All posts tagged yoga as energy medicine

Yoga for Musicians – Part 5: The Sun Salutation, Your Portable Gym

The Sun Salutation: Your Portable Gym (Continued from Roots and Inspiration) Bearing in mind the breathing exercises from the past two weeks, here is a simple flow called Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), which touches all the basic muscle groups and nerve centers:   READY: Stand at the front of a yoga mat or non-slip surface, feet hip width apart. PRAYER: Inhale. Bring your palms together in front of your chest. Breathe. Become aware of your breath and bodily sensations. Imagine your body is a tube of breath. You breathe in life-force from the crown of your head, through your spine, right down to your toes. Root into the ground and allow the crown of your head to gently float and broaden. Your spine feels open and long, not stretched. Do not rush this process. FORWARD BEND: Inhale. Raise your arms above your head, palms together. Exhale.  Roll forward, vertebra by vertebra, so you end up folded over, hands by your feet. Keep your knees slightly bent to protect your lower back. Take a few breaths. Feel your head respond to gravity, and your legs and spine lengthen. LUNGE: Bend your knees to place both hands on the floor by your feet. Inhale. Step your right leg back, placing the knee on the floor. Your left knee is…

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Yoga for Musicians – Part 4: Roots and Inspiration

YOGA EXERCISES FOR MUSICIANS [continued from Part 3] Standing: Roots and Inspiration The vertical zero point is called Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Let’s give Mountain Pose a try: 1. Stand, feet hip width apart, knees relaxed. Your navel moves gently back towards your spine, tailbone slightly tilted towards the front of your body so that it releases like a plumb line towards the Earth. Eyes are relaxed yet focused on a point in front of you. The crown of your head broadens and floats gently upward. Shoulders are relaxed. 2. Breathe in. Breathe out. Awareness of your breath deepens. Notice what you feel in your body. Imagine that your spine is the central channel of energy that runs through your body/being. It connects the sky and the earth through you. 3. Feel your feet. Feel your energy move downward, towards the core of the Earth. 4. Notice the crown of your head. Let it float upward. Feel your connection to the sky and the whole. As your feet release into the ground, the Earth meets you. A wave of energy flows up through your body towards the crown of your head. 5. Inhale, draw energy through the crown of your head, through your spine, into your body/being. 6. Exhale. Allow this energy to fill your entire being.…

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Yoga for Musicians – Part 3: Yoga Exercises for Musicians

In the previous two weeks’ posts, we looked at how yoga is relevant to you as a musician. This week and next, I will guide you through exercises from my practice called YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine. You can do them anywhere to keep you fit in body, mind and spirit. But first, a couple of things:   Keep the Body-Instrument in the Tune of Health Hatha yoga helps your body-instrument stay in the tune of health. When you practice, be aware of your spine. Think of the spine like a flute, through which vital life-force flows. We don’t want to force our sound or damage our instrument. We learn to allow the music of life to flow us. The spine is also like a piano. Each key on a piano must be in tune to make good music. Similarly, when one of our vertebrae is out, we know it through pain and discomfort. String players know that a string must be neither too tight nor too slack. The spine is like a string instrument tuned in perfect resonance, for optimal musicality.   Before You Start It is best to practice yoga on an empty stomach. When you do a little light stretching, this does not matter as much, but it is good to keep in…

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Getting Unstuck

Dear friends, I’m writing from the UK, where the Transcendent Luminosity tour has gotten under way. Yesterday, I was at the wonderful York Yoga Studio where I had an excellent Yoga and Sound workshop with beautiful souls. After that, I met with the owners of Millers Yard to plan the February 2014 Yoga In the Nightclub show. Today, it is off to Bath for a YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine workshop this evening at Yoga Bodhi. All the details of my tour are available on my website. The weather has been mild here. I hear I am missing some bluster and cold rain back home in Toronto! If you are feeling the chill, have some warming soups at mealtime, and warm drinks through the day such as ginger tea. Foods with rooting energy are also helpful at this time. Until next week, here is another excerpt from my book Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie: A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker. Wishing you a rooted, vital and expansive week, Parvati     GETTING UNSTUCK We each have a place in the tapestry of life. We are born with unique talents and gifts to enjoy and share with the world. Yet most of us, to some degree or another, due to conditioning from our past,…

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Important Updates about the Transcendent Luminosity Tour

Dear friends, As Rishi and I continue to prepare for the Transcendent Luminosity UK tour, I feel inspired by the notion of being able to share my joy with you. If you are in the UK and have not already bought your workshop tickets, best to do so now at as early bird specials are in effect until October 10, 2013. The tour in October and November now focuses on my YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine and Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie workshops. There are two reasons for this. The first is that these workshops themselves are so rich, we want to make sure they get the star placing they deserve. When you take them, I know you will be left grateful and soulfully nourished. The second reason is that through generous fan support, we can now build YIN: Yoga in the Nightclub as an immersive, surround-sound show. We’ll be in production mode through the fall/winter and return to the UK in early 2014 to share it with you along with my workshop The Healing Power of Sound. So twice as much fun! The October and November workshops are expressions of my own yogic and spiritual journey. As such, they are very close to my heart and I love teaching them. It was the…

