Strange love..

Not sure. But, an old post has brought itself back to life. Technology is confusing. However, this may have been a sign from the cosmos. Where have I been? Time to get back to business it seems. While reading this old post (that magically appeared), I am reflecting on a time. A very very different time. Almost a perfect segway into 1.4

 

To be continued..

 

Namaste.

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Hiatus..Sabbatical..Break Time..But really?..Bar Exam

Namaste Yogis and Yoginis.

At the present time, Maria of yogamode. is not taking any new in-home, in-office, or corporate yoga class clients. Additionally, Maria will not be able to accept any offers to teach at your local fitness studios, health clubs, yoga studios, etc. Apologies for any inconvenience and/or disappointment! New scheduling and appointment books will reopen March 1, 2013.

Thank you and Namaste.

yogamode.
get into it!

A Personal Note from Maria:
Namaste.

As many of you know, I have been attending law school for the past three years. Thanks to the love and support of all of my students, teachers, friends, family, and most of all my amazing fiance, Ryan, I have successfully completed my education. I am set to walk at my graduation ceremony on January 20, 2013 in Lansing! I am very excited and grateful to all of my supporters and those that have helped me through a very challenging time in my life!

I would like to thank all of the yogamode. supporters, students, and all of my teachers. Teaching yoga to all of you this past year has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had in my life thus far. It is a passion that continues to deepen and grow everyday of my life. However, that being said, I must take some time off from teaching. For the next two months, until February 28th of 2013, much of my energy will be placed into taking and passing the bar exam. Yin and Yang. I must pursue all of my dreams and follow my path. At this time, the area of my life that needs this focus is on my legal career. This is my final step in reaching this life-long goal. It has taken me a long time, but the light is surfacing, and I am beginning to see the end of this tunnel!

I will be continuing my personal yoga practice that is a part of my everyday life, and I encourage all of you to find your practice and/or continue to live and practice your yoga while we are apart. I will be so happy and look forward to returning to all of you! I appreciate your support, love, and good energy as I take on this challenge! I believe in each of you just as you believe in me to get it done!

Thank you all again, share the love, and of course Namaste.

Maria Provenzano, RYT-200

yogamode.
get into it!

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See yourself in yourself to yourself with yourself…huh?

“Then the Seer abides in Itself, resting in its own True Nature, which is called Self-realization.” (tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam).

Yoga Sutra 1.3.

Hmmmmm…….

What in God’s name? Well, let’s be serious. This stuff was written a long time ago in a language that is now dead. So, translation can be a bit rough. That is why we have our gurus, our teachers, and each other to sort all this business out and work through it.

What does Yoga Sutra 1.3 tell us? Simply, follow this practice and you will be able to uncover yourself and be unveiled to your true identity. The best part? We are unconsciously completely aware that our true selves are somewhere in the mind field.

No, wait. Actually, I think the best part is that not only are we aware of this fact, but we subconsciously always are seeking it. Knowing ourselves is a great power and is something we spend our lives studying and pursuing. From birth we began the process of learning who we are. As everything goes, we peel back one layer at a time. Beginning with the surface. What is this? My arm? What does this thing do? And, then we move forward learning more and more until our subconscious tells us to go deeper. Find out who you really are…

This is why we are here. This is why we are doing this. Studying this practice. Living this practice is the path we follow to get to ourselves. Our true selves.

How has the journaling been going?

My gosh. When I first tried it out, I couldn’t even believe how often I went in and out of each state of mind. Throughout the day, I must have noticed the shift at least 11 times. And, those are only the times that I noticed it! After that, I have found that so far the best technique is a quick Nadi Shodhana to get me back to neutral.

What techniques are you finding that is working to stabilize your state of mind?

 

Namaste.

yogamode.

#getintoit #sharethelove

 

 

 

Diamonds are a girl’s…Uhh, whaaa??

We said one step at a time. Next step… Yoga Sutra 1.2.

“Yoga is the control of the modifications of the mind field.” (yogash chitta vritti nirodhah).

Now that we are well aware of what state of mind we are at in the beginning, we move forward to a deeper understanding of our goal. As we know, our goal is to enter the mastered mind. Nirodhah.

