Padawan Yogi Learning the ways of Samadhi and the Force

12 June 2016

Back to the Mat

Filed under: Yoga — Tags: , , , , — Rick Romig @ 12:10

I’m going to be honest with myself and admit that my practice has been abysmal, bordering on nonexistent. I can’t recall the last time I stepped on my yoga mat except to cross the room. It hasn’t been because I don’t have the time; I have an overabundance of free time. I could probably come up with any number of excuses for not practicing but that’s all they are, excuses. There is absolutely no rational and justifiable reason to not get on my mat everyday. I have the time, the place, and the knowledge. I tell myself that I have the desire to practice, yet I haven’t. There is nothing keeping me off the mat except me.

A few days ago, Yoga Loft Dayton gave away a month-long unlimited pass for classes at either of their locations and I was the lucky winner. Maybe that’s the Universe trying to tell me that it’s time to get off my ass and on the mat. One of my excuses for not going to studio classes is that money is tight so that excuse has been invalidated. Maybe getting back into a studio environment will help to get me more motivated to get on my mat at home. It’s worth a try.

I might feel a little intimidated because I am out of practice and I know that the studio leans toward Ashtanga Yoga which I really haven’t tried because it is a vigorous practice. Maybe that’s what I need, a challenge, a break from my Sivananda practice. Here’s hoping for the best. I plan to claim my unlimited pass tomorrow and start the classes.

26 April 2015

Thoughts on Naked Yoga

Filed under: Asana,Spirit,Yoga — Tags: , , , , — Rick Romig @ 10:43

Siva-skycladLately, I’ve been seeing posts and articles on “Naked Yoga” and I have a few thoughts about the subject. There is nothing special about Naked Yoga; it’s just yoga that you happen to be doing while naked. I enjoy being nude and doing things while nude and yoga is just one more activity that I enjoy doing in the nude. It’s that simple.

Are there spiritual and physical advantages to naked asana? Do I feel more connected to my body or my spirit? Perhaps. I do feel more connected physically and spiritually when I do my practice in the nude. I find my movements are less restricted when I’m nude and there are other advantages to a naked practice but they are generally the same advantages found in doing other activities in the nude such as hiking, running, volleyball, or swimming. There’s really nothing special about it.

I suppose one could look at clothing as another obstacle or another veil to spiritual awakening but I see the attachment to the wearing of clothing as the obstacle rather than the clothing itself. This would include one’s attachment to the shame and guilt they might feel about their bodies. We don’t necessarily need to be free of our clothing, just our attachments to it. It’s not being naked that liberates us but letting go of the attachments that bind us.

3 March 2015

More thoughts on TM

Filed under: Meditation — Tags: , , , , , — Rick Romig @ 19:47

Yesterday evening while viewing YouTube videos, I found several videos about Transcendental Meditation (TM), including some featuring Maharishi Mahesh Yogi himself. It really is a simple technique and it’s outrageous that they charge a thousand dollars or more to teach the basic technique. I don’t think I paid more than about $30 to learn it.

I think I always had my doubts about the need to keep the mantra a close secret and to never utter it out loud. I can understand the sacredness of a mantra that’s passed down from a respected and revered teacher to a devoted aspirant that have a relationship that goes back months or years but I wonder about the sacredness of a mantra I’ve received from someone I’d just met and whose teachings and lineage I know nothing about. Generally, a teacher will give an aspirant his mantra only after he knows the student well and feels he is ready to begin that practice. A mantra given only after the student has forked over a non-refundable fee is another matter entirely.

In regard to the secrecy of the TM mantra, I remember the look on my TM teacher’s face when I jokingly suggested that perhaps all of us in the group might be using the same mantra. As I recall, her jaw dropped and her eyes opened wide as if I’d somehow discovered their secret. A few years ago I did find a web site that revealed the criteria being used at that time for selecting a mantra for a student which was based on their age at the time they began TM. I’ve since found other sites that have collaborated this information. At the time I had no idea how on target I was.

It turned out that my secret TM mantra is actually a bija (seed) mantra for Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning, music, speech, and the fine arts. Of course, 42 years ago it was a strange word that had no meaning to me but now I’m more knowledgeable about meditation, mantras, and Sanskrit. Since my TM mantra is supposed to be a meaningless word, does that mean the mantra is no longer effective?

