Feathered Pipe Blog – Voice Of The Wisdom Holders
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Feathered Pipe Blog: Voice of the Wisdom Holders

The Feathered Pipe has been blessed to host many of the foremost teachers, guides and wisdom holders within the realm of yoga, meditation, spirituality, health and wellness during our four-plus decades of existence. The Feathered Pipe Blog offers you the opportunity to explore more deeply their thoughts and insights for opening to experience a more healthful and fulfilling life.

Feathered Pipe Ranch: A Place to Savor and Reset Life

Together with many friends, I’ve been making annual summer pilgrimages to Montana’s Feathered Pipe Ranch for 15 years and counting. So it’s no surprise that the place #1 in my heart. It’s where I met the first batch of “yoga friends” that I would cherish for a lifetime and who would hold me up in dark times and celebrate with during the easy times. READ MORE

The Power of Nature – Baxter Bell, MD

Melina and I have been teaching at the Ranch together now for many years, and the one thing we both love about leading retreats at Feathered Pipe Ranch in all the abundant natural beauty that is the Ranch. We live on a busy street in a huge city in one of the most populated places on earth, so arriving at the Ranch with the only appreciable sounds being the changing winds and the babbling brook outside the teachers cabin is like landing in heaven! READ MORE

The Ten Most important Sutras – Judith Hanson Lasater

The 196 verses of the Yoga Sutras create an exquisitely sophisticated map of mind and consciousness, and to attempt to separate ten that are the most important is as foolish as digging to China. However, I will attempt to discuss ten of the sutras which I find definitive for the study of yoga. READ MORE

Replenishing Ourselves: The Necessity of Receiving – Carie Garrett

Giving is wonderful. Extending ourselves in service to others, sharing our gifts, wisdom, and time is very important. The world is in need of what we have to give. But, if we keep giving and giving, doing and doing, without plugging into our true source and replenishing ourselves, we will run dry. Our souls can become depleted. READ MORE

The Unexplainable Importance of Yoga – J. Brown

We’ve all heard about the amazing things that yoga can do for us, but try explaining exactly what it is and how it works and you quickly find yourself on shaky ground. There is an innate something at the heart of the matter that simply cannot be measured, only felt. As unsatisfying as this may be, the highly subjective perception of our own experience is the only real basis for any understanding, and the very thing that makes yoga so vital. READ MORE

The Value of Community

The Feathered Pipe has been blessed over the past 45 years, to develop deep relationship within the vibrantly rich yoga and holistic healing community in America. Feathered Pipe Ranch is honored beyond words to have been chosen by Yoga Journal in their current Travel & Culture issue as the #1 Mindful Yoga Destination world-wide. READ MORE

Fatigue Relief: An Iyengar Yoga Sequence for Relieving Fatigue – Marla Apt

Too tired. For many it’s the default response to every request—even the fun ones. Some of the walking weary are simply too overworked or overstressed to get adequate rest, while others may feel drained by a physical ailment, a psychological condition, or the side effects of medication. Whatever the cause, all can benefit from the respite that a restorative yoga practice provides. READ MORE

The Gift of Creativity: Learning to Listen Deeply Within – Erich Schiffmann

Your power is the creative power of Life flowing through you. When you feel it, you will intuitively understand that not only can you use this power to shape your experience and external circumstances, but that you have been doing so all along. We are constantly pulling things and events into materialization. That is how we are built. We have been given the gift of creativity. The idea is to now do it consciously, guided from within. READ MORE

Ease vs. Happiness – Nat Kendall

Most of us have been programmed to think we need to chase this ideal of feeling ‘happy’ as often as possible. However the reality is that a feeling of happiness is fleeting and in pursuing that alone we can create the exact opposite effect, we’re getting stressed out trying to find and hold onto it – what a paradox! I’m beginning to see through the illusion and have focused instead on building a life filled with more balance and ease. READ MORE

Is Your Yoga Safe? – J. Brown

When it comes to alignment, I find it curious to notice teachers who are are usually quite rigid in their instruction are now bending over backwards to explain how they respond to the needs of students. Specifically, I was reading an excerpt from a new book, written by a senior teacher in a classical tradition, who was considering the instruction to "straighten your leg." READ MORE

Where is Your Attention These Days?

