A beautiful light has gone out with the recent death of my old friend, Kerry Riley.
Kerry is the first of my close contemporaries who has died, so his death, even though we knew it was coming was a blow, a gut punch. We knew it was coming and hoped it wouldn’t. But eventually it did, and, from what his wife, Diane, has told me, it was time.
In 2011, I was able to transplant an annual ritual from my Sydney yoga school, which we called the January Intensive, to my studio on Mitchells Island. It’s a program that presents various yoga practices over 5 days at an early hour and offers an opportunity for students to kick off the new year in the healthiest of ways.
As a 50+ practitioner of yoga, and 40+ teacher, I can tell you, there are not too many more things that will make me happy than knowing yoga has been accepted by students as a companion for life.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's Upon Us Bad news abounds. I have a NASA Earth Now App which flashes me the latest global events. Today and for many days, 'Wildfire Smoke Streams Across the U.S.' is the main headline. The west coast, northwestern and southwestern states are burning. To date,...
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.
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?
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.
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.
Even now as write, I don’t know what words to describe my uneasy feelings about the climate. Maybe it’s because there’s just too much to say.
Earlier this year, the on-line Sydney Morning Herald would run one or two stories on climate change. Now, and especially since Australia’s monstrously extensive bushfires, there are a half dozen or more each day.
The climate crisis is no longer a future problem. We need to grapple with it now. In an increasingly accelerating way, life on our planet as we’ve experienced it is changing. That means we are being called on to change, too.
Time is running out. The patient is critically ailing. Every day matters.
Ever heard of the Shedders? If you really knew me, you would know I’m a community junkie. I’ve created several yoga communities over the almost 40 years that I've been teaching yoga. I’m part of the Manning Valley singing community and perform with the Wingsong Choir....
Climate Yoga: Opportunity for Participation I did it! I stepped out! Even though I'm neither a scientist or activist, I facilitated a talk at the Ekam Festival recently on Climate Yoga. This post is a follow-up so for those of you who weren't at the festival....
Why I have I skipped the festival circuit? Because I’ve felt it’s easier to teach to my age demographic, in my own style and to do so locally.
I knew the Lost Paradise festival would be attended mainly by young people between 24-30 years of age. I thought it likely that these young yogis would be used to practising a more dynamic style of yoga than mine. And, a December end-of-year festival was going to be uncomfortably hot and humid.
Also, I didn’t know ahead of time how large the festival was going to be…
In almost every class I teach, I make a point to give thanks for this community we create when we come together. Whether your particular class happens in a gym or in a school hall, you are likely to connect with like-minded people. These may ultimately become fast friends. Lasting friendships are promoted by yoga teachers who make a point of providing time and space to socialise. Having a cup of tea after class, or in our household, one of Daniel’s coffees, we get to talk about more than yoga postures.
By attending classes regularly, there’s the potential for deepening friendships with classmates. Yoga teachers and students get the chance to bond, too.
Who are the Shedders? If you know me at all, you would know I’m a community junkie. I’ve created several yoga communities over the 35+ years that I've been teaching. I’m part of the Manning Valley singing community. There's our Mitchells Island community that includes...