Aug 27th to Sep 3rd, 2012
Last time I visited your inbox I was about to embark on a week of solo-retreating. I spent an adventurous week in solitude investigating and looking within; exploring my heart, body, breath and mind and doing whatever felt exactly right in that moment. I did this over and over again for the entire week! It was so stimulating that I got very little sleep, BUT, in spite of lack of sleep I came home feeling happy, relaxed and much more at peace.
This week of exploration highlighted the importance of making space and time for self reflection. This can be as simple as coming to class or just closing your eyes and observing your rich, inner world. In yogic terms this self study is called Svadhyaha, it's one of the five niyamas set out by Patanjali in the ancient text, The Yoga Sutras. The Niyamas are a set of prescribed actions for the yoga student; observances, requirements, obligations towards the self. Sva means "self" and adhyaya means "education of."
Svadhyaha is our theme of the month. We hope you enjoy our musings...
See you soon!
Love Claire xx
Who am I?
What am I?
Am I that?
Belinda shares with us a beautiful meditation into the nature of who we are...
Read More ›
This month we have a guest feature student in the form of a blog, which was sent in by one of our students. Alex's story is perfect for sharing!
The SunYoga Social Club had a great breakfast out a few weeks ago. This month we are planning a dinner, would you like to join us?
We dip into the sublime mastery of Persian Sufi poet, Hafiz.Read More ›
Black Shouldered Kite sits in observation and alertness - at ease and ready for action. Maribrynong River Valley, June 2012.
Why is it, that us humans, with brains the size of a planet, struggle so much with existing? We are possibly?, probably?, the only living creature that struggles to be itself. A tree is simply a tree - living, breathing, growing… A black shouldered kite, (like the magnificent specimen above), is simply a black shouldered kite, doing what it does; in tune with its needs and existence.
As a child I remember that one of worst, most cutting insults you could receive or give was, “you love yourself”. We have similar insults today like “navel gazer”, “you’re up yourself”, “wanker”, etc... They revolve around the idea that being focused and interested in the self is a bad thing to do and to be hidden.
From the yoga perspective, navel gazing is one of our favourite pastimes and highly desirable. The art of directing your focus inwards and ruminating on what you find is at the heart of all yoga practice. To experience what is real (in every given moment) is the foundation of living life that flows harmoniously.
It sounds simple, but when we choose to walk the path of self inquiry we quickly discover how complex our web of self deception is. To see the web clearly requires skill, courage, discipline and much compassion. Our minds are constantly commenting and criticizing and making demands. At the speed of light we react and find ourselves caught in our hard wired habits of responses. We don't know how we got there and often we don't question if it's the best place to be. All the pushing and pulling and resisting is exhausting, it drains us and keeps us from feeling ease and freedom, comfort in our own skin, grace and peace. Whilst I was on my solo retreat I did a daily 45 minute guided relaxation. I listened to the same relaxation CD daily. Each time I dropped into the long, spacious rest it was a fresh experience and I discovered lots of ways that I resist being me, that I resist life. Pieces of the Claire Jigsaw of Tension dislodged, floating into my awareness, and giving me valuable insights. The patterns of resistance, fear and avoidance (that we all have) run very deep. The deeper you go the more subtle they are. The process of uncovering them takes consistent, disciplined and gentle observation, paired with truthful, loving kindness and acceptance that you are what you is!
Our intelligence gives us great scope for thought and reasoning and clear seeing, but also great capacity for illusion, delusion and the negative use of our will. Trickery and tom foolery! Lies and deception! Skulduggery! I guess the truth is we can never have it all, we never get it all together, and that life continues to surprise and unfold until the day we die!
The CD told me every day: “Don’t work to hard at trying to relax, allow yourself to feel what is. Let go of any desire to do the relaxation better, let go of judgment and criticism. Feel in to what actually is and relax… All is well.”
We recently did a meditation in my Yoga for the Mind class which I enjoy practicing myself and thought worth sharing with the wider SunBeamer audience.It is a Self Enquiry Meditation whose aim is to get to know yourself and explore who you see yourself as, your own identity. When I lead this meditation I don’t follow a script, I just let it flow but I have written some basic instructions below which should help you to try it out yourself.1. Start in a comfortable seated position. This can be on the floor or in a chair as long as you feel stable and the spine is supported. It is preferable that you meditate in an upright seated position however if you are very tired you can lie down, just try not to fall asleep!2. Close your eyes and take a few deep full breaths, letting go of any busyness in the mind and consciously soften through your body.3. Allow the question “Who am I?” to surface in your mind and observe what comes up in response to that question.4. Continue to ask yourself, over and over “Who am I?” with pauses in between and be aware of your responses. Try not to over think it or attempt to figure out the “right” answer – there isn’t one. Think of sitting back with your thinking mind and watching what surfaces in response to the question.5. After 5 minutes or more, when you feel like it is time to stop, become aware of your breath. Inhale and silently chant “So” then exhale and silently chant “ham” (pronounced hum). After 5-10 of these breaths release the practice and slowly become aware of your surroundings and how you are feeling.At different times practicing this meditation I have had many different responses. I sometimes identify with my physical body, others with what I do or some of the roles I have such as mother, daughter, sister... Sometimes I find aspects of my personality arise and on closer examination I discover that often there are expectations attached to these, both mine and other peoples.The answers don’t always come as words, there can be emotions, feelings or sensations of lightness or heaviness, tingling or opening. I haven’t yet found the definitive answer and I might never do so. What I have found is that I am a physical, energetic and emotional being who is many things to many people and a sense that I have much more to discover about myself.The So Ham chant is a great answer to the question “Who am I?” It translates as “I am that” - that meaning universal wisdom and the chant reminds us of our connection with this wisdom. When done with the breath it flows wonderfully and morphs into “That I am” which sounds as close the the definitive answer as I’ve come on my journey so far!I hope you enjoy practicing this, please feel free to let me know how you go with it.
