Today was a free day; there was no practice. Wanting to get out of town I took a rickshaw to the sacred Chamundi Hills that overlook Mysore.They are 3,489ft. above sea level and 12 km from Mysore city. I didn’t climb the full 1008 steps but took 300 of them on a nice civilized pilgrimage that wasn’t going to wreck my Marichi D. Those are the kind of thoughts I have when making decisions in Mysore!
The temple was built about 300 years ago and is the largest and the best known Dravidian Temple, dedicated to Sri Chamundeshwari Devi, the patron deity of Mysore. She is generally regarded as an incarnation of Parvati or Durga. One account claims that the Goddess slew two demons, Chanda and Munda, hence her name, but the more common version speaks of her as Chamundi – Mahishasura – Mardini, the slayer of the minotaur.
It was wonderful to get out of the city and into the mountain air. High in the sky you can breath and see a beautiful view of the city below. The steps are painted daily with prayer powders and the commitment to sacrifice is impressive. I am very alone here, and often think I could disappear and no-one would notice. This feeling of insignificance comes naturally with the grandeur of spirituality here in India. I am happy to be a part of it, no matter how small. And it was also a relief to find my rickshaw driver waiting patiently at the bottom of the steps to whisk back to town.
Jon & Gay Shaw are owners of BaltimOrganic Farm as well as devoted students at Charm City Yoga. Jon has been gardening using organic, raised bed, no till methods for many years; it started out as a hobby and now it’s grown to a full time hobby benefiting hundreds of people!
Gay, a former dancer, completed her 200 Hour Teacher Training at Charm City Yoga in 2010 and continues to inspire students with her beautiful practice and dry sense of humor. Together this spirited couple runs the farm that supplies local restaurants and CSA customers with fresh, organic vegetables.
Spend a cozy morning overlooking the farm in a two hour, fireside practice led by Gabrielle Sulc. During class you will be guided through a complete practice to include: pranayama (breathing techniques), dhyana (meditation), a challenging asana (posture) practice, and yoga nidra (deep relaxation). This is a perfect opportunity to reconnect with You!
After practice, stick around and mingle over a vegan lunch (potluck style) and get a tour of the farm from Jon. Seasonal fresh from the ground veggies will be available.
Gabrielle has over 950 hours of teacher training certifications, is a dedicated student of yoga, and loves teaching. Gabrielle’s intention while teaching is to create an environment where students can transform and integrate their yoga experience into their lives.
Click here to sign up
Date: Saturday, Dec. 7 10am-Noon* (optional vegan potluck lunch & farm tour to follow)
Location: BaltimOrganic Farm/ 16345 Old York Rd/ Monkton, MD 21111
Check out the following link for directions:
Stress makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Yoga therapist Stephannie Weikert urges us to see stress as positive and our body’s response as energizing and preparing to meet the challenge before us.
During her workshop, Make Peace With Stress, you will have an opportunity to change your mind about stress and build the skills to cultivate mindfulness and intention. Releasing common areas of tension: the neck, shoulders, and upper back will be explored, as well as strengthening the support of our core both physically, and as the source of our will-power and sense of self.
Stephannie is certified in Integrative Yoga Therapy and offers a strong but nurturing practice. Her group classes emphasize opening to the experience of the present moment to find balance on many levels. She strives to create a space where students can deepen their self-awareness, tap in to their endless supply of inner peace, and cultivate gratitude, compassion and joy. Stephannie has been honored, since 2005, to work as a yoga therapist and help many people apply the insights of yoga to improve the quality of their lives.
Click here to sign up for our “Make Peace with Stress” workshop on Sunday, December 15th at Fells Point from 12-2 pm!
Today is day 3 of my practice. Here where I have to do nothing to do, I can see how important my state of mind is in the success of my endeavors. What do I mean by that?
At home I am pulled in so many direction by the responsibilities related to running a studio. Here I have nothing to do except to show up for myself. But the mind is a clever saboteur, last night i was called by Johns Hopkins Hospital about a bill that I forgot to pay before I left. The first time they called I just let it ring but the collector was persistent. She was not going to stop calling until I picked up. I finally answered and explained I was in india and would like to pay the bill when i returned; plus I mentioned it was 3:30AM and I had to be up in an hour for practice, so good bye. “Why were they calling on Thanksgiving Eve?” I thought. Then I thought about the next thing and then the next and then the mind of a crazy woman took over.
Yoga calls this identification with thoughts, chitta vritti, a fluctuation of the mind. The trap comes when I confuse the thought process with reality. My worries are not necessarily truth.
Yogic Philosophy tells us that the first step to healing is awareness. Aware that my thoughts about my situation may be misguided, may be memory, may be imagination.
I got up, had my morning tea and fruit. I went to practice and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I had plenty of energy, and was filled with gratitude for awareness. Awareness of where I habitually go in my mind and how worry spirals into illusion. I noticed that if I can just let go a bit I am carried through life in a way that far exceeds my own small thinking.
