Previous Themes – Align and Shine

THEME FOR 12/1: RESILIENCE

This time of year can be full to the point of overwhelm: the change of seasons (which is seemingly constant in NC!);  holiday time full of travel, family, over-stimulus; and the beginning of the end of another incredible year. This is the perfect reminder to connect to your source and remember what you’re made of: at your core is the steadiest flow of abundant energy and radiant beauty. Your essence is potent self-awareness and vibrant expansion. It is your nature.

Life–especially when lived with heart and eyes wide open–offers no shortage of input, no lack of challenges and opportunities to see your true nature reflected back to you through others, through Nature, through the constant flows of change and growth.

Everything in and around you is made of the same stuff you are–that energy, that beauty, that self-awareness. Sometimes it comes to you in ways you didn’t expect and weren’t hoping for. Sometimes it is downright painful to live life with an open heart and open eyes. Sometimes you’d rather stamp “Return to Sender” on the Universe’s latest present and send it back whence it came.

When faced with Grace in all its myriad and unexpected forms, the Practice can serve to ground you in the never-changing fact of what you are: good, free, radiant. The practice can remind you that you get to choose to act from the highest, to offer back goodness, freedom, and radiance even in the face of hardship and unwanted experiences. Choosing to hold yourself with reverence in the midst of pain can be a potent gift of the practice.

The practice, then, is your refuge. It is your oasis. It is both journeying to–and residing in–the unwavering place of goodness in which you are always immersed. It can help you rejuvenate, replenish, reconnect. It is YOUR source of infinite power and energy. Tap into it.

THEME FOR 11/26: FINDING YOUR BALANCE

Change is in the air. (I know, when is it not?)

But fall is a particularly potent time to experience the winds of change. Through my current apprenticeship in Ayurveda, I am learning what changes are brought on by the seasonal transitions and the impacts these transitions have on our entire being.  With fall comes increased presence and mobility of vayu (air) and it can be felt on every level — drier skin, cracking joints, changes in digestion. Not to mention the very air you breath, food you eat and water you drink are changing on a molecular level, taking on the qualities of vayu which include cold, dry, and light/subtle.

These changes, coupled with astrological and cosmic changes such as tonight’s very potent Full Moon (see the amazing VirgoMagic for more), are sure to be churning up some serious stuff. If everything in your life feels a bit like a whirlwind, you are not alone and it’s not *you* (per se).

Tonight’s practice will be devoted to finding a delicate balance between saying “yes”, giving in to what these time is asking of you (introspection, rest, recalibration), and saying “no” to the draw of cold and darkness which might be tempting you to stay inside, all curled-up-and-holed-up in the safety of your cocoon (however that manifests).

Trust me, the cold and air hits me hard on every level, and I have the same temptations as you maybe do. But you can hole up at home *after* you engage in some introspection on the mat. The Dance of Yes and No is a cosmic one, and one in which you are not the sole participant. Come learn how to harness the power of the air while also learning to find some grounding and stability within its every-changing flow.

Theme for 11/17: Visioning Your Transformation

Dearest friends, this weekend I have the privilege of taking the seat of the student as I participate in the third of a series of Ayurvedic immersion intensives with a local teacher and mentor. For your Align and Shine enjoyment and exploration, Mike Dorman will be guiding you through both the 9am and 10:15a classes. Here is what’s in store for you:
 

Yoga Sutra 1.36: “Fake it til you make it.” One of our most amazing abilities is to imagine ourselves as transformed.  To hold that vision and let it guide us in our journey is a powerful tool.

THEME FOR 11/3: COMMITMENT

The Bhagavad Gita, which is a profoundly holy text in many yogis traditions, tells the story of a great warrior in the midst of battle and the central teaching is – will you be your own best friend, or your own worst enemy. The warrior is your heart and the battlefield is all of life. This weekend is the end of early voting, and next Tuesday is *the day* to cast your ballot – if you’re lucky enough to have that right. But most of us know that the outcome of these elections will not really change much for so many of our communities.  Most of us are busy working all the time–election year or not–for concrete justice and transformation of our communities.

The theme for this week is commitment, and it is all about the myriad daily opportunities that we have to stand up and speak out for what we believe in. Collective liberation is not just the inspiration for cool t-shirts and tattoos, and it is not called collective for nothing. It takes commitment to continue, day-in and day-out, to take a stand for what you believe in. And it is so much stronger, fuller, more potent in collective.

Now is the time to recommit to the struggle for dignity and self-determination.

Now is the time to fight for justice in ways that lift all people up.

Now is the time to nurture your commitment to building the world you want to see, one which includes justice and dignity not just for you and your people but for all beings.

Now is the time to embrace freedom from the inside out—to free yourself from the confines of whatever self-imposed censorship and internalized self-deprecation keep you from acting in the world for the world you want to be a part of, alongside the folks who lift you up and reminder you of your nature.

Now is the time to be your own best friend—and indeed a best friend to the world—and not your own worst enemy.

Now is the time to surround yourself with people you love and to get what you need. To do whatever it takes to do more than just survive but to start thriving.

You can do this by helping to build a container in yourself and in your life to hold the Shakti—to allow the infinite creative power of the Universe to work in you and through you in the service of something greater. That ‘something greater’ could be collective healing and community caregiving; it could be collective action for justice, fairness, and accountability. It could be as simple as making one good choice that serves your own holistic wellness.

Our liberation is connected, whether we choose to accept that or not. Can we commit together to showing up for ourselves and each other, even when it’s hard? Even when we’re tired of having to defend our right to live and breath? Even when it’s easier to retreat? Can we stand up together and commit to caring for our communities collectively?

Can we be our own best friends?

You have two chances tomorrow: 9-10am and 10:15-11:45 am. See you there!

theme for 10/27: retrenchment

Dearest friends, this weekend I am off to celebrate my nephew’s 6th birthday and a friend’s nuptials. For your Align and Shine enjoyment and exploration, Durham Yoga Company teachers Mike Dorman and Linda Chupkowski will be guiding you through your Saturday morning classes. Here is what’s in store for you:
 
Ahh, the sweet energy of contraction! We’re undeniably on the downward slope toward winter, so we must begin to set aside the exuberance of Summer and even the beauty of Autumn, and work to cultivate the quieter things that will support and sustain us through the winter. Join guest teachers Mike Dorman (9-10am) and Linda Chupkowski (10:15-11:45am) as they explore the importance of retrenchment. This means paring down and cutting back to conserve precious energy and ensure that we have enough of the good stuff left for the people, animals, and things in our lives that matter most, especially our own dear hearts.

THEME FOR 10/20: FEARLESSNESS

There are two main vibrations: fear and love; all our choices come from one of these two sources. Fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, fear of disappointment, these and many other fears can stop us from making choices, from taking risks—from acting in the spirit of love.

The truth is, every choice is a risk. Choosing one path inevitably requires that we let others go. This can be a source of challenge and stagnation in and of itself. Our fear of the unknown can stop us from venturing down unique paths which offer new challenges and places for growth. Our desire to cling to what is and resist the universal constant of change is ultimately what creates the most difficulties for us.

Challenging your fears is a practice which yields incredible results–on and off the mat.  Among many other things, it puts you in touch with your own innate strength and capacity, and it liberates incredible amounts of energy which you can then choose to invest in love!  This week, in Align and Shine, we’ll support each other in doing some poses that will connect you with your strength and help you dissolve your fear.

theme for 10/13: anava mala

Dearest friends, this weekend I have the privilege of taking the seat of the student as I participate in the second of a series of Ayurvedic immersion intensives with a local teacher and mentor. For your Align and Shine enjoyment and exploration, Linda Chupkowski will be guiding you through both the 9am and 10:15a classes. Here is what’s in store for you:

What is the Anava Mala, you might ask?

It’s the tarnish that keeps us from seeing our true nature, which is pure goodness.  Yoga teaches us that we are all born of the same stuff as the universe and are inherently worthy, divine creatures.  When we get down on ourselves and forget our true self worth, we are being cloaked by the Anava Mala. It happens all the time.  And yet, when we recognize what is happening and remember our true nature, we can sparkle anew–like polishing old silver.

This is one of my favorite teachings of yoga and in thinking about teaching on it tomorrow, I did some quick online research to brush up on my knowledge. I came across this amazing post by Amy Ippoliti (http://www.amyippoliti.com/2011/02/radical-self-esteem/), which I’d highly encourage everyone to read, whether you can make it to class or not. Her way of writing and relating the information is clear, accessible, and enjoyable.

I look forward to breathing, moving, and dusting off the tarnish with you tomorrow!

THEME FOR 9/29: FAITH

Sometimes when things seem to be falling apart, they are just falling into place. – Anonymous

So many words and images come to mind when I contemplate the quality of faith. I think of Sanskrit words like shraddha and krama and kshama. As with many Sanskrit words, the English translation falls short. Shraddha does not really translate to “faith” but is more like faith with love and reverence. Krama can mean a sort of divine or cosmic order, while kshama is akin to patience, forbearance and even forgiveness all rolled into one.

Contemplating faith in trying times brings these ideas up for me. I think about krama – everything happening for a reason, in its own sweet and perfect way, unfolding just as it should. And I think about shraddha – the need to have a faith that is rooted in devotion, love, and reverence – reverence for my own heart, kshama and love for all beings and situations even though I cannot always understand where Grace is hiding within them, and a deep and abiding trust that Grace is flowing.

This is a deeply spiritual practice – to trust in the unfolding of the Universe, to have patience with yourself and with all beings and situations in order that you might stay present and open to what they offer you, to have faith that the Universe wants what you want but it is wise enough to give you need.

