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Showing posts from March, 2015

Zoology Meets Yoga? Animals Are Our Teachers...

Last week I attended a three day yoga and meditation retreat at the Prama Institute in North Carolina, and something the retreat facilitator said to us is sticking with me: most yoga poses have animal names, because animals are our teachers! If you practice yoga, this is something you've undoubtedly noticed: upward and downward facing dogs, puppies, cows, lizards, crows, eagles, cobras and even scorpions make their way into our verbal and body language in yoga classes.

Our retreat facilitator, a veteran yoga teacher and clinical psychologist, referenced the history of yoga and the ancients' practice of closely watching animals and the ways they moved to provide insight into how we humans can best manipulate our bodies to reach a more enlightened state. Although animals were not the theme of the retreat (the actual theme was the Science and Practice of Meditation and Yoga), what we learn from animals figured prominently in my experience over the three days. 
As soon as we pull…

Thaw

As the ground begins to thaw,
the seeds and bulbs of Spring
awaken,
under the ice and snow
and piles of dead leaves.

As hope always persists
in the face of death,
exuberance appears in the wake of loss,
creation equalizing destruction,
light balancing dark,
heat tempering cold,
action completing inaction.

Always following,
in tune with an involuntary awakening,
our bodies respond to the cyclical stimuli
of death, rebirth and growth,
as the Earth spins on,
1.8 deaths per second,
undeterred by mourning.

Come out of your shadows,
chimeric illusions in a flimsy,
phony world.
Slip into the power
of the raw, animating force
which drives your sun, your seasons,
your tides,

and flow.


Vulnerability Builds Confidence

Instead of hiding our vulnerability, what if we embraced it? What would it feel like to allow transparency instead of building more walls, to know that we are acceptable just as we are, to open up to the vulnerability of our partners instead of backing away? Embracing vulnerability is part of owning our truth, and goes along with the yogic ethical practice of satya, respecting truth.

Some yoga practitioners and teachers use video diaries as part of their personal practice and teaching. Initially I was very shy and skeptical of sharing videos of my practice, yet I enjoyed watching others' videos. Now, sharing some of my practice videos helps me to embrace my vulnerability and get comfortable with it as a teacher. It helps me with satya and also with surrender and self-confidence. On a lighter and perhaps unrelated note, it's just fun... and creative... The following six videos are of my home practice, background noise, dog, snow, flaws and all! I really love practicing in paja…

Semper Caveat Emptor

In my chosen field for rewarding, part-time work, I am the regular recipient of offers to improve and build upon my credentials, to expand my work/client base/spiritual practice/financial security/knowledge/wardrobe. Sound familiar? At least some of this will sound familiar to people doing any type of professional or client facing work. When I worked in law the firms paid for continuing education and I would also see the occasional sales pitch for retreats or self-care aimed specifically at lawyers. My husband, a financial analyst, receives a small amount of promotional material to help him build on his knowledge as a CFA or to improve his managerial skills. 
My chosen field is holistic health and personal growth (yoga teacher, interfaith minister, spiritual coach). I know: when I signed up to do these things I also signed up for a continual onslaught of sales pitches from a growing number of people who want to help me do my job better and just generally be a better person. 
Since I …