Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yoga adventures at the Durga Temple

As I've mentioned before, the Goddess Durga shows up in my life over and over.  On Tuesday evening she called me on the phone.   Well....not literally. The call was from a very sweet Indian woman who teaches yoga at the Durga Temple not far from my home.  She invited me to go to a special yoga class being taught by Dr. so and so who is visiting from India.  "Tell your friends" she says before she hangs up.

All day yesterday I couldn't help thinking that I need to stay present and keep my mind clear. I felt like this little yoga adventure was being guided by Durga.   ( the stories of how she has been ever present are too many to tell now)   Finally, it was time to leave for class.

My friend, Rose and I arrive at the temple and there's lots of activity.  We manage to figure out how and where to park the car.  "Look for the sign directing you to the sunroom" were the directions I was given.
We follow the path to the back of the priest's quarters.

After a few minutes the sweet Indian woman and her little girl arrive to let us into the "sunroom".   It's just an ordinary room,  she quickly gets to work moving things out of the way and setting up mats.  There's an alter set up in the corner.  It wasn't very big and certainly wasn't the most beautiful space I've done yoga in but definitely more welcoming than most.

A few people arrive with their children, a couple of my yoga students arrive and soon the class begins.  The coordinator mentions to Dr. so and so that I'm a yoga teacher.   (I usually don't mention that when I'm taking a yoga class) He quickly decides that I'm not teaching "real" yoga.  I am an American after all, what do I know about real yoga.   He tells me/us that American yoga is only exercise. The real yoga is so much more.  Yes,  I nod in agreement.  

He talked about Samkhya (the creation process), about how our bodies are made up of the elements, and chakras.  He told us what yoga is.  Union of our individual consciousness with the cosmic consciousness.  Yoga stretching is to keep the body health and flexible but the goal of yoga is mediation and ultimately, Moksha (liberation from the cycles of birth and death).   We did lots of pranayama exercises (breath work) while we practiced he explained the science behind each exercise.  He said everything we do in yoga has a basis in science.  We did little "yoga stretching", mostly pranayama and listened to his discourse.  He instructed on the bandhas and demonstrated his very impressive nauli (stomach churning). 

His last exercise was hardy laughter.  I have to admit it was hilariously fun to just laugh uproariously.  After class we were invited to join them for dinner.  The temple was celebrating a festival for Ganesha's birthday!
As I sat at the table with some old friends and some new friends I got another call from Durga.   This time in the form of a realization that I am already blessed with wonderful teachers who are teaching me the real yoga! 

The whole yoga adventure was very sweet.  I enjoyed it very much.  For $5.  I got an authentic yoga class, dinner, conversation with friends and confirmation from Durga that I am exactly where I'm suppose to be. 
Oh.... and the ancient yogic secret to solve all my troubles.

"KEEP A CALM MIND, A SMILE ON YOUR FACE, AND SWEETNESS ON YOUR TONGUE AND ALL PROBLEMS ARE GONE"


Friday, September 21, 2012

Let the Shakti flow......

For weeks now I've been trying to share my thoughts but somehow I haven't been able find the words.  I know once I begin the rest will flow. But somehow the beginning is escaping me.  I tell myself maybe that means that it's not the right time to share this.  Yet, the theme keeps coming back to me. 

Forgive me if my thoughts seem random.  I'm confidence that the essence of what I'd like to share will be clear to you.

On September 7th my daughter, Tayler turned 17 years old.  (this is when the idea first came to me)
When  I look into my beautiful daughter's face I still see the mischievous little girl.  I also see the young woman she is becoming and my heart overflows with love.   The qualities that I admire most are her fearlessness, her strength, courage, adventurousness.  She smiles easily and laughs often.  

My mother has 3 daughters.  Her twin sister also has 3 daughters.   The six of us along with our mothers were inseparable growing up.  I have always been surrounded by strong women. 

This week a childhood memory came back to me.  I was probably 10 years old sitting on my pink Huffy bike in our back driveway.   I was looking over my shoulder at our open garage.  My mom, her sister (my second mom) and other female relatives had gathered.  All were sitting around our little blue wading pool filled with tomatoes preparing to jar sauce.  I vividly remember the feeling that all was right with the world.  No harm could ever come to me.  I felt safe and secure with that circle of women.

This week I again found myself looking at a circle of  strong women.  The difference was that this time I knew that what I was experiencing was the Grace of the Divine Mother.  I have no doubt that it has been this Grace that has risen up to support me whenever I needed support.  It's the grace of the Divine Mother that gives me that same feeling I had at 10yrs. old.  All is right with the world.  I am safe and secure in the arms of the Divine Mother.  Sometimes that Grace expresses itself in the smile and kind words of the strong women I am blessed to still be surrounded by.

In yoga the essence of feminine power is referred to as Shakti.   It's the Shakti that moves a woman to offer a hug or words of support to someone she doesn't even know simply because she saw a need.   It's the Shakti energy that makes things happen.  The power of Shakti is what give a mother the power to do extraordinary things to protect her child.  It's the power of Shakti that can look into a person's eyes and see their soul.

I have spent much time trying to figure out how to teach my daughters about Shakti.  Then it dawned on me.  Shakti is their intrinsic nature.  It flows through them freely.  All I need to do is make sure that they feel safe and secure enough in their own true nature to allow it to continue to flow freely.

When a circle of women gather together the power of Shakti is awesome!  Stepping into our own Shakti power we hold the light by which our daughters can light the power of their own Shakti nature. 

Our only hope for the future is to nurture our daughters.  It will be their Shakti power that will change the world.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one who feels like I was born at the wrong time?  Maybe its cellular memories that are the reason for the longing of another time.   Another time when communal living was the norm.  Another time when everyone took care of each other.  Another time when you took care of your neighbors the same as you would take care of your family. 

Am I the only one who feels the suffering of others as if it were my own?  What do you do when there isn't anything you can do to relieve their suffering?  If only I could do this...... or if only I could do that...... What if there isn't ANYTHING you can do?  I remember the story of the caterpillar struggling to get out of the cocoon.  If help is given, the butterfly will not gain the strength it needs to fly.   We see the struggle of others and wonder...do I intervene?  Will it help or will it prevent them from finding the strength within themselves to fly? 

Am I the only one who feels the need for community?  What if the person struggling needs a little support.  Perhaps helping the caterpillar would mean simply creating a safe space for it while it does the work of transformation on it's own.  By creating the safe space we are supporting it. Protecting it, making sure no one tramples on it or injuries it in the process. 

Am I the only one that feels sad  that our lives are moving so fast that we no longer make the time to be in community.  It's now a luxury that needs to be planned and scheduled.  Even when we do make the time it has to be worthwhile.  If we come together there will need to be something planned to fill the time. 

Am I the only one who longs for the time when people would come together to share a meal and the evening entertainment would be listening to someone tell a story.  Everyone has a story to tell.  How sad that most stories will never to be heard because we don't make the time and we don't create the space for the telling. 

Am I the only one who feels a great sense of responsibility to try to awaken the cellular memory of others to a time when community was family.  A time when the community was the safe space for transformation.