14
Aug

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Did you know that there is no separation between the mind, the emotions and the body?

Grief has found its way into my lungs, and I am sick with the worst chest cold I have had in years. In some strangely comforting way, it is affirming to know that while we are vulnerable to the sometimes extreme vicissitudes of life, if we can survive the trauma that we experience, we then may also have the power to decide how we meet them, what we do with them, and how we evolve as a result.

My beloved Mother left this earth on July 18th and is now peacefully soaring with the angels, magnificent swallow that she is, exquisite and intentional, swooping and gliding, buoyed aloft by purest love and the light of infinite stars. Like a beautiful bell, music itself, her voice, her laughter, her bright eyes, her face tilted up smiling to receive the sun … radiant with excitement, introducing one soul to another, the grand connector and brilliant creatrice, glowing pearl, shining light, elixir of life! This is how we will remember her–these ways and countless more. The people who knew her were each forever changed for the better, their lives and their very selves magically illuminated by knowing her, truly blessed to have been touched by her singular, other-worldly magic as long as they had, and I know that she will be with us always. No language can express the power, beauty, heroism, and majesty of my Mother, Jane’s joyful love, its radiance, quenchless fidelity like a star.

Her innate, all-encompassing, boundless joy for life, her strength and her indomitable spirit lives on inside me and my family. Endlessly brilliant, insatiably curious, multi-talented, magnetic, beyond generous, compassionate, kind, inventive, creative, intuitive, insightful, inventor, idea-maker, entrepreneur, writer, poet, accomplished pianist, voracious reader and lover of the earth, nature, history, and all things beautiful, exceptional tennis player, talented designer, seamstress, baker, champion of the wrongfully accused and underprivileged, powerful catalyst for social change, alchemist and connector of souls, teacher of what it means to live life to the fullest in the spirit of sharing and love.

Jane sailed on July 18th, her perfect day, as it turns out, because in Judaism, “Chai,” the number “18” literally means “LIFE!” It is considered the luckiest number of Gematria, our mystical tradition that assigns a numerological value to Hebrew letters. Gifts are often given in multiples of 18, which literally signify the giving of life. It means to “enjoy the time we are all given on earth,” and is said at every celebration as a blessing acknowledging the anticipation of all the good things to come …  in her parting, this was the greatest gift she left behind, that of hope and joy, and this is where I draw my strength, knowing that she wants me to continue her legacy of love and celebrating life, no matter how painful it might become in moments.
Many of you have reached out to me to express how awestruck you are at my courage … please know that I don’t feel my courage. In moments, like a silent, steady heartbeat, I may feel the strength I have inherited from my ancestors, specifically from my maternal Grandfather and my Mother, both of whom were powerfully optimistic, “I will prevail,” kind of people, but make no mistake, I am suffering with agonies I have never felt until now, and the manifestation of these feelings is my very breath, or lack thereof.

After we lost Robin Williams this week, having suffered from suicidal depression myself in the past and survived by the grace of some inexplicable confluence of events, realizations and shifts— by some miracle, really … my heart, which was already cracked in two, started bleeding.

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19
May

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Today, I started my day with Waking Energy, and I felt so inspired after my practice that I knew I had to write about it and tell you why it always leaves me feeling new again! Any stiffness, any lethargy- GONE! After just fifteen minutes of easy, invigorating practice, I feel like I’m 19 again- (but better)! Better because I have greater appreciation for the incredible and rapid transformation that I have the power to unleash- better because I am older and wiser and now have the patience and grace to truly acknowledge and savor the innate gifts in my being that lead to my own empowerment! There is nothing better!

Waking Energy is simple; Anyone, any fitness level, any age can do it. Waking Energy is powerful. The energy you can tap into right there inside your own body, combined with the energy of nature that surrounds you, is limitless …  It is revolutionary. It contains elements from all of my favorite rejuvenating practices- it is an electric tapestry of movement and poetry for your soul that I wove together over time, honoring the timeless wisdom of ancient masters, made new again- for you … It is about claiming your birthright– glowing, good health, freedom, empowerment, joy and abundance. It is about nature and perfect balance; day and night, hot and cool, yang and yin, and that when you recognize your own true nature, this same balance can exist in you where all of the healing energy you will ever need is waiting to be awakened.

In the Waking Energy program, I have assembled some of the most effective techniques from rejuvenating practices of the East, turning to the ancients for their timeless wisdom. These are MY favorite energy practices–my workouts that I do to start every day. Accessible, but incredibly potent and powerful. These are the practices and rituals that I do to invest in myself and my life force, replenishing my reserves and rejuvenating my body, mind and spirit. When I create the time and space to detach from my thinking mind, ironically I become more mindful, more conscious, as I move into the body where I can feel and breathe and reconnect to my true nature.

