Larry

Greetings From Lawrence: January 2022

Happy New Year!! 

Another month has quickly passed and I’m happy to report our belongings arrived safely just before the 25th of December, making for the grandest unwrapping of gifts ever for Christmas.  Brought back childhood memories of acting surprised on the big morning after secretly finding the pre-wrapped presents from Santa days before.  Sorry Mom.  As we hit it pretty hard with all the unpacking and beginning the facelift in our yoga space, efforts came to a screeching halt as Miki and I came down with nasty colds.  Following my own guidance to others about getting plenty of rest and fluids, we were both feeling much better about a week into the new year and now getting back on track with all we wish to bring this year.

 

60th Birthday Fundraiser

A huge mahalo to everyone who supported my 60th Birthday Celebration and Fundraiser.   Leading up to the day of the ride the weather forecast kept calling for rain.  Family and friends’ prayers asking the rain gods to take the day off were heard, gifting us with an abundance of sunshine and experiencing the most epic 34 miles of my life as we ended at 10,000 feet atop Haleakala.  I must say it was quite humbling getting to the top, but knowing all of you had my back was uplifting and inspiring.  And if that wasn’t enough, I was overjoyed as many of you took time out of your busy schedules to join us for the 108 Sun Salutations the following day.  Your love brings over $3,000 toward the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation, Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Veggielution.  There is still time to contribute if you haven’t already by clicking here.

 

Yoga For Men

OK, so what is this Yoga For Men class I’m teaching online at Breathe Together Yoga?  First, let’s be clear:  Yoga is for everyone, and it is my hope that someday every human being on this planet will have an opportunity to experience and even practice on a regular basis.  So why teach a class just for men?  For starters, I’ve lived in a man’s body over the last 60 years and wish to share what I’ve learned as a practitioner of yoga.   Now, men are all built and wired differently, but in general, there are certain physical characteristics that we seem to have in common, like tight hips and hamstrings, limited mobility through the shoulders, and unhealthy lower backs to name a few.  I’ve been fortunate to study with teachers showing ways of bringing more strength and mobility to these and other areas that helped my own yoga practice, which I bring here.   An observation I’ve made of yoga classes geared especially for men is that the focus seems to be solely on postures, which is only one small part of yoga, one of eight limbs.  Yoga for Men is different at Breathe Together.  As we practice, we contemplate and experience the other limbs as well like the ethics referred to as the Yamas and Niyamas, breath work, concentration, introspection and meditation.  Interwoven in our practice we explore the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita and other beautifully written works that ARE yoga.  For those men who are at the beginning of their yoga journey not quite ready to be in a studio setting, this online offering is perfect for you and geared for all levels.  After our practice is done, we make time to hang out and share whatever is on our mind while honoring and respecting one another.   If this sounds like something you might wish to try, join us Thursday nights at 7:15pm Pacific Time by registering here.

 

Easing In To Each New Day

I leave you now with a little gift, a routine I practice first thing every morning.  I’ve found as each year goes by those first few minutes rising up and out of bed are challenging, especially on cold mornings, with tight and achy body parts.  This routine brings a gentle attention to breath, the joints, connective tissue, muscles and lines of energy also known as meridians to ready you inside and out for a healthy and energetic start to a new day.   Let’s give it a try by clicking here and subscribe (free) to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.

 

Family tells me January has been a bit dry in the San Francisco Bay Area since December’s downpours.  Connecting our rain gods here on the island with yours in California to bring more in the coming weeks.  Be joyful, healthy and free.

With Love,

Lawrence

108 Surya Namaskars

 

108 Sun Salutations completed! To say I am blessed seems like an understatement as I bathe in all the love I am feeling at this moment. Thoughts of gratitude: Mom & Dad, thank you for bringing me into this world with the biggest hearts and continuing every single step of the way over the years, the most supportive and compassionate parents on earth even now; Karen and Super Dave Temple for hosting us on Maui in your beautiful home, providing us with space to share all 108 salutes to the sun with loved ones near and far; Jennifer Prugh and the family at Breathe Together Yoga for providing space at my home away from home in Sola to connect with us here on the islands through breath and movement, while masked even; All of you who joined us virtually – I truly felt your energy, then and all the other times we spend together practicing on and off the mat; All who have so generously donated $$$ and in some cases, even pledged to volunteer, in support of TCEF, Veggielution and Kokua Hawaii. There is still time if you haven’t made a contribution here; My beautiful wife and partner Miki, who I adore for her patience, creativity, unconditional love and support, energy and badassness. I could not have accomplished what we did these last few days without her efforts; Big kine thank you, to all of you with your messages of birthday love. I feel you with the warmest heart and wish you and your families joy and good health. #lovingawareness #108suryanamaskar #tibetanchildrenseducationfoundation #kokuafoundation #veggielution #breathetogetheryoga #laughbreathelovelive #grateful

Haleakala: We Made It!!

