Shine On: Happy Diwali!


Be Light. Happy Diwali!

Today is one of my favorite festivals in India. Well, except, when I am, actually in India–then it’s a little harrowing, very loud, and driving a scooter across town is akin to traveling across war zones as one needs to weave deftly around pockets of merry-making firework-obsessed celebrants making noise and explosions very few meters from each other.

Diwali is the Festival of Lights. It is a reminder than even in the darkness of the new moon today, that each of us is an oil lamp, that we each have a role of lighting each other’s path.

It has been an amazing period of time for me here in San Francisco. Amazing for all of the gifts, but likewise so were all the challenges. Being stationary for the last 7 months has given me a chance to really sit with myself and stand in my own life–and it was at the darkest stages where I saw the most light. That is the relationship between light and dark, the great common sense between the duality of it.

I am grateful to all those night lights, bright and shiny human beings, who I feel incredibly blessed to know. I also know that in these exchanges, I have been the same, a little light that has helps in the dark.

I like to think that at some point, I should be able to see my own light all the time. Perhaps when that happens, the path disappears and there isn’t anywhere else to go. Until then, let’s tend those oil lamps, celebrating not just the lights all around us, but that deep internal glow that never gets extinguished. Shine on, everyone!

Happy New Moon, as well as Diwali, no class at Mysore SF today. Take rest. See everyone back on the mat on Thursday. 

Little Lights


Little Lights

In the morning class, I start with minimal dim lighting. An alabaster lamp in the corner, one overhead in the back by the doors, and the candles and fairy lights on the altar. Not a lot. Yet over the last two mornings with the room’s electricity not working, I realized how much illumination we had.

Monday, I arrived to find that power was out, luckily Paz had left me with a bag of tea lights and I resorted to sprinkling some 10 candles around the edge of the room. It was amazing to see the room glow, dim as it was. The lights just popped out in the early morning darkness, reminding me that it’s in the darkest moments that we most appreciate the smallest glimmers of light.

And then as dawn comes, streaming inside through the windows, these little lights cease to work in the bright and then they are forgotten. But by then, they’d already lived out their purpose.

These times, when you are given little light, do not fill your mind with worry or frustration that you cannot see clearly, instead allow yourself to see differently. Allow yourself to go into the quietness of such precious little light.

Photo: Pazzifica Ashtanga Yoga at Vacio Espacio by candle light. Happy to report that power is back on as of this evening. We may continue to play with candle light practices but heating will most definitely be on tomorrows’s agenda!

Night Light


IMG_6352On Facebook today, a student in Cairo observed the irony between the region’s complex history of wars, conflicts, killings, assassinations and bombings and the region’s common greeting: “May peace be upon you…”

It made me think how we need light the most in darkness–and how light shines more brightly in the dark.

Perhaps the greeting–born out of darkness–is trying to ignite in the hearts of each individual a sense of peace, or at the very least, the need for it.

Sadly, sometimes the-powers-that-be promote fear and confusion, which obscures the light of hope and justice, and the work of peace falls on the individual. And this isn’t only in the Middle East, but everywhere.

We must ask ourselves then how do I bring peace into my own life? What can I do to shine a light of peace in the dark? And trust that our light will inspire others to shine as brightly.

And more light means less darkness…

The yoga practice, I feel, is an important tool for seeking some personal peace. My time here in Cairo is helping me feel, however, how this personal peace has to expand from the individual to the communal, that our external actions must promote peace around us also. Still, yoga is good place to start. Practice and turn on that night light.

CLASSES: I continue to teach in Cairo for two more weeks, until December 15. Ashtanga Yoga Cairo in Zamalek: Sun/Mon/Wed 6:30-9pm. La Zone, Maadi Degla: Sun-Thurs 7-10am. Final ashtanga workshops in Shanti Yoga Cairo, Zamalek and Maadi December 6-7.  

Photo: Little light show is from a shop in the Souk at Khan el Khalili, Old Cairo.

The Practice, Light & Dark


The Practice, Light & Dark

There are days that practice is full of light, it is illuminating, and we stir from our rest (or savasana) with a sense of being one small step closer to enlightenment.

Then, there are the other times, when practice is like navigating the shadows and we feel obscured by our thoughts, fears, habits, or patterns of behavior.

When we have a light practice, we often rejoice: “Ah, I had a good practice!”

When we have a dark moment: “Oh, I had a hard practice!”

It is all practice. The light. The dark. The shades in between. We appreciate the light because of the darkness, we can discern the dark because we know light. They make the big picture, they make seeing full, nuanced, interesting.
Photo: Mysore practice at La Zone, Maadi