Posts by oldadim

Pilar has been athletic since graduating from college and really just a big fan of movement since the time she could crawl. After the birth of her first child she became swept away with the freedom of running and was able to enjoy the sights and vistas of some pretty far flung locales atop those running shoes — including some extra-long runs that came about from being completely lost.

Over the years she added some other cross training through swimming (especially while pregnant), biking and group exercise but in her fourth decade she discovered yoga. She can’t honestly say that it was love at first sight since all those years of athletics led to crazy tight hamstrings and shoulders, but ultimately it was a match made in heaven. So much so that she wanted to share this gift of love with everyone. Hence, her 200-hr Vinyasa training with the lovely Dolly Stavros of Asmi Yoga at North Shore Yoga in Chattanooga began a true passion for yoga and the catalyst it can be in anyone’s life.

Her classes are always a labor of love and you never quite know what you’ll be getting. A student once described her teaching style in an article in the Charlottesville Daily Progress, provocatively titled Unexpected girl crush on yoga matriarch as ”… She didn’t get all navel-gaze-y; she behaved like a teacher who had faith that her students could achieve what she wanted them to learn.”

When not thinking doing or teaching yoga she can still be found running, biking and dreaming of grandchildren.

Bring a new friend to class and receive a free class for yourself.  They pay their first class but receive their second class free.  Upon bringing your 3rd new friend go ahead and take 25% off of your next package.

Stephen Fletcher, Director and Principal Teacher, graduated Bikram’s 9-week teacher training course in Los Angeles in November, 2002, and has been teaching yoga ever since. He recently attended a 200 hour Kundalini teacher training in Asheville, NC. Stephen has a love for all styles of yoga and encourages students to be aware that they are all connected. He has practiced and studied with Akasha Ellis, Sean Tabor, Shiva Rea, Rodney Yee, and Brian Kest.

Stephen’s class is inevitably spiritual in nature and pulls from every yoga and discipline that exists. He will help you see the inherent oneness of all things as his physical instructions emerge as a philosophy. Stephen will emphasize that good yoga lies in perception and reception. His background is in music and massage, both of which help expand his view of the body and mind and their ultimate union.

Your Yoga philosophy:
Make room for all the paradox. Everything is symbiotic and ultimately one, so follow no set path as a living truth is always changing.

Style of yoga:
Hot, Kundalini

Favorite Yoga Quote right now:
Nothing need define you, only shape you.
Favorite Yoga Pose right now:
5 min Plank Pose

After the first time practicing yoga in 2002, Shannon fell in love with her mat and felt like she had come home to her true self. She became a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher in 2007 after completing her training at the Tallapoosa Center for Inner Arts in Carrollton, GA. There she studied an eclectic style of Yoga and Tai Chi with Karen Sifton and Roger Hornsby. She has experience teaching prenatal and mom & baby yoga. She is also a graphic designer and aspiring musician. As of May 2014, Shannon’s also a certified Laughter Yoga leader through Laughter Yoga Atlanta.
Shannon currently teaches Sacred Flow (a soulful heated vinyasa) at The Yoga Circle. Her classes are open to all levels, but come prepared to sweat! She believes the more you let go and allow for your own authentic movement to evolve, the more you will awaken the freedom in your body and your life. She incorporates bhakti yoga into her classes with meditation and song. She encourages you to smile through your practice, befriend your body, let your intuition guide you to a new awareness, and enjoy the gift of presence.

Shannon is the founder and co-host of Birmingham Kirtan/Satsang (community chanting group). For more info, please email shannon.andrews.s@att.net

Melissa’s love for yoga began 10 years ago, when she started practicing yoga as a counterbalance to her workouts. However, she quickly noticed improvement in her strength, flexibility, and posture and found a sense of peace and purpose that deepened each time she returned to her mat.
She also fell in love with the cardiovascular aspect of power yoga.

In 2010, she started a new yoga chapter in her life when she completed her first teacher training with Baron Baptiste and began teaching vinyasa flow classes.
Melissa is thankful to be able to share her journey and love for yoga through teaching, and combine her passion for music into each class.
As a teacher and a student, it is her intention to share all the benefits of yoga with others and have fun with each practice.

