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yin yoga teacher training

ON CRAVING & AVERSION: THE TWO HINDRANCES TO MINDFUL LIVING

ON CRAVING & AVERSION: THE TWO HINDRANCES TO MINDFUL LIVING

It has been suggested to me that you cannot simultaneously stay identified with something that you’re at the same time observing- which is why meditation asks of us to consciously note the feeling tones, emotions, sensations and patterns that emerge in the midst of a mindful practice so that we might UNSTICK from the unconscious identifications of our mental patterns. 

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IN TERMS OF MENTAL PATTERNS, YOU CAN CATEGORIZE THE OBSTACLES OF MINDFULNESS INTO TWO MAJOR HINDRANCES: 1) CRAVING AND 2) AVERSION.

I will define them for you now.

Craving refers to our tendency to chase after sensual gratification. Craving occurs when we cling to something we want to remain unchanged, or when we wish something was here that is not. Craving is wanting what is not here right now.

Aversion, on the other hand, is not what wanting what is here now. When we resist, resent, recoil, attack. This is simply craving in reverse- clinging to what we wish or assume should happen instead.

The Buddha suggested that these 2 mind states are what fuel all internal struggles. Craving and aversion are at the root of our suffering.

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That being said, it’s important to acknowledge that it is the human condition. We can not beat craving or aversion because it’s intertwines as part of the human psyche. So how do we navigate these mental patterns without allowing them to contribute to greater suffering?

The Dalai Llama in a lecture once told his listeners that he hates when he orders an ice cream and it melts on a hot day. Having a strong dislike for something is not the problem- your preferences are not what cause your suffering. It’s what happens to your nervous system when you don’t get your preferences met.

So you can have all the preferences you want - be empowered and ask the universe for exactly what turns you on and lights you up- but NOTICE the reactions of the somatic system when you don’t get those preferences met. Find a way to stay ignited regardless.

IN THE MIDST OF CRAVING OR AVERSION, ASK YOURSELF THIS: DOES GETTING YOUR WAY REALLY MATTER?

Remember that the goal is to observe and penetrate our patterns, observe their imprint on our neurology.

In a mindful life we are able to host the arrival of craving & aversion rather than become them. Observing them keeps them at arms length- upon observation you can’t stay enmeshed in the intoxicating pull of their narrative.


Kali Basman

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International yoga teacher Kali Basman enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual.  Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness.

On the textured path of mindful healing,  Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 


FASCIA - THE FABRIC OF OUR FORM: ON YIN VS. YANG TISSUE

FASCIA - THE FABRIC OF OUR FORM: ON YIN VS. YANG TISSUE

Fascia is known as transanatomical substrate:

·      Transanatomical- meaning anatomy and more;

·      Substrate- meaning the element behind everything, that which connects everything, the extracellular matrix which envelops every organ.

Fascia is made of collagen and fed by Vitamin C. It forms blood vessels, muscle fibers, it even informs the architecture of our lungs and our brain.

As our largest sensory organ, I think of this connective tissue as our ‘6th Sense’ contributing to interception and proprioception, it tells us where we are in space. No muscle of bone ever works without the utilization of this organ of organization.

The main job of this fascial matrix is to draw water into its matrix (hydration), as neural impulses move through water, the autonomic nervous system relies on a fluid state of the connective tissue for its communication . In a healthy Asana practice, we are directing some of our inherent water element into the fascia to send healthy neural impulses through our system.

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YANG TISSUES:

·      Shallower tissue- closer to surface, the faschia under skin, muscles.

·      Responds to: rhythmic movement and short-term engagement (5 breaths maximum), repetition and strong explosive movement.

·      Muscle tissue closer to surface has more fluid content that tissues closer to the bones. At rest muscles are 75% fluid content and they get juicier with movement. That’s why warming up in a Yang Yoga practice is so important before  reaching apex pose. 

YIN TISSUES:

·      Ligaments, tendons- deeper connective tissues that binds bones and even binds within the bones and bone marrow

·      Responds to: static loading and holding, slow sustained holds

·      Whereas yang tissues need repetition, repetition is Deleterious on our joints (wear and tear)

·      Healthy stress on the yin fascia can initiate the flow of fluids to yin tissues which don’t intrinsically juice up like Yang muscles do.

A Pose in itself isn’t yin or yang but how you practice it becomes the intentionality and texture of the shape- thereby targeting the yin or yang tissues.

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ABOUT KALI: 

International yoga teacher Kali Basman  (kalidurgayoga.com) enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 

WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.

Skeletal & Energetic Articulations of Sphnix

Skeletal & Energetic Articulations of Sphnix

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Tops of feet on the floor: lengthen front of ankle joint and energetic release in soles of feet

Upper inner thighs engage: slight energetic engagement of the inseam of the thighs will stabilize base of spine

Pubic bone as the anchor point: press pubis into mat to create the stable anchor point the spine will lift off from

Navel lifts away from pubis: this will lengthen the lower abdomen

Navel glides toward the spine: this will engage the corset of the middle abdomen and protect lower back

Middle ribcage slides forward: picture yourself opening a drawer as you slide the ribs forward to compress thoracic spine

Sternums lifts away from spine to complete the arch

Sternum spreads widening through the distal ends of the collarbones

Base of skull pulls back and wide to prevent jutting forward of the chin and stressing the neck

Crown of head lifts to refine your relationship to the upper realms

YOU ARE ONLY AS HEALTHY

AS YOUR SPINE IS SUPPLE


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ABOUT KALI: 

International yoga teacher Kali Basman  (kalidurgayoga.com) enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 

WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.

Unraveling Anahatasana

Unraveling Anahatasana

ON YIN & THE GREAT WITHDRAWAL FROM THE EVER SHIFTING SENSORY REALM.

Yin is a helpful container to practice PRATYAHARA: Withdrawal of the Senses, or as I like to call it ‘The Great Withdrawal’.

Teaching in Los Angeles, I see studentship enter the studio with a flurry of externalities, a contingency of chaos, and filtering through the debris of life in constant motion. The goal of a Yin practice is to allow the system to settle into stillness so true cellular regeneration and deep tissue restoration can occur. However, modernity implies that the availability of stillness and spaciousness is intermittent at best. The city sweeps you through its streets, the to-do list mounts, and in the midst of progression and productivity there is rarely time for the dust of the subtle realm to settle.

With that in mind, my objective in offering Yin Yoga as a daily foundational practice is not to demand that the practitioner set aside the perfect amount of space and time with complete clarity of mind. The objective is this: to train the nervous system to become comfortable with the ever-shifting state.

There may be space between the thoughts and between the breath in some moments, and in others we may succumb to the normative patterning of clinging and cluttering the foreground of our mentality. Either perspective is part of the process. We might inquire - How do I extricate myself from the onerous paradigms of an involved and often overwrought life? Where and how is stillness accessible to me, even in the midst of movement?

- Kali Durga Yoga


Unraveling Anahatasna: An Energetically Intimate Examination of Melting Heart Pose

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I use Anahatasana (Melting Heart) as a way to observe the threading of breath along the length of the spine, supported by a still and stable base of skeletal alignment of pelvis and femur bones. This shape encourages us to seek stability and spaciousness even in the midst of a turbulent breath. In terms of Yin Asanas, this one has quite a Yang elemental texture to it – there is activity, there is muscular engagement, and yet – there is the propensity to experience a subtle sweep of deep, still, quietude – if even for a brief and fleeting moment.

Note: There are many resources online which point towards the proper cueing, entering and exiting the shape, contraindications and modifications. I encourage you to explore those on your own accord – the thrust of this post is not to cookie-cutter the shape for you, but rather to offer some of the underlying energetic repercussions a refined relationship to this posture will provide.

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SETTLE

As the name implies, the structure of this shape allows for an energetic pooling at the locus of the heart as it  melts off the spine, drips from the sternum, pools and puddles on the earth below you. What a delectable manner to settle! Arms outstretched allows you to lengthen the Heart & Lung Channels of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Meridians, stretches the lobes of the lungs long so that breath becomes more accessible in the backbody.

COMPRESS

This is a backbend for the upper thoracic spine, which tends to be the most inflexible region of the vertebral column. Repercussions of inflexibility here include rotator cuff rigidity and neck pain. The more mobility you have here, the greater flow and flush of prana and cerebrospinal fluids you have. I see a lot of hypermobile yogis electing the lumbar spine to bend deeply in mid and lower back. The lumbar spine should serve to stabilize here, so you can encourage a deep and therapeutic compression in thoracic.

ENGAGE

The weight of the pelvis should be balanced over the knees: another way of thinking of this is ensuring the length of the femur bones are directly perpendicular to the mat. This will allow even gravitational force to be distributed down the thighs, maintaining a foundation of stability. Slight engagement of the quadriceps along the inseam of the femur bones (think isometric magnetizing of the inner thighs towards the midline) will support stability… so that you may sink into stillness, even for a moment!

SURRENDER

Once stability has been realized, there is a way in which the YANG element of this shape dissolves into the somatic wisdom of YIN. You can unravel here, allowing the shoulder blades to soften and descend off the spine, the glutes melt off the backpoint of the sitting bones, and the expression of the face unfolds into a subdued state.

