Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
Patience and Love agreed o meet at a set time and place; beneath the twenty-third tree in the olive orchard. Patience arrived promptly and waited. She checked her watch every so often but still, there was no sign of Love.
Was it the twenty-third tree or the fifty-sixth? She wondered and decided to check, just in case. As she made her way over to the fifty-six tree, Love arrived at tree twenty-three where Patience was noticeably absent.
Love waited and waited before deciding he must have the wrong tree and perhaps it was another where they were supposed to meet.
Meanwhile, Patience had arrived at the fifty-sixth tree where Love was still nowhere to be seen.
Both begin to drift aimlessly around the olive orchard, almost meeting but never do.
Finally, Patience who was lost and feeling quite resigned, found herself beneath the same tree where she began. She stood there for barely a minute when there was a tap on her shoulder. It was Love.
"Where are you?" She asked. "I have been searching all my life."
"Stop looking for me," Love replied, 'and I will find you."
Friday, June 14, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
During the first week of June we had the pleasure of hosting Jörgen Christiansson at Yogayama to share his wisdom and insight in regards to the practice of Ashtanga yoga which included a week of Mysore practice, but of course. Jörgen is the only Swedish certified teacher and to have him back in his homeland under these circumstances made it extras special for those native to Sweden and also to those who are not, hahaha. He's a hands on teacher who honors the tradition in a way that runs deep within him. Living in L.A. and teaching at his own center Omkar108 Yoga take the time to visit if ever in the area. For those in Sweden who missed the opportunity to practice with him he'll be back next year in early June. It's time Sweden celebrated this Swedish teacher who has spent the last few decades traveling the world and studying yoga.
Many thanks to you Jörgen! See you next year if not before!
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
(The Dali Lama)
The week before last I had the pleasure of being invited to Sarajevo to teach a weekend Ashtanga yoga workshop at Prana Yoga Studio in the heart of the city. Before my arrival I was filled with curiosity in regards to Sarajevo, remembering the complex history, horrors, and atrocities that happened there. Even to this day I don't understand it fully, however during and since my visit, I have gained deeper understanding. Remnants of the war are mostly gone but still visible and knowing what I know now I am fascinated by the strength and determination of the human spirit. No matter what, life moves on. Still, on some level, I have to ask myself, how could this have happend in my lifetime? How and why wasn't there more done to help stop the senseless killings? It haunts me.
Nonetheless, there are those who desire to move on from a higher state of consciousness. One reason why both Mike and Aida have touched me so deeply. Being the very first Ashtanga yoga center in the city they have truly broken ground in giving those the tools to reach greater awareness through the practice. It's needed, and even in the rise of skepticism they have one by one touched those with their sincere offering to give and enlighten the people of Sarajevo ready to take the leap. They're doing it and it's so inspiring!
Not only was the group willing to take the plunge, discovering all the practice has to offer but also we had participants not only from Bosnia, but Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia together in one room making it happen.
T H A N K Y O U
Below are a collection of Instagram(s) I took while in Sarajevo.
Mike and Aida,
The beautiful couple who own Prana Yoga Studio in Sarajevo
A Mosque in the City Center
Sarajevo Skyline near "Old Town"
Monday, June 10, 2013
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013
“Just as we are entranced by television, we are entranced by the mind. Have you ever noticed how similar television is to the mind? Just like in the mind, on television, something new is always appearing to grab our attention. Because the mind’s job is to scan the environment and notice anything new and different, it is no wonder the mind finds the constant change on the television screen engrossing.
(Nirmala, Nothing Personal)
In the real world, on the other hand, life unfolds slowly and organically. If you took a video camera with you on a 30-minute walk and left it on, you’d have a really bad movie. Can you imagine renting that at Blockbuster video?—“Life at Normal Speed.” Just notice how attracted the mind is to special effects, drama, and speeded-up versions of life. Even though our thoughts and fantasies are the basis of our suffering, we become engaged with them because, like television and movies, they are entertaining.”
(Nirmala, Nothing Personal)
Friday, May 31, 2013
“I have made mysterious Nature my religion. I do not believe that a man is any nearer to God for being clad in priestly garments, nor that one place in a town is better adapted to meditation than another. When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvelous ever-changing beauty, an extraordinary emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpeted earth, …and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration. …To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! …that is what I call prayer.”
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
“The process of finding the truth may not be a process by which we feel increasingly better and better. It may be a process by which we look at things honestly, sincerely, truthfully, and that may or may not be an easy thing to do.”
Since my last trip to India I have been suffering from low-grade fatigue. I call it low-grade in that I have managed to be fully functional but maybe not at my best. Still able to teach and practice I often found myself wiped out from activity that before didn't take much effort. Now that I'm coming out of the woods, on some level, I've had a chance to reflect and make slow changes where necessary.
