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
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
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
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
“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
Happy New Year! Or in the words of my friend Jonathan, “Welcome to twenty-twenty: The Year of Perfect Vision.” Wow. Now there’s a worthy resolution.
I hid myself away from the many humans for a couple of hours on December 31 to write away the last of the year. I try to do this annually- a summary of what stood out, what was gained, lost, learned. An inventory of sorts, of the preceding twelve months, that I might wrap up the past and truly start anew. In short, 2019 was not a banner year. Not at all. Perfect vision sounds like perfect timing and I’m all in.… Read the rest