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Monthly Archives: May 2007

Going to someone else’s class was the best thing I’ve done in a long time.  So nourishing. Can’t replace home practice, but I’ve been missing out by not supplementing. My partner (work… I’ll always call my husband my husband) was telling me my tank was on empty and my dan tien (sp?) was low – he’s an ex-massage therapist.  He was right. 

So here was one of the things my monkey mind came up with during class: as a student, I prefer a silent sivasana (corpse, or final relaxation at the end). A number of my students, however, have requested a guided meditation for sivasana, to help them tame the monkey. What do you prefer and why?

BTW: sivasana in the class I took was blissfully, artfully, and just plain fully silent.

One of the reasons to take a class, is to get the teacher’s voice & rhythms & attitude in your head.  I’ve been taking my own class from myself for months now, sort of my way of letting my own voice settle in. I sometimes do podcast classes for inspiration, but usually shut them off and play on my own for the rest of my time on the mat. I’ve been teaching about a year now, and I think my voice is settled. I’m ready to take someone else’s class!

I taught my class today after some playtime on the mat and I’m really grooving on the vinyasa thing, the flow and the structure. It’s so easy to build toward an idea and still maintain connection between parts. Meditative.

It’s a luxury to take a yoga class, isn’t it? It’s active faith. You don’t know what’s coming up, or for what you’re being prepared, but you dive into each & every moment letting the next wash over you like waves and getting just as caught up in those. Ahhhhhh! Here’s to going to yoga class!

Well, yes that’s the plan. So there’s this whole thing in the spiritual disciplines about not having expectations in order to let things be as they are and not over interpret them. Of course, the struggle is caused by the fact that in order to be transparent enough to yourself to be relatively expectation free, well, that takes a lot of work. So you have to, um, set expectations.

So, every day? Well, no, I haven’t lived that. I’ve thought about it every day 🙂 And I just came from the yoga mat & wondered, “Why didn’t I do this the last two days?”

Because, Steve Ross is right & it really is all yoga. You see, my husband & I work crazy opposite schedules and he’s stunningly understanding because some twisted part of me loves weekend nights. But sometimes we both just crave some blissful, no expectation, do what’s in front of you rest, relaxation & whatever time. So, we had two whole days off together and we did nothing of merit.

We watched two movies – Two! in bed! eating chips and drinking soda! We saw Nacho Libre (highly recommend it) and Notes on a Scandal (worth it! great writing, acting & Judi Dench – how can you go wrong!). We went plant shopping together. We slept an obnoxious amount.

And I loved it. Now that’s yoga, don’t you think?

Thank you. Thank you to this space, the people who make it possible and to this community of writers. Becoming a little part of this has helped me remeber that all the diverse moments, experiences, interactions are part of a whole fabric, and this makes each one of them more beautiful.

Meaning seems to grow from connection. Connection seems to rescue what alone is ugly or small and reveal it as a growing living part of changing, morphing, whole. The connection changes a sharp, misshapen remnant of glass or pottery into a window onto light and color, an integral part of the luminous universe.

If love is the unnameable encompassing which allows opposites to co-exist and mutual others to be aware of their sameness, then love is what I seek, and love is what I find.

My life is held taught by opposites, and the truth is that it’s begun to wear me out.  But the other truth is that as grinding as the underbelly can be, as crude as suffering can make us, I still feel priviledged to have a part in events that I would have referred to when I was a philosopher as “liminal.” Birth, death, fear and real grappling.

So, yoga is union, resolution of opposites. Perhaps I’m just where I need to be. In the midst of intense effort I find remarkable peace. By hugging muscles in, I can find freedom of expression. In suffering, I can find witness.

My yoga practice is fed by the mat and the cushion, but it really does expand to include all of me. Today, I’ll put the uniform back on and take the calls, whatever they might be. And I’ll witness the moments wash along. And I’ll return to the mat, to another DownDog, another Handstand, another Warrior flow. Another breath. Another embrace.

Yoga is love, truth, beauty: here, now.  Sometimes to become conscious of that I have to fall out of realizing it, of feeling it, so the synthesis can happen all over again for me, for my awareness.

