Sunday, December 27, 2009

Amazing Grace.....

***Karen Sprute-Francovich in Parsavakonasana***

sunday morning sitting here listening to Krishna Das Pilgrim Heart.....I so love this cd...the whole thing....current song playing is Jaya Jagatambe and I find myself singing my heart out in this wonderful kirtan with him......."Jaya Jagatambe...Jagatambe Ma Durga"
I woke up on my "sleep in day" at 7 am with an aching to do an asana practice to this cd and make some steel cut oats and quinoa with some stewed apples and sit down and journal about my gratitude for the practice of yoga in my life and for Karen Sprute-Francovich and the Kula of Garden Street Yoga.

something has happened to me!

before yoga entered my life over 8 years ago in September of 2001, I was not kind to myself. I did have a wonderful job as a preschool teacher and I had two amazing kids that got to come be with me at this preschool while I worked. It was our sanctuary from the not so kind life I had created for myself and my children at home. I was an almost lost soul had it not been for that amazing job at that amazing building that eventually led Karen Sprute-Francovich to the same place to teach yoga.

I have backtracked to my favorite song on cd now......Mountain Hare's my favorite because at the end he takes a break from the sanscrit kirtan and breaks into Amazing Grace to the same beat and tune that he was singing before. He makes one change....instead of singing "that saved a wretch like me" he sings "that saved a soul like me".....and tears enter my eyes everytime I hear this song....this morning it happened while i was in a pretty heart opening variation of Trikonasana during my practice, and I had to break my Ujiyia breath to sing with him while I was moving from Trikonasana to Ardha Chandrasana......and in harmony because that's what came out of my heart. Amazing Grace sprung from the heart of my very patient and compassionate teacher Karen and this amazing Kula she has nurtured all these years...and it has saved a soul like me.

and home practice has been something I have had to do to try to create the has not been easy.....99% of the time I have just done it.....don't get me wrong though....I'm always glad that I have done it......and like I've mentioned before, a lot of it has been restorative in nature because my life almost demanded it. But this morning I ACHED for a strong heart opening practice that actually woke me up on my sleep in day.....and I LONGED for a nurturing Ayurvedic breakfast of steel-cut oats, quinoa and stewed apples.....and on my break from my double shift at work today I am looking forward to a nice 20 minute meditation and a nice cup of spice tea. This was not something that happened to me in the past. This is a groove established, and for once in my life, I am establishing grooves that are nurturing and loving and compassionate to myself. And this gives me the capasity to actually pass this on to others and have more to give. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. It has been a slow process and I have so far to go, but I am sitting in the sunlight of the spirit of Grace this wonderful Sunday morning and I'm right where I need to be. I have so much more I could write about how I got here, but this is enough for now.

I am HERE!

Thank you Karen and the Garden Street Kula!

Thank you Amazing Grace!

off for shower and then work!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the Heart of the Matter of gift giving.....

good morning.....sitting here with my cup of coffee at the computer and this morning is nice because a beam of sunlight is warming me as I type, and it's warming my grumpy holiday heart right now, lol. It's no secret to those that know me well that Christmas is not my favorite holiday, mostly because I feel like I can never celebrate it in a way that feels like who I am. Maybe that's because I'm still figuring out who I am. I do know one thing. NOT a big fan of shopping in holiday chaos, not a big fan of buying stuff because everybody is buying stuff in holiday hoopla. sighhhhhhh.......

so what about the "heart" of the matter of gift giving? These pictures above were taken at Christina Sell's workshop. The second one is Cami Cote from Missoula, Montana who was kind enough to demo her shining heart in a demo with Christina. I guess I wanted to share this picture because here sitting in the sunlight beam coming through the window, and here pondering the whole gift giving thing during Christmas, this picture reminds me of the best gifts I've ever received in my life, and they are gifts that can't be never know when you are going to receive them.

They are when teachers or fellow students help you open your heart like this. This is such a great thing about yoga demos. Christina called it "come-n-watch-asana"......and I love that because I know it's a cue that someone is going to get a gift that could potentially give them an "ah-ha" moment in their body and ultimately in their heart. Now this gift is usually not something that is easy to receive either, lol. Sometimes its downright challenging your edge's edge!! And then there is that wrapping paper of this gift, and that is the loving energy of everyone watching....also not easy to receive!! But there is somthing about this gift of come-n-watch-asana that makes any wrapped up gift under the tree just pale in comparison. And the cool thing is, everyone benefits. I get "ah-ha" moments watching someone receive this gift. I get ah-ha moments giving these gifts as a teacher. i get "ah-ha" moments being the lucky demo yogi. It's like the gift that keeps on giving, and I mean really!!

