Miscellaneous (blog matters, etc)

Holiday Greetings and Schedule (Web Version of E-Newsletter)

Dear  Friends,

If your inbox and your schedule has been anything like mine, you don’t need another email to read during this busy season, so I’m keeping it short.

Last gentle/therapeutic class of this session at Willow Street is Friday, December 14th.  Make-ups and drop-ins, friends and family, warmly welcomed.  We’ll do some strengthening and stretching and then stretch out into a series of restorative poses to honor the Willow Street tradition and to get ready for the holidays.

No William Penn House classes on either Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.    Classes run through December 18th and start again on January 8th.  As always, please don’t let means keep you away.  The already favorable pricing for the class, with a portion of the proceeds from each student going to benefit the work of William Penn House, is just a suggested amount.  The more the merrier.

Classes start again with me at all locations Wednesday, January 2nd.  I’ll be offering the Friday night gentle/therapeutics again at Willow Street.  First class of the year is January 4th as part of Willow Street’s new $5 preview class week.  To buy your $5 passes on-line and to check out the whole preview week schedule, please visit the Willow Street website.  Registration for the Winter/Spring session is now open for the Friday night class; the first night of the Winter/Spring session is January 11th.

Wishing you the best of holidays–may they be full of both joyous connection and sweet time for yourself.  I look forward to seeing many of you in the New Year.  If the outrageous pulsation and dance of being–whether challenging or fulfilling or both–is keeping you from class, do send me a line and be in touch.

Peace and light,

Elizabeth

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Spring Greetings–Embracing Change (web version of e-newsletter)

Dear Friends ,

Greetings to all in this strange, but glorious Spring.  As I sit down to write, I cannot help but recall that in my new year’s letter, I wrote of the practice in some Indian temples of cracking open a coconut to symbolically break open the head to get out of old living patterns that do not serve us.  I blithely wrote how blessed I was that in having taken myself to India, I was intentionally choosing to be challenged, while recognizing that we don’t always get to pick when challenges will come.  Less than two weeks after I returned, my family gathered to visit my father who was in the hospital for a hip replacement (he’s healing well).  Only a couple of weeks after that, the Anusara yoga community was turned topsy turvy,.  When I wrote of choosing to break myself open to discover new paradigms and possibilities, little did I know what was going to happen to the yoga community that has been and continues to be such an important part of my life.

Even Spring is not behaving according to settled expectations.  It burst forth especially early–the cherry blossoms are already gone and azaleas and roses are blooming almost a month early.  Records were set around the country for the warmest March on record, and we are approaching drought conditions (again) in the Washington metropolitan area.

Not surprisingl for one who likes things to be settled and secure, while admiring the wild blooming around me, I have been thinking about how disconcerting change can be.  For someone who prefers warmer weather to winter, getting Spring early is delightful, but I cannot help but recognize that it has come with disastrous storms and high risks for farmers and our food sources, evidence of the fraying relationship between our populous society and the earth.  What is a gardener, a yogi, and a member of society to do?

As a gardener, it is necessary to remember old teachings and methods (for example, just because it was prematurely warm does not mean that the danger of last frost is earlier than in other, colder years), but it was also necessary to plant and tend the garden earlier to make sure that cool weather plants, such as greens and snow and sugar snap peas, actually have an opportunity to grow.  The erratic weather is also serving as a reminder to try and shift to be more in alignment with the forces of nature and to contribute less to global climate change.  In a word, a true gardener, like the dedicated yogi (on and off the mat) will rely on the lineage of teachings and experience, continue to be fully engaged without giving up, be adaptable to the vagaries of season–both serendipity and calamity, and seek to live in a way that fosters the good in oneself and all beings.

It is going with the flow, but in an active and intelligent way.  In this time of uncertainty, I believe that an ever deeper and more open study and practice of yoga is a great gift.  Yoga when practiced sincerely and in community provides us opportunities to connect more deeply and techniques to turn unsought changes into opportunities for growth and transformation.  In that light, in my own yoga offerings to you, there is both stability and change:

The big change in my yoga classes is moving my long-running gentle/therapeutics class at Willow Street to Friday nights.  I am very excited about this shift.  On a personal level, it gives me free weekends for the first time in six years, which will give me more time and space to study, practice and explore.  For you, I intend that the class will now be a perfect transition from the work week to the weekend, fostering and enhancing the ability to heal and celebrate.  Those who like things to be steady can still expect the same full hour and a half of nurturing, alignment-based, therapeutic poses and restorative practices.  Registration for the full session is preferred, but drop-ins are always welcome.  New to the class and want to know what it is about?  Please come join me on Friday, April 13th, as part of free class week.

