Wow, it has been since the middle of April since I have posted anything at all on this blog.  One reader recently woke me up with some suggestions and queries just when I thought no one had even noticed this blog.  I spent the majority of this past spring and summer teaching a lot.  I have also been thinking about how I want to expand the purpose of this blog since I have been taking classes mostly at my home studio with fewer forays into the wilds of D.C. seeking out teachers.  Here is a little something-something about me as a teacher.  Click on the link below to see.  I am the featured teacher in Sun and Moon’s fall newsletter.  With the spotlight reversed, it feels kind of bright.  Come on out this fall and see if my class suits you.  xo   teacher feature michelle

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No One in Particular; Who am I

There is a Robin that has been clobbering himself on the window of our house for several days, because he thinks his reflection is another bird encroaching on his territory.  The Robin has not learned that his reflection is not the competitor that he imagines, but a hard surface likely to laud him a concussion. We All, similarly, hold onto false ideas about who we are, other people and the world around us even as we continuously clobber ourselves – meeting our habits and keeping them.  Through the practice of yoga and meditation, we can start to see through some of these false ideas about others and ourselves and begin to let go of some insidious harmful thoughts.  We can start to recognize that our ideas are not fixed, that things do change and that lots of the things that we hoard in our brains don’t serve us as healthy or true.  We can do this by working moment to moment – finding, sensing and feeling for fresh experience in our body, breath and mind.

For the past several weeks, I have been wondering – Who am I?   Yes, seriously!  I have been teaching a lot – which I love!  So, my own home Practice is what I am teaching.  I have also been catching up on taking classes from everyone that I have subbed for, which has been a bit of a sprint.  My peers’ gifts and values are eclectic and extremely varied. Additionally, I dropped in on a Prana Flow class as part of a friend date and took a mini-anatomy workshop on strengthening the piriformis and psoas muscles.  My emotions and energy level have been all over the place.

Sticking a tennis ball into the middle of each butt cheek caused Nausea – “I feel like weeping but I won’t because I’m sick of punk,” feelings to permeate throughout Megan Davis’ informative and very reasonably priced anatomy workshop.

Malcontent, anger and irritation followed the brief joyous exercise high from flinging throgh lots and lots of Side planks and Warrior One’s in a challenging Prana Flow class.  Oof!

Deep sleep and welcome clear, even energy was a surprise after Suzanne Morgan’s Vinyasa class that included a yoga nidra, mudra vinyasanas and lots of twists.

The sirsasana workshop that I prepped for one student paved the way for a very productive studio day!

And, this morning, my students’ concentration and grace have opened up my whole day to wonder.  I am looking out the window that the Robin was looking into.  But, I don’t see my reflection.  I feel like no one in particular.  Who am I?

North of Your Butt-crack, Jack

Yoga Chai has a special – $10 for Ten Days.  They also have classes for kids and child-care.  If I had a baby and lived in Adams Morgan or Columbia Heights, I would probably make this tiny boutique studio my new hOMe, but that’s just going on what I read from the teacher bios online.  They seem neat.

Class One:  Anna has a bag full of dowel rods.  We interlace each foot with its opposite hand – one at a time, make ankle circles, pinch and crack our toe knuckles and massage our toe ‘cushions’ and arches before getting up and placing a dowel rod just ahead of our heel in mountain pose.  The foot reflexology stuff, I love.  Standing on the dowel rod is intense, borderline painful.  I have been biking a lot.  Muscles I have not used in awhile are sore and fatigued.  The lengthy lunge to plank variation we undertake next offers zero sympathy.  Throw me a Downward Dog bone, please.  Jack, who is next to me, is getting grilled mercilessly.  I am enjoying the privacy of my practice while she works him over – “North of your butt-crack, Jack.  This is where you need to focus”.  Heh Heh Heh… I feel like I am twelve.  More butt-crack alignment cues please.  They help to get me through the grueling Standing Split and Warrior One with dowel rod under front foot heel.

We work on handstand.  Anna informs me that I need to puff out my back more especially in my lower back.  Even though I can get up on my own, she helps me into a handstand by having me resist her pushing me up with one leg.  This is fine, but getting my butt towards the wall and over my hips compresses my low back too severely.  I need a bit more lift up.  I get what she is suggesting and see how I can work on integrating my ribs with my hips more so that I will actually be able to balance off of the wall.  But, the adjustment is a bit severe counter to my habit.  I guess I need a little bit more length north of my butt-crack too.

Anna is extremely detail oriented about anatomy and serious in her focus on what we need to do in each pose.  There were only four of us.  She was completely generous with her knowledge applied to our individual bodies as well as kind and conversational before and after class.

This is the last in the series of 5 Poisons.  I must admit to stalling a bit.  Since I have been teaching so much, I haven’t taken classes with anyone new.  So far, I am having some really positive experiences.  Love teaching!

Keep enjoying these paintings.  More writing coming soon.

Share the Weight and Scratch Your Own Back at Sun and Moon Yoga

I went to New York for a short trip to see friends and celebrate my birthday before flying out to the Midwest to be with family for my Nana’s funeral.  91 years! 68 years of marriage!  Poor Grandpa.  I hope he won’t be too lonely in his mourning.  Not to minimize his grief, but two times during our visit he notes the favorable male to female ratio at his assisted living facility.  Wish I could give him a big hug and dig my fingers into his back for a rough rubdown right now.  That is his embracing style.  Look out ladies!

Since I have been back, I started teaching an early morning vinyasa yoga class at Sun and Moon Yoga in Arlington on Fridays, which has led to several fantastic subbing opportunities there.  I love the community at Sun and Moon – so welcoming, genuine and mellow.  The classes here are typically spacious and slow-paced with considerable depth in Awareness philosophy.

I took Jackie Shaffer’s mostly self-directed Hatha yoga class before subbing for two of Amir’s classes.  She said one thing that really touched me when coming out of a balancing pose – Tree – Vrksasana.

“Share the weight”.  She was talking about our feet.  So elegant.  So simple.   What a quiet and profound way to demonstrate how yoga is truly a relationship with the self.

In an Annie Moyer class, we lay on our backs flexing and pointing our feet with arms overhead faster and faster then sloppier and sloppier until our bodies rubbed against the length of our mats in a self-made full back body massage.  This happens with the friction of the floor.  Try it.  It’s a bit addictive.

Come to Sun and Moon!  I am biased!  This place is awesome!