Snowsports Specific Yoga Retreats

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Mindful dynamic vinyasa yoga and core awakening postures inside at The Mountain Club on Loon before a half day on the mountain at Loon Mountain Resort followed by indoor targeted stretching and decompression to reduce soreness and as a sort of savasana for the day. In the past we have incorporated partner, acro and Thai yoga into both sides of this, which we can do again as interest allows.
You are welcome to ride the mountain with me where we can utilize snowsports as a movement meditation in itself AND practice postures right in our boots or equipment that release tension, build strength and increase effortless balance, and/or take some time to ski or ride on your own as much as you like.
Everything is optional 🙂
I know its cold. Come play outside, it makes winter more fun ❤

Yoga and Snowsports as Movement Meditation Retreats

Yoga and Snowsports as Movement Meditation Retreats 2015

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January 11, February 8 and March 15  9am – 5:30pm
The Mountain Club on Loon and Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, NH
for more information 603-568-5977 or deniseporterkemp@gmail.com
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Buy tickets for Yoga and Snowsports as Movement Meditation
Physical yoga is a mindfulness movement meditation, helping develop the capacity to recall effortless presence at will. On these one-day retreats we will utilize yoga both as a physical tune-up for snowsports and as a way to recognize the potential of mindfulness meditation in all our activities. Physical yoga is one way of experiencing the teachings of yoga, so that we can bring these teachings into the rest of our lives.
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We will begin with a morning pre-snowsports specific yoga practice to bring mobility to the joints and warm the muscles, activate effortless core strength and find our center of gravity and balance. By becoming present in the body, we also become aware with the body.
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After lunch, we head onto the mountain for a half day of snowsports, utilizing the physical practice of skiing or riding in the same way we could utilize the physical yoga practice – to intentionally and sometimes even methodically bring awareness into what we are doing while we are doing it. Once we have trained our mind and body to be focused and conscious, we can let go of some of the active effort, riding the mountain by responding to gravity and the contours of the land.
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I also have many possibilities for yoga in boots and right in skis and snowboards which I am happy to share with anyone interested, although no one is required to practice the yoga on snow! You are also welcome to ski or ride on your own at any time.
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After the lifts close, we return to the sanctuary of The Mountain Club to decompress with apres-ski specific yoga, holding longer postures to release tension and prepare the body for the next day with less soreness and fatigue.
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I will not be teaching snowsports per-se, participants need to be able to comfortably ski or ride blue runs. On each run I will offer subtle cues as focus points, and we can share our own tricks and methods with each other. You are welcome to ski with the group, and at any point, take some time on your own. I will share the way I utilize the practice of yoga to enhance my snowsports experience, to assist you in finding a practice that supports your own.
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There are three separate retreats ~ January 11, February 8 and March 15 ~ come to one or as many as time and interest allows. Space is limited and you need to pre-register to hold your spot.
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$100 each retreat, includes half-day lift ticket
$75 each, with your own lift ticket
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posts about snowsports and yoga…
Basic Snow Yoga
Sun Salutation On a Snowboard
Sun Salutation in Skis
One Foot Strapped in Snowboard Yoga
Dynamic Lunge Sequence for Before Snowsports
Meditative Hip Opening Apres-ski Video
…poems and other writings about snowsports…

Deep listening

When I say that I am not “strict” in a cleanse, what I mean is that I don’t tell myself I “can’t” have anything. Or that I “have” to do things a certain way. Instead I become really sensitive and notice the effects of my choices. And let myself resonate with what I gain by not eating the whole block of cheese just because I want it, rather than that I can’t. Because I can eat it, I’m just choosing not to, for now. And seeing what that is like. For now.
It is an interesting freedom to feel desire and not have to react. As the tantric adage says – nothing is forbidden, nothing is advised. However we act has consequences…it is up to us to discern through time and practice which way we choose to go in any circumstance. And that may vary according to the situation.

