The Urban Yoga Den

…where it's all yoga.

Wild Is The Wind: A Story Of Heartbreak, And True Love April 19, 2013

Love me, love me, love me – say you do.
Let me fly away with you.
For our love is like the wind.
And wild is the wind.
Give me more than one caress.MagnoliaSun2Colorful(Apr13)
Satisfy this hungriness.
Let the wind blow through your heart.
For wild is the wind.
You touch me – I hear the sound of mandolins.
You kiss me – with your kiss, my life begins.
You’re spring to me, all things to me.
Don’t you know you’re life itself?
Like a leaf clings to a tree,
Oh my darling, cling to me.
For we’re creatures of the wind.
And wild is the wind…so wild is the wind.
(“Wild Is The Wind” ~ arranged/performed by Nina Simone)

* * *

I used to think I’d sing this song at my wedding.

Decades ago, when I first heard “Wild Is The Wind,” I believed that true love should feel wild. That together, my lover and I would feel a devotion as natural and sweeping and consuming as the wind.

These days, I’m not so sure about that formula for partnership. And, two painfully broken engagements, a few messy breakups and one recent heartbreak later, I’m not sure there will ever be a wedding to sing at.

But I am sure of this – true love IS a devotion as natural and sweeping and consuming as the wind.

* * *

This week was a doozy. The world watched bombs and victims and heroes and villains. In the midst of that tragedy, I lost a love to the truth.

We knew each other in high school. Twenty years later, we landed in jury duty together. We dated off and on for the next 11 years, with gaps in between of one, two, even six years. Each phase ended the same way – him saying that he just can’t settle down, and me saying goodbye…until the next time we were drawn together again.

Talk about wild.

Deep in my heart, I wished, “Some day…” Some day he’ll have a change of heart; and I’ll sing “Wild Is The Wind” at our wedding.

Actually…nope. Not gonna happen.

Without getting into the details or timeline or psychology of it all (I’m sure you’ll make your own assumptions and draw your own conclusions), let’s just say – it’s over. Earlier this week, he told me that he is unavailable on more than one level. He told me some truths that hurt deeply. He told me, once and for all, that he can never see me again.

I sense that this time around, it’s really over. Because after all these years, I am finally growing to want what’s best for me, and, I have finally gained the tools to accept the truth and move on. This week, I listened deeply; I thanked him for his honesty; and I said goodbye.

But my heart is still feeling a bit ouchy. I’ve lost a friend. I’ve lost a lover. I’ve lost a magical story. But y’know what? It’s time to let go.

* * *

Today, quite by chance, I heard “Wild Is The Wind.” During deep relaxation, at the end of a much-needed energizing and strengthening yoga class. A class that relieved my mind of the week’s challenges, and fueled me for a productive and present afternoon.

Then I heard those first beautifully ominous notes of the song, and knew I was in for a good cry.

Love me, love me, love me – say you do.

I exhaled a silent sob. Because he can’t. He can’t love me.

Give me more than one caress.

This line made me a little squirmy. But I continued to let the tears flow as the music washed over me.

Satisfy this hungriness.

WhiteCameliaNora(Apr13)And all of the sudden it hit me – no human being could ever satisfy my hungriness.

Shiva popped into my mind. I know this might seem goofy, but I sometimes dedicate popular love songs to god instead of a man, a dream, a wish. And who better than Shiva, who has accompanied my journey through a million births, lives and deaths over the past 47 years?

You kiss me – and with your kiss, my life begins.

My silent sobs were replaced with soft smiles.

You’re spring to me, all things to me. Don’t you know you’re life itself?

A resounding “yes” struck my heart.

I continued to happily embrace and breathe in the life force behind our eternal cycle of time, the prana of life itself. The renewing power of Shiva.

After resting, I rose up, reborn. I walked out into a particularly breezy day.

Let the wind blow through your heart.

