This video is classic. Made me laugh . . . "They call me big ba-ba . . ." Funny, funny, funny stuff.
"The same stream of life that runs through the world runs through my veins night and day in rhythmic measure. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth into numberless waves of flowers." - Rabindranath Tagore
Over the course of several months I've had episodes of vertigo. It wasn't until this morning when it felt downright unmanageable. I don't want to make mountains out of mole hills. For the most part I feel healthy. I do my best to sustain a healthy lifestyle and diet. Not going too much into one extreme or the other. Admittedly, this month has been challenging on various levels. Disappointments, loss, confusion, just to name a few. When it rains, it pours. A deeper part of myself knows much of these developments when it comes to external stressors have been made worse in my mind. I can become aggravated by too much mental energy. It drains me. For good reason. Probably why yoga practice is such good medicine. I can channel the energy down into the body. I can breathe. I can feel a sense of freedom and abandon as I flow. Taking this off the mat has another set of challenges. I do my best.
With the cold and darkness of November my sensitivities are through the roof. I'm cold constantly. Even when inside. For the first time, I think ever, I am feeling the deep affects of not having enough direct sunlight. I'm not pale (obviously) like most Scandinavians. I need more light. What to do? I have started taking Vitamin D without feeling much of a difference. On some level I know it's doing me good. I think there's a part of me who desires to continue with business as usual, but really, with the change of season, it seems to be calling me to take a step back, and
What's that definition of insanity again? Oh yeah, expecting a different result when doing more of the same . . .
Sometimes a loss of focus is just what's needed to get back into focus. It's time to change the internal landscape. I can travel the world a thousand miles over and I will still need to contend with the one, the only, myself. What's the use of talking a good game if not living it? If not inspiring to lead from the heart and acknowledging that, hey, it will be challenging, but why let it get me down?
Being the investigative reporter I am, I did a little thumbing around on vertigo.
"The cause of vertigo is 100% metaphysical! According to Lise Bourbeau, "Vertigo indicates that you perceive a loss in your psychological balance. You feel you've lost your footing or your grasp on what you thought was a balanced life, even though it wasn't meeting your true needs. You may feel anguished about making a decision regarding a new direction and, as a result, your dreams remain unfulfilled. It's possible that you have just experienced a dramatic change in some area of your life that appears not quite balanced and causes you either to feel a temporary imbalance or to have others judge you as unbalanced. You have a difficult time dealing with judgment of others, even if you refuse to acknowledge it."
The mental message being conferred to you by vertigo is that "You are receiving an important message from your body to acknowledge and honor your true needs and alter your notion of what compromises a balanced person and a balanced life. The longer you cling to the fear of being unbalanced, the more likely your life will become so." - Ibid (source)
Well, I could agree on some, if not most, of what it states above. I did have a period of feeling unsettled, not to mention a full blown round of acupuncture and bodywork sessions that brought up some interesting things to contend with to the surface. More on that later. Until then . . . finding balance in the face of change.
I love books. Seriously, I have a book addiction. Even when I tell myself, okay, no more book buying, I find something that piques my interest. It's endless. Better yet, is when the books I buy are intriguing, insightful and thought provoking. Makes it worth the purchase. Doesn't really matter from what genre. I wanna be stretched, enlightened, and to feel more human through the books I read. The most recent, the above, The Bowl of Light, by Hank Wessleman. A book that delves into the life of a well known Kahuna, or holy man, shaman, from the indigenous culture of Hawai'i.
I came away from this book affirmed the indigenous people of our world are truly the store houses of lost wisdom in our supposed modern age. Motivated by this ancient wisdom, and the way of life living in balance with the Earth, seeing it as a holy temple, while connected to the energies and elements of the unseen world, hold great fascination for me. I find it interesting how through the course of our lives and learning, we are pulled out of this wisdom passed down through the ages. Not only that, but the wisdom we inherently share inside ourselves. I think many feel called to reach back, while getting in touch with what has been lost, or maybe not lost, but what we have forgotten.
If curious about another perspective, The Bowl of Light, is a heartfelt story of Hank's relationship with a Kanhuna, who taught him more than he could have imagined he would, when first encountering him. It gives hope, but in many ways, it woke me up to the power we hold within our very being and the mysteries that hold it together.
