Monday, December 26, 2011

Countdown to a new year

Time for a new intention. What will it be for 2012? Words I'm contemplating for my 2012 intention: realize, recognize, promote, hone, harness, actualize, dwell, refine, uplift, elevate, radiate, rase, reside, relish, enhance, rest, receive, unleash, create, cultivate, abide, amplify, deepen, swell, magnify, intensify, reinforce, boost, affirm, trust, salute, greet, perceive, honor, assert, root, stand, devote, bless, sanctify, glorify, adore, treasure, revere, cherish and nourish...what exactly? The Power of my Heart's Desire. ♥

I've been thinking that, at least for me, the solstices hold a deeper connection to my soul, than the arbitrary choice of New Year's. Although, I do think that the calendar year holds a special socially-contrived importance, I am beginning to be drawn to using the solstice and equinox as powerful tools of expansion and growth in my life.

It's kind of funny how much I want to share before this year is over. I kind of wish that I had been writing all along. I guess when I figure out exactly what my intention for 2012 will be, I will create a new blog and do my best to write, write, write. I feel like it is helpful to document the changes that are being made and the lessons learned.

One of the main realizations that I have had, while dancing with the Shakti, is that the "dance" part has a very playful feel. It offers the opportunity to be led and to lead, to dance alone and dance with the Shakti as a unit. There is a bit of a nonchalant-esque feel to it and I have chosen to obsserve a great deal of "hands-off" experience. Will I do my practice without an explicit commitment? (Often the answer is no...). I have been very free with my habits and rules this fall as well. How do I feel when I don't do my practice? How do I feel when I do?

What I have discovered is a deep paradox in the process of spiritual sadhana (simply translated as practice).  How do we pursue a deeply satisfying, disciplined and rooted, commitment to our practice, without it coming from a "should" place? (i.e. I should practice asana every day. I should meditate 1.5 hours every day. I should do pranayama at least 10min every day. I should chant and do mantra every day. I should read the scriptures every day. etc. etc. etc.). How does it bubble up from a longing to experience the Heart? How do we keep our minds and hearts focused on the Universal without a forceful reminder? We must be vigilant to not be over-taken by the ego (the shoulds!), even within our sadhana.

I love this passage from the Bhakti Sutras:
गुणमहात्म्यासक्ति - रूपासक्ति - पूजासक्ति - स्मरणासक्ति -दास्यसक्ति - सख्यासक्ति - वात्सल्यासक्ति - कान्तासक्ति - आत्मनिवेदनासक्ति - तन्मयासक्ति - परमविरहासकित - रुपैकधाप्येकादाशाधा भवति || 

"Though it is one, [spiritual love] it takes eleven forms of loving attachment [to God]: loving attachment to the qualities of God's greatness, loving attachment to [God's] beauty, loving attachment through worship, loving attachment through rememberance, loving attachment through service, loving attachment through friendship [with God], loving attachment [that is like] a parent's [love for a child], loving attachment like that of a lover, loving attachment through offering the totality of oneself [to God], loving  attachment by being absorbed [in God], and loving attachment in feeling separate from the Supreme." -Narada's Bhakti Sutra ८२

This is such an interesting statement. To love God, to participate in sadhana is to also feel separate from the Supreme. As I have discovered this year, my practice really shifts my experience of life. I seem to recognize the Truth more. But sometimes if feels as though that experience is denying my "human" experience- the part of my experience governed by my ego and my experiences on earth.

For example, when my friend Ken died a couple months ago, I was devastated. I had a full week where I felt like I couldn't function or participate in regular activities. I bought a candle and began offering blessings to Ken each day, so I could continue to do my work. There was a part of me that was obsessing about his death. And I had my own skeletons to face, given the circumstances of his death. I have certainly learned that life offers repetition in experience so that if we missed the opportunity to face our challenges or to metabolize difficult experiences- there is a future time when an event will give us that opportunity. By the end of that first week, I feared I could not go on. So I chose to bow out of my RA responsibilities and use the morning to do my practice. I went to the Yoga Loft and set aside the day for my practice. I chanted. I did pranayama. I did asana. I meditated. I sat around just taking in the room. After 5 hours, I felt like Ken's death hadn't happened. I felt almost disconected from the sadness. It was as though my practie had informed me that Ken wasn't really dead (in a bigger picture sense). That there was nothing to mourn. That the Truth was shining through my practice. I knew that I could choose to continue to use my practice to heal and honor Ken or to go through the next few months deeply expressing the feeling of loss and settling depper into that falsehood. It was an incredible thing to face.

