James Morrison: My #Yoga Story @JamesPMorrison @ShowingUpMovie

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My Yoga Story with James Morrison 

 

Or, What I Did, Have Done and Am Doing On My Yoga Vacation

 

I started flirting with yoga while I was in high school. The attraction was purely physical. I would take a copy of The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga by Swami Vishnudevananda into my room, lock the door, and practice as many of the postures as I could. I skimmed the parts about philosophy, diet, astral bodies, etc. but it was the physical postures that intrigued me most. I wanted to beat old age – the book promised it would help me do that – and thirty wasn’t that far off.

Brian Castellani‘s insight:

Or, What I Did, Have Done and Am Doing On My Yoga Vacation

I started flirting with yoga while I was in high school. The attraction was purely physical. I would take a copy of The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga by Swami Vishnudevananda into my room, lock the door, and practice as many of the postures as I could. I skimmed the parts about philosophy, diet, astral bodies, etc. but it was the physical postures that intrigued me most. I wanted to beat old age – the book promised it would help me do that – and thirty wasn’t that far off.

 

One night a friend of mine and I were talking with his absurdly serene older brother, who looked a lot like the hippie Jesus (long flowing hair, beard, thick robe, sandals and beatific smile) about his "exercises". He told us of his kriyas, his cleansing rituals. How he would floss his nasal passages with a cotton cloth and swim into the ocean, take his intestines out through his anus and wash them, then put them back. The later process, he warned, should never be attempted without the help of a Guru, and I believed him. He recounted, in the same peaceful manner, stories of how he reached blissful states of awareness and had serpents of energy coiling up and down his spine and lotus flowers sprouting out of his third eye while chanting in Sanskrit, the language of yoga. This blew my mind.

 

Clearly this yoga was even better than pot!

 

Still, I only dabbled in it for years, probably a little fearful I might get too serious and meet a Guru who would suggest we remove our intestines together. Without even knowing it, I was searching for something spiritual and being physical took me closer to it. I’d been a highly competitive athlete since I could remember, winning the President’s Physical Fitness award in elementary school. I was a Little League and Babe Ruth All Star, and was first string on every team I tried out for, excelling at wrestling and track. I was even a boxer for a while. Well, a streetfighter, anyway. One of my older brothers and his hoodlum friends would pit me against bigger kids to see me get beat up while they drank beer and cheered me on. I’m sure this helped steer me toward non-violence, or, Ahimsa as it is called in Sanskrit.

 

Through the years, trudging the road of happy destiny as an actor, yoga has always been part of my training. But it wasn’t until 1999, when I was forty-five and well into the old age I was convinced in high school that I could beat through a yoga practice, that I discovered it was more than just physical exercise. It became, through my first substantial encounter with a yoga teacher, a way of life.

 

My wife was pregnant with my son when I met Frank White. He was 78 years old at the time, and the picture of health and vitality. That wasn’t always the case. Frank found yoga in his mid-sixties as a "walking question mark" as he put it. Fifty or more pounds overweight, heart problems plagued him – he smoked four packs a day – and was a serious drinker. He took the teacher training at the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara and he was born again, sober and clean and on the yogic path. His resurrection was legendary. He started teaching free classes to senior citizens and AIDS patients and eventually became one of Los Angeles’ most respected teachers. His classes were highly regarded for how challenging they were. If you wanted to see God – or your deity of choice – while having your ass handed to you, go to Frank’s class. I stumbled in, just out of a horrific job in the theatre and demoralized by it. I was ecstatic about becoming a father, but needed to be shown the path of least resistance to the changes and challenges in store. Frank guided me toward my rebirth.

 

After two years of almost daily practice with him, he convinced me to train to become a teacher with Ganga White and Tracey Rich at White Lotus. Frank helped me put my practice in context: a purposeful life of service, lived fully, in the present and with conviction; in other words, no more dabbling. He was adamant that I pass it on or I couldn’t keep it and that I could only really live it if I could give it. One of the greatest moments in my teaching life was the day he walked in to a class and sat and watched me lead a practice. It was the moment he promised would come; I was teaching him. The best teachers understand that day will come and make you believe it will happen. Then they are humble enough to let you know when it does. Frank always reminded me to look within, pass it on, and question authority. And he taught me how to breathe again, like a child, full of life and free. I practiced and taught along side him, until his death in 2005 at 85.

