Unnata Teacher Wisdom

Yoga articles and wisdom from Unnata Yoga course leaders and senior teachers.

How Fear Can Make a Valuable Partner

Well, this has been quite a year so far! I have to admit that a global pandemic was not on my mental radar coming into the year. As I write this, I am fortunate that I have not had to struggle with loved ones and people I care for being stricken with illness. For all of you who have lost your health or lost people close to you, my heart goes out to you!

OH MY HEART, OH MY HEAD
Temporarily closing my business, Aerial Fit has been hard. It was the right thing to do and I fully support social distancing protocols, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been one of the scariest moments in my life. It makes me realize all the things that are wrapped up in it, things I now see I’ve taken for granted.

My own health… What if I or my partner get sick, how will we run the business? My human connection… What if I can’t get all my students back in, who will I connect with? My livelihood… What else in the world am I qualified to do? My self-identity… This is what I’ve been doing 100% of the time for the past 11 years.

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HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN SUPERPOWER

We like to celebrate exceptional talent and skill that we see in others. As a society, we see talent and skill as hard earned, something all of us can aspire to, and perhaps even achieve if we have a similar dedication and work ethic. We shower people who have exceptional talent and skill with popularity, accolades, and financial remuneration. And if you happen to be one of the many who are not recognized for your skills with popularity, accolades or financial remuneration, then the underlying message is that you just aren’t all that talented: Try harder, or try something else.

Interestingly, in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (the ancient text many teachers use to learn and better understand Yoga techniques), when supernatural spiritual powers (called siddhayah) arise, they aren’t seen as things to be honored, admired or celebrated.
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THE HEART OF THE MATTER – What Message Do You Send Out To The World?

From the very beginning, I could see that aerial yoga would “take off” in popularity.
Not only is it a novel idea, but it also feels good, and it’s fun. Plus, it looks great in
photos, so the media was eager and willing to cover the activity in its nascence,
fueling its popularity.

Along the way, there’s one aerial yoga position that has become the most common
image to represent the practice. It is an upside-down position, with the legs split,
and the spine in a heart-opening shape. We call it “aerial pigeon.” Most aerialists call
it “giselle,” but there are likely many names for it. It looks graceful, complex and
exciting. And despite how difficult the position may look, it is relatively easy to
achieve for beginners, so naturally it’s everyone’s instagram-fave to post of
themselves doing aerial yoga.

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NAVIGATING CHANGE

…or Humble Lessons From a Previous Humbug (including the secret formula for manifesting what you want from the Universe!)

Holiday Cookie Pose
The holidays are a time when many of us revisit long-held family and personal traditions. We eat the same food, partake in the same activities and music, visit with the same family and friends each year. We look to these familiar traditions for comfort, but soon realize that while the external shell of our traditions may look the same from year to year, our inner experience is always different. We return to the same point on the calendar expecting a circle, but instead experience a spiral – each year drifting a bit from the person and circumstances of the previous year.

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Swinging on Svadhisthana (in English)

Have you ever thought about the influence that dance has on the chakras; the centers that rule our energetic body, and the impact this can have on our life experience? Well, I have! Ever since I started swing dancing a few years ago.

First of all, I must say that I am not an anthropologist and what you are about to read is the result of my reflection and experience. Nor am I an experienced dancer, just an amateur who enjoys dancing a lot. But, I have completed years of study and yoga practice and these experiences have helped me come to the conclusion that it was dance, specifically swing, twist, boogie-woogie, rock & roll … which influenced the great sexual revolution and creative explosion of the late 50s and 60s. This way of moving the body, especially the hips, unlocked stuck energy and released it, allowing both, men and women to enjoy a freedom that had not been allowed until then.

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Swinging on Svadhisthana (en Español)

¿Alguna vez habéis reflexionado sobre la influencia del baile sobre los chakras, centro s que rigen nuestro cuerpo energético, y la repercusión que esto puede tener en la experiencia vital? Pues yo, que desde hace unos años me dio por bailar swing, sí.
Antes de nada, decir que no soy antropóloga y que lo que vais a leer es fruto de mi reflexión y experiencia. Tampoco soy una bailarina experimentada, solo una aficionada que disfruta mucho bailando. Lo que sí llevo son años de estudio y práctica del yoga y eso me ayudó a llegar a esta idea de que fue el baile, concretamente el swing, twist, boogie-woogie, rock&roll … lo que definitivamente influyó en la gran revolución sexual y explosión creativa de finales de los años 50 y 60. Esta forma de mover el cuerpo, especialmente la cadera, pudo desbloquear energía atascada y liberarla, permitiendo que, a un nivel casi global, tanto hombres como mujeres disfrutaran de una libertad que hasta entonces no estaba permitida.

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Brain Weather

Clouds can be fluffy, white, wispy, or condensed. Many times, they are various shades of grey – light and unthreatening, or dark and foreboding. The edges of clouds are bulbous, not sharp, giving them an appearance of being soft and amorphous, even when they are stormy.

We all know the image of a brain: with the overall shape of a kidney bean, it too is squishy, without sharp edges, a bit more solid than how we think of clouds to be; but like clouds, the brain is also full of liquid and electricity. As children, the way we draw the two is really quite similar. The brain is our own personal grey matter. It is our own cloud.

In a clear sky, a sky without any clouds, we experience the full warmth and enlightenment of Earth’s personal celestial being, the sun. No matter what shade or density, clouds obscure the sun’s rays to some extent. Light fluffy clouds only block some of the sun’s intensity, whereas dark stormy clouds can block the sun’s rays entirely, sometimes even replacing the sun’s fire with the cloud’s own attempts at fire – a simultaneously angrier and sadder version, full of dangerous lightning, and big teardrops of rain.

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Why Write? Writing as a tool in a yoga teachers’ journey

Do you know the feeling, when you give a class, and suddenly a unique word pops out of your mouth without you ever planning or intending to use it? It could be a metaphor, an image, or even just a surprising verb that sneaks into the sentence from the back door of your consciousness?

For our students, those words create moments when students are awakened, they pay close attention, and remember what they have experienced even more. A teachers’ language is a powerful tool to make a student open up and learn. As teachers, we should appreciate and nurture this tool with intention; our language matters. The more accurate it is, and the more fresh with presence, the more effective our classes will be.

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Beginner’s Mind – Where the Possibilities are Endless

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”― Shunryu Suzuki

Can you remember your first yoga class ever? And how maybe it wasn’t at all like you thought it would be? I remember having a preconception that yoga would be easy and peaceful, and I was surprised that my first class was quite challenging both physically and mentally. My beginner’s mind didn’t care that the practice was different than I expected, and a world of possibilities opened up as I realized that there was a whole world I knew nothing about but wanted very much to learn. This was the start of my passion for yoga and even now, years later as my practice continues, it’s always a spark of beginner’s mind that keeps me engaged and wanting to learn more.

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The Real Dharma

This post was written in celebration of Sri Dharma Mittra, who’s 80th birthday is this May, 2019. To find out more about Dharma Yoga and the studio’s celebratory plans, from May 10-14th click here.

Everybody has a unique way of being. A way of talking, a way of walking, a tilt of the head, or a facial expression reveals a thought or emotion. During a conversation, some people are quiet, some constantly interject, some speak at a slow pace, and others barely breathe while talking.

You receive so much additional information about people when you’re live in their presence, observing their idiosyncrasies. And you learn so much more about a teacher – and the teaching – when you experience it in person.

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