Friday, October 29, 2010

On Balance

There is no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves. - Frank Herbert

We're off for a little R&R for the next few days. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


students learning together at a recent Kula Jam
A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community
finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of
each one is living
” Rudolf Steiner

When I first started taking Anusara yoga I was so happy to find a feeling of a 'home' in a yoga class. People came week after week, we smiled at each other, we knew each other's names, and we supported each other as we partnered together and made our way through the journey of each class. When my teacher stopped teaching I was forced to find other classes. They were fabulous classes taught by talented teachers, but the connection I felt to the others practicing with me in my Anusara classes was totally lost in my new practices. I felt the loss heavily.
One of the main distinctions of Anusara yoga from others is just this sense of connection and community. In Anusara, in sanskrit, we call it Kula. Kula being translated most easily as 'community of the heart.' It is the community of individuals that chooses to come together to support and uplift each other. What is so fabulous is that the kula extends from individual classes into the larger Anusara force in each city, and extends from there into the entire Anusara world. So when I go to a workshop in a different city and I know no one I'm not worried at all. I know that I will be accepted and supported in my yoga and people will genuinely be as interested in me as I am in them.
The kula is one of the driving forces for my journey into becoming an Anusara teacher. The loss and disconnection I felt when my teacher left was so profound that I felt called to provide that same heart space for others by building an Anusara community here in RVA. Kula building is one of my main areas of focus and I'm seeing it pay off already. (I'll blog more about our kula building efforts in later posts).
In the practice of this yoga we're really creating a community of the body/mind/heart. We're bringing all the parts together into a collective and cohesive whole to manifest the beautiful pose for an instant before it dissolves into the next form. We celebrate all body parts as equal, all thoughts as meaningful, all emotions as valid and in that way the whole person is brought to the practice in all her/his light. It is a very affirming and loving way to practice.
Tonight I close my first series and we'll focus on community. That even as we come to an end, the community we've built by practicing together over the 6 weeks will continue to live on in our hearts and in our bodies each time we come to the mat. And hopefully we'll keep expanding as we move into part 2 of the series in two weeks.

Contemplation: Where do I feel most connected to community? Who do I want to build community with?

And to follow up from yesterday... On my NOT TO DO LIST TODAY:

  • i'm not going to make homemade granola even though I really want to,
  • I'm not going to try to organize all my notes on the heart virtues,
  • i'm not going to worry about shopping for a new outfit for our anniversary weekend away,
  • i'm not going to pressure myself to have an amazing practice because i'm seeing john soon
  • and i'm not going to plan classes for 3 weeks from now
AH! that feels better.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

(Overly) High Expectations

I've felt a little stressed out over yoga lately. I know, it's a big joke. Who gets stressed out over YOGA? But, if you haven't noticed, I take my yoga pretty seriously. For me it is a career and total passion. And even though I only teach 3 times a week, it is really a full time job.

So, here's how teaching three 90 minute classes a week becomes a full time job....

My teacher, Ann, told us at YTT that in the beginning she spent 5 hours in preparation for each class she taught. You may think this is totally crazy, but honestly I find it takes about that much time for me to feel really fully totally ready to teach. The 5 hours includes deciding on the action, the sequence, the pinnacle pose, the theme, thinking of and rehearsing my personal story, relating it back to the big picture of yoga, and then working with imagery and heart theme ideas. When I am able to devote time to doing all of these things my classes really go well. And I feel well prepared as a teacher.
SO, 3 classes a week at 5 hours a class puts us at 15 hours + the actual teaching time of 4.5 hours and already we're at almost part time hours =19.5

Now, let's add in my personal practice. I allot about 2 hours daily for personal practice. I would love to do more, and sometimes do less, but the 2 hours covers asana (at home or in class), pranayama, meditation, and sometimes journalling.
SO, 2 hours a day and 7 days a week adds 14 more hours = 33.5

The rest can fall under misc support for the practice and teaching of yoga asana. Reading almost nightly, reviewing video of John, study of anatomy/general pose awareness, Yoga Nidra, supported savasana, BLOGGING, keeping up the Richmond Anusara Kula facebook page and emails, keeping up my website, staff meetings, personal meetings, commute time, talking with and supporting students, developing workshops/series/private practice ideas, supporting Certified Teachers coming to town.... and anything else that comes with being the Anusara-inspired lady in town.
SO all of that we'll make it 7 hours a week ... 1 hour a day x 7 days a week is actually probably really low but let's keep it there.

