Art of Living Retreat Center

The Practice: Why Become a Yoga Teacher?

By AOLRC
January 18, 2018

Art of Living Retreat Center

   

Considering becoming a yoga teacher?

A desire to become a yoga teacher, in itself, is a blessing. By becoming a yoga teacher, you learn to take proper care of yourself and teach others to take proper care of themselves. It’s a great way to rapidly progress on a spiritual path. You get a better understanding of yourself. Teaching yoga, in its true spirit, is a great service to humanity. It’s also a way to earn some income and support yourself.

 

Where do you go for yoga teacher training?

There are thousands of yoga training programs available worldwide. The Yoga Scriptures say to “Learn yoga under a master”.

 

You must ask yourself a few questions: Why do you want to become a yoga teacher? What is it about yoga that interests you the most? Are you interested in just teaching, or also in your own spiritual growth?

If your interest lies only in the physical aspects of yoga, then with a little research, you could choose almost any school of yoga in the world. However, if, in addition to learning the Asanas properly, you also want to understand and experience the true meaning of yoga, be able to impart that experience to your students, and develop a meaningful discipline of yoga for your personal spiritual growth, then you need to be very precise in your selection. The most important question then becomes this: who is the guiding light in that school of yoga?

 

Drinking from the source

Your mind and spirit are both unknown and unseen. To understand and experience them, you need the guidance of a spiritual master. Just as a dedicated scientist discovers the hidden secrets of the physical realm of our existence, a devout spiritual seeker uncovers many mysteries hidden in the unseen field of our existence. Such enlightened masters are very rare.

 

Learning yoga from a school in which the guiding source is a living enlightened master is like drinking water from the river at the origin, where it is pure and fresh. The knowledge and practices that come directly from the master are free from polluted interpretations and distortions.

 

The Sri Sri School of Yoga

At the Sri Sri School of Yoga, you will learn:

  • authentic yoga in its purest form
  • sequences of Asanas with variations and modifications that are suitable for all levels of yoga students
  • principles of creating your own sequences
  • anatomy of Asanas
  • Asanas for many different physical conditions
  • proper practice of Asanas that benefit the mind, body, and spirit
  • deep relaxation techniques
  • an exploration of the different layers of your existence
  • how to make your mind more flexible and strong so it can pass through the seasons of life with skill and a smile
  • proper practice of many different pranayamas, and how they influence the different chakras and different dimensions of your mind
  • the science of prana, chakras, and bandhas and their relationship with Asanas
  • the Sanskrit names and proper pronunciations of Asanas, pranayamas, and badhas
  • Yogic kriyas for cleansing the body and calming the mind
  • proper meditation practices
  • a clear understanding of the wisdom of yoga contained in the yoga scriptures – Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Bhavad Gita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and more
  • how to use yogic wisdom in daily life and how to take yoga beyond the mat
  • a basic understanding of Ayurveda and proper nutrition
  • the different paths of yoga and their significance
 

The list goes on – not only will you learn this, but you will experience it all first-hand too. At the Sri Sri School of Yoga, a team of certified, dedicated, and experienced teachers are there to train you to become a certified, knowledgeable, and confident yoga teacher, and to guide and inspire you to discover the yogi in you.

 

We look forward to welcoming you!

 
 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , yoga , yoga instructor , yoga practice , yoga retreat
Nature of the Yogi - Art of Living

The Practice: Sri Sri on the Nature of the Yogi

By AOLRC
January 8, 2018

Nature of the Yogi - Art of Living

Yoga is so much more than exercise — it’s a way of being. Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shares his thoughts on the far-reaching impact of yoga on the body, mind, and spirit, and the true nature of the Yogi. 

 

A disease-free body, a violence-free society, a confusion-free mind, a inhibition-free intellect, a trauma-free memory, a sorrow-free soul and a quiver-free breath is the impact that Yoga can make on your life.

 

More than the body

If you claim that you are a Yogi, then you should have an undying smile on your face. I would say, that is the sign of a Yogi. Yoga makes your emotions softer and more peaceful, and you blossom in your emotions. It brings freedom in your expression and your thought patterns. These are the real signs of Yoga. It is not just to do with the flexibility of the body. Of course, that too is a part of Yoga. The body becomes flexible, and the mind grows in faith and conviction. If all this happens, know that it is the gift of Yoga, and consider yourself as a Yogi.