Spring Cleanse

I’ve been feeling it coming on gradually and now it appears it is here, the spontaneous spring cleanse. I have been eating a pretty steady diet of gluten-free bread toasted cheese and avocado sandwiches at home and fully glutenized mini pizzas after snowboarding at the mountain for awhile now, as I have been so busy and they are freaking delicious, and balancing it out with a pretty heavy dose of caffeine to get me through seasonal lethargy. The tide is turning (weather is shifting, lift service is done at the mountain) and I’m ready to trade my warm winter weight for the sensitivity of the internal spring cleanse.

I don’t tend to start out strict, for me a cleanse is not about adapting a regime and sticking to it, but answering the awakening call of springtime. It is intuitive rather than forced. Deep listening. And I adapt as I go. Who knows, I could make another toasted cheese tonight 🙂

Currently I’m making carrot beet juice and putting the grounds on a mixed green salad with avocado and lemon, after eating a bunch of steamed broccoli and drinking hot water with a splash of apple cider vinegar, while a cauliflower roasts in the oven. Often I like a pureed food cleanse. I’m feeling drawn to warm soups.

Share your favorite spring cleaning rituals! Let’s inspire each other.

Ooo and I’m going to add some fresh chives to the salad…

Translation

I was initially introduced to Simonne Guillerm Allen in order to teach her pranayama, or yogic breathing techniques. This was recommended by her doctors in France as a way to develop core strength and support her deteriorating back.

Simonne is an 87 year old French woman who grew up in Vietnam and spent her adult life between France and the United States, making her career as a university French language teacher. She moved from Brittany, France to New Hampshire to live with her son about a year ago.

At first we met once a week.  Over time, the breathing exercises evolved into a meditation practice. Then we started integrating yoga and movement adapted to her physical condition, accompanied by some of her favorite French music from the internet. We discussed the transition into both her new living situation and the changes in her body and independent mobility. We contemplated Yogic and Buddhist psychology and philosophy to help her adapt and find a way to access her best quality of life with things exactly as they were. It was during these meetings that she began sharing tales from her life story. I became fascinated and she became more comfortable. Her seated posture, range of motion, mood and energy level improved significantly as we continued to meet. I currently see her four to five times a week, and there is always more to do than we have time.

The first spark that led to our current project came as we were dancing to Charles Trenet videos on YouTube. We had begun dancing together, she holding my arms for balance, in order to make range of movement exercises more interesting and invigorating. While scrolling through the videos, I happened upon Trenet’s version of the poem Chanson d’automne by Paul Verlaine put to music. Simonne freestyle translated the words as we listened to the song so I could understand what what he was singing. We were both inspired by this, so we started looking through French poetry on the internet.

Simonne mentioned that she had memorized some poetry throughout her life, which gave me an idea. Although her recall of past events is often extremely precise, her ability to imprint new memory is waning. I recalled hearing that some people find “passage meditation” in the tradition of Eknath Eswaren improves memory. Passage mediation utilizes a memorized passage silently recited internally as a focus point for the mind, the way we often use the breath as a point of concentration in meditation. Although this style of meditation typically employs spiritual writings from a wide range of traditions, I knew it would be difficult for Simonne to memorize a new passage. I asked if she remembered any poetry enough to try it. She said yes, and immediately recited aloud Harmonie du Soir by Charles Baudelaire. In full, en francais.

We each brought our head, neck and spine into alignment so that our posture felt somewhat weightless and stable, and sat for awhile. She in her chair and I on the floor, she internally reciting the poem and I the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra – a Shaivite predecessor of sorts in meaning to the Serenity Prayer. It went well. I asked her to translate the poem so I could understand, and so she did, aloud, as I typed it into the computer. Our excitement was palpable. I left her with a copy of the translation to edit, and another poem to translate while I was gone.

She has been at it ever since. She direct translates first and then plays with it to make it sound clear in English, while staying as close to the original text as possible. We look at other English translations sometimes for inspiration and as a dictionary of sorts, and yet her versions are often unique and I typically prefer them to what we find in books and online.