Grand total:
  • 15 hours planning classes
  • 4.5 hours teaching classes
  • 14 hours personal practice
  • 7 hours misc teaching support
40 ish hours a week.

Do you have 40 free hours in your week? I didn't think so, neither do I. When I look at this I realize two things. 1. I have very high expectations of myself and 2. This may be why I've felt a little stressed out lately. Somehow I seem to think all of this is totally possible each week with no downtime, and while also being the primary care person to a 2 year old and the CEO of our household (I could make another list of responsibilities that would knock this list out of the water for the CEO and Mom jobs, but let's not depress ourselves further). Yeah. Hmmmm. Maybe not.

So, after about a month of driving myself like a madwoman, I'm stepping back and realizing I may need to tone down my expectations of myself. Well, not really my expectations of myself, but my expectations for what can reasonably be accomplished in a day. When I'm over extending like this I like to remember a blog post by Amy Karol at Angry Chicken (a crafting blog) where she created a NOT To Do List.
What a perfect idea. Here are all the ideas I have that I'm NOT going to do today. What a relief. I'd love to do it, but I'm NOT.
Today, hard driving asana went on the list and I had a great restorative practice instead. Who knows what will go on the list tomorrow? What I do know is that when I lift the pressures I place on myself, I'm actually more productive and creative. And, I'm happier and my practice feels better. It's worth a shot at not doing all that I thought I could, just to feel a little better each day.
Contemplation: Where do I set my expectations too high for the reality of my situation? What am I NOT going to do today?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Intentional Eating

A few years ago I would never have thought I would be the kind of person that sits down to a meal and says Grace. We grew up saying the Blessing every night but once I was away from home, that little ritual slipped away. And my husband definitely isn't the kind to say anything much to any sort of God type figure (or Goddess for that matter).
A few years ago I saw the following video from the Institute for Noetic Sciences.

The video, along with my other studies about consciousness and intentionality, started to shift my thoughts around saying some sort of Grace over my food.
Still, talking directly to God (Goddess) right before we sit to eat isn't going to fly with my husband. And my daughter at 2 has the attention span of well, a 2 year old. So recently we've started a new ritual that works for everyone. We sit down at the table, hold hands, and then take 3 deep breaths. We follow that by saying "We are thankful for our food and those who made it" Simple. Quick. Easy.
I've found it makes a profound difference in the tone and enjoyment of our meals as a family. The three breaths help us transition into the present moment of mealtime. It's the pause we need to shift gears from whatever we've been doing individually into the collective effort of enjoying this time when we're seated together. Offering gratitude then helps me pause for even longer and call to mind whoever has helped make this possible. Many times yes, I'm offering gratitude to myself... but come on who couldn't say Thank-you to him/herself a little more often. I also get to genuinely offer gratitude to my husband. Or to my friend or family member for cooking a few days ago if we're eating leftovers. Even in a restaurant I'm taken for a moment out of myself and I recall that this is a meal that some actual PERSON prepared for me. And for that person for that moment, I am grateful. I think my food actually tastes better too!
Gratitude is said to be one of the highest vibratory states and most positive states to experiences as a human being. It can be quite healing and life changing. I am continuously exploring how to truly create opportunities for gratitude in my life (it doesn't always come easily.) This quick and simple ritual seems to be helping. At least 3 times a day I pause and am grateful. I'd say that's a move in the right direction.
Contemplation: How can I intentionally make a shift towards feeling more gratitude in my life? and/or What can I offer towards my food to make it a more satisfying meal?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Outer Spiral

