All posts filed under: Practice

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 …

Online Matrika Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training and Certification

I’m so excited to have opened enrollment again in my online Matrika Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training and Certification course.  My course is unique in that it brings Tibetan Buddhist subtle body anatomy, meditation, and cultural anthropology into the training.  Included in the course is a section on yoga to promote optimum fertility for women, yoga during pregnancy, a teaching practicum, a unit on yoga and meditation for labor and birth, and an entire section on the postpartum period including yoga with mom and baby. While online courses aren’t for everyone, there are a lot of yoga teachers, doulas, and medical professionals who are dedicated to learning new techniques to support pregnant students and clients who simply don’t have the time or ability to travel for trainings.  In my experience, a lot of yoga instructors who are mothers and birth doulas would love to do this training and have this information.  But, mothers with young children and doulas have something in common…..they tend to work all night and have unpredictable changes and shifts in their schedules.  …

Beautiful and Sensual

I have been using essential oils in my practice and for self-care for many years.  It all started when I participated in some classes and workshops taught by Amy Galper and Schuyler Grant around yoga, acupressure, and aromatherapy about sixteen or so years ago. A couple weeks ago, I received an offer from Utama Spice.  They very generously sent me a complimentary nebulizing essential oil diffuser with a bottle of their own Cajeput essential oil in exchange for my honest review of their products on my blog.  How could I say no?  Also, I very much appreciated the genuinely personal communication I received from Utama.  I made it clear that I would only write a completely honest review and they were in agreement with the conditions I presented to them.  As soon as I opened the package from Utama, I knew I was in for a treat.  The Danau Satu diffuser came in the most tasteful packaging with a floral decoration.  As soon as I pulled it out of the box I was amazed at …

Imaginary Tea Party

In my memory, a significant part of my childhood was spent in imaginary play.  From a quick review of photographs, I spent a lot of time in a leotard with a tutu.  I was either dressing for the job I wanted or I just liked the fancy feeling that comes along with wearing anything tulle.  Since it is also itchy, my guess is that I REALLY wanted to be a ballerina.  I also liked to have tea parties.  This week, for bibliotherapy Friday (if you read my blog regularly, you will soon realize that there is never just one day of the week to enjoy book therapy), I’d like to invoke both my imagination and the spirit of planning parties I will likely never host.  Will you be my guest?  Better yet, I highly recommend checking out these cookbooks and planning your own imaginary feast. The ultimate tea party cake is most definitely the Coconut Princess Birthday Cake with Almond Filling, a 3-layer cake that looks like something I’d LOVE for you to bring over …

Happy (?) Holidaze!

Whether you feel like this is the most wonderful time of year or you’d prefer to go into hiding until it’s all over, I’m offering some services unique to the season that can help you find some relief or just create more time and space for you to truly enjoy all that this magic season has to offer. Guided Relaxation I am offering a package of twelve recorded audio guided relaxations that can be downloaded through this online course that also includes three 45-minute online workshops (webinars) that you can watch live or at your convenience that will include breathing, meditation, and gentle movement that can be practiced while sitting in a chair.  The cost for this package of twelve relaxation sessions is: $35.  If you wish to give one as a gift, please contact me and I can easily arrange for this. If you are in Pittsburgh, I am offering a special holiday package of three private relaxation sessions for  $180 (this is a $45 discount on my regular private session rate).  Each relaxation …

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 …

Forward Folds and Bending Over Backwards in Nature

The number one thing that adults say when I tell them that I am a yoga teacher is: “Oh, I can’t do yoga!  I’m so inflexible and I can’t even get close to touching my toes.” For about twenty-years now, I have tried every socially acceptable way possible at these moments to try to explain that yoga isn’t about being flexible, that anyone and everyone can benefit, that one may or may not become more flexible through yoga, that flexibility is, truly….besides the point entirely.  As soon as I start talking, I see the recipient’s eyes glaze over.  They are no longer paying attention to me, mostly because they only asked what I did for a living as a social pleasantry in the first place. Now, they are filled with regret for having ever made eye contact in the first place.  I can almost see the thoughts of escape to the cheese platter or, even better, the bar, cross their mind. A couple weeks ago I was on a walk with a friend when t …

Creation Meditation

I was doing some internet research on energetic wounds and back pain and happened across a recommendation for this “Creation Meditation” (this is a very feminine meditation, but it is made available to men as well) and you can also find an audio guided experience here (NOTE: the actual meditation doesn’t start until around 7-minutes into the recording). Enjoy! Written by Sharon Fennimore, a yogini teaching yoga, meditation and providing integrative health coaching services to women and families with young children based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Sign up for my newsletter and get FREE membership in my online community “Make Room” where you will get all the support you need to clear emotional and physical clutter.

