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Dwelling in Possibilities April 14, 2021

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“Ramadān Mubarak, Blessed Ramadān!” to anyone who is observing the month of Ramadan. Many blessings, also, to those celebrating Chaitra Navaratri.

I dwell in Possibility –

A fairer House than Prose –

More numerous of Windows –

Superior – for Doors –“

 

– quoted from the poem “I dwell in Possibility (466)” by Emily Dickinson

Introduced in 1996, National Poetry Month is a celebration of poetry organized by the Academy of American Poets. Each year, I offer a class focused on poetry (in motion). If you are interested in reading more about some of the poets that I reference (in April and throughout the year), you can check out my 2018 Kiss My Asana offerings – starting with the blog post from April 1, 2018.

“Even when a man takes revenge on others who hate him, in spite of him not hating them initially, the pain caused by his vengeance will bring him inevitable sorrow.” (313)

“When a man inflicts pain upon others in the forenoon, it will come upon him unsought in the afternoon.” (319)

– quoted from the English translation of the Thirukkural (Sacred Couplets) “Aesthetic Virtue” heading “1.3.8. Not Doing Evil” sampled as the Tamil lyrics of the song “Ahimsa” by U2 and A. R. Rahman, featuring Khatija and Raheema Rahman (translation from IntegralYoga.org)

Please join me today (Wednesday, April 14th) at 4:30 PM or 7:15 PM for a yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You will need to register for the 7:15 PM class if you have not already done so. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Wednesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify.

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, playlists, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). If you don’t mind me knowing your donation amount you can also donate to me directly. Donations to Common Ground are tax deductible; class purchases and donations directly to me are not necessarily deductible.)

DON’T FORGET! Next month’s “First Friday Night Special” will be May the 7th, which this year falls during the month of Ramadan, in the Muslim tradition.  In the Jewish tradition, it is “forty-one days, which is five weeks and six days of the Omer” and a time when people will be focused on “Bonding in Bonding.” [If you received a class recording this week, you can obviously see that I got my months mixed up; however we will still consider what holds something together. Time and additional details will be posted on the “Class Schedules” calendar soon!

### PEACE IN, PEACE OUT ###

Reaching for a Higher Plane April 13, 2021

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“Ramadān Mubarak, Blessed Ramadān!” to anyone who is observing the month of Ramadan. Many blessings, also, to those celebrating Chaitra Navaratri and Vaisakhi.

“There’s a higher place that I have no illusions about reaching. There’s a sophistication and aesthetic about composers who only write only for the music’s sake.”

– Bill Conti

My current teaching “week” runs Saturday through Wednesday. So, this “week” of April, which is Poetry Month, I started with people who might be viewed as opposites, but actually have a lot in common about the way they move in the world and work in the world. I continued with that thread on Sunday and, in some ways, had intended to use that as the over-arching theme of the week. I often think of such themes as a good lens through which to view our own encounters with our own opposites. However, it is hard to stay light and sunny and optimistic when people are CLEARLY NOT GETTING THE MESSAGE!

Sorry, sorry, my apologies; I don’t often yell – on paper or off.

However, consider how all those capital letters made you feel. Consider the emotions, even the visceral sensations that arise, when you hear someone yell – at you or around you. Consider what you experience when you yell… or want to yell. We may, in the aftermath of such, experience a bit of catharsis, but the experience itself is stressful (as is what most often leads up to the yelling) – and isn’t the best means of bringing people together. In fact, I would argue that yelling is like building a brick wall. Consider, for a moment, the things that can bring people together… even tear down walls. Consider, for a moment, what sooth a savage Breast, – music… sweet music.

“All you have to do is open up a little bit and then you’ll be experiencing a part of that person’s soul. It’s just there – in the presence of a beautiful painting, a creation, something created by someone else. This is insight into not who they are physically, but who they are on this other plane. So, what makes it magical, always, is to hear music performed live.”

