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Being in your practice

May 1, 2019 in Blog

I had a great exchange with Kathleen this week about a student complaint. If you haven’t been in class with Kathleen, or have never had the chance to read anything she has written, you might put it on your to-do list. She has a sharp, clear mind and a way with words that I find to be so brilliant, so true, funny and precisely to the point every single time. In our chat, she was talking about being “in your practice” a turn of phrase from another teacher, from another time. To be more accurate, she was actually going on about what it looks like when you’re not in your practice, but that exchange, and the one which inspired it have been with me these past few days in a churning way.… Read the rest

Yoga Doesn’t Fix Everything

March 1, 2019 in Blog, yoga philosophy

While I occasionally have a plan for what I’ll talk about in the opening meditation for class, most of the time it’s a surprise even to me what comes out. Sometimes, it’s what has been showing up in my own life and practice, what I’ve been reading about or what I am consistently hearing from students. Other times the message seems like it is arriving from the universe as a dharma lesson for me personally as much as it might be for anyone else in the room. Over the many years of teaching, I have come to trust the impulse of what rises whether planned or unplanned, comfortable or not.… Read the rest

Spiritual Bypassing

November 1, 2018 in Blog

If you’ve spent much time with me in classes, workshops or trainings, you’ve likely seen me make a hand gesture with my palms facing upwards, side by side. No matter the topic, the dialogue accompanying the self-created mudra is always about two seemingly unconnected or even conflicting ideas, truths or options. And the challenge of the moment is never about figuring out which is right or better, rather, it’s opening the mind to the possibility of both/and. The contents held in each hand, no matter how incongruent they may seem, are rarely mutually exclusive. What if it’s this and that? What if both are true?… Read the rest

letting go

November 29, 2016 in Blog

Letting go

by Jill Sockman

At the end of Patanjali’s list of niyamas (personal observances) is ishvara pranidhana. I tend to believe it was placed at the end for a reason — a culmination of sorts, and some great commentators on the Yoga Sutras argue if one can master this niyama, there is no need for anything else. No surprise then, that perhaps it’s the hardest to do.

As with everything else in Sanskrit — and yoga for that matter — there are many definitions and interpretations of ishvara pranidhana. To wrap them up, boil them down, titrate to the essence, I offer you this: to dedicate our efforts to present moment awareness without attachment; to be in a continual state of offering our actions to something bigger than ourselves; to ever surrender our small, individual will to that which is greater — whatever your personal interpretation of “greater” might be.Read the rest

honoring who you are

October 4, 2016 in Blog

Honoring who you are

by Jill Sockman

I go on a lot about honoring where you are and the importance of in-the-moment acceptance of yourself at any given time. Whether acknowledging anger and disappointment or recognizing success, tiredness, overwhelm — the list is endless — there is value in shifting out of the ongoing internal dialogue we engage in about what is, and into feeling it in the moment and letting it go.

Alongside the development of mindfulness as a practice of self-care is the task of accepting yourself as who you are. I haven’t yet decided if one is easier or harder, or if one should come before the other.Read the rest

put your inner critic in the corner

September 1, 2016 in Blog

Put your inner critic in the corner

by Jill Sockman

My inner critic has a strong voice. Maybe she was a cheerleader. Or lead vocalist in a metal band — the kind where it sounds like a lot of angry screaming instead of singing. I’ve worked hard, and I mean really, really, really hard in the past few years to put her in her place. And please note I said put in her place — removed from her throne — not banished from the kingdom of my inner world.

Because she absolutely does have a place. The benevolent(-ish) side of that inner critic is the instigator for much that I have accomplished, and is in part responsible for making me who I am.Read the rest

being happy where you are

June 29, 2016 in Blog

Being happy where you are

by Jill Sockman

I’m spending a little time in Florida this week to celebrate my mom’s birthday. I’ve been coming here since I was a little girl and every time I’m here I’m reminded there are memories stored in every nook and cranny; ghosts and treasures are tucked away around every corner.

Days are lazy, and always begin with a walk along the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve been walking this stretch of perfect white sand pretty much my whole life. What I love about it is that while it’s always the same place, the beach is different every day.Read the rest

do your practice. all is coming.

May 2, 2016 in Blog

Do your practice. All is coming.

by Jill Sockman

This came through my inbox this morning: “On the path of transformation, you will experience acceptance, which entails accepting your own inner condition exactly as it is, without reacting to it or defending against it.” Also in the inbox, from a different source: “You can have all good things – wealth, friends, kindness, love to give and love to receive – once you have learned not to be blinded by them, learned to escape from disappointment, and from repugnance at the idea that things are not as you want them to be.” I could also share the Rune du jour, but I’ll spare you, as I think you can grasp today’s Message From The Universe.Read the rest

it is what it is

April 1, 2016 in Blog

It is what it is

by Jill Sockman

About a week ago, a friend came for a visit. We were talking about life, change, perspective. She reminded me of a of a Zen proverb I’d heard long ago and since forgotten.

The story is of an old farmer in a remote village in China. He was the only man in the whole area who was given a horse to help work the fields.

“This is good!” said the neighbors.

“Maybe good, maybe bad,” replied the farmer, “It just is.”

One day, the horse got free and ran away.

“This is bad!” cried the neighbors.Read the rest

cultivating faith and devotion

February 29, 2016 in Blog

Cultivating faith and devotion

by Jill Sockman

By the time you read this, I’ll be far from Raleigh, having just arrived to Varanasi — arguably one of the most chaotic cities I know. Hopefully by now I’m over the jet lag, and presumably I’m inundated and awestruck by the complete overwhelm and sensory overload that is India. This will be my third trip to the subcontinent, and I’m not yet sure if it’s three strikes you’re out or third time’s a charm. Mmmm. Neti Neti says the knowing Self — not this, and not that.

My preparations for this pilgrimage have been extensive — making the arrangements and gathering the things needed for a journey of this kind; trying to complete any and all undone tasks that they not clutter my mind or my desk while I am gone; loosening my grip on expectation and attachment; deepening and steadying my practice.Read the rest