Articles & Essays

What is dis-ease? What is healing?

by Jeff Martens Ghosts in the Attic Boo! Ghosts can seem frightening as a child. Most adults can easily dismiss such fears. But what if that ghost is you? When you are not yourself who are you?  The unreal is a fabrication, an illusion or projection.  Your ego is a ghostly apparition supported by past suffering that turns into fearful expectations.  Your …

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False Evidence Appearing Real

By Jeff Martens The Safety of the Familiar Many animals, especially cats it seems, can treat benign objects as if they were dangerous threats.  Even an unfamiliar banana can become a ferocious adversary when seen through an animal’s eyes.  The animal part of the human brain can also look at the world through this same filter of survival.  When left …

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The Blob: Who Do I Think I AM?

by Jeff Martens In 1958 the classic camp horror movie The Blob depicted a gelatinous morphing glob shape-shifting space jelly that grew at an alarming rate by absorbing everything in its path.  Our ego is a “Phantom Self”.  Like the Blob or a phantom limb it is illusory and functions asa container for our (much coveted) misery.  When we perceive the world …

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Cockroaches and Felons

By Maya Jones (editor note: Maya is a long-time employee and co-creator at Inner Vision Yoga) The practice of yoga invites us to recognize the divinity in all life. Each time we place our hands together at our heart center, bow our heads, and speak the word Namaste, we remind ourselves to honor the Divine within as well as the …

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Wanting To Be Less Important

by Jeff Martens I want to be less important so that I may have more time. The busier I am the more important I am. And everybody knows that I am very very very VERY important. Therefore I must be busy. Nobody else can do things as well as I can so I must be busy. The busier I am …

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The Greatest Gift

by Jeff Martens      There is a man, an Israeli named Ronny Edry who along with many others in Israel, was living in fear. Each day is supposed to be the last day to do something about an impending war looming with Iran. Each country supposedly has targeted thousands upon thousands of missiles at the other.  It seemed that …

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Student Essay: Two Trees

By Nasim Nourian (Nasiim is a long-time regular practitioner of Yoga at IVY and in her daily life -JM) There used to be two big beautiful healthy trees outside my windows.  In nice days, I would keep the front door open and bask in the pleasant shade these two trees provided for me.  I liked listening to the gentle breeze …

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Groupthink: Yoga, Fear and Evolution

by Jeff Martens Have you ever seen a Tiger’s extended claws up close and truly admired the lethal sharpness of them?  How about a Wolf’s canines?  Not a dog, or a huskie breed but a full-blown wolf’s fangs that have no resemblance whatsoever to a domestic dog’s incisors ground down by regular meals of kibble?  Have you ever seen firsthand …

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Another You

by Jeff Martens After traveling billions of miles from its initial launch in 1977, the Voyager 1 spacecraft is nearing the edge of our solar system and moving into interstellar space.  Voyager took 35 years to travel this far at nearly 40,000 miles per hour, yet if the spacecraft could have travelled at the speed of light this journey would …

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Placeholders

by Jeff Martens Closing the Door Houdini was the world’s greatest escape artist.  To get free publicity on his world tour he would go to jails in different cities where he was putting on a show and he would challenge the local police department to lock him up in their highest security cell.  He would then attempt to escape from …

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To Sweat or Not to Sweat

By Aaron Goldberg I see people cringe daily at my mere mention of practicing heated yoga in a 100 degree room. Unless you have already discovered the benefits of this practice, you probably think that people are crazy to stand in a room and exercise in that environment. And you might be right! But being a practitioner of heated yoga, …

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The Play of Life (Leela)

 by Jeff Martens Several years ago Norbert Rosing, a photographer, was traveling with a dog handler around Hudson Bay near the Arctic Circle.  Rosing was photographing a group of tethered huskies at sunset when a hungry 1200 pound male polar bear stalked onto the scene.  Now polar bears and huskies are considered to be natural enemies in the wild and …

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The Way You Are

by Jeff Martens You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way. – Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda Notice how you are feeling right now.  Become aware of your body, your energy level, your attitude.  What do you notice to be your experience of yourself in this moment? Now consider this: You are the way …

