December 8th, 2013
I have been involved with some amazing transformations these past few weeks.
Here is a simple list of what I learned along the way…
1. I make my choices whether I am aware or not.
I seem to enjoy the choices made WITH awareness!
2. The sweetness of life is magnified as drama is released.
Yes that’s right “drama free living” creates a sweetness in contentment that can not be compared!
3. There are so many ways to live, learn and die.
I embrace diversity!
4. Resistance exists.
Now I look at how I can live aware of its vibrational chord, and resonate acceptance!
5. Driving up to Miami is not such a big deal.
Especially true when you are traveling with a friend, to see another friend!
6. Celebrating your birth is a joy.
Somewhere around the 58th day of celebrating I got tired!
7. Pomegranates are amazing, once you get the knack of deseeding them.
Here is the link that saved me: http://lifehacker.com/5895852/deseed-a-pomegranate-in-10-seconds-using-a-wooden-spoon
8. I am blessed.
Each day counting my blessings expands my understanding of how blessed I AM!
9. Paddleboarding at sunset with a dolphin is euphoric.
10. 60 isn’t so scary!
My spirit is ageless and the rest is following!
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October 31st, 2013
As the path of life, with its many lessons, converges with the yoga path each of us gets to discover and unfold. Lessons are presented. New concepts are explored. Old behaviors show themselves to us (sometimes over and over again.) Yoga gives us that extra moment of timeless nature to pause and reflect on it all.
Recently I have been pondering a concept of life, and at first the words “sinner to savior” came to mind. Now granted Key West just finished 10 days of indulging, carousing, celebrating, creating and rabblerousing all in the name of FantasyFest! Offering Yoga on the Beach each morning I found myself looking at how to market morning well-being, after the evening celebrations and late nights.
When the term “sinner to savior” popped into my mind I realized that thought was coming from a very old teaching, rooted in my Catholic upbringing, ripe with duality. It didn’t seem to really represent where I was with this concept (only where I have been.) My mind did a few flips and flops and I finally settled on “indulgence and forgiveness.”
That is the concept I’ve been searching for – to explore and to share – Indulgence and Forgiveness. How do they play off of one another? How are they one and the same? When we indulge our way through life enjoying the moment does forgiveness have to be an after thought or action, or can it be right there in the moment, linked in a self loving way with our enjoyment? Indulging Forgiveness
Yoga helps me to continually look for the way of Unity. At what point does the sense of duality shift for us, as with these 2 dynamic energies, to create oneness – one thing? Just as inhalation and exhalation (2 other very dynamic forces) creates breath, how does indulging and forgiveness blend to form one thing? Indulgent Forgiveness
In each of us is a mindfulness that rises up to explore new concepts, to expand our awareness and consciousness. Yoga is a practice in this process. On the mat and off of it, in a group or by ourselves, we have the time, space and grace to allow mindfulness to embrace new concepts, and to discover the way of living life cooperatively. When we are face to face with a decision, and we have awakened a level of mindfulness that is rooted in self nurturing, it is easy to have our life choices and challenges move from “sinner vs savior” to indulgent forgiveness.
Each and every choice is no longer an act of doing “bad” that needs penance. Instead your choices are looked at from a self- loving, caring and forgiving place. How will this truly bring joy and a feeling of well being to me becomes the question? Will I feel good in the moment, only to be followed by self hatred, disgust or a need to punish myself OR will the feeling of good linger and meld into the next moment of choice or life lesson? Asking these questions on the bridge of decision helps us to cross the bridge onto the decisive side of well being.
Some lessons we choose to learn from watching others and mimicking in a very subconscious nature. Here is one that you can raise to the surface of consciousness and make on your own every moment. The lesson of Indulging Forgiveness, a moment to moment awareness of how your next decision will create long standing well being for you and linger around for a long time, while influencing many. Pause, take note, feel and with your next breath choose with awareness your next act of Indulging Forgiveness.
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September 29th, 2013
Meet Julia! This photo captures her spirit so beautifully. She will be teaching class on Saturday morning at Ft Zach Oct 5th and 12th, as well as many other locations in Key West. We hope you get a chance to share her passion and joy for the yoga path soon. In the meantime here is your opportunity to get to know her a bit.
