The Life we Lead

We Are Living in Interesting/Confusing Times

We Are Living in Interesting/Confusing Times

There is much that we can be grateful for, even with the virus skulking in the background, but now moving more and more in the foreground.

It is my wish for myself and for you that we make it through these uncertain times holding each other in loving kindness. To me, this is the point of sitting in meditation and doing our yoga practices, isn’t it?

Every Birthday is a Big One

Every Birthday is a Big One

I heard a friend say today that she is happy this year is almost over and that next year has got to be better. Then, she added, ‘That’s what I said the year before, though.’ In my opinion, last year and the year before were not bad. This period forced upon me the realisation that I am not really in control. And that uncertainty is the only bedrock that we have and all our machinations will never change that fact. 

Living Legacy: We All Have One

Living Legacy: We All Have One

I was hanging out with a dear friend recently and told her that I was pulling together a collection of my yoga classes for my YouTube channel. I referred to what I’d done as creating a kind of legacy. She looked horrified, as though I was imminently going to shuffle off this mortal coil.

You’re Allowed to Do Yoga and Everything

You’re Allowed to Do Yoga and Everything

Where do people get their ideas? Often through social media. These days, Instagram and Facebook carry much responsibility for publishing impossibly beautiful and youthful images of people doing yoga. Discouraging to anyone who is trepidatious about taking up yoga in the first place.

Yoga Teacher, Yoga Community and Technology

Yoga Teacher, Yoga Community and Technology

There have been many markers that show I’ve moved with technological advances, but none so compelling as the ones I’ve encountered in lockdown. Where would we be without the video communication apps that seem to have spread almost as rapidly as the Delta variant. 

While we were in last year, 2020, many of us were thinking/hoping that in 2021, we would be free. Back in offices, back in yoga studios, back in theatres, back in airplanes. But no. Here we are in Australia, and for the most part we are sheltering in place.

First World Problems: Lockdown Haircuts

First World Problems: Lockdown Haircuts

Against the background of global heating, wildfires, floods, COVID-19, war, and oppression, Australia is truly in a relatively safe bubble. I’m not used to hardship, so the disappearance of things I’ve taken for granted is a wakeup call. It’s made me more acutely aware of the need to take care of those in our communities who are not faring so well.

Yoga: Community Building or Community Division?

Yoga: Community Building or Community Division?

Vaccinations are proven to be the most effective way to protect against infectious diseases. 
Vaccines strengthen your immune system by training it to recognise and fight against viruses. 
When you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and helping to protect the whole community.

Diminishing Dominance: Surrendering to Age

Diminishing Dominance: Surrendering to Age

At my age, physiology has conspired to make me much more considerate of my energy levels. No matter what kind of yoga I do, how much or how little, let’s be honest, I don’t have the verve of my 40 year old self.

And yet, the last couple of months have pushed me onto a bigger stage. Without seeking renown, some special opportunities have found me. 

Maria Kirsten: A Yoga Star Gone Out

Maria Kirsten: A Yoga Star Gone Out

Maria Kirsten’s credentials included the whole breadth of yoga taught these days: classical, corporate, gentle, hatha, intellectually-challenged, mental health, viniyoga, yogalates, dynamic, postnatal, general, teacher training, therapy and meditation.

God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise

God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise

The problem is the creek did rise. We live next to Scotts Creek, Mitchells Island, NSW, and the creek rose and rose and rose. Then it burst its bank.

Up in our house, safe on a hill, we watched as Farmer John’s next-door paddocks filled. John had seen the flood coming and moved his cattle to safety. That day, it rained and rained, everyone calling it biblical. At 4 am, the caravan park at Manning Point was hit by a flash flood. The proprietor shook the van occupants out their slumber and some, still in p.j.’s, made a run for high ground.

You Don’t Get to Keep It All: Reality Check

You Don’t Get to Keep It All: Reality Check

This is the arc of life, with a peak somewhere in there, but for the most part, we miss it.

