Yoga Thoughts:

This page contains a (partial) archive of weekly emails I used to send out, called "Yoga Thoughts." Although I no longer send these out, I hope you will enjoy the archived notes here.

Thought Into Action 6.12.07
Sometimes I'll have something on my mental "to-do" list for so long... and every time I think of it I get a big wave of "Oh, I HAVE to do that!" Well, lately I've been embracing the joy of just seizing the moment and DOING it. And then my mind has one less piece of flotsam floating around in it.

It's interesting for me to think about the ability to take thought into action. For many years, I was much more of a thinker than an actor. I may have had many nice ideas, but never enough energy or will to actually act upon them.

This is definitely still my tendency... but I feel the tide slowly shifting. I sometimes see people who are chronically unable to act on their thoughts, and how those thoughts can cycle around and around in the mind like vultures - driving one crazy and creating even stronger habits of inaction. I see myself in that cycle, and I'm grateful for the movement of energy and will that has been gradually ignited through the yoga practice. Just as we learn to do one more pose, even when the mind and the body are tired and would prefer to quit, we can learn to grab those thoughts out of our mind, and either do something about them or get rid of them for good.

Sometimes these nagging thoughts or chores can really take up a lot of space in our minds - space that could be used for so many more uplifting things! We can either decide to just do the thing, and get it off our list, or we can decide to change our thinking altogether and simply erase that thought.

Either way, let this email message serve us all as a reminder to look at something that has been taking up space in our minds... decide now whether you'll do something about it or do something about the mental habits that put it there in the first place. Now is the time! Along with your spring cleaning, clean out your mind and make room for something new!

Lessons From The Future 5.21.07
Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to spend four days visiting with my great aunt. She will be 92 next month, and is still overflowing with life spirit. Our lovely visit has me reflecting on a few thoughts...

My Great Aunt is experiencing the process of aging with so much love and grace, humor and honesty. It's truly awe-inspiring. In her company, I realized how honesty and joy go hand in hand. The ability to face things as they are, without being dominated by fear or denial, leaves room in the heart for joy and humor. A lesson for us all!

We spent our days together talking, visiting, telling stories, eating simple meals, looking at the birds and the river outside her house... What a rare opportunity to really be with someone - with out the distractions and masks of television or errands or "to-do" lists. I was struck by how rarely we have the opportunity to really be and connect with someone like that.

I feel so grateful to know such a special person, and to have learned so much from the simple lesson of her presence.

Grateful For The Little Things 4.30.07
Tonight I have a friend and a relative who are both in the hospital - and even a few other friends with various maladies and illnesses. I think (and hope!) they'll both recover and bounce back to being healthy and vibrant... but it's a powerful reminder of how fragile life can be. It's sobering and humbling.

It also reminds me to be grateful for the days when I am healthy, and the loved ones in my life who are healthy. It's so easy to only notice our health or happiness or relationships once they leave us.

When I was growing up, we had a cat who was a bit hard to love. She was noisy, threw up a lot, had lots of skin trouble... things like that. She was never my dad's favorite, and he was usually a bit inconvenienced by her. But then, one day she had a near-death episode of food poisoning that was very scary and terrifying to witness. After that, my dad loved that little cat for the rest of her years with us. Nearly losing her was an opening into his heart.

I was thinking of that today, when I was thinking of how hard it is to appreciate what we already have. Yoga practice is a ready example of this phenomena. So often when we are practicing yoga, our attention turns toward the abilities we don't yet have - we perceive our weaknesses rather than our strengths. We experience critique rather than celebration. Yoga is very much an opportunity to enrich ourselves, so that we experience more love and connection to life. And even more so, yoga is an opportunity to fortify ourselves so that we can help love and support others in need.

So, instead of taking our it all for granted, let us all give thanks and celebrate the health and love we have in our lives. And, then, let's offer the strength of that abundance to those in need of healing and a little more love than usual.

Alive 4.20.07
Lately I've been thinking about the sensations of "feeling alive" or "feeling dead." What is the nature of the experiences that leave us feeling alive? And what are the unfortunate circumstances that cause us to feel the absense of vitality?

When I think of "feeling alive" I think of times when I am entirely present in the moment. Experiences in which the senses are bright and alert, when my heart and mind are completely lost in the moment, and when there is a feeling of being wholly integrated - bright and alive!

When I think of "feeling dead," I think of experiences in which the various aspects of myself feel divided and distanced from each other. Times in which the heart is separated from my actions... Usually this would have to go on for a long period of time before we would resort to using an expression like "feeling dead inside."