 

My relationship with Tracey and Ganga is unique and ultimately the most healthful in the way they regard the so-called "guru-disciple" dynamic. From the beginning, they introduced me to myself as my own guru and I was, therefore, able to stand along side them, rather than sit at their feet. That empowers a student more than any amount of knowledge that may pass between them. The pairing of these two charismatic artists, as teachers of teachers, is without equal. A poetic and beautiful soul, Tracey has the hypnotic gift of being able to convey the elegance of whatever subject she’s exploring by how she talks about it like no one I’ve ever met. Ganga’s anti-authoritarian approach to teaching is made even more alive and accessible through his dry wit and universality of experience. Together, they walk the Jnana yogic "path of knowledge" with eyes and minds open and a willingness to accept all who join them.

 

I’ve worked with some of the best actors in the business, but nothing compares to teaching alongside your teachers. I have taught with and assisted Tracey and Ganga in workshops and teacher trainings for a few years now. Sharing that role with those who’ve inspired us is the greatest gift we can get, it’s the most meaningful professional collaboration we can have. The best way to deepen your understanding of something you are passionate about is to teach it. I’ve come to regard teaching as a gathering of fellow travelers on the journey between the head and the heart. I’m currently helping Yoga Works in Los Angeles design part of the teacher-training syllabus for new teachers on how they might best use their voices when they teach. The thrust of it is that any teachers’ voice that reaches us on any significant level still resonates because it came from their heart, from their truest selves. When I’m at my best I’m speaking from my heart and allowing my head to listen. I’m observing my most genuine self be revealed. As someone blessed enough to make a living as an actor – an instrument of illusion – I’m constantly searching for balance through that which is real or genuine. Home and family comes first. But I’ve come to know that it doesn’t get much more real than when, as a teacher, you are attending someone and they experience even a momentary realization of their potential for change, their truest voice. It compares to fatherhood in making you a possibilist.

 

My own yoga practice now is to be as present, curious, patient, attentive and persistent as I can be. That’s my meditation practice, and as Ganga suggests it should be, it’s one of being rather than doing, so it’s liquid, very flexible. Mostly it involves teaching and learning tolerance. That means, I suppose, that regardless of our beliefs, as observers we can partake in another’s need for doing without participation and with sophisticated judgment. In other words, without doing, just being and observing. Since enlightenment – or just seeing things as they are as the Buddhist sages tell us – is something we slip in and out of, I’m content when I get an occasional glimpse. The hardest part of my life now is observing the intermittent battle between my enlightened and unenlightened selves. The street fight between the kid being egged on by the drunken delinquents and the man I aspire to be, the man I know I am. It’s a fight that keeps me from accepting and surrendering to the good in life – at the same time showing me the good in life – and I’m not sure it’s winnable. It’s Sisyphean. But, thankfully, it’s constant and keeps pushing me up the hill to my physical practice, even though that stems more, even still, from my addiction to competition and beating old age.

 

One day recently after a class at the Center for Yoga, I was sitting on the steps putting my shoes on, rather dejected, approaching despondency. I know I don’t have to be perfect to be effective, I learned that from my yoga practice, but during class, I had some alarming revelations about my aging body. Another teacher, a friend, sat down next to me and asked why I appeared so glum and I told him, "I’m not able to do some of the things I used to be able to do in my practice." He smiled, the same absurdly serene smile all those yogis get when they’re ready to remind you what you’ve momentarily forgotten, and said, "It’s a good thing we know that’s not what yoga is all about."

