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Showing posts from December, 2014

A New Year's Ritual: Exhale to Let Go, Inhale to Receive

Many of us engage in some sort of annual secular ritual after the December religious holidays to mark the end of another year: one example is watching the ball drop in Times Square! Another one is kissing your lover when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve!

Rituals mark the passage of time in our lives, helping us create meaning from events which could otherwise get lost or forgotten in catalog of ongoing yearly occurrences: birthdays, children losing first teeth, all kinds of anniversaries...we perform a special action to celebrate these moments.

New Year's celebrations mark the close of another year come and gone. We look back, remembering the good times and blessings as well as the struggles and hardships. This is a jubilant time, and also a time to let go of what is now behind us.

There is a concept in Yoga philosophy about letting go and surrendering: Isvara pranidhana, from Yoga Sutra 1.23. Read up on this concept on your own and see how you think it could appl…

Ahimsa: Force vs. Violence

Today I experienced something new with my husband and sons, on the invitation of our neighbor, a hunter. We received a call around lunchtime on a Sunday to walk over and watch a man dress a deer he had killed that morning. Since none of us are vegetarians, I thought this would be a great learning experience for all of us, and it was. We enjoyed hearing about how our neighbor took down the deer, seeing exactly the places where the arrows pierced and envisioning how the second arrow was shot to hasten the deer's death and more skillfully avoid paining the animal. We heard the sounds and smelled the scents as we watched the hunter cut through the flesh and bone of the carcas. We saw him handle each of the organs and got an up-close look at muscle and fascia. We discussed how the deer would be cooked and eaten.

As someone practicing and instructing Yoga as it is taught in the West (though I retain a deep respect and fascination for this Indian tradition and read as much scripture as …