April 30, 2012
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
May 13, 2011
As a yoga teacher who often feels like a babbling brook of ADHD vignettes this OPEN LETTER
TO THE SUBSTITUTE YOGA TEACHER WHO WON’T STOP WITH THE IMAGERY both made me fear and quake and tremble at the recognition of myself and laugh hysterically at the recognition of myself….please let me know if I step over the line. I want to know. I want to know.
But, this letter also made me grateful – it is a reminder that most often less is more and that life should always be taken with a grain of salt and a dash of pepper.
I too have been in those classes where there is endless babble about what, I don’t know…in an attempt to make moving the body and breathing ‘more meaningful.’ It is meaningful already. Imagery is helpful if it helps you get inside and find something. Stories of one’s day are good in and of themselves because they are connections and Yoga is a both an invitation and celebration of connection.
In case you couldn’t be bothered to click the above link, which you should because the other letters are great too!!!! here is the letter:
AN OPEN LETTER
TO THE SUBSTITUTE
YOGA TEACHER WHO
WON’T STOP WITH
April 16, 2010
- – - -
Dear Substitute Yoga Teacher Who Won’t Stop With The Imagery,
It’s not like you’re the first. Other substitute teachers have come out with some real dillys too. Who can forget “think of your spine as a flexible snake in space?” So I expect people subbing for the regular, non-imagery-inclined-teacher to spout wacky shit.
But the problem with you, Substitute Teacher Who Won’t Stop With The Imagery, is that your lust for describing things by what they are not is like a runaway train careening through my body-as-temple on wings of steel. (Accompanied by bouts of psychotic ujjayi breathing.)
It begins as soon as you walk in the door. Like all of us, you’ve already had some mundane thing happen that day, but your mundane thing is inspirational, annoying in itself. Say you walked the dog and it was sunny. Sun + pet = return to simplicity and unbridled panting. Or maybe the dog ate lots of grass. (Filling the void, freeing the void… something about a heaving void.) Your daily life/revelation is difficult to ignore as you walk among us, a Lululemon clad priestess (to use language you might understand), dispensing epiphanies and the faintest whiff of dog.
Today you told us you played your flute at dawn, prompting the revelation that we are all instruments, all the time. As we began in cross-legged position you observed that our “sits bones” are like that prong thing at the base of a cello. Try as I might, thinking “my ass is a cello” did not help me sit up any straighter. By the time we got to forward lunge with inner thighs conducting prana so as to vibrate the jiggly bits like violin strings, I had an urge to remind you that strings can snap, but kept schtum since I was trying to play my instrument pianissimo. Forte gets you kicked out of yoga.
The first time you appeared it was on Canada’s national holiday called, cleverly, “Canada Day.” It has no traditions other than sleeping late and drinking. Us regulars dragged our sorry cellos out of bed and came to yoga anyway; little knowing that while in triangle position we’d be forced to view one extremity as Vancouver, the other as Halifax. (I guess even you aren’t flexible enough to cross the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Newfoundland.) I had to do a meditation on vodka tonics just to try and block out the imagery, but the stress of trying to relax with you in the room made me strain a muscle in Halifax anyway.
So here’s the thing. I don’t want to think of my kneecaps rising like excited birds in flight just because you happened to see cormorants wheeling across the city as if someone were hunting them (which maybe someone was because they’re really filthy birds). I don’t want to embrace risk with my heart center because your house offer fell through. (Since when can a yoga teacher afford to buy a house?). I just want to do the goddamn yoga. So please stop with the imagery, already.
May 12, 2011
Much love and thanks to the amazing and inspirational Faern Works…
Check it out – MegaRedfish down town yoga and an interview… SoHum:Self-Expression Through Yoga
October 4, 2010
In my practice and teaching Hatha Yoga – the physical asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing) – are an invitation to explore your phyiscal body in space and time. And from this experience to be invited to be present to all that is outside ourselves. The more aware and at home we become in our own bodies the more compassionate we can be towards ourselves and that just grows outwards towards all beings. The work of Yoga on the mat is a profound practice of presence.
One of the teachers who has inspired both my practice and my teaching is Don Stapleton. He has a practice called Self-Awakening Yoga. His approach is an organic and somatic invitation into YOUR body and spirit. It is beautiful.
Many wisdom traditions throughout history consider the body to be a temple for the spirit. In order to create a conscious and functional relationship with the body, I prefer to begin with an image that is less grandiose than a temple. A temple is an awesome destination. Going to a temple requires that I leave my home and my everyday life to seek contact with the divine. There are times and places for this journey, moments in life when pilgrimage to a place beyond home is desirable and appropriate exactly for the separation from everyday life that it affords. But, I choose not to approach the body in this manner.
Rather than a temple of magnificent marble columns and lofty spires, I am inviting you into an image of your body that is more personal, more like a cozy seat in front of a hearth shared with your most trusted friend. This trusted friend beside you is yourself – not the icon of a supreme being, not an authority on mystical transcendence, but your own inner advisor. – Don Stapleton, Ph.D
Yoga is a profound and practical practice of becoming more present in this physical life we have been gifted. And, the more present we are the more responsible we are for a our actions in this life. And, the hope is then – that the more apt we are to choose love as our response.
megaredfish song of the moment: