Archive for February, 2012

Pema Chodron

A student asked for Pema Chodron’s name to be put here on the blog, as I mentioned her work as helpful in exploring our psychological and emotional aspects as important dimensions of self inquiry and spiritual pursuit. Pema Chodron has written numerous books, and you will have no trouble finding much information online, and the Bellingham Public library carries some of her titles as well!

Here is her foundation’s website:

Here are a few of her books – click on any of them to get to the Bellingham Public Library page with her books:

View Item DetailsView Item DetailsView Item DetailsView Item Details

View Item DetailsView Item DetailsView Item Details

Mr. Iyengar In Motion

In celebration of Elizabeth’s completion of her sesshin, or meditation retreat, on Whidbey Island, and her return to teaching tomorrow, here is a link to a little Iyengar inspiration. This

is a youtube posting of silent black and white footage of Mr. Iyengar doing his earlier, more flowing style of yoga in 1938. It is mind-blowing and beautiful to watch.

And then the New York Times sings yoga’s praises

For those of you who have been following along with the New York Times’ yoga saga, it all began with an article on the risks of doing yoga called How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body by William J. Broad. The article was an excerpt from a book on the risks and benefits of yoga, but the article itself put a real emphasis – as the headline suggests – on the potential risks (the benefits being described elsewhere in the book). It was, not surprisingly, poorly received by yogis, in general. It might have been least poorly received by Iyengar yogis as it sometimes seemed to single out Iyengar yoga, the form which we all practice with Elizabeth, for special criticism.

Today the New York Times came out with a very interesting personal health column by longtime writer Jane Brody that not only describes the benefits that can come from yoga – a nice thing to see in the pages of the paper following a story on risks – but also puts the original article into context. Here it is:


Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras include at least two clear indicators of the inclusion of the practice of compassion on the yogic path, cited in the sutras mentioned in the title of this entry. The first, in Book I tells us we can overcome obstacles to a state of yoga through being kind and compassionate towards others, and seems to indicate this as a practice for life in our daily interactions. SInce the sutra in Book III appears within the descriptions of more internal practices, or “innermost yoga”, I made the suggestion in class that we may want to find recitations for our meditations which reflect our heartfelt desires for ease and happiness on all levels for ourselves and others. Each world tradition seems to have this impetus, and to have various expressions of it. I found a lovely Metta practice from the Buddhist tradition and include it here:

Metta (Lovingkindness) Recitation

May I be free from all sources of danger and harm. May I have happiness in body, Happiness in mind, And ease of wellbeing.

May my loved ones be free from all sources of danger and harm. May my loved ones have happiness in body, Happiness in mind, And ease of wellbeing.

May those with whom I have difficulties be free from all sources of danger and harm. May those with whom I have difficulties have happiness in body, Happiness in mind,
And ease of wellbeing.

May all beings be free from all sources of danger and harm. May all beings have happiness in body, Happiness in mind, And ease of wellbeing.

The Vedic tradition includes the following chant, which I discovered recorded on a CD called Sloka Mala, with traditional sanskrit chants by the teacher Shubra— here it is in english:

May all be happy; May all be healthy
May all see auspiciousness; May none suffer.

Then of course there are various versions of the prayer we attribute to St. Francis in the Christian tradition; the following version was offered by Mother Theresa:

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
That where there is hatred I may bring love,
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,
That where there is error I may bring truth,
That where there is doubt I may bring faith,
That where there is despair I may bring hope,
That where there are shadows I may bring light,
That where there is sadness I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,
To understand than to be understood,
To love than to be loved.
For it is by forgetting self that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

All of these words may serve us in being present with our desire for freedom from suffering for ourselves and others. There is much to contemplate in all of this, and it is most useful and inspiring when we choose a practice to which we feel called to have some consistency in working with it. So perhaps you have familiarity with a compassion practice from your own tradition, or you are drawn to some of the words I have included here. Please feel free to respond to this entry and share your thoughts, or other words that may serve as we look towards ways that we can increase light in ourselves and around us as we practice yoga.

