I hope this newsletter finds you all as well as possible. It’s been a time when I’m feeling oh so fully aware of the vagaries of fate, the wildness of being, the play between the wholly unpredictable and the ordinary and expected, and the joys and benefits of aligning with a sense of order to feel healthy, adaptive, and present to what comes our way. I’m feeling that I am at a crossroads (this is partly physical), but I don’t have particular plans.
This summer, I listened to my own teachings, and in the midst of tending to the responsibilities of work and home and community and relationship, I made sure to take the time to to study and practice, including time away with opportunities to see the stars, to watch the sunrise, to walk in the woods, to swim in a lake, and, on the way to and from, to enjoy New York City.
As always, I’ve been reading widely, much of the reading focused on how we communicate and relate, what we dream, and what tools or ideas we might consider for making more efficacious our web of living relationship. In the fall, I’m looking forward to attending a number of weekend yoga workshops to inform my own practice and also going deeper into studying nonviolent communication.
For now, in the midst of this outrageous dance of life and relationship, with all that we cannot control and the unfolding turmoil of climate and society, I think that what is most important to me is to work with dedication and with my best attitude, to do community service and engage fully as a citizen, to laugh and share food with friends, to make art, and to connect the broader ecosystem, even if it is mostly through my little garden and the trees and the sky of the city. I meditate and practice asana so that I can live such a life as fully, honestly, joyously, and with as much integrity as I can.
The Tuesday night yoga practice at William Penn House continues as an opportunity to nurture our embodies selves and to share conversation about how the practices can help us live more efficaciously. I love it when new people or those who can only come occasionally join us regulars. It is generally all level and suggested donation, with all proceeds going directly to support the work camp program at William Penn House. This summer, William Penn House work campers constructed dozens of vegetable gardens for neighbors throughout the city, sharing the joys of urban edible gardening with and making possible healthier eating for those who otherwise might not have had access. Do come join us on a Tuesday night if you can. More experienced yogis can inquire directly about the Wednesday night house practice.
If you want to get more regular communications, do consider subscribing to the blog to get an email version of what I post–most days that will come as a photo or a few words, every once and a while, something longer–mostly somehow about or informed by my own interpretation of yoga practice and philosophy. Feel free also to join me on Facebook.
Peace and light,
ps The murti of Nataraja was a present just given to me by a friend. He’d brought it back from India a couple of years ago and thought it belonged more in my home than in his at present. I hadn’t seen one that I’d want to bring home, but he’s dancing away on my bookcase.
The changing of the calendar gives us a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past year and think of how we might wish to grow or shift to best serve ourselves and others in the coming year. 2010 was such a difficult year for so many, with suffering of a magnitude of which I can hardly conceive, even though I have had my own struggles.
In the midst of the challenges we are facing globally, societally, and locally, 2010 was a good year for me, although it had some partings and disappointments that were painful. With all the challenges and suffering of so many, I am especially conscious of how fortunate I am. John Friend, at the weekend workshop in Bryn Athyn, reminded us that with the privilege of having the material, physical, and intellectual well-being to be able to study and practice hatha yoga as we do, comes the responsibility to serve, to share in the best way we can and to seek to illuminate not only our inner world, but the world around us.
In 2010, most important of what filled my year was that I deepened and committed further to my studies of meditation and tantric yoga philosophy with Paul Muller-Ortega. I have been invigorated by my continuing studies with John Friend and other senior Anusara yoga teachers. I am almost overwhelmed by how much joy I get from practicing and studying and the community of fellow practitioners and look forward to going deeper and sharing my explorations in 2011.
Three new things that were not part of my formal yoga practice brought great joy into my year, and I am sure, in the years to come. The magnificent and enormous middle-aged cats, Uma and Sully, who moved into my house on an emergency fostering basis, quickly became permanent inmates and unceasingly offer entertainment and comfort. I had a solar array installed on my roof, which was an inspiring way to see technology in a positive light. I look forward, as the days start lengthening, to watching the electric meter run backwards. Most recently, I was led to the DC Contact Improv Jam, which I am finding just wonderful. I am sure the delight of dancing and the freedom and play of contact improv will shift my own practice and expand the offerings for class.
What I have learned during my time practicing is that when I am sick or injured or feeling excessively challenged my practice supports me and helps me remember what is good and nourishing and sweet. When I am feeling exuberently full of life then my practice just expands the joy. Most of the time it is somewhere in between. With the expansion of my own studying and practice, I will be teaching a little less and, in my offerings at Willow Street, emphasizing healing, nurturing, and a sweet opening to supportive shifts; all are welcome both to the Gentle/Therapeutics Saturday noon-time class (registration preferred, but drop-ins always welcome) and to one or all of the restorative workshops that will be held the last Saturday of January, February, and March. The William Penn House class is as all levels an embrace and invitation as you need it to be for your support and delight–from chair yoga to drop backs, depending on your practice and the day. Drop in any week; no advance notice required.
Proceeds from the house classes will continue to go 100% to environmental causes in 2011. In March, I will again be offering at Willow Street, “Yoga for Gardeners,” with my profits going to benefit the Youth Garden at the National Arboretum. And if you are ever looking to browse for used books — or looking for a good place to donate some of your own — please visit the Lantern Bookshop in Georgetown, where I have been volunteering one Sunday a month for 15 years or so.
Whether 2010 was a more a year of challenges or joy and expansion, I wish you the best in 2011 and hope to see you soon, sharing in the joy and support of the yoga.
Peace and light,