Sunday, March 27, 2011

Home, Jeeves

Sometimes when life gets tricky, I want to type in a random address and turn on my GPS navigator just to hear a comforting voice tell me where to go. Maybe in a perfect world, one might choose from the list of GPS guiding voices to be that of a sage (mine would be Gandalf’s voice) who would while en route, maybe at a stop light or on a long stretch of road, offer a piece of true direction. Maybe that in some way you’re supposed to be lost because that’s what starts you asking the questions, what keeps your eyes alert, your ears open, your senses alive. That you’re going in the right direction just by living and struggling and searching. Sure, it’s good to turn at this stop sign, and travel another couple of years down this road, but most importantly, it’s important to keep going.

And hopefully that voice always tells you to listen to your heart.

So type Prana Yoga’s address into your GPS (600 south 700 east Salt Lake City—the old Banana Republic store) and let listen to it guide you to yoga class this week to practice listening to that inner voice, that wise part of you that knows where to go or if not where to go, maybe how to enjoy the ride.
See you in class.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Rites of Spring

Get out your running shoes. Put away your snow boots. Put away your thermals. Find your swimsuit, or at least a pair of shorts.Put away your heavy coat. Start saying your goodbyes to the the ski season. Go and tune up your bike. Store your snow shovel. Open the windows and air out your soul after a long winter of hibernating. It is officially Spring!

Sunday, at exactly 9:21 pm, the sun will make its grand appearance (somewhere around the globe) at exactly half way up the horizon. It's a foreshadowing of the hot months to come. We will be blessed with as many daylight hours as nighttime hours as the sun rises directly east and sets directly west.

The spring equinox is one of those cosmically sacred times of the year that marks an exact quarter-turn around the sun. It's a time for us to pause and thank the Powers That Be that the sun is coming back. The warmth of brightness and hope and resolve is rising.

The spring equinox It's a great time to remember our intentions we made at the beginning of the year and see how things are progressing. If one of those intentions was to do more yoga, kindly get your asana to class.

Winter is a great time to hibernate and meditate. To make intentions. Find stillness. But now it's time to balance the mindfulness with with movement. Let's get some fresh air! In yoga, the balance between activity (Rajas) and stillness (Tamas) is called Satva. It is one of the qualities known as the Gunas. This week, I invite you to reflect on your intentions you made at the beginning of the year and asess. Make adjustments if you need to.

Come to yoga and let's practice some of this balance into Satva with a little movement, breath, and mindfulness. Let's put some action to our mindfulness and air out our soul.

See you in class.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Temple on the Way to Costco

My teacher told me a story of master yoga teacher Richard Freeman who was once demonstrating an outrageously technical yoga position to a group of advanced practitioners. After the pose, someone raised their hand and inquired, “What do you do to prepare yourself for that pose?” Richard Freeman paused in thought, then frankly responded: “Three deep breaths.”

Another profound teaching came to me a few years ago when my wife, Celeste, was visiting her cousin Robin in Hawai’i. Celeste was happily carless and mostly careless on the remote beach in Robin’s backyard. Occasionally, when Robin was heading into town, she’d invite Celeste to come along. On the ride, Celeste mentioned that she would like to visit the Buddhist temple, famous on Oahu. “You mean the temple on the way to Costco?” Robin said, as if this sacred temple were merely a landmark on the way to the more substantial temple of abundance and commercialism. Still, I hate to draw too much of a line between Costco and the Temple on the Way To Costco because for me what I’ve learned about temples and sacred places is the only spirit you find there is the spirit that you bring with you. The point is, we go to temples to be reminded of the divine part of ourselves, but what yoga teaches and what we get to practice every time we come to our mat, is that any place—a temple, a prison cell, a yoga mat, a piece of nature, your workplace—can become sacred ground with the right attitude and attention to details. You can find spirit in Costco, too.

This week as you work to provide for yourself and your family, you might just find yourself standing at the entrance of Costco. Before entering, maybe pause. The Costapo (the sentinels at the temple gate) and other shoppers rushing in and out won’t suspect anything as you pull out your grocery list. They won’t notice the mantra you’ve perhaps written on your list before the broccoli and bread and cat food. And before stepping in, you might wonder, “How can I do it? How can I possibly remain mindful and grounded in this circus, this craziness?” Try this: three deep breaths.

Costco Mantra
May we all have happiness, like the way you feel after a good laugh, or finding five pounds of your favorite cereal on sale for a steal.
May we all be free from sorrow, even though sad things happen in life.
May we all enjoy that deep, lasting happiness despite our ups and downs.
And may we enjoy balance in life, even at Costco where things get too loud, too busy, and too much, without being too clingy or too annoyed by things.
And no matter what, may we honor everybody as a unique and special thing.

(Modified from Sogyal Rimpoche The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)