Didgeridoo Course 2019

November 25, 2018

7-week didgeridoo course at Brooklyn Yoga Project

Saturdays 4-6pm

January 5, 12, 19, 26
February 2, 16
March 2

More info: see link in left sidebar


Costa Rica Cloud Forest Retreat

October 1, 2018

Join us for a deeply rejuvenating yoga, meditation, and live music retreat in the Costa Rican cloud forest! March 16-22, 2019 at Río Chirripó Lodge, for more info see link in left sidebar.



Restorative Soundbath Class

September 10, 2018

Nora is teaching a new class at Brooklyn Yoga Project every Wednesday from 8:15-9:15pm. Starting with a short Pranayama practice, the main part of class will be Restorative Yoga with live music on didgeridoo and handpan, inviting you to simply relax and absorb sound with your whole body. We will conclude practice with a short silent meditation. Everybody is welcome, no yoga experience required!


WE

November 24, 2017

“Starting with WE: if we take yoga to be conjunctive – psychologically, socially, politically, ecologically – its study and practice will be intersubjective. This would mean that it is not passed from a self-as-subject to an other-as-object, but understood by those sharing it that it comes alive because we recognize each other as subjects-in-relationship.”

–Matthew Remski,  Threads of Yoga


Interdependence

November 24, 2017

“Awareness of interdependence is the fullest presence.”

–Matthew Remski, Threads of Yoga


Open-source yoga

November 17, 2017

“The yogi is a self-hacking Robin Hood. By strict cultural code, hackers share everything they learn. The discoveries of any individual must enrich the hive. And as they do, the individual expands, and her boundaries become more porous, and she craves yet more intersubjectivity. Yoga should in the end be completely open-source, where open-source is the medium of empathy, so that everyone can read the code, reflect each other’s creations, and alter it towards their novel applications.”

–Matthew Remski, Threads of Yoga


Purple as a beet

August 29, 2017

“It must be obvious, from the start, that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

(Alan Watts – The Wisdom of Insecurity)


Concentric Circles: Why I Am Vegan

August 28, 2017

Meditation and yoga practice begin with where I am at this moment, as a journey within. Aware that I have a body, I begin to pay attention to how this body moves, how this body touches the earth, how this body breathes, how it thinks, speaks and acts in the world. For a moment I am interrupting my habitual movements, I am pausing to open a space of increased awareness for what is right in front of me. I stop in order to see deeply into the circumstances and relationships of life.

This journey inward has often been compared to peeling off the layers of an onion. Layer by layer and step by step, I am cultivating the subtleties of paying attention to what is, and this practice of paying attention begins with myself. Yet as I move inward I begin to see that the movement of introspection is just as much a movement of expansion. The more I pay attention, the more I begin to see deeply into relationship and the fact that all of life is interconnected like a big beautiful spiderweb. This web is so complex and finely woven that I can infinitely look deeper and see more connectivity. The water in my own body constantly passes in, out and through me to become the clouds, rain, ocean, blood of an animal, sap in a tree. The air I breathe is being breathed by all of life.

As I practice, I am peeling off the layers of an onion, but I am also growing concentric circles like a tree. I begin as a seed, a sprout, and I grow, until I develop a strong stable trunk, deep roots, and far reaching branches. With every day, month and year of practice, I am adding concentric circles to my awareness and I widen my field of inclusivity.

My yoga practice is not just a practice of postures and breathing on a yoga mat. My yoga practice is a movement of expansion that grows concentic circles of awareness into all areas of life. I am opening myself to seeing the beauty and the suffering that is present in our lives. I become receptive to the wind as it touches my skin, to the fur of my cat as she strokes me with her tail, and to the inequalities present in the country I live in, as well as the inequalities on planet earth.

I open my body to the raw sensation of realizing that I live in a society that is structurally racist and sexist, and a global community that is structurally speciesist. This aspect of my yoga practice presents itself as an open wound rather than a cloud of yoga bliss. And I am here to feel it, be present to it, ackowledge it. Because this is my practice: being present to what is.

I am acknowledging our tendency as human beings to divide ourselves into race and color and to develop hierarchical structures of exploitation, incarceration, and domination. I am acknowledging our tendency as earth family to divide ourselves into different species and develop hierarchical structures that sytemicly exploit nonhuman animals, incarcerating them, taking their lives in great numbers.

I begin to see parallels in how we divide the human family into black and white, favoring one over the other, and how we divide the animal family into domestic and farmed, loving one, killing and eating the other. And I begin to strongly feel that human rights are intimitely connected to animal rights and that I cannot be an activist for equality and humanity without being an activist for animals and the earth, meaning a vegan who leads a plant-based lifestyle. Veganism is a political issue, a race issue, a gender issue, and equality issue, an environmental issue, a mental health issue, a heart issue, a love issue. The concentric circles of my awareness have to include the animal family and all of life on mother earth, otherwise I am not a consistent activist and my vision is limited, not expansive.

Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki spoke of “small mind” and “big mind”. I practice yoga with the deep felt wish to awaken big mind in me and others, in us, moment to moment. I want my practice to be a commited practice: having the courage to speak up against micro-aggression and obvious discrimination when it comes to race, gender, religion, species or any other form of division expressed through rejecting “otherness” or even just seeing otherness. I want to cultivate the courage to speak up for justice and equality every time and not let one moment slip because I felt uneasy or afraid to stand up for my brothers and sisters.