– Bill Conti

Born today in 1942, Bill Conti is an Italian-American composer and conductor known for soaring scores that inspire (underscore) the indomitable human spirit. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Score (for The Right Stuff) and five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Musical Direction for three (of his nineteen) Academy Awards ceremonies. He has also been nominated for a plethora of Academy, Emmy, and Golden Globe awards; has had his (television) music on the Billboard Hot 100; and was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2008. He has written jingles and themes for every human emotion and a variety of situations in which we humans continuously find ourselves. He believes in the power of music to bring people together and, in composing music that brings people together, he composes music that opens us to possibilities… music that elevates us.

All we have to do is listen. All we have to do is listen – to the music and to each other – that’s how we open, that’s how we come together.

“When the audience and the performers become one, it is almost nearly divine, where this oneness can actually meet in some, not physical place, but in some spiritual place, in the middle, not the performers performing, not the audience receiving, but all of a sudden that contact is made and it becomes wonderful.”

– Bill Conti

Please join me today (Tuesday, April 13th) at 12 Noon or 7:15 PM for a virtual yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below.

Tuesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify.

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

“In the back of your mind, when you say you want to write music for the movies, you’re saying that you want a big house, a big car, and a boat. If you just wanted to write music, you could live in Kansas and do that.”

– Bill Conti

If you’re interested, here’s my 2019 Bill Conti-inspired blog post (with a little more yoga-specific philosophy).

### LET’S KNOW MORE LOVE ###

Where To Begin… Understanding How Things Work (a “missing” post for a missing class) April 13, 2021

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“Ramadān Mubarak, Blessed Ramadān!” to anyone who is observing the month of Ramadan.

[This post is related to Monday, April 12th. Although I cancelled class last night, you can request a substitute audio recording via a comment below or (for a slightly faster reply) you can email me at myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.

Check out the “Class Schedules” calendar for upcoming classes.]

“Today it’s going to cost us twenty dollars

To live….”

– from the poem “How Things Work” by Gary Soto

Where to begin? That’s a question that applies to the series of events that led me to cancel class Monday night’s class AND also a question that can be asked in relation to any other series of events, on and off the mat. Sometimes we start at the end and work backwards; sometimes we begin in the middle. Other times, we find ourselves at the beginning, but out of context….

Take the first little bit of the poem above. If you read it a year ago, five years ago, twenty years ago, you would wonder about the rest. ‘Where is (s)he going with this?’ you might ask as you scan the rest of the page, looking for the rest of the poem. Reading it today you might think it’s a reference to George Floyd.

Just to be clear, it’s not a reference to George Floyd; however, the poem is about cause and effect. So often, when we take the time to consider cause and effect, we look at the most immediate action or sets of actions – we look for direct causality. However, as any mystic (and definitely any yogi familiar with the sūtras will tell you) seeds planted today may come to fruition tomorrow, or the next day, or the next week, or the next month, or the next year, or the next decade. That doesn’t mean that an exercise in causality is an exercise in futility. It simply means we need to consider where we begin and recognize that even the beginning – that we are calling a cause – is also an ending – in other words, an effect.

“As far as I can tell, daughter, it works like this:

You buy bread from a grocery, a bag of apples

From a fruit stand, and what coins

Are passed on helps others buy pencils, glue,

Tickets to a movie in which laughter

Is thrown into their faces.

If we buy a goldfish, someone tries on a hat.

If we buy crayons, someone walks home with a broom.

A tip, a small purchase here and there,

And things just keep going. I guess.”

– from the poem “How Things Work” by Gary Soto

Gary Soto, who was born April 12, 1952, is an award-winning Mexican-American poet and novelist whose work includes sixteen collections of poetry, over twenty young adult and children’s books, the libretto for the opera Nerdlandia, and eight memoirs. He’s also an award-winning professor, and film producer whose work has been translated into French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. He’s received the Discovery-The Nation Prize and the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Award (twice). In addition to earning a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, he was once named NBC Person of The Week (1995). In answering a question about what inspires him, Professor Soto wrote, “I’m also a listener. I hear lines of poetry issue from the mouths of seemingly ordinary people. And, as a writer, my duty is not to make people perfect, particularly Mexican Americans. I’m not a cheerleader. I’m one who provides portraits of people in the rush of life.” And, in writing about people’s day-to-day experiences, he writes about cause and effect, and about “how things work.”

