In this house…we do love

Sharing an image I saw on Elephant Journal. I dedicate this to all my families—past, present, future, blood-related, my ohana, the communities and tribes I belong to, including the animal members. (Waylon Lewis’ family is his dog.)

And, okay, so maybe I’d substitute laughter for loud and my grace may a silent gratitude, but the rest of it stands. What would you add or subtract?

It’s available (in slightly different form) as a vinyl wall sticker decal here on Etsy.

in this house...we do love

The world’s oldest living yoga teacher

A Meeting In Central Park With The Oldest Living Yoga Teacher In The World. ~ Photographed by Robert Sturman | elephant journal.

Well, I’m not sure about that — BKS Iyengar is at least a comparable age — but these photos are gorgeous, and it is inspiring to see how yoga can keep a person fit and flexible into their nineties.

And would you look at that smile? Such grace and radiance!

Here’s my favorite photo:

Tips for talking to men/women, from Elephant Journal

10 Key Strategies for Talking to (Wo)men. {NSFWish} | elephant journal.

Loved this down-to-earth approach to getting yourself out there and meeting new people, in service of developing a meaningful relationship. Thanks, Waylon!

Body by yoga: beautiful video

Love this video of a committed yogi practicing at home, in her underwear, while a man sleeps nearby.

You can read an interview of the yogi in Elephant Journal here. Amazingly, she talks about having body image problems and an eating disorder. She got help through Overeaters Anonymous and yoga.

She’s also a mother.

Sadie Nardini Responds to “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body”

Sadie Nardini Responds to “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body”. | elephant journal.

Here’s yet another response from a well-known yoga teacher to the controversial recent New York Times article. Sadie Nardini recommends that students concerned about the possibility of injuries choose instructors based on how much anatomy training they’ve had. Very little is required for the RYT-200 credential. I think it’s about 20 hours.

She mentions Leslie Kaminoff as being an expert on anatomy. I took a workshop with him today. Nearly half the class of 70 were yoga teachers. He showed us some of the Anatomy Trains cadaver video and a couple of Gil Hedley’s cadaver videos (I posted his video on “fuzz” previously).

Leslie and Amy Matthews have updated their book, Yoga Anatomy, which Sadie recommends.

She makes some good points, especially noting the contradictions in what Glenn Black said to the New York Times and what he said to the Huffington Post about his own yoga injuries and whether yogis should do headstand.

It’s your body–don’t trust it to just anyone. Ask any prospective yoga teacher what, if any yoga injuries they’ve had, and if, for example, they’re about to go into spinal surgery from years of severely over-expressing themselves in yoga posture, then move on.

In addition, each student has a responsibility to check themselves before they wreck themselves in class. You might not know everything about yoga poses or anatomy, but you do know the feeling when you’re pushing too hard.  So when the urge to go all agro on a pose arises, whether it’s to strain toward strength or flexibility, it’s ultimately up to you to resist the ego’s siren song–something that leads even more experienced yogis to push their limits, then act mystified at the fact that this supposedly ‘healing’ practice hurt them instead.

Getting Naked in the Garden | elephant journal

When we start to understand the way we interpret the unfathomable world, we realize it’s all just story after story that we tell ourselves. We are just making shit up all the time.

via Getting Naked in the Garden | elephant journal.

As my friend Val said earlier tonight, “It’s your illusion. Do what you want!”

The Adam and Eve story in the Bible is one of many creation stories, but it was the one that got sanctioned and published — it’s the “official” story of Judaism and Christianity.

I notice some of my stories have a Before and After. Before my sister died. After the car wreck. Before I was innocent. After I knew first-hand how bad it could be, how much I could hurt. After I suffered, was damaged, lost my innocence, lost my trust.

We live in a world that understands things in terms of Before and After. We like to take incidents and make them meaningful, so that we can daydream about the time before and wish we were there instead of here.

Innocence, curiosity, understanding, gaining experience. What if life is good even when it’s bad because you’re alive?

We are lucky to have experienced pain and stress and grief and trauma. It’s uncomfortable, sure, but it actually makes us better people, smarter people, and often, much more compassionate people, because we can relate to every other human in the world who has experienced pain. Which is everyone.

What if life just happens, and some of it we’re prepared for and enjoy, and some of it takes us off the path we think we’re on, and we adjust? We restore ourselves to wholeness and innocence only to fragment and be disillusioned again. Thus stories are born and are interesting to tell and to hear.

