Please feel free to read this blog and join in. I hope you will write something inspirational, inspiring, spiritual, controversial, amusing, engaging or just plain run of the mill. But please don't be brusque, churlish or licentious.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

When I wear a shirt or some other garment with the OM symbol
I invariably have someone ask me what it means.

The symbol is a Sanskrit term and it is said to be the essence of speech. The sound of OM or AUM is said to be the sound of the universe and when sung is composed of three syllagles combined into one.

 The symbol consists of three curves, one semicircle, and a dot. The three curves represent the three stages of consciousness; the lower curve is awake, the upper curve is deep sleep, and the tail-like curve represents dreaming sleep.  It is said that these are the three states of consciousness.

The semicircle above the consciousness curves represents maya  (illusion). In other words, the three states of consciousness are merely an illusion. The dot above maya represents God or the Absolute.  So, when you get rid of the illusion (maya) that you are consciousness you become one with God. This union is achieved through the practice of yoga.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Err on the side of caution.

One of my yoga students has glaucoma in one eye. He went to the doctor and they gave him eye drops and his eye pressure drastically went down and a blood vessel exploded and filled the eyeball with blood.  Right now he is "temporarily" blind in that eye.  He asked if I thought it might help if he were to apply a warm, wet towel on the eye.  I told him that he should ask his doctor about that.

As yoga teachers we should know our limitations when it comes to therapeutic practices and recommendations. As you probably know, there are different levels of knowledge and skill when it comes to yoga teaching.  Yoga Alliance ( https://www.yogaalliance.org/ ) has various levels of registered yoga teacher (RYT) such as RYT-200, RYT-500, ERYT-200, and so on.  They even have a registered therapy yoga teacher. Even if you are a therapy yoga teacher there are limitations in what you should do as far helping students.

If it is beyond your knowledge it is best to always err on the side of caution and recommend they go see a specialist.  Never let your ego get in the way of good judgement.  That's my recommendation.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

I have neglected posting here for quite some time and I am sorry.  I have been busy teaching and working with disabled people for a few years but am now back and ready to start talking about pure awareness again.

I hope you have been working with meditation and practicing staying in the moment, for those are the primary steps for getting to the higher state of consciousness of pure awareness. It is very difficult for most of us to stay in the moment, even for a few minutes, due to distractions and the like. That is where meditation comes in.

Meditation encourages the mind and even the body to relax into the state of awareness.  Awareness is the fourth level of consciousness.  If you remember, the five states of consciousness are: 1) waking sleep, 2) absorption, 3) attention, 4) awareness and 5) pure awareness.

Being aware while meditating means that both the mind and body are in complete awareness.  In other words, the mind is not thinking about the past or the future and the body is relaxed.  The body may be itching or aching here and there but the mind is fully aware of those sensations and the body may make adjustments to ease those feelings. Also, the mind as well as the body may have emotions but they are here, right now, in the moment.

So, continue on with your meditation and please keep in touch.  I will be posting more in the near future.

Neil Crenshaw

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Yoga and meditation research has dramatically increased in just the last two years. The results of these findings have proven to be highly favorable for both physical and mental improvements. Here are 42 more synopses of studies in the last two years (2014-2015) of just the yoga part. I will post the meditation results next, in about two days.

I am working on this year's (2016) studies as we speak. I will post them as soon as I get it completed. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Yoga and meditation are beginning to be looked upon favorably by the scientific and medical communities as a way to improve people's health both physically and mentally. It wasn't long ago that these practices were thought of as foolish and just a waste of time. Now, thanks to public involvement in these practices and a lot of good scientific research an entirely different light is being shed upon these enlightening practices.

Over the past four years I've been compiling lists of research conducted around the world in major institutions on these two very important practices.

Attached are synopses of thirty research projects on yoga and meditation for 2013. I included only studies that I considered truly worthy of listing due to their validity and reliability. The thirty projects are on eight pages. I hope you enjoy them.
I will post years 2014-2015 in a couple of days.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Should a Yoga Teacher be Required to do the Pose?

Is it necessary for a yoga teacher to be able to do the poses he or she teaches? This is a question that was presented to me in a discussion with some yoga teacher candidates. This is indeed a good question because if a teacher cannot, for example, do the down dog due to some physical disability such as loss of legs, should he/she refrain from teaching students to do such a pose? 

The question requires us to balance the art and science of directing yoga students with speech with that of demonstrating the pose. It seems as though that yoga teaching requires the teacher to be able to eloquently and intelligently impart direction with both speaking and demonstration. 

When I teach yoga I am usually doing the pose while talking, but not always. Sometimes I am walking around lightly adjusting students while talking. Some teachers I know hardly ever do the poses while teaching and do a marvelous job. 

However, with that being said, we must take into consideration who is being taught. Needles to say, all students are not the same. They come in all sizes, ages, and abilities. Not only that, a student can have off days and on days with varying degrees in between. Putting all of the variables together a teacher can never count on having the same class from one day to the next.

A teacher must be able to "feel the class" so to speak. Feeling the class, in the classic sense, means being able to pick up on the students' energy levels and capabilities for the moment. This, for the most part, takes experience and some of it can be taught.

Carefully listening and talking to as well as watching students before and during the first five minutes of class is prime time for picking up on their energy levels and capabilities. Simply asking  students how they are feeling is the easiest and most typical way of picking up on their overall well-being but it is not always reliable. Many students are reluctant to complain or give suggestions in a group setting.

On the other hand there are subtle signs or signals that any teacher can pick up on in a one-on-one situation such as the student's voice inflection (tone, accentuation, stress, cadence, rhythm) and mannerisms (out of the norm gestures, way of walking, facial expressions,etc.).

The not so subtle signals are a little more difficult to interpret by the teacher. Such signals may be said to be more esoteric, in other words, more abstract and hidden from view. These signals are what I refer to as the wave vibrations that are given off while the class is underway. 

A teacher cannot be taught how to pick up on these wave vibrations; the skill must be acquired through continued practice of teaching. Being "in tune," so to speak, to the various and ever so mild nuances of students may take several years to develop. 

Probably the best way to develop the ability of tuning in to students wave vibrations is to learn how to be totally aware of one's own self, others, and the immediate environment. This type of awareness requires an astute attention to detail in all aspects of body, breath, and mind as well as actions of other people and the multi-faceted aspects of the physical environment. This is no easy task. It requires full attention to detail in the present moment. This is total awareness. Total awareness as been discussed several times on the blog.

So, back to the original question. Should a yoga teacher be required to do the pose? The answer is - it depends on the teacher. If the teacher is attuned to the students' abilities, needs, problems, and well-being before and during class and also has a good knowledge of how to do the pose, then there is really no need to do the pose.