Tuesday, November 17, 2015


This weekend's annual yoga retreat was greeted by celestial showers of meteors. I believe it was the tail end of the Taurids, or perhaps the start of the Leonids, or maybe a bit of both, as the meteors seemed to be streaking across both the Southern and Eastern sky. In any case, the new moon assisted with great viewing from the fire pit of the Christine Center. With a circle of friends around the fire, each meteor was greeted with an "ooh!" from one side of the circle and an "aww!" from the other side as those who had their backs to it realized what they missed. But everyone was treated to a low big dipper hanging over the Center and Orion hiking up from the horizon as if to take a walk across the Milky Way. I am so grateful for places where we can still view the mostly unobscured night sky. I thank the Christine Center for creating minimal light and sound pollution and allowing nature to take center stage.

I chose this photo from a collection on my computer, and it seemed a perfect complement to the weekend's star show.

I created this circular collage earlier this year. When I'm not sure what step to take next in a project, I will hover my hand over this disc, holding my pendulum, and let my inner guide tell me what I should do. I love having this choice of verbs, reminding me that in order to get where want to go, we must take some sort of action. The Sanskrit word, karma, means action. Perhaps I should call this my Karma Chakra (action wheel). I imagine us all in the center of this disc, hurtling through space, but always leaning toward one action or another. What does today call for? Do you choose for yourself, or let outside forces guide you?

I've been thinking of this Rumi poem this week:

Keep walking, though there's no place to get to.

Don't try to see through the distances.
That's not for human beings. Move within,
but don't move the way fear makes you move.

It's a good reminder in times like these, which I'm sure is not that all that different from the time of Rumi, or any other time.

Don't move the way fear makes you move.


Monday, December 8, 2014


Today in the news I read that Pantone's color of 2015 is Marsala-- a deep brownish red. This color makes me think of the feelings of grounding, stability, Earthiness.

http://cdn.wp.clicrbs.com.br/redesocial/files/2014/12/PANTONE-Colors_Men_10.pngThink of the word Earth. What a strange word. The more you look at it, the stranger it seems. It looks like it should be hard to pronounce, but we use it every day without effort. The word Earthy is interesting to consider. We are so inextricably linked to our home planet, that the idea of being on any other sphere in the cosmos (even if it were just as lush and soil-filled as this one) does not have the connotation of stability, the feeling of being home and rooted.

I invite you to celebrate the ways you connect with your home planet, the elements that made you, during this season of gratitude and generosity. Consider the ways that the Earth has been generous to you, and consider how you can return the favor.

What rituals are part of your routine, or would you like to add to your life, that bring you in close contact with your home planet?

The movie The Grounded shows how the residents of one town in Alaska used the power of the soil, the Earth, to heal various illnesses. Looking for healing in your life? Maybe we just need to pay closer attention to something as simple and obvious as the dirt beneath our feet.

Grounding is an important part of a yoga practice as well. During my weekend training at Mind Body Solutions with Matthew Sanford, I learned about the importance of giving a sense of grounding to all students, especially those in wheelchairs, whose feet rarely touch the Earth.

We can impart a greater sense of grounding to those whose feet do provide support. Try using your hands to help ground the feet of someone standing in tadasana, or warrior I. They will feel the extra support and energy moving up through the legs and beyond. Or sit facing each other, feet touching in dandasana, and experience the feeling of support coming from another soul (sole).

Eventually we all return to the Earth from which we were created, and this fact brings home the realization that we were never really separate to begin with.

We are the Earth. The Earth is us.

Namaste and happy holidays!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Night Sky

Summer is a great time to watch the night sky. Sure, you have to stay up later and wait for the stars to reveal themselves, but it's warm and inviting out there, and maybe you are lucky enough to have a dock to lie on, or a nice big grassy field.

One of the things on my summer list this year is "watch a meteor shower". We just had one with the Leonids in early August, but it was rainy and overcast where I am, so I didn't get a chance to look for any shooting stars.

I remember one night camping with my mom, years ago, and she told me that I couldn't go to bed until we saw a shooting star. Yes, I do have the most amazing mom in the world. And yes, we did see one or two that night.

One of the books I'm reading right now is The End of Night by Paul Bogard. He grew up in Minnesota, and still has a cabin on a lake somewhere up here. Having the stars so close it seems like you can touch them is something that stays with you even as you grow up and move to the bright lights of city nights.

I try to get outside the ring of light that seems to grow wider every year, and experience the joy of standing under the Milky Way. It's really the only way to see where are in the universe, and maybe where we are going.

Check out:
The End of Night on Amazon

And think about where it was that you had your first or best glimpse of the amazing garland of light that surrounds our world from millions of miles away.

While you're at it, check out this documentary as well, featuring Neil DeGrasse Tyson:
The City Dark 

Maybe it will bug you to know how much you're missing every night, or maybe it will inspire you to become evangelical about preventing light pollution.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Turning the Page

Sometimes change happens so slowly you don't even know it's going on until you find yourself looking out over a new vista and wondering, in the words of David Byrne, "how did I get here?"

