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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...

The Bhagavad-Gita Answers the Question; When Should I Help?

I was an honorary panel member at the Third Annual  Global Bhagavad-Gita Convention in San Jose this year. Our topic was societal well being. A question was posed from an audience member. When is it appropriate to offer help to someone you see in need? Though I’m quick to opinion it also takes me a bit of ruminating to run the gamut of possibilities that both a question and answer offer and another panelist answered as I was still considering more than my first thought which was a question, Do they want help? That was only the initial thought which lead me to two more questions. Do you want to help? Do you have the capacity to help? The Bhagavad-Gita tells the story of a troubled Prince Arjuna who asks a trusted mentor, Krishna, for help. Krishna is a steady hand and one with authority and investment in the Prince meeting his destiny with integrity and a clear mind. He is the one best suited to help Arjuna through his struggle. The body of these 700 verses is Krishna convincing Arjuna of his destiny and duty. Simply, Arjuna asked for help and Krishna was both interested in and capable of helping. This is a great formula which I use myself on a regular basis when I find myself feeling guilty about not helping or frustrated that I can’t help or even confused about when it is appropriate to help. One doesn’t want to make others powerless by doing their work and more often, one doesn’t want to be the object of anger when trying to help where help is...

Yoga for Relationship

Relationship is comparison, necessary because in isolation there is no measure by which we can define objectively. Things don’t exist in non-relationship. Relationship is most quickly identified in opposition. That requires judgment. That word triggers yoga folks who are stepping all over themselves to practice non-judgment. So that word is repurposed as discernment which takes the subjective opinion out of the picture. That alone might take a lifetime of practice. Everything is relative. True identification takes patience. What is truth anyway? Do you know that in relation to what is false? What is false but its relationship to truth? There must be a neutral jury! What you intuit from your heart must be considered in light of what you know objectively and historically. What’s outside our skin we can only surmise. We use our skin for the knowing in yoga. Sensation clarifies with patience and experience. You are not patient. It is trained out of you. Go faster is your mantra. Life’s become a game of seconds. Split those seconds. Quarter them. Anticipate. Aggravate. Accelerate. Agitate. Yoga is the in between. Yoga is neutral. Brain gray. Yoga preaches patience. Sensation is anything but gray. It is all colors and then maybe just light. You can feel it in the neutral zone of a yoga practice. You are building sensitivity and intuition. Your relationship to yourself colors relationship to other. Put “other” in the neutral zone of yoga to see true colors. Shine your own light to see out there. Notice that relationship is fluid. Relationship is a flow....

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...

Are Your Relationships Working? The Body of One is the Body of All.

  Hatha yoga, is the physical experience of relationship.  It is the relationship of bone to bone, bone to breath, breath to muscle, muscle to muscle, fiber to fiber and cell to cell. Stretching doesn’t make muscles longer as much as it makes relationships between fibers and cells become efficient. Stretching wakes us up.   When posture is pleasurable it’s likely we’ve found the right path. It is an indirect path. The map is provided by a teacher but not all vehicles are suited to drive the same way on the same path. We learn by trial and error. Some of it is obvious and some more subtle. The more refined the mind, the more refined the yoga practice which results in greater awareness of the unseen. One thing is for sure. If there is pain, sorrow or anger, the relationship is off. And that bad relationship takes its toll on parts that had no part in creating the problem.   When there is discomfort in a relationship it’s helpful to look at the forces individually. Work unilaterally in the pose as you would look at your own part in an argument. Maybe look and feel how one group as one side is different than the other.  Then take measures to make the best “deal” for each side.   Perhaps you guessed that I’ve got the contentious governing body on my mind. The incoming is trying to make the best deal for one group. Healthcare and tax reform are big topics. The filter of my yoga mind sees we the people and the people of the world as one...