Yes folks this is a long video, so make some tea and get comfortable. Backbending is a topic that takes time to go into and in many ways I am still figuring it out and learning to expand my awareness inside poses that I have found to be most challenging in the practice. Enjoy.
I filmed a strength building series at Purple Valley Yoga Retreat Center. Of course this isn't used to replace the yoga practice but only to help fill gaps in our process of building more refined strength. Hope you enjoy!
Last weekend was one of the few weekends I had off, kind of. I still taught class on Sunday but had Friday and Saturday off so it's all good. Today, Monday, Swedes have off as well but we continued on with Mysore class today. I've been traveling a lot over the weekends but since it was Easter weekend it was a great opportunity to slow down and enjoy the beautiful city I live in. With the weather slowly turning and the light coming back it does Stockholm justice.
Believe it or not it has been 6 years since I have been living here and I still suck a Swedish, haha. Well, I guess it isn't so funny. I need to work on that somehow. It has been on my mind. However, finding the time to study is another issue. Right now a little daily is gonna have to do it. One problem is we don't have television which is one good way of learning the language beyond the normal flash cards, reading and conventional study. Another, is the times I have attempted to speak Swedish I get one of two responses: One being, "Huh?" And the other, "Lol. That's cute." I don't speak Swedish to be cute. So the motivation to speak is rather low for this native English speaker. I know. Excuses, excuses.
With that being said I should bush up on my Spanish because I am headed to Barcelona on Wednesday! I did study that in school and the language is definitely part of the cultural fabric of the U.S. but I don't think I will have enough to get by. I also hear in Spain the accent is rather different. In a way I want to be good at languages and in another I feel so overwhelmed by it.
Instead of longer daylight I wish there were simply more hours in a day.
One of Stockholm's Unique Tunnelbanna Stations
At Rosendal's Trädgård
Prague! Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting this beautiful city for the first time. With already a number of fist time visits this year I have to say Prague is another special city that is sometimes missed for those who tour Europe from abroad. Put it on your list. I wouldn't miss it.
Most importantly, I was there to teach an Ashtanga yoga workshop to an awesome bunch in a spectacular venue. The picture below shows the ceiling of where the event was held. I'm a big fan of architecture and design so I took an active interest and had to snap the shot. However, what was going on down below was even better. The energy and attentive interest from the yoga community here was amazing. I left so grateful for the experience.
Thank you Prague!
The second weekend of March I had the pleasure of teaching an Ashtanga yoga workshop in Amsterdam at the beautiful Conservatorium Hotel. I had such a lovely time with this enthusiastic and vibrant group of Ashtanga yoga practitioners in the beautiful setting of the city. This was my first time visiting Amsterdam and I loved every bit of it. With a huge biking culture, much like Copenhagen, there are many meandering streets with quaint shops and cafes. I simply loved it. There is more of an alternative vibe, for instance versus Stockholm which has its own different kind of charm.
I also had the pleasure of having a number of people who I have seen elsewhere such as my retreats or workshops from other countries come to this workshop. This is the special part of doing this work is running into people who have become dear friends. I always count my blessings in this regard.
Thank you Amsterdam!
Tea with David
Today I Rise
When I'm tired of all the things around me in my life, I rise
When only the negative aura surrounds me and tries to put me down, I rise
When there's no one there for me even on the worst days, I rise
When there are bullies at school talking bad about me, I rise
When I've lost the family and people I love, I rise
When I am trying to reach my goal in my life and I fail at times, I rise
When I got fake friends, they lie to me and put me down, I rise
When I'm struggling with my family with the bills and our expenses, I rise
When I hear fighting, cussing, swearing cursing at home, I rise
When I'm heartbroken from a love, I rise
When there are traumatic things that happen to me, I rise
When I get abandoned by people who I thought loved me, I rise
When there are no good influence and only evil around me, I rise
When I'm on the street with no food or shelter, I rise
When I'm in a life or death situation, I rise
When someone I love has a chronic disease I stay strong for them and I rise
When the devil tries to put me down in the worst possible ways, I rise
I rise and stay strong because God helps me rise!!
Are you strong enough to rise?
Cape of Good Hope
View of Cape Town from Robben Island
Nelson Mandela's Prison Cell
Enjoying the Sunset
The last two weeks of February I had the honor of being invited to teach both in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. My first trip to the country, I arrived free of expectation but definitely with a sense of curiosity. Unfortunately, soon after I landed in Johannesburg I came down with the flu. Ugh. What an experience. It was the first time in a long time I had ever gotten that sick. The timing was awful but I made the best of it and thankfully my host Claire made sure I was as comfortable as possible. It was a heavy mixture of body aches, fever, cough, congestion, fatigue and digestive distress. When it rains it pours. Which besides being sick I had the opportunity to sit in on a few strong thunderstorms. Since moving to Sweden I've obviously experienced loads of rain but it doesn't thunderstorm here. Something I've missed being from the midwest of the USA. So, I didn't really have the opportunity or the motivation to take pictures while in Johannesburg. However, I truly enjoyed the Ashtanga Yoga community there. They were absolutely lovely.
