Saturday, December 26, 2009

Shakti

"the creative power of the Self that animates the entire universe, seen and unseen."
www.oztantra.com/index.php

"the energy of the Divine that awakens the spiritual potentials of humanity. It is also called the Grace-Bestowing Power of the Divine, descent of the Holy Spirit, Light Immersion, Baraka, or Shaktipat."
www.mudrashram.com/glossarypage.html

"Shakti is the feminie aspect of divinity. Shakti is the life giving force essential for procreation."
hinduism.suite101.com/article.cfm/glossary_q_to_s

The shakti is the feminine face of God. In Hindu lore she is the consort of Siva (the masculine face on God). She is the manifestation of creative energy.

So, yesterday Steve and I took our dog Dori on a walk through the trails near our home. I was telling Steve how these walks are one of my favorite things to do with him. The trails in our neighborhood feel like we are far away in the mountains and I immediately notice myself become more grounded when I walk them.

Dori is so delghtful on these walks. She has that little nose to the ground and she is so excited she can barely keep from galloping away. You can just see her little body light up. It brings me so much joy.

You may be wondering why I began this with Shakti definitions . . .
Well, Steve and I were talking about how fun she is to watch and Steve says, "she is so full of Shakti." So simple, but so profound: she is totally aligned at that moment and she just glows (yes, even through her gorgeous black fur). We talked about how we were naturally delighted in her because she is aligned with the One. When anyone is aligned with the One, they are in the Shakti. We are intrinsically drawn to the beauty of this Essence. That is what we were seeing in Dori. This is why we all delight in babies, in our pets, in the bird's song.

So, may I remember how effortlessly, how joyfully she sets about her life. She steps right into the Flow without question, without doubt. She KNOWS IT is always there.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday, December 23rd and flamingos

So today is our travel day from Hawaii. Steve and I have spent a glorious 10 days reveling in the lush, exquisite beauty here and enjoying one another's company. This morning we drank coffee and watched some flamingos unfold into a new day. (As a side note . . . I don't know that flamingos even belong in Hawaii but we are spending our last night in a Disneylandish hotel that has a beautiful outdoor water feature with, sadly, lots of contained wildlife). These flamingos began to wake up and unfurl their delicate necks. Then, I swear, they were playing like my dogs do . . . kinda nipping at one another, provoking one another to engage in play. One stretched it's magnificent wings and displayed a deeper, more provocative pink. I thought to myself how God's glory never ceases to reveal itself. I could go on and on about the beauty of their knobby knees and their sweet pink webbed feet . . .
Whoever invented those plastic flamingos seriously missed the mark. But, I digress . . .

I had the honor of attending several Anusara classes with the powerful and profound teacher, Skeeter Tichnor. Skeeter so eloquently reminded us that the guru lives inside us. As an extrovert I managed life by turning outwards to survive. This worked, in many ways, for a long time. No longer, Don't get me wrong. I will always be an extrovert and I LOVE people and being social. However, it is in my center that strength resides. As the sage Bhagavan Nityananda said, "The heart is the hub of all of sacred places; go there and roam."

We had the pleasure of attending an event with Saul David Rae and friends, Sri Sakti Activation in Haiku. It was a night of praising the divine mother through puja, kirtan, dance. It was lovely and a definite high point for Steve and myself. There was a time of offering intention and it came very clearly to me that my work this year is in supporting myself in the deepening of my relationship with my own heart and the power that resides within.

Winter Solstice marks the 12 days of Light as we journey towards Epiphany. In the Christian tradition this is marked by the birth of the Christ child. In the Pagan tradition this is celebrated by the coming of the Light within and without.

No matter what tradition we celebrate, we have the honor of being able to reflect on this past year during these 12 days. This is also the time of cultivating our heart's work for the New Year.

May we be sensitive and open to the epiphanies that are always opening to us and may we be open to seeing and embodying them.

Remember, New Year's Day practice and intention setting at 5 Points Yoga with me. WWW.athensfivepointsyoga.com to register, 10 a.m.-noon

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thursday, 12/10

Today is my beloved, Steve's, birthday. After attending the class I usually teach at the Y (Henry taught today!) I got a massage from my dear friend Anne. Then we spent the rest of the day celebrating Steve's birthday. Thank God for small favors, Steve went with me to get a pedicure. He let the woman paint his toe nails clear which was a first. We took a hike around the trail that circles our community with Dori (our dog/child)-it was lovely. The trail goes by the river and it is so full and shimmery. We walked down towards the dam to investigate the mysterious mini falls like excited kids.