A Wonderful New Idea

Here is an amazing opportunity for us to help other people in an innovative and moving way! I have received this letter from several others, and am passing it along here….
Hello Friends,

This is maybe the most important moment of my life. I’m writing this email through tears and immense joy. As many of you know, I was in a car accident with my brother Keegan who was killed instantly when I was 18 and he was 20. The guy who caused the accident fled the scene and my brother had no under-insured motorists insurance. Our family was stuck with all of the funeral expenses as well as my ambulance and hospital bills without any assistance.

I have spent the last year of my life, using all of my free time and energy, creating a local non-profit that will provide financial assistance to local families that are victim to tragic events and disaster here in Whatcom County. The name of it is Pass The Hat, and it’s brilliant. The model is to get as many people as possible to chip in $2 a month, every month. Here’s the kicker: No one can give more than $2. We won’t rely on fundraisers, auctions, or people making large donations. Instead we will get five, ten or twenty thousand people signed up, each only giving $2. Our mission is twofold; first we help families. Second, we empower people to get involved in philanthropy and make a difference even if they have hardly anything to give.

We have teamed up to partner with The Red Cross, Community Support Officers, Police departments and other local agencies. Our staff includes many local community leaders; Kelli Linville (Mayor), Steve Clarke (School District), Tamara Tregoning (United Way), Marinda Peugh (Red Cross), Chief Michael Knapp (Ferndale), and Grant Fishbook (CTK Church), just to name a few.

As of exactly an hour ago, the website is completed and live. I do not ask much of anyone, ever. I am asking you now to go, check it out and sign up. Then I want you to forward this email or create your own and email, call and tell every person you have ever met to go sign up as well. Talk over coffee, lunch, dinner, tell everyone.

SPECIAL REQUEST: We are in our soft launch phase. PLEASE KEEP THIS OFF OF FACEBOOK. We have until March 7th to get as many people signed up as possible. That’s when we are meeting for the first time, picking a cause and helping our first local family. We want to create a success story BEFORE exploding all over Facebook and in the media. Please help us spread the word “under the radar” for now and get others signed up. Make sense? No Facebook. Once we are ready, we will ask everyone to blow this up and get it all over Facebook, the paper, radio, etc. all at once.

Here is the link, go now and be amazing:

Galen Emanuele
Marketing & Sales Director
The Upfront Theatre
(360) 733-8855

Senior Iyengar instructor Rebecca Lerner will be making her second trip to Bellingham this summer to teach a weekend workshop June 15-17, 2012. 8 Petals Yoga Studio is extremely excited to welcome Rebecca back for what will surely be another wonderful workshop.  This year’s format will be similar to last year’s with a Friday evening session, two Saturday sessions, and a Sunday morning session followed by an optional afternoon teacher training. You may hold your spot with a non-refundable $25 deposit.  Partial attendance is available.
* Sign up soon, as space this year is limited*.
For further details and a registration form, click here.  You can also find these details on 8 Petals Yoga instructor Charlotte Davis’ website or on the 8 petals events page: Thanks and we at 8 Petals look forward to seeing you!

There is something beyond our mind, which abides in silence within our mind.
It is the supreme mystery beyond thought.
Let one’s mind and spirit rest upon That and nothing else.


To read a translation of the entire Kena Upanishad, go here.

Sharry Nyberg and Jillian Froebe welcome you to Dream Quest by entering Kairos time, free from measurement by minutes and schedules, the world from which dreams emerge. Gather in community as we journey with archetypes through labyrinth Kairos time. With the Dream as a guide to what asks to be discovered, And with prayer as offering of gratitude in the presence of the sacred feminine. $65 includes breakfast, afternoon meal, beverages and snacks, journal making and art materials, a hand thrown ceramic cup by local artist, Cary Lane, to take home with you, a place to rest your body and soul while you dream.

For more information on “Dreams as Prayers, Prayers as Dreams” retreat, please click here DREAMQUEST BROCHURE pdf.

Good Reading

In class this week, Elizabeth mentioned two books that may be of interest.


If you click on either image above, it will take you to the Bellingham Public Library page for that book.