The Tuesday night all levels group practice at William Penn House continues.  As always, a portion of the proceeds support the work of William Penn House, and if you cannot pay the suggested donation ($12-15), do not let that keep you away.  We want to make the yoga available to those who truly seek it.

I hope to see many of you soon.  Please feel free to be in touch by email or Facebook message when you cannot make it to class.  For in-between newsletter information, please “like” my “Rose Garden Yoga” page on Facebook, and there are always new photographs and musings about yoga on and off the mat on the blog.

Peace and light,

Elizabeth

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What Better Time? (Web Version of E-Letter)

Dear Friends,

I hope those of you who are local were able to get out and enjoy the unseasonable warmth and the badly needed rain.  After work, I took a most delightful walk in the rain on my way to get a massage.  It was still pleasant after the session, but the wind had picked up, and the temperature was falling.  I write this as I am getting ready to go into my yoga studio for a long, deep, full restorative practice.

And what better time could there be to relish restorative yoga than when we are seeking to remember the promise of spring while still enjoying the coziness of winter?  There is still room tomorrow (Saturday, February 25th) in the workshop at Willow Street:

 Finding the Warmth Inside: Relax Into Optimal Alignment with Anusara Restoratives:  After a little gentle stretching and self-massage to bring awareness to the breath and body, we will enjoy the exquisite application of Anusara’s Universal Principles of Alignment to restful and supported restorative postures to release old patterns and invite in the new to find greater ease of body and mind. A great workshop and practice for all levels.

when:
where:
cost:
Sat Feb 25 2012, 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM
TP
$35.00
Register Online or download a paper form
Looking forward to seeing you and feel free to bring a family member or friend, even if new to yoga.

Peace and light,

Elizabeth

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“Seriously”

A friend from the DC Sunday contact improv jam (one of my favorite places to play) sent this link showing a clip from a documentary in progress about the importance of play to our health.  One of the things that I love most about Anusara yoga is that John Friend has always described its practice as being “seriously playful.”  I was born serious nature and have worked hard in my adulthood to learn to play spontaneously, and what is being offered here resonates for me.

This is a long clip, but well worth the time.  Anusara yogis, notice how familiar some of it sounds.  Enjoy!

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Holiday Schedule and Greetings (Web Version of E-Newsletter)

Dear  Friends,

Best wishes to all whatever your holidays are bringing and however you might be celebrating.  I write this in the midst of days full with preparing for my much anticipated travel to India with Professor Douglas Brooks, where I will experience among other amazing things, the temple at Chidambaram, where the idea of Shiva as the Cosmic Dancer first arose, seeing friends and family before I leave, and taking care of all manner of things at work and home so that things will be in as much order as possible both while I am gone and when I return.

I typically make the holidays a quiet time.  I enjoy going to a few choice parties and visiting with friends and spending a few days in New York visiting family and exploring museum exhibits and delicious meals, but mostly I use it as time for introspection and refreshment.  I process what has happened over the year and get myself and my house and papers ready for a new year of working and teaching and creating.  I practice and rest.  I take exquisitely long and contemplative walks and write and photograph.  When I have spent the holiday season in this way, come the first of January, I feel ready for whatever might come.   I know that my general health and emotional well-being are definitely enhanced by consistent daily yoga and meditation practice, regular sleep and wellness activities, such as massage, keeping a beautiful and clean home, and eating healthy meals that come in part from my garden, and the holiday season is enhanced for me by honoring my regular practices and health needs.

By choosing to go on an adventure, with the amount of energy I will need to expend to be open to the outragious influx of sensory input and information and to weather the challenges of travel (including a nine-hour time difference) and to get back to work immediately on my arrival in the middle of of a week in which I already have a known deadline, I can be fairly certain that the comforting, well-rested feeling to which I have become accustomed from the holiday break will not be how I start 2012.  In this sense, going on this trip is willfully ignoring and disrupting all that I know keeps me on an even keel.  Sometimes, though, we just have to intentionally shake ourselves up to see what ways we can expand and how much.  Such shake-ups not only open us up to new possibilities and ways of thinking, but they also help us get ready for the invevitable upheavals in life whose exact timing and nature we cannot control.  My holiday blessing is that the shake-up is one I have chosen, that comes when I am healthy and secure, and that will no doubt provide much fuel for growth and creativity.  I definitely am looking forward to bringing home new insights and energies to share with you in the new year, perhaps even the seeds for the first art exhibit in many years.

I wish you all peace, health, and joy through the holidays and the new year.  To those of you who are currently dealing with extra challenges of embodiment, please know that I am holding you in the light and will be sending beams of healing energy from abroad.

