Real Yoga

silhouette of man sitting on grass field at daytime

Photo by Spencer Selover on Pexels.com

For most people, yoga is a type of physical exercise that takes place in a studio or gym. It’s advertised as being good for the body and helps you become more flexible and fit.

I hope readers of this blog now realize that there is so much more to yoga. Modern yoga has dropped much of the older yogic practices, such as working with the breath (Pranayama), locks (Bandhas) and cleansing practices (Kriyas) which were key to yoga as a path to awakening.

Rather than lamenting how things are not like the old days … I will share some timely wisdom from Judith Lasater:

“To practice yoga in its deepest sense is to commit to developing awareness by observing our lives: our thoughts, our words, and our actions. There are many yoga techniques that can support us along the way, such as yoga poses, breathing practices, and meditation. But these are not ends in themselves, but means to the Self.

The real beginning of spiritual practice is evident when we accept responsibility for ourselves, that is, that we acknowledge that ultimately there are no answers outside of ourselves, and no gurus, no teachers, and no philosophies that can solve the problems of our lives. They can only suggest guide, and inspire.

It is our dedication to living with open hearts and our commitment to the day to day details of our lives that will transform us. When we are open to the present moment we shine forth. At these times we are not on a spiritual path: we are the spiritual path.”

~ Judith Lasater, from “Living Your Yoga” Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life

I feel honored to be a guide on this journey to awaken our true Self.

Namaste

Haiku – wholeness

space

Photo by Martin Damboldt http://www.pexels.com/

~
Natural wholeness
Gratitude for no reason
In Your Middle Ground

~

When we discover the natural wholeness in the center of our being, we begin to see and relate to the world differently.

We recognize that no matter what is going on in our life, or the experiences of the past, we become less attached to what we want, and are much more grateful for what we have.

This is where contentment lies.

It is an inner state of being, rather than one dependent on the external world’s influence.

Independent of circumstances we can be happy for no reason.

Namaste

Find Your Middle Ground and Yin Workshop

I am so excited to offer this special workshop offering via Zoom! Join me and a group of like minded people yearning for nourishment and peace in these stressful times.

Saturday August 22nd 11.00am-1.00pm EST courtesy of Good Karma Yoga and Barre 

Saturday August 29th 12.30pm-2.30pm EST courtesy of Hummingbird Yoga and Massage 

alone autumn beautiful bloom

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s so important for us to take time out and step away from the Yang oriented external world and look inwards for supportive Yin energy. Late Summer is the time of year for bringing nourishment and stability to body, mind and spirit. In traditional Chinese Medicine, the season of Late Summer and the Earth element correlate with nourishing the body, our emotions and our relationships. Mother Earth helps to ground us, she recycles our stuff, she cares unconditionally, and she provides us with the nutrients we need.

Join Val for a special two hour online workshop that brings together compassionate mindfulness, self inquiry and gentle yin yoga.

  • Pause, reflect and journal. Honor where you are and listen inwards for your own intuitive guidance.
  • Explore gentle Yin Yoga postures that open up the Stomach and Spleen energy channels, to bring comfort and wholeness for Late Summer.
  • Release tension, let go and nourish all aspects of your being.

Venue: via Zoom

Cost: $30 Reserve your space ahead of time

Saturday August 22nd 11.00am-1.00pm EST via the website https://goodkarmayoga.us  or MINDBODY at Good Karma Yoga and Barre in Media, PA

Saturday August 29th 12.30pm – 2.30pm EST via the website https://hummingbirdheals.com or the MINDBODY app at Hummingbird Yoga and Massage, Bryn Mawr, PA

Once you have reserved your place, you will receive by email, confirmation and the Zoom link.

Thank you.

 

Clearing the Clutter

black and pink plastic clothes hangers

Photo by Henry & Co. on Pexels.com

Many of us are using this time to create space and de-clutter our work and home environments. Over the past few months I have been setting aside clothes that I no longer need. Yesterday, I went to Goodwill and let a lot of material things go. Not just the old, but also what might serve others better.

Letting go of what no longer serves us and creating space for something new is a powerful practice.

Its something that I am doing intentionally for a number of reasons.

It allows us to move forward and not be overly attached to the past. So we let go of the old that no longer supports who we are today.

It turns out that this is pretty hard for me … and I don’t think of myself as a hoarder!

For many years I was an Intercultural Trainer, supporting people from different cultures coming to the US and for Americans going overseas and working in Global teams. I loved this work as it let me expand my knowledge of different cultures – especially their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that may be unexpected and different.

When I become a life coach I moved away from training into the sphere of one to one coaching.