I really don’t find TM to be much different than many meditations techniques I practice now. Silently chanting “So Ham” or “Om namah Shivaya” really isn’t much different than repeating “Aing.” The biggest difference is that now my meditation is part of a yoga practice so my body and mind are probably in a more relaxed and receptive state to receive the benefits of the meditation. That could behind many of the stories I’ve heard about people (over 40%) having headaches or other problems as a result of doing TM. Perhaps they were not adequately prepared to enter that spiritual and mental state.

It seems as though the pro-TM sites are offshoots of the TM organization and they’re all nearly identical in content. I’ve come across a lot of information by people who used to do TM but quit for a number of reasons. I won’t insinuate that TM and the Maharishi’s organization might be a scam that I would think that anybody who’s ventured into Yoga philosophy and texts, would see right through it. It seems  that the Maharishi took just a small piece of Yoga and packaged it for ignorant Westerners. In Patanjali’s eight limbs of Raja Yoga, TM would be starting at Dharana, the sixth limb and moving toward Dhyana without attention to the Yamas, the Niyamsa, Asana, Pranayama, or Pratyahara in preparation. Is TM supposed to be a shortcut to Samadhi?

It’s my feeling that a good meditation practice does not exist in a vacuum. My meditation practice, such as it is, is built upon a yoga practice that includes asana, pranayama, and the study of yoga philosophy. I’ve only tried some of the Buddhist meditation techniques a couple of times but there seems to be study and training for them as well.

21 January 2015

A couple of interesting tracks

Filed under: Yoga — Rick Romig @ 19:16

Luna Ray – Laksmyai Namaha

Filed under: Kirtan & Music — Tags: , , , — Rick Romig @ 06:11

Luna Ray – Laksmyai Namaha at Sivananada Bahamas

26 July 2014

Why I prefer Naga Yoga

Filed under: Yoga — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Rick Romig @ 22:56
  • Comfort. I feel more comfortable nude. I accept my body as it is which gives me a foundation for change.
  • Awareness. I tend to be more aware of the wholeness of my body rather than a collection of parts. I’m better able to visualize my alignment and the effects of the asanas.
  • Connectedness. I feel more connected with the body as it moves through the asanas and with the Atman, the Divine, and my surroundings.
  • Freedom. I feel free from restrictions. Without clothing, I have more freedom of movement and the flow of prana and energy has fewer restrictions.

Clothing can be a veil, hiding what we don’t wish to see and separating us from our true selves and from others. The attachment to the idea that we always need to cover our bodies, or certain parts, contributes to the illusion of separateness from one another, the world, the Universe, the Divine, ourselves.

11 May 2014

Japa for Ma

Filed under: Spirit — Rick Romig @ 10:04

Mom_2003Om Sri Dum Durgayei Namaha

This is the second Mothers’ Day that I’ve done a japa in honor of my mother. Although she left her body shortly after Mothers’ Day six years ago, I will always feel her presence and her love, particularly on Mothers’ Day. Love, especially a mother’s love, transcends death.

As the 108 beads of my mala pass through my fingers, I repeat the mantra and call on the Divine Mother, my mother and all of my ancestral mothers to grant me serenity and wisdom, and to guide me with loving kindness along my path. With each repetition I feel her loving presence.

She still speaks to me, comforts me, and guides me. It’s on this day each year, that I do this japa for her and rededicate myself to honoring her memory, her life, and the lessons I’ve learned from her. She has told me not to grieve but  I will always miss her and there will always be a touch of sadness and a tear in my eye when I think of her.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

30 March 2014

“Where’s My Junk Supposed To Go?!”

Filed under: humor,Video,Yoga — Tags: , , , , , — Rick Romig @ 16:15

This is funny video and I laughed my ass off through the whole thing. The truth is, I’ve been doing yoga for several years at various studios and at home. The placement of “my junk” has rarely been a problem, even in Utkatasana (Chair Pose) although there have been occasions in seated poses where a slight adjustment as been needed, usually because my clothing restricted natural movement. In nude asana, it has never been a problem. And, no, I have never had to suck my balls into my asshole. (That would be taking Muhla Bandha to the extreme.)

Dudes On Yoga: “Where’s My Junk Supposed To Go?!” (VIDEO)

1 March 2014

2nd New Moon Intention & Review

Filed under: Sadhana — Tags: , , , — Rick Romig @ 14:14

2nd New Moon Intention, Final Review

I’m a little disappointed in myself that I did not fulfill any of the intentions I set for the second New Moon of 2014. I took no down time, I did not dispose of any junk, and I did not do anything with the bathroom. I have come to the conclusion that I suck at intention setting. In yoga classes when the instructor asks us to set an intention, I usually come up with some kind of half-assed intention and there is typically no intent of following through on it. Even at work, tasks I intend to accomplish are often thwarted by things that come up. Maybe I’m too easily distracted or I need to work on setting more realistic intentions and/or working on following through on them.

