Archive for April, 2013


One Tuesday not long ago, the Turtle Haven morning yoga class was about to begin, and I was on my way out of the housephoto-10 when I grabbed a card with a hand scribed poem from our friend and fellow yogi, Bill Baroch. Bill is also, by the way, Turtle Haven’s trails and grounds landscape artist. I read the poem in class, and was asked by a wonderful student and friend to post the poem on this blog! I thought I would add a few more thoughts, and some of the story behind the wheel….

We have  on the land, near the labyrinth, this poetic prayer wheel which was created by Chris Moench in collaboration with me, to honor Jillian’s birthday a year and a half ago, the same year she was ordained as an Interfaith Minister. Aaron Westgate and his friend Andy Phillips created a beautiful pagoda-like, earthy and elegant structure to hold the beautiful vessel. I include a photograph of it in this post (above).

In recent days, we had a very intimate, small gathering to initiate this blessed addition to Turtle Haven, and Bill brought a poem he had written for the occasion. Since the Tuesday class SEES the wheel, and some go out and visit it, I thought to bring the poem into class— and as I recall, it had to do also with the notion I wanted to speak about that morning, that we need places to go with our our prayers, intentions, joys and sorrows, to bring them out from our own hearts and minds, into some outer form. To speak, mutter, write, or sing them and offer them out…. in this way, a different relationship arises with what we were formerly holding within. In the Gospel of Thomas, as Elaine Pagels and others have pointed out, Jesus is said to have brought this teaching: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” These are powerful words that tell us in a larger sense something of the teachings of the Niyama, and Svadyaya, self reflection, and then bringing ourselves forward into the world, in whatever way is healing and contributes.

Part of our “bringing oursleves forward” includes being aware of places where we hold questions, grief, emotional stirrings, desires for inner change, or for shifts on the outer plane, and all the many inner mysteries of existence in human form. I have always loved the ritual in church of lighting candles with prayer and intention, and have let that expand into the same form in a broader array of places. To have specific places to visit and revisit creates a potency and a remembrance that can bring a deepening in our connection with the Innermost Mystery, however we name that in a particular way, according to our own experience and beliefs. Some of the Tuesday morning yoga practitioners have also created a Patanjali yoga shrine area, that started with a beautiful rock engraved with the second yoga Sutra: “And then the Seer Dwells in his own True Splendor,” a sutra that speaks to our ultimate yogic realization of our deep oneness with the Supreme Intelligence. This rock was a gift for another long time student and community member Frances, a few years back. Now the shrine has a Patanjali figure housed in a hand built by Bill sort of small, beautiful “cathedral in the woods” structure which was dreamt up by Maureen, Frances, Bill and me last year. We had a blessing for it as the culmination of last Spring’s retreat with Ravi; Felicity Green was here as well at that time! So there has been a rich flowering here at Turtle Haven for which Jillian and I feel so much gratitude, as we steward a place that reflects our desire to listen deeply and hold this place on the Nooksack as a haven for our community to come and remember what is most important. Here is Bill’s poem:

Turning!
Watch the Earth turning!
In her lovely round dance—
Witness the turning!
She sets the sun
Fills the sky with stars shimmering
Spins out the night
Returns to light….
Breathes out clouds
Feathering, sun mitten
In rhythm with the turning.
Brown leaves settle into damp Earth.
New green leaves seek the Sun.
Sleepers rise. Risers dream.
Dreamers dance…
In rhythm with the turning.
From the center turning.
All is one turning.

The Earth is a Prayer Wheel.
The Earth is Prayer Wheel.

The Earth is a wheel
Full of Prayers.
Each Being a Benediction.
A veneration. A Holy Communion.

Robin. River. Rain.
Redlegged Frog.
The silent sound of salamander steps.
You and I.
Our thoughts
For each other
Each heart a prayerful page,
An intention of Mystery.
We are seeds sewn in dark soil.
Delicate leaves unfolding.
We are flowers.
Everything is a flower.
No mistakes.
We are pages and pages of prayer,
Folded and unfolding.
Warm sun.
Moonless night.
Turning without. Turning within.
Turning! Turning!
On this beautiful wheel
Nothing but prayers
Apparent in daylight,
Hidden at night.

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Updates For Deepening Yoga

Dear Friends,

Only a week ago, I sent an email with at the description for the class to initiate the Spring Quarter Deepening Yoga series; after some deeper contemplation of my own, I decided to postpone teaching this class until May 4th, with a change in timing for those who will move on to the SPECIES PARADE AT 4pm. This parade is a wonderful event, in case you have missed it in the past! Our Feeling Yogi class will now be from noon until 3pm.

I am including here once again the description of the class. I hope this will still work for those who had committed to coming this past Saturday, and that it may open the possibility for others who needed more time to consider, or were interested but unavailable! Please pre-register by sending a $20 deposit to me at 6551 Rutsatz Road Deming, WA 98244. I am excited for the coming together on May 4th of all those feeling yogis who are called to be present!

Please do not hesitate to ask questions, or to tell others of this opportunity.

Warm greetings and blessings of Spring renewal, Elizabeth

 

The Feeling Yogi: Emotions, Svadyaya or Self Reflection, and the Practice of Yoga

Our emotional natures have a place within practice, though there is not much guidance directly offered in the classical yoga scriptures suggesting how we might utilize our feeling selves within the inner search that is at the heart of the journey. We will honor the emotional dimension, and consider fruitful approaches to working with the gifts of our feeling selves, especially as this emerges within our practice in class, or on our own. We will practice asana, pranayama, and meditation geared towards soothing our emotional bodies, based on a practice sequence offered by BKS Iyengar in his book Light on Life. Please bring an image or altar object that reflects something of your emotional relationship with your practice of yoga.

The tuition will be $30 to $45 for the class; please inquire about bartering if you need to pay less. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions in advance via email or phone.
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Our Feeling Yogi class will now be from NOON UNTIL 3 PM ON MAY 4TH. This change in timing is to accommodate those who will move on to the SPECIES PARADE AT 4pm. This parade is a wonderful event, in case you have missed it in the past!

UPDATE: Elizabeth has decided that late notification for the content of the April 20th class means it would be better to reschedule the same class for May 4th, still at 8Petals from 1 to 4 pm.

Dear Friends,

This coming Saturday, April 20th, On Saturday, May 4th, I will offer a Saturday afternoon Deepening Yoga class at 8Petals from 12 to 3 pm from 1 to 4:00 pm, with a focus on working with emotions within the context of yoga practice.

The Feeling Yogi: Emotions, Svadyaya or Self Reflection, and the Practice of Yoga

Our emotional natures have a place within practice, though there is not much guidance directly offered in the classical yoga scriptures suggesting how we might utilize our feeling selves within the inner search that is at the heart of the journey. We will honor the emotional dimension, and consider fruitful approaches to working with the gifts of our feeling selves, especially as this emerges within our practice in class, or on our own.  We will practice asana, pranayama, and meditation geared towards soothing our emotional bodies, based on a practice sequence offered by BKS Iyengar in his book Light on Life. Please bring an image or altar object that reflects something of your emotional relationship with your practice of yoga.

The tuition will be $30 to $45 for the class; please inquire about bartering if you need to pay less. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions in advance via email or phone.
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“ If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. ”
May these days of Spring bring each of us inner nourishment and vitality.
Sending warm greetings, Elizabeth