Posts Tagged 'hiro boga'

the gloves are off

December 2
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

My first internal response to today’s prompt was, “I answered this on Sunday.”

And yes, for me, social media, obsessive feed scanning, and stressing over the perfect tweet serve as wonderful distractions from writing and the rest of life. There’s fear, doubt, and some good old fashioned avoidance wrapped up in that package.

But there’s more.


Not something I do outwardly every day, but certainly the 8 Track (it’s that old) of wishing things differently affects my writing in other ways.

It keeps me from being with what is actually happening, from the fullness of reality where my senses are alive and inquisitive.  It drains me of energy, creativity, broad view, and curiosity.

Picture me: gloves on, dukes up, shadow boxing. Useful? No. Funny? Maybe.

And of course, even this can be turned on its head. If the battle is on and you are completely disconnected, then you write about that (à la David Whyte). It’s another way to take the gloves off. Turn toward the frustration, denial, anger, etc. and see it as it is. Write about it. But don’t fight with it. That’s just silly.

Hiro Boga offered some wise advice yesterday: Use your practice to grow the aspects of yourself that remain undeveloped. Be it my writing practice, my yoga practice, or my spiritual practice (all the same thing anyway), to stop complaining and embrace life will help me live in the “affluence” I seek.


Isn’t Reverb10 fun!? What habit keeps you from your thing? How can you “grow the aspects of yourself that remain undeveloped?”

And I love the Reverb badge. (I hope to have a badge to offer you soon!!)


What should I be feeling?

And its cousin, “Where should I feel this?”

These are questions that come up in a yoga class.

And probably in relationships. And difficult conversations. And in decision making.

We don’t trust, let alone often know what we feel.

We’re taught by our parents (well intentioned as they were) to not trust our feelings:

You are cold, put your jacket on!

We look to others for cues on next trends, fashion, and pop culture instead of tuning in to what feels right for us.

We seek external approval and acceptance.

We want the recipe, the answer, the easy route.

We aren’t used to waiting, figuring it out for ourselves, or worse—not knowing.

Let alone the fact that our culture is trying to make us exactly like each other.

Advertising preys on all of this conditioning.

I can be harsh here because I am this person. I have never been a rock the boat, leader of the pack kind of gal.

The first time/place I explored marching to my own drum was on my yoga mat. In the safety of that petri dish where a lifetime can play out in movement and breath, I found the space and permission to feel. To begin to know who I am and what that feels like.

It’s my intention to share that permission as a yoga teacher. It’s #1 of our 13 Things: There’s no one right way to do a pose. My way isn’t going to feel the same on your body.

Feeling lends itself to responsibility. And imagine what might be different if we were all taking responsibility for our stuff.

If this is hitting a cord with you, here are some recommendations that have been helpful for me on and off the mat:

  • Hiro Boga – I have had private sessions with Hiro and participated in her Healing Internet Hangover class. She is doing a Sovereignty Kindergarten teleclass next month and I highly recommend it. She also offers free goodies like podcasts and articles.
  • How to Talk so Kids Will Listen – I’ve talked about this book before. Havi recommended it at the Destuckification Retreat and I can’t tell you how it’s changed my awareness of listening and language.
  • Danielle LaPorte – Yes, I ordered the Fire Starter Kit. And it is amazing. Oozing with tips on how to be more you. But really, Danielle’s website is full of this stuff. Free. And smokin’ hot.
  • Yin Yoga – I know. It can be such an intense practice. Just steeping in those shapes, in the feelings there. Mmm, mmm good. Here’s a sequence to try.
  • Meditation – (And you didn’t think it could get harder than Yin!) Again, the opportunity to notice and be with what you feel. Free meditations here!

And just to let you know—if you ask me in class what you should be feeling, I’m going to ask you to tell me what you feel. Aside from the times I have a specific intention in a pose, I want the practice to be a place you can get to know yourself.

As Oscar Wilde said, Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Grounding and The Wanting Creature

Watchman Bill has been doing a fine job at pointing out my suffering.

I wish I had slept better. I wish it wasn’t Thursday already.

Just noticing this resistance to how things are helps experience the fullness of what’s happening in the moment… including experiencing the resistance.

This inquiry made its way into the plans for class last night.

