This is the very first feedback I received, many years ago now, from a woman who was outside of my own circle of friends and family. What an absolute THRILL it was to receive this early outside affirmation, with the writer so succinctly ‘nailing’ what I already knew!
My adult daughter was with me at the post office when I picked up the mail. After reading the note aloud, we both jumped up and down–in one eloquent note, this woman had confirmed years of research and development!
(an excerpt from Janeson Rayne’s daily writing practice)
Easy does it. At ease. With ease.
Sukha / Sthira, the principles of Ease and Steadiness, applied in Hatha Yoga. Steadiness without ease misses the mark, as does ease without steadiness. Together they form yet another yin / yang dichotomy to be observed and practised during asana and, also, in life.
The principles of Ease and Steadiness can apply to any situation. Finding yourself in trouble being where you’re being? Trade your SOS in for the S&S of Sukha/Sthira – and Ease and Steadiness prevail.
Ease keeps the breath–inspiration–flowing steady in the body, helping us feel a stronger sense of connection between body and mind. With conscious breath, we invite any activity that might otherwise live and whirl in the cerebral cortex forever to move on down into the heart centre – to integrate into and with the life centre, where the lungs move in and out with every inhalation and exhalation. Steadiness reminds us to breathe, while keeping a posture that is rooted, grounded, steady as well as dynamic, living, being.
We ‘make’ yoga, as the elder Hindu man in the Sari Palace on Gerrard St. East told me last week – and I found this to be an interesting perspective. In the west we often claim to DO yoga, however in reality it really does us. When we make the postures and breathe into the shape – cat, dog, table, eagle, headstand, plough – all of these shapes we enter into, aiming to do so with ease and steadiness, breathing deeply, looking for grace to prevail ~ mostly on our way out. Bringing the foot out of tree posture with grace is a wonderful example of ease and steadiness in motion.
The S & S of yoga, the S & S of life. Is it EASY, you ask, to embody Sukha and Sthira, to be easeful and steady?
Begin by noticing: do you hold your breathe, clench your teeth, tighten your shoulders, screw up your face on a regular basis without realizing it?
The point is, to begin. You’ll find your own answers, and among them you’ll find that while this practice is not always easy, it is always Simple–and the best part is, you can start wherever you are, right now, and come back to it over and over again, whenever you choose.
Breathe … Flow … Come Back to Center.
Take a moment to appreciate that you *are* in a body ~ wherever else you happen to be in the world right now!
The innocent-looking Magic Banana® is all that and then some!
I’ve been asked many times why I decided to name my product the Magic Banana®. Would you be surprised if I told you that I wasn’t thinking of anything phallic when I chose the name?
I’d been wondering about a name and one day, while I was holding the product in both hands, I was looking at the profile view and seeing the natural curve–it looked just like a banana. My first conscious thought had more to do with performance than looks, though, and the word associated was “Magic!”
“PURE MAGIC! That’s what this is – a Magic Banana!”
People often smile or laugh when they hear the name, and tell me it’s the best name ever. Once in a while, though, I hear that people are not enjoying the name so much – for some reason they don’t focus on the natural joy and whimsy in it – rather, it seems, they associate the banana-the-fruit with a phallic connotation.
What do you think? Do you like the name, or not? Why? Do you own a Magic Banana® – are you a friend of the Magic Banana®? If so, now that you have experience with your Magic Banana® – not that we’re considering changing the name, I’m just curious – what would YOU name it?
If you’re reading this from Canada, chances are you’ve seen ‘JP’ and her ‘bright light’ innovative product, the Magic Banana®, on the hit CBC TV series Dragons’ Den. They ‘starred’ on the very first episode–Season One, Episode One–and also in two other episodes during the 2006 inaugural season. Here are a few thoughts from Janeson, on her experience –
“When I first heard that Producers for this new CBC show were travelling across Canada looking for inventors, and that auditions were being held where I live in June of 2006, I was looking for a way to throw an anchor out to the future–six months earlier, an unusual winter flood I’d been involved with had left me with frost-bitten feet and I was having trouble moving forward. I knew that the way we’d been manufacturing the product was not sustainable.
