All posts by Leaflin Winecoff

Leaflin Winecoff is an Atmananda-vinyasa certified instructor, with over 10 years experience practicing yoga. She currently resides in sunny Santa Cruz.

The Blissful Spine

This came from some notes for a class I recently gave — thought I’d share.

What does Bliss feel like? Is it extreme pleasure, or is it (as Swami Satyananda Saraswati, among others, says) more accurately defined as the absence of pleasure or pain, a state beyond mere pleasure and pain, a pure merging with all that is.

So, what does this mean for our yoga practice? That yoga is not practiced to make us FEEL anything — although certainly both agony and ecstasy can be induced. It is all too tempting at times for some of us to push for a feeling (of ecstasy) and through pushing too hard, wind up in agony. The reverse can be true, too……that by enduring a bit of agony, ecstasy may come as the reward. Then again sometimes, for some of us, it’s just about feeling something, ANYTHING (see my earlier post, The Yoga Addict :).  However, this is not the true goal in asana.

The nature of the spine is to be blissful.  The nature of the spine is to be a channel for force to flow through. It is not for force to act on. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Sadly, so many of us are so accustomed to feelings of pain in the spine that the mere absence of pain may translate as pleasure. To be an effective channel, the spine should not be obstructed. It should not be disturbed. The spine should be supported, but not locked in a vice grip. The spine should feel free.

Of course, this is not to say that the spine does not move in yoga and in life! As we know, the spine has an incredible range of movement. Healthy mobility and healthy stability are not mutually exclusive. They always coexist. They rely on one another.

If there is an obstruction to the flow of energy through the spine, how can we remove the blockage without putting force on the spine? We utilize the breath to unclog the channel. We use the breath to access the force behind the breath — prana, chi, life-force, mojo.  This is the key: movement of the spine, whether slight or extreme, is always initiated from the inside, from a base of support and freedom.  Movement of energy through the channel of the spine  inspires the outward movement of the body, rather than forcing movement of the outer body in hopes of clearing the spine.  So, from a practical perspective, what does this mean? How do we support the spine in an authentic way, through a wide variety of movements?

Let’s first re-think the spine. What are some words we would use to describe the spine? Perhaps what comes to mind first is the skeletal spine. Which is, of course, important, but over-emphasis on this one system may lead us into a narrow experience of the spine described by words like “bony”,”fragile”, “segmented” …all of these are accurate descriptions of the spine in a sense, but they are not the whole story. The spine, like the rest of the body, is multi-dimensional. All of the body’s systems operate through movement of energy through the channel of the spine. And all of the body’s systems support one another, not just the skeleton supporting everything else.

What about the digestive system? My current yoga teacher Lisa Clark poetically refers to the digestive tract as the “serpentine spine”, and emphasizes using the digestive tract as support for the skeletal spine in asana practice. This has been incredibly effective for me in finding not just fluidity but also strength in my practice, as I learn to source strength from the dense, buoyant and moist quality that the organs offer. In fact, developmentally, the organs form before the skeleton. The spine and ribcage grow around and in response to the organs. So it makes sense to move from the organs and allow the skeleton to follow, thinking of the body as a suspension in the matrix of gravity and levity, rather than letting the organs just “hang” from the outer structure. Considering the entire digestive tract — from mouth and soft palate to the anus — as an aspect of spine is a powerful tool for rethinking the axis of the body and where movement comes from, which in turn can profoundly affect the quality and experience of movement itself.

What are some other aspects of the spine? There is the nervous system, that delicate and sensitive passageway for electrical impulses and cerebro-spinal fluid, that precious transmitter of movement from the brain to the body at large, of sensation from the rest of the body to the brain. What are the qualities of this dimension of spinal awareness? How does awareness of these qualities affect movement?

A useful exercise may be to practice a simple movement (like rolling up from uttanasana to tadasana, or good old cat/cow) initiating movement of the spine from different systems — from bones, from the jelly-like disks between the vertebrae, from the lungs, from the nervous system, from the organs, etc. To take it a step further, allow the movement to evolve carried by whatever system is being focused on. See what asanas may spontaneously arise from awareness of the different aspects of “spine”. I have found that by allowing the bony spine to be supported and “carried by” other systems, instead of trying to use the bony spine and muscles to support and “carry” the other systems, the inner channel of the spine is liberated, and energy may flow more freely, thereby inspiring further movement (or stillness).  When the spine is calm in asana and we are not distracted by extreme physical sensations, we can attune ourselves more fully to our breath and the  subtle sensations of prana  moving through sushumna, the etheric level of spine, the true “core” of the body. When the central channel of the body has been cleansed this way, gently and  from the inside, that is when the illusive feeling (or non-feeling) of Bliss is likely to spontaneously arise.  That “pure merging with all that is.” And that’s what it’s all about, right?

Restorative Yoga: Aversion and Embrace (plus a rant on consumerism)

I have recently taken my first 2 restorative yoga workshops, and I may be premature in saying this, but I think I might be hooked.

It shocks me to say this! I have never had any interest in restorative yoga. Then again, there was a time I didn’t have an interest in any yoga at all. And one of the many lessons I’ve learned from my practice is that the practices I have an aversion to initially often become the ones most important to me. So I’m open to and excited about this shift.

Why have I had an aversion to restorative practice? Well, one of the main reasons is that I’ve always had an aversion to using lots of props, which restorative yoga definitely requires. I’ve just never felt comfortable dealing with all that STUFF – lugging it around, setting it up, etc.  That’s one of the reasons I have loved yoga so…..because all I really need to practice is my body. I love the simplicity of that, being able to practice anytime, anywhere. It’s not so much an aversion to seeking support in a pose, but preferring to find that support in the form of trees, playground equipment, the scarf I’m wearing, etc. This attitude has given me a lot of freedom and spontanaeity in my practice which I cherish and have tried to protect.

Part of my aversion to props is in rebellion against what I see as the rampant consumerism and commercialism that has found its way into the world of yoga. I have been thoroughly disgusted trying to read an article in Yoga Journal only to find advertisements (and sometimes really bad ones) on EVERY SINGLE PAGE, and dismayed at times walking into a yoga studio seeking peace and relief from the street only to find a boutique full of accessories and the familiar feeling of desire welling up….that if only I had this or that item, my practice would be so much better. Yes, I have built a fortress of stubbornness  about “accessorizing” my yoga practice, to protect this sacred space in my life from the corrosive effects of the greed I know I’m susceptible to.

I’d like to just mention here, with regards to the many yoga boutiques opening up all over…..they are not evil, I know, but let it be known also that there ARE other options. One of my prime influences is the amazing teacher I did my 1st teacher training with back in 1999, Diane Wilson of Portland, OR. The only thing for sale in her studio is the highest quality yoga instruction, enhanced with homespun props like lots of knee-socks looped together for straps, basketballs, hoola-hoops and any number of fun objects that find their way into her space. She remains my greatest inspiration for this and other reasons.

Well, if I get down to the heart of the matter I can see that both my aversion to props and the consumerist aspect of yoga stem from the same place: ah, that ol’ devil, ego! As the sage Bob Marley says, “Every need got an ego to feed” – in the case of comsumerist yogis, the need for products proclaiming “I am a Yogi”; in my case, the need to define myself as a particular kind of yogi that doesn’t need props. Well – I’m ready to acknowledge that perhaps I’ve been silly and neurotic about that, and that I’m ready to break with my ego on this point.

Speaking of ego, that is another reason restorative yoga has perhaps not held much allure for me. Quite frankly, restorative yoga doesn’t do much to entertain the ego. And quite frankly, the healing that happens in yoga practice often begins at that level. For me it did. When I discovered yoga at the age of 20, I had been struggling throughout my teenage years with a coctail of depression, low self-esteem, negative body image and food-addiction. Yoga helped me to learn to love my body based not on what it looked like but on what it could do! How marvelously it could function, the beautiful poses it could perform! So, in the beginning my practice was definitely geared towards learning fancy and exotic poses, and this was healing to me on many levels. My body became healthier, my self-esteem increased, and old energetic knots came undone. I re-learned the feeling I had as a child, of feeling at home and happy in my skin, and that I deserve this feeling; that it is my birthright. What a precious gift.

As we know, yoga is a gift that keeps on giving, and an authentic practice will keep on evolving. In the Body-Mind Centering training I’m doing, we are required to take some restorative classes. And thus my world was gently rocked.

I took 2 classes.  The 1st consisted of all floor poses, “easy” stuff accessable to pretty much anyone. The 2nd was more advanced, using chairs and more complicated set-ups to get into inversions and backbends. In both, we used the head-wrap, which is kind of a gauzy ace-bandage thing wrapped around the eyes and head.  This closes off the eyes and gives a nice gentle pressure to the skull which supports pratyahara. I love this – though apparently it makes some folks crazy. Then we proceeded into a series of reclining and semi-recling poses using all the props – bolsters, blocks, straps, etc. The poses mostly lasted 10-15 minutes each. Some of them were effortlessy yummy.  Some started out feeling awful (like the 10- minute down-dog with hands on a chair) but then became blissful (as I finally let the top lobes of my lungs open up!) And many of them were physically uncomfortable and frustrating throughout, even more frustrating because they seemed like they were supposed to be “easy”. Part of it is the “princess and the pea” syndrome – every little wrinkle in the folded blanket can be disruptive to the nervous system. And part of it is just the nature of the beast. It made me see I don’t mind working hard but I want to see obvious results, like a handstand, dammit! But I proceeded as an act of faith, and the rewards came. At the end of each class, I had the feeling of being in some sort of clear, bright, yet cocoon-like space. It wasn’t the endorphinated rush of a vinyasa practice. I could feel the delicacy of cerebro-spinal fluid moving . And I liked it. If you’ll forgive me a drug analogy….a friend and I joked that if kundalini yoga is like doing a line of cocaine, then restorative yoga is like taking an opiate. I suspect somewhere there is a scientific expanation to support this…

Beyond the feeling directly after class, I noticed that my body felt different in my regular practice. I was more in touch with deeper openings; my breath felt freer. This is valuable. I don’t know if I will ever let go of my more vigorous practices. They still feed me. But its true that my body and mind are evolving in the process of age…the gift that comes along with stiff knees and the like is a deeper and more subtle awareness.  Being able to go further than ever into practice, more safely and precisely. The vigorous practice becomes sustained less by muscle-power and grit and more by that subtle awareness. Restorative yoga can support this growth.

The Yoga Addict

My name is Leaflin, and I am addicted to yoga. Some would call this discipline, and sometimes I do, too. But the truth is that, yeah, I’m about as disciplined as the alcoholic that goes to the bar every night. I feel the pains of Life trapped in a human body and bound to the laws of human nature, and yoga is the medicine/drug that brings me the most relief.  And so I practice.

Ok, so yoga is a “healthy addiction” — is there such a thing? I’m inclined to say yes, and that yoga is one. I mean, possible side effects may include: flexibility, longevity, strength, balance, beauty, bliss, compassion and maybe even enlightenment! To name just a few. That sure beats the usual possible list of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, diarrhea, hives and sexual dysfunction…… so yeah, yoga seems preferable to most of the habit-forming “remedies” pushed at us by advertisers every day. Plus, it’s virtually free. And legal! The main thing it costs that many aren’t willing to spend is time. So I’m grateful that yoga is my favorite fix.

However, in the name of svadyaya (self-study, an important tenet of yoga — though some may interpret this as self-indulgent “navel-gazing”) I feel compelled to take a deeper look at my attitude towards and relationship with my yoga practice, and recognize that indeed there is a difference between discipline and an addiction (even a healthy one.) The first thing that comes to mind is the matter of attachment. One of the many beautiful seeming contradictions of yoga is that it simultaneously teaches us non-attachment to our human selves, but the same time reverence for our human bodies and individual souls. So if I’m so attached to my practice that I’m flipping out after 3 days without it (even recognizing that not all practice is “on the mat”), I think that warrants investigation.

Most of us take up our spiritual practices for the same root reason that addicts take up their addictions: relief from suffering. Whether it was suffering over the question of “Who am I?” or more along the lines of “Why is my butt so big?” — or some combination of the 2 — “How much of who I am is determined by the size of my butt?” I’ve always maintained that there is no wrong reason to take up yoga. But unlike with addictions, in authentic spiritual practice progress is unavoidable. When the “perfect butt” is achieved, what then?  A deeper suffering revealed. A new and more slippery question arises. If we are paying attention. And if we’re really practicing yoga, we are. Iyengar said something along the lines of, “When we first begin to practice, we have surface pains. When we become advanced, we have deep pains.”

It has occurred to me to wonder…..would I continue to practice if I weren’t suffering? Is it possible that I conjure up suffering in my life, because my suffering informs my practice, which I’m so attached to? Is it possible that I perpetuate the same kinds of suffering in my life repeatedly, because I’ve become accustomed to knowing how to “fix” the sufferings I’ve gotten used to? Ooh. Now we’re getting somewhere. I guess we all have a sort of “comfort zone” of sufferings. These are the addictive thought patterns underlying all addictions, both healthy and non, so often just beneath the level of consciousness, that the yogis call “samskaras”. Clever that the word “scar” is nestled in the word “samskara”, because that’s an accurate way to describe those tough psychic knots. As well as the sort of numbness that develops like scar tissue around our most habitual patterning, to protect us from the tender jewel of truth at the heart of them. Authentic yoga practice is be a way to cultivate sensitivity, not to feed the numbness.

Yet, its easy to get stuck at a sort of maintenance level of practice — “I did my yoga, so I’m ok” sort of thing. And I guess that’s really not so bad. Again, yoga at the level of healthy addiction. Quite frankly, many of us these days practice yoga as a means of survival. And in this moment in time, survival is hardy underrated. On the contrary, it’s a huge achievement, given what we have to deal with on a daily basis. Few of us dare to hope for enlightenment. We’re not sure what it is, and we think we don’t have time for it! Plus, here in the jaded 21st century US, it can be kind of a hard hope to take seriously. And that’s an understandable position to take, considering.

Nevertheless. It’s also legitimate to ask the question….what would be possible if I could break my addictions to the sufferings that have inspired my yoga practice? What seeds of deeper sufferings would I find? What fruits would my practice yield if I could transcend the cycle of ”breaking” and “fixing” myself? Or if I were able to consistently cultivate peace and joy in my life and still choose to practice evey day? Maybe part of me doesn’t believe I deserve to be so happy. Maybe part of it is I’m afraid of the responsiblity it would be to shine so brightly. Maybe part of me is still attached to the parts of myself that on occasion still seem “separate” from my yoga practice — vices like the occasional cigarrette, whiskey and wine, the dark artwork I like to create….the Darkness that is the mother of my Light. What if I could truly embrace what I know: that yes, Darkness is the mother of Light, that practice is the gift of suffering — and open myself fully to recieve the mysterious gift of true practice? I might be a yoga addict no longer. And there would be no such thing as a day without practice.

Fasting Tips

Well, now it’s day 8 of my fast, and I’m definitely over the hump. Here are some of the things that are keeping me going.

1) CULTIVATE AN ATTITUDE OF ABUNDANCE. There are these crazed moments when fasting (esp. around dinner time) when I start fantasizing about food and am almost convince myself that there won’t be any left by the time I start eating again. When I come to my senses and realize that there is likely to be an abundance of food when I choose to eat again, I am overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude that this is so, and reminded that this isn’t the case for everyone. That not eating is a CHOICE for me, and that it is a luxury to be able to make this choice. There IS enough in the world, and I don’t need it all right now. I have what I need. I am blessed. Some friends of mine make it a tradition to fast instead of feasting on Thanksgiving, and somehow this seems appropriate and beautiful, if impractical for many of us.

2) PRACTICE AHIMSA, an attitude of non-violence, in this case particularly to onesself. I am doing this as a way to be kind to myself, not to punish myself for all my previous sins. When I was a teenager struggling with body-image issues, I never had the willpower to successfully fast, because my attempts were not out of love and respect for my body but rather out of self-loathing and punishment. It was only after (effortlessly!) losing weight through practice of yoga and learning to love myself that I had the willpower to successfully fast.

3) ENJOY THE OTHER SENSES. I’m continually amazed at how sensitive my other senses are while fasting. Especially the sense of smell (ok, so sometimes this isn’t so great, especially when living in New York it was a bit much sometimes)…but I am finding that whereas a few days ago the smell of my mom’s cooking was enough to drive me mad with craving, now the smells are almost filling in themselves. The same with sight. My eyesight seems clearer and its almost as though I can fill up at the mere sight of food, especially beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables. I am more sensitive to sounds as well, and trying to practice a bit of nada yoga each day, just listening…it really does feel like I can see, taste, smell, and hear not just with my sense organs but at the cellular level. Again, this can be overwhelming, so it’s nice if you can be as gentle as possible with oneself (ahimsa again).

5) PRACTICE ASANA! Along with increased sensitivity of sight/sound/smell/touch comes increased sensitivity to the subtle body in yoga practice. The movement of prana in the body is much more distinct and perceptible with the digestive system fully at rest. Also, I’m finding that instead of using my practice to “burn up” whatever I’ve consumed, it actually seems to fill me up at the cellular level. I have been able to keep up my regular intensity of practice, and my body feels  steadier, lighter and more flexible than before. I am also finding exploring a more restorative practice (which I don’t ordinarily have the patience for) extremely rewarding and nourishing.

