Top 13 Posts Of 2013

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Another year is drawing to a close. I am so grateful for your continued support and readership. Lila has grown and shifted over this year, just as I have. Even though I’m not posting as regularly as I once was, new readers are finding their way here and that is an exciting thing for me.

As I review the many posts from 2013, these are the top 13 that sparked commentary and heightened readership in no particular order….

 

1. This Is Why I Practice Yoga

2. Why I LOVE/HATE Pure Barre

3. Kitchari: Healthy and Nourishing Cleansing

4. Why Mysore Style Practice Is So Darn Special

5. Meditation For Prosperity and Abundance

6. I’d Rather Be Bad At Ashtanga Than Good At Something Else

7. On (Not) Losing Weight For My Wedding

8. My Magic Scar-Removing Oil Blend

9. Let’s Talk Yoga Clothes

10. Yoga Is Dangerous

11. Love Letter To My Leotard

12. How To Get Up In The AM Yogi-Style

13. Roller Coaster Of Love: Ashtanga Style

 

I hope you enjoy perusing these posts and I look forward to sharing more thoughts, reflections and photographs with you in the new year.

With Gratitude and Love,

Frances

 

 

image of me via Adonye Jaja

Giving Thanks

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Gratitude is a beautiful practice. It opens the heart, connects people and creates a more accepting and receptive energy that is palpable even on a physical level.

Acknowledging our blessings and giving thanks is something we can do everyday all year long, but there is something special about having a holiday as a collective reminder of this.

My husband and I moved to Denver at Thanksgiving of last year. It has been such a full and vibrant year, replete with challenges, learning opportunities, adjustments and newness.

As I reflect upon this time, I am filled with gratitude and a touch of awe.

For all the friends who offered such loving kindness as we moved away from one town and settled into another one, I give thanks.

For my dearest Thaddeus whose humor, tenderness and sensitivity carries me through my days, I am most grateful. I am constantly learning greater awareness and skills of balance, communication, grace and devotion from you. Our marriage is my greatest teacher. 

I give thanks for my little pup Artemis for her delicious snuggles and her love of play. She helps me to cultivate patience and spend a little more time in the sunshine each day.

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Meditation To Heal A Broken Heart

Let’s be honest here. Sometimes life isn’t always rosy and sweet. There are so many horrible, sad things happening every single day.  With all the beauty and bliss, there is also great tragedy, inequity and injustice in our world.

Sadness, darkness, pain, broken hearts – there is no way to sidestep these aspects of the human experience, and one shouldn’t even try. It’s important to for there to be shadow and light. We need that depth of emotion and the perspective it provides.

I’ve found that when I’m in the midst of a hard place, I have to approach my spiritual practice and yoga discipline from a different angle, depending on what I feel I need most at a core/heart level. Sometimes I need to push push push and emerge victorious on the other side. But often I need to be still, self-reflective and “selfish.” Going deep within the energetics and emotions of practice can take me to a place of greater awareness of why I’m going through what I’m going through and how I can grow from it.

Taking time to grieve, and to feel, to really feel, is an essential step in healing.

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On Santosha In Light Of Nostalgia

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At the change of the season, I am flooded with waves of nostalgia. I feel a vague and persistent melancholy, a longing for a different time and place, one that might not have ever existed, yet I still dream of it and miss it deeply.

The scents of each new season evoke memories from childhood and adolescence. When the weather shifts, I recollect moments from schooldays past. Often they are sad memories, lonely ones from times of wondering and wandering. I question why I would miss such times, but nostalgia isn’t very logical. There’s nothing quite real about it. It’s a jumble of distorted fact and fiction, smiles and tears.

Nostalgia sounds like Neko Case’s strong plaintive voice and the crying of a pedal steel guitar. It is carried on the breeze and the nip of frost. It hits you with a wave of solitude even amongst a crowd. It transports me to a place of terrifying vulnerability, like being a waifish 14 year old girl in full head-to-toe DvF at a new school, in a Yankee state miles away from family or any sense of belonging. It takes me to dark evenings from my college years, on back steps of ramshackled Victorians, waiting, wishing, sitting quietly with a Spirit and a sense of expectancy.

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Yoga Is Dangerous

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Whenever William Broad of the NY Times writes a sensationalist article, the yoga blogosphere gets all in a tizzy.

I’ve never participated before because, well, I don’t really think it’s all that important.

I am well aware that yoga is dangerous, because being a human being is inherently dangerous.