My last Mysore trip the practice went rather deep and unleashed what I now call, toxic residue, that well, needed to be brought to the surface, looked at, reflected upon and burned by the fire of tapas through practice, study and self-reflection. What bubbled up wasn't by choice - It happened on it's own. Having to assess every layer of my being, the physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual bodies, I felt a turning point in existence was being brought to the forefront. Simply put, there was no hiding from it. Not this time.
When I entered back into the dark hours of Sweden's winter after two months in Mysore I was surprised to notice a darkness began to arise within me. The hurts, pains, and unresolved emotions that hadn't been fully processed wanted to make themselves known. To assume we don't have this stuff within us is ridiculous, and I for one had to own up to the fact that certain experiences were not to say, well, "it's all good." Sometimes it is not all good, sometimes we suffer, and over the years I have been adept at putting on a face that, "hey that's alright," when being on the brunt end of bad behavior, not admitting that yeah, it stings. Hence, the reason I was so open over the past few months in light of challenging experiences I have had living in Sweden as well as going back even further into my childhood. They were simply experiences and unresolved emotions I had to grapple with, while expressing the intensity of what was coming up. They needed to be felt, looked at and released.
“The real goal of a spiritual tradition should not be ascent, but openness, vulnerability, and this does not require great experiences but, on the contrary, very ordinary ones. Charisma is easy; presence, self-remembering, is terribly difficult, and where the real work lies.”
This is one reason why this practice is so amazing and even after nearly 20 years of yoga practice the layers it touches one cannot expect the when or the how, only that it will. Even though the experience has been tough on some level I know on another it's good medicine. To be free we must feel and yoga is a beautiful platform for that. Especially in Ashtanga yoga where we must be concentrated and attentive in every way, delving ever deeper each visit to our mats through the ritual of daily practice.
On a physical level I was just tired. Exhausted. Also, my digestion wasn't working properly, having little to no appetite. I had to put a few things into check. For one, why not cover my bases and do a parasite cleanse. Check. I also drastically cut back on coffee. Funny though, because one couldn't say I was a coffee addict before. I would simply have a small morning soy latte (post practice), however since cutting out the drug we call coffee it has replenished the diminishing returns. Two, Stockholm is extremely dry and really aggravates my Vata dominate side. So implementing the proper routine to stay in balance has been helpful.
On a mental/emotional level I felt heaviness and often sadness. Like a deep well of grief offering itself in a big oceanic wave. Hard to explain only to say it felt like there was no bottom to it. How deep would this sadness go? I was beginning to wonder if there was no end. My thoughts gravitated to past impressions and memories like a flood coming in on it's own accord as if I was powerless to its push forward into the psyche. Alas, there it was in all it's splendor. I began to wonder, why now all of a sudden, and instead of pushing it away I sat in observation and started to ride it out. Accepting that, yeah, I felt heavy and tired, however on a deeper level I knew I just needed to be in it, fully. No numbing. No acting as if it were, "all good."
On a spiritual level all I can say is something was and is desiring to emerge. It is too painful to sit in the shit of the unprocessed simply because I have learned useful coping mechanisms. When layers are being shed there is work to be done otherwise be stifled by the never ending cycle of conditioning. We live in a culture that almost demands that we numb ourselves at every turn of our existence. Who would have thought how challenging it is to live in authenticity when it comes to our true emotions as we touch the light of our center. However, if you were to look around the juice of life is seeping out of most as we coast never being fully immersed in the truth and beauty of who we are. This light of knowing will continue to call us home no matter how strongly we ignore it. It's a whisper that gently speaks, not the loud meanderings of the mind. As I sit in the silence of this presence, knowing full well that a part of me still clings to being small and what I am coming to realize is nothing needs to be done or fulfilled. It's an expansive release. A huge letting go. An unwinding and undoing of everything we thought we knew. It's an unexpected place that goes beyond anything I could have dreamed up in my limited little mind.
Monday, May 27, 2013
“Those doing soul work, who want the searing truth more than solace or applause, know each other right away. Those who want something else turn and take a seat in another room. Soul-makers find each other’s company.”
Friday, May 24, 2013
"Sit quietly and close your eyes. The light within is sufficient."
My week in photos. Well, to be honest these photographs were taken over the course of several weeks, but whose counting?! I'd like to make this a weekly feature on my blog. Next time a more accurate feature, haha. When spring finally makes an appearance in Stockholm, it explodes. Believe me, it is the most welcome sight for those who live here. I especially had a harder time this past winter and believe it or not, the Spring has been one of the coldest on record. Wonder what the Summer has in store for us? I only have a few little jaunts to take but will be spending most my time in Sweden. Summer can alway be mixed bag and never a sure thing. I'll cross my fingers!
"Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."
Thursday, May 23, 2013
“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” - Iyanla Vanzant
Truth. I haven't had a relationship with my mother in almost 15 years. Why? Sometimes I don't even know why. In an act of transparency I am coming out with it. It's not always easy to talk about challenging situations, especially when it comes to family. Life is messy, and doesn't always come in pretty little boxes like we may want to portray. For as long as I can remember my relationship with my mother has been strained. I never understood her even as a young child. No deep closeness. It's one of those things where karmically there wasn't a deep bond. I can't explain exactly why it was like this only that it was.
