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

If Children Ruled the World

Ronda, Spain

Ronda, Spain

I'm back from my yoga retreat in southern Spain. Traveling is a wonderful education. One of the things I discover every time I come back is that sometimes it takes going away to make me understand that what I need to help me grow and evolve exists as much in my own backyard as it does anywhere else. The notion that you need to go away to discover yourself is only as true as the fact that sometimes somewhere else reminds us that if we are not present, it doesn't matter where you are. You'll miss the show entirely. 

On this trip it was a joy in many ways traveling with Elio, my 11-month-old son. He's such a charmer and I watched unnecessary barriers of shyness, cultural disconnect, and even different language crumble as Elio meet strangers with his coy grin which were equalled with big smiles, laughs, and petitions to hold this sweet boy. Even waiters on our trip asked to hold our little prince and took pictures of themselves with our cutie. Love, purity, goodness all resides in us and we light up whenever we find it. Let children rule the world, or at least the child-like curiosity, love, and acceptance in us all. 

Moments after realizing that we had no memory card in our camera.

Moments after realizing that we had no memory card in our camera.

Being on this trip also reminded me about presence. One blissful afternoon in the ancient city of Ronda, Spain, we were sitting down to a glass of sangria (our second for the day) under the shadows of the ancient church, listening to a soothing Spanish guitar player in the courtyard when we decided to review the pictures Seneca had taken with her camera. The moment was perfect! It was then (more than two weeks into our trip) that we discovered that there was no memory card in the camera and that all those photos we'd taken could only be recalled in our memories. What a great lesson! You can't capture it. You've got to live it, feel it. You must get into the habit of living it, knowing that this is all there is. NOW.

Nonetheless, we managed to capture a few photos on our phones. Still, the lesson was not lost.

 

I Love Good Humor

 


I love good humor. I love the perfectly delivered punch line, packaged with impeccable comedic timing. To deliver good humor with an unmovable poker face is nothing short of an art.

More than humor I love music. As a musician, listening to music is very important to me. One of my greatest pleasures is to listen to a CD in the isolation of my car and as I'm driving around, digest the entire album over the course of a couple of days or a week. I listen to the album over and over, like reading a book, hearing the way the chapters/songs relate to each other, picking up on the musician's overall character, finding musical jokes, tragedy, irony, and connecting musical themes. I feel the sound of the entire album.

One of my other guilty pleasures is listening to radio talk. I guess I like to overhear others' conversations.

Well, one day I'm was on my way to teach a morning yoga class when I opened my car door to discover that someone had broken into my car and had stolen my car stereo. I was devastated. My car was locked, there were no broken windows, and the door didn't look forced open. Judging by the skill and ease of this job, the guy who robbed me seemed to me to be the Bob Villa of car stereo thievery. Normally, when people steal your car stereo, the damage they incur trying to get your stereo out exponentially outweighs the value of the stereo itself. Fortunately, this guy was very thorough and created no other damage to the car than a hole in my dashboard with a few neat wires sticking out. In fact, the job was so neat, that I half expected to see the wires twisted off, taped, and labeled for me.

The only sloppy part, the part that added insult to injury, was the fact that while so skillfully absconding with my stereo, the thief ate an ice cream bar and decided to graciously leave the used, sticky wrapper in the front seat of my car. The Pink Panther leaves a single white glove; this guy chooses as his signature to leave an ice cream wrapper. Go figure. I picked up said wrapper and, fuming, was about to throw it away when I noticed the label on the wrapper, the irony of which almost smacked me across the face. It said in nauseatingly bright and happy colors, "I Love Good Humor." I was too upset to get this sick joke and appreciate the "humor" of the situation, although I sensed that there may be some rich lesson here. Instead of throwing it away, I placed the wrapper in the now vacant cavity that used to hold my stereo and drove away, brooding.

It's like my arm had a mind of its own. No sooner did I start to drive away than by complete and mindless habit did my arm attempt to reach over and turn on my stereo, only to nudge the wrapper sitting in the stereo's hole. I looked over to see "I Love Good Humor" in all its happy and sticky arrogance, gloating back at me. This did not improve my mood. The silence in the car was a screaming reminder that I felt someone had seriously wronged me. Perhaps 30 seconds later, again my arm attempted to turn on my stereo only to receive a similar result. My mood was changing from bad to worse. I lasted maybe another strong two minutes before my now music-starved arm reached out to fill the deafening silence in the car, only to hit the same infuriating wrapper. "OKAY, UNIVERSE. OKAY! HARDY HAR! JOKE'S ON ME! ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVE MOST IN LIFE HAS BEEN CRUELLY RIPPED OFF AND NOW I HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN BY LOOKING AT THAT STUPID WRAPPER. VERY FUNNY!"

