Saturday, February 28, 2009

Time & Space Playlist

Playlist of the week:
Compiled mostly of and inspired by M. Ward's newest album, "Hold Time."  And also by this week of feeling an interconnectedness to the earth, other people, and just being happy in this time and space.  

1. Explosions in the Sky:  So Long, Lonesome
2. India.Arie:  A Beautiful Day
3. M. Ward:  For Beginners
4. M. Ward:  One Hundred Million Years
5. M. Ward:  Never Had Nobody Like You
6. Calexico:  Bisbee Blue
7. M. Ward:  Jailbird
8. M. Ward:  Stars of Leo
9. Zap Mama:  Cache-Cache
10. M. Ward:  Rave On
11. M. Ward:  Epistemology
12. M. Ward:  Fisher of Men
13. M. Ward:  To Save Me
14. Zap Mama:  Miss Q'in
15. M. Ward:  Hold Time
16. India. Arie:  Pearls
17. Zap Mama:  Vivre
18. M. Ward:  Outro (I'm a Fool to Want You)
19. Under Byen
20. Under Byen  
21. Sigur Ros:  Med Blonasir
22. Sigur Ros:  Se Lest

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras New Moon

So today marks the new moon in Pisces, falling on the evening of Mardi Gras and Carnival all around the world.  Even if you're not celebrating in the spirited streets of Dominica, Venice, New Orleans, or Rio...we can all embrace the soft energy of this moon to embrace our even flow of feelings and sense of well-being.  When the moon is new in pisces it connects us to our most important personal foundations in our life.  It engages us and allows us to questions what we are manifesting for ourselves.  So this cycle in Pisces, we can cleanse, let go, and remember the connection we have to our source and our soul.  It's about being open to surrender, trusting our feelings, and letting them flow.  As water signs like myself already know...feelings are a source of creative life.  They are what allow us to discover hidden talents, ideas, and desires to experience life in full.  
Maybe you're having a hard time figuring out what you feel?  There will always be cycles that we go through as human beings where we'll be confused, in a period of change, and even afraid to confront our own feelings and emotions.  The more we keep pushing them aside or burying them deep, the more we will continue to get stuck in our own mental confusion.  You know what I'm talking about.  We all experience it at one time or another.  
And with that, the dreams and talents you possess so abundantly will continue to be buried unless we fearlessly unwrap them again.  Simone Butler suggests that we take time to ease into a relaxed state (can you say "savasana"? ) and ask your parallel self for the next step toward creating happiness, wealth, or love in your life.  And to continue doing so over the next month of Pisces.  
Still bouncing off carnival energy from Dominica, I feel full of life!  Compassion and love, ahimsa (non-violence), strength, awakening...the list goes on to the endless possibilities we can all discover during this cycle.  Even in the midst of change.  Simply being present in the moment of change in our lives is the first step.  I hope to keep bringing that energy of embracing your own inner changes into our yoga practices this coming month.  Let's not be afraid to find it, together.  
Now I will invoke some Quan Yin goddess energy, find my feet, and let the joy from the earth spring up into me so that when spring does arrive, I will be ready.  
Song of my moment: "A Beautiful Day" by India.Arie

Friday, February 20, 2009

All we have is Now

All everyone talks about in February is how much they can't wait for March to arrive and winter to end.  I suppose I can be guilty of it too.  Why are we always in a rush for what's to come?  Why can't we just chill out and be happy for the moment in time that's called February!  I'm still reveling in the beauty that was last weekend and valentine's love, when my friends and I gathered for a night of creative performances and cheer.  A whirlwind of a week has gone by and I see through my practice this week and through teaching that I can be so happy by living in the moment.  Just taking in each day, believing in each moment, and letting time slow down. Letting time stand still.  I've had more than a few moments like that this week.  And for them I am grateful.  Lao Tzu said, "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."  
We can taste spring.  It's around the corner.  After getting back from Dominica, I've been full of joy and never thought I'd say this...but I don't think I'm quite ready to get rid of winter just yet.  Yeah.  I am liking the invigorating winds at the moment.  The final month of my Irish wool scarf and Icelandic shawl.  And one more winter moon cycle to encounter.  And I'm diggin' the new India.Arie record, "Testimony Vol. 2: Love & Politics."  And M. Ward's, "Hold Time."  Check Them Out.  I'll be setting our asanas to them soon, soon.  Oh yeah.  

Feeling light within...I walk.  To teach in Union Sq. tonight at the Shobu Aikido dojo.  (Mondays and Fridays at 6:30pm ;) ) Maybe 1 person will show up, maybe 10.  Trying not to rush the process of the way things are meant to occur can be tricky.  Either way, I walk into the now.  Because at the moment it's all I have.  

