Sunday, October 26, 2008

Everything Is As It Should Be

So, even though all of you can read about Sarah and I... we have not seen each other for 2 and a half months. Sarah is on her way to come and visit me this weekend! Reuniting will be a truly amazing experience for me. I still can't believe our Sarah was guiding the Amazon River!
The weather here in Squamish has been immaculate. The leaves are changing and the temperatures are making rock climbing feel like it is cheating... the rock is so grippy and sticky. The sun has been shining for a week and I am lost in the bliss of a true autumn.
Things are rolling along for the studio. It turns out the room has no warmth and I am waiting for the (wonderful) landlords to get some in-floor heating installed. They are also in the process of moving so this will be an after Christmas affair. Waiting till the new year is perfect for Sonnie and I. It gives us a bit of time to escape for a short trip and allows me to build a few students to move into the space. I am letting the intensity of my efforts subside a little bit. Everything is as it should be. I have a yoga emailing list that is now over 60 Squamish students!
It has been a good month. The first nations children are actually quiet in savasana now and I don't even raise my voice at them anymore. I even hear them whispering with excited tones that "it's time for yoga!" when I enter the gymnasium with rolls of mats under my arms. Some children even want to stay for the adult class. I have some neophyte students that are "hooked" on yoga, and their first class was with me about 3 weeks ago. I smile at that, and completely relate.

As the earth changes emotions with the seasons I appreciate all the little things.
Lying on the ground.
Allowing my body to be a membrane of reception and exchange with all the people that I meet.
Listening to the sound of my breath as I jump through to the next seated position in the Ashtanga series.
Feeling my calloused fingers stick to another tiny, textured piece of granite stone.
Eating a pomegranate.
Simply sitting.
Contemplating the posture pashasana.
Holding hands with the someone that will always be the love of my life.

Something from the website of one of my friends (Natasha Grbich, Transformative Wellness)

“The salt of life is selfless service;
The water of life is universal love;
The sweetness of life is loving devotion;
The fragrance of life is generosity;
The pivot of life is meditation;
The goal of life is self-realization.”

Kirpal Singh (The way of the saints)

A picture of me in my friend Carls new yoga chair called Sukhasana...

Love and light to all of you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Adventures in Rio - The Power of a Smile

So, my Brasilian adventure has come and gone - and i now find myself wiggling my toes in the sand on the pacific coast of Nicaragua, practicing yoga on the beach, listening to tropical rainstorms remind me that the wet season is here and enjoying cold cerveza's on the beach, and walking hand in hand as another perfect sunset drifts into the night.

As my brasilian departure loomed I had trouble distinguishing what i would miss most, the kind creative people, their musical language or the deeply complex landscape they call home. In the end, I suppose, it doesn't really matter. And, of course - it goes without saying that a piece of me is forever lost in the jungle of Amazonia.

The last few days roaming the massive city of Rio on my own I thought lots about basic communication, universal understanding, the strength and trust that comes with eye contact and a genuine smile. Being true. I remember reading once about a study that determined only a small percentage of communication is actually a product of the words we say or hear. Mostly it is our body language, our volume and our tone of voice that lets others know what we are trying to say.

Exploring and learning new languages gives me a deeper appreciation for direct communication and the power of a smile. On my first bus ride across the massive city of Rio I met a wonderful women who was patient and excited to share her city with me. So, as the bus navigated raging Rio traffic she spoke slowly, laughed with me and told detailed stories that I could have never found in a book. She took me to her favourite cafe and helped me on my portuguese path - i am so thankful to have met her...

And, later that same day, on the beach I made sand castles with brasilian children who laughed and smiled as I fumbled with words.

My brother - who has spent many days lost and found in the abyss of Rio - advised me to 'speak to strangers, it is the best way to learn.' His advice was on my mind as i opened my heart to the concrete jungle of Rio. To trust this world and smile - even when it is scary and I don't understand a word anyone is saying.

