Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.


I am so happy to be teaching at Urban Flow starting tomorrow afternoon. This donation-based studio smack in the middle of San Francisco really holds my heart. Please join me for sweat, breath and song Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 4:30pm through the end of September. My bongos and I can't wait to chant with you.

Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste: raw humor.


Oooh, this is dishy.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Thanks to Adam for the heads-up on this tongue-in-cheek piece from the Guardian explaining how Jesus — yes, the Lamb of God, that one — has "undergone a macho makeover." Check it:
When you hear the name Jesus, is the first image that comes to mind a dewy-eyed pretty boy with flowing locks? If so, think again. After 2,000 years, the Messiah is getting a makeover.

This time he's less "gentle Jesus, meek and mild" and more of a kick-ass action hero – a Chuck Norris in sandals.

No more sissy Kumbaya stuff. In this testosterone-fuelled theology, the Saviour finally has the rippling biceps he would have developed as a carpenter from a working-class home in Nazareth.

The macho Jesus movement has been bolstered by books like No More Mr Christian Nice Guy and The Church Impotent – the Feminisation of Christianity. But it's artist Stephen Sawyer, whose paintings of the Son of God as a tattooed biker and boxer have captured the imagination of Christian men searching for a more manly role model.

As Kentucky-based Sawyer, 58, points out: "I scarcely think Jesus could have overturned the tables of the money-lenders and driven them from the temple if he was a wimp. The model I use for my paintings is a surfer guy who's built like a brick shithouse."
A Chuck Norris in sandals? "Built like a brick shithouse?" This reminds me deliciously of last year's Christian Fight Club phenomenon marrying Tyler Durden-style masculinity with fundamentalist theology.

You know how I feel about Tyler Durden and progressive theology (whoo), but, oh mama, this is a whole 'nother ballgame. I could write a dissertation or twelve. Read it.

A Very Muscular Brand of Christianity (Guardian)

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.


When we are forced to wait, say in a traffic jam, our instinct is to do something to distract ourselves from the discomfort of waiting. We turn on the radio, call or text someone on the phone, or just sit and fume. Practicing mindfulness while waiting helps people find many small moments in the day when they can bring the thread of awareness up from where is lies hiding in the complex fabric of their lives. Waiting, a common event that usually produces negative emotions, can be transformed into a gift, the gift of free time to practice. The mind benefits doubly: first, by abandoning negative mindstates, and second, by gaining the beneficial effects of even a few extra minutes of practice woven into the day.

~ Jan Chozen Bays, "The Gift of Waiting"



I love this as a practice. Especially in those places where you know you'll be stuck for awhile, and it's so easy to immediately get lost in crabbiness and irritation — say, the Post Office, or the bank, or even the bus stop. To take a deep breath, resist reaching for the cell phone, and just let it be ok feels like a radical and revolutionary choice. Because it is a choice, of course. You can get pissed off or just roll with it. And especially during those hectic days wherein a 5-minute delay feels like torture, a real wrench in the plans, what a mindshift to instead look at that delay as a blessed opportunity — yes, even a gift — to just be still for a breath or two.

(Thanks to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review for these brief daily dharma
teachings which have really begun to light my mornings.
You can sign up for them on their website here.)

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

Here's the playlist from last night's sweaty jam session at Flying Yoga. Happy listening.

Arboleda de Manzanitas, Eighty Mile Beach
Tengo Sed (The Batidos Song), Batidos
Sadats: The Sufi Sonic Remix, Cheb I Sabbah
Bhakti Gita, Masood Ali Khan
Gate Gate (The Rishi Earthmother Remix), Deva Premal
Broken Ambers, Gil Tamazyan
Im Ninalou: The Groovio Deep End Remix, Cheb I Sabbah
Om Triambakam (Sean Dinsmore's OMwise Version), Deva Premal
Samba Pa Ti Feat. Roy Hargrove, Angelique Kidjo
Soul on Fire, Soulstice
Rosada Flor, J Boogie's Dubtronic Science
Salvation, Goapele
Chaap Tilak, Go-Ray & Duke
All Good, Girish
Hari Om (feat. Prajna Vieria), Ben Leinbach and Prajna Vieria
Lakshmi, Girish
Anyone and Everyone, Lhasa De Sela
Waiting For My Real Life To Begin, Colin Hay

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.




