Fibonacci Yoga Breathing


Photo Courtesy of NASA

Photo Courtesy of NASA

Yoga Poses – How long?

If you research how long to hold your Yoga Poses, you will be met with a myriad of answers which leaves you with no alternative but to make your own decision. What then? How do you determine how long to hold a pose other than counting seconds or “until it gets too painful”? 

Many decades ago I asked this same question. Some people gave answers like “number of seconds” or “number of breaths”. After much frustration regarding this issue I created my own system that has served me happily and successfully for a very long time.

Everyone has their own motivations and reasons for practicing Yoga but there is one common denominator for all of us. It is our breath. I Practice a Yoga routine that takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes, depending on my mood and energy level. It incorporates many of the commonly known Hatha Yoga asanas and works on most of my muscles and joints in a relatively gentle manner.

How can it take 15 or 30 minutes, you ask. It is because of the breathing system I created for myself which is very satisfying and also takes the boredom away from counting out 10, 20, or 60 seconds. It is also self-adjusting depending upon my mental and physical condition while doing my routine.

Some people already count breaths, but how do you know how many to count? This is where my system comes in – and it is very simple.

If you are not familiar with Fibonacci numbers (Fnumber) they are the sequence 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 . . . and so on, where each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. This sequence of numbers is quite famous because it lies at the heart of much natural phenomenon including seashells, sunflowers, the human body and even galaxies in outer space.

What I really like about incorporating this number sequence into my Yoga routine is that it makes me feel like I’m doing something that is an integral part of the workings of the cosmos itself. Whether that is true or not, is not the point. It’s all about how I feel!

Here is the simplicity of it. Yoga is all about stretching and breathing. This is about the breathing part. Despite the body’s tendency to breathe faster under physical exertion, I try to keep my breathing slow and steady. My average breath lasts between 4 and 6 seconds. This will vary for everyone depending upon your physical condition.

Before you try this, you must memorize the Fibonacci numbers up to 55 because these are the ones you will be using during your routine.

When you start each pose, just breath slowly, regularly and mentally count your breaths as you hold the pose. This will keep your awareness focused on your breathing rather than the random mental thoughts that distract from a great Yoga experience. It will also let you know when to end this particular pose.

Here’s how it works: Never stop your pose until you have reached an Fnumber of breaths. Most of the time, for me, that would be 5, 8, 13 or 21. The most common one, for me, is 8. This translates to approximately 40-45 seconds.

When you reach an Fnumber, then make a decision: “do I want to go to the next number?” If the answer is “NO” then stop and go to the next pose. If the answer is “Yes” then hold your pose and keep counting breaths until you reach the next Fnumber and mentally repeat the decision whether to continue. But, don’t stop until you reach the number. If you decide to go from 13 to 21, don’t stop before you reach 21.

That’s the system! It’s very simple

Here is my experience. After you have done this for a while, you will know from experience how long you can hold a pose. It is different for each one, because some are more difficult than others. Some, I can only hold for 5 breaths and others I can do for 21 or even 34 breaths.

Sometimes if I am very tired and I just want to relax my body for sleep, I will go into the routine knowing that I will only hold each pose for 5 breaths. This will usually cause me to quickly fall asleep when I go to bed. Other times when I am full of energy, I will push it as much as I can and even hold some of the poses for 55 breaths.

If you are new to yoga, some poses may only be held for 2 or 3 breaths because the muscle pain is too much to carry on and that is just fine. Time and practice take care of everything.

I do not, and have never, gone to group yoga classes. For me, Yoga is a very personal experience and I do it alone in my own special space in my home. Yoga classes are great for many people; they’re just not for me.

Remember, Yoga is a personal experience and you have your own reasons for doing it. Customize the experience for yourself and your life will be better for it.

Hopefully this system will help cultivate the appreciation and gratitude that leads you to a happy and peaceful life.

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Within and Without


Without

Without lies your miraculous birth.

Without lie your hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Without lie your pleasures, pains and satisfactions.

Without lie your work, effort and perfection.

Without lie your friends, associates and lovers.

Without lie your beliefs, concepts and ideas.

Without lie your clubs, teams and religions.

Without lie your teachers, mentors and heroes.

Without lie your masters, ascended masters and Gods.

Without lie your many dimensional worlds.

Without lie your streams, lakes and oceans.

Without lie the sun, moon and stars.

Without lie the sunrise and sunsets.

Without lie politics, aggression and war.

Without lie greed, success and riches.

Without lie your body, mind and life.

Without lies eventual death.

Within

Within lies the love of your life.

Within lies the harmony of creation.

Within lie fulfillment, gratitude and appreciation.

Within lies the ultimate feeling.

Within lies the Power of Creation within your breath.

Within lies the answer to all your questions.

Within lies your immortality.

Within lies the feeling of Peace you can take with you when it’s time to leave.

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A Place Within


There’s a Place within that

Makes my life worthwhile.

Makes me want to smile.

Puts a sparkle in my eye.

Makes me feel I can fly.

Makes me feel like an ace.

Puts a glow on my face.

My thoughts does destroy.

Fills my heart with joy.

My awareness does fill

with a silence so still.

Always is there

within the air

that I breath,

never to leave.

So you see

this place

within

is

Me.

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Natures Silent Music


Some things in life just can’t be explained. Why do very simple events in our life, that usually occur during childhood, print an indelible mark in our memory cells and register with us so completely that, even as older adults, we remember the finite details as if they happened moments ago. I have theories about this but for the moment I want to relay the details of an event that happened to me during my teenage years. For many people, the early teen years were a time of awkwardness and difficulty but, for me, they were absolutely the happiest years of my life. Many stories could be told but I picked this one because it is particularly memorable for me. Hopefully, for the reader, this will be a catalyst to remind you of pleasant times in your youth.

Every year during the summer, my father packed up the family car and drove my mother, sisters and I to his favourite fishing lake. The lake was stunning. Nestled in a mountain valley a five hour drive from our home, the hot dry air would often reach temperatures in the mid 90sF. I was 14 on this particular trip and I always looked forward to these 2 week holidays because it seemed there were no rules for us kids. My memories were of total freedom to do as I pleased – and I did.

One particular afternoon, I was feeling quite bored and decided to go hiking in the woods surrounding the lake. The woods were on the side of the mountains and in places were quite steep with trails winding up and around the tall pine trees. This was hot country, almost desert. During the summer, as you take each step, the dry tinder grass crunches from the weight of your shoes as you walk. This particular day, the scorching sun was high overhead, the sky was a deep azure blue and the air was still, silent, hot and dry. It was as if I was in heaven.

I’ve always liked the desert country. As I wound through the sparsly spaced pine trees climbing higher and higher above the lake on the narrow twisty pathway, I could feel the energy of my breath coursing through my nostrils and lungs. The air felt so healing within my body. Higher and higher I climbed. Just up ahead was a small clearing in the trees and I decided to take a rest from my weary climb. There was a huge outcropped rock in the middle of the clearing – an excellent place to rest.

The granite rock was very comfortable. I could see much of the glistening lake through the trees. The contrast between the blazing sun, the sky and the lake was quite evident. The lake was very still and dark, dark blue, almost black. The heavily treed mountains above the lake were reflected as a mirror image below. In the extreme distance, far away on the opposite side of the lake,  I could see someone rowing a red boat with a fishing line erected on the side. I always remember the pine trees – the mottled tan and brown bark – the spiky cones. I saw a purple coated garter snake slither through the wheat colored tinderbox grass.

At that moment – utter silence. My awareness began to quicken and I was struck by the majesty of the place I was resting. It was totally silent. Absolutely no noise could be heard and it seemed for a moment that the whole world had been encircled by a new peaceful energy. I closed my eyes, became focused on the light of the sun dancing through my eyelids and within the silence of the moment a realization came over me that it, in fact, was not silent. The energy of the natural scene that enveloped me became very powerful. I could hear the sounds of nature within myself, I think. I didn’t know if it was within or without. Then I realized it was both – it was everywhere. I didn’t want this moment to stop, but it was stopped for me. As I sat within this meditative state I heard  a rustling in the grass. I opened my eyes and there about 10 feet from my rock was the most incredible animal. I had never seen one, but I knew from those huge long legs and elongated ears that, yes, that was him, a Jack Rabbit coming to visit me. He hopped eagerly towards me, sat in front of me – looked staringly into my eyes – turned his head to the left and was gone in a flash.

As I began the long trek down the mountain, back to our mountain cabin in the valley, I realized something very important had just happened. That day created feelings within me that would be recognized time and time again and created a benchmark to help me distinguish between what was important and what was not important in my life.

For those of you who kept reading to this point, this event probably requires no further explanation and I will provide none. Explanations of feelings are futile. How do you describe love. How do you describe compassion. How do you describe inner peace. You can’t. They can only be experienced.

May you live your life in the conscious knowledge that you have been given the greatest gift in the universe – the gift of human life. Appreciation is the second greatest gift. The ability to truly appreciate what has been given.

. . ./John

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10 Reasons to Practice Yoga at Home – Alone


Yoga Lady Clip Art

Clip Art courtesy of: anmolmehta.com

10.  No driving.

9.  No Fancy Clothing.

8.  No appointments needed.

7.  No distractions from other yogis.

6.  Don’t have to put up with Gawkers.

5.  No fancy expensive equipment required.

4 .  You’re free – you can do it any time you want.

3.  It won’t cost you a lot of your hard earned money.

2.  Your yoga experience will be all yours and no one else’s.

1.  It’s Your Own Private Inner Journey. Definitely a Solo journey.

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The Inner Journey: Solo-Yoga for the Serious Searcher!

A Very Special Place


It’s 2.22am and the world out there is quiet and still. The odd car whizzes by on the street below my little one-bedroom apartment and I hear the wail of a siren and a woosh of the air as an ambulance driver speeds to rescue someone in distress. As I awaken from the stillness of my deep slumber, the realms of my conscious awareness begin to sharpen and I realize how very incredible my life has become. It truly is a joy to be alive.

