Posts In: meditation

Nothing is something

March 20, 2016

I have a space on my retreat registration form where those registering can write additional comments, thoughts, or things they want me to know.

One of the registrants wrote this:
“I’m so glad you listened to your calling and bless others every day with what you do! You have no idea how much your classes have helped me through one of the most difficult and transitional times in my life! I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. But most of all, I’ve changed in your classes. For that, I am truly grateful.”

I deeply appreciate this student’s message and her acknowledgement of my work as “listening to the call.”

Listening is challenging. The longer I listen, the more subtle nuisances I discern in the call. Listening to “the call” continually asks me to go against the grain, to measure the grain, to soften the grain, to refine. Refinement is not big. It’s attuning. It’s inner alignment.

It’s not something I can whip out and show you on here. It’s not “insta”, though it is happening now. Sometimes, it even looks like nothing.

Like in restorative yoga… I look like I am doing nothing, but I am tuning in. I am listening. Is that something?

I don’t practice asana every day any more.
Lately meditation has been me staring at the dark brown lines that have traced their way across my belly to my heart over the last 9.5 months.
I lost my mala beads a long time ago.
I chant and I cuss. (Sometimes at the same time) I am not vegan. I haven’t attempted headstand in two years, though I practice tadasana, standing firmly on my own two feet everyday.

Right now, my personal practice is holding space for myself to be broken and whole, raw and undone, to feel the constraints and expansiveness of my being human in the most simple shapes and ways- on and off the mat. Sometimes my practice is to do nothing but notice.

Since that is my personal practice, this has shown up powerfully in my teaching over the past year.

I’ve been known to say less than 100 words… almost nothing in a yin or restorative class. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I am listening and hear that my students’ voices, experiences, and truths are rising up in the form of laughter, tears, and prayers. I trust that their listening into those moments communicates beyond anything I might say.

This student’s message affirmed what I’ve been hearing on this side of the call these days:

I do not have to fill up every single space and gap for myself or students with words, philosophy, music, “challenging” poses etc (I love all that for sure, sometimes I know it’s just filler though)

Holding space can be plenty.

AND a quiet seat in the class is an asana that I MUST practice as a teacher, because what seems like nothing can lead to so much of something.

Slow down.

February 20, 2016

Two nights ago I was driving along in silence.
I heard a voice “day clear” say “Deer. Two. Ahead. Slow Down.”

I acknowledged it. Slowed down. Kept driving.

10 minutes later what do I see.
Deer.
Two.

One shoots out into the road and just stops.
She stared. The other stayed out of the street and watched until I stopped. I sat there, shoulders soft, face relaxed and marveled at the beauty of the deer as they passed along.

Since I’d both heard AND heeded the message to “slow down” there was plenty of space to just stop. The pause was easier than it would have been if I’d been speeding along.

My rational mind is all like “well you live in Georgia… there are deer you know that. No big deal. It’s a sensible thought to have to slow down at night in case you encounter deer.”

Yet I know this was something beyond rationality speaking to me that night.

I wonder if my mind would have been all crowded and jumbled up, if I would have been able t hear such a clear message? Even if would have been able to hear through the noise, would I have trusted the simple wisdom to slow down?

If I had been “so busy and rushing” would that deer and I have met a different fate?
Instead of pausing and seeing each other, then merely passing through, would we have collided? Or at the least, would I have tensed up and been shaken at their sight versus taking in their beauty and waiting for them to pass?

That’s the thing.
So much rushing around leads to inner and outer collisions. And missing some awfully simple and beautiful moments.

Ever wonder what we miss because we can’t hear the quiet wise voice saying, “Slow down.”

Or we hear it. Don’t trust or value it. And decide to override it.

Are we too busy to slow down?
But not to busy to crash?

change is constant

February 15, 2016

Could just be me, but in my yoga practices both as a student and teacher, seems like just when I start to settle in, find a groove
Here comes- change.

I remember the first time I stopped feeling resonance with one of my favorite teachers
When I started to feel misplaced at one of my favorite studios.
I’ll call it grace that I didn’t think it was “them”; I realized that something within me was changing.

This shift has happened for me a few times, as I learn, grow, study, practice, teach, reflect, and integrate new understandings, access old wisdom, and gain clarity around my purpose— As I engage in the process of both being and becoming

Each time it’s been quite frightening. The change.
Each time I’ve gripped tightly and initially resisted. The change.

I started out as a power+ hot vinyasa student and teacher (exclusively… like that is all I practiced and taught for years)

As I’ve shifted and changed. As I’ve been shifted and changed, I’ve fretted that I appear inconsistent.

