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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...

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...

Covid 19 Wipes Out the Nasty Mantra I’m Soooo Busy

Two weeks ago if I asked what’s new with you, you would say, “I’ve been so busy.” Redundancy for our times: “Sorry I haven’t called. I’ve been covered up.” “You were on my list to call today!” ( Damn that’s cold. I’m a spot on the list to be remembered.) I too say, I’ve been thinking about you which I do instead of checking in. Maybe like me, you have nothing to say of importance, nothing is new, we would only complain or bore someone. So we just think of them. We’ve taken each other for granted. Worried over minutiae, Scrambled to organize time distracted by social media in between a bevy of offerings to do everything imaginable at all times. So much freedom, so much space, so much opportunity it’s impossible to find clear and present boundaries for humanness. Though I’ve prayed for the world to stay still long enough to get my breath all I do now is hold mine hoping no one I love loses theirs. The boundaries feel less like security than a noose. I am a happy recluse in the best of times. The best means I chose it. The best means I am self centered because all around me is secure with me being that way. I am making my way to a best of times mentality. A slow slog. Captivity is easier now than the intro to that. I wonder if that’s how the accused feel waiting for a trial that will surely result in incarceration. Scrambling like impaired ants to consider an uncertain future except the loss of choice and resources....

WIRED.

  I always ask them, why did you come to yoga today? Most of them stay silent hoping I’ll ignore them or just do anything, anything other than demand an answer. Today a couple of folks wanted a body mind connection.   You will move your body. You will breathe with intention to inspire that movement. That will connect your body and mind. But your mind is a tricky construct created between you and impressions of the world. It is both your protector and foil. You want to connect to more of yourself than that. But the mind says there is nothing more. This is the work. And the work is intimacy that you were trained to avoid.   We are a network of nerves.   What does that have to do with your yoga practice? You came here expecting to move in familiar ways. You came here expecting me to tell you to breathe as if that was the measure of your endurance or consciousness, as if that done with precision will mean the yoga is working.   We see, hear, taste, smell, touch and think of that which comes in from an outside source. We have another sense of our movement in relation to space. Simultaneously, we have internal senses that measure impressions of the world within. These senses dictate our behavior both consciously and automatically.  We are a matrix of nerves wired to compute 24/7. We are not familiar with all of ourselves because all of ourselves is vast beyond present measurement.   People come to yoga for relief and they try to blow past sensations...

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...