I like to think that some of the things that I’ve discovered in my yoga journey may resonate or be helpful to others. The following is an inquiry into the breath that can be engaged in your practice as a way to connect to this vital force and to approach your practice from a different perspective. Much of it can be experimented with even if you don’t do yoga – either way, let me know if it helps, hinders or inspires! Become Aware – the breath is affected by and affects every layer of our being. When we labor in physical activity it changes accordingly, when we are sad, mad, glad or afraid there is.
Mystical poetry has been an ongoing source of strength and inspiration for me in my life. It speaks on a level beyond the intellect, straight to the part of us that knows the immensity of our being. Below is one of my very favorite excerpts from Hafiz, a 14th Century mystic from southern Iran, and my interpretation of it. Awake, my friend, awake, Be kind to your sleeping heart, Take it out into vast fields of light, And let it breathe. -Hafiz Awake, my friend, awake. Awaken to the nature beyond the stories and narratives that keep you bound in patterns so much smaller than your expansive Self. Awaken –.
We often think that freedom comes at the “well-done” completion of some task. Or in the absence or presence of someone or something. We think it comes from biding our time in our repetitive day to day routines until that precious weekend or vacation or TV show. Rowan and I definitely have a particular rhythm to our day, most days look just about the same and there is some security in that. But there is also a sense of drudgery. Feed the bellies, clean the kitchen, tidy yesterday’s mess, get washed, dressed, play, feed ….. over and over again. At one point recently I began feeling like I was robot, programmed to.
After all, what is God? An eternal Child playing an eternal game in the eternal garden.– Sri Aurobindo If God is this, then what am I? I am the eternal Play. I look out my window to the tree that perches next to our house. It’s golden hue shines so bright that I wonder if the sun illuminates it, or if it illuminates the sun. I hear the swoosh swoosh of a broom nearby and look down the street to see my neighbor waltzing through the leaves that have created a moat around his house. Does he know he’s waltzing? Does he see the way the leaves swirl up to kiss his.
Last night I watched a documentary call Into The Universe – The Story of Everything with Stephen Hawking. Some of my first philosophical questions as a child were about the nature of universe: how did it begin? What was there before the beginning? Does it have borders? And how could it have borders – what’s beyond those? I was always shocked when I found out other kids (and adults) had never wondered about these things! The questions became meditations, I realize now, and contemplating them gave me a sense of expansion. I liked the feeling of being overwhelmed by the questions – it always left me in a space of complete awe. .
Rowan and I have a route that we walk almost every morning. I cherish those times, she loves to be in her stroller and I love to greet the morning sky in it’s myriad of forms. Because our walks are generally kept to one or two routes we get to see the seasons expressions change from budding sprouts and bursting flowers to the wilting and drying up petals of yesterdays blossoms. Sometimes it seems we are expected by the stray cats that speckle the neighborhood around our house. They greet us, in their own way, and then carry on the very important business of being cats. Sometimes we see the same people and.
Thich Nhat Hanh I take my daughter for a walk every morning. Sometimes I listen to audiobooks on my IPod in one ear while I walk. Recently I have been listening to Thich Nhat Hanh’s Mindfulness and Psychotherapy which is actually a recording of lectures this Buddhist monk gave years back to a group of psychotherapists. At one point he was talking about the anger he felt during the Vietnam war when a village he had helped rebuild four times was bombed again. He said he wrote a poem about his experience. I became immediately more engaged as some part of me figured that monk’s never actually feel anger – I was eager.
This past week I was with my family camping in the Rockies. In the days before we left I was feeling bored with day to day activities and also a little stressed trying to prepare for a week away with a one year old. The trip was long as we stopped numerous times for road construction and to ease Rowan’s fussiness. By the time we reached the mountains I was fatigued.With my regular destress routine out of whack with travel and unsuitable conditions for doing yoga I had little hope of relieving my fatigue in usual ways. After setting up our camp we walked to a nearby river to show Rowan this majesty of.
Two nights ago I became completely absorbed in a biography on country music legend Merle Haggard. Had I come across the listing on the TV guide I wouldn’t have given it any thought but my husband landed there channel surfing – and there I remained for the next hour and a half, entranced by the story of a man whose life couldn’t be more different than my own. Or at least so I thought. All my life people such as Merle Haggard, Hank Williams and WIllie Nelson represented everything I didn’t want to be. To me they represented right wing conservativism and a sort of redneck tribalism that left minorities outside the fringe of human.
Yoga guilt. We’ve all been there. That icky feeling of not quite measuring up because it’s been 3 days since your last practice. The little despot in your head starts throwing insults about how you’re obviously not serious about yoga, not meant to practice or teach it and generally just an all around slob. Maybe it’s just me whose hefty inner critic has heckled me in this way – but I doubt it. Those days are mostly past me now and instead of guilt after missing a practice or two I just feel a genuine longing to be back on my mat. This changed for me when I realized that “disciplining” myself into.