Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Quote

I am safe in the Universe, and All life loves and Supports me

I breathe in the fullness and richness of Life.
I observe with joy as Life abundantly supports me
and supplies me with more good than I can imagine.

-A power thought card by Louise L. Hay

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Order! Order Please!

This meeting of the IBSC will now come to order. We have many sides to hear from this morning so let's get moving, shall we?

Let's see. First on the agenda the HM section, HM:
A yes, well you're a horrible mother, you are disconnected from your little one, you hate being a mom. Her clothes are a wreck, you can't seem to do anything right, and she keeps growing up on you and you're not even paying attention. Have you seen her breakfast lately, and how much TV is she actually watching these days?

And next up we have HT sector:
You are a Horrible Teacher. You literally stink at teaching yoga. Your themes fall flat and don't make sense. Students just don't get it. You'll never, and I mean NEVER, be good enough to get Certified. Seriously you should just quit

Also reporting today BS department
Well, I've lost my notes but I don't need them to tell you how much your body sucks. It is so weak and did you notice that little bit of fat over on the right hip, and how much your bum is turning into flab. I mean you're not fat... but you're definitely getting there. FAST. You have no stamina to speak of and omg you're getting gray hairs and as always those circles under your eyes oy!

General suckage, we'll hear from you now too:
I mean, well, you're just a bad person all around. You'll always be alone, you know. you don't take care of your friends, you don't call your brothers, you only think of yourself

Whiners here too?
It's really really hard! You'll never feel happy again, EVER.
well... you're a terrible mother, And you're a horrible person, and you're a bad teacher -- i mean will you EVER master hands on adjustments. You feed your daughter crappy food. You eat when you're not hungry. You should listen to your body more. You should sleep more. You should call your grandmothers. Your yoga practice is not what it should be. You should spend less time on the internet. Seriously curl up and die. Your clothes are all wrong, your hair is too short ....
(You suck!)

Now. Everyone has had their say? Yes, I see. The Chair will respond... SUCK IT, IBSC !!! I will no longer be believing any of your crap, because it is all Lies. Thank-you. Any more closing remarks? (oh it seems everyone has left) With that, we're adjourned.

Have you laid down the law with your IBSC lately?

Don't know the IBSC? Let me explain because each of us has our own personal IBSC -- Itty Bitty Shitty Committee (Todd and Ann's label). It's the department of our ego that when allowed to run amok will feed us crappy toxic thoughts designed to stop us and keep us from doing anything. Then it will 'should' all over the place until we are locked down beaten and bruised and literally unable to fight back. There's apparently no enemy to fight because it's all in our heads. And the worst part is: We BELIEVE every single word the IBSC says because it is specifically branded just for us. Every bit of it. We literally eat the shit right up and then are confused and wonder why we feel so toxic inside.

My life coach from Handel Group, Hildie, has been reminding me a lot lately not to let my IBSC get the best of me. She's been helping me to purge the crap and then fight back with the best loving, affirming, and truthful words I can muster. She says the best thing to do with anything that is plaguing us is to bring our awareness to it, then it immediately loses its power. Kind of like being afraid of a dark corner until you shine a flashlight in it or turn on the lights and see that nothing is really there. It's hard to hide in the darkness when the lights are turned on.

I am still a ways off from having the lights fully turned on in this corner of my ego. (my IBSC was running rampant again this morning... shut up already!!) But just this little bit of awareness is already helping me see how powerful my thoughts are... and to remember that that's all they are, thoughts, and thoughts can change.
With that, my IBSC is losing members one by one and I'm sure will be defunct any day now. And if you catch me 'shoulding' anywhere I'm not supposed to be just let me know and I'll clean up my own mess right away.

The best upside of this? Yesterday, after I cleaned up after my IBSC and did the work necessary to get there, my husband looked at me and told me I looked "beautiful." I looked in the mirror, that cloudy face was gone and I was clear and detoxed. I DID look Beautiful. Because I AM. (and I can write that without my IBSC getting in the way!)

Contemplation: Have you caught up with your IBSC lately? What lies is it feeding you and how do you work with them.