Some years ago I added a little adventure to my ordinary life and took a Whitewater Rafting trip down the New River in West Virginia. It was a beautiful day and the river was at just the right water level, low enough not to be dangerous, but high enough that we could have some fun. The New River is one of the oldest in this area (maybe even the world) and is known for some wonderful whitewater rapids around the New River Gorge. (Google the gorge for images, it's amazing)
The thing about Whitewater rafting is, you have to let go of some of the control. Actually, you have to let go of a lot of control and allow yourself to be drawn along by the total current of wildness that is the river underneath your boat. Letting go into wildness is not exactly my strong point. So that felt scary, and feels even scarier now if I think about doing it again.
Enter, THE RAFT GUIDE. Ah, huge sigh of relief. Here is the person who's got the job to drive this little raft through all the wildness that is the river. Just by deftly placing a paddle into the water and directing our paddling energy this guide will both keep us safe and assure us of having the optimal time on the water. Which is exactly what happened (even when our guide was bumped from the boat momentarily, yikes!)
This is the way I like to think of Outer Spiral (or Contracting Spiral). I think of it as the expert that comes into a situation that has the potential to get out of hand, takes it and directs the energy in just the right way to make something Awesome. It's someone like the raft guide, or a midwife, or a sherpa on Everest, maybe for some even an accountant. Outer Spiral keeps things reined in JUST enough for some safety and a whole lot of fun to be unleashed.
Physically Outer Spiral goes like this... And for simplicity's sake, let's just keep it in the legs for now shall we? Sweet. So, Outer Spiral is your the counter part to Inner Spiral. That means, Outer Spiral brings the upper inner thighs together, moves them forward, and turns them out like a ballet dancer moving to 1st position. The low back gets lengthened as the tailbone heads for the floor. Put it together with the wildness of Inner spiral and you get pure magic in your low back, and legs. And if you're really nerdy (like me) and want to know, these actions create Mulabandha. (topic for later discussion). Creating Outer Spiral after Inner Spiral but before Organic Energy really does direct some serious power into the legs and can supercharge the Organic Extension. And then the pose is not only safe, but wildly rocking all at once. The practice gets to be kind of like my boat down the New; Wild but totally steadied by our guide... a fun time for all.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GO for it!

Goddess Wisdom Tree Unfinished
Have the experience of letting go into life. - Todd Norian

On Sunday I found myself in the place of having some unknown amount of free time on my hands. This is entirely vexing! Free time is a high commodity in my life as a mom of a 2-year-old, so having any at all is a gift. But, not knowing how much time I have in a given stretch is frustrating to say the least. I mean, can I just check email, or can I check email, read a book, write a blog post, do some quilting or sewing, and make dinner in the time that I have before she wakes up from her nap?

What I've noticed is that facing the unknown has been holding me back lately. Not knowing how much time I have, instead of starting out just to have to quit when the time comes, I've been not even bothering to start. I think my reasoning is that I don't want to do the work of getting out the supplies for whatever the project is, only to have to clean up 5 minutes into it. Or some other excuse. Of course, the problem with this is lots of time lost to doing unproductive and non-soul feeding things when I could've had a positive experience of doing something I actually enjoy. Like MAKE something.... quilt, scarf, dinner, artwork.... something. (and reading about making those things does not count)

So on Sunday, I had that same problem. Yoga was done, Babe was sleeping, but who knew how long she would nap? I knew I needed to MAKE, CREATE something. But what to do?
Finally, after several attempts at starting things that didn't inspire. I asked myself this question that I used to ask therapy patients...
"What would you do if....?"
"What would I do if I didn't have to worry about time today?"
The answer was very quick, I'd DRAW. So I grabbed markers and paper and drew a picture until she woke up. It was entirely pleasing and soothing, no matter the unskilled quality of the artwork. For me it's always about the process not the product of creation. Same with asana.

I realized I make so many excuses in my life for why I "can't" do X, Y, or Z. Maybe they are valid excuses, but often times probably not. When I let go of the self-imposed restraints and actually tune into my body/mind/heart I find myself in a much happier and more soothed mood. Sometimes I have to remind myself... Step out of the box (that you put yourself into) and GO for it. Sometimes the GOs are big, sometimes small, but it's always worth it to me to take the steps.

