All posts tagged: yoga

Sara Avant Stover: Springtime Detox & Renewal Advice for Women

Sara Avant Stover Offers Springtime Detox & Renewal Advice for Women

By Sara Avant Stover // Every woman, whether or not she realizes it, is a creative genius. Within her lives the capacity to bring forth new life and to regenerate during each moon cycle and each spring. Life, and our vitality, bursts forth in the springtime. This season calls your innate creativity to awaken and make itself known, just as a seedling pushes through the thawing soil past roots and rocks toward the light. Now your visions and deep dreaming from the winter come into being. Nature’s New Year arrives in the spring because it heralds a rebirth into a whole new you. Sara Avant Stover leads The Way of the Happy Woman Spring Detox & Renewal Retreat, May 11–14, 2017 at Shambhala Mountain Center — click here to learn more Officially arriving on March 2o with the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the spring exhales the intoxicating fragrance of radical possibility. Who do you want to be now? How do you want to live? What’s ready to come to life inside you? We can …

Simple is Good

By De West // Have you ever tried a new recipe that had clear instructions with simple ingredients, was an easy process and you made the most delicious meal? The simplicity it took to create the meal added to the experience…simple is good. The same experience happens with a simple movement practice: it is easy and feels so good that you want to do it again! Why is simple good? Simplicity builds confidence-you can start at the beginning and build your body awareness and when it feels safe to do so, try new movements, poses and sequences. Your body can trust simple movements and the slow pacing and then your mind can relax. Simplicity relaxes the nervous system moving us from our left brain, the thinking mind, that evaluates, categorizes and labels to the right brain that thinks in a non-conceptual way that creates relaxation, helps digestion and comes from a direct experience. It helps to be guided so your thinking mind can take a break. Keeping it simple can foster spontaneous calm, peace and …

In the Company of Women: Precious Knowing

By Katharine Kaufman Home At Shambhala Mountain Center I have the good fortune to be at the Shambhala Mountain Center at this moment so I can tell you what it is like in the winter here — at least right now. Still & quiet. Today I walked up to the ridge — maybe to get nearer to the sun. There was some trudging through snow and also big patches with no snow. I rested on an outcropping of rocks. A group of deer were close to the Stupa. They looked up at me and leapt away as if gravity were no problem. Inside the Stupa I was struck by what feels like the thickness of many years of people practicing. The good humored gentleness and authentic way of the staff feels so warming. I am called back to this place. This is one of my homes. On Inspiration My idea for the women’s retreats began from my sense that it would be great to gather, and do practices on the coldest day of the winter …

FLOW: I Move Because I am Curious

By Katharine Kaufman Katharaine Kaufman will be leading FLOW: A Meditation and Yoga Retreat, April 25-27 I start in stillness. Then I recognize I am breathing. The breath appears to be more clear—prominent. I recognize a sense of body—what is touching the ground, what is a little snug, what feels tired. Hello body. I relax my jaw and shoulders and along with this, discursive movement relaxes too. Breathe out. I am landed. Where does movement start? Mind? A reflex? Breath? I move not because I am uncomfortable and want to change my posture. I move because I am curious. I am looking for what my mentor, Barbara Dilley, calls, “kinesthetic delight.” I open my peripheral view to the others in the room. Pretty soon we are moving through space, slowly, and somewhat together. I don’t have to hold this body up—by myself. I think of my yoga teacher, Richard Freeman who always said we can “ride the breath.” And there’s a sense of support from the group. When we slow our movement we can take …

Is Today a Good Day to Die? How Meditation and Yoga Can Liberate You From Fear

  I hope, as you read this, that you are well and free from any indications that your life will be cut short.  At the same time, I invite you to take a moment today to contemplate death. Personally, I tend to skate by much of the time without reflecting too deeply on this inevitable aspect of life.  When I do contemplate impermanence though, the beauty and preciousness of my experience of living becomes illuminated.  So, it seems to me like something worth doing, perhaps more regularly.  Maybe you feel the same way. In this video, Elysabeth Williamson offers some guidance for living in moment-to-moment, day-to-day relationship with our own death.  As she goes on to say later in the interview, the result can be incredibly liberating and joyful. Watch the three minute clip below. Click here to learn about our upcoming weekend retreat: Savasana: Exploring Our Death to Liberate Our Lives, March 13-15 If you feel inspired to deepen into this practice of contemplating impermanence and the preciousness of life, please click here to learn about the upcoming retreat …

