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Sensory Yoga in Hair Raising Times ~ Namaste

February 2021. Soft hands belie a commitment to hand sanitizers as the Pandemic forges onward. Corona Easter Bunny 2020 by Hilary Those souls whose sensory overload comes quickly in the best of times are quickest to notice the rawness of skin now washed in a constant acid bath of battle. No lotion soothes these scoured parts, those instruments of giving and receiving for too human bodies. The skin the world sees, the skin of the organs, the skin of the breath and even the mind is chafed and chapped and twitchy. We are fragile and too tender for the fight. Being thin skinned takes on a sharp meaning when the thickness of ones skin implies protection. In a world where beauty certainly isn’t only skin deep, at a time when we are forced to the surface hourly in an attempt to come up for news that is the air defining our days, we live on the surface. The yoga teacher urges the student toward the down under. Seek the quiet beneath the surf for answers to your urgent question. Who am I? What’s happening? What is real? One might see living beneath the surface now as denial or detachment or worse, disassociation. Underground is a dirty word aligned with other words like the “dark web”. The underground rises to the surface again and again. It is blind and desperate for a light. It will not be ignored. On the surface it crashed the nation’s Capitol in a murderous rage. On the surface it is a violent virus burning holes in the skin of lungs. But in yoga we encourage...

Light Peeks Through the Cracks of Our Broken Home

The Inauguration of Joe Biden 2021 Spring air teases the forsythia and bluebirds forward. The white cold light of winter still shines slantingly through my Southern facing windows this early dawn. It will soon shift to the northern side of this house and morning will be less of a call to attention as the days drift on for hours, eventually bleeding into night. On this day that Donald Trump departs he will take despair with him. He will carry the crushing weight of hate away on the country’s helicopter. His departure will unclog the suffocating sludge of contention that has sucked the oxygen from our people. It will feel that way for some of us. Some of us will follow the fumes kicked up by his dust, hoping to stay in his reality star story. Some will choose lies but most will roll over with exhaustion hoping for an unbroken rest now that he’s been replaced by a human being whether it be in defeat of their vote or victory. Will we emerge from the bunker rolls of toilet paper and paper towels to wonder at our prison walls? Will we stare in confusion at the storehouse of swabs, sanitizers, soaps and wipes stuffed into corners? Will we ever look at a communal bowl of food without horror? Will we find the old friends waiting and pick up the pieces as they’d never broken? What do our jobs that were lost mean now? Were we necessary and is there a place for us? What do the jobs we’ve done from home feel like when we take them back to...

Broken Yogi 2020

Yoga combats arthritis, scoliosis, osteoporosis, imbalances, muscle weakness, pain and mental suffering. Or it increases it. Everything is the result of how you’re made and how you do things. And then there is how you are guided to manage these things. Organization, meaning how our body organizes itself, is key but we are mostly messy and subject to outside opinions of “cleanliness”. In yoga cleanliness is not described as the opposite of dirty but an inner shine. It is a component of a larger picture of contentment. In the late eighties and nineties many of us yoga enthusiasts were taught to invite discomfort, to force ourselves past normal range of motion, to work till the breath was ragged and then work to control that breath. It was stimulating, emotionally revealing, challenging in the best of ways. It did feel like making diamonds from carbon. Yoga was young in the U.S.. We were young. For many bodies that was fine until time changed those bodies and the practice naturally evolved with aging. For some bodies that was fine until it wasn’t and it was too late to undo the damage. About 25 years ago I began to feel the effects of pushing my body to the limit. In fairness I’d been told by a rheumatologist that my ligaments lacked integrity and yoga was the worst thing my body could do. It would destroy me. I discounted that at a time when movement came so easily and yoga was a dance that satisfied me wholly. I probably should have stuck to my own practice of dance incorporating yoga as that never...

We Are the People We Will Become

  We identify ourselves with some certainty. Smart, twitchy, resourceful, stubborn, kind, hard working, easy going, generous, like that. Is that it? Is it absolute? Seeds of change are dormant in all life forms. Both possibilities and pandemic. Stress forces them to mutate. Forces  adaptation. All life forms wired to survive.    Dis-ease threatens and unease arises. We change our habits. But also our behavior. What happens in reaction?   In yoga, once dormant comes to life with deliberate breath and movement. We name it “consciousness”. Knocks on the door and then breaks it down. This knowingness challenges our opinion of truth.   Forget who we were before this terrible tempest. Crisis now an opportunity. For curiosity. Respective human and humaneness magnified. Who are you?   Close your eyes. Repeat “I am” to yourself again and again. I am…….. What shows up? Keep going until nothing else comes up. Until “I am” is all. And...

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD BAR

Hey All, Here is a lovely recipe from The Sprouted Kitchen. They look so darn good. I thought it was worth sharing as the rain and safe shelter keep us home during this mysterious and nerve racking time. It seems like I mostly bake and eat these past two weeks with a dash of yoga and dog walking to boot. I will make this with unbleached white flour and coconut flour as that is what I have here. I rarely follow recipes exactly anyway. My favorite baking chocolate these days are Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels.  The other day I used Whole Foods organic butter rounds with peanut butter sandwiched in between and dipped them in melted chocolate. Left them on the front porch to firm on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heaven. Anyway, The Sprouted Kitchen sent this out and if you like healthy baking you might go subscribe to them directly. Happy Snacking, Love, Hilary PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD BARS 16 small squares Ingredients for the CRUST 1/2 cup coconut flour 1/2 cup almond flour 1/2 cup oats 1/3 cup coconut oil 2 Tbsp. maple syrup 1 tsp. vanilla extract Pinch of salt NUT BUTTER LAYER ¾-1 cup favorite natural nut butter 3 Tbsp. maple syrup CHOCOLATE LAYER 7 oz. chocolate, chopped 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or coconut butter Flaky salt, to finish Instructions Line an 8” square dish with parchment paper for easy removal. Preheat the oven to 325’. In a food processor, combine the coconut flour, almond flour, oats, coconut oil, maple, vanilla and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Don’t overdo...

The Bhagavad-Gita Answers the Question; When Should I Help?

I was an honorary panel member at the Third Annual  Global Bhagavad-Gita Convention in San Jose this year. Our topic was societal well being. A question was posed from an audience member. When is it appropriate to offer help to someone you see in need? Though I’m quick to opinion it also takes me a bit of ruminating to run the gamut of possibilities that both a question and answer offer and another panelist answered as I was still considering more than my first thought which was a question, Do they want help? That was only the initial thought which lead me to two more questions. Do you want to help? Do you have the capacity to help? The Bhagavad-Gita tells the story of a troubled Prince Arjuna who asks a trusted mentor, Krishna, for help. Krishna is a steady hand and one with authority and investment in the Prince meeting his destiny with integrity and a clear mind. He is the one best suited to help Arjuna through his struggle. The body of these 700 verses is Krishna convincing Arjuna of his destiny and duty. Simply, Arjuna asked for help and Krishna was both interested in and capable of helping. This is a great formula which I use myself on a regular basis when I find myself feeling guilty about not helping or frustrated that I can’t help or even confused about when it is appropriate to help. One doesn’t want to make others powerless by doing their work and more often, one doesn’t want to be the object of anger when trying to help where help is...