New Year’s Yoga

Please come join Jaimie Perkunas and me for New Year’s Eve Yoga at Yoga Oasis Central. This year the practice will go from 10:30pm to 12:30am on December 31st. The practice will involve some movement, some journaling and contemplation, mantra and meditation. If you haven’t joined us for this event in the past, come! It will be a New Year’s experience like none you have had before. Start your 2018 with conscious connection to yourself. 🙏

Keeping on

So it’s been a tough and beautiful few months. I have been through some relationship changes and commenced a master’s program in mental health counseling. There are multiple ways to move through this and a fair amount of experience in my background. I have been through life changes in a myriad of ways: marriage, divorce, moving across the country and starting a new life, watching my mother heal and emerge from a devastating accident, and holding space for my clients and students and friends and family through all of their own joys and losses.

I am practicing having my feelings. I am holding space for my sadness, and letting it be. I am holding space for my happiness and letting it be as well. What else is this yoga practice for, if not this very thing?

Opening to the closing

Here in Arizona the experience of autumn is still a foreign one to me. I grew up on the east coast and even after ten years my internal woodland creature looks for the cooling of the days and the crispness of the air that heralds the onset of fall. Every year come September and October that little creature finds itself confused and turning around in circles trying to avoid the continued heat and seek the brightly colored leaves and harvested squash and apples. Luckily Tucson has mountains, and if I really need a dose of autumn I can drive to it and sit in the smell of deciduous trees.

My internal schoolchild wants to gather up books and buy back-to-school outfits and sit at attention waiting to learn and perform. This year I have embarked on a master’s program journey to get a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. As suits my lifestyle and temperament, the program I have found allows me to maintain my life here in Tucson while pursuing the degree. I am fortunate enough also to have found a program that puts the lion’s share of the work in my hands, from determining due dates and class focus even down to the textbooks and resources I use for each class. It is for me a dream come true, as well as overwhelming.

I can hardly fathom how within just a few short years I will gain the skills to be a qualified counselor, permitted through education and licensure to assist people who find themselves stuck in all the various ways in which we find ourselves. But I can’t help but be drawn here. In both yoga and massage my focus is on gaining skills at navigating discomfort, maintaining a clear mind in the midst of the vicissitudes of everyday living, and utilizing our whole selves in the process. With only body and breath we miss out on the oceanic depth of the emotional and spiritual. Though these are in some senses less tangible they are no less important. Even now research is being done on the interplay between emotional and physical health, between the power of belief and the ability to survive, even thrive.

I am so excited to be here and doing this. I am excited to share it with you and grow in the process. I am excited to be overwhelmed and confused and unsure. I look forward to being exposed and learning how to be more vulnerable and humble. Feel free to come along.

New year, new…

Funny, this time of year. I love the influx of new students, people who have decided that now is the time to institute a yoga practice into their lives. Continuing students both grumble about and welcome the crowded rooms, both to share their love of the practice joyfully and share floor and wall space begrudgingly.

For my part I work to determine how best to introduce this transformative practice to new people while at the same time keeping it enriching to more seasoned practitioners.  And yet it puts me in mind of who I am considering my champion of 2017: Vishnu, the Preserver. 

Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the world, and his consort is the exquisite Lakshmi, she of beauty and abundance. He is, in the acronym of G-O-D, the Operator of the universe.

My culture of origin is not overly concerned with the preservation or the operation or the maintenance of things.  And yet, a yoga practice is, among its many facets, a mundane thing. Once the initial explosion of attraction and discovery has passed (and that can take a number of years, mind you), the practice becomes much less sexy and much more… regular. It has its beauty, no doubt. But the concept of sadhana (studentship) has to do with consistent showing up over long periods of time. And many of the most profound aspects unfold slowly and can only be experienced as the practitioner develops the strength and diligence that long-term practice brings. In this way I am totally a neophyte. I have been practicing for almost twenty years, and yet I have only begun to catch the barest scent of some of these things. I am still what I would consider a meh meditator (meh-ditator) and I have been doing it consistently – if not enthusiastically – for almost eight years now.