So, what can we do to foster the experience of life and reduce the likelihood of feeling dull and lifeless? Well, the first thing that comes to mind - more yoga! At its core yoga is a practice of integrating ourselves... taking all these disparate pieces and bringing them back together into the present moment. The yoga practice is not always flashy or exhilarating, but it is an experience of being alive and whole for which I am so grateful.

Courage & Humility 4.6.07
In the last week or so, I've had the opportunity to take classes with some wonderful teachers - all of whom guided me to try things I'd never tried before. It has been exhilarating!

Trying new poses, or new transistions between poses, is a fun physical adventure - but it also helps open our minds and hearts to the realm of new possibilities. It reminds us that change is possible, and that growth is possible! New experiences are a direct demonstration that we are not static, but that we are dynamic beings.

It's so exciting to try something new - even when it's still too hard or inaccesible for us. It provides a sense of motivation, a goal to practice toward. If you don't quite make it... the experience is a reminder of humility and effort. And, if you do make it, the experience gives a burst of courage. So, either way, you can't lose!

It's hard sometimes to embrace the experiences that are unfamiliar and challenging... they make us a bit uncomfortable, and we might be afraid of falling short. On the other hand, if we can just embrace that playful spirit of possibility & go for it - we might be pleasantly suprised!

Connectivity! 3.31.07
Yesterday and today I was walking my two dogs at the beach, and both days we were lucky enough to see some sea critters enjoying the low tide - a mother and baby sea otter frolicking together, and some harbor seals popping their silvery heads out of the water to look around at the surfers.

There is something so magical about seeing animals in nature... It's a reminder that we aren't alone on this earth. It feels like a privilege to witness their mysterious lives, taking place right alongside ours - sharing the air, the earth, the water... and yet still so unknown to us. It reminds me that there are entirely foriegn perspectives on this moment in time - just as I am curious to look at the harbor seal, he looks equally curious looking back at me!

One common definition of the word "yoga" is "union" - and when I spotted these sea friends today I was overcome with a sense of union. Sharing the day with the other people on the beach, the dogs playing in the sand, surfers in the water, the sea stars on the undersides of the rocks, the sea anenomes in the tide pools, the sea birds, the otters, the harbor seals ... filled me with an awareness of being part of the global community - intimately connected to all these beings. What a joyful understanding of yoga!

What a blessing it is to be in nature, and to re-connect with the world we live in!

First Day of Spring 3.20.07
Today is the first day of Spring! The vernal equinox will be at 4:07pm today (west coast time). The vernal equinox announces the arrival of Spring, and also means that for today the day and night are of the same length. It's a day of great balance - the elements of the sun/light balanced against the elements of the moon/darkness.

Hatha yoga is largely a practice of balance itself - there are so many forces in our lives that are constantly shifting into and out of balance:
intuition - discipline
exertion - absorption
effort - release
external - internal
(just to name a few)

Even in the body itself, there are so many elements constantly at play for balance:
upward extension - downward extension
expansion - contraction
left - right
inner awareness - external awareness
front - back

Even if you don't have an extensive home practice, take a couple minutes today to do a balancing posture or two. Connect your own quest for physical and spiritual balance with the natural balance of the equinox... and see where it leads you.

How Your Practice Serves You 3.9.07
A little while back, I came across a lovely quote from Krishnamacharya: "Do not worry about how well you do your yoga practice. Focus on what the yoga practice does for you."

When I look back on my modest years of yoga practice, I can see that for many years I practiced yoga in such a way that I was robbing myself of the joy and freedom that yoga has to offer. Instead of accepting the limits of my body and my situation and exploring those realities, I would attempt the poses with the fantasy of an alternate reality.

Rather than investigating the situation in which I would find myself, I would slip into the mindset that I wasn't quite "there yet." Once I "got there" THEN I'd be doing yoga...

It's so easy to be concerned about how our poses look, or how we're doing compared to other people in class... but the truth is that we're doing our own yoga. We do yoga for ourselves so that we may serve others. In its truest form, the yogic life can bring us closer to ourselves and others. When the internal dialogue is one of competition, comparison, judgment, and impatience we serve neither ourselves nor others.

So, I loved this reminder from Krishnamacharya - next time you practice, notice how the practice is serving you. What feelings and responses is it generating in your mind, your heart, your energy level? How do you feel after practice? How do you behave after practice? Think about what you discover in answer to these questions... how is your yoga practice serving you?

