Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself: 'Is it true?'
At the second gate, ask yourself: 'Is it necessary?'
At the third gate, ask yourself: 'Is it kind?'"
Speech is more powerful than simply getting a point across. It connects us with other humans and forges a relationship between ourselves and the outside world. So speak truth. Be kind. And share what is necessary.
Keeping my foot out of my mouth today, and hopefully every day.
Did you know that Black Diamond Power Yoga is for you? Yes, you. Diligent yogi, at your exact physical level, Black Diamond Yoga is all yours. And it's fun.
Let me explain. Black Diamond Power Yoga is an advanced class that I teach Friday evening at White Gold Yoga. It's called "Black Diamond" after the steepest and most challenging ski slopes on nearby Whistler Mountain. As the name suggests, the class is stimulating and the progression is steep. And like the slopes, it's invigorating and inspiring.
To me, a snow-loving Whistler resident, it seems obvious that "Black Diamond" translates to "wow fun." So I was surprised when recently a friend approached me to inquire if she "could attend the class." She was recovering from back trauma and was nervous that she might be unwelcome or in over her head. It seemed that she felt less than "good enough" at yoga to join.
So I'd like to set the record straight. Black Diamond Power Yoga is for you. If you are willing to step into that room at 5:30pm on a Friday, you are welcome. Because there's no such thing as "good enough at yoga." Your interest in attending and being challenged and stimulated is requirement enough. Period.
I offer you stimulating postures and a challenging physical experience. It is at no time my place to judge your ability level good or bad, right or wrong. Plainly, I have no interest in evaluating whether you are "good enough" to be there. More pertinently, do you want to inspire yourself? And is an Advanced Power Yoga class a tool that will serve that goal for you?
Are you dying to express yourself through creative and dynamic movement? Do you love the satisfaction of a rigorous sweat? And are you willing to burst open the boundaries around what's possible for you? To learn practical tools for new physical abilities and deeper personal knowledge? To broaden the spectrum of your options and set higher the bar of possibility in your life? And to discover how to be compassionate with yourself as you diligently work towards goals?
If you answered "a lot" and "yes," then Black Diamond Power Yoga is for you.
Move off-piste, move into your deeper self.
Please join us. We'll be waiting.
Below is the correspondence between Super E and I, in which I explain why she should come to Black Diamond Yoga. The same message applies to you and every willing yogi.
Hey, so kinda good kinda not good news from my trip to the hospital yesterday, ... I can now start trying exciting stuff in yoga with a bit of help at first - yay!!!
My question is.... Do you think I could have a go at black diamond yoga tonight or would that be silly and should I wait a couple weeks?...
I wanted to check what you thought, I also don't want to ruin any experience for any other yogi if they get partnered with me and I hinder them because you need to be super super flexible and yoginess to have a go at the class, if that's the case no worries.
11:00am Maeve Jones
That's great news Super E!
In response to your question, I have a question. How confident do you feel modifying? In Black Diamond I teach advanced variations of the poses, and of course there are always reasonable modifications for any confident practitioner. And you are a seasoned practitioner, who I think has the self-body knowledge to approach the practice consciously and safely. The biggest challenge for you will be a mental game - are you confident and prepared to modify your poses in a room full of egoic yogis showing off their most advanced moves?
While I strive to banish egoism from every class, it remains present. And in an advanced class your challenge will be to negotiate between ego "I've got this," and your most loving true self "Let me approach curiously and be present where I am."
Actually I would love to have you in the room modifying confidently, because it's something that I want to see more of in every student! We should all be tuned in with our own bodies enough to take expressions of the poses that serve us. And whatever one's ability level, everyone benefits from conscious and mindful modifications.
Long story short, if you feel prepared to advance your personal work by approaching the Black Diamond Class with curiosity, humility, and a willingness to grow, then yes, please come. I would love to see you tonight.
11:06am Super E
Thanks so much for putting so much thought into your response, you have just inspired me to come and made me feel comfortable and safe in the idea of coming because I'll be in a safe and non judging or pressurising environment because you will be my teacher! Okay cool, fingers crossed I'll finish on time to come x
I often struggle to balance Yin and Yang in my practice and teachings - that is, to locate myself between my two yoga loves: the First, a deep current of sensitivity and awareness cultivated by subtlety and stillness, and the Second, the sweat and stimulating rigor of a physically challenging practice.
Reflection always leads me to the same conclusion: It's all good!
'Yoga' as I know it describes access to Union - a process of self-realization that leads to the insight to know that peace is everything. In truth, we can see that we're all made up of love. And as our illusions of otherwise dissolve, along with them dissolve the means by which we got there.
So rather than attaching to one yoga love or another, I hereby commit to getting groovy. To accepting all approaches as nutritious gravy. Because it's all good!
Please join my exploration of the Yin side of things at Whistler Yogacara, every Sunday at 4:30pm.
Ah savasana. The dark chocolate of yoga. Your hard work is done, and it’s nap time. Right? Well, sort of.
Savasana literally means “the seat of the corpse.” Diligent yogis lie down, spread out, and die for just a short while before getting up and moving on with their days. Weird; perfect.
But let’s get honest. How many of us actually act the corpse during savasana? Do you sometimes find yourself alive with thought during those precious resting moments? Raise your hand if you’ve caught yourself making grocery lists, planning your week, replaying a conversation, or fantasizing in general during savasana.
Me too. And noticing is the first step to a more deadly savasana. The second step is to actively stop doing all of that and get down and dirty into your rest time. Dig deep, it’s time to die a little.
Savasana is a full-body, -mind, and –spirit release. Know what you’re up to: your job is to release all muscular work and mental effort, and dissolve into the ground. And by releasing completely, you make space for your unconscious body to integrate, assimilate, and rearrange all of the good stuff you’ve done in your yoga practice. In other words, give up, lie down, and get into the receiving zone. Then melt away as the benefits of your practice flow into you effortlessly.
That , dear readers, is the key: in savasana, there must be no effort at all. And effortlessness is a practice. The only action that you take is the action to “not” do; to notice you’re doing, then to stop doing, to stop doing some more, and then to stop noticing while you’re at it. Maybe you’ve been to this magical not-doing place before. It’s special.
In fact, a great yoga class can be just the recipe for getting into that special “nowhere” place. You’re listening to your breath, you’re moving rigorously, pushing boundaries, trying new things, and suddenly you’re lying on the floor with hardly any sense of up, down, or what’s for dinner. Ah, savasana.
But if you ever get lost on your way to corpse pose, here’s my roadmap back to nothingness.
Now listen carefully: stop trying. If you find yourself doing something – thinking, planning, adjusting, judging, rethinking, anything! – watch yourself, acknowledge that you are doing the action, then breathe in, breathe out and stop doing it. Tell yourself, savasana is not the time to work on this. Now is the time for absolute inaction. Remain unconcerned. Take rest. Take rest. Take rest.
And by consciously noticing and releasing your efforts, you discover how to “not-do,” and suddenly you are doing savasana. The anti-pose. The most difficult pose.