Internal Adventurer

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I’ve been on an adventure. Let me tell you about it.

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Dewey’s Decimal

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I spend so much time reading. I have a pretty eclectic bedside reading pile and I think I know some good reads, but only if you are interesting in fiction, fiction, YA fiction, fiction fiction, and history, art, self help, holistic medicine, yoga, architecture and fiction. I made a commitment to myself to explore more books on theology-spirituality so we will see if I finish any of those.

Books

Yamas and Niyamas a Yin Sequence: Moving Meditation

Yoga

Sequence:
Supported Child’s Pose
Nonviolence: Courage demands our best self

Down dog
Hands to feet
Forward fold

Mountain
(Each practice building fire through your foundation, core and breath. Can you begin to heat your body while standing still?)
Exploring: Tapas, Saucha-purity

Gentle transition to the top of the mat

Tree Pose
(Each facing away from one another, exploring the pose)
Exploring: Nonstealing, Contentment & Truthfulness
(Finding our authentic voice. Allowing it to appear.)

Mountain
Forward fold
Gently lower yourself to the mat
Come onto your back

Supported Suptabada Kanasana
(bolster or block supporting each leg)
Exploring: Nonexcess and Nonviolence (allowing our bodies natural expansion and rest)

Bring knees together
Windshield wiper your legs
Move bolsters from mat
Grab blocks or a block

Supported Bridge
(Block(s) resting on sacrum, keep alignment, allow blocks to support pose)
Exploring: Nonpossessiveness (trusting breath, Feeling our bodies supported, returning to our breath)

Remove blocks set them to the side
Bring bolsters to you
Straight back, both legs long, spine alignment
Hands on hips
Fold from hips

Supported Seated Forward Fold
(bolster(s) resting on legs)
Exploring: Saucha-Purity (hold each scattered thought that comes to mind and breathe)

Shared Shavasana-A Human Mandala
(Coming into savasana, reaching your arms up and over your bodies, forming a triangle using your index fingers and thumbs, touching or not touching)
Exploring: Ishvara Prandidhana-Surrender

Yamas and Niyamas Workshop Template

ethics, workshop
Space:

Bringing our space into harmony (purity)

o You will need a journal and a pen
o Mats in a circle (everyone facing one another)
o Remove other items from the space

Agenda:

A. Be ready to come into the space for about two hours (10 minutes)
• In preparation, restroom, water, notebook and a pen, expect to spend the next 75 or so minutes in the room
B. Go through each of the Yamas and Niyamas (10 minutes)
C. Writing exercise-responsive writing (30-40 minutes)
D. Placing all items out of the practice space including books and pens, staying together in the space, not scattering our energy by leaving. (5 minutes)
E. Have your mat, 2 blocks & 2 bolsters (5 minutes)
F. Moving Meditation (25 minutes)
G. Discussion (20 minutes)

Writing Exercise
Yamas

1. Ahimsa-Nonviolence

Question: What is a thought or action that creates violence in yourself?
What does nonviolence look like for you towards yourself?
Question: What is a thought or action violence towards others (move your thinking beyond your immediate circle, past parents, partners and children.)
How can you begin to practice nonviolence towards others?

2. Satya-Truthfullness

Consider: “The compassion of nonviolence keeps truthfulness from being a personal weapon (p.51)

Question: How do you show up differently in different areas of your life?
Question: What is one way that you have changed and not acknowledged this in your self-expression to others?
Question: How can you express this unacknowledged, new, rising up part of yourself to others with nonviolence towards yourself and them?

3. Asteya-Nonstealing

Question: How do you steal from your future?
Question: What is an action you can take to build competency to help you no longer steal from your future?

4. Brahmacharya-Nonexcess
Consider: Many people focus on celibacy as a practice for nonexcess, I see limiting our diets in ways that can hurt our bodies or result from violent thoughts about our bodies. Nonexcess has a more subtle home in you. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive.”

Question: What ideas, actions, dreams, plans, present moment experiences make you come alive?
Question: What is one way you can do more of one of these?

