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.

17 March 2013

03-17-2013 Meditation & Yoga

My practice since injuring my shoulder in October has been sporadic and it shows. My pranayama, asana and meditation practices have all shown obvious signs of neglect. Now with spring coming and my shoulder almost fully recovered , along with a couple of good sessions, I’m feeling motivated to get my sadhana back on track. My good friend and teacher, Melissa will be leading a week-long spring detox next month and the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that I should do it. Hopefully, I’ll have more success than I had with the fall detox. If I can at least become semi-competent at making kitcheri, I should do alright.

I had a good home practice yesterday. Parts of it were challenging but I worked my edge and it felt good. For the first time in nearly five months, I was able to do Savasana in relative comfort without placing a blanket or something under my head. It seems strange that a pose like Savasana would give me such difficulty. I’m happy that my shoulder is finally almost healed. It’s not 100 percent yet but it’s getting close.

This morning I made the effort to make it to Melissa’s guided meditation class and her hatha yoga class at Day Yoga Studio. It was my first Sunday classes with her since she stopped holding them at S.W.O.R.D. back in September. I found that, while I enjoyed classes by other teachers, I really missed Melissa’s classes. Her Sunday mediation and yoga classes will be a priority.

This morning’s meditation was a heart meditation using visualization, drawing in what you wanted to bring into your life and releasing that which you wanted to let go of. I have a little trouble imagining the process she describes but often, into the meditation, a vision will form. I saw white, fluffy clouds and in one cloud there was a hole through which I could see bright blue sky. Occasionally, I could see a refracted ray of sunshine on the edge of the hole. I don’t know if this has any significance or how it relates to the meditation, but that’s what appeared to me.

In the time between the meditation and the asana class, I rested in Supta Baddha Konasana, resting my shoulder blades and the back of my head on blocks. I find it quite relaxing along with being a nice hip opener, back bend, and heart opener. It turned out that she would have us start the class reclined either on a bolster or on blocks.

The class itself was challenging, keeping me at my edge. No particular pose or sequence stands out; it was all good. Again, Savasana was quite comfortable and without props.

Toward the end of Savasana, thoughts about death popped up. They were mostly about deaths in my family, particularly, my mother and my paternal grandmother. One thought that came up was that my mother’s atman had either been reborn or was about to be and the body she occupied was (or would be) nearby. There was another recent death that appeared in my thoughts. It wasn’t anyone I knew personally but her unfortunate and random death in Afghanistan had touched my heart. I acknowledged the thoughts and let them go.

It was nice to talk to Melissa for a few moments after each class about my shoulder injury and my practice. She has always been one of my favorite teachers and I’ve learned so much from her.

20 October 2012

Fall Cleanse – Reflection

Filed under: Asana,Ayurveda — Tags: , , , , , — Rick Romig @ 15:59

Saturday, October 20

This morning I altered the morning routine. Actually I postponed it by a couple of hours. It felt good to sleep in a bit. It was Saturday morning and the only morning obligation I had was to take my son to work. That accomplished, I had the rest of the morning open.

With additional time available I did a longer yoga practice, adding a few poses and holding some others longer than normal. Moving from Salamba Sarvangasana from Setu Bandha Sarvangasana was successful though not not nearly as graceful as Wednesday evening but once in the pose, it felt good. Then I lowered my legs into Ardha Halasana using a chair as a prop for my feet. I’m working toward the full pose. Parivrtta Trikonasana seemed much better than a couple days ago. It amazes me how just a little practice can make such a big difference. Of course, there are days when some some poses seem to magically come together.

After my practice, I did the Abhyanga with the intention of letting the oil soak in for 15-20 minutes. I happened to glance at the time and noticed that it was already just past 11:00 and I needed to be at Day Yoga at noon for our post-cleanse meeting. I took a quick hot/cold showered, dried myself and threw on some clothes. I didn’t  think my practice had taken so long. It seemed to pass so quickly.

