right right

To think that… (one of those pauses to gather thoughts that unintentionally add suspense… yeah, like that) one is worthy of such wonderful things almost feels arrogant or assuming, maybe presumptuous is the word… and thennnnn we listen, or rather read, and maybe hear the words spoken inside one’s own head, the wise, simple and profound words of DR Butler, asserting that our life is what we focus our attention on, and the realization dawns on the horizon, peeks it’s brightness from yonder in the distance, that wasn’t really distance at all, cuz it was always already just right here… and so here it is… and here we go… for the ride that is our life, and we are in charge, so to speak, in the driver’s seat, steering the way, the direction of our day, the plan for our lifespan is moment by moment creation…like poetry we create reality with words, with images painted with words, with daydreams dissected letter by letter and put back together like a puzzle… puzzling isn’t it to conceive of such great, vast, infinite power right at one’s fingertips, or yes, lips, all in how we think, see, speak, move, act. … behave….

hmmmmm… makes me think of bee hive… yeah like the hive that was mysteriously attached to my house for that brief period… lessons there… lessons everywhere… are we paying attention? are we learning anything yet? bee hive… bees… bees are all connected by the queen bee…. all is done for the sake of her (god) and the hive (everyone, the collective, the universe–which is ultimately all god), and there’s a communication (by dance, come to find out!)… as if they are all connected.

similarly, we humans are all connected, and there is no separation by time and space… (or so is claimed by some great teachings, like in DR Butler’s The Course).

…put this into practice .. don’t just theorize, philosophize, and discuss lofty ideals. this shit is real.. who and what we are….real and also unreal, like the side mirror, things are not as they appear to be…similar, but different, manorama says, “feel it, feel it, feel it”… pema chordran invites one to lean into the discomfort, as my sweet camille friend reminded me today, “lean into it.” scott marmorstein said, “be the light.” and so we do, offer light through our thoughts, through our words, our deeds … and as Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, they all merge as one and become prayers. my buddy, billy quoted someone in the buddhist community saying, “right thoughts, right words, right deeds”… something to that effect…

and what’s the effect?

i’m reminded of a quote from a child’s book a friend gave me, “sometimes everything being right makes a kind of a sound.”

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butterflies or pickles

5.14.13

tuesday today terrificus…

tuesday of three classes and so many smiling students and watching myself in the face of it all (of course, lol, it’s always about you stef… hmmm…) and yet really, isn’t it? not about me, but about you. for me it’s about you and for you it’s about you, and if i didn’t know me, i am unable to connect with and serve you. someone in expanding class today hit the nail on the head when they said something to the effect of, “it’s like we are all voices inside one big head.” yeah, we were talking about our multiple personalities… er uh, at least i was…

according to some philosophies that underly the practice of yoga, the manifest realm is a manifestation of a supreme intelligence, a universal reality, highest consciousness, god, whatever you want to call it, and that this physical realm that we experience in normal day-to-day life contains and is composed of this consciousness. and thus, we are all one. so each personality we encounter is like another voice in our “big” head… lol.

yeah, it’s like that. this concept helps me to be compassionate when people don’t understand something, willing when someone is having a difficult time, and curious about people i “dislike.” truly it helps me not only as a teacher, but as just a stef in day to day living at the grocery store (where i always seem to be), on my bike with lots of cars, in the car running late, talking on the phone to a woman who works for the gas company who’s simply doing her job and cares not about my crankiness and impatience.

classes went well today. i love my job.

word of the day at yogahour 11am and 415: TRUST.

The quote i borrowed it from this morning is from DR Butler’s The Course. http://www.truthofthepresentmoment.blogspot.com. he said,

“It’s not that our concepts from the past take up 75 percent of our consciousness, while awareness of the present takes 25 percent. It would be great if it were like that, but consciousness is only one, it is filled by one thought at a time. So, if we are clinging to our ideas from the past, it fills personal consciousness to the brim. This is why there must be an emptying out, a letting go, so that the past can be flushed from our psychic system, and we’ll be continuously refreshed and expanded by what is new. Of course, it helps to give up fear of the unknown. Trust that the unknown is even greater than the known.”