Today I heard “Wild Is The Wind” with fresh ears. I heard it as a song about the deepest devotion that exists. The purest Bhakti Yoga in my heart. The true love between my higher power and me.

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.


Heart Is Where The Home Is March 1, 2012

Filed under: Inspiration,Life,love,Relationships,Yoga — Holly Meyers @ 6:48 pm
Tags: , , , ,

In my last post, I wrote, “I feel at home in my heart these days.”  What do I mean by that?

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the idea of “Samtosha” (sometimes spelled “Santosha”) signifies contentment.  For me, cultivating Samtosha requires a combination of understanding, acceptance and surrender.  When I feel upset or rattled or troubled (vs. content) about something, I ask myself, “Is this something I can change?  If so, what action makes sense?  If not, what practices will help me reach acceptance of and surrender to this uncontrollable concern?  How can I grow to be content with things just as they are?”

First things first – I have to accept that I have little-to-no control over the situations, things and people around me.  I am, however, 100% empowered to change myself.

Interestingly, my life circumstances that seem unfortunate or tragic have actually fortified me – because these hardships drive a commitment to self-knowledge for the sake of personal transformation and serving others.  I have studied and witnessed my behaviors, growth and change as a human being.  So I can’t say enough for self-awareness as a tool for accepting humanness in general.  I don’t even need to understand others – just myself.  When upset by someone, I can either stew in resentment, or, I can change my negative opinion by remembering my own past, process and fallibility.  Acceptance leads me to surrender any illusion of control over people; and this surrender leads to inner peace and contentment.

Second, I must consistently cultivate confidence in, acceptance of and love for my self.  I have to grow to be at home in my heart.  And this take practice.

One of my favorite yoga tools is “Pratipaksha Bhavana” – replacing negatives with positives.  Sometimes my own negative opinion of myself can cause problems all around me!  So I try to use Pratipaksha Bhavana to tune into the positive and cultivate a content mind.

When Pratipaksha Bhavana is not enough, I have to dig into my heart center and find its ever-positive truths.  To do this, I like to use an exercise called “Write from the Heart,” which came from a 2005 issue of Body & Soul Magazine.

In this exercise, I: Identify a specific concern at the top of a piece of paper; write, “I know in my heart…” and finish the sentence with a natural, immediate response; after repeating this about 10 times, I pause, breathe, then keep going until out of things to say.  Knowing that no one has to read this, I can be totally honest, dissolving resistance and building confidence.

I was drawn to write today’s blog because I am in conflict with someone who is dear to me, and, I know that this conflict is a result of the stress, self-doubt and uselessness I’m feeling due to unemployment.  I understand my part (a fear-triggered mind, not shifted quickly enough by the above-described practices!), I accept the other person’s humanness (I felt wronged, but hindsight is 20/20), and I surrender to whatever the situation may bring (we have plans to talk next week).

Still, my heart and mind feel troubled.

So right here, right now (after a pause to brew tea, breath and meditate), I am going to “Write from the Heart.”

  • I know in my heart…there is a chance for healing with this person.
  • I know in my heart…I will find the right work situation and be safe, secure.
  • I know in my heart…my fears are valid but temporary.  I honor them as teachers.
  • I know in my heart…I am not PTSD-triggered and insecure…although sometimes, due to certain situations, I can be.
  • I know in my heart…I am not an aggressive person, although due to some situations, I sometimes can be.
  • I know in my heart…I am a loving, caring, generous and connecting person.
  • I know in my heart…I deserve.
  • I know in my heart…the right job awaits me.
  • I know in my heart…there can be healing with this person.
  • I know in my heart…I have already learned about myself from this situation.
  • I know in my heart…I am useful, helpful and of service.
  • I know in my heart…although my past sometimes trips me up, my present is bright and hopeful.
  • I know in my heart…I do not need to be afraid.
  • I know in my heart…I am loved, thought about, cared about.
  • I know in my heart…all will be exactly as it’s meant to be.
  • I know in my heart…I yearn to and have tools to come from my loving, confident, clear, true heart.
  • I know in my heart…how lucky I am to be willing to grow and learn and change.
  • I know in my heart…love is out there…and in here.

