Yoga Dance

Dance With Yoga Asana. I choreographed and performed this a couple of days ago. It was a lot of fun and very healing. Feeling that creative energy flowing. Excited to put on a show! I hope to write and dance more soon. ❤

Tiff

Advertisements

Restoring Under the Hammock

Just a short drive from the overdeveloped madness of South Florida , is a state park called Highland Hammock. The drive and the surrounding town, are not spectacular, but as soon as you enter the park, you enter another world.

Highland Hammock is one of the oldest state parks in Florida. There are trails all around the park. And all of the trails are so different. So beautiful. So healing.  There are Oak trees that are estimated to be over 1000 years old. Cypress swamps, and wildlife, we saw so much  wildlife.

P1110083
Barred Owl

Some of the park feels very prehistoric. Especially the Cypress swamp. Early in the morning on a hike, I spotted a cottonmouth, a very venomous snake, swallowing a large fish. We watched in fear and amazement, as the snake unhinged its jaw, and swallowed this fish.

P1110029
Cottonmouth Eating a Fish

 

We camped in one of the primitive campsites. As the sunset, with the clear sky, and the new moon, the stars were bright and beautiful. I saw a shooting star. I made a wish.

The whole trip was so restorative. We hiked slowly on the trails. We gazed up at the stars. We hugged trees. I did Restorative yoga everyday, (which my son called “sleeping”), and we ate good nutritious food.

 

We saw deer, pigs, hawks, osprey, owls, turtles, alligators, snakes, opossums, armadillos, and even two river otters.

Being in nature is so healing. Like a soul shower. We feel balanced.

Nature is the best teacher. We can never have enough nature.

P1110184

~Tiff

 

Sacred Land

A few months ago, I attended a Mayan New Year Ceremony, with my family, a close friend and her children.
The Ceremony was performed by two Mayan Shaman, behind a small house in a “bad” neighborhood in Lake Worth (South Florida). The yard was situated right next to the train tracks. And the trains pass by several times a night. And here was this magical ceremony, incense, resin, flowers, candles, and other offerings. Nature mandalas of flowers and pine cones.  We circled around the fire while the shaman chanted magic ancient wisdom.

Beautiful people, gathered together to honor our Sacred Earth, cleanse, purify, bless, and welcome a New Year, a new cycle. Much of the ceremony was in Spanish, and I was surprised how much I understood.

One of the Shaman called out the names of sacred places all around the World. He called out the names of the Oceans, the Mountain Ranges. He instructed us to invoke the Energy of East, West, North, and South. He told us to “Bend down and kiss the Earth, this Sacred Land”. Even in this crowded overdeveloped area, you can feel the pulsing of Mother Earth. Even in this crowded overdeveloped area, this bad part of town, the Divine is here, and the land is sacred.
I often think about that ceremony, it was extremely beautiful and powerful.Sacred Earth. All is connected.
OM~Tiff

Purifying Force

A few nights ago, at sunset, I taught yoga on the beach to my very dear friends.We started class, soaking our feet in the water. (Partially because of an injury to my foot. A very sharp piece of wood stabbed through my shoe and straight into my foot, two days ago, and it hurt and was beginning to look infected). We put ocean water in our mouths, to taste, to feel, to cleanse, to connect. We “washed” our bodies, rubbing magical ocean water on our arms, shoulders, face, third eye. Feeling both the vibrations of the setting sun and the rising moon, we did the first part of class,standing in the water. The waves were strong and splashed up on us, forcing us to balance with strength and flexibility. 

There was a powerful energetic intensity to that class, it felt like a huge energetic upgrade. That sensation of floating between two magnets.Physically our practice was soft. Energetically, so strong.  The wind blew with purifying force. I felt so free, at peace, energy pulsing. We all shared wide grins. Our energy was so open, so connected. We were absorbing the magic of the sea..

IMG_4394

We celebrated the Full Moon in Scorpio.  Earth Day.  We went to a Drum circle, dancing with the moon as she rose over the ocean..

It seems  like most people I know are going through some heavy stuff. Emotional basket case time. Detoxing. Cleansing. Processing the reality that this life is temporary. And it goes by so fast. We are all receiving big lessons, along with subtle little messages, reminding us of our true purpose, path, mission. We are being challenged to make changes in how we live. We know there are many problems in our world right now. We have to try as hard as we can to begin to live the solution.