5. Aparigraha-Nonpossessiveness

Consider: It is the nature of things to change. Being in this room is you being in the act of changing. When we fail to let things change or move on, they begin to disappoint us. “What we try to possess, possesses us.”(91)

Question: What is changing for you?
Question: How can you allow for this change?

Niyamas

1. Saucha-Purity

Consider: Purity is a practice within self and towards others. “Being pure with all the pieces of ourselves increase our staying power with our own suffering, intimacy, joy boredom, pain and anxiety. We become safe with ourselves and a safe place for others. We become able to sit with another with the need to fix them” (112)

Question: What are your scattered thoughts right now?
Question: After acknowledging them, what thought surprised you? Can you now be more present?

2. Saantosha-Contentment

Consider: Being content with our discontent is itself a gateway to the calm depths within. Think about it, it is easy to be content when we feel great and things are going our way and we like ourselves. But what about when chaos and interruptions abound o we feel bored or depressed? What then? (129)

Question: What emotions cause you to be pulled into discontent?
Question: What can you tell yourself (a mantra) to pull yourself from discontent into contentment?

3. Tapas-Self Discipline

Consider: Tapas has multiple meanings in the yogic tradition, heat, self-discipline. Sadhana the act of having a daily practice is where we build fire, self discipline. The consistency of practice brings change and fulfillment. (137-138)

Question: The question becomes for us, what are we practicing for?

4. Svadhyaya-Self Study

Consider: That self-study is about knowing our true identity. We cannot love or hate something about another person or the world unless it is also inside of us. When faced with a disharmony our tendency is to blame what is outside of us and then justify what we are thinking and feeling. We can be courageous and trace this disharmony back to ourselves. (150-153)

Question: Do this experiment now: without thinking write down the first 5 things that come to your mind that describe the WORLD as you see it.

(Cue- make sure that all have ‘caught up’ on their writing.) Statement: These are clues about yourself, consider them.

5. Ishvara Pranidhana-Surrender

Consider: As we learn to stop fighting life we can begin to act skillfully. Having nothing and wanting nothing; not keeping score, not trying to be richer, not being afraid of losing, not being particularly interested in our own personalities, learning with patience and grace.

Question: What about yourself do you fight?
Question: What grace & patience can you give yourself?

Yamas and Niyamas A Teacher Training Module

ethics, Yoga

I really enjoyed exploring the book The Yamas and Niyamas: Yoga’s Ethical Practice when I was in teacher training. The book was the inspiration for the final ‘assignment’ of mine in teacher training. We had to create a workshop and be ready to present it. I had this idea that I would create a workshop using these ethical practices and tie them to building communities of social justice within our own personal and community yoga classes.

yamas and niyamas

Needless to say it got really convoluted on paper and the exploring of ideas was a little flat. It was good learning experience working to bring yoga philosophy into a primarily physically focused group. BUT despite the awkward conversation, the 60 minute class inspired by the book ended up being really cool. It was the first of many nonviolent based yin classes in a power yoga setting I’ve gone on to offer. With each exploration of this book I have refined the offering. Most recently, I developed a workshop that I will link to as a resource at the bottom of this post. It is for you to use personally or to explore with other students.

On this second teacher training module I was able to get a little more clear. I created a clear agenda, exploring questions, a tool for engaging in your home practice and an experiential sequence. It was a written exploration of key concepts of each of the yamas and niyamas. After which the teacher trainees participated in a power yin style sequence that was directly tied to the individual practices (purity, non-stealing, nonviolence etc.).

Here are links to the materials:

Yamas and Niyamas Workshop

Moving Meditation Sequence for Yamas and Niyamas

Skill Share: Create A Home Practice

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mc house web large

Wellness for Caregivers: Creating a Home Yoga Practice to Support Your Mind & Body

Come and join us for a 2 hour skill share. We will explore together how to make wellness possible at home, even when it seems impossible. The basic yogic principle of healing breath and philosophy of nonviolence towards the self will figure prominently in this skill share.

Offered at the McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources and Community Action In Dardanelle, AR on February 21 at 10 am until 12 pm.

