Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why they call it present...

Monday, February 22, 2010


I love my brain as it is intelligent and eager to learn new things
I love my hair as I am lucky enough to enjoy straight, curly, long and short
I love my ears as it listens to the energy around me
I love my eyes as they’re able to see where another can expand and grow
I love my nose as it breaths in the vital nutrients for my body to flourish
I love my mouth as it asks questions thus shedding light on the unknown
I love my neck as it elongates and aids in better posture
I love my back as it bends me into the unfamiliar
I love my fingers as they extend with light and reach for higher potential
I love my palms as they are my leverage into a twist of faith
I love my arms as they provide me with length
I love my shoulders as they maintain my trust in the hardest of poses
I love my heart as it opens to grace and shines
I love my core as it strengthens and stabilizes my entire body
I love my hips as they release and open
I love my pelvis as it offers me a solid foundation
I love my thighs as they’re the strength that helps push me to greater possibilities
I love my knees as they bend and support me
I love my shins as they loop and draw into the mid line, keeping me stable and strong
I love my ankles, as they keep me balanced
I love my feet, as they move me forward…into the future.

From Fear to Freedom

Another 26 hours of yoga, spread out along 4 amazing heart opening days. We’re getting into learning about the postures now. The names, general form, actions, tendencies, modifications, use of props, focal point…etc. This is very interesting, and I never actually thought of all the work that goes into one pose. We’re not learning them so we can get them “right” it’s learning them so you can get the most out of them, and yourself…then ultimately, your students if you decide to take that route. I already know I want to teach. I’ve always been the “teacher” type. I really enjoy assisting people in reaching their goals, fight through something, or just feel great. I have noticed I need to slow down when it comes to teaching. In yoga it’s about them, not me, so first I need to watch and listen before I can run in and try to “fix” something I think needs fixing.

Both Saturday and Sunday we started the days with a 4 hour yoga class. I’m going to be honest. I was nervous. I knew inside I could do it…I guess I didn’t believe in my body that much. It was intense to say the least, but WOW what an experience! We concentrated a lot on back bends and inversions this weekend. These two are very similar, because once you go into a back bend, you’re actually inverted. I learned something about myself. I am terrified of inversions, but LOVE and shine when doing back bends.
We had to come to the wall and start in down dog. Up onto our tippy toes, and walk them in as close as possible without loosing the integration of our shoulders onto our backs, and arms straight. Then with one leg up, kick with reach the wall behind us. I actually started to shake! I tried a few times and was loosing my breath. Probably because I was in so much fear, I forgot to breath. I haven’t been in this place for a long time. We were in a regular temperature room…and I was dripping with sweat…and tears.
When I was little I use to do hand stands ALL the time. NO FEAR! I would come up, drop back into wheel, and sometimes I wouldn’t, I would just fall and get the wind knocked out of me. Still, I took a deep breath and started again. I don’t know what changed…it sucks that growing up will do that to you.
We had to also do this with partners, who after a while made me more comfortable, and I was able to do it with someone standing behind me catching me. I was happy I made it up, but still discouraged I couldn’t make it up on my own. Why couldn’t I surrender?

When something in your life isn’t going the way you want it to, do you come out of it? OR do you come out of it, to get into it?
Don’t become your reaction.
Anytime you loose power in a situation, you’ve stopped looking at it from a symbolic point of view.
Can you just be OK with the situation at hand?
Recognize where you choose contraction over reaction.
The more you’re able to surrender, the more you’re able to open yourself to new possibilities.

Sunday was exciting. We were all pretty sore…but KNEW we could do more. It’s a different feeling than “gym” sore. My body felt electric and ready…willing! I knew today would be different.

Before anyone got to the studio, I was sitting there (I was early…no big surprise) thinking about the previous days. Grant, one of my teachers and not to mention one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met walked in. We talked a bit, and while I was stretching, getting ready to practice, he started his yoga practice. Watching him was incredible. Here he is, SO strong, but he moved so effortlessly, so fluently, so gracefully, almost as if there was no gravity in the room at all. He actually floated between poses, to the point where I was in a trance watching him. I believe I was suppose to watch him that day…I finally understood something that Colin’s been trying to teach me. Grant is a very strong man, but not like a body builder. While I watched him float his legs to the front, hover then put them down. From down dog to forward fold. I noticed his entire body shaking with muscular energy, but he moved with such poise, and softness. I tried to remember that during my practice. I needed to stop being so hard, I needed that touch of feminine beauty, that softness, that sincere sensitivity back. It’s a work in progress.