Holding on so tightly to exactly what you think you want is the opposite of faith, reverence, and trust. The practice can help you let go of what you think you know and be open to an even greater offering that is more expansive, complete, and radical than you ever imagined. It can help you find peace and equipoise in the face of what appears to be the end of all things – offering you a chance to ask “Why is this happening for me?” instead of “Why is this happening to me?”

When things seem to be falling apart, they may be falling exactly into place. You don’t have to place them (and in fact you don’t really get to even if you wanted to!) – your work is in continuing to make the way safe for Grace to enter and do the rest. You work is in holding open a space for all your dreams and more to come true through patiently trusting in the divine unfolding. Shraddha kshama krama. Faith. Patience. Unfolding.

THEME FOR 9/15: WISDOM

The sweet time of fall’s transition has arrived: a time when the quality of the afternoon light begins to change dramatically as our planet turns slowly away from the sun. Outside and in, the environments are changing. With the winds of change blowing around you, your internal system can also experience some dramatic shifts.

Along with these seasonal changes come cosmic and energetic changes which all contribute to a lot of disparate energy in the air. It can be unsettling. It can be destabilizing internally (many folks are walking around with colds and experiencing some digestive adjustments as a result). It can also be humbling to recognize that for all our efforts to best and suppress Nature, Nature truly is in charge in so many ways.

This time, then, can offer a potent opportunity to accept the invitation of the waning sunlight and the less frenetic time of year to settle into a practice of deep awareness. Make a conscious effort to slow yourself down and take the time—daily if you can—to sit with and reflect on the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are present in you right now.

By learning to work with the cycles of the seasons and especially by deeply and keenly observing the subtle (and not-so-subtle) changes that the seasons bring about in your whole being—physically, emotionally, energetically, spiritually—you are tapping in to the potent light of self-awareness. You are accepting the gifts of the Universe in the form of revelations about your self and your nature—both your inherent nature as a whole, complete, and perfect being as well as your unique individual nature and how it responds to the larger cosmos of which you are a part and a reflection.

Knowledge applied becomes wisdom. Simply put, the practice of yoga, and other awareness practices, offer you a myriad of ways to learn about yourself and put that knowledge to work in your life, toward the end of experiencing radiant health, revelation, and abundant joy.

While transition is constant, you needn’t be constantly beholden to the shifts and changes of the world around. You can anchor yourself in the wisdom of who you are while staying open to the ways that you can learn through lived experience to clarify, amplify and intensify the light within.

Are you juiced yet? Let’s do it together!

theme for 8/18: gratitude

The theme will be gratitude, as we bow with humble thanks to Samadhi Shala (formerly Nataraja) for hosting Align and Shine for a year and a half. The Shala will go on, but I will be moving my Saturday am class to the new Durham Yoga Company starting in September.  Stayed tuned for more on that.

THEME FOR 8/11: the ground of being

At the root of all things is Love.  Universal Love.  Connection to all things and to the Highest.  That is not just the nature of the Universe but also your nature.  Beyond all things, beneath even your deepest layers of accumulated trauma, disease (dis-ease), discomfort, aversion, self-loathing or self-doubt….beneath all that is seen and unseen, named and unnamed…beneath all of that is Love.  Abiding love.  Steadfast love.  A full and freeing and all-encompassing love.  It shines out from the heart center of the Universe as the Light of Awareness itself.  And it shines out ever-more clearly the more devoted you are to its Source – your own heart.

THEME FOR 8/4: MINDFULNESS

It’s already August – time is really flying! Time is everywhere and nowhere, and is in fact our most precious resource. We can never go back, and we can never get it back. We can have no impact on the past, and the future is built on this moment.  Socially and cosmologically we are living in an accelerated age.  Our psychologies and physiologies are literally not equipped to process the amount of stimulus and information that we are exposed to daily.  It creates the sensation–at least in me–of being unable to catch up.  Always behind at work, always a mountain of chores, always a expanding list of friends and relationships that merit my care and attention…I am forever behind. Which creates the tendency in me to want to move faster, to play into the illusory idea that I ever could actually catch up, could move at the speed that things in the world around me seem to move…that megabytes and money and airplanes move.

Paradoxically, the only antidote is slowing down.  The only way to get caught up is to be caught up in the moment. The only way to lead a full life is to fully inhabit each breath. Many traditions call this mindfulness: the *simple* act of being present to what you’re doing–whether it’s breathing or biking, washing dishes or working the land, living into your vocation or taking out the trash.

If you are constantly meditating on the past or the future, you are not really living as fully as you could be. If you are constantly lost in thought so as to move more quickly through the present task or to “maximize” your sense of productivity, you are not really living. If you spend more time wanting to be somewhere or someone else than who and where you are right now, you are not really living.

Mindfulness is also an incredible way to sit wit the truth of what is. In all my hurriedness, I do a lot of short-handing – I substitute doing with knowing; I swap out real self-knowledge with age-old illusions or familiar stories. Mindfulness is an incredible way to sit with the truth of who you are in this moment, beyond the stories you’ve always told yourself, beyond the familiar fall-backs that you’ve relied upon, beyond the limiting ideas of yourself. Sit and be. Breath and listen. Feel and know. It’s your nature.

Tomorrow’s class will be about breathing in to this moment and everything it contains for you. All the joy, passion, possibility, mystery, and monotony of the moment. To truly observe, listen, and feel fully the sensations happening on every level is the best way to help you understand the purpose and meaning in your life, which supports you making choices that create expanding purpose and deeper meaning.  The future is made up of this moment. Will you remember it? What does it mean to you?

THEME FOR 7/28: FINDING CENTER WITH LINDA CHUPKOWSKI

All of the time, we hear people imploring us to “get centered” but what does that mean? What is this center and how does one find it?  We will explore how to drop out of your head and into the body to connect to this calm inner space that’s always and already there. We’ll look at the importance of arriving in the present moment and radically accepting what is happening right now in order to feel centered in one’s true nature.  And as always, we’ll focus on the alignment that supports finding center and feeling free. I hope to see you on the mat!

theme for 7/21: unfolding

You can’t rush greatness. It is an eternal process of becoming. When you feel a sense of impatience at your own “slow progress,” think about a pearl, a mountain, a butterfly. Each takes an incredible amount of time, dedication, and—yes—ritual repetition of a singular process, to become what it is. It doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it every truly end.

Your practice of yoga can support you in a continual process of unfolding, each time becoming a clearer and clearer representation of your fullest self. It is about continually digging deep into the present and the past to recall the lessons and cull the wisdom of your experience, so that each day, each cycle, each trip around the sun is more refined and evolved than the one before. The nature of the Universe is expansion and revelation. You are made of the stuff of the Universe. You don’t have to make expansion happen, you needn’t force revelation. All you have to do is choose steadfastly to continue to commit to your own awakening by showing up, on your mat and in your life. The rest is the work of Grace, moving through you as you.

theme for 7/14: going with the flow

With guest teacher linda chupkowski

One of the central teachings of yoga is going with the flow. Even when we know to “expect the unexpected”, we humans seem to universally struggle to adapt when things don’t go according to Our Plan (because isn’t our plan so brilliant?). We resist, we fight, we deny, and we avoid all that unexpected change. The mind likes predictability and orderliness, though that’s rarely what life brings us.  Though they were unwelcome at the time, I have had some personal reminders about this recently and am excited to bring this theme to class Saturday. I have been watching myself losing sight of the possibilities that present themselves when we narrow our focus and resist the unexpected. I made it my intention to notice my resistance, remind myself that not all is as it first appears, and breathe myself open to the possibilities. There is great freedom in letting go and entering into the flow.

In this class, we’ll focus on opening the body so that more flow is possible in not only the body, but also the mind, heart, and spirit. We’ll do plenty of sun salutations to practice flowing with the breath, and we’ll study how the breath can allow us to enter more fully into each posture without resistance. And of course, we’ll invite patience, kindness, and acceptance to join us!

THEME FOR 7/7: CREATIVITY

When you line up with something greater, everything flows. You feel connected and present with the abundance in your life. You know you’re being held—that Something Greater is always working with you, conspiring to shower you with blessings—and you move with confidence and grace.

It is in these times that your creative juices also flow. Your capacity to think freely and openly about what you want, to luxuriously envision the fullest form of the pose of your life, is heightened. You know deep down that you can do whatever you like, can be whomever you choose, can serve the Highest in joyful and life-giving ways. You view perceived obstacles in the proper perspective – some things may pose challenges, there might be places which require extra effort or above-average focus, but you see these as natural parts of committing to your vision; you are not deterred by them. There is literally nothing that could stand in your way.

Life, however, is not always like this. Sometimes you feel anything but potent; sometimes you are looking hard for signs but only seem to see the ones which reinforce your sense of scarcity, of lacking, of being disconnected. In these times, energy stagnates. Your vision is blocked. And what seems most salient is your sense of limitations. In these times, the ability to creatively solve problems and fashion solutions can feel well out of your reach.

Such times are a natural part of the cycle of concealment and revelation, and are a direct result of a lack of faith and connection. In these times, the best you can do for yourself is recommit to your vision. Choose practices which remind you of what you’re made of and your capacity to realize any dream. In these times, choose to surround yourself with the myriad miraculous manifestations of the Universe – be it nature, beloved beings, incredible music or art – whatever stirs the part of yourself which truly and deeply knows that Grace’s bounty is limitless.

