Urban Eco Yoga

Urban Eco Yoga

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First, let me say that for the past three weeks I’ve been stuck on trying to write blog posts that seem only to beget further blog posts in a long story about the past 4 months that I’m afraid, dear reader, will never get told chronologically. But it’s OK because time isn’t really chronological either. But wait, I digress. So today I decided the only way to tell you about my path is to write about the yogini’s practice day by day. So on to today…

 

Urban Eco Yoga

OK, OK, I know the title
is reaching
so hard to be hip,
I realize I must apologize,
but I just couldn’t help myself.
It’s not a brand, I swear, it’s just what I did today.

I’m apologizing because
you know
these days…

~~~ y o g a ~~~
has got to be marketed
as a cool, sexy,
athletic, hot, sweaty,
bikini cladden,
six pack, spiritual,
erotic & exotic,
core strength enlightened,
everlasting fountain of youth
and above all eco friendly way to

~~~ be ~~~
in harmony with yourself
and the world while
you
c h i l l
o u t 
r e l a x x x
and get mellow while tending to
and detoxifying your
precious temple of a body,
or maybe just keep it moving one more day
so you can keep sucking up this precious breath called life
and breathing back joy to the world!

But wait, there’s more…
You can purify your mind
of all that shit inside you
that gets in your way
when you try to
be 
who
YOU
really
are
naturally resting in your own true nature.

And you really really can.
It’s right here.
Now.

Because today I really did
do
urban
eco
yoga. 
I invited the snow to love my body
and the earth to soak up the pain
and the sun to radiate my mind
as the planes left disappearing trails
in the perfect blue sky
while solo seagulls mysteriously soared high above
heading north following the storm
while I moved my body with my breath
and came into wholeness in prasarita padasana
while my neighbors car came on automatically
to warm up, no more than 15 feet from where I am
breathing, moving, receiving and loving the earth.

And I thought to myself how the central Americans don’t understand that the car will be OK when its 29 degrees out. You don’t need to warm it up for 20 minutes. You are the one who is understandably cold having come from a place where there is no snow, but your car is not really that cold. I once lived in northern New Hampshire, and most cars don’t really have that much trouble until it hits about 20 below zero and then you’d better have a engine block heater, or half an hour to warm up your car (if you can get it started) just to make it so the transmission fluid thaws enough to allow the gears to move, and the oil can actually circulate to keep all the parts moving. 

And then realizing that I was thinking…
about my neighbor so uncharitably because I was uncomfortable with the possibility that he had been watching me do yoga in the snow, and I wouldn’t really blame anyone who didn’t know me and saw me doing that thinking I was really crazy, loco, or whatever you call it in your lingo when you see a nearly 60 year old woman with a big belly and breasts rolling around in the snow in her back yard smiling ecstatically.

And then realizing that thinking had gotten me out of the flow.
This mind is like that.
It gets poked by the world and tries to push it away with anger.
And then when the yogini sees the anger story and drops it the mind comes back to the underlying fear story.

It hears a car turn on and immediately jumps to feeling labeled as crazy, and then invents a story to defend against the more painful story of having had that really said about me to me publicly, before a listening crowd of 100+ people, in an AA meeting, in New Hampshire when I was living in the place where I learned about what real cold can do to cars and when I was barely hanging on to not committing suicide because the ptsd had gotten so bad that I hadn’t slept in 3 months because nightmares would wake me up screaming and consequently all my mental defenses broke down and I fell into a pit of remembering and re-seeing and re-hearing horrors and terrors of childhood. In that state I was told “You don’t belong here.” by a man who stood up to say it. After attending thousands of AA meetings, 7 years of abiding with everyone’s story because that’s how that program works. After the meeting there were 99 people who had nothing to say to me. It was life threatening. I almost died. 

The mind is like that.
It picks up the thread again and again even after the yogini dropped it in her practice again and again and is now simply writing about having a story intrude on today’s practice.

After the yogini drops the fear story, it goes on to an annihilation story.

So now you know the practice can become noticing thoughts and stories and ways of reacting to the world as if stories about the world were true. And seeing that they are all just thoughts. I see myself letting that old shit get in the way of now and so I turn back, away from these thoughts to…

my practice of simply

~~ being ~~
~~ breathing ~~
~~ moving ~~
~~ seeing ~~
~~ sensing ~~
~~ feeling ~~
~~ breathing ~~
~~ being ~~

in the web of life
in my urban home
and radiating gratitude back
to the snow and the earth and the sun and the sky and the airplane trail and the mysterious seagulls and the air and the trees and the dog who is barking two backyards over and even my neighbor who didn’t say a word when he finally saw me, though he had to try hard not to stare.

So when the asana practice comes to an end
and the interrupting thoughts come to an end,
I decide to build a wall.

Yes, a wall between me and my Latino neighbor.
No, I am not.
Not supporting Donald Trump.
I’m just trying to get some privacy for my urban eco yoga
so as to not let being self-conscious
get my mind off on a trip again of stories that
have no useful meaning to me or my neighbor now.
Thoughts that I do not want to belong to.
Gotta take it in stages, you know, letting go of those stories.

And then again, how long has it been since I built a snow wall to hide behind?
At least 15 years.
What better way to continue todays urban eco yoga practice than to
crawl around on all fours
in the snow
in my back yard
under my dormant wild plum trees that have terrible thorns but make really fantastic plum conserve, so I decided to call them my nemesis trees that I can’t get rid of but can’t stop loving anyway despite it’s thorns even as I dodge them while rolling up my snow boulders hoping I won’t get pricked in the head.

Rolling balls of snow up and packing them together
to made a modestly sized privacy screen
and not doing the ghetto thing
you know, hanging up some wires to some poles
and hanging an old bed sheet.
so
I
can
get
down
and
naked
in the
sunlight
in the city
roll around
in the snow
and
make love
to the earth
while
the sun bathes us
in radiance

I’m taking my yoga back yoga to the yoga
of the cave yogis in Himalayas walking naked clothed in charnel ground ashes and bathing in the ice cold Ganges as she flows forth from the womb of the mountains to purify the sins the yogis have taken on for others as an act of devotion — taking on another’s karma and living a life that burns karma up in the heat of practice and turns it into bliss and then even the bliss is purified and there is emptiness in the blueness we call sky. Or maybe they are just bums begging for alms and the ashes, dreadlocks and holding your arm up in the air pointing towards God and never putting it down, never. It just atrophies there after a few years while the uncut fingernails curl inward toward the withered hand. All that is just their act. Or not. And they really are burning up karmic baggage to free people from the wheel of living life after life trying to learn how to be free.

I know that a Providence back yard snow practice can’t compare
to how high you get in the thin mountain air of Mount Kailash
with nothing but azure blue sky above you and Lake Mansarovar reflecting the cloudless clear eye of limitless space. But I live here, in Providence. And limitless space is here too.

And my devotion is not to the god above but to the earth below around above and within me. Earth, this loving organism I happen to exist within at the beginning of the 21st century. I am consciously loving it back because the earth web of life is rippling and ripping apart in crisis that I cannot stop. And yet I must do something. I can love, I can listen, see, feel, breathe unfettering my mind, throwing away my framework and just  experience the web and the ecstatic beauty of it all, even the people on the bus who smell so bad you can’t get within 3 yards of them without gagging. Especially then I’m taking in the karma of isolation and powerlessness and othering and especially the crazy collective dream that destroys our home, the earth. I’m breathing it in when I can and breathing out love which is the only antidote I have to this particular karmic time bomb I call earth crisis.

And I am a woman. Yogini are as common as pennies these days, but in the arc of time and the history of yoga I am rare because I am not a man.

Because I am a woman and I am not reaching heavenward, but earthward, I can sit upon a pile of snow and feel the snow compact and conform to the contours of my vulva, welcoming the snow and the earth into me
as my sacred divine sexual pure love nature inhabits me during this sacred act of connection and devotion that joins my axis with the spiraling mirrored trees of life that are churning the divine ocean of existence into being at this very moment.

Providence founded upon the principle of freedom in religious conscious, so certainly Providence can have a snow yogini.

Why not?

And who the hell cares if an old hippie
has to do her practice with her body
touching the ground?

And then I went inside and got my phone and snapped some pictures for you so you could see today’s practice in case you didn’t feel like reading all that much.

 

 

 

 

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Rest – Good for You & the Planet

Rest – Good for You & the Planet

I’ve been resting a lot lately. I got tired after 3 months of intense mourning following the death of my sister, lots and lots of open awareness meditation walking, a spiritual rebirth, an “adventurous” holiday peak traffic drive to Virginia (and back), and a week of intense study of tantric yoga with my teacher Gary Kraftsow.

(I’d like to write a post on each on those experiences — but that will have to wait for now.)

I’m resting by relaxing with my husband or hanging out with friends, sitting in my comfy chair and reading, taking slow walks.

Rest is a vital part living life in balance. Continue reading “Rest – Good for You & the Planet”

The Love Factor in Climate Change

The Love Factor in Climate Change

I think a revolution of love of our planet, our home, and the web of life itself, of which we are a part is tremendously motivating as a basis for addressing the current earth crisis.

As an educator for the past 30 years I’ve found that positive motivation is almost always more effective that negative behavior management.

I invite you to fall in love with the planet and the 8.7 billion life forms that live here. Don’t forget that you are one of those life forms too!

Love the planet.  Your path will be energized. Your way will be made clear.

In other words, what we need is a revolution of love. When we as a society learn to see the planet and everything on it as beings deserving of respect — in their own right and not just for their use to us — then we won’t need to appeal to climate change to do all the best things that the climate change warriors would have us do.

“What We Do to Nature, We Do to Ourselves” by Charles Eisenstein 

————————————————————-

I ask you this question: What do you love?

Please reply in comments section.

 

Earth Draws you Close to it’s Heart

How interesting that both this poem and this plaque should appear on my path so soon after one another.

Plant a tree
When a man plants a tree he plants himself every root is an anchor over which he rests with grateful interest and becomes sufficiently calm to feel the joy of living. – John Muir

II, 16

Each thing –
each stone, blossom, child –
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

What does this poem say to you? Post below.

——–

I found this poem on the website for 18-springs yoga studio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Thank-you to Sydney Hughes McGee for posting it there. I especially resonate with their mission statement.

What does the poem mean to you?

Healing the Fear with Love

Healing the Fear with Love

I am inspired by a recent New York Times interview with bell hooks, and feel supported in my personal understanding that the healing of the tremendous amount of fear, anger, isolation and powerlessness that people are experiencing can be healed by a spiritual path of connection.

My work is with the Earth crisis, which comes out of the “imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” (to quote bell’s phrase) of dominating the earth and the web of life itself which is in the end an especially virulent form of insanity that is leading us to the suicidal destruction of our home, the planet, which is a web of life of which we are but one part.

Continue reading “Healing the Fear with Love”

Connection Heals

Connection Heals

On a recent Saturday I went to the Church Beyond the Walls that meets in Burnside Park in Providence, RI and is an open worship community that welcomes all people regardless of what challenges they may be facing. The heart of this community’s teaching is love — through the experience of being loved and served as well as the experience of loving and serving others. Continue reading “Connection Heals”