My words for 2020 are interconnected and related. They are Focus. Clarity. Awareness.
We use the drishti (soft, focused gaze) in yoga as a support for balance. The 6th limb of yoga, dharana is a single pointed focus. Mantra can also be useful here as a tool for focus. In our yoga practice, we can recognize the physical act of focus and off the mat, we can relate to the mental focus necessary to engage and complete tasks, achieve goals, and be relational with one another in a healthy manner. We can often obtain clarity, closely related to the Yama Satya, truth, and also the niyama Svadyaya, self study, when we are paying attention in this manner.
Here we are noticing breath, the feeling of ones feet on the earth. Smells in the air, taste in the mouth, temperature. Noticing with the senses. This is our fifth limb of yoga. Pratyahara.
This is Awareness.
Awareness differs from thinking as thinking can create a barrier between the conscious and unconscious mind. Awareness is simply presence, attention to the moment, often by focusing this attention on sensations in the body, the breath. Thinking separates us from the immediacy of the moment. Thinking is the narrative, the story that is ongoing in our racing monkey minds, and in this very human experience, we create suffering when we identify with this story.
Awareness gives us a direct perception of our experience and can serve to give us a clarity that we often lack when we are caught up in the thinking mind all of the time.
By paying attention to sensation in the body, we have tuned into how we then can regulate as we need to, with either tools of grounding and calming or engaging to revitalize and energize. We step out of tired and wired. We can engage with life with greater purpose and clarity about where we are focusing our energy and our time.
This is so helpful in practicing discernment about where I spend my time. How I spend it and what I can offer in service to myself, my family and my beloved community.
Awareness is Presence.
Awareness is the beginning of transformation.
I had a dream in the wee hours of January 1st, 2020. In this dream, I was beside this large body of water. There were other people there all around me and I saw some people come and go that I recognized but there was little interaction between us. I was outside and the large body of water appeared to be the ocean. As Dream life allows often, I could see into the water as though I were snorkeling but I was on land. There were various shapes of creatures swimming around in the murky, shadowy depths and I found myself fearing what these shapes might be and what would occur if they saw me. My dream self was trying to lay low. Not take up a lot of space. My dream self tried to make myself small and insignificant.
A large shape emerge from the water and lumbered it’s way over to where the people including my dream self were sitting. It was an enormous sea lion! I was frightened of the shape, the size, the smell of this lion. It was coming to choose someone. For what, it was not known in the dream time. I closed my eyes, curled myself up in a little ball and as a three year old might, believed that if I couldn’t see the seal, it couldn’t see me.
Lo and behold, the next thing I know, it’s enormous sleek, smelly, body that gave off a chill from the water came to me, it was sniffing me behind my ear where I was curled up facing away from the creature and I could feel it’s whiskers tickling me.
So, I laughed.
The next thing I know all fear is gone and I am sitting comfortably beside this sea creature that inhabits both land and sea and I am no longer afraid of the shapes in the water, and what emerges from the depths of the sea.
Upon waking, I allowed this dream to land in my body, I wrote in a stream of consciousness manner in one of my journals, what I noticed about the dream. What I felt in the dream and what message could be making its way to me from the depths of the subconscious or universal consciousness.
I referred to the Celtic imagination where the relationships between humans and animals is literal and there is much to be explored here. According to Ina Woolcott, “Seals spend much of their lives in the sea, but they give birth on land. This shows us that there are 2 necessary things that help fulfill our dreams and visions. These are formed deep within us, and are nurtured through the power of our ability to envision them using all our senses. They are most easily made ‘real’ by us when we implement practical and material acts. a lot of the time when us humans are ‘creating’ something, the feeling side of things is absent.“
She goes on to say, “Seals teach how to flow, how to hear, and how to discover the deeper mysteries of their true nature. Seals are keepers of wisdom. They reveal to us what is hidden deep within ourselves, and teach us how to integrate our imagination with the reasoning power of the intellect. This will give balance and harmony on all levels.”
Dreams. Visions. Imagination. Whether you believe I had a message delivered from universal consciousness or just a weird dream, it is worthwhile to cultivate attention to what shows up outside the story in the mind. It is worthwhile to pay attention to dreams. To pay attention to that which lies beyond the tangible. To pay attention to sensation, to grow and develop presence.
To me, this dream speaks to owning my gifts. To finding clarity. To be in the flow without unnecessary fears. To become familiar with what lies in the depths, bringing to the surface that which won’t kill me but can possibly allow me to have greater clarity and perspective about my life. To grow into my own humanity so as to recognize that in other beings. To do the work of serving humanity through cultivating loving, compassionate presence.
Join me this month in many lovely opportunities to grow and cultivate Awareness and Clarity!!
501 Cypress in Moxham. YogaSong Home Studio Offerings!
Saturday All Levels Yoga! 9:00 or 10:30! November 2,
Saturday 9:00 or 10:30 am January, 4, 11, 18, 25, join Rachel in a blended practice that combines yoga philosophy with breathwork, asana, sound, mantra, and live music for meditation. Please RSVP as to which class you prefer. 9:00 or 10:30 pm. Contribution based. Payment options include: $30.00/month, $10.00/class or offer what you can. We will explore expanding awareness through Focus! !
Midday Meditation with Snacks! Noon to 1:00pm. Wednesday, January 8, 15, 22 Join Rachel in this Hump Day opportunity to engage in some gentle movement, a 20 minute meditation ( chair or floor seating) and enjoy some delicious, nutritious, healthy snacks and hot tea. RSVP must. Space limited. $10.00 suggested contribution.
Out with the Old, In with the New, Sunday, January 19th, 6:00-8:30pm Celebrate the New Year and the new decade with mantra, gentle movement and meditation, reflection on the past year and a process for visioning that is grounding in values and a process for manifesting, setting reasonable goals and not based on perfection, but fully owning both your humanity and your own unique gifts.
RSVP. Suggested contribution pay at event$25.00. Pay Pal and credit card options available. Free registration through EventBrite a must.
I have been offering various trainings on Stress Management/ Resilience Building/Compassion Fatigue to various organizations. Let me know if I can serve your organization! I also have a 3 Day Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training and a day long Mindfulness and Movement for Clinicians. Please feel free to send any inquiries my way!
All classes above held in home studio @ 501 Cypress. Street parking available. Additional parking at Grove Ave UMC Church. Come right in door on small porch by fenced in yard! Take your shoes off and make yourself at home!
Private yoga sessions and Reiki sessions are made by appointment. I also offer synchronized healing sessions which include Reiki, movement/yoga, intuitive work and sound healing through Quartz Crystal bowls, mantra practice and an intuitive reading. A Reiki session is $50.00. See special below for an opportunity to have mantra, movement, sound healing and support for manifesting your unique vision.
Reiki Special!! Reiki Session with Sound Healing and a personalized session on Manifesting! $150.00. This 2 hour personalized session will include Reiki, Intuitive Reading. Strength Based Support for clarity around your gifts and how to best apply them for your own benefit and how you can be of service. I have space in January for 3 of these sessions.
Bottle Works Yoga in funky, creative historic Cambria City!
Tuesday, January 7, 14, 21 and 28th @ 10:00 am. $30/session or $10/drop in, This is a gentle class and can accommodate a range of abilities.
Come for class! BottleWorks Arts on Third always has something creative and exciting happening! Stay and shop the gallery store or linger and explore the current exhibit or other classes happening! www.bottleworks.org
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” Cornel West