Spring Into Dynamic Balance

In my classes tomorrow
Wednesdays 5:30 – 6:45 InQlusive Yoga and 7:00 – 8:30 Yoga for Queers and Misfits.
Saturday 10:30 – 12.  Note I have a sub this week.



Two chances for yoga with me this week: Wednesday at 5:30 and 7:00.
>> Reminder: I’m away the next THREE Saturdays so Wednesdays are your only chances for yoga with me until May! <<

As always, I’m taking a cue from nature this week. Still slowing things down and working to make space, while also noticing that the internal work I’m doing is paying off because my inner fire is getting stoked and *I’m* getting stoked to begin again and start some new shit. Feeling ready to start going big or staying home, more and more. Nature is going big too this week, and bursting with lush possibility. Can you see it? Do you feel it?

Chani Nicholas reminds us what’s happening cosmically to shape the energies of the day, and brings it all home with her own version of the ever-present teaching around dynamic balance aka the nature of the Universe, “Balance is a constant state of recalibration.” Indeed!

This week we’re going to move some stuff, yogis. We’re going to Spring into Health / Action / Vitality / Creativity. We’re going to play with balance in all its multitude of forms, and remind ourselves of the constant course-and-fine adjustments that staying on our path requires. Ooh I can’t wait.

See you on the mat.

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Slow Down. Breathe. Savor. Repeat.

In my classes this week
Wednesdays 5:30 – 6:45 and 7:00 – 8:30.
Saturday 10:30 – 12.  Make life easier and sign up here.


I normally feel ambivalent about memes like this. I have felt that posts such as these are shameless ploys for “likes” or followers. At times I feel that they don’t add anything meaningful to the already-sometimes-questionable value of online engagement. At least for me.

But this post sums up what I am focusing on right now. It is really this simple.

This week I have begun a seasonal rejuve. Others might call it a cleanse or a detox. For me, it is very decidedly an opportunity to press the reset button. And without boring you with the (sometimes gory) details, my reset is focused on slowing way down. Slowing down and simplifying enough to actually perceive what is happening inside me. It is a sensitization process. While I simplify what I consume by way of food as well as stimulus, I sharpen my senses and hone my intuition. It is not something that I can really describe. It is definitely experiential.

This week’s classes will be focused on slowing everything down enough to really sense and perceive the rich depth of the process that is always unfolding, beneath the layers of crud and accumulated gunk and misperceptions. There is actually quite a lot happening on more subtle levels, in more nuanced ways. Sometimes we have to slow things way down to sense and savor it all.

Join me.

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On Waking Up

In my classes this week
Wednesdays 5:30 – 6:45 and 7:00 – 8:30.
Saturday 10:30-12.  Make life easier and sign up here.


Waking up is our birthright. When we wake up, everything flows. Rev angel Kyodo williams

Receive a deep breath.  Notice the sensations in your body.  Wherever there is sensation, there is life force.  Where there is sensation, there is energy.

Often times, the experience of waking up / enlightenment / Samadhi is talked about in very abstract and esoteric terms.  A state of bliss so sublime as to be both indescribable and unattainable.

In fact, waking up can be as simple as this: noticing the sensations in your body.  Noticing that you are noticing.  Breathing with intention.  Becoming more fully aware of how breath flows through your body and how thoughts flow through your mind and how energies flow through your life.

Waking up is tuning in, not tuning out. Checking in instead of checking out.

There may be fear that arises with this notion of tuning in.  Because in fact, being fully present, tuning in, waking up can open us to a world of pain, previously unattended to pain, long buried pain, or pain we didn’t even know we carried, pain that isn’t even ours but is that of our ancestors, our elders, our kin.  For many good and understandable reasons, many of us choose not to wake up.