I loved exploring when I was a little girl. Today in yoga I was committing to the continuation of this adventurous exploration of my inner forests. When I was little this was the most wonderful and exciting prospect in the world--entering unknown landscapes. May each of us continue to grow in the exploration and discovery of our own heart terrain.

I will not be posting again until after Christmas and hope to have some wonderful experiences to share with you from our time in Maui. While we are there we will see Krishna Das at a kirtan and, of course, we will hike, practice yoga and attend an Anusara class or two, play on the beach and relax relax relax! Hopefully we will meet some whales too.

I hope to see you in the New Year's Day practice I will be leading at 5 Points Yoga. Practice will be all levels, 10 a.m.-noon. This special practice is themed, "Setting intention in an abundant world". Join us in a fun, lively practice while we set conscious intention for the birth of this new year.

Remember to breath. Remember your goodness. Holiday love, Shannon

Monday, December 7, 2009

worthiness

Hello

This beautiful verse from the Radiance Sutras, as translated by Lorin Roche, is what I read from tonight in 6 p.m. class. Thanks to each of you beautiful yogis who attend this class. I feel a strong sense of community and enjoy you so much. We will continue our work on sirsasana 2 and bakasana to sirsasana 2 and back to bakasana.

*See this shining example with Desiree Rumbaugh:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NSJRl965P4

What fun! Melt your sweet hearts as we journey into holiday season friends.

May each of us continue to allow the lotus petals of our own hearts unfold.


"The One Who is at Play Everywhere says,
There is a space in the heart where everything meets.
Come here if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity - all are here.
Are you here?

Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Listen to the song that is always resonating.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.

Quiet ecstasy is here -
And a steady, regal sense
Of resting in a perfect spot.

You who are the embodiment of blessing,
Once you know the way,
The nature of attention will call you to return.
Again, and again, answer that call,
And be saturated with knowing,
'I belong here, I am home.'"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

on our heart and soul's work-and the Athens rockin' yoga community

Of the many gifts I have been given in this life, the opportunity to teach and practice yoga is among the best. There was a time in my life when I thought I would never know what I was going to do with my life. That I would never be able to find my heart's true desires. My soul's work.

One of my dear friends, Shea, said, "Shannon, why don't you pray? Ask for help". Well, I wasn't even sure there was anything out there and even if there was I doubted it would help me. I was sure there was something wrong with me and that I was so different from everyone else that I would not hear even if an answer did come my way. But Shea said, "Just fake it 'til you make it . . . act as if you believe". She said, "all you have to be is even the tiniest bit willing and you will receive help".

Despite my abiding sense that I was doomed and different, I did have some willingness in my heart and so I called out to the Universe for help.

Now here's where the miracle happens. It didn't happen in my time necessarily and it didn't look like I thought it would. IT WAS BETTER. In fact, it was perfect for me. It came in the form of yoga. Above all things I desired a way to relate to God and I wanted meaningful direction for my life's work. Yoga came like a sweet kitty cat curled up on my doormat. It was offered to me like a gift for the taking.
I partook (is this a word?) casually. I knew there was something here for me and perhaps that was part of my hesitation. I remember being scared to be that quiet with myself.

My yoga journey began tentatively. It took me a several years to really dive in. Once I gave myself over I was amazed. Then Anusara came my way. In this school of yoga I find that I align so easily with the philosophical, physical and emotional principles. My life feels so rich and full.

Although this is not what I intended to write about I must have needed to. As the New Year approaches and we move towards our celebration of dying to the old and being born into the new may each of us remember the unending hope that is offered to us always. The One is there. Grace flows full and free. All we have to do is be but willing. When we align with the energy amazing things happen.

Now, quickly, I want to shout out to the ever growing Anusara kula (community) in Athens, GA. The other day I was checking people in and I could see into the yoga room. Everyone was chatting and catching up. I feel so happy to see this sweet group supporting themselves and one another through practice and community. I am so excited to continue our growth together.

With joy~