Showing posts from January, 2013

To Be in this World But Not of It

Every once in a while, I find myself pondering the meaning of one of the greatest teachings in most spiritual traditions. That is, how to be in this world, but not of it... The more we delve deeply into spiritual practices, the more we notice emerging differences in ourselves, perhaps very subtle at first, that become more established in our behavior and practices over the course of time. Things that once mattered, seem to do so, even less, and less, as time goes on... I considered this, as I visited the river this morning, on a day that was sunny and warmer, even though there was still some crispness in the air. The sky was blue, and the river itself more reminiscent of a plate of glass on which birds seems to skate artfully and effortlessly, oblivious to everything and everyone. I soaked in the stillness and the quiet, remembering how Adyashanti, a well known and beloved spiritual teacher, often suggests that we should try to find some time for stillness and quiet in our quotid

Caring for One Another

Today we celebrate an Inauguration as well as the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., so it is a day when Americans come together. I continue to mine the book, Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change , by Pema Chödrön, for inspiration for my yoga classes, and thus chose as my theme - "committing to take care of one another," as we worked through a variety of partner poses and assists. Caring for one another evokes compassion - a theme also evident in the events and speeches of the day. Still, it is not a simple thing for us to do, for as Pema notes: " Compassion is threatening to the ego. We might think of it as something warm and soothing, but actually it's very raw. When we set out to support other beings, when we go so far as to stand in their shoes, when we aspire to never close down to anyone, we quickly find ourselves in the uncomfortable territory of 'life not on my terms.' The second commitment, traditionally known as the Bodhisattva Vow

Embracing the World Just as It Is

Recently I finished reading the small gem of a book, Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change , by Pema Chödrön , a well known Buddhist practitioner, writer, and teacher. In this book, she speaks of three commitments that are essential to the spiritual path, and this week, I chose to use the third one, "committing to embracing the world just as it is," as a theme for my yoga classes. To accept the world as it is, is not easy. In fact, most of the time, it is quite difficult, especially when things are not unfolding the way that we planned. But one of the qualities we often notice when we embrace any practice - be it meditation, yoga, prayer, communing with nature, and so forth - is that over time, we become less reactive and we more easily accept things as they are. Here is some wisdom from this wonderful little book: "The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions, and to all people, experiencing e

The Breath is Life

Yoga teachers who use themes in their classes, often spend a lot of time reflecting on what it is they wish to convey to their students in the New Year - because in many ways - it can set the tone for the rest of the year. We often start a new session shortly after the beginning of the year. At this time, many of us are knee deep in setting intentions or resolutions for the coming year. Last year I set three of them for myself. They were actually more like attributes or virtues I wished to embody, and I am pleased to say that I was able to keep these intentions. Last week, on one of my walks, I reflected on what I wanted to share with my students who would soon be returning. Many of them have been with me for years, so there is a real challenge to say something fresh, that is both different and inspirational at the same time. My students are also lovely and dear friends, so I think of this little group that faithful returns to my home studio (with some taking a break or hiatus ever

For A New Dawn in A New Year 2013

For a new day in a New Year, here is some inspiration to warm your soul, and help you chart your direction in this coming year... I am wishing for a very full and rich year of growth - for all beings - and for myself as well... "This is my New Year's wish for you:  that you all reach the land beyond your dreams,  where there is peace and joy eternal."  ~ Paramahansa Yogananda "Spread your arms wide into the future.  The best is yet to come!"  ~ Anthony de Mello, SJ "And now, let us believe in a long year that is given to us,  new, untouched, full of things that have never been." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke  "The only limits are, as always, those of vision." ~ James Broughton "Make your life a mission -- not an intermission." ~ Arnold H. Glasgow  "Visualize yourself standing before a gateway on a hilltop.  Your entire life lies out before you and below.  Before you s