Snowsports Conditioning Dynamic Balance Sequence 1

The first snow on Mount Washington, Mount Mansfield, at Jay Peak ResortStowe Mountain ResortSmugglers’ Notch ResortSugarbush ResortKillington Resort and Cannon Mountain (did I miss anyone?) inspires me to prepare myself for the upcoming snowsports season.
As skiing and snowboarding are dynamic balance practices, flow yoga and fluid movement meditation practices are useful and fun conditioning for pre-season and throughout the whole year.
This sequence is one potential of many.
If you have interest in working one-on-one or hiring me to lead a snowsports specific group yoga class, send me a message and check out the services section of this website to see some of what I have to offer.
Once again, sorry for the technology and cropping! I am working with what I have and learning as I go.

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Eagle Progression Sequence to Release Shoulder Tension

Good morning!
Are your arms, shoulders, neck, back and hips a bit tired and sore from Autumn activities like raking leaves, chopping wood and harvesting the bounty from the garden? On this rainy morning when maybe you are finding a moment of respite I wanted to share a possible eagle posture progression sequence designed to release some of this accumulated tension, perhaps allowing you to harvest the energy that was stuck in the tension back into the body to rejuvenate where you are depleted and prepare you to keep going with more ease in whatever activities you engage in next.
I often teach this progression in a chair to make it more restorative and accessible to every body, although the full pose is done standing. While this video is primarily focused on the seated posture I briefly show the standing potential as well.
Once again I apologize for the technology, and the video is not perfect…
But it works for now and I hope comes to you at a time when it is useful.
Enjoy!

Advanced Sun Salutation 1

Postural meditation is part of how I remind myself of my strength in the face of adversity, part of how I attune to grace and agility in the midst of whatever else life is giving. I am grateful for the ability and the continued perseverance that allows me to do this. This was some of my practice today.
Essentially I am pretty private, and I like to present postural meditation practices in a way that makes them accessible to everyone. As a result I don’t tend to share posts like this. While gymnastic movement meditation practices can be intimidating, they can also be inspiring. It is in this vein that I share this sun salutation possibility, for those it may inspire.
I don’t often have the opportunity to teach people this kind of practice, but I would like to more. I tend to offer puzzle pieces of movement in simpler postures and then as ability allows put the pieces together into more complex possibilities so that by the time we get to the challenging posture you are already oriented to the parts that will make up the whole. If doing this kind of movement comes easy to you, I tend to break it down into pieces to bring in precision of alignment and body awareness into what you are already doing.
I do lead group classes yet find one-on-one instruction is a particular strength, especially for others who generally practice on their own rather than in a group led setting. If you are interested, be in touch. I’ll put a link the comments to my website for more information.
I apologize for the cropping, I am a bit limited in the technology department… I am working with what I currently have and learning as I go.

February 14, 2018

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On this day when many people are basking in the bliss of romantic love or lamenting that they are not, I would like to offer another perspective for those of us who are not partnered. Many times I have felt very sorry for myself that I don’t seem to get to have what other people seem to have and so many songs and stories say is the ultimate experience that everyone wants, the companionship of mutual romantic love. There are myriad reasons why some of us don’t find this, or perhaps don’t have it currently, and while having it can certainly be lovely, finding romantic love does not necessarily make or break a fulfilling, vibrant life. Many people hold on to relationships that have expired or perhaps were never even all that good to begin with in order to avoid the seemingly horrific potential of life without a romantic partner. Sometimes we put ourselves into situations that are not viable and at times even dangerous because we are more afraid that we need to be held in order to be okay. And many, myself included at times, miss seeing the beauty that’s right in front of us in pining for something that we imagine would make us complete and can’t seem to find. I have been without romantic relationship for many years now, with only very few unsuccessful attempts along the way. In each case we would have likely benefited each other much more to have related as friends instead. While I still get caught up in the desire for that at times, and am not closed to the possibility that at some point I may find mutual romantic love, I have also found great peace in letting go of needing to have it, in being complete in myself.