Here I go, leaping off into the arms of love…

Sometimes it’s just so simple, isn’t it? You show up, you move, you breathe, you’re aware of your breath.

Today, teaching. So it’s so easy to find beauty. My students amaze and open my heart in their dedication, their clarity their openness. It’s such an amazing gift to witness their movement, their changes over time, their epiphanies small & large. It’s such an amazing gift to come in with a mind full of whatever minds are full of (plans, worries, hopes, words, images…) and to be brought so fully up into & against the moment.  Hope you have some in your day, too! Here’s to beauty… here, now, regardless of conditions,  brilliant in awareness. LTBHN (love, truth, beauty: here, now.) out.

Wow. Must’ve been channelling cat, because I coughed up a hairball yesterday.  Funny as my family is my husband and our four dogs  from whom I learned love in all its soft vulnerability, fierce tenderness, raw true presence and daring.   

Truth: I, like many of you, have at least two very disparate ways of interacting with the world. Truth: We are all one. Truth: I struggle with how these previous two truths synthesize.

Level One: I struggle with how my Paramedic life and My Yoga Teacher life co-exist. The switching from nights to days, the different people I hang out with, the differing paces and goals in my information gathering and personal interactions.  I struggle with finding one that underlies both personnae, with switching from the intricacies of one to the other.

Level Two: I struggle with how to comprehend my sameness with very particular people who are very particularly striving to attack, demean and harm me, even while I am doing what I can to ensure their near-term safety so they have a long-term chance at all and they don’t harm the chances of all the others in the vicinity who are, according to the dictum above, one with both of us.

 Level Another: I struggle with the feelings left over when I get home and wriggle out of my uniform. The feelings I know do not represent the truth directly, but are visceral, undeniable and real. The feelings of dirtiness after having been verbally attacked, the feelings of sadness for the person writhing and screaming, or the one simply spewing venomously while I bandage, evaluate and treat. The feelings of aggression and the not pretty wishes I use in the moment to defend against the feelings from being attacked, physically and verbally. The horribleness of having to restrain someone to prevent them from harming themselves or someone else.

 So, where’s the love? On the mat. The love is the glue, the love is underlying, unnameable embracing beingness. The love is that all this goes on in a single consciousness. The love is the ability to weep it all out, to collapse out of a heart opening backbend into tears in balasana and to rise into virabhadrasana. To turn it all upsidedown in sirsasana or to fall on my face from some new permutation of bakasana.

 The love is to walk into a classroom feeling so fragile, so near tears and so lost and half an hour later to be so engrossed is witnessing other people’s changes.

Maybe the love is to put the uniform on again, not knowing what the call will be. I’ll let you know.

Right now, the love is the mat.

Peace, disorder, embrace and witness. May these all be yours, all be mine, all the time. Out.

Here’s truth, in trust that love & beauty follow where it goes. My personal practice isn’t what I think a yoga teacher’s should be. Here’s some more truth: I’m a yoga teacher with a crappy home practice.

Here’s what I think it should be: every day, vigorous, peaceful, priority, full of poses I’m working on or toward, including meditation, resulting in wisdom, awareness.

Here’s what I want: I want my life to feel like yoga. That’s what I really want. I know all the saws about how it’s all yoga & how some days you have five minutes & others you have more. How breathing is yoga and anytime you are aware and witness to your self you are doing yoga. I’ve read Happy Yoga, by Steve Ross. Loved it.

So why am I holding myself to some ideal standard that’s actually keeping me off my mat??? Why, why why?

Because I’m at a cross roads. Because a major life change is lurking in my shadows and my shadows are on my mat.

I’m a yoga teacher, I’m a paramedic. I’ve loved being a paramedic, I fought for it, I sweat for it and I’ve revelled in it.

For months I’ve had this deep feeling of division between weekend night medic & yoga teacher. I thought I’d look for a union, a balance. Now I’m cheering for one side to win.

Maybe not very yogic. But it’s truth.

I’m off to do Hillary’s latest yoga class podcast… check the blogroll. She’s a no nonsense teacher with a good sense of class flow.

Livin’ on the path, feeling moment by moment, reaching for raw and tender with open arms. Peace and chaos…. out.