this paragraph stood out to me this morning. my tendency is to drop everything and discard it all to get ready for the new. LOL and throw out the baby with the bath water. (that is such a freaking hilarious saying) Some new (or recycled) thoughts surfacing are to let go of old ideas from the past rather than dismiss everything from the past… ie relationships, people, places…. there will be more to come on this…

let’s just pull on this thread for a while…

in a yoga class i taught over a year ago I demoed a standing pose sequence and pulled my hamstring and adductor. one vein of thought would have me blame and discard the practice of yoga or blame and discard the specific poses that preceded the injury. but what’s the point of that? what do we learn from that? with commitment, devotion and discernment we can place ourselves back in the same place where we got burned. we don’t step back into the fire for the sake of getting burned again or in denial of the fire’s capacity for and and high probability of destruction, but rather to learn from it and ultimately grow, to become more refined versions of ourselves. just as much as fire can destroy, fire can transform. i’ve heard it said many times by great teachers that it’s a razor’s edge. at the recent workshop with christina sell talked about how one can pull away from one edge only to fall off the other side. through our yoga practice ideally we become more sensitive and our capacity to know and take care of ourselves expands…

i tend to be overly hard on myself and yet, took a 6 weeks off of yoga. it took a long time to straighten my leg again. it’s over a year later and i’m still working, but if i had given up the practice entirely i would have missed valuable lessons. commitment and persistence pays off, but the asana practice continually teaches me that the persistence must shift approach and focus if it is to be sustained.  the practice continues and persistence perseveres with sensitivity and discrimination.

the 1215 expanding class (still talking about tuesday) rickity rocked out in pincha scorpion, vrischikasana today. we used chairs as support, which was an adventure, as we only had six. so we had stations and played musical stations alternating with blocks to get our shoulders and upper backs open. we prepped with handstand booty-on-the-wall and pincha-booty-on-the-wall, virasana, supta virasana, and kapotasana work. miss christine lee’s beautiful pose was inspiring. i was pleased by the class’s overall enthusiasm and willingness. i love my students! and! i’m so grateful for my brilliant teachers. I couldn’t be doing what i do without them.

I got to participate in the first two days of The Courage to Teach with Christina Sell and Darren Rhodes at Yoga Oasis! I love these two people with all my heart. day one Darren said, “We teach who we are.” I believe it’s a quote from the book. It calls one to walk the walk, so to speak, to live the life about which they preach. And simultaneously, the fact is that whether you live according to your philosophical ideals or not, we lead by example. As Douglas Brooks once said (paraphrased), “even not making a choice is making a choice.” We choose who we are by what we engage, how we engage it, and the company we keep. (i used to rationalize and justify this concept but came to realize through brilliant guidance from dear Scott Marmorstein and his guru, that no matter how strong you think you are on the inside, your outer company will drag you down. … side note, i’m not jesus. he hung with the lows and drank wine, so they say, i wasn’t there, but hey, i’m not jesus… so yeah, “they” say you hang around a barber shop long enough, you’re going to end up getting your hair cut… ha! or at least get a whole bunch of other people’s hair all over you… may we choose to surround ourselves with people we wish to emulate. i want to be around people who inspire me, who are happy, who smile, who giggle, who are bright, who are willing and driven….) (any wayz….tangent, sorry.) we teach who we are. we teach based on the struggles we face and overcome. the lessons we accrue are our gems with which to share and enrich the lives of others as well as our own. it goes back to the shared consciousness idea, for as i gain, so do you, and as you gain, so do i. we all struggle. we all have pain. what’s inspiring and interesting is how you face these challenges and ultimately rise out of the ashes anew. the fact that you rose from the ashes is rad, but what’s of value is the tale you now get to tell…

(I’m currently in the backseat of Miss Tanya Whitman’s car while she drives and Miss Christine Lee naps in the passenger seat. We’ve perused many topics thus far. of these tasty morsels of interest, we talked of butterfly metamorphosis, and how the catepillar is no more, how it no longer exists. once it makes the transformation, it’s not a catepillar with wings, but it’s completely new. it’s a different creature. it’s a butterfly. a dear friend recently got a tattoo of a butterfly to mark this very process. the change is permanent. the butterfly cannot change back into the catepillar. another friend said it this way, “once your a pickle you’re always a pickle, you can’t go back to being a cucumber.” ha! butterflies and pickles, whichever analogy you prefer.)butterflypic1

Saturday I was so fortunate to get to go to a dear friend’s wedding in Sedona. the wedding was so beautiful!!!! it was perfect weather with lovely white fluffy floaties drifting through the air with such perfection that it couldn’t have been professionally orchestrated any better! the company was so pleasant. this couple’s friends and family are mellow and kind and fun-loving. i felt so welcome and at ease. the music was a delightful blend of old school meets new school, but i especially loved the oldies. we all had fun dancing, but the best was how intimidating the bride’s family friends were! they ruled the dance floor! and i enjoyed the delicious food! oh the cakes! yes, cakes, plural. and then there was the serendipitous free room! the groom’s mom had a friend who couldn’t use her room so they were able to offer a free place to stay for the night. what a treat!