I have a passion for these movement sequences and the way they make me feel, how they bring me closer to myself and the world around me– how through some perfect combination of alchemy and magic, they bring things into perspective, reminding me of what really matters. In mere moments, I can change my mood, and move from darkness to light.

Daily, I am reminded by doing this practice that I have the power to heal myself, that when I take the time to love and care for myself, I not only serve myself, but others who come in contact with me–I do my small part to make the world a better place. When I heal myself, I heal the world.

There is no separation between our bodies, our thoughts, our emotions and the world around us. We are but a microcosm of the same living, breathing planet we call home. For this reason, it is imperative that we dedicate more time to caring for our bodies– our temple– the way we must care for our world– That we acknowledge, cherish, and protect our natural resources that we depend upon with our lives. That we treat ourselves with respect, reverence and love and offer the same to others.

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03
Feb

Welcome, Resilient Rabbit!

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“The year of the metal rabbit is about harmony and goodwill,” as well as a time to rest and recuperate from the wild ride we all had with the Tiger … and what better way to do this than with a Yin practice?! Join me, February 19-20th at YogaWorks NYC Soho for a rejuvenating, harmonizing weekend of Waking Energy and Yin Yoga

And tonight, in honor of the delicate, elegant and peace-loving hare who brings great treasures of fortune and blessings, I am featuring this excerpt from Susan Levitt this evening … Enjoy!

THE YEAR OF THE HARE 2011

Hare year can be a nurturing time of peace, calm, leisure, and rest after the intensity of the previous Tiger year. During gentle Hare’s influence, good taste and refinement are valued, and comfort is desired. Money can be made easily, but spent easily. Dragon year 2012 will be a wild, exhausting time, so appreciate the small pleasures of Hare year as opportunities to heal, relax, and entertain. Make time for family gatherings and comfortable travel. Expect political compromise and diplomatic peacemaking on a global level. Discretion and persuasion are effective in a Hare year, whereas force does not work.

The year of the Hare begins on the new Moon of February 2, 2011 at 6:31 PM PST. This is also the date of Imbolc, or Candlemas, the cross quarter-point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Lovely Hare is a symbol of purity: fastidiously clean Hare washes its face with its front paws to look beautiful as polished jade. According to Chinese legend, a magical jade Hare lives in a palace on the Moon. The Chinese Moon Goddess Ch’ang-o allows this charming jade Hare to keep her company so she will not be lonely. The Hare is an herbalist and alchemist who peacefully mixes elixirs of immortality under a cassia tree on the Moon for the Great Mother of the West, a Chinese Goddess of death and rebirth. Hare’s Moon palace is delightful, and the company of the Moon Goddess so enjoyable, that Hare never leaves the Moon. Over time, Hare has become a yin Moon spirit.

For more from Susan Levitt: The Hare

21
Dec

101220-winter-sunset-hmed-1139agrid-6x2This Winter Solstice is a special one, folks … it will not come again any time soon, and it is a magical window to fly through. It is a time of both letting go and ushering in- a time when the combination of the full moon, total eclipse and solstice is so powerful, that the energy of the three can literally catalyze instantaneous transformation in our beings- if we are willing to offer up what is old and say goodbye to it to make space for what is new, for what we wish for in our deepest hearts - what we ARE manifesting.

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26
Oct

This blog dedicated to the exceptional women who joined me on a wonderful weekend journey in the Berkshires October 1-3 and gifted me with their abundant positive energy, enthusiasm and open hearts.

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Every time I teach, I receive the incredible gift of knowing that we are all on this path of life together, that we are all teaching and guiding one another, whether we are officially in the “teaching” or “learning” position … and I experience an expanded sense of consciousness and satisfaction each time I see the light of recognition go off in someone’s eyes, because of something I have shared or a sign of true body-mind integration after giving a specific cue. And each time this happens, I receive a gift.

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And therein lies the secret joy of teaching for me … that the true gift of teaching, of giving is in witnessing others’ transformation, because as we see those around us harness the information and tools that we give, we grow and transform at the very same time. That’s how the phrase “Heal Yourself, Heal the World,” came to me when I was creating *Waking Energy- we are all one, and when we give to others, when we share the fruit of our life experience with others, it’s literally the same thing as giving to ourselves- when we give, we receive, and we receive ten-fold in return.

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And it is these shared experiences, especially those that happen in the intimate and beautiful environment that a place like Kripalu offers that serve as catalysts for significant change and growth in our lives. It is these moments that inspire us to find ourselves again, to acknowledge and care for ourselves and reclaim our power, our lives, our selves.

So it is with great gratitude that I write this blog to all of you who filled my heart with fulfillment and joy and helped me to transform and empower from the inside-out the weekend of October 1-3, and I can’t wait to do it again and see you all next time!

