love thursday…

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my first love thursday photo…thank you to shutter sisters for bringing this idea to light. this is the interior of a rustic little cabinet in our guest bathroom. i noticed the heart a long time ago, it’s an interesting little *imperfection*in the wood – a bubble of some sort. but it looks hand-drawn with pencil. i think when the cabinet was antiqued it highlighted the heart. i never knew what expression this love needed to find. but as soon as i read about love thursday, i knew.

i also love putting little critters in funny places ;).

love!

i love…

…that eddie vedder has become the beat poet of our generation (listen to the into the wild soundtrack).

…that the first words on the back of a box of annie’s organic mac n’ cheese are *thank you*!

…that {we} have created the sort of life where a friend can stop over any time and visit for hours and throw off all our plans, but that makes the day better than it would have been.

… the interweb :) and how it connects countless soul sisters, and like minds and hearts through words and pictures over thousands of miles and dozens of countries.

…digital photography and the way you can capture a moment and share it with everyone so quickly and how it has opened up so many people creatively to share the vignettes of their lives.

…the sound of the mandolin.

…the deep stutter-breath sigh of duncan when he finally gets everything just right and can relax…meaning…both bryan and i are sitting still (preferably one of us is rubbing his ears) and he doesn’t have to worry about being left behind – whether we are going downstairs or to costa rica doesn’t matter to his little brain

…candlelight and how it makes even the mundane feel special.

…organic tomatoes.

…words and putting them together just so.

…cafe’s and cafe latte’s and belgian waffles with fresh fruit.

…saturday night and sunday morning and…

…yoga…

…and you :).

love!

bathe deeply…

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Bathe deeply in that ocean of sound
which is even now vibrating within you,
resonating softly,
permeating the space of the heart.

The ear that is tuned by rapt listening
learns to hear the song of creation.

First like a hand bell,
then subtler like a flute,
then subtler still as a stringed instrument,
eventually as the buzz of a bee.
Entering this current of sound, the Listening One
forgets the external world, and becomes
absorbed into internal sound,
and then absorbed in vastness
like the song of the stars as they shine.

(from…the radiance sutras…an as yet to be published collection of the tantric sutras that has found expression in an underground movement of yoga instructors.)

love!

photo courtesy of gypsygirl with much love and gratitude…

mula bandha…

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this blog began not so long ago, because i was asked by some students/friends to expand a bit…to reach out and share more about yoga and to personalize the studio experience on the web. and over the past few weeks i’ve noticed i don’t talk much about *yoga* as in the asanas, or teaching, or insights gleaned on the mat but rather, what seems to bubble out of me is more about my yoga life… off the mat. the lessons i learn each day. creativity (and yoga to me is a creative process). this has been so interesting to me, to watch what appears, to see what i feel inspired to share. today i feel like talking about yoga on the mat…

i’ve been struggling with an injury for the past few months. something in my illio-sacral joint on the left side. a sharp point of pain, a tightening of a ligament that reaches to my hip. it doesn’t bother me in practice, but i wake up the next morning sore, a bit hobbled. my practice has suffered, i sense fear as i go into certain poses (not because of immediate pain, but because of a delayed pain i may trigger). this has made it a little difficult to figure out exactly what i’m doing wrong…since there is no immediate sharp indicator or twinge or zing of pain, i’m not sure which postures are the problem. so i’ve gone inside…trying to figure it out on my own. listening to my body. i was sensing that my hips had become so open that they were too open, and that maybe i had actually weakend them. searching for how to resolve this i found an article in yoga journal about the illios-sacral joint slipping out of alignment and the pain it causes…this was exactly it and my body was right. i’m too open, and the surrounding muscles and ligaments are too loose, no longer supporting my pelvis.

at last an answer.

the solution? mula-bandha…so simple and yet so profound (i love yoga!). the mula-bandha is the root lock. this is something we talked about in yoga training…but i have found that it is rarely mentioned in any of the classes i’ve taken before or since, and in my own practice i hardly think about it. embarrassing to admit. but therein lies the problem. perhaps because the anatomy of discussing the root lock is embarassing, teachers hesitate teaching it…but as i’ve discovered this lock is the key to everything ;).