And the poetry is beautiful; Baudelaire, Verlaine and Victor Hugo are our favorites so far. She recently translated a Verlaine, En Sourdine, which I discovered was the inspiration for a song composed by Debussy – one of my favorite composers, who we had been listening to while doing slow range of movement yoga in her chair. Looking further, I realized that poetry was often a muse for Debussy, which has led us into an interesting inquiry into the social history of the time period in which these artists were creating, gleaned from their personal histories and the medium of their art. Clair de lune, one of Debussy’s most famous compositions, is also a musical interpretation of a Verlaine poem. This translation is less distinct than many of her other efforts, as the original French is more straightforward than some of the other poems she has worked with, most notably Mallarmé, another muse of Debussy. Yet it is one of our favorites.

Enjoy! We sure do.

Moonlight
translated by Simonne Guillerm Allen

Your soul is a chosen landscape
Where charming masqueraders and jesters go
Playing the lute, and dancing, and almost
Sad beneath their fanciful disguises

All sing in a minor key
of victorious love and the opportune life
They do not seem to believe in their happiness
And their song mingles with the moonlight

With the still moonlight, sad and beautiful
That sets the birds dreaming in the trees
And the fountains sobbing in ecstasy
The tall slender fountains among marble statues.

Clair de lune
de Paul Verlaine

Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L’amour vainqueur et la vie opportune
Ils n’ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,
Les grands jets d’eau sveltes parmi les marbres.

simple warm-up sun salutation

Appropriate for beginner to advanced…
Sun salutations, the foundation of vinyasa flow yoga – basically, placing your attention with intention on moving the body in rhythm with the breath – focus the mind on what’s happening while its happening, helping us notice the subtleties of actions and their results, as well as warm up the joints and muscles to prepare before or reset between longer held postures. Sun salutations are a useful way to begin a practice, and can be great as a short stand alone practice anytime.
I came up with this sun salutation at first for people who couldn’t or didn’t want to do a downward dog, or before coming into a first downward dog in a yoga practice. At this point I utilize this sequence myself before my own practice most of the time and begin most classes with it for everyone.
If it is too much pressure in the legs, or anywhere, to come into child’s pose you don’t have to bring the hips all the way to the feet, and if it is tender in your back you could go back and forth between upward and downward facing cat on the hands and knees instead of bringing the belly to the ground for upward facing dog. If your knees are tweaky this may aggravate them, yet if you feel alright to try it, putting a towel for extra cushion under the knees can help and go really slowly through the transitions. And if you want to add a downward dog, one fits nicely between the upward dog and the forward bend at the end. If you have any questions, let me know, and enjoy!
With props to my videographer Philip O’Sullivan and his iPod touch 5… 🙂

 

 

The Full Pallette of Wisdom

Right now, it’s the tenth night after the nine nights of the goddess in the Indian holiday of Navaratri, see https://deniseporterkemp.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/navaratri-the-nine-nights-of-the-goddess/ for more explanation…

Something I’ve been experiencing in all this is that being open to the wisdom that comes to me includes being able to stay open to the things I don’t want to see, too – in myself and all around me. Without trying to block it or fix it. Or fix how I feel about it, no matter how raw it feels sometimes. Or feel too sorry for myself or others about it, either. Well, maybe a little bit at first…yet then letting that veil drop, too, and just breathing it in, letting it integrate, no matter how uncomfortable it is to sit with it.

For wisdom, truth as we are currently capable of experiencing it, doesn’t always show you the things you think you want to see. And being aligned with “truth” doesn’t always mean you get what you think you want. It – the wisdom, the truth – holds all sides of the spectrum. None cancels the other out, the beauty or the tragedy or the mundane that lies between. Fighting or ignoring just prolongs the suffering and keeps us from seeing what we actually have to work with.
So on this day that asks us to begin again, my intention is to continue to clear and sensitize and strengthen myself so that I can stay awake in all of it, as best I can. Not shutting any of it out just because I don’t want to have to see it. Observing, learning. Reorganizing when I realize I have been confused. Letting go of grasping for what’s not when I realize I’m doing it. With as little judgement as possible, beginning again. Embracing the potential of what lies before me, as best I can. Right now.
(written last night, October 24, 2012)