Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Seven Acts of Yoga Wisdom
Category:
Healing

On average, human beings take 23,040 breaths a day. Esalen faculty Paul Denniston and Shiva Rea, who have devoted their lives to teaching yoga and helping others uncover deeper truths, see this fact as a golden opportunity to become more present to the inherent wisdom yoga offers and how it allows us to become more connected with ourselves and our community.

Paul and Shiva plan to uncover these truths in their upcoming workshops at Esalen—Paul during Grief Yoga™ Teacher Training: Level One, March 1–6, and Shiva (along with Demetri Velisarius) in The Practical Art of Living Flow Spring Regeneration Retreat, April 5-10.

“I’m most interested in empowering people to find wisdom in their yoga practice so that they experience a daily transmutation of stress and an awakening of their body intelligence,” Shiva says. “That’s why I love coming to Esalen because yoga brings people together in large-scale experiences and creates a kind of yoga energy activism.”

Paul and Shiva facilitate their group yoga experiences in dynamic ways. Paul created Grief Yoga, which blends a variety of enriching yoga practices, such as hatha, kundalini, restorative, Vinyasa and Laughter Yoga. A mix of chakra movement and dance is also included. His main focus is assisting others to process and release pain and suffering. “Grief Yoga isn't about physical flexibility but emotional liberation,” Paul says. “It’s a sacred ritual to use pain, grief, anger and anxiety as fuel for healing. It cracks you open to your empowerment and opens your heart to more love, grace and gratitude.”

Shiva culls from her experience as a movement alchemist, global prana Vinyasa teacher and “yogadventurer.” She is the founder of Samudra Global School for Living Yoga and directs us to reconnect with the rhythms of nature through the fluid yoga of prana Vinyasa. “The unitive awareness, power and wisdom of yoga and its traditions allow us to draw upon primary powers that we have barely began to embody. Yoga helps people not only focus on but receive these gifts of life more fully and participate in the mystery.

Paul and Shiva share seven ways the wisdom of yoga helps us on and off the mat.

Seven Acts of Yoga Wisdom

1. Love Every Breath “It’s important to allow the technique of yoga, whatever one’s practice is, to translate into a moment-to-moment living experience with our breath,” Shiva says. “This is the most important thing for our reactivity, which has a ripple effect. If we love every breath, we start to transform our heart.”

2. Don’t Compare Comparison to others leads to feeling we’re not enough. “You don't have to be perfect,” Paul reminds us. “You are a work in progress; a miracle in motion. It's progress, not perfection. When observing others and feeling like you're not enough, be inspired by them and inquire within: ‘What's one thing I can do to grow? How can I accept myself just as I am?’”

3. Connect to Your Intuition There is an inner teacher within us that is wiser than we know. Paul says: “Get still and quiet and allow your wise self to guide you. All you have to do is tune in.”

4. Be Adventurous “For me the most important thing is that yoga can be practiced by everybody,” Shiva says. “Accessibility is important and I encourage people to explore diverse modalities. Our Flow For All experience, which we bring to Esalen, is one way I like to unite people and incorporates elements of percussion and other movements. I travel with 200 drumsticks now and about 100 shaker eggs. Adding these kinds of things to a practice has the ability to empower people to be in the rhythm and in the movement that is facilitating their movement meditation.”

5. Embrace Compassion “The heart of yoga is compassion and kindness and compassion are our doorway into healing grief,” Paul says. “And yet when we're in pain, it's normal for our minds to become dark and critical. Yoga is an exercise in compassion to help us be present and more open in life.”

6. Be the Observer Both Paul and Shiva note that yoga is a flowing meditation that helps us become a greater witness to observe the pain and struggle within, and to witness others’ pain. “We can center and ground ourselves into witnessing other people's pain without taking on their pain,” Paul adds.

7. Embrace Your Fire Even in Loss “Grief can be exhausting and in order for the heart to heal, it's important to tap into your power,” Paul says. “Sometimes in loss we feel we're powerless. My intention with yoga is to help people tap into their fire within so that it helps move them through pain and struggle. Yoga shows us that we can use the pain and hurt as fuel for healing."