Back to handstands, Colin announced. I could feel my heart start to close off, and tremble. I wanted this SO bad and I wouldn’t stop till I got it. I DID IT! FINALLY! It felt great. It was funny because as soon as I got it, Colin added a modification to deepen/harden the pose. I laughed, and enjoyed JUST the handstands a few more times. I did move on, which I was also proud of myself for doing.
We started to look into back bends like camel, wheel, hero, cobra, sphinx, and wild thing. I really enjoy these and feel I’m pretty good too. Colin asked for a friend to help him demonstrate coming into wheel. In front of everyone, with Colin simply holding both fists into my back to lengthen me, I came into wheel. What a rush!
I talked to one of my friends from class about why I love back bends. I told her I think it was because it had nothing to do with my feet. I didn’t have to even worry about them. She pointed out that it’s a very big heart opener. This is something I NEED since for the last while it’s been very closed off.
I would be interested to hear/research the different spiritual thoughts on why I am able to do back bends so easily, and not inversions?

After lunch on Sunday afternoon, Grant and Colin discussed a few that made the rooms energy change. For me, it was VERY emotional…and I wasn’t the only one. I’m not sure if they realized they had hit something so deep and touched everyone. Maybe it was the fact we were already so open and our ego’s had been stripped (in a good way) that it was easy for us to just LET GO! We took a while, and each of us took the time given to either write, meditate or just be. I used my time to write. There was so much I wanted to get out, but my pen just wasn’t moving. It took about 15 minutes before I could even touch the pen to the paper. This was very hard for me, as it touched a lot of scars. I feel now it was a weight off my shoulder, and something I NEEDED to move through to get further along. I still don’t know how…but Colin and Grant ALWAYS KNOW…

Every yoga weekend retreat that passed I say was my favorite, because they just keep getting better. This weekend was just different. It gets its own personal category.
Another thing that keeps getting better, the friendships! Especially during “Napasana” :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why am I SO sore today???

"If there is something that you keep fighting in your life, it may hurt a little when you decide to let go."-Colin

ME?!?..Not "girly" enough???!!???...

I had another meeting with my teacher Colin last night before class. I was expecting us to do yoga and for him to help me with alignment and my feet. Well things went very differently and boy did I learn a lot!

We started out just checking out my feet. It’s funny because I’m very self conscious about them, but in the summer, you’ll notice the most decorated part of my feet. You would think I would want to draw attention away from them, but instead, it’s like I’m showing them off? I guess it’s me trying to be “normal” and fit in.
He had me go into downward dog. We noticed I collapse in my arches quite a bit, and a lot of my tension is up and around my shoulders and back because they’re compensating. We worked on fixing my tendencies (rolling inwards on my feet) and he showed me some exercises and things to do before, during and after my practice. He started to massage my feet, which at first felt GREAT...but then started to hurt a lot! He showed me how I have practically no range of motion in my ankles when I dorsiflex (moving my foot up and down) It was funny because he told me to relax, but I was so tight in through my ankles, calves and feet. He showed me the difference between his calves and mine. It was incredible. I can’t believe I’ve gotten so use to that feeling of tension, I didn’t even notice. After a while of massaging (I was in PAIN!) Things started to relax and loosen up. I also felt my body become flush with hot and cold chills. He was obviously releasing a lot of fluids and toxins.

I stood up and he had a look at my whole upper body. From my pelvis to my neck. I told him how I felt my hips were turned inwards, I actually feel like my entire body is curving inwards! Almost like I’m closing in on myself...WHAT AM I SCARED OF?!? I went into cobra and he started to adjust me. Melt this, open this, soften here, scoop this, puff this out, straighten, body was being completely realigned and then....CRAAAAAAACK! My back completely let go! He wasn’t even touching me, it was fantastic. I started to laugh because I felt so open and GREAT!

