As I write this, member of my tribe are fasting, remembering the dead, and practicing forgiveness. On Yom Kippur, Jews will put the finishing touches on the new year — and forgiveness is key: like Buddhism, which sees forgiveness as a practice of cleansing, Jews use the time of the new year to encourage themselves to give up grudges and background discontent which keeps us away from the delight present. I entered 2018 much the same way, facilitating a number of workshops that combined Yin Yoga with reflecting on forgiveness through writing. Mostly, we know what it feels like when you don’t practice forgiveness:
Summer is all about playing a bit more – you might be slowing down from work to spend more time in your garden, or on the river, or in the woods. Whatever you do, don’t mistake slowing down for flatlining. My thesaurus does. For slow, it says Sluggish. Slack. Dim. Dumb. Bumper-to-bumper. But I say: Deliberate. Designed. Calculated. Conscious.
I recently participated in a three-day poetry festival, teaching a yoga & writing workshop, and stage managing the evening readings. My dear friend Melissa Tuckey, who co-founded the festival stayed with me — which all but guaranteed days bookmarked with coffee-or-wine conversations. She had recently launched Ghost Fishing, the first poetry anthology with “an eco-justice bent.” (See “what I’m reading” in my May newsletter for more.)
I suppose the juxtaposition of yoga and cigarettes don’t mix, but I was a smoker for about twenty years. I’d often light up after a nice sweaty practice. I loved smoking. I loved the thrill of stealing cigarettes from my parents when I was 12.
I’ve told the story in my classes before – but never here — that I discovered yin yoga during a particularly painful bout of lower back pain in my 30s when I was teaching vinyasa and I thought that should be helping my back but instead it was making things much worse. I would wake up in the morning and have trouble putting on a pair of jeans. In addition to feeling like shit physically, I felt like a total loser – who’d would want to take yoga from a person whose flexibility precluded her from wearing pants?
I hope that you brought in the New Year surrounded by loved ones, relaxed and warm! Those of us on the East Coast have been suffering under a spell of sub-freezing temperatures, and a lived experience of the alarm-sounding meteorological term, bomb cyclone.
As though I needed an excuse, about a month back, I took a 50-hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Biff Mithoefer. After ten years of teaching Yin (and now teaching yoga teachers how to teach Yin well), I wasn’t really expecting to pick up many new tricks. What I love about Yin is