Contemplation: What would I do if {I wasn't being held back by X, Y, or Z}? Now try GOing for it!


Five years ago today a Justice of the Peace arrived at our house shortly after 5pm and married us on our back deck with our parents, one of my brothers and sisters-in-law and our dogs in attendance. We followed the short proceedings with wine and spaghetti with my mom's famous sauce. And had a white gown affair two days later.
Five years later, I'm still very happy with my Happily Ever After.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Holding the Paradox

One of the points that I really value and enjoy about Tantric philosophy is that it makes space for paradox. That is, Tantra makes room for you to be all things at once. You can work and play, you can be still and dynamic, you can be angry and kind, you can be joyful and sorrowful all at the same time. You can do it ALL, and BE it all. All at once, and Tantra says that's ok, it's actually important, just start to ride the middle too. (For Bernie Birney's awesome and funny take on Tantric Paradox in a yoga teacher see her recent blog post.)
It's a good thought on days like today, and most every other day. Days when I feel one thing and another all at once. I feel better within the holding space of paradox to know I'm ok.
Today's practice was like many others that have bigger outcomes. I didn't feel like getting started. I seriously just didn't want to change clothes and move around etc. But, eventually I did. And with some quietly inspiring music and the intention to Open to whatever She wants to teach me, I found myself dancing with heart reminders of 'Peace' then "Peaceful Strength" then "Dedication/Devotion" with certain people jumping to mind.
When I finally landed in Savasana I landed in my heart. I felt both a deep longing for my teachers, for my parents, for my kula and at the same time a deep well spring of love for and from all of those people. Both existed at the same time. Total sadness to be separate. And a completely filling Love, knowing that the physical distance does not mean we are at all separate. It is a strange sensation at first, to recognize feeling both intense longing and a strong current of love at the same time directed towards the same people. But once I eased in and allowed myself to feel both... a deep peace settled in, I breathed a sigh, and it's ok.
That's why I love the paradox. I don't have to be one or the other, to feel one or the other. I can ride the wave of both and rest in the peace in the middle.

Contemplations: When have I experienced two seemingly conflicting emotions? What does Paradox hold for me?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Inner Spiral

Tonight was week 4 of the Fundamentals of Anusara-Inspired series. Since we dedicated week 3 to Organic Energy (the 5th principle) this week we went back to pick up the 3rd principle, Inner Spiral.
Inner Spiral, and it's complement Outer Spiral, are refinements of the major principles of Muscular and Organic Energy. Inner Spiral lets you play around in the pose a little bit, find just the right alignment, before really turning on the juice with Organic Energy.
My example tonight was about parenting. When my daughter was old enough we finally implemented a schedule in our lives. The schedule was the best thing ever! It made every part of our life move much smoother and we were no longer going on the whims of a tiny being and her stressed out mom. Hooray! At first with the schedule I was very set in my ways. I did not venture out of the scheduled routine and it made me pretty rigid and anxious. I missed out on a lot of opportunities for fun and I was always stressed about the next step in our day. No Fun!
As my daughter got older I realized I could adjust the schedule day to day. I could make small adjustments to lunchtime and naptime and bedtime. Move the routine around just enough to make space for the reality of our day as long as I held to the basic structure. This let me get really flexible and fluid in my mind and in our life. Things opened up and I felt better and I'm sure my daughter and husband do too.
In this example the rigid schedule is Muscular Energy. We have to have Muscular energy to hold the body together and hold the pose together. BUT if we only hold, we'll miss out on creating a lot more space and fluidity in the body. The principle that creates that space and fluidity is Inner Spiral (or Expanding spiral). The looser schedule. The schedule isn't totally thrown away, but it is played around with a little bit.
Inner Spiral has three main components (and we'll stick to the legs for this one). It is a spiraling tornado-shaped action that moves from the inner edges of the feet up the legs to the upper thighs and all the way to the back of the waistline (oops! left out the waistline tonight, sorry ladies!) It moves the thighs IN, BACK, and WIDE apart. IN. BACK. WIDE. That's inner spiral.
The effects of Inner spiral are WONDERFUL. Your low back gets a deep curve and it feels SO good. The legs move into Optimal Alignment with the head of the thighbone in the socket and the hamstrings get tracked into place. It can be very healing and curative for many back problems. All of those put together make people feel better. And when we feel better we're happier. I'm not saying Inner Spiral can totally bring on world peace... but it just might! It certainly brings greater freedom into my body, heart and spirit. Ah!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teaching the Teacher

