Haiku – beyond fear

forest hiking trees

Photo by Luis del Río on Pexels.com

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I will meet you there.

Beyond fear. In the Stillness.

Find your Middle Ground

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Find your Middle Ground is about stepping away from stressful days and anxious minds, and taking time to pause.

When we are mindful of the present moment and simply allow it to be, we open a door to our natural state of being – accepting, loving, peaceful, kind and content. There is room for fear here. Most of us are so distracted and moving so fast that we get caught up in the world of “doing” or worrying about what we should be doing next.
Too much doing and thinking disconnects us from our sense of “being”and who we really are.

I write about finding this place of connection, contentment and peace in the highs and lows of life. I call it our Middle Ground.

Namaste

 

When You Lose Heart

“The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. 
Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves.
This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering — yours, mine, and that of all beings”.

~ Pema Chodron, Taking the Leap

letting go in yin yoga

Reading these wise words I think of poses in yoga, especially Yin, where we lean in to the physical and emotional discomfort and embrace the sensations and thoughts that come up.

Surprisingly it is the poses of surrender and letting go, rather than strength building that can be the most challenging for us.

Our practice on the mat is a great metaphor for life. We learn to be present with whatever comes up and use our breath to lean into it. Accepting where we are in that moment.

Breathe into whatever is occurring …. knowing it will pass.

Let there be no blame, just presence on our mat and in life.

Namaste

Val’s Word for 2020

two birds in a tree

I wasn’t planning on choosing a word for this year, but one has been showing up in my thoughts and dreams. As always, it is what is behind and beyond the word itself that makes it impactful – how we bring the word into our lives.

Let me explain a little more.

In December I was at Kripalu for a training and retreat. It was a wonderful educational and enlightening experience taught by Yoganand Michael Carroll. We stepped lightly into the history of yoga and then took a deep dive into yoga philosophy and renunciate nivritti practices.

Throughout this intensive and powerful experience I felt a reassuring and familiar presence. I have noticed this awareness growing over the past few years, and have come to call it the Witness or Presence.

I shared the Vedic parable of the two birds in an earlier post, which describes how there are essentially two parts of ourselves. There is the doer, the part that is active in the world and has a sense of my family, my work, my children and so on. This is also called the I-maker or ego. The other part is a conscious witness within us, at a deeper level.

I believe that we can touch this deeper part of ourselves when we are still and turn our attention inwards. When we Find our Middle Ground.

Now I see that being still is a way to get to know it, but we can experience this deeper level of being in the world and can bring it into our every day.

When you have integrated the witness into your being, there is no need to wait to go to yoga or to sit and meditate. It is always present, and is always there to give you wisdom and guidance. This is the knowing, higher part of yourself who sees through the stories and the everyday actions and distractions of the doer.

This higher discriminating intellect, in the Samkhya tradition (before the time of Buddha), is called Buddhi.*

Whenever we notice the doer getting caught up in reacting to the world and being distracted by senses, desires and fears, we can call on Buddhi.

Buddhi doesn’t judge and make us wrong, it simply guides us into a higher state of being and brings clarity and balance. It brings us closer to the state of consciousness or divine.

So, how does this affect us?

As humans we are all doers. And as doers we have to protect our things and our selves, we need to feel safe and we have minds that make up stories to make sense of what happens to us and to make things right. We have our senses and feelings that constantly pull at us.

donuts and bagel display

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Pexels.com

So….. As I think about what to choose for dessert, or begin to open a new bag of cookies, or sit back on the sofa with a glass of wine and turn on the tv, I will ask: What would Buddhi do? 

As I find myself avoiding taking the next step towards something important and making up stories about why I can’t do that right now, I will ask: What is Buddhi’s insight here?

When I notice that I feel anxious and fearful about the unknown future or am drawn into regrets of the past, I will ask: What would Buddhi tell me?

When I notice myself judging others and being critical, I will say: I need you now Buddhi!



* Buddhi Definition from Yogapedia:

Buddhi is a Sanskrit term derived from the root, budh, which means “to know” or “to be awake.” Therefore, buddhi refers to intellect, wisdom and the power of the mind to understand, analyze, discriminate and decide.

 

 

 

Haiku – change

chipmunk hibernating

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Time hurtling forward

Pressure to bring about change.

Only in our minds.

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Follow Nature’s way

Take time for restoration.

Find your Middle Ground

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Winter is the season for nurturing, reflection and preparation before the upsurge of energy in Spring.

Change is inevitable, yet we don’t need to subscribe to or purchase anything to bring it about … or make commitments that don’t feel right just now.

Let nature be your guide for this New Year.

Give yourself a break.

Find your Middle Ground and trust that inspiration will come when its time.

Joy and Twinkle Lights

This is a timely re-post for the Holidays. Whenever you see twinkle lights, let your joy in that moment come to life … and share it ✨🙏✨


twinkle

“Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments.

Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.

A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable.

I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.”

~ Brené Brown

What a lovely reminder to find some twinkle today ✨

Yoga with Val – Teaching Schedule

Here is the latest update on my teaching schedule.

Good Karma Yoga and Barre, 55 State Road, Media (at the corner of S Overhill Road),PA

Hummingbird Yoga and Massage 940 Haverford Road, Bryn Mawr, PA

yoga class


Monday         
9.30-10.45 Mindful Hatha at Good Karma Yoga, Media, PA

Tuesday:
11.15-12.30 Dynamic Gentle Yoga at Hummingbird, Bryn Mawr, PA

Wednesday:
9.30-10.45 Mindful Hatha at Good Karma Yoga, Media, PA

Friday:
9.30-10.45 Dynamic Gentle Yoga at Hummingbird, Bryn Mawr, PA

Saturday:
Once a month – 9.30-10.45 Mindful Hatha at Good Karma. This class is followed by Restorative Yoga or a Kripalu Yin Workshop.
11.00-12.15  Other Saturdays I teach a Gentle Yoga class at Hummingbird and offer Kripalu Yin workshop for each season of the year.

Sunday:
9.30-10.45 Gentle Yoga at Hummingbird, Bryn Mawr, PA


December Restorative Yoga Workshops

Take time out after the Holidays to restore and nourish yourself.

♥  Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra at Hummingbird in Bryn Mawr on Saturday December 28th from 12.30-2.00

 Restorative Yoga at Good Karma Yoga on Sunday December 29th from 11.30 – 1.00

Spaces are limited, so please reserve ahead of time, via the website or on the MindBody app.


NEW for 2020!

In the New Year I will be offering a weekly Gentle Yoga with Chair class at Hummingbird in Bryn Mawr.

This differs from most Chair Yoga classes as we focus on three specific areas:

  1. Sitting to bring awareness to the breath, quieten the mind and seated postures to increase flexibility
  2. Standing postures for strength, stability and better balance
  3. Floor postures to support the back and build core strength. This is optional for those with limited mobility, however, the intention is to become more confident and skilled in getting down and up from the floor, as this is such an important life lesson for older adults.

Chilling at Kripalu

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Kripalu sunshine

Warm glow and pranayama

Found my Mother Ship

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I am taking ten days for learning, chilling and Middle Ground nourishment.

May you too find space to expand and quiet to drop into this week.

Namaste