Reflections from the mat podcasts
Enjoy the audio recordings of our writing; Reflections from the Mat when you are driving, cooking or simply relaxing. Spira’s blogs are all written by Dora Gyarmati unless stated otherwise on the page. Our topics range beyond yoga, though most of them have a yogic message. We write about current issues concerning the health and wellbeing of our society as well as technical yoga topics.
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BLOG: There is no show by Amy
Excerpt: Amy is a teacher at Spira. There are her thoughts on life and yoga. “It’s so easy to get caught up in preparing for an event – whether it’s a vacation or a concert or a night out. And when we’re busy in our minds and in our actions preparing for that thing -that show, it’s easy to forget the now.
BLOG: Gratitude through car accidents, a moment for reflection
Excerpt: As the adrenaline wore off I replayed the accident in my mind and realized how lucky I was to have walked away. I also realize that according to the rules of the road I had the right of way and yet the other driver was seething and acted as if it was my fault! Even then I’m still not mad at her. Why? I should be mad as hell! But I know that everyone has a story and she clearly was going through a lot. I could make all sorts of judgments about her but I believe in karma and that there is a lesson in instances like this – perhaps she’s a single mom who never gets a break, maybe she is on her way to her first day at a new job or maybe she’s going to lose her job if she’s late, maybe she doesn’t have insurance or a license and yet she chose to take the risk because she still has to put food on the table. Maybe she’s going through a divorce. OR maybe it’s none of those things and she just had a rough morning. OR perhaps it’s not about her at all and it’s about ME. Maybe I need to slow down, be more mindful and aware of my surroundings. We live in a world of constant distractions and with the recent election it seems people are straight up hostile, sad, depressed, have anxiety and are more distracted than ever. I was given a choice on how to handle this situation and I chose to have perspective.
BLOG: Freedom of expression is not enough; we must demand responsible speech!
Excerpt: Free speech only works when it is responsible, and people in public eye, television stations and news organizations need to recognize their power and take responsibility. I know this is a sticky wicket since it sounds like controlling free speech. I will stay away from that very complex legal argument that has tremendous merit. For now, I would like to discuss this responsibility that we all have in life when we speak to our family, our neighbor, the grocery store clerk.
BLOG: Healing our World, Part II. How you practice yoga, think, and speak can heal our world.
Excerpt:Though this is a simple concept, it is by no means an easy one to practice. Most of our life is made up of conditioned, habitual thoughts and actions. We are so often in our routine that we often don’t even recognize how much our thoughts are running on an auto-pilot. We operate most of our life in a semi-conscious state. Our reactions to the situation have evolved over our lifetime to a point that we don’t even recognize that we mostly react in a knee-jerk fashion to most dilemmas in our life. We have little awareness to how our mind functions; how we reach conclusions, decisions, and opinions.
BLOG: Healing our World, Part I. Yoga is not a self-centered practice. The goal of yoga is not to make you feel better.
Excerpt: If you are a regular practitioner in my classes, you probably heard me saying; “We are all related. This is not your yoga. This is not YOUR time.” I know some of you are a bit shaken by this statement and may even take it personally in a hurtful way. That is not my intention. My intention is to teach yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.
BLOG: What is Yin Yoga and why should you practice it?
Excerpt:Yin Yoga specifically targets the joints and connective tissues (i.e. the “yin” tissues of the body, which includes ligaments and fascia). It is a form of yoga that works deeply into the connective tissues, strengthening the ligaments around the joints, and increasing joint lubrication and range of motion through safe, slow, gentle, and sustained traction. When practiced correctly, Yin Yoga is a great way to increase overall mobility without compromising stability.
BLOG: What do happiness, etiquette, and yoga have in common?
Excerpt: The short answer is that happiness, etiquette and yoga lives in symbiosis with community. That is community creates the platform of happiness, etiquette and yoga. But yoga, etiquette and happiness can also create community.
BLOG: A shout out for liberal education
Excerpt: Liberal education is not only useful, it’s a prerequisite, the life blood of a healthy society. I am not advocating that we should all have degrees in art history or literature, but I do believe that we should all take courses in philosophy, literature and art. Practical degrees in science, medicine, computer science and vocational trades should have a strong mandatory curriculum in liberal education. Instead, what we have is a constant reduction in arts, music and literature, starting in junior high. We mock and question philosophy and art history degrees, we hear this dialogue from our President and our media. I feel this is a great mistake, like I said, liberal education is the life blood of a healthy society.
