RESTORATIVE-YIN YOGA involves supported body/mind relaxation. This is gentle, gentle yoga that promotes deep relaxation for stress reduction while also stretching and rehabilitating connective tissue.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wild Grass Za

How Much Does Your Mind Weigh, 19”x33, acrylic/panel

[A leaf weighs less than a gram.  The moon’s mass weighs perhaps 7.34x1025 grams.
How much does your mind weigh?]



12:25 PM
(After Restorative-Yin Yoga)
Beginning 4/28/14

Brief Za
{“sitting, at rest” / meditation, followed by brief walking meditation}

?’s: Lance Kinseth/

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Intensity: Authentic

THE IDEA OF INTENSITY is glorified—seen as pushing yourself until you give up enough ego, driven to the point of being exhausted enough, that something breaks through the everyday ritual/routine to open a deeper place to which yoga aspires to enter.

Ashtanga into “Power,” or a more generic “edge” or “pain as information” come to mind.

Power yoga is “power ignorance.”   Ashtanga is “half-ignorance.”   “Great yoga gurus” [revered to the point of godliness] have taught this to transcend ego.  And so have martial practitioners, sports performance folks and others.  It is presented as a way to come so deeply out of the everyday routine that one finally “gets it.”

Well, if you want to set a performance “record,” it works.  PAIN, Pain, pain, or really, no new record--More weight lifted, faster speed. more miles run and faster.  But it fits with all of the erroneous aspects of spiritual practice.  Talk some to these “winners,” and you discover anxiety and/or obsessive personality to the point of often taking medication (that the workout tries to replace and that drives continual workout and anxiety if missed), and no real transformation other than they are “better” than someone else.

Authentic intensity does exist.

It is much more of a “middle way.”

Intensity is more of a shift in quality.  One might be illiterate and standing in a market and hear some short phrase.  But the intensity in that moment was exemplary.  No exercise, no meditation, no yoga.

“Bullshido” to those who work and work and get more flexible and faster and even more compassionate and think that they are nearing the goal.  Bullshido and more to the damage that this done (not just a little gain or neutrality). 

In monasteries of all sorts—Buddhist and Christian—most work hard and very disciplined, and they are the better for it, but almost no one awakens.  And so they practice and teach more effort. 

Hard work is predominantly yoga today (and likely in the past).  “Two more weeks,” and there is a difference, and so, true believers are born.  But all of this work is, paradoxically, facile, which is to say “too easy.” Muscles and flex may change but mind may remain rather empty.

You want to see intense flex and strength?  Is the ability to turn your feet deeply inward yoga?  It was astonishing to me to hear the talk of frequent injury in yoga.

Go to contortionists, gymnasts and cheerleaders.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Yoga & Nature: An Invitation

This post, Yoga & Nature: An Invitation, appeared in the quarterly magazine, YogaIowa, Spring, 2014. [Image on left is a mock-up of a cover not used.  Image on right is article as it appears..] For $15 annual subscription,, or perhaps search Facebook, YogaIowa.

GOING “OUT INTO” nature to practice yoga may seem to bring nature more into our practice, and yet it is somewhat of an illusion, if you grasp what both yoga and nature are about. 

We are deeply lost in nature so that there is really no “outside.”  Present as the driving force in ancestral yoga is a sense of the body-mind [“the little universe"] aspiring to come into harmony and balance with the larger universe for optimal health and human development and gratitude. 

The Earth is in our practice.  A praise of the sun—the 12 asanas of traditional Surya [sun] Namaskar--is basically the heart of what we term "vinyasa flow."  Perhaps go to YouTube and view videos of Indian practice of Surya Namaskar to grasp its profound depth.  And there are other sequences that explicitly attend to the natural such as, for examples, the “Earth Sequence” and a related “Grounding Sequence” and Chandra [moon] Namaskar and “The Sequence To The Four Directions” and for some, facing East [the rising sun] or North [polar magnetic lines]. It is difficult to be around the yoga community and not find a rich eco-sensitivity involving a general affection for nature and specific individual and communal and public actions to reduce one’s “eco-footprint” [i.e., the consumption of natural resources]. This sensitivity extends into everything, into natural fiber clothing and bamboo flooring and most other products, as well as practice and presence in unbuilt landscapes.  Practitioners may go deep enough to ask as Ganga White does in Yoga Beyond Belief,
            What if the temple was the earth,
If forests were our church
If holy water—the rivers, lakes and oceans

While eco-sensitivity is important, it does not equal eco-literacy.  We will likely never have holy water if we sense ourselves standing outside nature.  In our eco-literacy, water might still remain a “resource.”  And might will continue to perceive ourselves to be “domesticated,” not “wild.”  We become our words.

 “Ecology” is a rather new term, becoming popularized in 1970 with our view of Earthrise over moonscape.  As theologian Thomas Berry has suggested in The Great Work, our renascent task in this era is to integrate into the larger Earth community.  Because it is so body-mind, yoga can play a role in both transforming our sense of the nature of health and this eco-integration. 

As Henry Beston noted in The Outermost House, We hunger for fire [the elemental] before the hands, because we are fundamentally from nature and know it in our heart of hearts.

Now, especially for those coming into wondrous Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, as the whole Earth increasingly tilts toward the sun, and we become sensitive to the rich changes around us, we might invite Earth deeply into our practice.

            And I suggest…,
that your spirit grow in curiosity, that your life
            be richer than it is, that you bow to the earth as
            you feel how it actually is, that we—so clever, and
            ambitious, and selfish, and unrestrained—are only
            one design of the moving, the vivacious many.
                        Mary Oliver, from “ The Moth, The Mountains, The Rivers,”
                        A Thousand Mornings [33]

NOTE: As our eco-literacy begins to include us, perhaps we will begin to see how even our global urbanization [that can appear to be so separate from nature and artificial as to be almost the destructive antithesis of nature] has not only major ecologically adaptive features but also is wild and still young in the Earth ecosystem. [For further exploration of this possibility, perhaps search]