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Showing posts from October, 2013

Surrender to the Dark Side

This week Halloween will be celebrated in the United States and in a few other places around the world that give credence to this modern, American festival, tenuously linked to the Celtic Samhain celebration.  We had a German visitor in our house this summer--when we asked her if she ever dressed up for Halloween, she replied, "I think Halloween is shit." Whatever you may think of the costumes, the candy and the glorification of guts and gore, one positive aspect of Halloween is the permission it gives us to delve into the Shadow side of reality and of ourselves.  

We live in a culture where everyone is supposed to be pretty, death is taboo and the Shadow is suppressed.  Our collective Shadow is the violence that keeps sprouting up in our culture--we see it in road rage and gun violence, for example. We turn a blind eye to violence as a society, and so it continues to get worse. The solution to this dilemma is to stop running from our Shadow and shine some light into it. At l…

The Secret to Getting Nowhere

This autumn in the Hudson Valley has been mild, luscious and luminous. The apple harvest this year was extra plentiful, the foliage colors seem more vivid and the slightly warmer temps and ample sunshine have allowed for more time outdoors. When I walk my dog in the mornings I use that time to practice mindfulness, anchoring to the present moment and connecting to the Source of All. 
Last week I had a few flashes of bliss on those sunny autumn mornings that brought a particular sutra to my mind, from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Sutra 2.27 is Tasya Saptadha Prantabhumih Prajna-- the translation given in my version of the text is, "One's wisdom in the final stage is sevenfold," and then seven qualities are listed. My teacher Liz Schulman who trained me to teach yoga gave us her interpretation of sutra 2.27: "When we are without ignorance, we realize there is nothing more to know, nothing to avoid, nothing new to gain, nothing more to do, there is no sorrow, no fear…

Yoga is Self Serving

I am a practicing Yogi(ni) and a parent.  I very often hear other parents and other Yogis talk about selfishness and not wanting to be or appear "selfish." For example, a working mother I know who loves to practice yoga recently joked with a group of friends about having gone back to work, "It's been a hard year. I guess I could lie around and do yoga instead." I have heard other people say that they just can't make time to meditate, do yoga, or any other type of exercise or self-care because their jobs and families are just too important.  There is a suggestion that once we grow up and live in the real world, we must dispense with such selfishness. That is one of many viewpoints we can choose to adopt, or not. I would like to share an alternative perspective.

Yoga, meditation, time in stillness, time to simply be, and go with the flow... these things are not selfish in the sense of lacking consideration for others. On the contrary, when we center ourselve…