Morning Series

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Celebrating the Sun

Rise with the Sun, offer gratitude for the life you’ve been gifted, start the day off with yoga.  Your day will be better because of it!

Each session includes 15 minutes of devotional practices (daily reading, chanting, pranayama, meditation) and 1 hour of yoga asana.

All levels welcome, major injuries are discouraged, unless with teacher approval.

Monday and Wednesday mornings in August

Dates:  August 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31

10 classes!

Time:  615-730am

Price:  $120 drop in $20

Location:

YogaOasis Central
2631 N. Campbell Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85719

Register here

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

align

Today was a beautiful, light day right from the start.  I woke up and did a nice Balasana stretch in bed and really worked my pelvic tilt to lengthen my back, and ooh, just started my day right.  Yeah, it’s silly, but it’s true.  I had a delightful shower, sweet meditation and pranayama, nourishing rune reading, and a delicious juice. Then headed off  on a beautiful bike ride to Yoga Oasis central to teach 11am yogahour and 1215 expanding.  Both classes went great.  I so value my students. And the amazing people I work with!  The word of the day was ‘align,’ as in, ‘with what do I align?’  When I start my day in remembrance of my highest intentions and bring that alignment into all that I do, I get more done, I feel better about people around me and myself, and I have a much better day.  It’s so easy to get thrown off track.  Sometimes my morning intentions can be out the window before breakfast time is even over–hollering at my boyfriend, or complaining about this or that, or spazzing out about running late.  It’s so important to bring ourselves back into the moment to realign ourselves so the experience is nurturing and beneficial rather than detrimental and depleting.  Similarly, in yoga asana we align our physical bodies with optimal form instructions to enhance the state of our being.

Yogahour is so fun to teach.  I continually work new ways of sequencing and challenge myself to come up with more creative ways of doing things or new poses to work.  My music mix this week begins with a beautiful Manorama chant to Ganesha and includes some Donavon Frankenreitor, Trevor Hall, Bronwin, Beats Antique, and others.  It’s always nice to make a new mix to play.  Today I guided yogahour through surya namaskar-type warm-up, standing poses–Pk, Trik, V2, AC, Prasarita, Fierce Pose aka chair pose, Warrior 3, Malasana, Bakasana, Leg Lifts, Succirandrasana (hip stretch with ankle over knee) and advanced (arms around shin and other leg straight), Supine Ab work with Astavakrasana (crooked in 8 places pose) legs and actions, Eka Hasta Bhujasana, Astavakrasana, Bridge x2, Antanasana, Parighasana prep, Parsva Upavistha Konasana, Baddha Konasana, Ardha Matseyendrasana, Dandasana, Paschimottanasana, Savasana.  Sweat and Smiles.

In expanding we played with the following:  Adho Mukha Svanasana, Uttanasana, 1 surya namaskar, Dolphin Pose, Sirsasana 1 with a few variations (5 minutes), Sequence: pk- trik- V2- Reverse V2- AC- ACC. Vira 1. Parvrtta PK- Parivrtta Trik- Parivrtta AC- Parivrtta ACC. Handstand.  Utkatasana 50 seconds. Handstand booty on the Wall.  Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana sequence.  Vira 3.  Malasana.  Handstand feet on the wall (like a big back bend). Malasana.  Pasasana (strap and blanket option).  (sorta silly backwards sequencing, but it worked…).  Marichyasana 3 with bind.  Ardha Matseyendrasana 1 with bind.  Pinca Mayurasana.  Block in upper back (leg position = your choice). Pinca Mayurasana booty on the wall.  Supta Virasana.  Pinca Mayurasana 1/2 scorpion.  Urdhva Dhanurasana x3. Pinca Scorpion. AMS. Parsvo T. Utt.  Great group.  I love my job.

I had the night off.  I usually massage on Thursday nights, so it was nice to have what felt like extra time.  I made a big yummy salad, cleaned, swept, looked for my missing food processor (lost in the move), found a couple of treasures at a thrift store, went to Aqua Vita for water and scrumptious groceries (i love it there), met with a yoga buddy to exchange notes and talk shop, stopped by to say hi to my fella, went home and talked to Tierny while he did his homework and I dorked out making kale chips.  I’m going to read a little and go to bed.  Lovely, full day.

There’s so much drama in the yoga world currently.  I feel like I’ve been hiding out a from social media.  I’m a little resentful and a little apathetic about the mess… if one can be both simultaneously.  It seems as though I’ve fallen through the cracks of a big earthquake (visions of The Land Before Time pop up in my head…lol).  I’m not sure where the pieces are going to fall with it all, but I’m grateful to be here in Tucson.  I’m so honored and psyched to be a part of Live the Light of Yoga with the three Greats of the Greats –Darren, Christina, & Noah!  I love my work.  I cherish my home.  ***That upon which we we focus our attention expands.  That to which we pay attention grows.  We attract what we put out.***  May everyone everywhere experience peace, happiness, and love.

love6

fullness as perfection

Wednesday used to be my day off.  Now I teach Basics at central Yoga Oasis at 6pm.  So, like I do, I added more work, and massaged earlier in the day also.  My favorite part of my full days, of feeling busy and overwhelmed in general, though, is that point when I come to realize that it (meaning my actual experience of what’s happening in the moment) is not what I built it up to be in my head.  I’m the one who stresses me out.  Today I caught myself repeating in my head, “I’m so overwhelmed… I’m too busy…I’m so overwhelmed… I shouldn’t schedule so much… I’m so overwhelmed… I’m too busy…”  Until I stopped myself, sort of in awe and amazement, like “Whoa, look what I’m doing!”  I thought of the brilliant forward by Elizabeth Gilbert in Meditation for the Love of It by Sally Kempton.  She contrasted meditation with the mindless mantras we repeat, such as “hungry, hungry, hungry, hungry...” or “tired, tired, tired, tired, tired…” or like the one I was saying to myself!  Man, this stuff works quickly!  (i play–Baba Muktananda said that the world is a play of consciousness.  And my understanding Tantric philosophy is that the world is as you are.  So as we deepen our understanding of the deeper workings of life, we are granted opportunities to apply the teachings.  This is also a teaching of Ganesh, the elephant-headedganesh diety in the Hindu tradition:  He is the remover of obstacles and simultaneously may be the obstacle itself, as taught by Douglas Brooks.  He stands at the threshold of opportunities, situations, and at a workshop, Noah Maze taught that he is the very thing that is in your way.  Yoga teaches us to be skillful at our endeavors, and to figure out away around the very large elephant in your way is precisely the point of him being in your way.  That is how Ganesh grants you his boon, by showing you the true wisdom within yourself to surmount the obstacle.  (Wow, that was a long side-track, and now a parenthesis with in a parenthesis))  With lightheartedness, Gilbert says, “And although such meditations are, of course, deeply uplifting, after a while you do start to wonder if perhaps you could be putting your mind to better use.”  That was a key moment for me today.  When I read things or receive teachings, my mind can be quite convincing that I get it, and totally already apply that teaching in my life, when “BAM!” I see, “Oh, I guess I don’t…”  mmmmmm-k.  The path is always humbling.  My victory lies in an enhanced awareness to catch my mental thought patterns and to choose a new focus.  I’m grateful.

The massage was intrinsically rewarding.  I felt pleased that I could help another feel good, and especially when he expressed so much gratitude at the end requested some yoga homework.  Earlier today, I spoke with Rachel Laing about her Healthy You Network.  It sounds helpful and aligned with how I choose to live.  She gives free consultations, so I’m delighted to get to meet with her next week.

Tonight in class I themed about cultivating a sense of wonder, curiosity, awe, astonishment for our yoga practice.  In Sanskrit the word is adbuta.  Anusara training teaches about the Rasas, or flavors of life, of which adbuta is one.  Adbuta can be a way one transforms fear and anxiety.  We worked on exploring thighs back action in various poses and lengthening side-body and moving heads of arm bones back in others.  I love yoga.  It offers opportunity to transform our perspective of this body we so often take for granted into one of awe, wonder, and ultimately gratitude.  I am continually amazed at how profoundly my physical body, mind, and heart can shift when I practice good yoga.  The alignment and actions realign me and help me to heal nagging pain in my shoulder, hip, low back, neck, knee and consequently help me to feel at greater ease in my own skin.  I’m able to do all I do and enjoy my life because of yoga.  I feel shifted in insights and understanding through practicing physical postures, with or without formal instruction.  Usually, though, it’s through a teacher’s skillful mastery of words poetically woven throughout class that my heart shifts.  This is my aim.  The infamous aspect of Anusara Yoga that tugs at my heart strings and simultaneously causes me to yank my own hair out–oh yes, the heart-oriented theming.  I really do love it!  When it works it’s awesome.  When it doesn’t, I just want the talking to stop–mine or who-ever’s teaching.  I hope my trials and tribulations with the Anusara certification process grants me the blessing of skillful and effective heart-oriented theming.  I believe that writing helps me a lot.  Hence, the blog.  Attending good classes and workshops also helps.  And lots and lots of practice helps… but perfect as impeccable is not so possible or likely.  The aim must be perfection as purna, or fullness.  Or as Lee Lozowick has said (or rather, Darren or Christina said that Lee said), “Good enough is good enough.” sigh… or is it?

 

Transition

I taught my last Saturday yogahour at downtown today.  Brigette Niedringhaus starts teaching it next week.  It was a nice, full, enthusiastic class. Transitions are challenging because my students say they’ll miss me and I definitely feel committed to them, but when I moved to Tucson from Flagstaff, mentors said to focus on that to which you are moving, rather than that from which you are leaving. That makes it easier. I’m excited to take over Bruce’s Basics class at central Yoga Oasis from 6-730pm, although, of course it’s big shoes to fill! Bruce has got quite a following! I pray students appreciate the teachings presented in a variety of ways, and they’ll stick with me through the transition.  I look forward to planning classes that help my students understand and appreciate yoga in the same skillful and heart-opening way my first teachers, Erin Widman and Ulla Lungren did for me.