We are all worthy.

time lapse photography of people walking on pedestrian lane

Photo by Mike Chai on Pexels.com

OK. Alt right. You’re right.

Immigrants are awful people. Not only do I loathe to hear Spanish – but, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Irish, Scottish, French, Portuguese, Middle English, Flemish, Korean, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Norwegian, Swedish, etc. etc.. Oh and I guess I should hate Jews and Black people.

What do you want me to do – now that I think you’re right? Do you want me to limit their access to everything we hold dear? Run them out of town? Torture them? Imprison them? Kill them? How? Shoot them? Drag them behind a car until they are dead? What about the people who married them? Should I also kill them? Put them in a detention center? On a boat? And what about their children?

Oh, and what about people who have abortions? I hate them. Right? Should I scream at them every time I see them? Or just wait until they do something I can catch them doing and ridicule them? Should I run them out of town, too? Should I kill them?

And how will I tell? How will I tell who will not shatter the illusion of freedom that I feel when I know that by doing this I feel safe? How can I keep this feeling of safety now that I’ve run all these people out of town? Out of the country? Out of my sight? Off the face of the earth? How will I tell that someone like even you, isn’t out to steal my job, my livelihood, my whole way of life? How can I stop you from changing what I’ve grown so used to having? My comfy home and ideals? My security about my life… the -nothing changes? That feeling that things are the way I like them and I can easily force things to stay the same? How can I protect myself from someone like you? Because now that I think like you and know all that you stand for – how can I trust you? Because I know you will not stop until you feel safe. You will go to great lengths to make sure that nothing ever offends you. Nothing ever challenges you. Nothing ever asks of you to forget yourself for a moment, just a fraction of a second. And you will apply extreme measures to strip the dignities of humanity from those you fear, those you hate, so it makes you feel better, bigger, more deserving…

I’ve changed my mind, I’m not like you. I’ll never agree with you. I wish you well. But – I can not think for a second that the heart of another human being is less than my heart. I know it isn’t true. Not even you. I think differently than you. I know that another heart and my heart can do great things that makes this world an awesome place – together – celebrating our humanity.

I’m on the look out for those hearts. Hearts that embrace – not divide. Hearts don’t hate. I can not fear another heart. Hearts are not very different from one another. And hearts speak only one language – LOVE. Let that be expressed in the multiple languages of the world from the different faces that have glistening eyes. That speaks volumes. Listen. We all want the same thing. We can have it – together – it takes Heart to achieve it.

monochrome photography of people shaking hands

Photo by Savvas Stavrinos on Pexels.com

Big Love

Can we do this? Can we see each other as we are? Can we drop all the pretenses of that which separates us and give each other the care we need to survive life together? Can we stop seeing differences and start seeing a human family?

The intellect – that which we strive to improve – those arguments – pushes us further away from each other. The adolescent neuroses – those tantrums – the me me me – drives us even harder away. And even the thought of an innocent heart – childlike wonder – can save us, is a fallacy.

This is a very small world where nothing is gained and everything is lost. Arguments need sides. A this or that. When you start separating each other out, the heart loses and the adolescent neuroses of jealousy, envy, fear of vulnerability, fear of not being special, fear of being left behind, the mental reactions in a mind that manufactures a reality from feeling alone take over.

Everyone is told that they are special. In fact, if you don’t believe in your own specialness, the thought is that there must be something wrong with you. That again – begins the separation. If I’m special, then no one else can be – because special is well, special. This specialness also is what makes people not consider others. Specialness brings with it an air of superiority which again separates us. This superiority is seen in attitudes that “you just have to want it more” or “you can manifest it if you try” – which always has an air of Well you must not be as special. That somehow your lack of success is tied to and therefore someone else’s success is tied to Specialness.

So what makes me special? And can I keep this up every single day? The answer is NO. My humanness makes me a part of you, and we are absolutely and deliciously normal. We falter, we ache, we strive, we are committed, we grow, we rejoice, we are grateful, we express an individuality that is uniquely our own, but it is no better or worse than anyone else’s.

