Tag Archives: energy

Explore the Body as Energy with Yoga Grand Master Tao Porchon-Lynch

Tao Porchon-Lynch is teaching a workshop at Strala Yoga next Saturday. She’s 91, and teaches yoga every day. Inspiring!

Details:

Explore the Body as Energy
with Yoga Grand Master Tao Porchon-Lynch

Saturday, July 24th, 2010
1:00pm – 4:00pm

$25 on-line registration
$20 in person at Strala
$30 same day (if space is available)

In this workshop with Westchester’s matriarch of yoga, you will become aware of the energy that invigorates your life. Utilizing the various breathing techniques of Pranayama you will learn how to control vital energy. By using special hand positions know as Mudras, you will be able to channel the flow of energy throughout your being. Engaging the body’s Bhandas (also known as locks), you can focus and store your energy. Through an understanding of the Chakra system you will attain a working knowledge of your body’s vital energy centers. The workshop will end with a deeply absorbing meditation.

Register online at www.stralayoga.com

Recharging

On Saturday, I took a break from all the screens, cursors, and endless tidbits of information that filter through to our various in-boxes. I was exhausted and worn out, and my creativity was taking a serious nose dive. I closed my Mac, turned off my phone, and collapsed in a heap on my yoga mat. My brain was so full that I couldn’t even think clearly. Everything around me seemed fuzzy.

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Super Smoothie

Smoothie!
Smoothie!

OK, random post because I am really excited about my breakfast. I have never been a smoothie person, I am not satisfied with breakfast until I get to chew something like Thai food or brussels sprouts, but this one is GREAT. It has about 25 grams of protein, which is right about a third of my attempted daily intake, and lasts me until lunch. I’ve had it every weekday for about three weeks, and my skin is rosy and taut like I’ve had a facial. This is double good, because the skin and the brain develop at roughly the same time, from the same type of cells, so if your skin is in good health you can trust that your brain is in good health. Dunno what the secret ingredient is, all of them are great. Here goes:

  • 12 oz. soy milk (unsweetened) — this has about 10 grams protein
  • 1 scoop protein powder (unsweetened) — another 15 grams protein
  • 1 scoop a็ai powder — this is a berry from Brazil that’s energizing
  • 1 large spoonful green powder — this has every vitamin and mineral you could possibly need
  • 1 large spoonful flax seeds — these have essential fatty acids, which are good for your brain and make the smoothie thicker
  • 1 large spoonful raw almond butter — also good for your brain, this makes it heartier so I’m not hungry again in an hour
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries — these add flavor, thickness, and anti-oxidants

Other notes:

  • You have to blend it for a while so the flax seeds get destroyed. They will still be a little chewy, which I like. If you want it even chewier you can add a little raw oatmeal. I love hand blenders cause they’re much easier to clean. I got the flax seeds in bulk at a food co-op.
  • The brand of protein powder you get will also affect the consistency. I first got Aria, a “women’s blend”, then Spiru-tein Banana (unsweetened), which is thicker but a bit less sweet and slightly more chemical in taste. (Might be the banana flavoring versus the vanilla.) Now I’m using hemp protein powder — I started to have allergic reactions to the whey proteins.
  • Get the a็ai online if you can, it’s expensive in the stores. In fact this whole smoothie is much more affordable if you can stock up online, at Trader Joe’s, or at a local health food co-op. Price per smoothie will be about $2 instead of $5.
  • Greens+ is the best green powder, it has everything from spirulina (the most complex protein your body can digest) to bee pollen (another rich protein / energizer). Trader Joe’s also has a version. Both taste like lawn clippings, so you need the berries to mask the flavor. Orange juice is another great pairing, but it has too much sugar for me; I feel a sugar crash an hour later.
  • Berries are high in anti-oxidants, which scoop up all the roaming, possibly pre-cancerous ions in your body.
  • Most of this stuff is enriched with vitamins, so you’re covered if you forget your multi-vitamin.
  • Don’t worry about the fats, they’re good fats.
  • There is argument on whether soy is actually good for you — the cons saying it’s so genetically modified that your body doesn’t even recognize it as food, storing it as fat. See for yourself. I still prefer it over regular, raw, rice, or almond milk. I could still try hemp milk.

Your brain uses vitamins and minerals to think, and deal with stress, which is why you need a lot of fruits and vegetables every day. That fact finally got me to take a daily B-vitamin (occasionally), but even better is getting vitamins and breakfast at once. Vitamins from whole foods are supposedly absorbed better anyways.

I’ve felt more energetic and less stressed in the past few weeks, so I’m giving the smoothie some credit. But, it might be the Golden Nuggets…

POSTSCRIPT — I ran out of almond butter, so I’ve been adding a big spoonful of raw sunflower seeds instead. Haven’t noticed a difference. I’ve also switched to flax seed oil, but I kind of miss the chewy flax seeds.

