Winter is an interesting time for me — well, more specifically, an interesting time for my feet. I love summer because of the ease of slipping my toes into a pair of flip-flops and floppin’ around unencumbered by shoes. In fact, during cold months I wear winter’s flip-flop equivalent, moccasins; a shoe that is as close to a non-shoe as it gets.
In fact, one of the main reasons that I love teaching yoga as a profession is because I get to be barefoot for a living! There is something so freeing when my toes are unbound from the claustrophobic nature of high heels, tennis shoes, boots, mary janes … you name it! When my toes feel the freedom to roam, I find that my spirit has that same permission. The sense of adventure that I feel when I am liberated from the shackles of my shoes is only matched by the abundant bliss that I feel when I am out in nature, spontaneously and effortlessly awakened by the wild untamed natural world.
There is one exception to this no-shoe strategy I tend to live by: my hiking boots. When my feet inhabit these shoes, my sprit soars straight to its inherent wildness. Of course, it isn’t the shoes, per se, that illicit this magnificent response, it is what the shoes represent: trees, trails, birds, bees, sunrises, sunsets, mountains, moose, rivers, rocks … you get the idea. This wildness is as much as state of being as it is a location, in the wild, animate world. When I’m not on my yoga mat, this is certainly where you will find me — winding my way through the wide-open woods.
When we are young, we learn the most fundamental teachings about being human: be nice to one another, share, clean up after yourself, don’t take things that aren’t yours, etc. But it seems that when we become adults, we often forget everything that was a part of these original lessons of life. Even the yoga community is littered with heartbreaking exchanges. If unkindness is evident in a community dedicated to conscious living, I imagine it is even more insidious in other spheres.
This month’s Spiritual Cinema Circle film collection is all about overcoming the odds.
It Ain’t Over is a story of hope from a man with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) who has been defying medical odds for over a decade. Granny’s Got Game follows a group of women in their seventies who have been playing basketball together for nearly 20 years. The Birdman celebrates a shopkeeper in New York City who has maintained a sanctuary for music lovers in the midst of the digital age.
Have you ever found an unexpected connection? Spiritual Cinema Circle’s selections for August follow connections between friends, family and strangers.
In our feature film, Take Me Home, a woman looking for purpose in her life finds herself on a cross-country drive from New York City to California with a charming rogue taxi driver. Starring, written and directed by Sam Jaeger, known for his role in the TV series Parenthood.
Chinese Take-Away (Un Cuento Chino) is the feature film for subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. Directed by Ricardo Darin, this film from Argentina is a powerful story about two men from completely different worlds who, in the most unlikely ways, help each other heal their broken hearts and spirits. Film critic Roger Ebert awarded it his top rating.
Awaken, this month’s feature film for international subscribers, is a mind-bending and heart-opening time-travel love story where two lovers meet and change each other’s lives in a completely unique environment.
The Camera is a haunting, wordless short film that reminds us of the power of love and the magic of memories.
In Tick Tock Time Emporium, a girl who desperately wants more time with her mother enters a strange shop where time is actually for sale.
Pioneer focuses on a mysterious, haunting bedtime story that a father tells his son. This powerful short film was voted the Best Narrative Short at the South by Southwest Film Festival.
Yogi Darren Main asks yoga teachers to reflect on the ethics of being a yoga teacher. Main views ethics as a foundational necessity for any yoga teacher so that they can create a safe space for students to flourish and grow. He believes teachers must root themselves in the Yamas and the Niyamas in order to be a good example for students both on and off the mat.
Can you believe it? We’re already halfway into February! I have been getting calls for counseling requests around relationships; Valentine woes and deep feelings of aloneness. I even got a Facebook message from a man challenged with his life choices and loss of love. I am very clear that every person on this planet wants to love and be loved. We all want to feel special, be seen and acknowledged for the beautiful beings that we are. So why is it so hard to “find” love?
It all starts with a simple discussion. The next thing you know, you’re off to the Amazon rainforest in South America, drinking tea made from a psychoactive plant and taking part in an ancient ceremony intended to heal and open the realms of consciousness.
That’s what happened to filmmaker Michael Wiese as he was searching for a cure after being confronted with a serious disease. Michael realized the universe was co-conspiring to aid in his mission, and soon he, his wife and his translator were off, embarking on a mysterious and deeply personal adventure.
The Shaman and Ayahuasca on GaiamTV.com follows these three on a thought-provoking journey, providing unique personal perspectives, majestic and stunning visuals of Peruvian surroundings, and wisdom from a famed shaman. It also piques the viewer’s curiosity: What does this psychoactive elixir taste like? How does it feel to be whisked away to other realms and connected to the cosmos? How does it feel to return to reality? Here are a few of the most intriguing and eye-opening moments from this fascinating documentary:
Take a “stress break” with yoga and dance teacher Hemalayaa. She believes that a better quality of breath will translate into a better quality of life. Participate in a short breathing exercise of bringing your awareness to a deeper breath, and see how this can give you a deeper appreciation for being alive. This is a tool you can take with you and integrate into your daily life for rich relationships and a peaceful sense of self.
The feature film for December is The Letter Writer, written and directed by Christian Vuissa. It is a story about connection across generations as a teenage girl learns a valuable lesson from her mentor, a man at the end of a long life.