People think Yoga means always standing on your head or doing some pose. But the aim of yoga is to calm the mind. That's why it's called Integral Yoga, because we integrate everything; mind, body, and spirit.     ~Sri Swami Satchidananda

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Endings are New Beginnings: The Evolvement of Omkarra Yoga.

March 1st, 2012by Michelle Muttart

Namaste.

 
I hope everyone has been enjoying the mildness of winter.  It’s been nice. Spring is upon us and is a time of transformation and growth.  It is a time to honor our truths and manifest those truths into reality, a reality that serves the highest good.

 
I have starting home schooling both of my boys.  This has proven to be a great adjustment and we are learning on all levels. The dedication to both the studio and their education has proven difficult.  It’s hard to give everything 100%.

 
In order to find balance I realize that a shift must occur.  I need to focus on my family and cut back the time dedicated to instructing. The classroom structure takes a lot of time and effort and teaching an average of ten classes a week is a lot on me physically and mentally.  With that said, I have decided to close the studio at this time and let sharing yoga evolve into whatever form that it is supposed to take. Endings are new beginnings.

 
I love and will always share the benefits of yoga and will continue to instruct in a corporate and private setting for the time being.  I am exploring options for a smaller space to provide class instruction to the current students in the near future.  The classes I am teaching outside of the studio will continue as scheduled.  I will also continue to write for my blog and keep you up to date as everything unfolds. If you are interested in alternate forms of receiving yoga instruction please let me know. I’m open to teaching in other spaces and subbing for other instructors 2-3 times a week.

 
The “official” last class will be held on Wednesday March 28.  I realize that many of you have bought packages lately and I want to give you time to use up what you have left. Instead of selling packages from this point on, students that no longer have classes left in their package may drop in to any class with a suggested donation of $10.

 
I have thoroughly enjoyed all of wonderful people I have come to know thus far.  I appreciate each of you for allowing me to share my passion with you and helping me to make my dreams a reality and I appreciate all the wonderful instructors that have helped along the way.  I look forward to serving you in the future.

 
In Peace,

Michelle

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The Tree and Roots of Avidya

February 5th, 2012by Michelle Muttart

In talking with many people who are on a path of growth I get the opportunity to witness; witness their walk and turn inward to witness my own. When we step back, sometimes we can see the error of our ways and with guidance learn a more positive approach. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras teaches about the concept of avidya. Let’s look at what avidya is and how it plays a part in our lives.

 

What is Avidya?

 

Avidya literally means “incorrect understanding”. The opposite is vidya or “correct understanding”. Avidya in some ways is the characteristics and habits that we develop because of our life experiences. For example, say a friend falls to the ground and we extend a hand to help them up and they smack it. We would be confused, maybe even hurt or angry. But they are our friend and so we reach out again, but again they smack our hand. In fact each time we try to help them we get the same result. Eventually, we no longer offer assistance to them with a fear of what may happen.

 

Let’s move forward a month and another friend slips and falls. Will we help them? By this point, it will at the very least cross our mind that we could be slapped again. Of course we want to help, but our past experiences tell us we may not get the result we hope for and in fact we may be hurt in the process. We may even replay the event in our mind so much that we become traumatized and decide never to help anyone who falls. This is avidya.

 

Asmita


Avidya is like a tree and it’s sometimes easier to recognize the branches. The first branch is asmita or the “ego”. Asmita makes us think we need to be the best, the fastest, the coolest, the richest, the prettiest, the skinniest, and so on.

 

Raja


The second branch is raja. Raja is demanding. For example, Sue went shopping for furniture and found a table she’s been looking for and was so happy and excited to have something new for her house. Today, Sue wakes up and wants to go again, get something else. Even though she may not need anything and it may not be good for her budget, she wants to feel good like she did yesterday. This is raja.

 

Dvesa


Next is Dvesa. In a way, it’s opposite of raja. Dvesa is when we reject things. When we no longer help a fallen friend because we are afraid we will get hurt again, like our example. We may even reject things that are unfamiliar even if we have no reason. We reject people, thoughts, places, and things because of what we relate to them or because we can’t relate to them.