Hot yoga is a set
sequence of postures performed in a room heated to 105 degrees. There are 26 postures and two breathing
exercises and everything is practiced twice, except for spine twisting. Each posture prepares you for the next, allowing
you to slowly work deep into your muscles.
It is a beginning yoga class, utilizing simple postures that stretch and
strengthen every muscle, ligament and tendon in your body. The purpose of the heat is to help prevent
injury by keeping the muscles loose and warm.
It also helps to cleanse the body of toxins through the sweat and allows
a deeper, safer workout. The heat also
provides a mental challenge to overcome fears and keeps you humble at just the
right times.

  1. The essentials- savasana, stillness
    and breath.
      1. Savasana is the most important pose in
        classical hatha yoga.  It is the
        easiest physical posture in concept and the hardest to practice correctly.  For some, it is downright excruciating
        and for others, it is sheer bliss.
        In hot yoga, it serves to balance the active asana and acts as the
        foundation for creating all other poses.
        Much like the “a” in between every consonant in its spelling, it
        will go between every pose performed.
      2. Stillness, as it is a quality of
        savasana, is also sought within the active asana.  After the set-up and entry into a
        particular pose, absolute stillness should be held.  This restructures the neuro-pathways
        (muscle memory) and accentuates the ever-present movement of breath.  This infuses the essence of savasana in
        every pose, keeping you true to your source.
      3. Breath is your life-force energy,
        your sustenance and solace, your meditation and mantra, your fuel for the
        fire of movement.  An entire book
        will not do it justice.  During
        hatha yoga practice, breath control (pranayama) is essential to keep your
        mind’s attention and therefore keep you safe from over-exertion.  When losing awareness of your breath,
        you will easily strain and enter into stress responses and holding
        patterns.  Excluding the first and
        last breathing exercises in the series, always breathe in and out of your
        nose.  This keeps you from invoking
        your fight-or-flight, sympathetic nervous system response.  (Fight-or-flight response is necessary
        when running from wild hungry bears but not in yoga!)  Nostril-breathing also requires more
        focus and concentration from the mind.
        This is good.  80-20
        breathing is a specific technique utilized for certain backward bending and
        compression postures.  This means
        from 100 percent capacity, you use 20 percent of the breath off the top
        of the lungs during the pose, thereby keeping the lungs mostly full
        during the asana.
    1. The body- intelligent, imperfect,
      instinctive.
      1. The body has its own smarts.  If the superficial egoic mind can be
        ousted from power then the body can usually find a healthy equilibrium
        within its own needs.  Every cell
        has innate awareness of the larger whole and will adjust accordingly; whereas
        the mind will quickly burn out with the burden of details.  This is why we want to put the mind
        into the body and not the body into the mind.  The body just won’t fit into such a
        small space anyway.  Yoga as we
        know it is a marriage, and like human marriage, the two entities begin to
        share qualities of the other.
        Therefore the body becomes wise and the mind becomes strong.
      2. The body is an amazing machine very
        adaptable and yet very fragile.  It
        is naturally imperfect with varying lengths and widths.  This has to be so if we are to be
        individuals; diversity is the way of nature.  Knowing this, accept that some things
        will not be correctable.  However
        some things are and our continued practice should reveal which is
        which.  In most cases, our bones on
        opposite sides vary only microscopically.
        If one of your legs is noticeably longer it is probably due to
        prolonged localized muscle tightness that pulls on the entire network of
        muscle and fascia.  If we can break
        the holding pattern with yoga and bodywork and learn to unlearn, the
        lengths will even out.
      3. The body will instinctively adjust to
        imbalances.  For example:  if your right hip is collapsed, the
        right shoulder will raise up to keep you from falling over or walking
        funny.  This is good because we can
        continue to function but bad as our shoulder will soon begin to hurt,
        causing even more problems elsewhere.
        The entire body is interconnected, kinda like the planet and even
        the universe.  What is true in the
        smallest thing is reflected in the largest.
    2. The mind- right, left, ego and perception.
      1. The right hemisphere of our brain is
        creative, irrational, abstract, and simultaneous, to name a few.  This allows us to pick up on humor,
        intent, context and sarcasm and is how we can appreciate and process the
        multiple lines of music and art.
        In yogasana, this is good for synthesizing all that’s happening
        and following our intuitive cues.
      2. The left side is analytical,
        rational, linear and sequential.
        It serves basic functions, like listening to the teacher, memory
        and simply breathing.  In practice,
        we need this to keep us grounded in reality and connected to our
        immediate environment.  All too
        often, we can be stuck in this linear thinking trying to practice from
        memory.  Could we possibly know
        that our knowledge is in there and let it shine through our intuition?
      3. The ego wears many masks and is very
        good at playing to your weaknesses.
        Anytime you catch yourself judging, criticizing, competing or
        comparing, your ego is probably at work.
        This puts us inside of expectation and agendas which are setups
        for failure.  We need to let our
        practice unfold daily, just as it happens.
      4. How we perceive ourselves is usually
        what we become.  We need to know
        that we are the creator and “createe” and that what we give we will
        receive.  This is universal law and
        one limb of yoga called Karma.  As
        Craig Villani from Bikram’s teacher training says, “Your focus determines
        your reality.”  Some physicists say
        that perception creates the world around us.  It’s true that humans hear what they
        want to hear and see what they want to see.  Is it as easy as changing your mind?