This is not one of those times.

This is one of those major shifts that cannot be overlooked. In the space of one week I have been released from ownership of a house in Minneapolis, I have taught my last class at Hiawatha Yoga in Minneapolis (it's been a good run!) and I am turning another year older.

It truly does feel like starting a new chapter. This is an unusual feeling for me, since as I mentioned in my last post, change is not something I am very adept at accepting and embracing. But this time it all feels good-- a testament to my intention earlier this year?

Our intentions are everything. I am mostly a go-with-the-flow type of person, but it's important to realize that we must set our own direction before we can go. Otherwise, whose flow are we going with?

It's a beautiful, well-earned, worth-waiting-for spring. The lilacs, lilies of the valley, crab apples, phlox, irises, even tulips are all blooming at once, as if they just couldn't hold back any longer. Springing forth with uncontained exuberance. That's how I feel, too.

Hiawatha Yoga has been a generous, warm, nurturing home to my yoga classes for exactly 3 years. I feel like I've completed a cycle there, and I am eternally grateful to Sue R. for giving me the opportunity to create my own thing in that beautiful space. I know that it will continue to flourish and bring needed restoration to the wonderful folks in South Mpls.

The house letting-go was a long time coming. Because of the extended time frame between deciding to move out and releasing my financial ties, I had already gone through all the stages of grief and was more than prepared to walk away happy.

This birthday welcomes the new, the exciting and unexpected. In a recent meditation, I envisioned myself as a massive, clear, empty crystal bowl.

Part of this process of change, I'm sure, has been midwifed by my consistent daily yoga practice, which started in earnest on April 21. (Yes, even yoga teachers have resistance to what we know is good for us.) I stopped making excuses and started a practice of getting on the mat every day, for the same practice, no matter what.

It works.

Part of my success in making it happen every day is the fact that I have a regular, simple asana sequence that I don't have to think about. It is therapeutic (for sacrum, which is my trouble spot), so it's never a strain on my body, even if something is feeling weak or inflamed, and it takes about 20-30 minutes to complete, so the time commitment is not intimidating. If I only have 15 minutes, I do it anyway, and just get as far as I can into my sequence before continuing on with my day. The important thing is to do it. Every day. No matter what.

The best part of the daily practice is the palpable transition from monkey mind or physical tension to meditative calm and release. As an added bonus, the savasana portion ensures a daily meditation practice as well.

I look forward to what the new season brings. I hope we can all embrace change with grace and sense of wonder. May you find what you need on your yoga mat and beyond.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Change Is

Are you someone who thrives on change? Or do you prefer to find a comfort zone and hang out in that cozy nest until something pushes you out?

Maybe it's different depending on the situation.

I am someone who finds a configuration for my furniture and leaves it there until some very good reason prompts me to move things around. Too much change can be exhausting for me.

But I recognize the importance of it. If we didn't change, we'd be dead. Well, even when we die, our bodies continue to change, so even that is not a static state.

So in an effort to prevent stagnation in my life. I am not only thinking of ways to embrace change/transition/transformation, but even going so far as to consider ways in which I can initiate or provoke it.

In yoga there is this idea of "tamas" that can be associated with stagnation, lethargy, dullness. Are there areas in your life where you're feeling tamasic? Where can you initiate "rajas" or energy, movement, dynamism?

Right now I can think of a couple areas. Physical exercise is an area where I find it easy to fall into a tamasic state if I'm not careful. There is also mental exercise. I haven't felt challenged in a way that makes me feel like I'm growing intellectually. So, this spring, my effort will be toward initiating change in both those areas. I'm going to push myself out of my nest before something else does it for me.

Watch me fly!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Adventures In Mala Land

I've had great fun buying beads and creating dozens of unique malas this winter. Even though skiing has been my priority, there are always recovery days, or just times when it's too darn cold to drag myself out to the ski trail. That's when I set up my station on the coffee table, pop open my laptop for some visual inspiration, and tune Songza to a dreamy, wintry mix. I've expanded the skull line, since that seems to be pretty popular. I don't know if people really love Kali or just love skulls, but I'm here to respond to the desire for memento mori meditation tools. Also new to the shop are pendulums and pendulum/bracelets. Who doesn't sometimes want an oracle on the go?

This late winter season was supposed to be filled with more yoga training, but since the class was cancelled, I am going to have to find alternatives to keep me inspired. Next week I will be taking Stephanie's Aerial Yoga workshop at Hiawatha Yoga. It should make me aware of some new muscles and definitely train my brain to see things from another perspective.

My word this year is "evolution" and lately, I've been pondering how I can continue to evolve and keep my world from stagnating. Change is inevitable, so we may as well embrace it and choose the direction we want to go. I look forward to grabbing some new opportunities this year, and busting through some fears along the way.

Happy Winter!