Several years ago, when I picked Gary Soto as one of my “April is Poetry Month / Kiss My Asana” poets, I picked two poems illustrating cause and effect in a really bright, sunny, lighthearted way. However, life is not all sunshine, white blossoms, geraniums, and goldfish – and neither is that all one will find in work written by Gary Soto. He has written about the “Sudden Loss of Dignity” that comes with aging as well as about the heartbreak of first love (and the heartbreak of not making the team) and about the decisions people make when they are bullied (as well as when they are the bully). Even when he writes about romance within the context of the afterlife, he writes about cause and effect.

So, we can consider the “good” that trickles down from a single action and also the “not good” that sprouts from a single action. The point of the practice is to bring some conscious awareness to how things are connected, one and off the mat, so that we become more conscious about how our thoughts, words, and deeds affect us and the people around us. Then, not only do we begin to notice “How Things Work,” we also begin “Looking Around, Believing” that we can make a difference – because we DO make a difference. The question is: What difference are you making?

“How strange that we can begin at anytime.

With two feet we get down the street.

With a hand we undo the rose.

With an eye we lift up the peach tree

And hold it up to the wind – white blossoms

At our feet. Like today, I started”

– quoted from the poem “Looking Around, Believing” by Gary Soto

There is no playlist for the (Monday) Common Ground practice.

If you are interested in my previous Gary Soto-inspired musings, here is a 2018 blog post about vinyasa and vinyasa krama and 2019 blog post about why we begin where we begin.

### BEGIN HERE! BEGIN NOW! ###

The Emptiness That Is Full April 11, 2021

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[This post is a partial re-post of a 2018 Kiss My Asana offering, which you can find here. You can find a related 2019 KMA offering here. Thinking about these two poets, their differences and their common themes, I started thinking about the idea that nothing/emptiness connects us – and that that is everything.]

“In a field

I am the absence

of field.

This is

always the case.

Wherever I am

I am what is missing.”

– from the poem Keeping Things Whole by Mark Strand

Misuzu Kaneko (b. 1903) and Mark Strand (b. 1934) were both born today and were both considered literary celebrities during their lifetimes. However, they (and their poetry) lived very different lives.

Born Tero Kaneko, Kaneko was able to attend school through the age of 17, despite most Japanese girls of the time only attending up to 6th grade. Her poems started to become very popular when she was 20 years old. Unfortunately, her private life as an adult was so tumultuous and tragic that Kaneko committed suicide just before her 27th birthday. At the time of her death, she had published 51 poems.

When Strand was born in Canada, four years after Kaneko’s death, Kaneko’s poems had been all but lost.

Strand grew up moving around the United States, Columbia, Mexico, and Peru. Raised in a secular Jewish home, he went to a Quaker-run college preparatory school in New York; earned a BA at Antioch College in Ohio; moved to Connecticut to study art and graduated with an MFA from Yale; studied poetry in Italy on a Fulbright scholarship; and finally attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (where he received an MA in writing) before teaching all over the East Coast and spending a year as a Fulbright Lecturer in Brazil. In addition to ultimately teaching all over the U.S., Strand won a Pulitzer Prize, served as U. S. Poet Laureate, and was honored with numerous other awards and titles. At the time of his death, at the age of 80, he had published at least 21 collections of poetry, plus three children’s books, several books of prose, and served as editor and/or translator for at least 13 more publications.

To my knowledge, Kaneko never left Japan.

Despite the wildly different details of their lives, both poets wrote about loss and darkness, belonging vs. being alone, how personal perspectives create our world, human’s vs. nature, and personal responsibility. They may use different words, but they seem to share an underlying idea: True power comes from being present with what is despite our desire to possess, change, and understand everything around us.

“Are you just an echo?

No, you are everyone.”

– from the poem Are You An Echo?  by Misuzu Kaneko

Please join me for a 65-minute virtual yoga practice on Zoom today (Sunday, April 11th) at 2:30 PM, for an experience. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Sunday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “10202020 Pratyahara”]

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

“We cannot say that emptiness is something which exists independently. Fullness is also the same. Full is always full of something, such as full of market, buffaloes, villages or Bhikshu. Fullness is not something which exists independently.

