nymphs

wisps of mist
the sighs of nymphs
frozen in the sleep abyss
the crystalline dreamscape
embrace of winter
time

awakened by the simple kiss
the warm caress of their dear lovers lips
their lover
who everyone’s lover is
the sun

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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

The Sacred geometry of Asana: Finding the Balance Point

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The Sacred geometry of Asana:
Finding the Balance Point
Beginner/Intermediate Partner, Acro and Thai Yoga Workshop

Feb. 3 River School House Yarmouth, ME
Feb. 11 Insight Therapeutic Massage Concord, NH
6-8:30pm
$30
Tickets for Maine
Tickets for New Hampshire

In this workshop we will utilize asana/postural yoga to explore the balance point between opposing forces ~ right and left, front and back, leverage and lifting, expansion and compression, inhale and exhale, self and “other” ~ to find the place of suspension that holds both extremes, balanced at the center.

We will warm-up with individual postures and flowing vinyasa (movement linked to the rhythm of breath), bringing subtle awareness into the intersecting planes of the grid of our own body geometry and activating an intuitive alignment where the posture supports itself and active effort can relax. We will then expand into partner and group postures, respectfully articulating self-supporting, counterbalanced geometric shapes with each other. Each of us part of the whole, and whole and complete in ourselves.

Attuning to the balance point, the stillness in the movement, silence behind the sound, turiya ~ the underlying pure aware consciousness at peace in the midst of everything ~ cultivates our capacity to find this space, to remember this potential, anytime we want it, or need it. And pass it on.

Come with or without a partner. Nothing is required, and there are many very simple variations to suit everyone. Yoga is all inclusive.

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.

Continuum

A definition of yoga could be the continuum that spans and contains both extremes simultaneously, balancing at the center. The equal and opposite polarities complementing and defining each other rather than canceling each other out.

We experience this with physical hatha yoga asana…finding the place where the pairs of opposites come into balance ~ left and right, front and back, grounding down to find leverage to lift up with ease, expanding out from and holding strength at the center, strength and flexibility, inhale and exhale…each pair two sides of the same thing. In this balance, the posture becomes self supporting and active effort can relax. And as the yoga sutras and other teachings suggest, when we bring ourselves into this balance, spontaneous presence, effortless awareness, a meditative state, pure consciousness, a deep underlying silence, spaciousness, insight, arises.

The events of my life often embody this principle, equal and opposite extremes balancing each other. Either side alone feels almost overwhelming, yet together they make a balance that brings insight. Perhaps this is life, and sometimes it is more obvious than others.

These pinnacle times, like physical yoga, give us the experience of the potential of this balance. All sides of the spectrum, simultaneous, defining rather than canceling each other out.

We are the synthesis, the balance that holds all extremes.

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Lunge Vinyasa Sequence

This closed hip/warrior one sequence helps strengthen and warm up the legs and joints to prepare for sports and physical activity, especially snowsports like skiing and snowboarding. Enjoy!
For more information, visit me at The Mountain Club on Loon for classes or retreats, or contact me for in person or online on Skype or FaceTime group or individual private instruction, including consultation to develop and maintain your own home practice, with optional customized photographic, written, video and audio reference.

http://www.deniseporterkemp.com

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra महामृत्युंजय मंत्र

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ।।

Aum tryambakam yajāmahe sugandhim puṣṭi-vardhanam ǀ
urvārukam-iva bandhanān mṛtyormukṣīya māmṛtāt ǁ

I relate to this as a prayer of protection and surrender, to remind us when we are trying to hold onto something that is passing…
It means to me…may we be released from our attachments, when we are ready, like the cucumber is released from the vine, without scar, when it is ripe.
The protection – may we be held by what nourishes us until it is our time to be let go.
The surrender – once we are let go there is no reattaching. When it is our time, may we have the grace and courage to let go.
One thing transforms into the next.