Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pick The Plums. Wipe The Nose. Mow The Lawn.

The other day, lovestruck, I dashed off a quick FB post before running out the door:

The plum tree in our backyard is Going. Off.

Yesterday we gave brimming bowlfuls to our fairy godmother nanny and our friend Chris. I ate 3 for breakfast. This morning around 7 my kid and I went out to collect more (so many had ripened overnight!) and he was in plum heaven, looking up at the leaves shouting "Balls! Balls! Balls!" with wild disbelief. We'll take another bowlful to a birthday gathering this afternoon.
They're tart and lush, and I can't get over how abundant I feel standing out there picking them under the sun. That I didn't do anything to earn this bounty. How time seems to freeze, and I could easily be my grandmother, or hers, in that moment. And how thrilled my kid is to just run around the house with a plum in each sticky hand. All morning. Til the juice leaks out into his hair and his eyebrows.

I can't remember the last time something so mundane gave me so much joy.

Nearly two weeks later, the tree's still going bazooka. We've got plums up to our ears. And they're better than ever. In spite of the drought. In spite of the fact that I'd long ignored that tree until the day it decided to overwhelm us with ripe fruit.

The whole thing feels very much like grace. The kind of grace we talked about in 7th grade Lutheran confirmation class, in the dingy basement of an old church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Grace being the unearned love, the unexpected bounty. The kind of blessing that comes whether we work for it, or deserve it, or asked for it, or not.

Grace. The grace of those ripe plums falling off the tree and landing heavily, gushingly, on the ground. More quickly than I can pluck them.

Grace. The fact that some anonymous someone, once, one unremarkable day, planted a tree that he or she would never see produce fruit.

Grace. The ability to see the little blessings in our lives that are so often so easy to overlook.

Duke has been sick now for a good two weeks. What started as a runny nose caught at the children's museum a few Saturdays ago turned steadily into an oozing green monster clogging up his nose and glomming up his little eyes with crusty monster gloms.

He's been up, feverish, restless, every night, hardly sleeping. Chattering through the fever dreams with words and sentences I'd never known he was capable of speaking.

Then it moved into his chest and now our sweet little 16-month-old wonder has been hacking up mucus for days like a 19th-century tuberculosis patient.

It breaks my heart.

He is chirpy as ever. Happy-go-lucky. A little more cuddly, certainly, with zero appetite, but essentially himself.

It breaks my heart.

I mean, your kid suffering? It's pretty much the worst goddamn thing you could ever witness. I don't know how any parent bears suffering of a greater depth than the common sinus infection. I can't even think about the fact that he's due to suffer down the line because he's been born into a human body that will age and break and love and hurt and lose and grieve. It's too much. I want to take it all on right now, so he doesn't have to, ever.

And yet, of course, that's not life-giving, nor is it at all edifying for him, in the long run.

Fifteen years ago, I discovered Joanna Macy's work in a dusty corner of the University of Delaware Morris Library, and her words have followed me ever since. She's an ecofeminist Buddhist scholar who draws the most beautiful threads between ostensibly unrelated bits of our lives. She writes:

The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe. Your heart is that large.
Trust it. Keep breathing.

This sentence has been the living-and-breathing, thumping, rushing heart of my practice and my teaching and my writing ever since. It speaks so much truth. Reminds me of the universality of suffering, big and small. And having a child certainly makes me realize that the way my heart breaks when he suffers offers me the vastness of the entire universe in one breath.

In one plum.

The cherries are ripening, too. I didn't even realize we HAD a cherry tree until I took Duke out one morning to harvest the ever-zooming plums and turned around to see cherries on the tree across the yard. We went out this morning and tasted them. They're soft and fruity and not tart at all. I've got a recipe buried somewhere for an old cherry bundt cake. I think it called for scary cherry-flavored gelatin or something else gross. We will adapt it. But there will definitely be plum and cherry crisps coming out of this oven as soon as I can get a few minutes alone with my paring knife in the kitchen.

It's been a nerdy pleasure to wash and dry and pack and share the plums over the past two weeks. Seeing the delight on students' faces when they bite into one out of the bowl after class. We took a bowlful into the pediatrician's office last Friday and the nurses lit up.

It's such a selfish thing. I'm embarrassed to admit how good it makes me feel to give them away. So much better than it makes me feel to eat them.

And yes, it's a cheesy-ass yoga cliche to talk about how one tiny action can ripple out to affect others. The whole butterfly effect idea, you know? That whole "as within, as without" idea. That we start small by creating peace and joy and tranquility on the micro level, on our mats, in our own minds, and then, sure enough, that stillness ripples out until it creates peace and joy and tranquility on the macro level.

Sounds dreamy and totally unrealistic, eh.

But. Hot damn.

It might just be right.

(Of course it's right.)

I can't stop thinking about how some anonymous person planted those trees decades ago; what, 20 or 30 years, maybe? I don't know fruit trees very well. But they planted them, and maybe watered them a few times, and then left, with no expectation of return on their investment. And look at the joy, the magnified joy, that has come of that simple little action!! Incredible.

The little things matter.

And maybe they aren't so little.

The other day while Duke slept, I read this article from the NYT.  In "Mow The Lawn," Roger Cohen writes:
I’ve grown suspicious of the inspirational. It’s overrated. I suspect duty — that half-forgotten word — may be more related to happiness than we think. Want to be happy? Mow the lawn. Collect the dead leaves. Paint the room. Do the dishes. Get a job. Labor until fatigue is in your very bones. Persist day after day. Be stoical. Never whine. Think less about the why of what you do than getting it done.  
I love this. And not just because it's labor-friendly. Or embodied. Or populist. But because it's so very Zen.

I remember the excitement of being about 10 years old and learning how to mow the lawn. We lived on a good quarter-acre lot and it required a fair amount of mowing. My dad always had a fleet of half-working John Deere riding lawn mowers, and one day he taught me how to drive. 

It was thrilling.

I was driving! A moving vehicle! By myself! Under the sun!

I remember telling my preteen self: "Don't ever forget how exciting this is. Don't ever take this freedom for granted. This ability to drive a lawn mower all by yourself. Don't ever forget."

Well, of course I did.

And after a few years of mowing the lawn singing Rodgers & Hammerstein showtunes at the top of my lungs under that prairie sky, I graduated to a shitty little Dodge Omni. And I experienced that same moment of incredible liberation, of revelation, the joy of getting behind a wheel and going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, by myself.

And again I told myself: "Don't you ever take this for granted. Don't you ever forget the rush of being alone in a car going wherever you want like a grown-up. Don't ever forget how in this moment there's nothing else in the world you could imagine would ever make you so happy again."

And, of course I did. 

And the wild joy passed.

And what was once thrilling (mowing the lawn! driving a shitty hatchback!) became mundane, run-of-the-mill, not enough.