Why?

The point is to achieve a clear, transparent, crystal (or diamond-like) mind. One in which is able to absorb any object in the mind field rather than being clouded by them.

I’m sorry, what?

Basically, what Pantanjali is saying here is that we need to follow steps to achieve an understanding of our true self, or find the Jewel of Truth. Use self training to obtain a clear mind or a mastered mind or nirodhah. What is self training? It is comprised of two principles.

  1. Practices incorporated into our life that help us achieve stability and tranquility, and;
  2. Non-attachment.

Our inner process includes fear, aversion, and attachment. We must figure out a way to let go of these colored thoughts. Uncolor them Swami would say. Study. Practice. Surrender.

We can begin with meditation on our attitudes toward people and ways to focus our attention. This is the groundwork to lay before delving into deeper meditations where our great work will be done and Self-realization achieved. When we hold fast to the two guiding principles of self training:

“Five attitudes, efforts, and commitments are cultivated: faith in your direction, energy to go there, mindfulness and memory to stay there, and the ongoing commitment to seek the higher states of concentration and wisdom.”-Swami Rama.

That alone is enough for me to move right on to this step.

So, what are we going to do this time?

I think the best way to study Yoga Sutra 1.2 is to once again, begin at the beginning. Remember consciousness on your state of mind. Go further, try to become more acutely aware throughout each moment of each day to being in tune with your current state of mind. Use the moments you are finding yourself travelling in and out of the kshipta, mudha, and vikshipta mind to close your eyes and start observing the two core principles. What practices can you employ to bring yourself back into a tranquil or stable state? What are you holding onto? What attitude do you have toward the person you are interacting with, if you are? What are you attached to in this moment that is holding you in this state of mind? What do you need to let go of? Try a short meditative practice each time you are able to find yourself experiencing one of this moments.

And then,

Try again.

And..

Again.

Remember.. Study, Practice, Surrender.

Our homework will be to write down these experiences. Were you able to uncolor your thoughts? Stabilize and clear your mind? Write it down. And, then decide if you feel that any of the five attitudes, efforts, and commitments were more deeply cultivated inside of that experience. This is an ongoing training mechanism that I suggest you employ throughout your journey.

Namaste.

#yogamode #getintoit #sharethelove

Distracted…obviously!

After weeks of journaling and reading, reviewing, and re-reading Yoga Sutra 1.1, I have come to the conclusion that my general state of mind rests with Vikshipta, or the Distracted Mind.

My goodness. In fact, I am so deeply distracted that it took this long to come to the conclusion that I am in this state of mind because I kept getting distracted!

I am not sure yet if it is just a matter of my busy lifestyle holding me down inside of vikshipta, or if this is literally a focus problem. I am actually concerned. I am hopeful though.

To get here, I journaled the last few weeks on my thoughts of what was meant by Pantanjali concerning state of mind.

I started from my earliest memory of my state of mind, and I worked my way to today. I learned after careful inspection of my memories, that I have been back and forth between the first three states of mind over and over again. I am speaking generally, of course. It is clear that Pantanjali had meant for us to understand that we all shift between these states of mind throughout the day. However, to begin, we are to examine our general state of mind to have a clear path of where we are going and where we are at in the process as we embark on the journey.

I believe after this examination, when being one hundred percent honest with my self, I am very deeply embedded in the state of vikshipta.

Now that I know. Now I can begin.

Samadhi Pada- Let’s Concentrate! 

 


Life is bustling and booming and busy. Time flies by and usually our day, our week, this month will have come and gone before we can say Happy New Year! It is nearly impossible to feel like we can take time to ourselves and slow down our spinning world.
My son is almost a month old and I feel like it’s only been days since we brought him home. I have barely had a moment’s rest to take one deep breath, let alone find an hour for practice. Let alone another hour for meditation. Hah! The idea is laughable!!!
While this may be the way we feel about our free time between work, school, kids, and the rest of it…it is simply untrue. We can find time. Some anyway. We need to. We must. So, let’s concentrate and as I always say, begin at the beginning.

First, let’s take a look into the first chapter of Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Samadhi Pada. What, pray tell, am I talking about?! OK, so a long time ago, this guy, his name was Pantanjali.. Well, anyway, he wrote down everything humans then knew about yoga. Therefore, as with all things, since he was the first to write it down, he is the one accredited with finding yoga. Of course, we know humans have been practicing asana, or yoga postures, since cavemen painted on walls. How do we know that? Well, because cavemen painted yoga poses on walls! But, anyway, Pantanjali wrote down everything known about yoga and called it the Yoga Sutras. It’s a fantastic place for us to start dedicating our concentration.

The reason I say beginning by focusing a concentration on the Yoga Sutras is the best place to begin is kind of interesting. Why? Well, the concept of concentration encompasses what the first chapter (Samadhi Pada) of the Yoga Sutras is all about! So, what does it say?

In the beginning, Pantanjali begs the question, what is yoga?! It provides us with the most simple and basic start. What is this stuff?! Why are we doing it?! What’s the goal, the point, it’s purpose?! What does it all mean?! Of course, the question what is yoga has a very simple answer. Or does it?! Well, it does and it doesn’t. Yoga is to unite. To basically, strip yourself down to your most natural and true form by tearing down all the walls you have around you, and seeing who you really are inside and out. We are so wrapped up in who we project ourselves to be or who we allow people to see that it is so easy for us lose sight of what our purpose is, what we are meant for, who we are really. Yoga? Easy. You find the root of your existence and work your way up to bind every facet of yourself together until you have discovered every component making up who you are really. Or, in other words, awaken yourself to who your true self really is. That is yoga. It may feel or seem complicated as we go down this path to progress. But, remind yourself of this purpose and this goal, and it will keep the answer to our first question (What is yoga?) very simple for you. Keeping this thought at the center of your journey, and allowing your mind to expand wide open to the more in depth practices to come, will provide you with a vehicle that will allow you to achieve this ultimate goal.

So, where does Pantanjali begin when answering the question what is yoga?!

Now.

The first chapter, the first sutra, the first word… It all begins with the word atha, or NOW. But, what does that mean? Well, it means a lot! One simple word means more than it seems. Not just right now. No. More powerful than that. Now. Now you are ready. After all yoyr experiences in life after everything you’ve seen, said, and done.. the many series of events in your life has brought you here. To now. To this place where you are ready to begin. You have chosen to begin now. Now is the time you take your first step toward the ultimate goal. Self Discovery. Self Awareness. Self Realization. Enlightenment. Finding your true self. Yoga.

Samadhi, the high state of perfected concentration or complete absorption of attention is yoga. This is known. This is our goal. Following Pantanjali from the beginning, the first Yoga Sutras 1.1-1.4 answer for us, what is yoga. So, now that we know what yoga is..how do we get there?

One step at a time. Let’s concentrate on Yoga Sutra 1.1.

” 1.1 Now, after having done prior preparation through life and other practices, the study and practice of Yoga begins.” (atha yoga anushasanam)”

Ok? Again, but, how?!!

We need to discern what state of mind we are in first. Once we know, we have our path laid out before us. All of us are in one of the five states of mind.

Swami Rama describes them like this:

1. Kshipta/disturbed: The ksihipta mind is disturbed, restless, troubled, wandering. This is the least desirable of the states of mind, in which the mind is troubled. It might be severely disturbed, moderately disturbed, or mildly disturbed. It might be worried, troubled, or chaotic. It is not merely the distracted mind (Vikshipta), but has the additional feature of a more intense, negative, emotional involvement.

2. Mudha/dull: The mudha mind is stupefied, dull, heavy, forgetful. With this state of mind, there is less of a running here and there of the thought process. It is a dull or sleepy state, somewhat like one experiences when depressed, though we are not here intending to mean only clinical depression. It is that heavy frame of mind we can get into, when we want to do nothing, to be lethargic, to be a couch potato.

2. The Mudha mind is barely beyond the Kshipta, disturbed mind, only in that the active disturbance has settled down, and the mind might be somewhat more easily trained from this place. Gradually the mind can be taught to be a little bit steady in a positive way, only occasionally distracted, which is the Vikshipta state. Then the mind can move on in training to the Ekagra and Nirodhah states.