Funny, as I'm typing this, I am realizing that I sometimes shy away from giving them sometimes because I don't want to make someone uncomfortable. But that's the whole point. We need to get out of our comfort zone to really be able to open the heart. My fear is that the discomfort will make someone not want to come back to yoga ever again. But if it weren't for that "discomfort", I wouldn't be who I am today, and I'm so grateful for every "ah-ha" gift of out of my comfort zone I've ever received in yoga. It has changed my life!

I was reading on Cami's facebook page about the gift she received at a Desiree' Rumbaugh workshop in 2008. She was definitely taken out of her comfort zone at the thought of doing inversions and arm balances, and then doing them the best she could. She said she was so inspired that she made some pretty big changes in her life. Since then, she has taken an Anusara Immersion with Karen at Garden Street Yoga, changed her diet and lost 100 pounds (wow!) and is now teaching Gentle Yoga in Missoula. Desiree' is going to be here for a workshop on January 8th and 9th, and I bet this will be a full circle feeling of the real Heart of the Matter for Cami because of the spark of inspiration she received from her to begin with. I love that about Anusara Yoga. This is a great gift giving story to me. And it reminds me that we shouldn't be afraid to give it, or recieve it, and we absolutely should participate in it at all levels of it. Because looks how it's affected Cami!! I don't even know her that well, and yet I really know her because I recognize the gifts received on this journey of Anusara Yoga. I feel like I really know her heart, and the many other hearts that have been transformed by the gifts of yoga.
Anyway, that's my gift giving thoughts for today. It's pulled me out of my funk a bit. I know when I'm in one, I need to journal and get to the Heart of the Matter, and I'm so glad for the gifts I have received that bring me there when I need to!!

Merry Gift Giving every day of your life!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Inspiring yoga couples

So this is Carol Carpenter and Robert Golden at Christina Sell's workshop. I have had the pleasure of doing a couple weekend workshops with these two beautiful shri filled yogis and just wanted to take a moment to thank them and all the other yogi couples I've ever done yoga with. Now let me clarify so it doesn't seem like I'm codependent, lol....because I don't believe that a couple needs to do yoga together to be happy or healthy, but lemme tell doesn't hurt.
Without going into a long disertation of my unhappy relationship history, I can tell you that the participation and willingness of certain yoga students showing up to class and workshops with their partners who also do yoga has been a great inspiration to me. There are so many, and what I've noticed about all of them is that they are individually so different from each other, and yet so supportive of each other, and it just really shows on the mat. The dedication to their own practice just enables their partner to do the same. I had no idea I was going to get these great relationship models in a yoga class, but I did over the course of the last eight years and I was able to cultivate it in myself and have something then to offer the relationship that I am in now. It blows me away. I am still learning, still adjusting, but for the first time in my life, my yoga practice, and the practice of cultivating healthy relationship has found it's way into my love life. I am experiencing a healthy partnership, supportive, compassionate, understanding and full of shri, and I've been experiencing it for a year now and it continues to grow the more I take the fruits of my practice off my mat and into my relationship. It really helps that he meets me in the middle and gives back so willingly. I really attribute that to yoga actually. I know that when you cultivate it in yourself, you attract it to you from others and you in turn inspire in back and forth when two are willing to do the work. I'm just barely scratching the surface, but I'm HERE! and it's a big deal to me. So I wanted to thank a few partnerships that have helped me heal.
First and foremost of all.....Karen and Chris......OMG......thank you so much! Ed and Olive (who also helped me with my gardening skills, lol) Nancy and Nick, Jim and Linda, Teresa and Barry, Gerry and John, Teri and Steve, Carrie and myself (she was like my practice partner during One Heart Dialogue group, I will always love her for that!!), Dale and Maxien and of course that beautiful couple in the pictures above....Carol and Robert. and I know I'm forgetting some and I will see them sometime and think in my mind, "oh yeah, I forgot to put their names down too"...and I will come back here and add them. I would also like to thank all those partners who don't come to yoga class, but make it possible for your partner who does by watching kids and telling your yogi partner to have a good day as they venture out the door to spend 8 hours at a yoga workshop, or even better......out the door to spend a week at a retreat, or EVEN BETTER.....out the door to spend two months in India. Wow!!!
And thank you Woody....for being that parnter that smiles as I go out the door to yoga and tells me I'm beautiful and tells me to have a good time and listens to all my yoga contemplations and meets me in the middle. Wow!!!
That's all for now.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Abhyasa of Kula