At our meeting we discussed our experiences and noted what parts of the routine we’d like to continue in our daily lives. Just before the cleanse, I’d started incorporating some evening down time where I get away from the computer and TV and use the time for reflection, reading, some yin or restorative practice, and just unwind before bed. I’ll definitely keep that. I had gotten out of the practice of using my neti pot and had been contemplating getting back into the habit. The cleanse was the perfect opportunity to do that. Even this morning I wasn’t sure I’d make Abhyanga a daily practice but I’m reconsidering it now.

Then Melissa led the group in a long Yoga Nidra using visualizations to take us deeper than the physical body and planting sankalpas. I’ve had a sankalpa for the past month or so since I renewed my daily practice but I was able to condense it further. It had been starting to grow (yogic feature-creep) and get more complicated.  Newest version — “I am healing and nurturing my body, my mind and my spirit and bringing balance to them.” At the end we all shared our sankalpas and why we choose them. I explained that I was determined to avoid the pain and suffering that my mother went through with her diabetes. I don’t want to go through that hell nor do I want to subject my family to it.

I learned a lot from this experience. I’ll incorporate some things into my daily routine and keep the rest in my yoga/ayurveda toolkit. I will probably do this again next fall and quite possibly do a one-day or weekend cleanse occasionally. I hear that a spring cleanse is more intensive and aimed more at detoxing. I may take some vacation time for that. I wonder if I could justify “sick time” for it. I found that this cleanse was more time consuming and disruptive than I’d anticipated. I’ll take that into account before starting the next one.

28 September 2012

No Regrets

Filed under: Sadhana,Yoga — Tags: , , — Rick Romig @ 05:57

I can’t say that I’ve ever regretted going to a yoga class but I have occasionally rued not going to a class or not practicing. Those were probably the times when I needed the practice most.

5 August 2012

08/05/12 Meditation & Slow Flow

Filed under: Yoga — Tags: , , , , , — Rick Romig @ 14:45

The guided meditation is one of the highlights of my yoga month. It’s a chance to experience something different than my usual meditation practice. It generally varies from month to month. Sometimes it a fairly basic meditation practice and sometimes we incorporate some sort of visualization while some sessions will be chanting or japa. The last couple of sessions, we’ve focused on a heart-opening mediation with visualization and mantra. It has been quite relaxing.

Today’s slow flow class featured some twisting, backbends and balancing. As usual, my ankles and calves didn’t take very kindly to Half-Moon pose or the variation on Dancer’s Pose. I think that overall, my leg muscles are tight and I need to focus my personal practice n core work. In the supported shoulderstand (block supporting the sacrum) I found that my legs felt like massive weights after a while but bending the knees and letting the calves hang felt a lot better. I attribute that to lack of core strength.

With the facility transitioning from a yoga center to a mult-disciplined recreational facility, I am feeling more motivated to make my home practice the mainstay of my yoga practice. I’ll still be doing classes and workshops when I can but other studios in the area are not as conveniently located. I know I can do this. I’m familiar with the asanas as well as basic pranayama and meditation techniques and I have a little background in sequencing poses to create my own practices. Plus if I have questions or problems I can easily find any help I might need. Michael and Melissa have been good friends and teachers.


25 July 2012

07/25/12 Core Yoga

Filed under: Yoga — Tags: , , , , , — Rick Romig @ 23:53

Bloating and gassy is no way to go through a yoga class centered on developing core strength. It was definitely a challenging class, more than usual. I’m sure I held mula bandha for most if not all of the class. That included Savasana. It wasn’t until after I got home, that I felt any relief. A nice hot cup of mint tea helped balance the vata.

Melissa passed on some good advice about home practice. She said the best thing to do was to work on five or six poses specific to what you need rather than try to do a full practice. She said she struggled with trying to do a full practice for a long time before she decided just to work on a few poses that she really needed. That got me rethinking my attempts to establish a practice. It makes sense. I need to work on my core more than anything so that’s what I’ll concentrate on. I can do a full, all out practice on the weekends when I have more time. It will be less daunting.