I tend to like to preach what I practice. When I get up there in front of the class to give my introduction to our theme, I like it to come from a place of authenticity and experience. I don't tell people about being vegan.. because, I'm not Vegan. But, I can tell people about being a mom of a 2 year old, because I am one. You get the idea.
A few weeks ago I found myself teaching a class where the theme I'd chosen spoke directly to me, the teacher, in a real and clear way. It was a class on the Organic Energy quality of Root to Rise (expansion from the focal point to the Earth and in all directions). And I used the theme of Rooting with faith into your experience and what you know is true, to Rise with Confidence. What I said that spoke to me directly was that we practice cultivating all these great Heart Qualities on the mat, but it isn't particularly worthwhile if they stop there. That is, once we've built our joy muscle, or our compassion muscle, or our creativity muscle on the mat... it's a good idea to use it OFF the mat.
It's hard to do, to make the leap from on mat to off. That's where we have to rely on Faith in our new strengths and proceed with Confidence into behaving or reacting in a new way.
In all honesty, I created this theme with a few students in mind. I knew it would speak to them. But I realized as I taught it I was Definitely teaching myself. This is a space where I have LOTS of room for improvement.
And, since as I recognized the space for improvement, for moving confidently forward with new, untested skills, Grace has provided me with plenty of opportunities for testing them. I am still amazed at the way that works.
At this point you maybe saying 'Huh?' so an example to illustrate the point.
Two weeks ago I came up short on a babysitter for 2 hours during Babe's nap time while I taught. I had asked just about everyone and was contemplating just bringing her with me and putting her on my back in a backpack while I taught. There was one other person I could ask, but it was the morning of the class and I was worried. SO my old pattern of behavior would be to worry about asking, worry about disturbing someone's day, worry that they would feel bad if they said no... worry so much that I would martyr myself (and my students and my child) and take her to class with me. The new approach was to be confident that I can have help and support and to simply pick up the phone and ask. For some, this would be no big deal. For me, this was HUGE. What happened was wonderful, I got what I needed, stress went away and all were happy.
And I've had many more opportunities like that, to just go one step further than I might have in the past. So far it's all been worth it. And I'll be on the look out for the next time I teach myself in the midst of teaching everyone else.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Contraction/Expansion and THE MORE

Just Born 2008

Today was my girl's second birthday. A day to remember and celebrate the biggest and most direct experience of Spanda, the dance of contraction and expansion, that I've ever experienced in my life. I also think of her as 'The More.'
In Tantric philosophy as in life, the Universe is in a constant state of expansion. The Universe is at once totally perfect in it's imperfect state, and is also always expanding to make More. The idea of The More says that even in perfection you can always become more. Even when things are just as they are meant to be, there's More.
That's how I think of my girl. My life was pretty good, perfectly imperfect, then I met Max and our marriage made my life More. Then our marriage was perfect just how it was and we created this sweet child who came along to make it even More. She is the More to our relationship. And with her in our lives, our Universe is constantly expanding, growing and shaping itself to all that we encounter as parents. I have learned WAY more from her than I have from any other teacher in my life, and I have a feeling this will continue indefinitely.
Tonight, now that she's off to sleep I am so grateful for this sweet More in my imperfectly perfect life.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Continuing the Series