Everything around you is a reflection of you and can serve as a potent reminder of all you have to offer. When you feel stuck, make a choice to turn towards the light. A few mindful breaths, a walk in the woods, a snippet of poetry (Rumi and Rilke are favorites), an instant dance party…there are so many ways to connect with your essential nature, line up with the Divine, and instantly reap the rewards in the form of free-flowing and abundant creative energy. What’s stopping you?

theme for 6/30: Self-Compassion with Linda Chupkowski

Self Compassion is the key to healing.  When we blame ourselves, beat ourselves up, or think that there’s something wrong with us, we are cutting off parts of ourselves. We are also forgetting that our essential nature is whole and our birthright is goodness.  Studies from neuroscience are teaching us that where we put our attention cultivates more of the same.  If participate in negative thinking, negative thinking grows.  If we practice kindness and compassion, kindness and compassion grow.  The expression “neurons that fire together, wire together,” can help us remember that what we choose to bring to the present moment shapes our future.  When we are kind and compassionate to ourselves, we literally open more choices, more creativity, more ingenuity, and more possibility to find freedom in our minds!  In this class, we will practice ways of cultivating self compassion and freeing ourselves up from old patterns of negativity and self hatred.  I hope to see you there.

THEME FOR 6/23: QUIET

Sometimes the best response is silence. Sometimes the most generous thing you can do for yourself in the face of difficulty is to keep still. This is not always true: some circumstances demand that we speak out for the sake of our own dignity and for the cause of justice.

But sometimes quiet can be powerful and rewarding. Especially as things start to really heat up and summer’s frenetic pace takes over. It can make possible the clarification of feelings and thoughts. It can help channel disparate energies. It can be a mindful way to begin your day or a grounding way to reflect upon it. In quiet, you can hear more clearly the song of your heart. In quiet, you can move into stillness and better absorb the fullness of what you find when you get there.

Everyday life is full of stimulus—of noise and chatter and banter and sound—and gives you plenty to keep your focus on the outside world and distract you from your inner workings. By choosing quiet for yourself, you can honor the finer nuances and subtleties that arise when gross movement, cacophony, and stimulus subside. You can experience firsthand your own nature which is full, unwavering, and radiant. You don’t have to fear what you’ll find in the quiet, you needn’t avoid what the stillness will bring. It brings you only deeper reflections of your true self; you’ll find out for yourself the truth of your own radiant, free and full nature.

theme for 6/16: Humility

Friends, I’ve got many exciting things happening this summer so I’ve asked my friend and fellow Anusara teacher Linda Chupkowski to team teach with me: we’ll be alternating every other week from now through the end of July. Please come and explore your edges with Linda – she is a devoted yogi, an incredible community member, and simply a lovely person! I’ll be back with you next week. In the meantime, here’s what Linda has in store for you:
Theme: Humility
Focus: Inner SpiralIt’s always humbling to teach someone else’s yoga class. I know many of you are dedicated to Patty, and for good reason! I would like to offer myself up humbly as your temporary teacher this week.I’ve been thinking a lot about humility in my own life. It’s amazing to me how much I operate from an idea of a “right way” and a “wrong way.” And of course, the way that I do things is always the “right way” in my mind! Even with awareness cultivated over the years, I still catch myself needing to be “right”, or wanting things to be done “the right way”, especially in close personal relationships.  How silly much of this is and how it wastes so much energy. It’s really good for our own hearts and for those that we love when we can let go of the idea of being right. As I read recently, “The answer to ‘Who’s right?’ is, ‘Who cares!'”I find that this applies to anti-racism and social justice work as well.  How can we create anti-oppressive spaces if we are attached to things being done a certain way?  How can we include people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives in our lives if we don’t take an internal step back and create space for them?
This week, we’ll use the movement of the thighs back and apart as a metaphor for stepping back with humility to make room for our hearts, our relationships, and our values to blossom. I hope to see you there!

THEME FOR 6/9: MATRIKA SHAKTI – CREATING A NEW MANTRA

Shakti is the creative power of the Universe. And Matrika Shakti is this power in the form of words. Sharing the same root as the words matter and mother, the power of Matrika Shakti is like earth (matter) and like mother: our words and our relationship to them play a foundational part in the way we experience our reality. Our words contain incredible power for shaping our realities and those of others. Our words, like our hands and our eyes, are an extension of our hearts; an external canvas for our internal realities. When chosen with intention, our words can lift people up and create more beauty, freedom, and connection. When chosen unconsciously, our words can create separation and hurt.

Some of your most toxic words may be the ones you direct toward yourself. The things you say in the confines of your heart can be some of the most hurtful, degrading, and limiting. Why do speak to yourself that way? This is the work of the malas, the spots or stains on the mirror of our conscious minds. The malas create your capacity to feel a spectrum of emotions but in their most extreme, these “specks of dust” limit your ability to see yourself fully; they allow you to perceive yourself as small, as disconnected, as incapable of acting.

It is natural in the life to face the presence of malas and their potentially corrosive implications. Your work in those moments—when you feel unworthy, when you feel isolated, when you feel immobilized—is to call upon the power of the Matrika Shakti. Create new messages for yourself. Develop new patterns in your conscious mind. Create a new mantra: the grounding, uplifting, encouraging phrase that you will meditate on to replace the old ones rooted in smallness, separation, stagnation. In this way you are honoring the potency of words and the impact they have on you. Just as the harsh and negative phrases can bind you in negativity, so too can the positive mantras reinforce your essential goodness, wholeness, and capacity to act in the service of your heart.

At first it might be hard or seem downright cheesy. And indeed any time we step outside the comfort of our routine there is some feedback, some sensation, even some discomfort. But you are made of the stuff of the Universe and you get to choose how you will use the precious gifts of your mind, your heart, and your body including your words and your deeds. There is nothing casual about this life. Every moment is an opportunity for healing, for connection, for revelation. Choose to turn towards the Light. Choose to see yourself the way Grace sees you—whole, complete, lacking nothing, abundantly free and sparkling with radiant beauty.

THEME FOR 6/2: HAVING ENOUGH TIME

With guest teacher Olynda Smith

THEME FOR 5/26: NON-CLINGING

I am reflecting a lot on non-clinging these days, as changes abound in basically every aspect of my life!

In times of crisis or pronounced change, the practice can be especially important in grounding yourself in a spirit of openness to change, one that is about flowing with the pulsation and not resisting the change or grasping too hard to this moment.  Through the practice, you work towards non-attachment or non-clinging: not holding on to tightly to things as they are, to the ideas you hold, even to the illusions you have of yourself.  Through the practice you can continue to meet your life, yourself and your practice with freshness, letting go of the things which don’t serve you and being open to new things which heighten your capacity to know yourself. This includes holding fast to the idea that all things, all circumstances, and all people can be your teacher and that you can turn anything into a blessing and a tool for expansion.

Likewise when you embrace non-attachment or non-clinging, your efforts become selfless offerings that you make from your heart without worry of fear of the outcomes.  As you shed illusions of yourself and begin to move in the wake of the Spirit, in harmony with your own hearts’ desires, your actions more and more reflect that highest intention.  Thus you can act from a place of freedom and without attachment to the results of your actions.

This starts with non-clinging, the ability to move from the center of your heart and act from that place, without worrying about the outcome. A true sense of freedom.

Join us.

theme for 5/19: fearlessness

The Universe rewards bravery.

There are two main vibrations: fear and love; all our choices come from one of these two sources. Fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, fear of disappointment, these and many other fears can stop us from making choices, from taking risks—from acting in the spirit of love.

The truth is, every choice is a risk. Choosing one path inevitably requires that we let others go. This can be a source of challenge and stagnation in and of itself. Our fear of the unknown can stop us from venturing down unique paths which offer new challenges and places for growth. Our desire to cling to what is and resist the universal constant of change is ultimately what creates the most difficulties for us.

Challenging your fears is a practice which yields incredible results–on and off the mat.  Among many other things, it puts you in touch with your own innate strength and capacity, and it liberates incredible amounts of energy which you can then choose to invest in love!  This week, in Align and Shine, we’ll support each other in doing some poses that will connect you with your strength and help you dissolve your fear.

theme for 5/12: keep it movin’

Oh its been quite a May here in North Carolina: a lot of coherent organizing and movement-building around issues that are fundamental to every person’s ability to do more than survive. From May Day/International Workers Day, to the mobilizations on RJ Reynolds to hold them accountable for abuse of farmworkers in the tobacco fields, to the incredible statewide efforts to defeat the discriminatory anti-family amendment, to a national convergence on Bank of America to hold them accountable for their policies and practices which produce homelessness and economic, environmental, and political destruction. We are moving.And we’re moving forward.  Despite the passage of the amendment, despite the fact that Bank of America still enjoys carte blanche to evade taxes and responsibility for their sociopathic behaviors (if they’re going to “enjoy” legal recognition as a person, then it is fitting to use psychological terms to describe their belligerently anti-human and anti-habitat behaviors), and despite the fact that workers in the fields cultivating tobacco for RJ Reynolds still face nicotine poisoning (green tobacco sickness), hostile working conditions, and substandard housing…despite all these persistent realities and more, the fact of our continued vigilance and commitment to the struggles for justice is proof that we are doing more than surviving. We, the people, organized and mobilized in resistance–we are thriving.It is essential that we cultivate practices which help us hold these complex realities: our sadness and desolation that over one million people voted for a discriminatory amendment whose full meaning and intentions they did not understand, along with the unprecedented result of our efforts to organize as manifested by 900,000 people voting against the amendment.  We must learn to hold the complexity that even as struggle can feel exhausting, debilitating, and just downright unfair…it is also what defines us and our relationships, it is also what makes us stronger in our knowledge of who we are and the right we have to be here, it is what helps us develop the strength in our feet, the stamina in our legs, the power in our arms, and the softness in our hands.  It makes us who we are, and who we are is full and perfect and infinitely free.And so we commit again and again to practices that affirm our right to revel in our own freedom.  We keep moving along on our individual, familiar, communal and social journies towards the fullest expression of ourselves.  This is a defining moment for many of us: not because we lost but because we fought. And we will keep fighting. And we will keep moving forward toward an articulation of family and society which embraces the complexity with grace and grit and generosity and groundedness.

theme for 5/5: coming out

Saturday night ushers in the full moon in Scorpio: Scorpio rules what is secret, taboo, dark and mysterious — what we typically stash in the subconscious because it’s too uncomfortable to acknowledge.  This is the perfect metaphor for the political moment that we are in: tomorrow afternoon, early voting for the May 8 primary concludes.  And on Tuesday the 8th, North Carolinians who choose to exercise their privilege to vote will be deciding on the fate of more than just ‘traditional marriage’ in this state: in fact, voters will be deciding whether or not to expose the taboo, the dark and mysterious plot at work. Voters will get to choose whether to blow the lid off of the conservative plot to “preserve the caucasian race,” to use their many resources to divide our people, and to entrench into the foundational document of the state not only a narrow definition of family, but discrimination itself.