But in choosing not to wake up – whether consciously or unconsciously – we cut ourselves off not only from the pain but also from the power.  The fear of waking up, the aversion to connecting fully with the breadth of our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual range of motion / bandwidth, this fear also stops us from fully accessing the very thing that will help us ride the waves of whatever arises.  Call it Spirit, Grace, Greater Energy, Shakti, God, Goddess…whatever name you give it (if any at all), this force is nothing less than Unlimited Creative Potential, Complete Freedom, and Infinite Steadiness.

It is exactly what we need to navigate the terrain of our lives, relationships, and struggles.  And it always available to us, as close as this breath.

Receive a deep breath. Notice the sensations in your body.  Look for where this energy is revealing itself to you. Wake up to it. This is your birthright. When you wake up to it, everything flows.

See you on the mat.

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The Pain of Rebirth and Renewal

In my classes this week
Wednesdays 5:30 – 6:45 and 7:00 – 8:30.
Saturday 10:30-12.  Make life easier and sign up here.


What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? Valerie Kaur

I finally watched the video that has been circulating for the past few months. I don’t think I was ready before today, perhaps. But today I needed it.

Among the many horrific things on today’s chopping block is the Affordable Care Act. Limited and scandalous as it is, the ACA provided access to healthcare for me and many people I know and millions I don’t. Now, the money-hungry anti-humans (who’ve been dreaming of defunding Medicaid since their days corralling around the keg) are about to pull the trigger (a term I am using with great intentionality) on a “new plan”…and deal a death blow not only to Medicaid and health care coverage for millions of people, but also to the jobs and ultimately to the lives of millions.

[It is not too late. They vote tomorrow. If you have a few minutes to spare, please call your representatives and ask them to vote against the American Health Care Act. Find their info at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ . Remember, emails and petitions do not bear as much weight as calls and visits.]

Today, I needed Valerie Kaur’s message of possibility and hope. With tears streaming down my face, I watched the powerful speech she delivered this past New Year’s Eve, in which she evoked her ancestors and the ancestors of those who’ve survived occupation and internment, enslavement and exploitation.

She called us forth into the magical space of dreaming, of awakening to the possibility that this is not a requiem but a rebirth, that the sounds we hear are not the laments of a dirge but the lilts of delivery. Not lacrymosa, not tears of sorrow and grief…but labor, tears of joy and growth.

What is this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? -Valerie Kaur

This week in my individual practice and in my public yoga classes, I am reflecting on what I personally need to let go of in order to make space for that type of hope and possibility. The Spring Equinox is naturally a time for this type of shedding and rebirth. I am feeling that need in a new, paradigm-shifting kind of way.

So tonight and on Saturday, the practice will center on the energies of rebirth and renewal, which necessarily includes the pain of grief, mourning, shedding, and release.

In the Hindu pantheon, Kali is the goddess of both Destruction and Creation…a recognition that these two processes are inextricably linked on the individual, social, and cosmic levels.  No new energy is ever created in the Cosmos…it is simply recycled.  We cannot build something new unless we are willing to liberate all the energy that is bound up in the old and out-dated.

What can we destroy, what can we let dissolve and diminish, in order to usher in a New Creation Story?

 

 

 

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Open To Grace

In my Saturday class – 10:30-12 on March 11th.  Make life easier and sign up here.


https://i2.wp.com/thebreathingroomws.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/heartblog.jpg

The Dance of the Divine is really working its magic on me right now, pushing my conception of what I thought I could handle, of my own strength, of my own capacity for Speaking My Truth and Standing in My Light.  My work in this phase of the Dance is to be open; not to be distracted by self-doubt, not to be skeptical and self-defeating, not to hold my breath and wait for the other (the next…?) shoe to drop.

Oh no. This time is about building the container to hold the Shakti – the Unlimited Creative Potential on Consciousness. It is about doing my absolute best from moment to moment to sustain myself as an open, willing, and receptive vessel for the creative power of the Universe to work its magic.  But I have to make the choice: I have to keep the doors to my heart open. I have to keep an attentive ear to the song of my heart.  And I have to be as patient and loving towards myself–when I inevitably forget, close down, fall short–as the Universe is towards me (which shows Itself in the form of those around me who are holding me with love and patience).

