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Colleen is bent over the computer, squatting in a chair in the morning light at the kitchen table. She is sorting out the stories of her life; sometimes it is just a recalling of events and sometimes it is a cathartic moment that is unearthing a traumatic burial in her body. What a year and a half it has been, my baby writing her memoir yoga solution book Yoga for Life. Is writing akin to being possessed, especially a memoir where there is a constant exorcism being performed along with eminent exposure? Just like a liberating yoga regime, there is arduous work with momentary flicks of freedom.
Hope is a feeling, an internal movement. If seen in its proper context, hope is part of the light of joy and love that is constantly shining through and illuminating the beauty of life — the awesome dance in which we take part. There is no need to feed it or hang on to it as a distraction or a promise. Instead, strive to see it in context with all of the present moment’s thoughts and sensations. It is but a broken branch floating in the middle of the river of the Tao that we can hang on to only momentarily; however, it must not become the totality of our reality.
Just back from a day at the Yoga Journal NYC convention where Colleen and I were invigorated with the curious and competent students that we encountered. We also had time to go to the presenter’s dinner and had a wonderful time catching up with our dear colleagues of many, many years.
Visiting the Gaiam booth and helping get the word out about Gaiam TV where all of our many years of yoga programing is now housed was a whirlwind. Being a human sandwich-board is both humbling and slightly intimidating, even after all these years in the media.
Are you crazy busy? Is there hardly a moment to catch a breath? Is your significance tied to how much you work and how much you accomplish?
We must retrain ourselves to be, not just to do; to live, not just work. It can take time and awareness to rewire yourself, but it’s not an impossible task — and you can make a significant headway with 15-30 minutes of daily yoga practice.
During these cold days of the year, we may catch ourselves fascinated with the phenomena of the breath. And in your child’s first year, you may be constantly listening to his or her sleeping breath.
But most of the time, the breath goes unnoticed. As yogis, we harness our minds and balance our bodies by observing the breath and the life force vibrations that travel inside the fabric of the breath.
As I look at my own life, and as I look around at other people, it is obvious that there is a dire need for deep relaxation. We are so caught up in the drama of “us against the world” that it makes it impossible to know how it feels to drop our guard and feel the life force surging through us at no cost and with no effort.
Sun Salutations are a perfect ritual with which to greet the day, using the rhythm of your heart and the song of your breath to conduct the body into being awake. The beauty of the salutations is that they require the entire physical body to be utilized. From the neutrality of mountain pose, to the inward turning of the deep standing forward bends, to the enlivening openness of the back bending, upward facing dog and the grounding, invigorating downward facing dog, the salutations draw our minds into the temple of the body.
Recently, I heard that around $50 million was raised during a telethon for Haiti. This raised my spirits enough to get me through another round of sun salutations. Sometimes I feel so helpless when dealing with the larger tragedies of life that it puts me into a depressed tailspin.