Rekindling a Childhood Hobby

As a kid, I loved going through magazines, cutting out pictures / words and reconfiguring them into something new. Last week I was pretty fired up about our current political circus in the States … so I got a bunch of magazines at the library (10 cents each, score!) and rekindled a childhood hobby.

What makes me laugh, keeps me positive, helps me look on the bright side? An inner revolution to counter my fiery nature ;).

Think I’ll go find a Melissa McCarthy movie online …

May you find what brings you joy and peace in the midst of the chaos. Cheers, E

The Truth is …

I went toward Tree of Life synagogue yesterday … parked the car at a distance … walked the mile slowly, afraid of what I might feel, afraid that I might be intruding on others’ grief. I made myself as small as possible. All I could do was stand … still. As my elder & friend Jim says, “Witness.”

The flowers, 11 candles (unlit) … the stones … I forgot my stone offering 😔 … the mourners … the Jewish men in a circle, singing deep and low “this is the house of the Lord …”

I am so sorry.

“Police line, do not cross” tape encircling the synagogue. Groups of law enforcement moving here/there, FBI agents, trucks, squad cars, evidence recovery teams …

Across the street — cameras, tents, more cameras — so many cameras, so many “eyes” …

I am so sorry.

Mr. Gottfried was from Uniontown.

I overheard 2 women talking that their friend, fellow synagogue member, was still in the hospital … “She’s recovering physically, but … She was sitting next to her mother … How do you recover from being shot at …”

I am so sorry.

A phrase reads (backwards from the outside) in one of the mosaic panels of the synagogue — “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water.”

The phrase cycled nonstop as I witnessed the scene, in my body but not at all in my body …

Lettherebeanexpanseinthemidstofthewaterlettherebeanexpanseinthemidstofthewaterlettherebeanexpanseinthemidstofthewaterlettherebeanexpanseinthemidst …

Where is the expanse? Where? Where is the expanse for these people, these families, this community, our community, us, all of us?

I don’t know.

To witness the Tree of Life community mourn, care for each other, graciously concede to hundreds of visitors paying respects … They are teachers, & I am grateful.

I know gratefulness for the communities I’m part of. As I shared yoga on the mat this week, I find myself more quiet … somber … grateful for these people in the midst of the raging waters … on their mats … breathing & moving … connecting with each other. With me.

The truth is we are not separate.

Yoga at its core means to unite, to yoke … to realize we are not separate — from ourselves, from each other, from the Divine.

Thank you for your expansive hearts with me this week in the midst of it all. We are not separate. Namaste.

A sign seen on my walk from the Tree of Life synagogue.

(Quote at top reposted from Himalayan Institute of Pittsburgh)

Sometimes I Don’t Know What I’m Doing …

This reminder popped up on my Instagram today. I needed it. Do you ever feel like you don’t “quite” know what you’re doing …

And what comes next? I tend to berate or “should” myself.

“Well, I SHOULD … ” or “I really SHOULDn’t …”

I’m not a big fan of “should.” Yet this Instagram meme, I’ll take it. And pass it on to you.

Let’s take care of ourselves :). Then, look out World!

Much love, E

Winds of Change

leaf-65835_640

Yoga & Ayurveda are considered “sister sciences” — each inform & complement the other. In my Beginner’s Series a few weeks ago, I briefly outlined Patanjali’s “8 limbs of yoga” as described in The Yoga Sutras (what is this?). We’re on to the asanas now, where modern yoga has focused for decades. AND … Yoga is sooooooooooooo much more than making shapes with our bodies (i.e., asanas). If there’s one lesson I hope to remind myself & share with others, it’s this — that yoga is multi-layered, so much more than physical, external, appearance-driven. In fact, Patanjali defined Yoga as “the mastery of the fluctuations of the mind.” Asana was simply a pre-cursor to prepare the practitioner for meditation.

There’s no better time to observe fluctuations of the natural environment than right now. Autumn is upon us; the winds of change are blowing. Temperature fluctuations, leaves turning, daylight waning.