“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Seven Acts of Yoga Wisdom

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Healing

On average, human beings take 23,040 breaths a day. Esalen faculty Paul Denniston and Shiva Rea, who have devoted their lives to teaching yoga and helping others uncover deeper truths, see this fact as a golden opportunity to become more present to the inherent wisdom yoga offers and how it allows us to become more connected with ourselves and our community.

Paul and Shiva plan to uncover these truths in their upcoming workshops at Esalen—Paul during Grief Yoga™ Teacher Training: Level One, March 1–6, and Shiva (along with Demetri Velisarius) in The Practical Art of Living Flow Spring Regeneration Retreat, April 5-10.

“I’m most interested in empowering people to find wisdom in their yoga practice so that they experience a daily transmutation of stress and an awakening of their body intelligence,” Shiva says. “That’s why I love coming to Esalen because yoga brings people together in large-scale experiences and creates a kind of yoga energy activism.”

Paul and Shiva facilitate their group yoga experiences in dynamic ways. Paul created Grief Yoga, which blends a variety of enriching yoga practices, such as hatha, kundalini, restorative, Vinyasa and Laughter Yoga. A mix of chakra movement and dance is also included. His main focus is assisting others to process and release pain and suffering. “Grief Yoga isn't about physical flexibility but emotional liberation,” Paul says. “It’s a sacred ritual to use pain, grief, anger and anxiety as fuel for healing. It cracks you open to your empowerment and opens your heart to more love, grace and gratitude.”

Shiva culls from her experience as a movement alchemist, global prana Vinyasa teacher and “yogadventurer.” She is the founder of Samudra Global School for Living Yoga and directs us to reconnect with the rhythms of nature through the fluid yoga of prana Vinyasa. “The unitive awareness, power and wisdom of yoga and its traditions allow us to draw upon primary powers that we have barely began to embody. Yoga helps people not only focus on but receive these gifts of life more fully and participate in the mystery.

Paul and Shiva share seven ways the wisdom of yoga helps us on and off the mat.

Seven Acts of Yoga Wisdom

1. Love Every Breath “It’s important to allow the technique of yoga, whatever one’s practice is, to translate into a moment-to-moment living experience with our breath,” Shiva says. “This is the most important thing for our reactivity, which has a ripple effect. If we love every breath, we start to transform our heart.”

2. Don’t Compare Comparison to others leads to feeling we’re not enough. “You don't have to be perfect,” Paul reminds us. “You are a work in progress; a miracle in motion. It's progress, not perfection. When observing others and feeling like you're not enough, be inspired by them and inquire within: ‘What's one thing I can do to grow? How can I accept myself just as I am?’”

3. Connect to Your Intuition There is an inner teacher within us that is wiser than we know. Paul says: “Get still and quiet and allow your wise self to guide you. All you have to do is tune in.”

4. Be Adventurous “For me the most important thing is that yoga can be practiced by everybody,” Shiva says. “Accessibility is important and I encourage people to explore diverse modalities. Our Flow For All experience, which we bring to Esalen, is one way I like to unite people and incorporates elements of percussion and other movements. I travel with 200 drumsticks now and about 100 shaker eggs. Adding these kinds of things to a practice has the ability to empower people to be in the rhythm and in the movement that is facilitating their movement meditation.”

5. Embrace Compassion “The heart of yoga is compassion and kindness and compassion are our doorway into healing grief,” Paul says. “And yet when we're in pain, it's normal for our minds to become dark and critical. Yoga is an exercise in compassion to help us be present and more open in life.”

6. Be the Observer Both Paul and Shiva note that yoga is a flowing meditation that helps us become a greater witness to observe the pain and struggle within, and to witness others’ pain. “We can center and ground ourselves into witnessing other people's pain without taking on their pain,” Paul adds.

7. Embrace Your Fire Even in Loss “Grief can be exhausting and in order for the heart to heal, it's important to tap into your power,” Paul says. “Sometimes in loss we feel we're powerless. My intention with yoga is to help people tap into their fire within so that it helps move them through pain and struggle. Yoga shows us that we can use the pain and hurt as fuel for healing."


“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Seven Acts of Yoga Wisdom
Category:
Healing

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About

Esalen Team

Seven Acts of Yoga Wisdom

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Esalen Team

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