I have faced these realizations many times over the last 6 years, since I began on this path. Countless times, I have faced the choice: feel crappy and unworthy and disconnected or do my practice and feel joy, compassion, love and calm. Most of these times, I have chosen my practice.

The point of all this is that I do not wish to make an intention for 2012 that comes from an external place, but I feel as though the Shakti is guiding me to embrace my power. It is time that I stop exploring what happens when I don't do my practice or when I "feel separate from the Supreme." The Shakti is calling me to recognize the splendor of me and to embrace the possibilities of myself, when I stay committed and disciplined in my practice. I find it so interesting that my greatest fear is success. That I fear proving my ego and my experience wrong (that I am unworthy, unloveable, incapable, not powerful, not divine). What will happen when I do my practice so diligently that I am centered fully in the power of my heart? Do I have a strong enough container to contain that Power? Can I handle it?

It's time for me to find out. I have been preparing diligently for the day when the lies don't hold me back anymore. I have been preparing for a time when I can be fully myself and offer to the world my sunshine. I truly have the ability to impact this world for the's time.

This has been a delightful year of dancing with the Shakti. What a blessing. What a blessing. What a blessing.

Don't take a single breath for granted. <3

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shri and Purna

While at the Anusara Grand Circle, I was reminded of the 6 attributes that define the Universe in the Shiva-Shakti Tantra tradition. Of course, each one had been stated before, but for some reason, this time, they spoke to me in a clear way.

I offered some distillations of my contemplation of these concepts on my facebook. My facebook is where I deposit numerous quotes and musings. It's funny, those distillations, are often all I feel ready to offer the world. Yet, I desire to offer more on this blog for my own rememberance of this incredible last 6 months of my life. Choosing to explicitly *dance with the shakti* has been more transformative than I could ever have imagined.

The attributes of the Universe are often defined in a specific order. But for my purposes, here, I am just offering two. I have been using each week of my teaching yoga to reflect and expand upon these ideas and so I am offering two that I have already been contemplating and embodying in my life and teachings.

First, I would like to repeat my own daily prayer that developed out of the Grand Circle. I feel so blessed to be living life at this sacred moment. Each moment, each breath is an opportunity to live in the depths of your heart. Each moment and each breath offers renewal and re-definition.

May I meet each moment fully with the whole of my being... May I rest in the radiance and splendor of my heart... May I connect deeply with the essence of me, ananda, the joy with no opposite... May I simply BE at this sacred time of my life and create more Shri (beauty) out of the pure desire to express Who I Am...

The first attribute that spoke to me is shri. Shri is translated in a number of ways, but most often is translated as beauty. It also can mean absolute goodness, greatness, possibility, abundance. What I took from the Grand Circle is "Be the Shri you wish to see in the world!"

This attribute is a fact of the Universe. This means that each one of us is also Shri. We can use each moment as an opportunity to explore the Shri in our lives, in our hearts, in our minds, and in all facets of being human. It's not the case that we ignore that which seems "un-shri", but when we expand our vision, our perspective to include everything, we can see it all as Shri. Each challenge or painful moment is an opportunity to define what we really want. They are opportunities to connect deeper to our hearts and to re-define ourselves. These moments are just as rich as the joyful ones. 

The wonderful thing about shri is that when we can't see Shri in our lives, we can bring more into our lives actively. We can actively eat beautiful food, listen to beautiful music, explore beautiful connections with other human beings, and connect with the beauty with nature. The possibilities are endless. Shri is right in front of your nose. In fact, it is your nose. For you are also Shri!

Be A Shri-maker! Make more beauty! Sprinkle some of your divine radiance on everything you do and everyone you meet! Take in the divine luster that already exists in all things! Oh how it sparkles with splendor and exquisite delight! ♥

The next attribute is purna. Purna is often translated as fullness. But it is also translated as emptiness. The reason is Purna, when full, may seem like it can't expand, so there's an emptiness quality because it can expand beyond our limited ideas. I take this to mean that purna means infinite. I love the image from math where when we get to infinity, there is always infinity+1. So I think of purna this way. 

We view our lives from a place of purna. We are full. We don't have to become anyone, do anything, attain anything. We just are perfect the way we are. We rest in our own full, splendorous hearts. Each moment is exactly as it should be. Everything we need is inside us. Purna can also be translated as "lacking nothing" or "absolute peace." There is a place inside of us that is at absolute peace with the way the world is. This part of ourselves, call it Essence, Self, Soul, Source or whatever behooves you, is content 100% with how things are, as they are. This is the part of us that doesn't have any needs. It is the state of "Being." So purna is an attribute of the Universe, but also an attribute of us. 

