Category Archives: yoga

I Can Learn Something

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I can feel the pressure building inside of me,
pressure to get things done, get things organized,
be better, do more, know more,
pressure to have a plan,
pressure to answer others’ questions…
It’s the dark time of the year,
and the darkness is bringing me down.
I don’t want this pressure.
I want to hide.
God, help me change my mind.
Help me welcome the pressure.
Let me see this discomfort as a yoga posture
life has given me to master.
If I can breathe through it,
I can learn something from it.

New Year, SAME You

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New year, SAME you.
Because the you
you’ve always been
is good enough,
so why would you want
a new one?
Plus, how could you possibly
have a NEW you?
Are you going to clone yourself?
I think not!
You were born YOU,
and YOU you will always be.
So let’s celebrate the New Year,
and the same you.
Because you’re awesome already,
and you deserve to be celebrated.
Here’s the secret:
You don’t need to do anything to be worthy.
You don’t have to change something,
fix something,
lose something,
gain something,
learn something,
or prove something
to be worthy of being here.
You were born,
and here you are,
completely worthy.
I dare you to
trash those resolutions,
take a deep breath,
throw your arms open wide
and say,
“HIP HIP HOORAY, I’M ME!”
There now,
doesn’t it feel good?

 

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Dedicated to fellow yoga teacher Pack Your Mat, who wrote this post about embracing yourself and your body just as you are, and dumping the ideas that you have to change anything at all about yourself as you enter this new year.  LOVED IT.

 

Look Deeper

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I subbed a yoga class this evening.
I went into the ladies room
before I taught
and nearly ran into a woman
changing
right in front of a full length mirror.
I wondered why,
with all of the benches around,
was she changing right there,
staring at herself in the mirror…
This young woman ended up
in my class.
She was quiet and graceful;
I wondered if she was plagued
by the same body dissatisfaction
that is sold to us by our
body obsessed culture…
or maybe does she love her body??
After my class
I nearly ran into yet another woman
changing
right in front of the same mirror.
This one exclaimed
“SHIT! I forgot my pants!”
She was not as quiet
and maybe not as graceful.
I keep thinking about these two,
wondering about how we learn
to be preoccupied with our appearance,
obsessed with our reflection,
needing to see ourselves doing
the simplest things.
Maybe this is why
I often ask my students to close their eyes.
You don’t need to see to breathe.
Sometimes what we see outside
is such a distraction
that we have no attention left
for what’s inside.
Why stare at yourself
as you change one shell for another?
Could we learn to look a little deeper?

Hacked…and Wondering

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My LorienYoga website was somehow hacked
And I was unable to log in,
unable to update my workshop information,
and wondering if my content has been replaced
by porn or performance enhancing drug adverts.
And I wonder,
Who are these hackers,
and why do they do what they do?
I mean, come on…
It’s a yoga website for God’s sake…
you take down my attempts at teaching people
about this ancient system of self-realization–
what kind of crap karma is that?
This is another opportunity for non-attachment,
I suppose.
But really…
Who are these hackers,
and why do they do what they do?

Like a Dewdrop

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Asana in the woods
hot summer day
reaching for strength
diving deep to find my breath
I remember how simple it all is.
Just this moment,
this body,
this breath.
This little puff of wind,
the chorus of bullfrogs,
clouds drifting by,
everything constantly changing.
I remember the impermanence,
how I am,
how existence is
like a dewdrop in a blade of grass.*

*Still loving the Tokmé Zongpo quote featured in my last post.

Not So Big

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Looking up through the tall trees
to see clouds drifting
in an immense blue sky,
I realize how truly small I am.
I breathe and move from pose to pose,
remembering the impermanence of this life
in which the only constant is change.
I take pleasure in the sensations
of breathing
and moving,
in the sound of a bullfrog chuckling nearby,
in the feeling of a gentle, warm wind
kissing my face.
No human has ever grown to the height
of the black walnut and the tulip poplars
that grace me with their cooling shade
as I dive deeper inwards and face my own fire.
Practicing beside these towering giants
I am humbled.
Suddenly my problems
don’t seem so big after all.

NaPoWriMo Day 17: Dictionary Poetry

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Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt…find a specialized dictionary and write a poem using ten words from the dictionary. Guess what kind of dictionary I searched for online? Dictionary of yoga terms, of course.

I love so many of the yogic terms–beautiful sanskrit words that are musical and poetic by themselves. As I started to scan down the list of words,  I could’ve just hung out in the A’s and gotten a poem there…but is that too easy? Eh, whatever. I’ll just grab the first ten words I love and that’s that.

I got the words from here. It’s a glossary of 200 sanskrit terms.

Advaita (“nonduality”): the truth and teaching that there is only One Reality (Atman, Brahman), especially as found in the Upanishads; see also Vedanta

Ahamkara (“I-maker”): the individuation principle, or ego, which must be transcended; cf. asmita; see also buddhi, manas

Ahimsa (“nonharming”): the single most important moral discipline (yama)

Akasha (“ether/space”): the first of the five material elements of which the physical universe is composed; also used to designate “inner” space, that is, the space of consciousness (called cid-akasha)

Amrita (“immortal/immortality”): a designation of the deathless Spirit (atman, purusha); also the nectar of immortality that oozes from the psychoenergetic center at the crown of the head (see sahasrara-cakra) when it is activated and transforms the body into a “divine body” (divya-deha)

Ananda (“bliss”): the condition of utter joy, which is an essential quality of the ultimate Reality (tattva)

Atman (“self”): the transcendental Self, or Spirit, which is eternal and superconscious; our true nature or identity;

Kaivalya (“isolation”): the state of absolute freedom from conditioned existence, as explained in ashta-anga-yoga; in the nondualistic (advaita) traditions of India, this is usually called moksha or mukti (meaning “release” from the fetters of ignorance, or avidya)

Karma Yoga (“Yoga of action”): the liberating path of self-transcending action

Om: the original mantra symbolizing the ultimate Reality, which is prefixed to many mantric utterances

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Om.
In this seeking of ananda
I must look not for what I can get,
but ask “What can I give?”
This path of karma yoga purifies
the mind and leads to kaivalya–
and as a snake sheds its skin,
so I shed my habit of self-absorption.
The great paradox here:
as my heart expands outwards
the doorway to the innermost self opens and widens
and the path to Atman is made clear.
As I turn to face the dualistic trickster Ahamkara
and become absorbed in advaita’s all inclusive embrace
I relax and remember that it all begins with akasha–
the space of consciousness where all is born
and all passes away.
This journey is not for the faint of heart.
It is easy to become frustrated, discouraged,
to want to give up.
A strong ahimsa practice is key,
honoring the self that I am,
meeting this self with kindness,
even as I struggle in the bonds
of conditioned existence…
I can remember the amrita
that flows from all of us,
the nectar of immortality,
the gift of our own awakened destiny.