Last month at this time I was tucked away in the snowy Sawtooth mountains of Idaho for a five day silent meditation intensive. When I first read about it and saw in the description “must be prepared for and comfortable with extreme weather” my initial yes turned into an absolutely yes. I get that this is not everyone’s cup of tea; it might, in fact, send a lot of people running in the other direction. But after fifteen years of facilitating retreats— both in silence and otherwise— I was so ready to climb over a snowdrift, throw my bags into a Snowcat and head into the middle of nowhere to find out what was in store for me.… Read the rest
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hibernationJanuary 30, 2023 in Blog
When I originally posted the January Hibernation retreat, it was early fall. At the time, I was in an extremely overwhelming work vortex and hibernation sounded like a fabulous idea. I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it— the theme welled up from wherever ideas arise, it resonated, and that was that. Come January, when we actually gathered, I felt good in the knowing that yes, hibernation was necessary. Why? Resources for thriving had become scarce. A refuge from challenging conditions was needed. It was time to conserve energy, and figure out how to rebuild from within what we’d allowed to be depleted from without.… Read the rest
liminal spaceJanuary 2, 2023 in Blog
Putting aside my fervent wish to enjoy a lazy morning after this morning’s practice, I got moving early to head to the store to pick up the final ingredients for a day-long cooking project. It doesn’t exist in any tradition I know of, but I say forget about bitter greens or lentils or black-eyed peas. If sticky toffee pudding can’t bring in good luck for the new year, I don’t know what can. So despite the desire to hang out by the fire, I got myself together and headed out.
The driveway here drops down to the road, which descends into the valley.… Read the rest
the work never changesOctober 30, 2022 in Blog
I’ve been especially busy with 1:1 sessions lately. Students who have been with me regularly for years; people who’ve re-entered my orbit after a long spell away; and some brand-new-to-me folks that I’ve had the good fortune to meet through a mindfulness project with a local business. Whether seasoned yogis or not-at-all yogis, it never ceases to amaze me that the work never changes. It’s always the same. The same work, the same lessons, the same challenges, the same effort, the same magic over and over. Sure, it takes different forms, but at core? Same, same.
Without a doubt, I learn as much or more from those who come to me for reflection on what yoga off the mat can do to increase the happiness factor and decrease the suffering factor as they learn from me.… Read the rest
continuitySeptember 30, 2022 in Blog
I’m just coming out of four expansive and wonder-filled days sharing some of the sweet and subtle practices of Tantra with a beautiful group of longtime yogis. I was sleeping, eating, breathing, reviewing, studying, practicing, writing tantra for a couple of months leading up to the training, so even after four days of teaching, it’s still sort of spilling over the top.
You know that the Yamas and Niyamas are part of the essential foundation that make yoga practice something profoundly more than a stretchy exercise class. In the same way, continuity is one of the principles with which Tantra (the practice of expanding what we find in Yoga, or awakening from our dormancy to a fuller and happier way of being in the world) begins and ends.… Read the rest
Patient FortitudeAugust 31, 2022 in Blog
Patient fortitude. Could this be the yogi slogan for modern times? It certainly is a good reminder. We spent some time digging into this tenet- titikśā- in last month’s Dharma & Satsang because I think this style of life navigation is an entire path unto itself. It certainly is a relevant one. While this particular translation from Sivananda is my favorite, here are some other definitions of titikśā to give you the flavor of this word which holds no equivalent in English:
- Patient endurance of suffering
- Tolerance of unhappiness
- Acceptance of circumstances without resistance
If we have learned nothing else in the course of our lifetimes, certainly in the past few years, I think we’re all pretty clear that the storms of life are unceasing.… Read the rest
mind full or mindful?July 31, 2022 in Blog
When there’s something we need to learn, to focus on or to remember, the forces of the universe converge to make it so. While I’ve found that a daily meditation practice is a non-negotiable element for my general sanity, these days I’ve been reminded that no matter how extensive and consistent morning cushion time may be, it’s inadequate to sustain peace of mind throughout the entire day. Things seem to shift out of clear, calm and peaceful more quickly than ever before. As we continue to roll through hard times, the choices and practices that lead us to mind full or mindful are the difference between being part of the solution or part of the problems we see in our lives and in the world.… Read the rest
I can’t even begin to understand the times in which we find ourselves. With each passing day, instead of understanding more, I look into the world and I “get it” less and less. I’m baffled by power structures simultaneously restricting reproductive rights and a woman’s agency over her own body while (still) stalling on legislation for fundamental, common sense gun control measures that could save countless lives. My rising fury while listening to on-the-ground and near-term projected realities in abortion clinics, superimposed with photos of children murdered at school with a semi-automatic assault rifle, with a side bar outlining more atrocities in Ukraine, followed by images from the 1.5 million acres currently being ravaged by wildfires throughout west as freshwater lakes and reservoirs dip to all-time lows is incapacitating.… Read the rest
foundationMay 1, 2022 in Blog
The word foundation conjures buildings, yoga, relationships. As the beginning, the foundation of a building must bear the load of what is above it, as well as be able to anchor the integrity of the structure when it’s faced with changing external forces over time. In a similar way, when we offer Yoga Foundations programming, it is to provide a strong base of understanding, tools and individual awareness, upon which one can not only build more complex techniques but exists as a steady base of support when the forces of life threaten the integrity of our wellbeing. This all seems obvious.… Read the rest
resilienceMarch 24, 2022 in Blog
Grief and resilience live together. -Michelle Obama
Our theme for April is resilience. It’s the central topic in our Immersion program, the subject for April’s Best of Blue video collection and the theme for my Thursday Movement + Rest series. It feels appropriate to talk about, cultivate and practice resilience after a time of so much grief— as they do, indeed, live together. Sometimes when we are faced with grief, we find we are more resilient than we could have imagined. Other times, we recognize our resilience has waned and we are without the resources to cope.
So, what is resilience?… Read the rest