Wow.  (Big exhale.)  That was intense.  And awesome.

When I am accepting of and surrender to the truths in my heart, I feel at home there.  This healthy heart then rules my perception, my thoughts, my actions, my interactions.  I might not have control over situations, things and people – but my truthful, accepting and content heart may certainly have an effect.

I know today is March 1st, but I want to thank you, dear readers and students, for spending the month of February moving, exploring, and opening your hearts with me.  I am honored.  OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.


Focus: The Yoga Sutras – Love & Murder February 28, 2011

Each morning when I rise, I try to spend about 30 minutes praying, meditating and doing some Pranayama.  When I do, my soul feels infinitely more peaceful throughout whatever the day tosses my way.

For me, this is the point of yoga.

From what I’ve learned, this was also the point of yoga for the ancients who invented this deeply balancing art  – ancients like Patanjali and others, who thankfully passed yoga along for thousands of years so it could reach us. Yogas Citta Vritti Nrodhah is the 2nd aphorism in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  “Yoga restrains disturbances of the mind.”  The only Sutra that comes before this is the statement, “Now we will explore yoga.”

So clearly, cultivating a calm mind is the most important goal of yoga practice.

In our February classes, we have been exploring a very basic introduction to the Yoga Sutras.  I am sharing five aphorisms from Patanjali’s wisdom that, for me, are practical tools and inspiring promises.  (Please see “February Focus: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” for an introduction to the five.)  On and off the mat, they inform my discernment process when making large and small decisions; they remind me how to live in peace with all others; they guide me toward self-acceptance, -love and -compassion; and they give me hope.

Last week we covered Sutra 1.33, which is a tough order.  In my opinion.

In Sutra 1.33, Patanjali introduces “The Four Locks & Four Keys.”  He suggests that (in order to fulfill yoga’s purpose of a calm mind) we cultivate the following attitudes toward the following types of people: friendliness toward the happy; compassion for the unhappy; delight in the virtuous; and disregard (or indifference, or equanimity or detachment) toward the non-virtuous.

As I prepared to teach my seven weekly classes on this theme, I decided to share the story of my 11-year-old yoga student who was murdered in March 2009 – and how I used the four locks/keys to navigate that deeply disturbing situation.  I meditated on this decision, realizing that such a dark story could potentially shake up the room.  I prayed, “May I be relieved of self-centeredness, that I may better play a small, useful role in your big picture.  I pray to be relieved of anything that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.  Grant me strength to do your bidding.”

I checked my motives, reminding myself that I do not teach for my own needs, but for the well-being of my students.  In the end, I decided to share my personal experience in order to demonstrate yoga’s solutions for every possible situation.

Even a situation as severe as murder.

*  *  *

In my early experience, the toughest part of Sutra 1.33’s “advice” was offering anything but anger, disgust and all kinds of judgment toward the non-virtuous.  Even today, as harmful things occur around me and happen to me, I can naturally (and humanly) sink into all kinds of harsh emotion.

Thankfully, in his commentary on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Swami Satchidananda nudges me, “We come across wicked people sometimes.  We can’t deny that.  So what should be our attitude?  Indifference.  ‘Well, some people are like that.  Probably I was like that yesterday.  Am I not a better person now?  She will probably be alright tomorrow.'”  Simply put.  And with an underlying vibe of self-forgiveness.  Beautiful.

What of the people who are habitually “wicked” – who commit harm as a reaction to being harmed themselves; or due to fear; or to fulfill a sense of survival?  How do I keep a peaceful mind in the midst of serious threat?  I first recognize that in order to commit harm, a person is most likely deeply unhappy.  Therefore, as the 2nd lock/key suggests, I offer compassion to that person.  And I disregard the non-virtuous deed as the result of that very human state of unhappiness.

