Sunday, October 30, 2011

Peace Begins with You

 At peace....

When looking up the word peace in the dictionary, the various definitions are:
The absence of war or other hostilities, An agreement or a treaty to end hostilities, Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations, Public security and order and Inner contentment; serenity. 

What does peace mean to you? and How do we bring more peace into the world?

Peace should be felt at all times, during all situations, that is true peace. But to attain this level is of course much easier said then done.

 Mr.Iyengar writes regarding sutra III.12 in Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, "At times, consciousness is thoughtfully silent but then it suddenly gushes out into vibrant activity.  In a split second, this activity may be controlled and balance regained.  This control requires effort, and effort involves time.  By skillful practice and depth of silence which at first appears only in glimpses, is made to permeate and fill the entire citta."

So again, it is through our practice that we can fill each cell with tranquillity and find the balance of relaxation (santi citta).

The Dalai Lama has also said, "We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves."

is not a gap between times of fighting,
or a space where nothing is happening.

is something that
and needs to be looked after.

-From Peace Begins with You, by Katherine Scholes and Illustrated by Robert Ingpen

Santi. Peace.
Pamela Nelson

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

8th Century writings of Shantideva

For we are all travelers on the wheel of life.
We halt, we pause and take new births.
Take comfort, then, you beings wandering in weary Samsara,
And hear in every footfall the sound of blissful compassion.

For compassion is the tree that shelters all beings.
It is the universal bridge
That dispels the misty ignorance of the world
And leads the weary traveler out of Samsara into Nirvana.

-Taken from beginning of the book, Samsara Dog, By Helen Manos and Illustrated by Julie Vivas

Pamela Nelson

Monday, October 24, 2011

Healthy and Healing Qualities of Consciousness

In Light on Life, by B.K.S. Iyengar, (and many of his other books), he writes how the eight petals of yoga are the cure for our "inherent flaws".  These eight petals again are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.  Wisely, he says that the knowledge of yoga is no substitute for practice of yoga and since the difficulties lie within ourselves, so do the solutions. 

Patanjali offers the Healthy and Healing Qualities of Consciousness or vrttis to help cultivate the mind and smooth the yogic path. 
Mr. Iyengar translates Patanjali's words as this.  "In order to achieve a serene consciousness, we have to be willing to change our behaviour and approach toward the external world.  This is for our own good."

So, what are these Healthy and Healting Qualities of Consciousness?

1. Maitri - or the cultivation of friendliness towards those who are happy
2. Karuna - the cultivation of compassion towards thoses who are in sorrow.
3. Mudita - Cultivation of joy toward those who are vitruous.
4. Upeksa - Cultivation of indifference or neutrality towards those who are full of vices.

Mr. Iyengar writes how these four  qualities may seem so simple, yet are more difficult to follow through on, but if we don't, we leak energy.  Yoga helps us to generate, contain and distribute our energy more usefully when practiced with care. Not let it shrink us with feelings of jealousy, envy and resentment.

Where to begin might be the next question?

Practice of the eight limbs of yoga.  If that feels overwhelming, begin with a breath.  The calmness and quietness brought to the mind and emotions during pranayama is to be remembered and transmitted into daily life and daily actions.

I have quoted this before and I have painted this quote to be read each and everytime I wash my dishes.  Which without a dishwasher is pretty often..:)

"Giving does not impoverish, and withholding does not enrich" - B.K.S. Iyengar

Pamela Nelson

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dedicated Practice

Patanjali, credited for codifiying the Yoga Sutras writes in sutra II.28 yoganganusthanat asuddhikasaye jnanadiptih avivekakhyateh.

B.K.S. Iyengar translates this in, Light on the Yoga Sutras on Patanjali, as:

By dedicated practice of the various aspects of yoga impurities are destroyed: the crown of wisdom radiates in glory.

So, by regular and devoted practice, the impurities of the body and mind are removed, as well as the causes of afflictions, leading to wisdom.  The various aspects of yoga are the eight limbs which include yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.  These have been written about in previous posts...and I'm sure I will again.

Mr. Iyengar writes, "Here, instead of the usual word abhyasa (repeated practice), anusthana is used.  It is a dignified and noble word with a spiritual import, implying practice with dedication or religious fervour.  The former bring stability: the latter develops maturity of intelligence."

He ends saying that, "Yoga can cure or lessen our physical, mental, moral and spiritual sufferings.  Perfection and success are certain only if one practices with love and whole-hearted dedication."