Spring and Sprout 3.2.07
Out here in Santa Cruz, Spring is poking its head out early. The hills are full of green, tender grass. My yard is full of verdant weeds. And even after a big long freeze, all the dormant branches in the garden are starting to bud out with tiny leaves and shoots.

A few weeks ago, inspired by the anticipation of Spring as well as by my own internal dawning, I started growing sprouts. I just looked in my cupboard for anything that would sprout, and started growing lentil sprouts.

They started with these tiny tails and tiny leaves... which have grown into masses of tangled roots and long green stems with little leaves. From a hard, grey lentil to a green, watery plant!

These buds on the dormant branches, and these plants-from-lentils, are really reminders of what I would wish for myself and for all of us: to crack open our protective exteriors and allow something tender and new to emerge.

Ode To A Yoga Buddy11.9.06
One often hears that having a friend to meet at the gym helps people get fit, or having a dog helps people go for a walk every day... well, in my case, having a cat helps me be a more dedicated yogini...

Each morning, as I get ready to head into my yoga room for my practice, I am accompanied by my cat Yummers. Yummers loves our special time together (the dogs aren't allowed to join us), and is often quite impatient when I have something to do in the morning before our practice.

One more than one occassion I have found myself feeling groggy or uninspired to practice... and just when I am about to talk myself into skipping practice, Yummers will come and lure me into the studio.

This made me realize how often it is easier to do something for someone else than it is to do something for myself. When I am motivated by my love and appreciation for Yummers, I don't question the importance of my daily practice. I feel so nourished and inspired by my love for Yummers, and - wonderfully - at the same time that this movitation feeds my spirits, it encourages me to give more of myself. Even if you don't have a cat as your yoga buddy, consider the practice of dedicating your time and effort toward someone that you love... someone for whom you would readily make an effort even when it's hard to make that effort for yourself.

Autumn 10.30.06
This is such a special time of year, with the final harvests coming in, plants slowing down for the arrival of winter, and - of course - the evenings getting dark an hour earlier.

Working in my garden this weekend, I harvested all the butternut squash and sunflower seeds, and ripped out the fading tomato plants. It reminded me that that this has long been a time of the year when people all around the world begin to celebrate nature's need to turn in and rest and prepare for the winter. I let some old tomatoes and a few sunflower seeds spill into the dirt, in hopes that maybe next year a few plants will pop up on their own time schedule. It's just amazing that a tiny seed can hang out in the dirt all winter, waiting for the right time and the right conditions to begin growing.

I think that Autumn is a beautiful time for practicing yoga, because it possesses a shared momentum of transition, bounty, and beginning to turn inward. When the nature all around us is changing, it invites us to also be open to change. When the farmers market has the last few tomatos of the year, it reminds us to be grateful for the bounty that we have. And when the plants begin slowing down and the evenings getting darker, we are given an opportunity to slow ourselves down too... and look inside to see what we find.

Travelling & Coming Home 10.13.06
I hope you're all doing well. Some of you may be wondering what happened to your weekly emails... I forgot to tell you that I was off on vacation for a month in the Balkans. Between jet lag and a welcome-home cold, it's taken me a little while to recharge my inspiration batteries!

By the time I got home, I couldn't even remember what my teaching schedule was or what activities I was working on before I left. This was such a nice opportunity to re-evaluate my commitments and my routine. It was even nice to arrive home with jet lag and a cold, because it kept me moving slowly through the day, tackling just one activity at a time. I found that I really enjoyed the simplicity and purity of doing fewer things, particularly since I was able to do each activity with more attention than if were trying to do many things at once. Even though I felt under the weather, I was enjoying the quietude that I was feeling. There was no sense of rushing.

Generally, I think most of us can get pretty caught up in our schedule of activities and responsibilities... without leaving any space in the day for refelction.

It seems to me that the yoga practice really sets an example for us in this way. At its best, yoga provides us with a sense of connection to the world around us, and removes us from the pressures of our calendar. Ideally, each pose is an opportunity to explore, to be quiet and observant, and to sit with the passage of time. If we are still able to make time for our practice on a busy day, we are setting an example for ourselves. We re-confirm to ourselves that setting aside time for reflection is important.

I do think it's possible to approach yoga in a way that doesn't add to a sense of quietude. Yoga can become another "thing to do", something we feel guilty for not doing, or something that we do with force or aggression (to be skinnier, to be stronger, to be more flexible...). Even the idea of "doing" yoga implies that it is something to be done and then finished. Instead, it's nice to remember that yoga is something we practice, explore and experience.