Some of the benefits for me have been: I am very comfortable going almost anywhere alone and enjoy my own company, whether or not I engage with other people on my journeys. I have come to often prefer it, especially the ability to come and go as I please without having to compromise with someone else’s desires (other than my son, but that is another situation, and also part of why I deeply appreciate my times of pure freedom). I am pretty capable of doing most things on my own, and when I’m not, I am becoming adept at finding ways to support myself to get those things done too. I am not resentful and waiting for someone else to do their part to balance the tally, I just get it done or not. I relate well with men and women and value them as beings worthy in themselves, not so dominated by the tension of being potential sexual partners or not. I am becoming more comfortable walking away when this is not respected, and am able to take it less personally through time and practice. This helps me feel safer and more comfortable in my own skin, and in my own integrity, and sometimes wakes people up to how they are limiting the ways we may be able to relate by fixating on sexuality and romantic love. I experience the transmutation of sexual energy into vitality and creative inspiration, and sexual attraction into appreciation and connection beyond just that initial potential interest. I am often able to desire without having to obtain the object of desire and enjoy the beautiful experience of the desire in itself. Which…is freedom. My identity is not confined to being a partner and I am able to relate with whoever I want, however I want, as long as it is agreeable with the person I am relating with, and perhaps their partners  I continuously discover what I think and enjoy without the influence of others defining what is possible or valid. I have come to trust myself and am my own validation.

I’m not saying these things can’t be found in the context of a romantic relationship, monogamous or otherwise, I’m just sharing that life can be beautiful and satisfying even if you don’t find romantic love. Even if that’s not what we’re conditioned to believe, and even on a day like today. If you’re feeling alone, just know you’re not alone in being alone. And that being solo doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely. There are many ways to have companionship, including the companionship of your own heart.

On this and everyday.
Love

Turiya Yoga Spontaneous Movement and Dance Meditation at Unifier Festival 2016

Photo Jul 24, 5 53 00 PM

Unifier Transformational Healing & Expressive Arts Festival
Camp Timber Trails, Tolland, MA
June 17-20, 2016

In this workshop we will utilize guided meditative yoga, mindfulness movement exercises and spontaneous freeform dance meditation as experiential metaphor for resetting unconscious yet familiar patterns; in the way we approach our yoga practice, in the way we move when we dance and in how we relate to the unique circumstances of our lives. Noticing how the forces of momentum, conditioned habits, preconceptions, our own will, each other, the environment around us and even the music direct our movement, we will experiment with consciously unhooking ourselves from following this momentum. In the space of the pause we can potentially tap into the experiencing witness state of turiya, pure aware consciousness underlying all other states of consciousness – the silence ever-present behind the sound, the spaciousness inside our form and the stillness of each moment within the movement – and allow fresh insight and creative possibilities to arise. Instead of repeating pattern or even identifying as the “dancer” and moving by our own will alone, the dance takes form through us. Informed yet not defined, limited or controlled by everything we have experienced so far in our lives.
All levels welcome, no prior experience necessary. I will offer variations to suit every body.

Accompanied with live improvisational sound and music by Kālidāsa Joseph Getter.

For more information go to deniseporterkemp.com/events/tandava/

Denise Porter Kemp makes yoga practice accessible to the uniqueness of every body while expressing the deeper teachings of yoga through the experiential practice of the physical form. Based in the forests of New Hampshire, she brings her traveling yoga school ~ Turiya Yoga ~ to private homes, offices at lunchtime, ski mountains, addiction recovery centers, yoga studios and music festivals all along the east coast. Certified at the 500 hour level in the Shakti Flow Vinyasa style of yoga by Asa Dustin of At OM Yoga, Level 1 in Thai Yoga by Shai Plonski of Still Light Center and initiated into the Kaula lineage of Kashmir Shaivism by Parvathi Nanda Nath Saraswati, Denise has studied with many teachers and learns from everyone who comes her way. She has been teaching yoga since 2005 and offering Thai Yoga since 2011.