Tai Chi with Jon at Greenhouse Holistic

I think this is the flow we did
I think this is the flow we did

Tonight I felt simultaneously tired and tense. I turned down a job, and was all worried about upsetting the friend who offered it to me, and finishing a web project that’s over my head, and prioritizing the clients that are all reappearing at once, and grieving my boyfriend’s upcoming seven-week trip to France. So I needed to clear out my stress, but I’ve done strong Vinyasa (and DDR) for six days running, so I wanted something restorative. Like a massage.

I went to Tai Chi at Greenhouse, which I’ve been meaning to do since… always. It’s just one of those things that sounds great to have done, but never quite inspires me to get there. The Thursday class is for new beginners, so it was my day.

The instructor, Jon, was perfect — giving a brief what, why, and how of Tai Chi in general, but soon getting into movement. He said when working with energy, it’s better to just watch and try to copy the movements, than to intellectually memorize and reenact them. Mirroring gets us out of our heads and into the Dan Tien, the main storehouse of energy (just below and behind your navel). The main principle is to relax completely, and follow the Dan Tien.

There were two concepts that would be great as themes for yoga classes:

  1. Welcoming the ground, versus pushing away from it. When he said this, and I felt my feet spread and tailbone drop, my lower back became completely relaxed. In yoga, there is a lot of lifting up and pressing away from the floor, in the standing and balancing poses. We are supposed to have an equal energy of rooting, or grounding, but I’ve never felt it as much; it’s one of those clich้d phrases I have started to tune out. Feeling grounded is somewhat obvious in the seated or inverted poses of course, but I still understood it more as “bones and flesh against the floor due to gravity.” This phrase “welcoming the ground” was much more effectual — I get it now — and physically widespread. It would be good to approach the standing poses with this idea; they can become very aggressive and agitating if we’re only practicing lifting, pressing, stretching and holding.
  2. Left and right; moving completely from one to the other. We took a slow walk in a circle, to start. Then, Jon had us shift our weight completely to one foot before moving the other. Everyone became much slower, and quieter. The free leg became much lighter and more agile. He said this complete transfer of weight lets the free leg empty, a nice image. My Russian friends call it “sharking” when you shuffle your feet as you walk. This walk was the opposite, boldly moving from one discrete foot to the other. 100% weight in one leg, he said; find the tailbone right over the weighted foot. (In other stances, it was a 70/30 split.) Finding full stability in one leg is one thing, but I’m curious to feel the free leg empty in various one-legged yoga poses or transitions.

I couldn’t help but make metaphors with life, about how we react and move. So if you see me staring at your butt on the subway platform, I promise I’m just watching the way you walk.

All for a Hug

Today I went to see Amma. She’s “the hugging saint” from India, supposedly a true vessel / archetype of the Universal Mother / Love. Someone gave me a bio a couple years ago. She has a huge following of fervent devotees; most of the anecdotes involve the teller falling into her arms in tears, crying “Ma, Ma, Ma” (which means “mother” in all languages). Others lead monthly gatherings to sing her chants. My friend, a yoga teacher, says she had never seen anyone so radiant, she burst into tears when she saw her, and felt like a tiny speck next to her. I have little or no response to devotional yoga practices, I do better with books or physical forms, but I was curious to see and/or experience a living saint.

I arrived at the Manhattan Ballroom at noon, and was too late to get a token guaranteeing a visit. The volunteers (all in white, all glowing with happiness) said to wait until about 2pm, when they would announce extra slots. I sat around and waited for the next four hours. It was such a pleasant vibe — light flowers or incense drifting in the air, unobtrusive Indian music being played behind her — that I mostly sat quietly, without any desire to read or browse the things for sale. I was just so so so curious to see her. Occasionally I would move, to get a better view. As she hugged one man, and patted his back, I felt tears well at the cuteness of it. But I cried at the Sex in the City movie.

Towards 3:00, when she was supposed to stop, and they still hadn’t called my group, I felt surprisingly upset that I would not get to see her. I decided I would wait until 3:00, and eventually got called and queued.

As I neared her, I kept staring, wishing I could see auras or something spectacular. She’s just a small, round woman, with a joyous smile, surrounded by volunteers with videocameras and flowers. You kneel and shuffle forward. Then she grabs you, pulls your head to her shoulder, and murmurs “MRDMRDMRD” or something Sanskrit into your ear. She pulls back at arm’s length, laughs and smiles and says something in Hindi, then hugs again. The volunteers press a chocolate kiss and a flower petal into your palm, and help you up and out of the way.

Walking away, I could not wipe the smile off my face. I felt giddy, light, and tingly through my heart, shoulders, arms, hands, and head. I felt like I was walking on my tiptoes, being pulled up to the sky. (These were all very light sensations, like when you laugh, not strong pleasure like when you eat pie.)

I sat slowly in a chair, still near the front, to feel out any other sensations. That was it. I let the chocolate kiss dissolve in my mouth. I had planned to get lunch after seeing her, but I wasn’t hungry. Until I went away.

Postscript: In retrospect, it’s basically the feeling of infatuation I think. I’ve never understood the phrase “walking on air” but that is exactly the lightness I felt in the feet. We are all physically capable of feeling infatuation or love. I think Amma is just able to stir up that energy as she wishes.