River of Life

mom hot photoIf I ask you the question of what moves your blood through your circulatory system, your answer likely would be your heart. Let’s ponder that answer for a moment. If our heart is solely responsible for moving our blood through our circulatory system, then something doesn’t add up. For one, the movement of our blood through our system was happening during the embryological development. The movement was there before our heart showed up.

Secondly, if you calculate the volume of blood that’s being moved through your blood vessels, and the resistance of those vessels to the flow of the fluid, you will quickly realize that the heart is terribly undersized if the heart is a pump which is solely responsible for all that movement.

So where did that movement originated from before your heart showed up? You could not have been the originator of that movement. It did not start in you. That movement was there long before anything even remotely resembling you showed up. The movement that moves the blood through our system was inherited. We inherited that movement from our mother. And where did she receive that movement, she received it from her mother. It is through the chains of mothers before us. That movement or energy was passed down to us while we were in the womb. You can go back as far as you can imagine in the line of species and life forms from which we evolved, to the primordial ocean, all the way to the big bang, because it’s an unbroken chain of movement that we have inherited. But we don’t get to keep that energy, it is not even ours. It sustains us and it moves through us, but it was here long before we showed up and it will be here long after we leave. We get to dance with it for a while, hopefully with some elegance, skill and awareness. This is a very interesting and humbling thing to think about. So, we got the movement of blood from our mothers. Our heart does the job of keeping that movement going like a parent keeping a swing moving once it is in motion. You are adding the momentum that was lost from the last swing. That’s what the heart is doing.

I lost my mother to cancer when I was 10 years old. I wished for so long that she was still here, and we could spend time together. How I wish she had the opportunity to hold my child. On each Mother’s Day, I wish I can take her to Dim Sum and spoil her for the day. When I realized the obvious, which is the movement in my blood originated from her, I was speechless. She was with me the whole time. After realizing this, I couldn’t wait to find my little girl, to hold her and to feel her heart beat. I close my eyes and know that I flow within her, and the line of mothers before me flows through her.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. For all the mothers out there … I bow to you.

P.S. A special thanks to Leslie Kaminoff. Through his Yoga Anatomy training I have a better understanding of the role of our heart.

Ancient Wisdom for the New Year

IMG_3980So what are you doing this New Year’s Eve? Watching the ball drop over Times Square or looking for a party to attend? For many of us, the typical New Year’s celebration can feel like old hat after a while. As time passes, we tend to look for different ways to transition into the New Year. We start looking for more profound ways of honoring the space between letting go of the old and embracing the new.

Everything moves in a cycles with a definite beginning and an end. I believe how we end one chapter of our life sets the tone for the beginning of the next chapter. This is true with how we live out our day, how we finish our Yoga practice and of course how we end and begin the year. Ancient wisdom is still being observed in various cultures to transition into the New Year. An example is one that I am comfortable speaking of, the Chinese tradition. The Chinese do not clean on New Year’s Day, all the cleaning should be done prior and the cleaning equipment completely put away before the New Year. This practice has many deep meanings including being cleansed, resolving the old and being prepared to accept and welcome the new. With this idea, the New Year becomes a fruitful opportunity to deepen our introspection, to find new intention as we let go of the old. The new intention should not translate into action that may last 30 to 90 days like a New Year’s challenge, but one you intend to keep for as long as it continues to enrich your life. This new intention should have the power to first connect oneself in mind, body and spirit; and has the potential to connect or build relationships with our surroundings.

Beginning the year with Yoga is a powerful way to start the new year. Yoga has the ability to center, balance, ground and connect. How you spend the first day of the New Year sets the tone for the rest of the year. We are keeping our annual tradition of offering a full day of FREE classes on New Year’s Day. This is our way to give back to the community as well as offering a way to help you find your intention for the New Year.

Change …

The only constant we have in our lives is CHANGE. If you have been practicing at our studio you undoubtedly have noticed the many changes in our shopping center. When I first heard about a diner-style fast food restaurant moving into the space next to us I was surprised since what makes Campbell so special is its many family-owned businesses. When the city approved the permit and waived its own requirement for an additional 32 parking spaces I was confused. Then I heard a comment from one of our students: “Don’t worry, we will make sure we OM louder than them.” I was touched by her support, and further, I was touched by her Yoga wisdom.

I have been asked if I think the upcoming fast food restaurant will bring about positive and negative changes. I believe, just like everything in life, it will certainly bring a little of both. How much good it will bring depends on your own perspective.