More? Check out Bernadette Birney's Shut the Fuck up post. This is exactly the work we can all do.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Media Buffet

Some days I feel like there is so much information available on the web that I can't quite digest all of it. I want to take it all in because it is like a virtual buffet of great, valuable, useful information, but my goodness there is a LOT of it. Some days I just have to unplug and not pay attention to any of it... so take or leave this post as you will.
I thought I'd let you know of some of the offerings out there that are timely.

First, John Friend is quoted in this month's Whole Living magazine in an article on yoga by Claire Dederer (author of Poser). It's nice that she's going through many different types of yoga and speaks to a few people, but John has two beautifully phrased statements on the value of Anusara yoga in the mix. One nice one is: "No matter what a practitioner's intention, under the auspices of a skilled teacher, students can have a direct experience of their very core which will transcend ideas of religion and complicated metaphysical doctrine."

Next up, I know some of my friends who read this do not subscribe to Yoga Journal. I'm sharing with you in mind that they are offering a 7-day Fall Detox program. It's free and you just go online and follow their steps. In truth, I'm very interested in the program but haven't actually gotten there to check it out or get started. I do recommend Yoga Journal for the most part and a friend from high school works for Dr. Blossom who designed the program and I trust Andrew. So I think it's worth checking out. The main idea is that fall is a time of clearing and preparing for the dark hibernation of winter so it's an especially good time to cut back on prana-sucking behaviors and up the life-enhancing ones. The program includes tools to support you including suggestions for: diet, herbs, yoga, breathing, meditation, and self-care from an Ayurvedic perspective. (just writing this makes me want to sign on!!!)

Finally, I've personally been thinking a lot about the Divine Feminine again and about becoming more knowledgeable and connected to the Goddess energy and mythology. I need to be a woman more in my life (and if you want to hear more about the Goddess on the blog let me know, you might just get her anyway). So it is very timely that in sifting through older emails this morning I came across a link to this: The Divine Feminine Yoga Telesummit. It is a collection of recordings of women speaking of the Divine Feminine in connection to yoga. (uh, perfect for me!) There are about 15 different recordings with presenters that include Shiva Rea and Sally Kempton and many others who I don't know. Again this is one that I've not yet used but am planning to check out shortly. And, it's FREE! can't argue with that!

So, a few more offerings out there on the web or on the page for you to digest as you'd like. I hope you enjoy them and let me know what speaks to you through them. Enjoy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Make Love Monday #11

Make Love Monday -- a mission to create a more loving world by being aware of how we interact with each other and choosing connection. Choose to connect with the offered practice sometime during the week and report back on how it goes.

This week it's all in the eyes. I've noticed lately that often the people who are providing me with a service (like the man at the grocery store, or the waitstaff at the restaurant) don't make much eye contact. It's like they're too busy to really notice me. In response I don't care to notice them all that much and we kind of ignore each other and let a moment that could have been a nice connection between two people go to waste.
So today's MLM is simple and quick:

Make Eye Contact

Do it with everyone from your cat to your kid to the person who is helping you with whatever you need. Notice who is able to make eye contact back and who can't quite do it. Also, notice if it helps to shift your interactions. For me I'm finding if I take the time to just simply look someone in the eye the whole conversation has the potential to open us both up for connection rather than disconnection.
Let me know, ya'll!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Friday Quote #14

Lauryn Hill in 2001

"Fantasy is what people want, but Reality is what they need"
-Lauryn Hill

Practice weekend...