My second week in South Africa was spent in Cape Town. After recovering from the flu I felt much better by the time I arrived, thankfully. It is much easier to take in the landscape when feeling yourself and in that regard, well this was a place you have to soak in. The scenery is stunning!
I've always appreciated PJ and have been lucky to get to know him over the years during travels to Mysore, India. Hard working and so real, I hope you enjoy this video as much as I have.
It's been a long time since I've done a true personal blog post. I've been balancing many things at once the past few years and now it is beginning to sound like a broken record saying such things. Taking time to sit down and write has been something I have been missing for a long time now. One of my simple and most satisfying pleasures. One main reason to get back to it. Hands down it's one of most therapeutic practices I have ever undertaken besides yoga and taking a break from it has helped me to realize just how much.
The past few years have been filled with growth and building. So much has developed as well as interesting opportunities which I feel blessed to have such things come my way but at the same time the busyness of life can start to feel just that, busy. So, taking time to slow down and reflect has been an important practice to fit in because lately I've been giving out every bit of what I have. Somewhere in there I have to save a bit for myself.
I'm in the mist of taking a two week break. Something I haven't experienced in a long time while being home. It's the simple pleasures that make me feel more human and slow me down. It gives a new appreciation of home and to be okay with doing nothing. Ahhh. Gotta love that.
I've been also reflecting on many things lately. One reason why writing is an important practice for collecting thoughts and insights or just simply cleansing the mind. It's refreshing to take in tidbits of information and experiences and chew on them more in depth. I live for this. At heart, I'm an introvert and garner more energy being alone or silent. Funny how destiny has always pushed me into lines of work that is much more extroverted in nature. Which is a good thing.
When I watch videos such as this I begin to have faith in the younger generations. To see a young teenager so eloquent and full of conviction reminds me of how complacent we can become as we get older. With climate change moving full speed ahead, as adults we continue to burry our heads in the sand with no thought on how it will effect the lives of our children. It is time for a wake up call.
“Isn’t it time
to turn your heart
into a temple of fire?”
There is an aloneness that is not loneliness, and not despair, and western medicine hasn’t got a clue. It is something like a profound closeness with your own being, an intimacy with the quiet passing of things, friendship with the broken and the transient within and without. While you quietly grieve over yesterday’s dreams of tomorrows that never came, you hold today so close in your arms. You are the mother of today.
There is a fragility that is not weakness. An exquisite sensitivity to the sad majesty of this ordinary world, a vulnerable openness that has nothing to do with how much money you have made, how you have succeeded or failed in your quest for perfection, or how beautiful or immune to infection your body is, but something to do with the tenderness with which you are willing to touch the broken parts of the world, the depths of aloneness to which you are willing to plunge.
There is an exquisite melancholy that is not depression, contains no pathology, for it contains no self at all. It is as if the heart is broken open and cannot be closed again, ever. Like everything is made of the finest crystal and could shatter at any moment. The sun could burn up without warning, the breath could seize up, a loved one could pass away quietly in your arms. That tiny bird on the tree over there is made of finely woven thread. The neglected pool of water by the supermarket door has infinite depths but no surface, no surface. The moon takes on the quality of a reflection of a reflection in a dream, and everything is so close. You can touch the horizon, whisper to galaxies.
This melancholy, sometimes it arrives unexpectedly in the middle of the night, when you cannot sleep and the moonlight is casting tender shadows on your forearm, or it comes sometimes as you walk through the forest with your dog (you love how he waddles now that he’s getting old, your little companion) and you remember what it is like to be free, or at least alive; or it comes unexpectedly at the dinner table with friends, with delight at … the salt, yes, delight that the salt could exist at all, that there is a world with salt and food and friends, and the possibility of meeting.
Do not medicate away this melancholy. Go deeper into it. It contains information, important information, and longs to release its healing energies. No, they won’t understand you, they will call you depressed, self-indulgent, mad, but you will smile, for you are like the daffodil, and you never wanted to be understood. Your being is too vast to be understood. You will take this imperfect life over no life at all, you will take this broken world blasted through with gratitude over a perfect world half-touched or half-remembered, and the judgements of others will be a small price to pay for never being able to turn away.
Running naked through the streets, throwing off the last of your clothes, you will laugh as they come to lock you up. You are free! You are free! And this beautiful melancholy will keep you from ever closing your heart!
- Jeff Foster