Posts

With the current corporate boycott of spending advertising dollars on Social Media platforms, it reminded me that I was overdue in speaking out about our departure from Social Media last year, aka Social Media Distancing.

From the time the Information Super Highway was a dirt road, I have been an optimistic pessimist in regards to the Highway …working on that Highway and reading Clifford Stolls: Silicon Snake Oil paved the Highway for me.

At the Sol Center, we had been questioning the efficacy of social media platforms for some time. Cambridge Analytica, constant false news and adverts, personal privacy, the incendiary ramblings of elected officials, etc …it was all really just too anti-social, and not at all compatible with the verdant mindful mission of the Sol Center.

Upon learning about the peril of Suzie Kelly in the Fall of 2019. It became abundantly clear, that it was now the time to depart Social Media platforms with immediate effect, and no longer offer any support to these platforms in any fashion. The business implications of a social media presence for the Sol Center or Natasha could no longer, in any form, be justified …and with that we were gone. From a purely business perspective the decision was difficult, but it was conscience, reasoned, and also very liberating.

The catalyst for this departure came about after reading what had happened with Suzie Kelly’s loss of her retirement savings. The data that Facebook and Aristocrat had compiled about Suzie, allowed Aristocrat’s behavioral analytics to easily recognize and prey upon her gambling addiction, or that of any Facebook user.  Good News! Susie, and two other Plaintiffs were able to reach a class action agreement in principle totaling 155 million in the Spring of 2020.

I will miss the adventures of: Felix at Huddersfield Station, Augie the Plant Doggie, my cousin washing his RV, Sadie Golden, and of course your adventures as well.

To be truly effective in forcing the hand of change on Social Media platforms, an entity cannot simply temporarily or permanently suspend the spending of advertising dollars. Entities must remove themselves from Social Media platforms entirely …and the same for individuals.

I used to teach a lot of yoga, hours every day.  I joked that I was a marathon yoga teacher.  I taught different types of yoga practices in those many hours, it wasn’t all super physical.  It was also in one facility, so I didn’t have to drive hither and yon.  I loved what I did and I made a good living in the days when yoga teaching wasn’t really a profession.

It is said you teach what you most need to learn, maybe that is true.  I guess I needed to learn how to be in my body, how to be myself and connected to something more.  I also learned a lot about teaching, communicating, relating.  For me learning is primarily about self-awareness, and secondarily about information.  This is why I teach Yoga and not history, which was incidentally what I studied as an undergraduate.

For some reason, my desire to talk about the breath today brought me back to reflecting on these early days of marathon teaching.  I taught this morning, a short 75 minute class and everyone was very focused.  It felt like what it took me many years to learn were transmitted and absorbed by everyone in the room.  It was a bit of a time warp really, it felt like we must have practiced for hours to get that deep.  At the heart of this story is the breath.

If you have practiced yoga with me, you will know there is a special way that we breathe.  This comes from my teacher Rama and is the essence of her method, which she will not name.  She calls it Yoga.  There are lots of layers to this method, but in a nutshell it is a way of using the breath to create shifts and changes in our being without activating the ego or the will.  It is a way of working within the yoga poses that takes you into deep states of meditation where subtle conflict is resolved.  It is a way of converting the oxygen we breathe into the prana or energy we need to be both transformed and to maintain our integrity.

How does all this happen through breath?  I wish I could describe it here, I actually have been trying (and editing it out) but it is really something you have to experience.  For now I will simply say what I have said billions of time by now, breathe.

As we approach the Winter Solstice I am reflecting on the last six months since Summer Solstice.  This is the waning phase of the year, the days growing shorter.  Traditionally, this is an auspicious time for planning and preparation.  What have you been up to? What is the theme of your past 6 months?

The Vedic understanding of time is vast and incorporates eons. Our individual lives are part of an enormous whole.  We come from the invisible womb of being and return there, again and again until the soul’s journey is complete.  We are made of stars and possess the innate intelligence of the universe.  This is a theory of course, an ancient way of framing the unknown, a poetic contemplation.  It is true that we are literally made of stars, the same substance of the universe.

