Friday, August 28, 2009

A Spark

My boyfriend Sonnie got appendicitis last night.
I came home from a long day at the studio and I was too tired to do anything but lay on the couch. As he complained about abdominal pain, he proceeded to give me a foot massage while I fell asleep.
The next morning he was in the hospital. I cannot believe his generosity for caring for me while he was curled up with pain that I was too sleepy to notice.
Seeing him in the hospital struck a chord in my heart that had not been sounded for a while. Maybe never. Even though he was fine I was hiccuping with emotion. Surges of feeling. Guilt for not giving him my full attention the night before and being awake to his suffering. The tears were a spark for me.
Why is it that I can not fully appreciate the people that I love the most all the time? Why can I not feel this strength of love for all people? Compassion for all people?
Why can I not feel the fullness of gratitude for this precious life in each moment?
I don't want to lose someone to find out.

Now that I sit here contemplating the day's events, I am happy to be suspended in the questioning. I am happy that this experience has illuminated these questions for me. This experience has brushed the dust off of life.
I may not find these answers quickly. I know that there is a spark for the need to be more awake. I know my practice must, in some way, help brush off the dust and cultivate compassion. This is the real stuff.
Leg behind the head and then standing up (durvasana for example) is a way of teaching the body to let go. Asanas practiced with commitment may also give the energy to act when feeling empathy for others. Asanas clean out the laziness! But after asana... when in the field of life, there is much more to practice.
If you can take a moment and feel gratitude for your lover... or someone whom you feel very close to... let that be a spark for you to fully appreciate them. And let that spark turn into a flame for all.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Vinyasa: Placing things in a special way, step-by-step.

Sincere thanks goes out to Ron Reid from Downward Dog in Toronto for coming to share and visit with us here in Squamish. And also to all of you who joined to move and breath through Ron's 2.5 hour Yoga Jam class! Thankyou.

At the start of Ron's class on Saturday he spoke about the Sanskrit word Vinyasa.

Often I use the word Vinyasa in relation to its' role in the dynamic ashtanga yoga practice. But, I had never really broken down the roots of the word to really understand what it menas. I love (albeit challenging at times) when it is brought to my awareness that something I say or do actually means something different then I am thinking.

In Sanskirt
"Vi" means "in a special way"
and "Nyasa" means to place.

So Vinyasa means "to place in a special way"

Ron translated Vinyasa in his own words as STEP-by-STEP.

The actions we take, one foot in front of the next.
Not merely the jump-backs we take during the physical yoga practice, or the label our culture has given to the idea of flow yoga.
But rather, a sense of the yoga practice on a much deeper level -
the way that all actions in our lives are part of a step-by-step process,
what we do today, does actually influence the next steps which unfold in our lives -
real listening is vinyasa yoga, as listening needs 'to be placed in a special way' before any notions of understanding and wisdom can begin to blossom.

The way we move and breath in each moment of each pose
The way we transition between postures with intelligence and awareness,
Staying present with our lovers, and our mothers.
It is each step that we take and every mountain that we climb -
this is all vinyasa yoga, if we choose to see it that way.

Now this isn't profound, of course - as i have long been open to the idea that yoga happens on and off of a yoga mat. It is just curious that a word i use so often is loaded with much more depth then I ever stopped to explore.
Perhaps it is also curious for you??

Ron started a yoga studio 15 years ago and seemed excited to return to the grassroots of starting up a yoga studio by teaching here in Squamish as well as at a new underground ashtanga studio, Babylon, in Vancouver. His passion and curiosity towards the process of yoga in our lives is incredibly inspiring.

This is just the beginning for The Yoga Studio here in Squamish, but Ron's words reminded me of the importance of beginning things with intention - placing things in a special way - one step at a time.

Thankyou all for being a part of this journey in the early steps (both those reading from afar, or those enjoying the rain today here in Squamish) - we look forward to having more experienced teachers visit to teach and share with us in the months to come.


p.s. we have updated the website with a number of fall courses and workshops...check it out!