Our way of dealing with success, loss, and forces that are beyond our control is what makes us who we are – but, we all go through this. Each of us. To ignore the ebbs and flows of our life, is not the answer. Be Present. A lot of people think that going back to childlike wonder is the way to express carefree happiness in the world. But you are not a child. Children have yet to experience and understand the world beyond their expectations of parental love. There is no way that a child can respond and survive shocks to their emotional makeup when love is withdrawn, or love is expressed inappropriately or even appropriately. Children will begin naturally, unconsciously, to develop mechanisms to shut out or gather things from a place of reaction. To be a mature adult, we really need to stay present with the world. To unravel our reactionary feelings from what is appropriate to the moment. It’s like when someone is immersed in something on their phone while driving which causes them to make unpredictable traffic errors, and reacts angrily when people start honking at them. Childlike wonder is not being present to what your life is in that moment. If you are not present to your life, how can you respond well enough to it? And express it to your full potential?

This is no way to live.

To live constantly in the shadow of specialness is exhausting. WE ALL are not special. None of us. WE ALL are not anything but normal. The most beautiful part of the human heart is to recognize this in each other. WE ALL live and strive to be the best we can be – yes. We have uniqueness in as much as each of us is an individual. But to hang our hat on Special? That, there, is a neurosis.

Social media has made our lives a lie to the world. We only show what’s good, and lovely in our lives. Is it because there’s the prevailing admonishment of anyone who says they’re struggling is just trying to get attention? Is it not true the other way around? How relieved we are to hear from people who have felt or are feeling the same way. Our struggles are universal and we are calmed to hear – I feel that, too. Celebration of victory comes from sharing in the struggle. If the heroine didn’t almost give up, then we would not feel the elation of victory.

Grow up into a mature heart that knows that life can be rough. That the fear we feel is mostly manufactured. In our heads. Maybe the answer to seeing each other as humans that are fallible, are not perfect, who hurt and cry, who sing and dance is to be like guardians, treat each other as a precious gift to watch over and watch grow. Love that is Big can weather any perceived differences the intellect throws up. The Big Heart is courageous. The Big Love is sweet.

Love like that.

#love #earth #human #freedom 

** Anyone who knows the person whose photo this is, please let me know – I’d like to give them credit. Thanks.

SPRING CLEARING – Meditation and Yoga Session

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SPRING CLEARING  4 week Meditation and Yoga Session

At Restless Spirit – Toronto!

Starts: Sunday April 26th – 9:30-11:30am for 4 Sundays (NO class Victoria Day Weekend)

Give yourself the opportunity to tune yourself into the season of Renewal and Revitalization! Come join me for 4 weeks of yoga and meditation to clear the senses and open up the body and mind to Receive the Richness of Spring into Summer!

Please go to our FB page for more info!

Why Easter Is My Favorite Holiday…

Easter should be my favorite holiday of the year.

Not because of the bunnies. Although I love bunnies!

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Not because of the chocolate and I do love chocolate!

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Not because it is Spring or Equinox although I wait impatiently for it throughout the entire winter.

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It is because it is the only social cultural religious public recognition of Transformation through Death that I know of. It is the only time we, collectively, recognize death as a part of the human experience.

It is also a time that illustrates an aspect of Spirituality that isn’t talked about much: Transformation – the cycle of Death and Rebirth.

Of course, if you think about it from a strict Christian stance I think, Jesus was the only one who could die and be reborn or resurrect. But put the word resurrect aside and call it Spiritual Rebirth then it does seem that conceivably I could do that and have done throughout my years of practice.

This kind of Death that Easter represents, to me, is not in the corporal sense as in a person dying, leaving this earth. It is not only about rebirth as in only Jesus can do it. It is about the psyche and the heart’s ability to transform.