Time is personified as Kala Purusha. The word Kala contains sounds related to the beginning, middle, and end of all manifested things.  Purusha is the essence of consciousness, beyond manifestation.  The implication is that we each have a time limited opportunity to express our essence.  We are all bound by time and go through cycles of time; natural, collective, and personal.

Classically, yoga practices are designed to work with natural cycles, to help us be in harmony with the deeper pulse of the planet and cosmos.  For instance, dawn and dusk are the considering the most powerful times to meditate and pray.

Collective cycles relate to our family, our peers, our place on the earth.  Consider your family’s cycles,   your generation’s expectations of life (boomers, x’s, millennials), the cycles of your neighborhood, your city, state, country?   Can you sense how this contemplation of time turns us towards the complicated subject of karma?  Why me?  Why not me?

There is a great Hindu story regarding how personal time cycles affect even the mighty Shiva.   It is believed that we all go through regular periods where the harsh gaze of Saturn tests us and transforms us.  It is called Sade Sati, the 7 ½ years of Saturn, and occurs every 23 years or so in a person’s life. When you are in Saturn’s gaze specifically, depends on personal birth factors.

The story goes that Saturn was the student of Shiva, yet still had to do his duty and cast his terrible gaze upon his guru.  Shiva tried to outwit him by submerging himself in the River Ganges for the entire 7 ½ years.
When he emerged he was delighted with his feat and cried,
“Oh Saturn! What could you do to Me?”
Saturn replied,
“You call that doing nothing to You?”

Where ever you are in regards to Saturn, in regards to your personal cycle, may the new phase of the year bring you deeper peace, greater wisdom, and fruition of your current hopes and dreams.

Happy Solstice, Happy Holidays.

Natasha

 

 

There are 2 Free Mindful Meditation classes in December

December 8th we will honor the mindfulness methods of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Experiencing Mindfulness

December 15th a mindful practice related to the change of seasons.
The Fruitful Darkness: An Evening of Mindfulness Practice

All are invited to attend either or both classes:
Simply register 
No experience is necessary.

 

Ongoing Class

Meditative Yoga Sundays (Class continues uninterrupted thru the Holidays)
10 – 11:30 am at The Movement Shala 435 E. Ninth Street

Class happens every week without fail.  You never have to wonder.  On the rare occasions I am away, one of our regular students, who is also a trained teacher, subs and you get to experience someone else who appreciates meditative yoga.  Downtown is flourishing too, with great places for Sunday brunch- come to class, stay and play!  First time students are always free.
$10 class or $32 for a 4 class pass

 

Upcoming

Winter 2015 MBSR Schedule

MBSR Free Information & Introduction Session For Winter 2015 – Monday January 5th

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program MBSR Winter 2015 – Monday January 12th

Please see the full Schedule and Complete details here

Hello and Happy New Year!

Here’s the current planetary information for the next several weeks.  Please remember this is all viewed from the sidereal perspective- all planets fall back about 24 degrees from the Western astrology placements.  You’ll hear from me again in early March for great news about Jupiter!

Mars’ long transit of Virgo

If you are Virgo Ascendant or have birth planets in Virgo you may want to pay attention here.  Mars began transiting Virgo in late November and will continue along as usual until February 4 when it enters Libra.  This would be its usual transit through a sign, taking about 2 months; but in this case it will stop at 3 degrees Libra and then move retrograde back into Virgo.  Retrograde motion means that the planet appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac.  This will take Mars back into the middle of Virgo until May 20th and then it will move forward again and through leaving finally July 14th.  This means the whole first half of this year Mars is affecting this one area!

Mars in Virgo is a volatile transit in general. Virgo is the sign related to perfection, our urge for things to be done properly.  Mars here could generate an extra dose of frustration and annoyance about how things and people are performing.  Virgo is the sign of health as well, and Mars here can create health disturbances.  The volatility has to do with the fact that Virgo is a sign ruled by Mercury- which is the spark like energy of our mind.  Mars is like a flame to Mercury’s spark thus, handle with care.

