Sandra's Blog


My Holiday Season

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Me, with my beautiful children, Maria, (50 years young) on the far left, Lana (45 years young) and Marco (49 years young.)

I don’t know if it’s because I come from a big Italian family or because my heart longs for the perfection I hear in Christmas music and multicolored lights but the holiday season is an emotional time for me.

My heart flows towards loved ones near, far and gone and hearing certain Christmas songs, I easily tear up thinking of them.

Allowing myself to pass through these feelings, thoughts and memories, I use them to open my heart to what is around me, whether it be strangers, friends or family. I talk to strangers, reach out to friends and hold my family in my heart with love and good will.

In my family I let go of past grievances and history so we have the opportunity to be our best selves and express gratitude for what I receive from them.

The feelings that flow though me, at this time of year, help me to honour my past, while purging away out-dated memories.

Consciously letting myself feel vulnerable, I allow the energy of the season to re-generate my heart, mind and soul and this helps me to step forward into my new dreams.

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New Year Resolutions

Bob and I wish you a wonderful New Year and blessings all year long.

Bob and I wish you a wonderful New Year and blessings all year long.

My New Year Resolutions are an evolving process of addressing the dark and light sides of my personality.

For example, in my relationship with Bob, my husband, my dark, shadowy side acts out the controlling victim (with a whiny voice!)

On the other hand, my perceptive light side asserts my needs in a clear and authentic way so Bob can ‘hear’ them.

Supporting myself to express authentically, we both move closer to our true selves and our relationship is stronger and more alive.

Similarly, in conflict with a friend, I am defensive. However, by opening to her views, my energetic body stays strong and vibrant, helping me to get my points across, while respecting hers. And our understanding of each other (and life!) expands.

Resolving issues with others and our selves is an on-going process. Opening to intuitive and inspirational awareness shines a light into the darkness, revealing the CAUSE of our dilemma. This new awareness frees us.

Loosing our ability to look at both our dark and light sides, we get out of balance and die a little, no matter what time of year it is.

Therefore, the self-reflective time Yoga provides keeps us in touch with our inner world. We then deal with limitations and obstacles with a greater and deeper awareness

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“Real Perks for Canadians” or Spiritual Materialism?

Spiritual Materialism

Spiritual Materialis

The American Yoga Alliance is undercutting and competing with Canadian Yoga Associations.

For instance, The Yoga Association of Alberta is OVER 35 YEARS OLD. It certifies teachers and offers insurance, training upgrades, workshops and retreats to the citizens of Alberta.

When they wished to partner with the American Yoga Alliance, they were told to re-certify their teachers through the American Yoga Alliance, whose training is not as well established as their own.

The Canadian Yoga Alliance is another well-established organization with a membership of over 4000. They offer insurance and PARTNER WITH other Yoga Alliances, such as, the International Yoga Federation and the World Yoga Alliance.

The American Yoga Alliance’s motto arrogantly plays off the well know Yoga Motto, “Many Paths, One Light.” (Various paths become ONE in the light.) American Yoga Alliance says, “Many paths. One Yoga Alliance.” Thereby, twisting a spiritual premise into spiritual materialism.

The spirit of Yoga is ‘POWER WITH’, rather than ‘POWER OVER’. We hold hands with each other.

A dictatorship in any area of human life is dangerous. In Yoga it is the OPPOSITE of what Yoga is about.

(I hope Half Moon Yoga—my very first go-to for Yoga Mats back in the 70’—reconsiders partnering with the American Yoga Alliance, until they are inclusive of different paths and organizations within the Yoga community.)

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A Message About Yoga Alliance of America

A MESSAGE TO YOGA ALLIANCE OF AMERICA

The motto of American Yoga Alliance is “Many paths. One Yoga Alliance.”  This is outrageous. Do you want to support this?  I don’t.  Look here for Yoga stupidity.

There is no hierarchy in Yoga. Yoga means “all one.” All communities are united.

Everyone finds THEIR PLACE IN YOGA……that’s why there are so many different systems and paths.

“One light. Many are the paths— in all things”.

I, personally, am for inclusiveness in all things. NOT exclusiveness.  Please let me know what you think about this.

As co-founder of Yoga Alliance of America I am disappointed in their direction and refuse to support their hierarchy. I am removing their name from all of my postings. (I am now a member of Canadian Yoga Alliance.)

(Please share my message with as many Yogis as possible.)

If you need to discuss this with me please email sandra@sammartinoyoga.com

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Mr. Iyengar And Me

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That’s me on the far left.

It has taken me time to process Mr. Iyengar’s death and my relationship with him.

I first met Mr. Iyengar in 1977 when I traveled to India to study Yoga at the tender age of 36. My Yoga teacher, at the time, told me that Mr. Iyengar would ‘fix’ me.

I didn’t know what that meant, and it scared me, but Mr. Iyengar was a teacher and without students he couldn’t teach and so, I reasoned, I was as important in the process as he was.

