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To Name It is to Lose It

To Name It is to Lose It

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I always say in my teachings of yoga, “to name it is to lose IT .”

What is this IT that I refer to? It’s my deepest desire to communicate something that is beyond intellect and reason of thought, but has a quality of IT that arises into a pure felt experience. An experience that loses the little mind of reason and words into an empty space of pure being.

The confines of language and words limits my unlimited space of pure existence. I get in my own way by trying to ever explain to the intellect. How difficult teaching yoga becomes without the gift of feeling the somatic experience of just being present. My words only create an imagination or memory linked to what my little mind knows.

In other words, my limits are learned through my living in this body and mind. I have no understanding of what might be possible without the practice of letting go of words.

Try to sit and relax. The mind will wander into conversation of words. There always exists an inner communication that holds the mind from falling into the focus of simply being present to the feeling of the breath. There’s no outcome to the conversation. We think too much. We need to feel more.

To name it is to lose it. When teaching yoga, we must use the physical body, asana, to bring the mind into feeling. Then, by adding breath to the movement refines the focus, and bringing in sound allows thought to drop into pure awareness. A sound that the mind can purely feel. Vibration has no language; energy has no limits.

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Language has great power. Watch the frustration of a baby without words. To misuse words can be harmful and yet to speak the truth can cut like a sword.

Where does thought arise from? Does it arise from my fear and inner need for survival to preserve my life? Or is something greater tapping into some inner landscape? Without words, there arises within the invisible space a beckoning, a pulsation that awakens IT, a pure inner knowing that has no words to give definition to it.

My role as teacher is to share these ancient tools. I must use communication skills that I have learned; and yet, it is my vibration of energy communicating love. My heartfelt enthusiasm is not to change anyone, but to inspire the possibility that we might be prisoners of our learned habits, thoughts, patterns of family blood, and beliefs. These are the walls created and formed to hide and protect our true self, and we might suffer trying hold on to them.

But what if there is a gateway into our inner wildness? To journey into a new frontier of possibility by listening of our soul. To go beyond confinement is to rediscover and connect to IT. To belong to life, and not the confinement, can be a lonely journey since the world colludes in holding up personas and habits of bias opinion as walls. Our own walls separate us from each other in forming true bonds of friendship, regardless of gender, social economic or race.

We always say that we know our yoga practice is working when our relationships are improving. To be courageous takes energy. To have energy takes the desire to let life in. And to let life in, we must be willing to let go. It can be painful to sit in uncertainty. Yet this is the gateway to the soul. By looking into the wildness of our inner frontier, we can drop the armor of protection and become kinder to our selves.

When we stop projecting outward, we accept our learned behaviors with forgiveness. A true friendship is a powerful presence in helping to see the prisons within, to inspire without judgement, to shift the landscape from outer to inner, and to support the journey with compassion. A true friend trusts the soul to find the light, to loosen the grip and open the way for grace to unfold. The Celtic word for this is “anam cara”, soul friend.

I am on my Celtic journey next week for a retreat in Ireland with an amazing group of friends, who have welcomed the desire to let go and embrace a sacred path home to the self. The teachings of yoga are my gifts to share, but the experience is open to the mystery of what will be revealed to each of us. That secret landscape is inviting and I hear the call.

Please listen to your inner knowing and remember that our words can trick us into staying confined in the familiar. Be willing to listen with your heart and go forward in love. Our yoga community is the welcoming of all soul friends to feel, be seen and embraced.

Blessings,

Laura Jane

The Space Between

The Space Between

Fall Equinox, the season of balance. The holding of opposites between the illuminated light and the dark night. It’s a season of sustaining the awareness that light and dark are needed for our inner balance as we move away from the sun in our western hemisphere. Hard to believe summer is coming to a close, and Labor Day once again reminds of us of our outer duties returning to school or work. And for many adventures that present new frontiers of acceptance.

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As for me, when this newsletter comes out, I would have dropped my daughter off for her freshman year at college and returned home to an emptier house. As I write this, I am sitting with the full awareness that the energy will be different, and I, too, will be venturing into a new beginning. Seasons change, life goes forward, and the beauty of living is to appreciate it all as one huge wonderful ride!

So I’m taking this opportunity to reflect on how sweet the journey has been, be it way too fast. I yearn to slow down and truly appreciate the hours spent being her mom. Yes, I can miss her. I know that parenting is never over; it just shifts. I am willing to parent with a long extension cord, and not a smothering grip, as I transition into my new role as parent to an adult. When do we become an adult? I sometimes question myself ever reaching that milestone even as my chronological age is given the title of senior citizen!

I’ll keep questioning my learned habits and patterns, stay open to possibility that I’m a work in progress, and know that life is always presenting new opportunities to learn and thrive. I will embrace change as a gift of staying open to a new season.

When we reach an ending, we must be able to accept the gift of grieving. The intellect fights it but the soul demands it. Personally, I know I will moan, but that primal sound is my ability to absorb the opposite which is my joy. The joy of loving so deeply. The wonder of letting go and allowing the new to come in. What is being presented now? What awaits?


Our Global Yoga Therapy Day back on August 14 was a huge success! Over 25 students came in throughout the day. Sharing individually with a private therapist, they each received a personal practice and were able to feel connected in a heartfelt experience. The day was filled with hope as we shared a collective space for healing.

