<![CDATA[Bodhisattva Yoga - Michelle's Blog]]>Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:11:34 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Awakening insights ...]]>Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:40:37 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/awakening-insightsAs I journey on my life path, I have realized that life itself is the lesson, and that the greatest lesson to learn from life is how to love one another. Loving one another and living in peace and harmony is the goal. It is truly all about the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Every event, situation, or experience is just that, the Golden Rule, nothing more. Every tale told, every bible lesson, every Upanishad, every verse of the Dharmapada, every sutra that has been written is a lesson on our behavior and how to behave toward others.

If someone wronged us, then the lesson is to not wrong someone else. If someone wronged you, and you in turn wrong someone else, then you have not learned the lesson; this situation or similar situations will continue to occur until you learn to break the cycle.

<![CDATA[A New Year! 2016]]>Sun, 10 Jan 2016 01:03:24 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/a-new-year-2016In reflection
So just to recap my year of 2015. It started off on a down side with my cat passing away. Zero, who was 19 years old was having kidney failure and we had to make the most difficult decision in the whole world. This major event really affected my entire year, in that I didn't want to do any gardening or porch sitting or anything that Zero had a part in, in my daily life. My blogging lagged and dropped off to not blogging. I'm finding this harder than I thought it would be.

On the upside, I learned to play guitar. I've never played an instrument before in my life. I've always imagined or dreamed of playing guitar in a rock band. Every kids fantasy I presume. But in March of 2015, just eleven days before my birthday, I purchased an Orange Guitar Pack. "What's that?", you say. There is this company called Orange Amplifiers. They make guitar and bass amplifiers. In the Fall of 2014, they came out with a Limited Edition guitar, sold only in the guitar pack. The guitar pack comes with a guitar (a copy of a Gibson Les Paul), an amplifier, guitar strap, guitar picks, guitar gig bag, guitar tuner, and a chord lead. The guitars come in three colors, black, orange, and white. I, of course, got the orange. I quickly learned some basic chords: A, C, D, G, E. The very first song I learned was "Doll Parts" by Hole. The second song I learned was "Violet" by Hole. I wanted to learn "About a Girl" by Nirvana, but it has bar chords. Bar chords are hard. It took me most of the summer to get it. As I got better a playing guitar, I wanted more guitars. I purchased a Fender Stratocaster. What made this easy for me, is that I've got a great partner. My husband supported and encouraged me every step of the way. He plays bass guitar, as well as classical. So, he can play almost anything, or figure it out. On my guitar journey, I've written some songs of my own. Who knew I was a song writer. So far, I've got four complete songs, four songs that are in parts, and four pieces that don't have words. I've continued to practice and am getting better every step of the way. More guitars: I'm up to six. I recently just learned "Anarchy in the UK" by the Sex Pistols. 2016 is the 40th anniversary of Punk, so I'll be learning more punk songs, writing my own punk songs and maybe turning some songs into Punk covers.  

My other coping mechanism was to bury myself in my practice of teaching and helping others, which has lead to a really good year for my business. It also lead me to meditate, rather than just reflect and contemplate, which has lead to more creativity. I am very thankful for what I do and what I can do for others.

I also took time for myself. I decided to take a fitness class, so I didn't have to think. Just tell me what to do. Truly enjoyable. My one goal for myself was to increase my endurance, lung capacity and efficiency. The very last class in December 2015, felt easy and I finished it without feeling completely drained. So yay! I met my goal. 

What's in store for 2016?

Well, I don't know, because I'm not a fortune teller or future seer. But I will continue on this path that my business has taken. And I will continue to play guitar. Maybe I'll start a band. Blogging? I will try to stay on a steady course. 
<![CDATA[An Accidental Yogi As A Teenager]]>Sat, 16 May 2015 20:18:37 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/an-accidental-yogi-as-a-teenagerThese Are My Experiences
It was my senior year of high school (1985-1986). I was taking Spanish class, which happened to be after lunch. Lunch time can be crazy and loud, especially when the seniors are in charge. At any rate, our Spanish teacher new this; her method was different, but it worked. She told us the first day exactly what the M.O. was going to be and she was only going to say it once. We had to enter the class without speaking, put all our things on the floor (the desk top was to be completely clear of pencils, pens, paper, books, etc.). The lights were already out. We could close our eyes or put our heads down on the desk. Once everyone was in, the door would shut. AND Pachelbel's Canon in D would play. It was a method of getting us to calm down, clear our minds and be ready to learn Spanish. AND it worked!


Who knew, at that time, that I was learning to meditate. I surely didn't. It wasn't until much later in life when reading more about yoga and meditation that I realized I was learning to meditate all along and didn't even know it.  

