Empty clubs, barkin’ dogs, canned DJs

“…even if the club was empty and your feet get tired/even if the resident DJ got fired,” Shake baby shake, Seeed

If you’re doing your thing, you don’t need an entourage. Even if no one’s there to snap a pic for your soshe (social media page/s), it still happened. Shake what your Mama gave you. It’s for you, no one else. 

If the bones grow weary and your dogs are barkin’, keep going. What motivates you? What inspires you? How can we keep going when there’s no music, when you’re tired, when Elvis has left the building? 

If the resident deejay has left the building, keep going. Who needs a guru, amirite? Hm.  The beat of your heart is music enough. It is will. It is amrita, immortality, nectar, nourishment in Sanskrit. 

Dig deep into Tapas, or burning zeal in practice, or spiritual discipline. Are you doin’ it for the ‘gram, or for you? 

“You’re never alone, ‘cuz you can put on the ‘phones and let the drummer tell your heart what to do,” Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through, Meat Loaf

Even though at first blush this seems contradictory, it’s not if we dig a lil’ deeper. Many of us put on headphones when we do not wish to be disturbed, even if they’re not connected to anything. This allows you to engage with Pratyahara, or Withdrawal of the Senses, in Sanskrit. Go inside, and listen quietly. That is the Anahata chakra, the heart center or unstruck sound. 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M

What, granthi got your tongue?

“…hold your own/Know your name” Details in the Fabric, Mraz Jason Thomas, Wilson Daniel Dodd

Cat Got Your Tongue: The Literal, Disturbing Origins Of ...

Roughly 100 years ago (hyperbolically, ‘natch,) I gave a presentation about my philosophy on Yoga at a local library. First question for the participants: “who are you?” It’s no small wonder that the answers kinda stayed along a continuum. Some jotted down the role they fulfill for others – parent, child, aunt, whereas some responded with a title – teacher, conductor, fisherwoman, while still others responded with a given name, but-everyone-calls-me, or but-my-friends-call-me. 

But what’s in a name, Shakespeare? We are made of stars & schtuff (or mebbe star stuff, no and at all) so there’s no earthly way to boil us down to a single solitary word. Gift yourself expansiveness. Heck, go get a thesaurus and grab you some hyphens! 

To thine own self be true. Satya, or Truthfulness in Sanskrit, is the way to go here, folks/folx. In the 7 chakra system, the throat’s color is blue. It’s called the Vishudda chakra. Next time your throat hurts, maybe it’s a granthi, or a knot, literal or figurative, like a frog, or prior injury of sorts. *Mildly amusing, you-had-to-be-there anecdote at the end. 

When you know your name, you can revel in it. Take it back, take up space, take a break, take a dance class, take a yoga class, take yourself to the movies, take a deep breath. This is a hard-won battle for some of us. While you cannot, IMHO, nick-name yourself, what you can do is adopt a new moniker if it suits. Or not, if it doesn’t. And just because your name is unpronounceable wherever you hang your hat does not mean you need to change it. I don’t make the rules 😉 

Side note, ‘cuz it wouldn’t be one of mine without one. A few years ago, I was on retreat finishing a training module. To close and commemorate our time together, we sat in a huge circle and had to share a mudra, or hand position, and an om, one at a time. For those of you who know me IRL, I am rarely speechless. I was so humbled by those around me, both teachers and students alike, all that I had learned, and all that was shared during our very intense 9 days,  that I couldn’t for the life of me think of something to share. I also didn’t do my homework, since they probably told us to have one ready. Whoops! Of course, my NY-I’m-my-father’s-daughter kicked in, and I blurted out: “I must have a granthi in my tongue.” Let. me. tell. you: yogis left, right and center fell out. It was hilarious! If you were there, please comment & reach out so we can reminisce. 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M

Shake it…or don’t…

“Do you wanna shake it/(yeaaah)

So come on shake it/(nooooo)

Say what/my pants are too tight

And I can’t let myself go” Tight Pants, Seeed

Seeed frontman Demba Nabé has died in Berlin aged 46 | Music | DW |  01.06.2018

My European better half introduced me to German reggae. Yup, that’s a thing. Granted, 3.5/4 of the words are unintelligible in the reggae I was so enamored with in college, so I’m pretty well lost most of the time. It’s only more woisah in a language I don’t actually speak. In this case, it’s that driving base, that syncopated rhythm and belting out the chorus. 

