It's the Summer Solstice as of June 20th at 3:30 PST. We begin to feel its effects both days and weeks prior and days and weeks after. I taught classes both the day before and the day after. Both charged with Solstice energy and both classes totally different. Sunday's class we jumped in and out of time. Focusing on our grounding we were able to connect outside of linear time and space. Today's class narrowed our existence right back into our planet, it's place in the solar system, our solar system with in our galaxy, our galaxy within in our known universe of the milky way. Our milky way with in it's own mega universe reminding ourselves how insignificant we are while at the same time remembering how miraculous our lives are within this paradigm. This is the information that has come about through my practice and teachings. As we take a close look at where we actually exist we can then ask why? How? What is exactly this purpose of life and how can we best live within our earthly construct. Knowing so much as a human beings yet really knowing nothing at all. Let's all open our hearts, open our minds, ground into the earth and dig deep. No matter what you do, no matter how much education you have or don't have, keep a beginners mind, be open to all information as it is presented and remember that the minute you think you are an expert.... BANG!!!! The universe blows your mind or heart into pieces.
I have to admit most of my blogging and moments of inspirational bliss or concern has been happening on Facebook. Now that I have updated my website I am now committing to keeping up here rather than there. I will still be there, but I will be here too... A lot has been happening, a lot. Recently, I had a very direct conversation with God and all the angels and guides that have graced my life. While traveling abroad in a little town in Germany, I found myself sitting in an ancient 13th century church, the St. Elisabeth Cathedral. It was a step back in time and all I could do was sit there and try to imagine the generations of people and the history that sat here before me. After gazing at the ceilings and frescos in German I decided I better do some praying, it has been a while. As in the Catholic tradition that I renounced as a teenager, there were candles available in a corner and an alter to set them on. I liked that idea so I lit some candles and dropped my Euros into the pay box. I wandered around the candles wonder what other prayers were lighting this space? Were they like mine? Then, there was an old desk with a journal on it. A place to write your prayers or thoughts. I liked this idea too so I meandered over and sat down. Of course I wanted to read the other prayers and if I knew German I could have totally ease dropped in this prayer journal but alas, I had to write my own. As is customary in the old Catholic tradition it seems like prayers always turn into confessions and we renounce our misdoings in order to release the mental, emotional and energetic hold they place upon us. There is a sense of freedom in looking at yourself, accepting and moving on. But ultimately, my prayers were not just about me. They turned to the world and the frustrations I feel with the way things are being run. Our political system is a disgrace, our healthcare a corporate commodity and our food system and supply rid with toxic growth from seed to table. Our children are getting Autism on a 1-250 ratio and the clear correlations are not being addressed. In so many ways my heart ached. In many ways I felt ashamed to be human. To be eyes wide open and just ok with it. This was the place to let it all out. Instantly, I could feel the walls talk, these prayers had been said before. The centuries of corruption and suffering, history continually repeating itself. Then, there cometh a peace. The reminder that we are creator beings, that we create our world, our illusion and that we can change and shift it any time we please. It's as if God said, "The ball is back in your court, sweetheart." Ha, thanks God!
It's been so long since I have yoga blogged. Life keeps us on a constant wheel of motion and it's so easy to keep rolling with it, harder to slow down, be still and get quiet. Recently, there was a death in my family. I never really know what to say to people when someone dies. Words just don't do justice to the deeply moving experience of death. In this case, the deceased was NOT one of my favorite people, making it even harder to delve into compassion and empathy, no tears were shed on my part. So, in an effort to play my part, I went into silence. I let everyone else around me speak their peace and recollect memories. They cried and felt empty with the new space around them. I savored the quiet moments in between visitors and when others were resting. I practiced my yoga, read a couple of books that have been collecting dust on my nightstand and simply became very present. As I moved deeper into my silence, I became ever more clear and lucid. The others became confused and disoriented, not knowing what to do next. It was all so clear to me, I had to stay quiet. The desert soon opened up. Beauty all around. Then,....... GRACE. There were moments when I knew the deceased was near letting me know that we were not alone. Moments of such sweetness that even I wan not capable of accepting. I wanted to be silent and still hold all of my grudges. That was not possible any longer. I accepted the beautiful flowers that floated to me in the river. I embraced the cloud formations of hearts every time I looked up, and made wishes to each shooting star that I saw at night. Silence kept me sane and allowed me to receive a little healing of my own hardened heart.