With love,
Pamela Nelson

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yoga Workshop with Jo-Ann Sutherland

October 21 - Deadline to register with payment for the upcoming Yoga Workshop with Jo-Ann Sutherland.  If you are interested in attending please contact me.


Please Join me at PLN Yoga Studio

November 5&6th, 2011-All Levels Yoga Workshop

with Jo-Ann Sutherland.

Dates: November 5&6

Times: Saturday 9am-noon & 2-5pm

Sunday 9am-1pm

Cost: $190/person

Pre-registration is required.

$25 Non-refundable cancellation fee.
Registration requested by October 21, 2010

NO REFUNDS 15 days prior to Workshop

Jo-Ann Sutherland is a nationally certified Iyengar yoga teacher and is the owner and director of the JNS Yoga Studio that she opened in 1990. Jo-Ann has been practicing yoga since 1971. In1984 she began studying under the teachings of BKS Iyengar and since that time has been a committed student of this method. She made her first pilgrimage to India in 1997 and since then she has traveled to India many times. jns Yoga studio offers classes for all levels of yoga as well as classes for problem backs and gentle yoga for the chronically fatigued and physically challenged. Her understanding of yoga asana, her quest foreknowledge, and her zest for life make her classes precise, enlightening and fun. Jo-Ann is a firm believer in the age old adage,“When the body is fit the mind will naturally follow”.

"Sun" day Salutations

Just a reminder the first "Sun" day Salutations is coming up - Sunday, October 23rd.  There is still a few spots left!  If interested in attending, please contact me!

PLN Yoga Studio

"Sun” day Salutation

Join me once a month for a two hour Sunday Yoga Practice.
The classes will focus on the Sun Salutations - Surya Namaskar.
This dynamic vinyasa (flow sequence) is a combination of postures moving together with the breath. The class will focus on these poses and introduce a few other vinyasas.

2011 Dates:

October 23rd, November 20th and December 4th

Classes will include:

Warm –up
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) sequence with variations
Inverted and seated postures

Instructor: Pamela Nelson, Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor
Time: 10:15am-12:15pm
Location: PLN Yoga Studio - #3-3800 5th Ave. E., Prince Albert, Sk.
Cost: $60 for the three Sundays or $25/class

Pre – registration requested.
For more information or to register contact Pamela Nelson.
T: 982-2737 or E:

Words of Wisdom - 9

"After a session of yoga, the mind becomes tranquil and passive."
-B.K.S. Iyengar

I hope you can fit some yoga into your day today!
Pamela Nelson

Monday, October 10, 2011

We are all family, joined together on this same planet.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Pamela Nelson

artwork by Aiden Wieder, 2010

Friday, October 7, 2011

Aim of Yoga

Yoga is not meant only for gaining health but for encountering the vision of the Self (darsana).

B.K.S. Iyengar

Wednesday, October 5, 2011



This mantra is said to contain all the teachings of the Buddha, as well as all the antidotes for all delusions and imprints of delusions.  Each syllable contains profound meaning and offers blessings.  This is one of the most important mantras in Tibet.

Om - contains the body, speech and mind
Mani - is the jewel
Padme - is the lotus
Hung - is the essence of conpassion
"Buddha who holds the jewel and the lotus protect me"

OM - is the antidote of ignorance
MA - is the antidote of hatred
NI - is the antidote of miserliness
PAD - is the antidote of attachment
ME - is the antidote of jealousy
HUNG - is the antidote of negative pride

This mantra is the antidote of the six delusions.

This mantra is pronounced:






More information about the definition and meaning of this mantra can be found at the link below.  It is an article from the Dalai Lama.

Pamela Nelson

The creators of the animated Mani wheel image have authorized its use for any respectful purpose. Mantra image thanks to Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche Homepage; Animated GIF version thanks to Steve Bennett.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October Book Review - Terry Fox - His Story - by Leslie Scrivener

Every September for the past 30 years people have taken up the run for a cure for cancer that Terry Fox was unable to complete himself.  I myself have participated in and organized many Terry Fox Run's over the years. I was living in Thunder Bay when he had to stop his run and remember thinking how brave he was to begin such a monumental task.  This type of courage inspires me deeply.
So, every September I like to re-read or watch various things about Terry Fox as a reminder that the will power of one can bring many together and to quote Terry, "Somewhere the hurting must stop".