All that you have is your soul. ~ Tiff

 

 

 

Yoga Date- Convention Center Style

On Saturday I went on a “Yoga Date” with a friend of mine. We are both yoga teachers, and mothers, so usually our hang outs are with our children, and include diapers, trips to go “pee pee”, occasional tantrums, and conversations about how yoga has helped save us from complete and total mental breakdown. “I felt like I was going to pull out all my hair and then I did some  sun salutations and now I feel completely renewed.”

My friend Melissa, who teaches Paddleboard Yoga, had a couple of free tickets to an event in Fort Lauderdale called the “Yoga Expo”. I usually avoid the big festivals and events, preferring to practice alone, or outside, but free tickets and a kid free date with my friend, was something I was really looking forward to.

We met up early in the morning and after pushing through some heavy traffic and getting a little lost, we arrived at the  Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.

On the ride down, I drank both coffee and a coconut water. Not a good idea. Because when we pulled into the parking garage, my full bladder was about to explode. There was no way I could make it all the way to the crowded bathrooms!! We giggled and I nervously found a place  in the parking garage to squat down and empty my bladder. Parking garage yoga-malasana pose! My friend shielded me with a yoga mat.. I joked that we would get arrested, and all the yogis would talk about the peeing yoga teacher in the parking garage. We didn’t get arrested. And I felt so much better.

At the expo, we were surrounded by  a few thousand yoga practitioners. Everyone walking around with yoga mats, going from class to class, shopping, and eating “yoga” food. After checking it out and feeling a little overwhelmed, it was time to practice. The event was huge, offering 6 to 7 classes every hour. All day. The classes were packed. Flourescent lighting. We were doing downward facing dog to Beyonce, Pitbull, and some very weird songs about heartbreak.

To be honest, it was hard not to “judge” the experience. The place. The Yoga fashion trend.  The noise! It was so loud.  Once again, I was presented with a big lesson. Tame the mind. Yogananda  wrote that in his early training, his teacher wanted him to go  deep into meditation, but Yogananda was being swarmed by mosquitos. He kept swatting them, getting agitated, and could not meditate. His teacher sat there looking peaceful, deep in meditation, unphased by the mosquitos. His teacher told him to train his mind.

It is easy to relax the mind when in a peaceful setting. The real work is to relax the mind when we are in an uncomfortable setting. Convention center yoga. Take out the tools, and calm the mind. When I was able to get deeper into my breath and be present, the judgement melted away. Yoga always teaches us.

After a couple of flow classes, and with very exhausted legs, my friend and I drove home in the late afternoon. We talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly, of mainstream yoga culture.  And while we both agreed that there are things we don’t resonate with, we both acknowledge that the truly important thing is that more and more people are being introduced and drawn to yoga. So many people find healing through yoga.

20160416_1610391
Post Convention Center Yoga 🙂

Yoga is a path and the wisdom of Yoga unfolds at a natural organic pace. . Even after 18 years since my introduction, I know I am still a beginner. I am still learning and being challenged everyday.

Yes, “yoga” is a huge trend.  And yes, there are problems with our mainstream yoga culture. But truth be told, beyond the expensive yoga clothes,  is the actual practice. A very personal and profound practice. A practice that can truly help heal the world. 

 

~Tiff

 

The Past 6 Months Back in “America”

It feels like many lifetimes ago that we were living in the Azores. Sometimes I cant even look at photos from the Azores, because there are so many people who I love and miss, and the island, well, I miss her terribly. So beautiful. Like Magic.  Atlantis. Mystical. Persephone and the seasons.  There are many reasons why we left, and I know it was the right decision (at least for now). But there is something about that fairy-tale land, that pulls at the heartstrings of all who have lived there. I frequently have dreams of the island.

cropped-p1060848.jpg
My Fairy Tale Land

Anyways,  South Florida is another world for sure. A crazy, intense place to live. I am a person who loves to spend a lot of  time alone in nature. Here, I live in crime filled urban sprawl. There is literally next to no wild space left here, and they just keep developing. Very hard to witness. Along with the unattractive sprawl are these awful, horrible, dangerous, giant roads. Highways, Freeways.Tension makers.  Traffic.

Speaking of roads, My neck is still injured, and recovering. It turns out that I have 4 herniated discs from the car accident. It has been painful and annoying. Lawyers, court, orthopedic surgeons. A very humbling experience. Ginger shots help ease the pain and inflammation, so do essential oils. I might never do headstand or shoulder stand again, with my “neck injury.” But this is life. These bodies are not permanent. I drive to nature. I breathe. I meditate. I stretch. I feel better. I feel gratitude for my body.

