what is research?

"Research-Warner-Highsmith" by Artist is Olin Levi Warner (1844–1896). Photographed in 2007 by Carol Highsmith (1946–), who explicitly placed the photograph in the public domain. - Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-highsm-03153 (original digital file), uncompressed archival TIFF version (92 MB), cropped and converted to JPEG with the GIMP 2.2.13, image quality 88.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

What is research? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research

Home Practice #3

January 2015 

The tools we gather in our youth and innocence are more valuable to us now than ever before

Photo by Lulu (Lezele A. Chrispin)

It really is all in our minds. 
If it weren't for my thoughts I could get into a full split right now. 
My mind believes I have limitations I do not. 
Sense the tight spots resisting and release them with breath. 
Garland of Letters in Philadelphia a place with a pulse has become a refuge. 
Something about this space helps me clear through the mud and come out a lotus. 
A gentle, yet firey spirited white bearded yogi and nurtured therapist wander throughout. 
Garland is an oasis filled with a world of cultures, healers, educators, beauty and so many sacred in-describe-ables
Recently they sent me home with the antidote for a dense San Francisco-like fog that began to hover around my yoga practice. Sandalwood suggested by Kevin Starbard, "what it smells like in India's Temple's" and attending the Hatha classes held with Dr. Pratap were my prescriptions. 

I lit the incense like a torch in my yoga corner where I breathe like a dragon, focus and hug myself into a playful, thoughtless, fearless state.
The billowing clouds of smoke seemed to chase away the fog and penetrate the air with something new."Sarah, there you are" I said. It opened me right up, again
I was like a new born baby in no time (a dab of Dr. Green's green honey also helped.)

I'm freer, happier, younger and closer to my origins everyday.
It doesn't have to make sense.
I can feel it working.

"This is something we all can create and master it's been around since the human spirit" Kino MacGregor on Yoga, stillness and inner peace. 

Quite a lengthy timeline to tackle.
The academic and scholarly portion of this study is extensive and seems to constantly expand, while it blows my mind. The history and lineage in discussion predates Christ. The Bhagavad Gita, The Sutras, Sanskrit, Goddesses, Diety's, Ayurveda, Lands, Ancient texts, teachers of teachers, Guru's and treasured secrets that light the path during the battle for self-mastery.

*The list goes on and on spurring questions like, "Ashtanga" shouldn't it really be called "Korunta" which started it all? (Korunta, the ancient text by Vamana Rishi, teacher of Rama Mohan Brahmachari who then taught Krishnamacharya in Tibet who then taught Guruji or Sri K Pattabhi Jois who studied the Korunta and brought the Ashtanga Yoga system, which means eight limbed yoga described as disciplines by Patanjali: restraints, observances, posture, breathing, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation, unification of subject and object.) 

Patanjali , the great Sage who wrote the Sutras I believe it's unclear if Patanjali was a she, he or even an actual being- the philosophy seems to be accessed through practicing the asana's.
Ashtanga Guru Pattabhi Jois  says, "...99% is practice..." 

That's where the real learning happens it's there in the posture itself
Hence, I'm crawling out from under the piles of book, dusting off my limbs and exploring my own timeline. "I'm practicing," says Kate Ryan Maring.

Sense the tight spots resisting and release them with breath. 
Practice being like an infant alive with instinct, sucking on your toes (Ella inspired) without hesitation, fear, or apology.
Find the focus point. Breathe. Relax. Soften. Surrender. Repeat.
*each posture has a specific gaze: nose, belly button, sky...
*the method that makes it work, like pressing forward on the sacrum after stabilizing your pelvis and internally rotating the thighs to get into an easy Ustrasana relaxing the neck and using the natural form of the cervical spine
I have to really pay attention to the looking points (drishti/focus points) or I can easily drift away and topple over. Intellectuals fall victim to this particularly in headstands"wait where am I...?" Timber!
It's mystifying sometimes when I fall. I may not see it coming because I'm looking inward, you know? I'm really deep inside of myself I have disconnected from senses and don't feel a damn thing!
But, once you learn how to fall you fear it less.
Guruji said to Kino when she was struggling, "Asana(postures), Pranayama(Breathe), Drishti(focus withdrawing from the senses) Do this for many, many years and you will find peace."

