I’m a fairly recent convert to the world of smart phones. I acquired an Android this past year and for the most part, have managed to use only a very small fraction of it’s capabilities. I’m getting better, but I find that taking the time to learn HOW to do this or that is somewhat overwhelming. BUT, I have found an app that is actually a very handy tool for a practicing Yogini — The Zen Timer! Read the rest of this entry »

I find myself — more often than not these days — fried, frazzled and overly fatigued. And although I seem to go through cycles of this state, it constantly takes me by surprise. How can I be frazzled? Aren’t I a “good” Yogi?  …. Hmmm … then that question stops me cold. Because, judgment filled as it is, it’s really not about being “good” or “bad” — there’s no such thing.  However, this situation feels bad and full of suffering.  Now, the Bhagavad Gita explains that “even a little Yoga can save one from much suffering”.  Ahimsa MandalaHmm, well, this simple statement can sometimes feel really complicated to execute.  First of all, our western, American minds usually turn immediately to Asana when we think of Yoga.  And really, Asana is just one of the eight “limbs” outlined by Patanjali within the Yoga Sutras. In Yoga Sutras 2.35-2.45, Patanjali outlined some basic precepts for living our Yoga.  If I’m fried, frazzled and fatigued, then I can’t possibly be honoring the first “observance” of the first “limb” (the Yamas) — Ahimsa, (Non-harming/non-violence.)   

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The Autumnal Equinox is the last day of summer and marks the transition to fall. In my spiritual path, this is the time to honor the blessings, accomplishments and abundance the year has brought; to sit in gratitude for a moment in this time of balance before we release what is no longer necessary and move to the dark part of the year. And in this moment, in order to fully honor my blessings, I must bow down with deep gratitude to my past, present and future students, as well as my past, present and future yoga teachers and colleagues.

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Well, I just learned (again) what happens when one gets ‘caught up’ and doesn’t pay attention and the teachers were yoga and hiking.   The other night, craving BOTH Yoga and hiking (good thing I’m Hiking Yogini, right? ;))  I grabbed my mat and water bottle for a quick ramble in Lincoln Woods, happy that I had easily an hour before I’d have to leave the park (which closes at dusk.) Read the rest of this entry »

One of the main lessons Yoga teaches is “be present”. Essentially, we learn to honor a given moment and whatever it may hold — physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and/or energetically — and let go of the rest.  This practice leads to a more equanimous/peaceful existence, rather than one that constantly reacts to sensation.  This practice also leads to questioning the small and large parts of our lives like, “Is what I’m doing (now or in my life) important?”, “Is this *object* important?”, “Does this experience/object/choice/sensation provide true fulfillment? Or only momentary satisfaction?”, “Am I filling my life and time with that which is important for my Happiness, or am I simply filling my life and time?”  Lately, I’ve been compelled to really look at what fills my life and my focus fell on all the “SCHTUFF” filling my home … and I felt a little ill.  It was past time to declutter. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the things I’ve been learning, and with which I’ve struggled for a long time, is the concept that Yoga and Yoga Asana means much more than the one or one-and-a-half hour classes I attend.  Part of my struggle lies in the resistance to that idea.  That is, of course, my competitive and ego driven part of me peeking through. But due to an overburdened schedule which makes getting into the studio that much more challenging, I’m finding that if I want Yoga Asana, then I’d better re-evaluate my ideas around it.  And what I’ve begun to learn lately is that Yoga Asana can be found and done everywhere, even in the most unexpected places — and it can be FUN. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Bhutan ChildrenLately, I’ve been struggling with a general sense of … restlessness.  Assessing my life, my wants, my needs, my goals, etc., etc.  I’m bored and frustrated in certain aspects of my life, hopeful and joyful in others.  But what I realized was that I, more often than not, get caught up in what causes dissatisfaction.  I don’t know if it’s a human thing, an American thing, or just a Deb thing, but it’s SO EASY to focus on the negative, and lose track of the positive. But then I read this great blog, Taking Charge of Your Happiness, on Jen Gresham’s Everyday Bright blog site, “offer(ing) … insights regarding happiness in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan“, and it got me thinking. What makes ME happy? Am I happy? What’s this restlessness about?  Just how healthy IS my Gross National Happiness?

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Yup, the dentist chair!  I had my six month cleaning last night and was not looking forward to the appointment. Now, mind you, I really like my dentist and staff (Dr. Hoang at Unique Dental in Attleboro, MA) — probably the least painful dental experiences I’ve had in years.  However, I’m quite sensitive to sound and I’ve never really gotten past the sound — or feeling — the instruments make when in contact with my teeth. *Shudder* BUT, taking care of my teeth is just as important as taking care of the rest of me which meant I needed to calm down and somehow convince my shoulder and neck muscles that their location up by my ears wasn’t actually helpful.  So, as I sat in the chair prepared to endure the cleaning, it occurred to me that this was the perfect opportunity to apply some yogic breathing and meditation.    Read the rest of this entry »

Over this past weekend, I received a call from a friend asking about some hiking dates and I realized that, wow, I haven’t been on a hike in probably two months! What happened? Life, obligations and some other fun stuff happened. But I’m overdue so I sat down last night and started thinking about the next hike and it occurred to me that this process just might be helpful to those new to hiking, and specifically new to hiking in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

First Step:  Choosing the hike
Franconia Ridge, White Mountains, New Hamshire

Taking a break on Franconia Ridge in the White Mountains about 7 years ago.

I’ve hiked a lot of mountains in the White Mountain National Forest, but in the past few years, I haven’t made it north as often as I used to or would like to. So what does this mean? It means I need to assess my cardio/fitness abilities and make that a crucial point in determining which mountain to tackle. I work out and practice yoga, but I haven’t kept up the cardio level necessary to climb 4,000+ ft mountains with ease.  Perfect moment for yoga mindfulness — asking myself how fit am I NOW? When planning this type of hike, you need to ask yourself the same question, and answer honestly — it’s crucial to both enjoying the hike and remaining safe. Read the rest of this entry »

I realize this isn’t a political blog, nor do I want to write a political blog, but this past Fourth of July Fife and Drumholiday with all the ubiquitous articles commenting on our country’s beginnings, the fireworks shows, the picnics, the music, and the gatherings of family and friends prompted me to give some good thought to what freedom actually means.  Merriam-Webster has a generally accepted definition of freedom. The Future of Freedom Foundation takes the definition of freedom and created a political viewpoint. The National Endowment for Democracy charges itself to promote democratic freedoms globally. The U.S. Department of State has a branch that promotes global religious freedom. All of these groups, and all the varied groups in between, are populated with well-intentioned individuals attempting to live their values and promote freedom in grand, illustrious and outwardly-focused endeavors.  But what of the rest of us? How can those of us with lives so full we can barely find time to sleep understand how to promote or live freedom in our daily lives? In our blessed American lives, does the question of freedom ever cross our minds? Read the rest of this entry »