We Die And Are Reborn In Every Moment – If We’re Lucky

I think of Easter as a celebration of the Death and Rebirth of our Psyches over and over again. Going through Transformation(s) is a necessary part of the Spiritual process toward Awakening. We die and are reborn in our lives. You may not know it, but you go through small death/rebirths with every moment. You may ignore the signs of wakefulness or ego-death, and in response to it, in fear of the little ego-death (Thanatos), you refortify your self (small ‘s’) every time you run into difficulty thereby starting the death/rebirth process all over again (karma). Without awareness, we slip back into our neurosis that veils the True Essence of our own Beings.

The Work – Practice

Any practice worth its Spiritual Weight puts the practitioner through the throes of a kind of death any time (maybe not every time) they sit on their meditation cushions or stand on their mats, or chant or do breath work, etc.. And any practitioner wanting Samadhi which is a state of transformative essence, has to accept this as part of the practice.

You’re On Your Own – As You Should Be

Growing up Catholic, Easter was about suffering and resurrection and what Jesus can do for us.

Now as a mature woman, I realize that I’ve always known there is a flaw in thinking that. No one can do this work but ‘me’. The work is available to me as an adult. It needs a certain kind of maturity that comes with experience. But not the experience that is about traveling a lot (external world) or having a lot of schooling or street smarts (intellect). It’s the experience of existence, moment to moment, life unfolding that opens you up to this process (internally) – only you, the individual can know when that time is to delve into this work.

If You Let The Divine/Universe Guide You

As psyches, we are constantly in flux. It’s like our True Self is in a cocoon for our whole lives and it starts out as an opaque vessel, hard and impenetrable. If you let the Divine/Universe guide you through your life then metamorphosis will take place. The cocoon becomes transparent and it is apparent that growth and change are happening inside. Transformation from the inside out. You can’t see it happening until the outer layer/outer body becomes transparent. And finally what emerges into the world is something other than what it started out as. The butterfly doesn’t need to die corporally in order to change and Be this change. It needs to die to the caterpillar it once was. But not only does the physical body change and it only changes in order to Serve the Essence or Spirit of what has emerged: “Dying ego-ically” as it were, in order to transform is the crux of the success of Transformation.

So then symbolically, Jesus’ story represents the Spiritual Transformation from a Secular life to a life with god, union, Yoga. This is what I would like to think the celebration of Easter is about. The celebration of Transformation from one state to another, the death of one immoveable identity to an existence without labels; An existence of Openness and Self-knowledge.

And although Christians to a certain extent can be very maudlin about the whole process, it is a time of celebration – Spirit over Ego, Awareness over Blindness, Wakefulness over Sleep. It is a celebration to recognize that we all have the capacity to change and grow Spiritually.

 

 

Madness.

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This photo from this site: http://stottilien.com/tag/shadow/ (a great read btw)

 

Madness – “Crazy” and Depression are two different things. Madness or Crazy were thought to be a gift bestowed upon individuals in Aboriginal societies. You have to be sort of mad to see god or the workings of the universe. Gurus (saddhus) are mad with the knowledge of god and their culture supports and even reveres them. Most of the Saints would have been thought mad by our standards. Madness or crazy that Robin Williams was talking about I can only IMAGINE what he meant -is the crazy that is the true Creative Spirit. The spirit that makes you act in spite of criticism, in spite of rules like gravity. I don’t mean rules like laws – I mean rules like you can’t fly. The crazy that comes from seeing the truth about life. The madness is the creative spark that it takes to turn this knowing of the true workings of god or the universe, this intuitive vision into art – funny, sad, poignant, inspirational, dirty, truthful art. Depression comes from the pressure of being constantly asked, chided, cajoled, ridiculed, forced to conform to the systems of the material world – the bigotry, the separateness, the fear. It goes directly against the truth that is real and tangible only to the artist. Depression is the weight of keeping your head in this world and your heart in the creative energies of the universe. Depression is the weight of knowing you can really fly but you are tethered to this reality. Depression comes from knowing that if you don’t conform you will be isolated by and from our society (madhouses and asylums, psych-ward). There is no support or acceptance of those who fly outside the Norm. FLY in the face of it. And let those who don’t get it try to figure it out later.