What on *earth* does this have to do with Yoga? Patience, dear yogis & yoginis. Y’all know I like to meander and take my time. (Does this story’s lesson have an ETA? Nope. Maybe. Sorta? Wth knows…)

The takeaway here: the lyrics. It’s always about the lyrics for me. And I sing all the parts. #latherrinserepeat

Tight pants are no fun for anyone. The VPL*, the penguin walk, the red marks after, even the getting into them in the first place! But these aren’t literal pants, IMHO. These are the rules that society imposes on us as women in particular, and humans in general. You must behave. Be buttoned up, be quiet, be stiff and overly formal, lest you be seen as too loose. 

How can we dance like that? “…if you can’t breathe I guess you better release…” 

Raise your hand if you, like many of us, slingshot your newly unhooked underwires across the room once home? Unpeel the shapewear? Unlace and step down from those absolutely gorgeous platforms? Unmakeup your face? Un, un, un. And breathe. It all comes down to breath. 

How can we live our Dharma, loosely translated as purpose from Sanskrit, while still existing in, ahem, polite society? “All you need is to get rid of that sh*t and move it”. Not that we should flagrantly flaunt the laws, but go ahead and put that hiddy pink flamingo in Bermuda shorts & dollar store shades on your lawn. Comfort is key. Comfortable in your surroundings, your company, and yourself. Wear flats. Don’t make up your face. Do your thang!!

*Bonus points if you know what VPL is 🙂 Please share below what you’re wanting to undo or scrap altogether. “I’ll show you, if you want to, if you’re ready to make a go, let me know it

(Can’t do it yourself? Just call me for help…” Come back to your mat and let. that. ish. go. 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M

Map, schmap

“I used to have the stars in my pocket/now I just watch them on TV,” Rainy Day Parade, Jill Sobule & Robin Eaten

Discover the Best Views of the Hollywood Sign | Discover Los Angeles

When children are young, they believe. They believe in magic, in fantasy, in the goodness of everyone whom they encounter, and also somehow in monsters. (Didn’t Alice from Wonderland believe in impossible things?) If they just wish hard enough, are just good enough, just belieeeeeve strongly enough, that things’ll come true for them. This fades, and eventually disappears at some point, probably when it’s revealed that Santa is dear ole Dad, the Easter Bunny doesn’t come to everyone’s house, and the Tooth Fairy leaves a beseeching note to just pick up your ding-dang room, already, or stops coming altogether. Or maybe on some playground somewhere when the kid in your class’ older sibling is feeling particularly disillusion-minty. 

Sometimes it’s the realization that not everyone is special, and super talented, and a baby genius. Rude awakening to fall so far. 

This rite of passage, this peek behind the curtain, this shoving you into the deep end of #adulting is a cryin’ shame. It’s the so-called real world come to collect. 

We don’t stop playing when we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. 

The real travesty is when Māyā, the Sanskrit word for illusion (more or less,) clouds our eyes, shrinks our hearts, and shrivels our Spirits. 

We are force-fed images and ideals to conform to in every aspect of our lives: gendered clothing sections at big-box retailers, toys in certain colors, magazine spreads, and even the words and actions of older relatives. We learn not to trust ourselves, to fit in, and conform. Photoshop is no one’s friend, but it sure does sell! Magic? Poof, thar she blows…and away we go. 

The Melissa Etheridge song, “Map of the Stars,” from the album The Awakening, sums it up nicely, over several choruses and verses. It starts out with a small-town girl (hello? autobiography much?) who’s lauded for being pretty. She leaves home to study the map of the stars. Fast forward a bit, she’s gone Hollywood, and has made some pretty fundamental changes – eating less, drinking more, and even getting an agent. (She sells out and the local grocer she worked for is offended by what she’s become, but will gladly sell those magazines from his mom n’ pop shop if it puts him on the map.) She even goes under the knife! Eventually it all goes south. She is not being true to herself – no Satya, Truthfulness, here. 

What’s even woisah than woise is that she’s the inspo for the next generation. And so perpetuates the cycle. The stars came out of her pocket & are now on the silver screen. 

P!nk touches on this in her song, “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” off the Missundaztood album. “LA told me/you’ll be a pop star/all you have to change/is all that you are.”  

A perhaps lofty but nonetheless worthy goal should be to recapture some of that magic. That amṛta, or nectar in Sanskrit, is in there somewhere if you can. just. slow. down. Go outside and play. Take off your shoes and run barefoot through the grass. Jump in the pool with your clothes on (but leave your phone out of splash-range, ‘natch.) 

It goes back to my last post: question everything. Even/especially that which you’ve heard umpteen times. To paraphrase, imagine living as if eh-VUH-ree-thing was a miracle. But pay those bills on time 🙂

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M

-M

Painting by numbers

“And we’ll paint by numbers ’til something sticks,” Kids by Guy Chambers & Robert Williams

Paint by numbers

Not many of us nail it on the first try, beginner’s luck notwithstanding. We have to fake it ’til we make it. “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” The Wisdom of Unicorns by Joules Taylor. 

Does anyone, like N-E-1, like raheeeeeally know what they’re doing?, ’cause I sure don’t! I mean, there are areas of deeper knowledge, for sure, bordering on expertise, but truth be told, my experience is the only thing I like, know-know. And even that’s faulty, just like my sieve-like memory. “I talk myself in; I talk myself out…I get all worked up and let myself down,” Just Haven’t Met You Yet, Michael Buble. 

“I know that I know nothing, because I can’t trust my brain,” Socrates

It is important not to let Ego get in our way. Like the little outfielder who calls out in anticipation: “I got it…I got it…I gooood it…ugh, I don’t got it.” We must question everything that doesn’t ring true. Who’s in-tune with their Spidey-sense? Can we turn down the volume through meditation, intense exercise, journaling, sitting in the woods, a noisy cafe (ironically), or choose-your-own-adventure-type-a-way, and really listen? 

If you think you know, the Universe is coming for you. Not in a gotcha! kinda way, but more in a let’s-be-humble, my child, way. Take you down a few pegs. Nuttin’ poisonal, y’undastand. ‘natch.

That CEO who seeeeeems to have their schtuff all together? Nah, they’re picturing that mega-embarrassing moment from grade school that earned them that unrepeatable-in-polite-company moniker that still gives them chills & makes ’em queasy. 

That artiste who takes the stage in all their finery? Thinking about tripping over two left feet. 

The leader of the band? They’re thinking about the dying-cats-concert from middle school that their grandpa laughed so hard at he cried. 

How? Why? Who? keeps going? Those who examine, those who question, those who live, that’s who. 

If we “do the work” to get to know ourselves, like really, really, really get to know ourselves, Svadhyaya, this becomes easier, to be who we really are. 

If we maintain our practices, Tapas, those Spiritual Disciplines, and don’t get distracted by squirrels seeing squirrels, this becomes easier, to be who we really are. 

If we are Truthful, Satya-rich, this becomes easier, to be who we really are. 

We still may need those numbers to paint by, but who cares? Keep your training wheels as long as ya need ’em, poodle, but not one second longer.  Keep making forays, and mistakes in every category. That’s part of the fun. There’s no manual, and no one gets out alive. Enjoy by questioning. Be gneiss and don’t take it for granite. 

If this resonated with you, feel free to comment below. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M

While there is time…

Time! | Christian Wallpapers

“While there is time, let’s go out and feel everything,” The Finer Things, Steve Winwood 

We all get the same 24 hours every day. No more, no less. Some of us make things happen, some of us watch things happen, and some of us wonder what the hell just happened? Not firmly planted in any one camp, I am wont to float or get yanked between those modalities. 

