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Monday, December 12, 2011

Dancing with the Divine

I was fortunate enough to spend all of last weekend in a workshop with John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga. I'm still sort of unwinding and coming down from the awesomeness that was spending two straight days in classes, hanging out with my immersion friends and studying with one of the most inspiring teachers alive today.

I also am sore all over my entire body. Especially my thighs. We did five Urdhva Danurasanas in a row on Saturday morning. Really long ones. Five of them. And then we did thirty more on Sunday. Ok it was probably only two or three more, but it felt like thirty. At least my thighs are burning as opposed to my lower back, so I must be doing something right!

Battle wounds.

So, in no particular order, here are some of the things I learned this weekend:

Dance with the Divine Every Day

The theme of the weekend was "Dancing with the Divine" - because "everything we do each day is a dance with the divine." If you have ever seen a pair of truly skillful dancers (and I have - several of my good friends are talented swing dancers), they move as though they were one person. You can't tell who leads and who follows - there is no discord, only the dance. Think of your life as a dance with the greatest dancer of all time. We have to just look for and feel the forces that are guiding us, have the humility to go with the flow and be open to the dancer is leading us. Even if you are ridiculously uncoordinated (raises hand) a great dancer can make you look like a ballerina. least like there's a slim possibility you might know what
you are doing.

Going with the flow does not imply that every light will turn green for you, or that everything you want will miraculously fall into place. The point is that shit happens, and we can either fight it, or we can choose to dance with it and be skillful.

By the way, this is one of the first images that comes up when you do a google image search for "Anusara"

I just... there are no words.

Don't think so much
I'm pretty sure I will be learning this lesson over and over again for the rest of my life. I overthink EVERYTHING... probably a lot of us are guilty of that (especially Anusara yogis...I mean, why else would we be drawn to a yoga style that has codified principles of alignment, studies anatomy and science as deeply as metaphysics, and requires 100 hours of immersion studies before you can even begin teacher training), but this weekend I was reminded how much my brain gets in the way of where I really want to be. Almost universally, when John reminded us to "stop, and breathe," and I backed out of my head, softened, and listened to where my body needed to go, I went much deeper into the pose.

I have amazing teachers
John is a fantastic and inspiring instructor, and I definitely learned a lot from him. But if anything, this weekend just re-enforced what amazing Anusara teachers we have in the Twin Cities. There were no surprises, nothing I didn't feel prepared for - even the most difficult poses were ones I had at least attempted sometime during the immersion or in Ali's class. Beyond that, the languaging and level of instruction were so consistent with what I experience every week at my studio. Ali and Ronna are the best of the best, and our community is lucky to have them.

Monsanto is evil
Fact. It's not like I didn't know this beforehand - I mean, when you look the big/evil trend line, they are not even on the graph - but since John Friend said it, it's probably even more true.

There is light even in vast darkness
This weekend was also my friend Sam's memorial service. When John was talking about going with the divine flow and recognizing beauty and dharma in everything that happens, even if it seems sad, I just couldn't buy it. I am not in that place yet - I can't see how there could possibly be anything good in something so violent and cruel happening to such a good, kind and loving person, and I can't imagine what his family must be going through.

A vacuum, according to my reliable source Wikipedia, is "a volume of space that is essentially absent of matter" - a volume of space containing nothing. Sheer and utter darkness.

However, what we observe is not necessarily the way things are. If you observe rust growing over time, what appears to be a continuous process actually turns off and on at a quantum level. It isn't continuous at all. In the same way, a vacuum is full of particles that are continuously fluctuating in and out of existence, known as "virtual particles." Recently, scientists at Chalmers were able to bring 'virtual' protons into reality using the Casmir effect - literally creating light from a vacuum.

I hope that Sam's family can find a way to create light from the vacuum that Sam's passing has left in the world. I hope we all can, otherwise it was pointless...otherwise it was all for nothing.

Sorry if none of this makes sense, I'm writing from an emotional place right now.
Just remember:
Your life is a dance with the divine, whatever that means to you
Don't think so hard
Monsanto is evil
We can create light

That's all. Namaste.

p.s. I apologize for my terrible attempts at explaining science. If any actual scientists want to tell me what's what, please feel free to do so.


  1. My favorite trinitarian theology is the one that describes the Trinity as perichoresis, literally "dancing around." It basically says that the figureheads of the trinity interact by dancing with each other.

    All this to say: I dig dancing with the divine, too. And I love this post.

  2. I love that - what a beautiful image.

    And I love YOU...and I'm coming to visit you in less than three months WHAT UP.


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