Holding Space


Outside KPJAYI
"It would be easier to roll up the entire sky into a small cloth than it would be to obtain true happiness without knowing the Self."  
I'm in Mysore. In the mist of rounding out my 3rd week today. My 7th trip and as always feels as if I'm coming into something new. I like to be in a space of discovery and exploration within the practice. It takes the edge off. It is important to touch, taste and feel every part of the experience. Even those challenging bits we find ourselves in on occasion. At this point settling in happens with ease but the practice in the shala is always full of surprises. Whether pleasant or unpleasant, witnessing the process of unfolding allows me to sit in a place of neutrality and observation. Understanding what is in and out of my control I can then ride the wave of energy that no matter what courses strong in the room like a steady march.

There have been so many things I have been contemplating lately. The process we all go through from time to time most certainly ebbs and flows in life and recently I have been feeling a flow. So many impressions and mental processes have come to light that sometimes it has been overwhelming. Within all of this I continue to place my heart in the center of it all. With countless hours of practice and study under my belt I am beginning to realize and lean on the simplicity of what it all culminates to. Can I love more openly? Can I live more open heartedly? How often do I rest on my fears and close? Do I extend a hand to the unfamiliar? Am I kind? Because it doesn't matter how many trips I make to Mysore and it doesn't matter how may complicated asanas I can do, if I don't open to the truth it is pointless.

I desire to push myself inside the unknowingness of it all. To look at everything with new eyes. To even come to my mat with a new perspective and curiosity. Because if I place too much importance on structure and the familiar I'm as good as dead, and ultimately building my spiritual home on sand. It isn't easy and sometimes you are stricken for it, but then again, everyone who has done anything of significance came to realize these challenges. Sometimes the path we take isn't accepted by the masses. The truth speaks ever so clearly and the courage to rise up to it can show itself in a myriad of ways. With this realization I can honor various paths and experiences and see the beauty in it all. No matter what differences that stand between, when understanding the truth, all walls tend to crumble.  

Bahá'í How Are You Doing? - Have a Little Faith

Here is a little video about the religion I was raised in. Talk about a great platform to build a foundation upon. Though I no longer label myself as any one thing it takes me back to how powerful the practice and vision of unity is. There is a thread that connects us all. The truth is that we are One. Whenever I deviate from that I know that I have lost my way and what brings me back is the connection we all share. There is no separation, it is only in the mind that we are. 

Monday Inspiration: Struggle


It is okay to be at a place of struggle. Struggle is just another word for growth. Even the most evolved beings find themselves in a place of struggle now and then. In fact, struggle is a sure sign to them that they are expanding; it is their indication of real and important progress. The only one who doesn’t struggle is the one who doesn’t grow. So if you are struggling right now, see it as a terrific sign — and celebrate your struggle. 
(Neale Donald Walsch)

Highlights from Moscow


Last November I spent 6 glorious days in Moscow, Russia. I know, I'm late posting but better late than never! The hospitality extended was truly heartwarming and I owe it to the spirit of the Russian people. You are magnificent! Thank you!!!

Love in Transformation


You don’t measure love in time. You measure love in transformation. Sometimes the longest connections yield very little growth, while the briefest of encounters change everything. The heart doesn’t wear a watch - it’s timeless. It doesn’t care how long you know someone. It doesn’t care if you had a 40 year anniversary if there is no juice in the connection. What the heart cares about is resonance. Resonance that opens it, resonance that enlivens it, resonance that calls it home. And when it finds it, the transformation begins… 
(Jeff Brown)

Just a Flexi-Girl . . .

Earnestness is the path of eternity, thoughtlessness the path of death. Those who are in earnest do not die, those who are thoughtless are as if dead already.  
"Your just a flex-girl."

This is what a mutual peer and someone I considered a respected friend and colleague, told me a while back while having a conversation on none other than, asana practice. Often, talk has a way of going in that direction for whatever reason. When I heard the remark it took me a back. I was not only surprised but perplexed by the comment because it wasn't used in jest. Perplexed because if I misunderstood came off as if prior years of practice was all so easy. Funny how the act of consistent practice and discipline is never taken into consideration. However, I didn't spend too much time being offended by the comment because to say something like that is one lazy, and reflects more on the shortsighted view point of the one who said it.

So it got me thinking how easy it is to judge another, gravitating toward that something must have made it easier for someone to get where they are. There must be some excuse. It could be in regards to anything. Especially in a community where everyone likes to state their opinions about everything and everyone. It is then easy to miss all that happens in between. Often it is in the human condition that we don't even want to know the truth. We would rather rely on our own shortsighted judgements of someone else using the stories we make up in our heads as actual fact instead of learning a thing or two from the person we judge. In the end we miss a valuable opportunity to learn something.

It happens to the best of us when making snap judgements. This is where the mind likes to take us on any given day and like I said before and what I am realizing now is judgement comes out of laziness and the avoidance of truth. From truth comes responsibility, from truth we have to open rather than close. What we thought we knew may not be and for some a scary place because yes it takes more time to sit down with someone and really get to know them beyond the vision of our own lens. Then our stories don't carry much weight anymore. Wow, what freedom if only willing to step into understanding instead of fault finding!

