May 30, 2011

The Meaning of Yoga and the Eight Steps of Astanga


Yoga literally means 'to link'. In the ancient Indian teachings there are many different ways to link oneself with the Supreme. For example, karma-yoga means that you offer the results of your work and activities to God. Bhakti-yoga means connecting with the Supreme every moment through loving devotional service. In jnana-yoga you cultivate philosophical knowledge for spiritual elevation.

The word 'yoke' - the wooden thing that links up two oxen - comes from the Sanskrit word yoga.
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Asta - 'eight', anga - 'steps'
I started thinking of all this because the other day I was reading Patanjali's Yoga-Sutras. Yoga-sutras are the basis of astanga-yoga, or mystic 'eight-fold' yoga. The practice of astanga-yoga begins with various lifestyle regulations and duties (yama and niyama) such as vegetarianism, honesty, celibacy, abstinence from intoxication, and so on. These are followed by postures (asana - 'yoga' as we know it in the modern world). Then follows the controlling of the body's energies through breathing exercises. When you are able to merge the incoming breath with the outgoing breath - meaning when you stop breathing (!!) - then you gradually move through total sense control to concentration and finally, meditation. The last, eighth step is the state of self-realization, samadhi.

The eight steps once again:
1. Yama - prohibitions
2. Niyama - duties
3. Asana - postures
4. Pranayama - breath control
5. Pratyahara - withdrawal of the senses
6. Dharana - concentration
7. Dhyana - meditation
8. Samadhi - trance

In astanga-yoga the breathing exercises must come before meditation because breath is intimately connected with the mind. The airs that move in the body move the mind and thoughts within it. So following the astanga process, as long as you have not merged the airs and stopped breathing, you cannot fully focus your mind.

Step 5 means the yogi learns to draw all his perceptive senses from the outer world, detach from it and focus on his inner life only. Kind of like a turtle who can pull all its limbs under the shell.

The Goal of Yoga
The goal of the eightfold mystic yoga is not good health or a flat belly but detachment from the material world. Yoga is meant to detach us from the matter and connect us with the spirit, the Supreme. Doesn't "real yoga" sound intense?! Actually attaining samadhi through astanga-yoga is intense to the point that it's practically impossible in today's world. Previously meditation would rely on the purity of the prana (ether, air, lifeforce) for yogis to sync their consciousness with the Earth frequency. The yogis would drink water and eat nothing but the pure, clean air. Even if today's aspiring yogi or yogini had the willpower, dedication, physical qualities, excellent karma, long life and everything else astanga requires, the ether is so full of disturbing elements that the type of meditation required to progress in astanga couldn't physically happen. When I say physically, I refer to the subtle physical matter such as radio waves, cell phone and wi-fi signals, radars from satellites, airports and motion detectors, etc. This clutter is everywhere and affects the mind too much for astanga's "mechanical" approach.

As you can see, astanga-yoga is a mechanical path to self-realization. It's a strict, exact science and requires perfection at each level to move forward. Astanga-yoga was meant for those who had the nature of a yogi, for those to whom all this came quite naturally and who had such qualities that they wouldn't have wanted any other approach to spiritual life and linking with the Supreme.

Umm So How Do I Get to Samadhi?
The Vedas foretold human's future scope of abilities, attention span and other qualities and so recommend a slightly simpler yoga process for the current age for attaining self-realization - one based on the attraction of the heart to spirit, rather than ascetically restraining the senses from matter. Many ancient texts describe how just by sincerely chanting and hearing the transcendental sound vibration, all else will come in time, almost automatically. Hello, Om! Om is "a seed of transcendental realization" and one of the spiritual mantras you can chant.

We're staying in the country in North Carolina at the moment and fixing the van (yes once again), getting ready for summer festivals and tour. Not much internet, actually have to hurry away now - more about om tomorrow!

May 26, 2011

Don't You Wanna Dress :: Like a Steampunk Princess!?

Belinda of Romantic Threads lives with her husband Mark and baby Taylor Rose in Southern California and she makes the coolest medieval gothic romantic victorian steampunk princess dresses ever. I totally wouldn't mind dressing like this every day every other day.






Which one is your favorite? I can't decide! Maybe the first one. Why did women start wearing pants?