Sometimes I am the Energizer Bunny, putting in 10+ hour days, grading papers, planning lessons, fielding emails across the emotional spectrum. There might even be some domestic-type schtuff happening. Might

Other times I am Slothy McSlotherson, needing to recharge and am not good for much. As dear ole Dad says: you don’t have to pay me to be good; I’ll be good for nuthin’.  (Ahem, “rest is not idleness” is a good previous post to read if you’re new here. It’s from August of 2020.) 

Plus, ya know, chronic illness and penchant for junk food isn’t doing me any favors. Either way, I’m playing sponge, soaking it all in, to be processed laterz. Or not. Just scrolling advice columns & my IG feed. All good. 

Still other times, it’s a maelstrom and I’m a tugboat caught in the monsoon. 

It’s. All. Good. Does it feel good? Nope. Does that change the fact that it, whatever it may be, is happening? Nope. Will it end? Probably. Eventually. Maybe. Wth knows? Either way, feel your feelings and come out the other side. It’ll all be okay in the end; if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. 

Some say if you want to do something, you will find a way; whereas if you don’t want to do something, you’ll find an excuse. My jury’s still out, but let’s explore, shall we?

Santosha, or Contentment in Sanskrit, means being okay with what is. Not to the point where you throw up your hands and resign yourself to the situation, but okay enough to float in effortless effort until a plan emerges. 

“While there is time/let’s go out and feel everything…

For time is a river rolling into nowhere

We must live while we can…

The finer things keep shining through

The way my soul gets lost in you…”

As P!nk says, “when I’m happy and I’m sad, but everything’s good…it’s not that complicated I’m just missundaztood.”

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M

There are no small parts…on acting and playing and schtuff

“If I am the play, I want you in every act,” U, Spellbound, by Paisley Park

Can you observe what happens to you as the Witness, or are you so lost in the weeds (the actors playing at someone else’s words, and the stage direction) that you miss all them purdy flowers (the events unfolding)? What if we were all the play,we all were the actors, we all were the (entire) audience, and we all were the and? 

Witnessing the events of our lives is not for the faint of heart, but comes with its own rewards. This’ll help you process, and weed-whack your way to clarity. 

Ha! Now do it without judgement, or ‘gramming it, lest no one believe it happened. 

How can we reconcile, or at least come to terms with, or at least-least be less skerred of this way of looking at our lives? Here’re some thoughts, but first a bit of background for grounding and context.

Prakriti, in Yogic philosophy, represents the female, and all that moves. It is associated with Shakti. 

Parusha, in Yogic philosophy, represents the male, the fullness of life, and its continuity. It is, by nature, still, steady, and true. It is associated with Shiva. 

*Note: this is (perhaps a gross), oversimplification, but for the lay people among us, there’s that KISS method again. Thank you for the guidance, my some-time Yoga-at-the-gym buddy and co-worker. All thoughts, inaccuracies, and tangents are wholly mine. 

Either way, Shakti and Shiva are intertwined. You cannot have one without the other. 

Each of us has a duality, to some degree or another. The most feminine among us, the most masculine among us, as well as the most not-quite-sure-what-box-I-check-but-also-boxes-are-stupid-and-confining among us, and the darn-your-stupid-boxes-anywayz’ have at least a dash of other, however many others there may be. 

We are the Witness (the audience), and the actor (the doer, not an inauthentic puppet) and the event. 

In this song, the narratress* wants to dance for U, the as-yet unnamed. Perhaps she wants to reunite, to join back into her whole Self. She has lost her way, and does not realize that while she has her own qualities, she is not alone. She is separate in her mind, not in reality. She is part of a whole: Shakti and Shiva. 

Shakti wants to move, to dance, to uuuuundulate. She offers herself to her love, Shiva. From the song: “u make me wanna dance for only u…all I want is u.” She sultrily issues an entreaty to him to watch her dance. 

Each of us has a duality, to some degree or another. We are the dancer, the dancee, the Witness to it all, and the music. The most masculine among us, the most feminine among us, and the most not-quite-sure-what-box-I-check-but-also-boxes-are-stupid-and-confining among us, have at least a dash of other, however many others there may be. 

“This is not fantasy, this is fact.” Hey, mebbe she’s not so far gone, after all, and will reunite with her love soon. 

*English lends itself to brokenness and make-up-ery. Why shouldn’t there be a gendered word for our storyteller?

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M

“If you’re not in it for love…”

“If you’re not in it for love, I’m outta here!,” (song title & lyric are one in the same), Mutt Lange & Eileen Lange

Bhakti Yoga is the Yoga of devotion. What lights your fire? What do you stand for? Who’s your book dedicated to? Think about what gets you up in the morning, what you’re commIIIIIIITTED to, what you never, ever, EVER miss, like, uuuh, ever, your raison d’être. Be it religion, spiritual practices, the latest fitness craze, family, choose-your-own-adventure. Ponder for a full minute your Why. I’ll wait. Take a seat, take a breath, and take a moment. They say if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. 

Got it? (Ahem, both the answer to the question and the concept, ‘natch.) Please comment below, wherever you see this, to share yours if you’re so inclined. 

Without getting too lost in the weeds, “The Sanskrit word bhakti is derived from the verb root bhaj-…to worship…also means devotion to…faith or love, worship…,” gracias to the ubiquitous Wikipedia. 

Moksha, or spiritual freedom, liberation, salvation, is quite a lofty goal. If you don’t put the work in, it is elusive at best, and unobtainable at worst. It is a pah-RAH-cess*, my friends. There are books, guides, gurus, videos, audios, as-seen-on-TV-nesses, workbooks, worksheets, retreats, and yes, we’ll hornswoggle you out of your hard-earned cash-nesses’, and memberships, but ultimately, ya gots ta fly solo on this one, kids. There are no shortcuts. There are no refunds. It’s not a tee-shirt (one size does not fit all,) as everyone’s version will look different. It also takes forever, like literally. Not figuratively literally, but actual Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of forever. Maybe even not in this lifetime. Must be revisited a lot and often, lest it escape. #latherrinserepeat. It’s called practice, after all. 

Much as I’ve said before, it’s sorta akin to teaching a young child to ride a bike. You run alongside said bike, one hand on the seat, one hand on the handlebars. This is Tapas, or burning zeal in practice or spiritual discipline. You want the kid (your inner child? hm…) to meet with success, whatever *that* looks like. Fall down twice, get up thrice. You. Keep. Going. It’s called practice, after all. 

Eventually, you let go & hope that the kid will fly. Fingers crossed, but putting in the work is no guarantee. Bummer. *That* wasn’t in the brochure. That’s Aparigraha, literally non-grasping. (Ha ha! This strikes me as mildly hilarious, but I am over-caffeinated, fried from #adulting, and it’s probably close to bedtime. Punchy? Yes, please!) 

You kiss boo-boos, which is the healing in between scrapes. No one’s unscathed. Not to worry: it’s just life & no one gets out alive, anyway. (big, juicy wink) This is Dinacharya, or self-care in Sanskrit. You fall down, go boom, you dust yourself off, and get back on that horse. Uh, bike. Whatevs. Lick your wounds. Pause, reflect, take a break. But…You. Keep. Going. #latherrinserepeat. 

Love should fuel us. Imagine if everything was done with love, instead of pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony or sloth. (Anyone? Bueller…Bueller) If you’re not doing it (whatever YOUR it is) with L-O-V-E, why bother? The corner-cutter eventually whittled himself down to nothing. 

The song goes on: 

“If you’re not/Willin’ to give it all you got

If you’re not in it for life/If you’re not in it for love

Let me make it clear/To you my dear

If you’re not in it for love/I’m outta here!”

I imagine that that’s the Universe (capital U, to differentiate from the Science version,) talking. Put in the work, let go of the outcome. Don’t phone it in. If you do, you might just get there. It’s a nice place to visit, moksha, but no one lives there. Not in today’s modern world. 

BTW, this is a favorite of mine at karaoke, a real crowd-pleaser. Hopefully that will resume again once it’s safe. Miss my KJs! 

*Transliteration is hard. Those of you who know me IRL know that I write how I speak. And, man, do these go through a latte edits 😉 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M

“My boy builds coffins”

“My boy builds coffins…but it’s not just for work, and it isn’t for play.” How grounding, how comforting, how sigh-inducingly wooonderful to be good at something; really, really, REALLY! good at something. It’s yours. You eat, sleep, breathe, and live this vocation. Heck, you might even be sought out for this. It’s more than just a job. Everyone and their Mother may come to you for This. One. Thing. (At some point, anyways. More on that later.) This is Dharma, loosely translated as purpose. The boy in this case has his one true calling. 

As it’s oft been said, if you love what you’re doing, you’ll never work a day in your life. “…he crafts every one with love and with care…” It may be humble, but they’re no doubt beautiful. They are infused with love and with care. Like the post office, “he fits them together in sunshine or rain.” This boy has a gift. There are no days off, and woyk! is not a four-letter word. 

Do all things with love. What’s that about living as if nothing is a miracle, or as if everything is? Which sounds more fulfilling? What wonderment surrounds us. What beauty, what grace, what lovely minutia. Or what big, ostentatious, there-ness there is. 

Matters not one whit that this is not going to make him rich, most likely. 

Matters not that he’s a one-trick pony. He’s the best dang pony, ever. Pony like you mean it. “He has no use for sails…can’t…whistle…he…doesn’t care.” Do you, and leave what you don’t need on that shelf. It’ll be there for ya, should you decide to take up the mantle of caring about what’s not really yours. 

Perhaps the lesson comes from one Dolly Parton: “Figure out who you are & do it on purpose.” Don’t put on airs. If you can’t whistle, pass the saltines! 

Matters not that once they’re crafted, and, uh, occupied, away they go. “…he crafts every one with love and with care/then it’s thrown in the ground/it just isn’t fair.” Put the work in, and let go of the outcome. That’s Tapas, spiritual discipline, or burning zeal in practice, with a side of Santosha, contentment. (No, the irony isn’t lost on me that in Spain, tapas are small plates (sorta like appetizers, SORTA) to be shared amongst friends. Who doesn’t need a friend to light a fire underneath them, to hold them accountable, and to c’mon we already paid for a 10-pack of classes! them.)

“They all come to him/’cuz he’s so eager to please.” Everyone will pass on at some point. (Whether if/when/why/how we’re back at some point is anyone’s guess, and that Pandora’s box is staying firmly closed, TYVM.) Coffins are necessary, and why shouldn’t they be ornate? Ha! Maybe a better question is why should they be ornate? As she sings, “he crafts every one with love and with care/then it’s thrown in the ground/it just isn’t fair.” Sometimes it’s nice to get dressed up to sit home all day. Don’t not use the lacy negligee with the outrageous price tag or fancy dishes. Use it all up; ya cain’t take it with ya! Do it anyway. No receipts, no returns, no do-overs. Slide into wherever you end up, used up. This way, your kin won’t have to clean it up. 

Sometimes, the KISS method gets the job done. 

The singer laments that these carved, perhaps ornate, final resting spots are too pretty to be buried. The doer, though, is content to keep building. It’s his raison d’être, after all. 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M

“We don’t need no dance floor…”

“We don’t need no dance floor…let me take you dancing,” Take You Dancing written by Teemu Brunial, Derulo, Emanuel “Eman” Kiriaku, Sarah Solovay, and Shawn Charles. 

The themes that have been cropping up for me lately are simplicity and humanness. One of the things I love most about Yoga is that there is. So. Little. Needed. Back in the day, yogis (and yoginis, ‘natch, once they came on the scene and were allowed to play, too) didn’t even use mats, for goodness’ sakes, and Lulu was nowhere to be found. (First of probably many sidebars…I always thought the brand was pronounced: Loo-luh-Mohn, not Lulu Lemon. Whoops! Guess Tarzhay is not in my wheelhouse, either.) 