 

The path of the Yogi

Many people think of the eight limbs of Yoga as a step-wise process to go level by level. They think that one has to strive to become proficient in one level before ascending to the next. This is not really so. I would say that all these eight limbs or aspects of Yoga are woven together and happen simultaneously.

 

When a child is conceived in the womb, then all its organs are formed together. It is not that first the feet are formed and then the arms take shape. No, it is not so. All the limbs and organs develop together. This is why we must take all these eight aspects or limbs of Yoga together at every step. Only then can we experience the fullness and totality of Yoga, and can bring about an extraordinary transformation and experience in our life.

Join one of our upcoming yoga retreats and feel for yourself the power and light of the eight-limbed path.

This article first appeared on srisriravishankar.org

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , healthy lifestyle , sri sri ravi shankar , weight-loss , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat , yogi

The Practice: Sarajean Rudman on the Power of Yoga and Ayurveda

By AOLRC
November 18, 2017

Yoga and Ayurveda, to the new practitioner, might seem complicated, but although both practices are deeply rooted in the traditional spiritual wisdom and practices of India, you don’t have to overhaul your entire life to make room for them. Incorporating even the smallest concepts from yoga and Ayurveda into your routine can have far-reaching effects both your health and your happiness. 

 

We sat down Sarajean Rudman, accomplished yogini and AoLRC host, to discuss how to begin to integrate yoga and Ayurveda into your routine for your healthiest, most vibrant life. 

 

Yoga and Ayurveda: The Sister Sciences

Yoga and Ayurveda are all about self-care and self-love. So much else in life takes us out of ourselves, but yoga and Ayurveda take us back into ourselves. Blending the two practices has given me permission to be kind, to love, to nourish, to rest, to refuel and to listen.

 

At the very seat of the practices of yoga and Ayurveda, there is an element of taking back authority over yourself and listening to the innate, intuitive knowledge you already possess – when you wake up in the morning and feel that something is weird or off in your body, yoga and Ayurveda empower you to know that it’s okay to feel those things, to explore them, and to try to understand why.

 

I like to think of Ayurveda as the science that heals the vessel physically, and yoga as the science that heals the vessel spiritually and emotionally. It might seem like an intimidating system, but at the end of the day, it’s the simple things that have the most profound effect on your life. Even one single element of the practice, something as simple as drinking warm water, can propel propel you into a new world of self-care.

 

So much of our lives are lived as cerebral beings – we can think ourselves into and out of any situation. Yoga connects the body and breath back to the mind, and we stop conceiving of ourselves as a ‘severed head’. We begin to notice things that are out of balance in the way we feel, and Ayurveda is a medicinal practice that we can turn to when we do notice these things.

 

The Basics of Ayurveda

Ayurveda focuses on the five elements and the three doshas, or bodily humors. These are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each of these doshas describes everything on earth, and everything on earth has a certain balance of these energies within it. The doshas, each of which encompass different qualities, rule the hours of the day, the seasons of a year, and the different phases of life we go through.

 

For example, the Kapha time of day is around 6AM – 10AM. Qualities associated with Kapha are heaviness, coldness, denseness, so it’s recommended that your practice is mobile and energetic in the morning to balance out that energy.

 

In the Vata time of day, which is anywhere from 2AM – 6AM, you might want to do a more contemplative practice, because Vata is immobile, erratic, rough, expansive, and ethereal. Timing the different elements of your practice to the appropriate hours can really work to balance the different dosha energies within yourself.

A First Step into Ayurveda

One of the most powerful ways to start balancing your own internal dosha energies is to go to bed before 10PM, because after 10PM, those fiery Pitta energies kick back in. The Pitta time of night is when you hit your second wind. It’s easy to work and work and work, when what your body really needs is rest.

 

For most people, this resets your circadian rhythms and balances your hormones, and you begin to feel more energized in the morning. You will experience less lethargy in the middle of the morning, your skin and hair will benefit, and your digestion will improve.

 

All of the cells in our body have been demonstrated to follow our circadian rhythms, even our digestive tract. There are certain times of the day when we should be eating, sleeping, moving, etc, and acting against those rhythms can be detrimental to your health.

Of course, technology and culture have a huge part to play in why we find it difficult to intuit these rhythms. My 94-year-old grandmother wasn’t up at 11PM scrolling through Facebook in 1945! Ayurveda is a great tool to help you get back to the natural cycles of the earth and your body.