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What is My (Sacred) Work?

by Jeff Martens Long ago there was a village in a high mountain valley led by a holy man, a Master.  Each day the people would consult with the holy man to see if there was anything they needed to do for that day.  One morning they were all gathered and meditating in the stillness of the town center when …

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Seeing the Past

by Jeff Martens We are Made of Stars For a moment imagine that you are looking into the night sky at a place far away from city lights. Looking up and seeing the Milky Way and all those stars. And as you take in the enormity of this view you come to realize that you are not seeing the stars …

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You Are Made of Faith

by Jeff Martens Shraddhâ-vîrya-smrti-samâdhi-prajnâ-pûrvaka itareshâm. Faith, vitality, mindful recollection, and knowledge of oneness form the path of unity for those not born in the state of yoga Yoga Sutra 1.20 Long ago there was a village caught in the grip of a great draught that was causing much suffering. All of the people began to worry as the weeks turned …

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Once I was Blind… Living Yoga on a Cellular Level

By Jeff Martens  Your cells are blind.  They don’t have ears.  And their sense of smell leaves much to be desired.  What they do have though are inter-membrane proteins.  And this is the key to putting a smile on your cell’s DNA (or a frown). In yoga, the teaching of samtosha or fulfillment is the secret of contentment and gratitude …

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Be Fulfilled: Contentment

by Jeff Martens santosâd anuttamaha sukha-lâbhaha  – Yoga Sutra 2.42  ”Contentment brings unsurpassed joy.” The art of contentment is the art of fulfillment.  It is the experience of finding what you are seeking in the present moment and becoming rich in what you thought you were lacking, so rich that you can give what you were formally lacking.  The alternative is …

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The Target

 by Jeff Martens sarvahrthataikahgratayoho kshayodayau cittasya samahdhi-parinahmaha Inner wholeness dawns when the mind’s many wanderings collapse into one-pointed focus. Yoga Sutra 3.11 The Zen Master Rinzai was known far and wide throughout the land as the greatest living archer.  Bowmen of all levels would come from great distances to be near him and perchance, to see him practice his art.  …

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Yoga and the Mirror of Perception

By Jeff Martens Tada drastuhu svarupe avastanam…   Yoga Sutra 1.3 When we are in a state of yoga our form is one of pure awareness. Vritti svarupyam itaratra…  Yoga Sutra 1.4 When we are not in a state of yoga, our form becomes our mental disturbances. Light is a form of energy.  It reflects off of surfaces as waves which …

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“The Main Event”

by Jeff Martens “Ladies and Gentlemen, Happy New Year and Welcome to the Main Event!  This is the present-moment you have all been waiting for, the eternal now, the time and place where YOUR life actually IS.  Welcome to the bungle in the jungle, the stage in the cage, and the fling in the ring!” As the announcer’s voice booms …

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Karma, Freedom and the Emptiness of Time By Jeff Martens The Heart of the River I want to jump into the Colorado River’s 50 degree silt-brown water and lay my cheek against Vishnu’s skin! Visible only in certain stretches at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, this rock is blacker than black, so black that it shines blue as midnight …

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Your True Self

Who are You, Really? By Jeff Martens Once upon a time there was a great gathering of noblemen, lords and dukes seated according to their rank and awaiting the appearance of their king.  A simple man entered the room, his eyes gleaming, his clothes tattered and a little ragged at the edges.  After looking around at all the faces, he …

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Yoga Light Bulb Jokes

by Jeff Martens How many Bikram teachers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Three.  One to preheat the new bulb, one to screw it in and one to remind the light bulb changer to “Lockyourknees Lockyourknees Lockyourknees!” How many Anusara teachers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Four.  One to hold the bulb, one to outer-spiral the ladder …

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Yoga for Men: Know Your Yo!-sha

by Jeff Martens Attention all Men!   Do your joints sound like a fourth of July celebration gone horribly wrong?  Does the only time you breathe deeply occur when police lights flash in your rear-view mirror?  Does the extent of your stretching routine take place during commercials when you reach between the sofa cushions into a sleeper mattress that nothing but …