It’s easier than ever these days to surrender to unbounded time shackled to screens that capture our attention and put our senses to sleep. But there’s another sort of surrender — the one that invites us to reclaim our power over where we put our attention. It helps us rediscover our built-in capacity to soften life’s sharp edges and revives reverence and gratitude for what we can see, hear, taste, touch, and love. READ MORE

Slow Yoga Revolution – J. Brown

The concept of “Slow Yoga” is not just about the pace with which we move our bodies. It’s a question of purpose. Are you doing yoga practice because you want to sweat? Are you doing yoga practice because you want to be stronger and more flexible? Are you doing yoga practice because you have pain and want relief? Or are you doing yoga practice because you just want to learn how to be well? Perhaps, all of the above. READ MORE

Yoga & Aging: Navigating Life’s Transitions – Judith Hanson Lasater

When I began my yoga practice in 1970, I had the idea that I would pretty much be following the same practice routine forever that I had established from the beginning. Nothing has been further from the truth. At the beginning I adapted my life to fit my practice. I started going to bed earlier so that I could awaken to practice in a quiet morning environment. I changed my diet, what I read, who I hung out with, and soon, my job, as I decided to begin teaching yoga. But over the years... READ MORE

Health & Ayurveda: What I Value The Most – Melina Meza

What I value most in this precious life is health. Health to me means absence of disease, stable energy levels and emotions, steady appetite, regular bowel movements and a daily urge to be creative. My definition of health is strongly influenced by my practice and study in Ayurveda over the last few decades and I continue to appreciate the practical wisdom she offers. READ MORE

Grace & Surrender Under the Big Sky – Nat Kendall

As long as I can remember, I've always been fascinated with the natural world. Growing up outside, amidst the towering mountains of Montana, living in alignment with the land and seasons and cradled under the big sky, foreshadowed something I would later rediscover through the practice of yoga in a BIG way – surrender. READ MORE

God in Everyone: Living a “Religious Life” – Erich Schiffmann

The word “religion” means to re-link or bind together. It is similar to yoke. It has to do with the feeling of not being separate, apart, left on your own or abandoned. And because you feel your connection with God and the universe you feel held, protected, taken care of. You feel safe. You thereby grow increasingly confident that the universe is inherently good. READ MORE

Escaping the Digital Quicksand, Mindfully – Anne Jablonski

It’s not the technology itself that’s the problem: it’s mismanagement of our agency over it. The solution isn’t to ban technology (good luck with that). Instead, we need to lay a foundation of mindfulness so that our daily encounters with technology do more good than harm. READ MORE

I Teach Yoga – J. Brown

The question of what yoga is, and who has a right to claim any authority over it, has always been a heated debate among earnest yogis. But one thing is for sure, if our definition of yoga is contingent on another person, especially someone who is revealed to be something other than what we predicated our understanding on, our sense of yoga will easily become confused or destroyed. READ MORE

Creating Our Destiny: Life is but a Dream – Dr. Michael Lennox

Sleeping dreams, aspirational dreams, waking dreams:  Truly, these three separate ideas are really reflecting one singular notion that is based on the principle that we are the creators of our own magnificent destiny.  When we awaken to this creative power that lives within each of us, we are set upon a path that allows us to truly live in a masterful way. READ MORE

Feed Your Soul: Reclaiming Wonder & Creativity – Carie Garrett

This freedom that we long for is a function of relaxing back into who we are, reclaiming our natural childlike free-flowing state of wonder and creativity. Freedom is a feeling of rightness that comes from an unplanned, creative experience of being completely in the moment, following its lead wherever it takes you. When we can become brave enough to say “yes” to it flowing through us, it completely feeds the soul. READ MORE

The Essence of Namaste – Nat Kendall

"Om. Namaste." I fold my hands in prayer, in reverence. The left palm meeting the right palm and a soft bow of my head. I show you that I come in peace so that you’ll lay down your weapons — be them words, actions or thoughts. My eyes meet yours and I see you. I see beyond your masks, judgments and projections. I see, you. READ MORE

Meditation: The Art of Listening Inwardly – Erich Schiffmann

For me, meditation in action—that is, in the midst of daily life—always involves the realization that this moment, right now, is absolutely worthy of my fullest attention. This means that “here” is where I am supposed to be, and that “this” is what I am supposed to be doing, and that “you” are who I am supposed to be with. READ MORE

