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Yoga Beyond Fitness Blog


About Karin

Yoga teacher, practicing yoga since 1997, teaching since 2003, writer/translator, global soul, world traveller (and sometimes beyond), passionate about eastern philosophy and western psychology, especially its application in mind-body practices such as yoga and somatic movement therapy, deeply in love with life, knows that our greatest teacher lies within, also sometimes a total mess - it's part of the package!

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    Recent Entries

    Go Forth and Love Your Spirals

    Monday, July 11. 2011

    Inspirational quotes from Leslie Kaminoff, world-renowned yoga educator and co-author of Yoga Anatomy (new 2nd edition to be released soon; Leslie is working on it).

    I collected these wonderful quotes over the last 9 months whilst studying with Leslie. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

    My favorite quote: "Go forth and love your spirals. Play with your arm supports, and see what happens!"

    Leslie's brand new course starts Fall 2011. Highly recommended! (And I'm not just saying this because I'd like Leslie to follow me on Twitter. :-)

    Leslie on YOGA

    "Either the goal of yoga is to be free, or the goal of yoga is to get it right. You can't really have it both ways. Because if you choose freedom, you have to divest yourself of that crazy idea that you have to get it right."

    "Yoga is all about accomplishing more by doing less… letting go, giving up something… and surrendering to the life force that is bigger than ourselves."

    "Yoga tries to find the balance between what you can change (tapas) and what you cannot (ishvarapranidhana)."

    "Tapah svadhyaya ishvarapranidhana defines yoga practice. It may look like asanas, it may outwardly resemble asana practice, but I’d say that unless somebody is doing something like that, what they're practicing probably isn't yoga."
    [1) tapah = changing our activity or behavior outside of our normal habitual ways of operating, which is why it's often translated as austerity; 2) ishvarapranidhana = the other end of the spectrum, some phenomenon to which the only possible response is surrender: 'This isn't going to change, this is just the way it is and the only relationship I can have to something that isn’t going to change, that I can't control, is to surrender to that'; 3) svadhyaya = the connecting principle, meaning self-reflection, self-study, or introspection; the ability to sort out the things that we want to work on changing and the things that we want to work on surrendering to.]

    "When we resist the change that's inevitable, we miss the change that's possible."

    "Your yoga practice has to be more clever than your habits."

    "...the recognition of confusion is a form of clarity." [Leslie quoting his teacher, T.K.V. Desikachar; lineage of Krishnamacharya]

    "When we do yoga, we put controlled stress on ourselves so that we can learn how to react to stresses of life."

    "It's what you're familiar with versus what you're not familiar with. Whenever you work against resistance, you're going to generate more information. That's what generates information: working against our habit patterns, not within them."

    "This is true for all asanas: how you choose to enter into a shape is going to determine your experience once you're there. That's the whole idea of Vinyasa, of Vinyasa Krama, a step-by-step placement of elements in the practice that is intended to achieve a certain effect."

    "It's not too hard to reconcile yoga with anything, if you focus on the practical side of it and ignore its metaphysical roots."

    More quotes from Leslie Kaminoff:
    Breath and breathing
    Pranayama, sthira, sukha, drishti, brahma granthi
    Asana and yoga anatomy
    Human nature and the path of yoga

    You Are Enough

    Sunday, July 10. 2011

    You Are Enough

    no one is
    more interested
    in me than me

    since i find
    my Self
    in You

    for me
    You are

    Modern Yoga vs. Traditional Yoga

    Tuesday, July 5. 2011

    Modern Yoga vs. Traditional Yoga
    To be a miner of diamonds
    Take care of your picks and shovels
    To be a miner of your spiritual Self
    Take care of your body, breath, and mind
    But don't confuse the tools and the goals
    The goal of Yoga (union) is Yoga (union), period.

    ~Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

    Read more on Swamij's wonderful site: www.swamij.com

    The Origin of Thought

    Tuesday, March 15. 2011

    Thoughts originate in your mind. They exist in your mind. They dissolve in your mind.

    The thought that you know something (or that someone else knows something that they share with you) doesn’t mean that this is true (individual or collective) knowledge or that this is all the knowledge there is.

    Everything that is known or will be known to mind originated, originates or will originate in a thought (anyone’s thought). It is for this reason that the knowledge we have today was and is only ever that: a thought.

    Likewise, the thought that you are a limited human being with limited knowledge (based on a thought) doesn’t necessarily mean that this being is all there IS – a being with a beginning and an end, with a birth and a death. On the contrary, what this means is that you can never know that you are limited. After all, everything you know or will know always appears to you as a thought in mind. And so, the belief that you are a limited human being with a limited mind or a limited consciousness is without a solid foundation. It’s a thought. An illusion. Or in Sanskrit, Maya.

    Yoga is a path that challenges you to be ever mindful of this core simplicity. For if you are, you would realize that true knowledge can only be found in NOT-KNOWING. It cannot be found anywhere else.

    Removing and transcending all your false identities and obstacles (to surrender everything you THINK you know) and to reside happily in Not-Knowing will clarify this confusion. The key is to learn to let go. To surrender to the certainty that mind can and will never know.