I grew sick of getting bruises on my knees when the riding mower's front wheel lurched into unseen gopher holes, barreling my body forward.

I grew jealous of my high school friends who drove fancy new 1996 Honda Accords. 

The world kept turning. Buddhism calls this the universal experience of lack, of dukkha (suffering, or restlessness) that comes of desire; the kind that leaves you craving and wanting more. The kind that makes you think there's always something bigger, better, more fulfilling, more exciting,




I've been thinking about this of late. I think about it in the mornings when I wake up and wish I were gazing at the Mediterranean in some sparkling Greek resort instead of stumbling into the kitchen to make coffee. I think of it when I'm wiping sunflower butter and brown rice off the floor and feeling like a janitor. I think of it when I wake for the 10th time that night to a crying restless feverish little man who wants only to be nursed and held and loved, and I'm so very tired, and my reserves are empty, and I wonder if we will ever feel rested again.

But there are always moments — moments like the ones under the plum tree — wherein I pull back and really see it all with clear eyes and it's all Vishnu, it's all God, it's simplicity, it's the quiet daily holiness that reminds me how sacred this ordinary existence really is. Vishnu the Preserver, he in Hindu mythology who governs our unsexy day-to-day grinds, the God of small things, the Zen-like quality of mundane sacrality that comes in the peeling of the potatoes and the picking of the plums and the mowing of the lawn.

Our plum tree has a few days left, max. The ground beneath is covered now with rotting fruit. Maybe we'll see a few through til the weekend, if we're lucky. The cherries will be done soon, too, and then, other than a middling fig tree, that'll be it til next June. 

So you love it while you've got it, knowing it will always, all, pass. 

And you remind yourself: Don't you ever take this for granted. Don't you ever forget how in this moment there's nothing else in the world you could imagine would ever make you so happy again.

And you know you'll forget.

But you do it anyway. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Point Reyes Yoga & Hiking Retreat

Mark your calendars for a day-long yoga & hiking retreat in Point Reyes Station on Saturday, July 11th.

Click on the image above for the day’s agenda and all the deets. We’re gonna have a fab time. This retreat will definitely fill up (people are stoked!), so register here now to save your spot.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Urban Flow Babes

Sweet morning reconnecting with my old colleagues Jennifer and Andrea (and our babes).

So grateful to Urban Flow for bringing these women into my life some five years ago. Even though the studio is no longer, the community it created continues to bless and brighten my life.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bhakti In Bloom 2015

Just home from a great weekend with Yogascapes at Sierra Hot Springs. Our annual retreat is always a highlight of my year. Love having the time to dive more deeply into metta meditations and long savasanas. My voice is tired, my mind feels content, and my heart is full.

Really a wonderful group of folks. You can tell just by looking, eh? I wish we would've had a week longer to get to know one another over vegan blackberry waffles and slabs of chocolate cake.

Here are a few quick pics. Big love.

Monday, April 6, 2015

7 Things I Didn't Know About Life Until I Had A Baby

I'm happy to have a new article up on MindBodyGreen. Check it out:

Ten weeks after my son was born, I returned to teaching yoga. Between diaper changes and feedings, I hadn't had much (OK, any) time to do asana. I'd barely done a full 90-minute practice. But I'd had a helluva lot of time to do yoga: the kind of practice that looked like chanting lullabies at 3 am whilst bouncing on a blue exercise ball for hours on end, crying babe in arms, trying to stay calm.
It was the hardest yoga I'd ever done. Way harder than Kapotasana. And it was also the most rewarding.
Having a baby has been tremendously educational, for my body, mind and spirit. With that, here are seven things having a baby has taught me about yoga....

7 Things I Didn't Know About Life Until I Had A Baby (MBG)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In Which She Gets Her Opinions On

I'm sitting at this uber-spare, self-consciously hip, wooden-and-metal cafe listening to the 20-something dudes across from me talking about how they should eat more greens and fewer tacos and why you should run outside instead of going to the gym.

They're totally charming and I never would've expected to hear these plaid-shirt-wearing, man-bunned kids talking about why fruit has a lot of sugar in it and where on your foot you should land when you run.

It makes me happy.

(Sometimes the world pleasantly surprises us.)

Two afternoons a week, for two hours at a time, I escape to this little cafe and pretend that all I have to do in the world is drink coffee and read and write. It reminds me of 2004, on then-seedy Polk St., with cloches and ecofeminist theology books.

It's kind of nostalgic. Medicinal, really.

Always at this moment, just after walking in and opening my laptop, I get a little anxious. Jittery. Not because the coffee has set in yet. And not because I'm particularly afraid of anything.

But because I'm so damn excited. Because there are so many potential new articles to write. And because being anonymous in a cafe is one of my favorite experiences of being a grown-up. It hasn't happened much in the last year, mostly because I've had a little boy attached to my boobs for much of the day. But this fairy godmother nanny named Charise (for real, that's her name) came into our lives in early February, and it's because of her that I can get away like this while my husband is at work and I can trust that my kid is playing his happy little guts out under the sun at the bright playground up the street, chasing woodchips and bugs and generally loving life.

As a new parent, and as a writer, I appreciate the solo time more than ever before. I've heard other introverted parents admit the same thing, but wow, does solitude feel sacred when your days have gone from largely quiet and solitary to perpetually social. (First World problems! Poor me, with my healthy child and my indoor plumbing and organic vegetables and basic human rights.) I know this phase will pass; little man will start preschool in the fall, and that means three big chunks of writing time a week. So for now it's about appreciating what is right here, the fact that I can actually be with him most days instead of hustling my ass to a job I dread, and trusting that life will just keep on changing.

I keep reading more and more about shitty American parental leave policies and feeling grateful for my own situation. My husband and I have been so lucky to not have to hire permanent full-time childcare; between his regular corporate hours and my weekend/evening teaching hours, we can manage to mutually cover childcare and both remain committed to our careers. I know that's rare. And I'm realizing, more and more, that most people (women?) either would rather quit their jobs and stay home, or are staying at home and would rather be working. (The grass is always greener, we always want what we don't have, yada yada.) It's hard to find a happy medium.

Speaking of...

I've had lots of Strong Opinions of late. About yoga and parenting and politics and, you know. The usual.

So can we talk about this bullshit article that was in the NYT a few days ago? Featured as a legitimate parenting option, this "sleep training your 8-week-old" crock of shit that's got all of us people with brains and hearts up in arms? It's appalling, neglectful, inhumane; straight-up child abuse. Long story short, this famous (and very popular) NYC pediatrician advocates locking your 2-month-old infant in his room at 7pm and not coming in again til 7am, no matter whether he screams the whole time, rolls around in his own vomit and/or feces, or worse. I read it and turned bright red. My heart beat fast. Smoke came out of my ears. The only thing that comforted me at all was coming back to stalk the comments and reading the outraged, compassionate, reasonable words of folks who were appalled, like me, to find such abominable content in the NYT.