"Don't let your unkind mind tell you that you are supposed to be better than you are." 
--Stephen Levine
*That's for you, Leigh!  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Love for Ya

New mix...kinda random, but it's fun and it's my valentine love to you for class this weekend.  :)

1. Arms & Sleepers:  Lausanne     *They are playing PA's Lounge in Somerville Valentine's night
2. Hot Chip:  So Glad to See You
3. Stars:  Heart
4. Leona Naess:  Calling
5. Bruno Merz:  Beautiful Always
6. Aberfeldy:  Love is an Arrow
7. Jenny Lewis:  Trying my Best to Love You
8. Brandi Carlile:  Closer to You
9. Avi & Celia:  Ivory Bones     *They're playing Toad in Cambridge Valentine's night
10. Calexico:  Yours & Mine
11. Natural Black:  Love You
12. M.I.A.:  Sunshowers
13. Ginjah:  Never Lost My Way
14. Norah Jones remix:  Life is Better
15. Ray LaMontagne:  Winter Birds
16. Rufus Wainwright:  Pretty Things
17. Teitur:  One and Only
18. Bat for Lashes:  I'm on Fire
19. Olafur Arnalds:  0952
20. Olafur Arnalds:  1440

Yes, Valentine's Day has become a commercial, cynical "holiday."  But ya know what?  Who cares!  We take for granted times in life to outwardly show our love for people that we love.  So why not set aside at least one day during the year where it's okay to express that love for your significant other, your best friends, your mom, your dog...whoever.  A little more love in the world has never hurt anyone.  It only helps bring more peace and good vibes.  
This year it marks the 5th year anniversary of my grandma's death.  And since she passed, it will now always be an even more special day for me.  A day to mark her loving spirit.  She has influenced me in many ways to be the adventurous, creative gal that I am.  So, cheers to sharing love this weekend in all sorts of ways.  :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From Dancer's pose to Ice Cream

Pose of the week: Dancer's Pose (Nataranjasana) as displayed here by my lovely friend, Meghan.  She so beautifully extends herself with grace into finding joy in the middle of winter.  I encourage you all to try this pose when feeling blah, and see how fun it is!  

A major player in the joy and growth that occurred on my recent trip to Dominica was the various interactions with young kids that I met there.  I've felt like a kid at heart and I think that attitude helps me to connect to most kids easily.  I'll start with how dancer's pose became the "pose of the week."  

One afternoon, Nazarene and I took an adventure to the capital city of Roseau.  After walking the botanical garden grounds, we ventured into the town for lunch where we then managed to devour a huge avocado.  So then walking about to find interesting shops to pop into out of the heat, we ran into a small group of young schoolgirls in uniforms.  They stopped in front of the store we were in front of...sad to see it was closed.  So I started talking to them.  After some words, they asked if we were on a cruise ship.  To their surprise, no we were not.  We were on a yoga retreat!  It was then that one of the girls kicked her leg back and extended her opposite arm in what she didn't realize was called "dancer's pose" as she exclaimed, "Yoga!" It was so much fun.  A few minutes later, 2 other school girls who were slightly older, went out of their way on their lunch break to take us to the ice cream shop when we asked where one was located.  The 4 of us ordered the most refreshing soursoup, papaya ice creams that hit the spot!  And the few moments with all of those girls instantly made life fresh.  

On another afternoon, we chased the sun to a beach town to chill in the sand, drink from coconuts, and play before afternoon yoga.  It was there that 2 young boys became curious about us.  As the gals went off to find coconuts, I was drying off from the sea and Joelle came over to chat.  We ended up praying in the sand together...for more sunshine.  To me, it was more than praying for sunshine on that rainy day.  I saw an innocence in his closed eyes and rambunctious spirit that I hoped would not leave him too soon.  So it was then we started talking about yoga.  And his friend came over to play too.  Downward dogs (as seen in the picture), warriors, tree pose, and handstands ensued.  We then ventured off into cartwheels and round-offs and then raced each other to a palm tree and back.  I felt 9 years old again and it was the most fun I'd had on the beach in a long time.  And when we had to leave and Joelle asked us if we'd be back tomorrow, my heart sank but I hoped we'd both remember the fun and energy from the afternoon for a long time to follow.  

So I guess it's just about all of us remembering our inner child as much as we can.  Learning from children all over the world, that there's always something to keep striving for.  Even if it's just with them in mind.  If we take on a better balance of child-like innocence mixed with our adult responsibilities, then maybe we'd all make better choices for our futures AND theirs.  