What does this have to do with yoga? Indeed, this is a time when the truth of things is dying to come out–as the full moon in Scorpio makes more potent and possible.  It is a time to allow the uncomfortable truth to come out and face it head on. It is also a time for people to come out and stand in the light, to stand up for what unites us–which is far more than what divides us. We all want to be acknowledged and held as the whole, complex people that we are; to have our whole selves and our desires and dreams legitimized and embraced.  We want to see and be seen as entire, multi-faceted humans, with the right to not just survive but to thrive.  We have the right to come out of the shadows and into the full light of our universal right to love.
Each of us has a unique and irreplaceable contribution to make to this life–just like many (most? all?) of us can contribute to love’s victory at the polls by VOTING AGAINST. Every voice, every vote counts on this one. It will come down to how many people stand up for love, and how many people cower in the darkness of hate. Come out for love today, tomorrow, and Tuesday. And come out in support of people around you who need a reminder, an extra nudge, a companion to the polls to help them take the crucial step.  It can be uncomfortable to step out of the darkness, but we can make it easier by showing up and supporting each other, standing tall in our light. Making the choice of love over fear.

theme for 4/21: open to grace

I feel humbled and honored to receive so much love, compassion and patience from the people in my life right now. Doors and spaces and possibilities are opening and expanding in so many ways. My work in the process is to be open; not to be distracted by questions or judgement, not to be incredulous or skeptical, not to hold my breath and wait for the other shoe to drop.

Oh no. This time is about building the container to hold the Shakti. It is about doing my absolute best from moment to moment to stay an open, willing, and receptive vessel for the creative power of the Universe to work its magic.  But I have to make the choice: I have to keep the doors to my heart open. I have to keep an attentive ear to the song of my heart.  And I have to be as patient and loving towards myself–when I inevitably forget, close down, fall short–as the Universe is towards me, in the form of those around me who are holding me with love and patience.

This work of healing, of consistently wiping the mirror of my consciousness clean of the specks of illusion which block me from seeing my own true nature, it is no joke. It is the work of a lifetime (possibly more than one…) and it is work that I want to do. It is a freedom that I want for myself. It starts by being Open to Grace. From moment to moment. Breath to breath.

Being open to healing, true freedom, and abundance.

Like I said, the work of a lifetime.

theme for 4/7: beginner’s mind

A great way to honor Spring and all its glory is to meet it with a fresh heart, a fresh mind, and a fresh perspective. This week’s class will help you do just that by offering a chance to meet new poses with openness and bring renewed vigor to your old favorites.

Cultivating a Beginner’s Mind helps create spaciousness to receive all the gifts of Spring.  It helps keep you present to the abundance of magic and blessings that always surround you, and especially helps you stay humble and grateful in the face of the many people and relationships which fill your life. And it will help you reinvigorate yourself while you refine and reinforce your dreams and visions for the coming season.

Take Spring’s invitation to expand out in all directions, and bring fresh color, perspective and energy into every aspect of your life.

theme for 3/31: doing your work

“It is better to die doing your svadharma [life’s work] imperfectly, than to live forever doing someone else’s perfectly.” –The Bhagavad Gita

It sounds intense, right: must you die in the process of doing your work? But think about the bigger picture behind the message: your invitation in this life is to be your best self, to create the fullest expression of your pose on the mat—and the fullest expression of your life in the world. This also means letting others do the same for themselves as well.

The message is ultimately freeing. It frees you from the confines of other people’s definitions of success, of other people’s expectations of how you should live your life. It also frees you from spending your time and energy attempting to “help” others in the ways you think they need.

While you might not consciously be living your life by someone else’s rules, you may ask yourself if you are consciously living by your own. Whose dreams are you working to create? Whose healing are you trying to facilitate? Whose freedom are you working towards? In whom are you investing the potent energy of your life? If you are not at the center of your work, then who is?

Finding and pursuing your svadharma—your unique life’s work, that path which the Universe created you to traverse—is the most liberating practice there is; to listen to the song of your heart—composed by the Universe and infused into you—and let that song inspire you to live your life to the fullest.

This is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and the world: to know yourself deeply and honor yourself fully enough to embody your heart’s song, which is the will of the Universe. By honoring your deepest desires you are contributing to more freedom, fullness, and beauty in the world.

You are, after all, the only one who can do it—the only one who can offer the fullest expression of your heart’s desire to the world. And when you honor yourself by following your path and not someone else’s, you give the rest of the world the space and freedom to do so as well.

theme for 3/24: connecting with the highest (aka Yoga for Sore Backs)

In the practice of yoga that I teach, the back half of the body is related to the Universal; it is the part of all bodies that is most alike. Thus, connecting to and moving from the back of the body shows your recognition of that fact that we are all one, and all connected to something greater. When you breath into the back body, you breath into the fact that you are being held by something greater. You fill up with the recognition of your wholeness, and you can be steadier, more humble, and softer in everything you do when you move from this place.

The back half of the body, particularly the back itself, is also a place where many people experience tension, discomfort, and pain. The physical activities of life—working at a computer, laboring in field or garden, playing music, holding your children—can create imbalances which are cumulative in nature and tend to be self-fulfilling: the more it hurts to use a particular muscle, the more you compensate with other muscles which reinforces the misalignment. A vicious cycle.

Yoga can help ease these symptoms on physical and spiritual levels. Physically, the principles of alignment are incredibly healing to the body; they work the same in every body, in every pose, to bring the body’s infrastructure into optimal alignment. This can mean freedom from pain, increased mobility and range of motion, and a restoration or even amplification of previously-lost or -limited abilities. Thus, working the principles consistently and effectively can be motivated by a desire to be free from pain and supported by the lived experience of feeling freedom from pain and many other limitations.

Spiritually, the principles of alignment support your belief in something greater. When you choose to line your body up using these principles, your connection to the back body—and the Universal—is restored. Physically and spiritually, there is a movement towards connection and integration, towards freedom from pain. It is like embracing your whole self the way the Greater Energy embraces you.

Join your community tomorrow in a class for everyone, especially for those who experience acute or chronic back pain. On every level, the practice can be freeing and remind you that you nature is to know freedom and support all beings in experiencing freedom. Connect with something greater—you needn’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders (or back). You are being held.

theme for 3/17: playfulness

Spring feels like it’s finally here—daylight savings time really helps with that. The days are longer, the nights are mild. Being outside is easy and effortless. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Tomorrow’s class will be a playful celebration of spring and all its possibility. As we gear up for the beginning of another cycle of growing and harvesting, of expansion and exploration, let us remember that our nature is joy, bliss, and total freedom. This is a great time to remember that the only constant is change, and its always a good time to revel in that awareness. You get to choose what to hold on to and what to shed. You are always at the peak of a cycle—it is always a great time to reflect on what you have and focus on what you seek. You are always completely free to make of your life what you want, from the inside out.

It starts with a decision to open to the abundance of life and the ripe and potent possibilities for growth and transformation that you are literally immersed in. The Universe shows up in this life in the form of you and everyone around you. Every day you get to choose adventure, awareness, and expansion. Every day can be a playful and joyful ride on the currents of grace. Come have some fun and get excited about what is and what’s to come!

THEME FOR 3/10: PATIENCE

In the liminal space between the end of winter and the clear onset of Spring, it is easy to get anxious and look ahead.  The luster of the New Year has worn off and everyone is itching for something new and different, for an end to the cold and the dark.It is easy to lose discipline in these moments, and lose sight of what you are working towards.  Times like these, in the middle of semesters/quarters/periods/seasons, are some of the most important for continuing to remind yourself of the visions you’ve cultivated for yourself and stay true to those visions.It is easy to get impatient and want spring to come NOW; that’s certainly how I’m feeling. But all things have their cycle and their rhythm.  There are things happening beneath the soil and the surface that we cannot always understand, but we must allow them their time.  It is a time for patience, for continuing to steadfastly and with determination build the soil of your heart and your body, steadily nurturing and enriching that which is below the surface…and wait patiently for the time when it will sprout. Soon enough, the time for blooming is upon us.

THEME FOR 2/25: COMMITMENT

I’ve been talking a lot lately about change and transition, about steadiness in the midst of the storm. Tomorrow’s class will be all about commitment. It is so easy in this life to cut and run as soon as things get hard. That new project isn’t turning out as great in the real world as it is in your head. Your relationship is in a rough patch and you can’t help but think that it’d be easier to just go it alone. Someone lets you down and you remember why ignorance and isolation can, in their own rights, be bliss.

So what keeps you going in those moments? How do you stick it out even when you’d rather give in and give up? A devoted practice of yoga can help see you through difficult times when you’re filled with doubt and want to take “the easy way out.” So much in this life seeks to keep you out of alignment—out of touch with your true nature, not in sync with the greater energy and all its healing and revelatory powers. A committed practice can remind you of what it’s like to hit your stride, to be filled up with light and encouragement, to get a taste of your own greatness. You already have what you need. No other person, nothing outside yourself is going to complete you because you’re already full. A bump in the road is just that—an opportunity to recognize the state of your infrastructure, to touch base with the foundation of your life and your practice and know that you’ve got what it takes to weather this and every storm.

