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Laughter Yoga Workshop
at Spacious Heart Yoga
Saturday 12.12.15 ~ 1-3:30pm
Join me, Saturday, December 12th 1-3:30pm, at Spacious Heart Yoga in downtown Goshen, IN, for the joyful practice of Laughter Yoga. Combining mindful pranayama (breathing techniques) with laughter, students will learn to practice and cultivate space to consciously bring joyfulness, fun and laughter back into their lives.
Just as we must regularly put into practice the skills we use for our jobs, the sports we engage in, the musical instruments we play, the asana we practice on our yoga mats, so to must we consciously practice and create space for the powerful healing that laughter and joy provide us.
During this workshop we will watch the short documentary, Laughology and we will practice movements & breathing techniques combined with conscious laughter. No experience with yoga or laughter necessary.
Please bring a water bottle and wear comfortable clothes that you can easily move around in. You may also choose to bring a light snack, if you like. You can bring your own mat if you choose or use one of ours and there will be chairs for those who would like them.
Early bird $ 25
Late Registration $30
Click HERE to register online or call 574.361.9756
Spacious Heart Yoga is located at 302 S. Main St. Goshen, IN 46526
Burn the Turkey
w/Dawn at Spacious Heart Yoga
The family has been assembled. The food has been consumed. You’ve had your fill of socializing and your fill of stuffing… Now it’s time to get on the mat and burn off some of the gluttony, warm the body up from the cold and come back to center. So join me the day after at Spacious Heart Yoga, 11am on Friday 11.28.14 for a heated yoga class.
*The practice will be vigorous and is best suited for those who have a strong practice and solid understanding of foundational poses. We will be flowing from pose to pose (vinyasa) as well as slowing things down to hold poses as well. The room will be heated to 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring a towel (you will probably sweat), water and your own mat if you have one. Happy Thanksgiving. See you on the mat!
Join me at Spacious Heart Yoga in Goshen, Indiana
for my Hands ~ Heart ~ Feet Workshop
*Pranayama– breathing techniques to energize as well as soothe
*Mantras– using sound to clear and balance internal vibration
*Mudras– activating pressure points to both stimulate & calm energy centers
*Asana– physical postures to strengthen/challenge & postures to release/restore
*Meditation– stilling the body & observing the internal experience
*Yoga Nidra– guided practice of deep yogic sleep to reconnect to the deeper sense of self
This 3 hour Workshop will offer students the opportunity to integrate yogic practices to serve them ON and OFF the mat. There will be some vigorous asana and students attending should be well-versed in foundational yoga postures as well as be able to safely engage in a challenging practice for at least one hour.
In addition to asana, this workshop will include introductory level practices of Mantras, Mudras, Pranayama, Meditation and Yoga Nidra so that students may begin cultivating a more encompassing practice of mindfulness to take off the mat, into the world.
Investment: $30 (by May 24) / $35 (after May 24)
If this Squirrel can bring it, so can you.
It has proven more challenging than I realized to process leaving the Savannah Yoga Center. After giving my 2 weeks notice last week, I knew that it would take some time to process all the emotions that arise upon leaving something I have been a part of for so many years. So students, please know that I haven’t forgotten you, but that a bit of time to digest all that is unfolding was needed before I could find the words to all that I was feeling.
And of course, what is revealed in the end is quite simple: THANK YOU.
To all my students- I deeply thank you. Some of you have been practicing with me for several years now, some are new- and to all of you- it has been my honor and privilege to come in each week and bear witness to your practice, to your awakening and to share space with you. It was my honor to share my experience, to offer you the opportunity to practice mindfulness and to be able to hone my craft as a teacher.
It is no exaggeration, to say that my time in Savannah has been one of great growth, healing and awakening and as fellow yogis and students, you have been part of my path. I am grateful and privileged to have been even one small part of yours. And although, I will not be supporting you at the front of the classroom at the Savannah Yoga Center, please know that I support you nonetheless.
