The Space Between The Thoughts

Meditation is the royal road to the attainment of freedom, a mysterious ladder that reaches from earth to heaven, darkness to light, mortality to immortality. ~Swami Sivananda, on Raja Yoga
 
Yoga is defined in yoga sutra 1.2, “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” Vividly I recall listening to that verse chanted in the background as I practiced yoga by CD with my first teacher. I remember wondering what exactly “cessation of the fluctuations” meant, having had no experience with cessation of my own mental fluctuations. When the first sip of mental clarity occurred, it was truly life changing.
 

When defining yoga, I prefer a simpler interpretation of verse 1.2,  “Yoga is the space between the thoughts.” This is brilliant! When we are enslaved to the habitual patterns of the mind, we will undoubtedly be tossed about, identified with our story. The practices of yoga provide the tools with which we can step out of the reaction to our thoughts and into a space of clarity and freedom. 

Inner freedom, according to yoga, occurs when our presence in the moment (prana) grows so strong that we let go of our inner narrative and become the watcher of our own awareness. Moksha, or liberation, occurs when we release ourselves from the patterns or grooves of the mind, unraveling our unconscious patterns. When moksha is reached, we are released from the bonds of karma.  Then we are truly free. Read More »

21 Days to Abundant Joy

Every summer for many years, alleyCat Yoga practitioners have embarked upon an early morning ritual of practice at sunrise (6:00 – 7:15 a.m.) for 21 days straight. And this year anyone from around the world can take the class LIVE ONLINE over Zoom. Why on earth would someone do that, you might ask? Answer: Because it could change your entire life. 

No joke. After 21 days of getting up and practicing yoga before you start your day, I’m convinced that you will experience one or all of the following benefits: You will feel like a new person. You will have more energy. You will be more confident. You will have better health. You will have more clarity and insight into how you live your life. You will be more loving toward yourself and others. You will be stronger and more flexible in your mind and body. You will love the morning.

This year the 21 Day Sunrise Yoga Adventure will be structured around the first and second steps of the yogic eight-fold path—the Yamas and the Niyamas. These are the ten ethical practices from the yoga sutra that help you live your life with more grace and kindness on and off the mat. Read More »

Yoga 101 4 Week Series

Monday, January 6-27

9:00-10:15 am

with Glenda Moum

 or

Wednesday, January 8-29

7:00-8:15 pm

with Susan Mathis

This class is designed for the new yoga student wishing to start at the beginning and learn the foundations of yoga asana, breath work and philosophy. Offered as a 4-week series and designed for those who are new to the practices of yoga, the emphasis will be on learning yogic breathing and common yoga postures while developing body awareness. We will study alignment and techniques for common postures, building the practice from the ground up in a safe manner suitable to beginners.

A regular yoga practice allows you to:

  • establish a deeper inner spiritual connection
  • stabilize your emotional responses
  • develop focus and concentration
  • release stress
  • build strength
  • increase flexibility
  • improve your posture
  • prevent injuries
  • improve your mental outlook
  • strengthen your immune system

No previous experience is necessary. This class is for every body type, level of strength and flexibility. Come as you are.

$60 for the series  Registration is required.

Register for Yoga 101 Monday 9:00 am
Register for Yoga 101 Wednesday 7:00 pm

Deep Stretch

All Levels

This experiential class utilizes asanas (postures), several meditation practices and pranayama (breathing techniques) to slowly open the body and direct awareness inward. A quiet, slow-paced class ideal for all levels of students, Deep Stretch emphasizes holding postures longer so the muscles can relax, leading to deeper states of clarity and freedom of movement. The class assumes no prior knowledge, experience or specific level of flexibility or strength and is open to all interested in exploring the deeper practices of yoga. In this class all or most postures are done on the floor. Saturday 10:30 

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The Story of No Story

Yoga teaches us that when we identify with our “story” (an identity or belief that is developed from our individual ego rather than identifying with our true nature) we are suffering, blinded by illusion. I was originally introduced to this idea by Sudakar Ken McRae and the concept allowed me to move beyond the limiting beliefs of my mind that held me hostage for many years. As a result of that I rarely talk about my experience with chronic illness because I do no longer define myself by that story. Yoga practices (Big Y Yoga) allowed me to use connection to the present moment to overcome the limitations I once experienced in body that therefore impacted my mind. However, I am making an exception to revisit my past experiences and share them with you.

II was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) when I was 16, unfortunately it was a very severe case. After years of suffering from anemia, pain, malnutrition and frequent hospitalizations I was sent to the Mayo Clinic to have the diseased gut removed at age 29. Unfortunately, the surgery resulted in a confounding number of other complications including obstruction, infection, and poor motility resulting in frequent hospitalizations for about 8 more years. My life at that time was one of severe pain and was limited by this severe illness.
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