This past weekend I had the lovely and very lucky experience of being able to practice with my teacher, Todd Norian, in Columbia SC. It was a weekend workshop, not any sort of training, and it was fabulous.
After all the immersion and teacher training work, to just be in the same room with Todd as he led us deep into Hanumanasana and Trivikramasana and into literally jumping around the room as monkeys was a huge gift. Plus, no matter that he is in some pain right now, he is the model of teacher I want to be. A person of service through and through. He took extra time to give me some therapeutics to keep working on undoing the imbalances of life and motherhood. He is masterful at spinning Tantric philosophy but also at infusing it with good common sense and with affirmations towards attracting the life you want, brilliant really. And, he's funny. I'd forgotten what a jokester he can be. I think it's his personal traveling joke to see how many words he can get to rhyme in each of his instructions. It's always entertaining to workshop with him.
So here are some of the gems from the practice this weekend. Some are Tantrik philosophy, some are affirmations, and some are just Todd being Todd:
  • Don't wait for perfection to follow your heart
  • Our greatness is not measured by our achievements -- more by how well we follow our hearts
  • Yoga brings on soreness -- and is also the remedy for soreness
  • We can't ever get rid of fear, but don't let it stop you from fulfilling your life -- take your fear with you
  • Love is always stronger than fear
  • Courage is a facility we all have to be able to follow our hearts from the known into the unknown again and again.
  • The only way to the impossible is through the possible
  • To get to the impossible focus on what you CAN do and go only one step at a time
  • A setback is a set up for a comeback (one of my favorites he always says)
This one was new to me... and one that I've been paying close attention to in my life as of late:
  • Let your afterwards be your teacher -- as in, after you do something, reflect on it to decide if you want to do that again (his example was drinking a full bottle of wine the night before a workshop... hmmm... maybe not so optimal)
Anyway... a year's worth of wisdom spilled out in 10 hours of yoga. 12 hours in the car to be there was totally worth it and allowed plenty of time for thought and reflection. I'm totally grateful.

You may hear one or two of these little gems popping out in the next few weeks of practice if you're close enough to take class.

Which one stands out to you today??

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hug the Light

It's time to shift again. Autumn Equinox is upon us. And, as I mentioned in the last post, I'm feeling the transition full force in my life. Something about the arrival of Autumn tends to want to take me on a wicked spiral into the darkness many months before Kali even officially arrives for Winter Solstice. Such is life some days.
Today I was practicing -- because you know, practice helps keep the darkness at bay. Wolves and vampires too -- practicing with John (by video) and I just remembered the last time I was with him. It was for Summer Solstice. The brightest, most radiant, light-filled day of the year. And on that day it was, as he likes to say, resplendent with light, not a cloud in the sky.
He coached us to call up our positive visions. To set our intentions clearly and to fully embrace the light, because it was the turning point towards darkness.
That reminder came to mind as I moved into the dark creaky spaces of my hips this afternoon. I remember my Highest vision -- the image I lovingly burned into my consciousness on that morning in June. And I hold on true.
We've been moving slowly but surely into darkness every moment since that day. But Autumn Equinox is the tipping point. Now the darkness starts to win a little more time each day. So now is the time to really hug the light.
Remember the Highest vision of your heart. Remember your Highest, Honor your Highest and delight in what is revealed each time you turn again to the light.
I am breathing a sweet sigh of relief today as the darkness backs off her pull on me. "Be the Light" he said to me in 2007. And, John, that's just what I'm doing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Yeah, I hate that

I Hate that. I totally hate it. I really strongly dislike it when the blogs I like to read take an unexplained and uncalled for break. I really hate it. Like, don't the writers know that I'm personally relying on them to give me some beautiful piece of insight I hadn't realized before. Don't they know I need them? (well, actually, no they don't know because I'm a notoriously invisible reader and rarely if ever leave comments)

And that's my way of starting off to say... Sorry I left you hanging there last week. Life is chewing me up and spitting me back out all sorts of mangled and mauled. I don't particularly like using the blog as a platform for complaints so i'll just say... Life is Life and Transition is Transition. I'm glad for it all.

Again and again I'm just glad I practice a yoga that reminds me to wake-up in every instant. That what is being shown to me and what I am learning is simply here to teach me to engage with it MORE. (More? really? Yes, MORE). To engage. To live the life that I'm creating and is coming my way.

Challenges come, it is the way we respond to them that changes everything. I am glad for this framework.

So, somehow I'm going to discover a more ergonomic way to use my computer because everything I've tried so far hasn't helped my neck chill out. In the meantime, I'm missing you guys and thinking of you. And hoping to drop in again very soon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Make Love Monday #10

Make Love Monday -- a mission to create a more loving world by being aware of how we interact with each other and choosing connection. Choose to connect with the offered practice sometime during the week and report back on how it goes.

a little love for one of my best friends

The Make Love Monday comes a little late in the day this week. Busy days but happy busy so that's always nice. But, is it just me or is everyone around a little stressed and testy these days? I know what's going on in my life, and in friends' lives. And I know what's in our national consciousness. If there's also something in the stars... I'm not sure. In awareness of all of that your Make Love Monday task is to:

Give some good Hugs

Go out there and really hug some of the folks around you ... like you mean it. I personally am happy to get every hug offered and it just makes my day. Give 'em like they're Mardi Gras beads (as in abundantly) and enjoy the added benefit of receiving a hug back as you're giving it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Quote #13

the view from the car as my daughter walked into preschool for the first time this week

"Everything [ you experience] is designed
to give you remembrance of who you are really."

