Sutra 1.3 Once the mind is crystal-clear, we begin to perceive the objects of the world the way they are; our perception is no longer distorted.
The first question I want to address, as we set out upon this adventure into mindfulness together, is the Why. Why are we here? Why enter into a day or a lifetime's worth of spiritual practice even when we are in the midst of so much suffering and chaos related to the pandemic? Why would we want to live with purpose, be kind and do good work in the world? Why would we want to be in alignment with our own wholeness allowing room for all to belong?
There is an analogy that is used not only in yoga, but in many other spiritual traditions called the spoked wheel. If we can imagine that each one of our lives is a spoke on a bicycle wheel, then we know that each one of our lives connects and meets in the middle, at the communal hub.
Marrianne Williamson, in her book A Return to Love describes it perfectly:
I crossed Educated off my list when it first came out. Everyone was like...Hey, did you read Educated? When you read it will you talk with me about it? Read Educated, you will L-O-V-E it!! So I looked it up, figured out what it was about (without reading it), and chalked it up to being another memoir about a woman with a crazy dad. At the time, I was in the process of disentangling with my ex-husband and had no interest in reading anything about someone's bohemian, wild, possibly bi-polar and abusive father. But, it turns out that’s not what the story is really about.
Tara Westover is first and foremost an ethereal writer. My body responds to her words, her sentences literally give me goosebumps. She gives language to subtleties of the human experience that I have been at a loss to describe for decades. Her insatiable curiosity and quest to understand both herself and the world around her lends to a quality of space and expansiveness that many memoirs fail to achieve. In this book exis...
This book club has been a long time coming both for me and the Love Hive community. We've spoken about it in class for years, how a book in common would unify the conversation and continue to expand our vision for a community rooted in study, as well as broaden our collective knowledge base and persepctive. And--bonus!!--I pretty much feel like I'm living a childhood dream right now. Being able to offer our community both a unifying resource and a jumping off point for conversation, while continuing to place books in the center of my life and work feels extremely fulfilling.
As a child, books were an escape route, an entrance to another world, another place, another person, and another time. I would read a book a day. I was disciplined and weird about it. It wasn't always healthy because I used reading as an acceptable way to completely and utterly avoid and check out. Reading was a way to connect with facets of myself that as an extremely shy child, I was...
I hear this all the time when people talk to me about being too intimidated to try yoga. "I would do it, but I'm just not good at it." The idea of being "good" at yoga is like trying to be good at breathing. We all have full capability of doing it. Sure, you can breathe more
slowly, more mindfully than someone else, but still, every single person can do it.
Step one: simply showing up is being "good" at yoga. If you are willing to show up for yourself, sit, breath and be present in your body and human experience then you are doing the good work.
As anything goes in life, consistency is key. No one walked into their first yoga class nailing every single posture, responding to every single queue and having the most peaceful savasana ever. It all takes time, patience and consistency. It is called practice for a reason. You have to continue to show up in order to grow. My most honest advice is to be gentle with yourself.
I know it can be intimidating to not be able to do certain poses...
The frantic turning and spinning. Searching for solutions. Rushing from one place to the next. Feeling overrun, overdue, underfunded, and out of answers. There’s breathlessness, nervousness, irritation, lashing out, hiding out, sleepless nights, and crabby mornings. At some time or another, most everyone has felt this way. Maybe it was a big life transition like a new baby or a new job. Maybe its planning your wedding or your parents are ill. Maybe you’re ending a relationship. The reasons why we get to the place vary but the symptoms are pretty universal.
Let's pause here and differentiate between an anxiety disorder or mental health diagnosis and what I am addressing here. What I am referring to would be categorized as common emotional stress and the challenges that most people experience in living busy modern lives. I want to distinguish this because without defining th...
Finding time to develop a consistent practice is one of the biggest challenges a student faces as they being to travel down the path of yoga. It takes discipline to step on the mat every single day for any length of time. Once your practice is established, there is a multitude of events that can occur and derail it temporarily or indefinitely. One of the most common is an injury.
Over the course of my 15 years of practice, I have injured myself many times—mostly when off my mat. I’d love to say that these injuries didn’t disrupt my dedication, but the truth is that several times I let their occurrence keep me from doing asana for weeks and even months at a time.
The ways in which injury can disrupt a yogi’s journey are many but the two most common are:
Fear of pain or aggravating the injury keep you from engaging in any physical activity and take you completely out of your practice.
Your ego gets involved and you try to “muscle your way through” your asana without adjusting inten...
It's dark out. The rains have returned. The sun seems to not ever fully rise as we enter into the darkest week of the year. This is the land of the shadow and as much as it can be challenging to be here, when embraced it can be an illuminating teacher. This is the time to notice where we are sticky, what habits we'd like to change, and in what ways are we keeping our own spirits in the dark.
I've spent plenty of time this year examining these ideas. On the surface, teaching yoga should be all light, rainbows, and fluffy bunnies. Although there is plenty of joy and blessings in this work, as in all things light there are also plenty of shadows. My own "existential crisis" with my teaching has been about 2 years+ in the making. When I worked for other people as a teacher, I had the container of what was expected and what I was suppose to teach. When I settled into the role of studio owner, I had this new freedom as the expectations had changed. In so many ways this has been such an aweso...
“Intimacy is the result of a choice to let someone see into your heart and live there with you. You can love your neighbor enough to rescue him from a burning building, but that doesn’t mean the two of you will ever have an intimate relationship. To experience genuine intimacy, both people must choose to trust, be vulnerable, and invest in each other all they have.”
-Spiritual Intimacy by Alice Smith
My mom sent me this quote. I had been upset because my neighbor had just lost their home to a fire and I wanted to do more than I could and I felt both heartbroken and guilty about passing the baton to friends of theirs who could be supportive in a way only close relationships can offer. My husband had received them and called the fire department on the night their house caught fire and they fled across the street to our home. It was surreal and tragic and traumatic and also a moment of genuine love of another. Them to each other for being alive. Us to them for being able to shelter them in...
“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection.” The Bhagavad Gita
In the midst of the most recent dissolution of my marriage, to my husband of 13 years, (I’m going to pause you all here and say how terrifying it is to write these words and make them public, but I am doing it anyway, because I love you. More on that another day), I have taken to walking my dog for long periods of time in the cold-windy weather listening to Oprah Winfrey’s Supersoul Conversations podcast. As soon as I press play and hear Oprah’s rich, familiar voice say, “I believe the greatest gift we can give ourselves is time, “ I start to cry. I watched Oprah devotedly as a child, and then again as an adult while I nursed my newborn children. The sound of her voice touches my heart in such a way that I feel vulnerable and immediately undone, which happens to be exactly what I am seeking right now. I am on a quest to keep true to my purpose as a joy...
We came across an amazing recipe and wanted to share if with you. Really nice for these short days and cold evenings. A simple recipe that calls for you to throw the ingredients in a crock pot and put it on low for 4-6 hours. This recipe is vegetarian, but I think putting some meat in would be great and tasty.