Love and peace always,
Some of my favorite places, on Earth.
All photos by me, except the last one. Photo by Karen.
It's Volleyball Friday in my world. My favorite day of the week! Today was one of those days where everything seemed crystal clear. As my opponents approached the net or made their plays I seemed to be able to read everything. What was different? As I pondered between plays I noticed that I was able to really focus. I watched the other side look for spots and then moved. I watched the ball and could feel my breath. Most days don't tend to be so Zen like. What is interesting is how Focus is parlaying into the rest of my life at the moment, and it's such a good thing.
Look at this girls focus. She is my current inspiration and has changed the way I ride my horse. She is practically looking behind her at her next jump. Her horse can see where she is looking and is moving in that direction with her. Her focus affects her horse and this team was in the blue ribbons. I've been focusing on focus in my riding lately and it really has helped my volleyball apparently.
So where does yoga fit into all of this? Everywhere! Dharana - When the body has been tempered by asanas, when the mind has been refined by the fire of pranayama and when the senses have been brought under control by pratyhara, the yogi reaches the sixth stage of yoga, dharana. BKS Iyengar. Dharana is not restricted to yoga alone. Draw in your focus and savor life's sunrises and gifts.
Love and peace,
Ahhhh, the Kriyas. Its sort of like talking about the birds and the bees with your children. You don't really want to bring it up but it is in fact part of life. So, today I had a student in class that must not have remembered to put on their underpants before yoga. Let's just say the shorts were short and there was nothing left to the imagination. As a teacher its very distracting and I'm sure the other students are distracted as well. But, my students are my teachers and so this leads me to the topic of the Kriyas. The Kriyas are by definition a set of techniques for cleansing the body. Yoga in its practice is a physical detoxification and cleanse as well as a purification for our entire being. With that said, we need to honor that process and begin our practice "clean". Take a shower BEFORE yoga. Check your clothing and make sure it is appropriate for the activity at hand. WEAR UNDERWEAR! Brush your teeth and clean your gums and tongue. Prepare for your practice as if you are going to church or to some place of importance. Have a cup of tea or coffee but not a huge meal before yoga. Go to the bathroom and empty your bowls. Clear your mind of any negative thoughts or toxic energy. Soften your heart and be open to receive. Let go of all expectations. Step on to your mat feeling the best that you can possibly feel and you will enjoy the complete bliss and grace that yoga has to offer.
With so much gratitude and love!
Yoga Sutra 2.47
Relax the intensity of your effort and continue to meditate on the endless infinite energy within. Why? Because all of this simply never ends. If it was not the practice of asana and yoga, it would be something else and why not have it be something that is moving you towards liberation?
This sutra came up in class today and served many of us well as we patiently worked through some deep psoas and lunge sequences. Often times we struggle with issues and situations in our lives with great angst. Remembering that life is endless can help to let go of such petty anger and get back to savoring the journey with all its sweetness and nectar.
With so much gratitude,
Recently in class we have been focusing on the shoulders. When I think shoulders I do Handstand or Ahdo Muka Vrksasana, upside down tree. Handstand is the best shoulder opener and strengthen there is. In our work in class several students found their first unassisted handstands and it was awesome. After I learned how to kick up into my first handstand I was on my hands all over town. It did not matter what outfit I was in or shoes I was wearing. If there was a wall and some footing I kicked it up. Here on one of our yoga shoots I found this great barn with a great wall. The smell of the grass and mold was grounding and the walls were soft and sweet. Handstand gives us a different perspective on life, it gives us strength, balance, focus, breath and incredible shoulders. Take advantage of this playground called life and have some fun where ever you are. You'd be surprised how others will want to follow your lead and have some fun too.
My family and I took a road trip over the holidays. We stopped in St. George, Utah on our way home for a break from the endless driving through Utah, Montana & Wyoming on our little ski-cation. After a restful nights sleep we took a hike, found a place to chill and I thought I'd do a little yoga. First we made prayer stones in this cool wash. Lots of stones and spirits I might add. Yes, there may have been dust on the lens but I know otherwise. When I saw this shot I had to sit down, again. I felt every cell in my body shiver and jump for joy. I knew that all of my prayers had been heard and that I/we/everyone, are never alone. I felt light, love and an incredible sense of being. I could not have asked for a better beginning to this New Year. Peace and Love! Marie
Living, loving and teaching in Santa Barbara, CA.