Anyone can give up. But with the expanding spiral of consciousness, you can choose to commit to serving your own revelation and thus the greater good but choosing from day to day, from moment to moment, to align with the Highest.

Theme for 2/18: Gratitude

With so much happening in my life, I can’t help but feeling incredible gratitude for my day full of lessons and blessings.  This afternoon I got to hear about a Latino immigrant leader from El Salvador who is helping unite the LGBT and Immigrant communities in Oregon, and participate in a discussion about how to foster such relationships here in Durham and the South.  And I got to enjoy a gorgeous day on a farm with my friends and their baby.

I am getting to learn every day about the nature of the Universe through amazing relationships with incredible people and difficult struggle in times of flux and transformation.

So much to be grateful for; I am grateful for the opportunity to share community-based yoga with all of you.  I am so, so thankful for everything my life holds.

What are you grateful for? Come together for a devotion-filled practice of gratitude for everything in your life; everything can be your teacher, even the hard stuff.  You get to choose.

THEME FOR 2/11: ANANDA (BLISS)

Local rockstar and Certified Anusara Yoga teacher Olynda Smith will be guiding you through a powerful and blissful practice this weekend.  Here’s what she’s got in store for you:

This week we are going to explore Ananda.  Ananda is translated as bliss, or creative joy.  In Tantric yoga, it is considered one of the aspects of our True Nature. We will open and align the shoulders, play with back bending and maybe, just maybe catch a glimpse of the sweet sensation within that we call Ananda.

theme for 2/4: revelation

As the found of my yoga school says, when you align with nature, magic happens (John Friend).
Align and Shine is donation-based yoga that is about just that: choosing alignment that is optimal for your whole self, physically and beyond, and noticing what happens when you do so. You experience freedom from physical limitations and pain; with continued practice, you can begin to experience freedom from psychological or spiritual discomfort and limitations as well. Your inner body begins to shine more brightly, and your outer body does as well. All parts of your life begin to line up with something greater becuase, simply put, it feels better inside and out. When you align, you shine.
Yoga is not necessarily a panacea—a cure-all—but it is absolutely revelatory. When you choose to say yes to life and yes to Grace—yes to the creative power of the Universe revealed to you in your own everyday life—then every moment can be full awakening, enlightenment, and revelation. Join your community in saying yes to the movements of Grace in an around you.

THEME FOR 1/28: ENTHUSIASM

I am full of light and enthusiasm after an incredible weekend of training and transformation. Paraphrasing the powerful Bishop Tonyia M. Rawls from the Freedom Center for Social Justice and Unity Fellowship Church in Charlotte, our gracious hosts for the weekend:

Find out who you really are. Find the place where you can feel full of light, feel whole, feel nurtured… We draw ourselves to ourselves. When we know who we are, we are full of light. And light attracts light.”

Through the incredible practice of yoga, you can continue to refine your understanding of yourself, of who you really are. Beyond your limitations. Beyond your illusions about yourself. Beyond your perceptions of smallness or weakness. Yoga helps you know who you are inside and out; Divine. Spirit. A heart that is full of goodness and burning to serve something greater than itself.

The root of “enthusiasm” is en theos, with God.  When you recognize that you are Divine, that you are made of all the good stuff, then you are with God. You are lined up with the greater energy that makes and moves all things. You know what you’re made of: you know you are filled with spirit and that knowing helps you feel full of spirit and shine that spirit out. It brings a vigor and vitality to your life and your efforts, especially when you chose to follow what’s in your heart. It brings renewed health on every level, and a fresh commitment to continuing the process of knowing and serving your heart. You can’t help but burst with excitement and gratitude for the ability to serve something greater. For the ability to connect from moment to moment with the light within and the light all around you.

Come join your community for an exploration of your own Divinity, your own center of Light, and revel in the joy of getting to share it with the world.

THEME FOR 1/14: TAKING THE RISK

“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.”

My therapist told me that, and she’s a wise woman! Anything I want that isn’t already my reality is likely just outside the norm.  Just a hair beyond what I’m already doing, thinking, manifesting…or maybe much more than a hair.

Taking risks is tricky and scary; and in some ways every choice is a risk.  As a perfectionist and someone who likes to keep her options open, committing to something enough to give it a try–especially if its something I don’t already *know* I’ll be good at–is tough.  The practice of yoga is essential to getting over the fears that keep me from taking the risks: the fear of the outcome, the fear of failure, and ultimately the fear of success, of newness, of transformation.  Sometimes it is downright scary to imagine who I would be if I moved entirely from a place of abundance and love rather than choosing sometimes to act from scarcity and fear.

In community-based yoga, we co-create a space in which its safe to explore what it feels like to take risks, to try new things (often yoga itself is *the new thing*), and to move from a place of freedom, abundance, and belief in the magic and power of your own dreams. Taking risks is only risky if you are fixated on the outcome and not open to the work of Grace.  With yoga, you learn to set yourself up for success by using what you know and letting Grace do the rest.  Knowledge applied becomes wisdom–wisdom in your body, rooted in your own experience, and wisdom to support you making wise and freeing choices which feel less and less like risks because you know they’re rooted in your desire to be free. And you know you’re never alone.  That you’re always being held and you’re always dancing with the divine in every moment.

Come on, get free with me!

THEME FOR 1/7: INTENTION

Happy New Year! I hope the first few days of this new cycle have been full of love, light, and inspiration for you. While this is a potent time of year for absorbing the ambient energy of renewal and reconnection, any time is a great time to set your intentions and focus your energy in the direction of your dreams.

Where you put your focus is where your energy goes. Let the vigor of this new cycle serve to ground you and sharpen the focus of your intentions. Without intention, yoga is simply exercise; but grounded in your vision for yourself and your life, this practice becomes both the gateway and the goal. The steadiness, serenity, and clarity of sight and purpose that this practice offers is exactly what will help you set and commit to your purpose.

Donation-based community yoga is one of many ways to support a lifestyle of vitality and wellness. Please take advantage of this incredible resource—and don’t forget to come early as I’m hoping tomorrow’s class will be pretty full!

THEME FOR 12/17: HOME

It is incredible to believe that this trip around the sun is almost complete. And that we are already almost to the Winter Solstice, when the days will blissfully begin to get longer again!

Many of you are preparing to head out of town for this holiday season, and I am as well (this will be my last Saturday class until the New Year—no class 12/24 or 12/31). Whether or whatever holidays you celebrate, the time of travel and transition can be unsettling to say the least. While some people thrive on change and movement, many folks find their physical and mental health significantly impacted by being out of their routine.

This then is the perfect time of year to spend some time taking stock of all your gifts and blessings, and cultivating deep gratitude for the steady base and grounding influence of home—particularly to reflect on the presence of particular people who help make you feel at home in your life.

Ultimately, the work is to understand that indeed home is where the heart is—and that with the deep roots and steady base that yoga helps you cultivate, you will find that you are increasingly at home no matter what the worldly circumstance. At home in the heart center of your universe!

Saturday is International Migrants Day. For so many throughout the world, economic, social and political conditions force them to leave their homes for foreign lands. Perhaps that is true for some of you. Since we have the freedom to choose, let us choose to be grateful for this home, to cherish and humbly honor the pieces of these lands that embrace and sustain us, and to do our part to carry a piece of home with us wherever we go.

If I don’t get to see you on Saturday or before the New Year, I wish you peace, safety, joy, and abundant love. Until we meet again!

THEME FOR 12/10: TAPPING INTO NATURAL SUPPORT
With Guest Teacher Olynda Smith

This Saturday we’ll explore how our practice can help us tap into our bodies natural support.  With refined alignment and breath we can begin to rely on the radical amount of natural support that is always available to us.  We’ll make space that will support healthy back function, and healthy adrenal glands so we can have the support to be at our highest.

Theme for 12/3: Resilience

This time of year can be full to the point of overwhelm: the change of seasons (which is seemingly constant in NC!); holiday time full of travel, family, over-stimulus; and the beginning of the end of another incredible year. This is the perfect reminder to connect to your source and remember what you’re made of: at your core is the steadiest flow of abundant energy and radiant beauty. Your essence is potent self-awareness and vibrant expansion. It is your nature.
Life–especially when lived with heart and eyes wide open–offers no shortage of input, no lack of challenges and opportunities to see your true nature reflected back to you through others, through Nature, through the constant flows of change and growth.
Everything in and around you is made of the same stuff you are–that energy, that beauty, that self-awareness. Sometimes it comes to you in ways you didn’t expect and weren’t hoping for. Sometimes it is downright painful to live life with an open heart and open eyes. Sometimes you’d rather stamp “Return to Sender” on the Universe’s latest present and send it back whence it came.
When faced with Grace in all its myriad and unexpected forms, the Practice can serve to ground you in the never-changing fact of what you are: good, free, radiant. The practice can remind you that you get to choose to act from the highest, to offer back goodness, freedom, and radiance even in the face of hardship and unwanted experiences. Choosing to hold yourself with reverence in the midst of pain can be a potent gift of the practice.
The practice, then, is your refuge. It is your oasis. It is both journeying to–and residing in–the unwavering place of goodness in which you are always immersed. It can help you rejuvenate, replenish, reconnect. It is YOUR source of infinite power and energy. Tap into it.

Special note: I will be away at a yoga teacher training and will miss the last two classes in November: the 19th and 26th. I’m working on getting class covered but just know that I won’t be with you for those two weeks.  Come get your fix before I go!