We did it!!! Part one of birthday fundraising complete. Big love to Team Haleakala Family – Miki Ohashi, Genevieve Muñoz, and Dan Cordell for all the support from start to finish, then riding buddies cousin Chacha Ramon and SuperDave. Could not have done this without you!!! Next are the Sun Salutations Friday December 17th at Noon Pacific. Lastly, big thank you for your contributions so far. If you haven’t already please consider. All details here.#tibetanchildrenseducationfoundation #kokuahawaiifoundation #veggielution #breathetogetheryoga #lovingawareness #sixtytimesaroundthesun

Greetings From Lawrence: December 2021

Happy Holidays!  

It all still seems so surreal, keyboarding this month’s newsletter from a different state and space in our new home in Kailua, making do with borrowed folding chairs and table, inflatable mattresses and cooking ware until our stuff from California arrives next week.  Miki and I are already feeling the loving embrace of the island through family and friends living here, as well as an abundance of love and support coming from those of you back in California and other parts of the world.  Thank you!  I’ve been here for less than a week and we’re once again packing up our bags and bikes for tomorrow’s hop over to Maui for a few days raising awareness and cash while celebrating a birthday.

 

Preserving Culture – Educating Children – Taking Care of the Elders – Connecting People From All Backgrounds Through Food and Farming – Environmental Education In Schools and Community

This is the week!!  My 60th Birthday Fundraising event which includes a ride up to the top of Haleakala on December 16th, followed by 108 Sun Salutations on the 17th, all in the spirit of raising money for The Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation, Kokua Hawaii Foundation, and Veggielution.   Many thanks to those of you who have already donated.  We still have quite a ways to go to reach our goal of $10,800, so if you haven’t already, please consider contributing what you can by following one or all of the links below:

 

Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation

Kokua Hawaii Foundation

Veggielution

 

Some of you have expressed interest in cheering us on along the cycling route to the top of Haleakala on Thursday… please do!!  We’ll be starting in Paia at approximately 7am local time.  My guess is it will take us somewhere between 6-7 hours to reach the top.  Then on Friday please join me at 10am Maui/12pm Pacific Time for 108 Sun Salutations by coming to Breathe Together Yoga for live streaming from Maui (register here) or from your own space via zoom by registering here.  Drop in and say hello, practice as many salutes to the sun you wish and help celebrate our beautiful community and 60 trips around el sol.  For those of you on Maui, message me if you’re interested in practicing with us on location for details.  Again, this is all donation based.  Hope to see you there!!!

 

 

New Classes

Dudes, interested in a yoga class which focuses on some of the typical physical challenges male bodies can sometimes have with yoga postures (e.g. tightness and mobility issues with shoulders and hips, tight hamstrings, lower back pain, etc.)?   Or maybe you have a brother who would like to try yoga but might be a bit intimidated by the more experienced practitioners in the studio?  Beginning Thursday, January 6th, I’m thrilled to offer “Yoga For Men” online through Breathe Together Yoga.  Our weekly sessions will bring men of all levels together on the mat to practice breath, meditation and postures to explore strength, flexibility, stability and ease.  We’ll also spend time after practice to just “rap” – a chance for us all to connect and share our latest top of mind topics in a safe environment.  

 

I’ll also begin streaming a weekly Yin yoga class online through Breathe Together Yoga on Monday January 3rd, open to everyone.  Yin is a meditative, healing practice using passive, long-held floor poses, bypassing the muscles and allowing you to nourish and strengthen the deeper tissues. Connective tissues, fascia, joints, ligaments, and bones receive gentle, low load stress. The poses are held between 2-5 minutes and the muscles stay passive in order to pass the stress on to the deeper tissues. Each Yin posture is an opportunity to go inward and find an appropriate balance of effort and ease. A wonderful complement to an active (Yang) practice and a much needed tool for anyone who needs to unwind a tight body, mind, or heart. 