So hopefully, we can remember the power of simplicity without having to travel halfway around the world or catch a cold!

Self-Reliance 8.28.06
Lately, I've been thinking about the word "Reliable" ... and how this quality manifests in the postures. It seems that one of the things we are looking for in asana practice is the ability to rely on ourselves... To create strength and stability and stamina inside ourselves, such that our more timid and reluctant aspects feel supported to emerge.

When we can create a steady environment with those assets that we do have, our nascent talents and traits can experiment with expressing themselves. When there is support, there is also an opening to freedom and ease. When certain bones and muscles are working hard to provide stability, the other parts of the body are able to release and surrender. And when we find those brief moments of surrender, all the quiet little parts of ourselves that are trying to grow feel safe and invited to emerge into that quiet space...

The Value of Actually Practicing 8.15.06
This summer I decided to be a bit more organized about my home practice... and I made a list of poses I wanted to be sure to work on. These poses are ones that are really hard for me (ie. nearly impossible!), but that we work on in class from time to time. I had realized that since they were so hard for me, I didn't practice them very often. In truth, it seemed almost ridiculous to bother with practicing them - that's how hard they felt.

Well, I decided to practice them anyway. And to my utter amazement, I've found out a thing or two. I've only begun to see the tip of the iceberg, but in just a couple months, these "impossible" poses have begun to find their way into my practice and into my body. I've discovered ways to feel lighter, calmer, optimistic, patient... even in the face of such big challenges.

It's almost embarrassing how much this amazed me, but it's a wonderful reminder to me about the power of practicing - no matter how fruitless it seems like it might be! Keep plugging away with patience and persistence, and doors slowly open.

Patience 8.5.06
I've been reading "Wherever You Go, There You Are" by John Kabat-Zinn for our next Yoga Book Club meeting... and really enjoying it.

Something I read this week reminded me of a great insight that my boyfriend once shared with me.

As some of you know, my boyfriend builds beautiful handmade acoustic guitars. When he first decided that this was his new career goal, he bought a book on building guitars and got to work. On that first guitar, he would mess something up, and just keep trying and trying until it came out perfectly.

I was always just amazed that he didn't get frustrated and throw in the towel. At some point, I said "I can't believe how patient you are!" ... To which he responded something like "It's not a matter of patience when you're enjoying something. You only need patience when you don't have it."

I guess he might look at me trying over and over at the same yoga poses day after day and wonder how I have so much patience! :)

It's interesting though, to notice when impatience arises and if there is a way to enjoy the current situation, such that it's not a matter of tolerating the moment with "patience", but rather just enjoying the moment for its own sake.

Curiosity 7.24.06
This week, I'd like to share some thoughts on the importance of curiosity to a vibrant yoga practice.

Curiosity is such a magical and nourishing frame of mind. When we are curious, there is a great sense of openness & possibility... anything can happen!

When I was a kid, my friends and I were looking for something fun to do in our neighborhood... and decided to investigate the crawl space under their apartment building. We found an old, barely functional radio there... and we decided to investigate this mysterious finding by dismantling it piece-by-piece. Each little murmer of radio transmission seemed like a communication from the Great Beyond. Each piece we removed was a source of interest and awe. I'm sure we were kept busy all afternoon.

When we grow up, and we have so many responsibilities and such long to-do lists... it's hard to create the mental space that such curiosity requires. Time is always nipping at our heels, asking us to keep moving things along. Unfortunately, as a result, the yoga practice can become "just another thing to do"... executed with a lifeless sense of rote obligation.

Ideally however, asana gives us an opportunity to enter into a slowed-down sense of time... and revist that curious, playful, and investigative nature that resides in us all. By its very nature, curiosity steers us away from living within the limits of our current range of experience... and takes us into a realm of new happenings, new understandings, and new outcomes. So rejuvinating and so optimistic... it's an important reminder that we always have choices, including those that we have never before considered.

Perfect As We Are 7.7.06
A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to be enrolled in a workshop taught by Judith Lasater. She is a really great teacher based up in the SF Bay Area, and the author of one of my favorite books on Yoga ("Living Your Yoga").

During the workshop, Lasater was talking about the seeming contradiction in yoga of the quest for self-improvement with the concept of contentment. She told us that even though yoga is a practice of self-transformation, we are each already perfect as we are. I must admit, I was pretty confused about this idea. It stuck with me and has been rattling around in my brain all this time.