Love and light,Belinda
This month we meet a virtual yogini, Alexandra Franzen. Her story was sent to me via Rachel, (thanks Rachel). Alex is a business coach from Minneapolis who describes herself as a "Promotional Wordsmith and Personal Scribe". FYI, I have included Alex's details at the bottom of her story - don't you love the internet! Here is her recent blog:
Devotion, stardust & the rewards of showing up — 3 lessons from 12 years of YOGA!
" I wish I could tell you that I ‘discovered’ yoga in a dizzy haze of bliss, at a mountain-top reggae festival, with a gaggle of sun-kissed friends & the guidance of a guru named Snuggle Moonshine Bear.
But no, I came to yoga as so many of us do — because my body was in crisis, my life was at stake, and there was nothing left to try.
At 15, I was blinking back into reality — after starving myself to 94 pounds, in the visegrip of anorexia. My doctors told me that ballet, running & weight-lifting (my self-medications of choice) were out of the question. My emaciated body — and weakened heart — wouldn’t be able to handle the stress.
They suggested yoga. Gentle yoga. An hour a day, tops. And so, I found myself on the mat. Studying the delicate art of not hating myself. Coming back to life. Feels like many, many lifetimes ago. Still makes me cry. And here I am — countless sun salutations later. With a little more wisdom. And a lot more hope.
In honor of being alive, I give you . . . 3 lessons from 12 years of YOGA
There’s no substitute for showing up.
It doesn’t matter what you’re creating — a book, a business, a yoga practice, an entirely new way of being in your body . . . You can read every guide, take every course, watch every tutorial, hire every expert, research & vision-board & dream & scheme. But there’s no replacement for showing up & doing the work.The real work, not the pre-work. (You know the difference.)
DEVOTION is an action, not an emotion.
Want to know what you’re devoted to? Look at your calendar. Examine how you actually spend your time, on the planet. If you ‘can’t find the time’ for an hour of yoga, three times a week — or whatever else you say you want to do — that’s fine. Do something else. Check your email. Fly a kite. Learn to crochet. Host a tea party. But don’t kid yourself — it’s tiresome. Be honest about what you’re devoted to.
You are STARDUST.
Joni Mitchell wasn’t kidding. The foundational elements of your body — carbon, nitrogen & oxygen — were literally synthesized in the deep interior of ancient stars, billions of years ago. Stars that shattered, and gave birth to planet Earth — (to paraphrase NASA astrophysicist Michael Loewenstein.)
Think about that, whenever you question whether you’re good enough, beautiful enough, talented enough. Worthy of what you want.
You are extraterrestrial, super-celestial, the walking descendant & living heir of a luminous sphere.You are light, time, the cosmos itself. You hold God Power. The power of absolute creation!
I’ll namaste to that. "
Alex's blog - http://unicornsforsocialism.com
Alex's website - http://www.alexandrafranzen.com
News and Events
Construction Works in Sunshine
You have probably noticed that there are roadworks going on near the studio? This is the beginning of a long construction project for the new Regional Rail Link. The roadworks are going on until the end of 2014 and they are slowing traffic down a lot. If you travel down Anderson Rd to get to the studio, I would advise taking a different route and/or allowing a little more travelling time.
Claire is teaching Wednesday General
Claire is back teaching the 7.30 pm Wednesday General class. Thanks to Amanda for filling in!
Children's Yoga has Grown & Moved to Wednesday
We have some young yogis who have been enjoying Kids Yoga with Belinda for almost 5 years. It's time for them to graduate and move up into a more advanced session!
So, to accommodate a wider range of experience, ability and ages of children we are now offering 2 Levels of Children's Yoga on a WEDNESDAY afternoon:
Level 1 - Ages 3 – 8 yearsWednesday 4 – 4.40 pm
Level 2 - Ages 8 – 12 yearsWednesday 4.50 - 5.50 pm
We offer one FREE TRIAL class for new children, so if you know any potential little yoginis then pass this on!
Read more about Kid's Yoga ›
SunYoga Social Club
Our next SunYoga social outing is delicious dinner at -
Eat & Love20 Devonshire RoadSunshineFriday, August 10th6.30 pm
Watch for a notice in the studio foyer confirming time and date, and asking for your booking!
Click here for Eat & Love menu
SunYoga Beatles stop the traffic!
Our growing SunYoginis...
Join us for dinner at this local
Indian, Bengalese & Nepalese Restuarant.
AndFor no reasonI start skipping like a child.
AndFor no reasonI turn into a leafThat is carried so highI kiss the Sun's mouthAnd dissolve.
AndFor no reasonA thousand birdsChoose my head for a conference table,Start passing theirCups of wineAnd their wild songbooks all around.AndFor every reason in existenceI begin to eternally,To eternally laugh and love!
When I turn into a leafAnd start dancing,I run to kiss our beautiful FriendAnd I dissolve in the TruthThat I am.
By Hafiz - translated by Daniel Ladinsky
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