Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#notjustmoreidlechatter


My girl Claudia directs the incredible Buddhist-inspired modern dance company The Anata Project. Amazing new show opens in two weeks. Follow 'em. Go.

#notjustmoreidlechatter

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why Yes, I'd Love To Jump Into That Teeny Bed

Dissected Buddha, By Gonkar Gyatso (2011)

I've been hunkered down the last few days prepping material to teach 15 hours' of philosophy workshops this weekend. It's nerdy-awesome and of course waaaay too much information, but I dig it. And am always vaguely surprised and delighted that anyone else would like to tawk about this sort of thing.

Most afternoons while my kid naps after preschool I've been throwing on a history or philosophy podcast and squeezing in my home practice. Love listening to some of these Big Deal yoga scholars (most of them male) being interviewed and hearing small children chattering and hollering in the background while they're trying to have Big Serious Conversations about sannyasins and Tantric mudras and the Bhagavad Gita.

It gives me hope.

Inspires me that these folks are getting Big Things Done whilst still chasing tiny little butts around the house trying to get them to wear pants. 

Picturing these Smart-As-Hell British Philosopher Dudes muting their phones and hustling over to the doorway to whisper "Shhh! Take the cat out of the washing machine and pipe down, Nigel!" and then jumping back into the conversation trying to be cool, as though they totally didn't just miss that whole thread about Vivekananda slaying it at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

Makes me feel like a comrade in the struggle to strike some kind of elusive work/life balance.

It's hard to blend the life of a yogi (ascetic? monastic? contemplative?) with that of a middle-class householder. Really hard. But the teachers I respect most are the ones who've figured it out. Or who are trying to figure it out.

(Steph Snyder, anyone? Jason Crandell, anyone?)

It's pretty easy to be peaced-out when you're sitting on a mountaintop meditating listening to coyotes. Or when you've got gazillions of bucks for nannies and house-cleaners so you can focus on your AAAART

But I am moved to seek out teachers and friends and scholars, yes, who are standing knee-deep in the compost pile of unfolded laundry and scattered Play-Dough and ten thousand library book variations of Old MacDonald.

It's kind of like deciding to take a hot yoga class. You already know, walking into a regular yoga class, that at some point you're gonna feel awkward or tight or frustrated or off-balance. But adding in the 100-degree element kicks the intensity up a notch or seven. More opportunities to practice, right?

This is parenting whilst being a yogi.

More opportunities to practice, baby.

A little bit of quiet can go such a long way. A few deep breaths behind the bedroom door. You can find it in the stolen moments, in half-assed catches of stillness, in remembering to let go and begin again. (Emphasis on the half-assed.) Until you hear the kid waking up, and you roll up the mat and accept that you're gonna get a 20-minute practice in today and that's ok, even if you only did one side of Revolved Triangle and half a backbend, so you scramble up the stairs and take a deep breath and jump out of the meditation and into the relationship.

Michael Stone describes enlightenment as intimacy. A closeness with what is. A clear-seeing. A realness. So jumping into that teeny-weeny toddler bed and scrunching your knees up into your armpits while still half-sweaty from Sun Salutations to snuggle a sweetly-rumpled-waking-up little boy is just another kind of yoga, right? 

Toddlerbedasana. Remind me to trademark that. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Next Weekend At YoYoYogi

I'm delighted to be teaching three big fat days of Yoga History & Philosophy next weekend at YoYoYogi. Please join me for a little or a lot. This is gonna be goooood. 
(I promise to keep it real.)
There are 3 options to participate:

1. The Full Weekend: $299
September 16 - 18

Curious about the roots of yoga, but not sure where to begin? Wondering what the heck all that Sanskrit's about? Ready to dig in a little deeper? Here's your chance. Join Rachel for a fascinating weekend packed with the wild, renegade history of yoga (for real!), the brilliant philosophy behind the poses, down-to-earth tools for working with a racing mind, and so much more. This stuff will rock your world, deepen your practice, and change your life.

2. The History of Yoga $49
Friday, September 16 from 6:30 - 9:30p

Did you know yogis were once such scandalous rogues that no decent person would be seen with them? Or that sun salutations are really a hybrid of British military exercises, Indian nationalist wrestling, and Scandinavian gymnastics? The yogic tradition is rich with mind-blowing history, most of which is news to us contemporary practitioners. Come on down for a glimpse of the dishy roots of yoga you never knew existed. Get the lowdown on all those lunges, the true story behind the Tantra, and so much more.

3. Foundations of Yoga Philosophy $49
Saturday, September 17 from 2-5p

Join Rachel for a down-to-earth look at the inspiring, powerful philosophy that underlies the asana practice we know and love. Here's your chance to break down some of the key concepts and texts of yoga, both on and off the mat, in super-relatable ways. Learn how to apply yoga philosophy to your crappy job, your gnarly commute, and that pain-in-the-butt boss. You'll walk out lighter than you walked in. And your practice will never be the same.

You can register here.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

4 Ways To Find More Santosha In Your Everyday



Do you scroll through people's perfectly-curated FB feeds and feel like your life sucks? That you'd be so much happier if you could just get that dream job or lose 20 pounds?

This one's for you.

My new piece for Yoga Trade:

 4 Ways To Find More Santosha In Your Everyday
In yogic philosophy, the word Santosha basically translates as “contentment.”
This isn’t contentment as in, Hey, let’s get stoned and sit on the couch eating donuts and bingeing on Netflix for the next five hours.
It’s not contentment as in Eh, my life is pretty decent as it is, so why bother learning a new language or playing piano or planting a garden or traveling to Greece?
This is contentment, as in looking around at your perfectly-imperfect life, waking up to the little graces, and being ok with it, instead of constantly seeing happiness over there, once you get that body or that car or that job or that partner or that kid.
Buddhist scholar David Loy calls this grass-is-always-greener phenomenon LACK. It’s the ubiquitous, unsettling sense that there’s something intrinsically missing, a perpetual void, always the experience of not enough.
You see this everywhere. Capitalism stokes the fire. Our economy is fueled by the message that YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH. That if you just buy this moisturizer or that Tesla or that pair of sneakers, you’ll be lovable, you’ll be popular, you’ll be complete.
BULLSH*T.
We all know that’s not true.
Because as soon as you get the Tesla, you’ll want the newer model. And as soon as you get the McMansion, you’ll want the one with the pool next door. And as soon as you get the trophy wife, there’ll be a younger one with fewer wrinkles and better boobs around the corner.
So we practice cultivating santosha.
And you know what one definition is for enlightenment, right?
That’s right: WAKING UP.
Here are 4 things you can do to find more santosha in your everyday:

Read the full piece at the link.