At Mudra Yoga Studio, we have two practice studios both named for Hindu deities Ganesh and Durga. A few of you have asked about these deities so we will dedicate the next two months to share about these deities that bless our sweet space.
This month we’ll give you a glimpse into the world of Ganesh. With the head of an elephant and the body of a boy, Ganesh is known as the God of wisdom, knowledge and education as well as the remover of obstacles. The son of Shiva and Pavarti, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja, one of the primary systems of workshop in Hinduism.
Ganesh’s head is symbolic of the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. His elephant head denotes wisdom and his trunk represents Om, the sound of the universe. He is humble enough to ride the smallest of creatures, a mouse.
Ganesh is often depicted in various postures yet typically we see him holding a goad in his upper right hand, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties. The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata (one of yoga’s sacred texts). The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous and the laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms.
We learn from Ganesh that life is sweet and that wisdom and knowledge is often the answer to removing obstacles in our life. He teaches us that every day is a chance for a new beginning.
(Note: Portions of this article were sourced from the following link http://hinduism.about.com/od/lordganesha/a/ganesha.htm)+
Happy Valentine’s Day month! Now is a natural time to contemplate the heart and especially the heart as our comfort, our true nature, our home.
“Home is where the heart is” is a phrase we’ve all heard many times. And usually, we interpret it to mean that wherever the things and the people we love are is where we feel most comfortable. That is certainly true, but what if we also choose to take the phrase literally? What if we believed that our home literally lives inside us? From that point of view instead of home meaning a physical place, home becomes a state of being and a way of living, always available and always vibrant.
Perhaps the more we know ourselves and trust our hearts, the more at home we become in any situation. Instead of waiting for the right setting or the right possessions or the right people to come into our lives, we see that just by being us, we’re home. Imagine being at home in the familiar and the unfamiliar, in the joy and in the sorrow and in the things you excel at and in things you struggle with. Maybe home IS where the heart is. And if it is, it’s always with us. This month, we invite you to come to your mat, to know your heart and to come home to yourself.+
With the holiday season behind us we enter into a new year and a time when resolution-setting begins. January 1 arrives and many of us enter into the world of setting steadfast goals to be healthier, to pay off debt, climb a 14er or give up coffee. Yet in yoga we have an opportunity to consider setting an intention for our life in addition to these very specific resolutions.
The yogic tradition embraces a different perspective on intention setting – sankalpa. The Sanskrit word sankalpa (translated as “vow” or “commitment”) assumes that we are “more than” rather than “less than.” Resolutions often come from a place of deprivation while sankalpa assumes that we are inherently on a path of our own true nature – that we are light.
In a recent article in Yoga International Magazine master teacher and founder of ParaYoga, Rod Stryker, explains that the chief architect of life is the mind. To create the life we are meant to live, we must draw the mind again and again to our dharma, our deepest intentions, and the qualities of the Divine within.
“A sankalpa is a statement that does this for us. Stryker explains that kalpa means vow, or “the rule to be followed above all other rules.” San, he says, refers to a connection with the highest truth. Sankalpa, then, is a vow and commitment we make to support our highest truth. “By definition, a sankalpa should honor the deeper meaning of our life. A sankalpa speaks to the larger arc of our lives, our dharma—our overriding purpose for being here.” The sankalpa becomes a statement you can call upon to remind you of your true nature and guide your choices.”
So this New Year’s consider embracing your higher self and higher intention. Find your sankalpa to realize your heartfelt desires without changing who you are.+
The living moment is everything. ~D.H. Lawrence
‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, gatherings with friends and likely a few trips to the mall. It’s easy this time of year to get caught up in the frenetic, intense pace of the season. From holiday hosting and cookie baking to gift shopping to a visit with Santa it’s easy to let this season zip on by.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves and our families this time of year is the gift of staying present. Consider taking a few moments every day to slow down, connect with your breath and drink in your surroundings. It’s easy to get swept away this month so come to your mat (either physically or mentally), connect with gratitude and make the most of the season.
From your community here at Mudra Yoga Studio we send heaps of gratitude and thanks to you for supporting us this year through all the changes. We look forward to an exciting 2013 and look forward to seeing you on your mat!+
With the launch of our new name we’ve received a few queries about the word Mudra (pronounced moo-drah). In short a mudra is a hand gesture. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, in Buddhism and Hinduism a mudra is a symbolic gesture or offering of the hands and fingers used in ceremonies, dance, sculpture and painting. Hundreds of mudras are used in ceremony and dance, often in combination with movements of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders. While this definition gives a foundation of the word mudra the heart and essence of a mudra is much more. A mudra is an outward representation of inward intentions. There are many different mudras and it is said that meditating on a specific mudra will help manifest certain hopes, energies, or devotions into your life. When your hands come into a mudra, it allows a physical connection with an intangible wish. Mudras are a way to concretely see what we want to be, what we need most. Mudra Yoga Studio is a physical representation of what is in our hearts. It is our offering to you, our community. The journey is entirely yours. We’ll hold the space and continue to offer you the path for transformation.+
Yes, it’s true. We’re growing. Not only is Pearl Street Yoga expanding but we are also adding new classess and offerings to our community. And among all the dust, construction, and changes there’s one predominate feeling pulsing on our hearts. Gratitude.
