Mindful Flow Yoga (All Levels)
Tuesdays, 5:30 to 6:45 pm (starts June 2, 2015)
Location: Mookshi Wellness Center
Tuesdays, 5:30 to 6:45 pm (starts June 2, 2015)
Location: Mookshi Wellness Center
“In difficult times, keep something beautiful in your heart.” ~J. O’Donohue
I am currently creating an online course called “Radiant Heart“. It is, at the core, a group exploration of a number of Classical Buddhist texts that provide the philosophical foundation for the practices of yoga and meditation that we have available to us now. On a practice level, the course offers very accessible techniques for making meditation a part of daily life. On an energetic level, facilitating this course is requiring me to re-think the heart as a seat of intelligence. Asking what my heart wants has always seemed a little frivilous, but the more that I read these texts and the more that I consider what is at risk if I don’t open the lines of communication with my heart, I see that it is of great importance that I both ask and listen.
In one of the textbooks for the course, A Little Book of Love by Moh Hardin, we find this quote from “The Buddha” (no reference for source is provided):
“It is in this way that we must train ourselves: by liberation of the self through love. We will develop love, we will practice it, we will make it both a way and a basis, take our stand upon it, store it up, and thoroughly set it going.”
Today, Earth Day, I am also thinking of a quote from Tagore, “Trees are the Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” When the spring trees blossom and there is that lush bright hopeful green splashed across the still empty branches, it’s like the trees are reaching out to heaven with a display of their hearts. The movement of water through their veins and the warming light of the sun mixing to support this magnificent and clear communication of life and beauty. I think that if I learn to ask my heart it’s desire, wait for the answer and act on it that I will be like these trees. The beauty will show in my actions, my appearance and in my life narrative.
If you are interested in reading these Buddhist texts and the breathing, movement and meditation techniques that are designed to enter into deep communication with the heart, there is still time to register for the course. Yoga teachers can earn 15 CEU credits for maintaining registration with Yoga Alliance. DETAILS, SYLLABUS & REGISTRATION HERE
This month, I am starting an online course called Radiant Heart and we will be reading a number of Classical Buddhist texts that provide guidance for both meditation and interacting with others that builds our capacity for happiness and joy. This course is appropriate whether you identify with “being Buddhist” or not as none of the texts ask you to pray to a certain God or believe anything in particular. Therefore, this course will not challenge your current belief system or commitment to a particular practice of religion. Instead, the course challenges you to experiment with breathing, movement and mind practices that have the potential to change how you experience daily life.
In the preparation of this course I have come across a relatively new science: neurotheology. Regardless of what part of this science makes sense to you or doesn’t, it appears that reading religious texts and taking the time to consider ourselves as living beings in relationship to higher power is good for our health. I don’t know very much about this, but it is something that I am profoundly curious about because of the role that faith, in general, has played in my life.
My goal for this course is to help participants learn how to breathe, meditate and move in ways that create an improved sense of peace and well-being regardless of current circumstances. Whether you have been practicing yoga and meditation for years or just feel curious, but have never tried to meditate, this course will be beneficial to you. For yoga teachers, this course has the opportunity to earn 15 CEU credits for maintaining your registration with Yoga Alliance. Find the complete syllabus, reading list and lecture and office hours schedule HERE. This is an online course, so you can work at your own pace and all lectures are recorded so you can download the videos and watch anytime.
Course will be accessible on April 3, 2015, but you can register anytime before the course ends in June. You will have access to the live events and office hours if you start in April, but everything is recorded and available online so you don’t have to worry about being able to keep to the schedule. Start at your convenience and complete the course at your own pace.
Here is a list of the five texts we will be reading and exploring practices for:
Finding the Breath of the Heart
The Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing
Pali of the Anapanasati Sutta
The Heart’s Intelligence
The Sutra on the Establishments of Mindfulness
Mindful Heart Practices
The Heart Sutra
Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra
The Radiance Sutras
Vijnana Bhairava Tantra
The Sutra on Happiness
Cultivating joy and abundance
This week, I lost a cherished orange cat–Mushuk (muh-shook). He would have been 19-years old this summer, but it turns out that he did not have another spring in him. This winter was his last. My son broke his leg sledding this past January and Mushuk watched over him as he recovered on the couch. He was that kind of cat. Present. Empathetic. I adopted him as a rescue in Philadelphia a few lifetimes ago when I had nowhere to go but up. As it became more and more clear to me over 18-years that the directional potential of life is infinite and unpredictable, Mushuk found ways to soften the blows of the lowest lows and sweeten the best of days.