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MAY THE MELTING OF YOUR HEART

INVITE ELOQUENCE OF MIND

& STILLNESS DESPITE CHAOS


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About Kali:

International yoga teacher Kali Basman enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 


WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  

Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.

5 Elements Yin Yoga: Water Element

5 Elements Yin Yoga: Water Element

Yin Yoga is a practice which encourages a softening or surrendering of activity and an observation of present moment awareness. Integrating the Chinese Five Elements into the practice enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga as a healing modality, as we are each an embodiment of Earth, Fire, Water, Metal & Wood. During circumstances of imbalance, we can utilize the wisdom tradition of Yoga Asana to organize the skeleton and relax the musculature in specific ways which awaken and enliven gentle self-inquiry and a lubrication of the connective tissues and pathways for immunity, longevity, and vitality.

In a world that’s ever shifting, may you use this practice to find stillness.

In thought patterns which engender suffering, may this practice allow you to see the unity of all things, from the shifting of the seasons to the suppleness of the spine

Xoxo,
Kali Durga


WATER ELEMENT & THE KIDNEY MERIDIAN: APPROACHING EQUANIMITY & RESTORATION

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The wisdom of water is its incredible strength, it carves rock and shapes the entire earth, but without force. Water element allows for adaptation to all of life’s changes, challenges and stresses. Like the flow of water, a balanced practice empowers us to govern emotions, rather than letting emotions govern us.

This is sometimes called ‘radical impartiality’: water energy enables us to act effectively in regard to a problem despite emotional responses, from a place of stable clarity, and to continue to advance or retreat appropriately. To act consciously, rather than react unconsciously. Allowing feelings to be there, without suppressing or indulging them. 

ASK YOURSELF. 

Do I know when to stand my ground and when to surrender? Am I making choices which deplete my vital energy, or allowing spaces to replenish and revitalize my system?

SEASONS.

Each element is most dominant in a particular season. The winter, which is also the season most dominant in YIN energy, is also the home of the water element. Just as a bear hibernates in winter, the water element of this season asks us to engage in renourishing activities. 
 

ORGAN FUNCTIONALITY. 

Located below the lowest ribs on the back body, the kidneys are responsible for waste removal and filtration of blood. Kidney energy effects all of life’s processes from birth onwards. It is essential for growth and maintenance of general vitality, creativity, youthfulness, and sexuality. Kidney energy controls the Chi, or essence, and thus gives stamina and vigor to the entire bodymind. 


CONSTITUTIONAL PERSONALITY TYPES:

IMBALANCED EARTH: 

  • Excessive reactivity and perpetual state of emotional responsiveness (opposite of equanimity) highlight an imbalanced water type. Fear, stress and anxiety drain the system of motivation, so they are unable to cope with issues that arise.

WATER TYPES:

  •  They tend to create stressful schedules and unrealistic priorities to take on too much beyond their capacity. A continuous build-up of stress and a consistent strain on adrenal glands and nervous system can drain them. 

  • Physical symptoms of imbalance: Kidney deficiency is more apparent in winter. If fatigued or unbalanced, water types are less able to stay warm and grounded and nourished when the water element is intense. Weak kidney chi can manifest as yellow palor to the skin, blue bags under the eyes, a craving for salty food, and aversion to the cold.

  • Emotional symptoms of imbalance:  Fear, panic attacks, phobias, feeling overwhelmed.

BALANCED WATER TYPES: 

  • They trust in the flow of life. They are typically morning people, as they awake full of vigor. They are motivated and thus flow around obstacles with a skillful balance of effortlessness and determination.  

The water meridian or the kidney channel begins at the sole of the foot and curls around the inner ankle before ascending up the inseam of the back of the leg. As it reaches through the inner groin it branches up the front of the spine and chest to end just below the collarbones.
   
A Yin Yoga practice to support and balance water element typically tends to emphasize vitality support. As the kidneys filter toxins from the blood, our aim in a water practice is to support the flow of blood and Qi uninterrupted, alongside front and back bends and lengthening of the inner leg line.

TRY SOME OF THESE WATER ELEMENT POSTURES!

  • Half dragonfly (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)

  • Caterpillar (Paschimottanasana)

  • Sphinx (Salamba Bhujangasana)  

  • Seal  (Bhujangasana)

  • Bridge or supported bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)         


About Kali:

International yoga teacher Kali Basman  (kalidurgayoga.com) enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 


WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI? Learn more about her upcoming 5 Element Yin & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.