3rd New Moon Intentions

I’m sure I’m making this harder than it need to be but I’m drawing a blank, especially when it comes to coming up with new intentions. Should I revisit the failed intentions of the two previous New Moons? Yes, I think I will do that. What is going on in my brain that is holding me in these patterns that no longer serve my vision? Obviously, they serve some kind of purpose but they don’t support my vision so they need to be abandoned, set aside, released.

Down Time
Down time is important to my vision in that it will provide me with a set time to read, reflect, journal, and meditate. All of these are activities that I feel I need more of in my routine.
I’m well aware of the importance of a regular and devoted yoga practice yet it continues to elude me. I’ve been faking it for far too long. As the Nike commercial say, “Just do it.” Morning is, according to the texts, the most auspicious time to practice and it is also probably the most convenient time, before I’m caught up in the daily grind. While it may not always be a full practice, it should include some pranayama, core work and some basic poses (inversion, forward bend and a twist).
I will endeavor to have at least one meditation session (20 minutes) each day to quiet my mind and increase my awareness. I see it as a means to achieve greater mental and spiritual clarity.

One the items in the SMART criteria for setting intension is that the intention be relevant to my vision. What is my vision? At best, my vision is unclear and unformed. It seems to me that the base way for my vision to coalesce is through reflection, meditation, practice and reading.

1 February 2014

Reflections on the 21-Day Sugar Detox

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Rick Romig @ 12:34

I just completed a 21-day sugar detox in which I eliminated refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and starches suck as pasta, breads, white/red potatoes and white rice. It was a group detox led by one of the instructors at Day Yoga. It was presented as a challenge but I found it to be more of an experiment.

I expected I would experience cravings for sweets, snacks and items on the ‘forbidden’ list of foods but that wasn’t the case. I found that I didn’t really miss most of those foods and the only craving I experienced was for a batch of brownies my wife had baked from the grandchildren. My wife was quite supportive and adjusting my diet wasn’t really that difficult.

I was curious to see how the detox would affect my blood sugar so I monitored it more closely than I normally would have. Until the final week, I didn’t see any significant change other that they seemed to be a bit more stable than usual. In the third week, I began to see more consistently lower readings. My average blood glucose levesl for the past 7, 14 and 30 days are 97, 101 and 101 mg/dL, respectively.

I was also interested in seeing how my weight would be affected. Based on earlier experience with carb counting, I expected that my weight would probably drop some but it was not an overt objective of the detox. I started at 196 pounds and after the first week, I was down to about 190 pounds. At the end of the second week I was at about 187 pounds and at the end I was down to 185 pounds. I can only speculate as to the decrease in weight reduction over the three weeks. I’m sure there were outside factors such as stress, metabolic adjustments, or other things. Still, it’s encouraging.

I would definitely call this sugar detox a great success. The stabilization of my blood glucose and the release of extra weight has given me incentive to limit sugars, starches and processed foods in my diet. I plan to apply lessons learned from this experience and see how things work out. It will be interesting to see the results of my next physical exam in a couple of months.

30 January 2014

First New Moon/Full Moon Intention and Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Rick Romig @ 12:26

I hadn’t even realized that today marks the end of the first New Moon/Full Moon Intentions. The first cycle met with mixed results. Maybe my first set of intentions were a bit too ambitious for the first attempt at it. Or maybe they were not measurable enough. I plan to continue setting new intentions and see what happens. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Eventually, I’ll get the hang of it.