Perhaps this very instant is your time — pretty late — but still your own, your peculiar, your promised and presaged moment, out of all moments forever.

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.


Curious about yoga's sister science, Ayurveda, but not really sure where to start? I've been there, too. It can be kind of overwhelming.

My colleague Lisa Munger has written an excellent simple, no-bullshit primer on the basics of Ayurveda. Follow the link for a great intro to concepts of prakriti (the body's natural constitution), the doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha), and more. Then head over to Banyan Botanicals for a simple self-test that can help determine your own dosha.

I appreciate Ayurveda's emphasis on balance. While my heart rests in much of the theory behind Traditional Chinese Medicine and even raw-food-based notions of natural hygiene, I think there's a great deal of wisdom here — and obviously the hundreds (thousands?) of years of Ayurvedic tradition speak to its efficacy, as well. I love what Lisa writes about how most of us pittas are naturally attracted to a hot, athletic yoga practice. Guilty as charged. There's so much truth in learning to find balance by seeking out natural complements to our inherent tendencies: in this case, a slower, more cooling, restorative practice.

Still working on that here at Chez Rach. The fire of a vigorous heated vinyasa continues to draw my passion. But that's why we practice, right? Day by day, little by little, we figure it out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.


We struggle in life because of a tenacious habit of wanting life to be different from what it is: The room you are in is too warm, you don’t like your job, or your partner isn’t quite the person of your dreams. You adjust the thermostat, get a new job, or tell your partner what you need. Now it’s too cool, you are earning less money, or your partner has found some flaws in you. The more we try to make life conform to our desires, the more we struggle, and the more we suffer. The only way out of this vicious cycle is to accept what arises, completely: in other words, do nothing.

Paradoxically, such radical acceptance opens a way of living that we could hardly have imagined.

Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air: a raw, foggy day at the beach.


Monday morning. You can feel the collective sigh emanating from around the City as people head back to work in the fog.

Have you thought about getting up 10 minutes earlier and throwing a few simple yoga postures in to start your day? Just ten minutes. I know it's tough. But you don't need a class. And it can really change everything.

I was about 21, in college, when I started rolling out of bed — usually hungover from the previous night's cheap beer and 2 a.m. pizza — and groggily, before even brewing a pot of coffee, easing into a few forward folds. Those forward folds turned into Janu Sirsasana and Upavistha Konasana, and every morning since then I've started the day that way. I didn't know at the time that I was doing yoga; I just knew that it felt good, and in part was just selfishly trying to retain my flexibility for dance stuff. After awhile, that simple practice grew to the point where I could no longer just jump into a new day without those few minutes' stillness and silence and opening.

Play with it. See if you can build even a few minutes into your morning. They will change your day.

In case you don't quite know where to start, Whole Living has a great little photo feature on Surya Namaskar A, also known as the Sun Salutation. Sun Salutations are such a good simple way to get out of your head and get your blood moving for the day, and you've probably done a thousand of them if you've done one, so your tired body will naturally know what to do. Check the piece out for helpful commentary from Shiva Rea, pose-by-pose asana illustrations, and a lovely translation of the Gayatri Mantra, as well.

Yoga: Sun Salutation (Whole Living)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.


Stealing a few quiet minutes with Michael Stone's new book this morning before rolling out to practice. You philosophy wonks are familiar with the 2nd Sutra, right? The one in which Patanjali defines yoga?

1.2 Yoga citta vrtti nirodha

In case your Sanskrit's a little rusty, that's usually translated to mean something like "yoga is the cessation of the misidentification with the fluctuations of the mind." Whew, I know. Not exactly the definition you expected? Were you expecting something more along the lines of touching your toes while balancing on your right elbow in a hot pink sports bra?

