Sometimes yoga just means getting out of the way…

If you’ve been reading here for very long, you know one of my careers is Paramedicine. Street medicine draws on my ability to discern, do, organize, energize – emphasis on the “do!” – turn around and do it again. Again! (think claymation baby dinosaur… 🙂

There’s great flow and joy available in this groove. Remembering its a groove though, among other curvy, smooth, deep grooves is the trick. So it’s a blessing when I’m reminded of what I call yoga-mind (you may call it tao-mind, Christ-mind, Spirit or Bob) or union. It’s so easy to get caught up in the role-ness of our careers: I am a …. And then the world conspires to remind us that the activity and the flow are all, and that the special designations and lines we sometimes draw for our own comfort, the ones that identify “me” and “mine” (think furry blue cookie monster) are fictions, fudgible and dispensible – in fact dispense-worthy!

When I count these moments throughout the day as yoga time I find that they don’t substitute for mat time, they inspire it, I want more, I give more, I do more and I yoga more. Then the “I” falls out.

A New Earth Chapter 6 Discussion – Noon Eastern Today!

A New Earth Chapter 6 Discussion – Noon Eastern Today!
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Join us for discussion toda… more

You are invited to join in a live discussion today at, just one in a weekly series in conjunction with Oprah’s sponsorship of Eckhart Tolle’s webinar on his recent book. We’re up to chapter 6, a pivotal moment in the book during which he discusses the role of the pain body in awakening.

Whether you caught the webcast last night, are looking forward to catching up on it later, are reading at your own pace or are interested in new discussions of energy for transformation, we’d love to have you join our discussion.

Topics in this chapter include pain-body as fuel for consciousness, presence, the pain-body in children, breaking identification with the pain-body, triggers and awakening.

“Now, inseted of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is, which adds more pain to the pain that is already there, is it possible for you to completely accept that this is what you feel right now?” (p165)

What is your experience with acceptance and presence? What makes us want this moment to be different than it is? What have you experienced as a result of times you have been able to practice this accepting presence? What blocks arise for you?

I hope to see you on at 12 noon ET for the live chat. To jump in, all you need to do is type your question in the comment box below the featured article. To see others’ questions and responses in real time, simply hit the refresh button on your browser. Remember to refresh your page continuously to see each new comment. If you are unable to make it, but have a comment, observation, or question, please leave it in the comment thread below. Thank you for your presence!


When transgressions hinder, the weight of the imagination should be thrown on the other side.

Yoga Sutras

So much I find fascinating about this. I believe it’s a translation of II.33 and the translator Rolf Gates lists in his biblio is one Charles Johnston who lived (or at least published) in Albuquerque, NM in 1912. The translation seems to me to have a distinctly modern slant, though perhaps Johnston had been studying Kant’s schematism.

Part of what I like is that any time we engage the imagination on purpose, we’re de facto dropping certain assumptions and judgment algorithms from our field of consideration. Obviously, we want to keep certain minimum ones on the filter going to action, but the process even helps us to properly consider those.

Imagination is also the place (acc to the aforementioned Kant, and greatly oversimplified) where impressions from our embodied senses and the categories we are capable of using to organize them are synthesized. So to throw the weight of the imagination “on the other side” of our challenge really opens up a whole new world.

Kant was on to the same thing Yogic Philosophy addresses by noting that the world is “nothing” without “us” (interpreters, perhaps.) Certainly we like to think that it’s “there” regardless of the existence of animal interpreters such as ourselves. But, there is no “there” there without a “here” and without self-referential subjectivity (yes, that’s us) there’s no “here”, thus no “there” there.

Why does this matter in my journal? Isn’t this a lot of logical round-n-round, just the sort I left Academia to get outside? Well, first of all a certain amount of this is good exercise for imagination. But most of all, the quote turned out to be quite important for what I called my procrastination journey yesterday.

So, bad things happen to people, and something rather horrible happened to me a year and a half ago. I was out of the country and for all sorts of reasons kept it to myself for months. Until I realized (yes, another “dur” moment) that whether I wanted it to or not it was still affecting me and – more importantly to me at the time – my relationship with my then fiancee, now husband.

So, when really awful things happen, it usually happens that it takes calender pages to sort out the aftermath. More if you try to ignore the original fact, which I did.

So, we started our day yesterday tending to some of that. It left me raw but also lighter. So what did I do? Yes, you may have guessed it… I’m not an overachiever. I’m an excellent avoider.

So, I made lists in my mind (always the first sign my thinking’s going awry) and within hours felt lost and without any space or meaning. Yeah, that sucks. So I made my plan: grocery, eat, brush dog, yoga. Grocery & eat: check.  Pet Hank: break down. Ahhhhh! progress. She realizes she’s raw, she releases and recognizes. She is learning! (Thanks, Hank.)

She makes an appointment at the local massage school for a massage (lovely). She does yoga (feels great). She teaches (such wonderful people at class!).

Back to home with strong, wonderful, attentive, tender Hubby.  Some cobwebs cleared. Imagination was indeed the way out. Some Tapas, some Saucha, some Satya, then trust and process (Ishvara Pranidanani). Ahhhhhhhh.

The Eight Limbs (Ashta – anga)

from Rolf Gates’ Meditations from the Mat:

In fact, we take up all the limbs together. As the line in the Eagles song goes, we do everything all the time…. Our yoga practice makes this possible. Each time we come to the mat, we have an opportunity to work the entire path, moment by moment…. Our bodies, our breath, our minds, and our choices are being refined in the laboratory that is our yoga mat.” (p. 6)

“The real payoff of a yoga practice … is not a perfect handstand or a deeper forward bend – it is the newly born self that each day steps of the yoga mat and back into life.” (xvii)

(thanks Zazazu for listing this book!)


Thank you. Thank you to this space, the people who make it possible and to this community of writers. Becoming a little part of this has helped me remeber that all the diverse moments, experiences, interactions are part of a whole fabric, and this makes each one of them more beautiful.

Meaning seems to grow from connection. Connection seems to rescue what alone is ugly or small and reveal it as a growing living part of changing, morphing, whole. The connection changes a sharp, misshapen remnant of glass or pottery into a window onto light and color, an integral part of the luminous universe.


We are one another’s mirrors. The depth of Spirit expressed through our looking is dependent on the quality of our gaze. This is how Spirit depends on each of us: to see (and enjoy!) Itself. Spirit just is the mutual gaze raised to the level of awareness.


The struggle to maintain equanimity throughout all seemingly opposing forces (life!) is easier to witness with a little bit of asana practice sprinkled in every day.