I have Ketu in Virgo and have been watching as Mars just transited the exact point.  Like I tell you to do, I note the dates and watch what arises, both within my body/mind and externally.  The first day of the transit I experienced an intense confrontation with someone I work with.  Even before it started I sensed something was going off.  When it was happening I was also aware of the energy and did what I could to be clear and non-defensive.  When it was over I did a little extra to clear up the disturbance between us.  This was my way of being responsive and proactive and keeping the impact minimal.  In addition to this situation I ended up with extra responsibilities during a meditation retreat I was supposed to simply attend, and then got the dreaded chest flu and passed it on to my husband too!  The good news is that I feel like the transit really escalated my meditation experiences and I hopefully now have my immunity in place for the rest of the season!

Ok, there’s a personal story, but the thing for us to remember, is that Mars now is a warm up for Mars later this year!  If you are curious how this affects your chart feel free to contact me for a check in.

Venus Retrograde

We began the year with Venus moving retrograde back through Capricorn.  It will continue this direction all through January.  When any planet is retrograde its energy is disrupted in some way.  It will express itself in a more obvious and yet unusual manner.  *This same principle applies to Mars retrograde discussed above.   Venus’s usual energy is about enjoyment, pleasure, relationship, creative connection so we could say that while retrograde this month you might explore finding enjoyment in something unusual or that it is a good time to reconnect with something or refine something rather than seek out something new.  If you are Taurus or Libra ascendant this retrograde affects you most- things seem to be going a bit slow.

One interesting moment in the transit occurs at the end, on February 1st Venus will station, which means it stops moving backward or forward, and it will be almost exactly opposite Jupiter in Gemini.  These are both the benefic planets, related to what we desire and cherish in this life,  yet they represent different avenues for fulfillment.  Venus is more about material satisfaction, Jupiter intellectual or spiritual fulfillment.  Some astrologers say this opposition can trigger a sense of opposition in us personally regarding these paths, and also some indulgence.  Last time this transit occurred in November I was with 3 great yoga teachers- and there was some opposition going on regarding their teaching methods!  It was interesting to see it through the planetary lens and it was all fine.  Again, February 1st is the upcoming date, see what it brings you!

Also, note that Venus will move forward from there and be in some of its most auspicious zones for the next several months.  This is good news for Taurus, Libra, Capricorn, and Aquarius ascendants.

Hello and Happy Holidays,

It is getting cooler, the day shorter and the holiday season is upon us. Being part Jewish and part Catholic by upbringing, the holidays were always a bit complicated. Peter though plays a good Interfaith husband. Early in our friendship he crafted a menorah for me which we light every year much to my beloved Jewish’s grandmothers delight and his Catholic mother’s chagrin. He also enjoys Chanukah Radio (Ch 111 on SiriusXM begining on the 27th) and gives interesting Christmas gifts.

I mainly love the feeling of the season, particularly the waning of the Sun’s light and the beauty of ceremonial light. Privately we will soon light our menorah, decorate our Christmas bush, string LED lights on the house, and await Santa Pietro. Publicly I invite you to join me for the Circle of Light event December 2 and a Sunset Solstice event December 22. Meanwhile, if you want a good dose of planetary light, Jupiter is currently very bright in the early evening as the Sun sets. Jupiter in Sanskrit is called Guru the dispeller of darkness.

In my yoga practice, Fall has brought some deeper reflection.  My back has been a bit off and I have had to listen more.  Where is this coming from?  What is my body telling me?  What is the message here?  My teacher Rama has always emphasized that the back represents our unconscious, our past; and Yoga is about linking the unconscious and the conscious, the past and present have to be integrated in order to transform our future.  So in this light, I have been taking some time to feel back and process more.   I am slowly coming into a new rhythm.

Next week many of us long time Rama students will gather in Albuquerque to be with Rama and her teaching colleagues Angela Farmer and Victor Van Kooten.  They are pioneers in the modern development of yoga in the West and are now in their 70’s.  While they are vital, there is also a sense of their handing over the torch. In fact, the image of a torch, or flame, is one of the great images of Yoga; symbolized in the heart chakra it is the seat of our intelligence, our soul, and our connection to the eternal truths that can never be corrupted or commodified.

In the middle of the heart is a great fire (Mahan Agni) that carries all light and looks to every side. It is the first eater and dwells apportioning our food, the undecaying seer.          Narayana Sukta