Playing with my new pose, and my new camera. Namaste.
Today in one of my yoga books I read “Consistency is the highest form of discipline.” Discipline then is not to be confused with a ruler slap on the wrist by Sr. Assumpta or being yelled at and grounded for a messy room. These are simultaneously old and childish apparitions of my once held notion of discipline.
Recently, I read Swami Muktananda’s Meditate.Since then I have been sitting in meditation every morning at 5:30 a.m. for 20 minutes. This new consistent practice happens before my glorious morning coffee–shockingly now in 2nd place as my favorite daily ritual.
There are some lines in Muktananda’s book that are simple and profound and keep me consistently sitting every morning before doing anything else.
“When the Self is within, why should we look for knowledge of it somewhere else?”
“We meditate to unfold our inner being.”
“Within every human being lies a great divine energy.”
The book is a short easy read and chock full of simple brilliance. The biggest gift that it has given me is access to consistency of meditation.
This new found daily discipline is shifting and changing everything subtly from the inside out. After sitting in the morning I feel opened, refreshed, and ready to fill myself up with the day ahead. Overall, my attention and focus are sharpening. I am becoming comfortably conscious of my domain and my role in it. I like who and where I am in the world. This is the path of absolute freedom through discipline.
I am reading Iyengar: The Yoga Master,a book of essays compiled by his student and devotee, Kofi Busia. It’s a fantastic tribute to the living legend. One of the essays reminded me that Mr. Iyengar who is in his upper 80’s still practices dropping back from standing into back bends. He does this practice on Fridays. Just recently I have been dropping into back bends unassisted. It is incredible to me that I can do this. The moment that I actually let myself go and drop back is totally freakin’ frightening. Until today I had not been able to stand on a hard surface (or thin yoga mat on a wood floor) to do it. I only had the guts to do it on a softer cushioned mat surface. Today after dropping back two times in a row successfully, I decided to do it on the wood floor. And wouldn’t you know it, I landed smack on my head. Not a hard or dangerous or painful deal. I broke the fall with my hands, but they are supposed to hit the floor before my head–not the other way around. So when this happened it scared me for a few seconds, but I knew in that moment that I had to do it again. You know..the whole fall off a horse lesson. So I did it, and glory be…it was the lightest most beautiful drop-back I have done to date. I didn’t do the back bend, I was urdhva dhanurasana–what a cool thing to be!
For a very long time I thought dropping back was something I would never do. It was too scary. It was only for the pros. It was too beautiful. Somehow I didn’t feel worthy or something. Then one day I gave myself permission to think ‘maybe’ which evolved into “I WILL drop back’. Five years later dropping into a back bend is a part of my regular asana practice. This is the fruit of patience and practice. I am relishing in gratitude and joy today.
Although I have committed to solely practicing and studying Anusara yoga, I continue to hold Mr. Iyengar and his icca, jnana, and kriya in the highest regard. I will pay him tribute on Fridays as I join him in a spirited practice of glorious heart-opening back bends.
My iPod consistently and dependably serves me yoga teachings. Because Point Clear currently is lacking public yoga classes I do have a dedicated home practice. But sometimes it’s too much of a challenge to conjure up the inner guru for a full juicy home classs. On my iPod (affectionately named YogiPod) one of the genres is ‘Yoga Classes.’ I can always get my fix of star teachers and their live ‘unplugged’ classes. It’s pretty cool. Mind you, this is no substitue for the ‘real thing,’ but I am grateful for my ‘imaginary friends Kula.’ In the last year since focusing primarily on Anusara yoga, I benefit greatly from a yoga class pod cast produced by Hillary Rubin who ROCKS. It’s almost as good as being on North Fairfax in West Hollywood. BIG gratitude for the work she is doing.
Today I am on the road–New Orleans for a night of Jazz Festing. And tomorrow to my husband’s 20th high school reunion in New England.
The YogiPod will certainly provide a sanctuary in the present day total mayhem that airports have become. And I will continue my search for a guru in the not so obvious places.
The following is an excerpt from http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/101/plastic
Whether you buy bottled water or conscientiously tote some from home, you’ll want to avoid swallowing chemicals along with it. Below, the plastics not to choose (check the recycling number on the bottom of your bottle) :
Plastics to Avoid
#3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) commonly contains di-2-ehtylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), an endocrine disruptor and probable human carcinogen, as a softener.
#6 Polystyrene (PS) may leach styrene, a possible endocrine disruptor and human carcinogen, into water and food.
#7 Polycarbonate contains the hormone disruptor bisphenol-A, which can leach out as bottles age, are heated or exposed to acidic solutions. Unfortunately, #7 is used in most baby bottles and five-gallon water jugs and in many reusable sports bottles.
OK, I don’t know about you, but this recently mega-publicized info has me consumed with doubt, fear, anxiety, and anger. For like the last 20 years or so I have been drilled with the enviro concept to reduce-reuse-recycle. My commitment goes in waves, but I do my best. So for the past few months I’ve been re-using a recycled water bottle. And, as we all know –8 glasses a day or else death by dehydration or some crap. Recently I gave up on store-bought bottled water because isn’t it just some other municipality’s water source anyway? At least this was last week’s big water-news story.