 

Get Started Today!

Yoga and Ayurveda are accessible for everybody. You don’t have to twist yourself into a pretzel or chant – yoga can be a walk in the woods. Yoga can by lying on your back and breathing. Ayurveda is the same! You don’t have to eat exclusively Indian food or completely give up things that you love to benefit from the principles and practices we teach. You can pick and choose what works best for you and your body.

 

The Art of Living Retreat Center is a great place to begin your journey. The Center has the most beautiful view, and there’s this undeniable spiritual potency here. When I arrived, I immediately wanted to slow down, which was pretty cool for me, because that rarely happens in a physical space.

 

There’s this settled energy here. It’s outrageously beautiful, and I find communing with nature to be epically healing for myself and others. The core of like-minded people at the Center has also been really healing and reaffirming.

 

Ayurveda has taught me to take care of myself. I’m a Vata-Pitta person, who gets very stuck in accomplishments and doing and moving and acheiving, and Ayurveda has really taught me to slow down, check in with myself, and never sacrifice my own well-being at the altar of success.

 


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

 
TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , Ayurvedic diet , doshas , healthy lifestyle , knowledge , wellness , wisdom , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat
Best detox program 2017 at the Art of Living Retreat Center

In the News: 2017 Best Detox Program

By Andrew
August 9, 2017

Top 10 Spa Awards: Best detox program Art of Living Retreat Center
We are delighted to share with you our exciting news…Organic Spa Magazine recently awarded our Shankara Ayurveda Spa the “Best Detox Program” in the United States!

Here’s why:

“…offers traditional Ayurvedic treatments like shirodhara, abhyangha and marma therapy, consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor and some of the best and most authentic yoga and meditation teachers anywhere.”

Best Detox Program

“Originally built as a Transcendental Meditation Retreat Center by a follower of the Beatles’ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, this bucolic 381-acre property outside Charlotte, NC, was sold to the nonprofit, The Art of Living, in 2011. With more than 10,000 centers worldwide in 155 countries, this is the centerpiece, where guests will find abundant peace and tranquility.
Commit to an authentic Ayurvedic detox (panchakarma), or the signature Happiness Program, which features breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and shared wisdom, is life-changing. The recently renovated Spa offers traditional Ayurvedic treatments like shirodhara, abhyangha and marma therapy, consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor and some of the best and most authentic yoga and meditation teachers anywhere. The cuisine is exclusively vegetarian, much of it from the organic garden on property. artoflivingretreatcenter.org

 

For us, this award is a reminder of the strong legacy we inherit. Ayurveda is an amazing tradition that offers a holistic approach to wellness and self-care, which is time-tested, approachable and all natural. And natural Ayurvedic modes of detox have been helping people rejuvenate for thousands of years. We are proud to be able to offer this type of programming in the US.

Come and stay with us soon!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, Organic Spa offers inspired, interesting articles on lifestyles of wellness. You can check out the original announcement here or contact us by email at [email protected] or call 800.392.6870.

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

The Practice: 7 Reasons to Go to a Yoga Festival

By AOLRC
July 17, 2017
Photo by Tony Felgueiras at the 2015 Hanuman Festival
 

At the Art of Living Retreat Center, we know the power of immersion. Setting aside a time to actively focus on loving and nurturing yourself, whether it’s through rest, silence, meditation, an Ayurvedic cleanse, or yoga, is an intensely healing and empowering practice. Yoga festivals are one of many ways to make time for yourself and your practice.

With two outstanding yoga festivals coming up in close proximity to the Retreat Center, the Asheville Yoga Festival (July 25-27), and the Floyd Yoga Jam over Labour Day weekend, we asked yoga teacher and writer Sarah Dittmore to share her thoughts on why these festivals are so fabulous.
(more…)

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , beginning yoga , festivals , healthy lifestyle , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat

The Practice: The Fishman Method – Yoga for Osteoporosis

By Paige Reist
May 5, 2017

Loren Fishman - Yoga for Osteoporosis

 

Loren Fishman, MD, B. Phil., is one of the few physicians practicing medicine who incorporates yoga into his regular treatment protocols and offers patients individual yoga therapy. This spring, he joins us at the Art of Living Retreat Center to share his unique and effective program with yoga practitioners, yoga teachers and therapists, physical therapists, nurses, physicians and health insurance leaders. Loren shares his journey to developing his unique method. 