Yeah, no.

So Stone translates the 2nd Sutra just a wee bit differently. And I like his spin. Try this on for size:

Yoga citta vritti nirodha.
Yoga is the intimacy that's left when there is no
(mis)-identification with the elaborations of the mind.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air: a raw, foggy day at the beach.


When life gives you a hurricane,
put on your bathing suit
and play outside.


This is my goddaughter Rachel Lynn, in Delaware, as Hurricane Irene began to make landfall this afternoon. Look at the smile on her face. She's fearless, totally fearless, just full of leela (that Sanskrit term for "divine play"). This compared to the fear and anxiety, the clenching, the worst-case-scenario monkey minds running overtime in the media (and on my Facebook feed, yipes) as Irene began to close in.

Would that we could all be so light, so trusting, so fearless. That, there, that whimsy in a bathing suit? Now that's a true yogi. Not overthinking. Not getting lost in imagined futures. Just being present, open, light, willing, at ease, here, now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.


As someone who digs books as much as she digs yoga, I caught this quick article on the rise of the yoga memoir this morning with some intrigue.

Slate's got a short piece delving into the recent rush of "yogoirs" -- personal narratives of people's, ahem, "journeys" on and off the yoga mat. Neal Pollack's Stretch is included (loved this one, remember?), along with Claire Dederer's Poser and Suzanne Morrison's new-as-of-this-week Yoga Bitch. It's an interesting, albeit a bit snarky, read.

Reviewer Laura Moser calls out the post-Eat, Pray, Love phenomenon of self-seeking chick lit narratives popping up in the yoga world at the same time that she gives name to the increasingly commodified nature of the "industry" (ugh, hate using that term, but yes). It's a sharp look at the ongoing attempt to find honesty and authenticity in the yoga world, and the imperative of pulling the practice out of our own tunnel vision experiences and making it about more than just navel-gazing:
It's only in the last year that the fusion of these two trends—the mainstreaming of yoga culture on the one hand, and the Gilbertian journey of self-discovery on the other—has reached its peak. Since last summer, around the same time Libby Copeland wrote a piece for Double X about literary agents being flooded by pitches for the next Eat, Pray, Love, we've seen the debut of a yoga-themed chick-lit series, Rain Mitchell's Tales from the Yoga Studio, as well as a whopping three different yoga memoirs, or yogoirs, or yogalogues, or whatever you want to call this brand-new sub-sub-genre of books about how finding yoga can provide a fast track to finding oneself. The yogic Bildungsroman maybe?
Trend noted. Ambiguity felt. And then Moser made me laugh.
Contemporary U.S. yoga culture readily encourages self-reflection in its adherents—and a good thing, too. But as a narrative device, the leap from mat to matters of the heart just seems too obvious somehow. Now, a really searing Pilates memoir, that's something I'd like to read.
Pilates practitioners, get on it! Couldn't help but chuckle at the apropos title, too. Give it a read. What do you think?

Navel Gazing (Slate.com)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Raw, adjective: 8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal


Remembering Steve Jobs' remarkable speech from a few years back on this dark early morning as the City wakes up.

His condition must be grave if, indeed, he's finally decided to step down from his gig as CEO at Apple. My heart feels heavy for him and his family. I can imagine what must be around the corner.

I first read this speech a few years ago on a sunny August morning not unlike this one, and it inspired me in a thousand ways, but most importantly, as a reminder to make of your life something you love. How simple and clear and autonomous that sounds, no? Thanks for the great example, Steve.

'You've Got to Find What You Love,' Jobs says (Stanford.edu)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.


Paying attention provides the gift of noticing, and the gift of connecting. It provides the gift of seeing a little bit of ourselves in others, and of realizing that we’re not so awfully alone. It allows us to let go of the burden of so much of what we habitually carry with us, and receive the gift of the present moment.

