Beyond Asana Blog

Your Yearning

Jan 21, 2021

 

The Bhagavad Gita, arguably the most influential text of the Hindu tradition, starts with a yogi in crisis:
 
After becoming thoroughly disheartened with the world he lives in, Arjuna (the yogi) feels demoralized, disheartened, and deeply depressed. In his desperation, he turns to his guide and mentor, Krishna, and asks for help,
 
My mind is utterly confused. Tell me where my duty lies, which path I should take. I am your pupil; I beg you for your instruction. 2.7
 
This verse is a beautiful expression of a seeker’s yearning. What follows is Krishna's response that forms the exquisite and timeless teachings of the Gita. 
 
Like many, Arjuna turns to the spiritual path as a response to pain, loss, and crisis. 
 
His yearning expresses his desire to know, to find clarity and direction, and to restore his faith. Yearning is the starting point for every seeker.
 
I see in his words my own dark nights,...

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Start Where You Are, But Don’t End There

Jan 14, 2021

 

Try to fathom the huge range of experiences of this pandemic:

Some of us are feeling bored and isolated at home.

Some of us are busier than ever.

Some of us feel like we’ve been given the gifts of time and space.

Some of us are struggling to put food on the table.

Some of us are putting our lives and the lives of our families on the line every day simply by doing our jobs.

It’s all true. And we can learn to hold all of it.

A reflective yoga practice starts where you are, but it doesn’t end there.

It’s about getting bigger. It's about going beyond yourself to hold the full spectrum of our collective experiences with sensitivity and compassion.

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Meaning is Where You Make it

Jan 07, 2021

 

A double rainbow can be a harbinger of hope, a symbol of transformation, and a sign of good luck. Or it can simply be a cool phenomenon where the light is reflected twice in the raindrops so you see two different reflections, coming from different angles.

The point is that meaning is where you make it. And the meaning we assign to events goes a long way toward determining our experience.

One thing we know about what makes some people more resilient than others is that the ability to find meaning in adversity partly determines how we fare following that adversity. 

Those who were able to find meaning in life despite the atrocities of the Holocaust, for instance, ended up being much more resilient and able to cope on the other side.

Likewise, the significance of this moment in time is up to us.

Whether we find meaning in what we are living through, and what that meaning is – both collectively and individually - will determine not only how we use...

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Mining

Dec 31, 2020

 

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. Rumi

As we close the page on this incredibly tough year, it’s understandable if mostly you just want it to be over.
 
But before you put 2020 in the dumpster and set it on fire, I bet there’s gold to be mined in the form of understandings and lessons learned.

Amidst all the challenge of the past year, many of you have shared with me the invaluable insights of this time:
 

  • It’s become crystal clear what brings meaning to your life.

 

  • You are stronger and more resilient than you might think.

 

  • There are some things that don’t change, even when everything around you is changing.
     
  • You don’t have forever.


In these sacred, culminating days of 2020, as you gather up your experiences and prepare to move forward, here's a question to ponder:

What has 2020 revealed about what is most meaningful to you?

Here’s to finding the...

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A Holiday Wish

Dec 23, 2020


Thank you for welcoming me into your practice, for your trust, and for the honour of accompanying you on your journey in some way.  The opportunity to support dedicated practitioners like you is a privilege I don't take lightly. 

Thank you for all the ways you stepped up to meet the challenges of this year. Thank you for all the ways you cared for yourself and others. Thank you for bringing more goodness and light into the world.

This holiday season, I wish you moments of peace, tenderness, levity, and continued appreciation for the blessings in your life.

 

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Advent Calendars Are Not Just For Christmas

Dec 17, 2020

 

Being from a Jewish family, we never had an advent calendar growing up, but I just love the idea of opening up a different little window to find a new surprise each day.

This morning, I woke up with this exact feeling.

Isn't it true? We open our eyes every morning not knowing exactly what the day will bring.

Today, like most days, I pretty much know my schedule, my appointments, my to-do list. But here's what came to me as I thought about the advent calendar:

What if you approached every day as a mystery waiting to be explored?

What if you entered into each experience, every conversation, every task without expectation, as a new adventure, not quite sure of what was in store for you?

What if you participated in your day with that same sense of lighthearted and playful wonder for how it will unfold?

 

 

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 Insightful

Dec 10, 2020

 

Insight: The power of seeing into a situation; apprehending the inner nature of things.
 
Sounds like a worthwhile skill to build, don’t you think?

Insight takes us beneath the surface of a situation, conversation, or quandary. It allows us to penetrate deeper and become sensitive to nuances, motivation, and energy. In doing so, it brings the discrimination and clarity needed to shift our limiting reactions, habits, thoughts, and feelings.
 
I experienced this just today. Someone came to me with a choice that felt unfair. My habitual reaction would have been to look for someone to blame. And I did go to that place of blaming (internally) for a while. Then I paused. I withdrew from my habitual reaction for a moment and considered the situation from various angles and motivations. 

As I thought about the bigger dynamics that led to the choice I was being asked to make, it became apparent how I wanted to...

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Held in the Heart

Dec 04, 2020

 

I first became acquainted with Jim Dine's hearts as a freshman in university. I bought a print of this one, "The Heart, South of Naples," from the shop at the Hirschorn Gallery in Washington, D.C. 

 

 

Even back then, years before I knew anything about yoga, I was drawn to the energy and passion it conveyed, the tremendous activity taking place yet contained, as if life itself were being held in the heart.


All these years later, I still love to imagine the fullness of my life experience being held within a larger perspective. I envision the whole of my lived reality - all the ups and downs, ins and outs, upheavals, hopes, dreams, hurts, disappointments - as unfolding within in the compassionate, loving embrace of the heart.

Now, of course, I have much greater understanding of just how significant the vision of the heart is. I know how powerful and important this expanded perspective is for reframing difficulties and challenges,...

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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Nov 26, 2020

 

As we near the end of year that has been challenging, uncertain, and even terrifying for so many people, I realize that it may not be so easy to feel thankful.

It’s said that gratitude is the quickest route to the heart. It’s the perfect day to try it out and see if it works. 

Take a few minutes today to look around, to look within, and see what you can feel thankful for. Here's my partial list:
 

  • My health and the health of my family
  • Nourishing food
  • A safe living environment
  • My spiritual path
  • An astoundingly beautiful planet
  • All the wonderful people I get to teach yoga to
  • The ability to make a living doing what I love
  • My daughter's teachers and school administrators who care so much about what they do and the children they teach
  • The doctors, nurses, public health workers, ambulance, bus, and truck drivers, food delivery people, grocery store workers, and all the other front-line workers who have put their health and the health of their families on...
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Your Bedrock

Nov 19, 2020

 

I recently had a visceral experience of the effects of ungrounded-ness on the treadmill the other day. Just as I was ramping up my speed and incline, ready to go for it, the machine suddenly hesitated, just a teeny bit.

But this tiny hiccup through me off completely. I went from feeling free and powerful in my stride to cautious, wary, and unsure. My body went from being ready to launch forward full steam ahead to hesitating and holding back so I wouldn’t fall.
 

This little incident made me aware of how even the slightest uncertainty about the ground beneath us can have a big impact on our momentum. It reiterated how important a steady, reliable support is in order to move forward fully and fearlessly into the world. I felt how a deep-seated feeling of trust is essential to reaching our full stride and how even the slightest shakeup can cause ripples of doubt and fear in our being.
 

Every parent knows this, right? Our role is largely to provide the secure...

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