But it’s not a circle. It’s a spiral, because each time, we get something new out of it — self-knowledge, insight into human nature, a different strategy, nonattachment, a bit of wisdom. We spiral through life, revisiting issues at different ages, bringing experience to bear on it each time.

Writer/yoga teacher Julie Peters concludes:

…every traumatic experience I’ve been through has made it more possible for me to understand other humans, to be a better teacher, friend, lover, writer, student, and everything else. With every trauma I go through, I realize, man, we are all still naked in the garden. I’m not getting any more innocent, but the more shit I have to deal with, the smarter I get. And every step of the way, every single time we screw up, we are learning how to do it better, and telling better stories all the time.

50 Reasons Why YOU Are Absolutely Beautiful. ~ Linnea Jensen-Stewart | elephant journal

50 Reasons Why YOU Are Absolutely Beautiful. ~ Linnea Jensen-Stewart | elephant journal.

I came across this list and couldn’t not share it with you! Maybe you will read this list and think of someone special to you, or several someones, and of course you will think of yourself.

Reading this list made me smile, think, laugh, remember, imagine, agree, wonder, qualify.

This one made me think:

3. Beauty is a daring action. One that is built on your authentic intention instead of being attached to the outcome.

There may very well be a future blog post born from that one.

Here’s another:

32. Having faith in someone else’s word, because we know we’ve been true to our own. That is beautiful.

Can I really trust that? It is so beautiful to trust.

What’s most beautiful to you? What is beautiful that’s not on this list? I’d love to hear from you, in the comments.

You are beautiful to me!

Neurosculpting: Mapping the Mindscape | elephant journal

Neurosculpting: Mapping the Mindscape ~ Lisa Wimberger | elephant journal.

Given the new discoveries that our brains are elastic and regenerative, rather than hardwired and fixed, what can you do to improve your mindscape? Writer Lisa Wimberger writes that first, we must do something about our stress:

Unfortunately, many of us function in low levels of stress most of the time. Getting our stress under control is extremely important, as it’s both a precursor and a result of remapping or sculpting. We cheat ourselves of all potential transformation when we ignore our stress.

She gives 10 practical tips, including exercising, reframing situations positively, consuming brain foods and supplements, and getting yourself into the alpha state.

Click the link to read all 10 tips.

The Biology of Meditation. | elephant journal

The Biology of Meditation. | elephant journal.

Lisa Wimberger provides a Cliff’s Notes version of the book Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment, by David Perlmutter and Alberto Villoldo.

Excerpt:

Stress, trauma and the health perils associated with those states all begin and get perpetuated in the limbic brain, which is comprised of the hippocampus, hypothalamus and amygdala. These are responsible for making our emotional connections outside of logic, taking snapshots of life, creating our dream state experiences, turning on our fight-or-flight response, and storing and delivering emotional information independent of time. The limbic system cannot discern past, present, or future — each “picture” it accesses is experienced by the body as though it’s current.

Fasting and/or a low-calorie diet, antioxidants, voluntary exercise, and meditation are key ways to turn down the limbic brain.

About meditation, she says…

…it is found that those who meditate or enter states of trance have increased blood flow to their pre-frontal cortex (PFC). This area of the brain is the executive decision maker, but is not quite the same as the neo-cortex “logic” mind. The PFC is activated on EKGs during states of compassion, inspiration, motivation and love. It has the ability to project and envision a future reward. It is the part of the brain responsible for motivating us to attain our goals and dreams. Blood flow to the PFC decreases when blood flow to the limbic brain increases.

The Yoga of Protest. | elephant journal

The Yoga of Protest. | elephant journal.

Here’s a yogic take on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Excerpt:

In the midst of all this muddle, a yogic concept called ananda popped into my head. Ananda is Sanskrit; it is one of the highest purposes of Anusara Yoga, and can be translated as deep joy, deep expressiveness, or bliss. It can also be understood as “loving acceptance of what is.”

It hurts to think about practicing this idea in relation to what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are pointing at. It hurts to think about lovingly accepting the deep dysfunction and suffering that is occurring in this world. If I imagine doing that, my heart feels like it might stretch and break. Yet it is what the mystics call for us to do, to love what is hurting us, to empathize with our torturers. Not blindly, naively or passively, but powerfully, radiantly and compassionately.

All of us, 99% and 1%, need to be loved. We need to be seen in our wholeness. Our suffering, yes, our greatness.