1. The friend who tells you you have 2 weeks to cry/be angry/party all the time and then you have to get the fuck back to work. Comfort is wonderful insofar as it is expected, but the phrase “tough love” has the word love in it for a reason; it means that your friend genuinely cares not just…
Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me.Â She didnât lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of …
A deeply gorgeous post. Something we should all keep in mind. I’ll be doing so for sure during my next workout at the gym, a place where I aim to cultivate strength over vanity, calm contentment over gym bunny stress, and serenity over despair.
1. Say thank you. While this is simple, we simply do not say it enough. It takes so little effort, but the appreciation is lasting and refreshing in today’s world. Say it to everyone who does anything for you – from the barista at your favorite café to your mother for birthing you. Or better…
We need to get off the “being happy” bandwagon and get on the “being human” bandwagon.
Instead of chasing happiness, I think it is more important to be content. Equally important is building the skill to get back to equilibrium when your emotions are triggered. This is the difference between responding to emotions versus allowing your emotions to rule you. Allow yourself to feel – the good, the bad and the ugly. Embrace it. It is the whole gamut of human emotions that makes life beautiful, deep and profound. And if you’re not vibrating on a happy high, don’t be so quick to judge yourself that something is wrong with you. There is no one right way. Everything has its time. Everything has its place.
We’ve all heard the slogans: “You’ve got to have rainy days in order to have sunny ones,” “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” you get the picture. Sometimes, those words can feel empty, especially when living in the prior part of those sayings. But I find that applying a yogic visual to seemingly empty words can add valence and credence to an important life lesson.
The Lotus Flower is a particularly potent visual and myth. The lotus grows in only the muddiest, dirtiest, messiest, slipperiest places…all characteristics that we tend to want to avoid in life. Yet the flower itself, that which grows from the mud, is actually quite gorgeous. It is, in essence, an improvement on an otherwise nasty-lookin situation. The flower provides a type of retrospective hope.
Yet knowing the myth can actually enlighten us with a prospective hope, a hope in which we can see the mud, sit in it, and then plant a seed. It won’t look pretty right away, but eventually, the petals begin to grow, and newness begins to open up into an unexpectedly gorgeous flower.
And if you get anything out of this post, please at least take from it the understanding that the Lotus is representative of more than the tattoo on the stereotypical yogi’s spine ;)
“There’s no need to wait for the bad things and bullshit to be over. Change now. Love now. Live now. Don’t wait for people to give you permission to live, because they won’t.”—Kris Carr, Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! (via br4inwashed)
“I focused on a new mantra: Be of service. Because if you make that your goal, you will succeed, and you will leave feeling good about yourself for having done so.”—Debbie Stoler, Editor-in-Chief of BUST Magazine
This day last year, I turned 21, but more importantly, I released Yoga U: The College Student’s Tools for Balanced Living, my e-book on yoga for college students, illustrated + designed by the talented Julia Drachman. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, YOGA U! This year has shown me that we’ve created a tremendous resource! Check it out NOW! And spread the word (yes, this is a call to RE-BLOG the shit outta this). We have got to get more college students practicing the radical self-care this book encourages!
it has been a positively gorgeous saturday and promises to continue to be!
it has been a Long Week and, after sleeping in a bit this morning and brewing my requisite coffee, i rushed off to hair and makeup with a bunch of yoga teachers.
why, you might ask?
our university has a nude magazine and the yoga teachers will have a spread in february’s issue! one of the yoga teachers on campus is also a professional model and actress so she offered to do our makeup on her lovely porch. we took turns getting done up and alternated getting our bodies warmed up, moving through sun salutations, inversions, and arm balances as we blasted dido & mc yogi. definitely a photo shoot yoga-style.
when it came time for the actual shoot, we taped our leaves on, got nekked, and celebrated our bodies. celebrated all bodies. celebrated what bodies can do as we flowed from half-pigeons to wheels to wild things to headstands. it went by much quicker than expected and i was filled with gratitude for a practice that, in its natural state, celebrates our natural states.
at brunch, the other teachers and i discussed the need for more acceptance in the yoga community. we also discussed how surprisingly painless getting naked with each other, outside, was. we discussed the importance of having a practice that is not dogmatic, that is about body-lovin, food-lovin, positivity-speakin.
Yesterday, I had the awesome experience of teaching yoga to a sorority! I also had the awesome experience of people asking me where they could find out more about what I offer…outside of class. I’m copying what I sent them because, hey, these resources can be useful to errybody!
THANK YOU, Sheri Celantano, for writing this necessary piece and call to gentle action. And thank you especially for writing this for Mind Body Green, which has heartbreakingly shifted in the past year from a resource for wellness to a “resource” for weight loss; the two are NOT synonymous. This necessary piece for the yoga community (required reading, people!) gives me hope that what has been a key resource for the yoga community can continue to be so. Yoga is a gorgeous route to body acceptance and love yet too often it is insensitively misused by students and teachers as a path to discrimination and self-flagellation. It is our RESPONSIBILITY as students, but especially as teachers, to associate yoga with celebration, love, and appreciation…for every. single. body.