Come prepared to move, no special clothes required (!) shorts, pj bottoms, sweats or stretchy jeans and a loose fitting top will give you freedom to move comfortably. This is a space for beginners and we will learn at an introductory level.You will leave the skill share having learned a short yoga sequence (set of movements), that can be taken home with you, to support your bodies in caregiving. For more information on this and other skill shares like knitting, pecan tree growing and more check out their website McElroy House for all the details!

See You Tonight 2.11 or Tomorrow 2.12

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Big Rock Quote and Tree
Tonight 7pm at Big Rock (10700 Rodney Parham Little Rock Arkansas72212)
This will be my first exploration of Yin and Yang styles combined. Please note this is a different offering then the community class, as always all are welcome and cost is listed at www.bigrockyoga.com

The class: A heated room, powerful flow of the rigorous Baptiste ‘Journey into Power’ sequence, with an extended amount of class time focused on gentle, restorative, body opening stretches. The intention of the class is to bring our focus to Ahimsa, the act of nonviolence, both to the self and others through the moving mediation of yoga. This class provides power, heat, hands on adjustments, readings from yogic texts and a unique setting, allowing us to practice in a circle, creating a mandala with our bodies.

 Tomorrow 2.12.15 Community Class

Water Pic with Caregiver Info

Backyard Yoga

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Originally started as a part of a support group, for parents and other caregivers. I meet people where they live and play. Their metaphorical or literal backyard. We practice Vinyasa yoga with sequences tailor made for true beginners.

Backyard Yoga is yoga for the person who might not go into a yoga studio. It is a place where you feel most comfortable. We call it our backyard. I work primarily with beginners and those who want gentle practices.

It is a great practice to share with friends, families, coworkers, etc. We can be indoors or outdoors.

What I Offer:

I will come to you and provide gentle, beginner level practice, created with you and your friends in mind.

I have lots of quality mats I will bring, for no additional fee.

I ask for a minimal fee to reserve 60 minutes of my time, including set up, practice and clean up ($25) and $5 additional dollars a person. No travel fees for anything in or very near (15 mi) of my home base (Little Rock or Cabot).

If you have questions, or are interested in scheduling simply email me at rachel()ann()townsend(at)gmail(dot)com and I will give you a formal quote.

I will Paypal invoice you. I will ask for 1/2 the quoted cost up front.

To cancel I will not refund the 1/2 upfront cost. If you inform me 48 hours in advance of a need to cancel a scheduled event I will not charge you for the full quoted cost.

If you are a non profit, work for a non profit, have a community organization or are a volunteer group, I offer a very limited number of reduced & free appointments. The 2015 year has been completely book for the greatly reduced rate. 2016 appointments are still available.

All body’s are welcome. It is a space where adjustments and accommodations are the norm.

You are invited to come as you are, wear your jeans, gym shorts or tight pants.

Caregivers are especially welcome. I invite you to bring your children or if you are care giving for other family members, we will make them comfortable while we practice.

This isn’t a ‘mommy and me’ class and we don’t provide childcare but we love your babies, your elderly and the loves you care for. I hope you will allow them to sit and watch, join you on your mat or play all around us as we breath, stretch and connect.

If you are looking for free yoga classes and are a parent the ‘Expressly for You’ Facebook page has different opportunities for parents to take classes regularly.

Caregiver solidarity, supporting racial justice for our kids and community yoga! Caregivers and their supporters meet every other Thursday, at 6:00 pm at the Quaker Meeting House (located at the corner of West Markham and Valmar, 3415 West Markham, Little Rock, Arkansas).

We are an informal group, who meets biweekly, to connect with others in our communities. We are all working to raise ALL of our children, to fight against racism and seek justice and true peace in our homes and communities. All moms, dads, parents-parenting parents, grandparents raising grand kids, care giving professionals and their support systems are welcome.

Meredith Martin Moats of The Boiled Down Juice  has organized these meetings and the follow up discussions around racial equality for all. These meetings have been prompted by the ‪#‎blacklivesmatter movements and locally by the Women’s Project located on 12th street.We invite you to bring a snack and stay after class to connect with others.
The class will be taught by RYT 200 hr Rachel Townsend. This experience is designed to help address some of the needs caregivers experience around repetitive lifting, bending and the holding required to provide care to others. It is a very gentle class.

There is a calendar located here under “Yoga” and ‘Classes’