I think in many ways I came into this life strong willed. I seemed to have clear idea of things. I was creative and boisterous, definitely curious. Especially curious in regards to God, religion and philosophy. Strange, I know. At the same time I could be lost in my imagination. My dreams were relentless. I also struggled with thoughts on death. Contemplating what would happen to me when I died. Blackness was all I could feel. Nothingness. I could scare myself just thinking about. These things I never talked to my parents about. At the same time I felt a strong presence around me at times. Because of a certain amount of sensitivity I held, I could take on the heaviness of others. I could easily absorb it. Especially from my parents. Somehow I felt responsible for everything.
I never had a teenage rebellion. Maybe I should have. There was no room for it, truthfully. I was a good kid (yawn). Years of perfect attendance, a cheerleader, an honor student on and off. I was funny about school. Often I didn't have the drive to make the grades and then I would easily turn it around and make it, even when taking A.P. courses. It didn't seem to matter. For the most part learning in the traditional sense was boring. I didn't like playing the game. Soon, I learned I had to, and at the same time I learned the difference between book smarts and intuitive common sense. They didn't always go hand in hand. I always thought it interesting that book smarts seemed to take precedence in the eyes of many, especially my mother who didn't approve of my lack of motivation at times. When I was inspired I excelled often to the adulation of my teachers. I new how to work it, garnering my teachers' praises on numerous occasions. Then I'd ask myself is this all there is?
You see, even though I never made waves somehow I was often met with my Mother's disapproval for whatever reason. I still to this day don't fully understand it. One of life's great mysteries. I managed to graduate highschool never drinking a drop of alcohol, never smoking cigarettes, never experimenting with illegal drugs and/or having sex. Yes, bor-ring. I never started arguments because most discussions were established on a one way street and often an interrogation would ensue on the most intense level. She talked, I listened, and often for many hours. It was drilled into me that I must at all costs respect because she was an elder and of course my mother. There was never room for discussion beyond that and I wasn't allowed to question it.
I was groomed to live in fear of her ramifications, punishments, and mood swings. Even to the point where teachers reported signs of those ramifications to authorities. A part of me died then and through the years I have done my best to bring the young girl who has laid dormant since then back to life. But would I change the experience looking back on it? I really can't say that I would. Through the challenges it only quickened me to find an authenticity and truth that maybe if my life would have been more comfortable I might not have so hungrily searched for. I can't deny or judge the complexity that is called my life, or better yet, my story, because it is simply that. I can stand at a point where somehow it was what needed to take place.
However, there came a point where I had to finally admit the nature of my relationship with my mother was simply toxic, with most phone conversations leaving me in a puddle of tears, filled with self doubt. I seemed to be the object of her provocation that I never understood at the time. I felt as if it wasn't enough that I hurt; I needed to be crushed and shattered before any form of satisfaction took place. When my mother gave me back a pile of childhood photos that used to hang on the wall in the home of my upbringing as a sign of her distaste I gave up. I needed to pick up the pieces one by one and build myself anew. So I did, as I allowed the healing to take place.
Through the years many have asked why at certain times am I withdrawn or quiet, and I can honestly say my default can easily slide into that young girl who wanted to fall apart and let go, and couldn't, because keeping some type of stability in tact was the only thing she could rely on. Through it all, even the times I have felt completely lost, with no chance of certainty, God's grace would prevail somehow, someway. This is how I came to believe on a experiential level. To know that everything is grace, even pain and confusion.
Grace is everywhere. There is learning in everything. I think when brought face to face with the challenges of life or feeling like your experience is so different from those around you can bring one to live in grace and/or to become graceful. It's a practice of sorts. Why share this now? In the end this is simply a story I have experienced and doesn't have to cause me to live in bitterness or doubt. People do the best they can with what they know or with the awareness they hold at any given time. My life has been far from perfect and in that I can then lean on the perfection that connects us all.
Monday, May 20, 2013
The psoas. I'm beginning to think with all the adjustments I do on a daily basis it has taken a beating. I especially notice in practice where most imbalances come to the surface. After reading the following blog post, Psoas Magic, it opened me up to observing where I hold inefficiently in the body when I stand for close to four hours straight. Above is a video demonstrating 'constructive' rest' which is said to be the best way to release the psoas. It's recommend that one holds for no less than 15 minutes, which for some may feel like torture. As for me, I could probably stay in this postion for double, haha. No problems here. I'm gonna try it out this week and see how it goes.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
In remembrance of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, on the 4th anniversary of his passing, I am filled with gratitude for his legacy and passion for yoga. It is hard to express the depth of respect and inspiration I feel in his remembrance. Still moved by his living spirit, he continues to remind me what this journey is about. Thank you, Guruji. Thank you.