Sep 30, 2012

Video: Guruji from Enlighten Up!

In this clip from the film Enlighten Up! Guruji discusses the importance of practice.  It is through continuous application of theory that we gain practical experience of yoga.

Sep 24, 2012

How to get up for yoga, again. by Angela Jamison

How to get up for yoga, again.
by Angela Jamison of Ashtanga Yoga Ann Arbor

Originally published 9/22/12 AY:A2 Blog
Republished with permission

I’m unconsciously competent. The longer I practice, the less I can articulate how to begin. So I must keep learning from those who are new to ashtanga. Thank you for being open about what’s hard, brave in dropping old habits, and enthusiastic in your own practice. I love this phase of the learning.

At the start, getting up for practice requires strength and guts: I admire you, and we will all support you. Later, you’ll be able to do what you want to do with ease, and will embody that grace to yet new beginners.

Again this year, I’ve surveyed our group to remix the autumn antidote to SAD. The Earth is changing, our student body is changing, the zeitgeist is changing: so, a practice so fine-tuned as ashtanga also has to adapt. (This is true, too, of subtle changes to the method emerging from the main school in Mysore: our old practice is ever new. Because we are ever new.) Anyway, after a month in the lab with your findings, here’s this year’s get-up-early elixir. No kidding: stick to a regular practice rhythm, and ashtanga’s the only prophylactic you’ll need.

1. Alchemize your word. 

What’s the value of your word? If you say you’re going to do something, is that an ironclad statement? Is it as good as a 50/50 bet? Is your word more like hot air? If you decide strongly that you are going to be a woman or man of your word, then you can use the golden quality of that word to hold yourself to your own intentions.

Recently, three different practitioners who were struggling to get on the mat consistently got out of their own way with this single, uncompromising practice. They decided to be the kind of people who have zero daylight between what they say they will do, and what they do. In those painful mornings when the bed was especially seductive, they asked themselves if sleeping through the alarm was worth the pain of going back on their own word. It wasn’t. Because they had turned their word in to gold, it was able to cut through tamas, doubt, and even the softest bed.

Thanks for the inspiration. You know who you are.

2. Use the moral values that help you practice; lose the ones that don’t. It turns out that getting your words and actions lined up is efficient. Similar is the Bhagavad Gita’s teaching that a yogi remains detached from the fruits of her actions and simply absorbs her attention into doing her best in the present moment. Ashtanga is not about getting an awesome body or a perfect mind or “nailing” some posture; it’s about maintaining some concentration and equanimity for every breath, regardless of what it looks like.

Grasping for results isn’t morally wrong; it’s just not smart. What we can control is our attitude, not the outcome of actions. So why waste energy fretting about what we cannot control?

By the same token, why waste energy fretting about the past? Most of us—myself included—have absorbed a Puritan meta-morality from western culture. This includes a lot of emphasis on moral purity, with a countervailing internal assault team of guilt, shame, self-loathing and regret

Total waste of energy. Enough already, Hester Prynne. Regrets for the past kill excitement for the present. You are worthy and you are welcome: if the (internal) puritan mobs come for you, laugh at their feeble 17th century weapons and get your lightning speed mulabandha in gear.

3. The drugs. 1 mg of herbal melatonin 30 minutes before bed for the first 2 weeks. Don’t try to wake up at vastly different times on different days. People seem to suffer too much doing that. A key insight of Ayurveda is that the body loves a stable rhythm. Reset the whole system, so your serotonin-melatonin dynamic is stable.

4. The rock’n’roll. Big sound, bright light and a hot shower in the morning are still key. See here.

5. Practice in the body you have today. The corporeal body… and the student body. The new people having the most fun this year are those rolling out your mats near the veterans. People who have practiced for a while embody a tacit (hormonal, energetic, phermonic?) knowledge that does rub off. Get in!

The veterans’ prime time used to be 7-8 am, but like in most Mysore rooms, it’s crept earlier because they just can’t wait to get on the mat. Most newcomers say it helps to know that getting up early for practice is effortless for so many. (For that matter, my alarm now goes off at 3:30 instead of 4; and in Mysore I usually get on the mat at 4:15. And, to be brutally honest, it’s awesome.) For now, our group’s energy is strongest from 6:30 – 7:30. You can come later if you want! But if you need a boost, you’ll get it by jumping in the 6:30 updraft. By contrast, if you arrive when the majority of people are finishing, what you’ll experience is their most calm, grounded, quiet energy. That’s also very nice, but one cannot really draft off it.

6. Start in with a sunshine lamp routine now. Get one and follow the instructions. If you don’t want to invest the money, ask your friends. Everyone who has one will tell you it changed their life. Michigan newcomers usually suffer their first winter or two before figuring this out. Why waste a year? I use a Phillips goLITE BLU light therapy device.

7. Get closely in contact with your love of the practice. It’s there, even amid suffering, obstacles and madness. Why else are you doing this, anyway? Ayurveda teaches that our deep desires are wise, and that on some level the nervous system knows things. I see different ways that each of you loves, and respects, and gives thanks for this practice. It is personal. I see that some of you love the way your mind and body operate on the days you practice; some of you love the quiet of the mornings; many of you love the sheer honesty of staying with this when it is physically, emotionally or psychically hard.

Whatever it is, that awe and love are high quality fuel (whereas guilt, shame, pride, superiority and achievement are not as great). Love and a little reverence tend to give us all more energy as the rhythms—hormones, appetites, emotions, inner vision, et cetera—find their way into agreement with each other.

This is how it works. Most of us have to effort it strongly at first, and then practice starts to do itself. I see for those of you in your second year that you are not pushing yourselves to practice so much as being practiced. Yes. Once this thing has a strong spin of its own, you move from (1) depending on external practice resources (like high concentration environments, others’ strong energy, and social norms that promote precise mental discipline) to (2) producing them for yourself and others. In this way, too, in the long run the yoga gives more energy than it takes.

About Angela:
My name is Angela Jamison. I was introduced to ashtanga yoga in 2001 in Los Angeles, and have practiced six days a week continuously since 2003.

In 2006, I completed intermediate series with Rolf Naujokat before learning from him the ashtanga pranayama sequence. I maintain a relatively modest pranayama practice.

Later in 2006, I met Dominic Corigliano, who taught me the subtler layers of ashtanga practice, and eventually, slowly, taught me to teach yoga. During 2009, I assisted Jörgen Christiansson.

After retreats in the Zen, Vajrayana and Vipassana traditions, I began working with the meditation teacher Shinzen Young in 2009. I meditate daily, confer with Shinzen about my practice every few months, and take annual silent retreats.

I have made four long trips to Mysore to practice ashtanga with R. Sharath Jois, and to study the history and philosophy of yoga with M.A. Narasimhan and M.A. Jayashree. I will return to Mysore regularly.

In 2011, Sharath authorized me at Level 2, asking me to teach the full intermediate series.