With the growth of our human population, remodeling and construction are becoming the signs of economic growth and importance. Many changes are coming our way, including changes we see in our city, neighborhood and even our Yoga home. Changes are not necessarily a bad thing, and can even help us grow. While the world continues to evolve around us, the choices we make are important in driving toward positive changes. Staying grounded and centered is important. Yoga helps us find our inner voice and helps us stay balanced and remain grounded. With regular practice this stays true both ON and OFF our mat.

As for the remodeling our shopping center is undergoing, the big stuff is behind us now. Yoga has helped everyone who teaches and practices at TYS™ stay grounded through the changes. Very soon we are going to have a modern storefront, a new roof and a new air conditioning unit. This is very much like remodeling the kitchen in our home – we are going to wonder why we didn’t make the changes sooner so that we can we have more time to enjoy it.

Sankalpa – a.k.a. a bit of wisdom from Papa.

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As a child my father taught me to reflect on my day before going to bed. I can still hear his words: “Always reflect on your own actions and contributions. Make the necessary adjustments to realign yourself. Clear any unwanted feelings so that you can go to bed with a clear conscience. This alone will help you live a happier and fuller life.” His advice didn’t just focus on resolution – he emphasized a process that begins with the ability to “reflect”. The “3R’s” technique that I use for our TYS™ Aerial Yoga originated from this simple concept, but I simplified it to “3R’s” – Release, Realign and Rebuild.

My father’s teaching also reminds me of yoga. We are all good, but we need adjustments to keep us on track. The Sanskrit word sankalpa means “will, purpose, or determination.” To make a sankalpa is to set an intention, like making a Near Year’s resolution but with a yogic twist. This is similar to my father’s teachings, which did not focus on the negative. He was more interested in the root cause of the negativity; therefore he began with reflecting on his actions. Once he understood the cause, he could make the necessary correction or realignment.

The year 2016 is fast approaching. Although my father passed away many years ago, I still remember his words and have shared his bits of wisdom with my own daughter. Instead of making a New Year’s resolution this year, how about trying a healthy dose of sankalpa – also known as a bit of wisdom from Papa?

Spring Into Action

Cindy Campbell

According to the calendar, we just entered into the season of spring. Spring is a time of renewal. It is a time when we are in transition from the dark winter forces and moving into lighter energies. When we think of spring, what comes to mind is rebirth. Flowers and plants start to cultivate new life. Animals give birth to young ones.

In Northern California, we have not made a drastic transition from dark, cold days to the warm, sunny weather. Our spring season started earlier than most of the country. Nevertheless, you can still use this time to start letting go of what no longer serves you physically, energetically and spiritually and bring in anew those practices that will satisfy your soul.  A few suggestions that may help you:

  • Renew your commitment or balance your yoga practice. If you regularly practice yang styles of yoga (Vinyasa, Level II Aerial, Hot Yoga, Ashtanga, etc) to generate heat in the body, introduce some yin or gentle practices. Or use your yoga practice to detoxify the body of any toxins that you stored during the winter.
  • Cleanse your body by changing your diet. During the fall and winter, we eat heavier comfort foods. In the spring, foods are lighter. They help refresh and hydrate the body. Start eating artichokes, asparagus, walnuts, apricots, strawberries and avocadoes.
  • Open yourself to new possibilities. Find something joyful that you always wanted to do and develop a plan to make it happen. Trust your heart in setting your intention and give that intention your attention and love.
  • Build community. In winter months, we tend to keep indoors and stick to ourselves. Spring is a great time to connect to those around you. Consider volunteering at a local non-profit or joining a community project.  By giving to others, you will always get something more in return.

 

Cindy’s classes for the month of April will focus on the theme of renewal. If you would like to practice with Cindy at TYS® and hear more of her thoughts, she teaches a Vinyasa class at noon every Wednesday at our studio.

Starting 2015 Right!!

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Happy New Year to you and your family.  May 2015 be a safe, healthy and prosperous year for you.

Like the previous years, we do not approach the New Year with a challenge, instead we want to help you cultivate a consistent practice that offers “Transformation Through Practice”.  We want to offer Yoga that feels so good in the body, mind and spirit that you look forward to joining us on the mat throughout the year.  We want to help you find positive changes … permanently.

I am also not so old that I have forgotten how good it feels when I received a treat from my parents for doing the right thing.  Let TYS® help you with your New Year’s Resolution to Practice More Yoga!

By practicing Yoga with us from January 12th through March 31st, you have a chance to win BIG!!! 
The following prizes go to the Top 3 Students that attend the most classes:

First Prize: Free Private Aerial Class for up to 10 People
Second Prize: Manduka ProLite Mat
Third Prize: Your choice of 1 Free Aerial Class or 2 Free Non-Aerial Classes

With more yoga, everyone wins – whether it be a prize or a path to healthy living!