Sunday i spent mama day in Phoenix with my mama and twin sister and her beautiful munchkins, Elle and Patrick. they are so super cute! they call me “auntie mama.” yeah, it’s awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

attraction

Flagstaff’s big, mountainous arms welcomed me home so fully.  It feels like such a long time since I’ve been here, and yet it also feels like just yesterday I was teaching regularly at The Yoga Experience.  It’s like a big family reunion to get to see so many faces of dear friends I practiced with and taught for so long.  Friday’s intermediate/advanced class was so much fun!  We laughed heartily as we enjoyed good company; dug into our feet, calves, and thighs; and flipped our perceptions upside down.  All Levels came in right after and we explored Surya Namaskar A & B.  Today’s morning all levels class worked toward some back bends like Supta Virasana, Salabasana variations, Makarasana, Dhanurasana, and Ustrasana.  In the afternoon we adventured the realm of hip openers, twists, forward folds and plenty of handbalancings.  I really felt the recent recent teachings of Christina Sell and Darren Rhodes supporting me every step of the way, and of course the brilliance of the Anusara method as my steady foundation.  The more I teach, the more I learn.  The more I practice and study with great teachers, the more confidence I gain and the more I have to offer to my students.  I am so grateful to be a practitioner of yoga, to be on the path of yoga, and to have the accountability of my teachers and students as I walk the path.

These feel like challenging times in the yoga world.  Douglas Brooks‘s words resound in my head, “You are the company you keep, so keep great company.”  I used to take this much more figuratively and figure that since your thoughts, emotions, breath, are your closest company, then as long as I keep that in check, I’m good… right?  So on it went–bushwacking through life, clinging to my heart and regularly tucking my head to blow on it’s coals to kindle its delicate fire…I thought it was fine.  We don’t see ourselves so clearly (use your ‘I’ statements–I don’t see myself clearly)– sometimes if there’s a gradual changing or incremental energetic leaking over time, we don’t notice because it’s not drastic.  It’s like cutting a strand of hair everyday.  Each day, nothing different.  It’s just a hair… (Ha!  Makes me think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail…”Merely a flesh wound!” lol)  But someone who hasn’t seen you in a while exclaims, wow!  You’re hair is so different!  This isn’t that realistic because who does that?  But like in weight, as another example, a pound or two a week in either direction surely adds up, and while nothing seems dramatically different to you each day, it’s a cumulated loss or gain that “all of a sudden” becomes significant.  In a conversation with Scott Marmorstein he shared how Gurumai said that while this is true, that the company of your own mind is your closest company, over time one does become more and more like the external company you keep.  And of course I fought to plead my case, cuz that’s what I do, but he insisted that despite my valiant efforts to stay strong, and be true to myself, if I’m surrounding myself with people that are not aligned with who I choose to be, it will pull me down.  Several years later I look back at my life with gratitude for all I’ve done, the fine company I’ve kept and now keep, and my continual refining and evolving.  Each yoga community has it’s own richness.  As we evolve so does the company we keep, externally and internally.  Like attracts like, ‘they’ say–The law of attraction.  Whatever energy you send out, you tell the universe to send you more opportunities to experience the same.  May we practice gratitude for the abundance in our lives, the fullness of our experiences, the deliciously excruciating lessons extracted from our challenges, and love, love, love.  So much love, so much gratitude.

I’ll write more about the workshop soon.  SONY DSC

7/7/11

7/7/11 just seems like a high-energy date…

Gorgeous monsoon weather makes me so happy, and it seems all of Tucson delights in it.  Our home garden loves it.  Most people are awestruck when it starts raining here.  Then the roads flood and that makes it even more fun.