- Tara Judelle, Certified Anusara Teacher

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What's in a Name?

Photo from the Yoga Journal site

What do you call this pose? This pose where you're lunging while your back knee is on the floor, with the shin and foot on the wall pointing straight up, your back may even be flat to the wall and arms stretching up it. What do you call it?
In our kula here in Richmond there's a little running joke about this pose. (yoga journal calls it King Arthur's pose by the way). One of the teachers, and the first to introduce me to this pose, calls it The Dreaded Thigh Stretch. Then a student who comes in for visits from Missouri shared that in her kula they call it Torture Pose. Those names DO in fact sum up the experience of being in that position for any length of time.
But the joke about the pose is that in my class we call it by the name given by one of the students: New Legs Pose. New Legs. Now doesn't that just seem much more inviting and worth it than Torture Pose?
Part of the Highest vision of Anusara is to look for the Good. And it is truly to look for the Absolute Good... but that starts with the small stuff. Like instead of grimacing and revving up for torture before attempting a challenging (and sometimes painful) pose, smile and look forward to the outcome. I always feel like I have new legs after King Arthur's pose. If we look for the good in the small stuff, it just becomes a habit and we start to see the good in the bigger more complicated moments of "Torture" in our lives." It's at least worth considering.
The end of the running joke in our kula is that once you do this pose fairies come skipping out of your rear and dancing all around the room because we're just so happy to have New Legs.
Or not.
Contemplation: What have I purposefully or mindlessly labeled as "bad" (or some variation of bad) that I could go back and re-name to possibly shift my experience of it? (a pose, a person, a place, a job... anything) Search for the power of the words and see how they shift your experience.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Pain is not normal"

Oh my aching neck! she says yet again. This weekend I found myself in the clutches of my new nemesis: Neck pain -- well, shoulder, upper back, and neck pain. I'd spent quite a few hours in the car, done some intensive backbending with minimal warming-up and planted myself in front of the computer (at the non-ergonomically designed desk) for a little too long, and my neck was letting me know it. Stiffness that went up both sides and culminated in inability to concentrate or think or even see clearly with the ongoing menace of a migraine ready to happen. It did not feel good.
Being in this predicament led me to remember two things. First, from the therapeutics training I took with Todd Norian a few years ago: "Pain is not normal" It simply is not normal to be in pain all the time, and this pain is the reminder that we are somehow out of line with what is most optimal. Which is actually a pretty optimistic thought -- because if pain is caused by being out of alignment, the way to get out of pain is to get into alignment.
And this brings me to my second recollection : this post from Certified Anusara teacher Zhenja la Rosa out of NYC. She's complaining of pretty much the same problem - pain in the neck when she realizes not only does she have to align, but every time she gets out of alignment she has pain, so she has to align ALL THE TIME. All the time.
All the time sounds kind of daunting. But after checking in with my MD and getting his assessment ("you need a really good massage") I realized that was exactly what I needed to do. Get on the mat, get into alignment, and stay the heck there at all times. Certainly easier said than done, but I can tell you that after 3 days of deep therapeutic and detailed work I'm feeling much better.
And that's the crux. Pain is not normal. Physical pain, emotional pain, even spiritual pain, NONE of them are normal. And the only way out is to notice when and where you are misaligned. If it is physical, what part of your body is tweaking and needs to come to Optimal Alignment. If it is emotional pain you're coping with, what part of your heart are you refusing to honor? If it is spiritual pain, how connected to your Essence Nature are you, and how much can you back off and let it lead the way? After you notice the misalignment the fix is simple: Align. Align early, Align often, Align always (as in, not just on the mat).
That way when the possibility of big pain comes... the heartache, the loss, the separation from Source that seems irreparable, some tiny piece may just stay glued in there to that space that is so deeply aligned you cannot be shaken. And while the loss may be real and the grief may be real, maybe some agony can be avoided.
As John Friend says it: Align with the Divine. All will be well.
(and yes, I will still take that massage!)

