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...

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...