“We moonwalk the foxtrot & polka the salsa,” Spice up Your Life, Matt Rowe, Richard Stannard, and the Spice Girls

Besides being super-catchy, and getting lots of air play throughout the 90s, this group’s songs were anthems for girls (and humans) everywhere. While Girl Power! as a battle cry might not have aged well into 2020, its heart is in the right place. Stand in your own power, with your friends beside you for support. Who doesn’t want to “spice up” their life? Among my personal faves: “We’ve always got each other.” “The lady is a vamp, she’s a vixen not a tramp.” “…’cuz I don’t care about the money, don’t be wastin’ my time.” 

Not all pop songs are silly bubble-gum drivel. By the same token, who cares if they are? Depth is in the eye of the beer holder…uh, the beholder. (Upcoming post: misheard lyrics that might actually be even better than the originals.) We need burger-flippers AND CEOs. We need things to veg out to, as well as things to make us think. I devour books whole, and usually find myself alternating light with heavy, and will read nearly anything I can get my hands on. 

When I first heard the song “Spice up Your Life,” which feels like 100 years ago, it made me tap my toes & sing along. But I can’t not hear the lyrics, like really hear them, and connect them to my life, and my Yoga. 

We are living through some confusing, confounding, changing times. Here’s what struck me today. There’s a medium-sized bush-tree-type thing between the chimney and garage. In Winter it’s nekkid, branches reaching in all directions. It looks spindly and not quite happy. In Spring, it’s full of yuuuuuge white flowers. In Summer, it’s green as could be. In Fall, it’s losing its leaves which have turned red. So far, so normal. It’s going through its cycle, as it no doubt has been for forever. However, there are fuzzy buds on it (it looks like a pussywillow’s but I really don’t know what it is.) Perhaps it’s the unseasonable temps, but perhaps it’s something more. The tree doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be doing. Ha! Who does? 

The quote for me means that it’s time to flip things on their head, metaphorically. Why not moonwalk the foxtrot? Let’s polka the salsa. Perhaps there’s nothing new under the sun, but we can sure “spice up” our lives! It is up to us to figure out who we are as we move through life. As Dolly Parton says, “figure out who you are and do it on purpose.” Everyone will put their own spin on things to a certain extent. 

Svadhyaya, or self-study in Sanskrit, is an on-going process. I know I feel better when my mat gets rolled out on a regular basis, whether for asana practice (physical postures,) or meditation. My practices allow me to go inside, and be alone with my thoughts. Sometimes, though, they allow me to leave my brain at the door, and just move and feel. 

I like my everything bagels with strawberry cream cheese, and my raisin bagels with veggie. I talk, I listen, I read, I feel, I debate, I sing, I me

Try this experiment: close your eyes. Picture a tree swing, something most suburbanites are familiar with. Don’t think about it too much, just whatever image pops in your head. Which one are you? Did you moonwalk the foxtrot? Did you polka the salsa? There is no one way to be. 

Whatever image comes into your head, it’s yours. Run with it, and let’s go dancin’! 

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


Salisbury ‘cuz there’s a lot at steak…

Salisbury ‘cuz there’s a lot at steak…

“You can keep my things, they’ve come to take me home,” Solisbury Hill by Peter Gabriel

You never know how much cr*p you have until you have to move it. I have moved a LOT in my day, and it does not get any easier. But, every move has been for the better, even though I might not have realized it at the time. 

Packing up all my stuff – stuffed toys, my now-defunct stereo from high school, boxes of old invoices and receipts, photo albums, and other detritus accumulated from years of not throwing stuff out – was not nearly as much fun as it sounds. There’s always the final sweep, one more box, one more cabinet to clean out, then there’s a squirrel and it’s hours later because I just *had* to pour over my middle school yearbook. One. More. Time. 