In natural ecosystems, the nature of the
system deals with excess and deficiency.
Things live in harmony (diversity with individual purpose) or they
parish by being too much or too little; thus harmony maintained. When anything gets beyond a certain range, it
is sheared off – it has gotten too far away from the middle.

Harmony
is two separate vibrations, quivering in the same spatial perception. They make one sound together that is richer
in texture and creates emotion. It can
then begin to sound happy or sad. A pure
vibration has no mood to get disturbed and no ego to lie. Is not each one of us a pure vibration? But mix us together and we make all this mood
and emotion. Well, we do currently. But of course we don’t have to if we choose
otherwise. If everyone could sing their
own note but be able to hear the collective sound of harmony, then everybody
would be hearing themselves inside of a whole.
That would be peace. And we could
play. All would be one. Kinda like time doesn’t actually exist;
neither does any number but 1. Even 0 is
still 1. I mean look at it. It’s one circle. But everything is one. It all vibrates in the same space and we all
share the same universe. There is only 1
moment, like the philosophy of the present states. We hear echoes and choruses of the past and
future but there’s only one true sound.

Can you imagine life without spirit? Whether we realize it or not, every action of every day, big or small, is enhanced by spirit. Now to what degree is up to you and your practices. Our spirit can be cultivated. It’s a resource of infinite depth that we can ultimately use to soar through life. It will give us simple sincerity, palpable purpose, and visible vitality. Without Soul in our work, it and we will wither.
Souls thrive with the practice of awareness because with awareness you will break mechanization and mindless repetition. Going through motions only accelerates time and numbs the true feeling of being alive. Routine and ritual have their place if woven with diversity and adventure. Since life can easily slip into a monotonous drone, your yoga should bring you out of it and refresh your life purpose – to be in touch with your Soul!
So ask yourself as you witness your daily practices, ‘Does this bring me in touch with my Soul or just my self?’ If it doesn’t help you tap into and merge with this infinite resource, then consider changing. You may change ‘how’, or ‘what’, or ‘why’ but change you must. Because the only way to change ‘who’ is to let the Soul be realized as a collective source of all things good and true.
Peace to all
Love to all
Light to all

I knew the meaning of
life. It came to me in a dream and it
was real; how it all worked, the way to live, why it happened. Unfortunately dreams are fleeting and details
are forgotten. They are but a peek at
the secret destined to inspire the search.
A search that would find the truth of God; a truth to which lies would
surely come, for life would not change just from realization of the truth. The search therefore satisfies only itself,
traveling full circle only to come back to the same paradox, only to start
again. As a book cannot cease to end or
begin, this will attempt to travel backwards around the circle to at least stay
the dizziness of over thinking. Some
pages may be left perfectly blank. Do
not skip them for true understanding needs space to spread out and time to
reflect. Too many words diminish
feelings. They contradict one another
like describing the indescribable; the paradox lives written in these very
words. So before continuing in the way
that we do best, read the next few lines like you were scanning for small
defects, (but your not).
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

