615.419.3604 hilary@activeyoga.com

“Yoga in America”

My chapter published in the book of the same name titled Yoga in America in 2006 reprinted here for students of yoga     A support group                                                                      The joy of community and the awareness of one’s singular peculiarities The first solitary foray into the wilderness The awakening of a budding teen The first trip to a foreign land The promise of peace A step toward the truth The struggle to be creative and the fight to be competitive The running of the bulls What your friend did to lose weight The sweetness of Satchidananda and the sternness of Iyengar Competitive, corporate, and consumer driven Clothes, gear, and music A traveling circus of superstars The video on the television set of the Kansas farm wife. The workout of the suburban housewife and the Hollywood star An option on the fitness menu at The Golden Door Spa A small class at the community center Offered in rehab and at the local church The silence of meditation and the hip hop on the Dee jay’s playlist Recognized as” Hot” Forever considered cool A rapt audience The innocence of the unsophisticated offering obeisance to the cloth The condemned tenement on New York’s lower East side transformed into a multi-million dollar Mecca An ingredient tossed into aerobics and strength training classes An escape from stress A chance to improve Where East meets West Used to be patchouli and now it’s nag champa Disguised by different titles Confused with enlightenment A step toward enlightenment The memory of the first kiss and the practice of the last breath An open marriage with secret resentments Where groovy...

“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 and the Domino Effect: Inquiry and Experience #4

  Your body and mind communicate by an unspoken language. You begin class standing at attention when I suggest you lift the skirts of your inner thighs.   Your skin shifts upward like an arrow shot from ankle holsters. Your bones react and pull toward earth. Your breath migrates to the fullest reaches of your ribs; all of them. Inner thighs do not have skirts. Your mind has translated this to something else. Bravo. ~Your belly, receptive to the upward pull of the thighs moves in and up. ~Your calves, receptive to the upward pull of the thighs draw down. ~The heels root. ~The thighs rise. ~The buttocks descend. ~The chest lifts.   If the pose is set in motion correctly, the rest falls in to place. Who will begin the dialogue for the body to follow before you know the first word? The approach offered stealthily does not overwhelm the student. It is most effective when both delicate and deliberate. That is the catalyst to poetry in motion.   Your guide is the teacher who directs you with the first word. And allows the ones that follow to be uniquely your...

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.              ...

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...