Moving out of my parent’s house made me feel like a grown-up. Moving in with a now-ex partner was neat. Of course, my clumsy self broke so many dishes his mom bought us rainbow-colored plastic tumblers. And he didn’t like my rabbit. Peace out, Cub Scout! (That relationship did not last, ‘natch.) Living above the bar with the world’s best burgers hands down, off campus, with the 80-degree-bedroom roommate who couldn’t hold a job was quite an experience.  Living “in the City” was something we all should experience at some point in our lives. Bagels and coffee a block away in one direction, the highway upstate (big, juicy wink for those who know me) in another. Too many other places to enumerate on…

Each experience allowed me to shed another layer, and to learn from my mistakes. This way, there is a strike in each category, and room to make new mistakes. Each move meant more boxes since there was…so. Much. Stuff. It’s hard to let go. (See literally every other post so far.)

Getting back to the matter at hand, though. The above-mentioned song really speaks to me. At first, the song says, “son, grab your things, I’ve come to take you home.” Maybe it means stop playing around, quit being silly, having struck out on your own, and come back to us. The subtext: you’re not ready to be in the real world. Still, it is rather infantilizing, *I* have come to take *you* home. The dad (I assume, but we all know what happens when you assume) is intimating he is there to collect a ne’er-do-well, immature kid after playtime. Grab your toys & back to your room.

Then again, maybe it’s a comfort thing. Grab your things, it’s time to come home where you’re loved and cared for. Someone will wash your clothes, and feed you. 

Eventually, the story and lyrics progress to the quote: “you can keep my things.” For me, the implication is that the main character has shed the trappings of the material world, and can go home with a capital H. This is Brahman, “the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe…the pervasive, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes.” The ubiquitous Wikipedia. 

We become reabsorbed into the Universe, to be at one with everything. We’ll be back, though, in some for or another.

When we finally shirk this mortal coil (thanks, Dad, for the colorful phrasing,) where do we go? Where’s home? Don’t look at me! I believe we come back in some form – energy, reincarnation, fill-in-the-blank. The so-called meat tube gets recycled and we are born anew. Sometimes while still here on Earth, in this lifetime, sometimes perhaps in the next. 

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


PS I love puns. There, I said it. (That’s for the grammarians telling me about my malapropisms up top.)

Squirrels seeing squirrels…seeing squirrels

Heart: “ooh, shiny!” Brain: “ugh, here we go again…”

“My heart knows me better than I know myself, so I’m going to let it do all the talking,” Black Horse and the Cherry Tree by KT Tunstull.

Are you observant? Sometimes I notice the most minute details, and sometimes I see a squirrel seeing another squirrel…who sees another squirrel. You get the idea. What I have been noticing the past few years are hearts. There are hearts in my box of pseudo-healthy crackers, hearts in the leaves on the ground, heart-shaped stains on the garage floor, heart-shaped clouds, and a (literal) heart in a kid’s project at school. My hope is that the Universe is saying: dear heart, be kind to yourself, love yourself, and don’t lose heart. Once after a particularly powerful meditation at Kripalu, I saw a baby pink color, and knew it was rose quartz, which is associated with the heart. There’s now a beautiful mala in my collection. (That’s a necklace for meditation, or intention, or both.)  I wear it to remind me to work on unconditional love: for self, and others. 

The heart chakra, Anahata, is the bridge between the upper and lower chakras. This swirling vortex of energy is right in the center: halfway between your root, and your brain. It bridges lower and upper chakras. (Many systems recognize 7 chakras.)  It’s right in the center between the apana vayu, or downward current of subtle energy, and prana vayu, or upward current of subtle energy. *Technically, the samana vayu is actually below the heart, radiating  like a bellows, which doesn’t really fit the picture I’m painting. To be continued in another post. 

I digress…the heart chakra is green, which happens to be my favorite color. For me, green symbolizes Spring, growth, renewal, and smells like fresh-cut grass. Its element is air, which makes sense, since we need to have space to expand this amazing organ when we fall in love with another, a pair of shoes, or most importantly, ourselves. 

When in balance, it allows for unconditional love. When not, there is depression, pessimism, and self doubt. 

The body areas of the fourth chakra are: heart, lungs, shoulders, and arms. We use our lungs to take in air, to make space. We use our arms to hug, to embrace others. We often shoulder someone’s burden out of love. *Inspired by The Yoga Toolbox by Joseph & Lilian Le Page* 

How many of us are quiet, really quiet, and can hear our heart’s desire? Not the mushy-gushy, greeting-card-channel movie marathons that are really just the same plot in different seasons to sell Kleenex and themed sweatshirts, not the hormone-drenched teenage years of angst, nor the wear-it-on-the-sleeve-ness, but real, honest-to-goodness heart’s longing? 

If you are still long enough, you will be able to figure out what really lights your fire. Just don’t forget to take your brain with you.

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


PS Is anyone else feeling extra Vata-y lately? Comment on that, too, whether to agree or ask! 

On freedom

“There is freedom within, there is freedom without” – Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House

What does freedom mean? Is it freedom from debt, freedom from suffering (yours or others’), freedom from your over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, or freedom from your mask at day’s end? Today let’s explore the concept of freedom within, and contrast that with freedom without. 

Many people are stuck in their Manomayakosha, or the Mind sheath of the dimensions of the human being. For my etymology fans, here are the roots of this big ole Sanskrit word: Mano = mind; maya = consists of; kosha = sheath. These people are very DO DO DO…GO GO GO…they are accomplishing things, they are doing stuff. They are unaware of tight hip flexors, their lower back’s existence, and don’t even know they have a sacrum. They are not in their body. Ahem, who’s right there with me? Raise your hands ‘cuz you’re not alone 🙂

This can be a solid place to be if we can embrace our psycho-emotional being without judging or rejecting our thoughts and feelings. We learn to relax more, which creates space for stress reduction. A less-stressed you can surrender to the free flow of subtle energy and optimal functioning of the physical symptoms. (*see below for citation.) Love yourself: warts and all. 

Ha! That’s a great thought, but not so easy in practice. In this country, at least, we brag about not taking vacation time for so long we lose it altogether, and about how buuuuuuuusy or how streeeeeesssed we all are. Many of us are sitting in front of screens for hours every day, way more than usual, and using our intellect instead of our feelings, using sighs and clenched jaws instead of our breath, and sitting instead of moving, flowing with life’s rhythms. 

Doesn’t sound so freeing, after all, being on that hamster wheel. It is high time to realize you’re not your mind. You’re not your feelings, either. Nor are you your experiences, or the witness, watching the play unfold. Hm. What’s left? We can integrate across sheaths. Briefly, in “order,” they are: the body body, the energy or breath body, the mind body, the psycho-emotional body, and the bliss body. (In “order” to make it easier to understand, but they all permeate one another & it’s not linear. At. All.) 

Some of us live for that next day off. How can we create lives we don’t need vacations from? 

“Freedom within” for me means that there is time carved out for meditation, for asana (“Yoga” in the Western sense i.e. Yoga classes), karaoke, time with pets, and a good book, and there’s also enough bandwidth left over for #adulting. Bills need paying; bunnies need brushing. This is working within, as in that ever-elusive buzzword of having balance in one’s life. We all have obligations: Society says so! We are working within the constraints of living in said society so we can enjoy its benefits. We need social connections, but not to make fools of ourselves.

“Freedom without” could mean without debt, without a care in the world, without concern for others since we’re working on us. It is a very challenging time to be living through. History is being made on the daily. I often think about whatever’s no longer serving me. What can be let go of, and what I am holding onto, often for dear life. 

Let’s reach for Anandamayakosha, or the Bliss Body. (Ananda = bliss). We can tap into this place that encompasses our inherent positive qualities, which are revealed naturally as we shed limiting beliefs. (*see below for citation.) 

Paraphrased descriptions for the Koshas from The Yoga Toolbox for Teachers and Students by Joseph and Lilian Le Page. 

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


Climbing as we fall…

“Climbing as we fall, we dare to hold on to our fate…” The Stairs, from the album X by INXS. 