The Upanishads delineate three ordinary states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep. Each is real, but each has a higher order of reality. For beyond these three, the Upanishads say, is the unitive state, called simply "the fourth": turiya. Entering this state is similar to waking up out of dream sleep: the individual passes from a lower level of reality to a higher one. (p. 28)
                               -   The Bhagavad Gita Translated by Eknath Easwaran

In my senior year, I decided to go out for the swim team. I was a pretty good swimmer and had already played on the JV Water Polo team, so why not. I was more of a sprinter, than a long distance (500 yards) swimmer, at least for racing thas is. I could swim the 500, but not at any good racing speeds. Everyone had to practice 500s. We had to pull a 500. We had to kick a 500. And of course, we had to straight swim a 500. 

One practice in particular, I was in the middle of the pool pulling a 500. I was working on counting my breaths and trying to take more strokes than breaths. 500s can be slow, rhythmic and methodical - all the makings for a meditative practice. Ever so slightly, I noticed that I wasn't breathing or was I breathing and hadn't noticed that I was breathing. I couldn't remember the last breath I took. I felt like I became the water. I became the swimming. AND yet I was still myself, but not myself. And a few thoughts entered my mind - Am I a fish? Am I just water? Am I everything at once? As I was approaching the wall for a turn, it all vanished. That whole experience disappeared like waking up out of a dream. BUT I wasn't dreaming. It was pretty tripindicular. 

At that time, I didn't think anything of it other than it was an interesting experience.

In the unitive experience, every trace of separateness disappears; life is a seamless whole. But the body cannot remain in this state for long. After a while, awareness of mind and body returns, and them the conventional world of multiplicity rushes in again with such vigor and vividness that the memory or unity, though stamped with reality, seems as distant as a dream. (p. 26, 27)                                                      -   The Bhagavad Gita Translated by Eknath Easwaran

Going back a bit, I also played basketball in high school (all four years, JV and Varsity). Basketball practice has its own sounds and rhythms. And now, upon reflection, I can think of three or four instances during practices and games where I felt as one with the ball and the game in a particular moment. And in that moment I dribbled well and scored. I can dribble well and am a pretty good shooter in general, but in these particular moments there was a loss of myself. These were very short moments - seconds. Unlike my swimming experience, which seemed to have lasted much longer. 
Nowhere has this "mysterious Eastern notion" been formulated more succinctly than in the epigram of Ruysbroeck: "We behold what we are, and we are what we behold." When we look at unity through the instruments of the mind, we see diversity; when the mind is transcended, we enter a higher mode of knowing - turiya, the fourth state of consciousness - in which duality disappears. This does not mean, however, that the phenomenal world is an illusion or unreal. The illusion is the sense of separateness. (p. 28, 29)
                                     -   The Bhagavad Gita Translated by Eknath Easwaran

So, why am I calling myself an accidental yogi as a teenager. Well, yoga is the process of honing your physical abilities with breath, which steadies the mind and helps it become more focused. A focused mind can tame the thoughts that come and go and at some point there is just pure being. For many people this can take a lifetime to achieve, but I did it pretty early on and thought nothing of it. Now, that I've had more life experience and have read a lot of Indian philosophy, I've come to appreciate my ability. And I want others to have the same knowledge. 

<![CDATA[Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limb Staff Pose) - Is a very difficult pose to learn and there are many stages in learning this pose]]>Wed, 11 Feb 2015 17:04:53 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/chaturanga-dandasana-four-limb-staff-pose-is-a-very-difficult-pose-to-learn-and-there-are-many-stages-in-learning-this-posePost 1 of many Chaturanga posts to come
This is a yoga pose (skill) that I call "the cornerstone" of poses in the vast world of yoga poses (skills). It is a difficult one at that, but not elusive. Chaturanga is a progressive skill, in that first you learn the idea of the mechanics of the skill and you practice that for a while, but never actually holding the skill. You just pass through the skill, and that is a skill in itself. At the same time, because it takes good upper body strength, you should be working on getting stronger by practicing two types of push-ups: wide hand (grip) and close hand (grip). These should be modified push-up (on the knees). AND NO, we don't say "girl" push-ups. We say standard or modified push-ups. Wide hand (grip) push-ups should be as wide as your yoga mat or a bit wider if your a tall person, and close hand (grip) push-ups should be as wide as your shoulders and keep the elbows close to body. 
This photo is of Michelle Peguero demonstrating Chaturanga at her home studio, 2014.
Chaturanga is a progressive skill, in that first you learn the idea of the mechanics of the skill and you practice that for a while, but never actually holding the skill.
In the second stages of this progressive skill, you should start learning to hold the pose for longer than a pause. You should also be learning how to move into Chaturanga from a squat. Just like a squat thrust, where you start in a squat position and jump your feet back to a plank position. Practice the squat thrust first, then see if you can jump into Chaturanga. 

