Opening E-Zine

New website leads to reflection and changes..

I am eager to hear your feedback.  I will be still adding and refining, but there is lots of new material there now – and a whole new look and focus.In the inevitable reflection required to create a website, two challenges really stand out to me:

One: my teaching and focus for Turning Light Center (TLC yoga!) has shifted – its no longer enough for me to offer merely a refuge and practice for people to “feel good” when they leave – I want to support people to truly progress toward living more of the life they want to live.  This has been a life theme for me; it ultimately joins the threads of my professional works: yoga, therapeutic yoga, family constellations, Maher in India, and meditation, in particular.It seems many yoga students simply seek the “feel good” and don’t perhaps know that the feel good can grow and be sustained, well beyond class.  And that they should experience progression week to week, month to month, year to year.  And that pretty much all they learn on the mat, they can take into life, as tools to continually grow their ease, well-being, and peacefulness.  This means redesigned class structures for the fall.

Two: there is a lot of misunderstanding about what therapeutic yoga is, and what it has to offer.  I have found that therapeutic yoga is really very different from yoga as its generally practiced in the US and Canada.  Here are some of the most common themes I have bumped into in recently:

  • How many of you have been doing yoga for years hoping your “tight hips” will miraculously open up – yet never seem to?

  • How many of you have done yoga on and off, perhaps even for years, and while you enjoy the class while you are there, you don’t find any lasting benefits? Each time you go back, you are essentially at the same place (or feeling even older and stiffer!).

  • How many of you have heard from a teacher “Just keep pushing that pose – some day it will be easy!”?

  • How many of you have pulled a muscle, or “tweaked” something in yoga class and had to take time out?

  • How many of you thought “I am just not flexible enough” and gave up on yoga, perhaps before even starting?

  • How many of you think yoga is just an Eastern exercise workout?

  • How many of you think “yoga therapy” is like “shopping therapy” – i.e.: go take any class, relieve some stress, and that’s it?

If you said yes to some or all of these sadly you are not alone.  There is so much more to yoga!

My personal journey:

In my own practice, I remember being in significant pain as I struggled in triangle pose and my teacher telling me to just stay a little bit longer!  After several years, it never changed.  I had a minor hip injury at birth that was mishandled and my body needed to re-learn functional movement.  Until I did, it was literally insanity to keep pushing at my hip and expecting some result other than pain!  (And in the meantime, my knee paid the price!)

Then I found a new approach to yoga where I work in partnership with my body, instead of trying to over-power my body.  I learned to improve the function in my hips, and improve the relationships between my hips, knees, and ankles; and between my hips, pelvis, and spine.  Triangle pose is a joy now, and while I am in it, with ease, and afterward, I feel rushes of prana (life force energy) through my body-temple as the different channels are stimulated.

Finding this “new” approach to yoga not only radically changed my personal practice, but brought me back from the brink of retiring as a yoga teacher.  I want all my students and clients to find the ease and joy of pure movement, moving in partnership, a dance, with our body-temple.  This does not require a “perfect” body!  I am bone-on-bone in one knee from years past; yet while I have certain limits, my practice is a joy.  And even better: my relationship with my body and my self, is changing.  My awareness is greater, my ability for self-healing is enhanced, and my body is the literal seat for joy and  enlightenment, rather than an obstacle.

Ahimsa – living in balanceOne meaning of ahimsa (the Yama of non-violence) is about living in balance:  we can dribble away much of our Prana (life force) in crazed all-out pushes toward deadlines followed by collapse.  Prana is strongest when we are in balance – on the mat and off.  There is ease in balance, while still accomplishing what is needed, and with more energy for living joyfully.

Recipe for summer ease

Notice when you are pushing yourself (whether on the mat or off).  Pause a moment and soften – even 10%.  Let your breath relax a bit deeper.  Stop bracing – whether in shoulders, jaw, belly, or even in your mind.  Now go back to what you were doing.  What do you notice??  You might even get more/better output, and at least feel less strained/drained afterwards.  My marathon runner colleagues report that when they “run relaxed” they get their best times!! Stunning!