All posts tagged: Meditation

Satya as a Form of Grace

Satya is one of the most complicated of the yogic ethical principles.  It is translated as “truth” in many texts, but truth is, in and of itself, a construct of culture.  For example, I may hold as “truth” in my Quaker faith that everyone has the light of God in them (no matter behavior or evidence that seems to prove otherwise), while others may have very different ways of looking at the concept of Holy Spirit or the concept of the divine.  Am I telling the truth when I pray in this way?  Are the other understandings of the relationship between humans and the divine the NOT-truth?  And, how can we relate this use of the word “truth” when describing a commitment of faith to asking a person we work with if they are the ones who ate our yogurt in the shared refrigerator?  In the case of the yogurt, it could be seen that this is completely different.  Our colleague either ate our yogurt or they didn’t.  But, maybe when they answer us it …

Beautiful and Sensual

I have been using essential oils in my practice and for self-care for many years.  It all started when I participated in some classes and workshops taught by Amy Galper and Schuyler Grant around yoga, acupressure, and aromatherapy about sixteen or so years ago. A couple weeks ago, I received an offer from Utama Spice.  They very generously sent me a complimentary nebulizing essential oil diffuser with a bottle of their own Cajeput essential oil in exchange for my honest review of their products on my blog.  How could I say no?  Also, I very much appreciated the genuinely personal communication I received from Utama.  I made it clear that I would only write a completely honest review and they were in agreement with the conditions I presented to them.  As soon as I opened the package from Utama, I knew I was in for a treat.  The Danau Satu diffuser came in the most tasteful packaging with a floral decoration.  As soon as I pulled it out of the box I was amazed at …

Unicorn in the Sky and Other Magic

Hello there dear!  It’s Bibliotherapy Saturday  and I decided to start today’s exploration with a magazine I don’t usually read.  Ever.  I decided to start with February 2018 issue of Astronomy magazine.  Why you might ask?  Good question!  It’s because there was a hook on the cover that suggested that I could “TOUR Monoceros the Unicorn” on page 60.  I love unicorns.  How could I resist?  Monoceros the Unicorn is the 35th largest constellation out of the 88 constellations and the figure lies within the “Winter Triangle: the stars Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Procyon.”  The short article then has some pictures of and features of the area around the constellation and notes what is special that you can see either with the naked eye under a dark sky or what kind of telescopic enlargement is required.  This kind of night sky exploration is what I had been hoping for when I signed up for a basic astronomy class in college.  Instead, I got a whole lot of physics and math that I didn’t have the background …

Barbarians and Blockheads

It’s always the same. Barbarians and blockheads, rival queens and kings, The drama rolls on and on. When people honor you, You are supposed to feel honored. When you don’t get respect, they expect You to sulk in indignation. One minute you are cruising on a throne in the sky, The next you are standing on some bleak patch of dirt. ~Yukti Verses #102, Radiance Sutras This verse, part of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra translated by Lorin Roche in his book, The Radiance Sutras, has helped me to put into perspective the characters and actions that grace American politics and the local and global violence, destruction, hatred and greed that unfolds before me on the news, in my social media feeds and in discussion boards where my neighbors complain about a 2% increase in some tax or another.  It is, quite frankly, why I don’t belong to any “mommy groups”.  Quite frankly, I don’t care how you potty trained your little genius and I certainly don’t want to waste time watching an argument between strangers …

Buddhist Philosophy and Yoga Anatomy Workshops

These workshops are no longer being held fall 2016. Please check back for future collaborations and check out Mark’s website for his teaching schedule. Philosophy and Embodied Anatomy Workshops I am honored to host our guest instructor, Mark Chandlee Taylor, the Director of BodyMindMovement to facilitate the following embodied anatomy workshops yoga students and teachers.  All workshops are held at Mookshi Wellness Center in the Regent Square neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  Sessions begin with an hour of practice and discussion of the required text with Sharon which will be followed by a short break and then three-hours of anatomy with Mark.  All workshops are from noon to 4:00 pm.  I recommend that students obtain a copy of “Awakening of the Heart: Essential Buddhist Sutras and Commentaries” by Thich Nhat Hanh and read both his translations and commentaries in preparation for discussions.  Alternatively, I have provided links below where you can find PDF versions of the required texts. As space is limited, pre-registration is highly recommended.  Workshops are $45 when you register online.  If you are blocked from online registration, please email …