24 March 2012

Naked Yoga

Filed under: Yoga — Tags: , , , — Rick Romig @ 14:29

In recent years I have found two things that have been life changing and have changed my outlook on life in general. They are naturism and yoga. Each has a philosophy behind them that I find appealing and I have found many common threads between them so it seems natural for me to combine them where I can rather than embrace them separately.

Nakedness is often viewed with shame and fear.

I chose to write this article after I posed naked for various Yoga shots to create my website. Naked Yoga was barely spoken of three years ago, which was partly why I chose to do the photographs. As the majority of my pictures were taken out in wilds of nature during the autumn season, the experience was one of great liberation. Although initially I felt apprehensive about taking my clothes off, when I really thought about it I questioned, what is clothing? Is it not just an outer façade or an expression of our personalities?

Looking at this from a Yogic point of view, even our physical bodies are not a true expression of who we really are. The body is just the house, the temple, the vessel, the residing place for the soul. Wouldn’t you agree? So, looking at it from this angle, I dropped all fear and anxiety and made the most of being in the moment.

Indra Singh, The Truth About Naked Yoga.

I agree that clothing is essentially an outer façade, an expression of our personalities. And naturism is about shedding our fears and anxieties about our bodies and embracing body acceptance. Speaking for myself, I find that when I’m freehiking somewhere or enjoying a day at a nudist resort, I’m living in the moment, my worries and cares fade from my mind. I experience that when practicing yoga. To me, merging the two makes sense.

One of the major objectives when practicing naked Yoga is to enable you to feel free within your body and eliminate any concerns that you may have regarding physical imperfections, which in time will help win over any discomforts you may have regarding your body and feelings of self consciousness.

In a nutshell naked Yoga helps to encourage a new appreciation for the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of being in and with the ‘self’. However what would the negatives aspects be regarding the practice. No matter what our personal point of view may be nudity is still classed as a taboo subject in both eastern and western continents. This is the reason why naked Yoga has taken a back seat role across the globe. Nudity is distracting and not only is it a challenge to the concentration in a class situation but in the majority of peoples eyes nudity goes hand in hand with sex. If we think of nudity we think of sex and when we think of sex we think of nudity, this is part of human nature.

Naked Yoga falls into 3 categories, one of acceptance, discussed or humour. We could converse forever as to why people feel this way, which could simply be due to the fact that Nudity is not everyone’s cup of tea, that it’s not acceptable as human beings we flaunt ourselves in such a public manner. A bit of modesty and respect for the body goes along way, which also adds to the mystery of life, when we reveal all then the mystery is shattered to a degree.

Indra Singh, The Truth About Naked Yoga.

Her first paragraph here is old news for nudists. I agree that naked yoga could very well encourage a new appreciation for the physical, mental and spiritual aspects your yoga practice. Yes, nudity can be a distraction you’re not accustomed to it but people usually get comfortable with the nudity rather quickly and it’s no longer a big deal. I often find clothing in a clothed yoga class to be distracting with the “mysteries” subtly hidden. Out in the open, there is no mystery and the distraction isn’t so evident. Even when unclothed, we can still have “modesty and respect” for the body.

I was glad to see a positive article about naked yoga by a relatively well-known yogini. Many objections to it come from our society’s inability to separate nudity and sex or our ideas about body image which brings about the yuck factor — “I don’t want to see somebody’s bare ass in Down Dog!” There are also objections that naked yoga takes away from the sacredness of the practice. Like anything else, the sanctity and sacredness of your practice largely depends on the intention and the attitude you bring into it. I have the same reverence for the teachings and the practice wherever I practice and however I’m dressed (or not). It’s my practice and it has taught me to observer and listen to my body.