This evening will be week 3 of my Fundamentals of Anusara-Inspired series. If you've been reading along or are actually taking the series you know we've been working through the 5 Universal Principles of Alignment one by one. The first week was Set the Foundation/Open to Grace, Second Muscular Energy and now we're on to week 3.
Week 3 is a bit of a conundrum. Principle 3 is Inner Spiral (to be explained at a later date). So it would make sense to go with IS next. BUT Inner Spiral is a refinement of the two main pulsating principles of Muscular Energy and it's complementary contrasting principle Organic Energy. Organic Energy is actually principle 5. And now we're to the halfway point of the series and I have to wonder if anyone is getting any of these principle things anyway. Maybe they'd all just like to do some yoga and have me keep quiet so they can get their zen on. ... Well, I do think they're actually interested, so i'm going to keep teaching... besides this is what they signed up for and are paying me for, right? Right.
ANYHOO... at this point in the series and in blogging about the series we're going to SKIP principles 3 and 4 and jump headlong into principle 5, Organic Energy. I hope you can follow me. I promise next week we'll return to a more linear model of exploring the UPAs.
Until then, I've added 2 videos and an article in the three posts below this one that can maybe help to explain the 5 UPAs in yet another way. Enjoy!

One More

Continuing in the theme for today... WHAT are the 5 UPAs. here are two videos and an interview with Todd Norian to address just that question.

This is from the 2nd Anusara Grand Gathering that took place in Colorado about two weeks ago. About 2.5 minutes into this video Kasey starts interviewing Anusara teachers and asking for explanations of the 5 Universal Principles of Alignment.

Another Look

Here's another look at the 5 UPAs (focusing more on Open to Grace and Muscular and Organic Energy) with yoginis KB and Mindy Willis an Anusara-Inspired yoga teacher

Quick and Easy

The masters of this yoga always seem to be able to distill it down to the simple essence. Here's an article from the Kripalu program guide of Q&A with Todd. He is describing the 5 Principles of Anusara. Why I'm bothering to put it in my blog in post after post when he describes them so well in one line or less is beyond me. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yoga and Emotion

Photo Credit: Madhu Nair (

I've been thinking a lot lately about explaining how yoga works on the emotions. Because, well, if you haven't noticed, yoga works on the emotions. Very quickly into the process of practicing yoga I figured out that I was stirring things up, and also experiencing joy just by hanging out in these poses.
The metaphor that has been clinging around lately is one of having a thorn in your foot. Imagine that some big emotional hurt in your life is actually a thorn you stepped on. If you step on a thorn, it's going to hurt, especially if it's a really big thorn. Initially this thorn will cause some trouble, your foot will get red and puffy, it will hurt to walk and you'll be uncomfortable. But say that instead of immediately sitting down and removing the thorn you decide to just live with it there. Eventually your foot starts to get used to having the thorn. And after a while, you grow a big hard callous over the thorn spot. You keep it very safe and it doesn't hurt anymore. You might even forget it's there. But it IS there. It causes you to avoid other spots that might be thorny, and it maybe throws off your alignment and causes pain in other places like your hip or knee. You walk funny because you're trying to be safe on that foot.
Then you start to do yoga. The process of yoga is like wearing down the callous. Slowly but surely the callous around the hurt is worn down until finally the initial problem is exposed. The Thorn. The big emotional hurt that you couldn't deal with when it first happened. Now yoga has revealed to you a big cause of pain in your life(great! wasn't one of the main reasons to do yoga for the fun and delight, John Friend??). Well, now You have a choice. Run away, grow a new callous, try to hold the thorn in place... or Deal.
This is really the moment of truth. Yoga will get you there. But YOU have to deal with it. The most effective thing to do now is very gently and lovingly invite the thorn to move out. In the beginning, you didn't think you could do anything with the problem because you thought you didn't have the strength or skills. But now after practicing for a while you realize you are more than you thought. You do have the skills to care for yourself, and even some tools at your disposal. Maybe some tweezers would help. Tweezers come in the form of tears, journaling, love letters, rage letters, fires of release, meditation on the pain and setting it free, more asana. Anything that invites MOVEMENT and TRANSFORMATION of the energy that is the thorn. It may take a while, but it will happen that one day once given love and care, that thorn won't be there anymore.
Then, once the thorn is mindfully removed we think 'OH YES! I'm free, I'm all set, I feel great!' only at first you don't feel great. Now is a time to take even MORE care. That space where the thorn has been is going to be tender to the touch, and is going to need more attention than usual. That space is very special and you have to keep it from getting infected with ointment and bandages. You even have to teach yourself to walk again without a thorn in your foot.
BUT finally, after all is said and done, you'll heal up back to the way you're meant to be. Back to your whole complete self withOUT a thorn to work around. Your legs and hips feel better too and you even smile more. Plus, you know that if you ever step on a thorn again you'll deal with it right away rather than wait. Not only that, you start to realize how to avoid the thorns in the first place.
That is what it feels like to me to let the yoga do it's work and clear out emotional pains. Sometimes I know just what I'm working on. Other times I'm blissfully unaware, I just know some energy is being transformed from pain to joy. I know when it comes to the moment of truth and I'm staring at the thorn that if I just keep doing asana it will move through, but I've found I can help myself with the tools I listed above. Eventually, I have landed on the other side of a lot of hurts and this is positive I think.
I don't think however that in anyway this is a new idea, I don't know where or if I formally learned it, but it works for me. Now get on your mat and get the thorns out!!! Just kidding... how about give yourself a big hug and love yourself even more. And if you made it to the end of this long post you get a gold star!
Contemplation: What is the link between yoga and emotion for me? IS there one???

