Monday, March 29, 2010

Food for Thought

For twelve hours over the last two days, I practiced yoga at the feet of the Jivamukti masters Sharon Gannon and David Life. I balanced, twisted and inverted. And meditated, listened and reflected.

David says the practice of yoga in religious spaces is an exhaled experience. Here, at the St. Francis Hall at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C., the space and experience was completed with disco ball suspended from the rafters of the hall. Shine, yogis!

Hundreds of yogis gathered and created community, chanting rounds of om and om shanti shanti shanti. OMmmmm resonates in both the body and the soul.

With gentle encouragement, David and Sharon alternated teaching and assisting the four, three-hour sessions. Sharon spoke passionately about the practice of ahimsa and uplifting the lives of all beings. Three other messages linger:

· Yoga and life are equal parts strength and grace

· Balance the heart and the head

· Nurture your fearlessness

It is a honor to share this journey with Sharon, David and you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beauty In Motion

Some individuals pause as the traffic light turns from green to amber to red. Others accelerate through the signal as well as their lives.

Me? Sometimes behind the wheel, I pause at a glimpse of spring pinkness radiating from my fingertips.

Savor the beauty of everyday iridescence.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yoga and the Urban Mystic

Darren Main tells the group of about 50 yogis that he has a mean side. This, as he talks us through Plank Pose and Chatarunga Dandasana push ups, then side Plank push ups on the right side and then . . . I don't recall, something else. By now, I have retreated in child's pose. After a long week, I am safe on the mat, savoring this practice.

Whether he is mean or not (I think not), I am here to hear Darren speak of sadhana -- the Sanskrit term for spiritual practice. The author of Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic, Darren traveled from San Francisco to Tranquil Space, my home studio, to teach a weekend's worth of yoga workshops. I opted for the inital three-hour session.

I first read Urban Mystic a year ago, and was captivated by Main's written voice. I also became intrigued with just how the long-taught Vedic, Upansihad, Bhagavad, Yoga Sutra et al. principles can coexist with modern life, easily and mindfully.

Darren asks us to consider what sadhana is for each of us and what we will do differently to deepen it. For me, it's living -- on and off the yoga mat -- a mindful life of peaceful loving kindness, responding to situations with dignity and grace. One breath at a time.

Thank you, Darren, for a beautiful practice.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tattoo Me

It is on the exhale that relaxation is triggered. Slow, deep exhalations calm the body and mind, and help to center oneself.

Breath work is vital on and off the mat. Vinyassa yoga flows with the breath. So does my life, which is why I inked BREATHE on the inside of my left forearm.

Allow my tattoo to server as a reminder for you to b-r-e-a-t-h-e -- and savor each exhale -- as you melt into your radiant life.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Smiling Faces

As I reflect on my experience of the four-day yoga retreat in the Spanish Virgin Islands, I'll remember the strong sense of community, mutual respect, exploration & adventure, practice & meditation, and balance & peace.

The following passage emerged from my return flight reading, Less by Marc Lesser; advice for returning home after retreats:

"... be gentle with yourself as you return to your life after a retreat. Accept the people, the problems, the joy and discomfort, just as if you were in retreat. Also, accept your annoyance, impatience, and judgments (about yourself and others).

"To bring the spirit of your retreat to your life means to accept whatever comes up, not that each moment of your life will or should be henceforth serene. Welcome back to the world!"


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tropical Retreat

Greetings from Puerto Rico! I'm on the island of Vieques for a four-day yin/yang yoga retreat with 19 other yogis and Kevin and Danielle, our leaders. It's a nice respite from late winter in Washington, D.C.

We are staying at La Finca Caribe, an eco-friendly lodge in the heart of the island. La Finca reminds me of Dean Mountain* transported to the Caribbean. Think: Rough-hewn wood floors, a generous wrap-round, covered porch with sweeping vistas of lush flowering trees, coconut trees and more.

Vieques is a beautifully unspoiled tropical paradise. Around the island thus far, I’ve seen wild horses, roosters, chickens and chicks. And, I’ve heard the local wild dogs.

I have been actively disengaging from city life, one breath at a time. Over the last two days I've indulged in lots of meditation and yoga, including a fabulous practice on the beach ... complete with said wild horses and a dog carrying dinner -- a just-caught iguana -- in his mouth. And I've been fed by rolling chants of OMmm, showers of solar-heated water and massage.

Oh, I've met some interesting beings ... photos to come.

Island retreats are divine.

* My sister’s off-the-grid homestead in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Going Within

Yin/Yang Yoga Retreat Essentials

How apropos, I’m packing several important items for the retreat to Viegues:

  • A broad-brimmed straw hat to shield me from the strong Caribbean rays and a poncho for cover from rain showers
  • My precious spiral-bound yoga journal and pen, and my MacBook
  • A stainless steel klean kanteen water bottle and a 300 ml spray bottle of Avene thermal spring water.
  • Plus, two books -- one on doing less and one about becoming more.

Hasta luego!

Thank you, La Finca, for the photograph.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Come Away With Me

In just a few days, you'll find me immersed in the tropical lushness of Vieques, Puerto Rico, the first of the Virgin Islands.

I'll indulge in a four-day, eco-friendly yin/yang yoga retreat to deepen my practice. I'm so looking foward to inhaling, exhaling and melting.

Come away with me. . . .