Perspectives on Unity and Karma

Last week, under a news story about some other tragedy, the news source suggested some other stories I might be interested in.  While I don’t usually take these recommendations, as part of my feeble attempt to control the negative media that I permit myself to absorb, this time, the top story caught my interest.  At the Metropolitan Zoo in Santiago, Chile, a young man (a child…really…too young to order a beer in the United States), jumped into the lion enclosure, took off all his clothes and began to taunt the lions by shouting biblical quotes.  They found a suicide note with the man’s clothing and the note was signed, “Jesus”.  In order to save the man, the zoo was forced to shoot and kill the two lions.  The male lion had been born into captivity. The female lion had been rescued from the circus.  And, in that moment, the lives of the man, the lions and the zoo staff and all the children and adults who witnessed the happening unfold came together in a most unexpected …

I Am The Door

Here are two common scenarios for me: Scenario One: A Friend or Client is Stuck This happens to me a lot and I guess it is an “occupational hazard” of sorts, but people come to tell me their stories when they feel stuck.  Many of my clients and students have tried everything, gone to every doctor, had all the tests, done all the treatments and they still don’t have the results they desired or the well-being that they were hoping for. I have friends that tell me about their stuck feelings in jobs, work relationships, personal relationships and just how they feel in their lives at this moment.  In many cases, though not all, a path to freedom seems clear to me, the observer.  When I first started this work, I was so delighted when I saw such a clear path because I assumed that if I could communicate it, then my clients could folllow my vision and get free fast.  But, what I immediately realized is that the clear path has always been present …

Creation Meditation

I was doing some internet research on energetic wounds and back pain and happened across a recommendation for this “Creation Meditation” (this is a very feminine meditation, but it is made available to men as well) and you can also find an audio guided experience here (NOTE: the actual meditation doesn’t start until around 7-minutes into the recording). Enjoy! Written by Sharon Fennimore, a yogini teaching yoga, meditation and providing integrative health coaching services to women and families with young children based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Sign up for my newsletter and get FREE membership in my online community “Make Room” where you will get all the support you need to clear emotional and physical clutter.

Say What You Mean

There is a short essay by Brian Doyle in the March 2016 issue of The Sun literary magazine titled, “The Way We Do Not Say What We Mean When We Say What We Say” (page 23) that suggests that, “Perhaps languages invent themselves and then have to hunt for speakers.”  When I read this, it made me think of a poem by Hafiz: Your Beautiful Parched, Holy Mouth A poet is someone Who can pour Light into a spoon, Then raise it To nourish Your beautiful parched, holy mouth. (Translated by Daniel Ladinsky and found on page 59 of “I Heard God Laughing” 2006) Many of you who have studied with me know of my fascination with the Matrika, the vibration of truth that finds its home in the central energetic channel of the subtle body.  It is the vibration of that which is most true and each of us has a unique symphony, that the human ear can never hear, yet is playing within us since the moment of our conception.  This truth, one …

Everything Changes

[I said to Suzuki Roshi,] “I could listen to you for a thousand years and still not get it.  Could you just please put it in a nutshell?  Can you reduce Buddhism to one phrase?”…He was not a man you could pin down, and he didn’t like to give his students something definite to cling to. He had often said not to have “some idea” of what Buddhism was.  But Suzuki did answer.  He looked at me and said, “Everything changes.” ~David Chadwick For the past 24-hours, here in Pittsburgh we have been bathed in the light of the sun through clear blue skies. I feel the sun in the fluids of my body and, all of a sudden, my dreams seem possible.  When you live in a place that offers shades of gray (and not in the exciting way) for most days of the year, the light of the sun brings profound shifts in conciousness.  This shift is welcomed because it is warm, light and inspiring.  As much as this change in season from …

