Monday, April 27, 2009

Have a moment of enlightenment every day

Nirvana (enlightenment) and Samsara (the world of suffering) are one and the same, the Buddha tells us. This same sentiment is echoed when Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is here among us. And the Biblical phrase "this too shall pass" ties in directly with the idea of impermanence. On the surface, the idea of impermanence & the Biblical phrase may seem obvious, but they speak a very deep truth that can only be understood when it is experienced. Because each moment will pass irretrievably, each moment is more precious than gold and should be experienced with awareness and an open heart.

Even our pain and struggles in life deserve this loving attention. It may seem easier to try to run from the pain, but if you remain still and remember that it, too, will pass, these struggles can lift us up higher. All of us can remember times that were difficult but that we are now grateful for, because of what we learned or how our lives were changed. Enlightenment does not mean escape from pain and suffering. It is a mental shift that gives room for both the bad and the good in life. Once we stop expecting the world to be perfect & to make us happy, we find that there is already a well of happiness and loving-kindness inside, and that is what we're really looking for when we're searching for happiness.

This is why all the great spiritual teachers ask us to look within, rather than outside ourselves. The kingdom of heaven is among us and within us. And you don't have to be an enlightened master to have one, two, or many moments of enlightenment throughout the day, every day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quotes of the Day

"Meditation will bring you sensitivity, a great sense of belonging to the world. It is our world - the stars are ours, and we are not foreigners here. We are part of it, we are the heart of it. And this sensitivity will create new friendships for you - friendships with trees, with birds, with animals, with mountains, with rivers, with oceans, with stars. Life becomes richer as love grows."

"Life is not a tragedy, it is a comedy. To be alive means to have a sense of humor."


Sunday, April 19, 2009


Please come join me as we try to get this new class up and running. It will be an awesome Vinyasa Flow class drawing heavily on the elements and theories of Ashtanga practice to inform it. 

The class will start THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 24th, from 6-7pm, at the Dakota Building on Stadium near Pauline. We hope to make it a permanent part of the "Mind, Body, Spirit Academe" that is being run there, which also includes other classes such as dance and martial arts.

You can check out their website here:  
(my class is not up yet)

Pass the word around... once again, Friday from 6-7pm. 

Head into your weekend feeling wonderful. 
I promise a mini-Thai-massage and shoulder/neck/head rub in Savasana to everyone who shows up :)

Please email me with any questions! 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Body, Mind, & Spirit Wellness on S. State

Hi all,
This morning I had the pleasure of touring the new Body, Mind, Spirit Wellness Center (2007 S. State Rd., sort of near the Produce Station. This is a different center than the one with a similar name on Stadium by Pauline). The new center is beautiful, and they are having a Grand Opening Event running from Wed. April 2nd through Sun. the 26th. There's a lot of amazing stuff going on there - yoga, meditation, massage, music, capoeria... you should check out their website at (or call them at 734.945.8602) if you have questions about the opening events.

Also, I was hoping to start teaching regular classes there, but it looks like that's not going to work - at least, not yet. I would love to hold some workshops there, because it is a beautiful space with good energy. So, here is my question: WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO A YOGA WORKSHOP WITH ME THERE? I'm open to suggestions - more (or less) intense, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Partner Yoga... pretty much anything that would please my students. I'd like to see if I can get one together in the next few weeks. So, if you actually read this blog, please leave a comment, and otherwise I hope to catch you at the studio and spread the word.

Just be

"This constant desire for 'knowing' and for 'improving'... that is just the ego's distracting game. Simply be how you are, whenever you are, and you will realize that you already know everything there is to know about this great universanl woven fabric you are a part of."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yoga at work - part 2

As humans, we lable things. That's how we communicate; how language was first formed. We even have lables of our own (usually chosen by our parents, but one can always get creative later in life ;) )

So at work, it makes perfect sense that we lable things here, too. Some of them are useful at times. Your "To Do" box tells you what needs to get done. But, as we all know, feelings of apathy, boredom, feeling depressed or overwhelmed, or sheer panic can set in when looking at that In Box. Here is a little exercise to try the next time that happens.

First of all, take just ONE thing out of your In Box. You can only deal with one thing at a time, and for now, it is this. Now, especially if it's something you don't want to do, pretend you're doing it for someone else. Don't lable it as anything unpleasant. Instead, give it an imaginary lable like "very important document". Imagine that you've just done your best friend in the world a very nice favor, taking care of that important document. How does that feel? Much better than still staring at it in the In Box, right?

Now, I know this exercise is imaginative, and silly to some extent, but in another way it makes perfect sense. Every time you complete a difficult or unpleasant task at work, you ARE doing a friend a favor - yourself. You will reduce your stress level, feel more able and competent, and begin to see that by applying yourself meditatively even to those tasks that aren't your favorite, you are contributing to your place of work (even if this is home), which in turn contributes to the whole Universe. And who doesn't want to show up to work to help the whole Universe? :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Work as yoga (part 1)

I've been pondering this topic for a while now, and haven't written anything yet because I want to be helpful, not just a string of observations. Although I suppose sometimes those can be helpful too :)

Basically, what I've been noticing is that humans are very good at switching into an "on" state, as I'll call it for now, but then we drift back "off" without that same realization or immediacy. For example, remember a toy that you really, really wanted as a child? How visceral the desire was? And how delighted and engaged we were if we did get the toy? But then, without our even realizing it, our interest in the toy began to wane, as life moved forward and other things became important.

When we first start to practice yoga or meditate, I think we are very much like excited children. We often think, "this is IT!" This is going to be the enlightenment I've been searching for, this is going to be the end of my troubles. Even though we know it is irrational, we secretly hope to be hit by that lightning bolt of eternal joy and wisdom. For some people, just one yoga or meditation session is proof enough that "this stuff doesn't work". Their mind still felt busy, maybe even worse, they were physically uncomfortable, etc. It's ok. Not every practice is for every person. But for those who came back again and again, despite the fact that the lightening bolt never came.... they started to notice something extraordinary. The lightening bolt is there ALL THE TIME. It is our life force, our prana, our connection to vitatlity. We can stay connected to it and live an illuminated life! But through routine and inattention, we often let it slip away.

And work, especially offices, are wonderful breeding grounds for routine and inattention. In fact, they practically beg for it. And that is why, my yogis, this can be your greatest practice of all. Start simply. Become aware of your surroundings. What does your office feel like? Sound like? Now become aware of breathing, sitting right there at your desk. How does that feel? Do things slow down? Can you reconcile breathwork with officework?

Your next task is mini-meditations. You can do these seated, or use walking meditation to get up from your desk. Every hour, devote one minute to meditation; to just watching the breath. If you walk as you do this, to the water cooler for instance, don't get lost in your own head. Instead, become more aware, inhaling and exhaling peace and goodwill toward everyone in your office. Over time, the goal is to stretch out these mini meditations, and begin to watch the breath while doing work tasks such as typing, etc. In this way, we can literally create an 8-hour meditation challenge for ourselves! I'm not saying that's what you have to do, but I am trying to promote the idea that you can meditate any time, anywhere.

Next up: dealing with money as a spiritual practice?