This work of healing, of consistently wiping the mirror of my consciousness clean of the specks of illusion which block me from seeing my own true nature, it is no joke. It is the work of a lifetime (possibly more than one…) and it is work that I want to do. It is a freedom that I want for myself. It starts by being Open to Grace. From moment to moment. Breath to breath.

Being open to healing, true freedom, and abundance.
Like I said, the work of a lifetime.

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Without (all) women, where will we be?

No class tonight – I am observing International Women’s Day.
Please see the first and last part of this post for ways to participate as well.

See you on the mat this Saturday or next Wednesday.

daywithoutawoman

International Women’s Day
Women (& People who Love Women) on Strike!
9:30 am, Wednesday, March 8
201 Corcoran Street, People’s Plaza, Durham NC 27701

On this day, we will wear red in solidarity with our sisters to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. We will be highlighting issues and barriers that women face in NC with equal pay, health care, reproductive rights, paid leave and immigration. Our voices will not be heard if we do not take a stand for all women, even as we center women who have historically been pushed to the margins– women of color, queer women, trans women and genderqueer people, women with disabilities, immigrant women, and mothers.
For more information call: Gloria De Los Santos at Action NC 919-794-8210 or 919-672-5549 or email: gloria@actionnc.

JVP Call-in Action – Ongoing
Call in to Protect our Right to Protest!

Republicans are introducing bills in at least 18 states (including NC) limiting the general right to protest, and this bill is part of a campaign to shield those in power from principled opposition. The bill calls this nonviolent movement “economic warfare” and is part of a broader pattern of criminalizing People of Color-led justice movements.

 JOIN US: Wednesday, 3/8 — 12pm for an action

The NC House Pensions & Retirement Committee is scheduled to hear the bill.
Join us to let them know: stop repression of social movements, we have the right to boycott!

More details and call-in info here.

women unite

WOMEN UNITE TO FIGHTBACK – International Women’s Day
Interest Mtg for a Women’s Fightback Network – Triangle NC Chapter
Wednesday, March 8, 7pm
Durham Solidarity Center
1803 Chapel Hill Rd., Suite C
Durham, NC 27707

Come out Wednesday night – bring the kids – for a fun, interactive interest meeting to start a chapter of the International Womens Fightback Network. Feel free to bring snacks to share!

The Women’s Fightback Network is a grassroots alliance of poor and working women, immigrants, disabled activists, students, elders and youth, lesbian, bisexual, trans kinfolk — all standing together to end racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ and anti-muslim bigotry, and for workers and immigrant rights. Our solidarity is a powerful weapon against Trump’s anti-people agenda.


I had intended to sit down before today – Wednesday, March 8 – to reflect and write about why I feel moved to join the strike in honor of International Women’s Day.  Something stopped me.  If I spend too long trying to figure out what it is, I probably won’t get this post written and I sure won’t make it out to the Durham solidarity action at 9:30am.

So I’m going to take a wild guess at what has stopped me – but it won’t be so wild since it’s the same thing that stops me much of the time these days – fear.  I have been afraid that participating in this day of action would result in being maligned, judged as privileged or labeled as elite or out of touch.  I was afraid to join something that may be associated with the much-critiqued and certainly polemic Women’s March.  I was afraid to cast my lot with an effort that I cannot personally guarantee is 100% intersectional.

And yet.

