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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...

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...

“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...