Despite my internal rant, I kept the wrapper in its new home. I drove around that day, and the next, and the next, catching myself occasionally trying to turn on my new ice cream wrapper. It didn't work.

After about a week of sulking, something magical happened (no, the wrapper didn't spontaneously begin singing show tunes), I decided to try chanting while in the car. It felt good, really good. Then after a few days I tried singing to myself. My voice rocks when no one else is listening. I prayed. I also began to keep quiet and think about the yoga class I was about to teach, picturing which students would be there and what they might need from a yoga class. I began to notice amazing things, breathtaking things, things like the silhouette of the mountains against in the moonless, pre-dawn light of the morning. I noticed the way that the car felt as I drove it, the way it would take bumps, the vibrations of the engine tingling my hands on the steering wheel, the rush of acceleration. I began to notice with acute clarity my emotions and thoughts. All this silence was giving me an incredible opportunity to direct my attention inward.

My teaching and my personal practice improved almost immediately. I began to arrive to class much more ready to teach. I was less distracted, more focused, and could read the needs of a class much quicker and effectively. I found myself finally saying the things that I'd felt but could not find words to express. I said the right things because my mind had been "in class" since I left home. As I practiced yoga or meditated, I no longer spent the first half of practice trying to get the last song out of my head.

One of my most stark realizations was the understanding that I was completely addicted, not just to music, but more pointedly to the need to have some noise present, the perceived need to be drawn away from my own center and hear someone else's conversation, someone else's music, someone else's jokes. It was only then that I understood the looming joke resting quietly, stone-faced, in the car stereo cavity of the dashboard of my car. It had taken weeks but one day, while driving around, I finally got the joke! The comedic timing had built to this fantastic climax: here I was, a yoga teacher, traveling around like a mad man, music and chatter blaring in my head, only to screech to a halt, run into the studio, sit down, and talk about getting quiet. Ha! I wasn't practicing what I was teaching. What's more I finally got a taste of the brilliance of silence. I got it, Universe! I got it! The joke was on me. It took this lesson of "grandmotherly kindness," the ultimately compassionate lesson where your master beats you over the head with a stick (or steals your car stereo), to teach you something crucial. For me this lesson was how to know and appreciate stillness.
 
It took about a year until I eventually got a new stereo. Still, I learned something very valuable in the silence, something I wasn't entirely ready to give up. I learned that no matter what our work is, if we want to do good work, we need to have a solid relationship with silence. This is what we are practicing in yoga and meditation. Now, I listen to music as a choice, not a compulsion. Now, I listen to the silence.
 

I love good humor. 

What It Means to Be a Man

Photo by Dallas Graham

Photo by Dallas Graham

Yoga means union, in part union of masculine energy and feminine energy. The marriage of these two seemingly different parts creates a whole that is both balanced and interdependent. What better week than the week of Valentine's Day to celebrate this union as we practice understanding the marriage of these energies within us through the practice of yoga. Let me be clear: we all have both masculine and feminine energy regardless of our gender or sexual orientation. This week, I want to talk about the masculine, and though we all have both, some of us exhibit more of the masculine and others more of the feminine. To make it simple, I'm going to label the masculine as "man."

To be a man means to be courageous. Courage literally means full of heart. Therefore, being courageous is being connected to emotions, not divorced from them. Embodying this kind of courage has been a theme in my inter-personal work over the past few years. To be courageous you must know your own heart and that means doing the work, getting in there and finding who you are inside. It means meditation and yoga. It means soul searching, often times on a solo retreat, or a daily meditation or yoga practice, sometimes for an extended period, then coming back to your family, your relationships, your work, passions, and hobbies with that courage, that conviction and that strength of spirit to share that knowledge and stability as a gift to the world.

