No Shave Yoga Event – #yogabeardsunite ~ Ascending the Mountain with David Miliotis

Day 8 – No Shave Yoga Event – #yogabeardsunite ~ Ascending the Mountain with David Miliotis  
Today David Miliotis taught a workshop at Native Yoga called Ascending the Mountain. In essence we took a detailed exploration of back bending by practicing some of the asana of the Intermediate Series of Ashtanga Yoga combined with sanskrit mantra recitation and pranayama practice.

David presents the application of breath, movement and visual attention in a way that you feel like you are not just practicing some random sequence of movement. He encourages you to bring every ounce of your attention into the precision of total awareness. Yet at the same time it felt very fluid and it helped to shake off some of the apprehension that appears when the body struggles with the challenge of the practice. I feel that I noticed how much my mind gets in the way of staying present and that somehow through the practice session I was able to chip away at that agitation and replace it with focussed care.

The analogy of Ascending the Mountain feels very apropos for this type of work. Symbolically speaking the mountain we are all ascending is an internal adventure that requires diligence and consistency. I remember the first time I went on a relatively serious mountain climbing expedition with some friends in Northern California. They were all very experienced and I was a novice, being from Florida and all, and I went into not even realizing how demanding it was going to be physically and mentally. What a humbling experience to say the least. When we finally reached the top the view was so spectacular and the senses seemed so clean and clear that the sense of accomplishment overrode the pain my body was feeling from carrying a way to heavy pack high up into thin air. What came as an even greater shock was that coming down seemed more challenging than going up. I came away from that experience thoroughly transformed and quite a bit more careful about agreeing to go mountain climbing without proper preparation.

Deep back bending is very much a similar experience. Proper preparation is absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of the practitioner. Through serious work, attention toward the goal, and persistent application over a long period of time we gradually make our way toward the vista of feeling freedom in our body and mind. Like the old adage says, its about the journey, not the destination. 

As we make our way into the second week of the No Shave Yoga Event it is important not to loose focus on our goal. Our goal is to help raise awareness about our plight, to help inspire a greater sense of health in the community. An additional application of this goal is to help raise funds for those suffering through cancer now. Please help us achieve our goal and donate today.

 No Shave Yoga Event is a group of yoga teachers who have banded together to help spread the word, grow hairy, raise money and inspire health through the practice of yoga. Our fundraising team is called Yoga Beards Unite and we aim to raise at least $1500 by the end of November. Please help us achieve our goal by donating to our team page at When you post on social media please tag us to show your support and share your story to help us in our endeavor. Together we can make a difference! @adampolhemusyoga @brianmilleryoga @davidmiliotis @gregnardi @juankgalan @nativeyoga @willduprey

Mysore, Kirtan and Friends

Today is one of those days that I can’t help but share my excitement about. I set the alarm for 4am and made my way from home to the shala for an early morning practice. Upon returning to Florida several weeks ago from the 3rd series training with Tim out in Encinitas I have been feeling so inspired. Tim and the attendant trainees infused me with a sense of total of verve that that has motivated me to experiment with parts of 3rd I had not yet before. There is something about the series that is so completely physically challenging and yet altogether invigorating. Also, It is really fun to experiment when I am on my own or just a few friends practicing nearby knowing that there is no judgement based on performance capabilities.   
I was winding things down with the shoulder stand sequence and while balled up in Pindasana (a shoulder stand with the legs in lotus folded down against the chest and the arms wrapped around so that we mimic the fetus in the head down position) our good friend and student Carole came in for a surprise visit. She hit a couple of the wrong switches and the whole room lit up with fluorescent lighting and we had a good laugh at the grand entry. Carole started practicing with us 9 years ago here and we would both get to the shala very early in the morning and practice together regularly since then. She has moved up the D.C. area and I have missed her energy so much. It is really great to develop a friendship through repeated years of practicing silently next to someone. You really get to know the person and you develop a bond that goes beyond words. It felt like my morning started off with the right combination of positive vibes to help me find that zest that comes with stoked practice.

I suppose some momentum was created and to top it off Greg Nardi came to practice Mysore this morning with us which was just such a nice treat. Greg is getting ready to offer some workshops this Friday and Saturday here at Native Yoga Center. When we scheduled this event Greg had the idea of combining forces and offering a Kirtan. We both agreed and then realized that some practice would be a good idea before hand. 🙂 One thing that really inspires the Mysore room is the combined enthusiasm of the practitioners that show up. The teacher just gives a little assistance but really the practice and the sweat that comes from the practice is the real “bread and butter” so to speak. I thoroughly love the Ashtanga routines and all the elements of the “limbs” that make it up.
Greg and I had a chance to iron out which songs to sing and and get some practice in before this weekend. Enclosed is a short video from our practice session today. If you are in the South Florida area we hope you can make it. Greg enjoys teaching a well rounded approach to Ashtanga Yoga and his insights will encourage you.

Friday, September 25th he is offering a workshops titled:
Forward bends, Hips, and Knees 5:30pm – 7:30pm Paschimattanasana, or west stretching pose, describes forward bending as a means of opening the subtle channels on the posterior surface of the body.  In this workshop, we will look at the three symmetrical forward bends, or paschimattanasana poses in the beginning of primary series to help us understand the fundamentals of hip and spinal flexion.  We will then build on this foundation to look at asymmetrical forward bends and what they teach us about proper use of the hips and knees so that we can safely move towards advanced forward bending asanas.

Kirtan and Mantra with Greg Nardi and Todd McLaughlin 7:30pm – 8:30pm

On Saturday, September 26th he will offer two workshops:

Backbends 12:00pm – 2:30pm Explore the fine art of backbending.  We will work through a progressively challenging series of backbends that will educate you about the finer points of spinal extension.  Learn how to distribute energy through the entire body during your backbends to avoid overloading the lower back. If you are challenged by the process of deepening your backbends, or are just beginning to explore advanced backbending, this workshop is not to be missed.

Yoga Beyond Asana 4:00pm – 6:30pm This workshop will explore concepts from the Upanishads that shape the eastern worldview.  This paradigm is the contextual framework out of which yoga is born.  As a modern yoga practitioner, you will be able to fit contemporary yoga practice into an ancient wisdom tradition.  We will explore yogic theories and concepts such as conditioned living, the causes of suffering, the means of liberation, and the purpose of life.  Come with an open mind, and you will leave inspired.

All details and registration are available at

Greg Nardi returns to Native Yoga Center

Everyone at Native Yoga Center is excited for the return of Greg Nardi this Friday and Saturday, September 25th and 26th, 2015. 

Here is Greg’s bio from his website 

Greg Nardi, founder of Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide, has spent years of dedicated practice under the guidance of Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India. In 2003, he was given authorization to teach from Pattabhi Jois, and in 2009, he completed a level 2 authorization course from Sharath Jois. He is currently learning the advanced series under Sharath’s guidance at the KPJAYI.

Greg perpetually studies and practices Yoga, Eastern Philosophy and Sanskrit mantra chanting. He participates in Georg Feuerstein’s Traditional Yoga Studies course and has studied with Vyaas Houston of the American Sanskrit Institute.

Greg founded Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide, a resource which strives to explore the traditions that give rise to modern Yoga methods, to maintiain the Ashtanga Yoga system as taught by Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois, and to make these traditions and methods intelligible to the Western practitioner.

We have been lucky enough to have Greg teach here at Native several times over the years. Included is a link to the workshop schedule that he is offering this weekend.–save-date-september-25th-26th-2015-1430421410.php