The emptiness and fullness depends on the presence of the bowl, Ananda.

Bhikshu’s look deeply at this bowl and you can se the entire universe. This bowl contains the entire universe. This is only one thing this bowl is empty of and that is separate individual self.

Emptiness means empty of self.”

– excerpt from Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh

If you are thinking about suicide, worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, you can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also call the TALK line if you are struggling with addiction or involved in an abusive relationship. The Lifeline network is free, confidential, and available to all 24/7. YOU CAN TALK ABOUT ANYTHING.

###     ###

“Missing” Steps to Change April 10, 2021

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“Children must be taught ‘that we are one human race. We have a lot of different ethnic groups, cultures, nationalities, but only one human race … and that human race began in Africa,’ [Dolores Huerta] said. ‘So we can say to all of those people in the Ku Klux Klan, the white nationalists: You’re Africans. Get over it.’

 

That, Huerta said, means ‘We’re all related.’ She invited delegates to take the hand of the person beside them and say, ‘Hello, relative.’

 

‘You’ve got to start spreading this message,’ she said.”

 

– quoted from “Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta: We need spiritual guidance and spiritual activism – United Farm Workers co-founder addresses Dioceses of Los Angeles convention” by Pat McCaughan (as posted on the Episcopal News Service website Nov 19, 2019)

 

It is easy, way too easy, to overlook the obvious when you are overwhelmed or distracted… by other things that are overwhelming and/or obvious. It’s easy (and way too obvious) to (dis)miss how Dolores Huerta and Anne Lamott are related, because some of their differences are so obvious. For example, many people automatically think of Ms Huerta as an activist and Ms. Lamott as a writer – yet they are both both; even though they write very different things. Ms. Huerta has way more schools named after her and Ms. Lamott has published way more novels. Ms. Huerta has called herself a “born-again feminist;” Ms. Lamott identifies as a born-again (evangelical) Christian. Also, in 1988, Ms. Huerta experienced police brutality at a presidential protest that led to a subsequent judgement in her favor; a change in policies within the San Francisco Police Department; and, most likely, a different viewpoint about current events. (NOTE: A key element of her attack was that it was videotaped and broadcasted on the news.)

We could spend all day cycling trivialities; however, the fact that they share a birthday (today) gives us an excuse/reason to start considering their similarities. For instance, although born decades apart – Ms. Huerta in 1930 (Dawson, New Mexico) and Ms. Lamott in 1954 (San Francisco, California) – they have ended up walking through similar spaces. They share the vocation of teaching and they are both activists, strongly passionate about progressive ideas and having the gift of words that inspire others. They both self-identify as feminists and also hold views which fit firmly into Ms. Huerta’s description of a feminist (see below). They both have older brothers; know a thing or two about single mothers; and they both believe in what Ms. Huerta once called “spiritual guidance and spiritual activism.” They also both know a thing or two about pushing through overwhelming challenges and (in some ways) give similar advice: as Ms. Lamott famously wrote, taking/organizing things “bird by bird.”

When we go deeper, we are reminded that nothing – especially people – is one dimensional. Everything and everyone, philosophically speaking, is considered a “compound;” made up of a combination of elements or matter in various energetic stages. You think of these energetic states in terms of physics (considering the movement of atomic particles) and/or you can think of them in terms of the guņas (“attributes” or “qualities” which can be described as active/passionate, stable/passive, and neutral/harmonious). When it comes to people we must consider genetics and history and the layers and layers of samskāras (“mental impressions” based on experiences) that make up a person’s perception of reality and, therefore, their actions. We must also consider how things, even thoughts/perceptions change in form, time, and condition and that we may not always be aware of the fact that change is happening, constantly.

Yoga Sūtra 3.11: sarvarathatā-ekāgrata kşaya-udaya chittasya samādhi-pariņāmah

 

 

– “When all mental distractions disappear and the mind becomes one-pointed, it enters the state called samadhi.”