Now, I have friends who've sleep-trained their babies. I know, I know; you were exhausted and dying from sleep deprivation and had to be able to function. Totally get that. Been there myself. I don't mean to judge you. I know you love your kids. I know you just wanna be good parents, like we all do. I hesitated to even write about this because I didn't want to offend you.

And I write as the parent of a toddler who's never slept more than 7 hours at a time (and that was a rare freak accident that happened back when he was about 3 months old and has never happened again). He still wakes multiple times a night and needs to be nursed or comforted back to sleep. And honestly, it's totally fine. I get it. I know he'll eventually sleep like a rock. (I hear all these stories from parents who have kids who magically slept 10-12 hours a night on their own, and simply cannot comprehend how different that kind of experience would have made my life. I've heard, too, that formula-fed babies sleep longer, because the formula is harder for them to digest than breast milk. I'm willing to get less sleep in order to accrue the benefits of continued breastfeeding.) The bottom line is: my husband and I haven't really slept in a year, and my radiant, brilliant kid is and always has been a restless light sleeper, so we co-sleep, because it's the only way we all rest, and it's actually pretty cozy and sweet and wonderful, even though we pretty much can't go out after dark because he needs someone near him cuddling or he'll wake up, but I still, still, love him so very much, and trust that soon, one day, he'll sleep, and would not, nor could not, ever EVER do the shit they propose in this article. Because it's fucking inhumane.

The thing is: babies aren't convenient. They don't fit our adult schedules. They shit and throw food all over. They need a great deal of time and attention and sacrifice and love. But they're not supposed to be convenient. They're babies. They're growing like crazy and their bellies are tiny and they may need to eat more often than every 12 hours. They need to be cuddled and touched and loved. They need to be responded to, cared for, met with tenderness. And I feel certain that one day we will look back at "sleep training" (even that phrase makes me crazy, like you're training a cat to pee in a litter box or something) as a terrible, psychologically-damaging socio-cultural error.

Until then? I was so happy to find this excellent rebuttal. Please read it. The author makes such a great case for the insanity of this whole 8-week sleep training idea, comparing it to what would happen if we advocated a similar protocol for the "care" of the elderly:

To follow through with Cohen’s “advice” doesn’t require “guts.” Sleep training an 8-week-old doesn't require "guts." The instinct to respond to a baby's cries is empathetic, wise, and vitally important to the healthy development of future generations.  
What requires "guts" is seeking out a new pediatrician when one's current doctor advocates medically sanctioned abuse and neglect. It takes "guts" to change our federal maternity leave system and finally catch up with the ethical and family-friendly legislation that characterizes the modern world. It takes "guts" to be present and respond to a baby who isn't physiologically wired to "sleep through the night." It's healthy for babies (and toddlers) to wake and breastfeed and connect. It's normal.  
It takes courage to respond to our most vulnerable with compassion, connection, and evidenced-based clarity in America today. We stand together in opposing the neglectful abuse of our elderly. Authorities would shut down any nursing home that practiced the neglect described [here]. It’s time we stand firm in opposing the purposeful nighttime neglect of our children.

Read the comments in the NYT piece. Be comforted by the fact that so many smart, mindful people are aware that it's actually not biologically normal for babies to sleep through the night. That wakefulness is evolutionarily standard for babies and toddlers. That even most adults don't sleep through the night without waking to pee or have a drink of water or adjust their pillow. That breastfeeding is supported by co-sleeping and night feeds. Blah blah blah; I could go on. I won't. Just please. Don't leave your kid to cry his eyes out. There's a reason it breaks your heart. It goes against every parenting instinct we have. The end.

(And on that note: if you're interested in intelligent, biologically-inspired parenting, check out Evolutionary Parenting. It's a godsend.)

Next, let's talk about this piece from On Being: "Listen, Learn, Practice: Yoga Spirituality For Atheists." I appreciated it. Now, I'm not so much an Iyengar lady (ok, it makes me want to poke my eyeballs out), and I'm not an atheist, but I get what the writer's saying. Really, I do.

The author writes:

I don’t want to be part of a yoga world of happy talk about unending potential and perfect happiness. I don’t have much time for the kind of self-impressed platitudes that give yoga a bad name. Like so many of the secular, health-oriented, somewhat prideful members of my clan, I do yoga to quiet my brain, not to fill it with nonsense.
And yet nonsense abounds. Several years ago, I dropped in on a class at another studio. As class began, the teacher offered her thoughts about the goodness of the world and its benevolence toward us. “If you just reach out with your intention,” she said sagely, “the universe will rise to meet you half-way.” I almost walked out. The earthquake in Japan had happened the day before.

Nonsense. Oh yes. I am familiar with this such nonsense. It abounds. My Facebook feed is full of this shit.

Anyway, she goes on. Cites a few great teachers. And then says

The point is that the practice of attentiveness — the fundamental practice that yoga cultivates — should lead us to contemplate the full reality of our life, which includes its inevitable end. As the yogi Richard Freeman puts it:
“Yoga is a rehearsal for death.”
That is the universe rising up to meet you.
For me, this discussion was a rare moment when I had some inclination of what “yoga spirituality” might mean, particularly for someone who doesn’t actually believe in spirituality. In this version, there is no promise of health or happiness. There is only our embrace of reality, in both its quiet joys and its suffering. We recognize ourselves as part of the universe, and we accept that universe’s fundamental indifference to us. Then we see what flows from that.
I suspect that this embrace of death, and life, doesn’t arise from an act of will or from reading the right books. Maybe, though, it comes from the act of the placing one’s feet in exactly the right alignment, and paying attention.

Yes on suffering. Yes on practice for death. Yes on embracing reality, both in light and shadow. Read the whole thing. Really worth it.

Now, finally, if we wanna get really capital-S Strongly Opinionated: let's be real about eating meat, 'cause that shit's making the California drought 10x worse.

I try to be patient about this stuff and not be that annoying militant vegan. I try to respect people's choices and keep my mouth shut. But this drought is no joke. And it's time to drop the charming/exhausted "I love bacon-wrapped-everything" act and take some responsibility. The personal is political, yo.

Meat (well, both the meat itself and the resources necessary for producing it) is killing our water supply. It's unsustainable and environmentally damaging. It's implicated in the epidemic of sexual violence in this country. It's responsible for the devastation of the rainforests. It's not good for your heart or your cholesterol. It's steeped in drugs and suffering. There are a million and one reasons to stop eating it, even beyond the drought. So why not consider cutting it out? What's the worst that can happen — you lose weight, you improve your cholesterol, you live more lightly on the planet, you save a few bucks and whole lotta water?