To be masculine means to be conscious. It means being spacious, holding space for the dynamic and beautiful qualities of the feminine. The quintessential archetype for the feminine is the dancer, the beautiful, expressive, dynamic, and changeable presence. The changeable world-nature, time, and everything that moves-is part of this feminine realm. So, anything that is changeable is an expression of the feminine. And the masculine's job is to be able to stand and witness this beautiful dancing feminine, to look it straight in the eyes and let it dance. Hold space. Going into nature and witnessing that realm of growth, decay, expression, and beauty is a marriage of the masculine presence and the feminine dancer. Of course this consciousness also extends into the realm of holding space for the women in our lives with honor, love, and respect. To be a man means to appreciate and celebrate what it means to be feminine, in the interdependent balance of wholeness.

Men are protectors. But to be a protector a man must be vulnerable. Protecting means going into the darkness to explore the unknown in order to make safe what you love. It means leaving the warmth and light of the fire to explore the sounds coming from the dark woods. Nature is feminine therefore the masculine can help protect it by giving a shit about our air quality and natural resources. Being a man means protecting the feminine. Women are certainly powerful. Let's not forget that the lioness is the fierce hunter of the family. But like a pride of lions, the protective males respond to any abuse of the female. Like lions, men must help protect women.

It's a tragic truth that one out of three women in the world have been, will be, or are currently subject to physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Being a man means creating a line of warriors, of lions, that will stand up to any abuse and say, "not on our watch!" It means being conscious of a problem and saying, "no." It is about marrying the male consciousness and the feminine call to action in order to make a world where all our brothers and sisters can enjoy living safely and nobly. True strength is not about muscle, it's about courageously exploring your heart, it's about consciousness, and it's about being willing to be vulnerable in order to protect nature, women, and all of us by sometimes challenging the status quo. The yoking or yoga of these elements is the true expression of masculinity.

In the name of standing up in opposition to the abuse of women, I invite you is to look at this wonderful cause, One Billion Rising. This cause is dedicated to creating a voice for the abuse of women, raising consciousness, and making a difference in women's lives. Any abuse of any one of us hurts all of us.

Choose this Valentine's Day, the day dedicated to those you love, to evoke the spirit of masculinity and stand up for women.

Check out this beautiful video "Man Prayer," words by Eve Ensler. It made me cry.


There's Something In The Tea

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I lived in Korea for a year teaching English and studying meditation. I loved to explore the locals-only part of this fascinating country.

One day a few friends and I wandered into a tea shop in the old part of town. At the back of the shop was a man, dressed in the Han Bok, the traditional Korean habit, who noticed us enter the shop.

Without a word he began to prepare tea. It took us a few moments to wander to the back of the store. By the time we noticed the man sitting behind a small wooden table, the water was hot. He motioned for us to join him. Delighted, we sat on a few cushions lying on the floor in front of the low table. He poured the tea into the pot and allowed the tea to steep.

After a few minutes, he laid out a few delicate tea cups and performed the proper ceremony to serve tea.

He didn't speak English. We didn't speak Korean. Together we spoke the language of human beings sharing tea. We simply sat in each other's presence and enjoyed tea. We didn't need to make small talk. We didn't need to make charades. Words would have been excessive.

Several long minutes passed. Then, we rose and bowed humbly to him. He smiled and bowed humbly back. We left the shop but he has never left our hearts.

There's something in the tea.


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Ananda: Bliss! Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously

salt lake city yoga

Ananda is a state of complete bliss, sometimes achieved by experienced yoga practitioners. One never achieves ananda by perfecting any certain yoga posture. You may feel that you have accomplished something if you are able to understand the principles of and manifest a technical asana, however there will always be another asana that will be too hard. Ananda comes as the culmination of many things. Sometimes, by simply not taking ourselves too seriously.

We can use the asanas simply as tools to help us strengthen our bodies, find our breath, and hone our concentration, all of which will lead us to feel good and find similar joy as the blissed out yogis. Most everyone who has been to yoga, even a few times, has experienced this bliss, to some degree, upon rising from savasana, our resting pose. Bit by bit, we may see that despite life's challenges, there is much to be happy about. In fact, it may begin to feel that joy is our most natural state of being.

If a good sense of humor isn't listed in the Yoga Sutras as a pathway to our highest selves, it should be.

