open-hearted…

dropping back.

exhilarating or terrifying depending on where you stand.

before you even start you need to get grounded and feel the earth solid beneath you. then as you press down into your feet and lift up, you’ll feel the earth pressing back against you with all it’s mass and gravity supporting you…

and you need to open your heart in order to bend back. you have to open and lift up – essentially pulling yourself up by your heart-strings, bearing it all, thrusting heavenward and creating space in your spine so that you can ease back, slowly, with control.

you need to have so much trust as you bend your knees and peer back behind you, seeking the ground with your eyes first, then slowly, slowly, release your hands to the earth.

i love backbends…but dropping back into them is something that teases me. a skill i find i have and then i don’t and it’s a curiousity…what is my practice trying to show me? over many years, i have had to learn to trust my practice, trust my body, trust myself. and i have had to learn to honor myself, honor my fear, honor my edges, honor my body and it’s limits.

i did this drop-back  half a dozen times saturday afternoon – fearlessly dropping back and popping up again like a slinky – surrounded by friends after a day of play and conversation on the beach.

but i couldn’t do it at all on sunday morning. not a single one.

i wasn’t sore. or injured.

i was different.

i was afraid.

clearly this is something my body can do. but i can’t separate my body from my mind or my heart and my fear sunday morning was deep-rooted. far more than a fear of falling, far more than embarrassing myself, far more emotional, far less about the posture and all about where my head and heart were living that morning which was not at all in alignment with my highest self. i felt small, fragile, weak and sad. my heart was closed and so was i.

the metaphor doesn’t elude me…and that’s why i return again and again to my mat.

love.

a stroke of insight…

***this is a particularly poignant story here, now as a sweet, 13-year-old girl in our community, isabela rainey, has recently suffered a stroke due to a rare birth defect. please send reiki and prayers. donations are also being collected by the outer banks relief fund to help isabela and her family. information can be found here. thank you. thank you. thank you. ***

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i have a folder in my browser called ‘brainfood’. it’s where things like TED and this american life live. every once in a while, i feed myself a little piece from this folder, like a candy treat for being productive (oh yes, i know what this says about me). today i found this talk on TED, and if you haven’t seen it before please gift yourself the time to watch. it’s a fascinating story and she is a moving speaker, and yes i even got goosebumps.

i often call myself a scientist (as well as artist, teacher, and all those other things that i’ve worked hard to claim) because as yogis, i believe we are all scientists. yoga, to me, is all about observing and allowing the body and the practice to be an experiment. i’ve been drawn to anatomy and physiology my whole life, and love understanding how we are made and why we are the way we are, why we move the way we do. yoga does it for me because in addition to all that good left brain stuff, it goes beyond and links the science to these ideas of vibes and energy and intention. teaching us that we are able to go within and actually create peace…

lately, i’ve found myself being drawn more and more to sitting meditation (apart from the moving meditation that is my yoga practice) and as i watched dr. taylor speak, i felt myself saying “yes,  yes…that make sense…and that’s where i need to spend more of my time.”

below is some transcript from the video, it doesn’t really give you any real sense of the story, but i found the information interesting…and inspiring.

“Our right hemisphere is all about this present moment. It’s all about “right here, right now.” Our right hemisphere, it thinks in pictures and it learns kinesthetically through the movement of our bodies. Information, in the form of energy, streams in simultaneously through all of our sensory systems and then it explodes into this enormous collage of what this present moment looks like, what this present moment smells like and tastes like, what it feels like and what it sounds like. I am an energy-being connected to the energy all around me through the consciousness of my right hemisphere. We are energy-beings connected to one another through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family. And right here, right now, we are brothers and sisters on this planet, here to make the world a better place. And in this moment we are perfect, we are whole and we are beautiful.

My left hemisphere — our left hemisphere — is a very different place. Our left hemisphere thinks linearly and methodically. Our left hemisphere is all about the past and it’s all about the future. Our left hemisphere is designed to take that enormous collage of the present moment and start picking out details, details and more details about those details. It then categorizes and organizes all that information, associates it with everything in the past we’ve ever learned, and projects into the future all of our possibilities. And our left hemisphere thinks in language. It’s that ongoing brain chatter that connects me and my internal world to my external world. It’s that little voice that says to me, “Hey, you gotta remember to pick up bananas on your way home. I need them in the morning.”


So who are we? We are the life force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world. Right here, right now, I can step into theconsciousness of my right hemisphere, where we are. I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is. Or, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid. Separate from the flow, separate from you. I am Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: intellectual, neuroanatomist. These are the “we” inside of me. Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner-peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.

And I thought that was an idea worth spreading.”


august break #4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10…

if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be at least worth 7 days, no?

did i mention i was busy this summer? add training a brand new, adorable, sweet-smelling, kissing, eating, waking-up-at-3am, mischief-making, nipping, peeing and pooping puppy to the mix. morning coffee went from peacefully watching the dune, rabbits and birds to anxiously watching him to be sure he doesn’t decide to run off the deck.

in meditation they talk about “training the puppy” as you learn how to train your mind to come back again, and again, and again to the breath. the metaphor is a metaphor for a reason…as he is a true (fun! but real!) challenge… though he has learned sit already, smart puppy!

…and he is unfortunately still un-named…got any ideas?

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august break #1, 2, 3…

busy has been redefined in my world this summer and the yoga studio is absolutely vibrating with good juju…we have been just filled to the brim with joyful yogis thrilled to have the time and space to practice, new locals have been finding their way to us, we’ve done lots of private sessions, beach yoga is completely off the charts and we’ve had several new opportunities. all of it a bit unexpected but thanks to such an incredible and generous team of instructors it’s been running smoothly…i am thankful for them, for the students, for the feeling of possibility. i can’t believe how lucky i am to have found myself in this moment. in this place. blessed and thankful.

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because of all that…there’s been some silence here. then the past 10 days brought bryan’s family into town…

so, i thought it fitting to start again with ‘august break’ and share a few moments from the couple of days i stole away to the eastern shore of virginia with them before we all caravaned down to the outer banks….a little porch time, beach time, kayaking, winery tour, sleeping in, basking in nothingness and feeling myself slowly unwind. simple. lovely…

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most importantly, how are you?

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