Then, last week, I was - once again - gushing about how wonderful and *perfect* our two little adopted dogs are. Truth be told, our sweet dogs have any numbers of arenas in which they could improve. One of them could growl less often at children and other dogs. The other could be much braver and more socialable with people... And yet, here they are before us, Perfect-As-They-Are.

We love them entirely, faults and all. We recognize their room for improvement (so we take them to doggie classes & such)... but through the lens of Love, we also see them as already perfect beings.

And when I realized this, I realized that I had solved the puzzle planted in my mind by Judith Lasater back in that workshop. I can only suppose that though I am flawed, I too am perfect as I am... That though you are flawed, you are also perfect as you are... That each one of us - despite the ability to refine & improve - when seen through the lens of love, is already Perfect-As-We-Are.

The River 7.2.06
Last weekend my partner and I went up to Northern California to visit our god-daughters. My favorite part of the drive is that we pass by so many beautiful rivers... My most favorite part is when Highway 128 parallels the amazing Navarro River.

I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the river, and expounding on why I loved it so much... when I realized that I was essentially describing the goals of a yogi:

The river is powerful yet peaceful, strong yet calm. It flows with movement and yet it is imbued with a sense of stillness. It is clear and full of life. It surges along, and through the power of movement, brings renewal in its path.

It's amazing to me, when I remember it, how the cycles and processes of yoga can be found in nature all around us. Growth, rest, decay, renewal, clarity, murkiness, movement, stillness... Somehow, looking at that beautiful, timeless river reminded me that all the phases of a yoga practice are just a broader part of nature's cycles... including the part at the end where ther river reaches the ocean, and its borders broken open, merges seamlessly into the great wide sea.

Thinking Into Action 6.19.06
Lately I have been thinking a lot about the process of moving from thinking about doing something ... to actually doing it! How does this happen & why does it feel so good?

"Someone should take care of that." "Someone should do something about that." "I should practice yoga at home." "I should eat less junk food." "I should work on that pose."

It's easy to daydream about how we should be spending our time (differently than how we currently spend it)... and it's also easy to daydream about how other people should spend their time. And yet, there is a critical turning point at which we simply take responsbility and do what needs to be done.

It seems to me that this turning point can take many forms - it can be a sudden realization or a gradual process. In either case, gathering the momentum to take action is very rewarding. There is a feeling of strength, capability, power, and effectiveness. Even is if it just a little household chore that always catches your eye (but never gets done) - buckling down and doing it clears the chore out of your mind, and replaces it with a sense of ease and accomplishment. At first it might take some needling and prodding... and eventually it happens quite effortlessly.

In the case of larger projects - like working toward a really hard pose, or developing a home yoga practice - even small steps help us feel that there is movement in the right direction... Just like a rolling snowball gathers momentum and gets bigger and bigger, taking small steps toward our goals helps them enlarge and materialize... We become less taunted by our infectious "you should do that" voice, and more encouraged by our fruitful "I put in some effort" voice. This naturally arising encouragment fosters more and more energy in return... and soon enough we are regularly working toward our goals.

So, let's all look around at the "that should happen" lists that create clutter in our minds, and see if we can find the fuel to get them done... with equanimity and care.

So-Called Comfort Zone 6.9.06
This week, I was having a conversation with some friends about the postures that we find the most comforting & stabilizing. We were surprised to find ourselves thinking again and again of postures that we also find very demanding.

In fact, I think it's only when a posture IS very demanding that it is able to command my attention, and give me a break from my usual concerns. If a pose isn't challenging enough, we'll just keep on thinking in our same old patterns...

And this got me thinking about the expression "comfort zone." Being in the "comfort zone" usually means staying within one's realm of previous experiences - whether it's not looking for more effort in a pose, not challenging ourselves mentally, or sticking with situations that are emotionally familiar.

But are we really so comfortable in the "comfort zone"?? I don't think we are. If we were so comfortable with our current status quo, we wouldn't be doing yoga, we wouldn't be continually looking for opportunities to grow and expand.

So, in the end, it makes perfect sense that we actually feel the most comfortable when we are pushing the boundaries of our comfort zones, and working as hard as we can toward new growth. It can be uncomfortable, but it is also fresh, real, and new... And this gives us that true yogic experience of being alive and in the moment!

Doing Our Own Work 6.2.06
Lately, I have been thinking about "how yoga works." Obviously there are so many responses to this idea... and on so many levels.

One thing that works about yoga is that each of us must do it for ourselves. We can read as many books as we want, but in the end, we are responsible for doing the work of our own practice.

