Tuesday, June 7, 2011

tuesday mantra...

to be unsinkable, inflate yourself with breath.
to be unstoppable, fuel your actions with intent.
to be loved, live within each breath, breathe into every intention, love unconditionally, and expect nothing in return.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

yep, i sing in class.

it happens like this…i’m in a vinyasa class. maybe i’m teaching, maybe i’m a student. the flow is in full force, the heat is happening. there’s a break in the music, and then…i hear it. a sound so mesmerizing, so thoroughly entrancing…no, it’s not the breath. and it’s not the silence. it’s the song. that song, whichever one it might be on that day. you know the one. the one you can’t resist, you can’t hold back, no matter how intense your ujjayi or stern your teacher…you have to sing along.

if you’ve never taught a class set to music, you might not be aware of the meticulous work that goes into creating a playlist. continuity of rhythm, sounds that grow and ebb with the structure of the practice, and lyrics that add to the flow of positive energy are all taken into consideration when compiling a soundtrack that encourages movement and breath. and there’s always the big question: to connect or not to connect? do i use songs my students are probably familiar with, songs that may stir memories or emotion? or do i choose to put together an obscure tapestry of sounds that roll across the room without creating that wave effect? isn’t our asana practice supposed to help us progress toward meditation, the highest form of yoga? how can we do that with sarah mclachlan distracting us? and who is to know what another person will associate with, anyway? the teachers i love are the ones who love yoga and teaching and everything they allow in their lives. and they create great playlists.

laughter is one of the most transformative functions of human existence. the way i see it, singing is like laughing to music. it’s joyful. it’s exuberant. it’s a celebration. what better place for joy than within the joyously sacred walls of our yoga room? it’s the third of the four immeasurables: love, compassion, joy, and equanimity; each of which we should possess in immeasurable quantities if we are to eliminate desire and ego on our path to samadhi. sympathetic joy (which is really what the immeasurables refer to) begins with personal joy. delight in the goodwill of others finds no place in someone who isn’t delighted with the will they’ve created for themselves. that’s why love and compassion come before.

whether intended or not, there is almost always sure to be something a student will relate to in a soundscape. songs have been known to cause students to laugh, cry, and even leave class with their nose wrinkled up and their fingers in their ears. sometimes a soundtrack I don’t relate to (read: like) even becomes my edge for a practice, external “chatter” prompting me to find the ability to observe the “noise” without reacting. but sometimes, just sometimes, the overwhelming sense of joy in a song compels me to belt it out, to celebrate, exuberate…and even...yes, meditate.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


so you have this practice, this practice that you call your own, and if you truly engage in this practice, one day it decides to let you in on a little secret: that it’s not yours at all. it tells you that it belongs to no one, that you’ve merely borrowed it for 60 or 90 minutes or however long it is, and that you didn’t even get it all to yourself…that you had to share it with countless thousands of people you don’t even know in places you’ve never even heard of who all borrowed it at exactly the same time.

now, your selfish “ego-less” being is at first maybe a tad bit shocked, even offended, at this revelation. it’s your practice, after all! who decided just anyone could have it whenever they want? yoga is for certain people. like you.

when you finally exhale, you, the perfectly equanimous yogi, reflect upon the immense joy and loving kindness you experience with the knowledge that the gift of yoga is so globally accessible, no matter what other resources a person may lack. you give thanks to your bodily manifestation, your guru celebrity teacher, your $100 yoga mat, and lululemon for carrying the yoga torch out into the world and brightening the light of the universe. and then you give thanks to yourself for being the enlightened creature you are.  ;)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

dippin' dots

last week the big dipper was so prevalent in the night sky it looked like it could dip down and scoop up the entire earth. tonight, i can't even distinguish it among the layers of symbiotic stars blanketing the planet's dark ceiling. each star reminds me that it wants to be a planet, that our little earth isn't necessarily as unique as we're inclined to think.

Monday, May 24, 2010

compulsion, compression, expansion, and explosion...

gone. again. charlie.
i'm starting to feel like i live with a traveling salesman. if you do, my sympathies. my solitude ends for the year with this trip. after this, i go with him. not because i put my foot down and insisted that i'm breaking up with him if he leaves me alone again, or because he missed me so much last time he said he's never going anywhere without me again (he did say that, which is sweet, but that's not why i get to go). and also not because i drank his diet gingerale. i get to go on the rest of the trips because i just do.

knowing that i get to go as a result of nothing starts me thinking about how often we twist circumstances to provide ourselves with explanations. you know, the way we always recognize "signs" of things to come after the thing has already come and gone. what matthew sanford calls "this longing for a connection deeper than random [that] defines the human condition". the truth is that we live in a random universe, where our human compulsion to connect the dots backwards can't affect the reality that exists in a moment. 

energy attracts like energy...laugh and the world laughs with you, weep, and you weep...hmmm...alone. at first that may sound like i'm contradicting myself, but i'm not really. positive energy is expansive, negative energy compressive. explosive vs. implosive. these are the forces at work in this random universe. the reality of some moments can be difficult to accept. add resistance, and let the compression begin. allow it to be what it is, for no reason other than it is, and watch the expansive energy of this beautifully random existence engulf and absorb it. it's a new moment.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

craving is king...

charlie's gone again. this time for a week, to the new river gorge in west virginia for a climbing event. i didn't get to tag along, even though this particular event takes place at the location of and on the day of our one-year anniversary. so i'm eating...

...canned spaghetti, toast (apple fritter bread with sugar you can actually see on the top), sourdough pretzels, chips with salsa and hummous, and tomato basil focaccia...not necessarily in that order. and i'm drinking charlie's entire bottle of diet ginger ale to show him he should never leave me here by myself again.

i should probably be doing yoga instead. it occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, one day i'll be such a good yogi that i make that choice in this situation. right this moment, however, craving is king...and self-deprivation seems a little, well, egotistical. why am i a better person if i'm able to deny myself sourdough pretzels? i don't need all the sourdough pretzels in the world, and i'd share with you if you were here.

yesterday someone showed me an article about an old yogi somewhere in the world who claims he's lived for many years (40 years or something like that) without food or drink, not even water. the article told this man's story and then went on to provide testimonials from western doctors refuting the man's claims, citing information about dehydration timelines, etc. the really interesting thing about it to me wasn't whether or not the man was telling the truth, but that someone felt the need to publicly disprove him via scientific argument, as though anyone who believes the story would be the type of person to be influenced by science...

judgement reveals itself in so many forms...bad cravings, good science...and if i met that man i'd be dying to ask him if he ever gets thirsty, but instead i'd keep my mouth shut and breathe through my nose...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

distraction un-resolution...

it's been far too long since i've been here...so easily distracted am i...rocks to climb, classes to teach, food, kisses, and job have all come between my little blogwog and me. i could say i'm making a resolution to change that, but it might be a lie, so we'll just see how it goes.

i stopped making resolutions and self-promises a while back. somewhere along the journey i decided that i either accomplish it or i don't. if i don't, then it wasn't that important to me. i lived years of my life with a list of unfinished tasks that i would carry forward and add to, setting myself up for the "failure" of undone-ness. i always thought of myself as a quitter, as someone totally lacking the ability to follow through with an idea, without the means to completion.

expectation is a stagnant force. it stalls learning, inhibits action. i expected to accomplish all these things...but how? by writing them down on a list and promising myself i would get to them?

do the things you love, and you will love the things you do. there will always be more...but wanting more is the same as expecting more, and when we expect more, we act less. do the things you love, and you will love the things you do. no resolutions, no self-promises, no lists.