My heart broke open a bit this weekend....I made my almost annual trek to the Toronto Yoga Conference...this is always such a big treat for me....time to immerse myself in my life force....
The New Year is shaping up to be a busy one! So many new things on the horizon; 1/2 a dozen new on-line workshops, & a few in studio workshops. A new downloadable Yoga Nidra CD (you can listen to a sample here!) & an article or 2 to be published in some of my favorite e-magazines. I'm finishing up a couple of Freedom Meditation Shawl commissions & introducing some new shawl designs & yoga/meditation accessories. Phew!
I'm quite excited about all of it, but right now I'm most excited about the Yamas & Niyamas Life Shawl workshop! A 10 month journey exploring Yoga's ethical principles & creativity. The results of the work that will take place during this workshop will give students the opportunity to perform an in-depth personal investigation of the 1st two limbs of Yoga's 8-Limb Path. The insights discovered will be used to set meaningful intentions that will be used in the meditative flow of weaving fabric.
The next session starts February 1st; are you ready to journey into your inner life?
Namaste my friends!
I went to Yoga this morning. It feels weird to say that since I practice every single day, but this morning there was a feeling of "newness" to it. I don't usually have a 6AM time-slot open to practice on a Friday morning because my schedule, up until last week, had me teaching at that time. But life has a way of offering up what is required right at the perfect time.
Big changes are heading my way. A new job for my guy, the selling of my beloved home, a move to another province & the letting go of the daily interactions with Friends I hold close to my heart. Saying goodbye to Students who have taught me so much more than they can imagine. There's a tightness in my throat when I think about this. My teeth clench & my shoulders round in toward my heart as if to protect it.
So, I went to Yoga this morning. I needed the energy of the room. That generously offered sound of the group's ujjayi breath brought me strength & a quiet calm. It reminded me that there is solace in a shared practice. It reminded me why I come to my mat every day. It reminded me that you can not be a Teacher unless you are a Student.
As I move along the next part of my journey there will be challenges & struggles I am sure. There's something about all this change that makes me feel like that 9 year old girl who walked into the Grade 4 class; the new kid. The tallest girl in the class with the homemade dress, matching kerchief & mismatched socks. As the years pass by & I grow older, these feelings don't change. They are still there deep down. But now I have my mat. That place where I know how to be truly open to what my body & mind is telling me it needs. That place where all is safe, all is forgiving, all is true & all is available for the taking.
So, that's why I went to Yoga this morning. I went to rediscover my Mojo & to borrow from those around me. And as always, they gave me what I needed without asking anything in return.
Namaste my Friends,
Over the last numbers of days a slow burn has been smoldering in my heart...I can feel it growing as it moves up from my chest & makes its way to my mouth...I've been trying very diligently to not think about it, but today it's threatening to explode like the hot & bubbling lava from a volcano...
For the most part I shy away from discussing the topic of religion. This is a private thing for most people; it is a very private thing for me. I generally have no opinion on the religious beliefs of others. Not because I don't care, but because it's none of my business. I honestly honor the belief that everyone should be allowed to believe/worship as they choose. In my life I have been blessed to be able to make this belief a reality. This does not mean that I have to agree with the religious tenets of someone's faith. This means that I can be appalled & horrified by the actions of people within someone's faith without denegrating the faith itself.
Although I do not drag my a$^ out of bed on Sunday morning to make my way to Mass, nor do I visit the Church on Easter or Christmas, I was Baptized, Confirmed & still hold a solid, albeit quiet, belief in my religion. The buildings & the decorations of the services don't hold much importance to me; what I feel in my heart does. This is why I am feeling so enraged by the nastiness I'm seeing about my faith. It's not a secret that a new Pope is being selected. There's no escaping the news...It's also not a secret that some people within the Catholic religion have perpetrated horrible acts on others....there's no escaping that news either. It behooves me to remind you that the unspeakable suffering that some have experienced in the world is not limited to perpetrators from the Catholic Church. Pain & suffering is everywhere; it is found in every religion; it is found in every country; it is found in every city; it is perhaps found in every family.
Does it really need to be said that painting an entire religion with such broad strokes as I've seen over the last few days is both unfair & perhaps a bit ...... no, I think I'll leave it at that...
I honor everyone's right to voice their opinion, but at the same time I hope everyone honors my right to not be demeaned for my religion...
Namaste my Friends,
I love Sunday...slow & lazy...steaming cups of coffee & a toasted bagel. Sometimes I just cuddle up in a warm blanket & relax my body & my mind...I surf the WWW, check my email & peruse the lives of my Facebook friends. This morning my attention was grabbed by an item in my news feed about a new page. This page offers a very strong opinion of a very popular Yoga teacher who has, how can I delicately put this, had a pretty rough year or two...directly caused by his own actions. Sensing a scandal, I must admit that my curiosity got the better of me & I clicked on the link....I shouldn't have.