The first six years had been busy and, even if not yet monetarily, the investment was paying off in many ways – about five thousand people at that point, both women and men, had experienced and benefitted from ‘the fruits’ of the Magic Banana® and word was starting to spread like wild-fire. I needed help to invest in and produce tooling and innovative packaging so we could manufacture in a sustainable way and start distributing the product, making it available to people everywhere.
The decision to go to the audition was made when a vision came to me while I was meditating in the tub, after having heard about the opportunity in the morning–the complete pitch delivered in its entirety!
It was a pitch to get on the show – not a pitch to get the dough – another pitch would be needed for that, I thought, but I felt certain that it, too, would arrive with ease if it was meant to be.
Rewind to the day of the taping: Just before a wee ‘dusting’ of ‘make-up’ backstage, it’s revealed that they want me to pitch the same way I had at the audition. The other pitch – the one for the money – is rusty but about as ready as it can be at this point* – and I think: ok, here we go – ‘game on!’
A Production Assistant ushers me over to an area and points towards where I am to walk, along a darkened catwalk and down some stairs into ‘the Den’. My senses were heightened from an experience of ‘Ultra Reality’ – a family tragedy* – in the Canadian Arctic that I’d just returned from two days earlier and, having been given virtually no ‘heads-up’ at all, here in this darkened daylight environment, I really had no idea what to expect.
Looking back, I think we were all equally stunned by how it all went down–and my projections were way off. However, an interesting experience it definitely was–and an experience that continues in some ways to this day. The show appears to be enjoying never-ending re-run status–I’m amazed at how often people tell me ‘I just saw you on Dragons’ Den!’ – and I still get communication, mostly from women who have seen the show and ‘totally get’ and think the product is brilliant.
Of the communication I receive, two thoughts prevail: ‘Great idea – they missed out on this one, big time!’ and ‘I was stunned to see a bunch of grown men revert back to being 12 year old boys right before my eyes on national television!’
Fast forward to 2008. I ended up finding other ‘Dragons’ who became my design and manufacturing partners, and we spent nearly 4 years in R&D before finally bringing our beautifully re-engineered and freshly branded product to market in March of 2012. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and Dragons’ Den has been and continues to be an interesting part of it.”
Did you enjoy the show? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
*One week after hearing back from DD Producers saying I’d been chosen to come to Toronto to pitch my idea to the Dragons during the taping of the show in early August, I was preparing my financial projections* when I got the call: my twenty-six-year-old cousin had been killed in a rappelling incident on Mount Thor. CBC News Story
Inner strength is not always about ‘toning’ or ‘tightening’ – rather inner strength is sometimes about ‘letting go.’
The yogic way is to pay attention in the moment, to be present, and to become aware.
Maybe you need to become more familiar with yourself before you’ll know whether ‘letting go’ or ‘toning and strengthening’ is what you’re looking for?
Every pelvic floor is different and, just like the rest of your body, is like a dynamic living snapshot of what has come before. Positive sexual experiences, negative sexual experiences, child-birth, toxic shame, general anxiety – there are many reasons women hold tension in their pelvic floor. And tension held – even if you’re unaware of it – can create a hyper-tonic state, like you’re holding on for dear life.
Sometimes it takes a while to unravel patterns that have become habitual. Even things like learning to breathe, rather than hold your breath, when attempting to do something that involves concentration. Have you ever noticed your breath, and how it changes? Once you start paying attention you’ll realize that the breath is very closely linked with your mental state.
Give your self the gift of quality time alone, and take some time to explore. Listen to any messages your body gives you, and honour them. I recently read Lissa Rankin’s excellent book Sex, Orgasm and Coochies (her other book What’s Up Down There? is also excellent and highly recommended) and found a suggestion she had given one of her patients who was experiencing some difficulty ‘down there.’ Lissa had the woman enter into a dialogue with her lady bits and to journal about her findings. The results were nothing short of profound.
Working in conjunction with your breath, The Magic Banana® can help you become more aware and more present with yourself. This is why we say Explore Happiness Within.