Spring Playlist

Something Good Can Work (The Twelves Remix) 4:09 Two Door Cinema Club
Feel the Love 4:28 Cut Copy
Wonderful Life (Arthur Baker Remix Kitsuné Edit) 5:05 Hurts Kitsuné Maison Compilation 9
Sun 3:08 Two Door Cinema Club
Left Alone (feat. Chet Faker) 3:31 Flume
Dreaminߦ 3:12 Feldberg
Bow Beat 3:10 Tom Helsen
Just for Now 3:57 Cloud Control
You & Me 3:52 Feldberg
Mo Ba Nin (radio edit) 4:18 Flip Kowlier
Love Me Tomorrow 3:35 Feldberg
I Am (Tom Helsen Presents Barbara Dex) 3:26 Tom Helsen
Just Breathe 3:35 Pearl Jam
Next Summer 3:46 Choir of Young Believers
Hey You Hang On 5:48 Brookville
Survival 4:03 The Colorful Quiet
Endless Spring 3:00 Houses
Afraid to Fall 4:02 Brookville
Please 2:41 Tom Helsen
Who We Are 2:39 Dewey Decibel System
Three Little Birds 3:04 Bob Marley
Is This the End 3:48 Zee Avi e
With or Without You 4:51 2CELLOS
Hollow Drum 2:56 Laura Welsh

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Pain has left the building.

We use a scale when trying to have people describe pain to us. On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being the worst pain you have experienced and 1 the least. Right? You are all familiar with this? It seems to be that human beings are in pain a good portion of their life. Just spend a little time watching T.V. commercials or flip through a magazine, advertisements abound for the latest pain remedy. Or read the reports on people being addicted to pain pills that they so easily got from their doctor. Are we really just falling apart at the seams? Are we really abusing our bodies that much? That depends on how you define abuse. I think itߦs abusive to sit around all day in barely lit rooms with your longest walk being to the kitchen to refill your Mountain Dew that you are using to wash down your cholesterol medicine. Then the heartburn pill youߦll take later because you did nothing to aid your body in the process of digestion just after you finished off a box of Captain Crunch. This is the worst kind of abuse. Running a marathon hurts, I know this first hand. It hurts during and for about two days after. You can loose toenails, during your training and tragically men can have their nipples rub raw if they donߦt wear the right clothing during the 26.2 miles. But this is not abusing the body, this is raising the bar. Dare I say, it raises the pain threshold.

Should I be so bold as to talk about pain? Arenߦt there yogiߦs out there telling you to avoid pain? Isnߦt your doctor prescribing things for it? Well maybe if we all worked a little on raising our pain threshold, we wouldnߦt be a society addicted to anything other then raising the bar on our expectations for life, instead of settling for this belief that the human body is a place of suffering. But donߦt worry, thereߦs a pill for that.

I know pain first hand, and not just from running 4 marathons. I ruptured L5/S1 about 5 years ago. By the time I finally went to the doctor for it, he said to me ߦI am not sure how you drove yourself here and your walking around, this is a pretty bad rupture.ߦ It was excruciating for about 3 weeks. I didnߦt sleep much at all, or for that matter sit still. As there wasnߦt a single comfortable position for my body. But I was pretty damn determined to not be cut open. I never even took any steriod shots which is another popular form of treatment. I was going to, if I could stand it, wait this pain out, and I did. With a year of no running and a slow steady creep back into my yoga practice, with the appropriate backward bending, back strengthening plan. I am as good as new. Probably better because I learned a lot about myself, anatomy and the way to get it right. Donߦt get me wrong, it wasnߦt as easy I am making it sound. I cried a lot, I was angry a lot and I had setbacks through out. Ultimately I never took anything more than advil, breathing and exercise to heal.

I remember back in my first year of yoga my teacher saying ߦyoga raises our threshold to pain.ߦ I remember thinking, ߦwell that sounds strange and what would be the benefit?ߦ. I remember the asana it came up in relation to, Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasna ߦ half bound lotus forward fold. When I came to yoga I had been running for about 14 years, so I was pretty limited in range of motion. So when I would try and put my foot in the proper place it would inevitably feel like it was cutting my quadriceps muscle in two. That skinny, knife-like boney edge of my foot not tucking high enough up on my thigh would cause me to wince in pain. Shouldnߦt we bail if thereߦs pain? No, not if itߦs something that you can breathe through. Most discomforts can be dealt with this way. If you can stay in the place of dis-ease and experience change, then do. YES, there is pain you need to move away from, but not all pain should be avoided.