Talk to your body with not one thought of anyone or anything else in existence.
It's on the cells of the body the secrets of the universe live.
It's where the lessons are learned and downfalls are revealed. 
Struggles overcome.
Battles won.
Diseases cured.
It's where you will get to play hopscotch with your genuine self, roll down grassy hills with reckless abandon.

"... It's like psychotherapy without the 'why' just experience it." Kino MacGregor says on practicing. 
Among what I am drawn to in the Ashtanga method is the way it exhausts me to relax me; still your mind which is the real body part we are alchemizing. Everything else follows.
It's a stoking the fire method I realized recently when the cold rolled in and I was pulled to build more heat in and around my body (hence the smokey incense which I haven't used in years, fire ignites. Moxa is great for this also.)

It went like this, 
 I ran out of excuses, It was raining, 30 degrees and dark, I felt the wind give me a push and so I ran anyway (I have a history with braving the elements.)
In moments it was Bikram 105 degrees hot.
Agni (fire) was ripping through my bullshit and dripping down my back.
I ran all the way home like a fucking Viking and I'm so happy I did
(See results on Strava Run titled, "Winter Fairy. Blink Green.")
This took my practice higher just when I felt like caving in. 
When I stopped running, I got into my first headstand.
I was alive and bending like a baby, again.
It took months, but on 1-6-15 I got onto my forearms in headstand and can completely flatten my hands onto the ground when bending down to touch my toes without much bend in my knees, or injury to those around me.

It dawned on me while being nibbled on by cold winds roaring over the bridge exiting Penn's campus. 
It's me I'm bending into, rushing into my splits to get to me, falling on my mat while Liana tries to show me how to slow down, to get to me.
I'm in there, I can see the real me, and I want to play with her.

"Subtle Truth: you are what you love" Rumi.

It doesn't all have to make sense.
I can feel it working.
Keep practicing. 

The Bhagavad Gita Translated by Eknath Easwaran.
The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice by Kino MacGregor. 
Liana Cameris, Yoga Goddess Instructor, Spirit Dancer, Light and Guider West Coast USA.
Caroline Ashurst, Acupuncture Practitioner and Yogini at heart in Philadelphia PA
Garage Yoga with Ashtangi Liza DiGaetano in SanDiego

Garland of Letters Book Store with Kevin Starbard Thai Massage Therapist Philadelphia, PA.
Yoga Research Society and The Sky Foundation with Dr. Vijayendra Pratap, Ph.D., D.Y.P.

Coming up:

A blog titled, "In Between Evidence based medicine and evidence based practice." 

A series called, "Mentors" where I will talk about  my time spent with the world inspiring, Dr. Pratap in Yoga Medicine, Kevin Starbard in Thai Massage, Kino MacGregor in Ashtanga Yoga, and Practitioner Bill Harvey in BioDynamic Craniosacral Therapy.

Thanks for reading.


Fate (novel clips-fiction)

It hurt to look at her.
The pain oozed from her like blood from a war wound.
She couldn't prevent her own death, but she remained with the living.
It's too dark for her to see.
The light burns her skin so she hides.
Pieces shattered around her like remains 

Would Morgan face the same fate?


ADD - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage,
I notice mail on the porch table that
I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table,
put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,
and notice that the can is full.

So I decide to put the bills back on the table & take out the garbage first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox
when I take out the garbage anyway,
I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table,
and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study,
so I go inside the house to my desk where
I find the can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks,
but first I need to push the Pepsi aside
so that I don't accidentally knock it over..
The Pepsi is getting warm.