As it turns out, I’ve been thinking a lot about the heart, our human capacity for both suffering and joy and how we can use the study of Buddhist texts as a tool for increased capacity for engaging with life. This April I will be offering an online study opportunity of classic Buddhist texts on mindfulness, awareness of the breath, the heart and happiness. The more I build the course curriculum, the more convinced I am that working with the heart is the key to health and well-being. Even before finding myself enveloped by grief, I have been thinking about the heart as a bridge between spirit and matter as reflected in the organization of the energetic body and as suggested by John Selby:
“Below the heart chakra, lies the world of matter, of survival and procreation, of manipulation and mastery over the physical realms of life. Above lies the world of Spirit, of pure thought and intuition, of interpersonal communication and, ultimately, universal unity and transcendence. The heart chakra, in its most basic sense, is the marriage of matter and spirit, of concrete and abstract, of knowledge and wisdom, of earth and heaven.” (Selby 147 as quoted in Sausys 38)
In the Doors of Joy, Daniel Odier in his meditations on Love suggests that we ask ourselves “Have I already experienced a love that was not centered on an object or a human being—a feeling of love that included the world?” (111). I love this question and I feel that thinking about the heart as a bridge between spirit and matter and also considering what the experience of love without an object creates for our human experience truly inspires the core of my objective for the course.
Even if you have limited experience with yoga or meditation or studying any kind of philosophy, I encourage you to consider taking this course with me. Cardiovascular health is not just about aerobic exercise and limiting milkshakes and steaks, it is also about the heart as an energetic body with its own center of intelligence and desire for authentic expression. Taking a few weeks to explore these texts that provide very simple, yet profound, techniques for living a heart-centered life where the intelligence of the heart can inform our actions, words and expression of our unique self in the world is likely to be an experience worth investing in. And, you will save $75 if you register before March 23, 2015!
The Doors of Joy: 19 Meditations for Authentic Living (2014)
Yoga for Grief Relief (2014)
Kundalini Awakening: A Gentle Guide to Chakra Activation and Spiritual Growth.
If you are wondering whether or not you are technological enough to take an online course or if you just want to get a “feel” for how the online course works, then please feel free to register for this course for FREE. It’s a very different type of course, but the platform is the same and so the way the course is organized into lessons, discussions and events and how you access the videos and recordings will be exactly the same. Check it out HERE!
Recently, I have been engaging in translations of Chinese poetry about mountains. I love sacred mountains and poetry, so poems about mountains represent some of my favorite contemplative poems. It seems to me that reading them reminds me that I am on earth and as I read and re-read the lines, I am reminded of the limitations of a cerebral experience of life. I spend so much time in my logic mind sorting through details (lunch boxes, coats, swim lessons, babysitters, teaching, schedules, blah blah blah) that it is hard to remember the infinite possibilities. These poems revive me. If you are curious, I can’t recommend the collection of translations by David Hinton, “Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China”. Published by Counterpoint (2002).
Forests end in mountain light, and bamboo hides walls.
A confusion of cicada cries, dry grasses, a small pond.
An occasional bird wings white through empty sky,
and delicate in scent, waterlilies shine across water.
Out beyond the village, along
ancient city walls, I’ll stroll
till dusk, staff in hand, then turn back in slant light.
Thanks to rain that came last night in the third watch,
I get another cool day in this drifting dream of a life.
I am so excited to be offering a chair yoga class in Greenfield at the Staghorn Garden Cafe on Tuesday mornings. Here are the details:
This is the lovely Staghorn Garden Cafe on Greenfield Avenue a block up from St. Rosalia church. Come early and enjoy a coffee, pastry and look at all the beautiful things they have for sale for your home and garden.
You may be most familiar with yoga on “yoga mats”, but this is yoga and meditation that you can do sitting in a chair. It is accessible for all ages, all physical abilities (and can accommodate disabilities and special needs very well) and you get all the benefits of yoga. It’s not a workout as much as it is a carefully designed sequence that brings a beautiful mind-body connection, deepens the breath and brings a sense of well being and calm to the practitioner. Who can’t use more of that? It’s entirely non-competitive and I welcome everyone to give it a try.