We played in the hamstrings toward Utthita Hasta Padangustasana. This should bring up some good fodder for our inner wishing/wanting creatures.

Since this is a balance pose as well as a hip/hamstring opener, it speaks to the heart of Muladhara, the 1st chakra, which relates to home, family, job, safety, our ability to ground: our basic needs. It also has to do with trust. And on the other side of that coin, greed.

Last night we played with Aparigraha in the asana and breath. What is it like to trust that you are supported, that there is enough? To not grab for the next breath or experience?


This can only happen when we are grounded and connected in the 1st chakra.

Hiro talked a ton about grounding in the Healing Internet Hangover course. This extra focus has had wonderful side effects such as being able to open up and let go more easily. Even in asana, when we feel secure and connected from the base (whatever is touching the floor), the rest of the body can relax into the shape with more inner Ahhh.

Here’s the version Hiro has been talking us through (with a little riffing) offered with the hope that it benefits you as well.

  • Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor
  • Wiggle and widen your tush in the chair, like you’re ruffling your feathers
  • Roll your feet around on the floor, feeling all parts of the soles
  • Come into stillness and relish in a couple of long breaths
  • Imagine a cord from your 1st chakra (between the ovaries for women, at the prostate for men) down through the ground and into the center of the earth
  • That cord is a part of you and wraps itself securely around the center of the earth
  • Give it a tug a both ends — if either end is loose, strengthen it
  • Run your attention up and down the cord and make sure it doesn’t have holes or tears
  • Let the cord expand to the width of your hips
  • After a few moments, imagine a cord from the arch of each foot down through the ground and into the center of the earth
  • Same as with your 1st chakra cord, check each end and make sure the cord is smooth and durable
  • Let the cords expand to the circumference of each foot
  • Take a few moments with your experience of connectedness and grounding
  • See if you can feel, from that rooting, a rebound of lightness up the center of the body lifting you through your crown
  • Imagine a cord rising from the base of the skull behind each ear up into the center of the cosmos
  • Check these cords as you did your other three
  • Let any unnecessary, unwanted or excess energy (thoughts, burdens, tension) drain through the cords

Do you feel more connected? Calm? Energized? Awake?

It can be really powerful to imagine these cords disconnecting and then notice how you feel. What’s it like to reconnect them?


Closing here the same way we closed class… with The Wanting Creature by Kabir.

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?

There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.

When is it time for yoga?

Last week I was hanging with some yogis outside of It’s All Yoga before Bob‘s class, and one woman casually mentioned that she knew she needed yoga that day because she’d snapped at her husband unnecessarily.

It got me thinking about the signs our bodies and minds give us when we’re out of balance.

I posted the question, “How do you know when you need yoga” as our Facebook status and students responded:

  • when my lower back starts to get real tight! or i also feel a little agitated for no
  • When I feel out of balance (physically and emotionally).
  • When I feel sluggish and low energy.
  • when my body & brain ache
  • when i think there isn’t enough time for it.
  • when I start not wanting to do it. i resist it. :(

I relate to all of these. And add:

  • I feel disconnected from my body
  • I catch my image in a mirror or window and look like a hunchback (aka hackerback)
  • after working from the couch where it’s impossible to sit up straight
  • when I work for hours on the computer and realize I haven’t taken a break and feel completely overtaken by the energy of the computer/internet—and a freakish inability to step away (thank goodness for Hiro‘s Internet Hangover course)
  • after a road trip or plane ride
  • when I want to kill bubby
  • when I lack inspiration for class
  • when I feel like everything else is more urgent and important
  • I’m overwhelmed
  • after vacuuming (ergonomically impossible to have good posture!)
  • if I start my day with it–before I even get out of bed–I’m more apt to do little bits throughout the day because I’ve had a taste of how much better I can feel (and stay tuned for what I do if I blew the whole day)
  • when I forget what’s real and essential in my life

(These are all going in my Book of Me.)

So. What are yours? How do you know you need yoga? Or a walk, or a nap, or a drink? Ok, maybe not a drink.

How do I feel?

In addition to the other two questions floating around me lately, this one—how do I feel—has had extra meaning.

I enrolled in Hiro’s Internet Hangover Recovery class at the urging of my husband. He didn’t know he was urging me to sign up, but his “I’m worried about how much time you’re spending on the computer” talk felt like an intervention leading me to internet rehab.