We worked a lot on my back, stomach, shoulders, hips and traps. He would get right into the muscle fibres’ and ligaments, a lot of the time I was in so much pain, tears actually came to my eyes. He didn’t stop either. He was trying to find something, and looking for the reason behind it. By the end of it HE was sweating and tired...I felt GREAT!

The one thing he told me he thought of was although I’m very feminine, and girly...I seem very HARD! I seem to be holding onto the sensitive part of me that is genuine and very sweet. I close off and don’t let others in. This is definitely taking a toll on my body. The HARDNESS is actually making my body HARD! I’m closing in on myself because I’m actually closing off the world.

Really?!?! Do you blame me? This last year has been a complete mess; however...I wouldn’t change any of it! LOOK at where I’m at now, LOOK at how much strong I am, and LOOK at how much more I’ve learned about yoga, the mind, body, spirit...and especially myself! I need to learn how to trust again, to open up, trust my instincts and trust the integrity of others, when it’s ok...and sometimes when it’s best to walk away. This isn’t going to happen overnight, but I’m working with myself everyday and I’m THAT much farther along.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lemmings over a cliff...

I use to go into yoga with the mind set of one day being the BEST! Its one thing to be competitive, and another to be responsible. I know those are two very different things, but they work in yoga. I remember a few years ago I use to go into class and when the teacher would ask us to go into a posture; I would first laugh and say “ya right” then practically turn my inflexible body inside out trying to move into it...and later suffer through the pain I caused myself. Now, I don’t look at anyone. I don’t rely on anyone to show me the way. I’ve learned that what’s right for me is right where I need to be, and if next week I can go further, open more, stretch longer, it just goes to show I’m moving in the right direction.

What do I mean by responsibility? It wouldn’t be responsible of me to move into a pose that prevents me from being open through my heart. What would be the point in that? I wouldn’t be learning anything, and wouldn’t reap any of the benefits. Yes, I might be going deeper than the person beside me, but if you asked them...I have a feeling they wouldn’t even notice. NO one cares!

I love challenging myself and the last two of Colin’s classes I’ve actually DONE Camel pose. I REALLY hate this pose, and usually sit only this one out. I can stand up and sit down several times during class and deal with the dizziness and the heat...I go into Camel, and I fear for my life, and my body goes straight into defence mode! I wanted to see what would happen if I did try it. I got dizzy, but made it through! Last week I just went to my knees and opened my heart, palms up to achieve balance and love. This was as far as I made it. Yesterday I brought one arm back, and it felt a little better...I’m looking forward to my next move.
Do we all want to be like lemmings jumping off a cliff? I challenge YOU! Find out who YOU are, what YOU want to do, and how YOU can really survive just being YOU. It’s great to have the support and love from family and friends...but you can’t love someone else, until you love yourself....

I want to say thank you to ALL that have supported me so far in my Yoga in motion-Fight for the cure! Personally, I have reached my goal of $250 and have now increased it to $500 and I’m SO’s WONDERFUL!!! As a team-Team Kula!!! We’re in 3rd place overall and we’ve done 40% of our goal. WOW...I’m SO impressed with ALL the love and support. Thank you to ALL my amazing family and friends. Two more months to go...WE CAN DO IT!!!

GO Team Kula!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I’ve signed up for Yoga in Motion – a 24 hr double fitness marathon to benefit breast cancer research at Mount Sinai hospital. I’m reaching out to friends, family and colleagues to help me achieve my personal fundraising goal. So please sponsor me and join in the fight against breast cancer. Together we can make a difference! My personal fundraising goal is $250, which will be added to my Team Kula!!! goal of $1500 for the event on April 25, 2010. Register to participate or get involved and help support this worthwhile cause. Your involvement can make a difference! Together we are in motion for a cure.

To find ME
Left side of the screen, go to Sponsor a Participant
Put in this information.

First Name: Devon
Last Name: Borycheski
Click search

If needed…
Our Team Name is: Team Kula!!! (with exclamation marks)

Click on my name, which will take you to my personal page. If you would like to Donate and help me achieve my goal, please click on the Donate Now button beside my picture!!

Thank you in advance for your generosity, you ARE the change you want to see in the world.