I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold..
As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,
a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye..
They need water.
I put the Pepsi on the counter and
discover my reading glasses that
I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk,
but first I'm going to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter,
fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote
someone had left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,
I'll be looking for the remote,
but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table,
so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs.
But first I'll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers.
Quite a bit of it spills on the floor.
So, I set the remote back on the table,
get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
the car isn't washed
the bills aren't paid
there is a warm can of
Pepsi sitting on the counter
the flowers don't have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done,
I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day,
and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem,
and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.....

Do me a favor.
Forward this message to everyone you know,
because I don't remember who the hell I've sent it to.

Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!!

Home Practice #2

Murphy's Law- nothing is as easy as it seems. 
 I am a Murphy so it goes.

"change, release, repeat." This has been my mantra lately. 

Releasing stiffness feels the same as releasing fear.
It melts away the more I try. 

A Growl. A Grunt. A sigh. A long hummmm, haaaaa or aaaahh.
A moan. A melody. A giggle. A tickle. A dance.

A lot of pain from a little stretch reminds me that I promised myself I would live a certain way and I get closer each day. I take notes on what makes it more difficult and try to reverse those behaviors.

This is not a race. You are not running, Sarah Kelly. You are not playing tennis.
It's a seduction. A delicate, precious interaction that can not be rushed. No negotiating.
You are engaging in a relationship with yourself.

As I practice, I have trouble remembering to soften.
Allow myself to bend and fall slowly. Succumb.
Give it time. Abandon thought. Give it a bit more muscle from the core.
Soften again.
Allow the process to unfold.
This can not be pursued or it will run away. Do not rush it and spoil the fun.

Sometimes a little breakaway can be a great assist.
Getting away from people makes you less available to them, but it also makes you more available to yourself. (This always makes you a greater contribution later.)

Personal time is filled with lots of lessons.
"Listen" says Rumi.

October 2014 Continuing to master the Primary Series

The hollow (clip from the novel- fiction)

Daria Werbowy, photographed by Corinne Day for Vogue’s July 2004 issue. 
A union in its purest form becomes part of our very essence.
When that union is broken our essence is changed forever.

"Isn't it something people often do just because that's what everyone else is doing?"
Morgan said while enjoying her vino fresh from the vine, with a moan that belonged to a lover.

The aroma of Liam washed over her. She shivered and shrugged it off.

"...something we do to trick ourselves into believing we are in control some how. As if things aren't always changing."

Morgan ignored the blank stares coming from around the table and spoke bluntly to clear the pretentious stench beginning to haunt the air.
She didn't get this far by caring what others thought of her.
Her eyes closed, seduced by the taste on her tongue and the breeze drenching her skin.

The bliss was quickly interrupted by a swift kick under the table. Morgan smirked with wide eyes at her friend Angeline's bold interruption.
"Morgan tell Marcello about your work. I'm sure he'd be delighted to hear what brought you to Capri." Morgan's friend Angeline said with an agitated tone.
She feared she may have lost another suitor for her dear friend, who entranced with her beauty, but unleashed daggers from her lips.
Angeline knew any man could fall madly in love with Morgan, if she could just stop talking.

Morgan would never allow it. She built barriers that could rival that of Fort Knox.
She managed to avoid the discussion, with a few sweet words, a flutter of her eyes, a dash of induction and a refill of her guests glasses.

With a subtle dance, she slipped away into the refuge of the kitchen.
Food a place where all of nature convenes.
Grow it, nurture it, caress it, taste it, touch it and it's sure to infiltrate, merge nations, or souls without a thought, a question or any hesitation.

"Let me help lovey" Angeline said softly as she followed close behind.
"Tell me what I can do. This platter needs fresh herbs and a bit more sprinkling of oil..."
Angeline asked for instruction, but never took it.
She was a dear friend to Morgan for as long as time.

"He's a little dry Angie. I think you're losing your touch." Morgan said with a smile.
"We all just want to see you happy, doll. You deserve it after everything..." Angie paused uncomfortable with the thought of death.

Grace is at the core of tragedy.
Once in the free fall of disgrace the only way to change the momentum is to use it to your advantage.