6) MEDITATE. Not just on the cushion, but all day long. the way the mind reacts to fasting is much like it does when trying to meditate. Desire for food arises (much like any thought) and the choice is presented of whether or not to entertain the desire. Sure, sometimes it’s fun to go ahead and drive myself crazy fantasizing about food…but eventually I find that if I choose NOT to engage, the desire passes! Then it rises again, and passes again. Much like those pesky thoughts when on the cushion. It helps me to realize that its always like this, not just when fasting or sitting, that I can really bring this practice into my life in a useful way.

7) TRY OIL-PULLING. Usually during the first few days of a fast, the mouth can get really funky and the tongue coated with “amma” (the body’s toxic sludge, delightful) as part of the detox process…..but I decided to try this practice (as introduced by Scout in a previous blog), and it pretty much eliminated this problem. Cool.

8) DO THE SALT-WATER FLUSH. Every day. I’m serious. Unless its making you truly ill, in which case you must listen to your own body. This is the first time I’ve been truly diligent about it (I usually just do it every other day, or only for the first 3 or 4 days). this time I’m doing it every day. After day 4 it seemed like I was pretty much done and clean….not the case! Hear I am on day 8 and its like a whole second wave of cleansing is happening. And I feel like I’ve had a pretty healthy diet my whole life. I’m shocked. It’s definitely inspiration to keep fasting until its really over.

9) DRINK NETTLES TEA. This is not part of the classic Master Cleanser protocol, but nettles are packed with nutrients, and aid in detoxification of the organs. Drinking a stout cup of nettles tea while fasting is for me like eating a big salad — really nourishing and refreshing.

10) ENJOY THE EXTRA TIME! Without all that time spent preparing and eating food, there can be extra hours on each day. Do things you “never have time” to do. Take a contemplative walk. Meditate. Sit and pet the cat. Read. Study Tarot. Write letters. Enjoy your Self.

Master Cleanser: The Dark Side?

Well, let me first say that I have done this fast numerous times with great results. Nothing has worked better to clear up my skin. My digestion has greatly improved. I’ve managed to break some pretty major bad eating cycles this way. But upon further research of Mr. Stanley Burroughs, the guy who devised the fast, some pretty dodgy stuff comes up.

Among other things, he was convicted of 2nd degree felony murder for his treatment of a poor unwitting cancer patient. The patient was to live on only master cleanser (including the saltwater flush) for a month, and also to recieve abdominal massage from Burroughs. He died a painful death. Apparently Burroughs was really stubborn about the way he was treating the patient,  the patient must have been really trusting, and the result was tragic. I wonder if this had anything to do with the amount of sugar in the maple syrup in the recipe? Doesn’t cancer feed on sugar? And in my massage training, I’ve been taught never to directly massage a cancerous area. Maybe Burroughs didn’t know these things, and had that intense and stubborn “My way is THE way” attitude that isn’t so uncommon amongst health “gurus”. Maybe he had success with other cancer patients following the same regime?

I have wondered about the sugary element of the fast, since sugar is often what I’m trying to detox from. But the truth is, that by the time I’m done with the fast, sugar is the last thing I crave.  Maybe  because I’m just so sick of it!  And even though I am normally a person who gets lightheaded if I don’t eat regularly, I never seem to have trouble with this on the master cleanser, which is remarkable and quite probably thanks to the maple syrup. I’m not sure about the chemistry, if maple syrup metabolizes much differently from other sugars (I’m sure Stanley Burroughs would say yes! He claims even diabetics can benefit from this fast, and get off of insulin.)  I read so many different things. It seems that during the fast it must be processed very efficiently, since its the only food the body is getting glucose from. But maybe a note – if you have cancer and are thinking of fasting as a cure, perhaps Master Cleanser is not the best option!

At any rate, when researching the Master Cleanser much more positive information comes up than negative. Many people seem to have benefited greatly from Burroughs’  ideas. I guess its another example of trusting one’s body, ”Take what you can use and leave the rest”, as one of my favorite yoga teachers is always saying.

Some moral support, huh! Hope I haven’t scared anyone away from fasting….

‘Tis the season for…..Master Cleanser!

Well, it’s that time of year. The relatives have cleared out, the last of the turkey scraps have been fed to the dogs, and all the good sweets are gone. I’m feeling sluggish, my blood feels like molasses, my skin’s a wreck, and I’ve been waking up feeling cranky and achy every morning with my caffeine addiction in full bloom. Plus I’ve taken to drinking every night. So, I ‘ve finally embarked on that fast I’ve been meaning to do for the last couple months.

My fast of choice is the classic Master Cleanser, sometimes known as the “lemonade diet”, made popular by Stanley Burroughs in the 1950’s. My main reason for choosing this fast is that it’s pretty simple. You just subsist on a mixture of lemon or lime juice, grade B maple syrup, and a dash of cayenne pepper in water (I prefer the water to be hot) for at least 10 days. The lemon juice helps break up mucus, the maple syrup provides essential nutrients like iron and B vitamins (grade B has more of these than grade A), and the cayenne pepper further helps to break up toxins. It also helps warm the body which is pretty important in a wintertime fast. The only other thing you consume (and this is the hard part!) is a quart of warm salt water (about a teaspoon per cup) every morning, or at least every other morning. This is to thoroughly cleanse the digestive tract, and while it’s not exactly pleasant, it is – ahem – very rewarding. To omit this part is to miss out on some of the prime benefits of the cleanse. Just make sure you are near a toilet for at least an hour after drinking it – wouldn’t want to be caught on the subway, that’s for sure!

Why fast? Well, in the body a huge amount of energy is devoted to consumption and digestion of food. The idea behind fasting is that once the digestive system is cleansed and at rest, that energy can then be devoted to whatever other repairs the body is in need of. A great deal of healing can take place at the cellular level in all of the bodies systems.

Not only is a lot of the body’s energy spent on food, so much of our mental energy is tied up with the whens and wheres and what are we going to eat. Clearly food is not just nourishment for us, it is a major provider of comfort and distraction. When we give it up for a time it becomes apparent how much of the desire for food is mental rather than physical. And if we go long enough on a fast to finally stop obsessing about wanting to eat, a certain quality of clarity and sensitivity arises in both body and mind. Fasting does for the digestive system what meditation does for the mind. It facilitates the shift from “doing” to “being” for a spell. It’s a really great way to change negative patterns, get out of ruts (mental and physical), and determine food allergies.

The recommended time for the fast is at least 10 days, and my experience has been that if I can just make it past day 4, the rest is much easier. The really hard part is not going nuts and overeating when ending the fast. Stanley Burroughs recommends 2 days of orange juice followed by easing into vegetable soup. I prefer grapefruit instead of orange, and rarely can make it 2 days of just the juice. Instead, I start letting myself have miso soup on the 2nd day off the master cleanser solution.

I am on day 2 of the fast now. I will be blogging more about fasting in the coming days….just in case anyone wants to join me and wants some moral support…….or to lend me some!

Happy New Year!

Yay! My Maiden Blog!

Ok, so I’m pretty much a technophobe, and I confess also that the idea of basically journaling in public has been a little strange for me (I feel like I’m bound to let it all hang out…..and who really cares!) I’ve kept notebooks my whole life though and while my writing used to seem to make more sense (when I was perhaps imagining my future grandchildren reading them?), over the years its devolved into a bunch of scratchmarks and random thoughts (as the idea of children much less grandchildren seems less and less an inevitable consequence of life?) – – – it’s hard to be coherent without at least an imagined audience, isn’t it?!

Shoot. I’ve been meaning to keep a journal specifically about my yoga life, especially since I embarked on the adventure of being a “yoga teacher” 9 years ago. And it’s never happened. The books I start always seem to get full of everything else – I can’t seem to keep yoga separate from the rest of it all, no complaints about that. But again, it sure would be nice to get some of the scratchmarks and ramblings a little more organized, especially around this topic so dear to me.

So, the timing is perfect for dear Erica to invite me into this space. ‘Cause I’ve got time. This past summer I moved back into my family home here in the sweet mountains of North Cackalacka to help take care of my 84-year-old grandma. The pace is slooooow here and I’ve got lots of time to devote to meditation and yoga practice. From sitting meditation to open and seal the days, to vinyasa to satisfy the endorphin cravings, to trimming Grandma’s toenails as sadhana….. its a precious time to let settle and reflect on the last crazy years of collecting grist for the proverbial mill, and also observe what’s currently going on in my practice.  And so, I’m grateful for this space to put some of it into.

Namaste, y’all;  Happy Holy Days and Nights!