Shakti Rising Yoga

"You are a dissident bodhisattva joyfully struggling to germinate the seeds of divine love that are packed inside every moment." ~Rob Brezsny


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Honoring a Timeless Visionary

I have a confession to make. I, more often than is comfortable, feel like I don’t quite fully belong.

To anything.

I have an incredible and resounding community of people which I consider to be not only friends, but family. So, this statement is not to discount my many luminous and authentic connections with the people I love.

As many of us may have, I awoke this morning and began a contemplation of this day which honors one of our greatest humanitarians, social leaders and potent philosophers/activitists of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King. It is my practice on this day to spend time reconnecting with his passionate and powerful words and to offer gratitude for one of our fearless.

Today, the one quote, which I had not come across until today, that vibrated with familiar clarity and poignancy in my heart is this:

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted ~MLK

YES PLEASE!!!

It is interesting that the term “maladjusted” refers to those who have always had or are reclaiming their own relationship to time, space and vibration, liberating themselves from the narrow confines and Pavlovian responses that our perfectly timed school bells taught us so long ago. Yet it is the “maladjusted” who seek and question and invent and catalyze dynamic solutions, mind bending ideas and radical change.

It has left me wondering how many times did Dr. King sit in his own head with the very feeling I have confessed to? Did he ever feel alone? Did he ever feel that the next inspired words to come out of his mouth might just be the ones that left people with a blank stare of incomprehension or a flat out response of rejection.

A dear friend once pointed out to me that the word “alone” breaks down as “all one.”

And in my moments of feeling that sense of unbelonging or aloneness, I realize that I have a choice to either react to the rising swell of emotions this can bring up when we immerse ourselves in our human ego or if I am able to embrace and look into the shadow, I can practice going inside, listening to my heartbeat and in the moments I am actually able to achieve a glimpse of stillness, this is where the “alone” transmutes itself, with a serpentine slither and glide, to the “all one.”

Sanskrit has a word for this. Kaivalya. Which translates as “isolation, aloneness, independence, absolute oneness.” The aloneness is the space between the breath, the sacred awareness that the aloneness can bring a profound experience of connection to the oneness.

It is the emergence from the perception of unbelonging or aloneness that has the potential to crystallize our “human salvation.”  Those “maladjusted” states are a healthy refusal to accept what does not resonate with us and give us voice to speak our truths, create our art, and activate movement to design our lives, around and within, that which informs our individual divine nature.

Recently, I have found myself, admittedly fearful and sometimes knee-deep in the self-pitying quagmire of I-don’t-know-where-I-belong muck, at a cross-roads.  My throat chakra tightens and my tongue presses protectively against the roof of my mouth. Do I speak up and share the experiences of my life, my perceptions and awarenesses, including the most uncomfortably revealing ones? Will fully revealing my story actually help others to embrace and connect with their own story, their own truth or will it be a self-indulgent instrument of my own ego? I’m sure that as this process continues to unravel, the answer will become clear.

Dr. King continues to serve us through the willingness he had to raise his heart up through the power of his voice and reveal his “maladjustment.”

Whether we are currently exposing, contemplating the unveiling, or in the process of discovering our stories, our truths, our “maladjustments” more words of Dr. King’s come to mind.

The highest form of maturity is self-inquiry. ~MLK

Can we feel alone, feel unsettled, scratch those cerebral and existential itches, open dialogue with ourselves and allow what unfolds to simply BE?

I still believe that one of our most powerful tools is our vulnerability and the shift that is required for our “human salvation” depends upon it.


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Seeds of Simplicity

“Plain country folk with rounded bodies,
Skin turning to bronze in the valley heat.
Why talk to them about Tao?
They eat when they are hungry.
They sleep when they are sleepy.
Even a sage with infinite permutations,
Could not match their simplicity.”
~Deng Ming-Dao

The axe falls, wood splits and my eyes open. Someone has already begun to greet the day and filtered down through the sage and pinion to the Big House to prepare the morning fire so we can have hot water for tea.

I linger with sleepy eyes between the warmth of my sheets searching my morning practice–find three things I am grateful for before my feet hit the cool earthen floor beside the bed. Almost always these days, one of these things is the simple peaceful life that I am here on the farm learning to live.

Out here in this desert landscape, we are governed by the signals from the seasons and the complex life of power lines, crosswalk signals and strip malls full of mostly unnecessary items fade into the realm of parallel universe.

Out here, there seems to be no question as to WHO we are, because who we are depends on what we do to sustain ourselves and what we are able to reap from the earth. There seems to be no distinction between self and the land because so much of what we do and what the land does is all interdependent. And everyday there is something to do in order to ensure sustained life. This is what I have found, anyway, to be true of living closer to the earth.

The fragile sense of identity I brought with me to this farm–one constructed on a constantly shifting foundation of what I was climbing or skiing, what performance art I was exploring, how many yoga classes I was teaching, what music I was listening to, what festival I had been to and so on– has been cultivated into a powerful, resilient sense of who I am and what I value.