Plank Challenge
The plank challenge only lasted about nine days before I pretty much dropped out of it. It was challenging but, while good for developing my core strength, I really couldn’t get into the competitive spirit of it. For one thing, I’m not competitive by nature and I really don’t see much point in pushing hard to hold a forearm plank for five minutes just to show I can do it. That sort of violates the idea of ahimsa to oneself. However, forearm plank is a good way to develop the coree and will be incorporated into my yoga practice.
21-Day No Sugar Challenge
The Sugar Detox essentially replaced the Plank Challenge and it was quite successful. Quite unlike the Yoga/Ayurveda detoxes I’ve attempted, sticking to it was fairly easy. I didn’t have to purchase or prepare any speciial foods and, overall, it was a nice change of diet. I’ve reaped several benefits from it including the release of over ten pounds and significant savings on our groceries. I would like to apply what I’ve learned from the experience and and cut back on all the foods I avoided for the past three weeks if not eliminate some of them entirely. I feel very motivated to include more vegetable and few starches and processed foods in my diet.
Asana Practice
The first week or so went well with several home practices and Sunday classes with Melissa even though I miss class the last two Sundays. I think this intention may have been too ambitious for now but I’ll continue to work on getting my home practice on track.
Meditation Practice
Meditation followed the same patter as asana since I generally follow up my asana practice with meditation although there were a couple of independent meditations. I do recognize the desire for more meditation. It’s a matter of getting my naked ass on the meditation cushion (sitting on a towel of course).

2nd New Moon Intentions

At the beginning of the new year, the idea of incorporating the year, the idea of incorporating down time in to my daily routine surfaced. I’d done it during a yoga detox and it was a pleasant thing to do, a chance to get away from the distractions and stimulation of modern life. Decluttering and letting go of the crap that sits behind me while I’m at my computer is something that I’ve wanted to do and have needed to do for a long time. Why not make it an intention and follow through, even if it’s only a little each day or every week. The recent plumbing failure has made work on the hall bathroom necessary so I’m making it an intention to get it done before the next new moon.

Daily Down Time
Set aside at least an hour of down time (i.e., 9-10 PM) away from technology. My cell phone is allowed only for the meditation timer app. Use the time to read, meditate, reflect, do some gentle/restorative yoga or yoga nidra.
Decluttering my room
I realize that I have trouble letting go of things that no longer serve me or that I no longer use. The crap has piled up and I’ve procrastinated about getting rid of it. My intention is to go through some of it every day and do something with it — put it away, throw it out or make arrangements to otherwise dispose of it. On Saturdays, take items to the dump or to a recycler. Have the floor, desktop and table top cleared by the next New Moon (March 1st)
Bathroom Project
The hall bathroom has to have the tile replaced. The toilet is damaged and also needs to be replaced. Since I need to tile all the to the back wall, it makes sense to replace the sink and vanity. I’ve been meaning to install an exhaust fan for quite a while. The room is probalby due to be repainted. Get it done by March 1st.

6 January 2014

2014 New Year’s Intentions

I’ve found making New Year’s Resolutions to be a daunting task and I have consistently failed to keep them for very long, I decided that this year I would not make any except to set a general intention to make health a priority. Setting a Sankalpa hasn’t been particularly successful either but I’m working on understanding the concept and the process better.

This year, I’m trying an experiment. Rather than setting a resolution or intention for the whole year, I’m setting a series of short-term intentions timed around the lunar cycles. Essentially, the idea is, on the New Moon, I will set two or three specific, measurable, attainable intentions that can be completed in a short amount of time. Then, on the Full Moon, I’ll reflect on my progress and make any necessary adjustments.

For the first New Moon (which was auspiciously on January 1st), I set three intentions — to participate in a 31-day plank challenge with several other local yogins, to get on my mat to do some kind of asana practice three times a week, and to try to do at least 10 minutes of meditation each day. For the plank challenge, a Google spreadsheet has been set up so I can record my results against my daily goals. The plank challenge has an element of peer group pressure to help keep my on track but the asana and meditation practices completely up to me. I’m just short of a week into it but the asana practice has gone well though the practices have all been on days I was off work. I’ve probably missed a day or two of meditation.

While not a specific intention, I’m trying to set aside an hour of down time each evening during which I unplug from technology for a while. The time is meant to be used for reflection, meditation, reading, journaling or asana (yin or restorative yoga). The only exception to the technology rule is using the meditation timer app on my phone.

In addition to my New Moon Intentions, I’ve signed up for a 21-day sugar detox at Day Yoga Studio which starts on 11 January. From the information obtained from the informational meeting, I will be eliminating a lot of carbohydrates from my diet for three weeks. I’ve put a list of what I’m allowed and not allowed on the fridge but I’ll have to work it out with my wife and get her cooperation and support. I’ll probably end up cooking a lot of my own meals.

Later this month, there’s a Tuesday evening meditation series at Day Yoga Studio that I’m seriously considering. I’m always interested in learning new meditation techniques.

Padawan Yogi

Instead Of Making A New Year’s Resolution, Try This by Dr. Paula Watkins
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