The Truth About Naked Yoga. ~ Indra Singh
Are We Still Freaking Out Over Naked Yoga? ~ YogaDork

21 October 2011

Booting Judgment Out the Door

Filed under: Yoga — Tags: , , , — Rick Romig @ 20:11

Booting Judgment Out the Door.

by Diane DeGiorgio Cesa on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 on Facebook.

An interesting note about reserving judgment.

I was first intrigued at the beginning where someone had said, “I just had a crappy yoga practice.”  My initial reaction to that statement was “It was your practice.” Whether a yoga class is good or bad depends on how I feel afterward or how the practice met whatever expectations I might have held for it. I can’t really fault the teacher since it was my practice and the results were up to me.

30 December 2010

Penultimate Day 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Rick Romig @ 06:25

2010 has been an interesting and eventful year in my yoga practice. At the beginning of the year, I made the move from a weekly basics class to more advanced classes, usually attending several different classes a week. In any given week, I’d be taking hot yoga classes, intermediate/advanced classes, gentle and slow flow classes and the occasional restorative class.

In early March I began taking Abigail to a weekly kids’ yoga class while I attended a slow flow class. Eventually Chris, her instructor, had various other commitments come up and the kids’ class was discontinued. She’d come to really look forward to the weekly yoga class so I began bringing her to the slow flow class. At first she did well in the class but she became bored with it because it was so slow. In September we began attending a Wednesday evening basic class which seems to suit her better. Mandy told me that Abigail practices at home and looks forward to our weekly yoga outing. I’ve found I like the basics class as well. It reminds me that I’m still a padawan yogi, that I still need to work at my edge, and that I need to keep a beginner’s mind. I’ve seen something about a Friday kids’ yoga class coming up in the new year but I’m waiting to see what time of day it will be offered.

This was a year for workshops. In February I attended a Bryan Kest Power Yoga workshop and several Tantric Vinyasa Yoga classes with Jim Bennitt in August. Both workshops were challenging and I learned quite a bit from them. The Bhakti Vinyasa Project with Kristn Luna Ray and Katy Knowles came to Sri in May and September. Those are always fun and I look forward to any chance to hear Luna and Joshua perform. In conjunction with the September BVP, Luna led a Nada Yoga workshop which was quite enjoyable even though I can’t sing at all. Luna extended an open invitation to attend one of her workshops in Costa Rica. That would be wonderful. Maybe someday. In December Melissa and Michael held a Chakra Cleansing workshop and a Yoga Sangha class. They were both great experiences and the Sangha class is slated to be a weekly event beginning in January.

2010 also introduced me to kirtan. In April I attended a Michael Cohen kirtan at Sri. I’m not a singer and I hadn’t been into chanting but I found that I loved the vibrations and the energy of a kirtan. I also love the sound of the harmonium. After the Bhakti Vinyasa Project in May, Luna held a kirtan at Yoga Springs which reaffirmed my fondness for kirtan. The energy, the vibrations, and listening to Luna’s music was simply awesome. Many of the mantras were still echoing inside my head several days afterwards.

Near the end of September, I discovered a lump in my groin area. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time but a couple of days before I saw my doctor about it, the word “hernia” popped into my mind during Savasana. That diagnosis was confirmed. I did some online research and learned to to compensate for the condition by modifying and substituting some poses while avoiding others. I had the surgery to fix the hernia in late October and the surgeon gave me the go ahead to continue with my practice with the modifications I’d been using. My restrictions were lifted on Thanksgiving and I resumed my regular practice again. I’m still not at the same level I was before the hernia but I’m getting there. I still need to work on core and upper body strength as well as balance.

I’m looking forward to the New Year and what it will bring to my practice. With the winter class schedule I see opportunities to get deeper into yoga philosophy and meditation. I’m intending to work on Abhyasa (practice) and Vairagyam (detachment).