Everything Changes

[I said to Suzuki Roshi,] “I could listen to you for a thousand years and still not get it.  Could you just please put it in a nutshell?  Can you reduce Buddhism to one phrase?”…He was not a man you could pin down, and he didn’t like to give his students something definite to cling to. He had often said not to have “some idea” of what Buddhism was.  But Suzuki did answer.  He looked at me and said, “Everything changes.” ~David Chadwick For the past 24-hours, here in Pittsburgh we have been bathed in the light of the sun through clear blue skies. I feel the sun in the fluids of my body and, all of a sudden, my dreams seem possible.  When you live in a place that offers shades of gray (and not in the exciting way) for most days of the year, the light of the sun brings profound shifts in conciousness.  This shift is welcomed because it is warm, light and inspiring.  As much as this change in season from …

Pure Brightness

Today, April 7, 2016 is the Festival of Pure Brightness (Qingming, or Tomb Sweeping Day) in China.  It is a three-day festival that is as much about honoring ancestors as it is a way for people to have time to go outside and enjoy the new greenery of spring.  There are spring outings and kite flying.  When I was a teacher in China, all of my elementary school students made their own kites and went out into the schoolyard to fly them.  Since I was in the far north of central China, there was nothing in bloom quite yet, but the worst of winter was over and the majestic willow trees graced the main street.  It is customary to hang willow branches on your door during the Festival of Pure Brightness.  This has roots in the traditions of Buddhism because Guanyin is pictured sometimes with a vase of water and willow branches in it and this is meant to scare away demons and ghosts. As we move into seasons of light, it can be beneficial …

Wisdom Body Yoga & Meditation

Have you ever witnessed a friend, family member or colleague at work create suffering or patterns of suffering for themself?  It’s so hard to watch.  It’s so easy to identify the pattern, the problem, the mistakes.  It’s equally simple to see an obvious solution.  On the other hand, you know that communicating your clarity and the obvious solution is unlikely to have the desired effect for the sufferer.  Your suffering friend will likely defend their actions, their pattern and even fight to maintain their problem (or that there isn’t a problem at all) until their last breath.  What you would witness, if you ever got the courage to approach your suffering person knowing that the friendship or relationship might be forever damaged, is the power of the ego.  Your ego knows that suffering and the commitment to that pattern is comfortable and complete.  The ego will jump in to defend itself and hear everything as a criticism.  The ego will not be defeated.  And, even worse, the truth for all of us is that we …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Interdependence Meditation

Guided Meditation on Interdependence   In honor of Independence Day, I have decided to host a guided meditation on interdependence that you can experience from anywhere by calling-in on your phone.  This will be a live guided meditation experience.  All you need to do is dial-in to the conference call and then put your phone on speaker, get comfortable and enjoy the meditation session.  It doesn’t matter if you fall asleep and start snoring because the callers are muted.  You can even listen as you wash dishes or take a bath.  I am requesting a $10 karmic offering for the meditation, but payment is not required. There is a payment button below the sign-up if you do wish to make an offering for the meditation. Date: Monday, July 1, 2013 Time: 8:30 pm Introduction and basic meditation instructions for beginners 8:45-9:15 pm Guided Meditation 9:15-9:25 pm Closing (all times are Eastern USA) Access Code: Sign-up below and you will receive an e-mail with the dial-in number and access code on Friday, June 28th Subscribe to …

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 …

Yoga and Meditation Classes with Sharon Rudyk

This Week: Starting Monday, April 29, 2013 GROUP CLASSES: This MONDAY I am teaching an all levels (and when I say “all levels” I truly mean that everyone from absolute beginners to advanced students will all feel comfortable and get a great practice) yoga class at Mookshi Wellness Center.  Class is from 10:00-11:00 am.  Just $5 for your first class at Mookshi!  (LOCATION: 401 Biddle Avenue, 2nd Floor above Biddle’s Escape Cafe, Regent Square, Pittsburgh) I have availability for private sessions or yoga spa treatments this TUESDAY afternoon and evening as well as THURSDAY in the morning, afternoon and evening.  Please call me to schedule (412) 855-5692. Women of all ages with irregular menstrual cycles, PCOS, PMS, infertility, painful periods or other pelvic pain should check out my personalized womens’ holistic health and lifestyle counseling sessions.  Most women find some (if not a great deal) relief within six-sessions. I have some private childbirth education and birth doula availability in June and July.  I will not be accepting births for August or the beginning of September.  Please …

Are you doing yoga “right”?

This is a re-post of one of the most read blog posts I have written in the past 5-years.  This originally appeared in the blog in February 2009.  It’s a great reminder as we start the new year for a healthy and safe way to approach your practice. Both new yoga students and more experienced yoga students, at some point in a class or practice, may wonder if they are doing a particular pose correctly.  Many students wish that instructors would just come over and correct their pose or hope that, in time, they’ll start to get it right.  Most new students are sure they can’t possibly be doing yoga right and many experienced students have developed poor alignment habits that feel right, but are blocking them from deepening their asana practice. This is why we all, regardless of experience level, need to continue to take classes, workshops and find instructors that provide encouragement and assistance in deepening our practice at all levels.  Even the Masters have a guru. A well-trained instructor has studied principles …

Have a Cuppa for Holiday Tension

Many of my yoga students confide in me that they “can’t meditate.”  In most cases, this is based on a misunderstanding of what meditation is.  In many cases, I inform my students that, in fact, they have been meditating with me for years in our practices together!  Here is a meditation in the form of a tea drinking ritual that everyone can enjoy and an added breathing exercise with aromatherpy for even more emotional balance. Making an excellent cup of tea takes time.  Use this time to focus on what you are doing.  This ritual starts with the selection of your tea making equipment and mug.  If at all possible, boil fresh water in a kettle on the stove or an electric kettle.  If you must use a microwave, then you must, but for this ritual, it would be most effective if you boiled the water using heat generated from electricity or natural gas so that you can listen to the sound of the water bubbling and boiling.  The type of tea that we will …