May 25, 2011

Border Patrol Got Me ((Again))


On Monday I flew from Helsinki to New York and instead of allowing me to enter the country, the passport checking, fingerprint taking, face photo taking, questions asking Patrol Guy escorted me to the back room (already familiar to me) and I had to sit there for 45 minutes and hear the stupidest TV show on earth where 10-year-old school kids compete against dull grown ups and beat them in questions about history, biology and such until my case was handled by a Patrol Guy Mr Patel who informed me that every time I ever try to enter the USA I will be taken to this very back room for further investigation. He then proceeded to accuse me of immigration violation. I said something to the effect that "What the heck are you talking about" and he just grinned rudely.

Upon which I tried to reduce the uptightness and raised the point that perhaps I was held up here (again) because I look like a hippie. The neighboring Patrol Guy behind his computer screen then looked at me and asked, "Are you?" and smart as I am, volunteered no information and simply stated that "I just might look like one." LOL

I asked Mr Patel in his police looking uniform if he could please type something in their computer program so that I wouldn't have to waste time in the gnarly back room every time I return to the US. He sternly said that he cannot override the program. Suddenly I was reminded of the movie Matrix. Going through the pages of my passport he asked why I go to India so much. I replied "Because I want to. I'm a Krishna devotee." His eyes lit up, "Hare Krishna Hare Rama?" I smiled touching my Tulasi wood neckbeads that Krishna devotees typically wear, "Yes". He said he'll do what he can to fix the situation and possibly unflag me (yay).

I couldn't conceal my anxiety anymore and blurted out "I'm nervous because my hula hoop was in the check-in and every minute it bounces around the baggage claim it might get more broken and distorted!! Can I go now please?!" The Patrol Guys finished typing up stuff, sympathized with my anguish and wished me a good day. I rushed out and down the escalator to happily find my special polypro hoop round and unharmed in the 'oversize baggage' area. Noora made it for me in Finland and I was determined to bring it with me, here, to the land of the free.

An intergalactic-cross-atlantic perhaps legal immigrant hoop.

May 22, 2011

Beyond All That I Touch :: our spontaneous short movie


No fairies were harmed in the making of this movie :) The forest was given a gift upon our leaving. Music improvised by Kaisu. Story, filming, editing, starring, adventuring, everything by your fearless sisters who without any previous experience quite spontaneously decided to create a movie thing. Hope it gives you an Expanding Experience! ((you can watch it in HD))

May 19, 2011

Elven Forest 5AM :: Making a Movie with Sister

Early this morning Kaisu and me went to a forest to film a tiny little movie. We got the idea last night suddenly, and it will be ready soon. There was mist on the lake. So many birds singing. Such a nice smell of trees and earth. My screams echoing in the wind as I stepped barefoot on sticks and pine needles. Let's call these screenshots the Magnificent Official Elven Trailer - unnamed movie I call Elements at the moment, coming May 22nd!






If you want to be a part of the movie, email me a photo of your hand touching nature - tree, grass, river, mountain in the horizon, anything. Would love to get as many hands on this project as possible. ❤ Please notice! Send me the pics latest on this Saturday 21st and they're in! I'm leaving Finland on Monday and going internetless for who knows how long, so the Grand Premiere has to be on Sunday :)

Answer These Questions Using Song Title from Only One Artist/Band ✩

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I came across this funny thing on Facebook this morning as I was listening to Of Montreal.
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1. Are you male or female? Cutie Pie
2. Describe yourself: The Miniature Philosopher
3. How do you feel about yourself? Happy Yellow Bumblebee
4. Describe your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend: The Past Is a Grotesque Animal
5. Describe your current boy/girl situation: Our Spring Is Sweet Not Fleeting
6. Describe your current location: My Darling I've Forgotten
7. Describe where you want to be: A Collection of Poems about Water
8. Your best friend is: Girl Named Hello
9. Your favorite color is: Lysergic Bliss
10. You know that: Upon Settling on the Frozen Island, Lecithin Presents Claude and Coquelicot With His Animal Creations for Them to Approve or Reject (The Rejected Inventions Walk Towards the Reverse Magnetizer)
11. What’s the weather like: Gronlandic Edit
12. If your life was a television show what would it be called? Fun Loving Nun
13. What is life to you? Sing You a Love You Song
14. What is the best advice you have to give? Your Magic Is Working
15. If you could change your name what would you change it to? Gallery Piece
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Haha! If you have time, post yours in the comments! :)

May 17, 2011

The Peace Sign Symbolizes Destruction

My sister Kaisu was working on a school paper last weekend. She chose to study the symbolism in Finno-Ugric clothing and came up with an interesting discovery. Personally, I never thought or heard of this before. But the peace sign actually symbolizes destruction because it has the tree of life upside down. This is not just northern symbolism from runes, but is there in many cultures around the world.
The plain circle symbolizes earth, and if the tree was up, it would really symbolize peace and life. Upside down, it means death and destruction. In the sixties, some students started using the peace sign as we know it for protesting nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons obviously bring death to Earth, so the sign was appropriate. But now the sign is understood to mean peace, love and unity when the symbolism really means the opposite.