And now I am giving away my books and creating space for my yoga books on philosophy and spiritual inspiration. I feel drawn to bring more spiritual awareness and connection to our intuitive heart space, rather than our rational mind.

When we clear our environment it creates space for the new. Often it will create a new sense of spaciousness within us too … and sometimes not. Lets be realistic and human.

If you are in the process of de-cluttering, notice if this physical clearing is enough for you or if there are judgments and attachments that are also cluttering your mind. They may make you feel secure, but they may be getting in the way of what you really want.

person sitting on bench under tree

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

EXPLORATION

Take a moment to sit comfortably.

Feel your body resting in this space. Hips. Thighs. Lower legs. Ankles. The soles of your feet.

Take some full deep breaths as if you want to be here in your body … and feel supported.

Notice the change in your breath when you land here fully.

Slow it down even more.

This is the place to ask yourself:

“What do I need to let go of?”

Keep breathing and see what arises from the depth or your being rather than your head

With awareness of clutter and consciously letting go, we move away from past conditioning and towards balance and freedom.

Can you let yourself be here, just the way it is?

Namaste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Home Bound Working Mothers … What if?

woman working girl sitting

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com

This is a (provocative) post for women, mothers, sisters and wives. 

What if this is the time to let our sons, husbands, partners, colleagues, brothers, and adult children … find their own way?

In this stay-at-home working mother era, how many more times do you want to hear: “Where is the …?” “What have you done with my …?” “What’s for dinner?” …”What do we need at the store?”…

It seems to be such a habit for most of us to jump in to solve, find, soothe and show the way to support our males and children. We tell ourselves: “they need us”… “what would they do without us”… “we are good at this”… And we keep serving them and making sure their needs are met.

Isn’t it time for a shift in attitude and perspective? If you are tired, frazzled and feel out of balance, then the answer is absolutely YES.

You may be happy (to a point) to have your adult children home, but its up to you to set the guidelines and educate them about their role in this new family state. Reverting to the old ways doesn’t work any more, especially if you are the mother.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

“Am I contributing to old fashioned patriarchal habits from an earlier generation?”

Or consider “Why is it okay for the kids to disturb me rather than daddy when he is in his office?”

“What am I teaching my children about taking responsibility… equality… independence…  speaking up?”

This is an opportunity to create a new era of true equality and get Mankind and Childrenkind to step up to support one  another and the family.

To the women out there staying at home, does this ring true? Is there more pressure than ever for you to take on the role to support and ensure your menfolk and children feel comforted and loved? Are you depleting yourself by spending more time soothing and ensuring their needs are being met? And are you receiving the comfort and love that you want? Are you truly taking care of yourself? Are you getting your own needs met?

My heart goes out to you.

What if you let them find their own way and you gave yourself the time, space and nurturing that you desperately need.

Step back from taking care of everyone else. Instead of letting resentment build, speak up from your heart,  and come to a new agreement on shared responsibilities at home.

Do this for yourself. For them. For the new future ahead.

This is not about making our country like the past, its about building a new future, and it begins with each one of us at home.

 

 

 

 

Allow this Moment to Unfold

Can you simply relax and allow this moment to unfold? 

Can you let go of evaluation and judgment, and simply accept that this is what is happening?

wooden pier against mountains and sunset sky

Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on Pexels.com

 

Remember it is only our resistance to the present moment that causes us to feel any pain.

Acceptance creates the inner freedom and inner peace that we are all yearning for.

So take a deep breath… and then another.

Relax.

Be easy on yourself and others.

Trust your life and experience that has brought you to this moment.

Instead of wishing things to be different, focus on expressing the love that is within you.

Find gratitude every day.

Get out of your head and open your heart.

Namaste

Pain as Your Teacher

woman reflecting

“Pain is your best friend. It is infinitely more honest with you than pleasure. Despite what you might think, the painful experiences you have had benefit you far more than the pleasurable ones, even though most of us spend our lives trying to duck and hide from them.

But when you can center yourself and be open to look pain dead in the eye, then you have transcended the limits of your ego and this humanity. It is then that you enter into the possibility of becoming a great being.”

~ Swami Chetanananda

When I first read these words I wanted to reject them. How could pain be my best friend?

Yet, looking back on the painful, challenging and disappointing experiences in my life, I understand.

Through dark times we find courage and resourcefulness that we may not have thought we had within us.

We break open and feel into what matters.

We learn about ourselves and grow as human beings.

We are able to see the pain in others and feel more connected to them.

We enter the possibility of becoming great beings.

… and knowing this helps.