After tomorrow, there’s one more chance for class with me: I’m hosting a last-minute fundraiser to support my teacher training. I’ve gotten a big space so come on out and practice whether you can donate or not! Bring your friends (and your mat if you have one)…who knows the next time I’ll be able to teach in a space this spacious!

Rigsbee Hall, 208 Rigsbee Avenue
Monday, 11/14 6-8pm
Suggested Donation $15-20, no one turned away

THEME FOR 11/12: SPACIOUSNESS

This time of year I really start to feel like the walls are closing in on me. The cold and the dark seem pervasive, and my desire to hibernate escalates dramatically.  Likewise my capacity to respond with patience and compassion in the world feels somehow truncated. It is especially important in these times to prioritize the practice–connecting with the infinite inner spaciousness that is our nature.

Just by choosing to practice, spaciousness is supported as you affirm for yourself that there is enough time and other resources to support this choice in your life, always.  Then, through the practice, as you focus on your breath and your posture, on living into the fullness and brightness of your inner body and supporting the radiant spaciousness around your heart, your very being becomes an antidote for the cold and the darkness.

The brightness and warmth of your inner body are enough to make you feel like you can make it through the long dark nights and short, brisk days–and not just survive them, but thrive in them.  The practice supports the feeling of spaciousness in other parts of your life, affirming your ability to invest in other areas–be it discipline, transformation, or joy.

Likewise as your heart softens, you get greater clarity about how your perspective might be limited in other areas of your life.  The sanskirt word upeksha in the Tantric perspective essentially means radiant spaciousness, and it shows up in the Yoga Sutras (some of the most sacred texts of yoga) with respect to the people and situations in your life which challenge you.  The idea is that you cultivate radiant spaciousness in the face of situations which challenge you and might lead you to act in ways that are not in alignment with your higher values and purpose.  You take a step back, or many steps back, until you’re able to see that person or situation as connected to you, as part of the larger fabric of interconnectedness, as a different manifestation of Consciousness.  This helps you respond from a place of compassion even as you perhaps continue to affirm that radiant spaciousness is the best approach to that person or situation.  You do get to choose, and the practice supports you knowing who to hold close and choose as your spiritual companions (kalyanamitra) and who to send loving and compassionate thoughts to from afar.

All of this from the simple act of choosing your mat, choosing your practice, choosing to cultivate spaciousness in your heart and in your life.

THEME FOR 11/5: BOLDNESS

In reflecting on the themes for the past few weeks and months, I’ve noticed a predominant focus on the energies of grounding and steadiness.  That feels consistent with a move out of summer and into fall: shorter days bookended by crisp mornings and chiller evenings; a need–at least my need–to reset boundaries and expectations after the off-the-charts heat, fun, productivity, and spontaneity of summer.

Cosmically we are in a time in which our perspectives tend to get broader and bolder.  We are encouraged to reflect on the past and inevitably begin looking ahead to the end of the calendar year and the beginning of another kind of cycle.  This is a time to focus on slowing down and moving into stillness enough to connect with your intuition, to which you have more ready access in this season.  Through that connection, your heart’s truest visions will be clarified and your capacity to take bold action in the direction of those visions will be bolstered.

Let your yoga practice support that connection and that boldness.  Through your willingness to engage in practices which uplift, empower and transform you, you get better all the time at knowing what serves the highest vision of your life and more consistently making choices which support the realization of that vision.  It’s not rocket science: you choose to say no to some things in order to say yes to the openness, healing and rejuvenation that the yoga practice offers you.  The result is a greater sense of your own capacity to care for yourself, to make choices which lift you up, and simply a greater sense of mobility, strength and vitality in your physical body.  All these things serve your inner knowing of your own inherent and unlimited potential to make manifest your dreams for your life.  The practice literally builds/affirms/sustains the foundation in your life which makes freedom more possible–thereby emboldening you to move confidently in the direction of your dreams.

Theme for 10/29: Choosing Yourself

With all the exciting, enticing and provocative things that surround you in this time of newness and opportunity, it can be an incredibly radical act to choose yourself.  Amongst all the amazing choices, the decision to prioritize yourself, your healing, and your wellness can be quite challenging…and infinitely rewarding.

If you accept the premise that the Universe wants what you want, then the Universe will continue to provide you with amazing opportunities to revel and rejoice in the abundance and fullness of life.  Therefore, choosing to prioritize yourself and your wellness at any given time needn’t be seen as a zero sum game–where you make one choice at the expense of another.

Rather, taking time to pause, reflect, settle down, and look within is an investment in your increased capacity to be fully present to the myriad opportunities the Universe is providing for your growth, your celebration, your joy and your play.

Choosing yourself is a radical act.  It is choice you can make regularly (weekly, daily, or otherwise) to value yourself and your process enough to move into stillness, to pay attention, to go deep.

THEME FOR 10/22: PRESENCE

Life moves pretty quickly! I don’t know if anyone else is feeling this but I surely am! It seems like every time I make a move to slow things down and regroup, a new slew of compelling challenges presents itself and my life fills right back up.

(Case in point: you’re getting this email after 6:00 on a Friday!)

So with that in mind, tomorrow’s class will be all about staying focused and present. Whether your life is relatively full or spacious, it is made up of your days, your moments, your breaths. Each one comprises the whole of your experience. If you aren’t present to them as they’re happening, are you really living?

Come take the time to plug in to the here and now. I promise it’ll reap rewards for much more than the time you’re present in class 😉

See you tomorrow!

THEME FOR 10/15: OPENNESS

Nothing like a slew of new experiences to remind me that I still have so much to learn.  It is the bittersweetness of being an extrovert (and a 7 on the Enneagram)–more is always more.  But sometimes it can be a bit much…

I’m blazing all these trails in my life and getting consistently humbled by my own limitations, as well as my own preconceptions, judgements, preferences, etc.  Such fertile ground for clarifying my values, rooting myself in an expanding base of self-awareness, and remembering that I am never acting alone. In short, fertile ground for the ongoing cultivation of openness.  Constant reminders to take a dose of my own medicine re beginner’s mind, reverence, humility, patience.  Everyone does have a piece of the truth, and the more I engage in the world with an open mind and a soft heart, the greater my ability to receive those truths–to learn from and be changed by them.

Belief in abundance, and the fact that the Universe wants what I want, requires me to be open to the magical and mysterious ways that the Universe works in my life and through me, conspiring to remind me of my own true nature.  The more open I am to receiving those messages, the better I know myself and the clearer my vision for how I want to move in the world.

Join me tomorrow as we move through a practice designed to help you stay open to the mystery and magic of the moment, on the mat and in the world.

THEME FOR 10/8: REVERENCE

Everything in you and around you is made of the same stuff as the Universe. Pure Consciousness in a variety of different forms. Which means that everything is sacred, and everyone can be your teacher.

Keeping this in mind can inspire you to treat everything and everyone with reverence, bringing compassion and patience to all situations and all beings. This is easier said than done, but the practice of yoga can help: it helps to connect you to your own blissful and whole nature. As you get more in touch with that nature, the practice of yoga supports the cultivation of the kind of compassion and patience required to meet all of life’s situations with a sense of openness to the journey and a deep sense of gratitude for the blessings.

All things, all people can be welcomed and received with a spirit of wonder and adventure since they truly offer you greater insight into your own profound self. You can face unknown situations, or people who are totally unlike you, with a sense of grateful familiarity as you look for and see in them that which is present in you. Everyone has a piece of the truth. The more you are willing to open yourself to the different truths and perspectives that fill this world, the greater your ability to honor yourself and your own nature. To treat yourself and others and all beings with the kind of reverence we all deserve.

THEME FOR 10/1: FINDING YOUR CENTER
WITH GUEST TEACHER LINDA CHUPKOWSKI

All of us have the experience of feeling lost, scattered, or overwhelmed at times. Life’s big waves can arrive predictably and in plain sight and still knock us off our feet. Thankfully, the teachings of yoga guide us to find our center.  Learning to draw into the midline is a powerful practice both on an off the mat.  When we hug in and connect to the deepest part of ourselves, to our true nature, we touch the deep calm waters underneath the choppy surface.  This still place exists inside each of us, whether we are aware of it or not. We simply have to learn to connect to it.

The principles of alignment teach us how to do this in our bodies. We use breath, muscle, and effort, much like in life.  Paradoxically, when we connect to the midline, we find more freedom.  The more we hug in, the more we can expand outwards. The more we reside in this place of calm deep inside, the more we are able to go outside of ourselves, give to others, and allow ourselves to be touched by the world without being knocked over.

At first we only get glimpses of this still place in yoga class, on a walk in the woods, or in a deep breath. Then slowly, with effort and surrender, we begin to reside there.  We come and we go, and we lose it from time to time, but eventually it becomes home.  I invite you all home this week and hope to see you in the calm, still waters.

Theme for 9/17: discipline

Discipline: this is a word that personally makes me pretty nervous. I’ve always thought of any limitations on my behavior as repressive and restraining to my freedom.

Through the process of building my own yoga practice, I receive endless insights into my one nature. Among these insights is coming to understand the way that I actually limit my own capacity for joy, freedom, growth and healing by failing to create limits for myself. As one of my teachers says, “that piece of dark chocolate isn’t a special treat if I have one every day.”

I create more expansion for myself when I choose my own limits from a place of freedom. It’s not somebody else telling me what I should or shouldn’t, can or cannot do. From a place of total willingness, I can create growth expansion and learning by making choices which lift me up and keep me on my path. Sometimes that is learning to say no to certain things, in order to say yes to others. The dance of yes and no. The foundation which creates freedom.

Without the banks, the river would cease to be a river. 

Come make a joyful choice to create limits in order to build your capacity to enjoy freedom. I promise it’ll be more fun than you might think!

