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Evening Star of Perception: Ajna, our Inner Eye of Clarity * Mary Yoga News * Issue #6 * June 2006

"If thine eye be single..."

Seeing clearly is the power of "Ajna," "to perceive," the 6th chakra or energy center in our spine. It's really above the spine in the midbrain, behind the brow center, hence, "Brow Chakra." The background color is Indigo or Violet, and "mm" unblocks it. "Ksham" opens it. Try it, softly, sitting upright and chanting "ksham." A cushion, wall, or chair to hold the spine comfortably upright is not cheating; it is advisable unless you are advanced in sitting practice. When Ajna is open, its sound is "Om." Try that one. 7 minutes is good. 20 is great. You should feel calmer, clearer, more in tune with your deeper knowing. Flashes of insight may even dawn, but don't pressure yourself for it!

Of course, yogis practice "piercing the third eye" daily for years and years, and it does become more fluid with practice. Often asana practice precedes it to balance and prepare the body, or various breathwork, such as alternative nostril, or kriya breath, but not always. I love it on subway trains and in crowds, as well as in a quiet room morning or night. Best of all, sit at dawn or dusk, when the changing light "sandhya" is said to carry powerful frequencies for rending the veil of illusion. Feel the silence settle within and without you.

This opening of Ajna is why the Yogis developed the postures for lo! these 6,000 years! The poses created strong bodies and spines for opening the "third eye" in seated meditation. A terrific spin-off is, of course, increased stamina and longevity! The poses work so deeply to release tensions, weaknesses and imbalances, that even without meditation the yogi feels greater calmness and clarity as energy flows through a more strong and aligned body.

Are you wanting to run to your studio, gym, mat? Go for it!


Seeing Clearly; Accepting What You See

Therapist-teacher Tara Brach, in her wonderful book "Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha" explains Radical Acceptance using the Buddhist aphorism "Cold Eye, Warm Heart." She invites us to look inside ourselves with an absolutely "cold" clear lens, and to embrace with total "warm" compassion what we see. Jesus and Buddha consistently viewed humanity this way.

Cold eye, alone, is judgmental. Warm heart without clarity can founder in illusions and wishful thinking. The heart is needed to allow the eye to open. "'Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear" - to see coldly, clearly - "and Grace my fear relieved" - embraced. We need Grace for Radical Acceptance; we need the open heart and the open eye together.

Radical Acceptance


Books and Music

I'm rediscovering the indulgence of summer reading with the wonderfully updated NY Library's Leoline, online catagloue search. Request an author or title for pick up, and luxuriate!

Some favorite artists on sidebar.

NYPL Leoline


Paradise Yoga: February Retreat Dates

I am taking a limited size group of yogis of all experience levels to the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean for a week of relaxation, adventure, yoga, and natural beauty! Mark the dates, February 24 to March 3. Patricia Perkins is a fabulous retreat planner and I'm really excited to partner with her for a fantastic experience for everyone. Based in St. Lucia, Trish personally handpicks guides and services, and tailors each adventure to the group's needs, to the last detail!

Click on link below for photos, testimonials, signups! There is an early-bird 10% discount and rooms are booked on a first-come first-served basis so check your airlines early! I've booked my American Airlines flight, but the direct flight from NYC is Air Jamaica into UVF. From there, it's a fifteen minute drive to our Paradise retreat! Questions on friends, spouses? Absolutely!

Mary's Tropical Escape


Summer Classes

NY Health & Racquet Club Vinyasa Flow at Chelsea 23 St. Club:
Mondays 1:15 through July only.
Tuesdays 1:00 beginning in August.

Yoga Works Level 1 Classes at East Side:
Thursdays 12-1, no change.
Fridays 10:45, SUMMER SUB by Eve Seltzer

In Sept. the Fri. AM class resumes as a L1 or maybe slight change, eg L1&2 or Ishta/Restorative (second half, passive poses with hands-on).

Comments and suggestions welcome! Peace, shanti, happy July Fourth!


Yoga Works ES

Paramahansa Yogananda:

"AUM of the Vedas became the sacred HUM of the Tibetans, AMIN of the Moslems, and AMEN of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians. The meaning of AMEN in Hebrew is 'sure, faithful.'"

"'These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation' Rev. 3:14... "

"The holy Cosmic Sound of AUM or Amen is the witness of the manifested Divine Presence in all creation."

Vol. 1 Discourse 1 p.11


Affirm: Eye and Heart

Affirmation: "I have the right to see"

Affirmation: "I have the right to love and be loved"


Spring Giddiness

"Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground...."

-- Jalaluddin Rumi


Summer Books & Theater

"One Continuous Mistake: four Noble Truths for Writers" by Gail Sher on writing and Zen.

"Blue Shoe" by Anne Lamott. I also loved her "Operating Instructions: a Memoir of My Son's First Year".

"Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates. A classic of American 50's and our self-delusions and changeable perceptions.

"The Testament of Yves Gundrun" by Emily Barton, and her newest novel, "Brookland" just now out. Emily is one of my favorite longtime yoga teachers at Yoga Works, as well as a dedicated novelist.

See Shakespeare in the Park lately? August 8-Sept. 3 Meryl Streep stars in Tony Kushner's new translation of Brecht's "Mother Courage" in which my husband has supporting roles!



Eve Seltzer, fencer and musician, and Yoga teacher; Eve sings with her jazz band in both English and French.

Raul Aranas, actor and musician, has two original CDs, the jazz-folk "The Homecoming" and the mellow-flow instrumental "Zen In" which I use for yoga.

Rachel Zinman, my teacher, mentor, friend, teaches in Oz and over the globe. Her new CD, "Sita Ram" sets kirtans, devotion chants, to music created by her and Nyck Jeanes, "Subway Bhaktis" bandmate.

Eve Seltzer's band Franglais

Raul Aranas CDs

Rachel Z Subway Bhaktis "Sita Ram"

Emily Barton

NY Health & Racquet Club

Yoga Works East Side

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