Staying Sane in a Turbulent World

Outside a gentle rain is falling on the tin roof of the cabin. Curled up in bed with my laptop, the slanted ceiling of the bedroom loft is alive with the sound of rain. My gaze lands on the sloped hillside outside the second story window where the colors of fall light up the landscape even through the rain. The leaves of the trees blow freely in the wind. I am present, tuned into the clicking of the keys as I type, the rhythm of the breath inside me, and the changing beat of the drops on the roof. In this moment, the world is safe and quiet, a simple heaven of sight, sound and touch.  

This week I am spending a few days in a cabin in the woods, hiking, writing, and watching the stars. For a time, the rhythm of the days are not determined by the ping of the phone, the arrival of emails and the busy preparation for yoga class, offering my energy and presence to others; for a time I am offering the gift of presence to myself. The reward of this attention is clarity, inner quiet, and the exquisite sweetness of moving slowly. The morning rain is an added bonus, a message from nature to take my time. Read More »

Patience and Letting Go

At the end of my recent nine day training at the Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, I was asked to reflect on what I wanted to remember about being there and the teachings I learned. If I reduced this to two words, they would be “patience” and “letting go.”

For me, patience most often happens when I have taken the time to center myself in the morning in preparation for the day ahead. Then, throughout the day, using my breath to relax and soften into life just as it is has been invaluable. Maybe it’s a “letting go” breath (deep breath in, big exhale with a sigh) or maybe it’s a longer meditation that’s required and it can mean the difference from being caught in striving or centering softly into the present. Read More »

Revealing the Hidden

Transparent

Fallen leaves disguise the path, drawing my gaze toward the upper reaches of the forest.
Barren trees open up a landscape of tree trunks and branches in myriad colors of grey and brown.
Fingers of sunlight travel down jagged ravines, highlighting the remaining green and yellow foliage.
Rocky bluffs and cliffs appear, showing the rugged character of rock worn down by time.
The foundation of the earth is unmasked as November slips from colorful glory into quiet release.
Center stage, the forest’s scaffolding is exposed.
The hidden is revealed.

~sm 11-6-16

Yesterday I headed to the forest for a solo hike. Leaves crunching under my feet, the sounds of nature replaced the cacophony of voices, cars and technology. My eye was drawn upward to tree trunks and branches, the building blocks of the forest. With fall color receding, my attention was drawn to things I would never see during the “peak” of autumn color.
 
In yoga, the quiet practices of pranayama and restorative asana are similar to my experience in nature yesterday. When the body becomes still, the beauty of our inner essence rises to the surface. As we move from the distracted world of doing and attend to the subtle sensations of body and breath, we arrive in the world of Being. In stillness the hidden pieces of who we are can be seen. Transparent, there is nothing to hide the quiet beauty of our inner Wholeness. 
 
Meditation, restoration yoga, and quiet practices offer a gift; deeper knowledge of your inner song. Take time to listen to that melody. 
 
Jai Bhagwan. Victory to the Light of Awareness within each of us.
 
Susan
 
 

Love Lives Here

Yesterday I accidentally used the phrase “loves here” instead of “lives here”. A wise friend commented “shouldn’t loves here and lives here be one in the same?” This morning I woke thinking of these words that I found to ring true. Whether in a physical structure or in a more ethereal realm, lives here and loves here represents the essence of “doing and being” in harmony. During the past year the sun appeared to be obscured by clouds that would never pass over. Wakened by the gentle sun I thought I would never see again, summer flowers have bloomed and grown with tender attention on my back porch for the first time in years. Each flower is a bud of hope, a sign of new life, blooming forth from the seed that lay dormant through the winter. Life blooms here again. Love blooms here again. Love lives here. I love here. 

Jai Bhagwan. Victory to the Love in each of our hearts.  ~Susan

alleyCat Yoga Week of Mindfulness

March 12-18, 2017

 
In an age of constant acceleration,
nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow.
In an age of constant distraction nothing is so luxurious as paying attention.
In an age of constant movement nothing is so urgent as sitting still.
~Pico Iyer
 
 The practice of mindfulness is defined by Jon-Kabat Zinn as “the ability to pay total attention to the present moment with a nonjudgmental awareness of the inner and/or outer experiences.”  When practiced mindfully, yoga draws our attention from the outside world of continual thought and action and transfers that attention deep within. The result of practice is a renewed connection to our inner being and a quieter, less reactive mind.
 
A benefit of practicing yoga in a community is shared experience and intention. As we build practice together we support one another through our individual intention and our shared efforts. During this week of mindfulness, join us for your regular yoga class as we share this common focus of being in the now, sharing sacred space and quiet introspection. Leave the busy world behind and experience a time of reflection and contemplation. We invite you to use this time as an opportunity to soothe your mind and body and deepen your connection with yourself.
 
Class will be held at the regular time as usual and teachers will use guided instruction in each class as always. During this focused week of mindfulness, each teacher will bring their own practice of mindfulness, teaching and meditation to the class as we hold the common goal of greater attention to the moment. Please speak with your teacher before class as needed and limit social conversation to the lobby area during this week. You may choose to hold silence as you leave class and in other areas of your life to deepen your experience.
  
 Please enter the studio in silence before each class March 12-18.