 

 

Yoga Sūtra 3.12: tatah punah śānta-uditau tulya-pratyayau chittasya-ekāgratā- pariņāmah

 

 

– “The mind becomes one-pointed when similar thought-waves arise in succession without any gaps in between them.”

 

Yoga Sūtra 3.13: etena bhūta-indriyaşu dharma lakşaņa-avasthā- pariņāmah vyākhyātāh

 

 

– “In this state, it passes beyond the three kinds of changes which take place in subtle and gross matter, and in the organs: change of form, change of time and change of condition.”

Remember, as one focuses on a single point, over a long period of time, the level of awareness changes – and it changes repeatedly from that 12 second mark (that establishes concentration) all the way through the five hours, forty-five minutes, and thirty-six seconds mark (that establishes “unwavering absorption” or nirvikalpa samādhi). However, in the middle of the practice we are not noting the time – that would be distracting and totally defeat the purpose! Also, we are moving deeper and deeper inward and therefore not tracking changes externally. All of that means we cannot pinpoint the changes as they are happening. Swami Vivekananda uses the example of a lump of gold to explain the changes that occur in form, time, and condition. Note that underlying this example is the idea that (a) a change in form can occur when something is being used a new manner; (b) a change in time is independent of any action taken by an individual; and (c) a change in condition may occur because of a change in form and/or time and may also prompt action on the part of an individual. All of this can be applied to the mind-body.

Consider Rip Van Winkle, again, who experiences all of the aforementioned changes while he is sleeping and then experiences them a second time, on a different level, when he awakens and can note the changes around him. In this sense, we almost all begin like Rip Van Winkle; the practice enables us start the waking up and wandering phase of our experience. The practice is also the work.

When we move through the stages of the practice and reach the point in where we are able to focus-concentrate-meditate on the rising and falling of our own thought waves – and then experience those thought waves collapsing and converging into themselves – we may find that we cannot identify the exact moment or point of change. We may not even, according to Patanjali, be able to pinpoint and/or describe the catalyst that brings about the change. However, we must note that there is a catalyst: something that creates change, but does not itself change.

Yoga Sūtra 3.14: śānta-udita-avyapadeśya-dharma-anupātī dharmī

 

 

– “A compound object, containing the attributes, and is subject to change, either past, present or yet to be manifested.”

In the Yoga Sūtras, Patanjali is specifically referring to an internal (and eternal) attribute common to everything and everyone. The practice is about setting aside the layers and layers of change until one reaches that which does not change: the true Self. The underlying idea being that it is existence of the true Self and our own personal desire to know our Self that sparks the change. This, then, is one of the key elements of the practice.

It is also a very challenging (and sometimes overwhelming) part of the practice. This level of introspection and self awareness is particularly challenging and overwhelming when we are facing critical times in history and/or our personal lives. It is sometimes (slightly) easier to look at some external factors that have served as catalysts. We can, in our own lives and the lives of public figures, catalog pivotal moments that brought about change and a different way of viewing the world. Keep in mind: Here I am talking about external factors that tap into am internal experience, self-reflection, and then spark a change in both external and internal engagement. This change affects how someone moves through the world – even the spaces in which the move – and can possibly change the world (or, more specifically, others’ perceptions of the world).

One such example for Dolores Huerta was when her parents divorced, yet still maintained their commitments to grassroots community building and activism. Another example was the realization that came from being falsely accused of cheating in school and being unfairly graded. Then, too, there was her realization, as a teacher, that teaching hungry children is an exercise in futility. For Anne Lamott, loss is often the catalyst for change – this includes the “bird by bird” story about her brother, which can be viewed as a loss of control. Another example, she has said, was feeling a personal “relationship or friendship with Jesus, a connection.” Finally, her faith changed her view of herself and the world in a way that helped her overcome her addition to drugs and alcohol as well as an eating disorder – all of which further changed her view of herself and the world.

“To me, a feminist is a person who supports a woman’s reproductive rights, who supports a woman’s right to an abortion, who supports LGBT rights, who supports workers and labor unions, somebody who cares about the environment, who cares about civil rights and equality and equity in terms of our economic system. That is a feminist. And of course we know that there are many men who are feminists as well as women.”

