Die Kunst der Aufmerksamkeit : Art of Attention in German

With gratitude to Maren Brand at Kamphausen, Theseus books, presenting Art of Attention in German Erica and I are honoured to have our book in hardcover, with this new photo selection as the cover image. I’ll be in Germany from July 5th-July 14th, in four cities, to launch the book and offer delicious yoga practices. Click here for information on the tour. So looking forward to seeing you there.

Metabolism Boosting Yoga

[Featured in goop.com, June 2013] Elena Brower, co-owner of Virayoga, one of the best yoga studios in NYC, shows us a simple metabolism boosting series. Photographed by Chloe Crespi. The Sequence “This sequence combines Kundalini yoga with some Hatha postures to warm us up and boost our metabolism. The Kundalini postures were compiled with guidance from my teacher Hari Kaur Khalsa.” Opening Pose “A nice way to begin is to acknowledge the creative consciousness that connects us all. Simply place hands in prayer in front of your heart and connect to your breathing for a few breaths.” Breathing Meditation “Set a timer for 3 minutes. Bring your prayer hands up to your forehead, and place your thumbs on your third eye point, in the middle of your forehead. Breathe slowly and deeply. This meditation can help to strengthen metabolism (as well as help control high blood pressure). It works the glandular system (which regulates bodily activities such as metabolism through hormones), stimulating and balancing the pituitary and pineal glands, considered the master glands of the body.” Move “Set a timer for 5-10 minutes – marching, running, jumping in place, jumping jacks, dancing, etc., get your blood moving and sweat a bit. When you …

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bestowing kindness = radiating light

In reaching for a goal of any sort, I have to keep asking myself. What kind of kindness can I, can we, bestow upon people to manifest it? two motions by A.R. Ammons It is not enough to be willing to come out of the dark and stand in the light, all hidden things brought into sight, the damp black spaces, where fear, arms over its head, trembles into blindness, invaded by truth-seeking light: it is not enough to desire radiance, to be struck by radiance: external light throws darkness behind its brilliance, the division nearly half and half: it is only enough when the inner light kindles to a source, radiates from its sphere to all points outwardly: then, though surrounding things are half and half with light and darkness, all that is visible from the source is light: it is not enough to wish to cast light: as much darkness as light is made that way: it is only enough to touch the inner light of each surrounding thing and hope it will itself be stirred to radiance, eliminating the shadows that all lights give it, and realizing its own full sphere: it is only enough to radiate …

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On Meditation and Why It Matters

When filmmakers Rebecca Dreyfus and Susannah Ludwig asked me to view a piece they’d made on meditation, I had no idea my life was about to take a turn. Watching their first portrait of The Venerable Metteya, a Tibetan monk, discussing his understanding of his human mind and his relationship to meditation, catalyzed my long-awaited relationship to meditation. That one portrait has evolved into On Meditation, a series of potent short films on why we meditate, what it means, and how it helps.  Intended to reach as many millions of humans as possible, the aim is to demystify meditation and show how very easily we can each sit and locate our own healing space. Consistent meditation practice makes me more likely to slow myself down when I’m feeling reactive, and choose a loving response. It’s taught me how to value myself, be comfortable in my own skin, and to show and give more love. This project affords me the chance to share the momentum and healing of meditation. We’ve completed the first five portraits: actor Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad, Peter Matthiessen, author of The Snow Leopard, Congressman Tim Ryan, The Venerable Metteya, and I are the first five. The second five: David Lynch, …

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Reiki: Healing Practice, Explained

How Does Reiki Help? by Pamela Miles When you go to the doctor, (s)he treats your complaint — sore throat, upset stomach, insomnia… When you go to a Reiki practitioner, (s)he treats you — the person suffering from the complaint (or the person who doesn’t have any complaints, but knows she will if she doesn’t take care of herself). The Reiki practitioner will likely place hands on the part of your body that hurts (with your permission, of course). But (s)he won’t stop there. Most Reiki practitioners will also access a series of hand placements on your head and the front and back of your torso. You may notice sensations where the practitioner’s hands are. People often do. Heat and subtle movement are common experiences. Or you may notice that area of your body become more open, feel more comfortable. If you had pain, it will likely diminish, and possibly disappear, even if the Reiki practitioner hasn’t yet touched the painful area. Reiki healing is balancing. How is it possible for pain in one part of your body to be relieved when the Reiki practitioner’s hands are somewhere else? No matter where the Reiki practitioner’s hands are, no matter how delightful …

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To Theme, or Not To Theme? For Teachers.