And just to whet your appetite for next summer, I wanted to share a descriptive excerpt from the “New Body Pilates: Transform & Empower” Workshop I have written about here today … the preview for Summer, 2011’s Waking Energy Workshop will be featured in my next Blog.

Enjoy!

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07
Oct

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Tonight, I want to pay tribute to my friend, Maya White and her always inspiring astrological readings, by featuring her October forecast that arrived in my mailbox today, just in time for the New Moon in Libra happening tonight!

As she says in the excerpt below, this new moon is about cleaning up the past and strengthening that which is already in motion, and my day today, was completely filled with exactly that– cleaning up the past in order to make space for what I have set in motion, the star-points of my future.  This new moon in Libra is also about relationships, and commitment and integrity– the very underpinnings of what make a relationship viable and fruitful. And while we tend to think about relationships as those unions we form with others, tonight, I am thinking most especially of the relationship I have with myself, and the commitment and integrity I wish to strengthen within my own being for my own development and soul evolution, so that each relationship with another that I invite into my sphere serves the highest good in each partner.

Tonight I embrace the challenges that I faced today as I struggled with the very daunting task of wrestling with some choices I made long ago, that are playing out in my life even as I type these words onto the page. Among other things, life is a series of lessons and the choices we make that creates them. Today, I felt trapped inside my own mind, slave to negative thought patterns that kept circling back on themselves, and I was filled with regret and anger.

Then I went for a run through the forest. And things started to change. As I cleared a path through the trees, moving underbrush out of my way, I cleared a path in my mind, through to the other side, to my body, where I could start to see clearly again, because I was no longer fighting with my conscious mind; I had entered the realm of the real truth– I felt my legs moving powerfully underneath me, my arms swinging, my heart beating, the blood pulsing through my veins, new breath and chi getting pulled into my being with every new breath, and I felt my being-ness, I felt my power, I felt my feelings, the energy that has been trapped inside, stuffed down by my thinking mind that had tried in such a desperate frenzy to control the external— the uncontrollable. As I ran through the forest, dappled in end-of-day sun, I felt the hush of nature and the whisper of the nocturnal creatures starting to stir, and my problem no longer held the same weight. I had the sudden realization that in the grand scheme of things– in life, my situation was so very small and inconsequential– and that if this had been my last day on this earth, is this how I would have wanted to spend it? Fretting over something, losing vital life force over something that was soul-crushing. I realized that my “story” was temporary, that I was being presented with the opportunity to clean up this past decision and resulting upset and start anew; I could start in a more self-loving way, so that the next time I was presented with a similar decision, I would make a better one motivated by acknowledging my self-worth, not by selling myself short as I had done, betraying myself, over a year ago now, but paying the price today. And more importantly, rather than reasoning with my mind, I would go deep inside and be still; I would listen to the message of the body, the truth that always rises up inside, and I would root myself in my being, in nature–integrating body and mind, not splitting off from it, as I had learned to do as a child … and as a result, I would embrace myself — the empowered woman I am today.

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27
May

The magic month of May, is a magic I never really knew until this May, when I came to truly understand what union meant in an entirely new way –because this May, I lived it, and I continue to live it now, as my fingers tap out the words to express the boundless love that flows from my heart onto the page.

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May is the month when Venus, the ruler of Taurus comes to earth to grace us with love, desire, fertility and creativity of all kinds … The Goddess of love annoints the earth with blossoming flowers and trees and delights the senses with summer fruits and the bounty of nature’s garden. She is celebrated with rituals of fertility and harvest, with fire, which symbolizes the fire that burns within each one of us … in our hearts and in our souls, the fires that keep us alive and urge us forth to bring what we carry inside into the light of day.

May is the magic month of The Beltane, the festival of fires that burn with the light of transcendent love that can blossom here on earth …

The fires that honor all that is sacred and other-worldly.

May is the month of manifestation.

In late April, I had a tarot reading. I was feeling frustrated and lost. I was impatient, more restless than I could ever remember. I had worked assiduously, tirelessly on my psyche and plumbed the depths of my soul, lo the past several years, reaching new hard-won heights of awareness and consciousness and freedom, and I wanted to know where I should be heading with all of this next … and I was done walking this path alone.  I wanted answers, and I wanted them now.