~ Sharon Salzberg, from


(My sister had a kid. That's her. She's damn cute.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture: raw cotton.


unravel
verb, unravel [anˈrӕvəl]
1 to take (e.g. string, thread etc) out of its tangled condition; to disentangle; She could not unravel the tangled thread.

2 (especially of a knitted fabric) to undo or become undone; My knitting (got) unravelled when it fell off the needles.

3 to solve (a problem, mystery etc); Is there no-one who can unravel this mystery?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.






"What I really wanted was every kind of life, and the writer’s life seemed the most inclusive."

~ Susan Sontag

Raw, adjective: 1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.


Edward Espe Brown is one of my simple heroes, a true kitchen yogi.

In March of last year, he wrote a beautiful piece for Shambhala Sun on the Zen of cooking. Check it out, and find therein a way to really bring mindfulness into every little movement, big and small: the chopping, the cutting, the stirring, the baking.

In the piece, Zen priest (and founder of iconic progressive San Francisco restaurant Greens) Brown writes,
When I asked Suzuki Roshi for his advice about working in the kitchen, he said, “When you wash the rice, wash the rice. When you cut the carrots, cut the carrots. When you stir the soup, stir the soup.”
Seems so simple, right? And yet, not.
Instead of tying yourself down so that nothing volatile arises, use what is vibrant and volatile—feelings—to energize your presence in the kitchen. Invite them to handle, stir, wash, touch, scrub, scour; invite them to see, smell, taste, and delight in the play. Cook’s temperament is a passion for life: give it a field in which to practice—put it to work. If I were to cook only when I was most loving, kind, and benevolent, I would have starved long ago. I am not telling you to act out in the kitchen; my encouragement is to turn afflictive emotions, as well as enthusiasm and exuberance, into something edible and nourishing—food.
So along with mindfulness, washing the rice when you wash the rice is putting more emphasis on concentration, focus, attention, and energy. These actions rather blend together: Prepare food! Make it happen! Wash, cut, cook, taste, savor. Gather yourself, as many disparate parts as you can muster. Zero in on the activity and how to do it easily, effectively, effortlessly (not just going through the motions). Give your attention to observing and perceiving rather than giving out directives and enforcing rules. Let your life force bloom and sparkle. Interact. Study how to use your body to do the work of cooking. ....
Engage in what you are doing. Zen Master Dogen’s advice is to let things come and abide in your heart. Let your heart return and abide in things. All through the day and night. To engage is to meet and connect, and out of that meeting and connecting, to respond. Responding from the heart, your implicit intention is to bring out the best. This is learning to relate with the things of this world and your own body–mind, rather than seeking to hide out in a place where you don’t have to relate with anything. There are recipes to follow in order to get it right and gain approval. There are no recipes for telling you what your heart knows, and precious little workable advice for trusting your heart rather than your head. You choose to do it, and practice finding your way in the dark.
Read the whole thing. Then get your chop on. So good.

Let Your Passion Cook (Shambhala Sun)

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.


I've long been a whore for a heated yoga practice, ever since the day I stepped into my first Bikram class.

I love the way it opens me up, the way it eases the ache in my joints, the way it brings a detox like no other. So when I found Rusty Wells and his sweaty, jammin' vinyasa classes a few years back, it was like Shangri-La. Sweat, rhythm, music, more sweat, happy joints, a clear mind.

So now, one of my favorite aspects of teaching at Flying Yoga, too, is the mad sweat we get going; the way the windows steam up from so much body heat. It's, uh, hot. And I try to remind people to make friends with the sweat, with the tapas (that literal burning away of impurities), to let the heat be a teacher instead of an enemy, an opportunity to move more deeply into their meditation (and to resist the urge to constantly wipe the sweat away) and to savor increased flexibility and the rush of a good cleanse.

But not everyone loves it. I know this. I see it on people's faces, the hating-on the sweat. And that's fine. Different strokes for different folks, yada yada. But my teacher Rusty has written a really fantastic explanation of why we crank the thermostat up as much as we do. So if you've got a few questions about the heat, or are wondering why the hell it's such a sweatbox in there, read up on it here.