I was inspired toward this approach by the beautiful book, “Why We Fight: Practices for Lasting Peace” by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.  “…if someone is ‘non-virtuous’ according to our definition, the judgmental part of our personality comes forward and we label those people as ‘bad.’  We try to maintain a distance, either my withdrawing ourselves or by pushing them away from us.  Any of these actions sets the stage for violence.”

And then he makes the strongest point.

“Cultivating indifference for people we believe to be non-virtuous damages our sensitivity to others and destroys our capacity for forgiveness, kindness, and selfless love.”  He reinforces, “But by cultivating indifference toward the deeds themselves, we remain free of animosity for those whose actions are non-virtuous.”

Hmmmm – a mind free of animosity sounds like an undisturbed mind.  Therefore, if I want to practice yoga as the Sutras suggest, I must disregard the deed, have compassion toward the doer…and perhaps even forgive her.  I had to practice this recently.  And believe me, it works.  And it’s worth it.  For peace of mind.

In his May 2010 Yoga Journal article, “Love in Full Bloom,” Frank Jude Boccio takes this Sutra one step further.  He invites us to offer ourselves these same attitudes – friendliness or lovingkindness, compassion, delight or joy, and equanimity.  He asks, “How would you like to be unconditionally loved, just as you are, without having to be or do anything special?  What would it be like to feel truly, completely, radically accepted, without feeling as though you had to hide or deny or apologize for any aspect of yourself?”

And I add – can you imagine how peaceful the world and our own mind states would be if we offered this unconditional acceptance to all beings?

So let’s start with ourselves.  Can we remember to offer ourselves lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity?  Can we forgive ourselves for mistakes, accept our humanness, see ourselves as worthy?  Boccio points out, “…if we cannot love and accept ourselves just as we are, we will find if difficult to truly love anyone else in such a limitless, unconditional way.”

Remember, yoga’s ultimate goal is an undisturbed mind.  So how do we cultivate love when it feels impossible?  If I am firmly stuck in harsh judgment toward myself or another, the most effective elbow-to-ribs is the tool we learned in Sutra 2.33 – Pratipaksha Bhavana.  The replacement of negative thoughts with positive.

In his ever hopeful way, Swami Satchidananda says, “If the thought of hatred is in the mind, we can try to bring in the thought of love.  If we can’t do that, we can at least go to the people we love and, in their presence, forget the hatred.  So, although the hatred comes to the surface, we can keep if from coming out or staying long by changing the environment.”

May all of your yoga classes be an Environment Of Love.  May you feel surrounded by love.  May you feel secure, safe and supported during your practice.  May you find peace of mind.

*  *  *

Over the past week, I have witnessed students’ profound dedication to cultivating the virtues suggested in Sutra 1.33.  I have seen them apply The Four Locks & Keys during their Asana practice.  I have watched them wrestle with discomfort, re-commit to cultivating a peaceful mind, and choose positive over negative.  I have felt the love in the room; and I am certain it has found its way off the mat and into the world.

Since hearing the “murder story,” many students have confided in me about difficulties or hardship they are going or have been through.  I pray that, during our classes, they feel support for their healing.  I pray they get an ounce of relief, a break from troubles and tools to cultivate the peacefulness to face whatever life tosses their way.

Wishing you peace, joy, love and light.  OM Shanti.


Focus: Abundance – Love & Light December 31, 2010

I have long believed that people are beautiful beings, inside and out. Our humanness, our perfect imperfection, our state of constant growth gives me faith in the beauty of life as a whole.

Tonight a street drunk and I watched a meteor fireball together. I was walking to yoga class when a huge white comet-looking thing with a long firey tail burst across the sky then disappeared. “Wow.” We stopped dead in our tracks. “Ha lo visto?” I asked in my unpracticed Spanish. Yes, he saw it. He told me that it would keep going. We stood together for a few moments, faces lifted toward the sky. Then we went on our respective ways. Before we got too far, he yelled to me and gave two thumbs up. I waved goodbye to my new brother.

