She Brings Me Water

An aeclectic look at the nearby world

Archive for peace

Full Moon Yoga on the Beach

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Join me this Friday, September 16th, 2016 for a Full Harvest Moon yoga on the beach at 6pm, 68th Street, Virginia Beach, VA. Join the event on Facebook here.

After the yoga, stay for the Full Moon Drum Circle, led by Arthur Lopez, at 7pm, same location as the yoga. Join this event here on Facebook.

Full Moon blessings, y’all.

 

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!

Spring Equinox Yoga

IslandLotus Yoga

IslandLotus Yoga

Spring is almost upon us! IslandLotus Yoga would like to invite you to a free yoga class, this Saturday, March 21st, at 9am, to experience and participate in a half-mala. A half-mala is 54 consecutive Salutes to the Sun to celebrate the return of the Sun, new beginnings, warmth and growth. Mindful meditation combined with vigorous exercise and traditional yoga poses. This is a free event and open to all regardless of experience.. I am hoping that Spring will cooperate with this event and give us a lovely warm day on beautiful Knotts Island Bay, so that we can practice outside, but the class will be held regardless of what Spring plans for this Saturday. IslandLotus Yoga is at 204 Parker Lane, Knotts Island, NC. If you’d like more information about this event, please call/text me (mari) at 252.722.1690 or follow the Facebook link below.

https://www.facebook.com/events/908357539216955/

Drumming for Peace

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

Drumming for Peace