Gratitude, Grace and Celebration

I shared these words from Danna Faulds in yoga class today. Her work feels even more powerful for these times. May it enrich your day today and give you hope for tomorrow.

macro shot photography of tea candles

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

“This is what I have to say to you. Savor the fruits of a lifetime of growth and evolution. I’m not suggesting that you rest on your laurels and declare yourself done. But its time to bask in the sunlight of your soul and let that warmth reach deep inside your bones.

The next stage of your life will rest upon a foundation of gratitude, grace and celebration. Grace simply comes when it comes and isn’t in your control. Gratitude can be nurtured and fertilized by paying attention to the gifts that come your way, saying thank you, internally and externally appreciating your life as often as you remember. Celebration means taking stock of how far you’ve come and letting delight and wonder lead the way.

What you are giving birth to today is bigger than your usual perception of yourself. Its okay that you have no idea what’s coming next. How could you? Just stay open and the universe will do the rest. Gratitude, grace and celebration are the keys.”

~ Danna Faulds taken from “What’s True Here” New Poems and Other Writings

 

 

 

 

Chilling at Kripalu

~

Kripalu sunshine

Warm glow and pranayama

Found my Mother Ship

~

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

Dharma Tail Wagging

Yesterday, we had to take down a diseased ash tree which was close to the house. I always feel sad when a tree comes down. Afterwards the dogs enjoyed the new smells and opportunity to dig… especially our  Dilys. Terriers follow their instincts and have such a good time digging and going underground!

She had so much fun, and didn’t want to come in.

I laughed, not just at her, but at myself.  I drive nearly 5 hours to have a similar experience at Kripalu, and she explores her dharma and finds joy in her own back yard.

Perhaps there’s a lesson here. ☺️

 

Transitioning Back from Kripalu

I have returned from a wonderful Energy Intensive Retreat at Kripalu. The experience is still settling deep into my bones and being. In the meantime …

Be the Energy

Trust the energy that courses
through you. Trust – then take
surrender even deeper.
Be the energy.

Don’t push anything away.
Follow each sensation back to
its source and focus your awareness
there. Be the ecstasy.

Be unafraid of consummate wonder.
Emerge so new, so vulnerable,
that you don’t know
who you are.

Be the energy, and paradoxically,
be at peace. Dare to be your own
illumination, and blaze a trail across
the clear night sky like lightning.

~ Richard Faulds –   from “Kripalu Yoga”

Haiku – Kripalu Retreat

~

Kripalu awaits.

Letting go and diving deep.

Being buoyed by Love

~

I will be attending an Energy Intensive*  retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health from Thursday through Sunday.

Fall is a time for transformation and letting go.

Feeling gratitude and excitement to have this opportunity for deeper exploration.

🍁🙏🍁

 

*The Energy Intensive Retreat is 4 days of Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama with two of Kripalu’s most gifted and treasured teachers – Sudhir Jonathan Foust and Shobhan Richard Faulds.  Its an exploration into the profound relationship between energy and consciousness, which is the essence of yoga and the foundation of all mind-body approaches. Danna Faulds will be joining us to share her poetry.

Yoga Doing You

beautiful yoga

Beautiful Yoga portrait by Seth Jacobson Photography

Yoga Doing You

Let postures flow,
movement as natural
as moonrise,
being without doing.

Go right to the edge,
to the spark within
each breath, and inquire
into the awareness that
underlies the stretch.

Release the small me
clamoring to be seen,
and experience the
emptiness beneath,
the boundaries
expanse of freedom.

This leap outside
a fixed identity,
this free fall into truth
is, very simply,
yoga doing you.

~ Danna Faulds

This is one of my favorite Danna Faulds poems. As a yoga teacher, this is also the vision I hold for my students on their journey into yoga.

When we explore movement and breath, we go deeper within ourselves and allow the prana to move through us… opening, nourishing, healing and energizing mind, body and spirit.

Being without doing.

I have just reserved my place at an Energy Intensive retreat at Kripalu Center in November. Danna Faulds will be there. 🙏

 

 

Inspiration – It is Enough

Kripalu sunset

It is enough right now
to taste one moment of
peace. Of course I want
more, but at least the
door is open.

It is enough to draw a
conscious breath and
let my hands relax,
fingers releasing their
tight grasp on things
outside of my control.

It is enough to shed a
layer of stress as if
taking off a jacket or a
pair of too tight shoes.

Ease of being has to
start somewhere.
This breath is my
first step.

~ Danna Faulds. Taken from From Root to Bloom

This is a lovely reminder that ease of being begins with a conscious breath. Just one moment of peace opens the door.

Don’t rush it.

Breathe into it

Be with it

It is enough

💛

* Spring at Kripalu

From Root to Bloom by Danna Faulds

Sap is flowing once again

from root to trunk, from

trunk to branch, to every

leaf and bud and blossom

on the tree.

The frozen days

are past. Now is the season

of flowering, when the full

force of energy moves up and

up to manifest its destiny.