"But if a person has had the sense of the Call — the feeling that there’s an adventure for him — and if he doesn’t follow that, but remains in the society because it’s safe and secure, then life dries up. And then he comes to that condition in late middle age: he’s gotten to the top of the ladder, and found that it’s against the wrong wall. If you have the guts to follow the risk, however, life opens, opens, opens up all along the line."Risks are a part of life if willing to take the leap. I've jumped. I've crashed, many times even. Hopefully, learning needed lessons. For some odd reason, playing it safe has always felt like more of a risk. I cringe at the site of stagnation. For better or worse, I've learned the value of stability too. It's important to lay down a strong foundation to rise upon. In life, however, I have fallen victim to building my house on sand. It's all part of the path I suppose. My faith has ebbed and flowed over the years and through it all I am always called back to it. There's really no better place to sit. There no better honor, in my experience, then placing everything into the hands of the greater hand at work. Every push and pull I've made in life has lead me here. Many times I forget. In my delusion I feel I'm the one in control. From this stance I loose every time. I can relax when it isn't me who is at the center of it all.
No. I am not Swedish. I've poked around in the blogosphere and to those who have graciously linked to my site. I thank you. However, in a few places, I've read that I'm Swedish, and well, not that I would be opposed to it, the reality is, I'm not. Never have been. I'm American born. American raised. Pretty much American through and through. So there you have it.
Why am I in Sweden? Well, my boyfriend is Swedish. Sweden is a lovely country, with loads to offer, so it really isn't a stretch to be here. Although, Sweden is synonymous with long, dark, cold winters. Brrrr. Not really my favorite thing about the place, hahaha.
Anyway, I just wanted to clear this up. I appreciate all of those who have linked to my blog or who have even mentioned me in passing. I can totally understand as to why many would mix this up and think that I'm Swedish. I live here. I work here, etc.
Poses yet another interesting question in the post modern yoga industry. Do you want to be a good teacher or a popular teacher? Often what I have found is it is rarer for a teacher to say no to students than it is to yes in this day and age. Quantity seems to stand over quality.
I enjoyed listening to this talk by Maty Ezraty, the former owner of Yoga Works. We've all heard the name, both hers, and the well known, groundbreaking, yoga studio she stared in Santa Monica, California, with her partner. She offers important tips and questions to consider before entering into the biz. Soak it in.
I'll be hosting two workshops in the coming weeks at Yogayama! I challenge those who can make it to join in. On Sunday, November 20th, Beyond the Edge, will be an informative workshop on the fundamentals of Arm Balancing. On Sunday, December 4th, Powerful Surrender, will be an intensive on the dynamics of backbending. The times for both workshops will be from 13:00 - 15:00 (1-3pm).
Beyond the Edge: Exploring the Art of Arm Balancing
Sunday, November 20, 13:00 - 15:00
When delving into arm balances there often come feelings of uncertainty as well as the fear of stepping into the unknown. These feelings are natural, however; we may never realize the inherent strength within if never exploring our edges.
Experience the exhilaration arm balances bring, in a playful and explorative way, while learning the basic elements and foundational techniques to successfully build an arm balance practice. Proper alignment, strength building, as well as, energizing the subtle body will be addressed in this inspiring and informative workshop.
Journey beyond the edge and feel that anything is possible!
Powerful Surrender: Backbending with Strength
Sunday, December 4, 13:00 - 15:00
The paradox with backbending is we must be strong and soft at the same time, uniting the energy of strength and surrender. Learn the basic components of backbending with integrity to the natural flow of the body. In addition, understand and experience the concept of active release. When actively releasing, we use grounding mechanisms to deepen, while fully utilizing the breath. Learn the fundamental techniques that allow the body to find its depth and strength while at the same time letting go.
"Asana will make the body light. Pranayama strengthens prana. Dharana purifies the intellect. Meditation purifies the mind." - Sri T. Krishnamacharya
Practice takes on a whole new meaning when steeped in devotion. After while it leads one there. Recently, when reading Yoga Mala in the asana section, Guruji mentioned when practicing we should lead with faith and reverence. It jumped out at me on the page. FAITH and REVERENCE. A profound statement that brings a whole new energy to the practice if one hasn't done so. I mean, it doesn't always feel this way. When the body aches, it can be challenging to feel reverent, but also, it has a way of healing the ache. It has a way of alleviating tiredness and apathy. It gives meaning. At the end of the day, even after all this time of practice, there is no possibility I can claim to know everything about what it is we are doing, and why the practice has the affect on us as it does. Yes, science has tried to explain it. However, deep down the source we are connecting to is still a mystery. The unexplainable can never be explained. The outlet, being our hearts. Devotion. Love beyond the knowable.
Tuning inward with a dynamic practice such as Ashtanga Yoga is ultimately where the intention must reside. In many ways I feel this is the mastery to the design. On the outside it may look merely physical, however to maintain the practice over the long term, deeply rooting ourselves into devotion, aligning inward, beyond our little self, into the expansive sky of the unlimited, we are carried through the ardor. We find our wings.