Trikonasana - triangle posture.

Trikonasana ߦ triangle posture.

Iߦve heard yoga teachers say if thereߦs pain youߦre doing the pose wrong, what if it means youߦre finally doing it right? If someone told you you were going to be comfortable while doing yoga they were wrong. Itߦs about being uncomfortable and dealing with it. I have seen countless triangle asanas, and I guarantee you, until I come up behind them and fix them, they arenߦt feeling anything except the effort of holding themselves up, no discomfort, no change, no enlightenment. We need to shine a light of awareness on areas of our body that have become dull, detached and not put to good use in a while.


We use the word pain too freely in society. For most instances itߦs just discomfort that can usually be lumped into the ߦThis too shall pass.ߦ category. There is a great expression ߦpain is weakness leaving the body.ߦ Ahhhhhh, that to me is the most truthful statement there is about pain. Being able to handle discomfort and pain better makes us less reactive and hopefully more responsive. It lengthens our fuse. Itߦs good to have a long fuse before you blow up. If we all had longer fuses the world would be more peaceful. It wouldnߦt be filled with so much vengeance. The more I am uncomfortable in yoga, the more comfortable I am becoming in life. The more I raise the bar of what I am willing to tolerate, the more opportunities itߦs giving me to grow. I want to go to the grave with a worn out body. One that lived each day being surprised by what I was really capable of.

It is possible to get injured doing anything physical with our bodies or emotional with our hearts. Each of these injuries leaves a little scar behind that creates a pathway in the neurosis of our mind. Yoga, by moving us towards our pain helps change this pathway and wipe out the residue of that experience. There comes a moment in yoga, and itߦs a golden one with each and every pose you are struggling with that you will be able to say ߦPain has just left the building.ߦ Itߦs never a coincidence to me that the word exercise and exorcism are so similar. Because exercise does release some of our demons of fear, pain and weakness, leaving us feeling pretty cleansed of the things that were holding us down. Give it a try, come to your mat, find the edge where you question ߦwhat the heck am I doing?ߦ again and again and just see what happens. Donߦt fear what you havenߦt even experienced yet. Only fear missing the opportunity to grow.

Never fear what might come out of you. ROAR!!!

Never fear what might come out of you. ROAR!!!

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Ripe for the pickinߦ.

Do you remember your graduation from pre-school? Do you remember all the excitement about starting out the next year at a new school? Each year working your way up to the eventual end ߦ graduation from college. Is it that there is an eventual end that keeps us on track? Is it knowing that at some point we will be given the reward of a title that allows us to keep our nose to the grindstone? What if there were no-end? If there were no diplomas, would you still work as hard as you do and for as long? Is it possible you would work even harder for less ߦ less acknowledgement, less status, less pay? It seems as the human species goes, we do well with things that are going to end but we do terribly with things that have no end. If I told you that you only needed to do backbends 50 more times before you could spring right up out of it to standing, would you be willing to do 50 more? What if I told you it was going to take 100 more backbends, or 500 more? Would you still be as willing to do them? What if I told you all you were ever going to get out of yoga is a better nightߦs sleep? Would you do it, would you stick with it? I find the hardest part about yoga for some people is the endless effort that is needed without knowing what the results will be.

The most difficult sutra for a yogi says ߦAbhyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhahߦ ߦ Practice without attachment to a particular result. But if we are putting forth effort, arenߦt we aiming for a particular result? Well, how do we practice with out attachment? We must practice patience. I do believe you will ultimately get any result you strive for with enough due diligence. In the same way that you eventually do get to enjoy a nice glass of wine. But keep in mind that wine was first a grape, or even further back a seedling. The process of making a good glass of wine takes a while. If you just consider alone the fact that it takes about 3 years to make a productive grape vine. Letߦs not forget about all the TLC that is needed in that three year process to keep that vine healthy, pest free, frost free, drought tolerable, etc. Add to that how the soil had to be cultivated before the germinated seeds could be planted. Then of course, there is the harvesting, smashing, fermenting, bottling etc. It takes from 1 year to 5 years to make a bottle of wine, the extreme being 20 years with reds. If people were only willing to put that much time into their yoga practice. Just think of the limitless potential you could experience by allowing yourself time to mature into a yogi.

Patience. If you try Padmasana before it's time you might risk injury.