The science of Ayurveda (what’s this?) tells us that the macrocosm (natural environment) reflects the microcosm (our bodies) & vice versa. Autumn may be your favorite time of year, or not-so-much. Are you feeling the winds of change, some fluctuations internally? Body adjusting to temperature ups & downs, mind working through schedule changes, an “unsettled” or overly excited feeling?

No matter our Ayurvedic constitution, we can all benefit from the wisdom to seek balance. According to Ayurveda, practices that cultivate the opposite qualities of the season can bring a sense of ease & balance. So, for example, our asana practices contain poses which cultivate stability, a sense of grounding to counterbalance the volatility of the fall season. In our diet, we simply look to Nature — we leave the cooling berries, raw salads & juices of summer, & turn toward the grounding, warming, & nourishing foods of autumn. Think pumpkins, hearty soups, warm cider. We’re preparing the mind & body for the winter months ahead.

Yoga & Ayurveda seek balance in body, mind & spirit. A daily routine can soothe the mind & lead us toward using our energy wisely (stay tuned for my Dinacharya workshop coming in November!). As the daylight wanes, we might find ourselves more open to starting or deepening our meditation practice. Just as Nature harvests & stores for winter, we do the same in our physical, mental & spiritual practices.

How are you enjoying this season? Where have you noticed the tendency toward new routines, different physical practices, or an adjustment in how you manage your energy? I’d love to hear how your internal rhythms are mimicking those of the natural world.

Happy Autumn to you! Let’s connect soon, E

 

 

Register for the Beginner Yogi Series at The Yoga Garden 🌻

As you begin your yoga journey, the first steps can be overwhelming. “What type of yoga is best for me? How do I find a teacher? What IS yoga, anyway?”

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This Beginner Yogi Series provides a solid foundation of knowledge and practice to get you started. You’ll learn and practice basic yoga postures, including variations and contraindications. You’ll practice basic breathing and relaxation techniques to soothe and/or energize the nervous system. In addition, a basic, accessible meditation technique will get you on your way to self-guided practice.

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There are many schools of yoga, and I find it crucial to ensure the practices I share are time-tested and also fit into our modern lives. These practices are rooted in a well-established, living tradition passed down in an unbroken chain of master yogis — the Himalayan Tradition. In this series, you’ll experience yoga in its traditional, holistic form … which will set you firmly on your unique path of yoga. Join me!

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When: Sundays, 4pm — 5:15pm, September 9th — October 14th

Where: The Yoga Garden

Tuition: $75 for 6-week series, at-home practices, and discount on class pass upon completion.

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Register at info@yogagarden.rocks or 724.970.2273.

Many Paths, One Yoga

TYG meeting

The more I learn, the less I know that I “know.”

It was tough for me to see the yoga community I was part of for 2 years dissolve as the studio closed in May. Like your first love, this community was my first experience as a yoga teacher … & while I was nervous EVERY DAY teaching class, I was excited to share the practices that have supported me over the past 10 years. The Love Yoga community was small & dedicated, about the art & science of Yoga, & generous in the community. A place & people I came to know & felt known.

I was honored to teach the final classes before the doors closed, & practice a final closing meditation — thankful for Kristin’s vision & for teaching alongside Kristin & Alycia, & offering the benefits of our work to the Universe.

Fast forward to July ⏩

I’m attending my first team meeting at The Yoga Garden (TYG). A new community, a new vibe, new opportunities. I’m nervous again … it takes me a while to warm up to new situations 😉. There’s positive energy from fellow teachers, & new vision for me to absorb & share.

A new place to know & to be known. And to realize (again) how LITTLE I know — which is exciting.

Yoga comprises a variety of paths. The staff at TYG travel with & share different yoga traditions, each with time-tested teachings & practices. I find it fascinating to learn about the similarities & differences. Here’s a book on my list, suggested by TYG cofounder Caitlin, about her tradition of Kundalini yoga:

Are you attracted to a certain teacher’s style or practice? Ask where they’re coming from — what’s the philosophy & science behind their teaching? Wht did their training look like? What does their practice look like today? Who are their teachers, & how do they stay connected to their tradition? (I’m open to innovation, don’t get me wrong … AND I am wary when a teacher is unable to offer the tradition / teachers from which their practice originates.)