The gift of light and a moment of love between the two strangers who witnessed it. Seriously. Love.

This is how I experience humanity – when I’m not stuck in fear, distrust, anger and disgust, I look around and I love everyone. I love the street drunk, I love the pushy drivers, I love the grumpy shoppers, I love the crying babies, I love the lashing out friends. I love them in addition to the smiling, cheerful and sober people. So thankfully, it’s been a very loving couple of weeks.

Finally. The return of love and light.

I didn’t plan for the weeks to unfold like this. I didn’t will any of this beauty to happen. I simply wrote a decidedly revealing blog about pain and healing and bouncing back (see “Focus: Abundance – Growth”) a few weeks ago, and soon after, the fog started to lift.

Too simple to be true?

For me, the fact is, when I look squarely at and then honestly share my “stuff,” it’s no longer in the shadows. Writing out my “stuff” sheds light on it. I take action, I spark the flame. I turn my face toward the light. I stretch my arms out to it.

And the light reaches back to me in all kinds of ways…

*  *  *

It all started on Friday the 17th. I practiced a slow and prayerful Vinyasa with my 7am class. We were flowing to Alexi Murdoch’s “Orange Sky,” a spiritual ballad about the power of fellowship on the long road of life. I paused to look outside – and the sunrise sky was a radiant orange! Of course, I was brought to tears.

And from there forward, I have been shifting away from past troubles and toward inner happiness. Hallelujah!

It doesn’t hurt that our December Class Focus has been Abundance, and in my own practice, I have been savoring the sweetness of a favorite Asana among the challenging. Dwelling on that instead of loathing the other poses. Knowing that somewhere along the set, that sweetness is coming. I can bank on it.

Just like life. I’ve been dwelling on light.  And love is coming. I can feel it.

*  *  *

The day after that beautiful orange sunrise, I curled up at a cafe for hot drinks with a friend, and mused about living in the solution of a spiritual life. We were both weighing out certain situations in our paths. I encouraged her to trust her instinct, to research rather than run away from seemingly risky situations. To live. And to discern.

And breath by breath, I am taking my own advice, diving in a little bit while exercising healthy caution.

That evening, I popped around the corner to DC Supersonic Kirtan’s monthly chant fest. Kirtan is like a can opener for my heart. No caution here! With everyone around me singing their lungs out to the gods, there is no room, no need for caution. I leave every Kirtan blissed-out with love. Fearless. It’s like rebirth.

Fueled by Bhakti bliss, the next day was deeply connective, relaxed and joyous. I felt I had more to offer the day, the world, my life. My tiny studio apartment (aka The Urban Yoga Den) became a wonderfully crowded house of chilled-out, indulgent women, celebrating a few rare hours of down-time together at my annual (pre-) Solstice gathering. I love to just stay in the background and soak in how these wonderful women relate, interact, connect.

People are precious! And spending carefree quality time with like-spirited pals is priceless.

Later that night a friend and I discussed the world of dating. He mentioned the sensitivity of navigating what we like and don’t like about our mates – or what they may or may not like about us. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I like everything about you.” He was stunned. “Perhaps even the things you don’t like about yourself.” He paused to absorb the news. “No one has ever said that to me,” he revealed.

We are all works in progress. Growing, stumbling, flying, crawling.  For me, it’s easy to love someone for all that they are. The way I would like to be loved.

The way I would like to love myself.

*  *  *

Moving along the holiday week, the good vibrations kept flowing. I started a temp job. Typically I spend my days alone, at my home office, working on my own projects. Deeply fulfilling, yet also primarily self-serving. There’s nothing like suiting up and showing up for a group of workers and supporting their goals. I am certain this interaction and service to something beyond my personal intentions has also encouraged my softening heart.