Patience. If you try Padmasana before itߦs time you might risk injury.


A three year yoga practice could be like growing your deep roots and vines before you are ready to produce a mature fruit ripe for the picking. During that 3 year period processing what youߦve learned. Then you might be ready to be picked, pruned and overall cleansed of the fruit that might be weighing you down and that can be turned into something better. But even then, you might need to sit and contemplate your next phase of yoga, just like wine sits in the fermenting process. You must discard the waste before you can take on a new form ߦ going from your solid state to a liquid state of being. In yoga, we are trying to become more fluid, to become sweeter, to become better with age. Each of us has the potential to add to this world something unique, something that comes from a good exploration process. If we walk away from yoga before the process has had time to really set in, we would be missing out on all the colorfulness that yoga brings to so many. With enough yoga we do become a lot like a red wine. Where itߦs hard to get the stain of yoga out of our hearts, just like it is hard to get the stain of red wine out of carpet. Yoga leaves an impression, and a strong one at that, when practiced for years, not months.

Wine doesnߦt make it to your lips without having a heritage. Most vineyards are centuries old. The craft being passed down from one generation to the next. The craft being refined with each year by experimentation. From when to pick the grapes, to what to add to the soil, to how the climate produced a specific result. When you are part of Ashtanga yoga, you become a part of that heritage. Yogis before you have experimented. They have refined the craft of Ashtanga yoga. You automatically get an umbilical cord to India. Just like wines have a particular flavor when they come from a particular region, you automatically step into a family tree with the great, great grandfather figures of Ashtanga yoga ߦ Ramamohan Brahmachari, Krishnamacharya and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Tim Miller. As each year of your practice goes by, you are becoming a bigger limb on this old, amazing family tree we call Ashtanga yoga. You are fertilizing the soil for the next crop of yogis.

So give yourself time. Donߦt be in such a hurry. Be still. Stand in the sun. Receive from the earth what it has to offer. Be gentle when you prune back what you no longer need. Squish out all the flavor that yoga is giving you, and be willing to share it with others. Donߦt hold back and donߦt be shy to have your own unique flavor. Yoga makes us ripe for the picking. You just never know when you will be picked in life and for what cause. You might get picked to be a mother, you might get picked to be a cancer survivor, or you could get picked to be a civil servant, or picked to write a great novel. Whatever it is you get picked for, yoga will make you humble, sweet, patient, generous and RIPE.

Most often after getting the calmness of yoga or even before it, it is advised to have a little warm up for your nerves and muscles even your heart and brain. Here, what works best for me is that I had tried doing rebounding first then yoga afterwards. Its the best combination of wellness and exercise I had experienced so far. So I recommend that to you.

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Get happy playlist

Let It Go 3:17 The Neighbourhood
Sweater Weather 4:00 The Neighbourhood
Rhthm & Soul (Middle Version) 3:33 Spoon
Willow Pattern 4:15 Dolores OߦRiordan
Patience 5:45 Nas & Damian ߦJr. Gongߦ Marley
Seconds 2:52 Ghost Loft
Look Alive 3:31 Wait. Think. Fast.
Golden 3:46 Brookville
Trying To Put Your Heart Back Together 2:39 Slow Runner
Way Beyond 3:33 Morcheeba
Sweet 4:04 Dave Matthews Band
Always Waiting 4:31 Michael Kiwanuka
Beat of the Drum 6:09 Morcheeba
With the Notes In My Ears 2:40 Peter Broderick
Thistle & Weeds 4:50 Mumford & Sons
People Help the People 4:17 Birdy
Gained the World (feat. Manda) 2:55 Morcheeba
Bronte 3:19 Gotye
Wonderwall 4:09 Ryan Adams
Aloha Ke Akua (Piano Version) 10:42 Nahko
Home Again 3:33 Michael Kiwanuka 6

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Shine a light Playlist

Harder Than You Think 4:10 Public Enemy
Stompa 3:42 Serena Ryder
Shine a Light (Flight Facilities Remix) 5:15 The C90s
Anything Could Happen 4:46 Ellie Goulding
Emma (Bachelors of Science & M3 Dub) 6:01 Dirty Vegas
Lovesick (Instrumental Version) 3:16 Lindstrøm & Christabelle
Deep Forest Green 3:59 Husky Rescue
Mushaboom (Mocky Remix) 5:01 Feist
Fast Lane (Black Grass Refix) 4:17 Husky Rescue
Whispering Wind 6:03 Moby
Explosions 4:04 Ellie Goulding
Amnesia 6:37 Dead Can Dance
New Light of Tomorrow 4:53 Husky Rescue
Joy 3:14 Ellie Goulding
Summer Sun 3:52 Chris Coco
Mogadishu Blues 2:54 Hans Zimmer
Dead In the Water 4:44 Ellie Goulding
Blueberry Tree, Pt. 1 2:36 Husky Rescue
Itߦs Gonna Be OK 4:46 Anders Osborne
Humility and Love 6:21 Christopher Young