You know, we don't have to be so serious all the time. Take a room full of barefooted, lycra-clad, sweaty, heavy breathers and throw in some gymnastics and breakdancing, a few droning chants and there's a lot to laugh at. Especially because you know that every one in the room at sometime or other is experiencing flatulance anxiety. . .(you know who you are).

My favorite (and I'm guilty of this too) is to see the yogi "look-how-awesome-my-yoga-practice-is" photo performed by being photographed in some outrageous and death-defying yoga posture at the edge of a scenic cliff. How yogic is that? They'll be saying at my funeral, "he was doing yoga right up until the end. . . literally." Then in heaven, I'll have to sheepishly tell all the other people in line to get into The Pearly Gates specifically what stupid thing I did to end up dead. They'll be undoubtedly curious and want me to show them the pose. I'll tell them that I'd like to but that " . . um . . I'm not warmed up." I can see them looking at me and then taking a long look down and say, "well, maybe not yet."

There are all kinds of yoga poses we encounter in daily life. One of my favorites is the balance-intensive, Putyourunderwearon asana. What are your favorite poses? Please leave a comment below.


If you want to read something really, really, funny about yoga check out this New York Times article called Guns And Yoga by Patton Oswald. My favorite line is, "Shooting guns and taking yoga on the same day was the biggest "You got chocolate in my peanut butter!" moment I've had so far in my life." One day I'll have a mindfulness around guns retreat called GUNS 'N POSES.

Some people even practice "Laughing Yoga," where someone just starts laughing for no reason and it catches on until no one can stop. This happened to me last April. I couldn't stop laughing for a full 30 minutes. I think about the moment and it still makes me smile. Crazy!

Let's enjoy yoga this week.

Scott

 

What Is Mindfulness

 

What does it mean to be mindful? I'm sure we could all describe it in a different way. Some might say focused, conscious, alert, aware. How would you describe mindful? I believe that being mindful is the goal of yoga, it's what we practice, and all the other stuff like peacefulness, health, clarity, wellness, those are all byproducts of mindfulness.

Once we become practiced at mindfulness, we'll find ourselves applying it to all the other things we do in life: work, our relationships, how we spend our free time, even how we do those things we don't love doing like taking out the trash. And let's not mistake being mindful for perfect or blissed-out or even happy. It's just mindful. To have an emotion, for example, and to be perfectly mindful, is to allow yourself the capacity to be completely aware of it, completely involved. And that goes for anything. To really appreciate time with our kids, practicing yoga, the enjoyment of a meal, or enjoying whatever we like to do, we need to be mindful, lest that fun or those flavors pass by unnoticed.

But maybe because of this mindfulness, we'll have experiences and see that what we are isn't defined by them, that what we truly are is bigger than that emotion, that time with our kids, or that yoga posture. And it's by being mindful we can actually use the experience of an emotion or yoga pose or whatever to witness our true identity, which is mindfulness itself. The emotion or whatever is simply the brushstroke on the canvas of mindfulness. Don't mistake the brushstroke as the painting. If it weren't for the canvas, there could be no brushstroke.

So as we are in yoga practice this week, let's practice understanding our True Nature by practicing mindfulness. I also invite you to practice being mindful as you leave your house to go about your day or drive to work. Notice everything: the feeling of the steering wheel (or handlebars), the feeling of the road beneath you, the flow of traffic, the song on the radio.

See you in class.

Scott



A Life Burning Well

saltlakecityoga

Have you ever found yourself saying things that you didn't know you knew? What's that about? I think it's about understanding yourself deeply. There is something in the articulation of an experience or thought or feeling that taps us into our deeper knowledge. Writing, dance, photography, and blogging could all be part of the creative process that helps articulate an experience. I love poetry and I think that's what the essence of poetry is: understanding one's self and life's grand mysteries through bite-sized bits of awareness. Like the legendary Leonard Cohen says, "If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." The creative expression itself isn't the experience; it's a product of the experience. More than the craft and beauty of their writing, we love poets for the people they are to write such words. We love who they have become by writing their poetry.

