What a shame that we somehow transition from tiny, beautiful, free beings to bigger, older, wiser beautiful beings who somehow hate what they see when they look in the mirror.. I have committed to freeing myself, to whatever degree I can, of the story that I am not enough, that my body is not ok or not beautiful or not capable. I am attempting to emulate my daughter, and be FREE.Read More
New Year's has come and gone... and while I (and some others I have spoken to) have some pretty exciting things in store for 2018, it is no secret that 2017 was a really tough year on a lot of levels. Like many of you who have Instagram, I saw all the "top nines" rolling through as the year closed. At one point, I ventured over to make my own, but I never ended up sharing, as it didn't necessarily speak to anything "top" in my own world... but then I caught the blog post of an IDP sangha friend, Robin Anderson, with the same title, and it woke me up to reflect on the amazing things I did get to experience last year. Robin was inspired by the post of a writer she follows, and I am similarly inspired by her. Maybe someone else will follow suit in their own way from this post.
Flecked like stars in the night, here are nine life-changing, soul-touching experiences that shaped me in 2017.Read More
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?Read More
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.Read More
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
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
new summer mix from my friend, OP! enjoy!!Read More
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.
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.
this is a delicate and purposeful album i just caught wind of from gilles peterson's instafeed... after a quick run-through listen, i highly recommend you go check her out as well. absolutely beautiful.
It's true, I'm pregnant, due in about six weeks. I made a special effort not to post anything about my pregnancy on my FB page for nearly the entire term. I made a few hints a month or so ago and then decided to just come out and say the words "maternity leave" fairly inconspicuously in a recent post and another little mention of "after the baby" in another. It's interesting what sparks people's interests and what makes them comment out loud. I knew that an announcement of pregnancy would get a ton of likes, but I also knew I didn't really want that for myself, my baby or my growing family. And yet, this is a huge part of my life. It affects my work (which I do post about regularly) and more importantly my personal life (which I tend to not post about as much). I haven't wanted to make an ordeal, but I also realize that this reality needs to be communicated in some way. So here I am.
Someone asked on instagram the other day about my experiences in pregnancy with practice. I may write more on this at some point, but for now let me say that the most important thing for me has been to have a lot of space. Space to feel, space to connect with my husband and my baby, space to practice in a way that has soothed both me and the growing life inside of me. I have had zero interest in making a production of my process, but I suppose I understand why some other women may.
For now I will say that pregnancy has changed me like nothing else. It has humbled me and amazed me and I have had moments where I felt more scared and more exhausted than ever in my life before (I know this is just the beginning). I also feel more connected to my physical body, the sacredness of life, and to the ways in which practice should subtly and gently underline that sacredness... not ignore, or worse, glamourize it. And for the first time since I can remember, my work does not dominate my life any longer. I had a full page feature in Yoga Journal this month, which is an amazing accomplishment for a teacher, especially one without an agent. But I have to say I feel fairly ambivalent about it (and not just because I'm pregnant, this goes back to all of my frustrations about the perceived flashy trendy quality of Breakti and how I feel totally pigeon-holed by this perception) and it just doesn't matter on the same level that it did four or five years ago the first time my name made it to YJ. This has been eye-opening for me because my career has been priority one for so very long... so. very. long... and I feel that priority diminishing and YET!!! (and YET!!) my work feels more fulfilling and more interesting than ever, especially as I figure out how to connect the dots and teach good work to my students in a new body with new limitations and less ability to practice what I teach.
Finally, I feel connected to women. Everywhere. I feel strongly drawn to support and offer and share with them. My discoveries in pregnancy have pointed again and again to the wisdom of my own body over the direction or advice of any book or "professional". I feel inspired to help and support women and their fertility and pregnancy. Perhaps I will write a lot more one day about this and perhaps my work will shift in that direction. I simply don't know.
But for now... I prefer the space. I have a lot of it, and it sometimes feels a bit lonely but mostly it feels amazing to have the opportunity to connect to myself and my baby so deeply. I feel that we are on this journey together, and all of the practices and knowledge I have acquired as a mover, a teacher, and someone who has investigated healing on so many levels - all of this comes together right now and supports me in this very. sacred. space.
I only have a few weeks to go before I step out of the studio and have a baby. We don't know what it is, it's a surprise. We are so very excited! It is beyond words! It has been awesome being a teacher and practitioner through this process and I am confident it will be awesome on a whole new level once baby arrives.
I am going to be a mom... and as I enter these last moments before the final "push" I return again to space. To sacred space. I can't believe it took me this long to figure out how to give myself that deep and open space. I guess I have someone to thank once I meet him or her.
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.
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the
where does it hurt?