inspirations

the eruption of truth

the eruption of truth

For a period of my life, the yoga postures served me well. I grew through them and they offered healing to my wrecked dancer's body for a time. But then, as many of us do, I allowed the postures to guide my physicality and I ultimately suffered because of that. You could see photos of me in postures or practice next to me in class and think, "wow she is strong and flexible". The problem was that I unwittingly pushed myself to be strong and flexible only in the places the poses required and in the end this was not balanced or wholesome, no matter how much alignment and breath and safe sequencing I applied.

When I was in my final months of pregnancy and just afterward, my body was pulled apart where it was weak and disconnected. I am not alone in this experience and it definitely doesn't just happen to pregnant yoga practitioners, although the elevated levels of relaxin in the body along with the increased abdominal pressure certainly enabled this to worsen quickly. Through the process of reconstructing myself in the last two years and working with many other students who I believe have been harmed by yoga, I have realized how insufficient the posturing, and more specifically how insufficient so much of the instruction in this work is. 

I am not saying the postures do not contain insights, for they do, endlessly. I am simply saying that they are not enough by themselves. We have to keep looking beyond, beneath, inside and through them. The postures are patterns we set into bodies that already contain their own patterns, imbalances, incongruencies, imperfections and deeply individual insights. How can we not take the individual into consideration as we apply them? Alignment, as we may witness in some forms of yoga, takes us only so far on a personal level before it causes us to become rigid. Geometry certainly has its merits and beauty in certain yoga styles, but it doesn't break down or build up everything; it doesn't give space for all of the organic nuance and multitudes of asymmetry, in my experience. Flow is wonderful for moving without overthinking but it falls short in the realm of detail and precision, no matter how clear instructions may be. Breath work and opening pranic pathways means nothing if the physical structures are not addressed with integrity and after all, what ARE pranic pathways? What does that actually mean? 

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meeting the enemy

meeting the enemy

Ultimately, as I reflect, the greatest obstacles I have faced in life have molded me in to the person I am. Injuries have made me a clearer and safer teacher, times of financial hardship have given me insight into the value of money and empathy toward others who struggle with it, experience both first and second-hand with depression has gifted me with the ability to hold space for myself and others at their lowest. Moving to a new land where I do not speak the language or understand the cultural nuances gives me a small glimpse into what it feels like to be invisible or powerless. It has also given me a greater appreciation for the ways in which I am incredibly privileged. When I offer gratitude to my challenges, when I meet my "enemies" with thankfulness and compassion, it transforms me. Even if the person or situation is not changed at all, I am. How I see and feel and taste hardship changes. And, in my limited but real experience, it makes a profound difference. 

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The Chance To Love Everything

All summer I made friends
with the creatures nearby —
they flowed through the fields
and under the tent walls,
or padded through the door, 
grinning through their many teeth,  
looking for seeds,
suet, sugar; muttering and humming, 
opening the breadbox, happiest when
there was milk and music. But once
in the night I heard a sound
outside the door, the canvas
bulged slightly —something
was pressing inward at eye level.
I watched, trembling, sure I had heard
the click of claws, the smack of lips
outside my gauzy house —
I imagined the red eyes, 
the broad tongue, the enormous lap. 
Would it be friendly too?
Fear defeated me. And yet,
not in faith and not in madness
but with the courage I thought
my dream deserved,
I stepped outside. It was gone.
Then I whirled at the sound of some
shambling tonnage.
Did I see a black haunch slipping
back through the trees? Did I see
the moonlight shining on it?
Did I actually reach out my arms
toward it, toward paradise falling, like
the fading of the dearest, wildest hope —
the dark heart of the story that is all
the reason for its telling?

- Mary Oliver

Phife Dawg and J Dilla One Last Time: "Nutshell" Premiere

I missed out on sharing some things on social media while I was entering the new world of motherhood. One of the big ones was the passing of Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor recently. Okayplayer recently announced this full release of the single, "Nutshell", with a final collaboration of two great artists, Dilla and Phife. 

Listen, watch, enjoy. Me and my six-week old have been bouncing to it together. May you fly free and may your music live forever, Phife. Thanks for bringing magic to this world for me and countless others.

Ohio Party: The Hits. Listen up.

This party was a staple for me and many of my friends a few years back in Brooklyn, NY. They played some of the best funk and soul found on the planet, they were all from Ohio (where I am also from) and in addition to the amazing shirts created for each party, you were guaranteed to see some serious getting down. 

Thanks to Ohio Party vet, David Osborne, for sharing this at a time when my nostalgia for all the good things about NYC is at an all-time high. You made my day, my week... and a lot more. Long live Ohio Party.

Enjoy!


Loscil's New Continuous Play App: Adrift - An Amazing Backdrop for Asana

Loscil's New Continuous Play App: Adrift - An Amazing Backdrop for Asana

Loscil has long been one of my favorite artists to "pop in" and press play during practice, due to the super subtle and ethereal nature of his work; a perfect backdrop of open sound in which to practice asana (or meditation perhaps, though I haven't tried that). Last month, Scott Morgan (Loscil's real name) released Adrift, an app for iPhone and Android that offers four "tracks" of continuous play. This is my review as a yoga teacher and lover of music.

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The Peace of Wild Things - by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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