wisdom from the web

I lifted this post, in its entirety, from penelope illustration. I often find wisdom and inspiration in her words, and this one went down like hot tea with honey and filled me up from the inside out.

Thank you.

call love this very moment. when your patience is thin and you’re walking too quickly. trying to escape this moment. reaching for the top shelf. breathing shallow on tip toes. call love. get quieter. find that little space at the bottom and just be there for a minute or two. pause yourself. walking around in circles if you have to. feeling the pads of your feet sticking to the wood floors. or stay put and feel it burn for a little longer. the clock will keep ticking.

and if you call love, it’ll be there. it shows up as a cat rubbing against your legs. or a letter from a friend. or a skinned knee. it shows up.

and you’re off the hook.

The Things We Say


During my training, we were taught to become aware of our language. We were encouraged to be direct, avoid surrounding the guidance in cushions of ‘want’ or ‘need’ – like saying, “I want you to rotate your upper thighs back” or stating things in the future, “And then we’re going to push up into cobra.” It is simpler to hear “Rotate your thigh muscles,” “Push up into cobra.”

As you teach you become aware of new ways to describe a moment, new angles, new metaphors. And sometimes, you try one that doesn’t work for everyone. I’ve definitely tried some pose descriptions that seem natural to me, but have my students craning their necks to look up at me wondering what the heck I’m talking about. A shaft of light from where? Rotate my what, now?

I haven’t been in front of a class for a little while now, but I read a blog today that reminded me of teaching, of being a person, of loving the whole concept behind being a human being in front of other human beings in yoga. And, it made me laugh.

I’m starting to find my own language in teaching… the phrases that come naturally. The pauses. The intentions. But there’s one thing I get a little hung up on: What to call the tushie/bum/buttocks/rumpside/tu-tu during class. I’ve been experimenting with different words and when I’m already talking about various muscles I, of course, say “gluteus”. But that’s that’s just so… ew. Can’t like it. So last night as I was teaching bow pose, I heard the word “butt cheeks” slip out of my mouth. And some students started giggling. And then I started giggling. It was bad. (Laughing in bow pose is really challenging!)

[via Penelope Illustration]

As a teacher, and a student, I think a little laughing in yoga is a good thing. And I love being able to see my teacher as a real person, not just a lithe body and demonstrative voice.

My dad often makes jokes during long pose-holds to help people let go. And I’ve always thought a little levity was welcome. Though, full-on giggle fits have been rare

What do you think about a prana-induced giggle attack? Is levity a distraction?

The illustration in this post is also by Penelope Dullaghan, and if you like it, you should visit her shop.

Practice Intuition

penelope illustration [image via penelope dullaghan at penelope illustration]

I keep on wandering and refocusing. Losing my way and finding it again. Lately, I’ll feel blue, and then remember what I’m doing and not doing to help or hinder myself. I’m doing a lot of second guessing, and a lot of not trusting myself.

In light of all that, it made me smile to stumble across a post on One Sadhana that brings up a simple way to stay aware, and one that I could use to help me not lose my way.

[Here’s] a little exercise in just becoming aware of how your choices affect you. It’s to ask yourself the question:

“Does this strengthen me? Or weaken me?” And then listen for your own answer.

[read the whole post]

I liked her examples: from asking if eating that extra cookie to checking Facebook, or staying in this relationship/situation will “strengthen me? or weaken me?” It’s such a simple approach to those daily, and sometimes mindless, decisions.

When I feel off, I frequently can’t quite figure out why without examination – and, frankly, when I’m blue I’m often lazy. Too lazy for real self-examination. But I like this micro approach.

Go out for a drink, or go home and cook dinner? Strengthen or weaken? Sleep in or hit the yoga mat. Strengthen or weaken? There’s no judgement there at all. It’s not about the right answer. It’s about checking in with yourself. I like that it’s just a simple way of listening to my intuition – to practice intuition.

Out of habit or fear, I still do things that weaken me. I think we all do, or else wouldn’t we all just ascend? That said, it feels encouraging to have a new, little tool at my disposal to practice my own intuition.