If I know a single thing about yoga, it’s that no matter the state of the world or the state of one’s inner landscape, finding any semblance of okayness begins and ends with daily practice. Feeling great? Get on your mat. Feeling sad? Get on your mat. Feeling steady and centered? Take a seat. Feeling distracted or lost? Take a seat. While any one practice taken in isolation may not be especially interesting, provocative, inspirational, calming, steadying, or anything else, there’s a special magic when you add up the cumulative benefits of all of the practices day after day after day.… Read the rest
Today marks day 7 of the rest of life without Padma. I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s skin, in someone else’s life. 17 years- more than half my adult life- is a long time to have a constant companion. I’m grateful for it all, and lucky, I realize that. At the same time, everything feels quite sideways and probably will for a while. I’m sharing this with you because much in the same way that blue lotus was never really mine, it was the same with the Boo. Even before blue, she was the yoga dog: visiting, welcoming and ignoring in equal measure.… Read the rest
Redirect to the September 2021 post This is What Love Feels Like here.
I need to set the tone by telling you that I was going to name this post “hard decisions” but quickly recognized that would be pretty redundant at this time in history. Perhaps we can just categorize them all into hard decisions and impossible decisions. We’ve been faced with so many- personally and collectively- in the past year that most of us have become accustomed to a level of inner reeling that might be the “new normal” to which we are adjusting. Freedom of choice is a whole lot more complicated than we once believed it to be.… Read the rest
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