The third evolution of this skill is to be able to move effortlessly form other skills (in and out of Chaturnaga).
<![CDATA[Trials & Enlightenment At Nine Years Of Age]]>Wed, 04 Feb 2015 17:42:38 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/trials-enlightenment-at-nine-years-of-ageWhen I was nine years old, my best friend, at that time, asked me if I wanted to try a gymnastics class with her. I said, "Yes!" She said that she would have her mom ask my mom. The program was called Rainbow Gymnastics and it was held at the local college, Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, California. We got signed up. And it was a lot of fun. I can't quite remember, but the session was like six to eight weeks long. We did tumbling, vault, balance beam, uneven bars, and ballet. It was great. As the session was ending, one of the teachers came up to me and said that if I wished to continue with classes, that I would be moved up to the intermediate/advance class. The teacher then told my best friend that she would have to repeat the beginner class again. This was awesome for me, and not so awesome for my best friend. What happened next was something I never expected to happen ever. My best friend was not my best friend anymore. She hated me, and she got our other fiends to not be my friend anymore. This was absolutely devastating, especially for a nine year old kid.

When I started teaching gymnastics, I vowed to myself that I would not be like those other teachers, who had no regard for the consequences that might occur from the decisions they made to further a program. I did not want to see what happened to me happen to other kids. 

My modus operandi: If I had a situation like this, where two friends came to a beginner class and one was clearly better at skills than the other, I would approach the parent(s) regarding the matter before telling the kids about moving to the next level or not. If it was going to cause an issue with friendship or possibly arrangements for attending class, then I, as a teacher, could make other accommodations for the kids. This might entail re-writing my lesson plan and working harder in teaching the class, but that's what good teachers do.

I recently (Fall 2014) read an awesome book called The Mahabharata, an epic from ancient Indian civilization. First, a translation by William Buck, which was a wonderful read. Then I started thumbing through a more scholarly translation by J.A.B. van Buitenen. I came across the following passage, which spoke to me deeply. And I was able to relate my own experience above with the Veda character. Not that the situation was the same, but rather that he learned something from his trail and that is to bring about change and betterment for others and not to perpetuate ill will.

Veda, in Sanskrit, means knowledge. 

From The Mahabharata: I The Beginning, translated and edited by J.A.B van Buitenen, (1973). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
     Now Dhaumya Ayoda had another student by the name of Veda. Him his teacher instructed, "Veda, my son, stay here. Spend some time obediently in my house. Fortune will befall you." He gave his promise and lived for a long time in his guru's house, obeying his guru. Like a bullock forever yoked to pull burdensome loads, he endured the miseries of cold and heat, hunger and thirst, and was ever compliant. After a long time his teacher waxed satisfied with him ; and because of his teacher's satisfaction he attained to fortune and full knowledge. 
     Thus was the trial of Veda.
     Having been granted leave by his teacher, he returned home from his teacher's lodgings and entered upon the householder's stage of life. Three students came to live with him. He never told his students anything like "Observe this rite, obey your teacher" ; since he himself knew the sorrows of lodging at a teacher's house, he did not wish to burden his students with vexations. (p. 48)

It's funny, but in all my school education and all my religious education, I never ever felt validation for this experience of mine. I never came across someone who had a similar experience. Finally, 37 years later, I read some esoteric book and find my validation. And, It's not so much a validation that I was searching for, but rather that I hold to my integrity and do what I feel is the right thing to do. And lo and behold someone else in this world felt the same way, even though it was thousands of years ago. 

These ancient stories and texts were put to paper for a reason -- to help others find their way through life, to help us understand and navigate the human condition. The same issues and circumstances we find ourselves in today have all happened before and they will continue to happen again with future generations. Some of us can find the knowledge within and apply it to their daily lives. Some of us need extra help to do so; hence reading and seeking knowledge from all venues and not limiting yourself to your own little world, culture, nation, or religion, BUT being open minded to other possibilities and ideas is better for human kind in every way.

<![CDATA[A New Year, A New Set of Ideas About Blogging - 2015]]>Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:06:44 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/a-new-year-a-new-set-of-ideas-about-blogging-2015Happy New Year to you all. It's still January. I didn't jump right on the bandwagon on January 1st like everyone else. I've had a lot of thoughts and ideas, but I had an event in my life on January 7th that has hindered me form even updating my website. Today is the first day that feels more normal, so here I am. One day I'll share my event of January 7th, but right now it is still too raw.