By offering the various tools of yoga, we find new ways to return to a state of balance as we go deeper into the more refined ways to calm the nervous system, and appreciate the ability to focus the thoughts. This is our gateway for the tools of meditation.

Like all good habits, meditation requires regular effort to make it a part of a healthy lifestyle:

  • the ability to live life with greater creativity and increasing patience and tolerance

  • the ability to reduce our inner frustrations and negative emotions as we gain new perspectives on stressful situations.

Please continue to join our year long commitment to meditating on the heart by sharing with me on Monday evenings as we practice together. Anyone can join as I guide a practice at 7:30 in the small room. My commitment is to stay balanced and go into the fall season with light and hope and lots of hugs.

And remember that all our wonderful teachers offer their profound wisdom as they guide you into a practice, by sharing the teachings that help cultivate and inspire living in our vibrant, youthful enthusiaam for the path unknown.

Be willing to be present to what is being going on in the NOW as we embrace this new season in all it’s glory of endings and beginnings. My favorite poet, David Whyte, expresses it beautifully, “inside everyone is a great shout of joy waiting to be born.”


Blessings,

LJ

Say Yes to Life with Year Long Meditation

Say Yes to Life with Year Long Meditation

We know that our breathing is the inhaling and exhaling of air. Air is all around us, and when we take the oxygen into our lungs we are saying, YES to life. The lungs that lie round the heart, with the air passing through them, envelope the heart. Thus, breathing is a natural way to touch the heart.

And so, having collected your mind within you, lead it into the channel of breathing through which air reaches the heart. With this inhaled air, force your mind to descend into the sweet space where your true self rests and to open the gateway to something more profound than your intellect. Open to love, your intrinsic true nature. This is the gift of meditation!

Meditation is the conscious refined mind linked to this true nature. Bringing our roaming overactive thoughts into direct awareness of the grace of breath opens the door for wonder. To go beyond our daily habit of linking to all the distractions of mindless noise and instead link to the breath, which allows us to enter into a sanctuary of inner peace. This is the greatest tool of practicing yoga. —Yes, yoga offers the tool of meditation. It is a primary tool; and yet, everyone just believes it’s all about asana.

I am amazed when students call the studio and ask if we teach meditation. All yoga is bringing the busy mind into a refined steady place of focusing. it’s a practice which takes time and commitment. We can all benefit from great physical practice of strong postures, but that’s not the goal of yoga. The intention is for the agitation of mind to be able to move into a direct focus, and be able to sustain that focus, by first relaxing the tensions from gross to subtle. The beauty of practice offers a shift in the nervous system so the physical body is not being driven by the adrenals and the ego’s learned habits of avoiding being present.

In today’s busy and over extended world, we need all the tools we can gather to create a lifestyle that is not moving us into more suffering. Tools to help us ease our stresses and find more joy in being our best self. As a community of like minded souls, I am concerned that we are moving into directions filled with negative thoughts. I know that fighting or arguing with the outer world can only lead to more frustration and we lose the sense of feeling empowered to make greater changes in the world for kindness and inspiration of hope.

Therefore, Yoga Among Friends is thrilled and honored to be included in the year long commitment of meditation and joining of intentions for a better global world view with The Himalayan Institute and my dear teacher, Pandit Rajamni Tigunait. Whether you are just beginning a meditation practice or have been a dedicated student for many years, I’m passionate that our combined contribution of making a daily practice will have a huge ripple effect that will extend pass our small community.

The Year Long Meditation initiative is a global endeavor, and the shifting consciousness from hate to love is what must be felt as possible. I want to invite you to join in. If you are inspired to join on your own please sign up here and you can start tracking your own practice. You can also learn more here.


We can bring positive change by our collective consciousness expanding and benefiting all of us with a mutual understanding, wisdom and compassion with unconditional love. I know this to be true! And I am so passionate that we cannot stop hatred with anger, but with the light of bringing our hearts into a greater positive direction.

Meditation heals and let’s start here. Marina offers the Meditative Flow class as her Sunday offering, and Lisa teaches Meditation for Adults and Teens on Tuesday evenings. But know that all our classes bring us into reflection and breath awareness. I will also be starting in September a meditation class on Monday nights at 7:30pm in the small studio as my commitment offering.

In addition to meditation, I am excited to announce that on Wednesday, August 14, we will be participating in the first Global Yoga Therapy Day! I and three other C-IAYT yoga therapists will be on hand from 9am-4pm to offer FREE one-on-one yoga therapy sessions of 30 min each to those who have never tried yoga therapy. Each participant will gain a better understanding of and experience first hand the work of a yoga therapist. You’ll learn how we help assess and create a healthy practice to remove pain and suffering from physical injuries, emotional mood imbalances, and the suffering from autoimmune diseases. Please sign up for free sessions on our website. If you can’t make it, check out the live event on Facebook.

All of us at YAF extend our heartfelt appreciation to all of you for continuing to support us as a place of healing hearts. I personally know that we need community now more than ever in this ever-changing landscape of technology and corporations that leave us without the feeling of belonging. As we journey together on the path of promoting better thoughts, let’s rejoice that we are fortunate enough to be able to help the sweet earth. Together we are the service of intentional consciousness, and we are even more dynamic together.

Thank you and blessings for saying, YES TO LIFE.

LJ