I encourage you to continue the practice of mindfulness in all its forms and wherever it leads you in life. I encourage you to use the tools you learn- not only when it’s easy, not only on your mat, but to do the deeper work that leads to awakening- even when it’s unglamorous and seemingly unsung. Even when you stumble, even when you fall back asleep, each moment is the opportunity to awaken again. I encourage you to keep on moving into the light, into your deepest knowing… and to have some fun along the way. Remember, it isn’t all toil and trouble to awaken.
There are big changes on the horizon for me. I am finishing up some final details and when they are all sussed out, I will announce the news. Until then, my current schedule still stands for the month of October at the Yoga Co-Op: Sundays 5:30pm Yin and Mondays 5:30 Yoga Nidra.
Please stay tuned and check the blog for details to come… and know this: I am truly grateful for all the years I’ve had the honor of teaching you. Bearing witness to someone’s awakening is a great gift and you have given me this treasure week after week, year after year. Thank you.
Savannah’s loss is Asheville’s gain. Former SAV resident and lovely friend of mine, Jessica Hedrick, is now based in Asheville, NC and has opened White Sage, a space of the healing arts of Massage Therapy, Reiki and Yoga.
I first met Jessica at the Savannah Yoga Center as I trained her as a volunteer there and as a regular student in my classes. It was evident through her practice she had experience with movement and still she was open and inquisitive to the tools of yoga in both the similarities to dance and the differences.
Jessica’s mindfulness, dedication and compassion came through not only on the mat or through her work as a reiki master, but in her everyday actions, words and energy. Now as a certified Yoga teacher, Massage Therapist and Reiki master, Jessica offers a wide array of tools for students and clients to step into their own healing.
I can’t say enough great things about Jessica. She is a talented and wonderful person. So if you’re in Asheville, get yourself over to White Sage to spend some time with Jessica and step deeper into your own awakening.
Other Lives isn’t a band that plays music. They are architects of soundscape. That’s the only way to describe their latest album, Tamer Animals. I play the song, For 12, in my Flow classes fairly often lately and those of you regulars will recognize it’s haunting, dream-like quality.
Sometimes music can be a distraction to practice- however the sounds and movement created in For 12 lend themselves to becoming an avenue for deeper presence and free flow in my asana.
Ok. It’s summer here in Savannah. It’s humid. It’s hot. And it can get a little ugly. Even those who generally like the heat can find themselves wilting into a puddle of sticky, sweaty goo hoping for a cool breeze every now and then. Savannah can turn into a scene from Night of the Living Dead, zombies walking around town in a daze with crazy hair, fried skin and parched mouths. If you’re lucky, you might get a grunt or nod from someone- if they can conjure up the energy to do that. So, here are a few products that can help you maintain some semblance of humanness over the sweltering summer months.
Solar Recover’s Save Your Skin is an elixir from the gods. My friend Trish first introduced the product to me many years ago. On a long weekend in the hot desert heat of Nevada, a friend in our group was so fair skinned he actually burned in the shade. By the first night he turned lobster red and all we could see was two beady eyes blankly staring out at us in desperation.
Trish pulled out the ol’ Solar Recover Save Your Skin and we each took turns spritzing the poor guy all night. Upon waking the next morning, we heard screams from his room, “I’m TAN! Oh my god, I’m tan for the first time in my life!”
I don’t know how it works but t’s all-natural and it smells fresh and revitalizing. And it can take a sunburn and turn it into a tan or at the very least, lessen the burn. Even if you don’t burn, it makes your skin feel and look great. You can’t just spray it once though. You’ve got to spritz throughout the day/night, and if you are really burned, you’ve got to keep that spritzer next to you like a Hampton’s socialite.