I know that every morning that I get out of bed there is potential danger lurking, but being afraid of that is debilitating and will not serve me in the slightest.

Inhabiting a human body means that you will inevitably experience pain, trauma, disease, degeneration and death. There’s no escaping it.

Practicing asana is certainly no more dangerous that running, climbing, skiing, or stepping down off a curb to walk across a busy street.

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Rollercoaster Of Love: Ashtanga Style

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I can’t quit you Ashtanga, even when it feels like that’s the only option, and I wish I could.

Schedule conflicts, fatigue, painful bursitis in the shoulders, boredom, breaking up with a teacher…

These are all things that have been getting in the way of practice, yet despite them, I’m still inextricably bound to Ashtanga Yoga. I can’t imagine my life without it, even though it is so full with so much else.

After months of blah, I’m feeling rather infatuated by practice right now. This only started because I actually started going to Mysore every darn day again. There’s something truly profound about that kind of commitment. For me, four days a week just doesn’t cut it. I need that repetition and experience of discipline in order to sink into the rhythm of practice.

The appearance of Ashtanga Yoga in my life’s trajectory marked a major turning point, the essence of which was the movement from being a lost child to a seeking adult.

I started Ashtanga when I started Thaddeus – the summer of 2010. Both loves ignited like wildfire and without a doubt, the two are tied.

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Introduction To Ashtanga Yoga in Denver

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Hello Colorado readers!

I want to let you know about an awesome yoga opportunity here in the lovely Mile High City.

If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toe into the profoundly powerful ocean that is Ashtanga Yoga, here is your chance.

Eric and Joan, the only KPJAYI authorized teachers in the city, and the founders ofAshtanga Yoga Denver, are offering an 8-class course as an introduction to this practice.This will be a great way to get a taste of the practice and start learning the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga as it was taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

Taking this course will give you a level of familiarity with the series that will allow you to feel more comfortable entering the traditional environment of learning in the Mysore room.  I highly recommend it.

It’s only $90 for all 8 classes too, which is a slamming good deal if you ask me.

Mark your calendars!

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Asanas In The Gardens, Part 1

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Last week, Thaddeus and I did a little photo shoot at the lovely Denver Botanical Gardens with our friend Alison Hathaway of Red Shoes Photography. 

I want to share with you a few pictures from this wonderful experience. As you might know, I am normally very hesitant to have my picture taken doing asana. Honestly, I feel kind of silly and narcissistic practicing yoga in public.

Plus, I have enough bad body baggage and insecurities about my flawed practice that the thought of having it recorded for all to see is rather frightening. But nevertheless, we all had a lot of fun with this shoot and it’s good for me to realize that my body or practice doesn’t need to be “perfect” (whatever that means!) to be beautiful, beneficial and joyful.

My Ashtanga yoga practice is such an internal and deeply personal thing that I don’t normally feel comfortable displaying it physically for others. I prefer to write about it honestly. Even so, blogging is such a visual media and I have often written posts about practice and thought, “I wish I had a decent photo of me practicing for this post.”

And that is where Alison and her gifted skills with the camera came into play….

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A Kundalini Celebration

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Colorado yogis and yoginis!

Kundalini Yoga Denver is having a party and you are all invited. We are having our grand opening and would love to have you come celebrate with us. The evening will include a Kundalini Yoga class and gong session, tasty vegetarian treats, yogi tea, and a community bazaar.

The highlight of the event will be a kirtan concert by Matamandir Singh and his band, Avatar, sharing beautiful devotional banis and bhajans.

Mark your calendars for Saturday October 12th from 5:30 to 9:30pm.

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Keeping The Lovey-Dovey Alive

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My husband and I are nearing in on our first wedding anniversary. I’ve heard from many couples that the first year can be especially hard. Life after all the wedding hoopla takes a bit of adjusting to, emotionally and practically.

Our year has involved a lot of transition – new career, a big move, school, etc., Sometimes when we are caught up in the daily grind and “adult stuff” (basically, all the paper work, taxes, home ownership stuff that I hate about growing up) it’s easy to slack on being a sweet and loving partner. During these times, I am reminded of all the good advice I’ve heard about relationships requiring work and attention.

All in all it’s been a wonderful and exciting year, but there have been some small challenges and changes in our relationship of course.

Today I was talking on the phone to a friend and she asked if we were still “all lovey-dovey.” Happily, I was able to respond, yes, indeed we are.

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