Featured on Teachasana, March 2013 What does it mean to use a “theme” in our yoga classes? Is it valuable? Necessary? For years I was sworn against having a specific theme for any class; reading a poem at the end brought us all together and felt great. Eventually I realized that in order to become certified within the tradition I’d studied (Anusara yoga), I’d have to learn how to teach using what became known as “heart themes,” to create more relevance and meaning in my teaching. As I bumped up against that paradigm (and didn’t use heart themes), I continued to explore how the body and mind relate and heal one another, so that when I did finally start talking in themes, it would be real and true for me. So I noticed as we’d address our hips that we could cultivate groundedness, stability, and connection. We’d open our shoulders and chest and were spontaneously listening to our heart. A vision began to materialize of how to articulate the relationship between the actions we take in yoga and how we behave in any moment. That took years of searching in books and in my heart for some way to direct …

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Thank you to coaching client E., who touched my heart with this response to a recent assignment: to forgive whomever she’s still holding hostage in her heart. She was instructed to write a list of whom and what  she’s forgiving. No more can she loathe herself as she is releasing the blame that lives deep inside of her own body. This is what she’d sent. I forgive my insecurities. I forgive my Dad for his Temper. I forgive my Stepmom for feeling overwhelmed and for holding grudges. I forgive M for competing with me. I forgive myself for competing with her. I forgive myself for being “fake.” I forgive myself for not sticking with something. I forgive myself for having a hard time committing. I forgive myself for needing to attract many people and to get their approval. I forgive myself for wanting to look and be the best at something. I forgive myself for blaming my husband and my children for my lack of commitment. I forgive myself for being so hard on myself that I create tumult when none exists.

Taking The Time

Thank you, Mark Roemer, for this epic guest post.  “I’m on a 2 hour layover in Sacramento.  Looking across the empty gate area I spot an elderly woman sitting alone in her airport wheelchair.  I walk over and ask if she’d like some company.  ‘Well sure I would, my name is Selma, what’ll I call you?’ Selma is 95 years old. Her voice is gentle, soft and shaking.  She tells me about growing up on the farm in North Dakota, raising cattle and working the fields.  She tells me of the big moves in her life, how much she and her husband loved each other and how she wished she’d had children of her own.  We talk about the big stuff, you know the keys – the key to a perfect lemon pie (‘not to brag, but my lemon pie won over 11 others in the country fair so many years ago’) and the key to happiness – romantic love, family, willingness to change. Selma then turns to me and says, ‘What about you, you seem happy.  What do you think is the key to happiness?’ I tell her two things I know for certain: spending time with babies and oldies, …

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Cellular Sweetness {Ode to 2012}

{my first poetry slam piece} This is about sweetness Another day I just believe That sweet is not a momentary state but a me that i can breathe. So now I’ve been eye to eye with my child finally coming in from outta that wild; and when i listen to my kid i know i’m listening to God and now i can even truly listen to my Mom, my Dad, my Men and my Self and now I can say that i’m healing my cells. And i’m exploring the brain that really is mine and the heart that can feel and taste and refine and YES i really did get that book done – see? I saw something – saw it gorgeous – asked for help and then WE made it magic. Wanna feel my poetry? HERE – it’s when my Man says he’s here till he’s gone, with me; when my kid says he can feel my Heart on the phone – he’s free – and when i let the reins out and i’m sweet to my Self. Now i’m addicted to healing my cells. And everything i touch feels a lot like wealth and i’m ready and willing …

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Women, The Conversation. Finally.

Long flights on airplanes are always where I get my simplest and strongest inspiration for living my life, and my flight home from teaching in Paris was no exception. After wondering about this show for months, I watched a potent compilation of clips from several interviews from Amanda de Cadenet’s show The Conversation. Amanda and I worked together years ago, just before and at the beginning of her pregnancy with her twins, and I adore and respect her deeply (just so the reader is clear on my total bias). Watching the show, I was smitten with Amanda’s casual, pointed style of engagement and the way in which she makes it safe for each woman to speak freely. Naturally, I began taking notes. In boldface, interspersed with my notes about each interview, are thoughts offered by each. Jane Fonda Jane Fonda, now seventy-three years young and lit up with the most infectious confidence, shared that she had spent a year prior to turning sixty actively researching her life, her actions, and her choices. Together, she and Amanda arrived at some weighty conclusions that touched my heart and are well worth sharing. We must eventually arrive at the fact that nobody is coming to make …

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In Honour of Gabrielle Roth, Founder of 5Rhythms

Sleeping in the Forest I thought the earth remembered me, she took me back so tenderly, arranging her dark skirts, her pockets full of lichens and seeds. I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed, nothing between me and the white fire of the stars but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths among the branches of the perfect trees. All night I heard the small kingdoms breathing around me, the insects, and the birds who do their work in the darkness. All night I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling with a luminous doom. By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times into something better. ~Mary Oliver Thank you GABRIELLE ROTH, for all you did to make our lives and bodies more whole. *