So in that dream that I
had- the one where I knew the meaning of life- I was an amoeba. I was a single cell organism and I was still
very close to the source of life.
Awareness/perception, sometimes confused with the senses, was total and
complete from the vantage point of that simple cell. As humans we have grown so complex and it
makes for more things to go wrong, like typos, bad grammars, and complex run-on
sentences that make things back at the beginning of the sentence seem really
hard to connect to the end of the sentence which by now is so far gone from
it’s birth source that it doesn’t remember what it is. Stand under that and marinate. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Did you actually read
those lines? It’s so hard to do
something so simple- it’s beneath us and there can’t possible be anything
worthwhile in it. That’s what we think. Maybe we should think less. We don’t see the source for all the
distractions. We stand taller than
anything else we know and yet have the worst foresight. If the amoeba dream was a peek, then
intelligence exists in many different states, the least of which may be
ours. We are far away from God and
therefore scramble for religions and reassurances. In the ‘lower’ forms of life, (that being
anything not human), the appreciation and honoring of the source was embedded
in every action of daily living. They
knew, without words or recitation, that they themselves were the shrines and
temples built to worship and reflect the source. If we truly believed we were the offsprings of
God, we would relax and stop trying to figure everything out. We would remember that the spark is in our
blood. We would realize that words
detract from the truth of raw perception and the feeling of all-knowing. The more knowledge we accumulate, the more to
keep up with, the more inferior we feel as we can’t handle it all, the more
books we have to dust, the more cluttered the mind caught up in endless wordy
details frantically racing to put it all together, time now invented and
accentuated, death looming, stress and unworthy struggle when none of it will
ultimately matter as everything is one anyway.
————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–Whoa! Probably need a few more of those lines. You can see how easily it can get carried
away. What I really want to ask is how
can we not see what is all around us? It
is the way. The road before us can
prepare us for the road to come.

A trip to Alaska is never long enough (as long as you go in the summer!). You want to hike every trail there is as you never know what mystery awaits you around the corner. You want to capture the view from every angle of every beautiful landscape. Alaska seems to fill you with infinite energy to keep going up every mountain and paddle that extra mile. It is a place full of authentic all-natural organic inspiration.

B and I went to Alaska at a perfect time of year. The blueberries are in full bloom, the salmon are running, the whales are very active, and the wild flowers are everywhere. The weather is cool but warm by Alaskan standards with highs in the 60s. We had 6 full non-travel days to see as much as we could.
So Friday morning we got up at 4 am to make our first excursion into the wild. We hopped on a boat and started on a 3 hr trip to Tracy Arm Fjord north of Juneau where we were staying. This trip is a excellent way to blow your mind right from the start. As we work our way up the arm, the walls get closer and higher. Breathtaking waterfalls cascade down from 8000-ft peaks. Chunks of ice become more frequent with some still holding on to an ancient mystical blue like you’ve never seen before. A cruise ship has been following us for an hour now and continues to get closer. We are on a whaling boat that my friends work on and until now we have had this boat to ourselves. Now this massive floating city has pulled so close that we reach out and touch its hull. Our large boat looks like a speck next to it. We proceed to take on passengers right in the middle of this icy ocean.
The energy now escalates as people from all over the world crowd the vessel. We started our move into the smallest part of the arm towards the finale of the Sawyer glacier. If you’ve never seen a glacier in person, then you won’t understand why I will not even try to describe it. The best I can do is to say that it is alive, moving and looming in its stillness- you can feel it touching you. A part of the glacier cavs off into the water and the sound overrides your senses. It is a powerful experience. On our way back, to add some sprinkles to the cake, a rare humpback breaches from the water while still in the arm. The whale is rare because there are not many fish in this brackish water and whales are not usually spotted here especially in such an active state.

