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In Gratitude

I am overwhelmed with gratitude tonight.  We broke a world record up in the Hayloft … fifteen of us lined out our mats and squeezed into the space between hay bales above horse stalls for practice.  I saw kind new faces and dear old friends, and was completely overcome by a sweet, nourishing sense of community.

Hayloft

Sometimes when a large group gets together, it feels scattered or rambunctious, but tonight’s practice was deeply quiet.  Even the swooping, singing barn swallows calmed and came to a landing as we listened to our breath, connected inside, and began to move with awareness.  The loft felt transformed into a kind of sanctuary, lulled by the horses methodically chewing their dinner, shrouded in a beautiful sense of peace.  It was magical to be a part of.

Barn_Aisle_chickens_horseThis type of feeling takes practice.  It is not something that comes so natural or easy for many of us, although as my teacher says, “it is your natural state” — so perhaps a better way to say it is that we are simply out of practice.  Our minds are busy for much of the day (and night!), and over time we forget what it is like to have a simple, quiet awareness.  When we practice yoga, we learn how to be simple and quiet again.  We begin with our breath, using that simple awareness as a vehicle to re-discover who we really are.  When we are connected with who we really are–our true nature–we are automatically better at whatever we do, whether that is working with a nervous horse or having a challenging conversation with a family member or enjoying the beauty of a sunset.  This is why yoga helps us to become better horse people, and better people in general.  In other words, the benefits of yoga run far deeper than the physical postures.  Anyone who has practiced yoga has a sense for that.Supine-Pelvic-tilt-tuck

I am so grateful to be surrounded by a community who is willing to do this kind of work, who is committed to taking the time to practice being simple and quiet.  The world needs more of this type of feeling, of this type of community.  I hope that each of you know how powerfully your inner state–your connection to your true, radiant self–ripples out into the world.  This is how we make the most profound difference in our communities and beyond–not through great feats, but through each and every small act.  As Mahatma Ghandi–a great yogi–said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I am so honored to be connected with each of you.  May each of you shine brightly with your radiant heart.

Namaste.

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Reflections: Retreat to the Hayloft

Blanchard_ViewAbove, the view of Blanchard Mountain; beyond, the sea, just outside Double S.

Last night’s class at the barn was spectacular ~ the warm summer breeze, baby swallows peeping their blue tiny heads over the edge of their nest, horses and cows grazing in the almost impossibly bright green pasture.  It was the type of night that subtly reminds us, through the way that the evening light settles into the grasses and trees, that this ~ here ~ is exactly where we are meant to be.  Not many years ago, when I lived in the beautiful tremendous bustle of Chicago, I would never have ever imagined that someday I would be teaching yoga in a gorgeous horse barn at the base of a mountain, just steps away from the salty sea.

Here, it is like a retreat, a respite full of nourishment that we can access just by opening our eyes.  Or closing them, and feeling ~ the cool breeze on our warm skin, inhaling the aroma of horse hair and hay.  By noticing.  It is simple here, easier to let go and truly be present.  The horses help, in how they “experience the simple energy of [their] emotional state of being,” as Hamilton explains (I am reading his book.  It is brilliant.  Thanks Cody!).  In the presence of the horse, we settle into our bodies, into our simple energy and re-remember how to just be.

“We are human beings, not human doings.”

Pasture

It was the kind of night where you’re driving home and your heart just explodes open in the way that a flower blossoms open, gently and all at once.

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Carpool to Hayloft Yoga Classes

Please feel free to use the “comments” section below to coordinate car pooling arrangements out to the Hayloft, and know that the air you inhale deeply is a little sweeter if you ride out with a friend!

Or even better … ride your horse to class!

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