 

Nothing I’ve found changes you quite like yoga does. How then can we not be open to changing our ideas about what yoga is and how we do it as we continue to practice and study? Beyond the holistic health gains through diet, increased strength and flexibility and calm and focus I’ve acquired through my yoga practice, I’ve learned moderation. I mean that more in terms of presiding over my life. This doesn’t mean I’ve gained more control over my life as much as it means I’ve learned what I can and can’t control. Through my yoga practice, I’ve been given the tools to observe more clearly and gauge my responses more accurately. I’ve learned how to control what I think and how I think it. As my chiropractor told me while treating me for a back injury brought on by too much yoga, "Yogis get more injuries than most people, but they heal faster, too." Through my practice, the healing is relentless.

See on www.jpmorrison.com

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Google Treks: revolutionising travel as we know it? – A Luxury Travel Blog

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Google Treks is the latest extension from Google Maps and Google StreetView; it is a project that stitches together web tours of destinations all over the world, whether it be the Grand Canyon or the Galapagos.

Brian Castellani‘s insight:

Google Treks is the latest extension from Google Maps and Google StreetView; it is a project that stitches together web tours of destinations all over the world, whether it be the Grand Canyon or the Galapagos. Follow highlighted routes and explore areas followed along the same path as the team that filmed them – a kind of online guidebook if you will. Will this inspire people to travel more, do you think, or make people lazy because they can see the world from their computer? I prefer to think the latter but have a watch of the video or visit one of the treks and tell us what you think in the comments below…

See on www.aluxurytravelblog.com

@SarahOUaL: #HotYoga, as Told by the #Sweatiest Person on the Planet (#Bikram)

See on Scoop.itYoganomics

I tried Bikram way once upon a time ago, and really hated it. I bought a Groupon (isn’t that how 90% of people wind up in studio classes?) for 10 classes and never went back after the first one. Fo…

Brian Castellani‘s insight:

Is my sweat hog experience normal? Hard to tell. Probably not. The middle-aged woman next to me in long tights and a tank was lightly glistening, but the hardcore chic up front (yes I broke the “focus on your mat” rule again) definitely had an elbow drip or two during Eagle. I did not see anyone else secretly wiping under-mat muddles after class, though.

Conclusion? It WAS a great sweat – my fingertips were pruny and I felt super skinny after (yay, water weight!) But if the goal is simply a detox, like I could imagine would be beneficial after a round of heavy drinking or bad eating, I’d rather just lay in a sauna. For actual workout purposes, I’ll stick to a fast-paced flow or power class. Give me quivering legs and muscle burn to validate my sweat-stache, please.

See on sarahoual.com

#BikramYoga provides neighbors in York a new, healthy experience

See on Scoop.itYoganomics

A new type of yoga makes its way to York. Bikram yoga is all over the nation, and the world, and now neighbors can enjoy its benefits in York. The studio is located in the South York Plaza, on Pauline Drive.

Brian Castellani‘s insight:

A new type of yoga makes its way to York.  Bikram yoga is all over the nation, and the world, and now neighbors can enjoy its benefits in York.  The studio is located in the South York Plaza, on Pauline Drive.  Instructors say Bikram is different from hot yoga.  It’s a 26-posture series that works the entire body in a heated and humidity-controlled room.

Studio Owner, Denyse Kling says, “Anybody who has issues sleeping, people with migraines, anybody with high blood pressure, cholesterol, issues with their thyroid, metabolic issues, gastric upset, their knees, back neck, it’s extraordinary.”

 

You can partake in the grand opening of the Bikram studio on Saturday.  Classes will be held from 8 AM- 4 PM.

Read more: http://fox43.com/2013/09/18/bikram-yoga-provides-neighbors-in-york-a-new-healthy-experience/#ixzz2fMeJBbJ9

See on fox43.com

M & F #Students Fear #YogaPants & Leggings will be #Banned @occupyoga

See on Scoop.itYoganomics

On Monday, North Haven High School students, both males and females, walked the halls in yoga pants and leggings as a part of a student protest.

Brian Castellani‘s insight:

On Monday, North Haven High School students, both males and females, walked the halls in yoga pants and leggings as a part of a student protest.

Student’s received word that a ban on yoga pants and leggings make take effect this week.