Yoga and Osteoporosis

I’d heard from my friends and colleagues that it was extremely dangerous to teach yoga to osteoporotic or even osteopenic people. However, I wanted to explore whether that was accurate or not. So I did DEXA scans (the definitive test of bone mineral density) on a number of patients with osteoporosis and osteopenia, and invited half of them to come to classes I taught in my office after patient hours, and kept the other half as controls. I did this for two years, up to 2008.

 

When we got DEXA scans again, the yoga group had gained quite a bit of bone mineral density. The controls lost a little, and there were no significant injuries of any kind. Not even repetitive stress injuries – if you’re practicing yoga properly, stress injuries are quite uncommon.

It worked well, but I didn’t think these results were publishable yet. My son happened to pass by my desk and said, “Dad, give me the data.” In 5 minutes, he showed me that these results were statistically significant. A few months later, we published “Yoga for Osteoporosis – A pilot study.” Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation 25, No. 3, 2009 pp. 244-250. 

 

Creating the Program

At this point, I really became enthusiastic. It seemed to me that there might be a way that any person could use yoga to improve bone strength, so I hired a camera man from Harvard, a director from Columbia, and a friend who is sometimes a Broadway actor, took two friends and myself as models, and created a DVD of yoga for osteoporosis.

 

We made a thousand copies of the DVD, and gave them away to people willing to do blood tests, a urine test, and give a current DEXA, as well as another one after two years of practice. The tests ruled out nutritional, hormonal, and metabolic reasons for weak bones.

 

I chose poses that I thought would strengthen the most frequent fracture sites; the spine, the hip, and the femur. Happily, those are also the three sites measured by most DEXA scans. We made the DVD with three versions of each pose; a beginner’s version, an intermediate version, and the classical version of each pose.

The difficult part was that we needed an older DEXA scan too, in order to make this into a before-after study. We needed to compare what happened to people in the two years before they started doing this yoga (although many had done some yoga before), with how their bones fared after they did this yoga daily for two years.

 

This was an Internet-recruited study, and the 1000 people that received the DVD were from all over the world. Eight years later, over 240 of the recipients complied, and sent in previous DEXA scans, and many sent before-and-after X-rays, too. All the information went to Bernard Rosner, Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard.

The Results Are In: Yoga Improves Bone Density

It took more than a month to get anything back from him. In the meantime, I was ruminating as to whether I’d just wasted ten years of my life.

 

Eventually, we got the statistical results: .001 significant improvement in the spine and femur, with improvement in the hip as well.

 

We published this study soon after as Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss.” Lu, Yi-Hsueh; Rosner, Bernard; Chang, Gregory; Fishman, Loren M. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: April/June 2016 – Volume 32 – Issue 2 – p 81–87.

 

Over 80% of the people in the study reversed their bone loss and began to gain bone. No fractures or serious injuries of any kind were seen or reported in over 100,000 hours of people doing this yoga daily. Over 80% of them had osteoporosis or osteopenia when we started. Fewer had these conditions when we finished.

The Future of Yoga and Osteoporosis

We are now working on another study which we call a dose-response study,. In these, we have participants see a teacher who is trained in our yoga every two weeks to see what “dose” of yoga the participants are giving themselves. Then we’ll see what happens to their DEXA scans in two years.

We’ve also developed alternative sets to ward off the inevitable ennui of doing the same poses day in and day out. New alternatives also strengthen the bones in the wrist, the fourth most probable fracture site. We have put the first group, the group we’ve already proven to work, online for free on Youtube, offer DVDs on sciatica.org.

We also give workshops such as the one at the Art of Living Retreat center in North Carolina. Additionally, we offer online training to teach yoga teachers to train people to do these poses at their proper level. This is an effective, innocuous, and quite valuable skill for yoga teachers to acquire.

Join Loren Fishman at Yoga vs. Osteoporosis from May 31st to June 4th at the Art of Living Retreat Center!

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Fishman method , healing , loren fishman , osteoporosis , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat
Digital Detox

Exploring Wisdom: The Digital Diet

By Heather Patton
April 17, 2017

Digital Detox

 

Mile marker 273. That’s when the shift happens. It’s so overwhelming that I have to look for markers to designate where I am. I know it is mile marker 273 because that sign is now one of my touchstones. I turn the curve in the road, and the mountain range opens up before me. This is my destination. This is when my breath deepens and my heart feels wide open. These are the North Carolina mountains. This range is approximately 1.1 billion years old, second oldest in the world. I’m a native of this state and this particular region is my favorite. I’m lucky enough to visit often and it always feels like home.

