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Showing posts from May, 2010

Remember Who You Are

On this day of national remembrance - when we recall and honor the lives given, lost, and offered for our freedom - I invite my students to remember who they really are...

We come to the mat to remember who we are at our deepest essence. And who are we? We are nothing more - and nothing less than an Infinite reflection of Divine Love made manifest in such diverse colors and unique expressions, that it creates a breathtakingly beautiful rainbow...

I think of these wonderful insights, posted yesterday, by Anusara Yoga certified teacher BJ Galvan, and I share them with my small community of students - one facing surgery for cancer in two days, another who has just gone through a great loss, a third who just found out she will become a grandmother when it did not seem probable or possible...So many experiencing so much on so many different levels. But what is life, if not a multitude of expressions and journeys colliding in a collage of vibrant colors?

Remember Who You Are!

You are Total and …

Insights From My Beloved River

Normally, I take class on Thursdays at noon. But today, I stayed home, slept in, and then later headed out to the Potomac River with my kayak, to ground in its healing, though very murky waters...

Last week during the Anusara Teacher's Gathering, Todd Norian, one of my favorite certified teachers, did a mini-class on using themes in an effective manner - which is at the heart of every Anusara class. First, as a musician, Todd illustrated the many styles and layers to how John Friend uses themes, and it was both insightful and inspirational. He compared how John uses themes - to the music of Miles Davis - noting the various intricacies of his compositions. It reminded me of my college Music Theory class - which I was not very good at! But it was simply exquisite to hear Todd - and I wished I had a recording of it.

During that afternoon's practice, the theme was "self-honoring," so I thought that would be an appropriate theme for me to develop in class this week. Anusara…

Compassion: Insights From the Anusara Teachers Gathering

It seems I continue to process insights from the Anusara Gathering of Certified Teachers, who met in North Carolina last week.

As I mentioned in several previous posts, one of the highlights of the week was the opportunity to listen to and share with Dr. Bill Mahoney, an expert on Vedic literature and studies at Davidson College. In his main presentation, he addressed the topic of grace, and then went into refinements of grace, ending with his explanation on the various aspects of compassion, which I would like to share here, because it is both insightful and relevant to many of us.

Bill Mahoney observed, that there are four refinements of grace. These are:

1. Karuna - benevolent compassion.
2. Kripa - grace as as a bestowal or active embracing.
3. Anugraha - a sense of grace that is is supportive and has both descending and infusive qualities.
4. Bhodana - moments of awakening which are nothing more and nothing less than the benevolence of grace enfolding you.

Bill then proceeded to explain…

Final Musings on the Anusara Teacher's Gathering

I continue to reflect on - and process the incredible week I just spent with many of my friends and colleagues at the Gathering of Anusara Yoga Certified Teachers, in North Carolina. It has also been wonderful to review the Tweets that have been posted on Twitter at #ctgnc - which capture so many inspirational moments and quotes shared by others. It is especially amazing to note these have been read all over the world!

I have also enjoyed blog entries by Christina Sell, which should help to put many at ease about the so-called "direction" that Anusara Yoga is taking. If anything, I came away more committed to the path of Anusara Yoga and I am both excited and humbled to be part of growing Anusara in my own background. I think of so many of my students who have never been exposed to any other style or form of yoga, and who have no clue what it can be like out there in terms of classes where they would not be best served.

Christina compared a lot of the growing pains Anusara is …

Further Musings on the Anusara Teacher's Gathering

The Gathering of Anusara Yoga Certified Teachers in North Carolina, concluded yesterday afternoon. That was followed by a nearly 4 1/2 hour meeting of the Anusara Yoga Curriculum Committee that I attended, where we discussed a number of pertinent issues, and sought to make some refinements to the Anusara Immersion Curriculum we implemented last December.

I drove back home with a friend, and we chatted the whole way back, which made the 5 hours or so that drive back home took - pass more quickly.