 

This is in response to this comment about #RobinWilliams standup piece about keeping a little madness. He was full of the Creative Spirit. You can see it, hear it… beautiful Robin.

http://www.upworthy.com/robin-williams-advice-for-people-who-are-depressed-is-really-touching-and-important?c=reccon1

Missing the Point…

This and that.

This and that.

The 50s moral conduct police are back: *Just sit tight while I’m reviewing the attitude of doing right. There is this trend on most social media sites to *accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with Mr. In-between.

Christian Ethic As Yoga

Sound familiar? It should. It is the uber Christian Right attitude of the 50s. And although the name of the social group has changed from Christian to Yoga, it is the same thing. The mores which are associated with Yoga these days come from the same pressures of the material and social/religious worlds that the 50s (and before) were influenced by and have nothing to do with Yoga and its teachings.

Like any belief system, it is an attempt to codify, encapsulate and synthesize the teachings of the Existence of Universal Consciousness and Divine Energy into a graspable, definable, code of conduct that pretends to understand the ineffable nature of Spirit. Once the intellect tries to make sense out of this eternal, ungraspable reality – it is done the same way it has been done for centuries – it is reduced to a myopic view of how one conducts oneself in the society that strives to understand these energies.

This And That

Again, it’s about taking one thing and elevating it to cult status (positivity/god/angel) and casting the other down into the abyss (negativity, devil). Even a well-known pop spiritualist does this. The idea that: all problems are illusions of the mind, without revealing that then all successes (the opposite) are also illusions of the mind. Only half the story is being told and it is irresponsible of anyone to not fully disclose what it is. If one: 1. frees the heart from hatred, then ideally one must free the heart from loving sentimentally – both are projections of our own psyches and therefore reflections of our need to control and protect. And if one: 2. frees the mind from worry, then it goes without saying that one must free the mind from planning/dreaming – both are a result of the thinking mind and therefore as a spiritual being, one must live out one’s life following one’s dharma, not directing it. 3. live simply, again is misconstrued as something it is not. The projection is – depending on the “values” of the society, a reflection of that “value” and has nothing to do with what living simply really means. The outward appearance is taken into consideration not the attitude with which one lives simply – as in looking like a hippy could be misconstrued as living simply or taking on the protestant ethic of living could be just as misguided. It is the attitude with which we live that expresses simplicity. 4. give more – again with what attitude? If one gives for one’s own sake (I’ll look good, I get a write off, I need to feel needed, I want to help) then, personally, I do not want your charity. Really. 5. taking less – again with what attitude? You get the picture.

Who Am I?

It’s a judgement call and who’s the judge? Who is it that decides when one is giving less and taking too much? What I mean by Who is the eternal question that Ramana Maharshi put to himself and everyone he met afterward – “Who is it that wants? Who is it that needs? Who is it that asks the question? etc. Who am I?

Before one can dissolve the ego into the ‘I’, the practice then is to cultivate an attitude that ALL things within our understanding and beyond it, must be taken equally into our mind. One must not have sway over the other. The weight of one has to be the same as the other. Mr. Inbetween or the Buddhist concept of the middle way is the way to calm the mind. Then once the mind has calmed, through mindful reflection on Who Am I – the Ego can release all concepts of “this and that” and sit in the quiet knowledge that ALL THIS THAT WHICH IS SEPARATE FROM US IS the Illusion of the Mind. AND ALL THAT IS – IS ONE.

* from the song: Accentuate the Positive

** Link to Ramana Maharshi

Restless Spirit: A Beautiful Space Waiting for You

Restless Spirit: A Beautiful Space Waiting for You

Come join me on Thursdays for the BEST meditation practice you’ll ever do!

Every Thursday Evening:

6:15pm-6:45pm – Intro to Meditation: If you don’t want to jump head long into a long meditation session, why not come and learn what it’s all about.

