All posts tagged: Yoga

Deep Rest

Photo by Olesya Grichina on Unsplash Finding space to rest is an essential part of our wellbeing. In modern life there are many things beckoning for our attention that distract from this basic need, so much that a considerable number of adults do not get a full night’s sleep. Yet, real rest goes beyond counting the hours lying prone beneath the sheets and it is vital for finding balance and fulfilment. While many regard religion as inherently flawed, even baleful, spiritual thinkers encompassing all traditions are revered for relaying remarkable wisdom that guides us through the most basic questions in life. These teachers provide practical advice to us, threaded with the idea that there is something bigger that we can tap into, creating clarity and purpose. “Rest” is a noticeable theme in scores of mystical narratives and songs. It is this rest that brings fullness of strength – to connect with our family, engage our community, or simply be with our own emotions and thoughts. Reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, ancient Chinese philosopher …

Ease in the Difficulty: Finding Opportunity in Autumn’s Transition

Photo by Bruno Ramos Lara on Unsplash It finally feels like autumn in Pennsylvania. The wind is caressing the edges of our home, making the warmth inside seem like a cozy little pod in which to hunker down. Our flannels and chunky socks are out, the coffee pot is warm, and our noses are filled with spicy scents of our last meal. The fall is coming to me with messages of rest. For some reason, the weeks leading out of summer were hectic, strained, and defined by busyness – all of which I will readily give up. In order to combat the anxious spirits, I made a decision to wake up each morning at 5:45 A.M. (!!!) and settle deeply into a morning yoga and meditation practice. When this thought first flashed through my brain, I will admit that I (internally) shouted to my inner voice, “Are you kidding me? This will never work! I am not disciplined enough.” To my surprise, after a few weeks, I find myself eager to take the time to …

Nourishment Beyond Food, A Few Suggestions

What nourishes you? This is the question in my mind during yoga practice this week. It bubbles up over and over like a fountain churning through the waters of my spirit. In these sessions I feel like I receive necessary sustenance. My stiff, sleepy body needed it and my spirit craved it. So, throughout the day I contemplate the idea of “nourishment” and came up with a few principles for my personal journey. I wish to share them with you. First, Merriam-Webster defines nourish: To nurture, rear To promote the growth of To furnish or sustain with nutriment; maintain, support   At the core is the idea of expansion – a word that has ambiguous meaning for me as an American woman. The expectation for ideal womanhood in this culture is that we limit the expansion of our bodies so that we take up the appropriate amount of space and we limit the expansion of our personalities and maintain a passive countenance. Words like “bossy,” “pushy,” and “loud” stand in contrast with “sweet,” “gentle,” and “charming.” The …

Love and Grief: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Lately I feel more open to write about personal thoughts without indulging in the details – broad and open. It is more cathartic that way. This blog has become a resource to really process these thoughts and I appreciate those that take the time to read. We are creating community. During my yoga class yesterday morning the teacher expressed the importance of acknowledging emotion, rather than running from it. “The Divine gave us emotions and we should not ignore them,” Amy Ippolitti says. She asked us to expand outward with our arms and legs in certain poses to let the emotions move through our bodies. While I am getting better at standing back to observe what happens in my emotional body, it is tough. This week is tough. Someone very close to me is starting treatment for a serious health crisis and we are in a maelstrom. It is also the week that I decided, months ago, that I will end the thirteen-month breastfeeding journey with my son. My body physically feels the effects of …

Presently, Joy: Finding Happiness in Mindfulness

The problem is that religious nuts around the world have exported everything that is beautiful about a human being to the other world. If you talk of love, they speak of divine love. If you talk of bliss, they speak of divine bliss. If you talk of peace, they speak of divine peace. We have forgotten that these are human qualities. A human being is fully capable of joy, of love, of peace. Why do you want to export these to heaven? There is much talk of God and heaven mainly because human beings have not realized the immensity of being human. It is obvious that the very source of life is throbbing within you in some way. The source of your life is also the source of every other life and the source of all creation. This dimension of intelligence or consciousness exists in every one of us. The deliverance of every human being lies in finding access to this deathless dimension. To be joyful and peaceful within yourself every moment of your life, …

Flight or Fright of Everyday and Developing a Patient Mind

When is the last time you faced challenge? I mean a real deal, in your face challenge? Often I come across this word when reading about 5k race training or when someone discusses the pursuit of higher education – both wonderful ideas. But to talk about challenge as if it only encompasses extraordinary circumstances misses a lot of the beauty in challenge. Yes. Challenges can be beautiful. To see this requires a change in perspective. As my husband and I began our parenting journey in 2016 we found ourselves using the word fairly often, and I came to realize that the term was less weighted than it was in the past. In other words, saying, our baby “was a challenge today because he did not want to take a nap” was actually a freeing statement that came with multiple emotions: frustration at a baby’s ignorance of a “schedule,” hilarity at the absurd day we just experienced, and also joyfulness at remembering the smiles of our little one because he would rather spend time with Mama than sleep! “Challenges” …

Your Body (Image) on Yoga

The experience I describe here is not limited to a yoga practice. However, I believe that yoga in combination with a contemplative practice leads the way to greater self-esteem. My body and mind have gone through significant changes over the last two years. We will celebrate my son’s first birthday in a week and it is striking to simply look back on the process of pregnancy through delivery to recovery. I recognize each woman’s experience is massively different, but I find myself having a transformation when it came to the way I viewed my body. I fully expected to go through a slump after Arlo’s delivery in April 2016. I had a cesarean section and knew the recovery would keep me from jumping back into an active life. There certainly were feelings of unfamiliarity with my own body and wanting desperately to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans again, but at the same time, my pre-pregnancy mindset was not one I wanted to go back to. For as long as I can remember, I stood in …

Yoga, Meditation, and Lent: Weaving a Daily Practice

So, what are you doing this year for Lent? I never considered this question until a few years ago when I started attending an episcopal church. I thought it was just another stuffy religious act that meant little to those who practice it. And it is. Until maybe it isn’t. My life experience with religion and spirituality is an interesting one. I keep thinking one day I will write some kind of memoir about it. Each year as the story unfolds, I find that what once angered me slowly becomes just a part of the narrative. It is who I am. Now I see how various threads are weaving together to form the fabric of my spirituality. Ten years ago my spirit was in a bad place. I made a decision to leave an oppressive form of patriarchal Christianity that was based in fear, though it talked a lot about “love.” I was angry because I thought that the only way for me to express spirituality had to be within this system. It insisted this …