Her beauty giving me shivers, her smile warming me inside, flushed hot & cold I search for the words that could make her mine, your name I ask, freedom she replies.♥

‎"Desire" from the Latin "de sidere", meaning *From the Stars *. Ur desires R an expression of the universe seeking realization thru YOU.

Yoga Therapy for Your Knees

With a simple anatomy lesson, isometric exercises, and attention to alignment in standing poses, you can undo chronic pain in your knees.

By Doug Keller via Yoga International
If you have chronic pain in your knees, if they “snap, crackle, and pop” when you bend or extend them, or if they tend to hyperextend, you may have improper tracking or “dislocation” of the kneecap. This misalignment causes the most common kind of chronic knee pain and damage to the knee joint, which develop slowly over time.

Here’s a simple anatomy lesson: The kneecap is designed to slide along a groove in the femur, and it has to move smoothly within that groove to do its job well. If it goes “off track” (and it often does), it grinds away at the cartilage underneath and destabilizes the knee. The ensuing wear and tear is a key reason for knee replacement surgery, which a lot of people believe is necessary because they think the cartilage is “gone.” But the truth is that cartilage can grow back, albeit slowly. The main problem is that if we don’t correct the imbalanced pull of muscles on the kneecap, we will continue to grind our cartilage down faster than our body can replenish it.

So why does the kneecap go off track? The cause lies mainly in the quadriceps, a group of four muscles that merge just above the knee into a single quadriceps tendon. This tendon surrounds and attaches to the kneecap, continuing down below the kneecap as the patellar ligament, where it attaches to the tibia (shin bone). The kneecap serves an important mechanical function. The quadriceps tendon passes over the kneecap like a rope over a pulley, and the kneecap—like a pulley—increases the strength of the quadriceps to straighten the leg by 30 percent. Together, the quadriceps and the kneecap form the “extensor mechanism” for straightening the leg. Misalignments come when the “rope” of the quadriceps exerts a sideways pull on the kneecap “pulley,” creating friction in the mechanism.

Hatha yoga has a lot to offer to correct this misalignment; the standing poses are especially effective. But be forewarned: Misalignments of the knee in various asanas can amplify the imbalances that lead to injury and can aggravate existing problems instead of correcting them. The good news is that good alignment and proper tracking are easy to achieve—once you know what to pay attention to.

Why Are We Prone to Knee Problems?
Our bodies are predisposed to injuries of the extensor mechanism because the hip joints are wider than the knees in a neutral standing position. The natural Y-shaped configuration to the leg bones promotes uneven contraction of the quadriceps, and problems such as hyperextension of the knees make these natural imbalances even worse. As a result, when we contract the quadriceps to straighten the leg, the unevenness of the contraction tends to pull the kneecap to the outside, thanks to the greater pull of the outermost quadriceps (the vastus lateralis).

The innermost quadriceps (the vastus medialis) is most responsible for counteracting this pull. This muscle tends to be weak and underused, while the outer thigh muscle tends to be stronger from overuse. So if you want to keep the knee healthy (i.e., tracking properly in its femoral groove), you need to learn to strengthen the vastus medialis. In fact, physical therapists consider exercises to strengthen this neglected muscle key in the rehabilitation of knee injuries.

The Challenge of Working with the Inner Quad
Yoga students are often told to “lift the kneecaps” in straight-legged poses to engage their quadriceps and, ostensibly, protect their knees from hyperextension. But lifting the kneecaps in a healthy and balanced way requires focused attention, especially if you already have problems in your knees.

This is easy enough to check. Sit or stand with your legs straight and your feet parallel to each other, then engage your thigh muscles so that your kneecaps “lift” or pull toward your hips. Do your kneecaps move up in a straight line, or do they move in an angle toward the outside of your knees? If the latter is the case, then you need to strengthen the vastus medialis, the inner quad, and learn how to use it properly.

This has its challenges. First, it can be difficult to find and isolate this muscle, because you can feel the vastus medialis firming most only in the last 10 to 20 degrees of knee extension. So it takes focused attention to even feel and understand what the muscle does.


Second, structural misalignments that cannot be changed (like being knock-kneed or bowlegged) tend to limit the vastus medialis’s proper functioning—and can even weaken it in relation to the other quadriceps muscles, making it even harder to work with.

Finally, although engaging the vastus medialis properly can prevent hyperextension of the knee, doing so is essentially useless if the knee is already hyperextended. Consequently, it’s important to consciously avoid hyperextension in the first place, rather than relying on the strengthening exercises to prevent it. This is critical, because the habit of hyperextension will otherwise pull you right back into your imbalanced patterns of knee extension even after you do the work of strengthening the vastus medialis.
Here’s what you can do to keep your kneecaps tracking properly:
  1. Find your vastus medialis, the inner quadriceps muscle.
  2. Strengthen it with small extension exercises.
  3. Continue to strengthen the vastus medialis in bent-knee warrior poses.
  4. Incorporate that work into straight-legged asanas.
Strengthening Your Inner Quad
Isometric extensions will help you identify the inner quad and its action as you strengthen it. To do this, sit in dandasana (staff pose) with your legs extended forward. Support your upper back against a wall if that’s more comfortable. Roll up a small blanket or sticky mat and place it under your knees to prevent hyperextension while your quadriceps are contracted. Next, rotate your right leg out 10 to 15 degrees (if the sole of your foot were on a clock face, your toes would be pointing to one o’clock). To find the vastus medialis, place your fingers about one inch above the inner (or medial) corner of your kneecap, and then walk your fingers about one and a half inches toward the inner thigh. Straighten your leg slowly to feel the quadriceps engage. You’re looking in particular for the firming of the teardrop-shaped muscle just under your fingers. This is the vastus medialis, the inner quadriceps. You will feel it fully engage as your leg straightens completely. Hold the contraction for 8 to 10 seconds, then release. Repeat this for two more rounds, making sure you don’t extend the leg so hard that you feel locking or pinching in the knee. Repeat this exercise with the left leg.

Next, do the same exercise without rotating the leg out. Keep your leg aligned so that your kneecap faces straight up toward the ceiling. Extend your leg fully and see if you can engage the inner part of the quadriceps—where you’re touching with your fingers—as strongly as you can engage the outer part of the quadriceps. Watch how your kneecap moves in a straight line along the center of the knee joint when your quads are engaged in a balanced way, rather than pulling to the outside. Repeat on the other leg. You can do these exercises several times a day—just be careful not to fatigue the muscle by doing too many sets at a time.

The Warrior Poses
Among the traditional asanas, the warrior poses (virabhadrasana I and II), in which the front leg is bent and the back leg is straight, are particularly effective for strengthening the vastus medialis, if done with proper alignment and action. Because although it’s easiest to isolate this muscle’s action when the leg is fully extended, it is also engaged and strengthened when the knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and the leg is bearing weight—as long as the knee is positioned vertically over the heel and the inner heel remains grounded. This is the case in a well-aligned warrior pose.

To come into the pose, step your feet wide apart, while extending your arms out to either side. Your feet should be roughly beneath your wrists. Turn your left foot in about 30 degrees and your right leg out 90 degrees. Keep your torso upright as you bend your right knee. Make sure your knee does not go beyond your ankle and toes: Keep the shin vertical while striving to bring the thigh parallel to the floor, so the leg is bent at a right angle. If the knee goes beyond your ankle and your weight shifts into your toes, widen the distance between your feet. Turn your head to look out over your right fingertips.

Even when your stance is the proper width and your knee bends to a right angle, a common—and harmful—misalignment is to let the thigh turn inward so that the knee points more toward the big toe. This happens especially when the arch of the foot collapses, which places stress on the inner knee and prevents you from strengthening the quadriceps in a balanced way. A less common misalignment is to shift the weight to the outer edge of the foot, so that the knee turns more toward the little toe. In this case the muscles along the outer thigh tighten, and the outer (lateral) side of the knee is stressed. In this case, too, the vastus medialis doesn’t function properly.

TO PROTECT THE KNEE make sure it’s above the second toe and that both the toe and the knee are on the same plane as the sit bone. If the vastu medialis is not properly engaged the knee falls inward. The vastus laterialis then pulls the kneecap outward, stressing the inner knee. When the weight shifts to the lower heel, the knee splays out over the little toes and stresses the inner knee.

Proper alignment in the warrior pose allows the vastus medialis to work in harmony with the other quadriceps to align and strengthen the extensor mechanism of the knee. Misalignments, on the other hand, disable the vastus medialis and increase the muscular imbalances that cause wear in the knee. You can protect your knees and strengthen the vastus medialis by following three basic rules for the warrior poses.

make sure your knee is bent properly to a right angle, so the weight is centered in your heel. If your toes are gripping, it’s a sign that your knee is going too far beyond your heel.

Second, don’t let the inner arch of your foot collapse, for this is a sign that your knee is turning inward too much. We sometimes compensate for this collapse by shifting weight to the outer edge of the foot, causing the inner heel to lift. But this stresses the outer knee and defeats the purpose of the pose. The challenge of aligning the knee is to keep your inner heel and big toe mound grounded while keeping the inner arch of the foot lifted. These two actions—grounding and lifting—will keep the knee from turning inward or outward too much. Lift your toes to help engage and lift the inner arch; as you bend your knee, draw the energy from the inner arch up through the calf to your inner knee, so that your knee remains directly over your heel and does not turn inward.

Third, make sure that the heel, kneecap, and hip joint of your bent leg are in the same plane by allowing a slight turn of the hips. (If you were doing the pose next to a wall, your outer right ankle, knee, and hip would all be touching it.) To achieve this, when you bend your knee, let your outer hip descend toward the floor (as if you had something heavy in your hip pocket) as you lift energy from your inner arch up through your inner knee. This will make your leg spiral out as you bend it, until your heel, kneecap, and hip joint are all aligned.
The purpose of these three actions in the bent leg is to ensure that all four quadriceps muscles are working harmoniously to stabilize the knee. As a result, the vastus medialis gets a much-needed workout that brings it into balance with the other quadriceps. To confirm this, gently pinch your thigh above the inner knee to check that the muscle there—the vastus medialis—is as firm as the thigh muscles at the outer knee.

Proper alignment of the knee in the warrior poses automatically gives the vastus medialis a healthy workout. Now you can apply these same actions to the straight-legged poses like trikonasana, in which working the vastus medialis consciously is more challenging.

Step your feet wide apart, turning your left foot in 45 degrees and your right leg out 90 degrees, toward the edge of your mat. Bend your right knee slightly and align your heel, knee, and hip as in warrior pose. Then straighten the leg mindfully, engaging the vastus medialis, especially in the last 20 degrees of extension. If you engage this muscle properly and your leg is aligned as you straighten it, you’ll see your kneecap draw straight up your leg, and you’ll find it nearly impossible to lock your knee. But if you let go of the vastus medialis even for an instant, the knee can easily hyperextend and lock into that position.

Fold at the hip crease to take trikonasana to the right. Keep the vastus medialis firm and lift along your inner thigh, maintaining the straightness of your leg without locking the knee. If you feel pressure in the knee joint, you’ve probably relaxed the vastus medialis and hyperextended your knee. Come out of the pose and try again. As a bonus for good alignment, you’ll feel a stronger stretch along the inner edge of your thigh, from your inner knee back toward your sit bone. Be careful not to overstretch: use the support of a block for your hand if you need it.

The standing poses of hatha yoga provide powerful and effective means for strengthening and stabilizing our knees, helping us to overcome structural imbalances that might otherwise lead to chronic wear and tear (and ensuing pain) in your knees. A little extra mindfulness in aligning and working our legs in these poses will enhance the natural therapeutic benefits these poses have to offer.

Doug Keller’s yoga journey includes 14 years of practicing in Siddha Yoga ashrams, intensive training in the Iyengar and Anusara methods, and nearly a decade of teaching in the United States and abroad. Asana instruction, essays, and other enlightening information is available on his website.

Welcome every morning with a smile

Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don't waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.

Og Mandino via Lessons Learned in Life
Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside of you.

~ Rumi

An Ode to The Way of Passion: a Celebration of Rumi.

An Ode to The Way of Passion: a Celebration of Rumi.
Via Elephant Journal, Sara Jean Deegan

Falling in love you remain a child; rising in love you mature. By and by love becomes not a relationship, it becomes a state of your being. Not that you are in love—now you are love.
~ Osho

None of the great poets of the twentieth century that we so revere have come close to understanding what Rumi and the great mystics understand. This is why a poet like Rumi is so important because in him we find the progression of spiritual love. We find both the record of the bliss and joy of union, and a record of the price, the cost, the stages, the evasions.