Related: How to wake up for yoga

Ashtanga Yoga Dictionary: Tristhana

त्रिस्थान tristhāna

Definition via
This means the three places of attention or action: posture, breathing system and looking place. These three are very important for yoga practice, and cover three levels of purification: the body, nervous system and mind. They are always performed in conjunction with each other.
Asanas [āsana] purify, strengthen and give flexibility to the body. Breathing is rechaka and puraka, that means inhale and exhale. Both the inhale and exhale should be steady and even, the length of the inhale should be the same length as the exhale. Breathing in this manner purifies the nervous system. Dristhi [dṛṣṭi] is the place where you look while in the asana. There are nine dristhis: the nose, between the eyebrows, navel, thumb, hands, feet, up, right side and left side. Dristhi purifies and stabilizes the functioning of the mind.
For cleaning the body internally two factors are necessary, air and fire. The place of fire in our bodies is four inches below the navel. This is the standing place of our life force. In order for fire to burn, air is necessary, hence the necessity of the breath. If you stoke a fire with a blower, evenness is required so that the flame is not smothered out, or blown out of control.
The same method stands for the breath. Long even breaths will strengthen our internal fire, increasing heat in the body which in turn heats the blood for physical purification, and burns away impurities in the nervous system as well. Long even breathing increases the internal fire and strengthens the nervous system in a controlled manner and at an even pace. When this fire is strengthened, our digestion, health and life span all increase.
Uneven inhalation and exhalation, or breathing too rapidly, will imbalance the beating of the heart, throwing off both the physical body and autonomic nervous system.
An important component of the breathing system is mula and uddiyana bandha. These are the anal and lower abdominal locks which seal in energy, give lightness, strength and health to the body, and help to build a strong internal fire. Without bandhas, breathing will not be correct, and the asanas will give no benefit. When mula bandha is perfect, mind control is automatic.

Sep 23, 2012

Healing Injuries with Ashtanga Yoga by Paul Mitchell Gold

Authorized Ashtanga yoga teacher Paul Mitchell Gold of the Ashtanga Yoga Shala, Toronto writes on the healing power of a daily Mysore practice and how to work with injuries.  (See also "Should I Practice If...?")

Healing Injuries with Ashtanga Yoga
Originally published September 22, 2012, Ashtanga Yoga and other things
Republished with permission 

Yoga practice is not an exercise class and it’s not a workout. Sure, it’s vigorous and physically challenging, but that’s just the means rather than the end. However, as with any physical endeavour, aches and pains are unavoidable and injuries can happen.

If one gets injured practicing yoga, the yoga practice is the best way to heal and rehabilitate. Also, if one gets injured doing some other activity, yoga practice is the best way to heal and rehabilitate. Finally, if one begins yoga practice with a preexisting injury, the yoga practice is the best way to heal and rehabilitate. From my experience, yoga practice is an amazing healer.

Healing an injury with Ashtanga Yoga is possible and requires daily practice. Taking days off regardless of how one’s feeling is ultimately detrimental to the healing process. Unlike working out, the effects of yoga practice are cumulative. The body’s natural reaction to injury is to contract and armour. Yoga encourages the afflicted area to move when it wants to petrify. Taking days off between practices just makes the body stiffer under normal circumstances, but even more so with an injury or chronic condition.

Students often wait until their aches and pains are gone before returning to class. They’ll disappear and return saying they needed to rest their injury. The truth, however, is that the pain is not gone and the injury hasn’t healed. The problem simply went underground while they were resting and was patiently waiting to return. Whatever imbalance or bad habit caused the pain or injury hasn’t been addressed or corrected. The pains and injury return as soon as the student is back on the mat.

It is a shame that some students who aren’t willing to follow the prescription for daily practice end up quitting and saying that “ashtanga yoga doesn’t work” or “yoga made my pain worse.” This just isn’t true.

The first thing a student must do when using the practice to heal and rehabilitate is adapt. It is necessary when injured to scale back practice so that it’s appropriate as therapy. That very often means having a very basic and short practice for awhile where the level of sensation to the injured area is deliberately kept at zero.

Both Rachelle and I have had pain and injuries over the years and we both used ashtanga yoga as a means of healing ourselves. Some days, I would do only a few slow and difficult sun salutations before needing to stop. It had it’s moments of frustration and I often felt impatient and frankly pissed off. It wasn’t much fun, but I slowly healed and was back to 100% over time.

So, first off, a student needs to adjust practice to reflect the injury or pains being experienced. There’s no reason to power through or ignore the problem. In the case of an injury caused by bad habits or poor breathing, taking things slowly and scaling back helps to pinpoint where there’s a problem and re-learn how to practice correctly without causing chronic pain. One of the added bonuses of using practice to heal an injury is that we find practice is stronger once we’ve healed.

