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Here is a great practice to keep your body and mind strong and clear this summer

My teacher, Yogi Bhajan, taught this series on July 2, 1984, at Women’s camp in Espanola, New Mexico

How does yoga work? How does asana in Kriya work?
Disease can come from structural change. This is the oriental, ancient way of looking at it. This body and its bones have no screws and bolts. It is held together by tissue and by muscle. During one’s life many movements occur in the body simultaneously influencing the action of the muscles. Certain muscles are stronger and hold the skeleton in a different way than the other muscles. This can lead to physical problems. Life becomes imbalanced and irritation sets in. The whole body structure is responsible for one’s elevation, for one’s “being-ness.” A car has its gas, it has transmission, and it starts. If one part is missing, or if just a little air does not get to the gas, it dies. It is the same with the body.

This set will keep you out of trouble. This is how you can elevate your spirit by adjusting your body . To practice the set visit: .To view this Kriya on the 3HO website please click here

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What’s your favorite way to start a new year?

Every year after Winter Solstice and Christmas I head to Kripalu to meditate, practice yoga, walk on new fallen snow ( no shoveling or driving), paint, dance, write poetry and eat clean. Starting the year on retreat where spiritual practice, art & nature are valued supports me all year. This year I’ll be joined by Ajeet Kaur and Sukhmani who will provide healing amazing music for Sadhana and classes. Perhaps you are free to join us …For more on Kripalu click

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Art & Yoga goes International

Here’s a short film from the Art & Yoga Teacher Training in Mexico.
a href=”http://youtu.be/kjs6PvLsqpM”>Here’s a short film, Mexico.

Mixing it up!

Many students who practice both Hatha yoga and Kundalini yoga ask me if they can combine them. The answer is yes and no. It’s fine to do both, but keep them separate. This morning my friend, Katrina Kenison came over for morning practice. Katrina is a writer and a Kripalu yoga teacher. We met a 6 am, did a 40 minute hatha yoga series and then began a Kundalini yoga practice by chanting Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo and did 5 minutes of Sat kryia, a 7 minute relaxation followed by 11 minutes of long Sat Nam and 5 minutes of silent meditation. We closed our practice with a hokum (random reading) from the Sikh Daily prayers. Katrina headed home to her writing, and I’m off to my art studio—both of our days will resonate with the joy of our shared practice (and friendship).

Last week I was in New Mexico to teach at Santa Fe Yoga and do a book signing at Collected Works Bookstore (both fantastic- not to be missed if you visit Santa Fe). While there, on mornings at 4:30 am, I’d visit my friend Jot, a Buddhist who practices Kundalini yoga. We would do a kundalini Kriya and meditation together and then while I read my daily prayers in front of her adobe fireplace, I’d faintly hear her drum, bell and chanting in the next room. We’d finish our practice with oatmeal with toasted coconut in front of the fire and then head to Jot’s art studio, where we used my chance strategies for organizing paintings with some traditional Tibetan images.

Diversity is our strength and richness. There’s no need to feel that my practice is better than anyone else’s. We all have feelings of competition and comparison. When those feelings arise, we have an opportunity to go further into respecting our own practice while acknowledging the value of our friends practice. I’d love to hear how you are experiencing the opportunities and challenges of practicing with friends in our richly, diverse world.

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James Hillman’s gift to artists

James Hillman's gift to artists

James Hillman who passed away this morning. I’m likely one of thousands of artists who when I met Jim was lost. His fresh, challenging ideas gave me a way to continue as an artist and healer. I remember sitting in my first seminar with him and thinking,”all the years in art school, all that education -and now here at Lesley I hear something that I can work with about how to approach an image.

what to do when you have not been in your studio (or on your yoga mat) for days?

It’s been a great summer of teaching, traveling and introducing many to art and yoga. My own studio practice has been absorbed applying for grants and exhibitions.The images I’ve made have been either in the yoga room or in my travel journal. Meanwhile every surface in my studio is covered with piles of paper “to be filed.” OK so now it’s time to clear the surfaces..I’ve invited my friend jot kaur to come to new Hampshire to paint for a week and she arrives tomorrow.

Art & Yoga Tea w/teens

I arrive at the girl’s shelter with my yoga mat, ipod, speakers and a large thermos of tea. The girls’ knees bounce nervously up and down as I ask, “How are you today?” “Frustrated and annoyed” they answer. We talk about how uncomfortable it is to feel this way.

“Inner anger can mess up our relationship with ourselves and everyone else. Removing this stored anger in the body makes it easier to control our temper, and allows us to leave past frustrations in the past,” I explain as we warm up.

The girls in this locked facility are in state custody. They have been arrested or are being sent to a new home or detox center. The average stay is three weeks. The class is always a mix of new girls and some I’ve met before—5 to 15 plus staff. The staff are present to keep me and the girls safe, but they also look forward to practicing yoga.

They do the Kriya for Inner Anger, * and when they lie in relaxation, they are completely still for 15 minutes! Some girls tell me that this is the most relaxed they ever remember being. After class, we drink yogi tea and draw. They draw peace signs, flowers, hearts and one girl draws her home, and one her cup of yogi tea (above).

The school principal tells me a “yoga day” is a noticeably better day. “When they come back up on the day of yoga they’re a lot more relaxed. I wish we had yoga more than once a week…they are more relaxed, less likely to snap at each other…”

It’s not hard to do this. Just a few more hours in my week … about the same as watching a movie. But the effect is big- As one staff member puts it,“…these are girls with a lot of frustration, a lot of anger issues, and usually they haven’t been given any good way to deal with those things…the yoga program here is really valuable because it teaches them to…have something to do to help calm themselves down. The breathing is really important, and some of the exercises she gives them for relaxation.”

*pg 38,39, 40 Art & Yoga: Kundalini Awakening in Everyday Life

Hari Kirin
artandyoga.com