In high school, INXS was my all-time favorite band. Their cassettes are still in my room, and their CDs still in the car. Although their music is also somewhere in the Cloud, nothing will replace popping that little rectangular piece of hard plastic and brown tape into the boombox, that satisfying thunk of the door closing, and those wheels turning as the scratchy opening chords pour through the speakers until the singer starts crooning, and I am whisked away to anyplace else. Music truly is the universal language. But, I digress…

Ishvara Pranidhana, or Surrender to the Divine, is what came to mind with this snippet of the song, “The Stairs.” A big part of yoga (or Yoga, more accurately,) is putting in the work, but then letting go of the outcome. Sorta like what I imagine teaching a little kid to ride a bike is like. You hold the back of the seat, and maybe a handle bar, run alongside, but eventually, let go and allow the kid to fly. And you’re there if/when knees scrape. 

In layman’s terms, put in the time, blood, sweat and tears, but then. Let. It. Go. It’s not to say give up or resign yourself to the Fates being in control. We  still have to take right action. We still need to learn, listen, and grow. But, the outcome is not ours to govern. We need to be in this moment, right here, right now. The results are as-yet undetermined. Que será, será – Whatever will be, will be. 

The verse that follows the above-mentioned quote goes on to say this: “Climbing as we fall/We dare to hold on to our fate/And steal away our destiny/To catch ourselves with quiet grace.” Reread that. I’ll wait. 

It takes tenacity to dust one’s self off after the umpteenth setback. It takes gumption to try new things. But it takes grace, quiet or otherwise, to cut ourselves some slack when it all goes sideways. How can we come more fully into our Dharma? 

Grace is fluidity of movement, ease of movement, but is effortless. (Or at least it looks that way from the outside. Unless I’m off the mat, then I am a total klutz. This speaks to paying attention. I do not agree with “how you do one thing is how you do everything. That’ll be revisited in a future blog post.) 

We catch ourselves because we are the heroes and heroines of our own stories. We steal away our destiny by carving our own path: grab a scythe and slice your way through the muck and mire. We move forward, because the past is past. It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. 

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


“Don’t waste away ’til you’re gone…”

“Don’t waste away until you’re gone” – Kocaine Karolina by Elle King

Elle King is a country singer who dabbles in country, rock and blues. But that’s not what this is about. Let’s go back to the quote, shall we? To me, this smacks of Dharma. Loosely translated as purpose, it can be said to be one’s raison d’être, or reason for being. 

What gets you up and out of bed in the morning? (Not the alarm clock, your fur baby, your human baby, your partner, or your a.m. cuppa.) What motivates you to do “just one more thing” to be better, to be stronger, to read that one chapter more before going home to family. Or maybe it is the family that motivates you? Who are you doing it all for? 

How can you serve? What is your purpose? How can you drink from the cup of life and savor and use up every drop? After all, this human form is a sort of way station until we get to next, right? 

Another quote that struck me is from INXS: “don’t burn the library ’til you’ve read all the books.” To me, this is telling us to soak up as much knowledge as possible, before striking out on our own. Didn’t the Founding Fathers scrap the Articles of Confederation by razing it, to beget the Declaration of Independence? 

It goes back to this sense of you can’t take it with you so use it all up while you’re here. Along these same lines, an Eagles quote: “we may lose, and we may win…but we will never be here again.” This moment is all we have. The past is gone, the future’s not here yet. We have a gift: that’s why it’s called the present. 

Please comment below if any of this resonates with you. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.


Alright tonight

“You came down a twisted up road…you’ve been traveling for light years…wait to begin again, lifted above by a love that does not end,” so penned John Hiatt. 

