Viparita Karani

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[LRY yogis enjoying some rest]

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

(vip-par-ee-tah car-AHN-ee)
viparita = turned around, reversed, inverted
karani = doing, making, action

There’s a general consensus among modern yogis that Viparita Karani or Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose may have the power to cure whatever ails you, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive problems
  • Headache
  • High and low blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • Mild depression
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Urinary disorders
  • Varicose veins
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Menopause

It’s simple, all you need is a wall (and maybe a blanket or bolster under your hips if you want more cushioning) and even just doing 3 min of this posture feels incredibly revitalizing. Enjoy 🙂

Nada Yoga Workshop- 6.18.17

Nada Yoga: Nada Thing but Love in My Heart

 

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with Julia Howe Sullivan
June 18, 2017
9 am- Noon
$45
Register Here

Our mind becomes easily absorbed in sound. This is why we all – even babies and animals – enjoy listening to music. When the mind is fully concentrated on something, a feeling of inner bliss is able to emerge and expand. Nada Yoga means “Union through Sound”. This practice is the ancient spiritual art and science of inner transformation through sound and tone. In this workshop, we will explore both outer and inner sounds as a means to open our hearts and cultivate energies of peace, compassion, and love. Through music, mantra, chanting, and other techniques, we will travel the path that leads directly to the energetic heart’s center, dwell in that space, and send the high vibrations back out into the world.  If the weather permits, portions of this workshop will be held outdoors.  This workshop counts toward 300 hr certification.

Please Call Me By My True Names

Please Call Me By My True Names

-Thich Nath Hanh
Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind’s labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not laguage but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.

-Jack Gilbert

Anniversary

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On this fourth anniversary of my mom’s death, I wake up to an email from my dad. Written at 2:19am, he says he cannot sleep, as she’s very much alive and busy in his thoughts. I picture him seated at his desk, alone in the spacious home that once safely held our family of six, with the glow of the computer screen revealing the etched grooves of joy and sorrow on his sixty-nine year old face.

It guts me, imagining him pecking along on his keyboard, thinking of just the right balance of words to deliver to his children– words of grief and loss on the wings of hope and gratitude. I don’t envy his position; being the man who is left to grieve his wife and also the father who remains as the thread trying desperately to keep his family woven into one tapestry of wholeness, however frayed, worn, or weathered.

He writes about how reality is what we make it and how in every moment we are given the gift of choice. He says to choose to make it great. That he chooses to believe in his very bones that his wife, our mother, has transitioned to the other side and is doing what she’s meant to do; how she wants us to do what we’re meant to do here. He says to ask her for guidance when we need it and to offer gratitude for the countless gifts she has bestowed upon all of us.

Toward the end he says, “We are very fortunate, life is good. I think of you all everyday– 3 living adult children…”

You see, he has to address us as his living children, because his youngest is no longer.

And with salty tears rolling down my face, I am at once struck by the beauty and brutality of this world. More specifically, the microcosmic world of our nuclear family.

It boggles my mind that any of us are carrying on with life. We go to work, we raise our children, we grocery shop and fill our cars with gas. We’re doing it, I often think to myself. Look at us, we’ve experienced such tragic loss and we’re still standing. 

This four year anniversary means everything and nothing. Everything because, holy shit, look at us! We’re still moving forward. Even without her here, we’re getting new jobs, the family is growing, we’re making new friends, and nesting in our new homes. Because for four years, we’ve lived with the undeniable active volcano-like rumble of indescribable loss in the space between our thoughts, the pause between our breaths, and the layers within our words and actions. For 48 months, 1,460 days, and roughly 35,043 hours, we have carried the weight of her death with us everywhere we go. Some days the load feels light and manageable and some days it feels like we have cinder blocks as shoes and a suit of medieval armor as clothes. And we’ve each discovered that we do need to wear some sort of armor in this world now, because it hurts too much when the winds of the outside world or even the loving  touch of a friend makes contact with the raw, exposed lesion that is the absence of such an effervescent and larger-than-life woman. The woman who was the nucleus of our little family. She was the bright, warm sun around which we all spun. Do you know what happens when an actual sun in outer space dies (which they all eventually do)? It vaporizes the surrounding planets. Everything around it dies with it.

But here we are, each of us carrying her light and warmth within our hearts; holding on fiercely to the pieces of her that she generously left behind, because she knew we would need them to survive.

So, it’s amazing that for four years we’ve been this way; all at once devastated and grateful, brought to our knees and hopeful. We’re resilient and sad, lost but finding our way.

And yet, I cannot help but feel distraught by this four year mark. Each year, I think Wow, we made it through another year, we’re getting there. But there is no there. We’re not racing to a finish line, there is no end goal. The goal is to just keep moving. We’ve made it through four of however many years until each one of us makes that transition from human body to formless spirit essence.

Another level of understanding sets in today. This is how it will be for the rest of our lives. Contrary to the fantasy I have spun in my mind, we do not get a 5 year reward next year of her coming back to life just for 10 minutes– just for a hug or a smile, or a mundane conversation about nothing. No, this is it. Next year will just be five years, then six, and so on.

So how do we go on? What keeps us from crumbling into a heap of brittle, tired, destitute pieces on the floor?

We let ourselves be sad, to feel the pain and give it permission to help us grow. And we are the keepers of the pieces my mom left behind, so we guard them with our whole being and share them with the concentric circles of our family, friends, and our children who will never know her in the physical form. Like my dad said, we have a choice and we make the choice to go on.

Life is beautiful and brutal. I recently heard a term that Glennon Doyle Melton coined: brutiful. And that’s life in a nutshell: fucking awful and irresistibly extraordinary.

So here we are, we’re doing it. And we’re able to do it because we shared her when she was here and now we share her memory. And with each other, we continue to move forward. One step at a time.