Ok, whew. If you've lasted this long: great. Thanks for putting up with me.

I just don't have a lot of patience for woo-woo these days. There's a fine line between making an effort  to respect everyone's opinions and moving through your life like a boring vanilla milkshake, too afraid of ruffling feathers to ever take a stand. I see a lot of the latter in the yoga world, and it feels disappointingly neutered and toothless. I'd rather opt for the non-milkshake route, myself, even at the risk of alienating.

I wrote this little FB post quickly yesterday while my kid slept in my lap. This is where my heart and mind are of late. This is the yoga that's calling to me right now:

Some of the most advanced yogis I've met in my life have never taken a yoga class. They don't speak self-empowerment mantras and they don't have websites proclaiming them healers and masters. 
They're the old church ladies who bring tuna casseroles when someone dies. They're the quiet farmers who shovel the neighbor's driveway at 4am after a blizzard. They're the kind elderly women who knit teeny hats for premature babies in the NICU. They're the ones who show up, humbly offering, asking nothing in return. No glory necessary. 
That's yoga. That's what I wanna be someday.

The tuna casserole ladies have been heavy on my heart. Their book will get written once preschool begins.

In the meantime, happy Tuesday, y'all. It's great to see you here.

Go cuddle your kid and eat some broccoli.

Sleep Training At 8 Weeks: "Do You Have The Guts?" (NYT)
It Doesn't Take "Guts" To "Sleep Train" An 8-Week-Old (
Listen, Learn, Practice: Yoga Spirituality For Atheists (On Being)
Meat Makes The Planet Thirsty (NYT)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Yep. Even The Oatmeal.

My yoga practice feels like training for motherhood.

How to bend, not break. How to be gentle. How to not throw things. How to laugh instead of freak out. How to not mind oatmeal in my hair. How to take a deep breath and start over. Again. And again.

Atha yoga anusasanam.

The yoga begins. Here. As we are.

Unshowered. Tired. Loving. Loved.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why A Good Book Is A Secret Door

It's no secret around these parts that I love me a good book. So when somebody recommended this TED talk, I was intrigued.

Listened to it last night as I drove to Oakland to teach. It made me laugh out loud — and weep.

Give it a listen, especially if you've got little ones in your life.

Mac Barnett: Why A Good Book Is A Secret Door

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Upcoming Yoga Retreat: Bhakti In Bloom

Our 4th-annual yoga & hot springs retreat, Bhakti In Bloom, is coming up this April. Join me at Sierra Hot Springs for 3 days of rejuvenating yoga, great company, delicious food, and healing hot springs.

Deets here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Yoga On The Sky Deck

Taught yoga on the Sky Deck at the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco this morning.

So great to see my OMpower Cycling & Yoga sisters Jennifer and Devine there.

SF, you'll always have my heart.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Duke

Over Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure of officiating the wedding of two dear yogis at the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur.

(So beautiful. Epic setting.)

Turns out my kid had a pizza named after him at the cocktail hour.

Coincidence? Or just badass?

You decide.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New Evening Classes Start Sept. 2nd

 YES, it's TRUE!! 

I'm returning to teach regular Mon/Thurs evening classes at Flying Studios starting next week!! Thanks for your patience while I've been easing back from maternity leave. 

My permanent schedule as of Sept:

      Sundays 10:45am-12:15pm 

                     (in the Annex)
      Mondays 7:15-8:45pm (Annex)
      Thursdays 7:30-8:45pm

Can't wait to see you in the twinkly twilight.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Six Months Old.

Six months old today. We have kept him alive for six whole months.

Someone deserves a cocktail.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why My Butt-Dimples Just Unsubscribed From Yoga Journal

Yesterday I sat with my kid in my lap and leafed through the latest Yoga Journal. There was a fashion supplement, a celebrity profile of a pretty teacher who married a famous actor, and a whole feature on how to dress to hide your figure flaws to look thinner on the mat ("How can I conceal my butt dimples?").

I cancelled my subscription.

I felt sad. And dejected. And not good enough, especially since I'm a butt-dimpled new mom with a muffin top and it's been awhile since I've done Natarajasana in high heels on a rooftop like Hilaria Baldwin. But mostly, I felt disappointed, because I've written a few pieces for YJ in the past and have always felt proud of finding a market for intelligent mindful writing amidst the glossy mainstream rags.

Today I'm sitting on the floor with my kid in my lap and he's chewing on a soft fabric car with wheels that spin across the 3 sheet-covered yoga mats that we've laid out across the living room floor as a playmat. We're making frozen toaster waffles (nope, not organic) with maple syrup and reading Where The Wild Things Are, which, incidentally, includes no fashion supplements. He's learning how to sit by himself, and falling forward into Paschimottanasana every time. I'm wearing old black tutu-leggings with a hole in the crotch, my peeling, calloused feet haven't had a pedicure since January, I ate 27 dark-chocolate-covered almonds from Trader Joe's for breakfast (after finishing the peanut butter cups first), and my bare face is blotchy with postpartum rosacea.

It doesn't look anything like a Yoga Journal spread. There are no high heels or probiotics to be found. And yet, it feels very much like yoga.

My son is the child of two long-time yogis. He'll grow up learning a lot about yoga. We'll teach him the Primary Series when he's ready. He already does Navasana in the bath, and says goodnight to Buddha and Ganesha and Shiva and Vishnu every evening before bed. But I want him to know the kind of yoga that's about being wild and loving and unpretentious and free. The yoga that means learning how to be real, and fearless, and gentle, and compassionate, and kind. Not the type that wastes precious life energy worrying about covering up the "flaws" in your "apple- or pear-shaped" temple of All That Is Good And Holy.

So we'll keep eating waffles. I'll bandage my blistered toes. And we'll leave the Yoga Journal on the magazine rack for someone else to buy.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Current Teaching Schedule


I'm currently teaching a limited regular schedule in the wake of my son's birth.

Please join me on Sunday mornings and Tues/Thurs evenings at Flying Studios.

Stay tuned to my Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates about ongoing subbing at Yoga Toes Studio in Point Reyes, OMpower Cycling & Yoga, and elsewhere.

Flying Studios
          4202 & 4308 Telegraph Ave
          Sun 1045am-1215pm (in the Annex)
          Tues 730-845pm
          Thurs 730-845pm

Friday, July 11, 2014

We Are All Wrecks Together

We are all wrecks together.
This is great news, right?
Because it means that we are so close to each other, we really know each other well; we are deeply, poignantly connected. It's almost heartbreaking how connected we all are as human beings. More than we can ever imagine....

All the suffering in the world is not a mistake. It's not your fault, and it's not my fault, and it's not anybody's fault. It's not our parents' fault, it's not our ancestors' fault. It's what connects us to each other. It's what binds us to one another. If only we could have the courage to allow ourselves to feel the suffering and the loss fully, we would appreciate it for what it is: the nature of the world. Not a mistake.