so this is my friend Jen Harbour doing a handstand way back at Noah Maze's workshop, being assisted by the amazing Thine Bloxham and Marianne Roth. before i get to my little contemplation about working in tight knit kula at Garden Street Yoga, I would like to admit that I have a TON of pictures that I have taken over the years, and I have made a commitment to myself and ultimately to my Garden Street Kula to put these photos together on a thumb drive and give them to Eli, my teachers son, to put on her website. I will also post some here and on my facebook. I am amazing at taking great pictures of people I love. I am terrible at then following through with getting them available to be seen and loved.

having said that.....I wanted to post this photo because it makes my heart sing!! These three amazing women started taking classes at Garden Street Yoga at different times in the past 8 years that Garden Street Yoga has been offering Anusara Yoga to our little Coeur d'Alene, ID community. Thine and Jenifer now teach at Garden Street and at North Idaho College, as do I, but the cool thing is that we support this great studentship with each other. I love going to workshops with them. They are so encouraging to everyone and to each other. Although I have been a student at Garden Street since it opened in 2001, these two wonderful women are examples of how this kula grows over the years and how you just never know when the next great yoga buddy is going to start coming to the studio and dive in head first into the teachings and eventually start coming to workshops and then maybe an immersion and even teach! Karen Sprute-Francovich, our teacher, is such a good Gardener of students. This kula grows an amazing Garden!! And everytime a new student really takes root here, the Garden grows more beautiful!

Christina Sell once mentioned in her blog this interesting thought along this line:

"the real juice of the method happens in those classes where there is a committed group of students who come and practice and learn regularly over a long period of time. I am looking for students who are not just committed to their personal practices, not just committed to me as their teacher or to the method but committed to each other, to the class itself (meaning, they come even when a sub is there!) and to a long- term vision of learning and practicing the method."

I love how she mentioned the part about "they come even when a sub is there!". So Kula is much more than devotion to one teacher. It's devotion to each other by a commited and supported practice together over time. That is the Abhyasa of Kula. Steady practice, over time, with KULA!!!

These two amazing women are just two of the amazing support I have received over these 8 years from this Kula. Man do I have stories!! I cherish all of them, without the support of other students in this Kula, I would not be where I am today as a teacher or a student or a practitioner of yoga. We truly need each other as much as the kula needs our commitment and love and attention. I have an amazing teacher in Karen, and I'm a devoted student to her because devotion has always run deep in my heart. However, when I got to a class and see the same people I have been practicing with over the years in this great studio, my heart sings. In two days we will be doing our 8th Annual Thanksgiving Day practice at Garden Street. I will see very familiar faces and new faces and I will probably cry tears of Gratitude on my mat like I do every year on this day because the love in that room overwhelms me. I am so thankful to this Kula!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Deeper Intention

so I have only written one post in this blog and it was way back on January 9th of this year, so i am pushing almost a year since I've blogged about anything. talk about blogger sloth!! geesh!!

I guess I let myself get a little sidetracked on what focus to make this blog, and then just didn't blog at all. I love all my yoga teacher friend's yoga blogs, but my blogging experience in the past has always had a flare of all the other stuff I do in life and in my head it can always come back to yoga, but I didn't know if it would fit in my yoga blog.

so enough of keeping myself in the blog rule box that I made up in my head to stay in the inertia and not write at all. I crave journalling really. It helps me so much in my contemplation and direction and really connecting to my higher self thoughts rather than the "i'm unworthy" voices in the mind.