Love is a battlefield. But when our hearts are on fire, we can seek shelter in love’s glory, or as Rumi, the great love poet, so eloquently put into words:

What do you hope to find
In the soul’s streets
In the bloody streets of the heart
That have no news even of yourself?

At least you loved enough, in order to be transformed by love—to have felt something so deeply, powerfully in the marrow of your bones that your life will never be the same. I believe that life is worth living in any condition, and I know what it feels like to wish you were dead. Because I am not missing my limbs, nor was my face burned off in a fire, over all, I have been pretty lucky.

This is why Rumi says:
Heart, be brave, if you cannot bear grief—go
Love’s glory is not a small thing.
Come in if you are fearless;
Shudder, and this is not your house.

Rumi always missed his beloved. We see it in some of the last odes when he says, “Today somebody said his name, Shams, and all the beauty of my youth came back and I was lost in tears.”

There is profound tenderness in that grief because Rumi has opened himself to his utmost vulnerability. To accept that you can love someone with every cell of your being, that their separation from you is actually killing you, is to open yourself completely to the beautiful fragility of love, loneliness, desolation, suffering of the human experience—to be cut open by love, because love’s glory has blood all over it.

Until finally, the lover and the beloved are united with the entire cosmic love. Rumi writes:

“You could have anything,” you once said.
I laughed. What could anything be
Without you? All the world is driftwood
Thrown up from your sea.

Everything could be stripped from me, but my happiness would still remain. We must be willing to dissect our hearts, and shed blood, all over the Goddamned place, in order to be transformed by love—to empty ourselves enough in order to be filled with the joy and bliss of opening our hearts to a universal and greater love. As Rumi says in these poems in Love’s Fire:

Have you no dignity, my heart,
Scattering always like dust in the wind?
You are in the fire? Let’s leave you there.
Terror will make you subtle.

Anyone that has lived through heartbreak, loss, death, and all of the writhing of the ego as it burns to death, knows that the most difficult thing is to recognize how little we want to love, and how afraid we are to find ourselves broken, empty, desolate and lost. This is a necessary condition to the beauty of opening to love. To shed the walls, and barriers of love is the key to love—but not to seek for love. We must break our own hearts, over and over again. We must be destroyed by love in order to become love. We want the joy and bliss of love, but we do not want to make ourselves empty enough in order to receive them.

Rumi transcribes:
I groaned, he burnt me while I groaned.
I fell silent, his fire fell on me.
He drove me out beyond all limit,
I ran inside, he burnt me there.

Let us now talk more precisely about the burning. The author of The way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, mystic Andrew Harvey, offers his keen insight:

“…First, take a damp, dank log into a roaring fire. There is a lot of spitting, and the dark grimy smoke comes out of that dank log. The fire has to enter the log, but the log is damp and covered with grimy, old, dank moss—I am so depressed, my mother abused me, I lost my job, I lost seventeen girlfriends in a row, I want to kill myself, the world is ending, I am just sick of the whole experience, I want to die—that is the damp, dank log that we identify with, that is the ego, the endless whining, self-piteous, dreary voice that goes on and on. What happens first is purification. Purification is frightening, because in the fire a lot of spitting and black smoke, a lot of difficulty happens. Then expansion: the fire enters the log and the Light enters. You burn in the fire and the blaze is without interference now because the impurities have been burnt away. The final stage can never be talked about and no one, not even Rumi, has ever described it.”

Rumi wrote:
I groaned, “Be quiet,” he said,
I was quiet: he said, “Groan!”
I grew feverish, he said, “Be calm!”
I grew calm, he said, “I want you to burn.”

You have to ride it out, you have to make a commitment to suffering. It’s too late to turn back at this point, you just have to say, “I am going to go through this.” I have been burning in love for you all these years waiting for you to catch fire.

The first stage is like falling in love. The second stage is being in love and the third stage is being love. From falling in love to being in love to being love is the progression.