But this unsexy concept of the maintenance and preservation of the world, of the universe, has such a sense of softness and welcome to me at this time. I want for myself and for my students and clients and friends and family to feel a sense of welcome and connection to the world and beings around them. I am somewhat weary of the explosive energy of beginnings and implosive energy of endings. I am excited to step into the flow for a while and be part of that. It has the discomfort of pause in it, the space between the inhale and the exhale, the silence before the statement has been made, the waiting time, the during. It is LIFE.

Life is the space between the beginning and the end, made of many of those cycles, but really mostly space. As we are, mostly space. As the entire universe is, from what we can tell, mostly space. I invite you to open to the space and offer yourself to it, veering away from the addiction to big beginnings and showy endings. Let us relax into and celebrate the in-between.

For those whose interest is piqued by this concept, feel free to add some Vishnu into your life through the use of mantra, meditation, and murti. And may we all find peace in our now, exactly as it is.

Continuing forward

This past week left me reeling as it did so many of the people in my circle.  I was reminded how so many of us, in spending time with like-minded individuals, can live inside a bubble of belief that more people are “like us” than we might imagine.  I have also been exposed to many different viewpoints about how to handle the situation in which we find ourselves, and despite my fears and reservations and typical (for me) venturing toward the apocalyptic, I have begun to stabilize and put myself back together.

Byron Katie says “If you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.” She reminds me that if things were supposed to be different, they would be different.  The very definition of the word “should” or “supposed to” indicates a tension between what is and what will be. If things are intended to change, if Trump is not “supposed” to be president, if our country and our world are “supposed” to be different, they will be.  For me this work begins inside myself. It is vital that I continue to meditate, that I continue to remain open to listening to and understanding any other person I encounter, and that I refuse to step into dualistic thinking. For myself I see this polarization as a primary issue, a seductive ideology that allows me to feel righteous and bolstered, and yet does nothing to help heal or connect or move forward.

Thus I do yoga. And I smile at strangers. And I help people when I can, and I take care of myself, and I listen to my heart as it pulls me forward toward unfolding my purpose in this world, Trump or no.

May we all find it in ourselves to soften and open to each other. Namaste

sunrise

Reaping

It seems from what I can tell that this year has been one of reaping. I spoke about it in a class this week, that the reaping has within it the elements of great benefit, as in those that are gained from reaping the harvest, bringing in the gains of one’s investment and time and hard work, as well as the sharp pain of the cutting, the emptying out, the severing of one part from another. My sweet kind yoga friend passed from this plane this week, both expectedly and unexpectedly. For him I sang many rounds of the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra, the Great Death Conquering mantra, whose plea is that to either bring one back from the brink of death to stay with us here in this world, or if not, to let one be cut from the vine, reaped as it were by the great Harvester, bringing the delicious essence of the soul back into the continuum. To allow that cutting to be graceful, merciful, and perhaps even quick. Let the blade be sharp and true.

I feel Tom at my shoulder, behind me, above me, surrounding those of us who knew and loved him as well as those affected by him in more second- or third-hand ways. His genuineness, his insight, his experience, his enthusiasm, and just the weight of his presence, I feel them. The word “guru” can be translated to “the weighty one”. Tom’s very self carried weight to it. When he was in the room there was this groundedness, this feeling of warmth and steadiness. He was a quiet guru, a guru who didn’t ask or desire to be a guru; the best kind. And he always kept learning. He attended classes and trainings and kept growing himself. He was a guru by way of example rather than by telling people what to do or how to live.

I am so grateful to have had Tom in my life, to have him still. Thanks doesn’t touch it, but it’s what I’ve got. Thank you, Tom.

tom

BUTI is here!

Join Tanya for Tucson’s only Buti Yoga class Wednesday evenings at Bodyworks Pilates on River and Campbell at St. Philip’s Plaza! This 60 minute class combines power yoga, tribal dance and plyometrics with emphasis on core strengthening and deep abdominal engagement and awareness. Empower yourself and connect to your beautiful amazing body and self. Welcome to the tribe! http://butiyoga.com/

New Class at Yoga Oasis Central

Tanya is excited to begin teaching Intro 2 Basics at Yoga Oasis Central on September 24th! This 75 minute class is intended to strengthen and build on an introductory practice. Expect attention to alignment, strength building, breath work, and learning about the body and self in and out of practice.