    When you stop hiding from NOT-KNOWING, it is much easier to steadily progress on the path of yoga. Patanjali’s first four yoga sutras make that clear. If you understand them, you understand everything, in principle.
    atha yoga anushasanam
    yogash chitta vritti nirodhah
    tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam
    vritti sarupyam itaratra

    now begins the study and practice of yoga
    yoga is to surrender the projections of the mind
    then the true nature of the self manifests
    otherwise there is identification with mental projections
    Food for thought: The above conclusion (=> knowledge) is of course only just that: a thought. Don’t count on me to further explain and enlighten you. Practice. Practice. Practice.

    L'Homme et la Femme - Man and Woman

    Monday, February 14. 2011

    Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), French poet and novelist, was one of the most important French Romantic writers of the 19th Century. Best known for his novels Notre-Dame de Paris and Les Miserables, Hugo raised many philosophical questions, including the great eternal human question surrounding earthly love and its many seeming contradictions, ambiguities and dilemmas. His language was forever metaphoric, pointing to the real rather than attempting to represent it. The significance of raising fundamental questions was more important than reaching definite conclusions. He spoke to humanity in between his lines.

    Hugo wrote the following poem. It’s called L’Homme et la Femme (Man and Woman). It explores the dualities of life (and love!) as they are expressed in men and women. It’s a profoundly moving attempt to unravel that enigma wrapped inside all of us, forever embodying so much of what we consider to be admirable and delightful, objectionable and unpleasant, exalting and discouraging, right and noble, wrong and unworthy, in human nature, character, thought and conduct.

    Hugo invites us to look at our differences with fresh eyes. Perfection and imperfection, beauty and ugliness, attraction and repulsion, THIS or THAT, are nothing but pointers to wake us up and see what is real and what is not. Instead of confining our experiences to the perception of opposites, we are invited to delve into the hidden meaning of these opposites in order to see our true nature more clearly:

    We are separate yet interdependent, harmonizing manifestations of one united Being that can embrace, pacify and liberate the most contradicting views of the world and provide answers to the many mysteries of our existence.

    For those men and women who can't see eye to eye, try to read between these lines:
    Man and Woman (English translation)
    Man is the most elevated of creatures,
    Woman the most sublime of ideals.
    God made for man a throne; for Woman an altar.
    The throne exalts; the altar sanctifies.
    Man is the brain; Woman, the heart.
    The brain creates light; the heart, love.
    Light engenders; love resurrects.
    Because of reason Man is strong.
    Because of tears Woman is invincible.
    Reason is convincing; tears, moving.
    Man is capable of all heroism.
    Woman of all martyrdom.
    Heroism ennobles; martyrdom sublimates.
    Man has supremacy; Woman, preference.
    Supremacy is strength.
    Preference is the right.
    Man is a genius; Woman, an angel.
    Genius is immeasurable; the angel indefinable.
    The aspiration of man is supreme glory.
    The aspiration of woman is extreme virtue.
    Glory creates all that is great; virtue, all that is divine.
    Man is a code; Woman a gospel.
    A code corrects; the gospel perfects.
    Man thinks; Woman dreams.
    To think is to have a worm in the brain.
    To dream is to have a halo on the brow.
    Man is an ocean, Woman a lake.
    The ocean has the adorning pearl; the lake, dazzling poetry.
    Man is the flying eagle; Woman, the singing nightingale.
    To fly is to conquer space; to sing is to conquer the soul.
    Man is a temple; Woman a shrine.
    Before the temple we discover ourselves; before the shrine we kneel.
    In short, man is found where earth finishes, woman where heaven begins.
    L'HOMME ET LA FEMME (original French version)
    L’homme est la plus élevée des créatures ;
    La femme est le plus sublime des idéaux.
    Dieu a fait pour l’homme un trône ; pour la femme un autel.
    Le trône exalte ; l’autel sanctifie.
    L’homme est le cerveau ; la femme le coeur.
    Le cerveau fabrique la lumière ; le cœur produit l’Amour.
    La lumière féconde ; l’Amour ressuscite.
    L’homme est fort par la raison ;
    La femme est invincible par les larmes.
    La raison convainc ; les larmes émeuvent.
    L’homme est capable de tous les héroïsmes ;
    La femme de tous les martyres.
    L’héroïsme ennoblit ; le martyre sublime.
    L’homme a la suprématie ; la femme la préférence.
    La suprématie signifie la force ;
    La préférence représente le droit.
    L’homme est un génie ; la femme un ange.
    Le génie est incommensurable ; l’ange indéfinissable.
    L’aspiration de l’homme, c’est la suprême gloire ;
    L’aspiration de la femme, c’est l’extrême vertu.
    La gloire fait tout ce qui est grand ; la vertu fait tout ce qui est divin.
    L’homme est un Code ; la femme un Evangile.
    Le Code corrige ; l’Evangile parfait.
    L’homme pense ; la femme songe.
    Penser, c’est avoir dans le crâne une larve ;
    Songer, c’est avoir sur le front une auréole.
    L’homme est un océan ; la femme est un lac.
    L’Océan a la perle qui orne ; le lac, la poésie qui éclaire.
    L’homme est un aigle qui vole ; la femme est le rossignol qui chante.
    Voler, c’est dominer l’espace ; chanter, c’est conquérir l’Ame.
    L’homme est un Temple ; la femme est le Sanctuaire.
    Devant le Temple nous nous découvrons ; devant le Sanctuaire nous nous agenouillons.
    Enfin pour finir : l’homme est placé où finit la terre ; la femme où commence le ciel.
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    Leslie Kaminoff's blog, making waves in the yoga community since 1998

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    Godfrey Devereux
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    Leslie Kaminoff
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