The result is lovely skin and it refreshes your senses too. The bonus is that it’s natural, the company is mindful and the owners/creators are awesome. I had an hour-long conversation the owner, about skin, life, writing, etc. and he’s great. It’s a product you can buy knowing the people behind it are kind and mindful. Check out their website HERE. You can buy all kinds of stuff online. In Savannah you can get some of their products at Brighter Day Natural Foods. If it’s not in stock-, which unfortunately is often the case, you can ask them to order more. If you order online, just buy a case. Everyone is going to try to steal it from you anyway and you’ll use it like a fiend throughout the summer.
Moroccan Oil for your hair is fantastic way to keep from turning into your evil twin over the summer months. And anything Moroccan already sounds exotic and mysterious, right? The smell is outrageously delicious and the oil helps keep your hair from getting so out of line that you get arrested for Public Indecency.
There are several brands out there, it’s all a derivative of Argan oil. The brand, Moroccan Oil is sleek and sexy and the scent is dreamy but it’s pricy. The less sexy looking packaging of Agadir has just a slightly different scent and the bottle looks like someone’s Middle Eastern grandpa might have this in his cupboard, however it still smells great and is much less expensive.
I’m sure there are even more options out there. Whatever you choose, you want to make sure it has real Argan Oil in it. After a while of using it, you’ll slowly turn from Ol’ Crazy Hair Mcgee to Just Ol’ Crazy Mcgee whose hair is kind of nice and smells good. And this isn’t just for the girls. The scent isn’t flowery or “girly”. Guys, you’ll smell dreamy too.
All around Savannah, I can hear lips smacking and tongues wagging because of thirst. And sorry, even though it is liquid, beer ain’t gonna hydrate you. After living in Savannah for 5 years, I have learned that beer is the official “water” of Savannah, however, sometimes you gotta actually hydrate and when you are too dehydrated even water won’t do the trick very well. There is a balance of electrolytes that the body needs to efficiently process liquid to actually make it effective in it’s hydration. It’s that combo that helps the body hydrate most efficiently.
One of nature’s perfect concoctions for hydration is Coconut Water. Not to be confused with it’s creamy cousin, coconut milk, coconut water is clear-ish and comes with chunks of coconut pulp or without. It’s slightly sweet without being overpowering and it’s a perfect way to hydrate without all the other junk those “power” drinks have in them. And even though I like science experiments as much as the next person, this drink isn’t made by men in lab coats mixing test tubes of flavor derivatives, by-products or adding colors to make it pretty. It’s from a coconut. Period. If you want to make it pink, you’ll have to add your own food coloring.
If you are not a coconut kind of guy or gal, try it anyway. It’s not like what you know from sweet coconut cream pies or candies. People who don’t even like the taste of coconut often still love coconut water. I get mine at any of the Asian markets here in Savannah for 79 cents- $1.50 a can. Some of the brands they sell have some added sugarcane but not as much as the Mexican brands- which are super sweet and not thirst quenching at all. You can buy coconut water at health food stores or gourmet markets. They sell brands that are organic for $3-4 a can. Either way, try keeping some cans of it on hand for the hot days of summer. You can make some space for it in the ‘fridge next to your Savannah “water”.
Most of all, enjoy the summer and continue to make time for your asana practice… I doubt Phil Spector did yoga and look what happened to him.
I’m subbing at the Yoga Co-Op Savannah for Power Hour, Friday 5:30, May 13, 2011. Bring water and a towel. It is Power hour after all. One potent hour of asana to get your weekend started right. Classes are $13 for non-members and $10 for members. The Yoga Co-Op Savannah is located at 2424 Drayton St. See y’all there!
Just a reminder: tomorrow, March 26th, 2011, in addition to my usual Saturday 11am, All Levels Yoga Flow class at the Savannah Yoga Center, I’ll be subbing for the Saturday 9am, HOT Detox class too. Two opportunities to get yer yoga groove on together. See you on the mat!
If you are in an English pub, this is what you want to hear just before you jump on a table and start stomping and dancing wildly into a frenzy. English folk-rock band Mumford & Sons rock out with banjo, string bass, acordian, mandolin and Dobro to create some tremendously toe-tappin’ tunes.
So crank the tunes with these songs, but don’t do it with a hot beverage in your hand. It will end up in your lap from all the knee-stomping and crazy clappin’ you’ll be doing.
Danish band, Safri Duo, are drummers extraordinaire. Mix a little trance in there and you get a heart pumping, body movin’, mind altering experience. Percussion is so powerful. It’s vibration and pure energy. It’s the thump-thump-thump of the heart. It’s in each of us and connects us all on a deep primitive level.
These are not songs to put on when you’re looking to chill out. These are songs to crank when you want to MOVE! Funny thing though, when we are truly present, there is stillness even in movement. That being said, if you crank these tunes while on the mat, even the most focused of yogis may find their sun salutations morph into a dizzying dance of wild abandon. And would that be so bad? I don’t think so.
(Thanks to Kai for passing this on!)
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I hear the moans and groans of the season. Moans from those who are single and disgruntled about it and groans from those who are coupled up and feel the pressure of doing something fantastic for the holiday of love.
I know. It’s easy to complain about the hype or the commercialism of it all. Everywhere you turn, you can’t help but see red heart-shaped boxes stuffed with chocolate, shiny pink heart-shaped balloons floating around the grocery store. You can even order heart-shaped pizza in some places. I know it can seem like over-kill, whether you are coupled up or not.
Personally, I have always loved Valentine’s Day for the simple fact that it’s my birthday. Booyah!
Let’s face it, as a child, it kind of rocks to have most of the western world all jazzed up on your birthday. Everyone seems to be buzzing around, thinking about love, flowers and candy. And instead of doing math you get to make Valentine’s cards in school. It definitely adds to the fun of your birthday if the people around you are also celebrating in some way or another.
Then you grow up. People get jaded. They have all these expectations that weigh them down or they fall into the depths of despair over what they feel is a miserable reminder of the lack of love or romance in their lives. I can’t tell you exactly how many times that I’ve heard someone say, “I HATE Valentine’s Day.” And even though it must be hundreds of times by now, each time I am horrified. Hate Valentine’s Day? What?!
Setting aside the the fact that it is my birthday, I still find Valentine’s Day one of the best ‘holidays’. What better reason to designate a day as a holiday than LOVE? Isn’t that what every day should be about anyway?
Familial love, romantic love, brotherly love & sisterly love, love of mankind, love of the earth and the animals that inhabit it. Love of your self. Are these not worthy of just a day of our thoughts and energy?
I know. What’s all this yoga-teacher, woo-woo got to do with the giant, furry, stuffed pink and red beast that has become Valentine’s Day? Well, perhaps finding reverence for this day requires a reshaping of your head more than another heart-shaped box of treats delivered to your door.
Perhaps, we remember that love isn’t just something you ‘get’ but it’s something you create. In each moment we have the opportunity to love and be loved. With a kind smile to a stranger. Bringing a co-worker their favorite coffee drink. Telling a friend or family member that they are wonderful. By accepting a compliment graciously, by honoring our own talents and beauty, by looking in the mirror with reverence and compassion instead of judgment. These are all seemingly small things, but can be incredibly potent ways to allow love to move through us.
We don’t need to relegate showing love to only grandiose productions of the romantic kind. There is love all around and within, waiting to be set free. It could be a simple word or look or thought that unleashes the love within.
Look, I’m no Pollyanna. I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak. Literally. Less than 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with an aortic coarctation. The aorta is the largest artery in the heart and my aorta started normally but then collapsed down to 4mm in the middle and then opened back up to normal size. My aorta was shaped like a dumbell, a weight. Essentially, my heart was broken. And, in case you hadn’t heard, it’s kind of important to have a fully functioning heart.
I didn’t see this a merely a physical condition, however. I saw just how my life was being reflected in my body. As I thought back to painful times in my life, to moments of despair, I remembered how during those times, I often felt such pain in my chest that I sometimes doubled over. Not just a little flutter or ache, but sharp physical pain. I knew then that the weight of unresolved conflicts of the past as well as fear, doubt and unhealthy relationships were literally breaking my heart.