I’m in Point Clear, AL where the water is clean and I drink it out of the tap. I am a water-aholic. I don’t know if over the years I permanently altered my chemical make-up trying to adhere to hydration hype. The simple fact is that I need to drink water all day or I don’t feel optimally well. And up until last week I was feeling pretty good and ‘green’ with my long reused Vitamin Water bottle and my ‘healthy’ consumption.
Then whammo! Newsflash…that healthy habit you’ve been working on is killing you and innocent babies across America. Now, every time I take a sip of water these words drift like clouds across my vision…leaching styrene di-2-ehtylhexyl phthalate endocrine disruptor human carcinogen.
Is it really this bad? If it really is – the damage is already done to me and all of my organs. Unless of course this leaching is a new thing and wasn’t occurring for the past 25 years. Now we’re supposed to drink out of an aluminum bottle that is ‘coated’ on the inside. I’m SO SURE that these coatings won’t be ‘written up’ in a future issue of some scare-me-to-death publication that I should heed.
I have brilliant idea. Maybe I should resort back to my college era behaviors when Jack Daniels out of a short glass was my DOC. Seems safer than a freakin’ sip of water these days. Modern Problems–a funny Chevy Chase movie from the 80’s or death by leaching carcinogens in your water bottle?
But seriously–this is when yoga and meditation save me. Because The Jack –although gentlemanly enough, is not an option. Nor is not drinking water.
What to do? What not to do?
Yogas chitta vrtti nirodhah. Yoga calms the mind.
This is all I can do.
And once again, it is as simple as that.
Hooray! I finished a 200hour Yoga Teacher Training program today. I am officially a yoga teacher. Validation. Accreditation. Yoga Nation.
Never mind that I have been teaching for over five years. None of that counts. That’s the old uncredentialed me. No more struggle and sacrifice for yoga. No more learning from mistakes–no more mistakes! It’s a high and happy time for this yogini.
I am pulsing in this moment. I am a real yoga teacher now. I shop at lululemon and wear super hot hard tail clothes. I hug earthy long pigtailed pretty girls. I am standing on my hands on the cover of yoga journal magazine. I am featured in cereal and soy milk ads. I score athletic shoe contracts. My classes are sprawling across the universe. Everybody is perfectly healthy flexible and beautiful. Everybody’s got a hard tail. I am a yoga star. My dreams are reality. In this moment. Money is just another form of energy. NRG my muse.
It’s all glossy and real that I’m certain to certify… one day like 2day.
It is the eve of my graduation from Yoga Teacher Training at a big studio in Austin, TX. I love yoga and I love to teach yoga and tomorrow after a nine month program, I will, in the eyes of the Alliance that deems us qualified, be certified to teach my art. Certification vs. qualification– another day’s blog.
So we talk alot about yoga off the mat. I am, in this moment, having a truly ecstatic yogic experience–yes– right this second. I don’t normally do it, but since I am on the road, and cruising on foot, I went to the nearest coffee shop –you know the one. It’s on every street corner and 4- lane highway in America.
So I went in for a decaf. I got swayed into buying some dark chocolate covered graham cracker cookies. Not on the ‘yogic diet’. But the pierced, tattooed, cool-chunky- dyed-hair girl barrista was SO Austinite-nice and convincing about how totally awesome dipping the dark chocolate covered graham cracker cookies in the hot coffee is. I was easily sold. Because really, how can chocolate get any better? How can coffee get any better?
I walked back to the apartment where I am staying alone. And I sat down at this computer. I dipped the cookie into the coffee as instructed, took the first bite and OMG–it’s like the union of Shiva and Shakti. The graham cracker softens and dissolves within the chocolate while on your tongue. Then the chocolate slithers all melty-like covering the entire cavern of the mouth. It is a simultaneous textural experience and taste bud explosion. This yoking, or union of cookie, chocolate, and coffee is simple in theory yet multifaceted in experience. This is tantra man! Pure delight in my heart, the free choice of a pleasurable foray (in an area usually ‘disciplined’), and it’s ALL intrinsically good. This is one of the most profound lessons from my yoga teacher training here in Austin. Oh, if the course had only cost $4.71…I would certainly be investing more into my latte factor.
I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years. I cut my teeth on yoga in Los Angeles at Yoga Works and The Iyengar Institute in 1996 – 2000. For the past several years I have lived in New Orleans where I was an active yogi all over town. Last week I finished 2/3 Aunsara Immersions. It was 36 hours of intense asana, enlightening philosophy, and delightful kula. I am WAY into it. My experience of yoga here in the other LA has been different. Some people might call me a yoga snob. I just seriously value my time– especially the precious time I devote to asana, meditation, and pranayama practices. I practice alot solo in a home-studio space. I do miss the intimacy of kula. Its the good stuff of life man.
I am on a mission to start a yoga community here. I envision a nice room with white walls and a wood floor. A group of good folks navigating their interior space. I know its gonna happen here. Its BOUND to. I’m gonna yoga a yoga community. ICCHA. JNANA. KRIYA. PeacePeacePeace