I suppose I've been trying to learn about who I am my whole life. The same way writing or dance could tap this deeper wisdom, for me yoga and the separate practice of teaching yoga has been a creative avenue of personal growth and understanding. Yoga and teaching yoga has showed me hidden gifts. It's challenged me to confront my largest weaknesses. It's showed me how much I love people and love to be involved in their own personal growth. What a privilege! And in the process of practicing and teaching yoga, I've learned a bunch about myriad topics like philosophy, spirituality, anatomy meditation, etc. After learning about all this fascinating, intricate, and sometimes esoteric stuff, I invariably come to the same fat and resounding question: SO WHAT? What does any of this have to do with my daily life, or other people's lives? What does any of this stuff have to do with going to work and walking my dog and having relationships and fulfilling our dreams?

My search into "SO WHAT?" has led me to the wonderful and challenging and enlightening practice of writing this thing every week. This weekly blurb has been my wisest teacher. It's here, in this creative expression of my own inquiry, where I find myself saying the things that I didn't know I knew. I'm just happy that people want read my rantings. I don't write about what I want others to learn, I write about what I'm learning in this moment. Then when I teach it all week in yoga classes, I have so much more I want to say by the end of the week because I've learned so much more by the process of teaching it, a different creative expression. I should offer a post script to this thing at the end of the week to fill you in on what else I've learned along the process of articulating it.

I can't be having all the fun here. I'd love to invite you into this beautiful process of unfolding, knowledge, and experience, of finding your own deeper wisdom, by making your own personal expression of anything you do in life. I'd love to hear about or invite you to find yourself saying the things you didn't know you knew.

Here's my invitation:

  1. Do something. Anything.
  2. Document it in some way: journal, poem, Facebook Post, blog, photo, draw, dance, whatever.
  3. Do it again
  4. Document again, maybe this time explain it or teach it to someone.
  5. Watch to see yourself say things you didn't know you knew. Watch for the insights that come naturally.
  6. Then tell me all about it, because I'll be curious.

The end.

See you in class. 

 

 

   

 

In The Dark

One thing I've learned from life and from sages is that on the journey toward self-understanding, we must inevitably experience darkness, grief, and loss to some degree or other. Part of our understanding is to see the whole picture, not only the parts which are peachy. We evolve from our naive understanding of God or the Universe as something which is only beneficent to the ability to hold the fact that to understand the whole picture means that we have to hold both of life's pleasures and life's losses. That to truly fall in love with this life we must somehow embrace the darkness. And I guess the true lesson, that lesson that ultimately will apprentice ourselves to experience the greatest joy, is the lesson of how to sing when you are in the midst of great loss and sorrow, when you feel the most abandoned.  I guess we learn that it's not about that shallow definition of "success," but what "success" really means is defined by who can speak to whatever place they find themselves, who can stand at the end of the battle, when your house is burned down, your life feels like it's in ruins and stand with your integrity and honor and sing into the darkness. Or at least hum a little, even if it's interrupted by tears.

The Winter Solstice is today,  the 21st of December. This is when the sun is at its lowest point on the horizon, the days are the shortest and the nights are the longest. Solstice means "sun stands still."

Yoga, of course, is a mirror for our life. Our practice of every-day living finds expression and offers us understanding through the ancient wisdom of yoga. So join me this week as we sing to the darkness, as we learn to hold both light and dark and therefore celebrate what it means to be fully alive.  

Wendell Berry says it best in this poem:

To Know The Dark

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

 

Scott

Shoveling Snow With Buddha

I love this poem. It's perfect for today and expresses my thoughts on mindfulness better than I ever could in my own words. 

Enjoy!

Shoveling Snow With Buddha by Billy Collins

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

Billy Collins

FOR THE LOVE!!!

Gratitude is a miracle! It is the antidote to selfishness, hurt, grief, animosity, and vengeance. To borrow a phrase, it’s what drives us toward the better angels of our nature. It reframes the entire world with beauty and grace. I also believe that gratitude is a practice, one you can practice in yoga and in the practice of life. You can become good at gratitude and you can suck at gratitude. Stretch your gratitude muscles this week!

Gratitude is love. For me to simply express gratitude isn’t enough. I want to beef up that emotion and really give myself a moment to gush about those things I love, truly love. Love is the graduated form of gratitude.

Here goes . . .(tissue, please?)