My new goal for this blog in 2015 is to post a blog once a month. Weekly is too hard. Last year, I posted a lot on fitness/exercise and nutrition. I still plan to post on those topics, but this year I plan to journey into my own philosophical insight to my Self. I invite anyone to journey with me and see if anything I have to say and write clicks with you. 
Photo by Diane Levy
<![CDATA[September is National Yoga Month]]>Sun, 24 Aug 2014 21:48:02 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/september-is-national-yoga-month]]><![CDATA[LITTLE THOUGHTS on Servings & Serving Sizes]]>Sun, 24 Aug 2014 21:45:03 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/little-thoughts-on-servings-serving-sizesPicture
To start, there are FIVE food groups:  
  1. milk/dairy
  2. meat/protein
  3. fruits
  4. vegetables
  5. whole grains

In the original food guide pyramid, there is a very small cap stone triangle at the tippy-top. The food items that fall into this category are alcoholic beverages, fats, oils, and sweets. The serving sizes for these items - USE SPARINGLY. 

Now, the five food groups each have there own amount of servings that should be eaten daily. This is known as the Recommended Daily Intake.  
  1. milk/dairy           2 to 4 servings
  2. meat/protein      5 to 7 ounces
  3. fruits                   2 - 4 servings
  4. vegetables        3 - 5 servings
  5. whole grains      6 -11 servings

<![CDATA[Definitions & Energy]]>Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:47:51 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/definitions-energyToday's post lacks inspiration and creativity, nevertheless, this is important information. I've only listed 14 definitions. There are thousands. These, in particular, are words I hear thrown around everyday. 

nutrition - the study of the nutrients in foods and in the body.

diet - the foods and beverages a person usually eats and drinks.

nutrients - components of food that are indispensable to the body's functioning. They provide energy, serve as building material, help maintain or repair body parts, and support growth. The nutrients include water, carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

energy - the capacity to do work. The energy in food is chemical energy; it can be converted to mechanical, electrical, thermal, or other forms of energy in the body. Food energy is measured in calories.

calories - units of energy. In nutrition science, the unit used to measure the energy is a kilocalorie (kcal or Calorie): it is the amount of heat energy necessary to raise the temperature of a kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. 

metabolism - the sum of all physical and chemical changes taking place in living cells; includes all reactions by which the body obtains and spends the energy from food.

carbohydrates - compounds composed of single or multiple sugars. The name means "carbon and water" and a chemical shorthand for carbohydrate is CHO, signifying carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. 

complex carbohydrates - long chains of sugar units arranged to form starch or fiber; also called polysaccharides.

sugars - simple carbohydrates.

glucose - a single sugar used by plant and animal tissues for energy. 

starch - a plant polysaccharide composed of glucose; a plant's storage form of glucose. After cooking starch, it is highly digestible by the human body; raw starch often resists digestion. 

fats - lipids that are solid at room temperature. protein - compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen and arranged as strands of amino acids. Some amino acids contain the element sulfur.

amino acids - the building blocks of protein.

essential amino acids - amino acids that either cannot be synthesized at all by the body or cannot be synthesized in amounts sufficient enough to meet physiological need. They must be ingested. 

There are three energy yielding nutrients: carbohydrate, protein, fat (lipid). Alcohol yields energy, but is not a nutrient. 

  • The energy of a carbohydrate molecule is 4 cal/g.
  • The energy of a protein molecule is 4 cal/g.
  • The energy of a fat molecule is 9 cal/g.
  • The energy of an alcohol molecule is 7 cal/g.

<![CDATA[Four Month Hiatus]]>Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:27:35 GMThttp://kinastex.com/michelles-blog/four-month-hiatusYes, I have not posted since April. Posting is hard when you are doing a lot of things and taking care of your everyday life: house work, house projects, pets (chickens and cats), spouse, volunteering with local organizations.

I have often wondered how some of the bloggers out there have time to post so much. Especially yoga and fitness instructors. What I have noticed is that the majority of them don't own a three story Victorian house or raise backyard chickens. Most of them live in apartments in big cities. A lot of them haven't been married for 25 years. So, I can't really compare myself to others and I shouldn't. But it is our nature to do so, and then you have to do a reality check. Take your own personal inventory of your own life and be totally O.K. with it!

On top of my regular teaching of my own classes that I offer out of my home studio, which has grown to 6 classes a week. I've also been doing the following: