Take Me To The River: Yoga Nidra Meets + River Writing Makes Dream and Write

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Yoga Nidra

I have a notebook full of words I will only read once.

It's dedicated to my River Writing practice. River Writing is a beautifully generative writing group that my good friend, Nan Seymour, hosts. She does so in intimate groups around a warm, wooden table, at her writing studio, in Salt Lake City.

I teach Yoga Nidra, a very relaxing form of guided meditation. Nan has been as profoundly affected by my Yoga Nidra as I have been by her River Writing. So we decided to combine the two practices and call it Dream and Write. 

The purpose is to create a writing practice of inviting words to flow, unobstructed from a river of inner-narrative. Paired together, this practice creates a unique mindfulness writing experience that taps profound Awareness for clarity and flow of writing. 

Over the past two years, Nan and Scott have offered several Dream and Write workshop, classes, and retreats. The intention of Dream and Write is to use mindfulness, poetry, and gentle encouragement to source the words that are within you in. We insist on a judgement-free, non-editing, and mutually supportive environment.

River Writing

Nan's true gift is creating a safe and inviting space to write. She nurtures a judgement-free environment, both from other writers but most especially from that harshest of critics, you.

She opens a session, sets the guidelines, and then reads a prompt to inspire or begin your writing ideas. Then, she starts a timer as asks you to write without stopping for 12 minutes. 

Yoga Nidra

Your job is to keep your pen moving across your paper the entire time without edits, whether you're gushing words or simply repeating, "I don't know what to write. I don't know what to write. I don't know what to write," just to keep the pen moving. And if ever you feel really stuck, there's a life-saving phrase you  can write, "What I really want to say is . . .," and magically the words start to flow again. More often than not, it's astounding what River Writing coaxes onto the page.

After the timer has rung, you're encouraged, but not forced, to read to the group what's on your page, without qualifiers, without apology. No one is allowed to offer any critique or praise to your work other than a simple, "Thank you." We are simple witnesses to ourselves and each other, something which is much more abiding than praise.

Through River Writing, I've written some incredibly profound words, words that I didn't know were inside of me. This process has also helped me to generate brilliant ideas for my work that have literally changed my career. I owe it to the genius of River Writing and Nan's  warmth and skill of facilitation.

 

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra

I'm passionate about Yoga Nidra because simply put, it's a revelation. It's also incredibly relaxing. I love it because through Yoga Nidra, I've learned more about myself and the Universe than any other practice.

Yoga Nidra is simple: You lie down, close your eyes, relax, and listen to me guide you toward acute Awareness,  of yourself and everything around you. That's it. It's actually quite a bit more sophisticated than it sounds but the results can't be quantified. I'm telling you, after the clarity you gain through Yoga Nidra, your whole life feels like it makes sense. After, you feel energized and alert, like you took a satisfying nap while learning the meaning of the Universe. I'm not over selling this.

But I'm rambling, what I really want to say is . . . Since the birth of Dream and Write, we have hosted a suite of workshops and two multi-day Dream and Write retreats and the results have been nothing less than beautiful and inspiring.

Sadly, I moved 2,600 miles away from Nan and that warm, wood writing table to NYC. But thanks to the internet, we are closer than we appear.

What I really want to say is it would be our honor to invite you to experience our first ever Virtual Dream and Write Workshop, happening in YOUR living room, on YOUR computer, smartphone, or tablet, on December 2nd 2017.

This will be a unique opportunity to gather with people all over the country and world to meditate, write, and share in real time. Every Dream and Write have been touching, inspiring, and affirming. I have every confidence that this will be likewise. And, because on this internet meeting space we'll only see your upper half, you don't even have to wear pants!

Also, get this: Nan discovered a truly brilliant and accomplished poet named Anders Carlson-Wee who agreed to join us as our poet-in-residence for our Dream and Write Retreat. Anders is a very gifted but down-to-earth poet who read several of his poems as prompts for our writing and taught us about poetry and its embodiment.

Well, Anders has also agreed to attend our Virtual Dream and Write Workshop to share with us some of his sublime poetry as fodder for our own creative juices to flow. Anders Carlson-Wee's poetry, from his own mouth, in real time. Damn, you can't get better than this! Run don't walk, friends. (Read his poem Dynamite)

Even if you don't consider yourself a writer, there are words or a stories inside of you that need to get out. This workshop is the opportunity to do free those words in a supportive and nurturing environment with kind and experienced facilitators.

Oh, did I mention it's fun?

Please join us for this truly unique workshop.

We only have 20 spots available.

When: Saturday, December 2nd 2017 from 12-3 pm ET, 11 am-2 pm CT, 10 am-1 pm MT, 9am-12pm PT. (There will be pee breaks)

Where: Your house, via the internet

Price: $57

Yoga Nidra
 
Yoga Nidra
 

Dynamite

Anders Carlson-Wee

Anders Carlson-Wee

by Anders Carlson-Wee

 

My brother hits me hard with a stick
so I whip a choke-chain

across his face. We’re playing
a game called Dynamite

where everything you throw
is a stick of dynamite,

unless it’s pine. Pine sticks
are rifles and pinecones are grenades,

but everything else is dynamite.
I run down the driveway

and back behind the garage
where we keep the leopard frogs

in buckets of water
with logs and rock islands.

When he comes around the corner
the blood is pouring

out of his nose and down his neck
and he has a hammer in his hand.

I pick up his favorite frog
and say If you come any closer

I’ll squeeze. He tells me I won’t.
He starts coming closer.

I say a hammer isn’t dynamite.
He reminds me that everything is dynamite.

 

“Dynamite” originally appeared in Ninth Letter

Magic Words for Happiness

Magic words for happiness

Throughout time there have been stories, myths, and legends where people merely have to utter some magic words, a spell, or mantra, and POOF! their desires manifest magically before their eyes.

Even if you don’t believe in “magic words,” I’ve discovered a real-life mantra which are magic words for unfettered happiness. Well, almost. Actually it’s even better than it sounds.

I don’t know how I discovered this mantra, perhaps it found me.
A few weeks ago, I was running around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, pushing my snoozing two-year-old son in the jog stroller. The autumn temperature was beautiful and crisp, ideal for a run. The diffuse afternoon sunlight was filtering through the rice-paper sky of wispy clouds making the panoply of fall colors practically burst each tree into flames. My lungs were breathing deeply and effortlessly in sync with my footsteps making my head feel clear and my body feel alive.
 

Magic Words for Happiness

That’s when these magic words just popped out of my mouth: “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment!” I repeated it a few times, feeling ever more enthralled with each repetition.
A few days later, while at the playground watching my kid play with all the other kids, I stepped back and repeated that same magic phrase, “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment.”

Again, a week or so later,  I was taking an ordinary walk and not really feeling much of anything and decided to try the phrase again to see what would happen.  “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment.” Again, almost instantly a wave of happiness and contentment washed over me.

Then, I decided to really put this mantra to the test. A few days later, when I was feeling particularly crabby, and despite my own momentary cynicism about this mantra, I somehow found the fortitude to whip out these magic words, “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment,” even though suffering these tight, constricted feelings in my chest caused by crabbiness wasn’t what I wanted to be doing in this moment.

I’ll admit, crabbiness didn’t disappear instantly: I didn’t immediately start dancing and singing around the streets of Brooklyn, like the Maria von Trapp. But it did have a remarkable effect on me by pulling me into the present moment and my crabbiness did subside by substantial degrees. The presence this mantra gave me was to look objectively at the emotions in the moment as physical sensation and adopt the vantage point of observer rather than victim of the circumstances which led me to being crabby.

Cuz, I think this is the thing, here: the magic of this phrase is that it locks me into presence. It wakes me up from projecting to past or future and opens my eyes to HERE.
 

We stop blackmailing our happiness by insisting that we will only feel happy when the circumstances in our lives align to ways we think they ought to be.

When we take a good look at HERE, we realize that this moment is not only void of the stressors or worries that past and future want to impose on our minds, but most often, this practiced attention to the present helps us to see all the beauty that surrounds us at all moments, perfection which is often masked by momentary emotions that cloud our vision.

The Yoga Sutras point to a foundational pillar of our own evolution called Santosha, which means the practice of personal contentment. When we practice this mantra, we are practicing Santosha in a practical and real way.

Taking it one step deeper, ancient yoga wisdom also states that our most natural comportment is that of boundless equanimity, a joy that exists despite the events or circumstances of our lives. 
 
By dialing in to the perfection of this moment, we cultivate our own capacity for contentment. Soon, we train ourselves to experience this natural contentment as the underlying natural way of being, which is always present, despite events and circumstances.

Warning: Crabbiness, and all the other negative emotions will continue to surface. But with practiced presence, we cultivate Santosha, contentment, and these emotions will have less and less power to pull you away from presence. In fact, with practice we can use those negative emotions, and all temporary emotions, as a way of feeling into this moment and becoming more present.

This may be a lifelong practice to perfect. Just take it moment by moment.

I invite you to practice these magic words, “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment. ” Starting today, cultivate your own capacity for deep, lasting contentment and a happiness that isn’t dependent on events or circumstances.

I’ve recorded a Yoga Nidra (guided meditation) that feels amazing by cultivating this joy beyond events or circumstance. It takes about 30 minutes.
 


If you use social media maybe capture the moment with #thismoment

 

Join me for the yoga retreat of a lifetime along Souther Italy's Amalfi Coast, May 26-June2

The World Needs YOU to Teach Yoga

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Yoga Teachers Workshop

Can you remember a yoga class that really changed you?


This email is for my everybody, but especially my yoga teaching friends or those who might be interested in teaching Yoga.

Have you had a yoga class that for some reason really moved you? What was it about that class that made such a difference? What did that teacher do that moved you so much?

If you're a teacher, do you realize that YOU have the power to powerfully touch people's lives like no one else can? It's true. Your unique, gifts, interests and talents make you uniquely qualified to touch people in a way that only you can. 

Ever wonder why your yoga classes aren't thriving, or you're feeling a little burned out with teaching, or questioning whether or not you even want to teach anymore? Do you wish you were making more money teaching yoga so you could quit your day job and only teach yoga?

One reason your teaching and opportunities aren't thriving could be because you're not tapped into and teaching from your own authenticity.

When you're teaching what you love, what interests you, and what you're not only passionate about but what you know a helluva lot about, teaching is not only effortless, it is abundant. 

If you read my 2nd to last blog post, I spelled out the formula for success as given me by my favorite business prof in college, which I live by, and truly believe. He said:

Interest breeds excellence. Excellence breeds opportunities.

When you are teaching what interests you, what you're passionate about, your excellence, your natural talent for teaching, rises to the surface. Opportunities arise as you attract the people who are pickin' up what you're puttin' down. 

Don't worry about the rest of the people who aren't interested in your offering. Other teachers with other gifts will teach them.  

If you're interested in optimizing your teaching and learning how to grow your opportunities to teach yoga, and get paid what you're worth, I'd like to invite you to attend my live and online Yoga Teachers Workshop this Saturday, November 11th at 2 pm ET, 1 pm CT, 12 pm MT, 11 am PT.

It's virtual so you can do it from your own home. Besides learning key principles about teaching and the biz of yoga, you will meet with teachers from all over the country for discussion and networking.

Also, if you can't make the time, I'm recording the audio/video so you can still register and watch it later. 

In this workshop, I want to share with you some of the invaluable things I've learned over 17 years of teaching yoga, not only about leveraging your gifts for extraordinary teaching, but also about some of the industry secrets to make a living which I've learned over in the past 17 years.

There's a good chance you can write this off on your taxes, plus it counts as hours for continuing education for Yoga Alliance.

This could be the most valuable workshop you will ever attend for you yoga teaching and your career.

Plus, I'll give you your money back if you don't think it was worth your time.

Join me!
 

Check out what one of my Mentor Students said about my yoga teachers coaching:

“I have followed Scott’s career for years. He is someone who walks his talk and shows his deep knowledge for all things yoga in every class or conversation. He is extremely grounded and dedicated to this work. As a mentor, Scott was literally “an all things” coach to me. He helped me overcome mindset of owning this soul calling of teaching and supported me in times of doubt. He helped me discover my strengths as a teacher, ways to make this into a thriving business and conceptualize an idea into a breathing business. From technical help on my website to marketing and deepening the mechanics of teaching, he helped me with all of it. He is extremely professional with a very personal approach. He truly cares about his clients and the integrity of this work. I am so grateful for this program to work one on one with such a well-rounded leader in the yoga space. ” J.J.

Details

How much: $45

When: Saturday, November 11th 2-4 pm ET, 1-3 pm CT, 12-2 pm MT, 11 am to 1 pm PT

Where: Your house, via our virtual learning space. You'll need a laptop, computer, iPad, or smart device with an internet connection. 

Meditation to Help You Sleep

I’ve been teaching meditation techniques to help sleep for 15 years and I’d like to share with you this very effective, and simple technique.

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Meditation To Help You Sleep

Tell me if this sounds familiar . . .  It’s 2:30 am. You’ve been lying in bed for hours feeling miserable, tired, and stressed because tomorrow (actually, just later today) you’ve got a very important day but you JUST. CAN’T. SLEEP. The more you lie there not sleeping, the more worried you get about not sleeping, and you start the downward spiral of sleeplessness. If you’re lucky, you might eventually fall asleep only to wake up from a few hours of fitted sleep, feeling exhausted. Or worse, you sleep like a mummy through your alarm and are late for your important day.

If this has ever happened to you, you’re not alone. Millions of people are plagued with the lack of good sleep. But what do you do? There are many solutions to sleeplessness, including drugs, cleaning up your diet, and cutting out caffeine, but have you considered meditation?

Meditation helps sleep for one very simple reason: presence.

ften times, we can’t sleep primarily because our minds are playing out the day we just had or are about to have. Our brain can’t tell the difference between real threat and perceived threat. The thoughts and worries about tomorrow make our nervous system react as if the threat were real and present.

Your nervous system doesn’t want you to sleep if there’s a perceived threat; you’ve evolved not to sleep through being stalked by a predator. Consequentially, thinking and worrying makes adrenaline starts to pump through your body, increases your heart rate, and makes your mind sharp and active. Thinking and worrying is the recipe for NOT sleeping.

Meditation’s primary objective is to allow you to get out of the past or future and inhabit the present moment ONLY. The more we practice regular presence through meditation, the more we are able to be present in every-day life. This presence will also train our minds to stay out of the past or future when we are trying to sleep.

Ok, that sounds great but how do I meditate? Here’s a very simple meditation practice that not only helps you to practice daily presence but can also help you get good, consistent sleep.

The Countdown Meditation 

Meditation to help you sleep

For every-day meditation, do the following:

  1. Set a timer for 5 minutes (you can extend the time the more you practice).
  2. Sit upright.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Watch your breath move in and out for a few rounds
  5. In your mind, start to count your breaths backward from the number 30, e.g., exhale “30,” inhale “29,” exhale “28,” etc.
  6. When you lose your count, start back at 30.
  7. When you get to zero, start back at 30.
  8. When the timer rings, you’re done.

It’s important to remember that the goal is presence, not getting to zero so it doesn’t matter if you go 3 times all the way from 30-0, nor does it matter if you start over 20 times.

For getting to sleep, do the following:

  1. Prepare for bed and do everything you need to prior to going to sleep.
  2. Brain dump. Before you climb into bed, set a timer for 2 minutes and on a notepad, write down all of the immediate things you have on your mind. Don’t let this go beyond 2 minutes lest this devolves into a fuel-for-worry fest.
  3. Fold up the paper and put it aside. Tell yourself that you don’t need to think or do anything about that list until tomorrow.
  4. Put the timer away.
  5. Lie down, turn off the light, and notice your breath for a few rounds.
  6. Start counting your breaths (just like the every-day version of Countdown) but start at 100.
  7. When any thoughts or worries come up, let them go knowing that you’ve already done your brain dump. Tell those thoughts that they should have presented themselves when you were writing them down, and start over counting your breath. If the stillness of mind reveals something that requires absolute immediate action, ask yourself if it REALLY needs immediate attention. If so, get up and do it quickly but then come back to bed and resume the Countdown Meditation at 100
  8. If you lose your count because you’re falling asleep, let go and enjoy the ride. Mission accomplished. We’ll see you in the morning, Sunshine. Don’t be surprised if you have to go a few times all the way through before you fall asleep. Most often, you’ll fall asleep during the first go.
Meditation to help you sleep

By practicing this simple meditation technique, you can help your mind be more present every day and train yourself into better, more regular, and deeper sleep.

I’d like to offer you a challenge to do the Countdown Meditation, either the every-day sitting or going to sleep version, for seven days, for at least 5 minutes a day. Write me at scott@scottmooreyoga and tell me how it went.

Join me for the yoga retreat of a lifetime along Southern Italy's Amalfi Coast May 26-June 2 2018

Learning My Calling

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Yoga Teachers Workshop

In 2003, I had only been teaching yoga for a few years.

I was a new yoga teacher trying really, really hard to make my living by only teaching yoga. My skills were average, I didn't have many teaching gigs, and the ones I had didn't pay very well. I was in a bind because while I loved teaching yoga, I needed to provide for my family. I had to make a change.

So one evening after class, I announced to my students that sadly, I was going to have to quit this yoga thing and get a "real job."

After class, a student and friend named Cristy, approached me with tears in her eyes and pleaded with me, "you CAN'T quit! You do what you do so I can do what I do. I'm a mom of 4 kids under the age of 5 and I need you to teach yoga." This conversation would change my life. 

True, I needed to start earning a living, but my conversation with Cristy showed me just how important yoga is for people, that the world needs good yoga instruction. Suddenly, I felt as though the world was callingme to teach yoga. And while I didn't even know if one could support themselves on something like teaching yoga, I was going to give it a try. 

So, rather than quitting the yoga thing and finding a different job that would simply pay the bills, I decided to take a risk and go all in with yoga. And bit by bit, I started to get more teaching opportunities. The more I taught, the more skillful I became. It took a while, but eventually I was thrilled to be making a living by teaching yoga.

Norm Nemrow

Norm Nemrow

After a few years of teaching yoga full-time, I had learned those essential tools I needed to help me be a more effective teacher. The better I got at teaching, the more opportunities came my way. Eventually, I had more great-paying teaching opportunities than I could handle and had to give most of them away to other teachers!

It reminds me of something that Norm Nemrow, my favorite business prof in college told me. He gave me his simple formula for success:

Yoga Teachers Workshop

Interest breeds excellence. Excellence breeds opportunities. 

Certainly, I was experiencing the fulfillment of this promise. And all these years later, I'm still at it.

I'll never forget Cristy who reminded me how important yoga can be. I take that very seriously and endeavor to give my all in every class I teach. 

I believe that the world needs good yoga. I feel like teaching yoga is how I do my part to make the world a better place. I believe that when people are skillfully guided to to connect body, mind, and spirit through yoga, they can meet their personal conditions to do what they do to make the world a better place, be that being a mom, lawyer, doctor, Crusty the Clown, or whatever. 

Thank you to all of you who believe in me and have encouraged on this path. I truly love it!

I'm truly passionate about teaching yoga. If you are too, I'd love to continue to make the world a better place by helping other teachers learn what took me so long to learn about how to teach effectively and make a living doing so. 

I'm offering an online Yoga Teachers Workshop this Saturday. I'm doing it online and recording it so you can join from wherever you live and if you can't make the time work for you, you can watch it when is most convenient for you. 

Do you have a calling? Is it also to teach? If so, how did you know you were supposed to teach yoga. If not teaching yoga, how did you know the calling when you did? Leave messages in the comments section below. 

 

Join me for the yoga retreat of a lifetime along Southern Italy's Amalfi Coast May 26-June 2 2018.

Nothing But My Underwear

In September of 2011,

I participated in Salt Lake City’s first ever Undie Run. The concept is simple: run with thousands of other people . . . in nothing but your underwear.
 
Why? Some people tried to make the Undie Run, this display of flagrant deviance, of wanton exhibitionism, demonstrate some deeper meaning. They tried to assign it as a protest by uncapping Sharpies and scrawling half-hearted grievances on their nearly-naked bodies. But it was clear by the gayety and silliness of everyone involved that this was really about simply letting your hair down in a city known for its tight-laced morals and demur etiquette.
 
I had agreed to meet a friend of mine at the starting line of the Undie Run, at a place called The Gallivan Center. The Gallivan Center is a large public space, in downtown Salt Lake City, perfect for concerts, festivals, and as fate would have it, thousands of people dressed in nothing but their bras ‘n panties or tighty whities ready to run to the State Capitol and back.
 
I’m not normally prone to public nakedness but thought the Undie Run might put me a little out of my comfort zone and be a lot of fun. I know that getting out of my comfort zone is often the key ingredient to personal growth. Little did I know, however, just how much out of my comfort zone this would put me and how much personal growth I’d experience.
 
I drove to the Gallivan Center and parked in the parking garage. Nervous, I got out of my truck, and with a brave and bold resolve, stripped down to nothing but my favorite pair of unds, running shoes, and just to play it safe, my hands-free device—you know, in case I got an important call while on my run.
 
Feeling very exposed, nervous, and alone, I walked by myself through the parking structure toward the entrance point of the Undie Run. Once at the Galiivan Center, I’d luckily be met by the thousands of other people also in their underwear and I’d feel a little less conspicuous.
 
But to my horror, there was a police officer blocking the gate between the parking garage and the Gallivan Center who instructed me that I couldn’t enter the event from this gate and would have to walk two and a half city blocks, long blocks mind you, around the Gallivan Center to enter the event at a different gate. I saw no reason for this detour but when pressed and the cop didn’t budge nor so much as even grace me with an explanation.
 
So out into the crowded city streets I went. Alone and wearing only my underwear (and hands-free device).
 
I knew I would soon enough join several others in a similar state of undress, but for now it was just me.
 
Longest.
Walk.
Of my life.

Fortunately, after only a few steps down that lonely sidewalk, I remembered one of my deepest values. No, not the value of modesty, but a value I believe to be much more important which is:

It doesn’t matter what your wearing, what you look like, or what your circumstances as long as you OWN IT.
 
So, own it I did.
 
With no other choice, I strutted down Salt Lake City’s prim and proper streets with my head held high, looking people in the face and saying hello like it was any other day. I fucking owned those streets in my Calvin Kleins and hands-free device!
 
After several long minutes of walking solo, I eventually met the thousands of other Undie Runners and felt relieved not to be so singularly exposed.
 
Isn’t it funny how what seems so scandalous, like walking down the streets alone in your underwear, changes to something completely ordinary when you’re surrounded by the social proof of thousands of other people doing likewise?
 

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Notice the hands-free device. Very hot!

Notice the hands-free device. Very hot!

 
Nothing but my underwear
 
In Nothing but my underwear
 
In Nothing But My Underwear

The lesson I learned by walking alone down the street in my underwear was this: There will be moments in your life when you will be all alone, subject to scrutiny, doubt, ridicule, and judgement, when you’re completely exposed, vulnerable, and with nowhere to hide. And at times like these, you have to simply “own it,” hold your head up high, and keep walking.
 
So, whether you’re embarking upon an unknown chapter of your life, or busting out a yoga pose that seems to defy you, or strutting down the street in your underwear, hold your head up high, do your best and keep going. Whatever you’ve got, wherever you’re at, just own it.
 
Most of the time you won’t be met with throngs of people who are in a similar situation or even understand your situation. That doesn’t matter.  Simply keep your head high and your feet beneath you, grounded in a sure knowing of Self.
 
And in such moments, if you don’t have pockets, consider a hands-free device.
 
Namaste


Join me for an unforgettable yoga retreat along Italy's Amalfi Coast. May 26-June 2 2018


The Gayatri Mantra: A Love Supreme

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The Gayatri Mantra

Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ

tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ

bhárgo devásya dhīmahi

dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt

Watch a short video about understanding the Gayatri Mantra by looking at John Coltrane’s masterpiece, ALove Supreme.

Translation:

Everything on the Earth and in the sky and in between is arising from one effulgent source. If my thoughts, words, and deeds reflected a complete understanding of this, I would be the peace I am seeking in this moment.


The Gayatri Mantra: A Love Supreme

I've been working on understanding the The Gayatri Mantra for several years. It's one of the oldest mantras in existence, more than 12 thousand years old, and comes from the Rigveda, an ancient Sanskrit text containing hymns and mantras that are mythological and poetic accounts of the origin of the world.

I struggle to understand it because it suggests that when I’m feeling freaked out by something, I already have peace or am the peace that I feel I lack. Likewise, this mantra suggests that somehow through one Source, we are everything else. And to any mind that is caught up in limited a conception of Self, this is hard to understand at best and ridiculous at worst.

Join me for an unforgettable yoga retreat along the Amalfi Coast Italy May 26-June 2 2018

One experience I had that helped me to understand this mantra a little better happened several years ago while I was on an early-morning run in Hawaii. Because my body was used to a different time zone, I was up and running early while most of everybody else was sleeping. On that beautiful morning, I ran along a paved trail that contours the ocean and stretched for miles.


All the elements were harmonized to make a perfect storm of physical, mental, and spiritual bliss. My mind was clear, the weather, temperature, altitude and humidity were all perfect. As I ran, my mind opened up to incredible clarity. In this clarity, I began processing some of the jazz improve theory that my sax teacher had been teaching me, specifically regarding works by John Coltrane. My feet tapped along the trail and my lungs bellowed the humid ocean-air while my mind thought about scales, intervals, harmonics, chords, and all of the underlying structure of jazz.

My sax teacher tells me that if I want to find those notes coming out of my horn, I have to not only feel them in my soul, but I also gotta know what is possible to feel and that takes a little head work. With all this mental clarity some fairly complex music theory simply started to make sense to me. Deeper musical ideas began to percolate to my mental surface causing new lights to go on. I was figuring it out and it was happening without any teacher or even the reference of my sax or even music paper.

I was amazed to realize that somehow, a lot of this understanding was already in there. Astounded by these musical revelations, an immense thought dawned upon me: even if it’s waaaay down there, there is a John Coltrane in me somewhere.

The perfect run with all the harmony of elements connected me in some way to Source which led me somehow to understand Coltrane a little better. If I truly understood the connection of all things, if I were truly tapped into Source like the Gayatri Mantra suggests, I’d be able to access that same power, soul, and knowledge that John Coltrane did. Me! John Coltrane! Ultimately, I'd see that I'm no different than John Coltrane.

Coltrane was connected to Source. He demonstrates this plainly in his most spiritual work, some say the most spiritual of all of jazz, his album called A Love Supreme. In it he makes circles both in the arc of the sound in music as well as in its form; this chord and this phrase makes a logical, mathematical, and aurally pleasing transition to the next, and the next until the formula causes it to arrive back to where it started.

Just as you might hear Brahman priests chanting the Gayatri Mantra from the Rigveda, in this recording you hear these priests of jazz chant, “A Love Supreme” repeatedly in the background evoking Source.

In certain disciplines initiates get a new name. In yoga your name might become Yogananda, or Ram Das. Jazz is no different. It might be Trane or Bird or Fathead. I believe that another name for God, like God's own moniker, could be, A Love Supreme. I think God uses it as a social handle, or something.

In part, Coltrane’s message was that everything is inscribed within A Love Supreme. A Love Supreme is The Effulgent Source mentioned in the Gayatri Mantra and to fully comprehend this Source means to understand everything, including peace, including jazz, including yourself. This is enlightenment and whether your path there incorporated practicing either poses or jazz theory or anything else, you still end up at the same place.

Alice Coltrane, J.C.’s wife at the time, said that one day Trane locked himself in the attic and didn’t come down for three days. He spent the entire time meditating (understand that Coltrane meditated with his horn in his mouth) and when he came down, I imagine that it was like Moses coming down from the mountain after talking to God, he looked at his wife and said, “I’ve got it!” A few days later he was in the studio with a few hand-picked musicians to record A Love Supreme, which quickly became one of the greatest pieces of music ever conceived.

We are still chanting the Gayatri Mantra 12 thousand years later. I hope people are chanting A Love Supreme, or at lease spinning the record, 12 thousand years from now.

Understanding, even theoretically, that knowing Source means to know everything, doesn’t discount the hours, weeks, years, and lifetimes of work and practice necessary to get there, but still the idea is provocative that our work isn’t to build or gain anything new, rather to dismantle that which prevents us from seeing what’s already there.

What we practice in yoga is paying attention and we use breath, poses, and mediation to open our eyes and to take off the bandages to reveal what’s underneath.

Another reference to understanding this universal Source comes from the story about the day Zen came to be. It is said that long ago an assembly gathered to hear the Buddha’s Dharma talk. Instead of a discourse, The Buddha simply held up a flower saying nothing. He stayed like that for a long time much to the confusion of most everyone.

Only the sage Mahakashyapa understood, and noted it with a wry smile. With his flower, the Buddha was saying that which could not be spoken by words. He was showing the assembly that Being or Reality had no boundaries and was found in everything, including a flower, and to even try to define Being or Reality by words would create a boundary for something that had none. Anything defined would have been a contradiction yet at the same time he was revealing that which was everywhere, if your understanding would allow you to see.

“If my thoughts words and deeds reflected a complete understanding of this unity,” . . . I would realize that I’m no different than this flower, or my sax, my music, or you, and I would understand that peace is already within me. And yet to understand this, like myriad myths throughout history also suggest, it might take me traveling the entire world to realize that what I was searching for was at home all along, locked within the vault of my heart.

I invite you to practice understanding the Gayatri Mantra better and practice unraveling anything within yourself that would prevent the world from seeing your own manifestation of the Effulgent Source, your True Nature, your Love Supreme.

And since it is said that Visvamitra was the one who gave us the Gayatri Mantra, we’ll work on exploring Reality through Visvamitrasana. Speaking of “getting Real,” once I start working on my inflexible hamstrings, something necessary for that pose, things get real, really fast.

Might I suggest listening to A Love Supreme this week.

 

Finally, A Yoga Nidra Training Online!

I love Yoga Nidra! 

What the hell is Yoga Ninja? Well, it's Yoga Nidra and it's the best yoga you'll ever try. Seriously!

I've been practicing and teaching Yoga Nidra for the past decade and I built an Yoga Nidra Training online course called Sourcing Your True Power and I believe it will change your life. The idea is that when you tap into your True Self, your Source, everything else in your life is derivative to that therefore everything in your life will become supercharged.

If you've never done it, Yoga Nidra feels like a guided meditation. It's very relaxing and it will teach you more about yourself than any other practice I can think of. To me, it feels like the fast track to eliminating stress while also experiencing spiritual awakening. 

Yoga means to yoke all the different parts of yourself in order to experience a oneness with all beings. This might sound lofty but I'd argue that we've all experienced this already but we've just called it something different.

Nidra refers to a state of mind, like a daydream where you're in that liminal place between dreaming and waking consciousness. We access this experience of Oneness by getting very relaxed and paying attention. 

In this online Yoga Nidra course, you get a complete digital library with dozens of hours of audio recordings of Yoga Nidra practices, gentle yoga videos, articles, interviews, poetry, chants, discussions, and more--all focused on taking you through this soul journey of Yoga Nidra.

The Yoga Nidra Training Online Basic Information:

  • 6 content-rich learning modules to do on YOUR timetable
  • Dozens of hours of audio recording, discussions, chants, lectures, videos, podcasts, etc.
  • All the recordings are yours to keep, repeat as often as you like for continued growth
  • Connect to other students via social media groups
  • Go at your own pace, at a time that works for YOU
  • Money back guarantee
“I had started experiencing anxiety for the first time in my life four months ago, and it was intense to say the least. I stumbled into Scott’s Yoga Nidra course and immediately I felt nurtured. The kind of nurturing a disoriented anxious person craves. I am so happy I signed up for this course, I cannot tell you how significantly my life has changed from this newfound practice. I felt change even after the first time I gave this new practice a go, I felt inspired and supported. Since, I have used this meditation anytime I start to fall into a funk because it reminds me that I am strong and capable. This practice has also helped me slow down and feel grounded in the everyday bustle that once felt impossible to face. I trust myself more than ever. I am addicted! ”

— K. S.

One result of practicing Yoga Nidra is that it can help you understand what YOUR gifts are in this world and how to share them. Yoga Nidra is experiencing the TRUEST form of YOURSELF. Most poignantly, Yoga Nidra is about connecting to Source and therefore your ultimate power.

Some of the most profound experiences I've had have been the direct result of Yoga Nidra. I've learned more about myself, Yoga, and the beautifully complex Universe we all live in through Yoga Nidra, more than any other practice. I've spent almost a decade not only learning about this practice but mastering the art of teaching it. I've discovered several things along the way and I have created this course to offer some of the same insight to you as you make your own way through your journey of Self-discovery.

Benefits of this Yoga Nidra Course 

This practice is about connecting you to your Source. When you have such a connection, you can do anything. Through practicing Yoga Nidra with this course, you will:

  • Recognize and SOURCE YOUR POWER to accomplish anything
  • Recognize and eliminate self-limiting beliefs
  • Experience profound relaxation
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Heal from physical, emotional, or mental trauma
  • Grow spiritually as you understand yourself and your place in the Universe
  • Understand your innate gifts for this world and how to share them with the world
  • Connect with and become conscious of your deep inner-wisdom
  • Become mentally sharper and more focused
  • Become more tolerant and compassionate for those around you
  • Become more tolerated by those around you!
  • Become a better family member, better at your job, and better community member
  • and much more . . . 
“Listening to Scott’s voice in the yoga nidra course is like laying on the beach and hearing the waves ebb and flow. In the buzz of today’s busy life, yoga nidra is like an island of calm. I feel so relaxed and centered afterwards. Of course, my rational mind also wants everything explained, and Scott does that too. He truly has a way with words that makes each concept clear and understandable. . . Scott’s yoga nidra course is a good way to de-stress and get energized for what lies ahead. I highly recommend it.”

— L.W.F.

Modules:

  1. Beginnings

  2. Understanding Self and the Problems with Identification

  3. Moving Past the Rational Mind: Don't Think Everything You Believe

  4. Duality vs. Non-Duality: Ganesh Is My Homeboy

  5. Limiters

  6. "That's All Good But . . . " How to Apply Yoga Nidra to Your Daily Life

Here's how this course works:

When the course begins, you'll receive a password that gives you access to the 6 learning modules. Then, on your timetable, you may read, listen to, download, and watch this incredible, life-changing content. This is your rich library of source material to help you along your journey of Self-discovery.

At the heart of each module is a unique Yoga Nidra practice (20-30 minutes), specific to the topic and designed to help you evolve through a sequential learning about yourself.  You can either stream the recording from your computer or smartphone or download it to listen to later and create an audio library. If you're not very tech savvy, don't worry. Included is a simple tutorial about how to download the materials and play it on your computer, smartphone, tablet, etc. through programs like iTunes and Dropbox.

Each module will also have a discussion about its topic. You can listen to and/or read the discussion. If the discussion and Yoga Nidra practice weren't enough, each module is also packed with supportive content, including yoga videos,  stories, myths, chants, breathing exercises, links, podcasts, videos, and several other additional resources.

One of the greatest benefits of this course is that there is no time limit to complete the modules!

You can always go back, skip around, stay on the same module for a while, it's up to you. All the materials are yours to keep. Each modules are designed to lead you deeper and deeper into the knowledge and practice of yourself through Yoga Nidra, however, you don't have to follow them sequentially. We'll be moving together as a group but you can take all the time you need or come back and review the material you really love.

Again, at the end of the course you'll have a rich library of materials that you'll want to reference for years to come.

What if I'm terrible at yoga?

No worries! Yoga Nidra can be done by ANYBODY. Plus, the movement style of yoga (asana) that we do before the guided Yoga Nidra will be gentle enough to accommodate for all kinds of ability levels, strengths, limitations, etc. Also, you can always skip the movement portion of the module. That's the benefit of this kind of learning environment! Literally anybody can do this! All you have to do is lie down, close your eyes, and relax. I'll lead you through the entire practice.

What if I get so relaxed, I fall asleep?

If you fall asleep, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Seriously, the part of you that is listening to Yoga Nidra is deeper than your conscious mind so the practice still works, even if you're asleep. It's nice to try to stay awake so that you can remember what we did but if you don't it still works! Plus, you have the recordings archived so you can re-listen to them whenever you want.


Price

I'm offering this course for only

$129.

I'm so confident you'll love this that I offer a 100%, no-questions, money-back guarantee. 

To register, pay using the button below then fill out the form.

Name *
Name

Thank you! and Namaste.

 

Scott

Headaches Stink!

Do you ever get headaches? Do you get regular headaches and not even know why? Did you know that headaches can sometimes be the result of unconscious tension in your hips, back, neck and shoulders?

Don't hate me, but I'm the kind of guy who almost never gets headaches. Well, not unless there's something really wrong with me. So when I do get a headache, it's an automatic red flag and I pay close attention to what's going on with me. Even having a headache is an opportunity for mindfulness.

There are a bunch of reasons for headaches, like dehydration, sinus congestions, and viruses. But like I said, sometimes, headaches are caused by unconscious tension, especially if your headaches are chronic.

Here are a few of my favorite techniques to remedy a headache. I use these myself and teach them to my students. 

First, check in and listen. Try hearing your headache as a message from your body. Close your eyes and give yourself a few slow rounds of deep ujjayi breaths. This technique is often powerful enough to remedy a headache all by itself because of the ujjayi breath's ability to calm the nervous system. 

As your breathe, bring your attention directly to your headache and see what you can learn from it. Where exactly do you feel it? What is the quality of your headache. What are the emotions, thoughts, or sensations which correspond to your headache? If your headache were a message, what might it be? 

And then try these three yoga poses to see if they help your headache.

Quick info before you do any yoga poses: remember that you are aiming for quality over quantity. You don’t get better results by doing a pose more intensely. Keep your stretches at the quality of I call “comfortably intense.” Aim for duration and feeling a solid, sustained stretch rather than a quick fix.  And always with every yoga pose maintain your ujjayi breaths.


Pose #1

Eagle Arms.jpg

Eagle Arms: to stretch upper-trapezius, lateral deltoids, triceps

This posture stretches a few of the most pernicious muscles when it comes to tension headaches. The upper-traps, the big muscles right at the top of your shoulders which connect to your head, are particularly responsible for causing tension headaches. When these muscles get tight, they pull on the tension balance of your upper skeleton as well as the muscles in your neck and scalp resulting in headaches. These muscles, as well as the lateral deltoids and triceps, tighten if you are prone to doing repetitive actions with hands and arms such as typing on a keyboard, driving, or texting (hopefully not all at the same time. I LOVE this pose.

Try wrapping your arms and then lifting your elbows slightly above your shoulders. Do this with your deep ujjayi breaths flowing. I like to slowly turn my head side to side. Oh, and makesure you’re not clenching your jaw. Sometimes when I'm trying to release tension in my body, I clench because I'm pushing too hard and this is an unconscious tension response.

Try this pose for 10 breaths on each side.


Pose #2

side neck stretch.jpg

Side Neck Stretch: to stretch the scalenes and sternocleidomastoid (SCM)

Other muscles that sometimes contribute to headaches are the SCMs and the scalenes. These muscles run along the sides of your neck.

To stretch these muscles, put your left hand on your head and tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder. Reach your right arm toward the floor but several inches away from your hip so that your middle finger almost touches the floor but not quite. It's like you're trying to get your right jaw and right fingertips as far away from each other as possible.

Do your ujjayi breathing.

Visualize your breath moving down into your fingertips and releasing any tension that exists from your head to your fingers. I'll visualize my tension dripping out my fingers like drops of water and pooling onto the floor.

Again, don't clench your jaw.


Pose #3

Seated Twist: to stretch the paraspinal and piriformis

ardha matsyandrasana.jpg

Sometimes the pain you feel in your head originate from a place entirely different than your head, like your back or even your hips. The paraspinal muscles are the vertical  muscles that run along either side of your spine and the piriformis muscle run deep under your glutes and connect your legs to your sacrum. Again, when either of these muscles are tight, they add to an imbalance in the skeletal tension and can radiate tension into your head. Plus, since your spine houses our spinal chord, the primary conduit for information moving via the nerves to the brain, by gently twisting the spine, you wring out our nervous system. Twists are great to release tension!

Sit down and cross one leg, bent at the knee, over the other leg, also bent at the knee. Bring opposite elbow across opposite leg. Sit up tall with your spine erect and buttocks grounded firmly on the floor. If one of your buttocks lifts, try extending your bottom leg straight. As you initiate the posture, breath in deeply and sit tall. As you exhale, gently twist to a comfortable level. Hold each side for 10-15 long breaths.


If you get headaches, try first checking in, listening to your body, and doing a few rounds of ujjayi breath. Then bust out these three poses and see if they help. If you do them regularly, you'll most likely find that your headaches will come less frequently and will be less severe when they do.

And remember, sometimes your headache is trying to tell you something so practice listening. 

Do you get headaches? Use the comment section to tell me what you do to help remedy headaches?

Dancing with Maya

Virtual Yoga Nidra

Humankind has evolved looking at itself and wondering, "who am I?" What does it mean to Be?

We explore every avenue to help answer and express this question of being, including art, science, politics, religion, etc. Surely something can help me solve this mystery, right?

Consider: what you are is more of an idea than a thing. Stay with me . . .

If you were to look out your window and see a mountain, it looks pretty solid and real, right? But try to define it. Find the place where the mountain definitively starts and stops. Try to find how the matter of the mountain is different than the matter of the valley. Isn’t it all just dirt, rocks, weeds, trees, and rivers?  Go on a hike and find a pinecone. Is that part of the mountain? If yes, then if you were to take it home with you back into the valley, would it still be the mountain? What about the rains that fall on the mountain? Moments before the rain fell, it was cloud. But from afar the rain looks like part of the mountain. My point is that there's nothing that could be definitively and categorically called "mountain." Mountain is more of an idea.  

And so are you. We all are. That's because anything we tend to identify as "us" is in constant flux. Just like the pinecone that is part of the mountain one moment and decorating our mantle at home the next, these volatile elements can't identify us and can’t answer the question “who am I?”

We tend to identify ourselves with things that feel relatively concrete like our bodies, our thoughts, our beliefs, etc. But these things, just like the rain or pinecone, are invariably changeable. In yoga, these false identifiers are called Maya or illusions because while they hint at defining us, truly they can't point to the real us, our Being. 

Speaking to the ever-changing illusion of our bodies, there's a really cool Radiolab podcast that explore carbon dating in the cells in our bodies. On the show, experts say that the oldest cells in us are about 23 years old. Since our cells are constantly dying and new ones are being born, we are in a process of constant metamorphosis. Essentially if you're 23 years or older, every cell in your body has been born after you were born. You are literally not the same person you were when you were born. What a trip! Take your fingernails. They feel like us, right? But as soon as we cut them, suddenly they aren’t part of us anymore?
So how can we possibly "be" something that is one moment and isn't the next?

A better question is what is that thing that is "us" which never changes? Is there anything?

Yes, there is. I’ve experienced it and so have you. There are several ways to experience this part of us that never changes but I’ve experienced it most often and profoundly by practicing Yoga Nidra, this relaxing, medative practice of self-inquiry that I’m so passionate about and can’t stop talking about. Yoga Nidra has completely blown my mind because of how it as enabled me to experience my True Self. And the best way to describe this True Self is Awareness.

Yep, I'm Awareness. And so are you. That might seem pretty abstract, but when you boil it all down, the one thing that doesn’t change is your Awareness. When I experience myself as Awareness, and I proffer that we all have at some time or other, it feels like the most natural thing in the Universe. I feel as if I’m bigger and smaller than my body. I can see my thoughts and emotions as an interesting part of me but not anything that can define me. As Awareness, I feel both large and small. I feel limitless and compact at the same time. I feel like I can do anything.

As I experience myself as Awareness regularly through practicing Yoga Nidra, I gain a perspective of my life that ordinary living can't give me. As Awareness, there's nothing I can't do, nothing I need, and no such thing as time. It's an experience of happiness beyond bliss. 

This shit is real! And all I have to do is lie down, close my eyes, and listen to the teacher guide me into Awareness. Really, it’s just about learning to pay keen attention, though a teacher is nice.

It’s not hard. The channel that propels me into this Awareness comes through that liminal state of mind between waking and dreaming consciousness, similar to a daydream. That state is called the Nidra state. In fact, even if I fall asleep, the Awareness part of me is still paying attention. I might therefore wake up from a 30-minute Yoga Nidra-induced nap feeling lucid and relaxed. I  may not even remember the session.

After practicing Yoga Nidra and experiencing myself as Awareness, I go back into my world, full of its illusions, and see clearly how everything but this Awareness is simply part of the illusion. With this immense perspective, my problems make sense, I’m not freaked out by stress, I feel closer to my family, and I feel an enormous sense of purpose in the world and energy to go out and share my gifts. And when problems come around, I’m grounded knowing what I truly am is Awareness and that anything I’m experiencing in this moment is just another opportunity to practice Awareness. I then have the wherewithal to then respond to the situation rather than react.

So, there’s the True Self which is Awareness, and there’s Maya, the illusion. And here’s the interesting thing about the relationship between Maya and Awareness, Maya isn’t something to transcend on our way to the True Self, this happiness beyond bliss. Maya is a vital tool which is inextricably married to experiencing myself as Awareness. I am Awareness manifesting itself by way of body, emotions, breath, sensation, beliefs, etc. Without these changeable parts of me, without the Maya, I would never come to know myself as Awareness. Thus the marriage between Being and Illusion.

If you’d like to hear me recount an ancient myth that illustrates this marriage between the illusion of form and the Beingness which underlies all things, please click the button.

Then, please read this marvelous poem written by Meister Eckhart (translated by Daniel Ladinski) in the 1200s. It sounds like it could have been written by Shakti from the myth.

Consider joining me for my Virtual Yoga Nidra series starting THIS Sunday, October 8th, 2017. 12 pm Eastern. For six weeks, and in the comfort of your own home, we will be exploring this theme The Magic of Maya: Working Through Illusion. Each session will have a brief discussion, a gentle asana and breathing practice, followed by me leading your through a 30-minute Yoga Nidra practice so you too can feel yourself as Awareness, experience yourself as larger than body, emotions, and thoughts. Experience a happiness beyond bliss. Allow your entire Universe to be opened up. It will be relaxing and profound.

Join me as we explore the Magic of Maya and how to use the illusions of what you might think of as you to uncover your True Self.

 

When I Was the Forest

When I was the stream, when I was the
forest, when I was still the field,
when I was every hoof, foot,
fin and wing, when I
was the sky
itself,

no one ever asked me did I have a purpose, no one ever
wondered was there anything I might need,
for there was nothing
I could not
love.

It was when I left all we once were that
the agony began, the fear and questions came,
and I wept, I wept. And tears
I had never known
before.

So I returned to the river, I returned to
the mountains. I asked for their hand in marriage again,
I begged—I begged to wed every object
and creature,

and when they accepted,
God was ever present in my arms.
And He did not say,
“Where have you
been?”

For then I knew my soul—every soul—
has always held
Him.
— –Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328)

Mastery

In order to gain mastery, you must dismantle as much as you build.
— ~Master Sinon. The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak.

What is mastery?

Scott Moore Yoga

Author and poet David Whyte illustrates mastery with a great story about an old welsh sheepdog named Kumro. According to David Whyte, Kumro was “the Joe Montana of the canine cosmos,” despite the fact that he was ancient in dog years, limped on a gimpy leg, and was missing key visual and hearing functions.

David Whyte describes seeing the younger, spry dogs trying fruitlessly to direct the sheep by spending enormous amounts of energy all the while Kumro stood back and simply watched (with his good eye).

Finally, Kumro decided something needed to be done. He took merely two or three steps in one direction, slightly turned his body a few degrees in the direction of the sheep, and almost like magic the entire flock funneled obediently into the narrow opening in the wall where he had wanted them to go.

Kumro’s edge, his mastery, was his radical simplicity—minimal effort for maximum benefit.

Richard Simmons.jpg

In decades past, the mantra for mastery was “Mind Over Matter.” As I’m writing this, I’m conjuring visions of high-waisted leotards, leg warmers, and headbands. It was conquer and conquest of body and nature. But to mistake body and nature as our foes unfortunately results in broken and bodies and annihilated environments.

Today we live in the Information Age. By applying correct information, we can achieve and practice mastery by doing less to get exponentially more and without the high cost of conquering ourselves. Instead of “Mind Over Matter,” the new mantra is “Mindfulness With Matter.” The information we gain for mastery doesn’t come from the internet, a course, or a book (remember those, or did they go out with the leg-warmers?). The profound and life-changing information I’m talking about comes only by learning to listen to the master within, like your own personal Yoda, the quiet and wise whispering of body, mind, and spirit. While a teacher can help, they can never substitute for that inner master. Mastery, therefore, involves learning to listen to the wisdom already inside of you.

John Coltrane had mastery. He had teachers, yes, but who taught Coltrane to be Coltrane? Coltrane did.

Learn to listen. Listen to learn.

Of course, this applies directly to our yoga practice. In my mind, there is no “achievement” by putting your foot behind your head. That mentality is so “Mind Over Matter.” In class I like joke that if there is a pose I can’t do, that pose is overrated. Sure, I’ll keep practicing it because of what I can learn in the listening, but I have no delusions that by putting my foot behind my head will make me more spiritual, more valuable, or a better person.

Instead, the achievement is all internal and mind-bogglingly more expansive than flexible hamstrings. It’s the invisible flexibility of my constant growth into Awareness, a mastery which is facilitated by the tools of my body, mind, and breath but which fundamentally isn’t body, mind, and breath. And this expansiveness can only come from a mastery of what is most subtle.


Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Author of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
le petit prince.jpg
One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.
— Bruce Lee
Mastery

So, if mastery is minimalism, what do we need to cut in order to practice it? Start by cutting everything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Start by radically cutting everything but the breath.

Try this experiment:

Sit. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly in and out. Listen and feel. Visualize your breath as a color or texture and localize your breath to any place on your body you choose. You’ll soon feel a tingle, a heaviness, a lightness, or something else. If you chose a hand, it might feel as if that hand is larger or lighter than the other. This kind of attention and focus on the breath will localize Prana, the yogic term meaning life-force energy. You can feel Prana. Also, this focus brings Awareness. Now what if you could breathe this Prana, this life-force energy and Awareness in into your mind, your emotions, or hell, your finances or love life? That’s mastery.

“Dude, how did you finally let go of all of your anxiety?”

“I found my breath.”

I invite you to practice and cultivate mastery by cutting everything but the essentials. Practice breathing and meditation. Practice styles of yoga like yin, restore, and pranayama that celebrate getting much more by doing much less. There’s nothing wrong with vigorous yoga. And as you approach whatever poses or life situation, try simplifying down to the essence. Learn to breathe life into whatever you are experiencing at the moment.

Next week I’ll continue on this theme of mastery with even more practical ways of using our breath, and Prana to develop mastery in our yoga and meditation practice, our love life, and our work.


Virtual Yoga Nidra Series October 8-November 12

Find Your Inner Wisdom

New York Meditation

There is a part of you that just knows. Call it intuition. Call it your gut feeling. Call it your inner-guru. Call it what you want but I’d wager that sometime or other we’ve all had an experience that feels like we’ve tapped into some deeper wisdom within ourselves. Sometimes information or something a friend says hits you between the eyes. Other times as you might be considering which option to choose, you’ll land on one and your whole body completely relaxes. For some, this inner-wisdom is the feeling you get when you are connected to a divine source. And when we have these experiences, it feels like this wisdom is coming from somewhere different than our conscious mind of rational thoughts. It’s not an analysis. It’s deeper.

In yoga we call this the Wisdom Body or in Sanskrit the Vijnanamaya Kosha (pronounced vig-nyana-my-ah). The source of this inner-wisdom is the place between dreaming and waking consciousness. Many cultures and spiritual traditions have different names and explanations for this place of inner-wisdom. For example, in Native American spirituality it’s said that this wisdom realm is very mystical, a source of visions, and ruled by the spiritual powers of the fox.

Like all things in yoga, through practice we can develop an ability to better hear or recognize this inner-wisdom. Personally, I’ve also found a profound practice in learning to trust and act upon this inner-wisdom when I do hear it. Yoga, meditation, and Yoga Nidra, are all ways to practice accessing our Wisdom Body. In the yoga system of subtle body, you can access this inner-wisdom by meditating or performing breathing exercises while focusing on the Ajna Chakra, sometimes called your Third Eye (looks inward), the energetic and symbolic spot in the center of your forehead. Another way to access the Wisdom Body is through the symbols and feelings of your dreams. Keeping a dream journal is a fun way to practice hearing your inner-wisdom. Often you tap this Wisdom Body when you clear your head and do something simple like folding the laundry, going on a walk in the park, or walking your dog.

Here’s a simple practice, to experiment tuning in to this inner- wisdom.  Just have fun with this and don’t be too serious about it.  Read through this first and then give yourself 10-15 minutes or so to try it.

Practice:

Lie down and close your eyes. Practice first focusing as you methodically bring your attention to all the different parts of your body: start from the top and go part-by-part to the bottom. Spend about at least 5 minutes doing this, you’ve got to let your body relax and tune in. When you’re relaxed, picture yourself sitting with someone very wise and loving. This person could be imaginary, living, passed on, young, old, whatever; it’s your inner reference so you can choose whoever you want. Sometimes, I choose Gandalf from Lord of the Rings as my wise person(can we keep that just between us?).  Picture in detail where the two of you would be, what you would be doing, and most importantly the feelings between the two of you. Imagine that this wise person knows you inside and out, they know your personality, your likes and dislikes, your past and even your future and they love every part of you. They are your biggest cheerleader. Now, imagine that this person is excited to tell you something profound about you. They turn to you and with a smile say, “You know . . .” Now, let your mind fill in the blank with the first thing that comes to mind, what they would say about you. Don’t try to think about it, let it be instinct, that’s the point. Pause and take it in. Notice the way your body feels after this bit of advice or wisdom from your inner-friend. Notice any emotions, sensations, symbols, images, or anything that spontaneously arises for you, if any. Remember, this person is just the symbol of your deep inner-wisdom. They are a part of YOU. Repeat it to yourself. This is part of your subconscious speaking to your conscious mind through the symbol of your friend. And if what this person says doesn’t resonate with you, don’t take it personally, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Or perhaps notice where the resistance is to what they said, sometimes there is a message in that, too. Or, just tell your wise inner-friend, “Thanks for the advice” (you’re choosing a different wise friend next time, but you don’t have to tell them that). Continue on with this meditation until you feel ready to get up. You might want to connect briefly with your body to get grounded before you leave your meditation. Sometimes this mediation can be profound and sometimes nothing happens but it is a great way to practice hearing this inner-wisdom. At very least, it will be relaxing.

Or listen to me guide you through this practice. It's hosted on the meditation website, Insight.

 

The Art of NOT Doing

Photo by Louis Arevalo

Photo by Louis Arevalo

What is the art of not doing? Seriously. Not as an excuse for getting out of work, but rather in a cultural climate that values production almost above anything else, how do we practice not doing? This a perfect topic for the Labor Day weekend we just had. 

There are a couple of components I'm thinking about here. First, it's worth practicing relaxation. Like anything you don't do regularly, if you don't relax regularly you might find yourself completely inept at the ability to relax. Have you seen the Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Where Mickey is the magician's apprentice whose master goes out (to play poker, I think) and comes back to find that Mickey has found his magic hat and wand and in an effort to make his chores more efficient and easier, created a the chaotic army of self-operated mops and rivers of mop water? In an effort to make life easier, Mickey forgot to discover where the off button was and consequentially instead of creating ease for himself, he literally made and ocean of chaos. Ever feel like Mickey, like your life doesn't have an off button? Gentle practices like Restore Yoga and Yoga Nidra are all about discovering the off button, not as a way of tuning out but as a way of replenishing the source.


soft pink morning light.jpeg

Try coming home from work and dedicating 20 minutes to relaxing before you take on anything else. Your family will get used to this ritual and may even join in. Turn off the phone, dim the lights, lay down with your legs up the wall (the yoga pose Viprita Karani) put on some Kenny G, or Lionel Richie and practice resting, like a savasana at the end of the work day. The mall jazz or soft rock  is optional. Wouldn't that be cool if there were a mandatory 15 minutes of savasana to end the work day? Welcome to my world. With a facility and familiarity with rest, we actually become more effective at what we do because we have taken a moment to replenish the source and clarified perhaps the reasons we do all that we do.

Another component in the art of not doing is very skillfully holding steady and not reacting to a situation. Sometimes, we simply need to hold our ground and see how the situation matures. Often, this is the harder practice. In yoga there is a principle called Ishvarapranidhana. Yeah, sounds serious. It literally means "to lay it down at the feet of God," to let go of the reins of apparent control and allow God, or the Universe, or the World to make its move. Sometimes, it's allowing your children to go out into the world and face the hazards of life to learn. Sometimes it's building something and handing over control to someone or something else and walk away decisively, not beaten or defeated, but as a powerful choice. Letting go can be a very difficult practice but one that ultimately can lead you to understand your own inner character and true being.


In some way or other I invite you to practice not doing this week. If you're in New York or Brooklyn, join me Wednesday at 7:00 pm at Area Yoga for my Yoga Nidra class where we will practice some Restore Yoga and then a very relaxing Yoga Nidra practice. Maybe this week is the perfect opportunity to try one of my free Yoga Nidra (guided meditation) recordings. And if not by a yoga class, discover a way of consciously resting on a regular basis. Or maybe look at those opportunities in life to decisively not act.

Scott

 

A Moveable Feast

“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

~Earnest Hemmingway. Excerpt from A Movable Feast

New York Yoga.jpg

In Paris, we rented a very small and completely perfect half-room apartment on the third floor. To call it a one-room apartment would be to grossly exaggerate its scale. Our only window looked out onto a common space, a sort of chimney of light that allowed each apartment both the pleasure of natural night and the pleasure of being a voyeur into the lives of our neighbors. For breakfast we ate warm omelets with fresh melted goat cheese that Seneca cooked on the hot plate. Seneca said the cheese was too strong and tasted like a sheep’s utter. I loved the strong cheese and we both swooned over a small salad of fresh arugula and the freshest tomatoes and strawberries so flavorful that it made me feel like I’d never before eaten something called a strawberry.

Photo by David Newkirk

Photo by David Newkirk

After breakfast we left the apartment and descended the old but sturdy stairs down the narrow, winding staircase and made another day of walking the streets of Paris. Walking down our street I again felt like a voyeur looking into the lives of the people around me, like those sitting outside in the small seats of the Café Italien on the corner that served fresh-squeezed orange juice and delicious smooth coffee by the owner who was as warm as her coffee one day and as cold as her orange juice the next. Sitting in his usual seat was the middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair and neat moustache who seemed not to mind to run the errands on his scooter, nor mind being readily criticized by the other regulars of whom there seemed to be the same three or four, always with their commentary of the goings on in their petite corner of the world. We walked along the Rue Du Pont Aux Choux to Rue Vieille Du Temple, the small road which seemed to my navigational senses a main artery into the colorful quarter of the Marais and 3eme Arrondissement with its small, bright shops, historic buildings and boulangeries. This road led us directly to the Rue Des Rosiers, the small jewel of a street, like a vein of gold in the rough, that was home to the both the orthodox Jews and the gays, a street that served the finest falafel from boisterous Israelis, and where you can find the tidy shop of the most master crêpe-maker I believe I will ever know. 

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Later that day as we left the Musée d’Orsay, the canvas of our mind painted by the colors of Cézanne, Monet, Van Gough, and Renoir, we walked down the narrow streets searching for the artisan pâtisserie and some mineral water. Looking around, the thought entered me that people are just people wherever you go. Whether in Paris or anywhere else, people need to belong. We all need to be loved. We all need to find purpose and beauty in the world whether that is through art, music, architecture, numbers, teaching, children, nature, or all of it. And looking around at this city showed me the miracles that people can perform when they believe in something. Everywhere I turned, I saw a spirit of strength and determination and capacity for beauty and meaning. I saw it in their architecture, their cathedrals and palaces and their houses and most poignantly by simply watching them live out another day in their regular lives. I saw it in the way they decorated their little shops and showed great care about their cafés and restaurants, the prim waiter with his pressed shirt and manicured mustache and his full-length apron, standing at elegant attention hoping to show off his mastery of service because that was his art, to impeccably serve un café and croissant and make correct change and whisk you away when you were finished with a polite “Merci. Bonjour!” The next evening we sat in the small wooden pews of Nôtre Dame at the free organ concert. Here, I felt the beauty and strength of the human spirit, past and present, like a weight in my heart and lump in my throat as the deep pedal tones of that organ shook that holy palace at its foundation and opened my eyes perhaps for the first time to the height of the ceiling and light of the stained glass windows, a peach sunset at our backs making color dance upon the giant grey stones. I felt the strength of those rough hands that built that edifice of solid rock hundreds of years ago which stands in the form of a giant cross to remind us all what is directly in the center of vertical and horizontal, that magical place between what is spiritual and what is temporal, that place that is now. And whether on the yoga mat or at Nôtre Dame, presence allows us the same vision into the divine part that is within all of us.

Whether it’s the tourist who snaps a photo of the Mona Lisa on their phone and rushes off to something else hoping somehow to take it now and maybe look at it some other time, or it’s the local who never takes the time to get up into the mountains because there will be plenty of time later, it all speaks to the same thing: presence. It’s about this moment which if lived fully might express itself into something that could last into centuries or if wasted by living too much in the future or past never really happens. Without presence, we will never have our movable feast, we will never taste the cheese, see the stained glass, or feel the beauty of anything.

I invite you to come to yoga this week and practice presence. I invite you to move about your daily life with presence and experience your own movable feast. 

 

IN A STATION OF THE METRO

IN A STATION OF THE METRO

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet black bough.

Yoga New York

–Ezra Pound

Written in 1913 in a Parisian metro station, for me this poem suggests the transience and beauty of human experience. It is the anonymous crowd but highlights the faces of individuals, key part of a person’s identity. It speaks to that question of uniqueness vs. sameness.

Speaking of uniqueness, I’m just now discovering Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Guns N Roses. When I was in high school and junior high those bands were popular. Really popular. That kind of popular precluded my interest. Cuz my merry band identified with being different. We were unique. Those other bands were the clarion of a different crowd, in my mind musical and cultural lemmings that could all run off a cliff with their Teen Spirit or Appetite for Destruction and what would I care because I enjoyed a smug uniqueness that they wouldn’t appreciate let alone understand. Or at least I thought so. Stupid I know because in my quest to be unique, I missed out on some great music. I mean really, Slash’s solo on Sweet Child O’ Mine has to be one of the greatest guitar solos in Rock history. It’s an institution. Decades later, I rock to those bands like everybody else.

So what is it about the need to be unique? Are we really as individual as we think or hope we are? In this social media age it’s so easy to project the image of how you want to be seen and identified as special and unique. The irony here is that as poet and speaker David Whyte says, to be constantly explaining who you are is a gospel of despair. But to simply BE yourself, that is more like what it is to experience a real existence. Like the guy who parked next to me at the trailhead the other day. I came off a run and was stretching next to my car and looking at someone’s ride. This thing was a piece of work, like an election billboard but less subtle. It was a hummer with all the super rugged equipment on it: lift, tinted windows, gnarly hitch, exhaust snorkel, front wench, industrial jacks, extra gas tanks on top, mauls, hammers and axes hanging on like he was on a fire squad (maybe was and wanted everybody to know) cuz who knows what kind of trouble you might run into on the way to Dan’s, you know? This dude was prepared to forge his own trail across Africa. And by the stickers plastered over his car I could easily read that the driver was a proud whiskey drinkin’, apple computer using, Black Widdow bike shop sportin’, Alta Skiin’, Hummer Drivin’, Back Country shoppin’, outdoor lovin’, The Front climbin’, adventure seekin’, Patigonioa wearin’ . . .person. Ego in the most pure way, a misidentification with what we think we are. A real mountaineer just is without needing to broadcast it. Like nature is just nature. A horse doesn’t prance around all day shouting, “I’m a horse, people!” It just does its thing and in so doing shows its regal majesty. And who isn’t like this this Hummer dude in some way? I know I am. We all want to be known and seen, right? We all want to be unique. Does that make us all the same?

When you step back we are like Ezra Pound says in his poem, just “faces in the crowd.” We are all part of the masses trying to make our way home. But when you zoom in and look at the individual, there is something special about each person. I believe that our individuality and therefore identity isn’t based on what we do as much as how we are uniquely paying attention to the world. There was only one person in all of existence who paid attention to the world the way Monet did. Or Dali. Or Miles Davis. Or Mary Oliver. No one else in history will ever see the world the way that YOU do. So how are you paying attention? What do you see? For me, I notice movement, jazz, kindness in people, the smell of a chocolate shop. Ah, but there I go, just like Hummer Guy, broadcasting my identity. Maybe not. Maybe it’s different because I can like those things regardless if anybody else is watching. Maybe that’s the test.

So if we are all unique by how we are paying attention to the world what is this malarkey we hear in yoga about us all being one? I have tried my whole life (at least through high school) to be singled out from the crowd, to find a unique identity that could be distinguished from the faceless crowd. The truth is that we are both. We are the unique person who likes the music and sees the world just as we do, but we are also all made of the same matter. We are individual members of a larger organism. You are part of a being which has 2400 eyes that is reading this newsletter. We belong to the yoga community. And yes we are all part of that large thing too, made from the same star dust, the same basic elements but we express those elements differently. The hostas and the hibiscus might be in the same garden but they need different things to flourish. And when you step back it is all one garden. So yeah, we’re unique expressions of the same thing. Would you agree?

For me, that’s how we contribute to the larger organism is by watching the world exactly the way we do and sharing those gifts of perception with each other. This way the whole organism grows. If you are happy, healthy, and well, you are contributing to the wellness of the greater being. That’s what’s so wonderful about the many souls in a yoga class, everybody is so different but all part of the same thing.

This week, I invite you to contemplate sameness vs. uniqueness and notice the way you are paying attention to the world. Come practice paying close attention to body, mind, and heart in yoga class. I’ll be there. And you can bet that this week when I’m not teaching yoga I’ll be paying attention Guns N Roses, particularly to Slash’s face-melting guitar solo. 

It's Been a Year

Scott & Charity

It's been a year . . .

Hey everyone. Today is the one-year anniversary of my sister Charity's death. She died one year ago today,  unexpectedly, in a motorcycle accident. Above is a picture of us in Central Park, on our way to my yoga retreat in Spain last year. It was taken about two months before she died. Who knew that a year later I'd be living in NYC and visiting Central Park regularly?

My heart is heavy and my throat is thick today thinking of her. But mostly I'm grateful for the awareness that the experience of her death has given me, the awareness of life's beauty and fragility.

It's easy to get rubbed wrong by the dense throngs of people in NYC, out in mass, surging to get to work. Often during the morning commute, people's coffee hasn't kicked in and many people left their goodwill towards others at home.

But I've been doing an experiment, one which has everything to do with remembering Charity. Whenever I find myself getting a little frustrated about all the people in the subway or miffed at some people's rudeness, I start to go out of my way to look at people in the face, the big tough agro dude, Rude Guy, the strung out homeless person, and the struggling single mom, and imagine each person as a brand new baby, held in the arms of their mother, and I remember that the strung out homeless person was once the most important thing in the Universe to that mama. I remember that every single person has needs, fears, loves, and hopes. I remember that every single person, sometime or other, will face death. And I remember that every single person has the capacity to reach their highest self. This changes my attitude from bugged to love.

Charity's death reminds me that love matters most. The legacy that Charity left behind was her unparalleled generosity, unyielding loyalty, and unabashed love for those around her.

May we see everyone we encounter, both the grouchy and the grateful, through the lens of love and light. And because we never know when our number will come up, go out and live the life you've always wanted to live. Let everything you do be driven by love and no matter what happens, you will have no regrets.

Hey, I love you. You're an incredible person.

Scott


"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return."

~Nature Boy written by eden ahbez and sung by Nat King Cole

False Gatekeepers

False Gate Keepers

Fearsome statues often stand as sentinels at the gates of Buddhist temples. They are placed there keep out the timid and those unsure of whether or not they up to the task of fulfilling their dharma, their purpose, and dreams. But ultimately, these menacing statues are false gatekeepers, for those who are brave enough to step up to them realize that, while terrific, these statues are merely stone and one must simply walk past them into the sacred space.

What are the false gatekeepers that keep you back from achieving your purpose and dreams? Is it learning to build your website to launch your business idea? Is it getting comfortable enough with your craft to put yourself out there and drum up opportunities for yourself? Is it the fear that people won’t like what you’re offering?

When I mentor other yoga teachers about how to make a living doing what they love to do, together we look at their false gatekeepers that prevent them from fulfilling their purpose and dreams. We face their stony gaze and walk on by. Yes, there’s work involved but it’s often much easier than you might think. My job is to walk right next to you, encouraging you the entire way, and empowering you with specific, actionable steps that yield quick and profound results.

What are the false gatekeepers keeping you from fulfilling your dreams of becoming an extraordinary yoga teacher and making a living doing what you love? I’d love to help you start taking those brave steps past those today.

The world needs what you have to offer. As you learn to share your talents and passions with the world, you’ll find that the world will in turn feed you.

What’s holding you back? Give me a call or email me today and let’s talk about we can start to move past some of those false gatekeepers and what a yoga mentor program would look like for you 801-891-8365. scott@scottmooreyoga.com

Three Chords And The Truth

I was at the Newseum in D. C. last week, the museum dedicated to journalism and the history of the first amendment. Whether or not journalism always achieves it, its objective is to report the unbiased truth. The principle of Satya means truth, which is one of the core pathways to arriving at yoga’s goal of oneness with all things. I felt as if walking around the Newseum was in some ways an homage to Satya and a practice in truth.

The Newseum displays brave and honest journalism. I saw through a poignant gallery of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs how telling the truth can be both beautiful and bellicose.

I was interested to see actual copies of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and to learn about America’s early struggle for freedom of speech. But the special exhibit called Louder Than Words: Rock Power Politics, not surprisingly, the display with all the electric guitars, was the one that caught my ear.

Louder Than Words featured a few short documentaries including one about the nation’s political gasp after Jimi Hendrix, a symbol of hippie anti-establishmentism, spontaneously rocked out with The Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock. Also celebrated in this exhibit was the hallowed and hand-written lyric sheet for Bob Dylan’s “The Times, They Are A Changin' ,” a commentary on the assassination of JFK. But my heart skipped a beat when I came around a corner and perched in front of me was a glass case holding the sacred relic of a beat-to-hell guitar belonging to none other than Joe Strummer from The Clash.

If you aren’t familiar with The Clash, then on behalf of all humans: Welcome to the planet Earth. We're happy you’ve come. The Clash was an important band from England in the late 70s. They were midwives for the birth of Punk, a “stick-it-to-the-man” movement born of the frustrations of a generation. Punk gave voice to a host of people who were angry at what they felt was a conservative, bleak, and expressionless era leading them hopelessly forward toward a vacuous future. Punk protested social norms, the economy, art and style, and of course, politics. They were not afraid to sing, and often scream, their truth.

Check out these environmentally proleptic lyrics from “London Calling,” the title track of The Clash’s 1979 album:

"The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growin' thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I, I live by the river."

Yoga has broad definitions and “a yoga” can be defined as an action or response to pure observation. Therefore, Punk was “a yoga” of Satya in response to the politics of the day.

Yes, there must be a distinction drawn between spewing opinions into a microphone, and striving for an objective truth. But isn’t that the distilled practice of yoga, to ultimately discern between observation and assessment about any information, be that the tight hamstrings or a tight-ass politician?

The Clash are not the only ones to have spout off into a microphone. Today, there are many television and talk radio rockstars like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and others, who, just like The Clash, have their spotlight and their audience and wield their right to say whatever they want. While I may not agree with much of what some of these people say, because I believe Satya is a pathway to Oneness, a foundational pillar to yoga, I’ll defend their right to say it, even if they manage to offend the entire world in a mere 140 characters.

Wandering through the Newseum, I couldn’t help but become agitated as I thought about the emerging “war against the media,” waged by Trump, Poland, China, and others. It worries me because I believe such an attack on the media threatens the institution of journalism and so directly threatens what I feel is the sacred notion of freedom of speech. By controlling the media, ultimately Satya gets hijacked.

We stood in front of Joe Strummer’s guitar, me reading the plaque and two-year-old Elio shouting, “Guitar! Play it!” I leaned close to Elio and said, “Remember that guitar, Elio, it changed the world.”

Little did I know what an impression this display of “stick it to the man,” noise, and freedom of speech had made on little Elio. The next day at the hushed halls of the National Gallery of Art, Elio decided to practice some of his own freedom of speech.

While we were strolling this cavernous edifice of art, Elio became drunk with glee over the sound of his own tiny screams echoing off of the gallery’s walls. Each time I asked him to please use his “inside voice,” he happily screamed louder (at The Man, read: me, I had become The Man).

Once, as we were taking in the art, walking in a large crowd of tourists, we passed a next-to life size nude statue and Elio squealed with delight and screamed, “BUM BUM!” Feeling quite self-conscious about the raucous he was making, I told Elio gently but firmly that he needed to lower his voice or we were going to have to leave the museum, a textbook The Man mandate, or The Man-date. Elio responded to my reproach by hushing just long enough for me to begin pushing the stroller again. Then, with perfect timing, his piercing, tiny voice burst out even louder with, “Papa tooted!” This was followed by his menacing peal of laughter.

My face blushed more crimson than Childe Hassam’s poppies and in an attempt to recover some dignity, I retorted to Elio, but decidedly loud enough for others nearby to hear, “Ha ha. No I didn’t,” but my worlds fell flat upon the stony faces of both the tourists and statues alike. So childish, so Punk. I considered attempting to teach my two-year-old about the concept of libel but then thought better of it and simply pushed the stroller to another wing of the museum, Elio chuckling the entire way. This was Elio’s foray into the freedom of speech and stick it to the man and Punk in the face of “established culture.” And while I might appreciate it if he could say it more subtly, I must respect his right to say it.

So, whether it’s a little voice piped from a stroller or an ear-splitting voice screaming above an electric guitar, whether it’s cynical opinions about politics or capturing a split second through the lens of a camera, I believe in your right to speak your truth. I believe this moves us toward Satya and ultimately toward Oneness. 

I invite us all to practice pure observation in the world and strive practicing the yoga of discerning the truth in what we see and hear. As you practice discerning truth, let’s cheer for the freedom of speech. And because of this freedom, choose whichever source you like for your information, but for me, I choose to listen to both a particular tiny voice and The Clash.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

~ Bob Dylan

Guitar Jimi Hendrix Played at Woodstock

Guitar Jimi Hendrix Played at Woodstock

Lyrics for The Times They Are A Changin'

Lyrics for The Times They Are A Changin'

Joe Strummer's Guitar

Joe Strummer's Guitar

The Clash

The Clash

Elio Sticks it To The Man

Elio Sticks it To The Man


San Francisco Yoga Tour Sept. 21-24 2017

Yoga and Writing Retreat Aug. 27-20 2017. 1 Spot Left

I Know The Truth

Photo by Seneca Moore

Photo by Seneca Moore

Photo by Alex Adams

Photo by Alex Adams

There was a derelict shed behind the forgotten house where my grandfather kept his old tractor. He used the tractor for plowing his acre size garden, his pride and joy, his reason for living and the only thing left of his family’s inheritance. At 5 years old, I remember stepping into the old shed, my eyes adjusting to the dark as I breathed shallowly the imposing scent of gasoline and dirt which seemed to me the very smell of time itself. I remember the old timbers holding that place together, the collection of old Utah license plates hanging on the far wall, a chopping stump with an axe embedded permanently within, like the sword in the stone for a kid. Along the far eastern wall was a sloping pile of silky black coal, chunks the size of misshapen grapefruits, coal that had been forgotten several decades ago when my great-grandparents died and with them died the need for fueling their coal burning furnace and oven. Mostly, I remember sitting on top of that tractor in its wide seat, looking over to see the enormous rear tires dwarfing the small front ones. I remember trying to reach the clutch gas and pedal with my short legs and handling the stick. The top of the gear shifter was decorated with a black skull. Now, the memory of it tells me that we are all dust. “Go ahead,” it seemed to say. “Plant, sow, till. But one day you too will be planted in this earth and that is the simple hard truth, as sure as there is earth to till.”

And knowing this, like everyone else, I try to make meaning of the relatively small time I enjoy walking on top of this earth instead of being buried beneath it. The poet Marina Tsvetayeva speaks to this perfectly when she says in her poem:

Writing + Yoga + Nature Retreat with Nan Seymour August 17-20 with special guest Anders Carlson-Wee Stay to watch the eclipse. only 4 spots left.

I know the truth – give up all other truths!

No need for people anywhere on earth to struggle.

Look – it is evening, look, it is nearly night:

what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?

The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,

the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.

And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we

who never let each other sleep above it.

When I read the first line “I know the truth – give up all other truths!” my mind snaps to attention. What monumental truth has she discovered and needs to tell me? To me, she’s asking the human race to stop struggling and look at the beauty of the world, the night, and of course the oncoming dusk of our own lives. She says, take a look at the world around us and see how we are all part of the big picture. Written in a time in Soviet history when poets were persecuted and killed, Maria Tsvetayeva makes a beautiful inclusion of the generals, the very people who sought to eliminate poets, “what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?” and by so doing, speaks to the bigger truth, even beyond the threat of her own death, that we are all people, subject to the same fate, “And soon all of us will sleep under the earth . . . . “ By pointing to the fact that, “all of us will sleep under the earth, we/ who never let each other sleep above it”, she uses her voice as a poet, an oracle, to illuminate the futility of struggling with each other when we will all eventually experience the same fate.

This is not a message of doom and gloom. It’s a wake-up call to practice being in the here and now and to look beyond dogma and idealism and search for the divine humanity everyone including “lovers, poets, generals.” I’m sure all of us fit into one if not all three of those categories. What does it mean to be human and how do we truly appreciate another day in the sun?

From Sun salutations to corpse pose, in yoga we get to practice being human. We practice the vicissitudes of living, the ups and downs, the tension release, the struggles and joys. Perhaps mostly we practice paying attention before the sun has set and it is too late. And by practicing, my hope is that we find something within us, something deep down that we can call real, something that we find to be fundamentally beautiful and good. Finding this within, even to a small degree, may we look around and find the same quality in everything else, particularly those people around us, family, loved ones, strangers. May we, through practicing yoga and therefore better understanding ourselves, see the beauty, majesty and miracle of everything. Perhaps this is what it means to truly see.

Perched on the 21st Floor

Brooklyn Skyline
Dream and Write Retreat August 17-20 2017 with special guest, poet Anders Carlson-Wee. 4 spots left.

Dream and Write Retreat August 17-20 2017 with special guest, poet Anders Carlson-Wee. 4 spots left.

I’m writing perched at the kitchen counter in my bare 21st-floor high-rise apartment in downtown Brooklyn. The container containing all of our stuff, at lease everything we couldn’t fit into a few suitcases, has been shipped and sitting in storage and is scheduled to arrive for unloading literally any minute.

On our first night in New York, Seneca, Elio and I decided to take the A train down from our temporary housing in Harlem, to Brooklyn as an experiment to either confirm or deny our suspicions that Brooklyn wasn’t the place for us. That night was also our 3-year wedding anniversary. We stumbled upon an understated Mediterranean restaurant called Mariam and swooned over eggplant, cauliflower, and cucumber salad—all paired perfectly with two glasses of good, dry Prosecco.

As we left the Mariam, we strolled up Brooklyn’s 5th avenue and chanced to bump into a kind woman, Sarah, who was locking up the doors of a yoga studio called Area, whose window-front signs boasted the grand opening of their new saunas. We began to chat with Sarah and Seneca mentioned that I teach yoga and am looking for classes to pick up. We exchanged numbers and before I knew it, I was scheduled to teach several yoga classes at Area Yoga. And though I didn’t know it at the time, I’d lined up a teaching gig starting quite literally from the day I arrived in NYC.

Hunting for an apartment in NYC is a blood sport where the hunters are the ones who are killed in the process. Seneca had made a dedicated apartment-hunting trip to NYC weeks earlier only to come home apartmentless, exhausted, and discouraged (all on a broken foot, mind you).

After that first night in NYC, Seneca flew to London for a training. I was solo with Elio for the next 8 days. I didn’t think looking for an apartment with a very busy toddler in tow would be very fruitful but decided that I’d try my best. I found a few promising places online, made some appointments, packed up the boy and made another trip down to Brooklyn.

I spent the next morning looking at several apartments and ultimately decided to rent the first apartment I saw. It’s tiny, devilishly expensive, and modern, and sits on the 21st floor of a high-rise building in downtown Brooklyn. It has great amenities like a roof-top pool and terrace that overlook the Brooklyn bridge and across the water to the inimitable Manhattan skyline. Looking at the apartment’s specs, I worried because the container that we’d stacked full of all of our belongings would equate the square footage of our new apartment. I thought we’d let go of a lot of stuff to move and it looks like we will need to lighten the load even more.

Elio, my twin (evil, cuz everyone needs and evil twin), and I celebrated our 2nd and 41st birthdays respectively with the perfect picnics in Central park. There was climbing on rocks, Italian sandwiches, and cake.

After 8 days, Sen returned from her trip to London and I started teaching yoga at Area Yoga. The studio and classes are small but the students and staff have been very welcoming. This friendliness I have received by the Brooklynites has truly characterized my experience with people here in NYC. The stereotype is that New Yorkers are all business and overly-agro, crusty east-coasters. I’m sure there are crusty people everywhere but from people helping me wield the stroller on the subway, to natives asking if they can help me find my way, cued into my lostness as I’m frantically looking at Google Maps on my phone, to friendly yoga students, so far, I’ve experienced the people of New Yorkers as very helpful and friendly. I have to admit that I’m looking around every corner to see if I and spy any of my favorite celebrities who I’m sure live in my same building.

I was a little nervous starting to teach yoga in a new town to a new crowd in a new place with a billion other yoga teachers where essentially I am an unknown entity. So far, people have given me quite positive reviews, for which I’m very grateful. People have loved the clarinet (always a crowd pleaser). One student said, “You’re so different than the regular New York teacher who take themselves so seriously. You are happy, funny, and vulnerable and your classes very informative, fun, and challenging.”

A bit of advice I received from all of my Salt Lake City friends was not to adapt to NYC but bring who I am to NYC. I really took that to heart and am working very hard to stay true to my own teaching style and sensibilities, even if that makes me come across as some overly affectionate and enthusiastic country bumpkin.

Yesterday I went to a reeehe-he-he-eeeeally nice studio in Manhattan called Pure Yoga. This studio was elegant yet earthy and had to have cost millions to build. Enough people had suggested I visit this place prior to moving that it was among my first on my list of studios to visit.

The teacher, Miles, is also friends with Dallas Graham who connected us (connections are the BEST! thanks Dallas). After class, Miles told me the story of visiting SLC and attending one of my yoga class where I had played the clarinet. Miles admitted to opening eyes in order to see if I was actually playing the clarinet. Miles invited me to play clarinet while Miles and Miles’s partner played harmonium and chanted at the end of class. Miles promised to make introductions to the person in charge of hiring new teachers, for which I’m very grateful. I’d really love to teach at Pure Yoga.

Miles’s class was exceptional with its refined but spare verbal cues, non-dogmatic flavor of spirit-in-practice, and a clear permission for self-acceptance, not to mention the fun and challenging poses Miles had us do. During class, I became suddenly thrilled about all the formidable yoga teachers here in NYC. Even though I’m new in town, already I’ve begun to formulate what we are going to do for the NYC Yoga Tour. Mark your calendars for April 19-22 2018 for the NYC Yoga Tour.

All in all, things are going better than I could have imagined. So far, I LOVE New York. It’s challenging coming from a packed schedule to one where I’m only teaching a few times a week. I’m hanging with Elio a lot and I suppose that I really ought to cherish this time with him. There will be plenty of career building time.

Much love to all of you.

Scott