615.419.3604 hilary@activeyoga.com

“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...

Robocaller In Your Head

  Robots hacked your home phone. You know, that old clunker nailed to wall that you keep for the last touch of we’re a family here. You keep it for your mother and you keep it for midnight emergencies next to your head in the bed. It’s got a virus called robocall.     It’s the automated voice in your head that beats you down by repeating the same things over and over even though you’re not buying, even though you will never close that deal. It doesn’t respect your busy day or your need for dreamless sleep. It’s the ring of a new world, the world which agrees that it’s fine to call anyone at any hour for any reason. It’s the ring of limitless which you thought was freedom but is someone else’s freedom to imprison you. That someone else is you.   You could press #1 to take yourself off the list but you don’t because you’re afraid you might miss something. You’re a hoarder.   “We rarely hear the inward music But we’re all dancing to it nevertheless.” ~ Rumi   You don’t notice that the words to the song or jingles contain some lyrics of your stuck life. You don’t recognize that repetitive ruminations abide because you don’t confront them.   You have to pick up to take yourself off the list. You have to agree to not be called again. You have to know what is valuable and what should be thrown away.   Be still. Have a seat or lie down with yourself. Robocaller is waiting and ready. It knows when you...

Namaste, Sincerely

  Before you take those hands to your heart……   Namaste is the yoga student’s salutation that allows our similarity below the surface. We feel beneath our skin and say we recognize you beneath yours. Here we share DNA that makes us kin. It is a gesture of respect.   There is benevolence to that greeting that tames the mind from critical thought and soothes the ego from needing to show. It makes the instant significant. It is momentarily unifying.   Collective moments become a manner of thinking unless the greeter becomes careless and speaks without thinking, without authenticity. Then habit overcomes intention. Ironically, habit like this is the veil of illusory behavior that yoga aims and claims to conquer if the doer is sincere.   Namaste offered in sincerity is yoga’s domain. It cannot abide the popularity of the offhand “love ya” which has merit as it is a spoken offer of love however lightly or fleeting. As yoga’s greeter, Namaste might better be delivered as Sincerely,...

Beginner Yoga Class:Introductory Notes

  Why practice yoga?   We come into a world of endless possibilities like instruments without instructions. Our mechanisms are so advanced that it takes years to know how to implement them and a lifetime to refine them. Yoga is the instruction.   In yoga we begin with the body to organize ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. The first task is to get to know ourselves.   The body is the material we start with. It is touchable and concrete and we can identify with it. This is where we have the maximum opportunity for self examination.   The modern system of yoga is described in a text written about 18 centuries ago. It’s known as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In the simplest explanation it is a guide to self inquiry that results in liberation from distractions and a sense of freedom from the tedium of a restless mind. It is entirely self serving. Older systems of yoga speak to service in a different light. When the student is steady in the foundation of yoga she may find a purpose and skill in service.   The student is given guidelines to behavior. When these guidelines are applied to the physical practice of postures, the student can experience how the concepts of disallowing harm, arrogance, greediness, jealousy and gluttony feel in the body. Then the student has the choice to adjust his/her attitude toward herself in the posture. The body becomes a vehicle for reflection.   Beyond the body, these restraints not only free the student from a guilty conscience but lead to equanimity. This allows for emotional space....

God, War and Warrior II

  In his opening lecture on the Yoga Sutras, Edwin Bryant PhD, Professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University, discredited the idea of a devotional aspect to the text postulated by an attending teacher. He declared that the totality of the Sutras is a call to meditation and an invitation to renunciation rather than advice to dedicate oneself to anything outside oneself. He had begun by stating that one cannot study yoga philosophy too often as the significance of the content changes with perceptions based in life experience. This teacher took comfort she said, in the idea of channeling disturbances of the mind into devotion or bhakti. Bryant shut the notion down going so far as to say that the text including the eight limbs was simply dedicated to eliminating distraction from self involvement which seems an erudite view.   When the teacher cited a verse of the Bhagavad Gita to press her point Bryant made it clear that the Gita was not to be confused with the message of the Sutras. The Gita advocates duty and devotion to something outside oneself which is a direct departure from the attitude of isolation described in the Sutras.   Gita’s shadow danced when I set the class for Warrior II the next day.   God and War is a curious pairing without context. In the framework of modern and not so modern conflicts it’s business as usual and the business places God in awkward positions depending on whose God it is or on which side God stands. God and war in the Gita? I leave it to others to interpret as they...