Pottstown’s High Street Yoga; Room to Stretch, Quiet to Reflect

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Quiet the Mind; Meditation with Children

I've been re-reading the book The Parents Tao Te Ching; Ancient Advice for Modern Parents by William Martin and wanted to share the following passage.

Quiet the Mind

Our bodies produce
the bodies of our children.
Our noisy minds produce
the fears of our children.
But the Tao produces the spirit of our children.

Still the body.
Quiet the mind.
Discover the spirit.

Meditation is not complicated nor esoteric. It is a natural skill, practiced in many variations. Breathe in and think "Be..." Breathe out and think, "....still." Once you learn, teach your children. You don't have to call it meditation. Call it "being still like a mountain." Bring forth their natural ability to remain quiet and at rest. (Yes, they can, even if for brief periods. Can you?)

Monday, August 17, 2009

When Less is More – Aparigraha

The Yoga Sutras written by Patanjali is one of the most influential spiritual writings of Yoga. The core of Patanjali’s Sutras is an Eight Limb path. The first limb Yamas have to do with training thought, actions and speech in relation to the external world and with relationships with people. The Yamas are broken down into 5 characteristics; non-harming, non stealing, truthfulness, remembering the higher reality and non-possessiveness/attachment to objects.

The 5th characteristic, aparigraha, attachment to objects, leads to a desire to possess these objects, as more objects are obtained the seeker finds he is not fulfilled.

When I began blogging, writing about my kids was not the intention. But being a Work at Home Mom, observing life through their eyes is what I do and Yoga philosophy becomes crystal clear.

In Pennsylvania there is one convenience store/gas station that is a mega business. We live in a small town and it is the busiest store everyday of the week. People go there daily for coffee, hoagies, snacks, slushies, you name it. A second store is being built within a 2 mile radius. My nine year old son is very disturbed by this new store. He laments daily on how ‘sad it is because it will run a smaller gas station out of business’ and ‘how we don’t need another because we already have one’ He recognizes the concept of ‘need vs. want’ which is the core of aparigraha. He understands the importance of looking at life from the vantage point of having enough rather then lack, a concept so crystal clear to a 9 year old.

There is so much to be learned from children and the path to simplifying my life continues. I will continue to feel gratitude for the abundance in my life and not the lack.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Miracles Every Day

There are two ways to live your life; one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle – Albert Einstein. Not a Yoga Sutra or Yoga philosophy, still, words to live by.

My jet lag has recovered and I’ve had time to reflect on our family trip to The Netherlands to visit my in-laws where everything felt like a miracle. My boys 7, 9 and 11 drank in everything from the moment they boarded the plane in Newark until the moment we arrived home two weeks later. Everything was a miracle in their eyes and mine too. They found joy in the well manicured boxwoods and hedges in every Dutch yard, spotting windmills and driving by canals, noticing that biking is for transportation and not just pleasure, playing with cousins and communicating the way only children can and eating LOTS of vlaai (pie) at outdoor cafes

Biking to the store became a great joy for my oldest son, along with attending a professional soccer game and watching endless sports with his Opa. Visiting a local bird trainer and allowing one of the Harry Potter owls to sit on my middles sons head was a highlight for him, He also enjoyed bungee jumping and running with me on the flat brick roads through the farms and greenhouses. Being offered ice-cream when visiting friends and family, watching Sponge Bob speak Dutch and learning endless Dutch words himself was a highlight for my youngest son. Each day brought us something new to explore and enjoy. This was by far my favorite trip to Holland and only a snapshot of our trip.

I wanted to attend a Yoga Class while in Holland to experience Yoga with a Dutch speaking instructor, relying on my intuition and observation to guide me. But because of our schedule and the schedules of the studios it didn’t happen. Most Dutch families take a three week vacation so many studios were closed. Because Yoga is not just the physical practice, I believe I still experienced yoga through the practice of mindfulness and being present. Being present means giving your attention to everything that is happening in the moment. I enjoyed the miracle of every moment with the help of my children. This is a practice for every moment, no matter the circumstances.