And then next time you roll into class, remember your water, bring a towel, leave your modesty at home, and be ready to get a little down and dirty. It's good shit, this.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.



How's your monkey mind on this
sunny Saturday afternoon?

Can you tame it long enough to be still?
Even for a moment?

There's your yoga.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture: raw cotton.


My recent Yoga Journal article on urban homesteading, "Preserving Summer," is now online, just in time for late summer harvest. Head on over for this quick read from the June issue, including interviews with cookbook author Vanessa Barrington, chef Samin Nosrat, recipes for Bread and Butter Pickles, Plum Verbena Jam, and a little old-fashioned yoga philosophy to ground it all out.

Here's a preview:
Forward-thinking city dwellers are increasingly "urban homesteading," reclaiming traditional kitchen crafts like canning vegetables, preserving jams and jellies, pickling, raising chickens for eggs, keeping bees for honey, and crafting homemade cheeses. .... Though this might seem radical to those of us who've grown accustomed to buying packaged food at the grocery store, it represents a return to the natural cycles of life.

Yoga is often defined as the union of sun and moon elements, a balance between opposites in a marriage of seemingly disparate realities. A yoga practice can bring stillness and sanctuary to scattered urban lives, bridging the gap between cosmopolitan and rural, modern and traditional. Kitchen crafts like making jam can be another way of bringing together what has been separated, honoring natural cycles in the preservation of a season, and reconnecting you with your food through the work of your own hands.

Activities like canning and pickling encourage living simply and sustainably, finding a balance between excess and adequacy. They can be a reminder to practice aparigraha (nongrasping) by encouraging an appreciation for the seasons and a bittersweet respect for the coming and going, the growing and dying, the blooming and fading that are part of being alive in the world. Just as yoga encourages us to pay attention, so urban homesteading teaches us to see the resources that surround us with new eyes. ....

Preparing homemade foods like preserves and cheese, [chef Samin] Nosrat says, has many parallels with her Anusara Yoga practice. Both call for slowing down and breathing through the temptation to rush through the steps. Both require dedication to the practice, the over-and-over hands-on do-ing that is a part of the learning curve. Both mean seeing setbacks as opportunities to learn from, and recognizing that ease and mastery come with time and repetition. Grounding herself in an abundance mentality, knowing there is always enough, she is reminded of the power of just paying attention, of being present with the practice itself, whether it's on the mat or in the kitchen.
Read the whole thing, learn a little about Plum Verbena Jam, and meet sweet kitchen yogis Molly Ruhlman and Jordan Huffman in the process. Their practices inspire my own, in more ways than I can count.

This time of year aways makes me think of corn on the cob, husked on the front porch in the humid August evenings on the prairie with my Pops and my sisters, and of the big heavy melons ripening in the garden up the hill. Sink into the season, taste it in the freshness of your homegrown tomatoes and your backyard squash, and let it be just one more way to live well, presently, mindfully, richly in this body that is yours for just this brief moment in time.

Preserving Summer (Yoga Journal)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Raw, adjective: 1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.


Wanna take your yoga off the mat and into the kitchen?

Please take a second to hop on over to our brand new Bhakti Kitchen fan page. Click "like" to stay updated on all the latest news from our little labor of love.

Stacy, Briksha and I will be teaching workshops in the Bay Area in the months to come, along with our usual writing, juicing, breathwork, yoga-ing, and more. We'd love to share this newest extension of our practice with you. Stay tuned for exciting things to come.

In the meantime, here's a little bit about what we do:
Practicing kitchen yoga is about more than just asana; it's about thriving, in the most wonderfully countercultural kind of way! We've seen our own lives soften, bloom and grow through practicing kitchen yoga in its many forms, and we want to share that joy with you, too - so come, love and be nourished in this beloved melding of philosophy and practice.