After my heart surgery, I knew something had to change and it wasn’t by the hands of doctors. Something had to change in the way I thought. How and what I thought of myself, of others, of the world. If I didn’t change in my head, I was surely going to break my heart to the point of no return.
I continue on that path today. Finding the ways I block myself from receiving and giving love freely and moving through those barriers. It’s not always easy. There are times my thoughts lead me to feel heart-achy about the state of the world, or about aspects in my own life. But I persevere. Asana, meditation, pranayama, along with surrounding myself with good people, give me the fortitude to remember a deeper love: Unconditional Love…for myself and others. Sometimes it comes in the form of softening, sometimes it comes in the form of challenging ourselves, whatever form it takes, unconditional love leads us to the knowing that we are all worthy of it and that it is always abundantly available. It only requires us to remember it, for us to start living it.
So as February 14th rolls around and I see bins of heart-shaped boxes of candy, or stores filled with pink & red balloons and flowers, when I hear the moans and groans, I don’t think of commercialism or Hollywood ideals of love, or what love might mean or not mean to anyone else. Instead, I am reminded that on this day, many years ago, I was born. And that inside this body, I have a heart that even though has been broken and banged up along the way, still beats strong. So amidst the scowls of the jaded or the tears of the lonely, I choose to use my heart and share in the love as best I can, in as many ways as I can.
Maybe this Valentine’s Day, in any seemingly small way, you will choose to do the same. This year, I’m not wishing that you have a Happy Valentine’s Day. This year, I’m inviting you to begin creating the love that you long to be living. XO
The day will come when, after harnessing space,
the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness
for God the energies of love. And, on that day,
for the second time in the history of the world,
humankind will have discovered fire.
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
January 28-30, 2011, Power Yogi, Bryan Kest will be at the Savannah Yoga Center for a weekend workshop. Take the whole workshop or a just a session or two, but don’t miss this opportunity to practice with Bryan. Although he’s only 45 years old, Bryan has been practicing for over 30 years. He is a wealth of knowledge and he’s down to earth about it all.
Bryan’s workshops are challenging physically, mentally and spiritually. Without being a caricature or stereotype of the “woo-woo yoga teacher”, Bryan’s teaching is imbued with a deeper sense of insight than just ‘cranking it out’ on the the yoga mat.
Yes, you will sweat. Yes, it will be physically challenging. But more importantly, he creates the space for you be present, create connectedness and insight in your asana practice and off the mat. And he’s a good ol’ midwestern guy who just happens to have been practicing yoga for 30+ years. You gotta love it.
Tunes in my ear and on my mat…
Pursuit of Happiness (cover) by Lissie… This is another Kid Cudi song, but Lissie (a Midwesterner along with Kid Cudi) rocks it out in such a raw and dirty way that puts to shame most of the young pop stars out there. Kid Cudi loved her homage to this song so much he put it on his site. I play this in my own practice when I want to get down and dirty.
Kothbiro by Ayub Ogada… Kenyan musician Ayub Ogada creates music that is simply divine. This song is beautifully sparse and haunting. Sometimes, a song is so exquisite that it reminds you of the transcendent power of vibration. This song is a great reminder that there are amazing musicians out there creating beautiful music that touches the soul.
Further by The Chemical Brothers… So if you are in a Bob Dylan or Carole King kinda mood, this is differently not the album to put on. You’ll just be aggravated by the whole thing. However, if you feel like going on a inter-galactic journey that will both trance you out and rile you up in rhythmic intervals, then this album is a good start. Here are just a few tracks off the album that will get you started: Snow, Another World , K+D+B, and Swoon. The videos for these songs are shorter than the tracks on the album, but they are nice radio edits nonetheless.