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Transcendent Luminosity: UK Tour, Fall 2013

  For the past few months, Rishi and I have been hard at work getting ready to go on tour. We have been booking venues, doing the PR and planning for the shows and workshops. We are very happy to be going to England for six weeks beginning mid-October, and touring all over the country to share music, yoga and spiritual inspiration – and we thank you for all the support you are giving to help to make this a possibility. We could not do it without you! In response to my recent mass email announcing the tour and the ambassador offer (if you are not on the email list, you can join by clicking here), I received requests to share more about the nature of my work and the tour. So I do so here: I am a Canadian singer, performer and yoga teacher. I co-founded the University of Toronto’s Holistic Education Programme, founded YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine (the method of yoga I teach) and recent published my debut self-help book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie: A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker”. I produce music and shows and teach workshops in yoga, sound and personal growth. So far, I tour North America and Europe (Asia soon!) performing and teaching at…

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Ujjayi Pranayama and Hatha Yoga Practice: From Overheating to Effortless Effort

(Continued from last week’s post) THE PRACTICE OF UJJAYI PRANAYAMA In order to practice ujjayi, a subtle shift takes place in the movement of air-flow, which creates a flowing ocean-like sound. However, too often I have seen an attachment to using this breath create deeper tension in both the physical and energy systems of the practitioner, rather than burning up the ego’s sense of separate self-importance. Aspiring yogis may tend to “manufacture” ujjayi, which creates tension and defeats the purpose of its energetic flow. I have spent a lot of time with students and teachers in yoga sessions undoing a block that is created in the physical and energy body from this type of effortful practice. Effort of any kind requires a certain willpower. But where does this willpower come from? Does it arise from our effortless interconnection with nature? Does is come from our idea of what yoga is? Where are we trying to get to in applying it? If this moment contains all we need to fully realize the oneness of all that is, then any use of wanting to get somewhere else arises from a disconnected state that will only perpetuate more of the same. When practicing Hatha yoga of any kind, we need to cultivate witness consciousness, that is, witnessing the arising…

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Does Ujjayi Breathing Make Your Yoga Practice Victorious?

WHAT IS THE UJJAYI BREATH AND SHOULD I PRACTICE IT? In Hatha Yoga, we practice a series of physical exercises intended to purify the subtle energy channels in our body/being, so that we may one day experience a state of non-dual unity, that is, a oneness with the divine energy that pervades all things. The practice begins with mindful, physical exercises designed to open our body and free energy movement in the body/being. As our energy system awakens and clears, we may be ready to practice pranayama. The literally translation of the Sanskrit word “pranayama” is the “extension” or “drawing out” of prana, that is, of life force. It is a series of breathing exercises geared to broaden and expand our field of awareness, so that we may continue an even subtler purification of the body/being. Through my years of teaching YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, I have noticed that some students and teachers who have come to my classes and workshops tend to use a particular breathing technique known as ujjayi breathing during their practice. Translated as the “victorious” breath, ujjayi is intended to aid in yogic mastery, which ultimately is over the ego and our illusory perception of divisiveness. Some Hatha yoga styles such as Ashtanga and Vinyasa encourage the practice of ujjayi breathing…

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Hello from York, UK

Dear friends, Hello from England, where I have just given a YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine workshop at York Yoga Studio. It was a beautiful space, beautiful people and a beautiful city. I look forward to returning in November! While I’m busy in England, here is another excerpt from my new book Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie.  There is no true high without being grounded. High for the sake of high makes us into yoga junkies, where we chase the proverbial carrot in front of us like a distant, unattainable mirage, catapulting out of our bodies and out of this moment, just as we might with a drug. Such experiences do not bring us lasting happiness any more than would a new fancy sports car, a toke of pot, the feeling of being at the top of our class or career, or meeting the person we think is the answer to our sense of loneliness. Siddhis, the manifestation of psychic skills along the path to enlightenment, are just as much a distraction to full realization as anything can be. It is easy to get caught up in thinking that their powers are the goal. Making us feel special, they can trick us into feeling spiritually enlightened and above it all. Like fool’s gold, shimmer does…

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Hello from Dallas, and Parvati Magazine

Dear friends, As this blog entry goes live, I am at Tsada Yoga in Dallas, TX, having completed a three-hour YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine workshop and preparing for a YIN: Yoga in the Nightclub show. The latest issue of Parvati Magazine is now live with articles about keeping a sense of fun and making the most of your vacation. Enjoy!