Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year's Blessings

Happy New Year!

May this year be rich with opportunities to explore deeply, to play freely and love whole heartedly.

Here's something beautiful  that I hope inspires and ignites you. A quote and hope for you from this short Tedtalk: "I wish that you will open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you and that everyone you meet on this day will be blessed by you. Just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch. Just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow to blessing all around you." -Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, narrator of Louie Schwartzberg's film.

You'll find an attached Integration Meditation to support you in bringing in the lush mystery of the new year with your insights from 2012. If you've done any Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy with me you'll recognize it as the meditation we do at the end of the session or workshop. See what it's like to use it to reflect on your year, what wisdom you can draw from it, and how you can set that into motion in a real way.

This year has been, well, a lot of things. There's been calm, and there has been chaos... And through the whole spectrum of it there's been community. I've been so blessed by the loving, generous support from all the lovelies that make it what it is. The healing, inspiration and abunDance flowing through it has helped me to be so much more whole than I could be on my own. The caring presence of people around has made me feel so rich, even while experiencing loss. Thank you. Simply for being present. It is my hopes that by practicing Yoga in all the ways that we do we continue to cultivate that caring, compassionate, loving presence in an empowering way that benefits all beings.

May all beings be peaceful and free
May we be fearless and play ^.^
In Metta


Friday, December 14, 2012

Music and Grief

This morning as I walked home from the Yoga studio, something so simple as a snow covered dog statue opened up the space where my grief lives. There was that heavy hearted sorrow that I've grown acquainted with over years of loss, most recently being the death of my sister in a house fire this summer. 

While there is some unhealthy programming I have around being with (or not being with) the tenderness of pain, there's also music.

On the day I found out my little sister was gone from this world I needed music like I never have before. There was such a trembling nausea that overtook me. When it was time to leave our mountain host's home I curled up in the back of the camper van and put Krishna Das on. He sings mantras as a form of devotion; they help to quiet the mind and serve to connect the one chanting or listening to that greater whole that we're a part of. I don't believe that anything or anyone is lost, but I couldn't find a sense of where my sister's spirit was. I just needed to let go into those waves of Divine Love. I listened for a long time; the nausea had quieted behind the music. But when I turned the music off, when I stopped focusing on those mantras and what they represent, the sickness could no longer be held at bay. 

Today when I was riding another wave of grief, I opened to song and the power it has to channel and express feelings that are too strong for words. I sang my way across bridges and into the library. I found my friend and roommate, who was also in the midst of a mournful morning. We would not have had the experience of connecting with each other in such a raw and true way if we hadn't been feeling the sadness that comes from endings. 

Today there was a school shooting in connecticut leaving 27 dead, 18 of them children. My prayers, the love flowing through this heart and these songs are with those now gone and all those left behind. 

Feeling connected to others isn't always pleasant or easy, but the richness of using grief as a doorway for compassion is convincing me it's worth it. Here's some Krishna Das to listen to as you let your heart swell as wide as the world.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gratitude Meditation

Namaste lovelies,

A big thanks for all of your caring thoughts, supportive words and shining present eyes. Life's transitions sure wouldn't be as rich and warm without you. We all affect one another, and we don't usually know how much we're appreciated by those around us simply for being who we are. Living from an authentic, heart centered place is such a gift to yourself as well as those around you. 

Take some time to cultivate an attitude of gratitude this weekend in between bouts of savoring your culinary appreciation. Sit with yourself and explore what else there is to give thanks for with the following meditation.

For those of you who want to deepen your discovery of how your body, beliefs and quality of life are connected, I'm now giving Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy sessions  at Serene Yoga Studios as well as Hollow Reed Holistic. I'm also offering one-one-one and private Yoga classes for those who want a more personalized practice. 

Here's what Psychology Today says about gratitude:"It opens the heart and activates positive emotion centers in the brain.  Regular practice of gratitude can change the way our brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns. The positive emotions we evoke can soothe distress and broaden our thinking patterns so we develop a larger and more expansive view of our lives.  Gratitude is an emotion of connectedness, which reminds us we are part of a larger universe with all living things."

Gratitude Meditation

This is a fantastic self-critic-stomping technique. If the critic pokes its head in, notice that it's there and kindly let it out again.

Invite a deep breath in through your nose. Let it fall out of your mouth. Do this at least a couple more times.

Let yourself sit in the place of the witness-look at yourself as the whole, dynamic being you are. What do you appreciate about yourself?  Take your time with this. It's kind of like acknowledging the qualities you value in a dear friend. 

Notice what's happening in your body as you continue to cultivate that gratitude for yourself. After a while, let any details or stories about why you're grateful drop. Just be with the sense of gratitude. What is it like to honor yourself as you are in this moment? Nourish your capacity to be unconditionally grateful. 

Continue in a similar way, extending it out to the life you live and the relationships you have. Check out what there is to appreciate. Notice physical sensations. Then allow for that unconditional gratitude to grow. 

Bring your hands together in front of your heart, palms gently pressing together. Ground down through your seat or your feet. As you inhale widen your arms and roll your shoulders back. Lift your chest and your gaze. With your exhale, bring your hands back together in front of your heart. Do this movement, synchronized with your breath, a few times. When it feels done for you, let your hands rest together at your chest for another deep breath. 

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. "Melody Beattie 

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." - Thornton Wilder
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice."  ~Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


"Well, why wouldnt someone want to feel fragile? I think fagility is one of the most underrated things as a human being. I believe that we're doing Yoga so that we can be strong enough to be fragile. I mean, we are fragile, and we're living in a society were we could easily be destroyed -psychologically, emotionally, and physically- so why shouldn't we feel fragile? life is on a silk thread hanging like a cocoon from a tree, and it's a fragile thing. I don't think Yoga is to keep you from feeling fragile. I think it's to enable you to be consciously fragile but still feel like, "I'm fine with this fragility.""-Rodney Yee

I've certainly been feeling fragile since my sister's passing. And despite my beliefs about death, I can't sidestep the natural process of grieving. It's common, even habitual, for us to distract ourselves from uncomfortable emotions. It might be reading a fantasy novel, getting lost on the internet or talking about anything other than what's aching to be felt. We have no shortage of ways to avert our attention in this society. 

Take some time today to focus your attention on yourself as a whole- the parts that are fragile and vulnerable as well as the parts that are empowered and strong. Acknowledge everything that's present right now. What's happening in your body? Find a Yoga posture that helps you to accentuate the sensations. For example, I've been noticing heaviness in my chest; a heavy heart. Forward folds have been allowing me to curl into myself, looking inwards at what's happening there. When I uncurl and explore a backbend I've felt more vulnerable with the pain, while allowing space to open and let go of that heaviness. 

Honor yourself and welcome the possibilities.

May your practice today serve your ability to be ok with being fragile. 
May you be truly happy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Savoring what's Shared

We played this song at my little sister's funeral. I know I tend to take it for granted that I'll see people again. 

Practice being fully present to yourself, so that you can be present to all your relationships, appreciating the unique beauty in every moment. Change is constant; sometimes change is sudden... What's Happening Now?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

On Death, with Love

How to put words to such bursts of change? The element of fire has the characteristic of transformation.   Many have been transformed since the flames claimed the lives of my sister, Lisa Mosher, and family friend, Alyssa Bernardin.  

I'll continue to share about how Yoga and Community has been serving me through all of this. For now, here's a piece from Kalil Gibran's The Prophet. I read this after I found out, while I was in the beautiful resort town of Fernie, B.C. Notice what comes up for you as you read it. Watch your breath. Notice your body. What happens around your heart?

    You would know the secret of death.
    But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

    The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
    If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
    For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
    In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
    And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
    Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

    Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
    Is the sheered not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
    Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

    For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
    And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
    Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
    And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
    And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Be Patient as you watch the Eagle Grow

Sometimes I think that I'm done with this cultivating patience thing, that it's time to move on to bigger and better ventures! Ahem, yes well, perhaps that's why my muggy morning dream illustrated my need to integrate this state to balance out it's overly embraced opposite of haste.

My dream self was holding a leash with a young eagle harnessed in at the end. It seemed like I was trying really hard to make this fresh life fly. The environment we were in was busy, chaotic even. There was a striving, a craving to be somewhere else. The bird couldn't fly. No matter how much effort from me or the creature, no adventures were going to happen just yet. There needed to be more space for growing into being able to soar freely. I rushing when I could be witnessing the natural unfolding of this life. 

Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism all value the virtue of patience as a way to enlightenment or as a way to grow closer to God. In the First Nations seven sacred teachings the eagle represents Love. I encourage you to witness your relationship with the pace at which you practice Eagle Pose. Notice the space in your body, the space between breaths, between thoughts. 

What's happening now? 

Garudasana a.k.a Eagle Pose

Do some Sun Salutations or other warm ups before exploring this asana.

Stand with your feet together and your hands together in front of your heart.

Invite a deep breath in. With your exhale, bend your knees and sink your hips down. 

Ground down through your left foot. Inhale to lift your right foot and cross your leg over your left leg. Hook your right foot around your left calf if you can, or point your toes back. Keep your navel drawn in; this will support your balance. 

Inhale your arms up and over head. Exhale your right arm under your left with elbows bent. Bring your palms together and take deep breaths here. 

When you're ready, unwind your arms and legs and stand back in Mountain Pose. Explore this asana on the other side. 

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it"-Rumi