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13 years of practicing Ashtanga yoga, whew! Is that a good thing? Is it worth celebrating? Absolutely. How did I celebrate it? Well the same as I do everyday, by unrolling my mat and doing another practice. No cake with candles, no party hatߦs, no invited guestߦ just me, myself and I. But waitߦ if I have done thirteen years of yoga is there any ߦIߦ left? Yep. I havenߦt transcended the ego yet. But do I really want to? No, itߦs what gets me on my mat. Itߦs what gives me the courage that a weaker ego might back away from. I still believe my potential is limitless. I still believe, even though 13 years older, that I can do more then I could at 28. So thatߦs what makes this worth celebrating.

I was told by my teacher years ago that I should always remember my first experience with yoga and always remember my first teacher. What I have learned from that advice is it will keep you humble. As you practice, you automatically improve. That is only if you practice consistently. As the late, great Pattabhi Jois would say ߦPractice, practice, practiceߦall is coming.ߦ With so much improvement itߦs possible you can lose sight of the place you started. Itߦs kind of like that Oscar winning moment for an actor where they thank their high school drama teacher. Where we start, is our anchor. We are aiming for buoyancy in yoga. Our ego more than anything else needs to stay tied down, or it can carry you away. Itߦs a lot like those buoys in a harbor that are markers to tell the ship where the channel lies.


Me & Tim, Yoga on high, Columbus, Ohio - 2022.

Me & Tim, Yoga on high, Columbus, Ohio ߦ 2022.

People in your life can be great buoy markers. People that have inspired you. People that keep you on the right path. Kind of the like the bumpers in a pin ball game, keeping the ball in play. Hopefully the company you keep are people that keep you on the right track and also keep you humble and grounded. This is why one of my buoys is my teacher Tim Miller. He knows just the right dose of guidance to provide each dedicated student, and he is not over indulgent in handing out compliments. You have to earn his respect and you might not even know when you get it. But he did this one thing that led me to believe I had earned his respect. He remembered my name, time and time again, even if it had been a year since I last saw him. Itߦs no easy task, I am sure, to remember his students names. He travels all over the world teaching workshops. And he still teaches a full-time schedule at his own studio. But yet every year, I head back to study with him, he remembers my name, where Iߦm from and even what some of my problem asanaߦs are. This has always inspired me and I try and emulate him. (www.ashtangayogacenter.com)


Some of my other buoys are my dedicated students that show up again and again and that live some pretty crazy, busy lives. Yet they unfurl their mats day in and out. These are the students that bring good vibes into the space. These are the students that want to grow, that donߦt accept ߦnoߦ from their bodies, or minds for that matter. The ones that lay down a path of hard work that ultimately gets them to their yoga aspirations.


Me & my grandfather -  2022.

Me & my grandfather ߦ 2022.

My grandfather was another great buoy, even though he is no longer of this world. His example inspired me. He never complained, yet he probably had things to complain about. He had an 8th grade education, held down two jobs and raised 4 daughters, half his life by himself, as his wife died young. He built his own house with his own hands and lived in it for 60+ years. He tended an acre land for a garden to feed himself and his family. He lived through the depression and appreciated everything in his life. He always dressed impeccably, darned a hole in his sock and polished his shoes. He made me once sit at the dinner table until I finished my dinner and I learned to appreciate what I had been given.



Georgia Marathon, 2022

Georgia Marathon, 2022

My mother is also one of my bumpers that keeps me on the right track. She gives so generously to others. She is always, sewing, cross stitching, knitting, baking something for someone. Things made from her love of these hobbies, as well as the enjoyment it ultimately brings the recipient. She, like her father, cooked 98% of all meals we ever ate as a family. No microwave, no frozen entree, food that is fresh and healthy. My mom always made me go to school. I ended up graduating with perfect attendance through all 14 years of education. My parents didnߦt let me walk away from commitments. My Dad believes in seeing things through and that hard work and persistence pays off. They are why I have finished 4 marathons, and only missed a handful of yoga practices through 13 years. I was raised by a hard working family. Hard work doesnߦt scare me. If anything, it motivates me because the reward at the end, I do believe, is greater. Hard work will always reward you with self esteem. You can not lose from hard work, you can only gain.