 

– Dolores Huerta quoted in the Time Magazine (03/28/2018) article, “Pioneering Labor Activist Dolores Huerta: Women ‘Never Think of Getting Credit’ But Now That’s Changing” by Lily Rothman

 

Please join me for a 90-minute virtual yoga practice on Zoom today (Saturday, April 10th) at 12:00 PM, for an experience. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

 

Saturday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify

 

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

 

For more about Dolores Huerta, Anne Lamott, and how they fit into the practice, check out my April 10, 2019 Kiss My Asana offering.

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said. ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”

 

 

– excerpt from Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Ann Lamott

 

 

 

### “When I get there I’ll know / ‘Cause I’m taking it / Step by step, bit by bit” ~ WH ###

How One Does Their Duty April 7, 2021

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“Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he

That every man in arms should wish to

be?”

 

– quoted from the poem “Character of the Happy Warrior” by William Wordsworth

It’s unlikely that you’ve heard someone referred to as “America’s Lord Nelson.” Unless, of course, the person being referenced was a member of the peerage whose name was Nelson. However, several modern politicians – including Minnesota’s own Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. (the 38th Vice President of the United States) and Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. (the 47th Vice President and 46th President of the United States) – have been called “the Happy Warrior;” because their personal constitutions fit the poem “The Character of the Happy Warrior” by William Wordsworth. Wordsworth, born today in 1770, wrote the poem to eulogize (& idolize) Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB – whose views on slavery are currently under much scrutiny and debate.

“Whose high endeavors are an inward light

That makes the path before him always bright;”

 

– quoted from the poem “Character of the Happy Warrior” by William Wordsworth

Please join me today (Wednesday, April 7th) at 4:30 PM or 7:15 PM for a yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You will need to register for the 7:15 PM class if you have not already done so. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

 

Wednesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify.

 

You can find my 2019 post related to The Happy Warrior practice here.

 

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, playlists, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). If you don’t mind me knowing your donation amount you can also donate to me directly. Donations to Common Ground are tax deductible; class purchases and donations directly to me are not necessarily deductible.)

 

DON’T FORGET! Next month’s “First Friday Night Special” will be May the 7th, which this year falls during the month of Ramadan, in the Muslim tradition.  In the Jewish tradition, it is “forty-one days, which is five weeks and six days of the Omer” and a time when people will be focused on “Bonding in Bonding.” [If you received a class recording this week, you can obviously see that I got my months mixed up; however we will still consider what holds something together. Time and additional details will be posted on the “Class Schedules” calendar soon!

### 🎶 ###

Reaching… grasping the Truth (post & music links) April 6, 2021

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Please join me today (Tuesday, April 6th) at 12 Noon or 7:15 PM for a virtual yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below.

 

Tuesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify.

 

If you are interested, please check out my 2019 post about the Dandi Salt Satyagraha!

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

 

### 🎶 ###

 

…Waiting for Change (music and links) April 3, 2021

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“Happy Passover/Pesach and Happy Holy Saturday,” to those who are observing!

 

Please join me for a 90-minute virtual yoga practice on Zoom today (Saturday, April 3rd) at 12:00 PM, for an experience. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

 

Saturday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify.

 

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

 

You can read my date-related post from 2019 here and a Holy Saturday/Easter/Passover theme-related post from last year here and a second post related to both the day and the theme here.

 

### Don’t Fall Asleep When… ###

It’s All Tov April 2, 2021

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“And God said, ‘There will be light,’ and there was light.

 

And God saw the light that it was good, and God separated between the light and between the darkness.”

 

– Beresh’t / Genesis 1:3-4

Tov is a Hebrew word that means “good;” however, as we find in the beginning of the Torah (also the Christian Old Testament), God defines something as “good” when it is useful and serving its purpose. In our physical practice of yoga, regardless of the style or tradition, we want every pose to be “good” in this way. So, when I say that there’s some “special goodness coming your way,” it means it’s time for another “First Friday Night Special!”