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Snapping the Straw Rope of Habit

by Jeff Martens In ancient India, an elephant driver would tie up his elephant with a straw rope.  Though the powerful elephant could snap the rope with a single toss of its head, the elephant remained in place, believing itself to be bound. Our habits (in Sanskrit: sanskara or samskara) are much like this straw rope.  We place all kinds of …

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“Religion and Yoga”

Making Peace with Religion in a Yoga Life By Julie Dreyer Thanks to Jeff Martens for suggesting that I read Nine Faces of Christ by Eugene Whitworth. I wanted to share what this book meant to me, starting with where I was coming from before reading it. I was raised strictly Christian in a town called Zion (fitting, I know). …

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The Practical Yogin

To live our practice in every way is to bring the awareness of unity into the simplest and most mundane as well as the most challenging areas of our lives.  This section is dedicated to providing practical means to apply our yoga in the external world in order to reduce distractions and support our inner alignment with Self. Go Organic… …

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No-Thing to be Thankful For

by Jeff Martens The water was loud enough to drown out shouted conversation.  Rain poured from the night sky and flooded through the ceiling of the large studio in a waterfall larger than any monsoon had a right to deposit.  A half hour later we found that, in addition to the torrential storm, one of the main fire sprinkler lines …

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New Yoga Products You Won’t Find Anywhere Else! (Hopefully)

by Jeff Martens We at Inner Vision Yoga are always striving to remain on the cutting edge for offering you the very best in yoga products and practice aids.  We think you will be as pleasantly surprised with these NEW products as we are… NEW!  Yo’diaper Yoga Diapers Has this ever happened to you?  You are flowing through your perfect …

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My Relationship with Yoga Props

by Maredith Schroeder The first yoga class I attended five years ago was in a small studio my friend dragged me into. The room was carpeted wall to wall with three stripes down the center of the room, a mirror from the floor to the ceiling that I could not escape from and stark walls. I was asked to bring …

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me vs. Me

Why I entered the Arizona Asana Championship by Jeff Martens If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you. – Jesus, Thomas Gospel *** The amplified voice booms like thunder beyond the relative safety of the stage …

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Student Essay: Me teaching yoga?

TAKE YOGA TEACHER TRAINING?  ME?  I DUNNO by Nancy Cole Having taken yoga classes over the past four years or so, beginning slowly with one class each week, and moving forward to about year ago when I began taking a class every day, I had serious questions about making a commitment to teacher training.  Would doing so ruin my love …

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“Knowledge is Power”

Knowledge is Power, Not-Knowing is Pain By Jeff Martens anitysuci-duhkhntmasu nitya-suci-sukhtma-khytir avidy Ignorance (not knowing) is mistaking the transient for the eternal, the impure for the pure, pain for happiness, and the false self for the God-self.    Yoga Sutra 2.5 In the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, Avidya is the first of five Klesha or afflictions.  From this root of ignorance …

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“How I Spent my Winter Vacation (Ownership. Peace, and the One Who Is Beyond Greed)”

by Jeff Martens It is a rare thing in my life, not to see another human being for five days.  My wife at the time, Michele, was out of the country for almost four weeks and I found myself visiting a friend’s cabin in Northern Arizona with my dog Ginger.  The long drive from the city and I have arrived, …

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Happy and Well

by Jeff “Would you rather be happy and well, or would you rather be right?”  –from A Course in Miracles, as quoted by Louise Hay When there is confusion regarding the Self,,, one mistakes misery as happiness.”   –Yoga Sutra 2.5 It is a late Thursday night and I am driving to pick my mom up from the airport.  She is returning …

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“Good Space”

Good Space: The Cultivation of Sukha by Jeff Martens   Sukha: To Be at Ease The Sanskrit Sukha is a somewhat common term in the Yoga Sutras, appearing in five separate verses including the first verse on asana or physical posture.  Usually defined as happiness, pleasure, ease, joy or agreeableness, much can be learned about sukha by taking a brief look at its …

