Back in May, 2015, before I even packed a suitcase or planned much of an itinerary beyond purchasing plane tickets, I made a fairly significant decision. I quit identifying as a ‘Yoga Teacher’. I hollered my frustration at my office walls, and I hollered my grief into the spacious sky above my desert walking ground. I… Continue reading ‘What I Did On My Summer Vacation’
loose: to set free from fastening or attachment (nautical) Preparing material for yoga classes is a fairly solitary process. I tend to do a lot of circling my mat and shuffling papers before I can loose my mind and free dive into soft tissue and fluid body systems. Once there an inner world opens up… Continue reading Swimming My Sea
The Vernal Equinox was yesterday. It was a good day here at my modest home in central Mexico. Being a Friday, my calendar was wide open. I had a strong morning yogasana practice on my roof, and it was warm enough for shorts. I asked my husband to document the fact that I was wearing said shorts, because this has been a profound shift for me into acceptance~ and delight!~ as I slide my 54 year old legs into snug shorts designed for yoga practitioners. What that picture also reveals is that my Svarga Dvidasana (‘Bird of Paradise’ pose) needs some work.
My writing needs some focused time and attention, too, as do a number of creative projects lying about my office. When I settled into my chair at 6:00am to edit a piece I wrote for another blog site, my first click was to open Facebook (doesn’t EVERYONE go to Facebook for inspiration?) A friend of mine is in Nepal right now and she had just posted a photograph of boats scattered by the shore of Lake Pokhara. I was struck and inspired by that image… because as I was sneaking over to the ol’ FB, I was chewing on the phrase ‘the rigor of creativity’. Seeing the jumble of boats the phrase ‘the necessity of chaos’ leapt to mind. And therein lay my ‘Aha!’ moment.
As much as I crave structure and experience joy when I have met a self-imposed deadline, I am a devotee of Serendipity and her glorious attendants. As much as I rely on creating space in my life for her fortuitous visits, I love just as much to show up to tasks with dedication and focus. I derive a sense of accomplishment from tracking my progress, be it my 120th blog post, a finished piece of embroidery, or rising up strong and tall on my yoga mat in some pose that has been eluding me.
In honor of all that, I have made myself a modest challenge. To show up, for seven days straight, to three areas of my life that sustain me and give them the nourishment of my attention, devotion and care on a daily basis:
- Mind: One piece of writing + one hour of reading
- Body: One yogasana practice + food, glorious food, lovingly prepared vegetarian paleo (sheesh, that takes a LOT of forethought!)
- Soul: One hour of handwork (currently on an embroidery fixation) + one solid hour outdoors (just being in it)
Thoughts on staying embodied during the menopausal years, Part One. Here is what I find most challenging about the menopausal years: my waistline has become a hoarder and my memory keeps going out for these long walks. I used to joke that there was a ‘Fat Fairy’ who came to my house at night with her… Continue reading Yoga for the Plumpness, Perils and Eventual Potential of Menopause
Develop your inspirational capacity. Breathe. Expand upwards and outwards with each inhale; setting your intention and readying your senses and reflexes on the exhale. How will you cultivate, nurture and support a rooted sensibility and radiant heart space?
This cool September morning~ after my usual cappuccino and treadmill routine~ I followed the urge of seasonal inclination and grabbed a large jug of tridoshic oil from my closet. I pulled a cotton rug and old towels off the bathroom shelves, and poured about a cup of the earthy, fragrant oil into the bowl of a small warming device. I found my vetiver body scrubber, disrobed, and performed my first abhyanga of the season. This ayurvedic self-care ritual involves dry brushing the skin (long strokes on limbs, circling strokes over the joints), then bathing, then massaging warmed oil all over the body. I reserve one towel in particular to then gently pat any unabsorbed water and oil from my skin, as this particular oil is quite dark and will stain clothing. Because I have a quiet day ahead of me, I purposely left a lot of oil on my skin and dressed in old clothes and fresh socks, letting my body slowly soak in this nourishing treatment.
The Sanskrit root word for both ‘to be loved’, and ‘to be anointed’ is the same: sneha (स्नेह). Snehana is the act of anointing oneself with oil, in a gesture of self-loving care.
- What are your daily rituals?
- Which of these rituals do you just do, which do you revisit, and which need to be altered or dropped altogether?
- Which ones are chore-like? Which are centered purely on pleasure?
I have always liked having smart students in my yoga classes, even the smart-assy smart ones. Their questions over the years have helped me examine, re-examine and occasionally even re-work my premises, prejudices, preconceptions and even some of my most cherished notions of what constitutes ‘yoga’. Those smart students have helped me stay awake and alert… Continue reading How to Use a Yoga Teacher Training to Become a Smarter Yoga Student