Awakening Heart Intensive – Bhukti/Mukti Engagement

“Bhukti” means enjoyment or worldly fulfillment. “Mukti” means spiritual liberation. Tantra is the bridge between bhukti and mukti. It is a way of reconciling the apparent opposition of spiritual and worldly fulfillment. The message here is that in the tantric practices it is possible to enjoy a “worldly” existence and discover full spiritual liberation in this life.

Don’t Try Hard; Try Easy

I’m working on softening my yoga practice and it’s not easy. A lot of us guys struggle with muscles that get in the way. Big shoulders, tight hip flexors, football quads. Not only does this make the physical practice of asana challenging, the mental side is not tipped in our favor either. Many of us grew up in an athletic culture that values pushing your self to extremes to maximize physical ability, capture a league title, or make an all-star team. Digging into yoga philosophy over the past seven years has exposed me to very different values.

Rushing to Relax

I recently found myself caught in this contradiction while driving to the Wanderllust Festival for ten days of yoga bliss in Squaw Valley, Northern California. We left a day early in an attempt to reduce potential stressors­– two tweens and an eighteen-month-old baby were sure to provide enough of that. In spite of our efforts, however, a drive that map-quested at 11.5 hours and started out as a conscious act of tranquility ended 38 blood-boiling hours later.

The 3 A’s of Handstand!

For those who aspire to stick handstand in the middle of the room, this sight can be misleading. In my early years of yoga I would look around and think, “Most of these people don’t look like tremendous athletes. Why can they do it and I can’t?” After several years of consistent practice, my answer is that a successful asana practice can come from following the three A’s of Anusara Yoga.

Nataraj, the Cosmic Dancer

Have you had a chance to check out the statue, or “Murti”, in the front of the bamboo room at Yoga Union? Perhaps you’re like me and you’ve used it as your focal point during a difficult balance sequence but don’t know much about it. In order to appreciate more than just the beauty of the murti itself, I asked Todd to answer a few questions about the dancing deity he chose for his studio.

Sun Salute!

Summer in Portland is… unbeatable. When the sun comes out, the streets fill with smiles, exposed flesh and the smell of backyard BBQs. An open patio seat is hard to find and bodies lay strewn about in parks- victims of the Vitamin D assault. We even seem to forget the 8 months of incessant rain that only just stopped yesterday. It’s on these glorious days that it can sometimes be a challenge to take our bodies out of the sun and into the studio. So instead of compromising one for the other, why not take your practice outside? Yoga is, after all, about unity. When it’s practiced in nature, your connection to the universe may feel more readily available and your sense of awareness will have room to grow and evolve.

Flying Fish Co.!

If you frequent the Yoga Union studio, then there’s a fair chance you’ve passed by a large van bearing the name “Flying Fish Co.” on the corner of 50th and Hawthorne. But have you stopped to peek inside and see what that van is all about, and who’s actually driving that thing around Portland?

Everyone Yoga!

How old were you when you began your yoga practice? Do you ever wish you had found yoga at an earlier age? Many parents in cities across the country are encouraging their children to explore yoga and its teachings earlier, and classes taught for kids are becoming increasingly more popular.