Ok you animal lovers, it’s a call to arms! Or at least a call to your computer clicking fingertips. Fellow Savannah yogini, Constance Gabrielli, of Om in Provence fame, has entered her tiny little Chloé in the Bissell Most Valuable Pet Photo Contest. The grand prize is $10,000 for the charity of their choice. Constance and Chloé have chosen the Humane Society of Greater Savannah as their recipient.
To vote, go to Bissell Most Valuable Pet Photo Contest . You do have to sign in, however, don’t let that stop you from helping us to earn $10k for the many animals that need our help here in Savannah. I signed in and Bissell doesn’t send spam if you don’t subscribe, which is easy enough. Once signed in, click Current Week Voting Period 1 and then ‘view all entries’ tab, where you can do a search. Chloé’s entry number is 7822. Then vote for Chloé!
Voting starts today, 1.12.11, and you can vote once a day for a week, so please vote EVERY day! The biggest winners of each week, move on to the final round to win the grand prize.
So get yer fingers a clickin’ and vote, vote, vote! And pass this on to anyone and everyone you know. There isn’t a day that goes by, here in Savannah, that we don’t see several stray or abused animals around town. It’s simply unacceptable. So if from the comfort of our chairs we can do something to help organizations like the Humane Society of Greater Savannah help these animals, it’s really the least we can do. It will change the lives of many wonderful little creatures and warm our hearts too! So… stop reading this and VOTE already!
I’ll be subbing Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 for the 5:30-7pm class. This is usually an Ashtanga Class, however we won’t be adhering strictly to the Primary Series but there will be many poses from the sequence you will recognize. Bring water and a towel. This will be a vigorous practice. You’ll probably sweat. See you there!
P.S. You can print out the $9 Pass from an earlier post below and use it for this class too!
THIS OFFER HAS EXPIRED. CHECK BACK REGULARLY FOR NICE YOGA PASS TREATS.
As a thank you to dedicated students and a welcoming incentive to new students for the New Year, during the month of January 2011, I want to extend a little treat to you: Click on the $9 Pass below to print and bring it into the Savannah Yoga Center. Normally, $14 classes, you pay only $9 for any of my classes when you bring the pass in. Print as many as you like and use them for any and all of my classes in January 2011 at the Savannah Yoga Center. Pass it on to friends and family as well. Spread the fun!
I’ll be subbing for the Sunday January 2nd, 5:45pm HOT Class at the Savannah Yoga Center. Bring a towel and water. You’re gonna sweat. My Level 2 Class will follow as usual at 7:30pm. See you there!
The original song, Heartbeats is by Swedish band, The Knife. It’s synth-y and snarly, which all you 80’s lovers will enjoy. However, fellow Swedish musician, José González does something magical with his cover of this song.
With a seriously dreamy voice and mad guitar skills, Gonzalez turns an angst-y song, into a slow turning pain that you just don’t want to end. The tenderness and ache is almost so delicious you can taste it and then… it’s over. It’s a short song, but that’s what replay is for, right?
I listened to Banhart’s album What Will We Be throughout my walkabout on the west coast. It’s groovy. It’s trippy. It’s soft. It’s woo-wooey. It’s unexpectedly tender at times and saucy too.
What Will We Be is the kind of album that gets your toe tappin’ for some songs and as you listen to the album more and more, you find the songs you once passed over, are little jems. Check out the video for Baby. It’s absurd and creepy. Woo-hoo! If it’s just too wacky for you, listen to the music and close your eyes.
As it turns out, I am not subbing today’s 4pm HOT Flow Class at the Savannah Yoga Center. I was going to sub for Dawn Tanis, who was also subbing that class but as it turns out, she is able to teach the class after all. Sooooo…. you get to enjoy an AWESOME Hot Flow class today with DAWN TANIS! It’s you’re lucky day y’all! Have a blast.
I will be subbing today’s (Monday) 4pm HOT FLOW class at the Savannah Yoga Center. Bring some water and a towel to wipe up the sweat! See you there.
As it turns out, I am not subbing today’s 4pm HOT Flow Class at the Savannah Yoga Center. I was going to sub for Dawn Tanis, who was also subbing that class but as it turns out, she is able to teach the class after all. Sooooo…. you get to enjoy an AWESOME Hot Flow class today with DAWN TANIS! It’s you’re lucky day y’all! Have a blast.
Global Mala is a worldwide yoga event that brings yogis together to not only practice asana, but also to create potency to the intentions of peace, love and kindness to all. This year, Jeffrey Cohen of Jivamukti Yoga in Charleston will be leading the practice here in Savannah in Johnson Square. It will be a rockin’ flow style of practice with lots of energy. Not only is Global Mala a fun event and a great way to connect with fellow yogis, the money raised from the registration costs go to a worthy cause each year. This year, I am the humble recipient of what we raise for the event.
When local Global Mala organizer, Kate Taylor, of The Yoga Co-Op here in Savannah, heard about my nasty bicycle accident and the hefty medical bills that I accrued from the hospital and doctors, she contacted me and proposed that I be the beneficiary of this year’s Global Mala. I was immediately touched and honored and as time passed, I felt something even more surfacing within me.
The accident was over a few months ago, but the effects of that day linger. Besides the looming medical bills, my body is still adjusting and healing to this day. My heart and mind as well. My physical injuries, thankfully not life threatening, were such that I was essentially housebound for weeks. The skin of the right side of my body was torn off, my hip, knee and face were significantly banged up. I had a nasty concussion, lots of contusions and my left ankle was broken, along with the tendons and ligaments torn.
All I could do for weeks was rest and meditate. I listened to healing affirmations, healing frequencies and chanted healing mantras. I literally did this day in and day out. I had no resistance, no attachment to an outcome. I was simply allowing. The doctor said I would be in the cast for 8 weeks and because of the torn ligaments and tendons, I wouldn’t be walking for 12 weeks, however, within two and a half weeks my ankle had healed enough to no longer need my cast and I was walking around. Within a month, I found myself hiking in the Grand Canyon- appreciating not only the spectacular views around me, but also the wonder of my own healing body. The doctor didn’t quite believe it, even as he watched me walk across his office. He still doesn’t. Fortunately, his belief is not required.
Still, I had a ways to go with healing, much of it emotional and spiritual. Part of this healing came in the form of so much love from friends, family and strangers. Beyond the obvious gift of helping me raise money to pay the many bills accrued from being out of work for over a month and medical fees, the generosity of heart that so many have extended to me, has given me the opportunity to practice receiving love with grace- a practice that I have not yet mastered but that I am learning more and more about each day thanks to all of you.
I had been much more comfortable being the giver- whether it was a kind word, a shoulder to lean on or the money in my pocket, it was easy for me to give. As it turns out, however, I wasn’t able to receive graciously very well- to receive without guilt or shame or the immediate need to repay to “make things fair”. It became clear that if I couldn’t receive love and kindness with the same openness that I was able to give it, then I wasn’t living as openly and fluidly as I wanted to. I was resisting the natural flow of things.
We only need to notice our breathing for the most obvious of examples: every inhale is followed by exhale and every exhale followed by inhale. We allow the breath in. We allow the breath out. We cannot do one or the other. We must allow both to move through us. Being the beneficiary of so much kindness and love lately, I have been given the opportunity to practice the beauty of receiving gracefully. I had become quite adept at giving freely, but what is an exhale without the inhale? The natural flow of love is to both give and receive.
What I know to be true is that Love, whether in the form of a hug, a kind word, or food, shelter or help during tough times- we all deserve it. Unconditionally. Not when we reach a certain state of being, not when we get the right job, not when we lose the weight, not when we make amends, not when we not when we become “better”. Not at some future destination. We all deserve Love right now. Right now. Each of us. All of us. Me. You. And it starts by practicing knowing this from within. It starts by Loving ourselves.