We use Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga as a model for taking our yoga off the mat and into the kitchen, whether it's through cooking, baking, mindful eating, or just breathing well, and in so doing, learning to nourish our whole selves, one another, and the world. We believe that what we eat matters, that eating can indeed be a sacred act, and that yoga's an ideal path to that union with the divine.

Inspired by progressives like Michael Pollan, Gabriel Cousens and John Robbins, we teach how to eat Real Food: whole, fresh, organic, local when possible, and plant-based, the kind of food that nourishes the whole being, the community, the body, the spirit and the mind, creating balance, or sattva, in the circle of life.

Our work is grounded in a bhakti spirit of love and devotion, an emphasis on ahimsa and compassion, and great gratitude to our many teachers. By eating to awaken, food can truly become that which brings us from darkness into light. Namasté.

Bhakti Kitchen

Monday, August 15, 2011

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.





Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for
inspiration's shove or society's kiss on the forehead.
Pay attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you
with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.

~ Susan Sontag

Friday, August 12, 2011

Raw, adjective: 8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal


I'm stoked to have a new article out.

Head on over to RecoveringYogi for my little Wanderlust Festival exposé: 15 Reasons Why Wanderlust is Like Cheerleading Camp. This piece has been writing itself in my mind since the moment I first stepped foot onto Squaw Village a year ago, and I'm glad to see that a few folks can identify with it.

I'm coming out of the closet as an ex-cheerleader -- er, "dance team" member -- with this one. I had a feeling those pom-poms might come in handy someday. Needless to say, the year after going to the above-mentioned cheerleading camp, I traded my pom-poms for passionate feminist theory texts.

Are we surprised?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Raw, adjective: 8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal




Give me a list of your beliefs about
how life should be, and I will give
you a list of your suffering.

~




(So wise.)

Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.


Today, I'm baking.

It's the 8th anniversary of my move to San Francisco, and I have this weird chunk of a few empty hours -- a phenomenon that has become so unusual of late, I feel quite sure that I'm really supposed to be somewhere, and so keep finding one ear cocked, ready for the phone to ring.

It's quiet. And lovely. I had forgotten what it felt like to just stop and be in one place for a bit.

It's so nice.

So now there's a red velvet fudge truffle cake in the oven, fifteen minutes to spare. En route to making that happen, I cut an appropriate swath through the neighborhood, traversing a few well-trod paths that have become familiar over those eight years. I stopped by the ghetto grocery (soon to be a new and improved Trader Joe's) for the basics; I meandered down Pine St. to the liquor store on the corner to visit the mysterious man-of-yet-to-be-determined-ethnicity and picked up a weenie little Chambord from his wall o' miniature alcoholic delights; and finally, I popped my head in to the old Chinese florist on California St., resisting temptation from the lilacs and the orchids, and walked out instead with an armful of deep blue and white hydrangeas.

Sweetness. Can't think of a better, more perfectly low-key way to mark the occasion.

(The cake will go to a few dear folks who are celebrating some anniversaries of their own.)

So here's to the years. Those past, and those to come. We take a few steps, we climb a few hills, we gain a few lines, we lose a few fears. And all the while, the fog, that old reliable August fog, rolls in.

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.





"Late Fragment"
By Raymond Carver




An old favorite.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.


Our practice, like our lives, does not arrive fully unfolded. Our work is to practice in such a way that makes sense for our particular life but also challenges the stories of ourselves that enclose our lives in cycles of habit.

~ Michael Stone, writer

Raw, adjective: 8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal


So much drama all over the place as people freak out about this week's latest economic rollercoaster.

How are you choosing to respond to the whole thing? I so very deliberately say "choosing," because, you know, we really do have a choice. We can run around as though the sky's falling, wigging out, or we can step back, and watch, and witness, and observe, and very rationally, reasonably decide how to respond as stocks plunge and credit ratings nosedive.

It's just money, folks. Seriously. You can't take it with you. This is why my heart will always beat in that melding of mindfulness, yoga, consumerism and contentment. Where does the santosha come in? When does the grasping stop and the aparigraha take over? Do any of us ever truly get to that point where we can step back, look at our lives, and say: "I have enough"?

