615.419.3604 hilary@activeyoga.com

Live in the Moment? How?

You are human and you think about the future. The future is a mystery that is scary. We are wired for danger. We are born for stress. It’s how we survived as a species. Now it seems to be killing some of us.   People tell you to live in the moment. What does that mean? Of course you live in the moment. The moment is the life. You also consider the next moment. That way you have food. And a roof. Or at least a raincoat. You learned about that because of the past.   There is so much to consider in a microwave  life where every moment presents an opportunity to slide into sloth.  I mean, you don’t consider consequences but live in the moment.  A pint of ice cream and a bag of chips seemed like a good idea in that moment. So did the next drink or the trip home with a stranger. There is that too but is that what the new age pundits are recommending? Before you beat yourself up for succumbing to what seems the less enlightened version of be here now,  consider that there is no such thing as the present because you are a compound of past present and future happening all at once always. You can’t live in just one of those things because they are not separate. What you can do is manage your reactions by observing them. Managing your reactions may result in better choices. It’s all about observation and ironically desire to be free of desire or a victim of your past.   You are frustrated...

“Nature” by Goethe

  He says it so well that on this rare and lovely white frozen weekend I give you a guest to the yoga lab; the great writer, Goethe. Remember my friends that we are nature too.   Nature!      We are encompassed and enveloped by her, powerless to emerge and powerless to penetrate deeper.    Unbidden and unwarned she takes us up in the round of her dance and sweeps us along, until exhausted we fall from her arms.      She has placed me her: she will lead me hence-    I confide myself to her.    She may do with me what she will: she will not despise her work.    I speak not of her. No, what is true and what is false, she herself has spoken all.    All the fault is hers; hers is all the glory……Goethe   Hope you yogis are enjoying the full moon snow that ushers in a new year. Happy 2016 again and again.  ...

Everything Will Be Alright

She approaches me after class. Tells me she’s in law school. She and her peers are suffering from P.T.S.D. she says. From life. She’s responding to a comment I made in class. I consider it pure luck that I have a positive position on the life we share at the moment. Things need to break. The shit storm of happenstance and wrong actions that are instigating an onslaught of information on disaster is also precipitating a wellspring of solutions. That is a wellspring of love. That is the breath we choose. The human condition shifts with awareness and it changes with our reactions. I see many hopeful reactions despite the barrage of sorrowful scenarios. We are looking for ways out. We are wielding sledgehammers. We are scraping peeling paint. As radical politicians move the conversation from the usual banter, awareness grows. As spokesmen, leaders and newscasters inform people on pollution, poverty and violence against each other and the planet, quiet numbers choose to make things better in small and large ways. It’s a life of small steps. We just step faster now. Diverse paths are rapidly emerging. Some of us will be sacrificed no doubt. It was never easy to be aware. But it would be less glorious to not be. To blame nature’s weather or planets for our discomfort is shortsighted as well. Instability is nature itself. The perfect day will not last no matter how we pray for that. Welcome to your place in the world. To smash and break it until it is right for you without harming any creature is artful. Perhaps that’s why the...

Yoga Like Water

  It exploded from comets To begin as the oceans, And borders of seas,   Becoming the vapor, the clouds and the rain, And one with the earth,   Becoming the rivers, the lakes, and the streams, To become most of me, I breathed it out to become part of you.   Altered, transformed, shifted, ripened In time and beings, Its sparkle drew my searching eye and quenched a thirsty palette.   Is there a broken line in the lineage? Does this drop contain the residue of the first drop? Some has been burnt away for sure but most remains.   Like water, this yoga: To know it with intellect is a lively chase for a living art from an ancient time. Not my favorite game, but one I’ll play when the players arouse, Uninterrupted on more peaceful days I’ll stand in sensation.   This yoga like water whose chemistry would not matter if the proof was  my health, Would bear further examination should it rouse suspicion.   I was curious and explored something apart from me, Until it was no longer apart but a part.              ...

Heal the Burn With Meditation

approximate reading time: 1 minute and 20 seconds   In the season of  flame red trees and burning leaves we sow what we’ve reaped from the earthly plain. It is a straightforward thing to plant a seed and harvest the plant, having clear parameters of time and direction. What we have sown or reaped also becomes a philosophical inquiry at harvest time as fall marks the beginning of a new year for the Jewish people with a ritual of reflection on our behavior to our fellow men. Less condensed, as it’s a daily practice, the underpinning of yoga requires reflection with regularity. We are sowing without pause and observing the outcomes. I had a lovely old Tantra teacher who asked me if I knew what the worst pollution was and when I failed to come up with an answer he said that it was words: You can clean the air, the earth, the water but words can never be removed.   I came upon a medical study on rejection and physical pain. An MRI (an imaging device) of the brain lit up the same area of the brain for rejection as it did for the physical pain of a burn. Rejection forms its own words in the mind of the rejected.   Rejection is the upshot of any number of actions: Being fired from a job, being fired as a lover or friend, being passed over for a post, being ignored by anyone close to us or not, with words spoken or implied. I write rejection and you’ve already remembered your own.So when we say we got burned by...

Tradition Grows From Fallen Seeds

We Are Our Stories   “Oh the hands of my mother watch and keep over me And the hands of my grandmother are the hands you see on me From the house of great grandfather rivers run down to the sea And my sister’s mother’s husband’s father’s grandchild is me Don’t you see?” Sung by Mark Bailey to my children long ago in California   It’s snowing. It hardly ever snows here. And I’m sick. I’m rarely sick. I’m peaceful in that snowing and not feeling well kind of way and staring out the kitchen window. Leaning on the sill I stare into the frozen garden. Twin two foot tall bare twiggy trees are nestled between shrubs. I’m harvesting seedlings from the front yard of my husband’s next door neighbor from his childhood home.   We had gone back to hold a memorial service for my mother-in-law in the place she and my husband, Rob ,had lived most of her life. Tom’s house and Kitty’s house sat closely together on a dead end street in a seaside village of Long Island. Tom was as close in age to Rob as he was to Kitty and was as close as family got. That’s why I took the seedlings from Tom’s tree that he offered me as I marveled over it’s unusual beauty. Here take some, he said as he plucked handfuls from the ground. He filled a small plastic sandwich bag with seedlings and dirt and I hopefully carried them back to Nashville in my suitcase.   Three years later Tom is dead. And Rob tells me that not a...