Each practitioner discovers the same truths - but they discover them for themselves, in their own language, in their own breath, in their own body, in their own thoughts & metaphors. The ideas are the universal truths, but the discoveries are intimate and individualized.

We become our own toolbox, and by our own inherent wisdom, we learn at just the pace that we are capable of. It works because it is optimistic, encouraging, and rewarding... even when it's incredibly difficult and uncomfortable and scary.

And with yoga's ability to foster optimism and reward, even in the face of effort and exertion and courage, a yogi is eager to do the work. And this is part of the mystery of how yoga works.

Springs & Wells 5.27.06
While practicing this week, I was reflecting on the nature of springs and wells... Both are ways that we are able to get water from the earth - one in which water rises up to meet us on the surface, and the other in which we must dig down through rock & mud to reach the water.

Certain poses, certain days, the yoga practice rises up to meet us. There are days when I am overflowing with ideas and inspiration before I even roll out my mat. Or days when I am attentive and alert without any force or discipline. There are days when I face even the hardest posture with steadiness of mind and with steadiness of breath. These days are like Springs. The deepest source rises up and bubbles up and presents itself to the world.

Then, there are the days like Wells. There are days when I really need to remind myself that there is water somewhere down there - under the crust! And I need to break through the layers and keep digging and keep looking... and sometimes on those days I arrive at something powerful. Other times, I finish my practice and just plan on picking up the shovel again the next day!

If we only ever drank water when it burst through the floor of the kitchen, we would all die of thirst pretty quickly! And also, if we keep waiting to practice yoga, hoping that inspiration will materialize from the ether - we won't practice very often...

So it takes both sorts of days, both sorts of practices. The days when you discover that you can dig your own well are so empowering... and they also make us all more grateful for the miraculous days when the water comes to us.

Potential 5.17.06
This week I have been out working in the garden a lot... planting lots of new plants and tending after the plants we've already got. Outside my studio window are some beautiful flowers, including some amazing big purple iris blossoms. Each morning as I practice, I watch the moment-by-moment unfolding... one day it's a green bud, then a purple bud, then all of a sudden - a giant blossom! There are starts and volunteer plants popping up all over the yard - calla lillies, lobelia, little oak trees...

All of this leads me back to one of the most powerful and meaningful images in the yoga practice for me... Seeds - sprouts - buds - blossoms - new spring growth! Spring is an amazing and magical time of Realized Potential. What could be more miraculous and beautiful? What could be more inspirational? Now that the sun is out - the plants aren't holding back. The beauty and the potential that has been stored inside the mysterious coding of each plant is exploding into physical reality.

This is what I dream of for myself and for all of us! That we can grow to realize our potential... to unlock that coding which lies within us, to give it water and sun, and to allow it to sprout and blossom.

Effort 5.10.06
This week I'd like to share one of my favorite passages from the Bhagavad Gita:

"No effort on the path of yoga is ever lost, nor can any obstacle hold one back forever. Even the smallest progress can protect one from the greatest of fears."

I find this passage to be particularly relevant to the home practice, when one often feels like one doesn't have "enough time", or that one didn't work "hard enough." Whenever I find myself unsure of a posture, struggling with a posture, or struggling with an injury/illness... I remind myself of this amazing passage. For me, this verse shrinks obstacles back down to their actual, tiny size and reminds me of my greater, more infinite potential. And it reminds me to be grateful for that which I can do... which is always a lovely & welcome reminder.

Resonance 5.3.06
This week I have been thinking about "resonance" a lot... I've noticed it's a word I use often when talking about yoga.

"Resonate" means, literally, "to cause to resound." Something that sounds, and then sounds again.

When you pluck the strings of a guitar, the sound continues to resonate for many seconds... the sound waves bouncing around inside the hollow body of the guitar. When I chant the sound "Om" I like to imagine my lung cavity acting as a resonance chamber, allowing the sound to bounce and rebounce around.

Also with ideas or experiences, certain themes resonate in our lives. In order for an idea to truly resonate with me, it seems to me that the idea must have already been inside me - whether it was dormant or active, conscious or unconscious. Like when we feel that something really "hits home" or matches up with our way of perceiving the world. In a sense the idea is "causing to resound" something that was already inside us.

When I looked up the dictionary definition of "resonance" I was reminded that in the realm of physics, "resonance" is used when two forces of "equal or very close frequency" are brought together, and as a result are amplified. Amplified!

So, let us all look forward to the opportunity to notice when something, someone, some idea, some artwork, some yoga pose resonates with us - and let us join forces with that force and amplify our efforts!

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Updated February 20, 2011