blessed yogini.

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isn't ayelet the most lovely yoga lady? we took these pictures in dumbarton oaks park over in georgetown. we walked ten minutes away from the road and suddenly we were in a little fairy glen of greenness. ayelet described it best by saying that the whole shoot conveyed the mother earth sukha (sanskrit for softness, openness). i think this makes sense because ayelet expresses her own sense of sukha so well (and has some awesomely defined tricep muscles that show her developed capacity for sthira (strength)).

as long as we are on yoga, i found a list of pantajili's yamas and niyamas that i copied from one of my mom's yoga books. as i am always trying to remember to live by these, i thought i would share them, along with some of my mom's notes in the margin (her thoughts are the ones punctuated by "quotation marks." i've been studying these for the past few years and it's interesting how all of a sudden one will become really interesting to me. last year i was all about the svadyaya--just looking again and again at the way that i act and think about things. this year i am really feeling the importance of tapas, disciplined practice, for me to be true to myself. but really, it's always ahimsa, non-violence, that is really the centerpiece of this whole yoga practice. if i start there then i know--especially with how i treat myself--that pretty much i will be in alignment with the way i want to be living. let me know what speaks to you...

yama and niyama: conscious relationship with your world and yourself
"awareness. it's about eliminating distractions from your path. without spiritual connection, yoga is just exercise. the wise use of all our gifts--increases them. unwise use--decreases them"

yama--"based on non-violence"
social ethics

ahimsa, non-violence/compassion
behave in kindness, friendliness, compassion, and thoughtful consideration for all beings and things, as well as yourself. "in the presence of one established in compassion (non-violence) all hostility dissolves. co-listening. violence--intent to harm (usually because we feel threatened)"

satya, non-deception/truthfulness
practice conscious communication through speech, writing, gesture, and actions. consider what you say, how you say it and in what way it could affect others. "for one established in truth, the results fit the action"

asteya, non-stealing/honesty
take advantage of no person or situation for personal gain. "generosity. the persona established in honesty lives in abundance"

brahmacharya, non-abuse of sexual energy, conscious sexuality, energy management
honor your sexuality and that of others. create relationships that foster your understanding of the highest truths. "on established in conscious sexuality has abundant energy"

aparigraha, non-greed/security
take only what you need and nothing more. "one who is consistently w/o greed understands the meaning of life"

niyamas "based on purification"
personal practices

saucha, purity
maintain cleanliness of body, mind, and surroundings. "over exposure to bad language, sexuality, violence, gossip de-sanitizes us. there is a the possibility for attaining equilibrium, purity, well-being, focus, mastery of the senses, and ultimately self-realization"

santosha, contentment
practice being comfortable with what you have and what you do not have. embrace all experiences as opportunities to learn and grow. "contentment brings supreme joy"

tapas, discipline
increase the heat that burns impurities through practices that keep you body/mind fit and healthy; proper sleep, exercise, nutrition, work, and relaxation "through disciplines that strengthen and purify body, mind, and senses one becomes capable of extraordinary abilities. ability to endure pain"

svadhyaya, self-examination
observe, read, study, practice, reflect, review and observe your progress so that you may see yourself more clearly. "therapy. self-study (sacred texts) brings realization of one's true nature"

isvarapranidhana, spiritual attunement
'let go and let god.' attune to the all-knowing presence within you and allow that presence to direct your actions. "develops extraordinary abilities. experiencing the presence (of god) to see what's real"