BLOG: Calling an end to masculine and feminine labels in yoga.
Excerpt: I occasionally hear instruction from yoga teachers to roll either to the left or the right side of the body after savasana to allow blood flow to go either to the linear-analytical-masculine left side of the brain or the creative- feminine right side. I have to be honest, hearing this always makes me cringe. I will not go into the ways the human body compensates blood pressure (when it is healthy) to make sure that we get even circulation… If you think about this, it is absolutely necessary, a few minutes without oxygen to the brain causes brain cells to die, so we cannot mess around with uneven flow.
BLOG: Measuring ourselves to death
Excerpt: I click on Gmail: “Look, two surveys!” I say out loud to my dogs. “No surprise there! Does anybody ever find out anything through these things? They never ask the questions that you want to answer, only the ones that cross their narrow visions of relevance. Also the only people that are taking these darn surveys are either super pissed off or in-love with the company/product. Either way the little I remember from my statistics class these folks are in the tail ends of the bell curve and should be tossed anyway.” Albert and Panni don’t even look up through my rant–they know when not to get involved with the humans.
BLOG: Confessions of an anxious yoga teacher
Excerpt: Some of us have more anxiety than others, I have to admit, I had to learn how to handle anxiety. It was just the luck of the draw, somehow genetics and circumstances shaped me to be a bit more on edge. If you don’t know this about me you may probably never peg me for a nervous type. I am pretty sure I am not alone.
BLOG: July 4th, you are lucky!
Excerpt: As a naturalized citizen to the United States, 4th of July carries a special meaning to me. I am not blinded by romantic patriotism that can be seen in commercials, but I am also not jaded by our troubles. I say this all the time, and I will say now; the United States is an imperfect country, but it is still the best among all the imperfect countries out there… I usually don’t use the word “imperfect” when I make this comment, please do make your unique substitutions to the word.
BLOG: Let’s talk about vaccines
Excerpt: The reason I am rambling about all my medical records to you is to say, I don’t get it. It never crossed my mind to not get vaccinated. As a matter of fact, since this country made sure that I had all this protection I was absolutely flabbergasted to learn that American born children don’t have to go through all this rigor to go to school! Why the double standard? What will these unvaccinated children do if there is an outbreak? Or, if they get lucky and there is no outbreak of any diseases in their lifetime, what if they want to travel or become researchers or doctors? I wanted to find out why people are scared to vaccinate their kids. To me this concept was so foreign. Like I mentioned, I am a naturalized citizen of United States. In a lot of ways, I am embedded in the American culture but since I was born and raised in Europe many of my thought processes are still stuck on the other side of the pond… I don’t understand why people are afraid of vaccines. I wanted to find out. Also, in light of the recent outbreak of measles, I wanted to reach out to folks who may be confused about vaccines and they don’t know where to look among so much information.
BLOG: Social Media Images and Yoga – is it a tool or is it harmful?
Excerpt: What is in an image? Can beauty be harmful? When is an image information, art or communication? When does an image fill us with beauty, and when does it demand expectations or communicate standards. What are the roles of images in our modern culture of yoga? To answer that question one must first look at history to understand our current nature. I will start my essay from an image from 500 years ago.
BLOG: The importance of preserving culture but not identity
Excerpt: The philosophy of yoga is very much occupied with finding “true self”, but what that means can be quite tricky to figure out. We are changing and the world around us is certainly changing whether or not we wish for a change. The story you are about to read is a day in a yogi’s life examining the topic of identity and self through cultural identity. This yogi happens to be an immigrant, naturalized citizen to the USA. This yogi is me, Dora your teacher.
BLOG: In Loving Memory…
Excerpt: There is a fog like quality to mourning a loved one and unlike sadness from another cause this one we wish to hold onto and linger in the fog. Yes, the Egyptians were absolutely right. Just the sheer idea of not remembering, not being this heavy with thoughts can make one feel even worse. It’s like we are desperately trying to hold onto what is left of the person and sadness makes us feel that we are closer to our memories, so we cling, we cling onto the sadness. Of course eventually, life literally shakes us up. One must go on, there are things that need to get done. Thank goodness life has a very much relentless quality that demands our attention.