As we live our lives from this place of purna, we can rest in the knowledge that we can just Be exactly Who We Are. Out of this place, though, our fullness may spill over. We may be content with being infinity, but our of our full-place, we may desire to self-express. Out of this place, we may desire to explore what infinity+1 is. To make more. To offer more. To be artists in our lives and offering the world creative, self-expression. Out of this place, we join the Shakti and manifest more shri, form more. The Universe is infinite in it's expansion and so are we. We enter the flow, the current of grace that holds us and we make more. 

I just love that. It is not out of a poverty consciousness that we form relationships or get advanced degrees or earn more money. Out of expression of Who We Really Are, full, expansive, infinite possibility, we offer ourselves and the world our Self-Expression. 

The universe is abundant/full (purna). Fact. Take a deep breath and settle into that place that is 100% okay with how things are, just as they are. Notice the fullness in your heart, in your breath, in your body. Allow this fullness to expand your perspective to see shri (beauty) in all things, to see your own abundant, exquisite life! Allow this abundance to spill over into delightful, creative self-expression! ♥

When we take the time to settle into our own unique condensed versions of the Universe, we can experience shri and purna in every moment. This life offers so much richness, so much depth of experience. In this practice of yoga, we are uniting ourselves with the greater Energies. By resting in the splendor of our own hearts, we make this world a more beautiful place. 

I believe Gurumayi said it best:
"Entering the heart is like coming into the center of the sun. There is no more you; there is nothing except the irredescent force of that light. When you are in the center of the sun, there is no way to block its light. It streams through you and around you. So by entering your own heart, you make the whole world a better paradise."- Gurumayi ♥

May these teachings serve all being everywhere. Don't take a single breath for granted.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reflections on the last cycle; Intentions for the Next Cycle

This past cycle has been incredibly transformative. Each moment of every day I have experienced a deeper sense of connection with nature, the cycles of life, and the spanda (pulsation/vibration) of the universe. Although I haven't been sharing my dance with the shakti on this blog, I certainly have been dancing. I've been dancing so fervently that I haven't had a chance to catch my breath and reflect or share what all has unfolded in this crazy dance with the creative goddess.

As I begin to contemplate what there is to share, I find myself speechless. In silence. A strange state for me, indeed. If anything, this last cycle has caused me to appreciate silence.

In fact, although I haven't fully embraced the realization yet, I keep finding myself seeking solace, seeking silence, seeking inner wisdom. I still want to fully share all that I experience but I feel a little more guarded with my words. I feel a little more guarded with my thoughts and especially with sharing my problems.

As I become more fully aware of my role in the unfolding of my life, I am choosing to activate thoughts and emotions that serve me. When I place my attention on a thought, I am activating it. The creative power of the universe wants to create and offer me exactly what I am activating. So when I think about fear or sadness or problems, I am activating more of it. In response, I have been making choices to activate joy. The joy that has no opposite: ananda.

Mostly, I have found myself in a special stage of my life. I desire connection and companionship and intimate relationship with other sweet souls, but more than anything I am seeking a deeper connection with my own essence. I long to drink the nectar of my own sweet being in every moment. It is pulling me in a very clear direction...towards silence and reflection and meditation. It is pulling me towards Bhakti (devotional love) and towards the practice of seeing shri (beauty) in all things and situations.
What a blessing. I will share more from the Grand Circle when I get the chance, but for now I just want to document my intentions for the next cycle. The recent summer solstice has blessed my intentions and I am excited to live them.

Intentions for the Next Cycle: (June 21, 2011; 5:30AM)
On this sweet Summer Solstice morning, the sun and moon join each other in the sky- like the marriage of shiva and shakti. The moon is strong in her stance- I am here, dynamic and changing. The sun takes on the stillness.

My intention for the next 9 months that culminates in the Spring Equinox is to fully live my teachings, to explore on a cellular level the truth.

My intention is to meet each moment with the Whole of My Being, to do my practices simply from the longing to know and BE the truth.

My intention is to explore the infinite nature of me and explore the possibilities of my own divine mystery.

My intention is to live from a place of honoring the universe as it's been manifested as me:
chidananda (awareness and bliss)-swantantrya (freedom)-shri (beauty)-purna (fullness)-spanda (pulsation)

In particular, I intend to cultivate a perspective of shri and purna. I will create (iccha shakti) out of fullness and out of a desire of self-expression.