For everyone, here are the yoga offerings for the holidays and the beginning of 2012:

No coincidence, my trip is at exactly the same time as Willow Street is closed for Winter Break, and I won’t be missing any of my Saturday noon gentle/therapeutic classes.  The class is continuing in the Winter Session (registration is now open) and I hope to see friends both returning and new signed up for the session.  For Willow Street free class week, I will be leading a gentle/therapeutics class on Saturday, January 7th to welcome those new to yoga, the class, or to Willow Street to all the healing potential of Anusara yoga.  Free class week is a great way to get to class for the first time that curious friend or family member with whom you have been wanting to share the wonders of yoga.

I know lots of you will be wanting the yoga during the holiday period, so I’ve invited two guest teachers for the Tuesday night William Penn House class.  Meridian Ganz-Ratzat will be leading the class on Tuesday, December 20th, and Anna Karkovska McGlew will be leading on Tuesday, January 3rd.  They are awesome teachers, so come check out the classes, even if you haven’t been to the William Penn House class before.

There will be no rose garden yoga classes between Christmas and New Year, but check out the great array of holiday offerings that week at Willow Street Yoga to celebrate the transition from 2011 to 2012.  I’ll be back to neighborhood classes, starting with the house class on Wednesday, January 4th, and hope to see you at William Penn House in the new year.

Thinking ahead for ways to sweeten your 2012 schedule or looking for a great holiday gift to give that enhances health and a celebration of life, but doesn’t result in more stuff being manufactured?  Give the gift of the ultimate nurturing yoga to yourself, friends, and family, with a registration for “Finding the Warmth Inside: Relax Into Optimal Alignment with Anusara Restoratives,” Saturday, February 25, 2012, 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM, Willow Street, Takoma Park studio, $35.00, click to Register Online.  Suitable for all levels.

I look forward to seeing many of you at my regular neighborhood and Willow Street classes and at workshops in the new year.  Much love and many blessings.
Peace and light,

Elizabeth

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Curiouser and Curiouser…

Last night, I took some lovely photos in the rain when I was walking to get a massage (it is pretty awesome to get a massage on a Monday night; try it sometime and see how it changes your perspective on the work week). After I came home and had dinner, I resisted the temptation to curl up on the sofa with a book. Instead, I got on the computer to take care of email correspondence that had accumulated over the day and the weekend while I was at the workshop with John Friend. I uploaded the photos from my walk and tried to post an entry. I got a message when I was in WordPress saying that the photo upload had failed. I exited from that screen and tried to access the file uploader. I could not get in. I then exited the prompt that I had failed. It would not let me cancel. Next, I exited the admin portion of my blog. The computer was not happy about that, but eventually it seemed to close the program. After that, I could not get back either to my public page nor to the admin page. I tried several times, but to no avail. I sent an email to my website designer–could she get in?

I woke to an email from my website designer saying no problems for her. After I did my morning practice and before heading into the office, I tried again. On my home computer, no access at all to either the public or administrative portions of the site. I reloaded Firefox. That did not do the trick. I scanned my computer, but it showed no errors. I have access to the blog from my Blackberry, my office computer, and my IPad, but not from my home computer–my central place, the place where all my files and photos and bookmarks and maximum computer capabilities are one.

As Alice (in Wonderland) would say, “curiouser and curiouser.” I am sure with research and trying lots of alternatives, we will find a solution to this peculiar glitch.

I think staying fully connected to the ultimate loving ground of our being can feel like this strange denial of access to my blog. We get glimpses. We have studied enough to know what it is on an intellectual basis. We feel connected when we are at a big workshop (or sometimes it looks like every one else has found the bliss and we are the only ones who are not tapping in–note to self, usually that’s not true) or are in class or practicing, but not when we get challenged by daily life.

Two things serve to bring us back to center–the first is to keep practicing and making the effort, just as expanding knowledge and trying different strategies will get me back my full blog access; the second is grace (and being open to receive it). And when grace comes, we then need to keep practicing so that we stay connected and can live in and from grace more and more of the time and remember and reconnect more easily when we get disconnected.

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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Thanksgiving Schedule and Greetings (Web Version of E-Letter)

Dear Friends ,

This weekend I will be celebrating our local Anusara community at the weekend workshops in College Park, Maryland with John Friend.  I look forward to seeing many of you there.  My good friend Jane, who in honor of Thanksgiving donated the sub fee to S.O.M.E (So Others Might Eat)., will be covering my gentle/therapeutics this Saturday at Willow Street.  It’s sure to be full of gentleness and nurture, so check it out if you’re in town and won’t be at the weekend workshops.