To end the week, I attended Caroline Weaver’s “Warm the Heart” workshop on the morning of Christmas Eve. I love Caroline because she’s not afraid to bring god into a yoga class. (Hello, god!) Or god as some personal concept of higher power or a virtue that’s worth our full commitment. The uplifting, devotional energy of her class was so enveloping, I don’t remember much about it, except getting to a point in Warrior 1 where Caroline reminded us, “Remember, you are dedicating all of this to your highest virtue.” I felt this breathtaking swell of gratitude in my heart.

“Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You” I whispered repeatedly like a Mantra.

I strive to remember to dedicate ALL of this – not just my yoga moves, but my entire life – to something beyond me. When I remember that life is about playing a small role of service in the big picture of the universe, the great mystery, the infinite abyss, nature, Jesus, compassion, generosity – whatever name you pick for your god idea or highest virtue – I feel an abundance beyond “having.” I feel the abundance from giving.

*  *  *

Earlier in the week, during Winter Solstice, I’d visited family in Nashville and experienced a totally spontaneous opportunity for pure service, for giving without expectation of receiving. Karma Yoga. I awoke on Solstice morning, after what is known as the darkest night of the year – maximized this December by the the full-moon lunar eclipse. I thought, “THIS is like New Year to me. I truly feel different.”

I continued to lay in bed, in and out of post-alarm clock dozing. My brain started to play that age-old “should” game – I should get up, should do Pranayama/Asana, should pray, should make tea – and then it locked in on one thing. The broken bird house and bottle of Elmer’s Glue sitting on the desk across the room. My dad’s fix-it project. But he’s never been a fix-it guy. Since childhood, I have always been the fix-it girl. If you’ve read my story in other blogs, you know that at times I had to be.

I admit that sometimes my “fix-it” nature is not productive in adult life and relationship worlds. But in this instance, looking at my dad’s broken bird house, “fix-it girl” was the appropriate role to play. My 1st preferences (Hatha Yoga and prayer) were all about my routines for well-being – which I do believe are essential to being able to show up for others. On this morning, however, lazying around in bed after a full night’s rest – I am fine, my well-being is intact. But Dad’s bird house – something that brings him great joy – is not. It’s broken. And I can fix it (and with strong staples, not Elmer’s Glue).

My dad was so excited. He filled up the bird house with seed, went out the back door, and shouted, “Hey guys, we’re back!”

Karma Yoga occurs when love sets the priority. When priority outweighs preference. When big picture beats self-centered routine.

*  *  *

There are many more little stories of heart opening, light shining, exhaling, melting moments from the past weeks. I’ve been basking in the small yet profound pockets of joy.

For instance, while driving to the airport early in the morning, listening to Paul Duncan’s “The Lake, Pt. 2” I watched streams of sunlight (aka “Jesus rays”) burst through the clouds. I thought, “Hmmm, last Friday the sunrise burned radiant orange, and now it’s bright and golden.” And at that moment, I felt a jolt of realization that the days, the universe, my world is getting progressively brighter! The lunar eclipse proves that it’s always darkest before the dawn. It dawned on me – there is personal significance to this year-end season, more than just “The Holidays” and gift shopping and programmed cheer. BRIGHTNESS RETURNS. And at that moment, driving and crying joyfully, it felt like the 1st time I’d ever recognized that significance.

Also, while on my Nashville trip, I felt my 11-month-old grand-nephew burrow his little body into my heart center in the most loving embrace ever. (Ever.) I reunited with my ex-brother-in-law (who has always been like a true brother to me, and my only brother) and got a big bear hug. I witnessed the passion for life returning to my big sister after a very heavy number of years.

And remember that friend who I like everything about? A few days later, during a different tone of conversation, he said he cares about me. “Yeah? How and why do you care about me,” I angrily snapped back. He then proceeded to list the ways and reasons that he cares for me. I was floored as I silently absorbed his penetrating truths. He told me he loves me. And we continued to dwell in that love all evening. I haven’t felt that loved in a long time.