mula-bandha is a physical and energetic practice of drawing inward. the bandha is located at the base of the pelvis, technically the perineum. to engage it you would lift the pelvic floor (pretty deeply), for women it feels like doing a kegel exercise, drawing all the muscles of the surrounding area (bum, etc) in and up. i’m starting to think of it as a bit like drawing energy up a straw. in a physical sense it engages all those muscles that protect the pelvis, and the lower chakras. in an energetic sense it connects you to the circuit of energy moving up and down your spine (and more broadly of course the energy of the universe). metaphysically it draws your attention inward. over time it gets easier, and takes less effort and attention, but like anything you need to practice.

try it…

throughout your day, engage that lock and notice how it changes your awareness of your body, your posture, observe how you feel. do it standing at the sink rinsing dishes. do it when you are sitting at a red light. do it in your yoga classes, find the posture in a general way, engage that bandha, and then go deeper. do it when you are sitting in meditation and breathe with your mula-bandha. notice how it changes the breath and how the breath changes the lock.

just be with your bandha for a few days. this is your root. tap into it’s energy and see what happens…i’ll be sharing my experience with you, but i’d love to hear what you think, too…

love!

p.s. thanks swirlygirl for the picture ;)

eco-retail therapy…

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feeding my bag fetish today. i’m very excited about this new bag found here. i’m always searching for the perfect bag for this and that and this one jumped up at me all “w00-hoo, yoga-girl, over here…you’re going to love this one!” my intention is that it is going to be my summer beach bag, but i’m thinking it might be too cute to reserve just for beach days. it’s big (12x 21 inches), lightweight, and the best part is…it’s made from recycled rice bags. so actually pretty sturdy and oh so cute and hip and eco-friendly. love love love it.

i’m passionate about the environment, and try hard to make good decisions about my purchases. i’m not perfect. i can tell you a number of things that are wrong about the bag above (the fact that i ordered it online so it’s being delivered here via many greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles for one). but i do think a lot about my choices, trying to find balance between living a modern lifestyle with all our conveniences, and doing more than my share for the planet. i compost, i eat locally and organically whenever possible. i believe in leaving things better than i found them.

deepak chopra in his book the seven spiritual laws of yoga writes about the connection between yoga and environmentalism, and i’ve always loved his way of explaining it:

“Within your physical domain, you have an extended body, a personally body, and an energetic body. Your extended body is the environment, containing the never-ending supply of energy and information that is available to you. Every sound, sensation, sight, flavor, and aroma you ingest from the environment influences your body and mind. Although your senses may tell you otherwise, there is no distinct boundary between your personal and extended bodies, which are in constant and dynamic exchange. Each breath that you inhale and exhale is a reminder of the continuous conversation taking place between your body and your environment.

This recognition requires you to take responsibility for what is happening in your environment.

As a yogi, you are an environmentalist because you recognize that the rivers flowing through the valleys and those flowing through your veins are intimately related. The breath of an old-growth forest and your most recent breath are inextricably intertwined. The quality of the soil in which your food is raised is directly connected to the health of your tissues and organs. Your environment is your extended body. You are inseparably interwoven with your ecosystem.”

so, how about you? in what ways do you try to honor your connection with our environment?

love!

beginner’s mind…

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this is *little friend*…

one of the live things i am entrusted with caring for in addition to duncan, bryan, a smattering of indoor and outdoor plants, the planet…and of course myself. :)

he was an impulse buy at the checkout lane at the pet store where i get duncan’s glucosamine infused dog food. when i brought him home, bryan was all “what? his fins are all beat up.” bryan is extremely detail oriented and would have decided ahead of time to buy a fish, and then looked at all the fish to pick THE BEST one. probably after some internet research as to the best kind of fish to have as a pet. i’m completely the opposite and so i hadn’t noticed anything other than his pretty colors. upon closer inspection, i suppose if compared side by side to the mr. universe of betta fish he may look scrawny and a bit ragged, but for some reason little friend and i were drawn to each other.

he’s not like any fish i’ve ever known as he’s completely social. we have his fishbowl in the center of the kitchen island and he can follow us around as we cook, and visit, and work on laptops at the bar. he’ll take food right from our fingers and he watches us constantly, flapping his little side fins, all “hey! hi! watcha doin?”

and the best thing is – life is brand new to him every few seconds so he never gets bored with us.

his whole existence is an ongoing meditation. he lives the concept of *beginners mind* — a zen meditation practice to remind us how to keep an open-minded perspective, a zen mind. looking at things as though they are fresh and new, and with a sense of innocence. what a wonderful way to approach life and relationships. with our multitude of challenges and frustrations and anxieties, sickness, computer-freak-outs, and winter-doldrum-boredom ad nauseum, it’s easy to lose sight of beginners mind…

i guess little friend is my daily reminder. what reminds you to look at the world in a fresh, new way?