On Thursday, I will be leading my ninth annual Thanksgiving Day yoga class for the benefit of Oxfam.  It will be at Willow Street’s Takoma Park studio from 10-11:30am.  The more the merrier, so bring yourselves, your family, and your friends.  For those of you who remember the days when you brought a check and I mailed them in, my matching donation of up to $200 still applies even with the convenience of being able to register and pay on line at Willow Street.  Registration in advance is appreciated as it helps us get ready for you, but drop-ins are most welcome, too.

I’ll be teaching all of my regular classes next week and not only celebrating Thanksgiving, but also sharing the abundance of energy from the weekend with John Friend and all of our wonderful Anusara community.  Stop by on Tuesday night to set your intention for the holiday or complete it with gentle/therapeutics at noon on Saturday at Willow Street.  As always, friends and family are welcome to drop in.

I hope to see many of you for some of this outrageously abundant yoga feast.  If you will be traveling, may it be safe and joyous.

Peace and light,

Elizabeth

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Another Opportunity to Practice Yoga

Another opportunity. Another opportunity to soften, another opportunity to open to what is possible within limits as I attempt to work with yet another interface for the same blog. If the machines did not tell you, would you be able to tell the difference between an entry done on the laptop, the Blackberry, or the IPad? I have the most functionality on the laptop. The Blackberry and IPad apps are both missing key functions. As I start learning the IPad, I try to stay with a sense of openness and wonder at what technology offers instead of getting frustrated by learning curves and limitations. It’s yet another opportunity to practice yoga off the mat!

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Web Version of Fall Newsletter (Free Yoga, Annual Thanksgiving Fundraiser for Oxfam, New Props at Wm Penn House)

Dear Friends,

Happy Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween.  We are slipping into the time of year that is good for dreaming and introspection, while things get wild and windy outside.  I can always tell when it is drawing to the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Autumn Equinox because the Christmas cactuses (which always bloom at Thanksgiving) start to bud.  When I went to bring in the tropical plants because of the pre-Samhain winter storm, I saw that a few of the orchids were spiking.  It is almost as much fun to watch the buds emerging and growing and taking on color as it is to see the flowers, which only last so long before the flowers must die so that energy can go back into making the whole plant healthy and ready to flower again.  Inside and out, my garden invites me to a deeper appreciation of the dance of dissolution, creation, and maintenance.

It takes only modest intention, commitment, and nurture to have plants blooming through winter.  Just as we can cultivate gardens indoors in winter, yoga and meditation help us cultivate inner beauty so that we are at ease with our being regardless of what storms rage and how we are impacted in space and time and material body by the storms.  My solution:  practice of all kinds, and this November is going to be a wonderful month for yoga..

Just as maintaining a garden in winter calls for props–containers, heat, indoor water source, etc., cultivating the fullness in our bodies, particularly if we are working with a challenge of embodiement, can benefit from the assistance of various props.  I am pleased to announce that we now have lots of blocks and straps for everyone (and some tennis balls, though we could use a few more for when the class is big) at the Tuesday night all levels yoga class at William Penn House, making it an even more supportive environment for those new to yoga or with challenges of embodiment.  As always, a portion of the fee from every student supports the work of William Penn House.

I will be leading the Friday night free community yoga class at Willow Street Yoga’s Silver Spring studio, which I will be teaching this coming Friday, November 4th.  It is an all levels class that will include discussion of therapeutic applications of yoga alignment, and it’s a great way to bring a friend along with you to get introduced to yoga or to Willow Street.

If you are in town for Thanksgiving, please join me to support a great cause.  From 10:00am-11:30am, Thanksgiving morning, I will be leading my ninth annual fundraising class to benefit Oxfam at Willow Street Yoga’s Takoma Park studio. 100% of the profits go to Oxfam.  I look forward to seeing many of you, both those coming back and those joining us for the first time.  Friends and family welcome, including children 12 and over.

Veteran’s Day weekend brings Todd Norian to Willow Street Yoga.  On Sunday, November 13th, the focus of the workshop will be therapeutics.  Todd is an incredibly loving and knowledgeable teacher, and I am planning to be there to assist.  You can sign up on-line or in person at Willow Street.

I am looking forward to the weekend workshops with John Friend in College Park, MD on November 19 & 20.  Both Mixed Level and Intermediate/Advanced workshops are offered.  This is the first time John Friend has taught in the DC area since 2007. Apply today to join your fellow yogis.  There are several of us going from the Capitol Hill neighborhood.  Feel free to contact me if you are looking to carpool, and if you can either offer driving or are looking for a ride.

I always enjoy hearing from you by email or comments on the blog.  If you haven’t already, click here to be taken to the subscription page.  For short thoughts about yoga and meditation in your Facebook news, please “like” my public page for Rose Garden Yoga.

Looking forward to sharing more of the yoga with you.

Peace and light,

Elizabeth

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