 

One of the joys of this magical place is an opportunity to disconnect from the digital world and soak up nature. On Average, Americans spend 1.7 hours a day on social media and check their phones some 46 times a day.

“We’re inherently social organisms,” says Paul Atchley, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Kansas. There’s almost nothing more compelling than social information, he says, which activates part of your brain’s reward system. Your noodle is also hardwired to respond to normal sights and sounds. (For most of human history, a sudden noise might’ve signaled the presence of a predator.) “So something like a buzz or beep or flashing light is tapping into that threat detection system,” he explains.

 

We are being asked more and more in this society to multitask, and we think we are pulling it off when we really aren’t. “Every time you switch your focus from one thing to another, there’s something called a switch cost,” says Earl Miller, professor of neuroscience at MIT. “Your brain stumbles a bit, and it requires time to get back to where it was before it was distracted.”

 

“You’re not able to think as deeply on something when you’re being distracted every few minutes,” Miller notes. “And thinking deeply is where real insights come from.”

 

Ironically, it seems technology is bringing us together when the opposite is true. While we may be liking each other’s photographs or sharing our political views, we are missing the opportunity for a face-to-face conversation. We are missing the connection of eye contact and interaction through body language as well as the words we speak.

 

The translation of the word yoga from Sanskrit to English is to yoke or join. It’s a great opportunity for us to feel a connection of our body, mind, and spirit. When we choose a class setting for our practice, it gives the opportunity to share some mat space with like-minded beings.

 

Do you take the time to be sure you’re guarding the sacred space and awareness of connection?

 

Does a yoga handstand sound more accessible than releasing a device from your hand for an entire day?

 

Maybe it’s time for a digital diet, an opportunity to disconnect from technology and reconnect with others and with nature.

 

The Art of Healing Retreat Center offers a sacred space for reconnection to yourself and those who share this beautiful planet.

 

What will be your mile marker for 2017?

 

What is your touchstone?

 

Come travel the road to defining inner peace with Terry and me at the Art of Living Retreat Center.

Join Heather Patton and Terry Brown for Yoga for Life! this May.

Works cited in this article: 
(Ellen Seidman, Mindfulness, The New Science of Health and Happiness, Time, Special Edition. So Give Yourself a Break! 38)
(Markham Held, Mindfulness, The New Science of Health and Happiness, Time, Special Edition. Devices Mess With Your Brain… 34-37)

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , digital detox , social media , wellness , wisdom , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat
Yin Yoga - Art of Living Retreat Center

Exploring Wisdom: Nora Benian on Yin Yoga and the Path to Surrender

By Paige Reist
March 31, 2017

Yin Yoga - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

Yoga, as many practitioners can attest, is so much more than a physical practice. Yin Yoga is a series of restorative and energizing postures that are held for a longer time, healing and opening the soul just as profoundly as the body. We recently spoke with Nora Benian, RYT-500, Yoga Therapist & Instructor, and upcoming retreat host about the transformational power of the practice. 

 

Making Space for the New

We struggle with repeating thought patterns about ourselves and our lives, and the idea of letting that way of being go can be scary. Our thought patterns are what we’ve built our lives around, and they give us security, identity, and power – or so we think. We fear letting go, because we fear what we might be when we are stripped down.

 

But what are we really afraid of? What story about ourselves are we clinging to? The truth is, we must clear out the old to make space for the new. That which no longer serves us has no room anymore, because we need to make room for that which will serve us from here onward. Having a practice of surrender in your life will make space for your growth and personal realizations of who you really are.

 

The Art of Letting Go

Yin Yoga is all about surrendering and practicing the art of letting go. Yin is to accept a shape that is authentic, without forcing your body to change. It is to help one relax into the bones, to be still and give up holding on. The resistance one encounters can be layered, like peeling back the layers of an onion, and we must continually remind ourselves to let go. Just when we think we are in the pose fully, we come across another layer of resistance.

 

But if we keep breathing deeply, eventually a release happens. We then go through the steps of fostering acceptance again with this new, recently uncovered layer of resistance, and find the courage to go through yet another layer with deeper breaths, deeper trust. We must trust that going through these layers of resistance is better than fighting against them. That is when we surrender. That is when give the life force a wider channel to flow through, bringing more life into the body and calming the mind.