Anxiety Relief: An Iyengar Yoga Sequence for Relieving Stress – Marla Apt

For many of us, what inhibits us from reaching our full potential and effectiveness in our day-to-day life isn't a visible and readily apparent handicap but is the built-up mental and emotional stress that can manifest in the physical and mental body as pain and anxiety. This can hamper if not block our progress forward in our work, our personal relationships and our individual spiritual evolution if not effectively channeled and redirected. READ MORE

The Wisdom of Patanjali and Krishnamurti – Dr. Ravi Ravindra

All great masters are original, not necessary novel. They are original in the real sense of the word—they are close to the origins. Therefore, they each express truth in their own quite unique way.... Although we usually think of knowledge as being a good thing, Krishnamurti emphasized the point that thought is the source of the problem, not the source of the solution. Patañjali said the movements of the mind are the source of the problem. READ MORE

A Recipe for Happiness & Well-Being – Laughing Water

As we chew our food, we also choose our future, Yet how casually we perform this miracle of transformation! The way we eat is the basis of how we feel, how we look and what we achieve. And perhaps more than anything else we do, it has profound ecological and social impact on the entire planet. Our food deserves out attention, whether our aim is to find health, save the planet or simply to experience gratitude. In any case, joy awaits us. READ MORE

Spinal Health: Bringing Vitality Back to the Spine – Gernot Hubor

Back issues are one of the most common physical complaints people have. Learning to tune into spinal alignment, and learning to lengthen and compress your spine can do wonders for spinal health, both in the short and the long term. One of the common causes of acute spinal trouble is over-compression of one edge of one of the discs between the vertebrae. READ MORE

Prana Management: Transitioning with Yoga and Ayurveda – Melina Meza

In both yoga and Ayurveda, you are encouraged to move smoothly and calmly between transitions. Smooth transitions are key to prana (life energy) management and balance as you pass through the daily, seasonal, and life cycles. Here are a few of my favorite ways to manage prana and smooth out transitions in yoga and Ayurveda. READ MORE

True Confessions: My Yoga Story – Baxter Bell, MD

My colleague, Nina, from Yoga For Healthy Aging (YFHA) said it was time I shared my story of coming to yoga, so here it is. But first, I should start by telling you what my life was like before I discovered yoga in 1994. Wow, where to start?! READ MORE

Rewriting the Story: One Word, One Pose at a Time – Andy Vantrease

It was week two of my yoga teacher training in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and I was unraveling. I had come here with high expectations (and equally high anxiety): Return to the place where Lyme Disease ripped my life apart several years earlier—and prove to myself how far I’d come. How much I’d grown. How deeply I had healed. READ MORE

Yoga’s Essence: Remembering Our Divine Connection – Erich Schiffmann

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means “yoke,” and yoke means “union” and “joining.” This is a reference to our ever-existing connection with the creative God Force. Yoga as a practice is about making this personal connection a conscious feeling-reality fact. Allowing yourself to then be guided by this inner feeling-reality is the source of right action. READ MORE

Keys to a Rewarding Home Yoga Practice – Judith Hanson Lasater

Most people practicing yoga have experienced the enormous benefits the practice confers. However, maintaining a regular yoga practice can be an enormous challenge. How does it fit into our busy modern lives? How do we "make time" to practice yoga? What do we do when it feels like a struggle to get on our mat every day? READ MORE

Brain Health: How Aging Affects the Brain & Nervous System – Baxter Bell, MD

We have recently shared some basic information about what the brain and nervous system are and what they do. And we’ve also shared with you how yoga can help with healthy aging of these essential parts of our bodies. Yet we have not been clear on what the normal aging changes are for the brain and the nervous system, so today, I will address that deficiency! READ MORE

Petitioning Your Dreams for Guidance – Dr. Michael Lennox

We all dream.  But what dreams mean and why during REM sleep we see images that are rarely clear and often bizarre remains one of life’s mysteries.  What if dreams could be tapped into to help you in your waking life?  What if you could actually use the symbolism and stories to answer difficult questions or solve long burning life issues? READ MORE

Moving from Attention to Awareness – Gernot Huber

Our minds have the tendency to be overly reactive, to zero in on what appears to be the most pressing thing at any given moment, to the exclusion of everything else. For survival in prehistoric times, such focused attention was probably a healthy response. But to live mindfully (and thus to maximize happiness), it is best to minimize this tendency, because being attention-driven and overly reactive keeps us in a state of perpetual low-level stress, always mindlessly reacting to the strongest stimulus. READ MORE