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Alternate Title for this post: Nocturnal Transmissions

Prenatal Warrior 2 - 2008

Two nights ago Todd and John showed up in my dream again. They drop in from time to time. This time Max and I were walking down the street and came upon a small group standing outside as if they were leaving a hotel and waiting for a car. Todd was on the outside and I said to Max "oh, there's Todd" and then John walked right up to me. He said very clearly "you'll really take it up if you get your thigh back in Vira II" and that was it.
In Daniel Odier's Yoga Spandikarika he mentions that as the practice increases you start to dream about your teachers. Then if the link is very strong you start to receive teachings in your dreams. I did have a consistently very strong practice this week, but I have to say that teachings about the alignment of my Warrior II are not exactly the type of teachings I'm expecting. On the other hand, it was helpful. I looked at Vira II and my thigh is still forward. (how that is possible after 6 years of Anusara is beyond me!) On a deeper level I think the dreams with Todd and John just remind me again of the power of connection to teachers that exists even without physical proximity.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Muscular Energy

Week 2 of my Series was dedicated to Muscular Energy. The second Universal Principle of Alignment (TM) in Anusara and Anusara-Inspired yoga.
Here's my explanation...

This weekend my husband and I are giving a party for Babe's 2nd birthday. We haven't entertained in any large way since before she was born so we figured it was time. The idea of the party is really exciting to me. I want to see my friends, I want to treat them, I want to be together with people and celebrate our child (and also that our house is turning 100, and our marriage is turning 5). The Idea is wonderful. The reality is I'M THROWING A PARTY ON SUNDAY.... I have a LOT to do. Beginning this morning I have to clean house, shop for food, shop for paper goods, decorate, bake and frost about 1,000 cupcakes, monitor the guest list, clear up the yard and deck, put together an iPod mix, and in many other ways bring everything together for the moment of magic that will be this party!
THAT is Muscular Energy! One idea bringing everything together. Once everything is together you can proceed through the rest of the principles and have a party of a practice, but without Muscular Energy-- your party is a dud, and your practice is not safe or fun.
I think the main point for me about Muscular Energy, and the part I tend to skip and forget is that it starts on the Inner Body. It starts with the idea, or the remembrance of who we are... Supreme Consciousness. THEN from the outside everything comes IN to that.
Muscular Energy moves from skin to muscle to bone, moves from the outer edges to the midline, and from the periphery of the body to the core. It creates power and empowerment. It also creates safety and stability. And, let's face it, in some ways it is the easiest principle to master.. at least, the easiest to feel and create.
Going back to the party metaphor, you really want all of your cells to come to the party, but you have to invite them. You have to purposefully engage every cell, every muscle, ligament, joint, every part into the collective whole. Then the party will be a total success.
With that I'm off to the store to get my own party preparations underway!