1. Do you remember what brought you to practice Yoga?
I was running long distances and wasn’t very inspired to stretch, though I knew I should. One month I saw a studio was offering new students a great monthly unlimited rate, and I figured I should try yoga finally.
2. What was the inspiration that motivated you to become a yoga teacher?
I decided to take a teacher training not because I wanted to teach, but because I wanted to understand more about yoga, historically and theoretically. As part of the training students of course must teach. When we reached that point in the training I found I enjoying sharing and activating the theoretical while leading an asana. And the teacher part of the training was suddenly awakened in me!
3. How does yoga help you?
Yoga reminds me that learning never ever ends, and everything that I love and dislike can change in an instant. Yoga keeps me humble.
4. Describe yourself in 5 words?
Dedicated, eager, poor-comedian, compassionate, reliable.
5. Other than yoga, what passion(s) do you have?
Cooking, eating, travel, eating, eating, long conversations that seem to only last moments with good friends.
6. If you could be anyone else for a day who would it be?
I wouldn’t. Though if I could be an animal I would choose a horse.
7. Downtime, what do you love to do with it?
Gosh, I’m such a dork. Yoga, practicing Thai massage on willing friends, and eating ice cream.
8. Favorite pose – what is it and why?
Parivrtta parsvakonasana. For me, stillness in the pose comes from the intense internal sensations of movement and dynamic energy swirling from to center and radiating from each end of your body. I definitely have the feeling of my energy moving beyong the boundry of my physical body.
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September 13th, 2013
Yoga is not for the faint of heart, it is for those who wish to build some strength within their body, heart and mind. It is a never-ending exploration of self that leads us down a path that winds, twists, rises upward and narrows into deep troughs, yet ultimately we find our way to liberation and love.
While we practice Yoga we often find ourselves diverted from our intentions, one moment feeling the fleeting joy of liberation and the next finding ourselves back in the deep borough or trough of attachment. It is those times when we find ourselves attaching to our practice, a teacher, a style of yoga or a way of being that individually or combined creates a sense of restriction, limitation, or suffering.
Yet Yoga gives us the time and space to break free of these attachments and of self-limiting habits, to become engaged with the unknown with a touch of gentleness that supports our self-growth. In that timeless nature of our practice, the churning mind stills and a clarity begins to reflect to us those habits that are no longer serving us. The practice of Yoga is like the rescue ladder that helps us to lift ourselves out of those deep troughs of self-limiting habits and beliefs.
The Uncompromised Practice is an opportunity for you to explore the habits of your practice, and charter new territories of your physical body, the mind, your breath and the emotional essence of your being.
What do we mean by “uncompromised practice?” As a Yoga instructor I often see how others (and I feel in my own practice) are driven by the goal setting mind which pushes us past a restriction, over and over again, to reach the intended place that the mind’s eye (ego) sees as the ‘accomplished’ pose. At the same time somewhere between the start of the pose and the end there were many unseen opportunities to explore, expand, unleash and connect. It is when I release expectations and striving that I begin to find the “uncompromised practice” path, and start to explore all of that unchartered territory.
Each time you practice Yoga you have the opportunity to break free or hold on. Your practice is a safe playground to play the edge of something new, unusual, unchartered, and unsure or fall back into the ruts of your habits. Yoga seems to have a constant question that underlies each breath, “Are you ready to surrender or do you still need to hold on?” What I continue to find so beautiful within the practice of Yoga is that the answer to that question is irrelevant; we just keep on checking in and being present! Surrender or hold on?
Habits are ripe with compromise, as we move mindlessly or automatically rather than with awareness in and out of our poses. The Uncompromised Practice, with its deep awareness, no longer puts us into positions or movement patterns that expose our joints and muscles to risk, or future injury. We are attuned to the whole range of movement in the pose, as we flow with awareness in that present moment.
Acceptance and awareness are the anchors of the “uncompromised practice.” We first use awareness to feel our way through our practice, freeing the thinking mind from directing us, finding the feeling heart which notes what IS happening, not what “should” be. In awareness we can melt into the heart of acceptance, seeing the chains or binds that have limited us to experience unlimited potential in the moment.
The Uncompromised Practice is goal free, yet full of intention. There is no should in the Uncompromised Practice, there is acceptance, awareness, intention, and allowing. The many shoulds that bind us become the limitless potential (the unsure) that frees us.