I invite you to notice how your mind reacts to adversity, to life when it shows up in an unplanned way. I have found that life is expansive and free; much bigger than my idea about what it should be. I am a part of life itself and happy to be here. Thank you for being part of my journey.
Nov 26: India is divine. I have settled into The Green Hotel in Mysore and am enjoying peace and quiet, despite the big road with horns beeping all the time!
I came by train from Tamil Nadu where we visited numerous temples during my first week. We were not (by mistake) in the air-conditioned railroad car, so we travelled with the locals. It was an enlivening experience, colorful, full of fragrance, textures and life!
There were cockroaches everywhere, which made sleeping a little scary. We plugged our ears with cotton and covered our faces with scarves. I read once that these critters are able, while you are asleep, to get a day’s worth of water from the corner of your mouth. I was a little on edge.
The trip was 14 hours, each way. But when the sun comes up there is something about India that brings me back to life as it was meant to be: raw, natural, simple, harsh and yet soft. The landscape is stunning. The temples were fantastic. They are called living temples because they have a Priest doing formal worship (Puja) everyday since inception. Some of the temples are 2,000 years old. I was traveling with locals, so it was an authentic pilgrimage. For Hindus, getting to Tamil Nadu once in a lifetime is considered a boon. I agree!
I guess there is a bit of a conservative Vedic Brahmanical edge to the places if you look critically, but when we went inside, just to enter a place dedicated to the invisible, the imaginary, the divine, was amazing! I learned so much about Hindu philosophy, the Gods, and the nine planets (which include the sun and the moon).
Today, our practice was led by Saraswathi (the daughter of the late Pattabhi Jois). It starts at 8am. The atmosphere in her studio was peaceful and supportive; her assists were direct, sensitive, and very helpful; and her assistants were young but caring, careful and skilled. I had lots of personal attention and was able to complete the entire Ashtanga Primary series. I really enjoyed myself, and I am glad to have space to work on my craft.
Charm City Yoga has teamed up with Charm City Run to give our Perkville members more options. Starting TODAY, you can now use your Perkville points at the Annapolis, Baltimore or Timonium Charm City Run locations.
Click here for directions
200 points can be used to purchase the Swiftwick Aspire Zero. The Swiftwick is perfect for narrow feet, the ASPIRE compression sock is constructed for unmatched comfort, moisture management and an optimal fit. It’s thin and light for minimalist running shoes, tight cycling shoes and the form fit hockey skate or ski boot. This sock will directly influence your game.”
Just bring in your Perkville 200 points voucher to any of the 3 participating Charm City Run locations to redeem your points.
Not a member of Perkville? Click here for more information and to sign up for our rewards program.
For centuries, the American military has been relied upon to defend the country against enemies at home and abroad. With heroic stories of victory in major battles and countless conflicts, our military members continue to serve with dignity and honor. There is, of course, a dark side to war. The human cost of conflict is well documented statistically in terms of casualties and deaths, but much less with invisible injuries such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
The 2008 RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research states that 20% of combat troops coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan meet criteria for PTSD or depression. To date, there are well over 300,000 troops that have served in one or both of these recent conflicts, but only 53% are found to get help from a health provider when they return from combat operations.
The complexities of hyper-masculine military culture contribute to service members reluctance to seek treatment, as trepidation of adverse consequences and stigma are among the most mentioned responses for avoiding post-combat treatment (RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, 2008).
While large numbers service members return with great social, physical and mental issues, the military medical community are working towards new solutions to very old problems where we have not been able to bridge the gap. Mindful yoga, is a sturdy and safe bridge to the path of living a full and meaningful post-service life.
We don’t need to try to be someone else, rather reveal the strength and balance that’s already there.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word that is translated literally as the verb yoke, to combine or connect two things, but commonly as unity. This unity can refer to a number of popular concepts but typically refers to the unity of the mind and the body. Among the core beliefs of yoga is that regular practice offers a path to progress in one’s life that surpasses the confines of the physical person, their environment and their occupation, elevating a person’s experience in life toward authenticity, satisfaction and happiness.
In practice, a yogi (one who practices yoga) learns to connect the mind and the body through relaxation, meditation and the (at times) vigorous physical practice of postures, or asanas. These common functional practices serve to re-condition the autonomic nervous system, which regulates our “fight or flight” response as well as the mechanisms that restore us to calm after a stressful event. Regular practice utilizing the mentioned techniques can condition our nervous system to execute stress responses in healthy ways, producing a calming, centering and grounding effect that balance the individual, both mentally and physically. Recent medical studies reflect that veteran yogis can acquire organic skills to normalize stress triggers in his or her environment when they occur, and to normalize them through practice of grounding and conscious breathing found in yoga.
Yoga is also a highly adaptive physical activity. The variety of postures and use of simple adaptive equipment allows Veterans with physical injuries, including amputations, to practice at a high level and enjoy all of the same benefits of practice. The connection between mind and body have been useful in overall health and wellness for thousands of years and continue to heal those who seek to heal wounds suffered as a result of traumatic events or experiences. Once a veteran gets on the mat and begins breathing new life, shifting away from old, stale ways of thinking and living, the healing begins from the inside out and the results can be truly transformative. We don’t need to try to be someone else, rather reveal the strength and balance that’s already there.