In the case of a student who starts ashtanga yoga to heal a pre-existing injury, the best advice I can give is to look at practice as medicine and follow the prescription.

If I were to develop a chest infection and went to a doctor, I would likely be prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection with instructions to take three pills every day for a week. If I follow the prescription, I will no longer have my chest infection However, if I do NOT follow the prescription and I take the medicine every few days or only once per day, I really shouldn’t be surprised if my problem hasn’t been cured.

Practice daily. Do what you can. Don’t push. Maintain zero sensation in the injured area. Be patient and have faith. Talk to your teacher when you’re frustrated. This is the prescription to heal injuries using ashtanga yoga. Students who follow this prescription heal their injuries and rehabilitate chronic problems. They transform their bodies and blow their minds in the process.

About Paul
I took my first yoga classes in 1995 and became a dedicated practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga after a short period of experimenting.

From 1998 to 2001, I studied with Noah Williams and Kimberly Flynn and taught at their yoga school in Los Angeles. I also want to thank Jorgen Christiansson, an early teacher and good friend, who first taught me to trust this practice.

In 2001, Rachelle and I made our first trip to Mysore, India. Since, we have returned annually to continue our studies with Guruji and Sharath.

I received authorization to teach the Ashtanga method in 2004 and was a member of the first group to receive Level 2 Authorization in July 2009. I have the blessing of KPJAYI to teach students the full Primary and Intermediate Series of Ashtanga Yoga. 

Dedication to daily practice is the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy. I encourage my students to develop the virtues of patience, faith, diligence, compassion and non-attachment using the integrity and genius of the traditional Ashtanga system. As these virtues are cultivated over time, students are well on the way to living fuller, happier and more balanced lives.  More

Sep 20, 2012

Video: ThinkingAllowed interview with Prof. Dean Brown

"Prof. Dean Brown points out that most European languages can be traced back to a root language that is also related to Sanskrit - the sacred language of the ancient Vedic Hindu religions of India. Many English words actually have Sanskrit origins. Similarly, many Vedic religious concepts can also be found in Western culture. He discusses the fundamental idea of the Upanishads - that the essence of each individual, the atman, is identical to the whole universe, the principle of brahman. In this sense, the polytheistic traditions of India can be said to be monistic at their very core."

Sep 19, 2012

Yoga Sutras: Samadhi Pada with Dr. M. A. Jayashree

"Chanting the Yoga Sutras has a two-fold benefit. Once you have begun studying the Yoga Sutras, memorization helps in recalling the appropriate sutra in times of doubt—whether you have a doubt about your own experience or you are down because your Ashtanga practice is not progressing well. The repeated browsing mentally of the sutras’ ambiance (manana), in a certain state of mental quietude, will help in getting a flash of the real meaning and also produce the “Aha” experience—perhaps we can call it a three-dimensional understanding. Chanting and memorizing is vital for our knowledge to become wisdom. Whatever texts you study, chanting reveals itself to you in time. It is a kind of tapas, where we bring the physical mind, the rational mind and the emotional mind to a single point. There, not just understanding, but revelation, happens!" 
-Dr. M. A. Jayashree
From "An interview with M.A. Jayashree", PhD. Integral Yoga Magazine. Spring 2010, pp. 33-4. (Transcribed by A. Jamison, 17 April 2011.)

To learn more and to practice: purchase and support!