What does it mean to ‘practice with a beginner’s mind’? We are shaped by our experiences, this much is true. We are not, however, those experiences themselves. No matter what you do (your 127th Adho Mukha Svanasana aka downward-facing dog, your 1st one, your road test, racing a loved one to the hospital before the baby comes, or choose-your-own-adventure,) there will be an opportunity to begin again. Each moment comes once, then is gone, lost to the annals of time. There is no yesterday, and no tomorrow. (Metaphorically, ‘natch. Bills still have to be paid, bunnies brushed, kitties fed, papers graded, and dishwashers emptied. #adulting #adultingisoverrated) 

In the Bhagavad Gita, our hero goes through journeys real and imagined. He is a young man, a (perhaps reluctant) warrior, and a deep thinker with a deep-seeded (-seated?*) insecurity, always needing to get counsel or confirmation from his faithful companion. Eventually, he becomes a man, coming into his own. 

But, he was sure put through his paces first! He dusted himself off, and kept going, through that twisted up road. Can I get a do-over? Wait, lemme do it again! I do it, all by myself 😉 

Is the insecurity he feels seeded, as in planted within, only to sprout if it’s incorrectly or unecessarily watered? Or is that insecurity seated in the Muladhara chakra, (the root one,) where security and safety reside if uncovered and allowed to? 

Where does the “love that does not end” originate? We can learn to tap into that within ourselves (but maybe top off with friends, family and partners.)

What happens when life (Life?) knocks you down? How do you turn your pain into purpose? Everyone has gone through something. What have you done with that?

Incidentally, this post went in a different direction than initially intended, but then again, don’t most characters take over & write the (their?) story? This is a song off Paula Abdul’s 1991 album, Spellbound. It’s called “alright tonight.” It’s a catchy little ditty with a Caribbean feel. Who knew what gems lay within? The writer, it seems, was *quite* prolific, although none of the titles rang any bells of mine. 

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



Aparigraha, or non-grasping in Sanskrit, is a tough one for yours truly. One of my orange bandanas is almost as old as my Yoga practice. (Ahem, 2k!) It is discolored, and paint-splattered, but it’s mine. It has a logo of sorts (a tourist trap from a cruise to Mexico taken 100yrs ago) so it can only be worn folded two ways. Another one is no longer a fun shade of green, but a sad, washed-out paler shade of pale. The text, a band whom I’ve never listened to, is no longer readable. I still have the tee-shirt from my senior play in high school. It’s no longer fit for human consumption, so to speak, but it’s good for gardening. 

(Aside – do your tee-shirts go through a cycle? “Good” ones for work, “cute” ones for socializing, “eh” ones for sleeping, and “ew” ones for yard work? Final step is rags for nasty garage and basement jobs.) 

One of the poses recommended in the Yoga Toolbox, written by Joseph & Lilian LePage, recommends Tadasana, or mountain pose, as something that might help with a reticence to LET. IT. GO. If you think about it, mountains don’t hold onto much. The snow may land there, but eventually it melts and runs off. The rocks may crumble and roll on down to the valley below. The birds may nest there, but you’ve got to leave said nest sometime.*

This harkens back to the Meat Loaf post from last (this?) week. (The weeks all kinda blend together at this point, no?) Do what you can while you’re here. Use it all up! Ya can’t take it with you :). As my all-time favorite band in high school sang, “Love: don’t abuse it, and you’ll never be sad again. I’m on my way!” INXS. This means do all things with love. I imagine it’s like teaching your kid to ride a bike: you run alongside, helping them balance, eventually letting go (literally) and letting the knees scrape as they may. Put the effort in, but don’t get hung up on the results. 

What can you let go of? What are you holding onto? What’s holding you back? (Let’s not go to town and empty all the drawers. There are some sentimental items worth holding onto, after all. And scanned photographs for the rest.) Perhaps it’s not literal, but figurative? Grudges? Resentments? Silly spats? Digest it before it digests you. 

*Just to play devil’s advocate, though, some things do take root on ye ole Mount Mossy. We have a sad pinetree nicknamed the Charlie Brown Christmas tree in a small flat area with 1/64th” of soil most likely, and it’s hanging on, and has even sprouted some new cones. They’re red! 

In short, as Alie Ward from the Ologies podcast says to paraphrase, Text your crush. Cut bangs. We’re all gonna die. 

