Nine Nights of Maha Navratri – Shailputri

durga_shailaputriFirst Night of Navratri –

Tuesday, October 13th 2015 marks day one of Maha Navratri. Day/night one starts with the worship of Shailputri, whose name means ‘daughter of the mountain’. The first form of the Goddess Durga worshiped during Navratri, she is considered to be one of the earliest forms of Shakti. She is also known as Parvati, wife to Lord Shiva and mother to Ganesha and Kartikeya.

When the goddess was born to King Daksha as Sati, she married Lord Shiva, who her father vehemently disapproved of. It was during a ritual sacrifice that Dhaksha insulted her husband Shiva so horribly that Sati sacrificed her own body and threw herself onto the sacrificial fire. She was eventually reborn as Shailputri, or Parvatri.

Shailputri is associated with Muladhara Chakra. It is said upon awakening this shakti, one begins their journey towards spiritual awakening and to their purpose in life.

As the story goes, after Sati sacrificed herself, Shiva was so devastated that he entered into eons of deep meditation and spiritual practice (sadhana). Even when she was reborn as Parvati and approached Shiva, he was unmoved from his deep sadhana. With immense devotion and effort, she demonstrated her love of Shiva and he eventually awoke from his meditation. She represents universal love and is glorified as the Goddess of Awareness.

She is also known as Paktriti, and looks after all living organisms.

Traditionally the color Yellow is worn on this day.

On a personal note, I’m not connected to any specific tradition or formal Navratri practices, and I don’t know the “proper” way to worship her. To me, these nine nights become an opportunity to celebrate life as the Goddess. Taking the small piece of knowledge I have of each goddess, I am most concerned with what those basic symbols represent for me in my life, even if it doesn’t fall in life with the traditional worship of a certain goddess. I invite everyone to see how these different energies come and go in their lives, and to take special care over the next nine nights to dive deeply into reflection and spiritual practice to explore their own relationship to the eminent Goddess in all her forms.

AUM Devi Shailputryai Namah!

 

 

Sunday Sadhana Samavesa

Sunday Sadhana Samavesa was amazing! As usual, time flew by as we dived into the stories and practices of the Goddess. Happening on a very auspicious day, Sunday September 27th, 2015, the day of the Blood Moon Eclipse, the day started with a brief asana practice, followed by some chanting, breath work, and meditation. We broke for lunch, and when we returned we dove into the stories and practices revolving around the Goddess. Using the Devi Mahatmyam as a backdrop, we dove into the stories of Kali, Lakshmi, and Saraswati to see how their stories relate to our lives and our personal psychology. It was a day of story, singing, breathing, meditation and reflection. It ended with 22 minutes of us chanting Lokah Samastah while each person gave offerings to the fire.

 

Thank you to Azul Fit in Vista, Ca for hosting the immersion, and to Brandi Daniels and Eat.Drink.Yoga for the amazing food she prepared for the event, and to everyone who took time out of their lives to join us that day!

Below is a short clip of our ending chant with a few photos of the day.

Another AUMazing Sunday Sadhana!

July Sunday Sadhana

Each one is special, and yet some how they seem to get better and better! So grateful for our yoga community in North County San Diego and all the amazing yogis wanting to dive deeper into the various practices of yoga! We don’t have another Sunday Sadhana scheduled at Y6 until November, BUT stay tuned, as I will soon announce the date for a full day (eight hour) Sunday Sadhana happening in September or early October, with the opportunity to spend a lot more time with each practice, enjoy an asana practice get some movement in our bodies, dive deeper into tantric philosophy, and enjoy some delicious healthy food!

Sunday Sadhana July '15

Post Sadhana with Stuart

 

SS

Keeping it weird

 

What to do about Hamstring Tendon Tears

What to do about Hamstring Tendon Tears

By Ashton Szabo

www.yogawithashton.com

Figure 3

Yoga butt, aka proximal hamstring attachment tears, are one of the most common “in practice” injuries I hear about as a yoga teacher. They also tend to linger for a really long time. Why do they happen so often, why do they linger, and what can we do about it? Before we get into the challenge of hamstring tears, we have to look at the conditions that are causing so many hamstring attachment tears.

“I have tight hamstrings.” I hear it almost every day. And while it may be true, it’s usually only a small part of the truth. In most modern cultures, we tend to be very strong and tight in our hip flexors (in large part because of how much time we spend sitting). Most of the muscles of the body work in an agonist/antagonist relationship, meaning that one muscle group works in contrast to another. Think of a tug of war. Two sides are battling back and forth in attempt to pull all the tension over to their side. And that’s precisely what usually ends up happening. One side “wins” the tug of war. That muscle (or group of muscles) “wins” and ends up tight, short and strong. The muscle (or group of muscles) that “loses” ends up tight, LONG and weak. Generally, when we stretch tight, short muscles it feels good, because they are dying to be stretched. And conversely, generally speaking, when we stretch tight long muscles it can feel a little painful or uncomfortable as those muscles are already being pulled at length.