Theme for 9/10: Humility

The practice of yoga can lead to such strengthening of body, heart and mind, that it can begin to impart almost magical powers to the practitioner. The deeper you go in to your practice, the steadier you get; the more you commit to your own healing, the more present you become; the more you continue to meet yourself with compassion and vigor, the greater compassion and empathy you are able to offer to others. This can seem like magic, and of course it is in the sense that not everyone moves through the world in this way (even though they could!)…

As you enjoy refined awareness, radiant health, and infinitely deeper insight into your self and the world through your practice, it is essential to maintain a sense of humility. Every person comes to the Teachings, comes to their own Truth, comes to their own healing in a unique way. You hear the message when you are ready to. Not everyone is ready to accept and experience the sort of radical transformation and intimate self-knowing that yoga can offer, and that is okay. Perhaps you experience this in your own self—a push-pull relationship to the practice. It feels amazing at times, but can be powerfully overwhelming sometimes too.

Cultivating humility is essential to the continued journey. Partly because it helps you approach yourself and your practice with freshness and openness for the lifelong unfolding—a journey that is never really “done”–and for which you owe the Universe so much humble gratitude. And partly because, through refined vision, you can see your own challenges and limitations more clearly—and perhaps others’ as well. Knowing that your own journey continues to be a complex one, a pulsation of concealment and revelation, can help you cultivate a sense of compassionate humility towards your own path and towards those around you.

To borrow a phrase from another incredible healing tradition, it is about “attraction not promotion.” The ways that yoga changes you are absolutely evident inside and out: your simple steadiness, sweet smile, and soft gaze will be powerful tools in inspiring others to continue their own journeys. Your humble efforts for your own liberation and healing will go far in moving others to seek theirs as well.

All of this contributes to Ishvara Pranidana: every act, a humble bow of reverence to your Inner Light of Awareness. Every word, an opportunity to glorify and uplift yourself and others. Every pose, a celebratory work of art.

Theme for 9/3: Joy

Anytime is the right time to celebrate, to revel in some joyfulness.  This is especially one of those times for me: I have become an aunt for the third time! Right after class tomorrow I head down to Atlanta to meet my newest nephew, George, a bundle of joy weighing in at over 10 pounds!I am delighted beyond words to get to meet him in his first days on this Earth.  My teachers often talk about how babies are as close as we get to pure Consciousness in human form.  The gift of getting to be so close to this Consciousness is definitely a cause for joy! Om namah shivaya.For tomorrow’s class I ask that you come ready to celebrate, that you approach your practice as an opportunity to revel in a feeling of joy.  Whatever might be going on in your life–even if you’re in the midst of some deep struggle, or just feeling so-so about things–there are always reasons to celebrate.  And if you’re having a hard time finding them, let the practice help you do so.The ability of your own body to move and express what’s in your heart, that is cause for joy. 
The capacity to devote time and other resources to a communal and liberatory spiritual practice, that is cause for joy. 
The fact that there is a community healing arts space which offers donation-based yoga, that is cause for joy.
And there surely are so many more…Join me tomorrow for an inspired and joyful celebration of all the reasons we have to make more beauty and art in this world.

theme for 8/27: weathering the storm

These are tumultuous times—storms are raging, the seasons are changing, and there is no shortage of stimulus and intensity in the air.

This the perfect time to hunker down with your practice. To connect in to the part of yourself that is steady and unwavering. To engage in the Divine Dance with the Universe and be awed and inspired by the power of Nature.

Choosing to engage in your practice even in the face of fear, the fierce potency of Nature, or the simple unknown, this is the way you can harness the powers of Nature and tap into its pulsation—a continual undulation of expansion and contraction, of drawing in to steadiness and blasting out with radiance.

The waves of life are always crashing around you, but you are always immersed in the currents of Grace. Nature is mighty and magical. So are you.

theme for 8/20: reveling in the journey

My newest nephew will be born any day now–hopefully!–so I am headed down to Atlanta to visit with the family.  Shepherding your practice tomorrow will be Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz, beloved to many around Durham for her powerful yet sweet teachings.  Please join Natalie and all your favorite community yogans for a special class all about reveling in the journey.  The only constant is change, and through the practice we can learn to move through it skillfully, gracefully, and joyfully.  Join Natalie as she helps you do that!

THEME FOR 8/13: FEARLESSNESS

The Universe rewards bravery.

There are two main vibrations: fear and love; all our choices come from one of these two sources. Fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, fear of disappointment, these and many other fears can stop us from making choices, from taking risks—from acting in the spirit of love.

The truth is, every choice is a risk. Choosing one path inevitably requires that we let others go. This can be a source of challenge and stagnation in and of itself. Our fear of the unknown can stop us from venturing down unique paths which offer new challenges and places for growth. Our desire to cling to what is and resist the universal constant of change is ultimately what creates the most difficulties for us.

Challenging your fears is a practice which yields incredible results–on and off the mat.  Among many other things, it puts you in touch with your own innate strength and capacity, and it liberates incredible amounts of energy which you can then choose to invest in love!  This week, in Align and Shine, we’ll support each other in doing some poses that will connect you with your strength and help you dissolve your fear.

Theme for 8/6: The Gift of the Practice

This has been a full, beautiful and bittersweet week for me (I’ll tell you a bit more about it if you come to class…), and I’ve been reflecting a lot on the gifts that this practice offers me. They are numerous. The ability to stay present even to the discomfort of change and transition, the ability to feel strong and centered in the face of the unknown, the ability to know that I know how to take care of myself—to know from experience that I have everything I need to live from freedom and fullness.

What does the practice offer you? What gifts do you receive through the practice? Please come for a joyful and reverent celebration of all the gifts that the practice offers you, your family and your local/global community.

Please note: I am faced with an incredible and bittersweet “problem”—my classes have really been filling up! In order to respect the space, I will be capping the number at 14 folks, on a first-come basis, and then closing the class. Consider arriving 10 minutes early to get your spot—and my apologies in advance if I am not able to accommodate you in a class on a given day. I am exploring ways to expand my class offerings. Stay tuned for more.

Blessings!

Theme for 7/23: Freedom to Choose

I get to choose. Today I am sitting in a space of so much gratitude for that. Talk about privilege. Getting to choose how to spend my time, where to invest my energy, and with whom to build community and power for collective liberation.

You create freedom for yourself and the world by changing yourself, not the world. Changing how you choose to perceive and receive the world around you—and how, what, and in what spirit you offer back. This is as simple and profound as can be. You get to choose how to hold yourself in the midst of challenge. You get to choose how to love yourself and others enough to expect the Highest and respond from the Highest. You get to choose to build community and connection with beings who support and lift you up, even as you choose radiant spaciousness from people and situations that don’t. You get to choose to engage in practices like yoga—and so many others—which give you the capacity to know yourself more, receive your whole self as a gift, and offer back from the Highest.

This is why many people see yoga as a spiritual practice: simply put, yoga helps you cultivate an intimate relationship with the truth of who you are. Yoga helps you choose to see your fullness, your radiance, your ultimate freedom, your divine bliss. The choice does not lie in creating the fullness, radiance, freedom or bliss that is your nature—but rather in opening up to it, fully accepting it, and learning to live and love within it.

You are made of the same stuff as the Universe. Out of Its infinite freedom, It chose to become you. Therefore you too are free, so free you get to choose. Choose to build practices and communities that uplift and support you on your path, and give you the chance to do the same for others. Choose radical self-knowing and self-care. Choose love over fear, connection over isolation.

You get to choose. Choose yourself.

theme for 7/16: Honoring Your teacher

Early tomorrow morning–at 2:40am to be exact–the full moon will be the brightest of the year.  In some traditions, this time is commemorated by honoring and celebrating one’s teachers–the people and forces in one’s life which help the bright light of awareness shine even more potently.

In this life, so many things can be your teachers.  The truest teachers are those who help you see the truth of who you are–complete, whole, self-aware, and free.  Tomorrow’s practice will be devoted to honoring the true teacher within, as well as the many teachers all around.  Come prepared for a devotional practice in which you can offer back some gratitude, reverence, and celebration for the teachers in your life, past and present.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Theme for 7/9: Mindfulness

I am going to an amazing regional organizing gathering in Virginia, so will be with you in spirit but not in body tomorrow.  You’ll be in great hands with Linda, and here’s a message from her about tomorrow’s class:

Since I’ll be substituting for Patty this week (Really, there is no substitute for Patty, but I’ll be there to teach yoga in her stead), we will all be opening ourselves to a new experience.  When in new situations, it’s helpful–as well as a bit easier–to practice mindfulness.  Mindfulness is paying attention in the present moment, on purpose, and without judgement.  When life is busy and full of work, it’s easy to meet that work with a sense of overwhelm and frustration.

It’s time to slow down and practice mindfulness.  When you allow yourself to bring your full awareness to what you are doing in the moment, natural relaxation follows. You can turn your awareness to the physical sensations of the task and invite in whatever emotions you may be feeling, including the unpleasant feelings of stress and frustration. In allowing all of this awareness with kindness and compassion, the stress effortlessly melts away. Now of course, this is hard to do, which is why you practice on the mat.  Intentionally cultivating mindfulness in you body through yoga is a wonderful way to train yourself to handle stressful situations in life.

In Saturday’s class, we will move our bodies mindfully with our full awareness, breathe into potentially uncomfortable emotions and sensations that might arise in the body, and practice responding to whatever comes up non-judgmentally. Having something–or in this case someone–new in the mix is a wonderful, natural way to increase mindfulness.  We tend to pay more attention to something new than something we are accustomed to. I look forward to meeting you, mindfully, on the mat!

Theme for 7/2: Courage

As much hoopla as happens around this time of year, I find it helpful to look beyond the fireworks and funnel cakes (do they even have those in the South? Remind me to tell you all about this fried devilry) toward one of the things that really seems worth celebrating about this holiday: the courage it took to stick it to the Man way back when.