These are the people I celebrate every time my yoga anniversary comes around. Maybe I should bake them a cake, put on a party hat, and invite them over to celebrate my anniversary. But since some of my buoys canߦt be where I am, and vice versa, I just hold them in my heart for the whole month of February. Is it a coincidence that yoga came into my life the month of february? The month of love, the month that celebrates the heart? I think not. I love yoga! I fell in love my very first class, and more and more each day. Even the bad days. This is the month for me to be thankful for the people that gave me what is necessary to take the long road, and not look for the short cut. Have you ever thought who youߦd like to have over to dinner to say thanks to? Have you ever thought about what you would say to them? Is ߦthanksߦ enough? Does it encompass what you feel? I recently read a great anonymous quote that said ߦ You havenߦt really lived until you have done something for someone that can not repay you.ߦ These people I cannot repay, at least not in dollars. But I can repay them in respect and admiration. I can also repay them in behavior by carrying on some of the great morals and ethics they taught me and being an example to others.

Iߦm looking forward to celebrating this anniversary every February. I am very thankful to the one person I had a dinner conversation with 13 years ago that said to me the same thing I have said to many people sinceߦߦYoga is not what you think. Itߦs not just stretching, just give it I try. I think youߦll be surprised.ߦ He was right. Itߦs not what you think, itߦs so much more than we can even imagine. 13 years in, itߦs still surprising me.

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Musical Energy

Spotlight ߦ Leagues
Do I make it look easy ߦ Sara Jackson Holman
Bright Smile ߦ Josh Ritter
Hey Ho ߦ The Lumineers
Turn it around ߦ Lucius
Shut eye ߦ Stealing Sheep
Cellophane ߦ Sara Jackson Holman
Joy to the Baby ߦ Josh Ritter
Donߦt just sit there ߦ Lucius
Karma debt ߦ The Mynabirds
Gun shy ߦ Grizzly Bear
The Curse ߦ Josh Ritter
Into the blue ߦ Sara Jackson Holman
Rachel & Cali ߦ Damien Jurado
Anabel ߦ Horse in the Sea
Go home ߦ Lucius
Honey, let me sing you a song ߦ Matt Hires
The long haul ߦ No
I order the sun ߦ Horse in the Sea
Freight train ߦ Sara Jackson Holman
Song for Zula ߦ Phosphorescent
Love and Feeling ߦ Chet Faker
Come by fire ߦ Sara Jackson Holman

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The Yoga Assembly

I remember how exciting assemblies used to be. All that Rah! Rah! Rah! stuff. When I was growing up, my school would have assemblies for the big rivalry match of all our schoolߦs major sports. They were usually on a Friday and we would be released from class early so that we could attend. The requirements were to wear our school colors and bring your team spirit. The marching band and the cheerleaders would guide us through the school motto and school song. There would be speeches, positive affirmations and some group chanting of the school motto. This doesnߦt sound that different from a  gathering at an Ashtanga yoga studio. But instead of using the word assembly, yoga calls this a satsang. By the end of a good old fashion school spirit assembly and a modern day yoga class you have achieved the same goal, which is to have a group of people resonating the same idea ߦ team spirit, or ߦWe are all in this together!ߦ

Iߦm lucky that I have the opportunity to teach yoga on Friday evenings and that the people I get to teach are some of the most dedicated people I know. I always joke with them by saying I love my friday peeps way better the the monday people, even though a lot of the time they are the same people. The friday crowd has passed on all other possible friday night invites, so they can get their yoga groove on. I mean, it is Friday evening after all, right? The class starts at 5:30 which seems to align with the assembly idea. They have to release themselves from work a little early so that they can assemble with their yoga satsang. We have so much fun in this class. By the end we feel united in the belief that yoga is a great way to start the weekend and a great way to let go of the past week. This group of people seem to support each other like no other.

Second series at The Practice Space, March  2022.

Second series at The Practice Space, March 2022.