29 August 2010

Jim Bennitt Workshop 2, 3, 4

Filed under: Yoga — Tags: , , — Rick Romig @ 22:15

"Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God." ~ Krishnamacharya

I enjoyed the Jim Bennitt workshops over the weekend. I was expecting a little more lecture/discussion but the asana portion was good. I left each workshop feeling that I’d learned something new and feeling quite relaxed and at peace. I enjoyed the extended Savasana at the end of each session and found them quite relaxing. I think I may have either fallen asleep or drifted off somewhere during the Savasana in the 3rd one. I liked the mediations at the very end of each class and I hope to incorporate some of these techniques into my own meditation practice.

His demonstrations of the advanced techniques and poses were quite impressive, maybe someday I might actually be able to do them. The pranayama techniques, the mudras and the bandhas will come with practice although I can’t really imagine myself doing some of the poses anytime soon. I absorbed a lot of new information and practiced some new techniques and poses. I may not be able to apply it all right now but it’s stored away for future reference.


27 August 2010

Jim Bennitt Workshop 1

Filed under: Yoga,Yoga Sutras — Tags: , , — Rick Romig @ 23:20

“Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam Tannirodhah” ~ Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I.12 (These mental modifications are restrained by practice and non-attachment.)

Tonight was the first of the Jim Bennitt workshops at Sri Yoga Center. The subject of the workshop was The Yoga Sutras from a Tantric Perspective. I was expecting a lot more lecture and discussion and a lot less asana so I wore jeans and left my mat at home. I did bring my prop bag because I expected I’d need a reasonably comfortable seat.

He explained his concept of Tantric Vinyasa and very briefly talked about the Sutras. He related a story about his studies in India where he studied an ancient text with a teacher and only covered two words in two weeks. His discussion of the Sutras boiled down to two words — Abhyasa (practice) and Vairagyam (detachment). Ironic?

Despite wearing jeans and using a borrowed mat, I enjoyed the asana portion. I had trouble following the Moon Salutation without guidance but I did the best I could. I remember that it took me quite a while to get the Sun Salutation sequences down. I was surprised by how deep I was able to get into some poses such as Utthita Trikonasana and Halasana and how easily I was able to go that deep. It was one of those times when things come together. Of course, there were poses and variations that were way beyond my edge.

I especially enjoyed the extended Savasana and the long meditation practice even if my feet fell asleep during the meditation. At the end of the workshop I felt more relaxed than I have in quite a while. I’m looking forward to the remaining workshops and I’ll be sure to bring my gear and wear something more comfortable. Even if I can’t do it all or use it now, it will be in the back of my mind, in my yoga toolbox for future reference.


25 July 2010


Filed under: Asana,Yoga — Tags: , , — rickromig @ 14:16

“It really is magic watching someone glide up into headstand with their legs together and with purpose. I look forward to that day when it clicks for me as well but first; practice, practice, practice.” ~ Mary, Rand(om) Bites, July 25, 2010

Sirsasana is definitely one of my nemesis poses, even with a wall. I don’t know if it’s impatience, fear of falling, poor core/upper body strength or all three. I can’t seem to find the right weight distribution in the prep and when I can get myself into the pose, I have to kick up and have a wall handy.

In Sirsasana, Farewell Wall Mary share a few suggestions from some of her teachers:

  • get ready for headstand but instead of trying to bring both legs up, hold each leg up (knee to chest) for 10 breaths each leg
  • to build strength – dolphin pose (4 breaths) to dolphin plank pose (4 breaths) and repeat several more times each day
  • when interlacing fingers together, make the palms touch as well – this makes for a more solid foundation – try it, when the fingers are interlaced but the palms aren’t touching, the arms tend to splay outwards when any pressure is put on them but they won’t if you interlock the palms as well. it is much harder though than cupping the hands but it makes sense

Practice, practice, practice. I know that’s the key. I hear it constantly yet it has yet to sink in. With practice, shanti is coming.


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