Of course, socially, the upside down tree of life symbol has now a total connotation of positivity and peace. But this would still be more accurate:


Pretty interesting wouldn't you say!

May 16, 2011

My Fairy Bunny Cards for Sale! or Trade!

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Last few days I've been working on a million things and I love it. I made jewelry (I'll show you later!), started a whole new, fun and colorful (at least content-wise) website for a Krishna project (I'll show you later!) and met Ninni, whom I got to know through this blog (I'll tell you more later!)... Because... Today... is all about... .¨*☆ thE fAiRy BuNNiEs!! ¨*•
Yay!! *sprinkles fairy dust your way* *dances wildly*
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1. Hoop Love Fairy Bunny Card :: imagine dancing with wings!
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2. Fairybook Fairy Bunny Card :: always stay connected with your fairies!


3. Meditation Fairy Bunny Card :: wisdom that carries her


4. Great Spirit Fairy Bunny Card :: Cherokee blessing


5. Hoop Love Shadow Fairy Bunny Card :: don't drink & drive, just hoop & fly!


6. Yoga Fairy Bunny Card :: with a little help from my wings


7. Third Eye Fairy Bunny Card :: quote from Rumi


8. Impossible Fairy Bunny Card :: skateboardasana


9. Meditation Shadow Fairy Bunny Card :: learning, growing, omming


10. Dark Fairy Bunny Card :: say salute with Miss Mystery!


If you're not already my Facebook friend, please become so! ❤ I posted these cards a few days ago on my FB and friends can buy the cards from there. Or here from blog, whatever works. Just comment or send me email, omyourself@gmail.com -- I also put them on Etsy.
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The cards are regular postcard size (4x6 inches/10x15cm) and blank on the backside.
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EuroPeans:
1 card/2,50e
Deal: 5 cards of your choosing 10e
Deal: 10 cards of your choosing 17e
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Dollarians:
1 card/$3.50
Deal: 5 cards of your choosing $14
Deal: 10 cards of your choosing $25
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Let's talk if you want more, postage or paying info, etc. I have Paypal and other options. ✩Free shipping✩ all over the world if you get 5 cards or more. Maybe free shipping anyways. Let's talk :)
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Thank you for all the support & love!

May 13, 2011

Will I Ever Have Kids? ::and:: Bohemian Baby Names

I had this dream of me holding a baby. It was my baby and I knew that he was going to die. I didn't mind -- I knew that's just the way it was. I was ok with it. I put the baby down and talked with some friends. Occasionally I checked if the baby had died already. This dream had a very real feeling to it, like those dreams that indicate future, have omens and are important some way. When I woke up I couldn't understand what it meant.

Later that day (yesterday) I went to a doctor and it came up on the side of a regular check: I can't have kids. Or at best, it would just be way too risky to even try. So all you friends and people asking me, suggesting to me, politely hinting, straight out saying I should already, or saying for sure your hormones will kick in and you'll want some soon, and naming me women who didn't want kids at first but towards their 30s had to have them -- nope there will be no little omwoodses running around. Just this one. (I mean, to be clear, me.)

Fairy Baby by Enaid
Perhaps this is TMI (too much information) but it's my diary after all so I felt like talking about it. Honestly, I never wanted kids nor have ever handled them very well longer than 10-15 minutes. I find children a bit scary, psychologically, how they demand you to play with them all the time and it's like, there's no other way. And they're just, I don't know, dominating creatures and I can't get into their head. Cute and precious as they are! :)

So still I actually cried a couple of times when I was alone, after hearing this news. I don't know why. It was like some female reflex and some emotions came up that I never knew I had. It was weird. It's all good now. It got me thinking, what else is there. What is inside of me that I have no idea or control of (as of yet). Or outside of me for that matter. Surprising things happen in life. Unexpectedness. I think it's beautiful. You can never know. You can always adapt. You can always learn new perspectives.