 

Both of these offerings are evening classes starting at 6:30pm Pacific Time.  Click here to sign up!

 

New Space

Super excited about this room, which over the next month will transform to become our yoga studio and sanctuary, where I’ll be able to teach and practice with up to 6 practitioners, as well as stream and record live classes.   Truly blessed.  Stay tuned for more class offerings!

 

That’s about it for now.  I sincerely hope to see you later this week, and if not, sending you lots of love and tenderness over the holidays.  Be Joyful, Be Healthy, Be Free.

With Love,

Lawrence

 

Greetings From Lawrence: November 2021

Hello!

May this first newsletter (of what I hope are many) find you healthy and happy.  It was my goal to have learned the Mailchimp application by now to make for a more fancy debut, but just not gonna happen with all that Miki and I have going on in our lives with the relocation to Oahu.  So, this will have to do for now.   While it’s only been a few weeks since teaching my last group class here in the South Bay, I have to tell you I already miss you all very much.  The energy and light you all brought week to week was uplifting to say the least, and I look forward to getting back into swing in January with more online and in-studio/outdoor yoga and cycling sessions from Oahu, as well as occasional workshops back in California.

Preparation for this move has been quite a process, not without “big kine” waves filled with excitement, joy, sadness, anxiety, anger, laughter, fear, etc, with so many moving parts needing to come together in a very short amount of time.  Thank goodness for our yoga practice, which inspires me over and over to show up each day with what I have, doing the best I can and with lots of love.  Breathing.

Preserving Culture – Educating Children – Taking Care of the Elders – Connecting People From All Backgrounds Through Food and Farming – Environmental Education In Schools and Community

I’m thrilled to lead an event that will enable us to connect from all parts of the world, bring an abundance of joy and give us an opportunity to offer up love and support by raising money for a few of my favorite communities.  Come December I’ll be completing my 60th tour around the sun and wish to celebrate through three of my joys: Yoga, Cycling and Service. Mid December, we’ll be on the beautiful island of Maui to ride our bicycles from Paia (just a few hundred feet above sea level) 34 miles to the top of Haleakala at 10,000 feet!  The following day, I’ll lead all of you wishing to join (in person or via zoom) through 108 Sun Salutations. Drop in and say hello, practice as many salutes to the sun you wish and help celebrate our beautiful community. My only ask is that you consider donating whatever you feel comfortable giving to one, two or all three of these amazing organizations to reach our overall goal of $10,800. Simply follow the links below to each of their respective GoFundMe pages:

Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation
Kokua Hawaii Foundation
Veggielution

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting more information on my WebsiteFacebook and Instagram about each of these foundations, as well as schedule and logistic details.   And for those of you who have no clue what a Sun Salutation is, no worries as I’ll be sharing a number of helpful hints on the three sequences we’ll be experiencing along with modifications so that we can all participate and enjoy the yoga.  Please feel free to share this with those interested in participating!

Gratitude Flow at Bay Club Redwood Shores

 For those of you at Bay Club, I’ll be squeezing in one more yoga class at Redwood Shores this coming Saturday November 20th at 11:30am.  All levels are welcome, coming together to celebrate all that we have in our lives.  Hope to see you there!
 

Practice

Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving is just a week away and before we know it, a new year will be here, just like that.  During the ups and downs, remember to take the occasional pause, the breath… presence.  Reflect on all the lessons we learned through Shelter In Place.  Bring your yoga daily, even if it’s just a few minutes sitting and breathing on your mat.  I’m currently reading an excellent book by Eddie Stern titled, “One Simple Thing”, where he visits the science of yoga and how it transforms our life.  “Within the practice of postures, there are three areas that we must pay attention to:  the body, the breath, and the mind.  To put it very simply, postures steady the body, breathing steadies the nervous system, and gazing (drishti) steadies the mind.”   Over time, this steadiness and joy spills over to our day to day life.  Cool?  Yes.
That’s about it for now.  Have an amazing Thanksgiving Holiday, and I’ll be back in touch in December.  Be Joyful, be Healthy, be Free.
With love,
Lawrence

A Shamanic Blessing Translated From Nahuatl

This one resonating within this day.  Thank you Miki for sharing…

′′I release my partner from the obligation to complete me.