Study with Dr. M. A. Jayashree
  • India
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    3 / Tuscon, AZ
    July 12-15 / Telluride, CO Yoga Festival
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Chant the Yoga Sutras

Sep 18, 2012

Yoga Sutras - Samadhi Pada

1.1   atha yogānuśāsanam
1.2   yogaścittavtti nirodha
1.3   tadā draṣṭu svarūpe'vasthānam
1.4   vttisārūpyamitaratra
1.5   vttaya pañcatayya kliṣṭākliṣṭā
1.6   pramāaviparyayavikalpanidrāsmtaya
1.7   pratyakśānumānāgamā pramāāni
1.8   viparyayo mithyājñānamatadrūpapratiṣṭham
1.9   śabdajñānānupātī vastuśūnyo vikalpa
1.10 abhāvapratyayālambanā vttirnidrā
1.11 anubhūtaviayāsapramoa smti
1.12 abhyāsavairāgyābhyā tannirodha
1.13 tatra sthitau yatno'bhyāsa
1.14 sa tu dīrghakālanairantaryasatkārāsevito dṛḍhabhūmi
1.15 dṛṣṭānuśravikaviayavitṛṣṇasya vaśīkārasajā vairāgyam
1.16 tatpara puruakhyāterguavaitṛṣṇyam
1.17 vitarkavicārānandāsmitārūpānugamāt saprajñāta
1.18 virāmapratyayābhyāsapūrva saskāraśeo 'nya
1.19 bhavapratyayo videhapraktilayānām
1.20 śraddhāvīryasmtisamādhiprajñāpūrvaka itareām
1.21 tīvrasavegānāmāsanna
1.22 mdumadhyādhimātratvāt tato'pi viśea
1.23 īśvarapraidhānādvā
1.24 kleśakarmavipākāśayairaparāmṛṣṭa puruaviśea īśvara
1.25 tatra niratiśaya sarvajñabījam
1.26 sa ea pūrveāmapi guru kālenānavacchedāt
1.27 tasya vācaka praava
1.28 tajjapastadarthabhāvanam
1.29 tata pratyakcetanādhigamo'pyantarāyābhāvaśca
1.30 vyādhistyānasaśaya pramādālasyāvirati bhrāntidarśanālabdha bhūmikatvānavasthitatvāni cittavikepāste 'ntarāyā
1.31 dukhadaurmanasyagamejayatvaśvāsapraśvāsā vikepasahabhuva  
1.32 tatpratiedhārthamekatattvābhyāsa  
1.33 maitrīkaruāmuditopekāā sukhadukhapuyāpuya viayāā bhāvanātaścittaprasādanam
1.34 pracchardanavidhāraābhyā vā prāasya  
1.35 viayavatī vā pravttirutpannā manasa sthitinibandhinī  
1.36 viśokā vā jyotimatī  
1.37 vītarāgaviayam vā cittam
1.38 svapnanidrājñānālambanam vā
1.39 yathābhimatadhyānādvā
1.40 paramāuparamamahattvānto asya vaśīkāra
1.41 kīavtterabhijātasyeva maergrahītgrahaagrāhyeu tatsthatadañjanatā samāpatti
1.42 tatra śabdārthajñānavikalpai saṅkīrā savitarkā samāpatti  
1.43 smtipariśuddhau svarūpaśūnyevārthamātranirbhāsā nirvitarkā  
1.44 etayaiva savicārā nirvicārā ca sūkma viaya vyākhyātā  
1.45 sūkmaviayatva cāliṅgaparyavasānam
1.46 tā eva sabīja samādhi  
1.47 nirvicāravaiśāradye 'adhyātmaprasāda
1.48 ṛtabharā tatra prajñā  
1.49 śrutānumānaprajñābhyāmanyaviayā viśeārthatvāt  
1.50 tajja saskāro 'nyasaskārapratibandhī
1.51 tasyāpi nirodhe sarvanirodhānnirbīja samādhi

Sep 17, 2012

Interview with Guy Donahaye by Elise Espat Part 4


Reflections on "Guruji: A Portrait"
Interview of Guy Donahaye
by Elise Espat - Part IV
Originally published September 17, 2012 Mind Medicine Blog

Is there a point in the book that you feel is really crucial to understand Guruji, the system, or the practice?
I feel the book makes a few important points. Perhaps nothing new is said, although for many people there will be a lot of new material. The fact that we have 30 statements or interpretations, and that these statements are broadly in agreement, or together put pieces of the jigsaw in place, what we have as a result is a kind of "authoritative" text.