I intend to remember that there is nothing to do and noone to be- there is nothing to attain. I will rest fully in the splendor of the center of my being. I intend to "renounce nothing. grasp nothing. enjoy everything just as it is... delight in myself just as I am." (-Abhinavagupta) I intend to cultivate loving awareness. Daily I will drop into the center of my being. I will breathe into a deeper part of myself that is already 100% okay and perfectly contented with things just as they are.

Om namah shivaya
Om namah shivaya
Om namah shivaya

May these intentions serve my purpose, serve the universal consciousness and serve all beings everywhere.

I trust that the universe will unfold as it should. <3

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Developing a Daily Practice

I am not sure I have explicitly stated this, but I truly believe that the best way for me to truly dance with the shakit, in the ways I've described, is to form a consistent daily practice of meditation. I have had a strong asan practice for a almost 6 years, but I have mostly dappled in meditation: 5 minutes before bed, 10 minutes after an asana practice. This past fall, I began being drawn to it. Sometimes I would sit for 20 min or longer without having done asana at all.

Organically, I have been drawn to this practice and I believe the shakti introduced me to the "Radiance Sutras" by Lorin Roche for this reason. I've been quoting some sutras in my blog so far and I know that that will just continue. They are so rich. They are so vibrant.

In the back of this book, Lorin writes about developing a daily practice. He explains and describes each of the following statements, so owning the book is a true treat. For future reference, and to share with anyone who stumbles upon my blog, I wanted to list the process. I think it was written just for me. ;-)


Be playful
Be gradual
Learn by heart
Be succinct
Learn what effortlessness is
Ask your inner wisdom to lead you
Allow yourself to rest in the truth of your being
Take naps
Don't do too much
Ride your rhythms
Cultivate the opposite
Honor your individuality
Develop expression commensurate with your communion
Be tender toward your wounds
Check in with your child
Use all your senses
Balance sensitivity and strength
Get elemental
Honor the no
Welcome your emotions
Cherish nuance
Welcome emotional release
Note the difference between householders and monks
Write your own sutras
Learn how to be consistent
Ask questions of life
Look at art, listen to music, read poetry, and dance
Get coaching

In particular, I am learning to honor the no. No is a truly valuable word. A truly valuable practice. Sometimes I think I need to make a list of *NOT*-to dos as opposed to a list of To-dos. Not doing a lot of the things that suffocate my day and make it cluttered provides freedom to do the things that truly matter to me. For example, checking email once in the morning and then again in the evening is appropriate. There is no reason to be checking on the way to class, while I'm trying to focus on reading an article, or while I'm doing yoga, for that matter. Email clutters my life and I don't get to notice the crunch of the snow under my feet as I walk to class. I miss out. There are many more examples that may not seem so clear, but are similar in nature. We have developed into a society that doesn't breathe or really RELAX. We are a society that is always doing, distracting ourselves from the truth of our being.

So I am developing a daily practice and I think the above suggestions are a great way to support it. I'm very excited to open up to the richness of life that exists inside my heart and soul. What a gift!

Don't take a single breath for granted.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Embodiment of Blessing

I woke up this morning, as I often do, reflecting on this gift of life.

Last night, I asked my body to please help me wake up. She's been sleeping a lot lately. I still am not sure why, but I have decided to leave more of my life up to mystery. I am a curious soul, but when it detracts from my experience, when it makes me overanalyze and stress about the smallest things, I think that those are the questions better left unanswered. Why has she been sleeping so much? Because she is tired. I'll leave it at that.

So this morning, she woke me up before my alarm. Granted, I did make sure to go to bed by 9:30pm and so that gave her ample time to sleep until 6:15am...but the important thing is she woke up. She listens to me. And I try very hard to listen to her.

So, I sat under my light and did my morning pages. My morning pages were full of excitement and promise. I have a very exciting semester ahead of me. But the important message flowing out from my early-morning-stream-of-consciousness is that all this possibility is mine and I can do with it as I please. I can choose to spend my time working too hard and stressing out, or I can take my time, do yoga, meditate, eat and contemplate on a regular basis. There is so much hope and promise for this spring.

Dancing with the shakti. This is my intention. The shakti has recently brought me to some sacred yoga texts and has invited me to take a deeper look at my life and how I live it. I tend to be very impatient. I often skim the surface of things that interest me. I am learning through my sadhana (spiritual practice) that I can experience so much more, when I take my time. The sweetness of my breath is best experienced through more than a few seconds of reflection. Fully experiencing an asana is best experienced if I spend more than one breath in the pose. Studying probability doesn't occur overnight and learning the methods of econometrics is not a see it once and get it sort of thing. My sadhana is helping me to become an expert. An expert in both the academic sphere of my life and also in the inner sphere of my life.

It is becoming clear to me that the path that I am on is a path of reflection and juicy, deep experience. It is key for me to take the time to delve in with all my heart. As a gemini, I like to explore and learn as quickly as I can, but I have discovered that that isn't learning at all.

After these reflections in my morning pages, I began to read the Radiance Sutras. Man am I in love! Where have these been all my life! Oh, I'm just 27 years old...I am so blessed to have discovered them so young! I know that I want to drink it all up, but that I really just need to take my time with these sacred texts. So I read about 10 sutras and came across the one I think I'd like to reflect upon for a few months. I think this is my sutra for the spring. I think this will inform my plan for my yoga classes this semester.

Radiance Sutra 26

hridyam akasha nilinakshah
padma samputa madhyagah
ananya chetah subhage
param saubhagyam apnuyat

The One Who Is at Play Everywhere says,

There is a space in the heart where everything meets.
Come here if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity - all are here.
Are you here?

Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Listen to the song that is always resonating.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.

Quiet ecstasy is here -
And a steady, regal sense
Of resting in a perfect spot.

You who are the embodiment of blessing,
Once you know the way,
The nature of attention will call you to return.
Again and again, answer that call,
And be saturated with knowing,
"I belong here, I am at home."
Then I did a class with my favorite yogaglo teacher, Marc Holtzman. He talked about "Celebrating your Alive Day." He spoke about how divine consciousness chooses to celebrate an Alive Day with each one of us, by manifesting as each one of us. How do you celebrate your Alive Day?

After asana, I sat for meditation on sutra 26. I find it so fascinating that the shakti brought me to this one. I've read it so many times already and I can't get anough. When I first moved to Ithaca, one of my mantras was "I am at home." And I find myself also meditating on my body having a home so it doesn't need to build a home with excess body-weight. I am at home in my heart. Wherever I am, I am at home. I also love the line "You who are the embodiment of blessing." As I reflect upon the blessings of this life, it is very fitting to be called the embodiment of blessing. I love that.

So I am intending to make each day my Alive Day. I am intending to be home in my heart. I am intending to fully experience being the embodiment of blessing.

Don't take a single breath for granted. <3

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Supporting the dance: Listening to the sounds of creation

As I begin to contemplate my dance with the shakti, I have been practically compelled to seek out the teachings that underly my yoga. In Anusara yoga, we practice Shiva-Shakti Tantra and I have gradually become intrigued and inspired by this philosophy over the last 5.5 years of practice.
But now, it's time for me to explore the teachings. I am desiring to delve deeper. I have been drawn to the Shiva Sutras and to all sorts of other sutras of the teachings. Today, I came across "The Radiance Sutras" and I want to exerpt from Lorin Roche's webpage (

The word tantra has interesting resonances. Its usage here is “the teaching,” and is from the Sanskrit tantram, meaning “loom.” There is the image of stretching threads in patterns across the framework of a loom — a tapestry of knowledge. The Indo-European root of the tan in tantram is ten, to stretch.

Thus tantra comes from the same root that gives English the words “attention,” “tender,” “intend,” “entertain,” “intensity,” and “tendon.” Each of these terms is a vital clue to how to practice. To practice tantra is to stretch ourselves, to extend our capacity for attention to the utmost. Tantra is also the pattern of interconnectedness that we discover when we do so.

The tra of tantra means “technique.” The same root shows up in mantra (manas=mind, + tra=skill, thus, “a tool of thought”). Each verse of a tantra is called a sutra, (there’s tra again) which means “thread,” and is cognate with the English “suture,” the thread that joins together. So we are presented with images of skillfully weaving together all the elements of life — mind, body, emotions, breath, soul, individuality, and infinity – into one exquisite tapestry.

Jnana (sometimes spelled gyan) is knowledge, to know. Vijnana means practical knowledge. In this context vijnana refers to your “knowledge body” – the dimension of your body that is in direct practical contact with the mysteries of the universe.

The approach this tantra advocates is simple — a completely undefended looking and feeling into the essential activities of life: joy, sorrow, breathing, loving, walking, dancing, sleeping. Meditation is diving into your entire sensorium so fearlessly that you go beyond it into the core of your being and rest there. This is a yoga of delight, awe, and wonder.