Rules:

  • To join simply come in and pick up a sign-in sheet at the studio.
  • Attendance must be marked by the person at the desk on the day of the class
  • Each class counts, including multiple classes taken in the same day
  • Whether the class is marked or not is by the initiative and the responsibility of the student
  • Prizes have no cash value and may not be exchanged for an alternative prize
  • Prizes must be claimed by the end of June, 2015
  • First Prize must be coordinated with the studio for a mutually agreed upon time and date
  • Third Prize may be gifted to a friend that is new to the studio

Starting 2015 Giving

It has became an annual tradition for us to start the New Year GIVING with a day of free classes.  Our volunteers are offering their time and loving energy to help you start your New Year with Yoga!!!  The gift of giving on New Year’s Day is our belief that giving brings back much joy and fulfillment.  We would like to finish 2014 with good intentions, and start 2015 with our best wishes.

New Years Day:  FREE CLASSES
9:00am – 10:00am Vinyasa by Cindy
10:15am – 11:15am Aerial by Pik Chu
11:30am – 12:30am Yin & Breath by Lisa
12:45pm – 1:45pm Ashtanga Inspired Flow by Louis

Register for the classes here.

Why We Offer Traditional Yoga and Aerial Yoga … 

During my high tech days I had one high level manager who always reminded us “Remember your roots.  Remember who you are and where you came from” each time we left to represent our company.  That statement is the reason why we offer both Traditional Yoga and Aerial Yoga.  Without the Traditional Yoga classes our Aerial classes wouldn’t be the same.  Keeping Traditional classes reminds us of our roots, which is Yoga.  Without these classes our students may view us differently, more acrobatic perhaps.  TYS® Aerial Yoga is simply Yoga using a very powerful prop to deepen, to strengthen, to ground and to release.  By keeping it Yoga, we are honoring our roots, remembering where we came from and sharing our love for Yoga.

Our studio is called The Yoga Studio because we offer Yoga, otherwise we would have called ourselves The Aerial Studio.

Simple Stories but Profound Messages

One of the most simple but profound lessons I learned from my high-tech days was a lesson learned from a very high level manager at HP.  I asked him one day how he could so easily understand a complex situation and break it down into simple and easy to understand terms.  He smiled and said “It is always easier to understand something when you map it back to things that you already understand.”  That sounded simple and I understood.  I still remember what he said and use it in my life everyday.

The more I read to my young daughter Bo the more I enjoy the simple stories but profound messages in children’s books.  You can take a complex subject and break it up into simple terms, and you can take a simple message, like in children’s books, and map it back to our complex life.  There are many wonderful children’s books, there is one in particular I would like to share with you today:

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

– Oh, the Places You’ll Go!  by Dr. Seuss

Does Water Have Memory?

waterLast month we duplicated an experiment at home, based on a documentary we saw about water.  A lot of new research supports the idea that water has memory. It can retain an “imprint” of energies to which it has been exposed to, such as music, words or even the energy of a person. I am interested in this topic since our bodies contain more than 50% water.  This experiment involves 3 bowls of water and rice. Our initial goal was, for the next 30 days Bo, my 7 year old daughter, would say to each bowl:

the first bowl of rice/water “You are disgusting”,
the second bowl “thank you”,
then …
She will completely ignore the third bowl.

She takes the bowl away to speak to it, just in case the other two bowls decide to eavesdrop.

We had to terminate the experiment early, here is what we found and why we ended it short:
In just two days, the “Thank you” bowl started to fermentate.

In just 5 days the “disgusting” bowl started to smell while the “Ignored” bowl also started to fermentate

In 18 days …

  • the “Thank you” bowl smelled like baked bread,
  • the “Ignored” bowl had a faint smell of baked bread along with a sharp smell of something else, and
  • the “Disgusting” bowl had a rotting smell that permeated throughout the house.  A yellow and black ring was formed around the water.
  • we decided to terminate the project, because it was hard to deliver the negative words to “Disgusting” when you can clearly see the impact, and Bo was having a hard time holding her breath as she said “Disgusting”.

We know that negative words and energy are destructive, but to see the physical transformation was truly an eye opening experience.  It made it so real for us on how love is such a gift and negativity is so unnecessary.  The impact of people growing up or being in an abusive environment is traumatic and can have long lasting effects.  It is good to remember that …

It doesn’t take much to be kind,
love is a real gift,
forgiveness is priceless, and
attract more positive energy with your own positive energy.