Lots of Love,
Devon Borycheski

Friday, February 5, 2010

10,000 Hour Rule!

After my weekend with Douglas, I had a few revelations. I wanted to speak with Colin again. I was still confused with our chat a few weeks back. This shouldn’t be THAT hard…obviously there was something I was missing. I wanted to speak with him about what Douglas talked about. My Suttva: “The optimal place of you” My question to Colin, what is the difference between my Suttva, and my boundaries? He said I holding back, but I feel I was trying the best I could…this is what confused me. I use the reference about the kid and the magic trick. Instead of just being satisfied with the magic trick, and being content with the unknown…I want to know HOW it’s done. When I left the office after Colin and I spoke a few weeks back I was confused because he didn’t tell me what to do, how to do it, and why. I left feeling uneasy and puzzled about my practice and myself. I really shouldn’t have let this go on for as long as it did because my practice reflected my insecurities, but I guess the universe new that Douglas and I would meet…and I needed to figure it out for myself.

Colin and I began our discussion about the difference between moving into your boundaries and being fully present in my practice. When I go to my practice at the end of the day I TRY to be there in the moment, but sometimes it’s hard when you’ve had a bad day, or something happened to you. That’s what I need to work on. Most of the time it’s not that I’m thinking about my “day” or life, it’s mostly about my FEET! I told him how frustrated I get and he mentioned that he was sorry for not spending the time on alignment with me and that the best thing I could do was to schedule a few hrs with just him to work one on one. WOW! What an amazing opportunity! What an amazing teacher as well. I’m so happy that he sees my strengths, weaknesses and my goals and only wants to assist me in achieving them.
We talked about what I WANT in life, in my practice. I told him that growing up my brother was the one who was always getting straight A’s and “applying himself” I was VERY different. I HATED school. I wasn’t good at it…which my Dad corrected me on last night. “It’s not that you weren’t good at it, you just didn’t try…you didn’t apply yourself” Which haunts me to this day because it was written on EVERY report card. I didn’t try because it didn’t interest me, I didn’t enjoy learning about what fractions were and WHY they added up to this answer. I’m enjoying THIS. I love learning about anatomy and physiology, another culture, language. I’m a more spiritual person. I love this about myself, because I’m good at it! I thrive in these types of conditions, and I always come out on top.
He then asked me the question that was leading up to my question…that made my heart race, and I started to sweat. He asked “why are you telling me all this” My question to him was, if he didn’t think someone should be taking this course, would you tell them? I was SO scared of his answer because I didn’t know. I started to break down. “ABSOLUTLY” he replied, and then asked if I thought that’s what I think. I said yes. He told me to evaluate the situation. I was in his office asking him questions. I was writing things down that questioned me. I was taking it into my own hands to figure this out…I was learning! From an outsiders perspective he said this was a silly question. From his point of view…This was exactly where I needed to be RIGHT NOW! Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh! What a relief! He told me that if I didn’t question myself, my thoughts, my practice, I would be shifting, I wouldn’t be learning, I wouldn’t be moving forward…I’m in the right place, I just need to be more present in the moment. Alignment creates alignment and things will become clearer. Just being in my body, being focused-things will start to shift.

We talked more about my feet and my how I made the choice to not have the surgery before I started teacher training because I wanted to challenge myself and prove to myself that I could do this because I’m me, without having to change what I look like on the outside. I thought maybe I had made the wrong choice, and Colin thought differently. He said look to your feet as a gift. Things happen in our lives for a reason…did this happen to challenge my strength? He showed me site from Louise May “closest thing to a living saint” is how she’s described, an alternative healer. She believes in visualization, affirmations, nutritional cleansing without the use of drugs or surgeries. We looked up my symptoms…and this is what we found.

Physically, bunions are toxins that settle in the feet. A good nutritional cleansing program can help your feet feel more comfortable. Metaphysically, bunions represent a fear of the future. Remember, feet represent understanding and trust in Life. So with bunions, there’s fear of moving forward, and insecurity about being where you are. Also, there’s the feeling that too many demands are being made on you. It’s time to stand on your own two feet mentally. What is it you want to do? Where do you want to be? Learn to become more selfish and to think of yourself more. You’ve done more than enough for others. Your feet are telling you that it’s your time now. Do something for YOU! Love your feet! Massage them daily with love. Move forward in life, loving who you are, enjoying yourself, and thinking thoughts that make you feel good. Affirm I LOVE MY LIFE. I DO WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY, AND I MOVE FORWARD IN JOY.