 

Abhinivesa

 

Last is abhinivesa or fear. Fear affects us more than we realize. In our society it’s best to blend, to be part of the norm, to do what is expected. When we express ourselves in a way that is individual or different we have doubts. These doubts can be about our jobs, relationships, about being judged, about our looks and the aging process, and so on. Think about the amount of doubt that goes through your mind on a daily basis. Thoughts This is abhinivesa.

 

Roots

 

Just like a tree, avidya grows. It may be slow and subtle then before we realize it the roots have overtaken and we are immersed in negative thoughts and fears, not thinking clearly because avidya is like a cloud over our eyes. At that point, we are living in an illusion and cannot see the truth. This can be in a single are of life or many.

 

Yoga Helps!

The good news is yoga helps us to see. It helps to remove the cloud by practicing the philosophy. The practice teaches that what happened yesterday is not guaranteed for today. If yesterday was great and I want it all over again or if it was bad and I never want it again. Today is a new day and with this day we are renewed and all of our experiences are new.

 

Practice

 

Take time this week to see what you cling to and what you reject. See what branches of avidya are creeping into the garden of your mind, body, and your spirit. Acknowledge it, then begin the process of letting go by allowing yourself to feel how you feel, accepting it. Next, move your awareness into the body and see where the roots are on a more physical level, imagine them unrooting and releasing in whatever way that unfolds.

Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih

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Looking Glass

March 25th, 2011by Michelle Muttart

Looking Glass


Yoga Sutra 1.3


Then the Seer abides in its own nature.


The brief moments when we are truly present represent the seer. When we are completely comfortable in our own skin, yet have deepened our awareness pass the skin into the raw layers of who we really are. We no longer identify ourselves with the person reflected back to us in the mirror.

 

Image is Everything


Connecting on this level has always been a challenge for me personally. As I child I sustained substantial burns on my face and hands. Grade school proved to be brutal for a young girl who thought she was just like everyone else until she looked in the mirror. The image reflected back needed work. Little did I know, I was looking in a broken mirror and just wasn’t aware of the cracks.

 

Looking Glass


So, I did what any smart girl would do, the more I realized my differences, the better I learned to cover them up. Make-up became my best friend and we got along great! Before long the image in the mirror blended with pretty ones before my eyes. Though occasionally anxiety and embarrassment flooded when someone stared or a child pointed. Years of insecurity weakened my self-esteem and bliss still proved to be elusive.


All the Kings Horses


No matter how much I blended, the truth of the matter remained, I was different. The image still appeared pieced together, dirty, and distorted. Then one day, God said, “You’re going to be a yoga teacher,” and the flood gates opened. He showed me little by little that indeed it wasn’t me that was broken, it wasn’t me that was pretty or ugly, it wasn’t even me that was burned. I cannot be reflected in a mirror on a wall.

Serenity


At this point self-realization started to happen. This is a process. Can I say I don’t wear make-up now? No. I can say that I have more moments with less and that I am comfortable. Luckily, the people in my life are supportive and enable me to let my guard down. I’m learning to renounce physical beauty and finding that often the make-up, the name brand clothing, and the beautiful blond locks curled into perfection only create a barrier and breed insecurity in someone else.

 

The Performance of my Life


“I have come into the world as light.”~The Holy Bible


When I was that little girl, I shined. I was pure and I knew God. My goal now is to move back. Not back in time or in maturity, but back to pure, back to still, back to light, back to God. I realize the image reflected back to me is not in the mirror, it is in the image of the person before me. It is in the faces of my children, the student in my class, the person on the street, and humanity as a whole. I am encompassed of it all.

 

 

 

 

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Retrain the Brain

March 14th, 2011by Michelle Muttart

 

Yoga Sutra 1.2


YOGAS CITTA VRITTI NIRODHAH

 

The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga.


How can we let go of ideas and beliefs that govern our behavior? Sutra 1.2 gives us guidance.  This is an important sutra.  It is the basic idea of yoga summed up into one sentence.  If you get this, you’re doing good because the rest of the sutras pretty much further the explain this one.

 

Let’s Start with 3


The mind is made of 3 basic parts.

