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Module One

Sunday 10 AM - 6 PM.

I was grateful that it wasn’t the full weekend. It was a dear friend’s bachelorette weekend and I did not want to miss out - but would have had to because I had set my intention. Fortunately I did not have to compromise - however the festivities - twenty women in a beach house - was four states away. Making it to class meant rolling out of bed at 5 AM after hitting the pillow at 1 AM - forcing myself to ignore the dancing women in the living room.

Two venti lattes later, I arrived at my first teacher training excited but in remarkably fine form. It is hard to explain the next eight hours - it was beautiful and thrilling. It opened with the idea of transformation - and I think perhaps this training will be transformative. We discussed om - the sound of the universe - composed of three sounds Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva - birth/life/death or if you prefer creation/preservation/transformation. We met each other and established the tenets of creating a sacred space and perhaps vulnerability leads to the most profound change. That Yoga is the practice of yoking ourselves - our human-ness - our minds and bodies with the divinity within us, that is connected to the divinity of everything.

Halfway through we practiced vinyasa.. moving through a series of asanas… in an easy relaxed practice. Breathing deeply I felt a deep well of exhaustion - and yet I was so stimulated I didn’t need to sleep and I contemplated the fact that it has been a while since I had pushed myself so hard for something I wanted and enjoyed. It felt great.

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Routine, Challenge, Discomfort and Intimacy

I was not a good yogi today. My thoughts bounced around in my head like a pinball. I found myself thinking about the challenges of new practices, trying now positions and new combinations.  I must confess I find going through the same series over and over easier – the routine carving indelible routes in my muscle memory. 

That isn’t necessarily a good thing. In fact, I know myself to be a terrible slacker so if I prefer something, it’s probably NOT a good thing.  When I teach I will try my very hardest to rotate the practice both for myself and for my students.

This line of thinking brought me to partners’ yoga. Most practices I have participated in don’t have very much partnering. I suspect that is because practicing yoga with someone else can be rather intimate. Holding aside that yoga, with its tight form fitting closes, bending, and tantric like breathing is itself a rather intimate endeavor – partners yoga actually touching someone can be awkward and weird.

And yet

And yet, I hope folks will defy that. What better way to connect than to physically connect with others and touch - actualizing the shared energy and intention through the pressure and warmth of another.

Part of my hope with this endeavor is that folks to connect with their community, with their bodies, with the minds and with their soul.

As the saying goes if you aren’t uncomfortable you probably aren’t growing.

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San Juan Island Ferry

The family bustled to the front of the ferry, the mother and father somewhat overwhelmed by their six children, all girls. The youngest, still a baby was handed off between the three oldest children and the mother like a hot potato.

I wouldn’t have noticed them at all, if one of them hadn’t taken up a position directly in front of me, obscuring my previously unabate view of the islands on the horizon.   I sighed and shifted over and wondered when I hast started to view “breeders” with such contempt. 

Hadn’t I come from a similarly mean stock, with sticky faces, exhausted parents, inconvenient enthusiasm, ill-fitting clothes and smudgy countenance.  

We never had nice things growing up. I thought it was because we were poor and later I thought perhaps it was because we were young and didn’t know how to take care of things. Both of these things were true, but it was also true that my stepfather was an inveterate packrat and cheapskate and my mother an unfortunate slob. The combination created a grey miasma through which I view my childhood.

I frown at my unhappy thoughts and put them back on the shelf.

I look at the little girl, now standing to my left. She has a pinched, mean face, round and plump. I find myself contemplating the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S..

For some reason I don’t think she is heavy because of an impoverished diet of processed foods. She is twice as thick as her sisters, although she is not the oldest, I imagine she commands more than her fair share of food, space and attention.  The largest puppy in a litter a bully hoarding all the resources, a villain to be pitied.

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Advice

One of the best compliments someone can give is to take your advice.

About five years ago one of my teammates was just graduating from college and trying to figure out what direction he should go. He admitted that he was most interested in working for an NGO but was also considering business. Having started my career in the non-profit world, I shared with him what one of my MBA professors once told me, namely that I had done everything ass backwards and that it’s easier to go from a for profit to a not for profit and from a large to a small organization. While I am sure there are exceptions, I told him about my own experiences and that I had found her advice was generally true.

Fast forward five years and I bumped into Dmitry* and his girlfriend at a party. He hugged me and thanked me profusely for the advice - his girlfriend confirmed he has mentioned it before as some of the best advice he had ever gotten - he also said that he is doing really great.

And well - I think that is just awesome and it made me super happy to hear.

Tags: <3 happystory
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Step One

I signed up for yoga teacher training. I found a studio with a practice I adore and as an added bonus the curriculum has been written by athletes.

My goal isn’t to teach yoga in a class… my goal is to teach community donation based classes. I plan to donate my time leading community classes for charities and to create a local meetup yoga for writers. I know it sounds hooky but I really like the magic and the energy that practicing yoga with other creates… we’ll see what happens

Tags: yoga
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Bad Day

I was having a moderately bad day. It was not an earth shaking monstrously bad day - just your average not so great day where the worries and what not of life seem to have piled up especially high and obscure happiness. 

And so it was that I found myself walking my dog wrapped in a pale shade of blue and frustration that I bumped into my neighbor walking her two dogs.

We greeted each other and since we had just both started out - continued our walk together. I inquired about her new born twins, and she told me about the difficult time she was having, between bed rest, exhaustion with the newborns, lack of sleep, isolation, and dealing with family.

I didn’t talk about my frustrations or challenges, it was actually nice hearing about someone else’s challenges. It was nice being a friend and being reminded that an excellent cure for unhappiness is being nice to someone else.

Tags: life lessons