Asana for the Ages – Marla Apt

Imagine practicing the same sequence for a lifetime. Senior Intermediate level Iyengar Yoga instructor Marla Apt was asked to suggest one set of poses you could do for decades, with modifications to honor the changes in energy and ability you’ll encounter at different times. It is assumed you have a basic knowledge of the poses presented. READ MORE

Self-Knowledge: the Act of Dying to One’s Self – Ravi Ravindra

A great deal of emphasis has been placed by the traditions on self- knowledge, the kind of knowledge that transforms and heals the soul. The words written over the ancient library of Ozymandias, the king of Egypt, meant The Soul’s Cure.  Self-knowledge is a prerequisite to, if not synonymous with, knowledge of God. READ MORE

Love and Goodness: The Basic Truth of You – Erich Schiffmann

The basic truth is that you and I are aspects of creative divine Consciousness, and we are grounded in Love and Goodness. Therefore, as you experience the truth of who you are, you will feel good inside about yourself because you’ll be in touch with the creative energy of Love and Goodness which is already in you. It’s what you are made of. It’s who you are. READ MORE

Creating a Framework for Freedom – Marla Apt

When we lack clarity in our boundaries with others, we oftentimes become inwardly rigid with fear because all interactions become a minefield of unknown possibilities.  As ironic as it may sound, practicing disciplines that read like rules and behavioral restrictions can set us free. Developing a firmness and clarity in our actions and reactions allows us to be fluid, creative, and truly in the moment. READ MORE

Yoga Bodies, Yoga Minds – Chase Bossart

To understand what yoga for healing is and how it works, we need to know how it views the human system (body and mind), and why it holds these perspectives. The answers to this question can be found, at least in part, by looking for traditional Indian anatomical models that have been influential in India at different times over the past 2000 years as yoga developed. READ MORE

Not My Chicken: Reclaiming Your Power – Carie Garrett

Back in 2009, I began a life-changing addition to my yoga journey: 12-step recovery from co-dependency. Over these past 10 years I have learned to empower myself from within, instead of looking outward to others to provide my worth and my truth. I’ve learned how to own my voice and my opinions, especially when they differ from others’ voices and opinions. Most importantly, I’ve learned what boundaries are and how to set them. READ MORE

Give Me Some Shanti – Crystal Water

While it has been popular for thousands of years in the east, it is just over the past few decades that yoga has busted its asana into the Occidental world. It’s gone from being a fringe movement of far-out hippies to mainstream-totally-hip. In this action-packed and fast-moving world, more and more people are experiencing how yoga and meditation can change their life and bring peace of mind. READ MORE

Returning to the Self: The Practice of Pratyahara – Judith Hanson Lasater

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the second chapter is filled with teachings about the astanga or eight-limbed yoga system. The astanga system is presented as a series of practices which begin with external limbs like ethical precepts and move toward more internal limbs like meditation. The fifth step or limb is called pratyahara and is defined as the conscious withdrawal of energy from the senses. Almost without exception yoga students are puzzled by this limb. READ MORE

Salamba Sarvangasana: Supported Shoulderstand – Marla Apt

If you are new to yoga, you may not be ready to perform many of the inverted poses but you can begin enjoying the benefits of practicing inversions through Sarvangasana, which can gradually and safely be learned by beginners.  Once the art of balancing in this pose has been mastered, a yoga practitioner never graduates from practicing this essential yoga asana. READ MORE

Soft Peace and Childlike Wonder – Carie Garrett

Each of us is a prophet on a hope journey, someone who listens to God and points the way for others; each of us is Joseph and Mary on a faith journey, staying the course even though it’s rough and we get tired; each of us is the shepherd, being terrified when we hear messengers of God, yet joyfully following the message; each of us is a magi, someone through whom deep spiritual wisdom flows; and…each of us is the Christ child, a gift from God to help light the world. READ MORE

Freedom Yoga: Discovering the True Nature of Being – Erich Schiffmann

I use the discipline of yoga to encourage the experience of stillness. The feeling of stillness is peace, and the feeling of peace is joy. That’s simple and profound and exciting. This is my emphasis because this is the most direct way of experiencing the truth about yourself. Experiencing yourself in stillness is like a wave relaxing into itself and thereby experiencing its inherent ocean nature. READ MORE