Benefits of Reading Sutras

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 …

The Spirit of Imagination

I love working with visualizations.  Personally, I have recently been exploring the imagery of mermaids, unicorns, fairies and the bodhisatva Kuan Yin.  In playful ways, thinking about the energies of these magical and powerful beings and looking at the imagery that humanity has developed around these ideas.  I recently took an absolutely delicious yoga class with Brooke Smokelin here in Pittsburgh where she guided us through a considerable amount of stretching and opening in the feet and ankles.  She suggested in the class that we simply don’t play enough, aren’t curious enough about what we can do and what our bodies can experience.  I felt like this was in alignment with my recent play with visualization and magical beasts and beings and deities. Imagination is an important element of working with the power of mind to heal and inspire.  Yet, sometimes it can be so hard as adults to really let go and visualize the magic fully because we get all caught up in what is real vs. imaginary.  We fear that if we really let …

Continuing Education Program

30 CEU Credit Subtle Body Project This continuing education opportunity for yoga instructors is perfect for both experienced instructors who need some new inspiration or feel drawn towards deepening their own personal practice.  Instructors who completed an RYT in a vinyasa flow style will find that this seminar series provides a greater depth of knowledge for teaching meditation or facilitating a flow class in a more mindful and therapeutic way.  The emphasis on embodied anatomy and the subtle body gives you a more dynamic set of teaching tools no matter what style you were originally trained in or, ultimately, are teaching.  This is a wonderful chance to complete continuing education credits while connecting with other teachers local to Pittsburgh without having to travel or figure out how to manage a residential program or time commitment. We look forward to these Wednesday seminars as inspiring, informative and also restoratives.  Instructors need to take some time for developing awareness, compassion and for self-care so we don’t burn out.  We hope you will join us for what is …

Hope, Marx, and the Body

I have had the great fortune of studying with and, in some cases, just been able to listen to, some people that I would consider to be genuine geniuses.  My fortune has been so great, that it would not be possible to list everyone here.  One of these people is David Harvey, who I met and studied with when I was a student at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York.  David Harvey is a critical geographer and anthropologist with significant passion for improving the conditions of life for humans everywhere.  Anyone who has studied Anthropology, or perhaps, any social science, knows that, it doesn’t look good for humans.  Almost every ethnography documents some kind of suffering—-the kind that we inflict on each other, the kind that we inflict on ourselves and the tragedies inherent with war, famine, natural disaster, racism, disease and the list goes on.  After six years of graduate work in Anthropology, I can tell you that the research consistently reveals that we aren’t that nice to one another and we don’t …

Fertility

NOTE: this is a dated blog post that describes services and packages that are no longer available.  If you are interested in my optimum fertility and reproductive health services, please follow this link to the current packages.  Optimum Fertility             Reproductive Health and Fertility Coaching   Irregular Periods? PMS? Moody? Bloated? Doubled over and missing out on activities and work due to cramps, migraine headaches or back pain?  Does your period just go on and on and on?  Is “heavy” flow an understatement? PCOS? (Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome) Anovulation?  Not ovulating due to low body fat, endocrine disruption or trying to regain fertility after being on birth control pills or other hormone based birth control? Trying to conceive for over 6-months without a pregnancy?  Miscarriage?  Unexplained infertility?  Considering IVF or other medically assisted reproduction therapy?   There is no reason to suffer!  I offer personalized coaching services where we address your greatest concerns, create do-able action plans for addressing your needs and all the support and confidence you need to improve …

Health Coach for Women

I provide comprehensive, holistic and compassionate care for women of all ages who want to engage in a positive relationship with their pelvis, reproductive health, endocrine system and menstrual cycles.  This includes: Healing for irregular menstrual cycles Learning how to be aware of and track fertility signs Managing chronic pelvic pain, vaginal pain or hip/low back pain Cesarean and birth recovery including nerve damage, anxiety and abdominal and pelvic floor strengthening Working with symptoms associated with PMS (mood, bloating, headaches, etc.) Alternative support for PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) Infertility, miscarriage and pregnancy loss support Healthy menopause Adrenal Fatigue Anxiety, depression, anger and frustration in relationship to menstrual cycles, fertility, PMS, pelvic pain and infertility WOMEN’S HEALTH CONSULTATION SERVICES 2-Hour Consultation and Evaluation $200 50-Minute Sessions $90 Package of Six Individual Sessions $500 Package of Consultation and Six Individual Sessions $675 HOW DO WE WORK TOGETHER? If you live in Pittsburgh or surrounding suburbs, then we can meet together in person in a beautiful treatment room at Mookshi Wellness Center (401 Biddle Avenue, 2nd Floor above …