 

"If we’ve worn t hem this long and there hasn’t been any issues then I think we should be able to continue to wear them," said student Christina Sanzari.

 

The school’s principal, Russell J. Dallai, told the Hartford Courant, “We want to work with our kids so they can understand that things need to be school appropriate.”

 

Parents agree that clothing should be appropriate but also believe it is unfair to ban anything clothing item that has been so popular and worn without problems in the past.

 

"They were spending a lot of their own money on their back to school clothes and they bought  yoga pants and if they can’t wear them their wardrobe is limited," said parent Kelly Ross.

 

Many students have already signed a petition against the ban and one student, Nathaly Roman, told the Hartford Courant, “Right now it’s like a war between the students and the administration.”

 

A meeting for students, parents, and faculty will be held in the library after-school on Wednesday to discuss the ban.
 

See on www.nbcconnecticut.com

#YogaTeacher #RaginiMadhavan pins down #jewlrey #snatcher | Deccan Chronicle

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#YogaTeacher #RaginiMadhavan not only chased the (#Jewlrey) chain-snatcher but also pulled him down from his bike to get it back.

Brian Castellani‘s insight:

#Chennai #YogaTeacher #RaginiMadhavan not only chased the (#Jewlrey) chain-snatcher but also pulled him down from his bike to get it back. 

Chennai: In a rare show of courage, a 26-year-old woman – a yoga trainer – on Tuesday evening managed to pin down a youth who snatched her chain in front of her house in Thillai Ganga nagar, near Nanganallur. Ragini Madhavan not only chased the chain-snatcher but also pulled him down from his bike while he was trying to flee.

As the youth, who received couple of tight slaps from her, offered to return her 11-sovereign chain, other members of the public gathered and overpowered him before handing him over to the Adambakkam police station. The police later identified the youth as Verghese of Bengaluru. “He speaks all south Indian languages fluently. We have to check if he has any criminal history,” the police said.

Ragini Madhavan had returned home in her two-wheeler after her grocery shopping when the incident happened. “She had parked her two-wheeler just outside the gate and was taking out the grocery items when the youth, who acted as if he was attending a call on his mobile, suddenly snatched her chain and started running towards his bike, parked 50 metres away,” the police said, quoting the would-be victim.

Ragini Madhavan chased him and as he was trying to start the bike, she grabbed his shirt and pulled him down. As soon as he was down on the ground, he offered to return the chain and pleaded for mercy. While she slapped him, others who gathered around had thrashed him before informing the police.

“We are trying to find out if he was involved in similar crimes in the same neighbourhood as there was another snatching incident that was reported in the morning in Nanganallur,” the police said.

 States:  Tamil Nadu

See on www.deccanchronicle.com

UC Davis Lt John Pike Cares More About Hamsters Than Your Kids | Top Secret Writers

See on Scoop.itBrian Castellani

On Friday, November 18th, a group of UC Davis students were taking part in an Occupy movement in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement in

Brian Castellani‘s insight:

Who Exactly is Lt. John Pike?

Upon seeing the video, TopSecretWriters investigators set out to learn more about the man, Lt. John Pike – to determine if he has a history of using violence, or otherwise acting abusively toward the kids at UC Davis.

Ironically, John Pike himself had made a scathing statement in 2010 about two students that had abused hamsters in their dorm room and posted the video on YouTube.

When journalists interviewed John about the incident and arrests, Lt. John Pike responded:

"It’s unfortunate. It’s very disheartening to listen to the extent of, and to read, what these young men did to the animals."

The two students – Henry Nguyen and Josue Melendez had used a cigarette lighter to burn two hamsters – so extensively that one of the hamsters died.

John Pike’s Police Brutality Against UC Davis Students

Given John Pike’s public statement speaking disparagingly about the abuse of animals, it is surprising to see the man walking in a matter-of-fact manner, aiming the canister of pepper spray directly at the eyes of the students.

He was walking barely 3 or 4 feet away from where the row of young students were sitting on the pavement.

See on www.topsecretwriters.com