When you look in the mirror today, you might say to yourself, ‘Gawd, you are looking beautiful today.’ You might as well admire this presentation because next week you will look slightly altered. As I did yesterday when I noticed my hair had ‘suddenly’ become much greyer than I remembered. If you can, avoid the expression ‘for my age’. That negates the little bit of self-love you created upon complimenting yourself.

Making the Most of These Strange and Challenging Times

Making the Most of These Strange and Challenging Times

The pandemic has taken its toll, even for those who have kept their jobs. Perhaps the worst affected are health workers. Tragically, many have died in the line of duty. Overworked, in dangerous environments, these front line workers have also had to sacrifice precious time with friends and family. We owe these people–from doctors to hospital cleaners–a debt that will be impossible to repay. How do we repay days, weeks, months of someone’s life freely given to keep us alive?

R.I.P. Donald Moyer, Yoga Teacher, 1946-2019

R.I.P. Donald Moyer, Yoga Teacher, 1946-2019

Donald was so beloved by his students, yogis who had followed him for years. I was fortunate to be given a place in what turned our to be essentially an Iyengar-type class. However, Donald’s approach was inquiry based: ‘How does it feel to do the pose this way? Where does your effort come from? Might you do the pose in a way better-suited to your body?’

The Beauty of Women: Twenty Years Sharing and Caring

The Beauty of Women: Twenty Years Sharing and Caring

I wish I could tell you what is so attractive about our women’s reunions. As they say, you’d have to be there. And be there over years and years as layers of trust and love are built. I can describe how our meetings make me feel: like a swim in the gentle and warm waters of a tiny sheltered bay. The reunions feel healthy and refreshing. Together we women create a pool of energy that we continue to dip into long after the reunion has finished or the ‘leave meeting’ button has been pushed.

The Power of Rituals in COVID-19 Time

The Power of Rituals in COVID-19 Time

One of the blessings of this quiet Corona Time is my long-established yoga practice. I’ve always thought of my yoga practice as an investment, as good as superannuation. Nearly 50 years of practice, and I can call on my investment deal with the stress of self-isolation. There are other solid regular rituals, too: walking on the beach, dinner with my housemates, phone calls to the kids and to my family in the States.

The Art of Ageing: Is There Really an Art to It?

The Art of Ageing: Is There Really an Art to It?

Recently I’ve been thinking about healthy ageing yet again because I’ve been included as a photographic subject in the NSW Government’s ‘Art of Ageing’ exhibition. It was launched at Parliament House in Sydney this week and will be featured prominently there for a month. Then, the exhibition will go on the road for two years, showing in 46 locations across the State.

The stated aim of the exhibition is to improve respect for and social inclusion of older people and to recognise older people’s contributions to their communities.

Margaret Atwood: How Hot Do You Want It to Get?

Margaret Atwood: How Hot Do You Want It to Get?

Here in Australia, impossible to ignore, there has been the continuing cruelty of a nationwide drought. And the resultant drying up of rivers and loss of biodiversity.

Then along came the winter bushfires. Winter! Not the ‘normal’ season for fires to occur. Even less ‘normal’ for the rain forests to burn.

And now, there are massive rainfalls, flooding, storms and perilous tidal surges.

The Trees: Climate Crisis Refugees

The Trees: Climate Crisis Refugees

Julie and I have been looking at the trees and vegetation of Saltwater National Park for green signs of rebirth. They’ve been hard to find: tufts of grasses, epiphyte-like growths, occasional new leaves. The enormous heat generated by this fire seems to have nuclear-blasted the paperbarks and grass trees. Some are burnt-out trunks with branches intact, still standing. Others resemble resinated black statues.

End of 2019: Committing to Loving Kindness

End of 2019: Committing to Loving Kindness

As the pace of our lives continues to accelerate, driven by a host of forces seemingly beyond our control, more and more of us are finding ourselves drawn to engage in meditation, in this radical act of being. We are moving in the direction of meditative awareness for many reasons, not the least of which may be to maintain our individual and collective sanity, or recover our perspective and sense of meaning, or simply to deal with the outrageous stress and insecurity of this age.

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