Archive for the ‘nature’ Tag

Peace Amid Bombs

lotusdrawing-purchased1.jpgLast week was quite a week if you lived in Boston or were tuning into the news. The devastation wrought by bombs brought death, chaos, uncertainty, fear, grief, anger, worry, and finally, some relief on Friday night that maybe that chapter was now written and finished. There seem to be many more such chapters than there used to be, and so I ponder how to live well and thrive with such things as the backdrop.

When everything around you is chaotic, how do you find peace? Meditation takes you within yourself, communing with God, remembering that you are always supported. Being outside enjoying nature, can invite a sense of freedom and gratitude. Letting your beliefs truly be your guiding light, holding them close and finding the practices that really nourish your spirit, elevates the day and lightens your heart. Keeping it simple whenever you can is just good, solid advice.

In yoga we stabilize and then lengthen & soften, add breath and relax. We stay steadily engaged, but relaxed. Being steady in your strength with a practice that grounds you physically engenders a spiritual steadiness that provides peace within. You can step off the mat and into your life with genuine, active good will toward others. You might even find more compassion for others, seeking to do what’s best for them. And if more of us lived this way, there would be a lot less chaos.

View my complete schedule of classes at the Yoga Center of Columbia!

Keeping a Vacation Spirit Alive

I’m just back from a wonderful week of relaxing vacation with friends and family. Now home, I’m wondering how to hold on to a little bit of last week’s spirit…less frenzy, more peace, more fun. I never wore a watch last week, didn’t check my calendar, and only occasionally looked at email. I rested, walked the beach, read, played games, floated in the Atlantic, and practiced yoga. One of my favorite spots was on a deck swing overlooking the ocean, breathing in gratitude and letting go of stress. Ah, the bliss of free days!

With the return to my normal life, there’s laundry to do, bills to pay, errands to run, and myriad other mundane tasks. Riding the wake of vacation, though, I find myself navigating through stress a bit more skillfully. Deeper breaths, a softer tone and demeanor, and more conscious gratitude envelop me. I’m blessed in so many ways — supportive, loving friends and family who know me and love me anyway, a truly wonderful “work” environment (I still can’t believe people pay me to teach yoga and help run a studio!), many creature comforts — and yet peace can be so elusive.

Taking a yoga class yesterday, my teacher encouraged deep breaths, a personal pace to the practice, and feeling the earth beneath our feet and hands. It was just the message I needed to hear. Full, nourishing breaths helped me find spaciousness inside and calmed my mind. Pacing the practice to serve my own needs strengthened my resolve not to let my busy calendar push me into a frenzy. The grounding practice I enjoyed in class reminded me that God is always with me and that I am best served when I relinquish control. While that deck swing and the Atlantic are miles and miles away at the moment, I do believe I can still feel a touch of ocean breeze and taste the salty air!

View my complete schedule of classes at the Yoga Center of Columbia!

Respite and Reprieve

An Amazing Presence

I am touched to the core
with a presence I cannot explain.
A loving plan enfolds me.
Someone is always believing in me,
calling me forth, calling me on.
I am standing in grace,
filled with mystery,
touched by the eternal.
I cannot get away from goodness.
–Macrina Wiederkehr

Summer vacation brings time to unplug, relax, and renew. Enjoy, and take a yoga mat. 😉

View my complete schedule of classes at the Yoga Center of Columbia! Free classes the week of July 9.

Light Brings Life

The lengthening days of spring as we head toward summer solstice on June 20 are something to celebrate! More sunlight hours beckon me outside onto the deck in the evening…with dinner al fresco, I linger outside, reveling in the last moments of light and enjoying the birds, deer, and foxes that make their home just outside my yard. Each evening outside is a little mini-vacation, and I’m refreshed and renewed.

Light is more than just something to read by; it’s the very source of life. Nearly all life on earth depends upon the sun! Don’t you love its warmth shining down on you? Being outside is one of the ways that so many of us relax and nurture ourselves. In many cultures, light is a symbol of consciousness. God is often spoken of as the source of light; Jesus is considered the Light of the world.  The contrast of light and dark enriches any experience:  poets write of shadow and light to engage our emotions, artists use shadow and light to create depth and dimension. Times of darkness teach us to appreciate the light when it shines brilliantly into our lives, just as the cold days of February invite longing for the sunny days of spring.

The Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, is a dynamic series of poses (asana) that require precise physical alignment and engagement with the flow of breath in the body as heat builds. The body-mind softens as tensions dissipate and we create a silent “meditation in motion.” The Sun Salutation originated almost 3000 years ago as a ritual bowing to the dawn; the sequence draws us inward toward a humble adoration of the Light.

May the lengthening days bring a smile to your face and invite a sense of gratitude in your heart for all the good things in your life!

View my complete schedule of classes at the Yoga Center of Columbia!

Hope Lives!

When I was a kid, my friend David and I loved to play inside the honeysuckle tree that was part of the natural divider between our yards. We would sit under that tree playing for hours every spring, fully enveloped in the heady honeysuckle scent. Those days were sweet and carefree!

As we move into spring, the days get longer and nature is reborn. The pulse of life is everywhere. After the dark, cold days of winter, we’re ready for new life and hope. As I enjoy the blooming landscape and the music of children playing outside, this spring I’ll also savor the greatest blessing: the Empty Tomb, as Holy Week concludes with an Easter celebration. Hope lives!

Spring is also a time of budding energy within ourselves; especially if we’ve nurtured ourselves well during winter, energy abounds during the spring months. It’s a great time to dig into a more energetic yoga practice! You’ll hear and feel your breath, and you’ll notice the blood flowing within you. These are tangible reminders that you’re alive, and that Hope lives within you.

View my complete schedule of classes at the Yoga Center of Columbia. Free classes coming April 2-8!