Mindful.org posted this timely article on mindfulness and money this morning, and it's one of the best examinations of how to apply mindfulness to our "stories" about money that I've ever read. Hop on over and give it a read. I love how Kristi Nelson manages to slip in a few apt metaphors for the body as she digs in to the deep "stuff" of money, consumerism and values.
We may know, intellectually, that security is not “material,” that we are not what we own, and that our lives are not equal to what we earn. But this conditioning goes deep and is reinforced almost everywhere....

Time, energy, and love are forms of currency, as is money. What we do with these precious resources tells the hard truth about who we are and what matters to us. We claim and re-claim ourselves in the allocation of our currencies. Our clear intentions can form a touchstone for our financial freedom, just as the breath moving in and out of our bodies can be the touchstone for mindfulness practice.

Much as our bodies align around the spine, our financial lives need to align with the template of our values. We must consistently explore, define, and check our values.
Take a deep breath. Then give it a read. You'll be fine.

Mind Over Money (Mindful.org)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.




The ever crush-worthy Nicholas Giacomini, aka MC Yogi, and his beautiful wife, Amanda, are featured in this month's Yoga Journal. Pick up the new September music issue for more on this sweet interview and the excellent home practice sequence that follows.

Adore.

We're so lucky to share Thursday evenings with these two at Urban Flow. Why not join us one of these days?


Friday, August 5, 2011

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.


Heya, fellow book nerds-slash-philosophy-wonks:

Check out this excellent round-up of yoga philosophy books from Yoga Journal. I've had several folks ask me lately where to start with yoga philosophy. Here's a great resource. Beyond these, I always, always recommend anything by Steve Ross or Michael Stone. You can't go wrong with those two. Now get in there.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.



Always so glad for an excuse to head back to Oakwood Athletic Club.

Join me for another master class this Saturday, 1:30-3:30. We'll play, maybe do a couple of donkey kicks, some detox twists, a backbend or three, and a few Thriller pick-ups.

(Wondering what the hell's a "Thriller pick-up"? Great. I'll see you Saturday.)

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture: raw cotton.


I owe you, among other things:

photos from Wanderlust, class reviews celebrating Kathryn Budig and Rolf Gates and Giselle Mari, Flying Yoga sub and Oakwood master class news for the weekend to come, new writing, new music (Girish!), and the latest from MC Yogi's Bhakti Posse, which (once again) filled my heart and rocked my (sweaty) world this evening at Urban Flow.

They'll come. In time.

It's been a wild week, this, coming back to real life. No sleep. Epic lists. 17 classes. Article deadlines. Trying to breathe.

All good.

So, for now, here are a few pics to tide you over. These shots are mostly stolen from friends (thanks, beauties) because, well, they make me grin, repeatedly, in remembering the sun and the thin air and the yoga.

Stories to come. Happy Friday.


Kate and Suewen, en route to Steph Snyder's early class.


Bhakti dear ones Mike and Amy Nicole. [Please note MC Yogi's band on stage behind us.]


The Sacred Sound Society at left, MC Yogi at right. Fabulous. Band crushes all around.


Two of my favorite fellow teachers: Cara and Estee, dear in too many ways to count.



Kate, Bob and Suewen. The creme de la creme. You won't meet better, kinder, more generous people. Period. (I dunno about the random lady behind them, though.)



John Friend's backbend masterclass. Intense. Blisteringly sunny. Great. (Do you see me hanging out in back there? Where's Waldo?)



Janet Stone's five elements class. The mellow finish to a long first day. (If you're sharp, you can find me in this one, too.)



Post-sushi, pre-Girl Talk mash-up under the stars. Love my girls. So much.



Jamming at Girl Talk. Ears rang for hours afterward. Worth it.

(Oh, and that one up above, top left? The inimitable Stacy. Another dear fellow teacher-sister-friend.)