 
Our biography is our biology.
 

Heal the Body, Heal the Soul

A regular practice of Yin Yoga also releases muscular pain. Yin Yoga works on the connective tissues, joints, and tendons attached to the bones. It accesses the deep fascial networks that run through every element of our body. This is a continuous connective tissue that exists from head to toe, so that a restriction in one part will affect every other part.

 

Fascia stores all pain from the landscape of our lives – our biography is our biology. Fascia is where our trauma is stored. Physical tension is the manifestation of emotional trauma. Just as a broken bone creates scar tissue, emotional trauma is also ingrained int he history of our body. This is why emotions like anxiety, anger, or grief are all felt at specific locations. Even after the emotion has passed, our bodies hold onto these memories until we let them go.

 

Yin yoga helps to create a space to surrender inhibiting mind patterns. As the fascia is released, so are the psychological traumas it contains. This is why certain poses can bring a surge of emotion as stored energies are unblocked at let go. Without those thought patterns, we can discover the core of who we are. Not who we were, not who we will be, but the ever-changing kaleidoscope of our present and beautiful selves. At this point, we will no longer need to cling to possessions, people, or ways of thinking that do not serve us, because right there, on that mat, in the stillness and peace, we remember that we are enough. We will always be enough.

 

Trust yourself – you are more complete than you know. Within you is a power beyond your wildest dreams, and your true nature is unconditional happiness and peace.

 

Join Nora Benian for her Yin Yoga Immersion Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center this May. 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , happiness , healing , wisdom , yin yoga , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat
feldenkrais workshop north carolina

In House: Lavinia Plonka on Your Sixth Sense

By Lavinia Plonka
March 5, 2017

feldenkrais workshop north carolina

 

Imagine being so aware that even as you reach for a cup of coffee, you sense the muscles in your back supporting your hand. The quality of each finger’s touch as it wraps around the cup. The momentary intake of breath as you carefully lift it to your lips. The fluttering of your eyelids as you sip.

 

Constant Movement, Constant Awareness

The human organism has the potential to experience this peak awareness, not just during moments of heightened danger or demand, but every moment. By developing this ability, you move more effectively and listen more carefully. You make fewer mistakes, injure yourself less, and enrich your life as well as the lives of those around you. Whether you have limitations due to an injury, or if you’re at the peak of your performance, you can improve, grow, and enjoy your life more fully.
We are always in movement. Even sitting at the computer involves a complex series of signals throughout the nervous system that keep the mouse moving, the toes tapping, the forehead wrinkling. These habitual movements help get the job done – the foot knowing when to step on the brakes, the hand knowing how to hold the toothbrush. But many of these habits also cause pain and limitation. Hunched shoulders, grinding teeth, and a tense lower back are just a few examples of what Moshe Feldenkrais called parasitic habits – they help you through a portion of recovery, and then they create greater problems.

 

Anti-Yoga: The Feldenkrais Method

Research has proven that the nervous system can learn to create new patterns, new ‘neural pathways’, for a more rewarding life. It does this most effectively through movement – the language of the body. The Feldenkrais Method® uses subtle, sophisticated movements to teach people how to literally reorganize themselves – improve range of motion, reduce pain, and live a fuller life. Yet, it is gentle, effortless, and safe for everyone. Houstonia Magazine recently called it the ‘anti-yoga’. 

It’s not flexible bodies I’m after, it’s flexible brains.
– Moshe Feldenkrais, founder of the Feldenkrais Method

If you’d like to experience the joy of enhanced awareness and effortless movement, you owe it to yourself to join us for Your Sixth Sense at the Art of Living Retreat Center.

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Feldenkrais , flexibility , Lavinia Plonka , pain management , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat
Art of Living Retreat Center - Yoga Retreats

In House: Tucker Shelton on Going Beyond the Physical

By Paige Reist
March 3, 2017

Art of Living Retreat Center - Yoga Retreats

 

Yoga has a wonderful tendency to reach out into every part of our lives. Some come to the mat searching for balance and flexibility, and find that they leave feeling spiritually fulfilled. Some come for the peace of mind that yoga creates, and find that their bodies become strong and capable in the process. 

We recently spoke with recent Art of Living Retreat Center guest instructor Tucker Shelton about the far-reaching effects that yoga can have on our lives – the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits that often seem to seek us out and find us, rather than the other way around.

 

Going Beyond the Physical

I attended my first yoga class in college. I didn’t have a physical practice or fitness routine at the time, and yoga seemed interesting. But in that first class, I got so much more than what I bargained for. I experienced such a feeling of coming home. It was a moment of peeling back the veil, and discovering that there was more waiting for my life. I had a feeling of excitement, exuberance, release, and passion pouring out of me, all at once. It felt so healing and nourishing – and after that class, I’ve never looked back.

 

Many students approach yoga because they’re interested in fitness and flexibility, but then, something deeper begins to happen. Asana, the physical part of yoga, is actually only one of eight limbs of the practice. I had a teacher once who said that Asana is the gateway drug to yoga, that the physical practice opens your body, and then, because the body and spirit are so intertwined, you start to embody the other aspects of yoga as well. The way you eat, the way you interact with other people, your perspective on life; all of these tend to change when you begin to explore yoga in its fullness. Physical movement is only a small part of the big picture.

 

A Whole-System Practice

After one of my heart chakra classes, one of the participants came up to me and said “During that practice, and under your guidance, I had a moment of realization. I suddenly knew, in that moment, that it was time to open my heart again to loved ones that I haven’t spoken to in 20 years.” And after that class, she immediately went and contacted her sister and father, and started to take measures to repair those relationships. We tend to think of yoga as a physical practice, but the physical element transforms our emotional and intellectual states as well. It’s a whole-system practice. When you open up your body, the spirit tends to follow.

We tend to think of yoga as a physical practice, but the physical element transforms our emotional and intellectual states as well. It’s a whole-system practice. When you open up your body, the spirit tends to follow.

Creating Space

There are so many different ways of approaching yoga. I’ve seen people go to one yoga class and decide that it isn’t for them, that all yoga classes are the same. But yoga is such a broad practice, and every teacher, every class is different. It’s important to explore different classes to find what works best for you, and to not get stuck in one way of practicing, either.

 

In the courses that I teach, I really like to bring a sense of playfulness to the room. We tend to get very serious about practice, don’t we? So I have an interest in spicing things up and bringing some fun and humor, while also exploring the depths of yoga. I focus on spinning the whole wheel of yoga, and trying to access the fullness that’s waiting for us.
My goal in teaching is to assist other people’s experiences. To be there as somebody who helps participants find the space for their own transformation. I’m not trying to reach in and twist something and turn it and shift their life – I’m just trying to provide a palette from which they can start to paint their own work, whatever that might be.

 

Sanskrit: The Divine Vibration

I find it a very rewarding meditative practice to incorporate Sanskrit into my yoga. For me, Sanskrit is yet another form of yoga – each of the sounds in the Sanskrit alphabet is considered sacred, a divine vibration that, when you combine them to form a word, is the energetic signature of that object.

 

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, so when you speak the Sanskrit word for a pose or an action, you are stepping into that legacy, embodying that seat. It’s not just speaking a word, it’s speaking what that word represents into existence. You quite literally feel the vibration through your system, and those words resonate with your chakras and your energy body.

 
 Inside of the heart is a city, and inside of the city is a temple, and inside of the temple is a lotus, and inside of this lotus is the space, and inside of the space is everything that has ever existed, and that will ever exist.
 

Interconnection and the Space Inside the Lotus

My favourite thing to share with students is a passage from the eighth chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad.

 

This text focuses on the heart center. Inside of the heart is a city, and inside of the city is a temple, and inside of the temple is a lotus, and inside of this lotus is the space, and inside of the space is everything that has ever existed, and that will ever exist. All the elements, all the stars, all the planets – past, present, future. And this space is inside of every single being, every single thing that exists.

 

This passage presents such a rich idea of interconnection, and when we bow to each other and honor each other in our yoga practice, we are bowing to that space inside of each of us where we meet, where we realize that we are truly one.

 

Why the Art of Living Retreat Center?

When I came to see the Art of Living Retreat Center for the first time, it was just so overwhelming and beautiful. We were here at such a perfect time of year, when the leaves are falling and changing colors. The beautiful sunrise that you get to see every morning coming up, the beautiful architecture of the center – and the energy of the space itself – has such a nourishing and uplifting feeling. We just loved every second of being here. And the food was incredible.

 

The Art of Living Retreat Center offers many yoga retreats for all ages, body types, and experience levels. If you are interested in learning more, click here. 
Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

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