Mindful on Monday

Mindful Vinyasa at 7 PM tonight!

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A Full Week of Teaching Yoga

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Full week of teaching #yoga

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I’ve a full week of teaching yoga. In addition to my regular Mindful Vinyasa and Form and Flow yoga classes at Pause Yoga Amesbury and Discover the Wonders Yoga in Dracut, respectively, I’ll be subbing for Roberta Dell’Anno’s All Levels Yoga at Essential Yoga Studio in Andover, and for Linda’s Slow Flow class following mine at Discover the Wonders.

I’ll be squeezing the most out of summer!

New class starting 7/11

I saw this Instagram posted by my friend @debra977, at Essence Yoga in RI, and had to repost it, knowing that I’d have this news to share.

On Monday, July 11, I will begin teaching a “Mindful Vinyasa” class at Pause Yoga in Amesbury, MA, 7-8:15 PM. It’s a sweet little studio perched right on Main Street in a town at once timeless and trendy. I look forward to meeting new students and having new adventures in āsana there.

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!

Good News

I have some good news to share on what is a snowy and reflective day for me. I am fortunate not to have University classes to teach on Fridays, and I decided to forego traveling to my “goto” Friday morning public class because of the weather. Home practices are in order.

One of the most delightful practices I engaged this morning is to prepare a yoga class for a studio to which I am applying to teach on a regular basis. I haven’t been on the schedule at a studio for a year. When I haven’t been recovering from a second shoulder surgery, and rebuilding my own practice from it, I’ve been mainly subbing for Roberta Dell’Anno and Linda Moran.

I get to prepare this class for a group in teacher training; for colleagues, then. I get to do so when this month, I mark seven years since I immersed myself in Anusara Yoga. The decision to do so took my practice and my life in directions which have not yet seen their full fruition. It has given me the gift of vital and decisive friendships I’m committed to treasure without consideration of cost or effort. The maintenance of these relationships has become a practice in itself.

It is one of these improbable friends who introduced me to the studio to which I am applying. The opportunity to teach is something which had “come together” more than which I had to overeffort to seek. So the aphorism on the Yogi Tea bag is appropriate. I welcome it.

A teacher of mine suggested we don’t fully appreciate the wisdom of the assertion of Jois, “Practice, and all is coming.” We think it means practice improves our lives. That’s the half of it. Practice, and all is coming: joy, sorrow, ease, challenge, love, and conflict. In some sense, the greater capacity we presumably develop to live and to savor life means our spirits grow. Larger spirits seem to attract bigger challenges precisely because of this greater capacity to grow from them.

It is with this in mind that I embrace the sacred duty to theme and sequence this practice. I treat it as a challenge, rather than take it lightly. Should I be extended the opportunity to teach at this studio, I will post that outcome here, with great relish, I must add. For I teach to share. The sharing makes the practices sweeter.

Updates

While I had been on hiatus from regular yoga teaching since the second of two shoulder injuries, I have been back in the studio subbing for a bit. Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Facebook have been alerted to these opportunities. I expect more of these opportunities as the summer wears on, what with vacations and such. Be sure to sign up for my mailing list below.

Recovery from my most recent shoulder surgery is going well. I have full range of motion, and I am working on strengthening three of the four rotator cuff muscles. It’s important to me to maintain a regular yoga practice if I am to teach yoga at all, so this recovery has been related to my teaching. I’m not attempting inversions or arm balances, but I am bearing weight in poses as my strength and endurance allow. I am pretty satisfied with the pace of my recovery, but also longing for the return of full capacity. Both of these inspire me to work hard in my physical therapy, personal practice, and public classes.

See you out there!

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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.