These intro sessions are there to let us get to know one another, let you get to know what meditation is all about and give you a little practice so you can acclimatize to sitting and the space (and the teacher/facilitator – that’s me!)

7pm-8/8:30pm – Heart Path Meditation Sessions – These sessions are a gift really. 🙂

You may have some trepidation upon entering the room: What’s it all about? What are we going to do? How’s it going to affect me? (these questions can be answer in the 6:15pm class) – but after the session you feel so good and so refreshed that it is like having come out of a really great sauna or yoga class. The heat of the practice is so revitalizing and warming that stepping outside you’d swear it was Summer!

Come join me! And make Restless Spirit into a community of awesome Spirit-ness.

Please bring your own meditation benches or cushions to sit on if you have them. Thx.

Learning from Ourselves… Injury in Yoga: Continuing the Dialogue

Hi – I’m glad you got something out of it.

This is my long-winded response to your question: “Can we break free of our old broken ways without hurting it (our bodies)?”

I hope this helps…

Non-Dualism/Advaita (not two)

It is my understanding and what I believe to be true (always have), is that all is god/divine/universe. It is known in studied circles as non-dualism or Advaita. You can study Advaita Vedanta which is a branch of Vedanta (philosophy) that sees all as One.

According to Advaita, in the universe, there is no this or that. No light or dark, etc.. So then when experiencing anything: behavior, injury, circumstances, god, etc., then nothing is bad or good. It just is.

Thinking Mind

Our minds have separated things out; Put them into little boxes and called them bad or good, hot or cold, light or dark. I suppose it’s true and necessary to do this when you want to distinguish between things as humans walking this earth. But it’s when you start to qualify them that gets us into our heads and we stop experiencing things for what they are in the present moment.

The Judgement

Our imaginings as to what things mean to us according to what we’ve experienced in our lives take over. That’s when you become burdened with the thinking mind. It’s like telling a lie. You have to remember exactly what you’ve told yourself in order to get on with life. That becomes a burden. When the water is hot or cold you will react differently according to your circumstance – your present moment – you think, but in fact our reactions to most things come with a lot of baggage. That baggage are the qualifiers both personal and social that we put on certain things. Now the dark is bad and the light is good. Sometimes snow is fun, sometimes it’s awful and we hate it. Injury is bad and staying safe is good. Or worse you’re bad because you injured yourself and those who take care are good. (does this sound like something you know?)

What Advaita teaches us is to see things as they are without judgement, without qualifiers. When you take things as they are, there is no this or that. All is one and there is no judgement or qualification to separate it out. No putting it into a box with a label on it. You see it as it is. It is just a happening.

The Learning

For instance, I have a small hairline fracture in my fifth metatarsal. It happened as I was teaching a very fast vinyasa class. Fun! About 15 mins into the class, I noticed a sensation that there was something under my foot and didn’t notice the swelling until after the class. I went home put some ice on it, kept my foot up for the evening and next day and taught that evening and again the next day and the next. The “injury” told me one thing – that I was putting too much stress on my back foot in Virabhadrasana Two. It was not “preventable” because until the moment it happened, I didn’t know I was. In fact, the stress came from the tightness in my hips which taught me that I had to work from my hips/legs more in open hip postures – especially standing. My “injury” taught me how to work better. Now I’m not saying that everything is a teaching – but in this case I did learn. Meaning I became more aware of how my body works and reacts in certain postures. I do not think of it as injury and something to avoid. I think of it as injury, yes, and something to embrace and know that that is how my body needs to work itself out.

Our Experience

Our bodies have habits from the time we are very young. Our movements, how we walk, reach for things, jump out of the way, stand, sit are all set pretty much early on in our lives and are determined by who we mimic (our parents), and what we experience (physically, emotionally, psychically). These physical movements and their baggage are what we’re up against in our asana practice. Even being very flexible is something to overcome in practice. (I can tell you more about this later if you’d like – just ask.)