I release my parents from the feeling they failed with me.

I release my children from the need to bring me pride, so they can write their own paths to the rhythm of their hearts, as it whispers in their ear.

I don’t lack anything, I learn from all beings, all the time.

Thanking my grandparents and ancestors who came together to allow me to be alive and follow my path today.

I release them from past failures and unfulfilled desires, knowing they have done their best to travel their way of living with their standard of consciousness.

I strip my soul before their eyes and that’s why they know I don’t hide or owe anything.

I must be faithful to myself more than ever by walking with heart wisdom, I know that I am fulfilling my life project, free from family loyalties that can disrupt my peace and happiness, this detachment is my responsibility.

I surrender the role of the savior, to be the one who unites or meets the expectations of others.

I cherish my essence, my way of expressing it, even if not everyone can understand me.

I honor you, I love you and recognize you innocent.

I honor the divinity in me and you…

We are free.′′

Why I Feel So Damn Good After Time On The Trail

Recently, I offered a helping hand to a loved one in need of cleaning out her condo in preparation for leasing. For one person, it would require a week of solid work, so a second human resource would surely help her get the job done sooner. Now, before you start with the “Well that was sweet and noble,” you have to know the condo is on Oahu. Yep, I had never been, so the logic was, with only four full days to get the deed done, we’d work hard and still have time to play. And that we did.One of those playgrounds included the Ka’au Crater trail, about 20 minutes away from Waikiki. We made our way out of the downtown area and up to the trailhead where we parked along a luscious wall of green. We proceeded to enter through a portal leading us from the wide open blue skies to a whole new world of enchantment and amazement beneath the greenest canopy of rainforest – a jungle of sorts, complete with huge trunks, houseplants the size of trucks with leaves twice the size of elephant ears; rays of sunshine struggled to make their way through the branches, leaves and thick vines hanging off the top. The trails were highly technical, meandering up and down, requiring the utmost attention to each and every step along the way while maneuvering rocks, roots, and mud. At times, we would need ropes to make our way up the steepest ascents. Each and every breath of air was loaded with what seemed like pure oxygen, offering up the richest prana and light. At one point, heavy rains managed to break through the canopy, baptizing us with a feeling of purity and cleanse. We played like children, wading through streams and pools just below the most beautiful-sounding waterfalls. We stopped and sat, listening through our ears and hearts all that surrounded us, outside and in. As we drove away from that portal, our cups were full, our bodies, minds, and hearts refreshed and renewed. Pure joy.Ever wonder why you feel so (damn) good after spending time in the forest, out over the open plains, or along the beach? For me, there’s always been this healing connection with nature when running, trekking, or simply sitting in the woods. The Biophilia Effect: A Scientific and Spiritual Exploration of the Healing Bonds Between Humans and Nature by Clemens G. Arvay offers up some science behind why it is a really good practice to be one with nature. Here are three I found most interesting:

  1. Biological Communication: Plants communicate, not only with other plants, but also with humans. One of the primary vehicles is by using chemical substances, some known as terpenes, to send messages of threatening pests with details of the type of pest and results of the damage done. Plant immune systems receive these messages and adapt accordingly to protect themselves, and don’t stop here. As we, humans, enter these hotbeds of communication, our own immune systems receive these signals, boosting the effectiveness, and actually increasing our own defenses through numbers and activity
  2. The Unconscious Mind: Our reptilian brains bring forward experiences of our ancestors from over thousands of years. These generational patterns dictate how we respond to certain situations, resulting in reactions ranging from feeling relaxed to fight-or-flight mode. Birds happily singing above us have never really posed much of a threat and, as such, invite a friendly and happy mood. Bushes filled with berries are a sign of nourishment, which in turn might make us feel happy and pleasant. Flowers elicit similar feelings and, surprisingly, indicate food is nearby. Our ancestors used trees as protection and safety for eating and sleeping; being in similar surroundings today will most likely make us feel secure.
  3. Fascination: Humans have two forms of attention – directed and fascination.The first is the one required day-to-day at work or school while we study, read, or drive from point a to b. We eventually pay the price when using directed attention, expending precious energy that can ultimately be quite exhausting and stressful.The second, fascination, requires no energy, is automatic, and actually offers up a recharge for our minds and hearts. Nature is full of things that fascinate; from giant leaves, to granite walls towering thousands of feet up into the air, to waterfalls that seem to drop forever into the most brilliant rainbow.

