Category:

the life you want

July 4, 2021 in Blog

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

2020: The Year of Perfect Vision

January 1, 2020 in Blog

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

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

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

life-affirming choices

July 6, 2015 in Blog

Life-affirming Choices

by Jill Sockman

Choices. We are confronted with them constantly, from the minutiae of day-to-day existence to the overwhelming life and death decisions which become pivotal moments in our lives. It’s a privilege to have so much freedom — so many choices. What time to wake up, how to spend the morning hours before work begins, what to eat, how/if to exercise the body, brain, spirit. Pressing choices about health — our own or a loved one, significant professional changes, relationship decisions and everything in between. Who is doing all this deciding?

As adults, the obvious answer is “I am!”… Read the rest

Time Out

April 3, 2015 in Blog

Time Out

by Jill Sockman

timeoutEven if, like me, you weren’t put into “Time Out” as a kid, we are all aware of the philosophy behind the discipline: you’re not behaving right, so now you’re going to take a little time by yourself to think about what you’ve done, get clear, and come back with a better attitude.

I have no idea if it works with children, but I can now tell you definitively that it works well for adults. Last Sunday, The Universe put me into a Time Out.

It was early afternoon, and I actually had a couple of hours just to play before heading to the blue for L2.… Read the rest

Listen to your soul

February 2, 2015 in Blog

Listen to your soul

by Jill Sockman

I’m not sure who coined the phrase “you teach what you need to learn,” but I know that even while words are spilling out of my mouth, I am often aware the message coming forth applies to me at least as much as it applies to anyone else in the room. So it shouldn’t be a big surprise to me that I’ve been talking a lot lately about how necessary it is to cultivate an awareness — a relationship — with the part inside of us that Knows. It’s a gentle nudge for me to take a closer look: am I practicing what I preach?… Read the rest