Monday, May 16, 2016

Mother's Day

Mother’s day class on Sunday May 7th

My daughters Grace and Lauren used to hang out under Karin’s grand piano while I taught or took class.  They would make nests using yoga blankets, bolsters and blocks.  Karin often brought them pillows from her own bedroom. On Mother’s Day the girls and Dan have brought me trays with brown rice and Kukicha tea, almond butter on rice cakes, black tea with 5 drops of stevia, brown rice with ghee and roasted nuts, flowers, toast...., whatever fit with my current dietary fetish. 

One year for Mother's Day I asked if we could all ride our bikes to Karin’s 9 am class and then ride to the High Rise Bakery for breakfast/lunch/brunch.  The girls were so sweet about it. They hung in there even though the ride was a bit harrowing and the class was full of grown-ups.  This year the girls, now teenagers, both had a zillion things planned for Friday evening, all day Saturday and Saturday night late, so what I really wanted was for them to sleep in, really sleep in. That that would be a real present for me, to know that they were getting the sleep they so needed rather than dragging themselves exhausted from bed to take a yoga class full of old people (their parents) and then to High Rise to OD on some sinfully sugary thing(s) and feel terrible the rest of the day.   

Instead, Dan and I got up in a peaceful house, had some tea and went to class (by car). When we pulled up there was a “Suburbunny” munching on grass, utterly unperturbed by our arrival two feet away.  The flowers were glowing with sunlight we’d been pining for for weeks and the walkway to the Loft was lush with new green shoots and dense with Dogwood and other unidentified pink trees. 

Dan and I chose our spot by the back wall and spread out our matching green mats.  The class was so peaceful.  I closed my eyes a lot, in fact, I tend to practice with my eyes closed as much as I possibly can, when I have the luxury of being a student in a class as well as in my home practice.  I loved being tucked away in the back corner with Dan beside me.  Karin was focused and funny and elegant.  Her sequence led you along in a “Oh, of course we’re doing this pose now, perfect!” way. By the end of class I felt as if my limbs had been ironed into silky strands and my nervous system was humming and warm like the fridge.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Audio Yoga Sequences

I once had a dearly beloved student who asked me to record a yoga practice for her.  She had tried to practice from books, from Yoga Journal, the magazine on the mat.... She tried having her husband read the instructions to her, but then she'd get mad at him and that wasn't conducive.... So, I got a computer, a microphone, even a stand for the microphone,... I tried a few times to record podcasts, but got bogged down at the step where I was supposed to figure out a way to make the recordings readily available...and I put the microphone away neatly in the closet.  She and I worked together in person twice a week in her home for years and somehow I never got to making the audio version for her.  She passed away three years ago and I miss her every single day.

So it is in honor of Joan Parker that I inaugurate the first of an ongoing series of downloadable recorded yoga practices. Joan I wish you were still here with us.

The following short yoga sequence is meant to be doable in 15-25 minutes or so.  You can pause the recording to slow it down and hold a pose or stretch longer, or keep it going and get through it faster.  If there are any poses or stretches that cause joint pain, sharp pain or otherwise NOT GOOD pain, leave them out!  If you are inspired to add a few poses, go for it!  My hope is that you can use these audio sequences to enhance/jump start your home practice. So start by "Throwing your mat on the floor," as Karin Stephan suggests for Step One to a home practice.  Then turn on your recording.... et Voilà!

Visit my website to listen; where a link will take you to Soundcloud. For now, until we redesign the website, the only way to access my podcasts is via this link. Once you've visited, you can bookmark my podcast or the Soundcloud page for repeat listening.

Warmest Wishes,

Monday, March 7, 2016

This being human is a guest house...

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

   Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

I often wish that the (very) short meditation at the close of class could go on and on, or at least for about 20 minutes!  I relish so much that short pause when the class is done but we haven’t yet begun what’s next. After we have worked the body, maybe rebalanced, enervated, stretched and otherwise gotten the bodily fluids moving as well as the breath.  Sitting in meditation in this state is such a completely different experience to sitting down “Cold.” I find that I am able to observe what ever is happening with a quieter detachment. This poem popped into my mind during this pause at the end of class this morning and if I could recite it from memory I would have.  Barring that, here it is!  Enjoy!