I am preparing to lead my first in-person retreat since the Before Times. The focus of our time away is around the practice of vichara, or self-inquiry. It’s a combination of unwinding the story of your past and keys to unfolding the life you want. I always hesitate to call it a retreat, because that word conjures up lazy days of rest, exotic locations, and a vacation from work of all kinds. It is decidedly not that. Training is also not the right word, as that implies I’ll be imparting information that can be learned and studied. I suppose what I am preparing to do is guide a vigil, an inner journey, a pilgrimage of sorts where the destination is the Self.… Read the rest
One day last week (we will call it “one day” for the sake of conversation) I was feeling unproductive, weary and heavy, and while I continued to press through the day, it was with the near constant question/mantra “Why am I so tired?” I wandered from task to task, unable to muster much energy or enthusiasm all the way into the early evening- when I was simply waiting for it to be late enough that I could call it bedtime.
The amount of energy I put into the self-interrogation about my tiredness, combined with the effort of pushing against what was with full resistance could likely have been better directed.… Read the rest
Cultivating the witness. It’s an integral part of the practice. On the mat and on the cushion, one of the aims of yoga is to increase our capacity to take a step away from the intensity of our immediate experience— whatever that may be— and shift to observer mode. Over time, we learn that there is always a part of us that is neutral and steady, detached from the drama of the moment and able to see clearly. While I’ve devoted years to this practice, as of late I’ve been catching myself in the swirl of the storm, outside the center of calm abiding.… Read the rest
Earlier this year, I turned fifty. Whether a by-product of the preceding year we all enjoyed so much or an inevitable part of my own process, I had some pretty strong feelings about it. They were not the good ones. It’s quite an odd thing, as I have many friends who are older than I am, and I always have. When I look at them, I have never, ever thought “YOU ARE SO OLD” (with an accompanying judgment of old as bad) and so I cannot explain why that was the precise reaction I had to myself on this milestone birthday.… Read the rest
If this were a year like all the ones before, I would open the February blog post with, “This month we celebrate fourteen years of community at 401 N. West Street.” I would proceed to go on and on about how the blue came to be, and what we have collectively created and accomplished in the past year. Full of emotion and gratitude, I would talk about the goodness and greatness experienced in those four walls and the enormous contributions made by all involved to create a yoga home for thousands of students since we opened back in 2007. But this was not a year like all the ones before.… Read the rest
The energy is ripe to make big declarations about what you want to leave behind and what you want to carry forward, cultivate and create as we turn to a new season, year and age. I reached out to our amazing teaching staff and asked: What is your word for 2021? What intentions are you setting for the next cycle? What have you learned that you want to carry forward or forever leave behind? What is your wish for yourself, for our small collective, for our global community? In reading the reflections of some of the amazing women who have held, supported and inspired you in this year that none of us will ever forget, I hope that you will allow your own answers, reflections and inspirations to rise.… Read the rest
We finished our group study of the yamas before the holiday with the fifth of the restraints. There’s always a lot to think and talk about when it comes to aparigraha, and the timing was ideal to consider the ways we grasp at everything, everywhere, all the time. Breaking it down:
pari– on all sides
graha– to take or grab
Aparigraha is the practice of non-hoarding, non-attachment, of taking no more than you need. It is the practice of choosing faith. It is the practice of letting go.
2020 has provided no shortage of opportunities to practice this foundational principle of yoga.… Read the rest
As I sit down to write this month, I’m counting. We are 48 hours from Election Day. These few days hold the blue moon on All Hallows’ Eve, Samhain, All Saints Day, All Souls Day. It’s been 230 days since we closed the door after our last class at 401 N. West Street. It’s 25 days until Thanksgiving. It’s 61 days until we turn over the calendar to 2021— blessed be. It’s a time of remembrance, and hopefully a time for change. A movement toward kindness and truth.
Day to day reality has, for most of us, changed radically since last year at this time.… Read the rest
Tapas: austerity, discipline, fire, the heat necessary for birth or transformation. To practice tapas is to intentionally put ourselves into discomfort in the service of our own growth and transformation. Decidedly not the delicious Spanish snacks. Tapas is the intentional practice of getting out of our comfort zones to be stretched; to consciously step into the fire which creates change. This might sound crazy when the outside world already has us in a pressure cooker, but if it’s true “as within, so without,” the discord, unrest and anger we see at every turn must also have root within us. We need to put it in the fire.… Read the rest
Last week I had porch coffee in the blazing heat with a dear friend. It had been a while since we’d caught up, so we were sharing all the latest events and feels when she asked, somewhat out of the blue, “what do you miss the most?” Without skipping a beat (or even weighing the context or the options) what came out of my mouth was “the illusion of certainty.” The idea hadn’t even crossed my mind before, so I’m pretty sure it was, straight up, a message from The Universe. The illusion of certainty. Pause for reflection.
If you’ve been on the planet long enough, I imagine that you, as I, have survived at least your share of life pulling the rug out from under you.… Read the rest