I am full to the brim from the week and so many incredible moments and memories are floating in my mind. I have so much to say and so much to write - but I am also tired, and I am not sure if it will be transmitted. And of course, some things aren't necessarily meant to be shared either...

I came away more deeply convinced that there is much value in our coming together as a community on a yearly basis to share, to practice together, and to connect with one another. I was very moved and touch…

Reflections on Anusara Yoga Growing Pains

Today is Thursday - the Day of the Guru, and often, it is the most challenging and transformational practice during a week long training with John Friend. Last year at this time, in hindsight, I had one of the most amazing and important shifts of my life...

We have completed the third day of the Anusara Yoga Certified Teacher's Gathering, here, in North Carolina, and have one and a half days to go. There has been much sharing and discussion of important and relevant issues, and it occurred to me, that we are witnessing nothing more and nothing less that an evolution and a process that is historic.

As a former theologian, I recalled the Five Dilemmas in the Institutionalization of Religion by Thomas O'Dea, and it has been interesting to note some parallels to the growth and evolution of Anusara Yoga over a 13 year period.

I present a very brief overview. I strongly suggest looking us this research to really understand the complexities of what is at hand...

There is the Dilemma of M…

The Joy of Community: Kula-Family

Yesterday, we concluded the first of five days of the Anusara Yoga Certified Teacher's Gathering, an event which takes place every year, and is one of my favorites, because it feels like a coming home...

It is an amazing experience to practice and share together with other like-minded souls - some who I see only once a year. We come together to practice with - and be inspired by our Master Teacher, John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga. I will just list a few of the many gems of wisdom he laid gently before us, like a delicate wreath or arrangement of blossoms...

Anusara Yoga is a balanced dance between opposites...

Use the breathe to open your own pose - in your own time...

If one part of your body is more open than the other side, the pulsation is unequal...

Always give yourself the time to let the Shakti move through you...

Shiva is consciousness (statis); Shakti is consciousness (dynamism)...

You cannot rush your time to open in a pose. Your time is your time...

In Tadasana the cen…

Abide In Me

I arise with a love song in my heart - "Abide in Me," sung to me by the Divine...The Beloved invites me into Sacred Space, every morning without fail...

I arise as I do every morning, and step into the gift of another day - it is unlike any that has come before - and it will never be the same again...Thus, every morning, is nothing more and nothing less than an invitation to experience another miracle...

I arise and before any task is undertaken, or even the first coffee of the day is imbibed, and I sit in meditation, whether I want to or not...I sit, not out of duty, but out of love, and because I believe...

"When you abide in Me,
Then I'll abide in you.
My Words in your heart--
Child believe
That when you seek My Face
And make me your First Love,
Then all the rest
Will be taken care of...

Don't worry what the future may hold,
For I have overcome the world
And all these things speak
Our solemn joy will be complete...

When you abide in Me,
Then I'll abide in you..."

Th…

The Gift of Prayer

There are so many gifts we may receive over the course of a lifetime. Some of them, will surely fade away with time. And truly, very few will be remembered and treasured, and be with us for years and even decades to come...

The gift of love - is one of the most beautiful gifts we can receive. But, sometimes, love too, fades away, and at other times, for reasons unknown and not fully understood, someone who was deeply loved, no longer plays a significant part in our lives. Such are the ways of life...

Still, I believe, that every loving word or thought ever uttered, continues to reverberate for all of Eternity. Somewhere, out there - every genuine expression of love continues to glow, flickering like a candle in the great Cosmic Darkness. Therefore, we should choose our thoughts and words carefully, and never lightly, for they also have a karmic component...

But perhaps, the most enduring and most selfless gift that any of us can give or receive, is the Gift of Prayer...

Today, lost in my …

Teaching What We Need to Learn

I invited my students to take a deeper foray into the theme we have been developing and fleshing out so far this session. The first week, I asked them to connect more deeply to the wisdom of their hearts, so that in the second week, they could more freely ride, the currents of grace...

