Month: September 2019

Birthing / Deathing

By Kathy Kinkaid // When my mother died, I felt as if she had birthed me again. Being a care-giver to aging parents can put you in a strange place.  I had in many ways become the mother of my mother right up until the end of her life.  It was in that process that so many life experiences appeared to be weaving together in a mysterious way. This is something women have done for many years – cared for the dying / birthed new life. I’d often wondered if death were not a sort of birth / birth a sort of death.  I mean, when we are born, we are immediately in a strange land. We had been so comfortable as a water creature only to find ourselves now breathing air.  This is a repeating pattern in life. When I married, I changed my name & realized I was no longer who I had been. The shift was an inside job, mostly & felt quite surprisingly drastic.  We do the same type of thing when we …

Essentials for a Daily Practice

By Sara Avant Stover // A daily practice doesn’t need to be strict and mechanical. Rather, it can feel supportive, like seeking the solace of a good friend. In this class, I share essentials of an effective, nourishing (and doable) daily practice. This is a potent time of year to rekindle our passion for our practice. Plus, the world is calling us to more—and that more isn’t possible without a solid foundation of a serious, daily practice. May this class inspire you to deepen your inner sight.           About the Author Sara Avant Stover is a yoga and meditation teacher, best-selling author of The Way of the Happy Woman, and The Book of SHE, and an inspirational leader to tens of thousands of women worldwide. The creator of The SHE School and the Women’s Yoga Teacher Training, Sara has been featured in Yoga Journal, the Huffington Post, and on ABC, NBC, and CBS. www.TheWayoftheHappyWoman.com

Your Posture is the Practice: An Interview with Hope Martin

By Debra Hiers // A great way of working with the body in meditation is the Alexander Technique, a process that enhances body awareness. This subtle yet powerful modality offers a way to be more relaxed and comfortable in your body by teaching you to recognize and let go of postural habits that cause discomfort and that distance you from being fully present in your life. It is communicated through a teacher’s verbal and gentle hands-on guidance, but ultimately teaches you how to be your own teacher and apply the principles for yourself. Hope Martin began taking Alexander Technique lessons in 1980, and completed a three-year training program in 1987. Shortly after that she participated in a month-long meditation intensive and found that even with her extensive Alexander training, she still had “a lot of trouble sitting, a lot of burning in [her] back, a lot of pain and discomfort.” She knew from her own experience the obstacles people encounter sitting on a cushion or chair for extended periods of time. “When you’re sitting, and all …

Reflection: The Key to Continuous Learning

By Dhi Good // When we take time regularly to contemplate the values we embrace and the goals we set, we create a cycle of continuous learning. This kind of learning needs no external authority. It’s how we access and act on our inner wisdom. Reflection can be an excellent companion to a meditation practice. Meditation practice helps us learn to work with the mind. For example, when we decide to develop a meditation path, how will we know if it is working as intended? How will we know if it is worth the effort and investment of time? That’s where reflection can help make meaning from life and guide our future choices. Cut off the Critic and Cultivate Curiosity    Too often we cut off reflection and pronounce harsh judgements on ourselves, saying: “I’m no good at this. My mind is a mess. I’m too lazy, busy, or frazzled.” With such a critical approach, it may be tempting to give up on our intentions because the setbacks or challenges are too painful to examine. We’d rather avoid …

The Power of Wisdom and Compassion

By Michelle Becker // I’ve noticed that when life gets really difficult – whether due to a natural disaster like the recent, devastating hurricanes and earthquakes, or due to more personal issues like the health crisis of a loved one or difficulty in our interpersonal relationships – We, humans, often react by going to extremes. On one end of the spectrum, we can fall into despair, becoming overwhelmed with pain and grief, unable to be present with things as they are. On the other end of the spectrum, we can bury our heads in the sand and push away any awareness of the suffering around us. Maybe we spend every waking hour at work, fixated on a project, or we drink or eat a little too much, or binge watch our favorite shows. Either extreme keeps us from being present with things as they are, just in different ways. And why would we even want to stay present in difficult circumstances? Because being present with things as they are doesn’t trigger the added layer of …

Healing Guilt, Shame and Insecurity (Part 1)

By Blake D. Bauer // Do you constantly make yourself wrong for feeling the way you feel or for desiring the things you desire in life? Do you find yourself feeling guilty after you express your emotions or after doing something just for yourself that’s not about pleasing someone else? Do you constantly fear hurting others when making a choice that’s best for you, but then find that you stop yourself and hurt yourself instead? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re just like me and most people on the planet who suffer with deep guilt whereby we not only feel that we are a problem – that our mere existence is a burden – but also that we are somehow wrong, bad or sinful for wanting to be happy, well and truly loved. Is the fact that we’re surviving really enough? Should we just accept that it’s ‘normal’ to live in fear, with deep insecurity, shame and anxiety? Is asking to thrive, to achieve your dreams, to feel completely satisfied …

Hands of Hope: The Possibility of Bodily Ease in Sitting Meditation

A few years ago, my experience of sitting on my meditation cushion was changed in a dramatic, simple, and sustained way, when Hope Martin placed her hands on my spine for just a few minutes. Over the past three decades, countless students have had similar experiences, as she has gained a reputation for being a profoundly sensitive, intuitive body-worker as well as a gentle and brilliant meditation teacher. As she says, what she offers is highly experiential. In that space with her, a shift occurred: emotionally, in the body, in the mind. It was profound. I flash on that experience just about every time I sit to meditate, and the body, remembering Hope’s hands, relaxes into a dignified posture. The experience is elusive, and better to be experienced personally than described. But, hearing Hope speak about her work, along with some clips of a recent session I had with her (lucky me!), may bring it to life a bit more. Please enjoy this short video, and may the hands of Hope be with you. Shambhala …