Join Tanya Wednesdays at Yoga Oasis Central!

Want to get your sweat on? Come to Tanya’s newest Yoga Hour class on Wednesdays at 12:15, Yoga Oasis Central.  60 minutes of briskly paced, alignment based hatha yoga will leave you feeling stretched, worked and ready to take on the rest of your day!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I cannot believe how long it’s been since I’ve attended to my website.  As always I am grateful for it, knowing that I can always refer people to this page and rest content in all the work and time that went into putting it together just as I wanted it.

Recently I took part in a workshop taught by the magnificent Stephani Lindsey, bhakti yogi extraordinaire, whose level of practice and knowhow are matched equally by her sweet and open attitude as well as her continued devotion to bettering herself. It was, as she termed it, a “sane and sober” practice, one which through deliberate, slow, thoughtful approaches to the practice resulted in deep, grounded opening and exploration.  In short, I left inspired.

A couple of years ago on a trip back from San Marcos where we went to study with our teacher Christina Sell, Stef and I were talking about missing immersion-style intensives, where you just do yoga for like 6 hours a day.  We were bemoaning the lack of teachers available to put these on in Tucson now that both of our primary teachers of that sort had moved into different aspects of their own teaching.  It became apparent through discussion that if we wanted these intensives to happen, we were going to have to make them happen ourselves.

That’s one of the amazing parts of this practice.  It’s why there are so many freakin’ yoga teachers.  You get caught by the practice.  It entices and ensnares. It beckons you deeper, and the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go.  Sharing that with others is practically a compulsion at a point.  Where you go from there, who knows?

change wordle

The past few years since becoming a yoga teacher I have actually spent a fair amount of my time at my MMA gym. I am often asked incredulously how I blend these two parts of my life.  And yet, in some cultures yoga itself is considered a martial art. Indeed, the focus and endurance that I have learned in yoga, the ability to stay calm amidst waves of intensity, helps me immensely when I’m training and fighting. Conversely, the strength, carefully wielded power, movement awareness and continued inspiration that I sow through MMA lends itself beautifully to my yoga practice.  I mean, one of the most sacred yoga texts, the Bhagavad-Gita, takes place on a battlefield just before a brutal and bloody fight.

There is a sincere beauty in consensual fighting that is unlike anything else I have experienced.  Two opponents testing their skills against one another, each determined to bring their best to the exchange, an exchange that pushes them to their limits both physically and emotionally, it is so very pure.  It takes all the drama and anger away from just simply hurting someone else due to anger or pain.  It’s clean.

Recently I put my best efforts into applying to several graduate programs to further my education in the psychological aspect of health and wellness.  Several of the programs accepted me, and one did not.  This last was a program that I very much wanted, in many ways a long shot.  The rejection itself was not difficult.  I put forth my best effort – I had several chances to make my case as to why I would be a good choice for them.  In the end they determined I wasn’t. I have to trust their expertise.  Amazingly to myself, I was not sad because of the rejection.  As Don Miguel Ruiz says in The Four Agreements, “Always do your best.” I did. So no regrets. My sadness had more to do with the dream, the plan.  In my mind and heart I was already there and it was already in motion.  Having to change everything around and “settle” for a different plan was the hard part.  I’m still working through it, reorienting the momentum of my energy in a different direction.

Again comes both my yoga practice and my MMA practice to save the day. Plenty of times in a practice or a fight, things shift and it is necessary to move with it.  Sometimes the body is limited. Sometimes the mind is limited.  Either way, the plans only take us so far.  My east coast acculturated self has had a lengthy reeducation in this since I moved to Arizona 8 years ago. East Coast = you make a plan, it might as well be carved in stone. Nothing but death will keep me from it. West Coast = Plans? What are these ‘plans’ of which you speak? (Say it a bunch of times.  It will start to sound foreign. Plan plan plan plan plan plan plan planplanplanplanplanplan)

Anyway, point being, life is humming along.  I have a new class I’m teaching on Wednesdays at 12:15. I intend to be teaching a LoveYOBody class soon as well.  And grad school looms shortly ahead.

Come take some yoga.  Come get a massage.  Tell me about your life changes!

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