3. Vikshipta/distracted: The Vikshipta mind is distracted, occasionally steady or focused. This is the state of mind often reported by students of meditation when they are wide awake and alert, neither noticeably disturbed nor dull and lethargic. Yet, in this state of mind, one’s attention is easily drawn here and there. This is the monkey mind or noisy mind that people often talk about as disturbing meditation. The mind can concentrate for short periods of time, and is then distracted into some attraction or aversion. Then, the mind is brought back, only to again be distracted.

The Vikshipta mind in daily life can concentrate on this or that project, though it might wander here and there, or be pulled off course by some other person or outside influence, or by a rising memory. This Vikshipta mind is the stance one wants to attain through the foundation yoga practices, so that one can then pursue the one-pointedness of Ekagra, and the mastery that comes with the state of Nirodhah.

4. Ekagra/one-pointed: The Ekagra mind is one-pointed, focused, concentrated (Yoga Sutra 1.32). When the mind has attained the ability to be one-pointed, the real practice of Yoga meditation begins. It means that one can focus on tasks at hand in daily life, practicing karma yoga, the yoga of action, by being mindful of the mental process and consciously serving others. When the mind is one-pointed, other internal and external activities are simply not a distraction.

The person with a one-pointed mind just carries on with the matters at hand, undisturbed, unaffected, and uninvolved with those other stimuli. It is important to note that this is meant in a positive way, not the negative way of not attending to other people or other internal priorities. The one-pointed mind is fully present in the moment and able to attend to people, thoughts, and emotions at will.

The one-pointed mind is able to do the practices of concentration and meditation, leading one onward towards samadhi. This ability to focus attention is a primary skill that the student wants to develop for meditation and samadhi.

5. Nirodhah/mastered: The Nirodhah mind is highly mastered, controlled, regulated, restrained (Yoga Sutra 1.2). It is very difficult for one to capture the meaning of the Nirodhah state of mind by reading written descriptions. The real understanding of this state of mind comes only through practices of meditation and contemplation. When the word Nirodhah is translated as controlled, regulated, or restrained, it can easily be misunderstood to mean suppression of thoughts and emotions.

To suppress thoughts and emotions is not healthy and this is not what is meant here. Rather, it has to do with that natural process when the mind is one-pointed and becomes progressively more still as meditation deepens. It is not that the thought patterns are not there, or are suppressed, but that attention moves inward, or beyond the stream of inner impressions. In that deep stillness, there is a mastery over the process of mind. It is that mastery that is meant by Nirodhah.

But, before we move on to the second Yoga Sutra. I suggest we take this slow. Why don’t we find three times today where we can stop, look at our mood, and categorize our state of mind. In fact, after we have done this for a few days, let’s find 5 minutes before bed to concentrate on being honest with ourselves and decide what is our general state of mind. Once we have found this, we know where we are on our path to Nirodhah. To Yoga!
I am so excited for you to join me!!! Let’s concentrate. Soon we will all be aligned in the right direction leading us straight to enlightenment.

Namaste.

#yogamode

#getintoit #sharethelove

We meet again..

Namaste.

Welcome back to the mode! Let us not crawl, not even walk.. nay, but let us fly back into our practice together!

My how I have missed you, my dear sweet yoga. Alas, I can always count on you to welcome me home with open arms. I am grateful for your endless and unwavering love for my body, mind, and spirit. You are always there when I call, and you never disappoint.

Where do we go from here?!

Back to basics.

To begin..

Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend pose):

Sit down. Close your eyes. Inhale and reach your arms up over your head to create space from your tailbone to the top of your head. Exhale and fold forward from your waistline with your fingertips outstretched toward your toes. When you meet your edge release your head, neck, shoulders, and the weight of your arms. Relax your hands down next to your legs. Inhale and feel how the back of your body naturally expands upward. Almost as if you are coming away from your legs when you breathe in. Exhale and allow your body to naturally relax more deeply into the pose. It will feel as if you falling back down toward your legs when you breathe out. See if you are able to gain another few millimeters of space with every exhale. Allowing the breath to help the body come closer to achieving its goal of mastering this pose. Grant yourself the gift of patience and self-acceptance as the triplets come together on their own terms, in their own way, and in their own time. Continue to repeat this combination breathing, asana, and meditation practice for the next five minutes. Should your mind begin to wander off, gently remind yourself of where you are, what you are doing, what breath you are breathing, what the breath is doing to your body, and come back to a blank space behind your eyelids working to allow the triplets to come together beautifully and without distraction or interruption. This way you can fully enjoy all of the numerous benefits of Paschimottanasana.

Do you know what the benefits of Paschimottanasana are?!?!

pach2

108 Days of Gratitude

Everyone has bad days, weeks, months, years. We all have occurrences in our lives that sometimes create a space of doubt. Inside that space we can so quickly forget that we have the ability to create our own world.

It is easy to fall into the depths of darkness when we are suffering. Finding happiness is a struggle that all living beings spend their entire existence working toward. In creating our own surroundings, it is best to begin with eliminating the negative as much as possible. To begin that process, start with looking around you and finding the positive you have. Something as simple as, “I am grateful that I have the ability to see and read this post today.” That is enough to start the process of unveiling yourself to positive thinking and all of the wonderful things in you are able to put into your world and surround yourself with.

In an effort to enhance your progress in the 108 Days to Headstand Challenge that I posted this week, I am doubling the challenge and upping the ante! Not only will we get our bodies and breath ready for us to achieve our Headstand, but we will also be preparing our minds to achieve happiness, positive thinking, and clarity. These two challenges will exercise us in complete wellness, and they will help bring the triplets* together in such a way that in the next 108 days you will be fulfilled mind, body, and breath!

ON TOP OF ALL OF THOSE AMAZING INCENTIVES…

I HAVE ONE MORE….

Participate in the 108 Days to Headstand and 108 Days of Gratitude like this:

1.) Comment on the yogamode. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Posts with questions, comments, concerns, or even a photo/video of you following that day’s 108 Days to Headstand challenge, and;

2.) Share on the yogamode. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Posts something you are grateful to have in your world for 108 days, or;

3.) Share on your own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Posts your 108 Days to Headstand and 108 Days of Gratitude with a tag to yogamode. and the #getintoit, and;

3.) Every time you post on the yogamode. page you will receive one entry, and every time you post on your own pages (with a tag to yogamode. and #getintoit) you will receive two entries!!! I will put your name in the big bowl of fun for every entry you earn in order to further your chances of….

4.) Being one of the five people chosen to have a FREE yoga class with me in the comfort of your own home or any place/time/setting that you choose!!! Your choice of a group class or a private lesson. If you are out-of-state you still qualify!!!

Have fun on your path to gratitude, happiness, and headstand!!!

Namaste.

#getintoit

108 Days to Headstand Will Begin May 1st!

I have recently posted on social media that I will begin teaching via Facebook a new 108 days to Headstand Challenge!

I am very excited about this upcoming challenge! Headstand is one of those poses that can be very intimidating. In fact, I can’t even count how many times I have heard a student say, “I have no intention of standing on my head.” While you may have said it, it is time to change that outlook! Headstand is an amazing part of your practice. It gives you a chance to look at the world from a completely different perspective. I bet you have heard people say, “My world is upside down!” on many occasions. Maybe you, yourself, have felt this way before too. Well, then stand on your head and turn it right side up!

Headstand helps so many find clarity and peace of mind. It is a truly relaxing, meditative, and enlightening experience when done correctly and with proper alignment!

We are going to take this nice and slow. So, if you are a beginner, or have never even attempted to stand on your head before, this 108 days is for you!

We will start by getting some basics out of the way. Let’s limber up a little in the shoulders, neck, and back. I would like to see us all strengthen our core just a little bit more. We will work through some flowing sequences that will help prepare us for our headstands. Finally, we are going to spend some time toward the end of our 108 days with the proper technique, alignment, and preparation for headstand.

We will all get up in sirsasana in these 108 days! It will be a breakthrough in our practice, and it will teach us so much more than just standing on our head. Achieving your headstand is one of the most exciting times in your practice. It is quite an accomplishment. Not only physically. Learning to trust yourself is one of the greatest benefits of all!