Iߦm sure we could look at the word assembly and see it synonomous with congregation, or a collective. That whenever you gather a large group of people together hopefully the undertone is that you realize you have something in common. Which naturally raises the energy vibration of such a gathering. I have taken many trainings with my teacher Tim Miller over the years. People come to his trainings from all over the world. I have practiced alongside people from Sweden, Japan and Australia, as well as Florida, New York and Oklahoma. By the end of these two week trainings Iߦve made many friends, comrades in the journey of ashtanga yoga. One idea unites us all. Once in the yoga room practicing together, we become like one gigantic lung, one breathing vessel. Creating prana for all of us to share. Prana is called the life force so when people make the joke, ߦLet the force be with you.ߦ, itߦs actually a very true statement. In a mysore practice with 30+ other ashtangiߦs, no-one is talking, there is only breathing and movement. Yet it feels like we are having a conversation. This must be the language of love. Our love for ashtanga yoga, is our unspoken language. No one is talking, everyone in the room is working hard, but yet there doesnߦt seem to be a shred of animosity or jealousy, even though the skill level in ashtanga yoga can vary greatly. There just seems to be harmony. This is the same thing the football coach, track coach and school principal were trying to get us to embody at that school assembly. We are better united, then we are divided. We can get further when the company we keep has a unified philosophy.

There is another interesting element to this type of gathering that I recently stumbled upon. I was picked to serve on a criminal jury trial. The experience was rather sad and depressing but ended up providing me many new insights. One of those was this: strip people of all their identifiers like suits, degrees, jewelry and coiffed appearance, and you realize that you can always find you have something in common with each other. As I was at the  gym where I teach most of my yoga, a few weeks after the trial I noticed the prosecuting attorney, as well as the the judges clerk, working out at the gym. What I realized was thisߦ the gym is a great place to join people together even though in our outside responsibilities we are very different. As I saw the prosecuting attorney exercising in her plain white tee and black pants, I realized in this environment, we have no labels. We are all just congregating for our better health. In a yoga room there are no mothers, brothers, housekeepers, landscapers, lawyers, rich, poor, infertile, adopted, fashionable, smoker, alcoholic, and so on and so forth. Itߦs as if the playing field were leveled back to the most basic truth. Which is we are all human and we mostly all have the same parts. That without labels and identifying responsibilities we are equal.

If your teacher is a good teacher, he or she has learned to teach a great class, no matter the reason that each student is there. They shouldnߦt teach a better class to a lawyer, than to a housekeeper. You donߦt favor the tall over the short and you donߦt draw attention to the mother, over the motherless. We are a satsang; a community of people that ultimatley  agree that yoga is good for us. Which is why each person wakes up in the morning and packs their bag with yoga clothes and a mental commitment to get it done, whether they struggle or float gracefully thru the sequence, wether they can do headstand (sirsasana), or sit in lotus (padmasana), whether they can stay the whole hour and a half, or just an hour. Take off the make-up, the fancy or ragged clothes, jewelry, pull back the highlighted or dull hair into a ponytail, with your beach towel or your yogi toes, no phones, no degrees, for the most part no apparent differences, and no openly different opinions (no doubt the opinions and labels vary widely). These things arenߦt necessary to practice, you never need to know them. All you know is the person to the left of you wanted to do yoga today. The person doing backbends behind you, wanted to do yoga today. The person taking early savasana, wanted to do yoga today. So yoga has done itߦs job, it has united us, yoked us together. It has assembled us, in more ways than one. We have congregated under the same roof, under the same sun, and under the same belief that yoga is good for us. Wether practicing in Japan, Portland or a tiny town in Boardman, Ohio, yoga works. If you have ever wanted to be apart of something that has no prerequisite, this is it. You can be a Democrat, Republican, Buddhist, Episcopalian, third child of eight, high school drop-out or cancer survivor. All accepted and invited, no questions asked. Really. The only underlying question is ߦAre you willing?ߦ Because when you are ߦWe are all in this together.ߦ  We are all the same.

So, atha yoganusanam. Samastitihi!

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Ordinary happiness.

Happiness is a part of you. Itߦs always there, youߦve just forgotten where to look. Itߦs a lot like a catߦs tail. Itߦs always there, yet one day, they turn around and are surprised to see this ߦthingߦ moving. So they start swatting at their own tail. Dogߦs do it too, running in circles chasing their tail. Not realizing that their tail is a part of them. Then when they finally do catch their tail they donߦt seem to know what to do with it, like the way people donߦt seem to know what to do with happiness when they find it. Some people have been telling themselves the same depressing story of their life for so long they donߦt know how to live and embrace anything other than what they have convinced themselves of. Theyߦve caught their own tail and now donߦt know what to to do with it.