The nature of how things actually are, that they're here at all, means that later they won't be.

And that's the pain, and that's the love.
That's the love. And that's the miracle.

                                      — Zen priest and teacher Norman Fischer

He's fallen asleep, finally, finally.

His teething mouth is clamped onto the Ergo strap.

(Is he breathing?

I check.  

Yes, phew, breathing.)

I am so tired. He is so tired.

He's been up every hour the last two nights.

Out of the blue, after settling into a nice pattern of sleeping for 6-7 hour chunks, followed by a quick 3am feeding, then cuddling in the big bed til 7am. It had become a lovely routine.

We took it for granted.

He hates to nap. He needs to nap.

I need for him to nap. Desperately.

Those naps save me.

Just an hour of feeling like an intelligent adult human again, those naptimes afford. Not playing with stuffed monkeys or narrating my day ("Ok, now we're going to take the spoons out of the dishwasher and put them in the drawer") to ensure his verbal capacity a few years from now. Just being quiet with myself. Craving solitude, independence, asana, wondering if I'll ever read a book or write an article again. Wondering how I ever took all that solo pre-motherhood free time for granted. Resentful that my younger self wasn't more aware of what a precious commodity those unbounded still moments were. Dismayed at the nothingness I'm getting accomplished of late.

("Nothingness," other than raising a human and singing to him and reading to him and making sure he doesn't suffocate or get his foot stuck in the crib slats and keeping him fed and clothed and being single-handedly exclusively mammarily responsible for putting rich fat rolls on his wrists and his ankles and his hamhock thighs.)

I want to take my husband out to soak in hot springs to celebrate his birthday. He's been working nonstop for months with zero time for asana or even a walk or even lunch. There are no spas that accept children. We can't really get a babysitter; doesn't make sense, too expensive; my boobs would need to be pumped if we did that, and Robb wants to be with him, anyway.

So we'll soak in our own dirty bathtub with the little squirty toys and the two half-empty bottles of baby shampoo and the crusty washcloths and save it for another year.

Snoring now. 

Here on my chest. 

Squishy lips open, no longer clamping the Ergo, head precariously tipped to one side.

His eyebrows glint blonde in the sun.

In every instant, his hair changes color. It's a game-show of guessing what it'll end up. In some lights, mouse-brown like mine as a kid. In others, towhead blonde, like Robb's was. In others, undeniably red.

Only time will tell.

I get stuck in the monotonous moments and miss my old life in the City, desperately. Autonomy and urbanity and intellect and speed and hard liquor and stylish hats and no dirty diapers.

But then there he is snorting as you look down at his floppy sleepy head and you think to yourself that you'll probably need to get the snot-sucker out when he wakes up and there are World Cup soccer matches to look forward to tomorrow and Sunday and the fog is finally burning off over Tomales Bay and he looks so damn cute in that striped blue-and-coral-and-white shirt (gorgeous in blue, just like his daddy) that you almost forget about the sleeplessness and the stuckness and the pink ghetto housewife's life you've been living of late (even though Robb does all the laundry and the cleaning and the yardwork and the cooking, which leaves you doing what again, exactly?) and how it is totally opposite of the busy active masculine hustling working writing traveling life you've always lived and how all those articles still haven't gotten written because by the time he actually drifts off to sleep and you precariously settle him down and you hurriedly check your email and remind yourself to respond to those 37 high-priority ones from two months ago and pee quickly and brush your teeth and unload the dishwasher and sit down to finish that half-written blog

he is up again

and Christ-almighty, he was asleep!

and now he's up

and how did that go so quickly?

and when will the thank-you notes get written if he's always in your arms?

but he won't always want to be in your arms, not much longer, really, he's already so wiggly and curious, you know, and this is the most precious time of his life and you get to witness it, right here, in the VIP club seats, staring down at this most-perfect little bodhisattva, this short guru who's already kicked your butt into knowingness and egolessness and detachment from all that was and will be,

and some day he won't want anything to do with you, he'll ask you ashamedly to drop him off two blocks down the street so his classmates don't see him getting out the car with his nerdy mom, and he'll ignore your calls and be too busy out there to 

sleep on your chest with his little legs straddling either side of your soft loose mama belly

and his eyelashes-for-days fluttering innocently against his cheeks

and his teeny ears listening to the whirr of the white noise fan

and he won't look at you with that radiant lit-up grin every time he opens his eyes 

and rolling over will no longer be a feat worthy of celebration

and he won't proudly push up into Cobra afterward like a boss

owning the world in that post-roll moment of triumph

So you chill the fuck out and take a deep breath and look out the window at your beautiful hard-working husband weed-whacking on his day off which was supposed to be a birthday celebration spent soaking in decadent lush rich-people spas in Sonoma and which instead he will spend making you tea in the morning and getting you a gluten-free muffin downtown and whacking those damn weeds and hiking up Perth and giving the bubs a bath together at 6:30 and falling into bed after shoveling in a quick lukewarm dinner standing over the countertop and wondering if he'll wake up in an hour or maybe be kind and give you two before the bouncing-to-sleep on the blue exercise ball commences for the night

and you think of the friends whose babies were "fabulous sleepers" who slept 12 hours a night and took 3 long naps a day and you wonder what the fuck!?? and look down again at little blondie below (yes, I really do think he'll be blonde) and you sigh

with such great love

because you know

it'll all pass

too quickly.

He looks so much like my dad around the mouth. We found this pic of my father as a baby, taken in 1946 or maybe early 1947, and put it side-by-side with Duke's, and they have the same smile.

Larry's smile. My smile. And now, Duke's.

Dad, who's been dead 9 years now, who never got to meet his first grandson.

Duke, whose Larry-smile will, god-willing, live on long after his father and I are gone.

If that ain't a helluva gorgeous reminder of all that is fucking sacred in the world, I don't know what is.

The nature of how things actually are, that they're here at all, means that later they won't be.

And that's the pain, and that's the love.

That's the love. And that's the miracle.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bhakti In Bloom: June 13-15th

Less than a month til we escape to the mountains. Join me for a weekend of wildflowers, hot springs and hiking. (Oh, and lots of yoga.) Spaces are filling up quickly — so sign up soon.

Meet June.

Wanna do something really good for someone really good?

Hop on over to June's Tibetan Studies Fund and share a little love.

The mindful Ms. McCrory (pictured at left) is on her way to UVA's Tibetan Language Institute, and she could use your support.

A few words from June:
I began practicing Tibetan Buddhism just over three years ago. I am so thankful for this practice, and for the benefits of greater patience, peace, and inspired study which have come from working with these ancient, compassionate teachings.