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First of all, I’m married to the most amazing person in the world. She’s brilliant both in that she shines with an amazing spirit and she’s wicked smart. She is the best baby-mama there is, so patient and loving with our little guy, Elio. She puts up with me, a that fact puts her in the running for a humanitarian award. She’s brave. She’s fun. She’s funny. She’s HOT! She’s an amazing partner. I’m so lucky to have her in my life and everyday I celebrate the fact that we met and fell in love and are working out this life together. She’s changed my life forever and I’m so in love with her. There’s not enough room in the cornucopia for this kind of a love. It’s like after your third plate o’ potatahs, turkey, and oh yeah 3 more of moms homemade rolls cuz their too good AND another piece of pie, the pecan this time cuz you already had a piece of pumpkin and apple, it’s like that kind of full of love with this woman. I love her! Most importantly, and the way I knew that she was the woman for me, the partner for my life, is that she makes me a better man. She sees and celebrate my strengths. She understands and loves me with my failings and shortcomings. She can laugh at my idiosyncrasies . . .unless that idiosyncrasy is pushing snooze for the fourth time and going back to bed, waking her up every time J. She is an amazing woman and like every couple, we are figuring it out with each other and through life as we go. We don’t have it all figured out, we know that we must forge this path as a couple. But we know that we have each others back and that we compliment each others strengths and that our love will be the machete that cuts through the tangles that impede our way toward our purpose together. I’m so thrilled to be living my life with her. I love that woman with everything I’ve got. I’ll go to the ends of the earth with her. My greatest work is to be the other half of this amazing coupling. She’s the yin to my yang, the cream in my coffee, the peanut butter of my chocolate. She is Venus De Milo. She’s the Mona Lisa’s smile. She’s Monet’s Water Lilies. As we were falling in love, we went to Paris for a week. It was her first time. I have so many wonderful memories from that trip together but there is a flash in my head of seeing her from behind as we were running in the streets like children, in love with life and each other as we ran from shop to shop to look at the jewelry in the windows. I remember the explosion of simple love I had for her, perfectly represented by her red sun dress she was wearing. I shall never forget that burst of an image. Surely it will be with me as I die.  She’s my everything. I mean check out the look in this woman’s eyes right before she married me! I see pure love and adoration. Not to mention that she looks as bright as a sunrise in this picture. Damn! I’m simply so full of love for this woman. M! M! M!

Next comes a love that I don’t even know how to describe. People warned me when Seneca was pregnant that I was going to experience a love like nothing else when Elio. Sure, sure. Kids are great and you love ‘em, right? They are cute and cuddly and what not. After being with Seneca through her labor process and watching this kid come into the world I looked at him almost afraid to touch something so precious and pure. He just looked around the room and at me with a look that said, “holy shit this is a big world!” Here he was! Sure, I’d seen ultrasounds and could feel him kick inside Sen’s belly (I swear that kid’s going to be an MMA fighter with those kicks!) but to see him in flesh and blood, ready to take on whatever this incredible world will teach him, I felt an enormous responsibility to protect him from the dangers of the world but more importantly to teach him how beautiful and loving the world can be. After he was born, he was hanging out on Sen’s chest for the first few hours of life, connected to that heartbeat, his guiding rhythm, that had brought him into the world and which would continue to guide him as long as his beautiful mother is alive. But when it came time for ME to hold him and I felt his little frame in my arms and pulled him into my chest and looked at his face as he looked at mine, it hit me. It was what everyone talked about, that tsunami of emotion. To call it love would be far too small a word to describe what happened in my heart.  Now, 5 months later, In the mornings when I’m home when he wakes up, I’ll go into the bedroom and greet him and give him loves and good mornings while he looks up at me doing his baby stretches and I’ll bask in the sunrise of his smile (he gets it from his mother). His new trick is to stick his tongue out so he’ll stick his tongue out and smile at his Papa and is so happy, pure happiness, to see me after a long night, so content and thrilled to be alive and stretch his little body. I love, love, love, LOVE that little kid. It’s a love that makes me stop writing because words can’t describe it and trying to do so seems to reduce it to something you could even describe and you can’t.

Did you know that I have a twin? Yeah, we are identical. I love him too. He lives in New York and is an amazing guy. He has 4 kids and has really been the perfect role mode for being a dad. He’s an incredible brother. If you were to hear our voices on the phone, you probably couldn’t tell who was who. He’s an amazing person and someone who has shaped me probably more than any other person. Growing up it was truly like having an alternate existence through this other person who shared a bedroom with me. When we were babies, we learned to speak late because we already had a language all our own that we would use. When we were small enough to share a crib, our parents would put us on opposite ends of the crib and in the morning we were snuggled up next to each other, just like we were when we were in the womb. When we were old enough to have our own cribs, our parents would come into our room to see us standing up at the ends of our cribs, talking to each other in our own language, like neighbors leaning on the fence and gossiping about the neighborhood. I love him.

