Friday, April 11, 2008


Hey there. I have not meant to be lazy on the blog scene, but I am doing Pancha Karma this week, and those of you who now me also know that I do love a good cup o’ chai or black/green tea. And anyhow, it has been interesting not having any this week. (Not to mention all the other things that I am not having any of…) But for me, now if a really perfect time to cleanse. I have wanted to do pancha karma (pk) for several years and have not had the appropriate resources or life circumstances to make it a reality. Now I do. So I am. Even though I did try to come up with quite a few reasons not to. That is another story.

Pancha karma is the seasonal cleansing in Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga. Panch karma means the 5 actions. It is generally 8 days long, the first 5 days being purva karma, a time for preparing the body for several days of treatments. During this time I stick to a mono diet (think veggies and grains, kitcheree), do a daily abhyanga (oil massage), and in the mornings down an increasing amount of medicated ghee in milk. In general, try to take it slow, not schedule much, and spend a lot of time in reflection and quiet. Really just what I need right now. Today is the 4th day for me. On Friday I head down to Milwaukee for my 3 days of treatments, roughly 2 hours each day. More abhyanga, shirodhara, some good sweating and also I will have ghee pored in my eyes. I think there are some other things but I cannot remember. All in all it is a good time to set forth some larger intentions, which like I said is perfect timing for me as i really have some large choices up in the air right now.

So that is the long version of what is up for me. And an explanation of why there have not been more entries here.

I have not gotten into the studio much in the last week. But it has been nice when I have gotten there. I hope to practice with some friends this weekend while I am down in SE wis. We shall see. I will miss practicing with folks up here, but will look to plan something the weekend after this coming.

In classes this week we are working with Balanced Action, specifically muscular and organic energies. Primary Flows. I love this stuff so much. To me, primary flows of energy are so exciting because they are relatively easy to feel in your body, and when the beginner can get a hit pretty quickly of that energy, it really opens up the door to a lot of great learning and discovery.

The Yama that we are working with is Satya, or truth. I am attempting to present this information in a way that is clear and specific but that also leaves room for the students own understanding and experience. Because that is really how it works for me. I am the definition of an experiential learner (thank you Prescott College) and when I take something in I start by taking it all, dogma and all. I chew on in for awhile, digest it, and eventually reshape it into something that has context in my life and yet has not lost the integrity of the initial form. After all, I do love form. So with Satya, I just find it endlessly interesting that it follows Ahimsa. That the very first moral guideline is non-harming. Then it is honesty. As if to say that a truth that causes harm is missing the point, has become self-indulgent. Sally Kempton wrote a very interesting article in this months Yoga Journal that touches on this a bit. Specifically on the 4 gates of speech, which I have taught before in classes and directly applies.

Anyhow, the way that I have been connecting these 2 themes is through the use of the middle place, the mudhya or hrdyam, the place of the heart. Balanced Action after all, is all about the expansion of the middle in a sustaining and intentional way, and the heart is really the seat of Truth. Pretty fun stuff.

Tuesday’s class:

3 Surya Namaskars (with lunge variations, vira 1 and twists)

Downward Dog (with muscular and organic energy breakdown)

L pose at the wall

Virabhadrasana 3 (legs at the wall)

Utthitta Hasta Padangustasana (at the wall)

Vira 3 to Ardha Chandrasana (legs at the wall)


Anjaneyasana (2x)

Pigeon thigh stretch

Bhujangasana (3x) partner arm assist


Bharadvajasana 1


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