"Happiness is about a lot of things, Angie. Independence, freedom, power, money, confidence, timing. Like a merger. The energy can be there, but nothing else fits and boom- collapse. The deal is broken. Each person has to be at the place where they are happy within themselves. You know?"
Morgan said as she drifted away into a conversation with herself again.

"Does it have to be so complicated? Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. A pretty dress, a great ring. Magic. They live happily ever after." Angline said with all the seriousness in the world.
She really meant it. She had found that.

Morgan used a tone of voice that would not break her friends joy.
"To me, marriage looks like religion.Those who covet it are antsy until everyone else does too.
Like somehow that confirms they are doing the right thing, as long as the rest of society adheres to this way of living with them. It lessens the sacrifice when everyone joins the herd no matter if they agree, or not. When everyone follows, it takes away the fear that the one who is free may try to covet theirs."

Images of nervous wives clutching onto their husbands forearms with their sweaty palms made Morgan giggle.
It was a strange thought, that another persons husband would seem enticing- all of that baggage is not sexy.
Married men were simpler friends to have.
There was no mystery regarding what would take place next.
No expectations. Just friendship. Any affections were brotherly.
Morgan missed her brothers.

"Don't over think it, gorgeous. It's just human nature. A part of life. I think in time you will change your mind. You know what I mean, Morgan. You can't just stay alone in this big spooky house forever. Give Marcelo a chance. You might like him. He has a wonderful family and his future couldn't be brighter. Do you feel any sparks at all?" Angie inquired. "Why don't you let me choose for you? I have great taste."

"Oh Angie, that is so, "Fidler on the Roof!" There's nothing spooky about the house and I'm not alone. 'Marcelo'hmmm...you lost me at...wonderful...Mr.Wonderful...oh how that just makes my ass twitch, Angie. Sparks don't come that easy."
Morgan said with a childish innocence she refused to let go of for anyone.

"Not for you dear. A simple blow in my ear, a whistle when I walk and I'm all yours.Sparks are flying every direction and I can't stop them. Put a ring on my finger and I'll love you forever." Angie said with a southern twang that made your heart melt like a June bug, on a daisy at the fourth of July.

She observed her friend twirling her wedding ring around, and around on her finger nervously as she smiled at its grandeur and thought about how easily she loved George.
Morgan always admired Angeline's way of life - the mutual adoration her and George shared was unique, strong and fulfilled.
Not like those nervous, sweaty palmed wives who thought women like Morgan would ever settle for crumbs.
George and Morgan could be close friends, and Angie never flinched an inch.
She was secure in their bond. It was whole. They seemed to complete each other, while standing firmly in their own space.
It was miles away from anything she had in her life.

Despite Morgan's chatter, Angeline knew she respected her marriage.
Yet, as a reminder,
"If all marriages looked like yours, my dear,well now that would be different wouldn't it, Angeline. The word "marriage" would take on an entirely different glow and my ideas of evolution would be far off in the distance."

They finished dancing around the food and Morgan whispered on their way out to the table,
"I'll make nice w/ Marcelo and smooth it over. Anything else would just be un-southern." Angeline smiled satisfied.

They brought the food to the table with the help from a few kitchen staffers that came with the house. They seemed to have lived there for hundreds of years.
The spread had been freshly picked, or squeezed from the surrounding estate.
It smelled and tasted as though the sun had joined them for dinner, melting them on contact.
(Include recipe's here)

The ingredients were selected specifically to bring those who ate them to Morgan's persuasion.
The ghee, gota kola and sprigs of native Italy were dancing through her guests insides, much to their surprise.
This was a gift she learned in Lalibela, a place where food is an intoxication, a dance of enticement.
For a time, while they ate, there was a harmony, smiles which played even without the cellist.

"Remember destiny has two ways of crushing us by refusing our wishes and by fulfilling them." says the great, Henri Amiel.

A persons true destiny can only be revealed at the end of their journey.
And the story I have to tell is far from over.

An interesting article on love for those that are taking their time in the process, http://markmanson.net/love
It's not that simple, for all.
It takes more, for some.