Last fall my studies expanded to include the Tibetan language. I find the language so joyful, and learning it stretches my mind in a way that my mind loves to be stretched! Now 8 months into my literary (written) Tibetan class, I have learned the 30 character alphabet, am writing and pronouncing words, and slowly getting the hang of grammar and form.

This summer I hope to travel from my home in the San Francisco Bay Area to Charlottesville, VA, to attend the University of Virginia's Summer Language InstituteI have already been accepted to this excellent and select program. Now I need to raise the funds for tuition, travel, and housing BY JUNE 1st, 2014.

The UVa Summer Language Institute creates an intensive language-learning environment on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, VA. 40-hour class weeks, Tibetan-language dorm housing, native-speaking teachers, and a resident tutor provide an almost immersive language learning experience. The result is 2 years of language study achieved in one summer session. This is the most comprehensive program I have found in the country. I consider it a blessing to be able to build this strong of a foundation here in the United States.

Why Tibetan? And why is this important to me?

You may or may not know, but there is a pressing need for translations of Tibetan Buddhist texts. In today's global world, practices like meditation and mindfulness are widely recognized for their benefits to personal health and well-being, and the integration of these methods is currently producing positive results in our classrooms, business environments, prisons, and healthcare facilities. Why has Tibet been such a great container for this wisdom? Because translators hundreds of years ago Translated the Buddhadharma into Tibetan. We are in a new renaissance as this wisdom lands here in the West. It is going to take countless conversations between translators, scholars and teachers to further share Tibetan practices, cultural information, and texts relevant to our culture's needs.

I am studying to become a translator to help fulfill this need and to transition into a new and fulfilling career path. Learning colloquial (spoken) Tibetan at UVa this summer is a way for me to literally bring the language to life, providing an experiential understanding of the language and Tibetan culture, and increasing my nimbleness as a future translator by giving me the ability to connect and dialog personally with Tibetan people. 

This path of study is important to me because I have finally found a deep and multi-faceted path of study that I adore. I believe my work in this field can and will actually help people, in ways that I cannot yet begin to imagine.

I would be honored if you would contribute to my Tibetan Study Fund today.

Much love,

Friday, May 2, 2014

Baby News + Bhakti In Bloom

Here's my latest newsletter, including details on my return from maternity leave and an adjusted teaching schedule for May, subbing in Point Reyes, upcoming retreats, bebe sweetness, and more.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

7 Confessions Of A Postpartum Yoga Teacher

I'm returning to class this coming Sunday. Teaching again for the first time in 3 months. Putting on leggings and painting my chipped toenails for the first time since February.

Exciting! (Terrifying!)

I can't wait! (What am I thinking?!?! This is ridiculous, I've never even left my kid for more than an hour and now I'll be away from him, not just across the room, but across a whole bridge for about FIVE, once you figure in the drive and parking and the closing-up the studio and all.)

What am I thinking!??

I am thinking that it's about goddamned time. That I've missed you all, and missed teaching, and missed the music and the sweat and the stretch. But also that I've had plenty of that and more right here at home with my newborn son since he was born. The music (chanting to him noon and night) and the sweat (dripping down me at the most inopportune of times — thanks, pregnant-lady hormones) and the stretch (the cosmic emotional and psychological stretch of transforming in one breathless instant from freewheeling hard-drinking 30-something chick to responsible tee-totalling parent of a small living creature who desperately loves and needs me in every way). Yes; I've sung and sweated and stretched, all right.

So I may not have had much (ok, any) time to do asana since the little guy arrived. But I've had a helluva lotta time to do yoga. The kind of yoga that means sitting with what's difficult, and choosing how to react, and remembering to breathe.

Over the weekend, I scrolled through Twitter and stumbled across this essay while my little guy slept in my lap. I didn't have the heart to wake him just then, so I stayed put and snuggled him and read with one hand holding my iPhone, there in the pre-dawn dark.

And I found this incredibly powerful, sobering, all-too-true story of a Sacramento yoga teacher who, unbeknownst to anyone, taught 2 Easter day yoga classes last week and then went home and shot herself.

Teacher Karen Miscall-Bannon, who knew this woman well, writes passionately that
We need to create a space where yoga teachers can be real, without shame or guilt that they're not enough.  We need to do it for ourselves, and most certainly for our students.  We need to teach them that yoga is not about exercise, or becoming perfect — or even becoming the best we can be.  It's about looking in the mirror and seeing what you see, and if it's something you can change easily — great.  If not — well, we sit with it and try not to react.....
What this means for us, is that in our rush to enlightenment, or peace, or whatever it is that we think yoga will give us, we're bypassing the experience. We're actually short-changing ourselves and our students. By not copping to our own struggles, we're telling our students that they should aspire to not be human. The work is not to shed the old self — it's to integrate it. And to integrate it means that you can't just get rid of it. Again, the lotus flower doesn't try to get rid of the mud from which it came — it simply reaches for the sun. If its roots were pulled out of the mud, it would die. I'm not saying that we need to unload all our troubles onto our students. Not at all — save that for your therapist. But we do need to let them know that this practice is not all about puppies and rainbows and peace signs and feeling good. We need them to know that feeling bad is part of the process — an important part actually — and it's part of being human....
I don't know whether our friend and colleague suffered from depression or not.  I have to think that maybe she did.  She didn't let on.  She didn't tell her best friend.  She didn't tell her teacher training community.  She didn't tell anyone.  I have to think that we didn't create a safe place for her to be real; to cop to "un-yogic" thoughts or actions.  In the competition to be the best teacher, have the most fun classes, offer the most awesome sequences, we've boxed ourselves into a lie.  We put our best faces forward — and not just in the classroom, but on facebook and other social media outlets.  We are bombarded by people with exciting lives, doing fun things, with amazing families who love them.  No one posts anything when they're not on the top of their game — well, maybe a couple of people do, but largely, it's a world where we're never enough. We're bombarded with posts to think positively, create our own happiness and reality.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if you're low, and maybe have been for a while, you tend to think that you're doing something wrong, because everyone else seems to have it all wrapped up. We're constantly comparing ourselves to others — on the mat and off the mat.  We do it — we're human.  And we usually find that we come up short.  We need to let our students know that we're just like them.  We're not super-human.  We struggle, we suffer — it's probably partly why we teach!  And sometimes yoga doesn't work.  Or at least we think it's not working, because we're not seeing the results we want to see.  I'd argue that it is working, and has been all along. The fullness of the practice includes the darkness.  We are darkness and light in equal measure....


I was struck breathless. So struck by the reminder, the imperative, the responsibility for us yoga teachers, us spiritual guides, us leaders of any kind, to embrace our shadows, to live in them and be fearless enough to own them.