To continue reading, follow this link to the Yoga Blog:

http://www.theyogablog.com/asana-2/yoga-butt

Another great Sunday Sadhana!

Sunday Sadhana - May 2014

“Through [life], liberation can be found everywhere.” – Sage Naga, 11th Century, from his 30 Verses on Delighting in Awareness, (translation by Christopher Tompkins)

Another great group of yogis for Sunday Sadhana! I feel so blessed and lucky that yogis keep coming to share in an experience of yoga that goes beyond the physical postural practice that most in the west are so familiar with and used to. Thank you so much for everyone who attended!

If you are looking for more information on the meditation support I talked about at the end of class and offered samples of, check out www.weareyogi.com!

For those who attended, here is a simple reminder of the concentration exercises (Dharanas) we did:

Meditate on the space found on all sides of one’s own body. (VB v. 43)

Meditate on the inner body as enclosed by a physical layer of skin with nothing inside of it. (VB v.48)

Meditate on the sensations of an emotion.

HAMSA Kriya

Chakra Kriya

 

(And don’t forget to check out our new Sunday Sadhana Page!)

The Crickets have resurfaced!

On our way to Badrinath

Years ago, while traveling India by motorcycle,  my friend Octavio played a track for me from his MP3 player. It was the sound of crickets chirping. The audio had two layered tracks, one at normal speed and one at an adjusted speed. Taking into consideration the average lifespan of a cricket, the speed was adjusted to relate to that of a human life span (kinda like how we say one human year is equivalent to seven dog years, well, they did this for crickets). The results were/are absolutely magical. The sound was haunting, and I remember getting back to Thailand after our trip trying to find the track. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I tried all sorts of searchea on Google, and nothing was coming up. Years later, I tried again, but nothing came up.

Well… SUPER happy to say that it has resurfaced. It’s WELL worth a listen 🙂

The track is by composer Jim Wilson. For more information on the track, click here.

Wanderer…

Ashton Guitar

There is a song I play often on my playlists during my classes towards the end of class, before savasana. Sometimes, in non-heated classes, I’ve brought in my guitar to play it live during savasana. I’ve had many students over the years ask about it, so I’ve decided to post it here and make it available to everyone.

 

It’s a song I wrote when I spent half a year traveling around India via motorcycle with my good friend, Octavio Salvado. I recorded this song in my apartment in Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh, India in 2008 with a small hand held recorder. The sounds you hear in the background (the occasional honking horn and the beautiful birds chirping) are the sounds of the jungles (natural and man made) around my apartment. The guitar is a beautiful 3/4 length guitar that I had custom carved from a single block of wood during my time living in Peru (in 2007); a guitar I still love and enjoy today. The song, the guitar, the location and the time of my life all have a very special place in my heart, and I want to share it with all of you.

 

The name of the song is Wander. I hope you all enjoy the it! Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think! 🙂

http://www.yogawithashton.com/files/Wanderer.mp3

(to download, right click the link about and click save as)

 

Guitar Carving Peru

(Having some fun inside the workshop where my guitar was carved in Cusco, Peru)

On it goes!

This last week we eliminated breakfast and added another cleansing shake (consisting of psyllium, bentonite and charcoal) in the morning to replace our first meal. The original plan was to do an enema and liver flush this past week, but as we were quite busy looking for a new place to live, we didn’t work it into our schedule. This week is the week though, and we plan on doing at least one full day of a fast, along with the liver flush and enema. Kristi has never fasted before, and it’s been since before we met (more than two years now) that I have done a fast as well, so after three weeks plus of cleansing, adding in a single day fast followed by an enema and liver flush is a good introduction back into it all. Perhaps this summer we’ll do a shorter, but more intense cleanse.

My energy levels have been MUCH higher since cutting out coffee and throughout the cleanse. We’ve had some pretty intensely busy weeks recently as well, so it’s been nice to be super clear and present during these times. I also haven’t been on such a strictly vegetarian diet in at least a few years as well, so my body has been feeling light and lean. I’ve been eliminating feces (POOPING!) four to five times a day. They are all large, full and fantastic, with a great consistency (not too watery, not to dry).

I had hoped to be blogging a little more throughout this process, but with everything that has been going on with our upcoming move (we signed our lease two days ago, and move in to our place in two weeks!), as well as organizing homes from multiple upcoming yoga trainings, I’ve had an even fuller plate than normal. I’ll post all the news about all the upcoming courses in another blog! 🙂

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