To no fault of the people who love me – just my own obstacles.

On Christmas morning, snow swirled softly outside my window and the swirly songs of Sea & Cake warmed the air inside. My 1st 100% free day in what felt like forever – I flowed with the solitude here in my cozy little home…writing, lounging, being. (Milking that isolation as long as I can. Hehe.) Then I got my butt out the door to accept invitations from the loving and caring people in my life.

*  *  *

In my December classes, I have been encouraging students to concentrate on the space between poses. To take time to grow into each shape.  To be present with the transition, the process, the breath. To make room for discovering abundance where it was unexpected or unplanned. I guess my own instruction has been rubbing off on me. Bit by bit, I have been opening up where I was once firmly sealed shut. Leaving space for orange skies and Jesus rays. Allowing the darkness of an eclipse to reveal joyous Solstice light. Making room for love.

To be honest, it doesn’t always feel safe. But I’m opening up anyway.

For a few of my classes, to complement our Abundance theme and reinforce that we are all surrounded by a supportive community, I taught an Asana set that built to a group pose. We held hands in a big circle for a collaborative Warrior 3 (not my most stable balancing pose). As we leaned into the circle, I felt the entire group unite with a strong energy of responsibility toward each other. We floated into and held the pose for a few long breaths.

Now that’s love. The dedication to serving your neighboring yogi. Or maybe just your neighbor. Or maybe just the random stranger with whom you watched a fireball streak across the dark sky.

* * *

Thanks to friends, family, students, strangers for the beauty of life. Your humanness fortifies me. Happy holidays, merry new day, abundant being.

OM Shanti. h*

P.S. No kidding – after drafting this blog, I checked e-mail and found the following holiday wish from yoga teacher and writer Max Strom:

“Dear Friends, I hope that on this day you experience a rise of the sun within you, the return of the light within your life, the embrace of your family who surrounds you, and the knowing that you can begin again anew. I write this as I witness the sunrise out my window and hear the winds of change blowing the trees outside.”

(Photo credit: “This exceptionally bright fireball meteor trail was photographed with a fish-eye camera at a Czech Republic station of the European Fireball Network on January 21, 1999.” [GSFC, 1999])


I Know in My Heart… February 24, 2010

Let’s wrap up our January/February class focus of HEART.  We’ve physically exercised the heart-areas of the body and conceptually explored the heart chakra. Through anatomical focus on the neck, collar-bone, ribs and shoulder blades, we’ve felt the physical relationships among body parts.  Through concepts such as “the heart’s desire,” “following the heart,” and “love,” we’ve embraced what lies deep within our souls.  For more details, ideas and experiences regarding this Bi-Monthly Focus, please see my other January and February posts.

This week, as we wax toward a full moon on February 28th – and the final class of our HEART focus – I invite students to ponder passions, purpose and partnerships by affirming what they know in their hearts.

As the moon grows, so can our heart’s wisdom.  This fourth chakra is our first energy center of conscious decision making, beyond karmic destiny.  So below is a meditation adapted from one of my fave teaching resources, Body and Soul Magazine.  Through this simple exercise of finishing a motivational sentence, we can address any questions, crossroads or confusions in our lives.  We’ll be practicing a brief version of this meditation in classes this week, culminating under Sunday’s full moon.

I hope to see you!  Heart-felt thanks to all for our rich and fulfilling January and February classes.

OM Shanti.