I'm finding myself in a quandary about this type of freedom of speech. I'm wondering how much thought the many people posting comments on the page put into Ahimsa & Satya? I know that this Yoga teacher made some very bad choices....I've read all the stories. He abused his power & took advantage of many. He disappointed the Yoga community as a whole. We all know this.
There is a very fine line between informing the masses & being down-right nasty...and really, much of what I have seen has been on on the nastier end of the spectrum. This makes me sad....
Why do we insist of throwing sticks & stones at people? Why do we find such pleasure in someone else's pain? I am sure that every single one of us has done something or said something at some point in our life that has been hurtful or detrimental to the happiness of someone else. I am sure every single one of us has been slightly less than honest or told a blatant lie at some point in our life. Imagine for just a moment that your transgressions were laid out there for all to see. Imagine for just a moment that your own actions had caused your life to implode for all the world to see. And now imagine that your detractors, however justified their feelings are, move from voicing their opinion about you to what sometimes appears to be just nasty & perhaps slanderousness. Just imagine this for a moment....Feel that twinge in your heart?
When does the point come where we just mind our own businesses & truly practice the Yamas & Niyamas? When do we stop poking at this damaged person with our sticks & pummelling him with our stones?
There but for the grace of God, go I....and perhpas you too...
Namaste my friends,
So tomorrow will mark my 2 week anniversary of not consuming meat/chicken/fish in my diet....please, no applause...
I am dreaming about giant homemade hamburgers topped with big fat slices of juicy tomato, onions, some tangy relish & my favorite garlic pickles...really, I'm actually dreaming about this in some form or another every single night....sometimes the dreams are of Kentucky Fried Chicken which I NEVER eat...I think the fact that my main man is in Ketucky this week & I'd really like some chicken is where that's coming from....anyone out there interpret dreams?
I found myself the other day browsing through the 40,000 flyers I receive at the end of my driveway every week (that's a whole other story & a topic for another day!), staring like a mind-altered drooling fanatic at the pretty pictures of hamburgers, bacon & stuffed chicken....Holy Cow! Look at that fantastic deal!!! Free hamburger buns with the purchase of a whole bunch of cow...how could a savy shopper such as myself pass that up.....
It's kinda like when I quit smoking oh so many years ago....sooo hard....it's all I am EVER thinking of....I know this is an exercise in Ahimsa but someone please tell my mind this! I'm finding myself travelling down the "isn't denying myself something that my body clearly needs a bit violent" path...ah justifcation you fickle bitch...
Bought me some lovely spinach & berries last night on my way to Yoga....think I'll go make a yummy salad!
Namaste my friends,
Today I will light a candle to symbolize my commitment to find & accept the courage to practice living nonviolently; to have the courage to consciously practice Ahimsa in my daily life.
What is courage? According to the dictionary it means "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear."
For a number of months I've been throwing around the idea of removing meat from my diet. I've been educating myself on vegetarianism & how this will help me more honestly practice Ahimsa with courage. One of my favourite books, The Yamas & Niyamas, Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele, states that "Nonviolence is woven with love, and love of others is woven with love of self; these cannot be separated." I find this quite profound as it pertains to Ahimsa & vegetarianism.
Perhaps my recent aversion to vegetarianism has not really been about the absence of meat from my diet, but simply a lack of courage. I fear I will fail at removing this part of my regular diet & as such fail at Ahimsa. This naturally warps into a lack of love of myself...oh such a tangled web we weave....
So I'm thinking I'll treat this as a challenge. I will forge ahead day by day practicing Ahimsa & eating my fill of veggies & other non-meat treats. I will be courageous & accept the notion that I will do the best that I can do & that that will be a success in my life.
Namaste my friends....
Today I am attending a workshop about the Yoga of eating....hmmmmm.....I'm so not sure about this....
It's not that I don't enjoy a good salad; I very, very rarely eat proceesed foods & my favorite breakfast is a big old bowl of steel-cut oats with cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds & a spoonful of apple butter. It's just that man-oh-man I love a good burger or a grilled chicken breast...
I've been reading alot about vegetarianism & Yoga & I ask you this...should yoginis/yogis be vegetarians? Are you a better yogini if you are a vegetarian? I recently read a post on a message board about all things Yoga where the person posting said the following...
"First we have to be clear what is meant by a yogi. A yogi is someone who applies the teachings of yoga to their life - and lives by them. There can be no other definition. It is tempting for people to think that some experience of yoga makes them a yogi, even if that experience is limited to a class a week, or even daily asana / pranayama practice. This simply means that they practice some aspects of Hatha Yoga. It does not make them a yogi. I know this because i speak from experience.
Vegetarianism is in reality essential to the practice of yoga. One cannot go far in yoga without living by the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence).
There are hard-core carnivores practising and teaching yoga. But they are not yogis.
If you continue to work towards the veggie lifestyle (even if there are a few bumps in the road), & you are truly making an honest effort, does that cover you off? Hmmmm...or does the occasional cheese-burger negate all my efforts of practicing Ahimsa in my daily life. This troubles me...
The journey continues.....