Monday, May 31, 2010

Living in the Layers

I was walking down to the beach the other day from my house through one of my favorite alley ways to find a young man peeing on a wall. I giggled at the young kid, whipping his pee all over a nice white wall. He seemed really into it, as though he was painting a picture with his urine....hmmmm. I casually turned down the street and avoided any uncomfortable interaction.

After a quick swim in the ocean I walked back up to my house via the alley way I had previously avoided to find this. Gross but fun!

As Stanley Kunitz once said, "Live in the layers, not on the litter."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A little Sunday Bukowski Poem

I like it... Bukowski has a knack for making his point in such a way that I have to read it twice.... he always makes me think outside of my yoga bubble. Thanks Charles! Enjoy..

Side of the Sun

the bulls are grand as the side of the sun
and although they kill them for the stale crowds,
it is the bull that burns the fire,
and although there are cowardly men,
generally the bull stands pure
and dies pure
untouched by symbols or cliques or false loves,
and when they drag him out
nothing has died
something has passed
and the eventual stench
is the world.

- Charles Bukowski as written in 'Burning in Water Drowning in Flame'

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Joints-Keeping Them Natural

As an athlete and ex dancer I have asked and continue to ask a lot of my joints. For me it started in the knees in my late teens with knee surgery, followed by some shoulder injuries from hitting the sand bar at low tide on fun playful days of surf. A good friend and student of mine, Ben Rubin, is a top notch othropedic surgeon in Newport Beach. If your knee or shoulder gets blown out, Ben is the man you want to fix it. Each time we get together for yoga I think of how he just came from the operating room, probably installing artificial joints. He once asked me why he sees so many yogis with messed up knees and shoulders. He is one of the most committed students I have, practicing yoga five days a week to create space and mobility in his joints. It may be counter intuitive but Ben does not want you to get a knee or shoulder replacement.

Sadly I have watched a generation of Taliban yogis come forward that are either not interested, are bored by, or just don't know that the practice of yoga is to find balance between strong effort and EASE. A type of personality who seeks the push, the sweat and the workout, smashing their bodies into the deepest poses possible to get a sensation and a pair of Madonna arms. Now I admit, I love a good sweat and really can get into an intense practice, and yes, the result of consistently showing up on your mat can create some pretty beautiful arms... however, can we do this without the striving, without the push?

We all have different personalities and therefore different approaches to our bodies and yoga practices. A more fiery personality might need to approach their practice with a touch more grace and ease, while a more complacent personality will need to approach their practice with more energy and effort. One of the most exciting and encouraging gifts our yoga practice gives us is the ability to heal. We can either step onto our mats with aggression, sensation hunting, or, we can have faith that this ancient practice will simply unfold for us. And yes, you can sweat, you can develop some hot arms, and the best part of all, you can heal. I constantly hear myself asking my students to respect their joints, find ease in this part of their structure and they will keep them natural. Preservation... We only get one set of real ones in this lifetime.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Retreat Time

I have not written for awhile due to a well needed rest up in Big Sur. During my time I was able to focus on my yoga practice, step away from teaching, and step into the space that Big Sur provides. Every time I set my planner down, leave my cell phone and computer and drive away, the questions and worries that swirl around in my head lose their power. In the space good ideas take the spotlight.

While up there soaking in sulfer hot springs and in my thoughts I decided it was time to share my latest project with everyone. For the past year I have been brainstorming with my good friend, student, and partner Ally Lopez Eckert. This fall Ally and I will be opening a yoga retreat center on the North Shore of Kauai. The picture above is sunset from the back porch of the house we will be using for the retreat center... It is a unique and beautiful location with all the healing energy of the North Shore. I will have more information and plenty of pictures in a few months!

Until then, whether it's somewhere local where we can turn off the noise of our day to day routine, or a far off tropical paradise, I hope we can all plan a little personal retreat for ourselves.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Collective Wisdom

A great teacher and good friend of mine, Tim Brown, started this section of health and fitness on Surfline. Tim is truly an amazing healer and has put together an eclectic group of health professionals and respected athletes for this latest article. Whether you are a surfer or a yogi I think we can all enjoy this latest read.