Interdependence Meditation

Guided Meditation on Interdependence   In honor of Independence Day, I have decided to host a guided meditation on interdependence that you can experience from anywhere by calling-in on your phone.  This will be a live guided meditation experience.  All you need to do is dial-in to the conference call and then put your phone on speaker, get comfortable and enjoy the meditation session.  It doesn’t matter if you fall asleep and start snoring because the callers are muted.  You can even listen as you wash dishes or take a bath.  I am requesting a $10 karmic offering for the meditation, but payment is not required. There is a payment button below the sign-up if you do wish to make an offering for the meditation. Date: Monday, July 1, 2013 Time: 8:30 pm Introduction and basic meditation instructions for beginners 8:45-9:15 pm Guided Meditation 9:15-9:25 pm Closing (all times are Eastern USA) Access Code: Sign-up below and you will receive an e-mail with the dial-in number and access code on Friday, June 28th Subscribe to …

Wanting Mind

Love Letter Thursday 5.16.13 Pittsburgh, PA On this Thursday, I send you some ideas on the wanting mind.  Rooted in desire, the wanting mind is constantly evaluating what we like, don’t like, wish for and don’t wish for.  Although the world keeps changing right underneath our feet, we grasp with the wanting mind and hope (expect?) that somehow we can set the circumstances in place that will allow things to be “just so” and for as long as possible.  This is, exactly, the idea behind the love note itself.  Or is it? In Phillip Moffitt’s book, Emotional Chaos to Clarity (which, by the way, I can’t recommend highly enough), he explores the difference between expectation and possibility.  And, I argue that, based on his explanation of the difference between the two, a love note is exciting because it is filled with possibility rather than expectation.  Sure, you don’t expect to open my little note on Thursday and find something mean spirited, but the reason why you look forward to these notes is because anything is …

Tianshan and Xuelian Feng

The image of mountains and the lake on my website are incredibly meaningful to me.  My first Chinese professor at the University of Pennsylvania gave me a most beautiful and strong Chinese name.  It was less of a phonetic copy of my English name and more of a destiny decision.  By giving me this name he provided me with an invitation to be more, to see more and to know more than I ever dreamed possible. My Chinese name, in pinyin is: Feng Xuelian Xuelian Feng is the highest peak in the Tianshan mountain range in what is now Xinjiang, China. Xuelian means “snow lotus” and it is an actual flower that grows in this mountain range.  Not the most beautiful flower, as it grows through ice and snow, it is a most tenatious little floral.   Whenever I meet any adversity in my practice or off my mat, I think of my Chinese name and I know that there’s just about nothing I can’t do. I hope that you have a teacher who planted …

Yoga for Women

I am so delighted and honored to have been invited by The Yoga Room in Warren, Ohio to facilitate a workshop on the lunar cycle and womens’ health. In this workshop for women we will explore various cultural, physical and emotional beliefs around transitions in the menstrual cycle. For this experience, we will focus on the moon cycle that brings women through a variety of energetic wisdom cycles that are separate from the menstrual cycle.  Through visualization and meditation, we will learn a specific technique to tune into this energetic moon cycle and to use this cycle to support our creativity, decision making and intuitive trust.  Next, we will explore yoga poses, energy practices and aromatherapy that supports hormone balance, cardiovascular and reproductive organ health and sexual energy through pre-menopause and menopause.  Although this session will be about the cessation of menstruation, the techniques and yoga tools provided will be useful to women in all phases of menstrual cycle and experience. Participants will explore the anatomy of menstruation and the cessation of menstruation from the …