Arvay captures many more reasons why we feel the way we do while outdoors, so check out his book. But, before you do, get out and connect with all that lives and thrives along the trail. Breathe their precious gift of air. Feel nature’s vibrations as well as the thoughts and experiences of your family from years past. Finally be in tune with all that brings wonder and fascination.

Conserving Energy On and Off the Mat

 

Brahmacharya, “walking with the divine.” What better way to describe my recent trekking experience, as we made our way along trails high up into the heavens in the Himalayas of Ladakh? This yama has many interpretations, ranging from celibacy, to moderation of desires, to being aware and appreciative of everything around you, to wisely using vital energy and resources. These last two inspirations seemed to resonate the most at some 14,000 feet of elevation.

 

 

Past

Years back, there was a time when the same trail would be an entirely different experience: racing against the clock, plus measuring my heart rate, mileage, and speed to ensure I was maximizing my efforts to beat my personal best. The focus was more about training and performance, targets and metrics, and taking my body to its limit; and less about the joy of presence, of being aware and intimate with all my surroundings.

This time it was different. Let’s start with wise use of energy. In this case, climbing mountains at this level of elevation requires conscious breathing and mindfulness with something as basic as walking. Each step, each sway of arms, is carefully chosen to require minimal amount of effort. This time, everything around me – the bluest of skies, puffy white clouds so close I could touch them, warm breeze, wildflowers and grasses, beautiful Tibetans coming out to greet us, clear running streams, birds, rivers – all were a representation of the divine. This intimate connection with everything around me soothed and warmed my heart. And, as a rainbow appeared just over a nearby mountain, tears of joy rolled down my cheeks, feeling yet another welcoming embrace from God. As the tears dried, I reflected on the ways this happiness and peace could follow me beyond the trails that inspired, where, and how to move in such a way to leave less of a footprint and have more connection.

 

Present

On the mat, I noticed every detail of my breath: the texture and sound, as well as how it seemed to create paths to find the way; the manner in which the palms of the hands connected with Mother Earth while flowing through cat and cow or hovering in downward dog, at peace with whichever way the foot rested along the standing leg, my tree limbs swayed with the gentle wind. I took note of where the body was wasting energy as I struggled with that gnarley boat pose or side plank. Where can I let go?

 

Future

Off the mat, I’ll take this practice of using energy wisely to my relationship with the earth, trading my fossil-fueled vehicle for electric, and taking steps to use more solar for the house and other devices. As I transition out of tech to my true love, getting back to pedaling from point A to B will be a joy. Completely eliminating plastic and replacing with glass and other reusable alternatives. Need a “new” shirt? Next time I’ll consider purchasing a preowned top. Composting. The list goes on and on. I close my eyes and visualize the bluest skies and clearest streams of the mountains of Ladakh, and recall something ashtangi and teacher David Swenson once shared at one of his workshops… At the end of the day, we just want to make whatever space we come to a little better than when we first arrived… Living the yoga.

Peace, Love, and the Great Outdoors

Yoga is more than just asanas. It’s a way of life.

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Urdvha Dhanurasana

“Do you have a rod in your lower spine?” someone asked while observing my backbend. Without a pause the samskara surfaced, “It’s those bulged discs”. As I completed the last word of my response my next thought was, “You know they’re not there anymore, in their bulged state. It’s the story, the fear of the excruciating pain and darkness that comes as they pinch nerves along the spine.”

It’s taken me many years to work through those four discs between S1 and L2 with the yoga, and there has most definitely been progress. As always there is more work to do, as evidenced by my return to the impression left by pain and suffering.

Some inspiration I’ve found helpful from Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute: “It is never too late (to think of working with our samskaras and and altering our destiny). We must remember that darkness has no power to swallow light. No matter how small the flame and no matter how dense the darkness around it, it still shines—in fact, due to the contrast, it shines brighter. Similarly, the indomitable will of the soul burns on even during the downward spiral of our destiny. In deep depression we may lose hope, but we never lose faith in life itself. The will to live and the desire to find some meaning in life never dies. And if we follow our undying will we will be able to overcome the influence of our negative samskaras. All we need is patience.”