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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

    Invitation into the Depths of Being Human

    Monday, July 11. 2011

    Inspirational quotes from Leslie Kaminoff...

    Human nature and the path of yoga

    "There is nothing wrong with you that you have one tight hip and one loose hip, or one leg that wants to turn out a little more than the other. This is what it is to be human. So give yourself a break."

    "BE the change you want to see in the world. That's the most motivating thing for people to see, rather than telling them the right way to do things."

    "Human nature: looking for that one key thing that will set them free - and hanging on for dear life."

    "We all have our ways of being kind and not lying. Ahimsa comes before Satya, doesn't it, in the Yamas? Remember that." [Yoga Sutra 2.35 Ahimsa = non-harming; Yoga Sutra 2.36 Satya = truthfulness]

    "Heyam duhkam anagatam: The suffering which has yet to occur can and should be avoided." [Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.16; inscription over the entrance to Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, India]

    "The hardest thing for people who do yoga is when they are more on the flexible side and need to stop themselves before their body stops. To not push to your full range of motion, to set a boundary and respect it even though you know you could go further, is very hard to do emotionally and it's very hard to do muscularly."

    "Pain is like an alarm. Pain is alerting you to something. So the body will whisper it first. Then it will start talking. Then it will start talking a little more loudly. Then it will start shouting. And if you still don't pay it attention it's going to lay you flat on your ass. You’re not going do anything else for a certain period of time other than be still."

    "How would you know that there even should be this concept of stopping, until something like an injury stops you? Far too often in our field, meaning yoga, it turns into what I call the unbridled pursuit of unlimited flexibility. And if that's what we're after, something has got to give at some point."

    "Pain doesn't mean the system has gone haywire. It means that the system is working. It's sending you a message that you can't afford to ignore anymore. So the question you need to ask yourself is, “What's bugging me? What is really going on here?” And often this enquiry is working in a really rapid manner. The pain is gone instantly."

    "Did you ever get stuck halfway through a yawn? I mean, you know how great it feels to take a nice, full, deep yawn? It's like your whole system is just going, "Yes!" Right? And do you ever get partway there, and it just stops for whatever reason, and you're like, "Oh, shit!" Your whole body is like, "I wanted the rest of it, and I didn't get it!" You know that feeling, right? That's exactly how I felt … for six months my body felt that way. It was my constant companion, that next breath wanting to happen."

    Student: "How do you shift samskara [deep habit pattern] that is generated from bad childhood experiences?" Leslie: "Make another samskara, a positive one that affirms your relationship to a universe that really wants to fill you with your next breath. Abhyasa and vairagya (practice and non-attachment) is the advise in the sutra. Connecting with the positive, disconnecting with the negative - they go hand in hand."

    Student: "Why do you think we breathe this way [using our accessory muscles]? Is it our lifestyle?" Leslie: "It's the age-old struggle between mere survival and living fully, between boundaries and space, between safety and freedom. We use our breathing to shut down the vulnerable spaces in our bodies in order to survive our own internal states. We spend the rest of our lives trying to recover those spaces assuming it ever registers that they're missing in the first place. We feel the symptoms, but fail to recognize the cause."

    "Like any relationship, if it's going to be healthy, it has to exhibit a balance - a balance between sthira and sukha. Between the things that limit it and the movements that can occur within it. Between stability and mobility. And these principles occur in relationships other than mechanical ones, like in the joints. Like between people - we still know that these are important issues. We call them space and boundaries. Why else do we spend all this money on shrinks unless it's to help us figure out how to get our boundaries right so we can have the spaces that we need? This is part of understanding relationships."

    More quotes from Leslie Kaminoff:
    On Yoga
    Breath and breathing
    Pranayama, sthira, sukha, drishti, brahma granthi
    Asana and yoga anatomy

    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

    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.
    (Page 1 of 1, totaling 3 entries)


    Blogs I Like

    Leslie Kaminoff's blog, making waves in the yoga community since 1998

    AYP Forum
    Advanced Yoga Practices Support Forum

    AYP Main
    Advanced Yoga Practices Main Lessons

    AYP Tantra
    Advanced Yoga Practices Tantra Lessons

    My Teachers

    Godfrey Devereux
    Dynamic Astanga Vinyasa Flow Yoga

    Kira Balaskas
    Traditional Thai Yoga Massage

    Leslie Kaminoff
    Yoga and Breath Anatomy