We both looked at each other, stunned and dumbfounded! If you know me…well…you will agree a lot of this makes sense. I finally was able to leave his office with a sense of stability, courage, openness and excitement. My practice that night completely reflected that too! I was happy, I am happy, and I look forward to being all I can be, in the moment, and LOVING myself completely.

Yesterday’s class was quite exciting as we’re moving more towards understanding the asana’s (pose/postures), inside and out! We started with Ukatasana, or chair pose. Basically, it’s like you’re sitting down on a chair with your arms over your head…but you’re not. My butt and thighs KILL today! It’s a great feeling. We literally spent 3 hours learning about this pose. The name, the Sanskrit name, the general form, the actions, tendencies, modifications, focal points, the reasons, alignments, adjustments….and so on. In my notebook it took up 6 pages, back and front. Now you understand when I say the hardest pose to do in yoga (for me) is a forward fold. I came home and was so excited about my day I started to talk to my Dad about it. I told him I had just spent 3 hours learning this one pose. He said “3 hours learning one pose?!?....” I had to take out my notebook to show him all my notes. He questioned “how does someone like him take a yoga class and expect to know what they’re doing?” I kind of laughed inside because it was like he was testing my knowledge. I explained that it wasn’t about getting the pose correctly; it was about getting the pose to work for you. Being enlightened, expanded and focused. He then asked” WHY do you need to learn SO much about the pose?” I told him, I was working towards my goal on becoming a yoga instructor and that means I need learn all of this so I’m able to help one reach that state of enlightenment, expansion and engagement. He said, “Oh, that makes sense”

"10,000-hour rule." When we look at any kind of cognitively complex field -- for example, playing chess, writing fiction or being a neurosurgeon -- we find that you are unlikely to master it unless you have practiced for 10,000 hours. That’s 20 hours a week for 10 years. The brain takes that long to assimilate all it needs to know to achieve true mastery.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weekend studying the Bhagavad Gita with Douglas Brooks

This was by far my favourite weekend so far. Our last 4 day retreat we studied with Hareesh, who was also amazing, intelligent and wonderful to listen to, however meeting Douglas Brooks was a completely different experience. I can’t say that I liked one more than the other, they’re just two different men, with different stories, life experiences, and ways of teaching. I connected to Douglas right away. He was hilarious, affectionate, bubbly and just so fun to be around. The 5 hours of lecture went by in a heartbeat.

Here is a little information on this brilliant man I had the honour of spending 4 remarkable days with:

Dr Douglas brooks is among the world’s leading scholars of Hindu Tantrism. After he received a Masters Degree from Harvard Divinity School, he continued his studies in religion, Sanskrit and Indian studies to receive his Master’s and Doctorate from Harvard University.
He has lectured around the world, and currently is a Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester in New York.
Along with his formal Western education, he lived for many years in India studying Indian classical Sanskrit, philosophy, yoga, ritual and worship. He is the author of a number of books and scholarly articles on Hinduism and the Comparative Study of Religion.
His most recent work consists of a new commentary on the Bhagavad Gita from a Tantric point of view. This work is in collaboration with John Friend, world renowned yoga teacher and founder of Anusara Yoga.