Incidentally, new bandanas came today. They’re in the hamper so they can soften up before taming my abundance of hair. (Thanks, Dad!) 

Feel free to comment below if this resonated with you, or if you have questions. Until our mats unfurl again, be well. -M

Quit Loafin’ Around!

“Everything louder than everything else!”, sung by Meat Loaf, written by Jim Steinman

“Who’m I, why’m I here? Forget the questions someone get me another beer!” This weekend began the 2nd of two foundational modules in the Yoga Therapy program I’m currently enrolled in, for which I will earn an advanced certificate. One of the presenters gave a talk about Abhinivesha, or the fear of death and loss. As Woody Allen said, “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” 

What does all this mean? To me, we need to cultivate Anantya, or the Endless, Eternal, Infinite. Once we, ahem, shirk this mortal coil, (thanks, Dad, for such colorful phrasing,) what are we left with? Many say our soul/Soul goes on, and will eventually find another physical form to inhabit. 

Back to The Loaf. The song goes on to say, “What’s the meaning of life? What’s the meaning of it all? Ya gotta learn to dance before you learn to crawl!” Let’s enjoy what we have while we’re here. Let’s live irreverently, fully, messily, while still practicing Ahimsa, or non-harming.  Let’s leave a legacy – whether you choose to have children, or leave all your worldly possessions to charity, or your cat, or even that you told off-color jokes at the office holiday shindig, to your boss’ boss. 

Everyone and everything will eventually die, this much we know. (At least in *this* lifetime!) What will you do with your time here? Not to say don’t plan, but if you’re miserable, what are you going to do about it? How will you be remembered? “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me”, Erma Bombeck. 

After all, “there’s a party raging somewhere in the world!” Feel free to comment below if this resonated with you. Until our mats unfurl again, be well. -M

Salt water, for whatever ails ya!

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea,” Isak Dinesen

Ain’t that the truth! (Also known as Satya – Truthfulness) Who doesn’t feel better after working up a good sweat? Truth be told, I hate sweating when I’m not supposed to be, but that’s a whole ‘nuther post. When you’re sweating, moving, in the zone, you feel great. Your muscles are firing, you’re flowing, maybe even graceful, everything works in concert. When your workout is finished, you’ve used it all up – anger, frustration, lethargy, electrolytes, extra sugar, aimless energy. A weight has been lifted, whether it’s cuz you put down those DUMBbells, or because you put your focus, or Dharana (Concentration in Sanskrit) on something outside the incessant chatter of your monkey mind. 

Tears can be so cathartic. Did you know that there are three kinds? Basal, reflex, and emotional. Let’s get the first two out of the way, to get to the good stuff. Basal tears are for house-keeping: they lubricate the cornea, and fight against infection as part of the immune system. Reflex tears are what they sound like – these wash away foreign bodies such as what’s released when you chop those onions you insist on frying up for dinner. They are produced in copious amounts! 

Emotional tears are the ones we’re focusing on here. Who’s laughed ‘til they cried? Who’s angry-cried? Who’s watched a sappy movie on the greeting-card channel to cry on purpose? These tiny but mighty droplets have hormones in them, which wash away your intense feelings. This helps to “use it all up” in a different way.

Ah, the sea! As kids, my Dad took us fishing off the coast of City Island, in the Bronx, NY. (Probably not too far from where he grew up.) It was a tough sell, getting up before the sun, putting on ratty clothes, eating white bread sandwiches made with goodness-knows-what, the smell of diesel, getting sunburnt, oftentimes getting skunked (i.e. not catching anything). The selling point for me? (Besides bringing home food I caught myself, of course). Sitting on the water. The gentle sway of the boat, the shimmering caps on the small waves, the smell of the salty air, being surrounded by nothing. This didn’t really use it all up: it filled me. 

How do you incorporate salt water into your life? Comment below to share how you work up a sweat, the last time you cried for whatever reason, or you were in, on, or near the water. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.