This can be a similar problem to the way some people believe the 8 limbs of yoga work. Or better yet the way karma works. Karma and the 8 limbs of yoga are not linear. Itߦs not if I do thisߦI will get that. We live in a culture strongly based on immediate gratification. Life can be like that stick at the amusement park that tells you when you are tall enough to ride the ride. We have to experience growth first, before we can have some of the things we want in life. No amount of standing on our tip toes will solve the problem. Itߦs just not time, we are not ready yet. Understand that if you rode that ride now your life would be in danger. Somethings we are just not ready for. Are you really ready to be happy?

I once experienced very linear karma but in most cases itߦs more of an accumulative thing. This lady was riding my bumper at 6:00 in the morning down a two lane road. She decided to pass me crossing the double yellow line and was immediately pulled over by the cop that was behind her. She was so focused on where she needed to be, that she forgot to focus on where she actually was. But in most cases doing the right thing, the good thing, wonߦt pay off in some immediate result. But there will come a day where those right actions will leave you right where you are supposed to be .

If we are always focussed on where we are going instead of where we are, we miss the joyful moment that is unfolding right in front of us.  What makes you think you are not happy right now? Is it that someone elseߦs happiness looks different than yours? Is it that happiness didnߦt show up on your timeline? Is it that happiness didnߦt have enough bells and whistles for you? Is it that no one is there to witness it? A lot of the time we are happy, we just wonߦt admit to it because there is no audience. There is no one there to congratulation you for your happiness. The truest kind of happiness is the happiness  you can experienece in your most ordinary moments. These are the easiest moments, but we seem to label them the least worthwhile. So many times we are laying our happiness on the behavior of others. If they would only do this, show up here, give me that, tell me this, Iߦd be happy. How can happiness be based on so many conditions? Arenߦt you the only one responsible for your happiness?

Happiness is already there, just let it out.

Happiness is already there, just let it out.

This is why I love a good home yoga practice, and why usually I find so much happiness in it. The only person I am counting on in that practice is myself. The only person I could let down is myself, if I donߦt do the practice. But most times I find that once far enough into the practice, whether its going good or bad doesnߦt seem to determine my happiness. What I usually experience is my happiness comes out of being grateful that yoga is in my life, and that Iߦm well enough to practice. Iߦve gained enough experience to realize a good yoga practice isnߦt made by its outward appearance but more so by what you get for your effort.

Happiness doesnߦt come wrapped in shiny paper with a bow around it. If youߦre looking for happiness to look like a party and that you are the guest of honor, donߦt hold your breath. Instead breathe (prana) into the life you have thatߦs just wrapped up in the ordinary things, and stop chasing your own happiness tail. Happiness is all around you, and available to you when you stop demanding it look, act, and behave a certain way. And if your not getting the happiness you feel you deserve maybe you should start telling yourself a new story or take another look at the story you already have. But remember, your happiness tail isnߦt going to be attached to someone elseߦs bottom. Thomas Edisonߦs once said ߦOpportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.ߦ, you  might say this of happiness as well. Happiness is independent, and we all already have it inside us.

Categories: For the beginner, My viewpoint | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The hamster wheel of my greed.

I just passed my year mark of writing my blog. Geez it went fast. I am pleased that I stuck with it, even though at times I was doubting myself and finding it hard to create space to do it. But since itߦs another new year, essentially another circle around the sun, Iߦm left with that reflective feeling. Which naturally pulls me to the place of gratitude. I am so thankful that people read my blog. But I need to keep the reality in sight that Iߦm not doing it expecting thanks. Iߦm doing it to hold my feet to the fire and to challenge myself by doing something that makes me uncomfortable.

There is nothing comfortable about writing for me. You all know why and that is because we all have a harsh critic that lives inside our head. No matter the activity, there is always a voice available to bring down the gavel of whether something is good or bad. Even without that voice, there is always the available sound of silence, where you can hear the crickets rubbing their legs together while you wait for the social media world to respond, waiting to hear that someone likes your blog, so that you are validated as a blogger. But if you look around youߦll soon pick up on the vibe that now a days there is nothing original about being a blogger. Everyone can do it and many do.

