My passion is gentle yoga because I feel it's a powerful way to inhabit the body with love. Through this practice, we learn to get out of our heads and into our hearts, and ultimately we are able to put more goodness out into the world.
This is not a passive practice--on the contrary, it's quite active, engaged, committed, full, deep. We feel THIS GROUND beneath us, we feel THIS BREATH within us, and we are truly alive.
Sometimes you rage against life's blows. And sometimes, in spite of it all, you're in the flow--no resisting, no grasping. It's as if life simply opens the door and ushers you through to the next place. The crowds and the long lines and the noise are gone, and you know you are exactly where you need to be. It still may not compute in your brain--you still may not know HOW it's all going to work out. But this place feels easy, just right, and you're so very glad to be here.
Savor this moment. Feel your heart expand.
Happy birthday, my dear G!
The last year has been one of the most trying of my life. I've given up some things that are very important to me in an effort to re-establish balance, but the challenges seem to keep coming and the pressure keeps building. My spiritual self has been asking: "What is the lesson in all of this for me?" "Where else and how else can I let go?" My mind on the other hand has been cursing like a sailor—raging and blaming, analyzing and bargaining. And my heart? It hurts like heck one moment and is numb the next. I seem to be endlessly cycling between several stages of grief, never able to reach the final stages of acceptance and meaning.
I've always known I don't handle stress well. It's in my biology, but I think it's also a result of my upbringing. I was raised on a farm in the rural South, where the pace of life was slower, and where what seemed like "enough" felt fairly achievable. Ever since becoming a tiny fish in a giant ocean after …
Beginner's Mind. Ground of Being. Emptiness. Buddha Nature. Christ Consciousness. Awakening. Different belief systems from the East and the West have similarly expressed the experience of being fully present (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions, being connected to God)--along with teachings for cultivating this state, e.g. through mindfulness, prayer and other contemplative practices. Recognizing our thoughts and feelings (sometimes called ego), which originate from our preconceptions, as being just thoughts and feelings sets us free. This is called beginner's mind or "don't-know" mind. While it's a simple practice, it isn't easy. As little ones we begin being taught what we're supposed to do each and every moment in order to stay alive and hopefully thrive. But over time we begin chasing frantically after an ideal of what we've come to believe life is supposed to be. We become human doings instead of human beings, and we eventually dec…
I had the privilege of attending an on-line yoga seminar with Matthew Sanford yesterday, thanks to Yoga Alliance (and to my teacher, Julie Rosier, who told me about him years ago). He's been practicing and teaching yoga for 30 years from a wheelchair, paralyzed from the chest down since an accident at the age of 13. He said many brilliant things that I tried to capture. One that stuck with me is this:
"Principles of yoga don't discriminate. Yoga poses do."
He went on to explain that everyone has a different outer body, but the inner, subtle body, where you feel yoga, where you experience being alive, does not discriminate. Thus, my job as a teacher is to guide people to experience the subtle body, not just do poses. It's what I hope I've been accomplishing these past 15 years.
My trainer, Esther Myers (d. 2004), conveyed this same, powerful concept through three principals of finding the ground, feeling the breath, and elongating the spine in every pose. She…
I've been thinking about no longer dying my hair, which I've been doing since my early 30s. I'm almost 44, and because of genetics and hair dye I'm often assumed to be younger. I realize in the grand scheme I'm still fairly young, but if I stop coloring my hair, I definitely won't look as young. In fact, I might actually look middle-aged. Gasp!
I remember clearly that when those first grays began coming in, quite conspicuously in my part, I'd pluck them. It wasn't long before I considered that the plucking might be exacerbating the issue, but I couldn't just let them go, and so naturally (ha!) I turned to hair dye. I remember thinking that I was too young to have gray hair…in retrospect, my mind postulates, "Said who?"
I don't know whether other cultures are as fixated as we Westerners are on youthfulness, which we seem to equate with goodness. On the contrary, we consider aging to literally be bad. In reality of course aging is neith…