There are many paths in Yoga … & yet if there’s ONE THING you remember from my ramblings today, remember this: Yoga is not exercise.

(in the Western definition of exercise as “fitness”)

There is so much more to “Yoga” than physical postures … In my experience, the American “yoga industry” has introduced millions to yoga (yay!) … AND done yoga a great disservice by advertising yoga as fitness, a weight-loss program, or a way to get a toned butt.

Many of us — including me — came to yoga with fitness in mind. And that’s ok! The physical aspect of Yoga often makes us “just feel better.” Great!

And then we find our breath, & that we can manipulate the breath for our well-being. We notice our mind, how often it RUNS away, & that we can practice ways to be more fully present. We realize Yoga teaches lifestyle practices off the mat that bring harmony & ease.

Let’s acknowledge how little we knew that first mat practice, how much there is to learn, & be bold in sharing the depth & breadth that is Yoga.

I’d love to hear from you — how has your knowledge & practice expanded since your first encounter with yoga? What have you learned? What do you want to learn?

While I await your thoughts, a few notes:

— I’ll be out adventuring from August 12th to the 26th. Classes at The Avenue will resume August 27th!

— I invite you to check out the variety of class options at The Yoga Garden … Try a new style, & ask your teacher about his/her teachers & tradition.

— Check out the Garden Party on August 19th! Info below:

A quote I’m loving right now: “We are all just walking each other home.” Many paths, one Yoga.

Summer Reading

A feast for your eyes! I sipped a cold matcha at Bee-You Cafe (delish — you must go) after teaching at The Yoga Garden this morning … & asked cafe owner Courtney if I could check out the beautiful book at the counter. To thumb through & take in the gorgeous photos of “Whole Beauty” by Shiva Rose will inspire your day!

Last night being a New Moon, I was particularly interested in Shiva’s tips for gently clearing out what’s not needed to make way for the new. For example, I’ll concoct a homemade facial / body scrub this weekend to reveal some glow, & get back to my meditation practice (maybe a future post — my habit/not habit of meditation 😉 ).

Simple, meaningful self-care — what’s that look like for you? I’d love to know more in the comments below.

See you on the mat somewhere in Uniontown!

Cheers, E

A Cool Treat on a Hot Summer Day

bath bathroom bathtub indoors
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

After 4th of July yoga class this morning, I walked home in rising temps & humidity. Does anyone else’s body run super-warm anyway (or experience hot flashes) … then you ADD outside temps? Bleck!

So I gathered some essential oils, epsom salts, & coconut oil & started filling the tub.

Here’s what I did: Filled the tub with cool/lukewarm (not cold) water … will save the hot water for winter. Then I added oils based on their “cooling” properties, & hopped in:

— 5-10 drops each of Peppermint, Geranium, & Lavender essential oils — Clary Sage would have been ideal, but I didn’t have any on hand (I use Doterra)

— A couple tablespoons Coconut Oil (I use Banyan Botanicals) — actually, I didn’t measure, so it was probably more!

— 1-2 cups Epsom Salts

 

Feeling the heat? Give this bath a try. Step in, lay back & enjoy. A little soothing music, some cucumber water to drink — those joys are on my list for next time!

 

Note: The oils don’t mix fully with the water, so you’ll need to swirl the surface every so often to distribute … Fun in the tub! Also, when you’re ready to hop out, be careful — the coconut oil makes the tub floor slick — rinse the tub with dish soap afterwards. Pat yourself dry (vigorous rubbing creates heat, which you just let go of!) & allow the coconut oil to continue to moisturize/cool your skin.

 

Such good stuff, I can’t even tell you how good I felt — more light, less heat in body & mind. Figured I’d share on this hot summer day … with more heat to follow. Of course, you may have access to a cool stream, lake, pool or other body of water that calls your soul! Stay cool out there, Yogis!

 

What do you do to stay cool in the summer? I’d love to try your suggestions too! If you’re feeling frisky, share in the comments below =).