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Archive for Zen

Hollywood, Here We Come!

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On May 20th, 2015 (my birthday!), principal filming began on the Little Indie Film That Could, Eyes of the Roshi. Starring Eric Roberts, Grandmaster Adam Nguyen and Ethan Marten (also the film’s producer and President/CEO of Light Age Films), we began filming in Virginia Beach, VA and Knotts Island, NC, (the photo above was taken at Pearl’s Bay Villa on Knotts Island) with a mah-velous cast and a faab-ulous crew. There were many long days (and nights!) of filming, but as the film’s associate producer, I was witness to many moments of pure magic- acting performances that caused us all to stand in jaw-dropped wonder, technical ability that produced scenes of beauty and destruction, and an amazing level of dedication from those involved in the production.

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Director Jon Mark (Rusty) Nail directs Master Adam while Director of Photography Austin Burnette and 2nd Unit DP Eric Hales set up shots 

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Preparing to shoot the final scene

In the two years since then, the Little Indie Film That Could has garnered awards, praise, a screening at the SOHO International Film Fest and, coming up, a screening at the Burbank International Film Festival. Hollywood!

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Master Adam packs his bags for Hollywood.

A GoFundMe campaign is currently underway to raise funds for our team to get to Hollywood by September 6th, 2017. Going to these events allows us to get the film recognized, hopefully seen by potential distributors, and even more hopefully, to be picked up by a distributor. You can help by donating here, liking and sharing the campaign, our Facebook page, and our Twitter feed. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Eyes of the Roshi, the Little Indie Film That Could, continues to pick up steam and speed as it chugs into the future. What lies over the horizon? Stay tuned.1908297_464891866979182_761793369206070619_n

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Grandmaster Adam Weekend Workshop

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Yogis & Yoginis, don’t miss this opportunity to train with Grandmaster Adam and receive your 12-hour certificate towards 200 hour and advanced teacher training! Raja (Royal or King) Yoga comes from the Vietnamese tradition of Yoga. It combines familiar yoga poses with strenuous exercise and is suitable for people at all levels of practice- from beginners to more advanced levels. Feel great, lose weight, and look great, all in one weekend package!

Welcome to International Yoga Institute’s Weekend Yoga Intensive Workshop with Grandmaster Ngoc Xuan Nguyen – better known as Grandmaster Adam.

This weekend workshop will be a thorough introduction to Raja Yoga. Grandmaster Adam concentrates on building the body’s strength, flexibility, and structural integrity. No matter your age you can begin to improve your balance and stability while building endurance and stamina. He will personally teach and supervise each days sessions.

Move well, and feel great with Master Adam! This workshop will also be worth 12 hours toward a 200-hour or more advanced teacher’s training certificate with the International Yoga Institute. Each participant will receive their 12-hour certificate upon completion of the weekend.

Grandmaster’s family has been teaching their Royal “Raja” Yoga for more than 800 years, and Grandmaster Adam Nguyen has been teaching Yoga since the early Sixties. His students are of all ages. Each receives the same instruction and care. Each attains a new level of renewed health, well-being, and confidence. Here are some of his students revealing their experiences.

For more information, call 757.334.YOGA

Friday, Feb. 24
Check-in begins at 3pm
5pm- 8pm

Check In: 3pm. Please eat lightly before check-in. Can eat at restaurant before but choose easily digested, light fare. Check workshop details for diet and nutrition.
5pm: Arrive early, meet Grandmaster Adam and your fellow students! We begin with Inviting the Bell, then move into cleansing warm-ups to awaken the body and sharpen the mind.

Saturday, Feb. 25
7 am- 10:30am
2pm- 5:30pm

Breakfast: Eat light at least one hour ahead.
7 am: On the mat! We’ll begin with a refresher from the evening before, begin energizing warm-ups, review the previous day’s asanas, move into sun salutations variations, intro to more poses, arm balances, and techniques of the asanas.
Break at 10:30 am: Eat right away, then cleanup and rest.
2pm: Back on the mat!
Time for introspection, a quick overview, and any questions. A short quiz. Prepare students for next day. Don’t over do yourselves because we’ll be doing this again tomorrow, so this is a muscle memory situation. Close with the Loving Kindness Meditation.

Sunday, Feb. 26
8am- 10am

Breakfast: Eat light at least one hour ahead
8am: Back on the mat!
Regroup, and a short quiz. Same format as the morning session, abbreviated, followed by Q&A. Now is the time to bring out your notes! Grandmaster Adam will make sure that everybody has achieved their objectives and will take home what they need with deeper understanding, having learned proper form and proper breathing, so that good health, vigorous exercise and spiritual understanding are theirs for life.

