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
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
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
A couple of weeks ago, a longtime student, fellow teacher and dear friend sent a note to see how I was doing. This is, of course, a bizarre and difficult question for any of us to answer these days. I fumbled through a reply, trying to be as transparent as possible, while acknowledging the wild roller coaster of emotions that I move through in an hour’s time makes a clear answer unwieldy at best. Her response to me was, “you’ll get through this with your usual grit and grace.” Yes, I thought. This is the answer to this most impossible quandary I’ve been faced with since March 16: How will I ever get through this?… Read the rest
“It’s about the process, not the product.” – Jen Davis
As many of you know, in addition to teaching yoga for adults and kids, Jen is a great artist. I have wanted to take classes with her for years- and she has offered to teach me many times. But the time was never right, or I never made it a priority, or my “I can’t paint” voice doused any spark of desire that may have existed to create for the fun of it and try something new. Enter: global pandemic.
In my first few weeks of classes, I have not been surprised with a discovery of latent artistic talent.… Read the rest
I was in a group conversation recently when someone piped in “I didn’t sign up for this!” While I know it was partly said with tongue in cheek, there was also a grain of truth in the statement, as the suppressed grief, fear and disappointment of a life upended welled up and spilled out. We didn’t, any of us, sign up for this. Or did we? Makes me think of dharma.
Dharma means “to support” or “right path of life” and at its essence speaks to the unity and interconnectedness of all things. It refers to that which is consistently in alignment with our highest and best, both collectively and personally and points to a way of being that honors that connectivity.… Read the rest
By the time you are reading this, I will be in India. It is my fourth visit to the subcontinent, and somewhat like the other trips, it just kind of happened. Over the course of several short weeks in the fall of 2018, I had a number of people ask- completely out of the blue- when I was taking a group to India, and that when I did, they were in. Clearly the plan was out there, I just hadn’t heard about it yet. Synchronicity, divine timing and spirit commingled, and I was again swept (with excitement and anxiety in equal measure) into a pilgrimage beyond my own making.… Read the rest
’Tis the season of excess. In all the ways. Too much doing, rushing, eating, whirling, spending, running, shopping. Too much of too much. Seems to me it’s the perfect time to get back to basics and revisit the foundations of yoga, which set the stage for a shift of consciousness from chaos toward freedom.
The fifth yama listed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is aparigraha. Breaking the word into its parts, you have: a- a prefix that changes the meaning of what it precedes to the opposite; pari- “on all sides”; graha- “to grab. To grab on all sides (or in every direction) would be parigraha, and that, in a word, sums up how we tend to move through the holidays.… Read the rest
Back in April, after about six weeks of deep, aching back pain, I went for an MRI. Unlike most test results I’ve had in my life where I’m told “everything looks fine” I was given an actual diagnosis: a stress fracture at L4. It’s not a big deal. I was in a brace for a month and still have one month more of limited activity yet to go and everything should heal completely. It did provide fodder for a good laugh with a friend– that I’d been going on for such a long time about needing “a break” that I finally got one.… Read the rest