So, I remind myself that even though itߦs nice to receive the support, itߦs not the reason why I blog.  I blog to sharethe knowledge I have gained on my yoga mat. And yes, I do blog so that I can put things on paper. These are my ideas that I find worthy of exploration. I definitely do this to see an idea to its end. However, I have found that often times my ideas have no end, and a very poor beginning. I often find putting an idea on paper to be intimidating.  The whole sharing thing too, really rattles me. The process of sharing can really bring up stuff. I found myself a few years back getting ready to host a teacher training on yoga. As I was getting information together, I found myself confronted with my greediness (Aparigraha). That I didnߦt want to share what I thought to be some of my greatest insights, cues and ideas behind yoga. I wanted to hang onto these secrets that I felt I had come to on my own merit of hard work. I found it hard to release these things that I felt were my personal gain from yoga, instead of seeing them as my personal contribution to yoga. I had this fear that if I gave up my secrets that Iߦd be helping someone else get ahead of me or theyߦd come about it easier than I did. That doesnߦt really make me sound all that nice now does it? No, but it does make me sound human. That voice in my head  saying ߦI must get ahead, I must get ahead, I must get ahead!ߦ ߦ little does that voice know that because of greediness, itߦs  a lot like running in place on a hamster wheel. You can not get ahead until you stop grasping things so tightly. So, I had a moment where I guess I got tired of holding onto all my secrets, or maybe I came up with a new angle of how giving away all my secrets would get me ahead, or maybe, I hope, I came to a place where I ditched the ߦIߦ and came on board with the ߦweߦ. That in helping other people grow, you grow as well.

5 simple words that changed me.

5 simple words that changed me.

What you get out of ߦweߦ and not ߦIߦ is growth. I started sharing some of my insights with the new eager yoga students and I found that in my sharing, I grew. That the actual holding on was holding me back. It was in the letting go that I changed. Recently a saw a funny magnet that read ߦLet go or be dragged.ߦ When I read that it was like my Wiley Coyote moment of getting hit in the head with a anvil. It spoke of my behavior louder then anything else has. It was 5 tiny words. ߦLet go or be dragged.ߦ See, Iߦm a grasper. If I were going to admit to you my dependencyߦ it would be GRASPING! I grasp, and I grasp to things tightly. I do this out of comfort. The comfort you feel by staying the same. The definition of same/saym/ •adj. 1.unchanging 2. unaltered 3. constant 4. monotonous. Even though monotony might give you comfort, you might also come to realize it makes you boring, predictable and dull.

One of the reasons I am still so addicted to yoga is because it has changed me. My body and mind are different. Everytime Iߦm on the mat something new springs up. Yoga, when practiced  is a lot like a river. When you stand in a river the water touching you is always different, because there is movement. Itߦs never the same water twice that passes over your feet. Thatߦs how yoga feels to me. Even if while practicing Iߦm resisting change, it is inevitable because of the movement the practice is facilitating. When I started to see this I became more willing to let go. To let go of ideas, to let go of the tricks I figured out to do a pose more gracefully, to let go of things I felt only my ears had heard from my teachers. How did I  let go of my grasping? I shared as much as I could with those (9) first time yoga teacher wannabeߦs. Now I do it every time I teach, by not holding anything back. By being an open vessel of information. Is all my information right, well for me it is, because it has worked. That doesnߦt make it absolute, it just makes it one path, or maybe a better way to say it is my ideas are just one river you could take to flow into the great ocean of information on yoga. Sharing will change you. Itߦs uncomfortable and makes you feel vulnerable, but it has movement and that movement will take you places. Places you never thought you would go.

So Iߦve done it, with blogging I have found another way to grow, to change. Iߦd like to ߦthankߦ WordPress for making it easy for me to grow. Iߦd like to thank all the people that jumped into my river to feel the rush of movement in their own lives by opening up their mind to my ideas. Each and every person that has read, liked and or commented on my blog has taken that little step in sharing and Iߦd like to say ߦthank youߦ. It means the world to me that you share your thoughts. I hear them, value them and I use them to help me keep growing, to keep pushing through how uncomfortable I feel sometimes putting my words on paper. Thank you for helping me to grow, for helping me to let go so as to not be dragged.

The first 9 ladies I shared my growth with. Julie, Rachel, Jodie, Stephanie, Beverly, Janet, Polly, Christina, Me, Gwen.

The first 9 ladies I shared my growth with. Julie, Rachel, Jodie, Stephanie, Beverly, Janet, Polly, Christina, Me, Gwen.

Categories: For the beginner, My viewpoint | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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