When I first saw Mr. Iyengar he was teaching Yoga in Bombay (Mumbai) at the top of many flights of rickety stairs. Needless to say I was afraid to meet him and especially since I heard that he hit his students. I had secretly decided that if he hit me, I would hit him back.

But when I first caught sight of him, he looked and reminded me of my Italian uncles—short, blustery, loud, with a sense of humour and a sincere heart. I liked him instantly.

And, he liked me. He would (affectionately) bat me on the side of my head with, “This one, she understands.” I would nod, knowingly, even though later I didn’t know what it was that I understood.

He even elevated me to a more advanced level in the class and he never hit me, although, I did see him whack other people, as he said, to wake them up in their bodies. I still told myself that if he hit me, I would hit him back. I wasn’t afraid of him.

I did worry about him, though, because I was there to celebrate his 60th birthday and with so much adulation coming his way, I noticed that he believed what people were saying. I worried about that.

On the other hand, I got that he was helping people. I saw them get stronger in their bodies, as I did, in the three short weeks I was there. And, when it came time to leave, I promised him I would come back to study with him again.

I never did return but we did exchange letters back and forth. He was my guide. I built a beautiful Yoga studio beside my home, as had done. And, I taught Yoga with the same spirit of wanting to help people, as he had helped me.

But studying with other teachers I found a depth to Yoga that introduced me to the wounds in my emotional body and I learned how to connect with them and dissolve them. This put me in touch with my shadow side and how it played out in my life. I felt more whole, connected and alive. When, in a letter, I explained this to Mr. Iyengar, he wrote back to admonish me but it was too late.

I had already discovered the finer sensations of a more graceful body and I couldn’t return to bulking up my muscles and lose this connection to my inner self.

But Mr. Iyengar remained in my body and in my heart, as it was his teachings that laid the foundation for my Yoga practice. And, I wished that one day I could share what I had learned with him. Deep inside myself I felt I would.

After I heard he died what I learned from him came more alive in my body. Certain muscles in my legs began to wake up (I almost felt him whacking them!) and both legs became more the same.

Even though he was gone, I felt him with me and knew that one day we would meet again, as we had done many years ago, and once again, we would recognize each other as friends.

Photo is of me at Mr. Iyengar’s “Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute” in Pune, India in 1977. I am on the very left in the back row. Beautiful Pegge Gabbott is the other woman in the photo.

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Your Body Is A Vehicle To Receive Wisdom

Sensing....Feeling....Experiencing....

Sensing….Feeling….Experiencing….

Various Asanas are vehicles to enter into our internal worlds or subjective realities. Fluctuating sensations, messages and feelings inform us about our PRIVATE selves. This skill transfers into our daily lives.

A knot in our tummy says we are worried and anxious, while a warm glow in our chest reveals safety and happiness. Identifying inner feeling sensations and impressions, we make smarter choices, and are more in charge of our lives.

Exploring inner thoughts, feelings and insights, RELEASED DURING ASANA, increases our awareness while RESTORING OUR BODIES.

Once Yoga quiets our ‘rascal’ thinking mind, faint whispers rise up from the wisdom of our unconscious to herald the birth of an inner centre, where we can go to ‘listen’ in on deeper insights, feelings, needs and views.

Then, at pivotal times such as when loved ones go away or die or we suffer some other catastrophic loss, YOGA COMES TO OUR AID. It releases stress, calms our frayed nerves and provides deeper perspectives.

STRUGGLING through our pain cultivates strengths we didn’t know we had, and we grow beyond our former selves in maturity and wisdom,

Book 1,Yoga Fiction: Yoga Truth www.yogafictionyogatruth.com

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Feelings Live In Your Body

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Coming home to the self.

Whether you realize it or not, you THINK with your mind, you FEEL with your body and you KNOW from the depth of your being. To test this out, focus on a troubling situation and then ask yourself, “What do I THINK about this? What do I FEEL and what do I KNOW for sure?” You receive three different answers!

Your feelings reveal more about you than your conscious thinking mind. And, what you KNOW, well you just KNOW! You don’t KNOW how you KNOW—you just KNOW.

“Our emotions are in our body,” scientist Candace Pert told Bill Moyer in the television series, Healing and The Mind. Looking shocked, Bill Moyer repeated, “In our body?” “Yes,” said Candace, “In our body. They (emotions) are neuropeptides that reside at the cellular level, in our tissues.”

Yoga increases our ability to access FEELINGS. Otherwise they get lost in overwrought everyday thinking. However, conscious thinking does have its place. It’s useful—after the fact—to check if we, indeed, are on the right course. But when it comes to making important decisions, whether we realize it or not, most of us act from
our feelings.

Book 1,Yoga Fiction: Yoga Truth www.yogafictionyogatruth.com
Photo by Tangi Bell (Winnipeg Oct /14)

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