Specifically, I am hosting a special virtual class tonight, Friday, April 2nd, 7:15 PM – 8:20 PM (CST). This practice will focus on a set of poses that are symbolically connected, but not physically linked. (In other words, this will not be a vinyāsa practice.) It will be a non-denominational practice, but will involve religious stories and symbolism. It is open to all.

This year, Good Friday in the Western Christian tradition falls towards the end of Passover (in the Jewish tradition). In the Jewish tradition, it is also “six days of the Omer” – meaning that some people are focused on “Bonding in Love/Lovingkindness” – and these connected traditions and stories are intended to be stories of God’s love and power.

The rituals related to these observations emphasize a specific order of events and how a story is told through the order of events. In the case of Passover, the story of Exodus is told through the symbolic elements of the Passover Seder. The Seder (which means “order” or “arrangement”) moves through 15 steps, including “The Four Questions” that lead to the telling of the story. It’s a ritual pilgrimage wrapped in a dinner party wrapped in a children’s bedtime story disguised as a tradition.

For Good Friday, many Christians move through the Stations of the Cross, a visual pilgrimage of Jesus’ last moments. The earliest “Way of the Cross” or “Way of Sorrows” artwork and the Scriptural Way of the Cross (introduced by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991 and approved by Pope Benedict in 2007) depict 14 scenes or “steps,” ending with Jesus being laid in the tomb. The Resurrection is often considered to be the 15th Station of the Cross. (NOTE: The Resurrection is the 14th Station according to the “New Way of the Cross” in the Philippines; however, this version is different from the previous mentioned versions.) The art is meant to mirror Via Dolorosa (the “Way of Sorrow/Pain”) in Jerusalem, the actual path Jesus would have taken to Mount Calvary. So, when people “move through the Stations of the Cross” it is a ritual pilgrimage wrapped in a walking tour wrapped in a children’s picture book disguised as traditional art.

The religious rituals above traditionally involve prayers that will not be part of the practice. However, if you are religious and observing Good Friday or Passover (or Counting the Omer), you will have an opportunity to pray as you feel is appropriate. If you are not religious and/or are not familiar with the stories, think of this as a history lesson wrapped up in a physical yoga practice.

“And God saw that it was good.”

 

– Words that appear 7 times in the Creation story found in Bereishit /Genesis

 

Please join me tonight (Friday, April 2nd) at 7:15 PM for a “First Friday Night Special” virtual yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below.

Friday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify.

[NOTE: This is a mostly Good Friday playlist and it is very similar to what I have used in the past for a very different style of practice. Feel free to use one of the playlists that are mostly Passover (from 2020 or 2021); use one of the “First Friday Night Special” playlists from previous months; or, of course, practice without music.]

This practice is accessible and open to all. It will include holding a series of poses and you may need something to take notes (but there is no “guided journaling” for this practice).

Prop wise, it will be handy to have ALL your props. Specifically, the following will be useful: a large pillow or cushion (or two); a blanket or towel; a couple of blocks or books; and extra layers (as your body may cool down during this practice).

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

Here’s a very special guest post about last year’s Good Friday and my own 2020 Good Friday post.

 

### MANY BLESSINGS (come from being connected through loving-kindness) ###

Doing One’s [Holy] Duty (just the music) March 31, 2021

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Please join me today (Wednesday, March 31st) at 4:30 PM or 7:15 PM for a yoga practice on ZoomUse the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You will need to register for the 7:15 PM class if you have not already done so. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Wednesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify.

You can find last year’s “Spy Wednesday” post here and the non-holiday date-related post here.

 

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, playlists, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). If youplaylists don’t mind me knowing your donation amount you can also donate to me directly. Donations to Common Ground are tax deductible; class purchases and donations directly to me are not necessarily deductible.)

 

THERE’S A SOME GOODNESS COMING YOUR WAY! This Friday (April 2nd) is the next “First Friday Night Special” 7:15 – 8:20 PM, CST. It is Good Friday (in the Western Christian tradition) and towards the end of Passover (in the Jewish tradition). Also in the Jewish tradition, it is “six days of the Omer” and a time when people will be focused on “Bonding in Love/Lovingkindness.” Additional details (including ZOOM information) are posted on the “Class Schedules” calendar!

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