Saturday, July 19, 2008

Nobodhi spoke to me

As much as I benefit from reading them (thanks, Google Reader, for making me able to follow more blogs than I could possibly click on consistently) I don’t always remark on what I find in other people’s blogs, but today one of my favorite bloggers, Nobodhi of Nobodhis Yoga Journal posted something that seemed to speak to me not of my experience today, but rather something toward which my experience these days seems to be pointing.

Have you ever had the experience of noticing slight changes arising in some portion of your life, seeing them strengthen and grow, but rather than see them as steps along a path, you see them just as changes? But then, a bit of a sudden, you see what they portend, to what they point?

The last several months, I’ve noticed that my awareness has begun to reawaken in my asana practice. Now I know that sounds a bit strange, as yoga is supposed to be about mind as well as body, but for the past few years, my practice has been to press my mind so deeply into my body that my mind’s job has been only building and maintaining. At any rate, during the past few months, I seem to be seeing my practice from the outside of the inside, if that makes any sense. Some part of my mind finds itself no longer wrapped up (or in) the practice, but watches both my mind and my body working there. I suppose it would be accurate to say that I seem to be identifying with something other than the mind-body on the mat. And that seems most peculiar. I assumed that it was a function of my meditation practice, and perhaps it is. But rather than taking me away from the practice, it seems to have taken me into the minutiae of the practice – the feeling and distinguishing of sensation of finger bones and hand tendons pressing into the floor, the visual rhythm of my gaze swings in sun salutations, the stretching of individual muscle fibers tying vertebra to vertebra. I tried to say something about that experience in my last post on the solo practice in Santa Monica – something more about the same in my post about my photo session with barefoot bhakti. The perspective makes the practice fresh again in ways it hasn’t been for years. New. Enlivened. Freed.

I don’t want to overdo the experience of my practice these days – it’s often quite what it has been for the past few years – but it has been changing bits at a time, and I’ve been noticing the differences.

But this afternoon, as I read this post by Nobodhi, it was like wandering around comfortably in mist, and then when the mist clears briefly, you discover that you’ve actually been moving toward something.

Nobodhi – may you be healthy, may you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you be clear.

And when you are, may you find new voice, if not for your-self, for us.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Soloing on a back porch

Monday morning I found myself on my brother’s terra cotta tiled back porch in Santa Monica, CA. By the time I had finished with some early work, two of the household were out, two others still asleep. I cleared some patio furniture to the sides and began the sequence of sun salutations that I’ve repeated more than a few times. The temperature was pleasantly cool, heavy with ocean.

As the salutations progressed, I re-re-re-discovered mindfulness in solo practice. I love my daily practice in studios, my twice-a-week teaching, but I’m always surprised at how much more is available to be felt and seen by a quiet mind alone. Gazing across fingertips in Warrior poses, seeing the ground in Plank, feeling joints and tendons and muscles in my hands connected to the earth in Dog poses. Reopening energy pathways in lunges and backbends. Integrating mind and body in balances. And yet my self-hungry mind looked for glimpses of reflections in window panes, of sweat drops falling on mortar between the patio tiles.

When I finished the practice, I grabbed a patio chair cushion, arranged my legs and hands, and sat.

And saw.

And saw the seeing.

I bow in gratitude to all who cared and preserved and taught these things across the course of their centuries to mine.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


anonymous julie wrote this:

I think it’s easier and more comfortable to continue to believe in one’s bondage than to take responsibility for one’s freedom.


She nailed it, exactly.