Consider Stillness on the Full Moon Solstice

 

This morning we marked a full moon, and tonight, we’ll observe the Summer Solstice. The last time this happened was in 1967, during the “Summer of Love.”

So I do like the advice above from @mysore_sf to rest. The full moon in summer lends enough energy on its own, and the solstice does even more so. Our inclination, observing and sensing these energies, is to expend a lot ourselves. We can really go off the charts with that energy, and should balance it with more resting, cooling practices. Minimize those things that aggravate pitta doshacaffeine, alcohol, activity, and strenuous practices. Being as I am largely kapha dosha, I can forget I also have a fair amount of pitta, which can get easily aggravated by such energies. It’s wonderful in vata autumn and winter, and kapha spring to rely on such energies, and so invigorating to use summer for what it’s for, but if I find myself getting strung out as I have over the past few days, I have to dial it back, to “lean toward earth’s moist green gifts,” which also are made possible by the sun.

Remember also that the sol–stice refers to the stillness or stillpoint of the sun.

Cate Stillman says it, also, and even @ski_yoga_guy, normally known for his arm balances and inversions, is doing stillness today. Please consider this.

 

Also, as an added bonus, enjoy this song by “The Head and the Heart.”

 

A new cycle

Which way do you run to
Are you coming out or in
When one cycle goes around
Another one begin, begin, begin

This song by Trevor Hall is my “ear worm” right now, because it speaks of change and its cyclical nature. As surely as the seasons, we will pass this way again. A little over two weeks ago we observed the cross–quarter day between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox (Imbolc). We’re more than halfway to astronomical spring. The moon, after having been full on Presidents’ Day, is waxing to fullness.

The most external reason for that has to do starting a new regular class at what is for me a new studio. While I have been subbing since my second shoulder surgery in March 2015, this will be the first time I’ll be on a studio schedule. I’m pleased to report that beginning tonight (Thursdays), at 5:30 PM, I’ll be teaching a class at Discover the Wonders Yoga in Dracut, MA. Dracut is an old–school town full of farmland and hard–working people, right next to the historically industrial town of Lowell. A beautiful community has grown up in that studio. Right down the street there is a conscious café expanding its offerings of fresh, local, organic products. Beyond there is much fertile farmland, some of it being leased to small nonprofits. The people of Dracut are not only hardworking, but politically savvy and well–connected. It’s a very interesting place to find so close to a major city in the northeast corner of a northeastern state.

And I start with a trifecta! As it is school vacation week, I also get to sub at the same time tomorrow night, and at the primo slot on Saturday at 9:30.

It’s a wonderful new beginning that evokes an openness to experience I am already feeling in the rest of my life.

Like my Facebook page in the right sidebar to mark your calendar for events, and be sure to sign up for my e-mail list as well. I’m very happy to be on this journey with you!

Apana Vayu

All this week I am subbing for others at Sangha Yoga Collective in Downtown Lowell. It’s still soon enough after Thanksgiving to do a post–holiday detox flow. So Apāna Vāyu, one of the forms of Prāṇa Vāyu, is an appropriate focus and theme.

But this vital energy is about so much more than elimination, about letting go of what does not serve.

In a subtle but vital sense, the apana vayu has much to do with our power of decisiveness and self- determination, both of which turn upon our power of choice. Choice demands not only the affirmation of one possible good, but also the elimination or exclusion of other competing goods – choosing one good over another. Clarity in defining oneself demands decisiveness in eliminating what doesn’t work for us, what is not needed, or what conflicts with our highest goals. It’s not surprising that the apana vayu is associated with the element of earth, and is the energy of the Muladhara Chakra, which is concerned with having a strong, sure and reliable foundation, especially in fundamental matters of survival. (Hatha Yoga in the Anusara Style, p. 180) [emphasis added]

If you come out to Sangha tonight or Saturday morning, this is what we’ll be working on.

Gratitude for the Work of Loving the World | On Being

The only way to keep a gift alive is to pass it along. So on Thanksgiving Day this year — in a world where so many have been deprived of so much — I’ll give thanks by finding more ways to share the abundance I’ve been given.

I’ll also re-read this Mary Oliver poem. If I could embrace the idea that “My work is loving the world” — and spend my days living more fully into that job description — I’d be giving thanks not just with my words but with my life.

via Gratitude for the Work of Loving the World | On Being.

Parker Palmer was trained as a sociologist (like me), but spends his time educating about mindful teaching, leadership, and democracy. I do view his work as an inspiration for my day job of university teaching, and have given several of my yoga teachers a book of poems inspired by his groundbreaking book, The Courage to Teach.

It can be tempting to follow the herd and assign a theme of “gratitude” to the yoga class one teaches nearest Thanksgiving. Instead, yesterday, at Sangha Yoga Collective, where I teach, I gave a pre-holiday coping restorative class with the theme of balance, between effort and ease, between activity and repose. We’re entering a season in which many of us “show up” for others in very vital, but also potentially draining ways. Can we do the “work of loving the world” in a way that is sustainable by nourishing ourselves?

But I was feeling grateful for the ability to teach last night, to share these practices. I am grateful for Sangha and my colleagues there, too.

Whether you are a regular student of the Collective, or new to it, I hope you are able to connect with my colleagues and me by joining us for our free team–taught class and holiday potluck on December 19. See the Sangha Yoga Collective workshop and event page for more details. This would be a great way to continue the party of our gratitude for our students.

Fullness

How interesting that this post from Parker Palmer, who informs how I teach both at the university and in yoga studios, addresses abundance, when last night the them of my class was purnatva, Sanskrit for “fullness,” “wholeness,” “not lacking anything,” or my own interpretation “sufficient unto itself.”

What we need is truly inside, for what is universal, containing this property of ultimate fullness, is also a part of us. In his post, linked to below, please enjoy this poem which evokes this quality.

The “scarcity assumption” is a self-fulfilling prophecy; the more I live as if it were true, the truer it becomes for me. Abundance comes as I break free of scarcity thinking and remind myself again and again that “What we need is here.”

via The Abundance Within Us and Between Us Video | On Being.