What has stayed consistent is that I believe yoga is a powerful tool for cultivating awareness, mindfulness, and accessing our real.

My current public teaching schedule reflects that and honors where both my teaching and practice are now.

I’ll be teaching this schedule through mid/late March:

Monday- 6:30pm Warm Flow and 8:30pm Yin at Atlanta Hot Yoga
Tuesday- 5:45pm (Nonhot) Flow and 7:15pm Restorative at Evolation Yoga
Wednesday- 6:30pm Warm Flow and 8:30pm Yin at Atlanta Hot Yoga
Friday- 4:45pm (nonhot) Slow Flow and 6:00pm Yin at Evolation
Saturday- 2:00pm Yin at Atlanta Hot and 4:30pm Restorative at Evolation

and from there-
my loves…
(and this is hard for a planner of planners like me)

“I don’t know where I’m going. But I promise it won’t be boring. “-David Bowie

Chillin’ with my mama!

January 11, 2015

I think my southern yogi folk can relate:

My mama is a super church going lady, reads The Bible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I told y’all she keeps “Jesus on the main line.”

My sister and I lovingly call my mama “our holy high roller” when we think she can’t hear us. When I started practicing yoga in 2003 she had lots of questions about whether or not it was a religious thing, was I chanting, if so, to whom, what did the poses mean, etc?
My feisty 20 something self gave flippant responses or just disengaged.
Over the years that transformed into actual dialogue and communication about my experiences with yoga and her spiritual practices. That gave way to more conversations about faith, grace, healing, and the place of practice, ritual, and community in it all.
That transformed into understanding each others paths and deep reverence and appreciation on both of our sides. Not to mention the relational/ancestral/generational healing {I reckon that’s another post}

20150110_203130

Our blurry “we-fie” or whatever you call more than one person in a selfie. Post CHILLin’!

That is just to say that my mama’s attendance at yesterday’s CHILLshop®yoga session was at least a decade in the making.

She said this about her experience yesterday:
“I felt the kind of peace I only feel in the presence of The Holy.
I also realized it’s really really okay, to sit down and rest for a while on the journey. If you are really on YOUR path, then resting ain’t time lost. It’s time to strengthen yo feet, clear yo eyes, and connect with yo heart for the joys and turns in the road ahead.”

Y’all that’s the best endorsement ever and
Yes, God is real, real in my soul.

Vision power

October 21, 2014

We are continually becoming/being who we actually are.

 

This is what I mean. I found an old ‘thumb’drive (remember those) and came across this passage I’d written from my yoga teacher training application back in 2007:

 

“I want to cultivate the kind of centeredness and stillness that will allow me to move through the world with grace and consciousness in a sometimes loud and unconscious world. I want to create space for others to recognize and appreciate the softer edges of yoga. I get it. For many folk, we enter this practice through the body-but that’s that- the entry point. There’s more to the practice than moving, though that’s a powerful place to start. I’m learning to trust stillness as powerful medicine. I want to know how to share that with others.”

 

 I didn’t remember writing that.

 

Yet, I’m here.

 

Kneading my hard places- soft, leaning into stillness, trusting that rest is a part of every balanced equation and as essential as movement.

 

And I’m teaching just that at CHILLshop™.

 

 Here I was thinking it was a new idea, I vision-ed up last year!  And Ha!

 

It was written and dreamed long before that!

 

 

 

Meditate.

September 30, 2014

Asana is like a house protecting one from the heat of the sun. – Peg Mulqueen

That’s all asana is – a house protecting you from pain, suffering, and from contrary forces. It’s like the supporting tortoise for those who are constantly devoted to the practice of yoga.  Asana is not yoga. –David Garrigues   From Conference notes with DG.

I’d practiced asana (poses) five years before I began to meditate. I am grateful to asana. For me, it was a doorway to the transformative, healing, and real practice that is yoga. I reached a point where I knew there was something else to the practice other than asana, yet,  I didn’t know what it was.

Once I discovered meditation, I realized we move the body  through asana to prepare it for the stillness of meditation.

Though asana felt good to my physical body, it was when I began a regular sitting meditation practice that I sensed a deeper sense of harmony from within.

For me, 10-20 minutes of meditation a day created  more peace, calm, and space in my mind and body than a 90 minute asana yoga practice did.

Meditation is  THAT powerful.

It’s essential to the yogic practice and path.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s an article that I wrote that outlines a simple way to begin meditating now.

Want the guidance of a teacher? I’m super excited that Meryl Arnett will be teaching and leading meditation every Tuesday at 6:30pm at Atlanta Hot Yoga.

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