Namaste

 

 

 

Haiku – pre dawn softening

Photo by David Kanigan at Live and Learn http://www.davidkanigan.com

~

Pre dawn mist and calm

Softens my heart for the day

Find your Middle Ground

~

There can be a special sense of buoyancy and gentle aliveness as we wake up in the morning.

Let it be an invitation to awaken to the unfolding of the day.

Opening our hearts into the unknown.

Without judgment or activation of the prefrontal cortex or calendar.

Give yourself permission to drift into the day and appreciate this centeredness.

With gentle focus and loving acceptance let the day unfold.

It’s a wonderful time to connect to your Middle Ground.

Allow there to be space for whatever wants to be known and seen from deep within.

Namaste

 

It’s Honey Time Again!

We have just bottled our second batch of Don Valley raw honey, and it is ready to go!

This is different from our early harvest of acacia honey from the black walnut trees. It has a variety of blossoms including tulip poplar and clover. It’s a fuller more floral honey than the early delicacy, but its still delicious and lighter than store bought.

Alas, there is no mailing to my distant friends as we don’t have plastic bottles.

This week, I will drop off some at Hummingbird Yoga and Massage in Bryn Mawr.

The price is $10 for a one pound bottle.

Please text me if you would like me to set aside some bottles for you and to arrange curbside pickup at our home in Newtown Square PA. My cell is 484 986 4074. Leave your name in case you aren’t on my contact list. Thanks!

The bees have had a rough year. We aren’t sure what has happened to diminish the numbers, but Don is working each hive to ensure the queens and their girls thrive!

Looking at the photo below from last year. We lost the big hive #3 in November and were able to build up hive #1 this Spring. Hive #1 seems to be struggling now as the brood and honey supply is patchy. It takes dedication, patience  and flexibility to maintain bees these days.honey bees

“It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This”

close up of an animal eating grass

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He turned to me

and said “It doesn’t

get much better

than this.”

 

Yes indeed.

 

Say yes to life and

embrace each moment.

Be ready for the instant of

precious unfolding.

 

Watch out for the magic.

Be alert to nature’s

harmonies. Pay attention

to those small details that

catch your eye, or touch

you like butterfly wings.

Here and gone in a breath.

 

Breathe it all in. Every inhale

an opening to a new present.

Every exhale a letting go

of the past.

 

You say “It can’t be 

as easy as that”. 

… Yet, it is.

 

Open your senses and

your heart to the

wonder of it all.

In the journey into

the present you

come to realize…

there is Love here.

~ Val Boyko

 

Nothing Stays the Same

Three weeks ago I began to write this post. As I came back to it, I realized that nothing stays the same. When we address what is going on inside of us, we can shift our experience of the world.

green dragonfly on tree branch

The dragonfly is a symbol of transformation and change. Photo by Ryan Delfin on Pexels.com

All around me people seem to be getting back into their social lives. Next door is having a birthday party. It started with kiddies enjoying themselves in the pool, then more family members and friends joining in with karaoke.

I feel apart. I can’t imagine having that much fun these days. Friends are moving away. Family is across the ocean. My community of likeminded souls in Kripalu is closed for the rest of the year. I am home in a lovely place with a man who is struggling right now. Lets face it, the cancer diagnosis and treatment over 4 years has taken its toll.

The vibrancy and appreciation of life has diminished. There is gratitude for being here … Yet the celebration has died.

We lost our middle dog Dilys, two weeks ago. She was such a bright spirit and cheeky wee dog. She made me smile, and still does with all those memories. The older dog Meghan isn’t doing well and has to take a lot of meds and special food to prevent kidney failure. Teddy, the young boy is enjoying the attention and becoming quite the man about the house. There is calm.

I tell myself “My external world has shrunk. I must ignite my inner world if I am to get through this.”

This was a notice to deep within. It’s time to acknowledge and accept fully what is happening right now. It’s time to ask myself what I can do to become excited and inspired once again! Can I relax enough to allow the opening of my heart instead of the evaluating and somewhat judging mind?

As part of my ongoing Retreat approach to this time, I had enrolled in two online experiences for July. The first was a 6 week writing experience and sharing with Roger Housden and a group of fellows on their own path to explore their inner world and awakening through writing.

The second, was a one day retreat with Jonathan Foust on self inquiry as part of the spiritual path.

Well folks, I am happy to report that both have ignited something that is ready to be expressed and to be celebrated. I am writing again, reaching out to others, and finding laughter and joy in my days. In the highs and lows of life, I have rediscovered contentment.

May we all find our way to live from our heart and our Middle Ground.

Namaste