Typically, November is the month we focus on gratitude and thanksgiving but this year we’re offering our thanks a bit early. We could not be taking this grand leap of growing our studio and our space without the support of our community. We are so gratful for every ounce of energy you bring to your mat and your willingness to stretch, practice and evolve with us.
Elizabeth Gilbert may have expressed our feelings the best in her book Eat, Pray, Love, “In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”+
As we transition into a new season it’s a great time to look at how our lives are shifing and changing. Fall typically brings us back into routine and often back into the rapid pace of our jobs, school and family. It’s a perfect time to come back to your yoga practice with fresh eyes and a renewed sense of how your practice impacts your life.
Maya Angelou said “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Transformation and change often aren’t pretty.
Like the butterfly we sometimes have to wrap ourselves in the darkness of a cocoon in order to find light on the other side.
The beauty of it all, however, is that we are graced with the opportuinity to continue to evolve. As practicing yogis we know that staying stagnat will draw us away from light so we soldier on, sometimes with purpose and sometimes without a clue. Because we know on the other side is the freedom to fly.
So consider coming to your mat this September with fresh eyes. Try a new class. Practice with a different teacher. Break away from your routine just to see how it feels. You might be surprised.+
With back-to-school just around the corner, it’s a natural time to think back on the teachers in our lives. Most of us begin (so the tenses of this sentence and the next one match) at an early age learning from our parents and siblings. As we grow older the circle of teachers around us expands.
Guru is the sanskrit word for teacher. The literal translation means “to remove darkness,” some even translate it as “to remove stickiness.” When we think of our life teachers as gurus we have an opportunity to consider all the beings that have touched our lives and helped unveil the light. Maybe your dog has taught you loyalty or a child taught you joy. Even those that challenge, frustrate or anger us are gurus by giving us a glimpse our own humanity and a chance to practice compassion.
The greatest teaching comes when we arrive on our mat. In yoga we believe that the deepest wisdom and most profound teacher is the guru inside each of us. Your own light, intuition and wisdom is the single most powerful guide to a life of peace and happiness.
In the Jivamukti yoga tradition classes are closed with the mantra Om bolo shri sat guru bhagavan ki which is translated at “the teacher within is the only teacher of truth.” Thank the gurus that surround you but also be grateful to and trust the beautiful guru within.+
Jai! It’s our birthday!!
Six years ago Pearl Street Yoga began as a community-based studio focused on bringing together teachers and students in a fun, non-competitive environment. Since then we’ve expanded our space, brought new teachers into the fold and have grown our community.
What’s most important to us at this celebratory time is YOU, our students and community. We would not be the studio we are today without your dedicated yoga practice and the beautiful spirit and energy you bring to our sacred space. In this spirit we offer an Irish birthday blessing that we’re sending to you in this special month.
May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.
May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks May your heart be as light as a song May each day bring you bright, happy hours That stay with you all the year long - Irish Blessing+
June is the month of the summer solstice. On June 20th the Sun will reach its highest point in our sky making it the longest day of the year and literally a tipping point as the days slowly beginning to get shorter and the nights longer. The latin translation for solstice means “sun standing still” a time when we have an opportunity to take pause.
Various cultures, religions and public celebrations honor the Summer Solstice including a huge annual gathering at Stonehenge in England. For those of us sticking a little closer to home, we can simply observe that the summer solstice is a celebration of the “official” start of summer but also a reminder that the only constant in life is change.
In our yoga practice we embrace the sun as a symbol of light, heat and energy. Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, in many yogic traditions is meant to salute the sun and build heat and warmth in the body. Yet with the heat we also must embrace the cooling Moon energy that brings balance into our practice and our lives. For all the heat Surya Namaskar may bring to a yoga practice we find blance with Savasana at the end of class to cool and ground our practice.
Take some time this June to welcome the Sun! If Stonehendge isn’t in your plans maybe embrace June 22 with a yoga practice (consider our Solstice practice with Erica and Andrea on Friday night outside!). However you celebrate the Sun enjoy your summer with open arms!+