After two long years of pandemic induced anxiety, a war in Europe is now heaping more stress and worry on top of that Covid mountain, and with it the concept of peace, let alone world peace, starts seeming like a fading mirage, an illusion. We feel powerless to change the root cause of senseless violence. Standing firm in our hope and with diminishing optimism, we offer financial support and encouragement to the Ukrainian people, but at times it feels like we are just placing a bandaid on the severed limb…Read more
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It’s a Saturday afternoon in India and I am sitting in a health clinic waiting out the mandatory observation time after receiving the second dose of the covid vaccine. There are about 3 dozen other people here as well. I am in my own thoughts as I sit here with my breath. I am managing my pain, not from the shot but from a different health issue I am working through. The pain is intense. I am uncomfortable. I focus again on my breath. In my view I can see the nurse who is administering the vaccine doses…Read more
If Namaste means "Hello" then why do we say it at the end of a Yoga Class?
Have you ever wondered about the meaning of "Namaste" and its use in the yoga community? Perhaps you have heard others discussing why we should or shouldn't use this word as part of our yoga classes. I would like to offer you my own unique perspective on this topic, as a white, American Yoga teacher living in India with my Indian husband. But first, let's take a look at the literal meaning of this word and its modern day usage. Then…Read more
Recently I was giving a private yoga session to a gentleman via video call. During the session I noticed that he was pushing his stretch further than what his body could reasonably accommodate. I gently reminded him not to force a stretch. He made a joking reference to the well known motto; "No Pain, No Gain." I told him that my yogic philosophy does not include that belief. Then he asked me, "How can I make progress if I don't push myself?" This was my reply;
You don't push. You hold. When you feel that…Read more
On Sunday evenings or Monday mornings is when I look to the week ahead. I review my schedule, which changes from week to week, and I review my enormous to-do list. I mentally prepare myself for the week ahead and for the tasks I need to accomplish.
At the start of this week while I was looking at my list of tasks, and categorizing them, and prioritizing them, it occurred to me that in all this planning and everything I hope to achieve, I haven't planned out how I want to FEEL. This is a very important…
Visualize a starry sky, on a clear night with every corner of the sky as far as you can see, sparkling with countless diamonds in red, silver and blue. I hope you've seen such a sky at least once in your life. Bring that image into your mind with as much clarity as you can envision. Feel a sense of peace wash over your body and mind. The stars remind us that this world is bigger than our struggles. Stars live for billions of years. Our little drama will play out in a handful of decades. 100 years from now…Read more
Growth is a continual process of death and rebirth. We shed old ideas and beliefs. We shed old relationships and ways of being. We shed former versions of ourselves. It's painful. Its exhausting. And yet, let's be honest, there is a part of us still expects, or desires, a smoother path.....maybe lit with rainbows and shooting stars and constant signs and encouragement from spirit/divine/universe that we are on the right path. (but for real, that would be awesome!) After we did the difficult inner-work…Read more
It may be true that suffering is a part of life. It may even be true that we need a certain degree of suffering to help us grow into a compassionate human being. But one thing I know for sure, we can greatly reduce our suffering when we understand how the mind works and something that is called "the suffering of suffering"
"The Suffering of Suffering" is when we encounter suffering and then the mind itself behaves in such a way that compounds our suffering. In other words, your own thoughts take a situation…Read more
Let me tell you a story of falling and flying, of bleeding and becoming.
It began small and wholly unnoticed at first. I was being nudged towards the edge for years though little neglectful actions and small unkind words. Contained within the tiniest of moments the disregard for me had crept in like a cancer. But the moment of falling began with a note. Left there carelessly, was a note addressed to the one I loved that read, "Thank you for a wonderful weekend" and signed by a name that wasn't mine. This…Read more
"Yes, you really understand the process. We need that vulnerability and humility to let go. We feel that wave of release and a lightness comes over our being. But it is never once and done, is it? Even when the clarity and realization is strong, there always seems to be a deeper level,... more letting go,... more clarity.... more vulnerability. Like flowing water can, over time, carve into and reshape rocks and stones, so are we having our rough edges smoothed, little by little, as these waves of…Read more
"Our own life has to be our message"
This is a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh
Read these words again
"Our own life has to be our message."
What is your message?
Before your mind goes making a list of your achievements and your successes, think about this; what do you really want to say with your brief time on this planet?
Each one of us will have a different answer to that question. And I hope that your message will be your own, a message that has blossomed out of your authenticity. Only you know what your…Read more
Trust in Divine Timing.
That’s what we are told. Trust. I’ve even reminded myself and others to ‘allow the unfolding’. To let things unfold naturally instead of trying to force a certain outcome. When we are doing our work, learning the lessons, shedding the layers, and moving forward, sometimes …. (Umm, actually a lot of the time,)… we would like some concrete affirmation that our work is paying off, that our efforts come to fruition in a tangible way, and preferably RIGHT NOW. This is normal human…Read more
“I have lost my smile, but don’t worry. The dandelion has it” – Thich Nhat Hanh
What a beautiful thought. This week in several of my yoga classes I invited students to reflect upon this quote, and I also shared some of my own explorations of these lovely lines. Here I would like to share my ponderings on this quote and also explore further.
“I have lost my smile, but don’t worry. The dandelion has it”
First of all, I confess I adore dandelions. They are tenacious, growing up through sidewalk cracks and…Read more
Here is the image. You have a goal. You’ve planned a path to that goal. You are walking the path with total commitment and dedication. You should make it to your goal then, right? But what if you don’t? You are focusing on every step and keeping your eyes glued to the path…. Then you hit a brick wall. You are standing there with your face up against the wall, so close that all you see are the bricks. You try to punch, kick, climb, scratch and claw your way through or over the wall but nothing is working…Read more
I read a quote once that has stuck with me for many years, although I don’t recall to whom the quote was attributed. It said, “By choosing to be our most authentic and loving self, we leave a trail of magic everywhere we go”
Isn’t that a beautiful image? A trail of magic… but what does that really mean?
We understand ‘loving’ but what does it mean to be ‘authentic’? It is something beyond just ‘being yourself’. It is not just about being yourself, but being OK with ALL of yourself. To have the courage to…Read more