In the first class (a teleclass, btw), she told us that the most important question we can ask ourselves, ever, is “How do I feel?”

Of course, I know this is an important question. It’s one of the main questions I ask students to answer for themselves in class. When we are connected to what we feel in the moment, we can make wise decisions on the mat.

Hiro says that when we know the answer to that question, we can then address the question, “What do I need?” Hopefully the answer informs those wise decisions.

On the internet, this might look like:

  • Asking what you feel (lonely)
  • Asking what you need (company, to feel community and connection)

(There is a third question that I’ll dedicate a later post to.)


    I offered this question (what do I feel) as the theme for class yesterday.

    Over and over, checking in with the sensation and the breath in poses, in transitions, we asked the question.

    Before savasana I demonstrated Supta Baddha Konasana, uber-cush with a bolster and blocks. People settled in.

    How do you feel?

    “If anyone feels anything sharp or uncomfortable, let me know.” I always make this request for supportive poses that are meant to be soft and blissful. I asked it of the class on Monday.

    Students had the option of staying in this pose for savasana; most people did. A few people came out and took traditional corpse pose.

    After the class, I checked in with a newer student, new to my class. How do you feel?

    Well, I feel good now.

    Ok, great!

    But I’ll pay for it tomorrow. I shouldn’t have done that last pose, it felt tight and uncomfortable.

    I was a little surprised. But to say I couldn’t understand why she didn’t tell me, why she didn’t make a change, why maybe she didn’t even identify theses feelings in the pose would be untrue.

    Here I am, past 10 pm, on the computer. I’ll just get this post done.

    I know I feel tired. I know I committed to staying offline after 8 (ok, after 6).

    But changing is so. hard. to. do.

    Permanent Retreat

    During my Recess I had some sessions with Hiro, who I met at Havi’s retreat.

    Hiro is a clairvoyant personal and business coach. Yes, it is the most awesome combo ever.

    In one session, she talked about the dualities of life, and how we are constantly negotiating between polar ends, integrating aspects of ourselves which are both dual and unity: lightness/darkness, joy/pain, material/spiritual. This is one of the things I love so much about Yoga: grounding/rising, inner/outer rotations, ease/effort, strength/softness. We cannot have one without the other.

    One of the things she “saw” in me was a tendency to get stuck in retreat. When duality gets too noisy and complicated I retreat into simplicity. While this is somewhat natural and necessary, she saw me using it as a way to withdraw rather than refuel. As a way to avoid the polarities of the world.

    This message came up again last week. A student loaned me some cassette tapes (thank goodness I still have my Walkman) of poet David Whyte. I am on my 3rd listening of the first tape (even if the content was rubbish, his voice, accent, and manner of speech are intoxicating) where he illustrates this idea with the image of walking down a country dirt road: A huge storm comes. You take shelter in the barn until the storm passes. Sometimes the warmth and protection of the barn feel so good, so easy and safe, you never leave. But you have to get back on the road. You have to keep going.

    And because things come in threes, this message arrived, or rather departed, again out of the dove’s nest in our backyard. (As you know from this post as well.)

    Hiro said, This shuffling from pain to retreat, retreat to pain is not necessary. The flow of soul is the integrating force.

    Hafiz said, How did the rose ever open its heart….? It felt the encouragement of light against its being. It felt love.

    It’s quite scary to come out of the barn, to leave the nest, to feel the emotion, to have the conversation, the relationship.

    And even more scary that I have to do it on my own. I can take the wisdom and support and encouragement of others with me, but those alone will not create the movement. The leap, the step, the gesture, have to be mine.

    Self Care Saturday

    Because I’ve been talking about self care since my October Cure Challenge. And it’s my Word for the Year. And it helps to have some accountability. Each Saturday will share my latest self care indulgence—a recipe, a practice, an indulgence, a ritual… who knows! I’d love to hear about your favs too. Let’s take care of ourselves first so we can take care of each other better.


    The highs on the roller coaster this week were pretty darn high.

    There was the brilliant marketing strategy call with Kelly (code: Copylicious), there was the call with Hiro, there were all the great yoga classes I attended (which, turns out, is oh-so fun!).