In the third week, I invited them to ride these currents even more so, by stepping into the flow, so they could be danced in the dance, and embraced in a delicious fluidity, becoming a meditation in motion...

And this week, I asked my lovely garden of yoginis to come to their mats, surrender - and invite the Shakti - or Divine energy into their lives by simply repeating to themselves, over and over again, throughout the practice, "Come dance with me!"

I shared with them, that I was not asking them to do anything I had not been willing to do or explore myself. And throughout the course of the week, I witnessed every one of my students step into the current of grace, as they were led in the dance -…

Come Dance With Me

I step onto the mat, and invite the Shakti energy - which is nothing more and nothing less than Divine energy - to move through me, to lead me - and I say, "Come dance with me!"

I do not say - "I will dominate." Instead I say, "Lead the way!" I bow to my heart. I surrender. I let go...

I sit in meditation, and I invite Divine energy and Love to envelop me - and heal me - and those I love and pray for as well - on my ever expanding list of requests. I repeat so many personal mantras and prayers: "I and the Father are One..." Yes - we are - and because we are One - I let go, and I say, "Come dance with me!"

I sit down to work, preparing various lesson plans - for my yoga classes, and for workshops. I seek to become a vessel and chalice for Grace that I may say what what needs to be said in order to help others awaken, so that I may reflect back the Grace that already abides in all whom I encounter - as I say, "Come dance with me!"

Closer to God

This morning, as I sat in meditation, I thought to myself, that everything that happens in our lives, is meant to bring us closer to God - however you envision the Divine to be in your life. Having been a theologian in a former life, I am comfortable with the notion of God - but I also know that many are not. So substitute whatever word or concept works for you - the Universal, Love, Compassion, the Force...

I realized, as my Reiki teacher, Frans Stiene recently reminded me - that we only know that we have truly become one with the Reiki energy, or Divine energy, or the Shakti energy (it is really all one anyway!) when the fruit of our practice has rendered us less angry, anxious, and fearful. When we choose to live more authentically and compassionately, then we are simply, closer to God...

I realized, that when we are able to see and accept the Divine Order of things in everything that happens to us, we are closer to God...

I realized, that when we are able to see past the things that …

Don't Go Back to Sleep

The night is long, and busy, filled with Divine Presence and visitations...

I drift in and out of sleep and meditation - sometimes I am wide awake, sometimes caught in the place between planes of existence and levels of consciousness...

I become an expansive ball of white light - of healing energy - of Divine Love - and I enfold in this Light and Love, all those for whom I am praying...Somehow, I too am touched, and I feel myself undergo a powerful shift and feel an incredible lightness in my soul...

I see the clock, at 12:45 AM, at 4:44 AM - having resisted looking at it many times before...but at 5 AM, I hear the birds singing with wild abandon. They are whispering Rumi's poem into my ear:

"The breeze at dawn
has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what
you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back
and forth between the door sill
where the worlds touch.
Don't go back to sleep."

And somehow, I feel caught in between those worlds,…

Gratefulness

This morning, after meditation, I saw a beautiful YouTube video entitled "Gratefulness," that had been posted onto Facebook, narrated by Brother David Stiendl-Rast. I had the opportunity to study with him while I was in graduate school at St. Louis University, in the late 70's. I pursuing an MA in Theology at the time.

Brother David spoke about living each day as if it were your first and your last - living it fully - and seeing each day with new eyes - and experiencing each day with genuine surprise. It warmed my heart, and I thought to myself, what a lovely way to live each day.

It was a beautiful morning, and after my meditation and my practice, I headed out the door to meet a dear friend I had not seen in a few months to walk the labyrinth. I have been walking this labyrinth for a dozen years, and I have often met this special soul over the years to walk it with her and meditate together. We had the labyrinth, a replica of the one at Chartres Cathedral in France, to ou…