If you consider yourself an activist, please also consider adopting a plant-based lifestyle. Let our vision be big mind, and the ripple effect of our actions immense.

*(7.5 billion humans consume 56 billion farmed animals per year globally, excluding ocean life, which is only counted in tonnes.)


Mother Ocean

August 12, 2017

Humans and all organisms are members of the system we call planet ocean. As members of this system we form a web, knotted together intimately and inextricably. We are born from the ocean, supported by the ocean, and return to the ocean, and we need the ocean to live. The ocean is not just what supports us; it sustains us. It cannot be considered a commodity, because it is our greatest resource.

(Michael Stone | “earth” has been exchanged for “ocean”)


Wake up!

May 16, 2017

Friend, wake up! Why do you go on sleeping?
The night is over – do you want to lose the day
the same way?

(Kabir)


Sleep

April 20, 2017

“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama


FLOW

April 3, 2017

FLOW, also known as THE ZONE, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.

Six factors encompassing the experience of flow:
1. intense and focused concentration on the present moment
2. merging of action and awareness
3. a loss of reflective self-consciousness
4. a sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
5. a distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
6. experience of the activity is intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience

“The similarities between Yoga and FLOW are extremely strong; in fact it makes sense to think of Yoga as a very thoroughly planned flow activity. Both try to achieve a joyous, self-forgetful involvement through concentration, which in turn is made possible by a discipline of the body.”
(Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)

State of FLOW: the fusion of the body and mind, where time ceases and things happen by themselves.
(Breatheology – The Art of Conscious Breathing, by Stig Avall Severinsen)


Waves

March 7, 2017

Even though waves arise, the essence of your mind is pure; it is just like clear water with a few waves. Actually water always has waves. Waves are the practice of the water. To speak of waves apart from water or water apart from waves is a delusion. Water and waves are one. Big mind and small mind are one.

(Shunryu SUZUKI: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)


Balance

March 4, 2017

Whatever we see is changing, losing its balance. The reason everything looks beautiful is because it is out of balance, but its background is always in perfect harmony. This is how everything exists in the realm of Buddha nature, losing its balance against a background of perfect balance.

(Shunryu SUZUKI: “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”)

earth_growth


Smile

February 15, 2017

Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Being Peace”)

smile


Being Peace

February 15, 2017

Without being peace, we cannot do anything for peace. If we cannot smile, we cannot help other people to smile. If we are not peaceful, then we cannot contribute to the peace movement. A fresh way of being peace, of doing peace is needed. That is why it is so important for us to practice meditation, to acquire the capacity to look, to see, and to understand. Peace work means, first of all, being peace. Meditation is meditation for all of us. We rely on each other.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Being Peace”)

peace


I’m with Her

January 26, 2017

im-with-her


My wish for 2017

January 1, 2017

Plant trees, not hate. ❤

tree


In good spirit for 2017, let’s focus!

December 30, 2016

rabbit
global-warmingvegan

Go Vegan ❤


The Guru trouble spot

July 5, 2016

In recent years, many people submitted themselves to a spectrum of spiritual teachers promising some form of salvation. Are gurus, as they claim to be, a necessary doorway to religious experiences that make life more profound? Or rather, are they filling deep needs and thus inadvertently pointing to trouble spots and lacks in the fabric of our culture, as well as revealing the depth of our conditioning to want authorities and mistrust ourselves?

(The Guru Papers – Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad)

Guru


Inspiration for practice

February 19, 2016

Scorpion Monkey


Focus

January 6, 2016

To stay in the present moment takes concentration. When we have concentration, we have a lot of energy. We won’t get carried away by visions of past suffering or fears about the future. We dwell stably in the present moment so we can get in touch with the wonders of life, and generate joy and happiness. If you focus on your breathing in a relaxed way, you are already cultivating an inner strength. Like that happiness arises lightly and easily.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud No Lotus)


Focus

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa


Lungs of the Earth

December 26, 2015

My intention for 2016: Plant trees! Restore the lungs of the Earth.

Lungs of the Earth

photo by Tamar Samir


Paradox

December 25, 2015

Vegan


Your Mind on Meditation

November 27, 2015

by Yumi Sakugawa

Your Mind on Meditation


Self-portrait of me / you

October 11, 2015

by Yumi Sakugawa

self-portrait of me : you


You are not your thoughts

June 16, 2015

by Yumi Sakugawa

Not your thoughts


Andreas Lie photography

May 5, 2015

Double-Exposure-Animal-Portraits-by-Andreas-Lie-3Double-Exposure-Animal-Portraits-by-Andreas-Lie-4


Tree Savasana

September 13, 2014

On a redwood tree in CA.

Tree Savasana


Community

August 8, 2013
“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community—a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living.
This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth.”
—THICH NHAT HANH

Lazy slacker

June 19, 2013

NoraOnLine


Rooftop Yoga

January 10, 2013
 

 


Tada-Asana (Mountain Pose)

October 31, 2012