Last Wednesday, I was stressed. The kind of stressed where I was sitting at a cafe, headphones in listening to kirtan music, trying to submit my second grant proposal of the week (for a very exciting soon-to-be-announced yogi project, I might add), trying desperately to be calm, and getting frustrated, again and again, when my computer that I’ve had for four years kept deleting what I was writing. “Are you OK?” my boyfriend kept asking from across the cafe table. “I’m fine," I kept responding in a way that clearly meant, "Can’t you see how fucking stressed out I am?!"
And then, sitting there at my favorite cafe in my college town, I placed my hands palms down on the table, closed my eyes, and took a deep breaths. And another. And another. The kinds of deep breaths that do not just reach into the lungs, but that go deep, deep down into the stomach, the kinds of deep breaths that are transformative in how they manage to make even fingertips feel alive again when all they have been doing is typing, typing, typing.
I remember reading once that “inspiration” means “to breathe in.” I would add that “to breathe in” means to make oneself inspired, to take an action that will result in different thoughts. Clearly, I was not feeling so hot on Wednesday. Being a yoga teacher does NOT mean that I don’t get stressed. Being college yogis in general does not mean that we don’t get stressed; it means that when we do, we have the tools to deal with it. Therein lies the gift of yoga. We can breathe our way into thinking, feeling, being, acting differently.
So join me. Inhale. Let it fill your lungs. Let it fill your belly. Let it fill your heart.
When I was around 13 years old, a book came out that I became obsessed with, I read it over and over again. It was called “Slaves of New York”, by Tama Janowitz. I don’t remember exactly what her p…
I am captivated. So much so. By this city as well. Ali, I share this love story. We share the same lover (it’s a city, don’t worry) yet it is not awkward. New York does not do adultery, just magnanimity and abundance. I too am grateful.
In yoga we encourage finding your edge by moving beyond the comfort zone and not to the point of pain to find that sweet spot. Same with life. Find that place where you feel slightly uncomfortable. Apply for a new position, read a book outside your go-to genre, say “yes!” even if you’re scared, learn a new skill, adopt a four-legged friend, take a Yoga 3 class, write that novel you’ve been pondering, move or travel cross-country, or try a new vegetarian recipe.
May November offer you time to move beyond your comfort zone one small step at a time. Wishing you tranquility, gratitude, and a deep sense of knowing you are perfect as you are.
Lately, I’ve been reading a book from Alexandre Jollien : “le Philosophe Nu” (Naked Philosopher?) trying to understand what is passion but also how we should take or reject it from our lives. This book, along with the colour of my blog this month (red, red is the colour of passion, isn’t it?),…
Every book on spirituality that I have read that has made a potent impact on me has somehow mentioned Kali. From The Little Book of Hindu Deities by Sanjay Patel to The Red Book by Sera Beak, Kali is depicted as feminine, fierce, wielding swords, and wearing skulls around her neck. She is scary and badass. Underneath the skulls and swords, she is naked, owning her body like the fiercely feminine goddess she is.
This week, we begin to celebrate Halloween (heck, if you’re in college you probably began on Friday). Of all Pagan holidays that American yogis can attempt to claim on their own, Halloween is definitely a safe bet. There is simply so much mythology associated with it, as there is in the yoga practice when we embody the deities that the poses represent.
And, as we edge into Daylight Savings, Kali’s job is to protect our time and space, to invoke her badass qualities in the most mundane aspects of our existence, showing us that every moment can be fierce and fabulous, if we channel that divine feminine energy that is too often kept at bay.
In every yoga class, we put on a plethora of costumes, shape shifting our forms to embody different ideals. Halloween, thus, is nothing new for the college yogi; it is simply an extension off the mat of what we constantly do with our bodies on the mat. So this Halloweek, I propose that we get more specific with the poses that we put on, with the attitudes that we invoke. Kali is a gal who knows what she wants. She has a big appetite and a heart cloaked in protective and fashionable skulls. She thinks carefully and consciously about time and space, about intentionality and love, about using her fierce (and hey, sometimes not-so-pretty) powers for good. Her means justify her ends.
Kali loves to hang out in graveyards, drink the blood of demons, and boogie and howl and stomp and spit and so forth. Unlike many popular Hindu goddesses, She’s not married. She does make love with the Hindu god Shiva…but only if She can be on top. Kali is sometimes known as the “‘forbidden thing,” or the forbidden par excellence.” She reveals the places in our psyches where we have denied our authentic sexuality, rage, killer instincts, animal nature, shadow, and power. These “forbidden” places inside us hold integral elements of our feminine divinity. They are ripe with our promise. Kali wields that sharp sword to slice through illusion and ego and anything that stands in the way of our total liberation.
“I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes. It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process. It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher. And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty. That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”—Osho (via yogachocolatelove)
There’s a new yoga organization in town, folks! My dear friend, Jess, and core part of my yoga teacher Sangha has started Wild Smile Family. Their mission statement says:
Based out of Brooklyn, NY, Wild Smile Family is a family-programming event production company with a big heart. We create spaces that allow kids and their caregivers to step outside of the mainstream and genuinely connect to each other and themselves through music, dance and play.We offer:
Our signature event, Wild Smile, open to the public & happening regularly at yoga studios and venues in NYC
DJ’ing for schools, private parties, family stages at festivals, and more, with a focus on remixing world music, danceable beats and positive lyrics
Specialized, accessible instruction in yoga and other wellness practices for ages 2-102 of all ability levels