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Giving Thanks

by Jeff Martens The Fox and the Tiger Once there was a young, somewhat foolish man who had spent his life looking for the easy path.  The sum of his search was, ironically, much work and suffering as well as a constant wandering, externally from place to place and internally from belief to belief.  One day, becoming impatient with his …

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Falling for the Commercial

by Jeff Martens When I was 19 and just into my undergrad days, every six months or so I would get a huge craving for a very popular burger advertised on TV.  Along with a catchy jingle, this burger had lettuce, pickles, cheese, three layers of bun and two patties of beef.  I’d just wake up one morning and suddenly …

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“Abhinivesha” – What Am I Afraid of?

by Michelle Hegmon I am high on the East Ridge of Mt. Logan in Canada. I have crampons on my feet, ice tools in my hands, and a pack on my back.  I am having fun.  We are at the narrow Knife Edge Ridge, which drops thousands of feet on both sides to the glacier below.  Everything is snow and …

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Yoga’s History

A Brief Overview of Yoga By Jeff Martens Yoga is the ancient practice of Unity with early branches extending into Jainism, Buddhism and the Hindu Tradition.  It is one of the oldest traditions on the planet emphasizing Divine unity. The ancient Yogi ascetics initially practiced asana to further their ability to meditate and develop psychic powers as well as to …

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“Ultimate Yoga Practice”

Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga by Jeff Martens Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the definitive classical yoga teaching written sometime around 300-250 BC, outlines eight limbs of yoga as a way of life.  According to patanjali and many other Masters, we suffer because we have forgotten our Spiritual identity.  Yet Yoga is not a religion; it embraces all religions or Spiritual beliefs, …

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“The Student, the Master and the Rock”

Practice and Letting Go abhyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodaha  Yoga Sutra 1.12 “Effort and surrender cease the fluctuations of consciousness.” With practice and letting go we achieve the state of yoga… Once there was a seeker who went from master to master searching for the key to enlightenment.  Every master he went to appeared to give him something different.  The first master …

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“The Frog and the Well”

Even Frogs Can Gather Honey by Jeff Martens Once upon a time there was a frog that lived his whole life in a cool, shaded well.  One day a beautiful white bird landed at the well, enormous wings folding over legs that were tall and straight. “Who are you?” asked the frog. “I am a crane.  I eat pearls at …

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Suryanamaskara: Saluting the Sun

by Jeff Martens The physical source of all energy on the earth comes from the sun.  Light energy from the sun becomes stored energy in plants, algae and simple organisms which are then consumed by beings further along the food chain.  The sun also provides the warmth and light necessary to live our daily lives. In Sanskrit, Surya signifies the Sun from …

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“Perfect Yoga Posture”

The Perfect Posture by Jeff Martens Praiyatna-saithilyananta-samapattibhyam YS 2.47 praiyatna = effort saithilya = relaxation ananta = endless, boundless samapattibhyam = integrated coalescense, unified contemplation “Perfected posture is relaxation of struggle and meditation on the Infinite.” Out of all the verses in the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali has just three sutras on asana or (meditation) posture.  Essentially, they state: 1) Posture should be steady/grounded and feel …

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Yoga and the Guru Question

Yoga and the Guru Question By Jeff Martens (excerpted from “How We Live Our Yoga” – Beacon Press, 2002) Long ago a farmer in desperate need of water for his crops started digging a well.  When he had dug deep enough to cover his head without finding water, the farmer would climb out of the hole and trudge his way …

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“Freedom From Stress”

Freedom from Stress Jeff Martens To believe that we are free is a very popular notion in today’s Western society, yet at times it seems this freedom of choice only leads us to experience deeper levels of stress, distraction, judgement and anxiety.  Spiritual Masters from many disciplines define true freedom as the ability to choose our attitude in any situation.  …

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Be In The Moment

by Peggy The room at the ASU Student Center is huge, and cold, and filled with young students.  I am 50 and at my first yoga class.  Its hard.  I cant fold or balance.  Even sitting with my legs crossed is hard to do for 5 minutes.  I think, “How can I do any of this if I cant even …

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What Are the Yoga Sutras?