Facebook event here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/758699340951837/

Movie poster

Master Adam Karate Do Master

What to expect at your first yoga class…

A New Year is coming up, and you’ve decided this is the year you will a) lose weight, b) get fit, c) find peace, or d) all of the above. So you are ready to sign up for your first yoga class- Yay! Except…what are you getting yourself into? What if everyone there is a) skinny, b) flexible beyond belief, c) they meditate!, d) all of the above? It’s all a bit much, right?

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Yoga class on the beach- look at these bodies!

Here’s what you can expect: there will be all kinds of bodies there (see the picture above), at all levels of flexibility, fitness, and reasons for being there. Some will be first-timers like you, some will have some yoga experience. Some will have fashionable yoga clothes, the newest yoga mats, the latest accessories. Some will be wearing shorts and t-shirts, will have ratty mats, and no designer water bottles. No one will stare at you or judge you on your yoga chops, or your lack of yoga chops, and if they do, just smile at them and say “Namaste” (nah-mah-stay), the all-purpose yoga greeting which basically means, “We’re all the same, you and me.”

Many classes, like mine, begin with a period of meditation, and some people have a little trouble with this, for various reasons. Some folks are just not used to sitting quietly, in stillness, for any length of time. Some have been told or heard that it is against Christian beliefs, but many others, Christians and other religious believers, that while prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening for the reply. It can also be defined as a period of focus, of “thinking with love” (Apostle Paul) on peace, or God, or Jesus, or being kind, or giving thanks. To quote Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”.

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After the beginning meditation, prepare to sweat! A warm-up period usually follows, which serves to not only prepare the body for the poses that follow, but also focuses the mind, and begins to lengthen and strengthen your breathing to give you a strong foundation and continuing energy boosting. After the warm-up, the class transitions into the traditional yoga poses, like downward dog, or Triangle pose, to strengthen the body, work your muscles, and trim off those extra pounds. Yes, you will get frustrated, as some poses are more challenging than others, but so will others in the class, and yes, you may be sore the next day, but keep with your commitment and be proud of the soreness! You are on your way to looking and feeling stronger, to determination of mind and peace of spirit.

At the end of many classes, there will be a period of rest, usually a time of lying peacefully and quietly on your mat, either in silence or to soothing music or the sound of bells ringing. Congratulate yourself on this first step you’ve taken on your new path to wellness, mindfulness and peace. Smile gently to yourself and look forward to continued progress on your journey.

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And now, let’s look at choosing your first class. First, why choose a class to go to at all? Can’t you just go to YouTube, find a video to follow, and do it at home? Yes, you can, but here’s why this is not the best option: Commitment. In order to make a real change in your life, you need to commit your time, your money, your self to the practice. Will you do this at home, where every thing and everyone there wants your attention and it’s too easy to say, I’ll practice later, just as soon as I do this, feed that, go here, be there? Probably not, and certainly not at the level of commitment that you need to make a real change.

So, use all this technology we have at our disposal to find yoga studios near you. Look at their class offerings, and find one that is a beginner level class. Look at their pricing system, and see if they offer a free starter class, so that you can go once to see if you like the class, the instructor, the feel of the place, and if it’s going to be for you or not. If you dislike or feel uncomfortable with any of these things, find the next place, ask for a free taste of the class, and see how you like that one.

At IslandLotus Yoga, where I teach Raja Yoga, I offer you your first class free, and am currently offering a gift certificate for a free class, which can be used anytime. If Knotts Island is too far for you, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake are loaded with yoga studios, spas that offer yoga, yoga teachers that offer private lessons. Very easy to find a place to begin.

Now, after checking out places and teachers and finding a place where you are comfortable, make that commitment to yourself by signing up for one of the multiple class plans. Then, put your body where your money is, and attend those classes!

IslandLotus Yoga and a Book Signing

New Book!

New Book!

Visit me at Willowgait Farm’s Artisan Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26th, 2014, from 10am t0 4pm on beautiful Knotts Island, North Carolina. I’ll be signing copies of my new book, Stories from the Other World and holding drawings for free yoga classes and book copies.

Willowgait Farm Artisan Fair 2014

Willowgait Farm Artisan Fair 2014

I’ll also be selling paintings by Ethel Barritt, baby spider plants and aloe veras, and homemade hot pepper vinegar. The Knotts Island Ruritans will be there selling barbecue, too. Come on down and enjoy the day!

