While teaching in our Yoga Teacher Training last month, we told the story of Arjuna from the Bhagavad Gita. As Arjuna came to face the battlefield of his life, I moved through a series of strengthening postures including Virabhadrasana I and II, the Warrior poses. Through the telling of this powerful story, I dove into the valley of confusion of my own life?s battles and came face to face with my inner warrior. Read More
"Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat, Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not even the best. Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice." —Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
For a long time I couldn’t stand hearing my own voice. I would cringe if I heard myself in a recording, a voicemail message, even an echo. I was a quiet child. My voice never came out easily.
Tamika was the first yoga teacher I had who brought sound into the space in a way that challenged me: “Kick your leg out and say HA!” My mouth would open but nothing would come out, and I would just pretend that my voice had joined the others in the class. Eventually though, a tiny “ha” started to emerge. The more I practiced, the louder it got. I could finally hear my own “HA!” loud and clear in the room. But that was just the beginning. Read More
When my father died many years ago I was in tune with the meaning of breath. He took his last breath sitting at the kitchen table in the house where I grew up as if it was his first, quietly exhaling as he let go. A few days later grief stricken and lost I awoke from a restless sleep to the sound of a breath, loud and clear, comforting and loving, reminding me that I would always be connected in the realm of spirit to this dear teacher, my father. Read More
In your mind’s eye, visualize a rubber band. Now see yourself taking hold of it, and giving it one good, swift stretch. Now let go. Did you see what that rubber band did? It snapped right back. Maybe it stung your hand; maybe it flew across the room. That rubber band was exercising its true nature, that of always snapping back to its original form. Read More
Like all of us, at times I have taken my breath for granted. Of course the breath has been with me since the moment I entered the world, but it has truly been through my yoga training that I have learned to use the breath to support and sustain me in my life. At moments when it seemed I was alone, it was there as a trusted soulmate. I can’t think of the number of times that I have called on the deep sounds of the Ocean Sounding Breath to calm my nerves before an interview, a personal conflict in my life, or a sleepless night. Read More
Deepening our Relationship to the Earth
Welcome to the DevaTree Joycast
The DevaTree Joycast is designed to help you playfully nurture your intuition and connect your life to the wisdom of nature in a meaningful way. While we encourage you to approach the Joycast with an attitude of playful curiosity, our reasons for using Nature to convey life messages is rooted in our deep reverence, humility and trust in the Earth. Many people intuitively understand that connecting to nature is necessary for true healing, both as individuals and as a species. At a practical level, it can sooth us, calm our anxieties and invoke our breath to deepen. It can also inconvenience us, unnerve us or scare us with its awesome force and unpredictability. If we admire the beautiful side of nature but feel it is our right to eradicate, sterilize or conquer those parts we dislike or don’t understand, we will likely admire ourselves when life is shiny but reject ourselves when our shadowy side cycles back in. By polarizing in this way, we reject our fundamental nature because like the waves in the ocean we were meant to experience cycles of ebb and flow, light and dark, praise and blame, fame and disrepute. It is the natural way.
So what does it mean to connect meaningfully with nature and where do we begin? Although I faithfully recycle and compost, these are tasks. While helpful, these tasks cannot bring me into a meaningful relationship with the Earth any more than washing my spouse’s car can create the foundation of my marriage. In order to evolve in consciousness, our old attitudes must shift so that we begin to think of the “we” before the “me” not only with each other but also with this planet we inhabit. At its most fundamental level, our real connection with her majesty Mother Earth begins when we simply pay attention and listen. It is actually that simple.
There was a time on Earth when the Sun, Moon, Stars and Weather were held in great reverence and even the sweetness of the wind in the trees or the arrangement of rose petals in the soil meant something. In that simpler time it was not considered hippie, flaky or frivolous to notice the patterns in a piece of wood or the behaviors of the animals. This connection to nature brought these humans into a deeper state of grace and flow, trusting in the rhythms of life and thereby trusting in their own inner knowing.
Because as humans we have elevated ourselves above our flying, furry and sea-dwelling neighbors, the dignity of these creatures has been forgotten, their special place in the scheme of life taken for granted. Just like we were each born with a unique and sacred life purpose, every bug, plant, animal and tree is also here fulfilling its sacred contract. There is a vastness of knowledge, wisdom, love and grace in Nature that is patiently waiting to open up to us. We don’t have to give up our cars or feel guilty for killing a mosquito but we do need to start noticing.
Wherever you are now, inside or outside, take a deep breath and feel your connection to Nature. Next time you walk outside whether on a busy street or a secluded meadow, feel the air on your skin, look for the glistening dew on the grass or smile toward the sky for a moment. Your senses will begin to synchronize with a vibration that is more natural and the path ahead will become more colorful. We hope the Joycast will support you on your journey.
May nature’s blessings Rain down on you,