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I snapped this poem when I spied it open on a friend's sofa.

What strikes me now is the line about
"day-blind stars waiting with their light."
I remember this on these cloudy winter days.
The constancy of starshine, seen or unseen.
It reminds me of the light that remains within us
even when we're not at our evident best.

Recall the downcast or stern face of a stranger
that suddenly lights up at an unexpected kind word.
As though a projector switch was just thrown open.

Look for the light in others, even if it seems dormant.
And when this feels hard, take Wendell's advice
and go be among the wild things
to restore your faith in the goodness of the world.

Come celebrate your light
on the yoga mat this week.



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Edward Munch 1895

Few things tip me into intense anxiety,
but I ran into a trigger recently, and boy.....
Riding my exhales was all I could do to stay put.
That, and finding a patch of sky to gaze towards.

As yogis, we know the power of somatic work.
Coming into our bodies, observing, connecting
are brilliant ways to settle our nervous systems.

If you ever find yourself swept away into anxiety,
you might try the 5-4-3-2-1 technique.
Practicing it when you're okey-dokey
(chopping veggies, taking a shower)
will prepare you to pull this practice out
when you're askew and need it most.

Simply identify 5 things you can see.
Name them to yourself one by one.
Identify 4 things you can touch.
And do, noticing tactile feedback.
Identify 3 things you can hear.
Go slow, tease out each sound.
Identify 2 things you can smell.
This can be harder, requiring focus.
Identify one thing you can taste.

You'll have rooted yourself into the present
rather than spiraling into the pull of fear.
Sounds simple.
And it is.

This is also a nice way to quiet the mind
when you're just feeling squirrely.
Try it. Then keep it in your back pocket.
Building skills, yogi, building skills.

Hope to see you
on the yoga mat this week!



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"Everything you think, say, or do in some way influences
your physical, emotional, mental, and psychic environment.
Think of how a conversation can leave you feeling wonderful
or gutted - words, too, are expressions of power that can
have profound effects. Even when a person is seeking
affection or a simple compliment, he is seeking
empowerment, an infusion of the energy of self-esteem.
Every action is an exchange of power between two people."
-Caroline Myss

If you'll be celebrating Thanksgiving this year
with anyone besides yourself, you may
consider anew this idea of energy exchange.
Whether a relative who lifts you up
or one who always brings you down,
we are all engaging in infusions of energy.
Realize you are a powerful energy source
- a conscious one at that, dear yogi -
and be purposeful about what you take in
and what you want to give out.

When you do, people will be thankful
for your presence and your own heart
will feel whole and grateful in turn.

Know that I am thankful for you in my life.
You make my work possible in the world.
Thank you, yogi.

Hope to see you on the mat this week.



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"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as everything is."

-Albert Einstein

I was in deep meandering conversation
with my favorite agnostic skeptic the other morning.
This philosophical badinage used to leave me in tears.
These days it mostly just amazes me how differently
we can see the world yet remain so connected.

I see my life's efforts constantly oriented
upwards and outwards, towards the bigger picture,
the narrative arc, an imperative making of meaning
for which I am peculiarly answerable.
He, on the other hand, is happy to simply be,
take what comes in the moment, assign no meaning,
assume no great force is holding it all together.

It strikes me that doing yoga
is a bit like doing life.
There's no one way to play.
You can perform the postures, with no
expectation of profound transformation.
Over time, you will come away with a
stronger, more supple, more aware body.
Or you can imbue the shapes with meaning,
perhaps quite of your own intuitive making.
You can look for secret messages
from your body and feel your spirit
intimately connected with your asana.
Both yogis will find what they're looking for.
Where your attention goes, your energy flows.

But yoga is ingenious.
Inner transformation will sneak up on you.
Somehow. Some way.
I promise.

Come find your own
on your yoga mat this week.



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Well, here we are at kooky daylight savings time again
jostling our usual sleep patterns as we adjust.

I've been learning about all the essential work
our body accomplishes during sleep
not the least of which is detoxing of the brain.
Our brain cells shrink by something like 60%
at night and the discovery of glymphatic cells
helps us now understand that this shrinkage
creates pathways between cells for waste
and toxins to be washed away.

Hydration is one way we can help support
this detoxing process, though drinking just
before bed may not be the wisest strategy.

A little chia pudding for dessert might be just the ticket.
Chia seeds work as a sort of time release hydration,
so you can hydrate those tissues without having
to get up in the middle of the night and head to the loo.

I've pelted you with chia recipes before.
You can sweeten with mushed up fruit, jam,
maple syrup, or honey if you like.
The basic recipe for a single nighttime treat is:

Mix a mounded 1 1/2 TB of chia seeds
with 4 oz of your favorite type of milk.
Let it sit 15 min or so. Yum.