~ body geometry, pure aware consciousness ~
deniseporterkemp.com

Kālidāsa Joseph Getter is a creative world musician whose transcendent sounds awaken the mind and open the heart. He leads kirtan sessions, composes and performs for dance and theater, crafts soundscapes for yoga, and plays experimental and free improvisation music. Kālidāsa is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, specializing in the bamboo flute of South India and gamelan music of Java. He is on the faculty of several music schools, leads the Wesleyan Youth Gamelan program, and is music director for ArtFarm theater of Middletown, Connecticut.

https://www.facebook.com/kalidasakirtan

Just Enough and Not Too Much

I am generally not into slogans, although there is a Buddhist one I have heard that I think of a lot – just enough and not too much. It is kind of a Goldilocks approach to life 🙂
Practicing yoga helps me experiment with this balance on a physical, experiential level, balancing how much weight forward, how much back, where do I lift from, where do I contract, when I shift one aspect of the posture how does that affect the rest, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some of it is mental, I remember the ways I have played with the posture before and cues other teachers and students have suggested to me, yet it is not only a mental thinking it out. It includes body memory and develops an awareness beyond just the thinking of the mind, beyond just the discursive thought or continuous defining of the mind, it becomes a direct felt experience of the balance that integrates and grows with me.
I am also finding this true with my experience of the continuous learning curve of skiing and snowboarding, dynamic practices of the subtleties of the shifts of weight and posture responding to the shape of the skis or board, the texture of the snow and the contours of the mountain. The practice of yoga does help support the sport in that it can be cross training to warm up and bring awareness into the body and center the mind before going on the mountain and decompressing to unwind tension, reduce soreness and recovery time and prepare the body for the next day. Yet there is also potential for utilizing yoga to refine sensitivity to the effects of stance and the subtle shift of weight in any posture and especially in ones that directly inform the body of movements used in skiing and riding, teaching our bodies how to efficiently perform these movements and giving ourself practice both on and off the hill. Perhaps beginning with mental inquiry and developing into experiential wisdom.
When I ski and ride it is very much a physical yoga practice in that I start with a variety of cues in myself that gradually build – just enough and not too much, a little bit of this and a little bit of that – until it all flows together and I am not thinking out the skiing, all my awarenesses are coming together and the skiing is happening right through me. It is kind of a sahaja approach to life, the sahaja the purely spontaneous being who has trained their body and mind to instead of compulsively react to phenomena, appropriately respond to the specifics of each situation. In the case of your sport or your art this plays out as learning and practicing the form first so then the creativity can unfold and grow through that structure. If you never learned some of the building blocks, through a teacher and/or your own mindful practice, in snowsports you’d likely just fall down the hill. Yet with practice and experiential awareness of your posture, how to read the terrain and the conditions and how subtle shifts of weight drive the edges of your equipment, the falling down the hill can become a graceful and efficient dance of balance. Just enough and not too much.
This is what I am currently into 🙂 If you’d like to play with me with it come to The Mountain Club on Loon at Loon Mountain Resort on Sunday March 13, 2016 for Yoga and Snowsports as Movement Meditation 3/13/16 or be in touch and we can do a private with snowsports or just physical yoga – and develop a practice to support whatever sport or art you are currently into.
Love

Practice video for Finding Your Own Practice Workshop 5/30/2015

A little inspiration 🙂 If you like, flow with this to start, holding any postures as long as you want and/or moving through each one breath. Inhale expand, exhale condense. Remember – backbends happen in the upper back and lengthen the lower back and forward bends hinge at the hip socket instead of rounding the back. Adapt to this. You can mute the music if you want silence or your own music – although this is one of my favorites. And don’t worry, Joe the cat doesn’t stay in the frame for long.
To find some desire to want to practice Hannah Tosi suggested coming into a posture that you know you enjoy and experiment in it to feel what you like about it. And then I suggest let it lead you into whatever comes next. If you like follow a skeleton practice that includes – vinyasa (maybe sun salutation flow of some kind), forward bend, lateral/side lengthening, balance, backbend, twist, hips and if you like inversions. As an exercise you could write a list of different postures that would fit into each of these categories. And here are the sample practices that I spoke of that you can follow and/or use as a jumping off point.
Your mental drishti/focus point on feeling yourself in your body and how the subtleties effect the posture and your experience.
If you’d like to share let me know how it goes.
Love.