I have an amazing family, two great sisters and two parents who are all supportive and loving. I love them. I have friends who are family to me. I love so many people who aren’t born as family but who have become family to me, friends that I just love to pieces.

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I love music. I love jazz. I LOVE playing with my soul band The Soulistics. There’s nothing like standing on a stage in front of thousands of people at a festival blowing your guts out through a saxophone with an incredible 9-piece rock band laying it down behind you. Damn! Such a rush!

I love sitting on on the deck with Sen and Elio, grilled veg off the bar-B and a glass of wine, soaking up the summer evenings. Perfection.

I love a good read. I love listening to a good podcast while on a long run along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. I love to practice yoga. I love to teach yoga. I am THRILLED     to make a living doing something that I love so much. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.

I love you! Life is so incredible!

I offer you THE LOVE LIST CHALLENGE (dammit! Sorry, I just get so excited). Set a timer for 5 minutes and free write all the things that you love. It’s ok to repeat things. Just keep your pen moving, a skill my dear friend Nan taught me in her River Writing workshops. Skip gratitude. That’s been done and is tired. Go straight for the jugular. Go for loooove! Write it down and share it with me and everyone else who is doing this on Facebook or you’re welcome to post it in the comments section of this blog. Maybe share it with a few people on the list.

Intelligent Movement

There are several avenues to understand and experience your highest being. The mind and heart are only two avenues. Have you ever considered that you can understand and experience “enlightenment” or realization or whatever you want to call it by mastering the knowledge of your physical being? Yoga is about understanding ourselves through listening—paying attention to anything, including our physical body. The body isn’t something to master or to subdue on the road to higher consciousness. Rather, it’s a fundamental tool, a vehicle, that drives us toward our ultimate understanding of Self. Understanding how the body works, how to be efficient and powerful with it, is a mastery that will serve us our entire lives and will even give us great insights into all other realms of our being, including our heart and mind. Perhaps on our quest to expand our minds, we must first learn to expand our hamstrings.

My car mechanic knows how to drive my car better than I do because he understands much better than I do about the underlying form. His knowledge changes the way he drives because he understand deeper what makes it drive. Similarly, as you understand how to move not just the human body but YOUR human body, you’ll learn to operate it in a way that will increasingly build presence. I proffer that with presence you will move better. Your conscious movement will build greater presence. And the cycle continues.

I’m thrilled to explore an entire day devoted to intelligent movement with my upcoming day of workshops at Snowbird THIS SUNDAY, November 1 from 10 am to 4 pm. My good friend Maya Christopherson is an expert at intelligent movement and will be my co-teacher. I’ve personally learned so much about my yoga practice from practicing Pilates with her. We’ll be practicing and discussing Pilates and Yoga, exploring their similarities and differences and celebrating intelligent movement. Then your tuition gets you into the world-class Cliff Spa to relax after our day together. You don’t want to miss this!

Please find the details by clicking here. Space is limited so please register soon.

Scott

Not Troubled

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Yoga gives us a chance to start seeing our reactions: our aversion to suffering, and our clinging and attachment to pleasure and joy. It gives us a breath, a pause, a chance to ALLOW for the world and our lives to play themselves out, even if it is uncomfortable or awkward or even painful sometimes. We can take lesson, as usual, from nature, of which we're a part...
      The Buddha teaches his servant Rahula:
     "Develop a state of mind like the EARTH, Rahula, for on the earth all manner of things are thrown, clean and unclean, dung and urine, spittle, pus and blood, and the earth is not troubled or repelled or disgusted...
     "Develop a state of mind like WATER, for in the water many things are thrown, clean and unclean, and the water is not troubled or repelled or disgusted. And so too with FIRE, which burns all things, clean and unclean, and with AIR, which blows upon them all, and with SPACE, which is nowhere established."
(From "The Glass Palace," by Amitav Ghosh)

May we see the beautiful world we live in. May we breathe and move, and practice less attachment and aversion this week. I hope see you in class (but I’m not attached!).