This morning I met with Kim Daly to discuss website technicalities before my 11 am class at central.  I left feeling very empowered. The 11am yogahour rocked out as always.  Today’s word was observation.  Yoga is observation, self-study, svadyaya in Sanskrit.  The key is to observe oneself with detachment.  My yoga practice and my life has been filled with self-judgement and criticism and when I work from a place of unconditional love and acceptance I feel much more willing, honored, even embrace, or at least theoretically.  There’s definitely a fine line.  One part of my mind feels competitive and unworthy unless it’s the best.  Another part ,or maybe that same part, feels that if it’s fine whether I’m best in class or worst why try, why participate at all?  Scott Marmorstein said on Facebook today: “Offer your best. Offer your highest. Don’t worry if you think it’s ‘ideal’ or not. It probably isn’t. Still, it’s the highest you can reach and offer out in the given moment. You always know when you’re not giving the present moment your all. There’s one person you can’t fool, and that’s yourself.” It is serendipitous that he wrote this today.  On this path of yoga, or life, we aim to offer our fullest in the moment, while objectively observing our physical, mental, and spiritual state.  I write with intention, not to claim that I actually succeed in doing this all the time.  I’ve heard it said that teachers teach what they need to learn…

The 1215 led- expanding class was an expansion of this theme and we dove into crazy backbend variations.  I was inspired by getting to practice with Rachelle, Kat, and Julie yesterday.  It was so nice to have BJ GalvanSONY DSC join us.  Today we jammed out some standing poses, some good-ol’fashioned handstand, then handstand-booty-on-the-wall, some more standing poses, always some core work, some yummy pinca mayurasana, then eeek!  pinca-booty-on-the-wall!  So tuff but so good! urdhvas, dwipadaviparitadandasana, walking in urdhva to meet a friend and high five, wildthing into urdhva dhanurasana x3 each side, urdhva walking in a circle (should be called something silly like dog chasing it’s tail or something).  It was such a fun class.  It’s amazing how lost you can feel in urdhva danurasana, how completely turned around you can get.  I loved watching students get to try it for the first time.  We all giggled a lot.  I love my job.

My 6-730pm basics class worked toward Urdhva Dhanurasana.  We incorporated inner and outer spiral in standing poses, worked shoulders in inverted L-pose, opened hips with succirandrasana and pigeon, thighs with standing thigh stretch, eka pada bhekasana, twisted monkey lunge (aka yummy thigh stretch, aka revolved lunging thigh stretch), which proved to be more challenging than I anticipated, despite doing them in this order… hm.  Continued the back bending with Dhanurasana.  Taught actions: “Shins In Thighs Out” in uttanasana with bent knees, then thighs back to straighten.  Taught one of my favs: The “Pez dispenser routine”- emphasis on keeping thighs back while engaging tailbone down and forward. Then do same thing in Settubanda Sarvangasana x 3. Played with Urdhva Dhanurasana holding friend’s ankles while friend draws shoulder blades on back and assists. Lastly the “wishbone” – 3 partners, 2 straps, and so much happy!  1 strap around bottom tips of shoulder blades, the other around the top of the sacrum.  Pull up and apart.  ta da!  some partner down dog, supta padangustasana, and THE END!

 

uplift

I am so grateful for my work. I love teaching yoga because I’m continually working to better myself and by my efforts my students can benefit. The other day on Facebook Scott Marmorstein said the following and I was really inspired by it, “This is why we really do sadhana, not only to uplift ourselves, but to express our best and uplift others.” I dig it. Teaching as often as I do supports me in continually working to be the best version of me that I can be so I may be of service and help others to work towards being their best. He also said that without challenges we can’t grow and without struggle we can’t be free. This helps me muster up courage or at least perseverance to face the pains of growth. (well at least I hope that’s what it is!)

I’m currently working on the following books right now, My Body is a Temple by Christina Sell, Observing Spirits by Peter Rhodes, Gurdjieff A Beginner’s Guide How Changing the Way We React to Misplacing Our Keys Can Transform Our Lives by Gil Friedman. Those are the main three. Also, working on a lovely poetry book by Swami Chidvilasananda called The Magic of the Heart Reflections on Divine Love. And intermittently one called Change your Brain Change Your Body by Daniel G. Amen, MD.

That’s all for now. Enjoying a little reading break right now.
Love, Love, and more Love!