All posts filed under: Yoga Philosophy

Satya as a Form of Grace

Satya is one of the most complicated of the yogic ethical principles.  It is translated as “truth” in many texts, but truth is, in and of itself, a construct of culture.  For example, I may hold as “truth” in my Quaker faith that everyone has the light of God in them (no matter behavior or evidence that seems to prove otherwise), while others may have very different ways of looking at the concept of Holy Spirit or the concept of the divine.  Am I telling the truth when I pray in this way?  Are the other understandings of the relationship between humans and the divine the NOT-truth?  And, how can we relate this use of the word “truth” when describing a commitment of faith to asking a person we work with if they are the ones who ate our yogurt in the shared refrigerator?  In the case of the yogurt, it could be seen that this is completely different.  Our colleague either ate our yogurt or they didn’t.  But, maybe when they answer us it …

Professional Development for Yoga Teachers

In April 2013, I closed my brick and mortar yoga studio, Yoga Matrika, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and pioneered yoga and meditation studies through distance learning.  In the process, I tried a number of different platforms for holding classes and teleseminars and worked with hundreds of very patient yoga teachers who agreed to work with me to provide constructive feedback while also getting high quality continuing education. I am really delighted that Yoga Alliance has recognized the potential of distance learning for professional continuing education for Yoga Teachers. They permit up to 25 of your 30 required CEU credits to maintain registration to be earned with non-contact hours.  I am honored to be a YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) and have a number of online courses just for yoga instructors.  These courses allow teachers all over the world to learn more about Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan yoga practices, meditation skills, subtle body anatomy, women’s health and yoga, and prenatal yoga and meditation. I have put over 25-years of practice, teaching, and research into all of …

Perspectives on Unity and Karma

Last week, under a news story about some other tragedy, the news source suggested some other stories I might be interested in.  While I don’t usually take these recommendations, as part of my feeble attempt to control the negative media that I permit myself to absorb, this time, the top story caught my interest.  At the Metropolitan Zoo in Santiago, Chile, a young man (a child…really…too young to order a beer in the United States), jumped into the lion enclosure, took off all his clothes and began to taunt the lions by shouting biblical quotes.  They found a suicide note with the man’s clothing and the note was signed, “Jesus”.  In order to save the man, the zoo was forced to shoot and kill the two lions.  The male lion had been born into captivity. The female lion had been rescued from the circus.  And, in that moment, the lives of the man, the lions and the zoo staff and all the children and adults who witnessed the happening unfold came together in a most unexpected …

Imperfect Vessels

I’m always reading.  Whenever I come across common themes in my reading, I try to make note of it and then think about what that theme means to me in my life, my practice and my work.  Two-weeks ago, in everything I was reading, the word or theme of “imagination” kept popping up.  This week, in two completely different books, the Buddhist teaching of the imperfect vessels revealed itself to me.  This teaching provides a way for us to study ourselves and then develop practices that support our current state of mind. The first type of imperfect vessel is an upside down vessel.  It’s impossible to fill a vase with beautiful flowers if the vase is upside down.  In this type of vessel, the opening is completely closed off.  In this “closed mind” there is no role for meditation or yoga practice.  It is likely that all of us experience times when our minds are the upside down vessel.  It is just as likely that we can think of someone that we know or have …

Yoga for Getting Through a Rough Patch

“So there he is at last.  Man on the moon.  The poor magnificent bungler!  He can’t even get to the office without undergoing the agonies of the damned, but give him a little metal, a few chemicals, some wire and twenty or thirty billion dollars and, vroom!  There he is, up on a rock a quarter of a million miles up in the sky.” ~Russell (Wayne) Baker   When I clipped this cartoon from the New Yorker, I didn’t know what a rough patch really was.  I’d had some days that were more difficult than others.  I almost failed Macro Economics (really) and that felt pretty awful.  But now, I don’t just chuckle at this, I guffaw from some deep and injured and yet mightily resilient place from deep inside.  It’s the place where the magic of yoga really touches. How do we make peace with the fact of the Four Noble Truths that tell us that our lot as humans in life is to suffer—victims of desire and want and dissatisfaction—and the idea that …

Hope, Marx, and the Body

I have had the great fortune of studying with and, in some cases, just been able to listen to, some people that I would consider to be genuine geniuses.  My fortune has been so great, that it would not be possible to list everyone here.  One of these people is David Harvey, who I met and studied with when I was a student at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York.  David Harvey is a critical geographer and anthropologist with significant passion for improving the conditions of life for humans everywhere.  Anyone who has studied Anthropology, or perhaps, any social science, knows that, it doesn’t look good for humans.  Almost every ethnography documents some kind of suffering—-the kind that we inflict on each other, the kind that we inflict on ourselves and the tragedies inherent with war, famine, natural disaster, racism, disease and the list goes on.  After six years of graduate work in Anthropology, I can tell you that the research consistently reveals that we aren’t that nice to one another and we don’t …

