Welcome to 2021.!? I’m not sure which punctuation to use. If 2020 taught me anything, it was the reaffirmation that we never know what comes next. The unknown is our constant companion and learning to embrace it, respond, and work skillfully with the way life unfolds is one of the great benefits of a yoga practice. And, to tap into the Rule of St. Benedict, this unfolding invites us to begin again, and again, and again.
To start off this new year here’s a little gift from me to you – a sweet yoga nidra practice for release and possibility. All you need to do is lie down (preferably on the floor), maybe cover with a blanket, close your eyes, and just listen.
Yoga – the art of uniting or dancing with complementary opposites – is paired with nidra, which means sleep. Yoga nidra is a practice that facilitates deep relaxation and transformation by taking the practitioner on a journey through the 5 koshas – or “sheaths” – of embodiment. The koshas are a map, a way of describing various layers of our experience.
Annamaya Kosha – The layer of the body. In yoga nidra we connect with this layer through a rotation of body consciousness.
Pranamaya Kosha – The layer of breath and subtle body. The next stage which is accessed through focused breathing.
Manomaya Kosha – The first level of the mind or mental body. This is the expression of waves of thoughts, processing data that moves in and out of our awareness. In yoga nidra this is practiced through imagery and alternating attention on opposite experiences such as heaviness and lightness, heat or cold, etc.
Vijanamaya kosha – The intelligence or wisdom body. On this layer of consciousness we absorb deeper insight into ourselves and the world. In yoga nidra this is accessed through a guided meditation. It’s a bit like dreaming, but here you are in control of the dream.
Anandamaya kosha – The bliss body. Here the witnessing experience of the dream dissolves and you rest in a feeling of wholeness and integration.
I confess I don’t practice yoga nidra as often as I could, or probably should. But when I do, WOW!
I hope this gift brings you a lovely bit a respite as you cross the threshold into 2021.
May the Grace of Love and Peace guide you in the days to come.
Join me for live yoga monthly via Zoom. I’m committing to 3 months of sharing a practice with you. Register for one or all. Each month will feature a different theme and style of asana.
$10 – 15 per class.
Pay what you can. If you are unable to afford class and would still like to participate, please email me. Finances should never be a barrier to yoga.
Saturday, December 12, 2020 ~ 11am – 12pm EST
Reconnect to the expectant quiet of this sacred time with a yin style practice featuring long, luxurious holds of gentle forward folds, hip openers, and supine postures. All levels.
Saturday, January 16, 2021 ~ 11am – 12:00pm EST
We know the rapid acceleration of the pandemic, global environmental events, and social upheaval will not cease when 2020 ends. But we can take some time to reignite the fire that enlivens us from the inside. Expect fluid vinyasa with a touch of challenge. This will be a level 2 practice.
Saturday, February 13, 2021 ~ 11am-12:15pm EST
Drawing from the Buddhist Loving Kindness Meditation, we’ll cultivate the sensory feeling of love in the body and work to extend it to those we hold near and dear, communities beyond our own, and those whom we are hard pressed to love. Expect fluid vinyasa with options for a variety of heart opening backbends followed by a guided meditation. This will be a mixed level practice.
Today’s the day! Sacred Balance: Aligning Body and Spirit through Yoga and the Benedictine Way is officially released and available wherever books are sold.
I’d love for you to join me this Saturday, October 17th, EST on Zoom for a virtual celebration and book launch. Together we’ll cultivate balance through a lovely asana and meditation practice inspired by the book, followed by discussion and Q & A. If you’re willing, I’d love for you to briefly share how you practice balance.
See you Saturday!
Oct 17, 2020 10:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)
I have some good news to share. On October 13th my book, Sacred Balance: Aligning Body and Spirit Through Yoga and the Benedictine Way, published by Broadleaf Books will be released! I’ve spent the better part of the last 18 months writing, and then recovering from writing, this book. Studded with illustrations of basic yoga poses and ideas for wellness, prayers, and meditations, this book offers principles and practices that guide us toward peace and wholeness.
Fall is such an auspicious time to publish a book about balance because more than any season, fall invites us into the dynamic relationship between harvest and release. We reap what we’ve sown while letting go of the efforts and even the fruits of our efforts. We celebrate fullness even as the earth turns toward a sort of dying. Dynamic relationship is at the heart of balance.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1:
“In the earliest days of grade school we learn our primary colors: red, yellow, blue. Then the secondary colors: green, violet, orange. Next we learn that the primary and secondary colors complement each other: red and green, yellow and violet, blue and orange. Placed next to each other, complementary colors each enhance the hue of the other, creating a sense of equanimity. Color is waves of light. Modern physics has shown that light is both a particle and a wave—steadiness and movement. The equanimity we feel when complementary colors are next to each other is the resonance of particles and waves in harmonious action.
We often envision balance in terms of a balance beam scale—one of those old-time scales with the single horizontal beam from which two trays hang. When the objects in each tray are of equal weight, the scale is in balance. While this may be true for purposes of measurement, it is unhelpful and perhaps even harmful to think of balanced living in terms of a scale. When we conceptualize balance in this way, we risk stasis and perfectionism. Life is not static. We are always growing and changing in response to circumstances and relationships. Perfection is an insidious and unattainable goal, defined by subjective externals, rather than an enthusiastic exploration of the fullness of our humanity.
Instead, I prefer to think of balance in terms of color theory. Harmony and wellbeing is found when the particles and waves—the steadiness and the motion—of our lives amplify or counteract each other. Balanced living is not found in the mere elimination of one color or the addition of another. Balanced living is found in the conversation between the color that is already there. It is the dialogue that matters.
When we feel overexcited, overworked, worn down, or depleted, we know something is out of whack. Some part of our daily routine is dominating the conversation. All too often the stresses of life—the demands of work and family, the bombardment of media, the countless messages about being more successful or productive—drown out the quieting voice of the heart longing to be heard. Sacred balance is restored through practices that promote an interior and exterior orientation toward God—the Ground of Being from which health and wellness springs. The interior orientation includes our priorities, attitudes, and values, which drive our external actions. Our external actions nurture and grow our healthy inner selves. We cannot have one without the other.
I see Benedictine spirituality and yoga as complementary colors, each with its own hue and vibrance.”
I’ll be holding a virtual launch on Saturday, October 17th from 10-11am via Zoom. Register for the launch here . I’ll be coming to you live from the mountains (outdoors if it’s not raining). Together we’ll cultivate balance through a lovely asana and meditation practice inspired by the book, followed by discussion and Q & A. If you’re willing, I’d love for you to briefly share how you practice balance.