Interviewees were not always in agreement and at times completely contradict each other, however, I think you can trace at least 80% agreement on most of themes throughout the book.

In some respects you could say the interviews were research on my part. For instance, on the origin of the sequences: David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff believed that the sequences we practice (with some modifications) had been passed down directly from the Yoga Korunta, a text, 100s or 1000s of years old. This was the story I received when I first started practicing since my first teacher had learned from a student of David's. I asked Guruji about this several times and was never quite sure what he meant by his answers.

Apart from Nancy and David, everyone else who was interviewed believed that Guruji was involved in creating the system of asanas. Manju goes as far as to say that Krishnamacharya and Guruji sat down and went through various texts (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, Yoga Korunta, Yoga Rahasya) and made up the sequences based on Chikitsa and Shodhona. Norman Allen alludes to Norman Sjoman's book and its suggestion that this type of practice is a new creation modeled on gym training.
I think, through the interviews and my own conversations with Guruji,  a picture emerges that the Yoga Korunta contained  asanas and vinyasas grouped according to their therapeutic benefits but that the actual sequences we practice were created by Guruji under Krishnamacharya's supervision based on Chikitsa, Shodhona and so on.
It seems that Guruji did much of the work in organizing the sequences as well as in modifying the vinyasas. If you look at Yoga Makaranda - Krishnamacharya's book of 1934 - you can see how he sequences the asanas and structures the vinyasas quite differently. Shammie said he invented, or discovered the surya namaskar - I believe this is true - at least in the form that he taught.

One of the reasons I made the interviews was to establish a coherent picture and to correct some misconceptions about the nature of yoga, as taught by Guruji.
Guruji felt very strongly that yoga is a spiritual practice. It is perhaps ironic that someone who believed this so deeply, is sometimes seen as propagating a purely physical practice. Too many of my fellow practitioners in the early '90s tended to think this way, and maybe this is something which motivated me to initiate this project. For Guruji, the purpose of yoga was to make one fit for realization - that was his main interest - I think this is emphasized in the book.

For many people who never met Guruji, or whose contact with him was minimal, the anecdotes and stories about studying with him and about his character have brought him to life in vivid color. For those who did know him, the interviews reveal other facets of his teaching and has brought back many memories. I have received many emails from readers expressing gratitude for having been able to experience an intimate meeting with Guruji through these interviews.

Here is an email from John Scott:

Dear Guy,
Brilliant! Fanatastic! Congratulations!
Thank you Guy, I do think you and Eddie have put together a lovely and very valuable book.
It reminds me how much we learned from each other back in those days (the early 90s).
Guruji passed on so much wisdom to every individual student, and this was because he was always on-to-one with each student, and therefore the questions asked of him were all uniquely different. 
What is so nice,  is that Guruji's students love to share and pass on their personal experiences with everyone else.
The photo on the back cover looks great* and it's just as Guruji was for us back in those days.
Those were the days - the Lakshmipuram days

photo by John Scott
Photo By John Scott

I have already read a few of the pieces and have learn't so much more already
So again Thank You Thank You for sharing
Love John
Lucy India and Fynn

* This is John's photo

Guy Interview

Sep 15, 2012

Intermediate Series Demonstration

This is a video from an asana demonstration we did in India in 2010. It was during the Dasara festival (around this time of year). We did two. One was outdoors in front of the Mysore Palace. The other was in the JSS Hospital. Sharath picked a few students to do the demonstration and he led us through some asanas from primary and intermediate series while he spoke on the benefits of practice. 

In general, I prefer not to demonstrate asanas. I think people (myself included) often only see the form. They see the acrobatic feat and think that that person must have been born like that or that it is easy for them or that they can do it because they are old or young or have short or long arms or were dancers or whatever. A bunch of judgements that distance the viewer from the possibilities and potentially disregard the actual story being told. 