- Contributed by CJ Keller, USMC. CJ is the Yoga Director for Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness 501(c)(3). He teaches a donation Yoga for Vets class every Saturday from 6:15-7:30pm at Charm City Yoga Towson as well as yoga to veterans at the Baltimore VA. The Towson class is open to active service members, veterans as well as their family.
by Jess Crowley
Ever hear this in a Yoga class, “If you know what your doing, take a headstand.” The teacher may provide some basic instruction on safety and guide you…but is that enough?
I’ve developed a precise spatial awareness to help you into smoother transitions, alignment, and comprehension of the asana that will break through any fears on your mat! Learning lightness in your Yoga practice will create dramatic changes in your practice. When your practice changes you will notice transformation in your entire life.
Join me for an inversion ﬂow! We will break down the more advanced practice into bite sized pieces suitable for all levels.
• Understand Key functions of Headstand and Handstand
• Try all level abdominal work
• Experience the relationship of shoulder girdle to pelvic girdle
• Practice floating from Down Dog to Handstand and back to Chaturanga
• Press from Crow to Handstand
All postures in this workshop will be made suitable for beginners, some yoga experience recommended.
Come Defy Gravity with me!
Severna Park: Saturday, November 16th 1-3pm
For the fifth year running, Charm City Yoga will be actively participating in Free to Breathe Baltimore, the Free to Breathe Lung Cancer Yogathon. A number of wonderful CCY instructors including, Edith Brotman, Michelle Cagan, Tami Jacobs and Chris Jamison will be leading participants in an 108 minute long all-level class at the B&O Railroad Museum located in the heart of Baltimore City. This inspiring event will be taking place on Sunday, November 10th 2013. Registration begins at 3:45pm and the program itself begins at 4:30pm. We spoke with Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen, the woman who brought this event to Baltimore in 2008 and has been working hard with Free to Breathe ever since.
What is the Free to Breathe Yogathon?
The Free to Breathe Yogathon is an event that combines a wonderful yoga opportunity with the chance to do real concrete good in the world. We raise money for the National Lung Cancer Partnership while doing yoga, this year in an awesome new venue – the B & O Railroad Museum’s Baldwin Roundhouse. The event works like other fundraisers (5Ks or run/walks). Participants sign up in advance and ask friends/family to support them by donating. On November 10, we all come to the B & O, get a yogathon t-shirt, do 108 minutes of yoga which progresses from gentle to more challenging accompanied by the wonderful music of the Herd Brothers. After the yoga, we’ll have some refreshments, a chance to get a brief chair massage from a professional, and door prizes. We’ll also award the top fundraising team with a week vacation in Myrtle Beach! And maybe most importantly, all the money we raise goes to lung cancer research and awareness programs. We fight a disease that robs people of breath, with our breath.
How did you become affiliated with the yogathon?
5 years ago, my mom died of lung cancer. She was completely healthy and then neck pain led to the discovery of a tumor that had broken her vertebrae. 10 weeks later, she had died. My mom was an amazing woman who inspired me in so many ways and I wanted to honor her memory by doing something concrete. I searched the web for weeks finding very few events raising money for lung cancer. All the ones I found were 5K’s and I really don’t like running! Then I found Free to Breathe and on the website there was a yogathon in North Carolina listed. I called, thinking I would go down there to participate, and ended up agreeing to create the first Baltimore Free to Breathe Yogathon. My mom always said about challenges, “How hard could it be?” So I followed her wisdom. Running the yogathon has been an incredibly healing process for me and for the wonderful people who’ve been involved – whether coming that day to do the yoga, volutneering, or helping on the planning committee. It feels good to do something. It feels good to make a difference.
How long have you been a yogini?
about 6 1/2 years.
How does one register?
Check out the following link: http://participate.freetobreathe.org/site/TR?fr_id=2120&pg=entry
(Some browsers get hung up with this address, so try www.freetobreathe.org and then click on the map, scroll down til you find Baltimore’s event)
You can sign up as an individual or join a team (like Charm City Yoga’s). You can even get some friends to come with you and make your own team.
Edie will draw from yogic, Zen Buddhist, and Shambhala traditions to help students bring mindfulness, playfulness, and mastery to their endurance running.
In order to survive, the human body evolved to run long distances. Our running abilities outpaced our ability to hunt with weapons. Learn more about the tricks your anatomy has to make you more efficient on your feet.
In this workshop, we will will explore spiritual and anatomical concepts while working hard. Of course no sadhana is complete without indulging in a good helping of delicious stretches to help speed recovery and prevent injury.
Yoga of Running is happening at our Fells Point Studio on Saturday, November 9th from 1:30-3:30pm. Cost of the workshop is $40.
Welcome to Baltimore’s award winning yoga studios! At Charm City Yoga you will find yoga classes to suit all levels, from beginner to advanced, with a variety of styles, from Asthanga to Vinyasa Flow. If you are new to our studios then we invite you to try our Introductory Month of Unlimited Yoga for just $30.
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