Who Has the Potato Now

Adults, in general, are concerned about doing yoga “right”.  We want to become not only proficient, but good at the skills that we invest time, energy and money into.  This desire is fundamentally at odds with the true nature of yoga and meditation.  It is a practice.  You will never do it “right” as there is no “right” way to do it. Children, on the other hand, have no concern at all about doing yoga or meditation correctly.  I imagine this may be because they are so newly proficient at almost every skill that they have and they daily are faced with the realities of their limitations—-all the things that they WISH they could do independently, but can’t.  Therefore, they can connect with the practice aspect of yoga and meditation on a much deeper and authentic level almost immediately. I have found that between the ages of 5-8 that many children, including my own, start to have new anxieties and fears.  Many of these surface at the end of the day and around bedtime and …

Cheerful Books

“I’m not happy, I’m cheerful.  There’s a difference.  A happy woman has no cares at all.  A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them.” ~Beverly Sills I’ve got to be honest……this winter has been rough.  Between shoveling and ice and school cancellations and snow days and trying to drive on dangerously slippery roads, it’s been hard to stay cheerful.  Quite understandably, my children have cabin fever and long for the days when shooting hoops outdoors for hours and frolicking on somewhat dangerous playground equipment is possible. On my own, left with enough chai tea, good books, yarn and a yoga mat, I can survive for quite a while through a snowy winter.  But, the addition of having to keep two wee ones occupied and not go insane with cabin fever makes it really difficult to truly release into winter.  I can’t really dive into a juicy novel for hours of uninterrupted joy.  Imagine my great delight at finding these two books that offer little treats in doses that even I …

FREE Guided Meditation Webcast

Guided Meditation Recording Oh no!  Did you miss the live webcast? Download the MP3 and listen at your convenience and practice as often as you like (but not while driving–PLEASE)!  The recorded meditation will be available within an hour of the end of the live webcast. Online Book Club Courses I offer an online book club that features my favorite books on Buddhism, meditation, yoga, philosophy, anthropology, science, the body, anatomy, energy and more.  You can enroll anytime in my book club style course on the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths.  The cost is $25 and we spend five-weeks on this book: Dancing with Life by Phillip Moffitt.  The cost of the book is not included in the participation fees.  Start anytime and read and watch the videos and complete the worksheets all at your own pace and convenience. Newsletter Subscribe to Sharon’s Newsletter My newsletter members get exclusive access to additional FREE guided meditations, webcast seminars and yoga trainings.  If you aren’t already getting my newsletter, please sign-up today.  Upon registration you will immediately receive …

Health Coach for Women

I provide comprehensive, holistic and compassionate care for women of all ages who want to engage in a positive relationship with their pelvis, reproductive health, endocrine system and menstrual cycles.  This includes: Healing for irregular menstrual cycles Learning how to be aware of and track fertility signs Managing chronic pelvic pain, vaginal pain or hip/low back pain Cesarean and birth recovery including nerve damage, anxiety and abdominal and pelvic floor strengthening Working with symptoms associated with PMS (mood, bloating, headaches, etc.) Alternative support for PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) Infertility, miscarriage and pregnancy loss support Healthy menopause Adrenal Fatigue Anxiety, depression, anger and frustration in relationship to menstrual cycles, fertility, PMS, pelvic pain and infertility WOMEN’S HEALTH CONSULTATION SERVICES 2-Hour Consultation and Evaluation $200 50-Minute Sessions $90 Package of Six Individual Sessions $500 Package of Consultation and Six Individual Sessions $675 HOW DO WE WORK TOGETHER? If you live in Pittsburgh or surrounding suburbs, then we can meet together in person in a beautiful treatment room at Mookshi Wellness Center (401 Biddle Avenue, 2nd Floor above …

NEW Online Meditation Course

Four Noble Truths: Insights and Meditations In this five-week online course, we will explore the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism through Phillip Moffitt’s book, “Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering.”  The course includes guided required reading of this text and instruction in a variety of mindful meditations that help build compassion and insight.  Introductory tuition $25. You can start the course at ANY time and have immediate access to the first unit upon enrollment.  You have five weeks to take the course from the date you start.  There is no schedule to keep to or required group activities.  Read at your own pace and engage with the videos, worksheets and guided meditations in whatever way is most helpful for you.  No grades.  No pressure.  No requirements. This course is for you if: You want to feel less anxiety, stress and depression You want to learn more about fundamental concepts in Buddhism You need a flexible program that allows you to work at your convenience You wish …

A Pep Talk for You!