Accoutrements are just gravy. Give me meat and potatoes. (Metaphorically for all the animal & planet lovers out there.) Get back to basics. Sometimes there isn’t even any music coming from the speakers. My breath and body guide me. Gymnastics and Cirque du Soleil moves optional. 

No shade to props – blocks, straps, and the like – but a hefty dictionary, a wall, and a necktie, towel, or tee-shirt will stand in nicely, TYVM. Use what you have. I have residual pride, and a hefty dose of Gumby-ness, though, and above-it-all-ness, so props typically are not for yours truly. Do as I say, not as I do 😀

Aparigraha, or Non-grasping in Sanskrit, is how we can comfortably practice in our torn, stained partner’s sweats that are way too big. All I truly need (most of the time) is my trusty bandana, and a shirt that won’t ride up. 

Sometimes there’s music. Sometimes there’s commercials ‘cuz the stereo ate my fave mix tape, like ever, and my fave station from middle school got bought out and became something tooooottalllly different. Sometimes there’s singing along. Loudly. Mostly in tune, but what are keys anyway?! I mean really 😉 

My playlists can be 80s pop, easy listening, “hard” rock, rap, or just the sound of my breath. (Getting the theme here, my friends?)

Almost all the time there’s magic. Let the breath and body guide you. Who cares what it looks like? Even the covers of those fancy, schmancy magazines get models not yogis for their splashy covers. In other words, photo editing software does no one any favors. Move.

Move slowly. Move quickly. Move fluidly. Move with precision. Move on the breath. Just. Move. As a Yoga teacher of mine says, “fill up your pose.” Or don’t move at all. Watch the breath flow in and out. If and when your mind wanders away, gently invite it to come back and join you. Be safe, listen to your body, check your Ego at the door. It’ll be there when you get back. Hopefully you can set it down somewhere, if even for only for a few breaths. 


Tapas, or Burning Zeal, or Spiritual Discipline in Practice, allows us to practice anywhere, because it’s not the where you do, it’s the what, then the how, then the why. I have done Yoga in the woods, in my room, in studios, in gyms, in living rooms, in church basements, in bed, in lofts, online at the supermarket, in the sauna, and in the airport terminal. One does not need a punch-card, stanchion, or an outfit that cost more than my Dad’s first car to find flow, ease, grace, and dripping-schweatiness, to use it all up and give it all back. 

In school, my students are learning the soft* skill of circumlocution. This is when the word you want completely escapes you, and you have to use the words you have in your vocabulary arsenal to describe it instead. One example would be the word tiger. You say: the big cat, with the stripes, that lives at the zoo…If no one can guess, perhaps you add: eats meat, is friends with Calvin. Or, my other ubiquitous example: “You know…that movie…with that guy…who does that thing…” and your bestie responds with the. Most. Obscure. Movie title. Ever! As much fun as circumlocution is to say, it sure is a plein bouche, so I call it “going dancing.” (There’s that pesky connection!) 

The other day, a student asked, “how do I dance this word?” It was so cool! 

All of this dancing is communication. Dance with the breath. How do we communicate with our bodies, our spirits, ourselves? If there’s someone else there (students in public classes, for example,) we are communicating wordlessly. 

*It’s called a soft skill because it’s not really quantifiable. Sad, since those intangibles make us better humans, whether because the Taboo! championship is on the line, or because your fill-in-the-blank language skills are rusty or non existent. Ha! Or your celly is out of range and no search engine is coming to rescue you. You must comuuuuunicate. Oh, the horror!

In class, we go dancin’ to prevent the insidious use of that maaaaassive search engine. Y’all know it: it’s so big that the name’s become a verb. Ugh. 

We need to move freely, fluidly, and wherever the spirit takes us. No handstands in Savasana, but other than that, anything goes! 

So where’s your dance floor? Who takes you dancing? Think about your ideal practice space: be it for Yoga, kickboxing, reading, arting, choose your own adventuring. Ideally perhaps we’re the only ones we need filling up our own dance cards, TYVM, but we invite others to join us on occasion. 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

-M