1.       Ahamkara is the ego.

2.       Buddhi is the intellect.

3.       Manas is the part of the mind that desires.

 

Cookie Monster

 

Growing up I loved to watch Sesame Street and loved the Cookie Monster.  As an adult I still act like him, not so much for cookies now, but definitely for chocolate.  The last time I was at Broadway at the Beach I walked past the Fudgery and the sweet scent of chocolate billowed around me.  Manas thought, “Mmmm, do I smell sweetness?”.  Buddhi discriminated with excitement, “What is that?  I think it’s chocolate. Oh my!  It’s fudge! When was the last time we had fudge? I love fudge.”  Lastly ahamkara chimes in, “Definitely having the fudge.” Before I realized it, I was headed towards the door!

 

Heaven or Hell

 

I heard once, that any place you are can be perceived as heaven or hell. As I prepare for a long awaited family trip I am reeling with excitement and ready to relax.  I have high hopes that this will just be a lovely time for us to be together and bond.  I know that taking the whole family will have trying moments.  I realize it’s up to me to decide my experience.  There is a choice in every moment of our lives along these lines.  It’s our approach that determines the quality of our experience.

 

The ‘N’ Word

 

Some of our beliefs are negative but don’t necessarily have to be.   However, many are illusions.  Thoughts such as, “I’m not good enough too…,” “I’ll never be like…,” “I just can’t,” all have one thing in common; not, never, don’t.  More illusion words are no, can’t, and won’t.  Find awareness of how many times you say “N” words in a day and begin the practice of restraint. Practice looking in the mirror and for every negative idea or thought spoken; try saying the opposite out loud. Each positive step we take, takes us one step closer to enlightenment or self realization.

 

 

 

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Week of March 6/ Yoga Sutra 1.1

March 6th, 2011by Michelle Muttart

Update for the week of March 6, 2011

Namo Narayan

Announcements:

1. Monday’s classes at 9:30am & 4:30pm are cancelled.  Also the Thursday at 4:30.  Emily is out of town and there is no sub available for those times.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

 

2. Shivani will arrive Thursday evening.  If you haven’t registered for the upcoming workshops, please take time this week to do that.  Space is limited.

 

3. Look for an article in the Roanoke Times this week about the studio!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga Sutra 1.1

 

ATHA YOGANUSAMSANAM


Now, the exposition of Yoga is being made.

 

This is the first of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  Simply put, the beginning of the study of yoga begins now.


Humble Beginnings

 

All of us come to yoga by different means, each completely relevant and true.  Mine started off to regain physical strength and health, others to relax, meditate, create flexibility, or just to learn to breathe.   The important thing is that we each arrived on the mat at some point and a

 

Sparks of Light

 

Remember the first time you felt something open, move, tingle in a pose; if you haven’t yet, no worries, it’s coming.  Your mind swirls with wonder, belief, and anticipation of more.  That is the point we realize there is something to this thing called yoga and we make a decision to open our minds and our hearts to learn more.


Practice Makes Perfect

 

Once we find a teacher we trust, our journey begins.

 

The description of this sutra with Swami Satchidananda’s commentary describes it best:

 

“Anusasanam means exposition or instruction, because it is not mere philosophy that Patanjali is about to expound, but rather direct instruction on how to practice Yoga.  Mere philosophy will not satisfy us.  We cannot reach the goal by mere words alone.  Without practice, nothing can be achieved.”


The Layers of the Self Unfold

 

What you believe will be the experience of your life.  If you think you are alone, lonely you will feel.  If you profess you’re blessed, the blessing begin to fall upon you.

 

“Everything begins in the mind.  If you want to see clearly, you need clear vision.” ~Swami Satchidananda

 

Along with the physical benefits we begin to see that the “mind-stuff” changes as clarity unfolds with a consistent practice.  The witness develops and grows strong enabling a change deeper within.


Let’s Start with 3


  1. 1. Suffering is caused by a faulty perception.  We hold on to the good times and resist change, especially when it makes us uncomfortable.  Learn to go with the flow even in the darker moments of life.
  2. 2. Peace comes in realizing and accepting who we really are.  Loving that person wholly.
  3. 3. The only way to find that true authentic self is to control the mind. “Just as only a clean, undistorted mirror can reflect our face as it truly is, only a one-pointed and tranquil mind can part the veils of ignorance to reveal and reflect the Self.”~Reverend Jaganath Carrera

 

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