Beyond judgement it also has me thinking what a disservice it does to comment on someone's practice in that regard or even their physical makeup. I've had a number of students with natural flexibility and in my eyes I'm like, so what. Whether flexible or hyper stable there is a sadhana (spiritual practice) being done and as a teacher I support one's sadhana. The result relies solely on the individual far beyond the performance of asana. It's not necessarily about mastering something external but about exploring each moment in each asana through conscious breath. The beauty viewed in practice stems from an internal alignment. The funny thing is some of my most sincere and humble students may have a few areas of natural ability but that in turn doesn't stop them from desiring to go ever deeper into the essence and truth of what this yoga tradition offers. One can never get the full story from the outside.

I think on another level it saddens me when we reduce things down on a level that in truth doesn't do much good for the one commenting or the one receiving the comment. If we understand that yoga practice leads to self-realization and the actualization of our true potential there isn't much to debate on what one does on the outside. It reminds me of what one student asked during a workshop I taught recently in regards to what I thought of her practice. I simply told her, "You're practicing consistently, I'm already impressed. Many stop long before where you are now. Just keep going. Keep exploring. This is what matters."

There is Nothing Wrong


There is nothing wrong. Sadness is not wrong. Fear is not wrong. Confusion is not wrong. Our pain is not wrong. Resisting our pain is what makes everything seem wrong. And yet here is a deeper truth, for those who are open: even our resistance of pain is not wrong. If that’s what’s happening, it cannot be wrong. It is a valid expression of life in the moment. Beyond ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. This love even embraces resistance. This Now is vast, and forgiving. Yet even ‘resistance’ is just another concept. Another judgement. Another way to make ourselves wrong. “Resistance bad”. “Acceptance good.” That’s what we learn. It’s not that we “resist” our pain. We just never learned how to be with it. How to sit with it. Stay with it. Have a cup of tea with it. See it as a beloved friend, at home in the vastness. Our ignorance is our innocence. We just never learned. Our pain is not wrong. It is an invitation. An ancient teaching. Universal. Free. Life invites us to come closer Falling through imagined layers Into great mystery. 
(Jeff Foster)

Monday Inspiration: Peace Within Me


Being, enliven me. 

Breath, inspire me. 

Beauty, enrapture me.

Heart, connect me.

Knowledge, expand me. 

Wisdom, empower me.

Truth, justify me.

Light, illuminate me.

Darkness, educate me.

Mystery, amaze me.

Grace, uplift me.

Peace, comfort me.

Center, draw me.

Oneness, embrace me.

All-in-all, use me.

Blessing, I bless you

Love, I love you.

(Julian of Norwich)

His Day is Done

Friday Quote: Violence


"When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day, when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking–the first in his life. She told him that he would have to go outside himself and find a switch for her to hit him with. 
The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, “Mama, I couldn’t find a switch, but here’s a rock that you can throw at me.”All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child’s point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone. 
And the mother took the boy into her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because if violence begins in the nursery one can raise children into violence.” 
(Astrid Lindgren)

Keep The Faith

"Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely daydreaming, but vision with action can change the world." 
A hero of our time, a man of greatness. There is no way I could go on another day without expressing my profound gratitude to Nelson Mandela. His life is my inspiration. The attributes he embodied I can only hope to understand and practice as I contemplate on the weight and brevity he offered to the world. What touches my heart is his vision. A vision that never diminished even in the darkest of times and the fact he didn't shy away from the darkness. He embraced it. He looked at it. He talked about it. He ultimately transformed it.

Contemplating on his life I understand and am inspired to take more action and follow through on the vision that resides within. Before leaving Stockholm for India I had an important meeting in which I was compelled to say "let's do stuff." Nowhere near as elegant as the great visionaries of our time but in the same light I am understanding if we don't bring forth what desires to awaken we miss the opportunity to step into our unbounded potential whatever that may be. I have also understood that most of the greats honored others and their gifts and never felt threatened by it because they understood that we all draw divine inspiration from the same place. There are no exceptions. To be great you have to want others to be great.

Sometimes we stand alone and are isolated by others. This is okay and I have learned isn't always a bad thing. Being part of the "establishment" makes us lazy because the establishment sure has a lot to say but not so much to offer. Moving forward it is more imperative than ever to align with those who are willing to go the extra mile, to do stuff and open to the greater good. There is room for all to shine and why would we want it any other way?

Another question could be, what have you done to help others find their greatness? Something worth chewing on. Something that compels me to move forward no matter how great or how small.

On the long walk that is life
A man discovers who he is
Each step must be the search for purpose 
Not regret
Many roads will present themselves
He must often take the one few others would follow
And though he may wish to rest
When he is asked to stand
He must stand taller than he ever thought possible
For when the long walk is over
A man must be able to look back and say
I would not change a single footstep

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