What is Bhakti? Nurturing Our Divine Connection – Nat Kendall

Often words fall short. Trying to portray the subtleties of our own unique life experience and perspective can be so elusive. Sharing the emotions and feelings that swell up in our own heart – the depths of our tender suffering and the ecstasy of our pure joy – how could this ever be encapsulated into words? And then desperately trying to be heard and experienced by another? READ MORE

Mount Kailasa: The Last Pilgrimage – VJ Supera

There is a mountain in western Tibet that stands alone in all its sacred glory.  The Hindus call it Mount Kailas.  The Tibetans call it Kang Rinpoche, “the precious one of ice.”  This mountain represents The Almighty in concrete form, and man in his impermanence.  Its perpetually snow-clad peak rises 22,028 ft into the air.  People do not climb this mountain for that would show disrespect and anger the gods who dwell there. READ MORE

Therapeutic Healing in Iyengar Yoga – Marla Apt

According to Patañjali’s definition, all practitioners of yoga are undergoing a form of therapy, whether it is for a spiritual ailment, a mental misapprehension or a physical illness. In the practice of Iyengar yoga, the therapeutic and meditative benefits are derived through a progressive system involving the sequencing of the asanas (poses) and pranayama (yogic practice involving breath control), attention to the alignment and technique of the practices and the timing in the practices. READ MORE

The Principles and Practice of Yoga Nidra – Richard Miller, PhD

Yoga Nidra is derived from the ancient Tantric Shastras, and forms a complete program of deep relaxation, intensive Self-inquiry and profound meditation. During Yoga Nidra we carefully and systematically investigate the nature of the structures and beliefs that define our personal identity. These structures include the physical body, the energy body, the sensation, feeling and emotional bodies, the bodies of thought and imagery, and the bodies of bliss and personal ego identity. READ MORE

How Your Breath Affects Your Nervous System – Baxter Bell, MD

It turns out the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) that connects brain to body is a two-way street. If I am anxious and nervous or stressed out by events in my life or simply the thoughts about those events, my brain, via the nerves of the ANS, will likely turn on the Sympathetic part of that system (the Fight or Flight response)...But the cool thing is that the lungs and heart can feed back to the brain and essentially convince the brain that things are calm and peaceful, even when there are still stressful circumstances. READ MORE

Pranayama: The Intersection Between Body, Breath & Mind – Gernot Huber

The part of your nervous system that regulates your breath as well as the other body maintenance functions is called the autonomic nervous system (ANS), because it functions autonomously from the conscious mind. What is interesting about the breath is that you ARE able to influence your breathing consciously without much effort when you do remember your breath. READ MORE

Synchronized Swinging and ‘Odd Sympathy’ – Anne Jablonski

A friend recently shared a nugget of advice she’d read online, aimed at those prone to discouragement and despair about the world’s crazy-scary state. For anyone overwhelmed by the contrast between the immensity of the problems and the realistic measure of any one individual’s capacity to influence them. Her counsel? READ MORE

Going Deeper: Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana – Marla Apt

So often in your practice, you’ll feel a craving for deep sensation, like that of a cat luxuriating in its morning stretch. Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head-of-the-Knee Pose) is one of those asanas that can inspire this desire, and if you practice with a focus on stretching, the pose can definitely provide a great deal of sensation. READ MORE

All These Years Together – Judith Hanson Lasater

Anyone who has heard about the Feathered Pipe Ranch has heard about what a special place it is. I loved it from the first time I taught there, in 1975. In those days Montana was a lot more “exotic.” And a “yoga workshop” was just plain weird. When we 23 hearty souls gathered that July, we ate our dinners sitting around the kitchen table. The three-week long workshop cost $250. We became a family, a community, whose influence would reach out and touch people around the world over the next 40 years. READ MORE

Cable Cars to India: The Bay Area’s East-West Transmission – Philip Goldberg

San Francisco has always been America’s hinge to the East, serving as both a primary port of embarkation to what we once called the mysterious Orient and as the entry point for immigrants, from the Chinese laborers who helped build the transcontinental railroad to the Indian engineers who helped create Silicon Valley. But far more important than the muscle and the brain power we imported, or the cuisines and the art forms, has been the spiritual wisdom. READ MORE