Instead of answers,  I received predictions and advice, which, while heartening to some degree, of course left so much ambiguity and what I got was not at all what I felt I was looking for … I wanted immediate gratification– the opposite of what I knew to be the way– the Taoist path I had been walking. The wonderful woman who read my cards told me that I needed to get back to “ritual”– that I needed to reconnect with the desire to create the time and space to sit and meditate, to speak to the universe and say out loud what I wished to manifest in my life, rather than doing what I had started to do— the very opposite of what I knew would be best for me: plow ahead with great frustration, somewhere in the background hoping that as Rilke said, I would “live my way into the answers… ”  Of course I knew that I needed to give to myself  and return to my rituals … but I had become disheartened; I had been moving through a seemingly endless period of time that felt like dense, dark, hopeless sludge– gray and monotonous, without peaks and valleys, unfamiliar, uninspiring territory, and I wanted OUT. In so many ways I felt rich and ripe, the richest I had ever been, replete with every resource, and strangely energized in spite of my frustration … but I had started to allow my frustration to build to such a place that I found myself renouncing everything I knew and believed in about my own spirituality and connection to the powers of the universe. The big energy I felt pulsing through my veins was turning inward and had no outlet that would match the rising currents within me.  Instead of feeling empowered and filled with faith in my own ability, I felt disappointed, depressed, deflated, disillusioned. The past few years had yielded crucial life lessons, moments in time that brought me to that very reading, that place, that time, where I needed to be reminded of what of course I already knew so well–I needed to hear the words: “Practice what you preach,” and “create time for your own spirituality to breathe, so that your creativity catches fire once again and your life moves in the direction you want it to.”
Hard to believe that I, someone who helps others to cultivate patience and acceptance could not exactly say that patience has been my strong suit over the course of my life so far.
At the end of what was truly a great reading– one filled with hearty laughter, many deep breaths, some stellar advice and new friendship, my reader offered me a gift from her “Goddess Deck.” And said “pick a card, my gift to you.”
And so I did … but instead of picking one card, I picked two– two that slid out of the spread together. And what were they?

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03
Apr

contemplative-girl_1024x7685This past week I was at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires. What a beautiful, gentle place, there in those motherly mountains of Massachusetts … I went for a walk yesterday on the grounds and found myself at a crossroads in front of a babbling brook. I was suddenly overcome with emotion, and the only way I can describe the feeling is by describing what happened in my stomach … I felt it rise and expand in an instant– it swelled with a kind of mini-explosion of joy that flooded my entire system, and then washed over me the way the water in the stream below me was washing over the river rocks. I was immersed in a sensory bath– the sun on my skin, and sparkling through the trees, dappling the forest floor, the pungent smell of winter becoming spring mud, coming alive again, birthing … the gorgeous, calming sound of the brook, playing its way down over the rocks into a larger source, its destiny someplace far away and of course, the breeze blowing through my hair and cooling the tears on my cheeks that were streaming down into my mouth– and then the taste of those salty tears. All such a cycle, all so connected, no separation between my tears and the water flowing through that brook. No separation between my skin and the air around me, the sun on my body, the rich smell of the earth I was standing on.

And my thoughts now go back to what happened inside me when I came to that place — that clearing where I was overwhelmed by the simple, powerful, healing beauty I was a part of … what flipped over in my stomach– what the ancients called “True Mind.”
Never mind what we know as “the mind.” I am smiling as I write this … your true, thinking self is your feeling self, your intuitive self and it resides in your stomach, in your very center.

I attended a talk on “Clearing Energy Blocks,” given by a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, and most of what he discussed was how much of our body systems are controlled by the stomach, or our “second brain.” Whatever we think and feel, manifests in our bodies, and very often, more specifically in our stomachs, of course showing up as digestive disorders of all manner and variety– so many of which would be easily healed alternatively– with mind-body practices, such as yoga, Pilates and my favorites: Yin yoga and Waking Energy.  What most of us don’t realize is that we are our thoughts and our feelings. We ARE physical manifestation of the energy of what we focus on, and very simply, when something hurts us in our bodies, when something causes us DIS-ease, it is our body’s way of communicating that it needs attention. And usually, the antidote to the pain or disease is so very, very simple and obvious: movement!

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21
Mar

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Today is the Spring Equinox, the very special time during the year when day is literally equal to night and things are in an almost perfect balance. It is also the day to send out into the universe what you wish to birth. It is the day of new beginnings …

When I look at this awe-inspiring image of the stallion charging down the beach, my spirit soars and all I can think about are new beginnings, movement forward, and manifestation–through energy and intention and motion, what I want to see take flight in my life— what I want to charge ahead with and make into a reality.

And because today presents us with such a unique opening, this equal day and equal night, what comes to mind next is balance— the balance we all seek in our lives– that perfect combination of yin and yang we observe in nature –the very same we strive to create within our own selves.

images1I love this image of the sun and the moon and the energy that flows between them, the rays that are clearly reaching toward one another, and the harmony of that balance. I also love the fact that the moon, a yin energy is curling inward towards the sun, and appears to be receiving the rays that the sun is emitting … and in contrast, the sun faces away from the moon and projects outwardly, demonstrating yang energy, with its face open to the space around it. Yang and yin; sun and moon. Male and female. Day and night. Open and closed. Light and Dark. Opposites. And together, they create balance. Without one, the other could not exist. Read the rest of this entry »