..

sick…

sorry for being a bit quiet on the blogging front. i’ve been sick…literally sofa bound since monday. i couldn’t do much of anything the first two days aside from doze and watch the food network (anything on this channel, and of course Bravo! are my guilty pleasures) and honestly, i don’t remember much of the week at all i’ve been in such a brain cloud.

additionally, my outerbanksyoga.com website is sick too. and i’ve been battling web hosts and domain managers for days to figure out what the problem is. this has been so frustrating. i feel like a bunch of strange people are holding my website hostage…i’ve begged, sent nice emails, sent LOUD EMAILS, called, paid money…but still…nothing. *sigh* all that’s left is to let it be and hope for the best.

the past three days i’ve been working on my laptop on projects, which bryan insists has delayed my getting well. he is a firm believer in total and complete bed-rest when fighting any sort of sickness…but i just can’t do it. even if i have the luxury of working from home, and even with the luxury of having lovelies to sub my classes, i just can’t do it. i get so irritable, and frustrated with my body for betraying me, for keeping me from doing whatever it is i want to do. and i’m sure, to bryan’s point, that being frustrated is not helping matters. ahhh so much resistance.

perhaps what i was supposed to commit to this week was getting well?

on the lighter side, today i returned to my morning pages with a new moleskine notebook (my favorite journals ever!). and the cobwebs are clearing, and maybe soon, the outerbanksyoga site will be up, and maybe just maybe the weekend will dawn sunny and springlike.

so…what about you…when you are sick – do you give in or do you resist and which do you think is better?

a bit more…

i’m reading the artist’s way again as part of an online group i’ve joined (see the blogroll at right)…and i came across this idea in one of the opening pages…the author, julia cameron, is talking about spiritual electricity and how creativity is an experience of mystical union. i found that her ideas ring similarly to those in my previous post. she says:

“It is my experience, both as an artist and as a teacher that when we move out on faith into the act of creation, the universe is able to advance. It is a little like opening the gate at the top of a field irrigation system. Once we remove the blocks the flow moves in…. I simply ask you to observe and note this process as it unfolds.”

have you ever been in a state of flow? what does it feel like to you?

love!

***

sunday’s musing…

i love sundays. i used to dread them. the whole day was darkened by the fact that i had to get up and go to work the next morning. since i made the transition to teaching yoga and running the studio, i don’t dread mondays anymore. in part because once you have your own business you are sort of always working (thinking, dreaming, doing)…in part because i am now my own boss and the pressure of personality conflicts and disagreements over how to do things is removed (i’m of the *there is more than one ‘right’ way to do something* ilk, but former boss was not. her way was the ONLY way.) and i’m so blessed to work with amazing, gifted, beautiful spirits at the studio. but honestly, and primarily, i no longer dread mondays because i am following my dreams… and my dreams aren’t all about me or *the corporation*…they are about spreading goodness and kindness and peace. they are about creating and having a space that our students love and come to as a sanctuary for their spirits, to heal their bodies, their minds, their souls. a place to learn to hear their own selves and maybe start to move toward their own dreams.

i tend to listen when *the universe* sends me messages, and the concept of commitment has jumped out at me several times in the past two days…most recently last night as i was going to sleep. i was reading a book about integrative nutrition (wow!) and at the beginning is this idea often mistakenly attributed to Goethe, but actually written by W. H. Murray a 20th century Scottish mountaineer:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

if there is a dream of your own that you are hesitating about, commit to it. take that first major step. many times in my life when i’ve been floundering, i’ve committed, or re-committed to something – a friendship, a job, a dream…and found it coming much more easily, as if i was no longer swimming upstream, but moving with the tides….commitment helps to put you in a state of flow.

i’m not yet sure why the universe is reminding me to commit, or what to commit to…but i’m excited to find out!

love!

p.s. it just hit me that maybe what i’m supposed to commit to is *the artist’s way* again! the online forum is starting today! come join us…

http://theartistswayblog.wordpress.com/