Get into it! 108 Days to Headstand Will Begin May 1st! Follow yogamode. on Facebook!!!

A Monday night “Must”!

After six long years of pestering, I finally got my husband on a yoga mat last night! Granted, it was our anniversary, so I believe he was appeasing my incessant nagging for our special day. Plus, of course, because he loves me!

 

This victory isn’t the subject matter of today’s blog, however. In fact, I write to you, my students, to inform you that this wonderful lifestyle has been complimented by yet another place of peace and practice. 

 

Citizen Yoga Studio is in Royal Oak and opened a newer second location in Detroit, Michigan. 

 

Kacee Must’s 7:00 p.m., Monday night Vinyasa is indeed a MUST! I was challenged body, mind, and breath. Her teaching of conscious choice last night had me more in tune with my every move than I have been in a yoga class in so long! Not to mention I was completely rejuvenated and replenished by the end of class. I was dripping sweat. Talk about TOTAL detoxification. Oh! And, even better, Kacee’s free spirited and intuitive being radiated through the entire room. Her personalized class made me feel that my presence in the class was an asset to the glowing energy in the studio. Most importantly, I was able to hit my yogasm. For those of you who have no idea what your yogasm* is, let me enlighten you.

 

First of all, yogasm* is a word I made up (not claiming trademark here people, just sayin’ I use it, that’s all! So, let’s keep your panties untwisted if you feel you coined it first) that I like to use to describe that moment in your class when you breakthrough the binds of difficulty and struggle, and you feel an overwhelming shift that allows you to fall freely into effortless flowing movement, balanced breathing, and peaceful mind. 

 

There is a process within your practice. In fact, there are several. There is a process which brings you to your mat. There is a process to reaching your next step in deepening your practice (one process for each your body, mind, and breath). Then there is a process that takes place within each time you practice. That process begins with the excitement of actually getting to class and sitting on your mat. It is followed by getting into your yogamode*. I mean simply that moment when you’re channeling your excited energy into focus in order to bring yourself into a calm space for practice. Once you’ve entered into your yogamode*, you begin your connection to your body, mind, and breath (or the triplets*). This is done with a sequence of asanas designed to flow together in conjunction with your breath, and give the triplets* exactly what they need to achieve balance and unification. As you go through that step in this process, the triplets* become challenged. The level and type of challenge is different for each individual. Once you begin feeling that struggle, the goal is to bring yourself back to where you began when your entered your yogamode*, and the triplets were in a state of balance and closer to unification. As you work through this step, trying to get to the next step in this process, your meditation and the emphasis on a focused breath and conscious movement become a necessity to keep self-doubt, defeat, and any other negative vibes at bay. Once you have worked through the effort of getting the triplets back into balance during the flowing practice, you will feel a very pronounced shift in your energy. Suddenly, you are moving from pose to pose with ease, your breath is seemingly falling into place with every movement you make, and best of all clarity of mind overcomes you. The practice becomes effortless. A light and airy feeling runs through you. Almost like gravity is suspended and you are being carried through these poses. Then there is the goofy smile you feel on your face that you don’t even remember putting there! Yogasm. There you have it. 

 

As you can clearly see, this is why so many people claim that practicing yoga is a very personal and intimate experience. 

 

All of you know quite well that I suffer from physical limitations due to my knee. While Kacee’s class was physically and mentally challenging for me, her encouragement and non-judgmental demeanor throughout the class made me feel… Well, I felt I was able to leave my limitations behind and absorb every benefit offered by this class. Her enriching teaching of how our own choices give us the power to create our own world, and it is through that conscious choice we are in control of each and every moment we are presented with, made me feel able to bring my moving meditation to a new height that actually impacted my physical practice with such positive effects; I am naming this class a Monday night “Must”! 

 

Check out Kacee and her studio, Citizen Yoga here: http://www.citizenyogastudio.com/

 

I hope to flow with you there soon!

 

Keep shining, and Namaste.

 

 

Maria

yogamode*

#getintoit

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