anyway, what is very current with me today is that I desire and want to deepen my intention in my own practice. this particular year of not blogging has also shown signs of slacking in my studentship. I teach ALOT. I work ALOT. I am a single mom, I pay my bills, I work as a yoga teacher and then waitress on the side to fill in the gaps that what I make as a teacher does not fill. It's no big deal because I love to teach and I love to serve. I love both jobs and they have their immense differences and then their similarities. Both are works of service, which is my primary "love language" quality (you could google that if you want to find out more, but essentially there are 5 love languages....touch, time, service, gifting, and affirmation.....and we are usually more than one in how we love, but usually lean towards one a little more than others). Anyway, I'm a service person, I always have been since I was a little girl, I love to give of my abilities and I really suck at buying gifts, lol. so I took two things I love and was fortunate enough to do them for a living. Wow! (I also love to sing, and get to sing in a few musical groups here and there, but I do that for fun and not for money.) With this busy schedule and being a mom and now also being a partner in a really healthy relationship (for the first time in my life!!) I have found that my personal practice has fallen down the list of priorities for happiness. I knew that I would run the risk of this as soon as I went from yoga student to yoga teacher with a busy teaching schedule. In the beginning it wasn't so bad because when I was first a teacher, I did much of the practice with the students as I learned to be comfortable with the verbal part of teaching. It is a challenge to do that!!! And in the beginning I had to be in a pose to explain it in alignment to link the verbage with the mechanics. So in the beginning that was great, I did the practice with them but being landlocked so to speak to my mat in the front of the room didn't allow for me to verbally or physically adjust the students as well as I could if I was walking around the room.

So, this year I got much better at that!!! I love to walk around the room and make verbal and physical adjustments to poses. I know this is a big part of being a teacher! We see the things students don't see and when we help guide them specifically while they are in a pose and we see the common misalignments and help correct them with them, they get those big "ah ha" moments deep within. I know this because I experience it as a student with my own teacher.

So therein lies my dilema. I am telling on myself!! In the beginning from transitioning from yoga student to yoga teacher/student, I went to a couple classes a week as a student and taught a whole lot and didn't do as much practice at home as I know I want and need to. sometimes not at all. More than sometimes even. So I deepened my teaching technique and didn't do the practice with the students, which is the natural evolution of becoming a better teacher, and didn't up my practice at home and also didn't have enough time to make it consistantly to class as a student. It just sort of happened. The one practice I did do consistantly at home as I began to work more hours at both jobs was restorative. My primary pose of choice is legs up the wall for as long as possible!! But it's not enough. Home practice is so important. Consistantly showing up as a student in my kula is important. Doing this without being currently involved in an immersion is also important. I seem to "beef up" my studies when I'm in the midst of immersions or teacher trainings or workshops, and that is important, but what if I beefed it up on a regular ol week, or how bout every day? Consistant practice, over time, with devotion....abhiyasa......ah!

So that is once again my deeper intention. To blog, to practice practice practice, to show up to two classes a week as a student, to create a better space in my home to practice as well as continuing to cultivate my teaching technique. And to blog. To write about it. To tell on myself when I ain't doin it!!! I think when we do this, and not in a negative way or critical way as to create shame and guilt, but in an enlightening and attentive way, to shed light on the darkness, then it's good, it's great!!!

I was in a pose, parsavakonasana, at Christina Sells workshop recently, and she talked about working the outer spiral of the front leg so much as to open up and expose the light to the darkness of the upper inner thigh. I loved that!!! That is what I want to do in my life. Continue to expose the darkness to the light. And my practice has been a wee bit in the darkness while I was shedding a lot of light on other things in my life. These other things needed light and attention and it was good and is good. And now that they are more stable and in the light, I can go back to practice practice practice.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Journal.....

Hey everyone, just making a new blog. I have another blog that I started here in google land that is more specific to recovery and is taking me forever to set up the way I want as it's more a telling of my story. This one i wanted to create to be me in the moment, which is a hellof a lot easier than writing my story. So, how you like my name for my blog? Lila is the sanscrit word for divine play. More specifically, "Lila is a way of describing all reality, including the cosmos, as the outcome of creative play by the divine absolute (Brahman).". So here it is....Yoga~lila~ville! Right now in this moment I am doing pretty well. I'm looking forward to teaching tonight in place of my own teacher who is in India with her son Eli for two months. I love her blog! I am learning so much reading her entries everyday. I have decided that in honor of her and her journey in India, I am going to be teaching her Thursday night class from a heart theme inspired by her journal entries while she is in India. I just thought that would be a cool way to keep "kula" connected with her, to have her in our hearts like that. And she's so cool. I was wanting to teach on Open to Grace, which is cool at the start of a new year when everyone seems to want to set themselves up for failure with unrealistic resolutions based in "i need to lose weight and eat right" in the middle of winter! Opening to what Grace wants us to do is so much better than what my stubborn delusional self will thinks I should do for me. And then my teacher Karen wrote a blog about it yesturday....Opening to Grace in India waiting for the boat to stop on her side of the river, lol. I love that!! So I'm working a good theme for tonight and can't wait to teach it.

Anyway, enough for now. I will write more about my yoga discoveries in my dance of Lila with Grace in the future.