Anyway. I figured I might reveal my long cherished list of baby names to the world that I kept just in case I might need it - but more just for the fun of it. Heehee! So it's all yours to take. Something tells me my choices would be a bit ahem, avant garde?

GIRLS:
Pearl Amanda
Sandhya Rain (Sandhya means evening in Sanskrit)
Dawn Matilda
Moon Autumn
Beth Cinnamon
Ruby Angel
Lucy Millicent
Sulka (feather in Finnish)

BOYS:
Nanda (son in Sanskrit)
Madhu (sweet in Sanskrit)
Thunder Theodore
Casper
Charlie Mountain
Frankie River (I'm not kidding)
Lucas Jupiter
Ludwig (yes! totally!)

Well there are more, this was 'the best of' :D Oh tomorrow will be a nice day - I'll meet Ninni who contacted me after reading my blog and we'll get together and hoop! She actually hasn't hooped before. There is something happening in Arabianranta in Helsinki with lots of music, art, buskers, street theater, etc. all day and I think we'll head there. You have a sweet day too! 

May 12, 2011

Straight Edge Star Wars Krishna Geekery at Its Weirdest

At raves, parties, festivals and parks people sometimes come up to me and ask if I can sell them drugs. I agree, I usually dance/dress like a tripped out freak maniac and understand how people would think it's drug-induced. (I explained how I feel about drugs here.) So for a long time now I wanted a shirt that says "I don't do drugs nor do I sell them". Just to reduce hassles and to make a point.
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So I looked online at some straight edge shirts (straight edge means no intoxication, no promiscuity, and often involves vegetarianism/veganism) and saw some I liked. My sis Kaisu was in the room and said she could make me one just like that (she studies textile arts). Right on! We ended up making our own design.
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The whole thing was quite improvised, we made another design on the spot. 
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We had fun today when Kaisu took pics of me wearing them. I like how they turned out. What do you think? :)
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The last pic: Batman's straight edge Star Wars side kick. Fighting for the Balance. ✩✩ "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." Says Yoda! ✩ Yeeeahh!! ✿◕‿◕✿

May 10, 2011

::"Trance Music Makes the Fairies Dance"::

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Today I worked on some new projects online, ran in the forest, hooped in the sun to Cocorosie and went to the printer in Helsinki to pick up the first Fairy Bunny postcards ever!! And sold 10 of them already. To my mom :)
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May 8, 2011

Kaisu Talvikki Gallery at an Abandoned House

Here's a video from my sister Kaisu's art gallery in an abandoned house in Pornainen, Finland. I didn't get all the details, hidden paintings or works that you simply have to be there to see and experience, nor anything from the upstairs. The gallery is open all of May on Tuesdays 5-8PM, Saturdays and Sundays 11AM-5PM (see Kaisu's website for more info). Welcome!
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The music is Kaisu improvising on kantele (and a tiny clip of organ in the end). The kantele song is called How many times have I been born, died, born. There is more of her music and nature sounds she recorded playing at the gallery too, along with the video installation. Here's Kaisu (in a hoodie she knitted which I think is gorgeousss).
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Marianne is about to find a hidden work behind the door.





Today Kaisu and I are going to print out the bunny cards I told you about, as well as do another exciting project we came up with yesterday. More about that later! I'll leave you with your friendly neighborhood basement goblins -- Marianne and I checking out the cellar of the house. All these photos are by Minna.


PS. In case you're wondering, Talvikki is Kaisu's middle name and means "Wintery" :)

May 7, 2011

Evolution of the Fairy Bunny

I've been drawing funny bunnies for a decade now?! It became evident when I just found this old pillowcase I made 10 years ago. It's a bit faded.
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Three years ago I made tons of bookmarks with bunnies and gave them away to friends and random people who liked them :)
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This is when the Fairy bunnies were born.


Now I'm back in the bunny business again and am drawing some new ones that will be printed as postcards next Monday. I'm really excited!


Tonight is the Forest Season Opening party at a secret location in Helsinki area. Which means all night of psytrance and dancing in the nature. Yeahh! Oh and Philip came to Finland, stayed a few days and continued on to India yesterday. He'll come back after a couple of weeks and then we'll head back to the US, just in time for our crazy summer tour. Happy Mother's Day to all mamas tomorrow! And check back on Tuesday for the new postcards!