The following is an ancient mantra that my teacher Erin Geesaman Rabke taught me:

May we and all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.

May we and all beings be from sorrow and any causes of sorrow.

May we and all beings never be separated from the sacred happiness which is beyond sorrow.

And may we and all beings live in equanimity, without too much attachment or aversion.

And may we live recognizing and honoring the equality of all that lives

Sarva mangalam. (May the greatest goodness unfold)

Scott

Why I Wake Early

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I wake today and sit enjoying the silence of a the morning. Even as I sit, I'm watching the bright morning sun dance its procession around my front room. It is playing with the crystal hung in my eastern window and splattering rainbow prisms across each wall. Even as I look, the color changes and fades, showing me that the earth is revolving around this sun. Things are changing. As I look out the window the sun is celebrating these autumn trees with its light, making the yellow leaves explode with color against a cloudless and pale-blue sky. I see a small bird sitting in a shadow who decides to leap up higher and rest in the bright sun's warmth. And then it begins to sing.

Aren't we all like this bird, eager for the creature comforts of warmth on our skin, eager to leave the shadows for the sun and the opportunity to feel life pulsing through our veins, eager to feel how we may reflect that same brightness and joy through our song?
 
And perhaps this is why in yoga we practice celebrating the sun with Surya Namaskar, or sun salutations. Surya means "sun" and Namaskar means "a deep honoring." You might notice the same root word Namas as the base of the word Namaste, another Sanskrit word meaning to honor the True Nature or heart of hearts, the most sacred element and potential of another. Surya Namaskar is like offering a Namaste to our source, the sun, as it brings life to us and everything on this planet and we're dependent on it for all aspects of our well-being. Sun salutations are also a physical practice, a ritual, for acknowledging and honoring anything else you feel is your source (God, Creation, the Universe, Buddha nature, or whatever). But just as important, this practice reveals that we are part of that source and reflect a bit of that same light within ourselves. By acknowledging this similarity between ourselves and our source we empower ourselves with the memory of our True Nature. We are not dark creatures in a dark world, and where there is shadow, we can choose to leave it for the sun or shine light into it. We are beings of light, filled with life and love. And we are here to celebrate that, to learn from it, and to shine our light everywhere.

Mary Oliver says in her poem:

Why I Wake Early
 
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety -
 
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light -
good morning, good morning, good morning.
 
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
 
Please join me this week as we practice Surya Namaskar and other poses to remind ourselves of this bigger picture. We show gratitude, rekindle our fire, and celebrate our own light.

A Moveable Feast

"We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other." Excerpt from Earnest Hemingway's A Movable Feast

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.

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.

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.

Woo-Hoo! Can I get a witness?!

 

Welcome to Scott Moore Yoga!


Friends!   I!   Am!   So!   Excited!

This website represents a new chapter in my teaching, in my career, in my life.Friends, I'm looking forward into my own future and I gotta tell ya, it's lookin' goooood!

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 I've grown immensely in these last few years. Phew! I've learned volumes about myself, about yoga, about business, about people, about how incredible y’all are, and how good and beautiful this world is.  

 Instead of pencil marks on the kitchen wall, my growth is being measured in part with my brand new website. There is so much I want to offer and this site is now a hub for all of it. On my site you can stay up to date with regular offerings on my blog. You can sign up for my newsletter. You’ll see info about retreats that I'm thrilled to be offering, including day-retreats at Snowbird, a yoga retreat with Kim Dastrup in Spain, and other exciting retreats that are in the planning stages. You can see my different offerings from private sessions, private group sessions, Girls’ Night Out sessions, etc. I'm also ecstatic to be offering a Teacher Mentoring section on my blog. I'm always growing and learning both as a practitioner and as a teacher. I'm passionate about learning to teach well and would love to engage other teachers in doing likewise.  

 In the near future, I will be traveling to teach more and I’ll be posting about that and listing those places and dates. You'll soon have a plethora of audio and video offerings on the web, too. And I continue to be committed to teaching awesome public, local classes at Centered City Yoga . Please join me.  

 Welcome and stay tuned, friends. Thank you for all your support and love currently and over the years. It's been a wild and fun ride and I'm happy to have had you with me at my side.  

 I invite you to go to my site and take a cyber stroll. It's not perfect or complete but it's there. Stay tuned as things evolve!