Harvey shares with his readers a beautiful story of love. Once, at a cemetery in India, he witnessed an old woman sobbing and sobbing at the grave of her son who had been tortured by Tamil terrorists. He continues:

“And I thought to myself and said to my companion, ‘I don’t want to love if that is what love is,’ and he said, ‘Are you crazy? What she feels is so immeasurably beautiful because she grieves that much, she loves that much, and love lives on in her.’ Love’s glory was in her weeping, love’s glory was in her sobbing, love’s glory was in the abandonment of her grief. That is love’s glory, and love’s glory has blood all over it.”

“When somebody dies of AIDS in your arms, love’s glory is the blood they spit onto your shirt as they are dying.

“Love’s glory is holding the two year old child dying of AIDS against your breast so that he can have some warmth before he goes, and knowing that as he goes, he will break your heart in a way that you never had your heart broken. Love’s glory is accepting the heartbreak and opening to it, not once, not a thousand times, but every second. Every second has a new heartbreak. Every piece of news has a disaster. Every turn of this desolate world brings new agonies, and love’s glory means accepting, opening, embracing them all, and giving love completely, unconditionally, at all moments, including the torturer and murderer.”

If you are burning alive in a crowded place and no one stops to see if you’re alright, and if you are bleeding, bleeding, bleeding to death—seek shelter in love’s fullest glory, the abandonment of your sorrow, the acceptance that you are just going to have to burn like the sphinx in order to rise from your own ashes. But remain open all of our lives—open yourself completely to feeling life’s experience it in its fullest glory.

We could sit at home in stupid meditation, blissing out, while people are dying in the streets—we should do something, love, break your heart. What you are going through is the most extremely difficult thing that you can possibly do. It is horrible to face just how little you want to love.

Quotes ~ June 13th

You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizons. The more things you love, the more things you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about- the more you have left if anything goes wrong.

~ Ethel Barrymore

To love is to recognize yourself in another.

~ Eckart Tolle

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

It’s like a dance. And we have to give each being space to dance their dance. Everything is dancing; even the molecules inside the cells are dancing. But we make our lives so heavy. We have these incredibly heavy burdens we carry with us like rocks in a big rucksack. We think that carrying this big heavy rucksack is our security; we think it grounds us. We don’t realize the freedom, the lightness ...of just dropping it off, letting it go. That doesn’t mean giving up relationships; it doesn’t mean giving up one’s profession, or one’s family,or one’s home. It has nothing to do with that; it’s not an external change. It’s an internal change. It’s a change from holding on tightly to holding very lightly.

~ Tenzin Palmo, in an extract from "Into the Heart of Life"

Transformation is, after all, a process where you literally allow yourself to be softened, opened, even broken apart, in order to expand your sense of who you are.

~ Sally Kempton 

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; forwhat we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one lifebefore we can enter into another.

~ Anatole France

I've come all this way eager for you,
without shoes or shawl.
I want you to laugh, to kill all your worries.
to love you, to nourish you.
Oh sweet bitterness,
... I will soothe you and heal you.
I will bring you roses.
I too have been covered with thorns.

~ Rumi

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

~ Rumi
There is only one true love affair; the one with yourself. All others are expressions of it.

~ Hemal Radia
The point of life is happiness

~ The Dali Lama 

At every moment, a woman makes a choice: between the state of the queen and the state of the slavegirl.

~ Marianne Williamson 

When a woman rises up in glory, her energy is magnetic and her sense of possibility contagious.

~ Marianne Williamson 

One of the hallmarks of an evolved person is the ability to tell the truth with no fear of punishment or expectation of reward.

~ Gay Hendricks
When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.

~ Anthony Robbins
What you believe, you receive.

~ Gabrielle Bernstein

Love is an action, a choice. Love is not really an emotion.

~ Mastin Kipp
Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear.

~ Anthony Robbins
The inner revolution will not be televised or sold on the Internet.
It must take place within one's own mind and heart.
~Noah Levine, Dharma Punx: A Memoir

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.
~ Maya Angelou

MUTEK 2012 Wrap-Up, Part Two with Tim Hecker, Nicolas Jaar, Kode9, Kink, and More

MUTEK 2012 Wrap-Up, Part Two with Tim Hecker, Nicolas Jaar, Kode9, Kink, and More