I am not only the beneficiary of the money raised from Global Mala, the SYC Calendar, and the donations of many others. Through your offering of love and kindness, I have been given the opportunity to receive graciously, to be inquisitive to where I am living opening and expansively and to notice where I have walls that I have built up against love and this time, I have taken some of those bricks down. The sage Rumi said it so well:
Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
Your love and kindness is not lost on me and as I extend it back to you, know that it comes freely and from a place of deep knowing that we are all worthy, just as we are.
I’m back from my work out west at the Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary and my walkabout in California. Initially, I thought that I’d document my journeys on the Blog. I know that’s what our culture does now- every thought, experience and photo is uploaded into the virtual world for all to devour. Simply put, I didn’t want to do that.
As much as part of me felt like I should be letting everyone know what I was up to, a bigger part of me knew that these experiences were for me to have-without the distraction of trying to quantify or qualify through words or photos. I am still processing and integrating all of it and probably will be for a while to come.
It’s been an interesting and expansive few years for me and in particular an interesting and profound last few months. Healing from my bicycle incident was the culmination of many years of uncovering blocks and walls within myself to begin to truly live openly and expansively in each moment. That is the work. That is the pratice. That is yoga.
I hope to see you in one of my classes soon so that I may share with you, in some small way, what I am learning to live each day.
Keep posted to the blog. Good things to come. Until then, I offer you much love and deep gratitude for the love and kindness you have shown me in so many ways.
Tomorrow, Saturday, June 19th at 11am, I’ll be back for the first time to teach since the Bicycle Incident. Join me at the Savannah Yoga Center, Saturday for a Flow Class. Bring some water and maybe a little towel for potential sweating. Hey… just because I’ve been laid up for weeks doesn’t mean I don’t remember how make a room sweat a little!
And spread the word that this is not only my first week back, but also my last week before I head out West for a month and a half. So if you’ve been hankering for a Dawn S. Yoga Class, mosey on down to the Savannah Yoga Center tomorrow and get yer fill! And check out my Teaching Schedule page for the other dates/times I’ll be teaching this week. I can’t wait to see you all there!
Ron Higgins passed away Monday, June 14, 2010. Many folks knew Ron because of the wonderful accomplishments in his business and in the community here in Savannah. I knew Ron because a year or so ago he started practicing yoga and coming regularly to my classes. Not to mention, Ron was everywhere: at the coffee shops, in the park, at the stores, and sometimes he’d roll up next to you on the side of the road out of nowhere!
I keep hearing him referred to as “Hollywood” Ron in sound bites and news clips. I know that’s just an easy way to identify him by the media, but this the Ron that I knew:
Ron always greeted me with this phrase, “Whassup Girrrrl?!” accompanied by a GIANT smile.
He follow up that greeting with a hug. Ron hugged like a bear! He hugged so tight and long that sometimes I’d wonder if I was going to lose consciousness! All the while, he’d be chatting away about this and that and complimenting me about something.
When I mentioned an interest in learning to drive a scooter someday, without a hesitation, Ron offered to teach me and let me use his scooter for as long as I wanted.
When I had the bicycle ‘incident’ and I was out of commission, Ron texted me that anything I needed- he’d help me with and followed it with hundreds of XO’s. Not just a line or two, but pages worth.
In my yoga classes, Ron would sweat like a fiend (a trait we had common!) and no matter what we did or how challenging it was, he’d at least try it- with a smile. After class he’d hug me, all sweaty and shakin’ his head with a big ol’ grin, he’d say, “Dang Girrrl, you’re brutal! You know I love it!”
Ron was enthusiastic, wacky and kind. He was up for anything and always had a kind word. EVERY time I saw Ron, I would say or at least think to myself, “Ron Higgins you are ridiculous! … and I love it!”
The last time I saw Ron, he was joking around in my backyard. I’m grateful just thinking about seeing him smile and getting that last big hug from him.
I am happy that I had the privilege of sharing a little time here on earth with Ron. I send my love to his family and close loved ones. Yes, I will miss seeing him, hearing him and getting big ol’ hugs from him. I didn’t always know this, but I know it now: He is always here. He is part of us all.