 

There are things about life in South Florida that I love. The ocean, the swamp, the Everglades, my yoga classes, theatre, my friends, the weather.  We have been seeing so many dolphins at the beach in the mornings when I teach yoga. And the ocean here is so inviting. So blue. So warm. Nothing like the frigid waters of my home in Washington state! (But I love and miss you Washington.) Anyways, truthfully, there is so much to do here. I feel like we are always on some sort of adventure. I am going on a BIG adventure in a couple weeks. Stay tuned. 🙂

I took my daughter to her first full moon drum circle. She loved it. 2 years old, and she literally danced for hours. It was incredible. She loves to dance. To feel the moon. Almost everyday now she asks,”Drum circle?”  Ha. Hippie Child!

My son, well he continues to amaze me with his art, his singing, his kindness. He is currently in rehearsal for his 3rd production in six months.He has been in shows non-stop since we have been back.  3 plays! He loves it. He shines. Giving him this opportunity to perform, makes my heart happy. Through connections in the theater world, my son has been able to see very amazing performances, almost ever week. The last performance he saw was the Joffrey Ballet. Lucky kid! The world of performing arts.

IMG_2811 (1)
Mother and Son Date At The Theatre

My sweetheart is learning English faster than I thought possible, and he has connected with the much larger than I realized Portuguese community down here. He goes fishing with his Portuguese friends and he  watches soccer at a little Portuguese restaurant near our house. The Portuguese who live in Florida are just as LOUD and INSANE over soccer as they are in Portugal! He fits right in. Ha.

I am choreographing a dance piece with two of my magical mama friends. We are natural dancers, and lucky for us,  there is a mirrored wall where I teach yoga. Right after yoga class, we turn up the music and dance. I love it. Those mornings are so fun. Movement is such an amazing way to process and heal. We Move through it.

I started teaching yoga at a transitional housing program for women. The program takes 10  homeless single women, provides housing, and help, to eventually see each woman transition to independent living.  I have met some very special women there. There is  a yoga room, a very nice yoga room, with every yoga prop one could think of, and we do gentle and restorative yoga.  I look forward to it, every week. Yoga needs to be accessible to everyone.

Quite honestly, I don’t think we will live in South Florida for too long. My gypsy blood is awake and I really miss wild space. Nature. The pace here is too hectic. Crime too frequent. But honestly, there are things and people I am so grateful for. Who knows what the future holds.  So I am going to do my best to stay present and in gratitude.

With LOVE, Tiff

 

 

 

Studying With The Masters

I had the “karma” to spend the last week studying with a Buddhist Lama, my friend and teacher Geshe Tenzing Tamding. We met 5 years ago.  We became friends, he became my teacher.

 

For 8 days,  several hours a day, I studied with my teacher. These hours, were spent sitting on the floor, with legs crossed, in easy pose (sukhasana), reading sacred texts, meditating, practicing pranayama (breathwork), learning mudras, receiving blessings, listening to Buddhist wisdom, and reciting sacred mantra. Sitting in “Easy Pose” for many hours, is not easy.

My teacher shared many stories of “Yogis” but he was not referring to handstands, or arm balances, or celebrity yoga teachers. He was speaking of awakened masters, mystics, soul shamans. He was speaking of followers of the Dharma.

People started practicing asana (the physical poses), to get the body and mind prepared for long periods of seated meditation. I practice yoga everyday, but there I was studying with my teacher, sitting with a small pillow under me, legs falling asleep, needing to stretch, body and mind exhausted. Even with my yoga practice, my body is not well trained to sit for long periods of time.  And my mind is not well trained to study for long periods of time. Breath by breath..

In the Western world we tend to think of yoga as a physical practice, but in reality, yoga is far more.  There are four main paths of yoga, Bhakti, Karma, Raja, and Jnana. During those 8 days with my teacher, I was challenged to practice Jnana yoga.The Yoga of Wisdom. The most difficult path of Yoga. Intellectual study. Trying to use the mind to transcend the mind. 

I have been a yoga student and teacher for many years now, (practicing mainly Raja Yoga), but the study and practice of yoga is so immense, that I am truly a beginner.

I am grateful and humbled by the teachings and wisdom.

Namaste.

.