It is everything to me, this

new life spraining forth from

ash and compost, this chance

to nurture, weed, and prune,

to patiently receive the

miracle that blooms as if

no force unearth can

turn side its beauty

Can you feel it within you too?

I am back from 10 glorious days at Kripalu assisting in the 300 hour Special Populations teacher training module. Being there as Spring unfolded was very special…. and to witness the unfolding, learning and growth of the Sangha was a joyful experience.

Let me float here awhile ….

*Kripalu Inspiration Haiku

This is a haiku that I wrote and shared at the graduation ceremony of my 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Kripalu.

kripalu graduation

~

In life’s pendulum

The highs and lows of being

Seek Self in the waves

~

Find your Middle Ground

The mother ship is calling

Kripalu Center

~

Yoga skills and tools

Challenged body and stretched mind

Space. Peaceful being

~

Prana life force freed

Breathe. Relax. Feel. Watch. Allow

Yoga’s real essence

~

Say yes to the breath

Letting go. Letting it flow

Drop down. Re-align

~

Overflowing love

Connections and friendships

Embracing true Self

~

Heartfelt gratitude

So much learned in just one year

More than most lifetimes

~

Thank you my teachers

Sudhir, Larissa, Coby

Rudy, Sudha .. twice

~

This is how it is

Unexpected freedom fries 😉

Here, Right here … And now

~

Namaste

p.s. Affirmation for today onwards: I am an advanced Level Kripalu Yoga Teacher!

Wow. What a journey.

🙏

* Soft Landings

soft landing

May this day be one of soft landings and moving with ease.

Many of us have much to do, and  the prospect of difficult travel in the US over Thanksgiving can bring pressure and anxiety.

Be kind to yourself and others.

… and breathe.

I am back from a soul enriching time at Kripalu.

Still taking it slowly as I ease back into real life.

Feeling warm hearted … and yep, a little spacey.

💛

* Back from Kripalu Yoga Training

 

spider web

I thought I needed to disconnect. To let go.

Gosh – that sounds pretty earnest, doesn’t it.

I realize that so many of us hold on to the need to disconnect so much…

What I found was a real  opportunity to step back… and then take some delicious time for myself to help me serve others. The weather was also wonderful, with crisp mornings and a warm sun and brilliant blue skies during the day. What a treat 🙂

Going to Kripalu gave me an expanding and supportive opportunity to be with my true self, and learn from some very skilled teachers and amazing fellow students. I melded into a  community focused on  the art and science of  yoga …  and living, loving and being in the world. My heart is full of gratitude and appreciation!

light spider web

And  now I come back refreshed, nourished, and inspired.  Expanded and stretched in mind body and soul. Think of a spider web that meets the light of the early sun, glistening and connecting to the world around it. Pretty cool!

And then add a large practical tool box of expertise to serve and support our aging population, people recovering from surgery, illness, and chronic back pain sufferers. As well as pre natal moms-to-be and people with bodies of all sizes. And of course, peeps needing to relax and pause from their busy, multi tasked demanding lives.

Wow – I learned a lot  and it affirmed so much 🙂

All of this will take a few days to integrate and absorb.

Thank you for holding this space for me. It is precious… as are you ❤

Val

 

 

 

* Deciding to Do the Right Thing

at the edge

Have you ever thought about doing something  that you know would be a challenging experience, yet you feel it will also be one that gives an opportunity to learn about yourself and grow?

In coming to the decision about doing this, you know you will have to face certain aspects of yourself and habitual patterns that aren’t serving you … You will have to let go …

A deeper part of you knows that its the right thing to do, and the human part of you (ego) comes up with all sorts of excuses and reasons for weazling out and avoiding  this scary and threatening place.

I’m feeling it right now … and it reminds me of when I came to the decision to give up smoking. It was much easier to keep smoking than to face the reality of the harm I was doing to myself and its hold over me. By stopping I would also be letting go of the comfort, reassurance, security and yes, companionship of my ciggie.

Within all of us is a core of honesty and integrity that is part of our higher self. Our lower ego self wants things to be the same, and in my experience tries to negotiate with the higher voice by coming up with all sorts of arguments and counterpoints to deflect and avert. It gets a kick out of outwitting the better part of me 😉

So which voice do we choose?…

When we are aware of the inner workings of our mind, the chatter and strategies of our very human ego … then we really can see that there is a choice.

The choice I am considering is whether to go on a social media retreat while I am away on the next module of my YTT 500 Yoga teacher training at Kripalu.

Even when we embrace our higher self and choose to do the right thing, its important to recognize how our ego shows up. Denying the lesser part of ourself, only brings resistance and more struggle.

My ego really wants to share with you what a brave and challenging thing it is going to agree to. Its afraid it will feel disconnected and will miss the stimulation and community.

My higher self knows that this will give me an opportunity to be with the discomfort of disconnection from the external world and allow me to find more inner connection while I am away.

girl walking on her path

Your support is much appreciated as I switch off  from Friday Sept 19th until Sunday Sept 28th. 🙂

” Life at its best is a series of challenges. A big enough challenge will bring out strengths and abilities you never knew you has. Take on challenges and bring yourself to life.” anon