Let’s face it, Independence Day can offer you the opportunity to think about all the ways that you are limiting yourself, allowing oppressive structures or daily drudgeries to get in the way of following your true path. An opportunity to think about what your own Declaration of Independence would look, sound, and feel like…what it would make possible for you…and what it would require of you.

So in the spirit of Independence, tomorrow’s practice will be all about courage. The courage to know what you really want and go after it. The courage to sit still long enough to hear the song of your heart. The courage to cast aside archaic notions of “what you can and can’t do” and just go for it!

The practice of yoga can offer you the opportunity to see clearly the ways that you might be holding yourself back, and offer you insight into the courage and wherewithal that you already have within you to set yourself free!

Join us tomorrow, and make your own fireworks!

Theme for 6/25: Non-clinging

As we pass through the peak pulsation and the height of summer, it is tempting to want to cling to this moment. All the possibilities, the sky so bright so long into the night…the warmth opening us up to so many possibilities.

It is especially important to ground yourself in a practice of openness to change, one that is about flowing with the pulsation and not resisting the change or grasping too hard to this moment.  Through the practice, you work towards non-attachment or non-clinging: non-attachment to the hours in your day, to the ideas you hold, even to the illusions you have of yourself.  Through the practice you can continue to meet your life, yourself and your practice with freshness, letting go of the things which don’t serve you and being open to new things which heighten your capacity to know yourself.

The Solstice, which happened this past Tuesday the 21st, signals the beginning of a new pulsation…one which draws us deeper into ourselves. As you go deeper in your practice–thanks to the warmth and expansion that this season offers you and also to your own commitment–you will come to know yourself more.  You will realize that you needn’t cling to the ideas you have of yourself but rather you can choose to really experience your full, true self in all its freedom, radiance, wisdom and beauty.  This is what the practice offers you, the possibility of letting go and experiencing yourself from a place of true freedom.

Likewise when you embrace non-attachment or non-clinging, your efforts become selfless offerings that you make from your heart without worry of fear of the outcomes.  As you shed illusions of yourself and begin to move in the wake of the Spirit, in harmony with your own hearts’ desires, your actions more and more reflect that highest intention.  Thus you can act from a place of freedom and without attachment to the results of your actions.

This starts with non-clinging, the ability to move from the center of your heart and act from that place, without worrying about the outcome. A true sense of freedom.

Join us.

Theme for 6/18: Celebration

Summer is so here, and the Solstice is right around the corner! It’s time to celebrate all the things that longer days and warmer nights make possible for us.

There are so many things to celebrate, starting right in your own beautiful, blissful body…the capacity to move and stretch…the time and willingness to devote to your own self-knowing…the abundance of flowers and veggies coming out of front-porch, backyard, and roadside gardens throughout the city…the amazing light that fills the sky even at 9 o’clock at night!

We are surrounded by abundance! There is so much to celebrate! Let your practice be your offering of gratitude for the joys of this time.  Let your practice reflect all the fullness of possibility that surround you in this time.  Let your practice inspire you to take the fullest expression of your life right now!

Join us for some summertime blastin’-it-out!

Theme for 6/11: Dvesha

Tomorrow’s class will be devoted to the practice of going deeply into the things which you avoid, in order to learn what sorts of energies they hold for you.  Please think about poses that are challenging for you in whatever ways and let those inspire tomorrow’s practice.

Theme for 6/4: Beginner’s mind

Every few months I like to look at the theme of Beginner’s Mind. Usually after experiencing something new that was perhaps a bit, um, uncomfortable. (If you come to class you’ll probably hear a bit more…)

The truth is, the spaces of discomfort are the ones in which we can experience the most change and growth.  If we only stick to what we know, we will rarely experience the change and growth we seek.

Beginner’s Mind is about openness to growth and change.  It is about meeting each moment, each day with a willingness to be shifted, changed, transformed and amazed.  Everything can change in one breath, and our practice can help us be open and ready for those changes–which don’t always come in pretty packages or from the direction that are looking.

The Universe never goes on autopilot, and we can’t either! We have to meet life with freshness, palms open to the blessings, and show the Universe we’re ready to be transformed in the service of our heart!

This sounds exciting, right? Join me!

Theme for 5/28: Get Hip to the Universe

Tomorrow’s class will focus on harmonious hip-openers.  Our hips are the holders of memories and stories, along with emotion and energy and so much more.  Through a series of heavenly hip and hamstring openers, we will delve into the idea that ‘how we are on the mat is how we are in the world.’ Learning about ourselves through the practice is one of the most potent ways to reflect on and explore the mysteries and magic of the Universe.  Right in your own body.

Let your practice take you places–into the depths of your own heart by way of your hips!

Theme for 5/21: Stepping It Up

As the weather warms up, our bodies open more. It is an opportune moment to reconnect with your practice or take it to the next level. Get back into your body and get your spirit primed for summertime play!

Designed to meet you where you’re at and inspire you to take it to the next level, this class will offer poses and variations for all levels, from dabbler to die-hard and everything in between.

Get pumped for summer by building up your strength, stamina and sense of adventure. Inspire yourself and others to shine your lights and blast it out!

Step it Up, tomorrow at Align and Shine!

5/14: Special Guest Teacher, Linda Chupkowski

Theme for 5/7: Open to Grace

Live the life you want to live right now by seeing the ways that Grace is already and always moving in you.  You don’t have to wait–you already have everything you need.  Come and learn how to open to the revelatory power of Grace in every moment.

Theme for 4/30: Taking Flight

Let your practice take you places. The theme for Saturday is Taking Flight.  We’ll explore all the ways that your yoga practice can help you take your visions to the next level.  We’ll explore some light and playful poses that will help you fly right over any obstacles you face.

See you then!

Theme for 4/23: Tuning In

Entrainment is a natural physical process.  Through entrainment, bodies at different frequencies naturally tune into each other and sync up, their frequencies align and the resulting vibration is that much stronger.  Just like gravity, entrainment is a principle of physics which cannot be overcome.  The key is to know it’s there work with it.

Entrainment works in our lives on energetic levels–we naturally tune in and sync up with those around us.  Ideally, we sync up with folks who are like-minded and like-hearted, and thus we can create even bigger energies together and have even greater ability to manifest the world we want.

Essential to Tuning In is creating a deeper capacity to intimately know the song of your own heart and being deeply committed to that song, then naturally seeking out and syncing up with those whose heart song is resonant with yours.

Tuning In can be painful, because it can lead to the recognition that those around us do not vibrate on the same frequency we do, and we may become more and more aware of dissonance in our lives–aware that those around us do not lift us up or support us in singing the song of our hearts.  And with that awareness come important choices.

In the end, entrainment teaches us that we are the company we keep, so we must keep good company.  Choosing to keep the company of beings who lift you up–who help you know more deeply the song of your own heart and live more fully into that song–is a radical decision that you make not once but continuously.

Tune In to you and experience it for yourself.

Theme for 4/9: Generosity

Take a moment to reflect on all the things you have to be grateful for, and allow that gratitude to inspire heart-felt generosity.

You get to choose the spirit with which you move in this world, so why not move in the spirit of abundance?

Why not act as if there is more than enough of that which you need and value, certainly enough to spare?  Why hold on so tightly to things and create a sense of lacking in your life?

Just pause and feel.  Know that you already have everything you need, and choose generosity.  You get what you give.

Theme for 4/2: Steadiness

So many things in life are unexpected.  We may make our best efforts to foretell the future, but ultimately it is all still just A Dance with the Divine.

Through cultivating steadiness, we make ourselves ever-more capable of staying centered, grounded, and healthy through all the surprises that Life offers us.  If our practice only serves us when things are calm, it doesn’t really serve us.  We get more free each time we are able to face Life’s challenges with equipoise, grace, and even a sense of gratitude–all of which come to us through a consistency in our practice, and steadiness in our hearts.

I hope you’ll join me in a practice that will keep your right in the center of your own steady heart.

Theme for 3/26: Leading from the Heart

This week’s class (3/26) will feature a special guest-star-teacher, local favorite Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz.  Please join Natalie as she supports and guides you in learning to trust the truth of your own heart.

Later on that day, join Nataraja for its one year birthday party!

My apologies, a long-standing work engagement is taking me away for the day…but I’ll be back with you next Saturday morning at 10am for Align and Shine.

Self-Harmony (3/19).

We will explore the beauty of embodiment and making peace with that.  In other words, we will do poses and practices which really help us be and stay in our bodies…facing the truth of just how beautiful we really are.

Make your practice the offering (3/12)

There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground… – Rumi

And there are so many reasons to do so:

The birth of relationships…babies…and movements across our lands [Thank you, Wisconsin.]
The transformation of suffering into superpowers…
The soft and sweet song of your own heart…
Opportunities to cultivate non-attachment…
So many reasons to make offerings of gratitude and remembrance through your practice.

This week’s class offers an opportunity to devote your practice to something greater:
A Struggle, A Person, A Community you want to remember, honor, and lift up.  When your practice is your offering, it helps to center and empower you, creating a focus and a discipline that are essential to transforming your self and your world through your practice.  It is a chance to make art and beauty in the name of something greater.
Come make an artful offering through your body.
***

Liberation (3/5)

Moksha – Libertad – Liberté – FREEDOM!

We are made of the same stuff as the Universe…so just like the Universe we are free! Free to choose…to create more beauty, more love, more awareness. Free to choose to shine our lights so bright that we inspire others to do the same. Free to choose to cultivate practices which enhance our lives and the lives of others. Free to decide that our whole selves are worth care and attention…

Your nature is Freedom. Come celebrate it!

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One thought on “Previous Themes – Align and Shine

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