 

“Eyes of the Roshi”

If you have been following this blog, you have seen a couple of posts about how my yoga teacher, a Karate-Do Master, yoga master, and Zen teacher, Master Adam Nguyen, have been working with Light Age Films on a movie starring Master Adam (read the back story here). The movie now has a name: Eyes of the Roshi (roshi means teacher). It has a Facebook page, a website, an IMDB entry, a Twitter account…I’ll give the links in a bit but right now, the movie is in the running for IndieWIRE’s Project of the Month, and needs your vote. (Update 8.28.14: The voting is over and sadly, we did not win. Congratulations to “The Lot”, IndieWire’s Project of the Month.)

VOTE HERE: Project of the Month

After you have voted, PollDaddy will send you an email confirmation- be sure to confirm when the email comes or your vote will not be counted.

Movie Poster

Movie Poster

You can view a teaser for the movie here at the website page, (look for me under the “crew” tab!) and here is the Facebook page. It has been an experience working with Light Age Films and the many creative people I have met. We would all appreciate your vote, and always, I appreciate your eyes on this blog.

Blessings.

Master Adam Nguyen and Raja Yoga

When I was still working at the Post Office on Knotts Island, in early 2011, a man came in and walked up to the counter and requested information on getting his mailing address changed. I nearly fell off my postal perch for two reasons; but before I tell them to you, let me tell you a little about Knotts Island, North Carolina., population at last census approximately 1800-2000. It’s a small island, and despite the past years’ influx of folks who work in Virginia Beach and Norfolk and Chesapeake, but sleep on the island and therefore need to build houses here to sleep in, the island retains its rural character and its complement of rural “characters”. Folks here are overwhelmingly white and Christian, many still fish or crab in the spring and summer and hunt deer and ducks in the fall and winter. Non-whites who show up in the Post Office are usually tourists on their way to the Outer Banks, which is sad because 1) they are lost, and 2) we could use some diversity here.

Grand Master Adam Nguyen

Grand Master Adam Nguyen

Which brings me back to my two reasons: First, this man who turns up in the Post Office is dressed like the Ninjas you see in karate movies, or like Mr. Miyagi in the movie The Karate Kid. All in black, with the wide-legged pants, barefoot with sandals and short kimono-style wrap top tied with what looks like the belt you get when you have completed a level of your karate training. And second, he is Asian, and like I said before, on this island, that’s pretty unusual. So of course, he must be lost, but no, he has bought a house here, and seventy acres on the bay, and oh, by the way, he’s going to be starting yoga classes HERE on the island, and do I want to come? Wait, give me a minute to…YES.

Side Crow Pose

Side Crow Pose

So in May of 2012, I began taking classes in Raja Yoga with Master Adam, every Thursday afternoon at 4pm, here on Knotts Island. Over time, I learned things about Master Adam: he is Vietnamese, he’s been doing Raja yoga for 56 years, he also teaches classes at Wareing’s Gym in Virginia Beach (he actually began their yoga program there), he has taught yoga to Navy SEALS and to Hollywood film makers…I could go on, but if you want to know more, click here.

Raja (or Royal, or King) yoga is not as well known as some forms of yoga, and it is very different,

“Raja Yoga is very intense; it is rigorous and strenuous, yet it is also very balanced, with invigoration done the right way and a lot of rejuvenation. Done correctly, as taught by a Master, there would be no stress or strain involved or pressure. The Master encourages the student to pace themselves, to do the poses with ease and to slow down or take a break when needed. To stop if you have any doubts or perceive that what you are doing is posing a danger to your body.”

Raja Yoga class

Raja Yoga class

“Do all good. Do not do bad. Cleanse your mind, purify your heart. Practice wisdom and compassion. This is the Way. “

The words seem easy, but the practice is hard, as is the practice of this intense form of yoga. But for me, at least, it has been worth the effort. I’m more peaceful, more accepting and less judgmental, more able to deal with the vicissitudes of life…and I’m stronger, thinner, and more disciplined. And Knotts Island has a little more diversity.

She Who Hears The Cries Of The World

Quan Am- She Who Hears the Cries of the World

Quan Am- She Who Hears the Cries of the World

Quan Am

The vase symbolizes her pouring out her compassion on the world

Quan Am

Watching over Knotts Island and the World

Like her counterpart the Virgin Mary, Quan Am, the Boddhisattva of Compassion, hears the heartfelt prayers of the people and responds with compassion and aid.

In keeping with the principles of Buddhism, she brings this blessing: “May all Living Beings be Well, Happy, Peaceful and Secure.”

Originally from India, known there as Avalokitesvara, Quan Am is her Vietnamese name. She is also known in China as Kuan Yin and Kannon in Japan.

This statue, made in Vietnam, now resides in the Perfect Wisdom and Great Compassion Zen Garden at what will be Master Adam Nguyen’s International Yoga Institute on Parker Lane, Knotts Island, NC. All are welcome.

Namaste