There is so much more to say about this man, but I don’t have enough room. You can even begin to understand how extraordinary he is, and definitely won’t just by reading my little blurb. Our day with Douglas started on Friday night with a lecture at the Burlington Kula studio. It was packed! The yoga studio was filled with students, teachers, and even families. All eager to hear him speak. Our lecture for the weekend was about the Bhagavad Gita, in a small nutshell : is simply known as a sacred Hindu scripture, considered among the most important texts in the history of literature and philosophy [3]The Bhagavad Gita comprises roughly 700 verses, and is a part of the Mahabharata. The teacher of the Bhagavad Gita is Krishna, who is revered by Hindus as a manifestation of God himself,[3] and is referred to within as Bhagavan, the Divine One.
Douglas Brooks wrote a book called Poised for Grace- Annotations on the Bhagavad Gita from the Tantric View. I started reading this book a month ago, along with my 28 other yogis. We all pretty much got to the second chapter (if you were lucky enough to get through the Introduction) and had to put the book down. Not because it was boring, but because it was just too difficult to understand. Not knowing anything about Hinduism, Tantric Philosophy or Krishna...a lot of it made no sense to me. I made the choice to wait and listen to Douglas’s lecture first. Wow did I make the right choice. His teachings were very laid back and very easy to understand. He related everything he taught to a story in his own life which made us connect to him on such a deeper intimate level. My favourite story he told (along with all the “daughters” in the class) was one about a time when he was cooking dinner for his two daughters (17 and 19 I think) One mentioned she wanted to see the Mona Lisa one day. Douglas said “sure, we’ll see it one day!” she asked “WHEN” Douglas replied “ about tomorrow...” In less than 36 hrs the three of them were standing in front of the Mona Lisa in Paris! A big AWWWWW was let out from the class...what a GREAT story! I’m definitely going to start reading the rest of Poised for Grace NOW!

I learned a lot over the weekend, and had several revelations of my own. At one point I went up to Colin and asked him if we could chat again. Tonight we’re meeting before class. I have questions about my “Suttva”-the optimal place of you. How does this relate to Colin wanting me to push harder? I feel I am in my Suttva, why doesn’t he think I am?

We had a LOT of homework to do for tonight. I was kinda freaking out when looking at it all and reading the questions. Maybe i didn’t get it? Once I actually started doing it, It all began to come together. These are some my questions and answers for tonight. I’m proud I actually understand this stuff. I love it! Much easier (and more interesting) than fractions and math.

1.According to Douglas, what is the first Teaching of Karma Yoga?

That the universe is a reflection of itself-I’m not you, I’m similar, I’m nothing but you. Differences are what makes things real and beautiful. We’re all different but we’re all a reflection of ourselves.

2.What are the three kinds of actions - explain each in your own words. (clue: Nitia, Naimittika, Kamya)

Nitia-Things we must do. “Now or later, not never” for example, brushing your teeth, you can do it later…but you can’t NOT do it…that’s gross! Routine duties.

Naimittika-An occasion or event that happens when it happens and you rise to the occasion. Like a funeral. If it happens, you deal with it.

Kamya-Done to gain all you can gain. Knowledge, abundant fruits. You do it to learn more…like going to University, or taking a yoga teacher training course.

3.What is Dharma, Swadharma, and Adhikara?

Dharma-Ones Journey through life- what you want to do, how you do it, when you want to do it. Growth “If you got it, you missed it” You keep learning, asking, researching to keep rising to become more, never anything less. “It’s real”

Swadharma- The law of your being (why you are here) Your duty in life to help fulfill your Dharma. What you need to do to help pave the way for an enlightened path towards your Suttva. “Keep it real”

Adhikara-A requirement, qualification, prerequisite: I don’t have the adhikara (YET) to become a yoga teacher…I will soon!

4.In Tantra, Lila is defined in 3 ways. What are they?

Entanglement: We’re all connected “Indra’s Net”

Randomness: anything can happen at any time for no reason at all.

The Lucky: (non karmic events) You simply “got lucky” when you liked it, it’s a miracle. When you don’t, its shit.

5.What are the Gunas?

Gunas mean tendencies of the universe. Energies of life.
There are 3
Rajas-exciting energy
Tumas- slow/dull energy
Suttva- calm/centered energy (being perfect as you are-your Swadharma)

6.What are the three main components of Karma?

Doing something in accordance to ones Dharma (journey through life) without thinking of the benefits you’ll reap from what you do. For example: Giving someone a gift, and expecting nothing in return. Doing something for someone and doing it because you want to, not because you expect something back.

I look forward to hearing Douglas speak again. He lives at Finger Lakes. When I told him I went camping near Letchworth Park he actually invited me to come visit sometime! I can’t imagine what it would be like to hang out with him…so much more to learn. VERY exciting! He also does a retreat through India once a year. My heart is open and my fingers are crossed!