Consciousness

So the long and the short of it is this: as long as you are moving in the consciousness that is available to you at this time, then the work and the results of that work are all a part of the divine plan. If you are aware of how and what it is that you do then there is no this or that. There is just you doing the work. Your body will unfold in the practice as it needs to. Sometimes injury is a part of that unfolding.

Deeper Understanding

Richard Freeman (well-known guru of Ashtanga) says that he’s never had an injury. Well, bully for him. I know no one else and I know a lot of people in yoga. I believe that because of my struggles it affords me a deeper understanding of what most people are going through. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t move head-long into injury. I don’t like the recovery time and it always is that I have to start pretty much all over again. But even saying that – every time I start over – meaning, that my trikonasanas look like I’ve never done them before – I go deeper into the posture and feel a more profound connection to my body and my practice. That is worth all the struggle and hard work, for sure!

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Restless Spirit Hours the Week of December 16th…

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Come in for a visit and let’s chat! We’ll sit here and do cards or a session for your deepening. Or we’ll sit in meditation in the space right behind me and let Grace take over. Whatever it is that you would like to do, Restless Spirit is a very harmonious, spiritual place and you are welcome anytime to come talk with me!

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I’m planning to be in the studio Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11-7pm, and maybe Friday. Oh of course it all depends on the weather.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I have some appointments so I’ll be there for sure. Text me to make sure I’m available at the time you want to drop in.

Hope to see you all soon!

Remember to book your appointments with me here or email, or by texting or calling. Thx.

Answers To Some Questions Someone Asked Me…

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Someone asked me about my practice. It is hard to articulate and I don’t think I’ve expressed it as well as I can. It’s hard for me to express something that I do so intuitively. But here goes – I hope you find this informative and inspiring! 🙂 Peace!

What brought you to devote your energies to yoga?

It wasn’t really my decision. I think all my life had been directing me that way. Since I was a child, I had this feeling that I was to heed the call of the universe but obligations in regular life kept me from seeing my path clearly. It took me years to follow the calling. And when I did, it threw my life into a tailspin. I lost friends and my family because they could not understand the direction my life was taking. I sacrificed a lot but gained so much. I attained a disposition that is contentment itself. I could not have experienced this without the pain and sacrifice, without the missteps. I devote my energies to yoga, because all there is – is Yoga. Everything else is Maya; superficial; unreal.

How does it “in-form” [sic] the person that you are?

If Yoga speaks through me then there is a truth that is in my eyes. I cannot hide or “get rid of” the organism I am; the human I am. I cannot ignore that I am a very sensitive human being. Not only in emotions – because I’m not as sensitive that way as others – but my organism is sensitive. I taste more, I smell more, I feel more, I vibe more. This, when attached with an ego, can get very irritating and precarious and at the same time, can make me acutely aware of my surroundings and the other humans near me. Yoga takes my hand and leads me through the jungle, swamp as my teacher likes to call it. So yoga doesn’t take away the uncomfortable moments as it doesn’t take away the blissful moments. Yoga doesn’t distinguish one from the other. It is all experience. It is all about being human. Being a restless spirit. Yoga informs my organism by allowing my humanness to express itself without judgment. I feel the embrace of god no matter what I do these days. Yoga – as I become transparent – accepts the incarnation of whatever happens through my ego.

How does it relate to seeing in terms of sacred and profane and to your quest to integrate these poles?

Yoga then is ultimately a heart path. It is not just an intellectual path. It is not just a physical path. It is not just a mindful path. Once the ego has been exposed to the Yogic path; after all the fighting and resisting, the heart opens up to all possibilities of expression; that there is no right way or wrong way to attain Yoga. The heart, in the ego’s evolution to spirit, casts a wide net and sees which way to turn next. All movements toward deepening are accepted and in line with the dharma – whether it is sitting in meditation or learning a (big or small) lesson from a decision made. The stronger the heart path the more sincerity, with sincerity there’s honesty and humility, with honesty and humility comes equanimity. With equanimity, there is acceptance of all. Integrating the sacred and the profane in one place, one organism, is to practice non-dualism or advaita and that is what I think is the truth of the universe. The restless spirit goes through stages of evolution and revolution to reach Yoga and anything can get you there if you are listening and done with sincerity.