"The obstacle is the path." - Zen Proverb
Over the course of the past several months I have found myself embroiled in negativity. Not really from the outside, but from the inside. I've been observing my thoughts and often I don't like what I see. A challenge. I guess I shouldn't have an opinion in regards to any of it. It is always worse in the mind than in reality. My outlets are minimal living in a country without my native language. I didn't think it would have such and affect on me after while. It's nice to have a sounding board from time to time. Some people say a challenging path is the path of most growth. Sigh. Come to think of it, I remember feeling this during my teaching stint in Taiwan. With most people having limited English I remember I was forced to really look at myself and my thoughts. There were much less distractions and rationalizations I could succumb to because of the language barrier. It's interesting. Sometimes it's overwhelming. The good thing about Sweden is that everyone speaks English, and speaks it well, but at the same time, I'm still an outsider. I'm not fluent as of yet. That will take a while. Until then, much of the time I am forced to go inside. It can be frightening, but nonetheless, I am forced to look now, more than ever. I must. I want to. On a subconscious level it is all meant to be. Through this experience the power of thought has come to light in a big way. To climb into my head is like WTF. The lightness, darkness.
I've had recurring dreams where I am filled with anxiety because somehow I had forgotten the key details to an assignment to complete a course. I'm in a school setting and in shock I had forgotten somethings so essential. It slipped my mind. I fell short. I missed the mark. I feel crushed. Obviously it's some type of subconscious drama I need to sort out. Oh lord.
One thing that helps when I feel inundated with thoughts is writing. I have talked about this before, stream of conscious writing, a highly suggested technique in Julia Cameron's, "The Artist's Way." It has a way of wiping the slate clean. I can move forward with more clarity. It's my dumping ground, so to speak. Also, what I am realizing is how sensitive I can be to other people's energy. On some level I have always known this. Often it can be hard to distinguish what is mine and what I am picking up from another person. I have a way of really tuning into someone on a psychic level, that give or take, I am not sure I know how to handle it in the best way. Still sorting that out.
The thing is, I need to start to rely on my own guidance, and intuition. I have known this too for a while. Trusting myself completely hasn't alway been my strong suit, but it is getting there. Much of life pulls us out of our internal knowing. Sometimes I feel it as a mysterious pull or gut feeling you can't necessarily place as to why it is there. Often it comes to fruition later. I think this is where the trust comes in when starting to lean on oneself. I have had a flash of knowing when it comes to another person or situation, in an instant, to then later rationalize as to why what came to light could be wrong. Usually my rationalization is wrong. It's interesting how it works. Thankfully, yoga practice, when the intention is brought down to the essential places, our body wisdom, our intuitive knowing, begins to strengthen. What becomes perfectly logical to one my start to look totally radical to others. However, the radicals ones, the game changers, have never had a problem going with their guts. Even if it went counter to the masses. It takes courage. It takes a strong reliance on inner guidance.
I don't think self mastery has to look one way. It seems to be as unique as the individual. The same thread being, relying on our inherent, God given potential. We either separate from it or connect to it. We either decide to swim up stream or flow with the current. I like flowing with the current, but if I were to be honest, sometimes I find myself swimming up stream. I have to acknowledge the part of me that is hard wired to go this way.
Through it all, through all that I contemplate, I realize just how hard I am on myself. Geesh, can I have a bit of breathing room, please!? Heeelllo. Yes, I know where this come from. I need to start here. I need to send some energy into this space within me, and acknowledge it. It's time.
However, what I'm learning with the extremes of Swedish weather is to do my best to take it in stride. As I enter into more darkness the fact that I must ignite my own inner light becomes evermore apparent. It's a challenge, but like any challenge, one that is worth stepping into. It builds character.
I often joke with native Swedes at how they complain more about the weather than foreigners. This is very true! I guess it's a bit of a novelty. It's different. I grew up with proper winters, so no novelty there. It's the darkness! That, in contrast, is what I'm not used to. An adjustment, for sure.
But hey, let's not get carried away. It all where we put our focus upon. There is light, and when it's light, even if only for a limited number of hours, it's beautiful. I live in a stunning city. Where nature and the urban cityscape are perfectly blended, and balanced.
High five Sweden. I'm gonna do my best to embrace the coming winter.
Above is my practice space in the early hours of the morning. Thankfully, there is plenty of room in our living area. Our make shift alter in front of the window makes for a calming focal point. To get myself in the mood I light candles and sometimes burn sage. It's nice. The silence at this time is comforting.
But really, it's not that bad. It's the same challenge everyone else faces with practice, no matter what hour or time of day. I like to think we're the lucky ones, anyway.
Our practices become a part of us. It's what we do. As simple as that.