Saturday, my friends were off work and we decided to go kayaking in the Mendanhal glacier lake. This would be fortuitous as we would need this skill later on in our trip. We basically circumnavigated the entire lake taking our time and enjoying the sites. We parked half way around and watched the salmon running. We spotted a young black bear just learning how to get the fish into his belly. The people tend to crowd around in this area and so we headed back to the boats and set off for the glacier. There were more icebergs in the lake than usual and it made for beautiful pictures and playful navigation. We got too close to the glacier magnetized by its beauty, but escaped unharmed. Continuing around we parked and picked up the walking trail to the glacier climbing rocky embankments and traversing small streams. Ice caves form underneath the glacier and we dared to walk underneath where it is always raining from the melting ice. This day was made more amazing as we had forgot our packed lunches and did all of this hard work on an empty stomach. We feasted off the beauty of this landscape and felt no lack of energy or enthusiasm. Of course dinner was that much sweeter when we finally made it home.
Sunday brought us to another glacier in place called out the road. It was accessed by an almost 2 hr hike into what seemed like the land of Narnia. Or maybe it felt more like the Shire from lord of the rings. Either way it was other-worldly. We had our friend’s dog with us to keep us company and scare off the bears. She proved to be an excellent trail dog. We hiked beside a glacial river that runs gray from the silt. As we neared the glacier the river opened wide and a massive flatlands sprawled out before us. It appeared we could approach the glacier that way but the river was slightly too deep to cross. We continued on through the thicket unable to make the glacier as it was still an hour away and time called us back. On the way back we noticed much bear poop that was not there on the way in. They are every where but tend to stay away from people.
We had been whale watching that Sunday morning and had come across a lighthouse that had sparked B’s interest. We inquired about it and found out that you could rent it for a mere $50 a night. Of course you have to find a way to get there. We were excited and determined and we made it happen. Charting boats and helicopters are the typical way of getting there but expensive. And since you need at least one crazy scary adventure while in Alaska, we decided to kayak. It was about 2 miles away and only 2 hours at the most, but over the ocean’s colder deeper water.
So Monday we set out in John’s truck that runs great except for a slightly dangerous gas leak. (Everything it seems is a little dangerous in Alaska.) Avoiding stray cigarette butts, we load up the kayak and head to the spot. We stop at a most beautiful shrine/chapel to pray for our safety and walk through a love labyrinth to meditate. The hardest part of our journey proves to be moving the kayak from car to water. We struggle with it’s heaviness over slippery rocks having to pause every few feet to rest and re-grip. It’s a relief to finally be buoyant. I will admit that I was nervous on the way out. The waves were a little choppy and running parallel to where we wanted to go which made it hard to hit them head on as you should. In the distance by the island we’re headed to, whale plumes spew from the surface keeping our excitement at a peak.
We arrive at the island at low tide and circumnavigate it twice looking for a good spot to dock. I was expecting valet service or at least a bit of sand to pull up on. Nothing but rocks covered in mussel shells and slippery vegetation. As we come around the island the first time the sea lions follow us a bit to check us out and make sure we’re worthy. Thankfully they leave us alone as they can be known to play with small boats and tip them over. We finally wrench our boat up 5 feet of rock in a small inlet and carry it above what we believe to be the high tide mark. Little did we know. We step into a fantasy paradise. Adam and Eve all alone surrounded by the beauty and wonder of nature, water on all sides. We find the trail and tromp our supplies to the lighthouse. We were to discover the history of the place later and to hear of its haunted reputation. Our quarters are rustic and minimal with no running water or electricity or heat. Perfect. The beds are wooden planks. On the wall are pictures of the place when it was first settled. A family lived here in a house that no longer stands. One picture shows a huge boat perched on top of the rocks that surround this island. We later learned of this wreck where hundreds of people died as the tide came in and sank the boat.
We wake the next morning to collect blueberries for breakfast and check on the boat. It was not where we left it. We are the luckiest people ever if you consider lucky being able to leave. The boat was 20 ft higher and laid perfectly parallel to the shore in between two big rocks. I would have swore that somebody moved our boat for us. Tides apparently can fluctuate much higher than the lines suggest. A miracle that our boat was unharmed and present. Later we hiked the perimeter with a whale following us from a distance. This walk provided a wealth of buried treasures hidden in the nooks and crannies; people’s pasts washed up on shore. We sat to rest and meditate on a flatter rock and as if to reward our decision or maybe say hi, our whale surfaced not 25 ft in front of us with a great plume of prana. This happened on my first trip to Alaska while meditating. It seems to prove the adage that if you wait and get still, life will come to you. It was a very special moment.
We explored and lived free and stayed an extra night for free. It was a reality that blinked and yet lasted forever. We pondered what it would have been like to live in another time like this where life was more struggle and so much less stress. A time where simplicity was the standard. How could we take this home with us to the everyday malay of city life? Maybe it will come with time and practice but it seems now that this fantasy has proven to much. The intensity of the dream has fractured the reality; it has split it right down the middle.
I will leave you with a small wisdom gained from my time there. In Alaska, clean is a relative state of mind, wet is absolute reality.
peace love & lighthouses
smf @ tyc

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