Bring your hydrated self
to the yoga mat this week!



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Cornflower Ghost by Katherine Blower gifted to me as a mailbox surprise

Halloween is not my favoritest holiday
though childhood often found me a fairy princess,
aluminum foil covered homemade wand in hand
trick or treating down Golf Club Lane
very much wanting to be admired and seen.

Now, I imagine disappearing under a soft white sheet
with a cornflower wreath upon my brow
greeting strangers with an empty begging bowl
seeing what they might offer.
These days it isn't candy I want
but wisdom, earned insights, stories, life philosophies.
I want to work up the courage to ask strangers:
"Tell me something you think I should know."

Maybe trying on the robes of a mendicant
asking to learn from someone who has lived
quite outside our own experience could
gift us a richness we could never know alone.

Bring your open self to the yoga mat
this week to see what wisdom
your own body may have to offer.



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"A new moon teaches gradualness
and deliberation and how one gives
birth to oneself slowly. Patience with
small details makes perfect a large work,
like the universe. What nine months of
attention does for an embryo forty
early mornings will do for your
gradually growing wholeness."
- Rumi

Every moon cycle is a chance to start anew.
We are at the cusp of the new moon,
the beginning of a new lunar cycle.
So we've an opportunity to step into
a new cycle of your own creation.
Is there something you'd like to foster just now?
A particular purposeful practice to begin?
A daily ten minutes of quiet?
A dedicated pause before eating to offer real gratitude?
A commitment to move your body regularly?
See what rises to the surface of your heart
and then honor it, inspiring yourself by
creating a new cycle of growth however small.

Then come to the yoga mat.
Looking forward to seeing you this week.

[photo by lenstravelier]



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Along with the glorious color of autumn
comes the erratic, cooling energy of drying winds.
This is just the season when our bodies
need warm moist nurturing attention inside and out.
That means hearty, grounding soups and stews
to nurture your insides.

Your outsides could use the same sort of love.
Ayurveda offers the practice of abhyanga.
Simply massaging the body with warm oil.
There are all sorts of specific practices and oils
one could use to accomplish this.
Consider almond, sesame, jojoba or coconut oil.
I usually drip my favorite essential oil of the moment
into some coconut oil for my abhyanga.
Lately, I'm treating myself to the
grapeseed/apricot/meadowfoam/jojoba body oil
I find at The Good Fill in
my east Nashville neighborhood.

My ritual always follows a warm shower or bath.
I don't even dry off before I begin my oil massage.
This way pores are open to receive the goodness.
By the time you're done, you'll be glowing and soft.
And if you take your sweet time, even dry enough
to ignore your towel completely.

Abhyanga works to stimulate the lymphatic system
and internal organs, lubricate the joints,
soothe the nervous system, and nurture the skin.
You will feel so loved afterwards
- my favorite consequence.
Love yourself up this autumn.
Your body will thank you.

See you on the yoga mat
where we'll move like the winds
but ground to the earth, too.



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Might we attempt to grow flowers from our lungs this week?
Maybe if we create enough space for the breath itself to flower.
Maybe if we are tender enough with our own bodies.
Then we can grow resilience from the inside.

Meet me on the yoga mat this week.



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photo credit: Halasana Gosia Janik

Many people can listen to their cat
more intelligently than they can listen
to their own despised body.
Because they attend to their pet
in a cherishing way, it returns their love.
Their body, however, may have to
let out an earth-shattering scream
in order to be heard at all.
-Marion Woodman

Strike a chord with anyone?
Or, if like me, cats make you sneeze,
substitute whomever you cherish,
a beloved child perhaps?
What if we could attend to ourselves
with as much attention?
With more compassion than judgment?
A big ask, but something to aspire to, yogi.

yoga tip:
And I better not ever catch you looking
to the side like this in a shoulderstand
or plow or bridge position.
Your precious cervical vertebrae
are in a highly vulnerable state here.
Straight ahead, matey.

Come pay attention to yourself
on the yoga mat this week.



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From her book Roar Like a Goddess,
Acharya Shunya explains here three powerful goddesses
that she learned about in her Indian childhood.
Her grandfather taught her that the goddess was not far
from her but could be found in her own faulting human heart.
Shunya now encourages all of us, regardless of gender,
to embrace these goddess energies within ourselves.

What resonates with you?
Durga's fierce courage?
Lakshmi's unapologetic pleasure?
Saraswati's creative resilience?

We need all these qualities of course,
but maybe one is calling particularly
to be fostered in you at present.
It's interesting to look at archetypes from different cultures
as a lens for embracing experience more fully in ourselves.

You may bring one of these goddess energies
to the mat with you in your own practice this week.