The next time you find yourself on or off your mat in practice take a moment to look around and see what you’ve been missing.
Here are a few ideas on how to make the shift to an Uncompromised Practice.
- Try something new – New teacher, new style of class, new location all can bring us a new approach, or give us a fresh look to our practice.
- Slow down – What’s the hurry? Building awareness takes time.
- Attend to the flow – As you move from one pose to another pay attention to ALL of the phases of movement, breath and intention you are using.
- Feel IT! – Use your heart intelligence to feel everything you can as you practice. Don’t tune out from your feelings, TUNE IN! There is so much information in the sensations you are feeling.
- Observe – What is the mind telling you? What is the heart feeling? The dance between these two great powers is crucial to the practice. Don’t let the mind push you beyond what the body and heart are telling you is happening.
- Don’t Worry – You will grow, change, improve and develop even without that old pattern you are attached to. Maybe even more than you can imagine!
One breath at a time, awareness builds, time slows down, you find yourself in a fertile field of expanding possibilities! Onward, fearlessly you go!
Posted in Articles, Inspirations from Class, Yoga Philosophy | No Comments »
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July 31st, 2013
Seavasana – Cape Cod
Why I love it!
It was on a very steamy morning about 4 or 5 years ago when I was inspired to take Savasana, the final relaxation portion of a yoga class, into the ocean. Thus Seavasana was born!
Fully clothed, a few of the students joined me as we laid back into the ocean, floated on our backs, with our ears in the sea and drifted with the waves and current. Sounds divine, doesn’t it?
Well, yes but not always right away. The first thing I discovered was my breath was so tight as my body had contracted when it felt the coolness of the ocean. Then I realized, delightfully, that with my ears in the water I could hear my breath so very clearly. Focusing on the sound of my own breath, I used it to help regulate my body and release into the sea. I love that clarity that the sea gives me to hear my breath and feel my tension.
As my body began to relax and float on the waves I could feel this immense sensation of tension in my neck, shoulders and jaw. WHOA! What is that my mind asked, while my breath kept offering me relaxation. I began to feel this smile melt over my heart and run through my body. EASE in a whole new way was the gift the sea gave me.
Over the years many have joined me in this practice, and it is a gift to be present with so many who explore their own bodies (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) in the medium of the sea. I love witnessing the miracles that have been a part of this practice with my fellow students and teachers. I am honored to be present as they birth ease in the flowing nature of the sea.
What I’ve learned
Letting go can be very hard, and equally very easy. It is the conditioning and the conditions that seem to affect our ability to surrender. I have watched and assisted many who bring a fear of the water into the sea with them for Seavasana. Some find their way from a stiffening tension into a jellyfish like floating relaxation in a breath or two. Others ask for assistance and I simply hold their heads until I feel their body go limp and see their breathing regulate, and I release them to their own mastery. It is such an honor to be witness to the powerful transformation of fear into ease.
I’ve learned to open my eyes during this practice and drink in the vastness of space that visually soothes me, as my body feels the vastness of sea floating my body on each wave.
I’ve learned that the powerful nature of this practice of surrender is magnified as the force of a current draws our bodies along the shoreline. Some days we drift aimlessly, while other days it feels like we are flying as the current is swift and the clouds fly with us in the sky.
I’ve been challenged by the windy, wavy days as they present a whole other condition that seems counterintuitive to the practice of Seavasana. In the practice I have been frustrated and fearful of the waves splashing over my face, making me sputter and spew the sea’s waters. I’ve discovered it is less distracting if I position myself with my head into the waves. Even more revealing is the gift given to me the day I surrendered to the conditions of the sea and found my ease and centered nature, even with the ocean boiling and rolling under me. OH, what a gift that I can now walk on land with; to be centered and at ease even when the energy around me is not.
Seavasana is an option we offer at Yoga on the Beach. It is a gift for sure, whether we jump in to cool off, lay back and explore the gifts of the sea or stay on land floating on the sand. Time to just be, to surrender and allow is the offering. It is our joy to create some space for you to explore in.
Tags: asana, ocean, Seavasana
Posted in Inspirations from Class, yoga, Yoga Poses | 4 Comments »