And now, the journey of languages and culture continues here in Nicoragua, although i am admittedly still dreaming of the Amazon. We are off to a quieter beach north of here where we have found a tree house that we can stay in - to listen to the rain and the ocean and the jungle, all at once.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
p.s. I have so many pictures but this computer is way to slow...the few i posted are of Ipanema beach as i sat meditating and watching the sunrise on my last morning(the place is crazy busy during the day)and the other is a view from one of the city's countless high points. i'll post lots more soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Amazon Wonders.

16 people,
One month,
600 km of paddling on a Jurena-Tapajos river journey.

Amazonia is the orgy of life on this planet.

More trees then i'll ever know,
cashew fruits and casteneira (a.k.a. brazil nuts)
acai, guava, coconuts and mango.
All growing beside me, sharing sweetness from time to time.

Crossing paths with wild animals -
river dolphins, giant river otters, toucans, jacare, tapears
and even a jaguar on shore as we paddled.

Three cases of bodily fungas,
250 bee stings,
thousands of mosquitoes and blackflies
incredible heat - incredible storms.
And, two incidents of infected tick bites on our expedition.
The jungle is a challenging and exciting place to live.

I wrote pages through our journey, and once i have had a chance to filter through my thoughts and digest a little more i'll share some deeper learnings.

For now it all feels like a dream.
I already miss the taste of the water and the songs that woke me up and sung me to sleep each night.
Confined in the walls of this airport, in this moment my soul wishes it could again breath fresh amazon air.
Yet new adventures are beginning already and it is nice to be on my own for a few days. I'm enroute to Rio de Janerio as I write - then off to Nicoragua for yoga and surfing on the beach with Scott...I can't wait!

Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Love from the Amazon....

Jungle Lullaby
has taken me away with the crickets and the butterflys,
to find a deeper sense of myself
where i forever find a love for living simply.

Just off the river - there are too many stories for this brief stop.
I am sundrenched, drunk from the waters of the amazon and lost in the beauty everywhere here.

Lots of pictures to come over the next few days...

love to you all from the amazon -

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Baby Pose

I have only been in Squamish for around 3 weeks and strangely it feels like 3 months. The time has flown by but at the same time dragged on.
My yoga classes started and the first one was teaching yoga to first nations children at a private school. I have taught yoga to children in schools but all classes have been supervised by another adult. There were about 20 kids all under the age of 13, and me. After about 5 minutes I knew this would be a very interesting learning experience. For anyone to hear what I was saying I had to elevate my voice to a yell. When I raise my voice it seems to get even smaller and I couldn't really decipher my own from the others. In the middle of class I started having the children teach poses and in between volunteers there were tiny pauses, ripples of quiet. Nevertheless, afterwards I laid on the floor exhausted, my ears prickling in the silence. I shifted onto my belly and remembered a particular posture that Rameen Peyrow taught in a Yoga Lounge workshop called the "baby pose". With my ear to the hardwood I finally sunk into the floor. I felt like it was the first time I had really felt the earth in a long time. 10 glorious minutes. With all the running around and trying to squeeze my enthusiasm into this community, I think I forgot to feel the ground beneath me for a while. I remembered evocatively how easy it was to feel at the Vipassana course. I could just sit down and close my eyes and... thunk... I was plugged in to this immeasurable support. Then... whoosh ... I felt this expanding lightness that balanced it. Lately, it has been harder to feel. Maybe too much coffee, maybe not enough time in a day, maybe too much intensified activity, maybe life just happens to be that way sometimes.
In Yoga Philosophy there is a phenomenon called Prana (Basic Energy). We don't need to be convinced that we are made up of energy right? Anyways, Prana could be many things but it is the principal creative life force. Apana is it's counter energy in the body. Apana is downward and grounding force, but also it is part of prana. With too much prana one can feel like their head is in the clouds. With too much apana one can feel dull and sluggish. Balancing these two energies (which sometimes may take no effort at all- or a very artful way of life) creates equilibrium in life.
I don't think that one can always be balanced, but recognition of what it is that takes us out of equanimity may be very helpful.
Deep breathing, close company and exercise are good ways to jack up prana.
Meditation and less stimulant intake are good ways to emphasize apana... So is 10 minutes in the "baby pose". (How about 10 minutes on each side?)
So I think teaching these kids is going to teach me a LOT. It will be a very captivating month.