A Little Pep Talk Just for YOU How many flexible people do you know?  Let’s be honest here—you don’t actually KNOW anyone who is flexible.  If yoga required flexibility, then 15 million people in America wouldn’t have been practicing last year.  But, they did. How many thin people do you know?  If yoga required you to look fabulous in stretch pants, then 15 million people in America wouldn’t have been practicing last year.  But, despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans are overweight, they did. And, by the way, I bet you look awesome just as you are. Don’t think you have enough money for yoga?  Yes, studying yoga and meditation is an investment.  But, in 2010 the cost of heart disease in the United States was $444 BILLION DOLLARS (source).  This is a no brainer.  Invest now in practices that immediately improve the quality of your life at a fraction of the cost that chronic illness and disease imposes on your life later. Stop making excuses.  Making an investment in yoga and meditation will …

Seven Stress Related Health Problems

Here are seven stress-related health problems you can do something about with gentle yoga and meditation.  Remember, stress isn’t a “feeling”–it is a physiologic response to perceived (or real) danger.  It isn’t in “your head” and yoga and meditation provide release of deeply held tensions, fears and anxieties through physical, mental and spiritual exercises. Heart Disease and Diabetes Stress raises your glucose levels making it harder to manage Type 2 diabetes.  Mindfulness-based meditation programs have been proven to reverse heart disease. Asthma Chronic stress makes asthma worse and children with stressed-out parents are more likely to have asthma. Obesity Stress causes higher levels of the hormone cortisol which makes you collect fat around your middle. Headaches Migraines and tension headaches.  Enough said. Depression and Anxiety Adults who report having stressful jobs (like having a lot of work and very few rewards) have an 80% higher chance of developing depression than adults who do not report a stressful work environment.  It’s unlikely that you can change your work situation overnight, but you can change your response …

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity.  This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self-realization.  Yoga means union – the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul.  Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions. ~B.K.S. Iyengar, Astadala Yogamala There is significant research that shows a direct link between a regular yoga practice and specific health benefits. Research suggests that yoga might: Improve mood and sense of well-being Counteract stress Reduce heart rate and blood pressure Increase lung capacity Improve muscle relaxation and body composition Help with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia Improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility Positively affect levels of certain brain or blood chemicals. By changing ones relationship to the body, Yoga offers exercises and poses to assist practitioners in their own healing. Yoga can increase circulation, relieve pain, enhance respiration, stimulate adrenal and immune function and maintain muscle and body mass. Yoga …

For the Love of Lavender

  Since I feel particularly calmed and grounded by the scent of lavender, I thought I would re-post this informative article written by David Crow on how lavender can be used to promote health and well-being for everyone in your household.  As we approach Valentine’s Day, I reflect on how this scent brings me into a state of open awareness that is also beneficial to my meditation and yoga practices.  Regardless of your state of partnership or romance this season, how delightful to take an opportunity to think about ways to live more deeply from your heart and to ground your decision making and movements from this deepest and our original seat of intelligence.  And, if you are new to buying essential oils from Floracopeia, please take advantage of the 25% discount I offer to my students.   Lavender By David Crow, L.Ac. (Published in Yogi Times, Oct. ‘04) Lavender is one of the most well-known, versatile, and extensively used essential oils in the world. When we use lavender essential oil we receive the blessings of …

Liquid Gold

There is now evidence that breast milk contains stem cells and the implications, both for the health and well being of newborns and infants and healing potential for mankind, are astounding.  It’s overwhelming really……. Posted by Sharon Fennimore Rudyk, an independent yoga instructor and doula based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Find out more about Sharon on her website www.sharonrudykyoga.com.

Benefits of Co-Sleeping for Dads

I don’t want to get into an argument about co-sleeping with you dear reader, but I thought that all my Matrika Moms and Dads might find this article interesting.  Whether you co-sleep or not, it suggests that there is an endocrine response to behavior.  The more involved Dad is, the lower his testosterone.  The mind-body connection never ceases to amaze me! Posted by Sharon Fennimore Rudyk, an independent yoga instructor and doula based in Pittsburgh, PA.  Find out more about Sharon on her website www.sharonrudykyoga.com.

Crafty with Bad Habits?

Are you crafty AND have a few bad habits you’ve been meaning to lose (or maybe just a few pounds)?  Then you’ve got to take advantage of this workshop offered by IMI (I Made It): Creating Healthy Habits facilitated by Emily Levenson.  It look s great and I’m hoping to be there myself.  The workshop is at Quiet Storm on February 28th from 6:00-7:30pm and costs $20.  The yogis say that it takes 40-days to make something a habit.  If you are looking to add a good habit to your repertoire, let me suggest a private session with yours truly.  In an hour and a half we can explore the change you wish to make and I can teach you a simple energy technique that works with your brain to speed up the transformation and a 40-day meditation to keep your commitment bright and strong.  Mention the following code when you make your appointment and I’ll provide a good habit forming session with you (1.5 hours) for the price of a 50-minute session (save $50!): …