 How is your practice related to architecture?

When I was practicing architecture, I was concerned with how the ‘spirit’ was expressed through building. I turned to a lot of the modern architecture of Europe but also and more importantly of Japan.

Japanese architecture always fascinated me – at least when the architectural space expressed the concepts of opposites and their juxtapositions through materials, expression of space and how they use it. The Zen garden was a part of that as well as placing cool water in relationship with warm wood, or stone floor as transition between garden and tatami mat. And so on. To me, this created an experience of balance between sensations of the senses. A yin yang of living if you will. It reminds me of Hatha yoga – balancing energies through the physical manifestation of opposites.

As well, I studied a lot of medieval architecture and urban landscapes because they showed how humans met their needs in built form and at that time it was unstructured (to a certain extent), unhindered by intellectual notions of design and unself-conscious. Take gothic cathedrals for instance – they were built simply to express their devotion to the Divine. And like gothic architecture, the spiritual path takes time, patience, devotion (to the work as well as god), vision, concentration, and contentment (because you might not see your efforts come to fruition in this lifetime).

And finally, Sacred Geometry and Alchemy. My studies informed me that there are unseen forces which can be expressed through certain parameters – that the Divine is revealed through them. In built form, sacred geometry harnesses the energies from the universe – the sun and stars. The architecture then becomes the energy field. It is then interesting to compare the practice of yoga asana with this harnessing of energy of the universe. Sacred geometry is expressed through form and mathematics. I suppose you could say that asana can be and, in theory, is that precise and practical. Sacred geometry and its expressions need to be precise in order to harness these energies. Hatha yoga need not be – precise – in form. Every body is different and can not express postures in the same way. Then what is it? It needs to be precise in ‘energy’. Energy to me equals mindfulness (or right-mindedness) plus perseverance (dedication) plus forcefulness (effort) with breath. Enacting Hatha yoga postures in this way is the harnessing of divine energy from within – not without. Where sacred architecture draws from outside and then contains the energies within, a human being creates the energy within and contains it. This is known as Prana, created through breath and enacting the postures with force (Hatha yoga – the ‘forceful’ practice). Both the architectural space and the individual contain the energy within.

Is yoga as you practice it a kind of embodied, spiritual architecture?

I suppose if I read this like: that the practices of yoga and meditation are a kind of architecture which endeavors to express the restless spirit – so in a way, to find new form by building or by practicing; by sensing the changes that are needed and making adjustments; by recognizing the potential and limitations of what you have to work with; by harnessing and containing these energies (prana) within, and finally, by knowing that this kind of embodiment is much bigger than you. To that, then yes, I’d say so.

How do your Buddhist meditative practices relate to or complement your yoga practices?

Buddhist meditation practices complement my yoga practice because of its simplicity. I practice Zazen, which really means to “just sit”. I take that into my asana practice and although I’m very aware of structure, my meditation practice helps me to “just practice” and breathe. We sometimes like to put values or qualifications on our practice – do this and you will be healthy or fit or whatever; do meditation and you will be calm or mindful and so on. Really there’s no guarantee that any of that will happen for you. We say, build your core and you can do handstand easily or this or that arm balance. But in truth there’s a lot more going on in an asana, which does not relate at all to how strong your core muscles are that would hold you back from realizing that goal. So then, in the “just sitting” or the practice of Ashtanga (in my view) is the means to the end. The practice or rather to practice is the goal. And you do the best you possibly can in your body, your organism with sincerity.

How do you see the evolution of your path?

Really to just keep doing. Keep making myself available to my own practice, to the universe, to others. Making myself available to others also drives me down my path. Making myself available to the universe means to cultivate intuition, heart and mind. So on that note – thank you for asking these questions because it has helped me to articulate these things that I do intuitively.

I hope I’ve answered your questions for you. Please feel free to ask me to clarify anything that you are unsure about.

Peace!

Christine