The song that became our week-long yoga in da rainforest theme:
"Striving" by Anthony B  

Monday, February 9, 2009

Irie Playlist and Full Moon goodness

Spreading the good vibes, I've discovered some new reggae (and old) to bring the joy into our practices this week and beyond:
1. Nasio Fontaine:  Reggae Music   (he's a Dominican artist)
2. Eloquent: Take it with a Smile
3. Bob Marley: Three Little Birds
4. Nasio Fontaine: She Lost Track
5. Etana: I am not Afraid
6. Bob Marley: I Know a Place
7. Anthony B: Striving
8. Nasio Fontaine: Rough Road
9. Teflon: We're Gonna Make it
10. Nasio Fontaine: Jah Calling
11. Spanner Banner: Angels Around Me
12. Nasio Fontaine: When
13. Fantan Mojah: Most High Jah
14. Nasio Fontaine: Behold
15-16. instrumental songs by The Album Leaf for savasana :)
So today is the Aquarius Full Moon in Leo.  It calls for us to find the joy in our own individual creative abilities, wherever your form of expression may lie.  And then joining that with the rising of humanity that cares for us all.  Bringing us all together simply by honoring your own creativity and cultivating it.  I believe that every person has something creative to share.  Sometimes people are just afraid or closing themselves off to what it might be or what it might open up for them.  Meditate for a moment with the moon tonight to catch a glimpse of what might be calling you.  The moon's energy is universal and can be seen all over the world.  I spent the new moon in aquarius in the Dominican rainforest and it was the most beautiful crescent moon I've ever witnessed.  The stars there seem to sing themselves brighter and brighter in order to get you to notice them.  Magical skies and tropical air can really do something to open up ones passion for life and creativity again!  
So, even if our winter skies here hide the stars, the moon will always be here and will shine bright around the world.  Take some reggae music, yoga, and energy from each other to find your place of spark in your life.  

Friday, February 6, 2009

To Dominica with love

When I go on a trip somewhere far away, then that means I'm usually really away.  No e-mailing (except to let my mom know I've made it), no phone, and no checking facebook.  ;) Last spring the trip was Iceland.  It was a dream of a journey that affected me immensely.  Less than a week ago, I have now returned from the tropical rainforest island of Dominica...and I am still taking in its effect.  

This trip was different than many others I've taken because this time it combined my work (yoga) and play (adventures & fun on the island) in the form of a retreat vacation.  It brought together an amazing and intimate group.  We turned out to be similar as far as gender and age range, but each of us possessed unique qualities that made the week extra special.  I truly believe that the universe pulls people together at just the right times, and our small group of women proved to be an example of that.  
Rising early every morning for 90 min. of yoga, then excursioning to waterfalls & hikes, then another afternoon 90 min. yoga sesh, followed by long dinners and chatting.  It made for a week full of inner and outer growth, relaxation, and fun-loving energy.  We allowed ourselves the opportunity to feed our bodies (with yoga and "from the earth" nourishing organic meals), to feed our spirits (with yoga and the unbelievable nature of the divine mother around us), and to feed our minds (with yoga/meditation and exposing ourselves to a different culture and discussions with the people in it).  This truly opened us all up to change.  And so it's no wonder that upon returning, I can go through a couple of days of feeling out of sorts as I try and place it all together.  
On this journey I learned a load-full about myself (to name a few):
That I can lead twice daily yoga in a retreat setting in a fresh, creative, effective way and be open to the interpretations that the students' need.  That I can learn not to doubt myself in this capability and in my intuition as a teacher.  That I will always be willing to try new things...such as cultural foods, swimming across a very cold river current, a handstand on the beach when challenged by a young kid, and hitching a ride to another town in the trust of whoever picks me up.  That we can all overcome discomforts and moods quite easily with more yoga and breathing.  That compassion can be as simple as a roadside intention for a person's soul.  That we are all capable of letting our joy and zest for life shine through with a simple smile, or a friendly "okay, alright" to a stranger.  That when it comes down to it, I can really take on the "just chillin' " vibes of Dominica and that can be enough.  ;) And that little kids will always make my day if I get to make them feel loved for just a moment whether it be teaching them some yoga on the beach, or buying them an ice cream cone.  
I know I will be going back many times more which is exciting to think about.  But in the meantime it is nice to be back to the place you call home and bring some of what you discovered to the people around you.  Because how else can we inspire each other to learn and grow?  
So, I'm back in action here in Somerville/Cambridge, MA.  My blogs to come will be full of more Dominican stories, new reggae-tinged playlists, and most of all, more love.  

Good vibes to Crescent Moon, my gals from da rainforest, Rhiannan and her peeps in Colihaut, and everyone reading.