Meditation is about taking one thing and going deeper and deeper into it. Ask your body to teach you and to lead you into the realm of these experiences. If you ask, life will lead you, for these are all sensory experiences, and all have to do with how life maintains life.

Life renews itself through a symphony of ongoing rhythms. Tantra can be thought of as attending to these rhythms. Breath is a rhythm, and we breathe in and out thousands of times a day. Breathing involves an intimate relationship of this body with the ocean of air within which we suspire. A dozen senses inform us of the rhythm, texture, and qualities in each breath. Life is always inviting us into a deeper relationship with breath, with the pulsing of our hearts and emotions.

As I read this, I recognize what a gift it is to be apart of this tradition. He goes onto say that "Sutras such as these are there to remind us of what we already know. And they are there to invite us to go more deeply into the experience of being human."

To support my dance with the shakti, I will be deeply delving into the Tantra, the teaching, the exquisite tapestry of knowledge. Along the way, I will share quotes and contemplations and will share how this supports my dance.

Ultimately, my dance with the shakti is about being more deeply human, being more deeply myself and experiencing each moment in the most meaningful way possible.

Don't take a single breath for granted.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Intentions For A New Year

In 2010, I decided to let go of the concept of new years resolutions. One of my yoga teacher friends suggested in a class I attended that perhaps forming intentions for a new year are really valuable and perhaps more effective at developing habits that are meaningful and lasting in your life. So I thought about it for all of a few minutes and realized that my intention for 2010 would be AUTHENTICITY. As I quickly discovered, this is a truly complicated intention. What does it mean to be authentic? What does an authentic Elaine Hill act like? What does she feel? What does she think? What does she do?

Like all things in yoga, as in life, there are inherent paradoxes. We forget our great divinity so we can discover it again. The cosmic game of hide-and-seek that brings us back to our mat and to our seat day in and day out. Each day is new and fresh and totally brilliant with the recognition of our divine consciousness. The major take-away from a year of authenticity is that I had to be pretty inauthentic to define my authentic self. I spent a lot of time being "not me" so I could define me. Although 2010 is over, this play of consciousness will continue for me for years to come. I am so excited to discover who I decide to define myself as.

Yes, I said who I decide to define myself as. That is truly one of the major gifts of being human. We can be so many things. Each of us is a spectrum of characteristics and we may differ depending on the circumstances. We may be patient when waiting for a morning coffee (or some of us are impatient), but then when it comes to waiting for a loved-one to forgive us we may be unable to function. So does that make me patient or impatient? Ultimately, in every scenario we can define where we stand on a given spectrum. Lazy? Active? Loving? Mean? Angry? Calm? Patient? Passionate? Apathetic? Strong? Weak? Flexible? Unchanging? Mobile? Stationary?

The true play of consciousness is recognizing that we are playing out a drama for the shakti, that she gets to define herself through us. She is reflecting herself onto the canvass of herself. We ultimately get to co-participate in this process and define Who We Really Are. In the process of our yoga, we are continually uniting with our True Self. With the infinite possibilities of who we are. We get to define authenticity in each moment.

So what is my over-arching intention for 2011? Well it's the title of this blog. DANCING WITH THE SHAKTI. I am so excited to get started. I know that she has been dancing through me for a long time, but I have struggled with giving her a lot of attention. In 2011, I intend to be deeply connected, aware and mindful of my connection with the higher consciousness. I will constantly remind myself of the play of consciousness and the partner dance I am engaged in with the creative power of the universe (shakti!). The image that comes to mind is salsa. Shakti and I are dancing an elaborate salsa. The beat can be fast or slow, the rhythm is expressive and deeply felt. Shakti is the leader, but I must provide resistance for our dance to go smoothly. At times she will let me go and I dance independently, but we always return together.

"If you were to examine your life with an outlook filled with the knowledge of humanity, you would realize that it is nothing but a play of sunlight and shadow, that is not different from a drama or from a joyful dream. This play of creation is filled with unique colors and manifestations. Like clouds in the autumn sky which keep forming and dissolving, forming and dissolving, in your life different colors shine and sparkle for a while and then fade away. You never know why they come and go or for how long they have been arising and subsiding. " -Baba Muktananda

On my mat, I plan to practice the following intentions to enhance my dance with the shakti. COURAGE. TRUST. SURRENDER. This year, I will surrender to the pulsations of life. I am certain it will be easier than when I fight.

Don't take a single breath for granted.