That said, something very important and unique to this lineage of Ashtanga yoga is that the people teaching it are people who actually practice and do their absolute best to be living it. To be Authorized or Certified by the KPJAYI is as some have said not an accomplishment, but an obligation. We practice every single day. We continue to make the pilgrimage to Mysore.  We hold ourselves to the highest of standards because we are so small with the great responsibility of sharing an immense tradition.  We are and will always be students first. This I think is very important. 

So I'm posting this demonstration because it tells the story of years of continued daily ongoing uninterrupted unglamorous practice.      

Sep 14, 2012

Mexico Retreat FAQ: Practical Matters by Elise Espat

Q: Do the rooms at Xinalani have electricity? 
A:  Yes.  From Xinalani:
All rooms have very low consumption LED bulbs that give a nice dim ambar lighting at night time, there’s also a reading area. Should you wish to read in your bed at night, please bring a book light or a head light. 
There are two 110 V outlets in each room to plug cameras, cell phones and battery chargers. Xinalani does not allow the use of hair dryers or other high intensity electric devices that could damage the electric installation.

Q: Is there Wi-Fi Access?
A:  Yes and it is free.  From Xinalani:

Wi-Fi is available from the reception/lounge area, the dining patio, the beach, the sundeck, and from most eco-chic suites (1-7). Eco-Chic Suites 14 and 15 do not have Wi-Fi coverage.

Xinalani is located in a remote jungle area with no road access, hence no land telecommunications. For that matter, we had to build a complex VoIP gateway from our office downtown to send the phone and internet signal to the resort. This technology is quite new and it's sometimes unstable, hence not 100% efficient. Don't expect to have the same Wi-Fi service reliability as if you were at your office.

Of course, every guest has different needs or responsibilities, but if there's no emergency, we try to encourage our guests to remain unplugged, it helps to detox and enjoy a deeper retreat and a greater sense of wellness through your retreat. During your stay at Xinalani, procure using the internet only with full awareness of what you're using it for.
For our retreat in March:
If you wish (no obligation) you can take a fast from social or all digital media, to de-frag the hard drive of your mind. There will be experienced, loving (and humorous!) support for anyone taking a media fast for part or all of this week, and for anyone who wishes to deepen their pranayama, pratyhara or sitting meditation practice.  

Q: How do I get pesos? 
A: You might not need any. Your retreat includes your accommodation, meals, yoga classes, taxes, and airport transfer. That only leaves any additional activities and excursions, alcoholic beverages, and gratuities - all of which can be paid in US dollars or by credit card (not AmEx) to Xinalani. If you spend time exploring the local area outside of Xinalani you will probably need some pesos. You can get them before you leave at your bank or once you arrive in Mexico at an ATM.  Xinalani will also exchange money for you.  Please note that there aren't any ATMs at Xinalani or in the area.
Here is an article that talks more about money in Mexico:

Q: What are breakfasts like? 
A: Abundant. Fresh and tasty. There is usually a buffet spread at Xinalani with items such as pancakes, muffins, yogurt, granola, fruit, oatmeal, beans, hard boiled eggs and more with a made-to-order option as well.
More about the cuisine & sample menu:

Q: Will we be able to leave our mats in the studio or should we anticipate taking them back to our rooms each day? 
A: It depends. Xinalani has 2 separate studios. The Greenhouse studio will be close to most of the palapas while the Jungle Studio will be a little uphill trek. Depending on the schedule for the day, we might be in one or the other. So while it is possible to leave your mats in the studios, it might make more sense to bring them back with you to your room. They do also have basic mats in each studio for you to use if you'd rather leave your mat at home. 
More about the studios:

More FAQs:
Elise's Xinalani Retreat FAQs
Xinalani's FAQ Page

Sep 9, 2012

Moon Days 2013

Days of rest from asana practice.  Here's why.
Moon days might vary depending on where you live.  Check with your teacher for your local dates.

Friday, January 11
Sunday, January 27

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