Very little is known about Patanjali, the author/editor of the Yoga Sutra written some time around 500 BCE.  Obviously familiar with the Vedic teachings of the Hindu tradition and probably aware of early Buddhist understanding, Patanjali transcends all religious, political and social divisions to touch the Soul’s heart and re-introduce us to a state of being-ness which transcends all divisions …

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“Creating” Change

by Jeff Martens Sabda jnana anupati vastusunya vikalpah Imagination is the vacillating knowledge of an object based on words or expression, though the object itself is absent. –Yoga Sutra I.9 Spiritual Masters often remind us, as we think so shall we become.  According to Patanjali, the grandfather of classical yoga philosophy, imagination can be used to help or hinder us …

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Learning

By Michelle Hegmon August I am an independent, still-fairly-young woman.   I am a professor.  I like my job, I like my colleagues.  I am happily married.  I have good friends.  Everything is fine.  Everything is under control.  I am a climber.  I am even reasonably comfortable with my tomboy body. My friend Peggy pays me a great compliment.  Peggy says: …

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Ashtanga Practice

Ashtanga Yoga Background and Introduction By Michelle Hegmon Ashtanga means eight limbs in Sanskrit and refers to the eight limbs of Yoga set forth by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras: Yamas (external discipline, ethics), Niyamas (internal discipline), Asana (posture or seat), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sensory withdrawal), Dharana (focus, concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (integration). The practice of what is today …

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Ashtanga Invocation

The Ashtanga Invocation vande gurunam charanaravinde sandarsita svatmasukhava bodhe nihsreyase jangalikayamane samsara halahala mohasantyai abahu purusakaram sankhacakrasi dharinam sahasra sirasam svetam pranamami patanjalim om Translation: I bow to the lotus feet of the guru who awakens insight into the happiness of pure Being, who is the final refuge, the jungle physician, who eliminates the delusion caused by the poisonous herb …

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Ashtanga-Sun Salute/Counting

Ashtanga Yoga: Sun Salutations and Counting Following the invocation, students stand in “Samasthiti” or “equal-standing posture”.  Sun Salutations provide the opening foundation for the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice.  (Click here for more info on Sun Salutations).  The sun salutations (5xA and 5xB) begin the actual practice: # Sanskrit Surya Namaskara A Surya Namaskara B 1 ekam (AAY-Kaam) tadasana – arms up …

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Ashtanga-Primary Series

Ashtanga Yoga – The Primary Series* Yoga Chikitsa (Yoga therapy) _ Dandasana (staff posture) _ Paschimottanasana A, B, C (Western intense stretch)    ardha (half) vinyasa (AV) _ Purvottanasana (Eastern intense stretch)      ardha vinyasa Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana: right, AV, left, AV (half bound lotus Western intense stretch) _ Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana: right, AV, left, AV (three limbs face …

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Ashtanga – Finishing

Ashtanga Yoga: The Finishing Sequence _ Urdhva Dhanurasana 3 times (upward bow [aka wheel]) _ Paschimottanasana (Western intense stretch) ardha vinyasa _ Salamba Sarvangasana (supported whole body posture [aka shoulder stand]) _ Halasana (plow) _ Karnapidasana (ear pressure posture) _ Urdhva Padmasana (upward lotus) _ Pindasana (embryo posture) _ Matsyasana (fish posture) _ Uttana Padasana (extended leg posture)     Chakrasana …

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Yoga and Nutrition

By Jeff Martens As you eat, so shall ye become.  What you put into your body becomes the building blocks for your physical body.  What are you putting into your body? We have all felt energized by a good diet.  We have also felt the results of eating unhealthy or impure foods.  A nutritional Yogic diet is most often a …

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The Target

 by Jeff Martens sarvahrthataikahgratayoho kshayodayau cittasya samahdhi-parinahmaha Inner wholeness dawns when the mind’s many wanderings collapse into one-pointed focus. Yoga Sutra 3.11 The Zen Master Rinzai was known far and wide throughout the land as the greatest living archer.  Bowmen of all levels would come from great distances to be near him and perchance, to see him practice his art.  …

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