Patient fortitude. Could this be the yogi slogan for modern times? It certainly is a good reminder. We spent some time digging into this tenet- titikśā- in last month’s Dharma & Satsang because I think this style of life navigation is an entire path unto itself. It certainly is a relevant one. While this particular translation from Sivananda is my favorite, here are some other definitions of titikśā to give you the flavor of this word which holds no equivalent in English:
- Patient endurance of suffering
- Tolerance of unhappiness
- Acceptance of circumstances without resistance
If we have learned nothing else in the course of our lifetimes, certainly in the past few years, I think we’re all pretty clear that the storms of life are unceasing.… Read the rest
who am I, really?February 28, 2022 in Blog
A few times each year, I offer a multi-week series on foundational philosophical tenets of yoga. It’s work that I love. It feels like sharing the truth of what yoga really is, and though I’ve taught it all before many times, it bears teaching— and learning— over and over and over again. Some of these teachings I return to for the reminders that are always needed and others because they help us push through another layer of the question, “who am I, really?” A question that each of us will (hopefully) never be done with until we take our last breath.… Read the rest
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
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
The WitnessApril 4, 2021 in Blog
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
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
This is DharmaApril 12, 2020 in Blog
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
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