Someone next to me is sleeping, deeply, silently and as I look out the window beside my bed I see the reflection of the dim city streetlights reflecting off the scattered wispy clouds in the cities dark night sky. The sun is on the other side of the earth, the light of dusk has long disappeared and the light of dawn is yet to come. I am wholly in the present – no thought of the past or future. At these special moments, when the feelings come powerfully, always my first inclination is to explore my inner world of sweet and joyful beauty. It is place inside where I practice the knowledge, many years ago, given to me by my honored teacher – a place inside where I can meditate upon my very self that I have come to know so intimately.

When I am sleeping, dreaming, the window next to my bed is always open, just a little, so my lungs can enjoy fresh air throughout the night. As I arise from the warmth of my bed, the coolness of the air becomes evident. I wrap a large blanket around my half naked body, to stay warm, and sit in my favorite spot, in the dark, knowing that soon I will enter my inner world where there is no limitation.

As my ever present thoughts drift slowly and surely into the distance of my awareness, in the silence, I begin to feel the primal energy and the rhythms of my inner self. My senses turn inwards and I feel the ever present beating of my own heart. The undulating waves of the ocean of breath, rising . . . falling, that is the very source of my life, fills me with a joy unattainable in my day to day world of activity. It is pure enjoyment and bliss. This is real peace. This is what the world needs. This, reliably, strengthens my will to live each day with clarity and consciousness . . . to express my inner experience with kindness and compassion in my interactions with others.

This particular night, however, after an hour or two – time has ceased to exist – my practice is interrupted by a powerful feeling that fills me. There is a story I must write – a story with many chapters about a little town in the dark woods where people live an idyllic life – a place where tall thousand year old trees, with thick bark, surround the town and the people live in harmony with their neighbors and the nature surrounding them.

I return to the warmth of my bed and slowly drift off, feeling good, knowing what I must do. . .

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Yoga Lady Clip Art

Thoughts On Yoga


A Comment from one of my readers:

I’ve hit a point where I’m having a hard time keeping up with #365yoga. I’m fairly new, just a few months to having a regular yoga practice. I like the idea of living a yogic lifestyle because I am not a laid back kind of person. I’m still trying to figure out what it means to practice yoga off the mat. I’ve been reading some books about yoga and can see that there’s more to yoga than postures and I appreciate exploring yoga in many ways. It is worth it because it does make me feel good. I’m glad to have found this journey.

My Response:

I have been practicing yoga for 40 years, alone in my own home – I’ve never been to a group yoga class. I really like the idea of solitary yoga practice. You ask: well then, how did you learn?  Answer: From Kareen Zebroff when she had the most wonderful Yoga TV show, a long time ago. Also, I would sometimes pick up a new pose from a Yoga magazine. The point is over the years, I have developed my own routine that works for me and makes me feel very good.

For me, Yoga is not social – it is a very personal thing just as is meditation. I have never had a goal to practice yoga everyday. I do practice my meditation everyday (at least try to), but the yoga – I know when I need it – sometimes everyday, sometimes I’ll go a week. My body tells me loud and clear. I get nervous, can’t sleep – whatever, but I always do yoga – just not everyday and that is fine with me. I love it. It makes my body and soul feel very, very good.

Yoga has a very practical side to it. If I am awake at 1:11 or 2:22AM unable to sleep, I will sit on the carpet and do 15-20 min of yoga. I stretch those joints as far as they will go. Short poses lasting 5, 8 or 13 slow breaths. (I’m into Fibonacci numbers). This always relaxes my whole nervous system. 9 times out of 10 when I return to bed, I will fall asleep, literally, within minutes. Also, in the beginning, certain postures were absolutely unattainable but I saw others do them, so I set goals. I remember, my first goal was to get my head on the floor while sitting with my legs apart. This isn’t a traditional asana, but I enjoy doing it. It took me three years of practice to accomplish this goal. But every time I got closer to my goal I felt so-o-o good about myself. That’s Yoga. It has immediate benefits, but it is a long term process physically. Of course, while you are doing Yoga, it is important to still the mind by concentrating on the breath. – slow breath. Hope this helps. I’ve been doing this for a long time and really enjoy it.

I would really appreciate comments from readers about their experiences with Yoga practice. Benefits and difficulties. . . Thanks.

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Pathways of Life


A day will come when you no longer blame others for your own inner turmoil and discontent.

That is the day you will find the path to inner peace, contentment and fulfillment.

That day will definitely come!  Hopefully, sooner than later.

Turmoil and Peace are both within.

YOU choose !

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(Click on Medal to read inscription)

On September 27, 2006, President George Bush signed into law the “Fourteenth Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal Act,” which authorizes Congress to award the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.

Under this legislation, the United States Congress awards this honor “in recognition of his many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human rights, and religious understanding.” The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States.

Courtesy of: http://www.thedalailamablog.com/2006_09_01_archive.html