Contemplation: Where am I experiencing pain in my body, heart, or spirit, and what path could lead me into deeper alignment?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Make Love Monday #9

Make Love Monday -- a mission to create a more loving world by being aware of how we interact with each other and choosing connection. Choose to connect with the offered practice sometime during the week and report back on how it goes.
Are you at all taking it easy this Labor Day Monday? If you're anything like me, my family, or all my friends on facebook, you're not slowing down one bit even if you have the day off from work. But, isn't it the point of Labor Day to actually STOP from your labors and relax?
With that in mind, this week's MLM is designed to help you do just that. So, this week, sit down relax and take a few minutes to:
Rub your feet

and then even share the love by rubbing someone else's feet if you are inspired.

At one of the workshops John gave recently he talked about how our tension can be greatly relieved if we just stop and give our feet a little rub. He said that people always ask to have their shoulders and necks rubbed, but if you start on the feet the relaxation will travel the length of your body and your entire system will feel better.
I hope you take the time to do it at some point in the next 7 days, even if you're too busy to get to it today. Enjoy!

Have a Make Love Monday tip? Hook me up! Send me an email at with MLM in the subject line. I'd love to share it (and if you get up on the blog you'll get a free class with me if you're in town, and something else awesome if you're not)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Casting out the Spirits!!!

Ah Vacation.... We spent the last week in Maine on a family trip. It was lovely, even with a hurricane that took out our last day. I pretty much existed on lobster with tons of butter, fresh baked goods, hand-picked blueberries, s'mores and cocktails.

Yes, I know, Cocktails? Really?

Really. I haven't had this much alcohol in such a short period of time in at least the last 3.5 years. It's been since before I was a mom, before I was nursing, before I was pregnant. And that seems like eons ago.

Now, before you get all crazy and think I went on a week long swim in the ETOH you should know, when I say I "existed on cocktails" you should read it as: I had a drink at each dinner, plus a sip or two from whatever my hubby was having. I know, BIG drinker right here. That said, one mixed drink is enough to make me a wee bit tipsy. Woo-Hoo! Watch out for Party-Girl-Fischer!

The return to RVA and to my life and my mat (which I sadly admit gathered a LOT of dust last week) has also meant a mini-detox for my body. Ugh! It isn't pretty and it isn't fun. S'mores, lobster, butter and baked goods are all quite lovely, but they don't exactly set the stage for my cells to be singing with glee. Add in the removal of alcohol from anywhere it chose to deposit itself in my system and I can tell you my yoga practice has definitely felt MUCH better before.

And once again, all I can say is thank goodness I practice yoga. Thank goodness I have a practice in my life that will set straight all the haywire stuff I do to make myself crooked. I tend to focus on the emotional and the spiritual in my practice and in this blog. But, this is a physical practice and it has real physical benefits and I am glad for it.

Anusara doesn't say anything much particularly about diet or alcohol. We honor our bodies as the divine temple of the soul, but you're not going to come into class and hear a speech about not eating meat or the requirement that you become a vegan or something. In this Tantric approach, as I understand it, we are meant to have a wide range of experiences. In fact, we are meant to push our edges and expand them. And, as long as you do it with balance back in the other direction you can practically do what you want. So, in theory, from this perspective you could go on a frat party bender complete with 5 straight nights of keg-stands and follow it with a super detoxifying week of practice that would somehow land you back in the middle of health. And in that way would still be living the Tantric life. That's the theory. But if you take into account the other side of things, the belief that the Divine is actually living IN you AS you, it might make you rethink the keggers. I mean, I personally don't want to be the one who is responsible for giving the Divine alcohol poisoning.
All I can say as this week of detox continues and my body lets me know just how much I should NOT be skipping out on practice: Yoga is a hell of a lot easier when I'm not using it to try to clean up the mess I made last night. So while I'm in no way asked to forgo alcohol for Anusara or for my yoga practice. I'll probably make that choice 9 out of 10 times. Because the way I feel in my body and on my mat is a heck of a lot more important to me than the spinny feeling I get in my head for a few minutes after a cool drink.

Contemplation: How has your practice influenced your eating/drinking/living choices?