Wednesdays 5:30 to 7:00 pm
Thursdays 10:00 am to noon
My readings are fun, gentle, positive and will always help you connect with your intuition on your questions and concerns related to professional and personal issues. Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration!
Cost: Sliding fee scale with payment in exact cash or by Visa/Mastercard credit/debit.
$5 single-card reading, $10-$15 for 3-5 card reading, $20-$30 for a reading with coaching
Schedule: Just drop-in! Clients are seen in order of arrival. Enjoy a coffee and pastry while you wait.
Location: Greenfield Neighborhood of Pittsburgh
Staghorn Garden Cafe
517 Greenfield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15207
A public craft group for mothers and mother lovers who knit and crochet. We meet for conversation, excellent coffee and pastries, creative support and knitting and crochet on Fridays from 10:00 am to noon at the Staghorn Garden Cafe in Greenfield (see map and address below). Join us! Everyone is welcome and you can bring your current project, questions about patterns or just curiosity. No experience with knitting or parenthood required.
Staghorn Garden Cafe
517 Greenfield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15207
We meet from around 10:00 am to noon on Fridays, but this cafe is a lovely place to sit and knit at anytime! Come early, stay late.
6-Week Winter Series starts February 2,2015 [REGISTER HERE $48]
Winter Series Dates:February 2, 9, 16, 23 and March 2, 9
6-Week Spring Series starts April 13, 2015 [REGISTER HERE $48]
Spring Series Dates: April 13, 20, 27 and May 4, 11, 18
NOTE ON WINTER SCHEDULE: Please note that if the Pittsburgh Public Schools have a 2-hour delay or snow day for ANY reason, then our classes that evening are canceled. We will add dates to the end of the series to make-up for snow days as necessary.
Join me for these non-competitive community yoga classes held in the library at Greenfield Elementary School. All levels are welcome and no experience is required. Register for a series or drop-in on individual classes. Emphasis is on mindfulness, stress relief and releasing tension from the physical body. You will learn gentle techniques for movement, stretching and strengthening the body that help to liberate the body of unnecessary strain and tension. Classes end with a deep relaxation. You need to bring your own yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing (t-shirt, sweatpants, leggings). If you would like, please bring a water bottle. We practice in bare feet, so come prepared to take your shoes AND socks off. Yoga does not require flexibility. EVERYONE is welcome for these classes!
Drop-In students are warmly welcomed into classes for $10. You can pre-pay online OR pay with a credit/debit card at the class or with exact cash.
Location: Greenfield Elementary School in the Greenfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and can be found behind Saint Rosalia’s Church on Greenfield Avenue. There is a parking lot in front of the school. 1 Alger Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15207.
A percentage of all tuition collected will be donated to the Greenfield PTA to support their efforts to raise funds to build a playground at Greenfield Elementary School. A bowl for additional donations will be available to collect cash donations at classes and 100% of those donations will go to the playground fund.
Sharon has been practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for over 20-years. She has a Registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance and facilitates teacher training programs for both 200-hour yoga instructors and 100-hour prenatal yoga teachers. Her teaching is inspired by her training in Vajra Yoga and Meditation with Jill Satterfield and her continued professional and personal development in Vipassana Meditation and somatic movement therapy. Classes are rooted in the ethical principles of Ahimsa (non-violence) and all students of all ages and experience levels and abilities are challenged to find peace in their everyday lives regardless of circumstances. She loves teaching community-based classes and believes that yoga is a great tool for healing individuals and groups. Read more about Sharon
It’s Cyber Monday and we have survived Black Friday, but the weight of the holiday season is upon us. Over-consumption of food and stuff that serves only to hide that which is most true or important to us puts a shadow over these days that are meant to be a reminder of light. That just after the longest night of the year and the darkest day, it is going to start getting lighter. Lighter and lighter with each and every day!
“The search for meaning will fill you with a sense of meaning. Otherwise life passes by in about seven weeks, and if you are not paying attention and savoring it as it unfurls, you will wake up one day in deep regret. It’s much better to wake up now in deep regret, desperate not to waste more of your life obsessing and striving for meaningless crap. Because you will have finally awakened.”
~Anne Lamott, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair (pg. 87)