    But the winner of Self Care Saturday is….. (drumroll please…)

    Monday afternoon girl time with Madeleine at Happy Day Spa for a $20 “foot” massage.

    Before the good stuff, some disclaimers:

    • Their website is awful.
    • The place itself is a trip—super Don Juan mood lighting, huge room with 20+ Levitz clearance center lazy boys in a big circle (which is where the magic happens).
    • The people in the chairs look more dead that relaxed, but you soon realize why.
    • There’s not a lot of English happening there, so if you want more or less pressure you’d better find out the code words beforehand.
    • They are not particularly gentle. There’s a lot of hitting, slapping, cupping. (And I liked it. A lot.)
    • And it’s not a “foot” massage as in wink wink, it’s actually an almost-whole body massage with your clothes on. In a lazy boy.

    So. Did I say it was $20? But did I tell you that it was an hour? Actually a touch over.

    Now, you might have some guilt about that. I did. Briefly.

    But Madeleine (who was buying in honor of my bday) tipped %50. And that felt good. And her masseuse was excited (ten dalla!!)

    Ok, so imagine:

    You get there. They take you into the Don Juan room. They put your feet in a bucket of warm water.

    They recline you all the way back in your super-cushy clearance center lazy boy.

    (And even if they’d done nothing else, up to this point was worth $20.)

    There’s a synthesized, elevator version of Elton John’s Sacrifice streaming through the sound system.

    Your massage person (there were both male and female) starts with a little head/neck/face/shoulder massage. Nice.

    Then the arms and hands. Real nice.

    Then the feet and legs. For about 35 minutes.

    Then they sit you up and go back to the neck and do some Thai-like stretching and down along the spine.

    And then they thank you, there is some awkward laughing, and you’re done.


    Of course, some practitioners are better than others. Madeleine has been about 10 times and said this time, Jennifer, was the best.

    Go with a friend, top with lunch afterward at Boon Boon and it just might be the best thing you do all week. It certainly was for me.

    Sunday Ketchup | Monday Mustard

    A chance to catch up on loose ends from the week and plant seeds of intention for the next.



    Internet wi-fi connection suckiness

    Ah, the madness of failing internet connections. I was post-impaired this week. And frustrated beyond belief. We seem to be back up and running. May the blog posts roll.

    The Onion

    Still enjoying new layers. And I have a whole week left!

    New Something

    I had a session with Hiro this week and it brought up a lot of stuff. Not sure where this stuff fits yet, not even sure how I feel about it. Softness, Care, and Rest have been in my words each morning and that’s helping a ton.



    Loose, unravelling ends

    Lots of those right now. Planning to tie some up this week. And planning some kindness around those I don’t get to.

    Guitar practice
    Dates with friends
    Admin for Teacher Training
    Fairy Convention


    How was your week? What do you have going on? How would you like next week to roll?

    Self Care Saturday

    Because I’ve been talking about self care since my October Cure Challenge. And it’s my Word for the Year. And it helps to have some accountability. Each Saturday will share my latest self care indulgence—a recipe, a practice, an indulgence, a ritual… who knows! I’d love to hear about your favs too. Let’s take care of ourselves first so we can take care of each other better.


    Another gem from Havi.

    This is my interpretation of a morning ritual she briefly mentioned at the Destuckification Retreat. Sounded like it came from Hiro.

    • Sit – a few quiet moments to ground, feel, reflect
    • Call upon 2-3 qualities that you’d like to cultivate during your day
    • Feel those qualities in your emotional and physical bodies
    • Light a candle (cue the Eternal Flame music)
    • Light some incense (this is my favorite part) and walk around the house fairy dusting the corners of each room with the incense and vibes of your words (I like to say them out loud)
    • Douse the incense and sit again for a few minutes

    This has helped me make a new morning pattern to replace the unwanted previous pattern.

    It also creates this amazing good-vibe container for the rest of the day. And to feel the qualities makes them real.

    I’m convinced that this technique saved me from catching the Mo Fo of all flues that was bouncing around our household this week. First the teen, then Bubby. Each morning I included words like health, wellness, and wholeness. (On the worst day I tripled up and used them all. The best medicine.)

    Ahhh. For today we have joy, spaciousness, and wellness.

    Feels soooo good.

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