No gas powered tool has ever been used to break the acre of earth that we garden in here. A quiver of long handled hoes, rakes and sturdy shovels garnish the entry way into our solar powered shop. Each time I pass by these tools, I am reminded of the value of placing yourself one degree closer to the hand-to-earth connection. I reawaken to hard earned wonders of simplicity in action and joyfully embrace a life removed from ease and convenience remembering that everything which I value has come from a sizable investment of heart, patience, work, and gratitude.

When I step onto my mat or sit in meditation, I feel the gratitude that comes from living simply permeate my skin and dissolve into my core. I am able to more readily accept what is in my moment of experience in my physical body and beyond to the world off the mat.

The experience I am having on the farm is one which I feel privileged to have each day that I am here. Especially considering I know this is not my final landing place, my days here are precious. But I know that once I no longer reside here, this kind of simplicity has become part of my cellular memory and the sweetness of its flavor will always be present and accessible.

Out here, I’m not learning to create identity as a farmer…..I learned to see the interdependence of all of our experiences….I am learning what is and what is not necessary to be a human being.


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Get Back to Your Herbal Roots!

As I find myself deeper in this realm (I make handmade hula hoops and now upcycled utility belts) I find myself more impassioned with the support of local, independent goods and services. However, I will not use this post to shamelessly promote myself. I am going to shamelessly and proudly promote my friend and gifted healer, Sara Taylor.

Sara is a Clinical Herbalist, Cranial Sacral Therapist and the creator of the Herbal Roots Eco-First Aid™ Kit.

Sara gifted me one of her kits and now there is hardly anywhere I go without it. It’s AWESOME!! Like unicorns and rainbows awesome. I have used it already on many occasions for all kinds of reasons: sore throat, a boo-boo, trauma, I love that roll of gauze!!, poison oak, stress. I have stocked it with a few of my own remedies and restocked some of the ones already included in the great little containers provided in the kit.

These kits contain nine organic and wildcrafted remedies, tweezers, gauze, scissors, bandaids, trauma pads, a honey stick, Floracopeia tea tree oil and it’s all packaged up in a eco-friendly hemp bag from Hempmania™.

If you want to find out more about Sara and her product and services, you can click here to visit her site for Herbal Roots Apothecary.

Yoga is about what you choose to bind or yoke yourself to. Choosing consciously this Holiday season as well extending this active support for independent artisans and crafters into your daily purchases is yet another really cool way to imbibe your yoga elixir!


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Year of the Niyamas

What the heck! I am staring down the last two months of 2010 and beginning to take stock of how this year’s trip around the sun has unfolded.  And here I am.  Here=www.shaktirisingyoga.com. The mind bus (what fancy name can we give it? Cerebral Trailways, Monkey Mind Coach Lines…sure whatever) has dropped me off on the front stoop of my oh so neglected site/blog thingy.

Last post: January.  Well, it’s clear where I haven’t been this year.  Ready, set, roll. I do believe I hear an old tape begin to play. (Internal dialogue ensues: “Oh wait, do I even have a tape player? Why, yes, buried under the crate of coat hangers in the storage shed. ” Ahhh…Monkey Mind Coach Lines it is! )

The hiss and crackle of a poorly recorded, yet somehow lasting (karmically embedded?) tune begins it’s first notes. At first unrecognizable, but then in a moment, the melodramatic whiney violin takes it’s cue. Oh right, that’s the self-depricating tune called “The Bagillion Ghosts of Things You’re NOT Doing Will Haunt You Tonight.” Hadn’t I eighty-sixed THAT one back in February?!

Well, yes, I had and the story goes like this. A long standing cold virus interspersed with a psoas injury that took over a month to heal kept me from any vigorous asana practice, as well as way too many days of powder skiing, for close to two months. At first the type A yogini in me became highly critical of this lack of practice and then I recalled a teaching which one of  my teachers, Rod Stryker, had unveiled for me back in November 2009.  In one of his workshops, he spoke about dedicating to a practice that first created a stable container in which to expand from….a biodegradable, eco-friendly container of course. Explained further, what I basically understood him to say is that sometimes a heated asana practice, while yes, we know, can feel oh so good, has the potential to add fuel to the fire of any pre-existing instability and create restlessness and overstimulation, be it in the mind, body or spirit. (To learn more about Stryker’s method, Parayoga, click here.)

Well, I was certainly not in a place of balance, so instead of berating my almost non-existent physical practice, I chose to dive deeply into the one of the other 7 limbs of this thing we call yoga. 2010 already had revealed a window into generative possibility and great transformation early on, so focusing on what you “ought do”, the Niyamas, rather than what one “ought not do”, the Yamas, seemed the obvious choice of practice for cultivating this stable container.

The Niyamas are about how we treat ourselves-our disciplines, our spiritual practices and observances.( If you want to read more specifically about the Niyamas click here for a short, sweet, contemporary explanation I found in elephantjournal.com. )

For the past year, I had been teaching yoga to women in substance abuse rehab groups and had touted, in more conceptual terms, the lessons of the Niyamas as coping skills for their recovery process. Again, what better time to really, I mean REALLY, in a raw, compassionately uncomfortable, let’s-get-intimate-and-cozy-with-our-shadow kind of way, take a look at my personal trek through the hills and valleys of consciousness. Awww crap. 108 Sun Salutations with a psoas injury was starting to sound like a walk in the park next to this endeavor.  But, I was reminded of a reframing exercise that both enticed and repulsed me which Rob Brezsny, author of one of my bibles, Pronoia: Is the Antidote for Paranoia, had offered up which instructed, “Go to the ugliest or most forlorn place you know — a drugstore parking lot, the front porch of a crack house, a toxic waste dump, or the place that symbolizes your secret shame — and build a shrine devoted to beauty, truth, and love.”

Ok, fine. Sign me up. I have my helmet on.

Fast forward: November 2010.  Taking y’all through the sticky, crusty juiciness of this transmutative practice is not my intention in all these ramblings.  This is just reflective musing on the ways in which we can, very humanly, pound our fists and stomp our feet  in resistance to our current situation. (Ummm…. Now look what’s on the bottom of my shoe.) However, we can then realize we are being given an opportunity to reframe our perspective, choose to create acceptance of each moment as a perfect moment and then set intentions and practice and manifest those intentions.  This practice is an embodiment of the 3 A’s of Anusara: Attitude, Alignment and Action. For more info on the 3 A’s click here to check out my friend Kimberly’s blog.

For the record, I hope this does not come off  sounding like some easy or enjoyable woo woo hippie jenk process. Yes, jenk is a word even though Microsoft Word deems is red linable.  (You can read all the fun and some slightly, um, graphic, definitions at urbandictionary.com)  As my philosophy teacher, Douglas Brooks, so gracefully puts it: This process can feel like being given the “Divine Bitch Slap.” It can be some of the most challenging work in life–to make our practice one of embracing intense self-reflection. However, as the challenging month of October this year taught me in such a “hurts so good” kind of way, the beauty is wherever we choose to see it.

So how are my remaining 38 days of 2010 going to unfold?

I’ve been back on the mat and I feel a gentleness in my relationship with myself here. I hear the old tapes, catch myself thinking about listening to them, but then I mostly just laugh, giving gratitude for all the tough love they’ve given me. But the truth is, it seems, our lessons will continue to manifest for us over and over in a variety of amorphous ways that allow us opportunity to be the ultimate shapeshifters of our consciousness.

My friend Terry, pointed out to me the other day that I really do want to know the future. All the time. I suppose if we’re being all authentic and honestly self-reflective here, yes, Surrender to the unknown is a a tough one for me. For a lot of us I suspect.

See, there I am with the crystal ball. You see I am not holding it.

That seems to be the way the story goes, hmmmmm. Trust… All those Niyamas distill down to this one thing for me. On and off the mat.


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New HoopDance Session ~ January/February 2010

A new HoopDance Session begins on January 19th!!!
I am very excited for this new session. I will be learning and playing in a workshop with master hooper Jonathan Baxter before this session starts and will be bringing lots of fresh insight and inspiration to this session.

DETAILS~~~~DETAILS~~~~DETAILS

Session Dates: January 19-February 23

Time: 7:30-8:30 pm

Location: Center for Independence  740 Gunnison Ave. Grand Junction

Investment: $60 if paid by 1/16

$70 if paid after 1/16

TO REGISTER CALL       970.640.3276

*****Space is limited. Be sure to register early to secure your spot!!*****


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Shakti Rising Yoga joins Yoga West Collective

Beginning October 20, 2009 Shakti Rising Yoga is pleased and excited to be joining with the collaborative group of healers and instructors who are coming together to form Yoga West Collective.

As one of 12 owner/instructors, my Anusara Inspired yoga classes are just one of the many offerings at YWC. Featuring classes ranging from Compassionate Communication to Qigong to Children’s Theater, as well a host of yoga styles, YWC is the first center of it’s kind here in the Grand Valley.

Please visit the YWC website which is currently undergoing changes, but still provides a lot of great information and more about how to find us!

YWC is located at 1025 Main Street in Grand Junction.


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New Six Week HoopDance Session

Benefits of HoopDance:                                         hoopcrop

•Tones and sculpts the entire body
•Strengthens the core
•Low impact cardio workout
•Increases flexibility
•Develops agility and balance
•Improves coordination
•Energizing
•Inspires creative expression
•You smile, laugh and have FUN!

This 6 week session will teach you the basics of hooping and progress into learning how to move within the hoop, hoop tricks and linking moves into the flow of HoopDance.

Class Time: Tuesdays, August 18-September 22
7:30-8:30 pm @ the Center for Independence 740 Gunnison Ave. Grand Junction

Investment:
Six week session: $60

Registration payment due by August 14.
Call 640.3276 to register.

If you have completed a previous six week session you may drop-in for $12 a class.

NEED A HOOP?                                    hoops for sale!

Shakti Rising Hoops are handcrafted from durable materials and beautifully wrapped in a variety of sizes and colors.

Custom hoops are available!!

Hoop prices range from $25-$45 for adult hoops and $20-$40 for children’s hoops.

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