Facing Death, Finding Joy: A Conversation with Elysabeth Williamson

By Travis Newbill Elysabeth Williamson will be leading Savasana: Exploring our Death to Liberate our Lives, along with Margery McSweeney, March 13-15, 2015 Elysabeth Williamson says: “To live in moment to moment, day to day relationship with our death is maybe the most powerful practice we can do. Most people don’t want to think or talk about death and dying. And yet, just the willingness to do so, to openly face into it…the result is joy. Isn’t that kind of wild?” Hear more of what Elysabesth has to say by checking out our recent conversation with her below. Watch the video or scroll down to stream/download the audio. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below. ~~~ Elysabeth Williamson, ERYT-500, is the foremost authority on Principle-Based Partner Yoga, a style she founded and has developed since 1991. She is known for articulating and transmitting esoteric teachings in ways that are accessible and practical for everyone. She is the author of ‘The Pleasures and Principles of Partner …

Bringing Your Practice Home

By Katharine Kaufman Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Bringing your Practice Home with Katharine Kaufman, November 21-23, 2014 Many poets, thinkers, and dreamers have talked about the inner voice, and a time of changing slightly what we are doing. The nudge leaves us trembling or is just a whisper, barely audible. At certain times in our lives there is a call to listen inwardly and be with ourselves. Maybe we are exhausted from busy days, or we feel stagnant in our yoga practice, or we can’t find time in our schedule to practice. Some of us travel and need a short daily boost. Maybe we want to devote an entire day each month to resting, sitting and yoga. Perhaps a close friend has died, or we find ourselves at a new intersection in our lives and our perspectives are changing. We might feel dull and would like to re-awaken our creative voice. Regardless of our circumstances, the call is there—nagging perhaps, or a faint insistence that occurs in the guise of, “I need to do something …

Yoga for Every Body — Interview with De West (Audio)

Shambhala Mountain Center hosts This Moment, Beautiful Moment: Yoga for Every Body with De West, November 7–9, 2014 In De Wests yoga, participants may cultivate deep awareness of body and learn to uncoil obstructions to find greater freedom. In her rejuvenating retreats, we discover where we have developed patterns over the years. Even in the womb we favored one side or the other of our mother’s belly. Through slow, directed movements, we learn where we can focus our mind to create more energy and openness and less physical discomfort and stress — targeting our entire bodies gently rather than stressing some parts while ignoring others. Recently, De took some time to have some discussion around these points. Please click below to her our conversation. And, if you’d like to download the audio, click here and find the “Download” button. ~~~ De West is a leader in the Boulder yoga community and is a co-director of Studio Be Yoga. Her teaching combines principles from Iyengar alignment and therapeutic yoga. As a teacher, De is insightful, intuitive, …

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple: The Metaphor of Ya​b-Yum

By Keith Kachtick Keith Kachtick leads Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple, September 12–14 In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke makes clear that a loving, romantic relationship is the practice for which all other mindfulness practices are the groundwork. “Love is high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become world for himself for another’s sake.” The ancient Tibetan tantric practice of Yab-Yum recognizes that romantic coupling is as an opportunity for profound spiritual awakening, a practice that invites us—deeply challenges us—to love our way to enlightenment. Traditionally, in Buddhist thangkas and sculptures depicting Yab-Yum, the confluence of “masculine” compassion and “feminine” wisdom is presented metaphorically in the sexual union of a male deity, seated in Padmasana (lotus pose), with his female consort facing him on his lap. The symbolism is two-fold: Yab-Yum (literally “father-mother” in Tibetan) implies a mystical union of karuna and prajna within our own individual nature—the two Dharma wings that lift each of us to buddhahood; united, the two awakened beings (regardless of gender) …

The Virtue of Variety: A Practitioner’s Toolbox

By Troy Rapp Early in my meditation life, I found myself drawn to explore different styles of practice. I was in the midst of my first fall training period at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center after having spent two years practicing meditation in the Soto Zen tradition, when I found myself drawn to study Korean Zen that winter. A group of monks from this tradition had come to visit and brought with them an English translation of their teachings. I discussed this with the teacher under whom I had begun to practice Zen, and was strongly advised against it. The basis of this instruction was a belief that it was not possible to deepen a spiritual life without unwavering devotion to one style of practice. This type of admonition is not uncommon in the world of spiritual practice. I’ve encountered it from many teachers in a variety of traditions over the years. “If you’re digging a well, you won’t hit water by starting a new hole” goes the metaphor commonly used to support this perspective. I …