Sunday, September 28, 2014

Eight Simple Words

This week, a quote got stuck in my head like one of those earworms that creeps into your head off the radio and keeps popping up to annoy you and everyone around you each time you catch yourself singing the song.

This quote got stuck in my neck like one of those hungry vampires from true blood.

I found this quote stuck in my head so much that I (selfishly, please forgive me) posted it on my Facebook page twice in a few days to keep reminding myself of it and to explore and entertain all different meanings to it.

“Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment.” ~Pema Chödrön~


Very few people that I quote on my page have Pema's ability to find the wisdom in everyday life with such clarity and intensity. Everyday life is not all unicorns and glittery angels but the nitty-gritty stuff that we go through each day.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to Talk to Your Parents About Meditation


 Last Sunday, I was video chatting by Skype with my mom and dad in Argentina. We try to do that every week; in reality, it happens once a month. My husband came to say hello to them for a few moments. There’s only so much they can communicate, since my parents do not speak English and my husband’s Spanish is too basic for him to say much of meaning to them.

After that we had a few minutes of general chat and talked to each other's pets on Skype. Then my dad asked me where my husband went so I told him. He went to meditate.

Mom & Dad: Speechless

Mom & Dad: Still speechless.

Me: He went to the living room to sit and meditate.

Dad: How does he do “that”?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Praise & Criticism

A few days ago, I read a great, sweet, honest online review of my Warrior Flow class from a new student. (No, I won't share it!) Of course reading a good review made me smile and feel warm and fuzzy for the rest of the day.

But then I remembered the times when I received reviews that weren't warm and fuzzy at all. In fact they were kind of stinky and left me feeling like you know what for a few hours.

Criticism (constructive or not / sweet or not) is always challenging to accept. When it comes to online reviews, it's especially challenging because you don't know who else might be reading it. It's out there in the public domain. But that's part of what comes when you put yourself out there as a teacher or a writer or a public figure of any kind. You have to have a thick enough skin not to let the negative reviews get you down, while being open enough to let some of the light in from the positive ones.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Questions on “Teaching”, “Learning” and “Living”

These are some questions that I tend to ask myself frequently without ever finding any solid "answers." On the contrary, these questions are like a Zen Koan — something you ask not necessarily to find an intellectual answer but simply to bring awareness to certain topics and allow a deeper, experiential understanding to unfold.

How can I say to the students I love that the practice of yoga (which I also love) is not an ultimate goal in itself but just a doorway to another way of being?

How can I say to the students who come daily to their mats in my classes that the practice of these postures is important but there is even more important "inner" work that we must do?

What can I say to someone when I see that their ego is driving their practice and they are overly fixated on accomplishing certain physical poses and pushing their bodies to extremes?

There is nothing wrong with doing yoga just for “fitness” but once you know the tremendous potential of the practice, how can you ignore that other dimension?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Silent Retreat

I spent most of last week meditating in groups and doing silent retreat in my own apartment. I'd be lying if I told you it didn't feel like a bit of shock when I returned to teach my four back-to-back classes on Sunday morning.

Other than the usual morning laziness, I noticed that I was speaking a little slower — paying more attention to my words, being more specific about the feeling of the postures and breath. I felt relaxed and energized at the same time.

And to be honest with you...I struggled. Although I've been meditating, off and on, for years, retreat is always challenging. To sit still and turn within for so many consecutive days...to make the commitment to do it without excuses...to choose not to be on Facebook, not to reply to emails, not even to escape into my own yoga practice...to just meditate! I could see and feel my own resistance erupting everywhere.

Many times, I caught myself trying too hard. It was when I relaxed that I enjoyed it the most.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

8 things to consider about yoga etiquette

1. Get to class on time. Early is ‘on time’ and ‘on time’ is LATE. Set your mat. Get your
props. Settle down. Center. Socialize if you want to. Work on increasing your total
number of Facebook friends if you prefer. Or like me… Do a few crunches. But please be
on time. It is disruptive to others when you’re late. Whether you meant to or not, tardiness
will affect others by forcing them to shift mats around and by making unnecessary noise.
Organize your time efficiently and everyone will appreciate it, especially your teacher.

2. Think Airport Security. No metal. No shoes. No electronics. When you enter class
(kind of like when you board a plane), please switch your electronics to the “OFF”
position. I am ok if you bring water or any other beverage (even your double espresso
cappuccino from Starbucks-don’t ask). You don’t need your backpack, your coat, your
Bloomingdales brown bag or any other accessories. Oh, and is the noisy jewelry really
that necessary? That’s what lockers are for. All you need is your mat and a towel.
Simplify. Life is simple!

My first time

I’m thinking about my students: those who have opened or are opening their own studios; those who are pursuing their yoga certification; those who come to class to practice with me; those who have moved on to different paths and lands. Also thinking of my colleagues and the responsibility that we have when we stand before our students. And also, perhaps selfishly, thinking of my teaching and where is it taking me.

I had my first yoga experience almost ten years ago. It didn’t happen at a fancy yoga studio or fitness club—at a facility that provided bottled water or towels or complementary chair massages or expensive workshops. The magic happened in the living room of an acquaintance. The humble donation was five dollars per class. We didn’t have blocks, straps, or mats—only a few regular blankets and lots of floor. It was not love at first sight, but then I am not a love-at-first-sight kind of guy.

My guru’s accent wasn’t Indian but very Cuban. He didn’t have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account—he didn’t even have a computer. He didn’t have a car, either, so every week some of his students would give him a ride to the studio so he could teach us.

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *