Join Yoga on High for our May Commitment Challenge! Read More…
Meet Lane, this month’s Manduka Yogi of the Month. Lane is a community building yogi committed to her yoga practice as well sharing the benefits of health and wellbeing as a Lululemon Polaris employee. Lane is a proud owner of a new Manduka eKo mat and hand towel. Learn more about this month’s Manduka Yogi of the Month. Read More…
There are yoga poses and practices that are portable and easy to incorporate wherever you are. And they are powerfully effective, especially in the middle of your day. The following picture and note came from Rich Burke who is a helicopter pilot for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He loves his job but every time he goes out it is because a child is sick enough to need a helicopter ride to the hospital. Thankfully there is a helicopter and a pilot to take the child to the hospital. Rich has been a dedicated yogi for a few years now and with his short hair and military bearing (just retired from service after many years) he can talk about yoga to other men and then tend to listen to him.
My Med Crew and I had a long night last night. When things slowed down we stopped in the cafeteria at Children’s and talked about yoga, Urban Zen and self care. After we finished we had to wait for hospital security on the fourth floor of the hospital. (They have to be present when we take off or land at the hospital). Since we had a moment to wait my inner Yogi came out and my crew and I took a few moments for a bit of restorative yoga. Thank you, Marcia, Gail. Lori, and the rest of the YoHi staff for what I’ve learned from you all!! ~ Rich Burke
Dear Yoga friends,
This note was written by Martha Marcom, a beloved founding partner of Yoga on High, to family and a few friends but it was too good to hear from her and not share it. She knows you are reading it and sends her love to all of you as well.
As I write this, we are just halfway through this world cruise—time to check in with my far away much-missed friends and family. This midway point comes as we are directly across the Earth in both time and distance—as far as we can be away from you. But now, as we leave Australia, we will come closer in time-zones and space. We are heading home.
I have had a miraculous journey so far. I arrived as a 90 pound weakling. Literally, even my shoes were too big. Empty bags of flesh hanging off of my bones, where my muscles used to be. I had to embark in January using a wheelchair, and now I am getting back to strong and up to 104. I offer humble thanks to my patient, determined, caring dear husband, who has shepherded me through this healing journey. We have been practicing yoga every morning at 5:30am on the dance floor of the ballroom, where we have a beautiful view of the day dawning. 5:30 is what it takes to get through a full ashtanga practice at a somewhat leisurely pace and be finished before Maria, the official yoga teacher, arrives to set up for her 8a class. It has taken all of this time to get back to the full circle of poses. Maria’s husband, Joe, is now joining us. This couple ,the Kitas, from PA, have been traveling the world teaching yoga for many winters now. So, to arise at 5, we have not been going to any of the evening entertainment or nightlife. Those mornings on the mat have been big medicine and I am so grateful to reclaim my yoga practice—and breath. And muscles.
We had weeks and weeks of just eating reading and resting and working back to the practice. I didn’t have the strength/endurance to really go ashore. It was in New Zealand that I really came back. It helped that my lovely sister, Connie, and bro-in-law Buzz arrived for this part of the journey and also that NZ is arguably the most beautiful place on Earth.
We began our NZ adventure with a hastily scheduled, unanticipated stop at the Bay of Islands when we could not tender into the inviting but rough waters of Roatonga, a magical-looking island—think Neverland—where we were planning a beach day in the turquoise waters, sugar white sands with a green volcanic mountain as the background. But, as everything is subject to change, off we went to the town of Paihia, NZ.
We’d met a lovely friend, Marc, from the Bay area of SF, with whom we’d planned an overland, overnight trip to the Bay of Islands before we (or anyone) knew about this impromptu add-on to our NZ itinerary. So we ended up going two times to the Bay of Islands, once by sea and the other by land. New Zealand is heart-stopingly, breathtakingly beautiful. The terrain is both lush and rugged and the land is an array of greens, and the sea is pinch-me, I’m-in-a dream aqua..with gorgeous mountains and islands.
We bought maps for the overland trip, had local beer at a cafe and explored a market. The next day Marc drove us out of Aukland in our rental Corolla—Marc figured that driving once in Great Britain in the ’80’s qualified him to drive on the “wrong” side of the road in the big city of Aukland and on the windy, mountainous two-lane roads. As wondrous as it is sailing along on the sea day after day,getting inside the country by land was a welcome change. There was constant beauty--no billboards and such flora as fern trees, occasional terraced hillsides, a legacy of the Maori. We took a ferry to Russell, a picture perfect old seaside town. Back in Paihia, where we spent the night at a hillside motel, we had fresh blueberry ice cream from a farmers market.
Our first impression of New Zealanders is that everyone is happy and friendly and loves their beautiful country. That didn’t change much as we traveled North to South.
I’ve only said a little about our travels but I’m longing to send this off and reach you while we have an internet connection. I will try again soon. Know that Jerry and I are thinking of you, would love to hear from you and look forward to seeing you again.
All love and every good wish,
Meet Evan, this month’s Manduka Yogi of the Month. Although new to the Yoga on High community, Evan’s gentle nature and dedication to his yoga journey shines. He is a student in the March 200hr Teacher Training program and is excited to explore the many facets of yoga. Evan is a proud owner of a new Manduka eKo mat and hand towel. Learn more about this month’s Manduka Yogi of the Month. Read More…
I have studied many times with Roger Cole and love his excitement and joy of teaching and his blend of scientific rigor with great asana and pranayama teaching. He will be here April 24-25 with a program of interest to yoga students and teachers. In the meantime enjoy this article he wrote for the Yoga Journal a few years ago. -Marcia Miller
Long and Strong
by Roger Cole originally published at yogajournal.com
Stretching your hamstrings is a bit like leading a reluctant mule. If you pull the mule, it will pull back. But you can coax the mule along if you make friends with it. Help the beast relax, give it a nice place to go, and it will happily follow you. Read More…
Meet this month’s Manduka Yogi of the Month, Roberta! Roberta is a student who stands out because of her friendly demeanor and her willingness to open her heart and mind to the practice. It is always a pleasure to have her smiling face in class. Read More…
Meet this month’s Manduka Yogi of the Month, Teresa Eigel! Teresa is a dedicated yogini who is at Yoga on High whenever she is not traveling for her work. She especially likes Michael Murphy’s classes for his expert adjustments and his ability to read the room to know what people need or want. Teresa’s blog Peace, Love, Wholefood gives her the chance to explore and share her love of good food and her newfound self acceptance. Yoga on High is pleased to partner with Manduka to feature Teresa this month!
I live in a Community of Care and this has never been more obvious nor more intentional that this past year. What does this mean--Community of Care? It has several elements.
The first element is self-care. One of the greatest obstacles to compassion is exhaustion. Those of us in the “business of care” need to know how to replenish our own energy stores, and we can be relied on to do this most of the time. We are not perfect but we do our best. We have daily practices that we know restore us. We do them over and over even when we may think we don’t need them. In addition to the daily rhythm of self-care we have occasional, longer periods of self-renewal that involve stepping out of our daily lives for vacations or retreats. This is as essential as our daily practices. We also schedule time together for fun and important conversations about what we value—we share our celebrations and our struggles.
The second element is community. We work together to care for the people in our community who need help at any given time. No one person is indispensable, and we stay in communication to know who is able to help and to what degree. Sometimes it is like a big puzzle as we figure out who can step up and who must step back. Just this past summer one of us lost a beloved relative. She needed regular support, so a group of us stepped forward to offer her what she needed including housing, food, Reiki and company. We developed an email list of her support team and kept in touch about what she needed every day and what we could offer. We created a schedule so everyone had clarity about who was doing what. Then one of the support people found out that a relative of hers had a dire medical diagnosis and that she was needed at home. She was able to step out of care for our friend and tend to her relative. And we began to check in on her to see what was needed there. And so it goes. None of us is always a giver or a receiver--we take turns.
The third element that helps make this possible is self-knowledge. We are checking in with ourselves on a daily basis to see what we realistically CAN do without causing ourselves harm. We know that there will always be someone in our community needing support, and we are committed to our own sustainability which will allow us to continue the blessings of embodying compassion.
And along with self-knowledge we are cultivating honesty and increased skills in communication. Knowing that you don’t have enough energy to help does not always translate into being able to say that to another, especially if the other is in trouble. Many of us have been trained to believe that everyone else is more important than we are, and it can be hard to say no to a request for help or to take time for ourselves. Learning to know what is true, and then speak what is true, are two different steps that are works in progress for each of us.
Back to community--if one of us loses track of what is reasonably possible to accomplish, another of us will be alert enough to help them step back and take more rest. It may be as simple as a 10 minute restorative pose at just the right time, or a more extended sabbatical from helping.
It can also be a challenge for those of us who are used to being “helpers” to receive the care of our community, but we are getting better at this as well. I have been amazed and gratified to see the grace of this. Another of our dear friends was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer this past summer, and has received much love and help from many of us since then. She has been a beloved caretaker in our community for most of her life and now she is a beloved receiver of our care. It has been really gratifying for us to be with her as she has opened herself up to receiving nearly daily Reiki and food deliveries. She has received cards and outpourings of love with grace and gratitude. There have also been a few times when it felt challenging for her to be on the receiving end of such love, and we worked through that together as well.
The words “giving” and “receiving” do not really do justice to the process I am describing here. In everyday language they seem like opposites and very different from each other. One of the things we have learned in our Community of Care is that giving and receiving are so closely intertwined as to be virtually the same thing. When a friend is willing to receive our support she is giving us a huge gift: the ability to be present with her. We share love and, in love, there is always complete giving and receiving simultaneously. We are not giving from our own storehouse of energy at that point, but from an endless Universal Love that flows through us. We are both renewed.
When I broke my ankle a few years ago I, too, was the recipient of much care. Each day someone brought me food and Reiki. Often, the person giving me Reiki shared something they remembered that I had offered them in a yoga class or in a conversation that was meaningful to them. I realized that each person was glad to be able to offer back something to me (I was a teacher for most of them), and that helping me was a way of completing a circle of love. It was a beautiful gift to know that something I had said held meaning for them. And what they told me supported my healing process.
I am excited and a bit in awe of the communal wisdom that is present in our group. We are so much more powerful together than we are separately. I can rest in this. The final element in our community is Trust. We trust ourselves, we trust each other and we trust life to be enough just as it is. This is a miracle of high proportions. This goes against my personal training and much of the training of our culture, and I am grateful for all who keep reminding me of the beauty of what is possible.