Something moved me to make the decision that I would join in my own way – by not teaching my two weekly, donation-based community yoga classes tonight and by showing up for local actions.  (Please see above and below for ways I plan to practice, despite not offering my classes.  I invite you to practice too, to observe this day in what ever way you are able).  Lately, my identity as a woman has not been the most central to me.  I have identified much more with being queer and with being a white person trying to dismantle white supremacy and work towards racial justice and collective liberation.  I honestly did not feel any great sense of pride at the possibility of The First Woman President, since I hold the entire office – and indeed the government and establishment as a whole – in such critical contempt, and since HRC was and is a paragon of neoliberal elitism synonymous with the kind of disaster capitalism that is only a slightly less accelerated but no less devastating version of the kind that 45 and his cronies is currently unleashing with abandon. In the end, all trains–whether freight or bullet — reach their destinations.

intlwomensday.chani

And yet.

Something moved me to really observe this International Women’s Day for the first time in nearly a decade.  When I lived in Central America, the international nature of the day was inspiring and uplifting.  The urgent need to converge as women was crucial.  Working alongside peasant women in rural communities, or workers in sweatshops, or queer women organizing in universities, or guerrilla veterans from the recent civil wars, or feminist organizers working for reproductive justice, worker rights, and an end to human trafficking and domestic violence, the allure and the significance of organizing as a women alongside other organized women was undeniable. And the power in doing so was palpable.

Since returning to the US and engaging in a number of organizing efforts around issues ranging from anti-war and anti-militarism to farmworker rights and queer liberation, my identity as a woman has been less central than other identities.  While I always and everywhere identify a woman, I have not found myself moved by this identity in the ways that my identity as queer, as anti-racist, as anti-transphobic, as pro-Muslim or pro-worker have moved me to build relationships and take action with others who are similarly moved. (Maybe it’s because of the utterly one dimensional nature of some so-called feminist efforts out there, which are well-meaning but so often miss the mark in devastating ways…)

feminismwithoutintersection

And yet.

In every movement, across every issue and in every place where injustice occurs, women – cisgender and especially transgender – bear the brunt not only of being disproportionately targeted by the intersectional but fundamentally patriarchal, cissexist and misogynist manifestations of oppression, but also of being always among the vanguard of those fighting back. I can see this with crystal clarity no matter what movement for justice I am examining, past or present.

And so.

I find myself called once again to acknowledge the international and intersectional nature of this day.  I stand, show up, turn out, act in solidarity with women and those who value women from more than 50 countries across the world and Global South, including several Central American Countries.  I will stand in Durham alongside folks who acknowledge that women’s rights are human rights, that every issue is a feminist issue because where there is injustice, there are women, surviving and fighting back. I will practice in my own way. I will observe this day as one would a sacred holy day, for that is how I am coming to understand it.

I hope you’ll join me.


Other resources

ctznwell.womensrights

Access CTZNWELL’s special page for resources and actions here.

Join a webinar offered by the Yoga Service Council tonight – at 8:00 pm ET: “Rooting to Rise: Applying our Practice for Social Change.”

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Courage – Speaking Your Truth with your Whole Heart

Exploring Courage in all my classes this week.

courage-heartI’m reading a lot about fearlessness right now – seems everyone is doing the best we can to keep us all bolstered and buoyed and just generally breathing through it all.  I am doing my part by teaching tonight on Courage.

I’m reminded of several years back, when I led all my classes on a journey through Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, and her reminder that the root of the word courage is heart (more obvious in the French coeur or Spanish corazón).  Specifically, speaking your truth with your whole heart.

Since there are infinite ways to speak our truths – to communicate what is true for us – beyond just words, I am reflecting on how my life itself can be an expression of my truth.  How I can communicate my values, commitments, and desires through everything I do, not just my words.

Courage is speaking your truth with your whole heart.

How can my actions communicate what I value? How can I reinforce what I value through the intentional investment of my time and energy?  How can I make my very life an expression of what I hold dear?

One upcoming way I plan to do this is by joining the commemoration of International Women’s Day by joining A Day Without A Woman protest next Wednesday – which means I will not be holding Wednesday night yoga. I invite you to check out local ways to participate if you feel so moved.

In general, if you’re grappling with the same questions I am regarding how to embody courage and commitment in these times, join me at yoga this week. We’ll sort it out – as always – together.

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