• Consciousness,  Practice

    The Sensation of Soul

    “We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one. ”  – Aristotle Gurdjieff speaks of the crystallization of a force through spiritual effort that has the capacity to withstand the torrent of external assaults we experience regularly.  This force is the place where human and Divine collide – an interface that we call soul.  He sometimes describes this force as a “finer substance” which can be felt distinct from the denser vibration of our personality and physical reality.  As you traverse the spiritual path of yoga (or otherwise), the question is:  Can you sense the presence of this “finer…

  • Consciousness,  spirituality,  Yoga in the Everyday

    Living and Dying in the New Year

    My two and half year old daughter has recently taken to announcing when “night” comes.  As soon a the sun’s light begins to fade she yells “night!” and with equal fervor at dawn the next morning she yells “night all gone!”.  I love her sense of rhythm.  I love that she gets excited the death of day and birth of night, and vice versa, with sensitivity to the continual cycling of our daily life. We’re coming up to a time that represents to most of us the completion of yet another cycle.  We enter the death of our calendar year, and like with any other death this makes space for the springing forth of…

  • Consciousness,  Ego,  Non-duality,  Practice

    The Play of Forces

    I’m obviously into forces these days.  My second last post talked about the importance of recognizing that our own personal will is but one of innumerable forces acting on our lives at any moment.  This post is about learning to cooperate with and see ourselves as a dynamic play of forces in yoga practice.  Through this, we come to know ourselves as something other than the rigid, crystallized entity we call our ego. The first force we must cooperate with is the grounding force – we must root before we can sprout.  This means yielding.  We must learn to yield our body weight into the points of contac we have with the…

  • Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Practice

    Yoga and Emotion

    Sometimes I love to revel in how immensely practical yoga and spirituality can be.  As a very sentimental person I find myself in the throes of wild emotional forces within me daily.  For many years I had minimal ability to make space for this inner wilderness.  Instead, I would find myself angry, depressed or anxious, yet I knew intuitively there was another way to allow the forces to move in me without being towed under by them.  This way has slowed shown itself to me over time through my practices and most especially yoga. Yoga calls us to be completely present amidst awkward and difficult sensations.  We are asked to stay with the inner…

  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Practice

    To Be Fully Alive

    To be fully alive, expanding in all directions. This is my deepest wish, and my greatest fear. What does it mean to be fully alive?    This question has been haunting me in various forms for most of my life.  I can’t say that I’ve come to any conclusions about it.  Instead, I suspend the question in my heart and what rises in brief lucid moments is a vision of a radiant sun, expanding in all directions from the center of my chest.  I see it and feel it now and it brings soft tears to my eyes.  I sense that this symbol represents two things.   The first is that I can become…

  • Embodiment,  Inspiration,  Practice

    Building Energy Through Your Practice – A Prelude to the Vibrant Life Retreat on August 7th

    There is nothing like feeling radiantly alive.  Having enough energy to engage your life, relationships and work in a healthy and balanced way is essential to wellbeing.  What follows is a practice for helping  you cultivate and recognize your natural vibrancy.  The practice is two fold.  First, we tune in to the frequency of our energy body, or prana, and second we then invite awakening to this body through a variety of exercises.Awareness:  Here we are basically changing the “channel” of our attention.   We shift our attention from the channel of thoughts, preconceived notions about ourselves and our body, ideas and concepts to the channel of direct perception of sensation in the body.  As we descend our attention and…

    Comments Off on Building Energy Through Your Practice – A Prelude to the Vibrant Life Retreat on August 7th
  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Non-duality,  spirituality

    Manomaya Kosha – The Feeling and Emotional Body

    I’ve been actively avoiding this post all week. I have often guarded my feelings and emotions and so publicly writing about it fills me with fear.  I’m afraid to be honest, I’m afraid that I won’t be honest.  So I start there.  In the fear.  I move through the first two sheaths with ease, I am comfortable here, in sensation and energy.  And then I bump up against a wall of butterflies- this is often how I feel fear or anxiety – as mass of butterflies that jitter in my torso.  And the butterflies go nowhere.  They just flit about in chaotic non-patterns, bunging up any sense of flow within me.I bring more awareness to this moving, immovable mass.  As I do this the butterflies seem…

    Comments Off on Manomaya Kosha – The Feeling and Emotional Body
  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Non-duality,  spirituality

    Pranamaya Kosha – The Energy Body

      As I sit in front of the large windows in my living room I notice a lady bug crawling along the windowsill.  It is only one small part of the larger scene of life pulsating through this moment.  My cat snores beneath my chair.  A light breeze ruffles the delicate leaves of freshly planted petunias on my porch.  The heavy, grumbling sounds of passing cars periodically mask the fervent chirps of neighborhood robins.  The world is vital this morning.  It is not a blob of inanimate substance, it is alive.  I am alive.  My awareness turns inward and I notice that my body feels fatigued from hours of excited gardening.  My legs ache…