(instructions for this meditation are archived on the Tips-n-Tools page)


  • Begin by thinking of a crossroad, decision, confusion or question in your current life.  Without criticism or judgment, simply reflect on the situation.
  • Settle into a meditative position – whatever seated pose is comfortable for you.
  • Close the eyes.  Witness the breath as it is at the moment; notice the state of the mind; and observe the qualities of the body.  No need to change a thing – simple witness, notice, observe.
  • Begin to shape the breath into deep, three-part inhale and exhale.  Inhale into the belly, ribs, then collar-bone.  Exhale from the collar-bone, ribs, then belly.  Breath only through the nostrils.
  • Allow the mind to rest on the breath.  You might listen to the sound of the breath, or mentally follow the path of the breath, or note how the body moves with the breath.
  • Become aware of the growing ease in the body as you continue this deep, three-part breathing.
  • Continuing the breathing, as you fill the ribs, expand them forward, sideways and backward, filling the lungs like a big barrel of air.  Allow your exhales to become longer than the inhales, seeping slowly out of the nose, thoroughly emptying of air.

Enhance Heart Chakra Awareness

  • Maintaining focus on the ribs and lungs, deepen the awareness into the heart chakra.  Imagine the heart chakra expanding forward, sideways and backward – as well as above and below the body.
  • Once you sense the expansion of the heart, bring to mind your crossroad, decision, confusion or question.  Let the mind rest neutrally on the situation.

Explore Your Wisdom

  • On your next inhale, silently begin the sentence, “I know in my heart…”
  • On the exhale – without extra thought or over-analyzing – finish the sentence with your natural, immediate response, silently or aloud.
  • Depending on your situation, some examples might be, “I know in my heart…I am in love.”  Or, “I know in my heart…this career is no longer right for me.”  And perhaps, “I know in my heart…I am afraid to try new things.”
  • Remain focused on the heart center and continue the deep, three-part breathing.  With each inhale, repeat, “I know in my heart…”  And with each long, slow, thorough exhale, finish the sentence.
  • Repeat the process 10 times.  You might find the same statement arising; you might state a different response each time.

Close and Journal

  • After your 10th repetition, return to normal breathing.  Allow the mind to return to neutral, perhaps resting on the natural flow of your breath.
  • Slowly open the eyes.  Jot down whatever you remember about your exercise – including how your breath, mind and body felt; how some of your sentences ended; and any additional thoughts.
  • Consider this wisdom as you address your situation in the coming days…

Consider Love February 21, 2010

Filed under: Anahata,Chakra,heart,love,Spirituality,Yoga — Holly Meyers @ 11:23 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Love is not a feeling; it’s an ability. – Marty to Dan in “Dan in Real Life”

Am I able to love?

More importantly – am I able to post a blog about love in a timely fashion?  Hehe.  I intended to write about love on Valentine’s Day, before teaching my evening yoga class last Sunday, February 14th.  So, I’m a week late.  Still, I’ve spent this week pondering love – in classes, in meditation, with my new boyfriend, in counsel with my gal pals.  And it’s come to this:

Consider love.  All forms of love.  Love for people, love for activities such as work or service, love for interests such as hobbies or practices, love for material things, love for self.  And perhaps, love for something beyond all of these forms.

If I think about these many manifestations of love, then without a doubt, I know that I am able.  What comes to mind? My love for my nephew Dustin, for teaching yoga, for watching baseball, for great chocolate, for my imperfect humanness, for nature.  That’s a lot of love.  And it all comes from the same place; its core is the same.  The impulse of devotion, ease of acceptance, excitement for passions, softness of compassion, vibration of connection.

It’s all love; it all comes from the heart.  Qualities of the Heart Chakra (aka Anahata) include devotion, passion, yearning and fulfillment.  So as I teach the final weeks of our Bi-Monthly Focus, I am inviting students to “exercise” the heart by allowing each movement, breath, meditation and intention to be filled with love – whether they are focusing on people, activities, interests, things, self or a higher power.  Or all of this.

And indeed, I believe we will see that love is our inherent ability.

Thanks so much, EVERYONE (students, teachers, friends, spirits, and on and on and on) for making January and February an amazing exercise of the heart.  I dream up these Bi-Monthly Focus ideas for my students, supposedly; this time around, I received so many gifts and so much transformation from our practice together.  I am so grateful.

OM Shanti.