That in mind, I feel more committed than ever to keeping it real. To resisting the urge to package my yoga-teacher-life as one that's all shellacked grace and ease and happy shiny people holding hands, one that never feels cold or pain or ache or indigestion. And to offering my own humanity as proof of why this transformational practice works.

So, that said, I give you  

7 Confessions of a Postpartum Yoga Teacher

1. I have back fat. It used to be belly, and it's for real. I feel it scrunching on my left side every time I pick up my kid and burp him over my right shoulder. And I hope to create the kind of environment where you feel safe letting yours fly free, too. A good teacher is not necessarily the skinniest, most muscle-y one. Some of my best teachers have been far from nubile or svelte or ripped. And some of my, ahem, "less-best" teachers have been super mad fit. And their fitness didn't mean a damn thing. Their muscles didn't give them the words to change my life, or or the wisdom to slow my racing mind. I want you to feel free and confident to take up space. To own your bodies, to own your stories. To own your size. (It's powerful, you know. It's the most formidable tool you wield as you move through the world.) And to own your scars. And your back fat. 'Cause you've earned 'em.
2. I'm not perfect. As much as I'd really hoped to be "That Girl" — you know the one — that woman who dropped all the baby weight in a week living on green juice and edamame and whose newborn slept through the night right away and who wore her kid like a perfect little papoose all the time whilst cooing about how "dreamy" and "psychedelic" her birthing experience was? Yeah, no. I came home from the birth center and ate pizza. I scarfed down brownies at 2am when I was stumbling to the kitchen to wash out the syringe we had to use to finger-feed my son for the first few weeks. I labored in a tub with lavender essential oils and thought my pelvis would shatter. I grew a small person. And two months ago, I pushed him out of my hoo-ha. My postpartum body makes all kinds of weird new sounds now. My waist moved up a few inches and my ass moved out. My hair will start falling out soon, thanks to the post-pregnancy drop in hormones. And my boobs will probably be leaking by the end of class. (Thank you, dear teacher that is my brand-new body. Thank you, dear guru. You are so good to give me life and breath and being.)

3. I don't want you to be perfect, either. In fact, I've never had more sympathy for you or your body. (Especially during core work!) Sympathy for every moment of weakness, every soft spot, every source of pain or struggle. (You should see how shitty my sit-ups are these days. And I love them. Navasana, too.) So take Child's Pose. Take it over and over if you'd like. Modify. Skip. Take a breath. Sneak out to pee during the standing series. Do what you need to do in order to take care of yourself. There is no prize for the most Chaturangas. So screw 'em and skip a vinyasa if you need to. Your breath is the whole point, anyway, you know.

4. I don't give a shit what your fancy asana tricks look like. I mean, don't get me wrong; I'm sure they're amazing. And I give you mad credit for putting in the time and effort to practice them until you achieved them to the degree of ease that you can show them off in class while everyone else is in a reclining twist. I don't give a shit because I know they are temporary. I used to be able to rock all kinds of cool things, too. (Sure wish I'd thought to take a few pictures for proof for my grandkids someday. D'oh!) And I can do a few of them already again now, and I may well be able to do them all again some day. Or I may not. Either way, those fancy poses are not me, and never were. And they're not you, either. So don't get too attached. They're impermanent, just like everything else. And someday, one way or another, they'll go.

5. I'm tired, too. I get hopeless and scared, too. I get fearful and obsessive and my mind runs off the rails like a runaway train and I have to rein it in over and over from dwelling on the things that frighten me. And I know anyone who's human has that same experience because hey, duh: we're human. That's why this practice has been such a godsend. And that's why I want to share it with you. Not for the workout or the ego boost or the perpetual gooey talk of love 'n light.
6. I respect your time. Before I had a child I had endless hours to practice. Man, did I take that free time for granted! Man, do I wish I'd known to appreciate it when I had it. Now, just two months into being a parent, I know how rare it is to get even 20 minutes for a jumbled incomplete practice. (I was torn as to whether I should even write this blog today, because I knew that in choosing to use precious naptime to write I'd be sacrificing my asana time for the day.) So I promise not to waste your time. I will do my best to start and end class on time, and to pack the class with a well-rounded flow, a quiet meditation, a soothing savasana, and as much mindful content as I possibly can. Because I know this might be the only time you get for yourself all week. And that being here, just showing up and staying with it all, easy and not, will make you a better mother and partner and person.

7. I want you to know how inherently lovable you are. How beautiful you are. How magnificent you are. That you are a bodhisattva; an awakened one; a beloved Child of God. Looking at my kid while he sleeps (and I can't help doing it all the time, I mean, geez, he's so damn precious it just melts my heart), all of that goodness becomes abundantly clear. It breaks my heart to think that he might ever have even a moment in his life when he forgets his fundamental goodness, his unchanging lovability, his intrinsic sacred being. That deep knowing is all that matters. And that goes for you, too.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Breaking News!

Breaking news!!

My first class back from maternity leave will be THIS SUNDAY, May 4th, 10:45am at flyingYoga.

You'll want to sign up early, as it'll likely hit capacity.

Can't wait to see you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dispatch From Babyland



Been awhile.

A month and a half, to be exact. Or more. Either way, hullo there.

I've missed you so.

I've missed you at 3am when I'm nursing and thinking about all the articles I wanna write about boobs and gender and the politics of breastfeeding and how utterly exhausting and wondrous it is to be one human being's entire source of sustenance at 11pm and 1am and 3am and 5am and 7am and wash rinse repeat ad infinitum and how privileged I am to be able to nurse my kid instead of jumping right back into work 2 weeks after he was born.

I've missed you at 8pm when I'm mixing up my gluten-free vegan 5-ingredient oatmeal cookie dough concoction for the next day's lunch and listening to hear if the just-now-sleeping babe in the next room has woken up from the fridge door slamming. Oatmeal, I've learned, is an excellent means of increasing your milk supply. So I've been shoveling it in. By all accounts, it seems to work. I've eaten more oats in the last month than in my entire life heretofore. (Howdy, digestive tract!)

I've missed you at 7am when for all those years heretofore I used to groggily, happily settle in with my bottomless cup of coffee and pajamas and get lost in the morning news and then read and write all day. Nowadays, 7am looks more like rousing baby and a foggy brain from not-much-sleep and a wondering what day of the week it is again?

There is so much I'd like to write. There is so much I'd like to say about the zillion weird and wonderful and strange and amazing and awful and awesome aspects of this whole brand-new-parenthood thing.

And yet, it's taken til now, yes, 2 months after my gorgeous and wise boddhisattva of a son was born, to get my ass in front of the laptop with both hands free to type, a head awake enough to write, and a body enlivened enough by an afternoon walk past Manka's that I can sit for a bit again without going stir crazy.

I'll apologize ahead of time for a post that's brief and scattered and a bit all over the place. That's rather reflective of my mind-state these days. I am spending most days and nights nursing, sometimes with one hand reading Twitter at 3am, sometimes with my head nodding off to sleep with babe at the breast. Breastfeeding is my drishti and my dharma, my meditation and my manual labor. It is at once magical and monotonous. It is Dairy Queen writ large. It is my current and only purpose of late. Nothing else matters. It took me a minute to realize that, and boy, did life get easier once I accepted it and let the workouts and the emails and the planning and the writing slide.

All kinds of crazy gender politics going on here. Feeling myself strangely stuck in the pink ghetto that is "women's work," that "being home with the baby" stuff that makes me feel utterly obsolete from the rest of the world. (And yet, I think to myself: Hillary Clinton did this. Joan Didion did this. It must be ok. It must mean my other ambitions are salvageable, yes; that I won't spiral down the sinkhole of Mom jeans and endless timeless indistinguishable days spent wiping butts and cutting crusts off sandwiches?)

Which is, of course, all true.

Babe is wrapped up tight on my chest in my little sister's hand-me-down Moby. This sturdy brown wrap nestled two little girls in Wisconsin for a few years, and now it's mine to wear while I walk up and down the quiet streets of Inverness and ogle fairytale cottages while checking obsessively over and over to make sure the little man is still breathing down there at kissing distance.

This wrap is an ambitious girl's godsend. It means I have hands that can work and type and stir and lift, and a body that is suddenly liberated from hours in the rocking chair. It means the little man and I can breathe and walk and get the fresh air that we've been craving. It means I can stop bouncing him in my arms on the big blue exercise ball and have a hand free to tuck the stray unwashed hair back behind my ear again.

(Did I mention that my husband is an angel? A total mindful thoughtful generous patient godsend who does all the laundry and buys all the groceries and changes all the diapers? Well, he is. And he does. You should get one like him. I don't know how anyone does this without a partner like him. Seriously.)

And Duke?

He's gorgeous. He's otherworldly beautiful.

He's cooing and smiling and eating like a champ.

He's long and lean and has the strongest neck and the brightest eyes and one cute dimple and naturally, naturally, the pediatrician thinks he is a prodigy.

And we love him so much.

It's been a wild ride thus far, a trip, this motherhood thing. I've come up against all my old shit; all my old feminist prejudices against stereotypical female work and all my old desires to transcend this female body and live a life that's independent, ambitious, non-gendered, liberated, autonomous, free. And yet, in spite of an adulthood consciously crafted to be just that, suddenly, in these last two months (well, 11 months, really, if you count pregnancy, which you should), this female body of mine has entirely determined my reality. My boobs have kept me close to home. They have reminded me of my inevitable femaleness at midnight and again at 2am and then 4am and 5am and 6am, because whose babies actually sleep through the night like all these articles are telling me they will?!? My brilliant overachiever of a little man doesn't even really like to nap, you see, hence the lack of blogging or showering or anything but really being utterly truly presently in the moment.

And remembering to breathe.

And knowing that the dishes and the laundry and the manuscript will wait.

Michael Stone quoted a Japanese monk on a podcast that I was listening to while nursing one of those first difficult evenings home from the birth center. He said, "All spiritual practice is just taking care of things."

My god, yes. How I needed that reminder.

That reminder of the sacred ordinary.

That reminder that, as Stone observed, breastfeeding is blue-collar Buddhism.

That reminder, over and over, that wiping butts and washing out the pump and sucking snot out of Duke's stuffy nose and shifting in that goddamned life-saver of a glider and giving up on brushing my teeth and choosing snuggling over my yoga practice, that all of that "taking care of things" is spiritual practice. That every element of these last two months has been utter abject absolute spiritual practice. Even if it's meant few-to-rare minutes on the mat and longed-for-but-barely-achieved walks outside.

We are getting better at all the little details every day. As one does, with spiritual practice. Sleeping more and eating better and breathing deeply and realizing how quickly this little window of time will pass.

Folks keep telling us to "enjoy this magical time!" and I think to myself: where's the magic in being so cracked out from exhaustion that you're barely coherent enough to take a phone call? But then I scroll back through photos from Duke's first few days at home, and see how teeny-weeny this cherubic little creature was, and how quickly he has changed, truly, moment by moment, day by day, and I know it's flying by faster than I could've even imagined. And how precious every single one of those moments has been.

Tara Brach taught me last year in the midst of moving house to remind myself in moments of mundanity or difficulty: "Let this moment be as sacred as any other." That in waiting for our "real lives" to begin we miss the actual stuff of those real lives.

That the daily routine is supremely sacred; as sacred as any baptism or graduation or birth or death. The moments in-between. The ostensibly unsexy ones. As my friend Jess called them, oh-so-aptly, those many "unglamorous" moments in the first few weeks home with a new little one.

Friends, wonderful friends: you've called and emailed and texted and stopped by and wanted to visit and have lunch and take walks and catch up and hear everything and I have, for the most part, managed to not even reply to a whole 2% of you. I'm sorry. We've had full hands. We'll get around to it, soon, I promise, once the day-to-day rhythm settles in a bit and we make sense of morning-times and bedtimes and everything in between. I already see a difference. Some day, one day, soon, I'll get you called back and written back and all that jazz. In the meantime, know we're grateful.

Quite amazing to me that folks do this all the time. Quite amazing to me that I get to be home here, now, with this little Buddha, knowing full well that so many mothers aren't so lucky, that they've gotta leave their fragile little angels with strangers, head to work with aching hearts and leaking boobs, and stay the course. How blessed I am to be here, now, in day-old sweats and messy ponytail and tired eyes.

We're here at the end of April already, somehow. I'll be back in the studio teaching in May, easing my way back with an adjusted schedule. Details to come shortly. It's funny to think about teaching again after having so little time to do much asana in this brand-new-body of mine over the last several months. And yet, after all this, I feel a thousand times more qualified to teach the philosophy and the gentleness and the spaciousness and the non-judgmental noticing that is YOGA than I ever have. My backbends may be in rehab, only shadows of their former selves, but my mind and my heart are oh-so-much wiser. And I look forward to being that woman with you in the studio.

We're headed to the mountains in mid-June. I hope you'll join us. My 3rd annual Bhakti In Bloom yoga retreat takes place June 13-15th in conjunction with YOGASCAPES at Sierra Hot Springs, just outside of Tahoe. It's a dream of a rustic escape into nature and hiking and healing mineral tubs. Please join us. I'm so excited to dive back into post-maternity-leave teaching with this retreat. It will be so good for all of us. And babe will be there to ring it in.

Little man is breathing softly under my chin, I've scarfed down the last of my oatmeal cookies, and it's time to sneak outside for a quick breath of fresh air before he wakes up. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being. I'll be back again soon. The naps are getting a little more reliable each day.