Leslie Scrivener's book, Terry Fox - His Story, was first published in 1981, then again in 1983 and 2000 by The Terry Fox Foundation.  The first edition was written while Terry was still alive.  The new edition which I own, commemorated the 20th year of the Marathon of Hope, giving updates on how Terry's legacy lives on.
The book is written in chronological order and includes many wonderful pictures and excerpts from Terry's journal.  It is a book worth reading for so many reasons.  If you get the chance, I hope you enjoy and are inspired.

To end, from Terry Fox - His Story, he says, "I'm not doing the run to become rich or famous.  One of the problems with our world is that people are getting greedy and selfish."  "To me, being famous is not the idea of the run.  The only important part is that cancer can be beaten."

Those human qualities are so inspiring.  Let's pass them along.

Pamela Nelson

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October - Pose of the Month - Ustrasana

Ustrasana - Camel's Pose

This month's pose is a back bend. It is best to warm up first before Ustrasana.  I have shown a few variations of this pose.

This first variation of Ustrasana is at the wall.  Although not everyone will have a yoga wall I have shown this to helps to get the idea of keeping the thighbones perpendicular to the floor as the back lifts and arches back.  You can also place a chair at the wall and facing the chair have the hips just touching the chair.
As you press down into the shins, keep them hip distance apart.  Draw the tailbone into the body, press the buttocks forward.  The hips press forward, but stay in line with the thighs and knees.  Lift the chest and upper back as the back arches.  Hanging onto the straps to help lift the spine and arch back.  Extending throughout the back of the neck, take the head back.  Inhale to come up.  Press the forehead to the wall for a few breaths.

Another way to perform Ustrasana is to raise the floor up a little bit by placing a bolster on top of the calves.  This will make keeping the thighs perpendicular to the floor easier, as well as keeping the spine lifting as it arches back.
If kneeling bothers the knees place a folded blanket or mat under the knees and shins.  Begin with the shins parallel, hip width apart and toes pointing back.  Place the heels of the hands on the sacrum and begin to press the flesh down, lengthening the lower back and lifting the spine up and press the hips forward.  Begin to arch the back by lifting the upper back and chest.
Take the hands down further onto the bolster.  From the centre of the chest broaden the collarbones out to the shoulders and let the shoulders release back.  Press into the fingertips to keep lifting the spine into the body.  Breath evenly.  Release the head back.  To come up, inhale, press into the bolster and lift from the sternum.
After performing Ustrasana, release back into Vajrasana, either sitting right back on heels or on a bolster.  Perform a few times.
Following the same points above; another option is to tuck the toes under to raise the heels up and bring the hands down to the height of the heels.
Or onto the height of blocks at the side of the ankles.

For the full pose: The knees, thighs and feet can be together or hip width apart to begin (shown above).
Press down into tops of feet and shins and move hands down the back of the thighs from the sacrum with hips pressing forward, but in line with knees.  Draw the tailbone into the body and up the spine and begin to arch the back, bringing the spine into the body.
Release the hands to the feet either one at a time or at the same time and press the hands into the souls of the feet.  As you push into the feet, draw the tailbone in and up more, release the shoulder back, drawing the shoulder blades deeper into the body.  With the head releasing back, let the throat remain soft.  Stay about 30 sec. each time.  Inhale to come up, press into shins and lift from chest.  Sit back into vajrasana on heels between repetitions.  Repeat 2-3 times.

This variation is very restorative and should be practiced if you are feeling weak.  It is also good if you are extremely tight in shoulders and upper back or suffer from lower back pain.  In this variation, place a chair near the wall with one or two bolsters on top.  Have the bolsters going through the chair enough that you can press into the bolsters and are still fairly close to the chair.  Use support for the back of the head and neck.  Keep the knees hip width apart and shins parallel.  Press into shins, thighs pressing forward in line with hips and arch back over bolsters, draw the tailbone in and up and let the shoulders release, keeping the chest open.  Inhale to come up as press into shins and lift from the breastbone (sternum bone).
If you feel you need to, release into Adho Mukha Virasana.  Above is a supported version where the abdomen and full length of the front body is supported.  The back of the neck and spine should lengthen evenly as the abdomen and hip flexsors release.  If you are doing this pose without the support of the bolsters and your back is rounding considerably or if feels like your head is hanging down to reach the floor, take the support of one or two bolsters.

Benefits:  Helps correct posture, increases lung capacity, improves circulation to the organs of the body, tones the muscles of back and spine, removes stiffness in shoulders back and spine and can help relieve abdominal cramps and regulate menstrual flow.

Cautions: Do not practice if have herniated disk, severe constipation, diarrhea, headache, migraine or hypertension.

Pamela Nelson