Irresistible #mudra

Young Pine, December 2021

As in the writing of this blog, I am very mindful of the new year. School is a tough place to be during the continued pandemic. As such, I plan and practice in 2022 with the intent to engender and model compassion for both to myself and others, as well as seek out and build relationship with other-than-human entities without attachment to nostalgia and antiquarianism (Rasmussen, p. 21). As such, my experiences with yogic traditions and practices and its internal and external dialogues are nourished and refined infusing and cultivating these relationships through the language and process of Nonviolent Communication (#nvc). Further, compassionate communication does not occur in a vacuum, nor requires a certain religiosity or ideology or refutation, as consciousness and intent can be expressed through silence and our quality of presence (Rosenberg, p. 7). As such, I strive to cultivate this awareness and connection to moment in community as both the catalyst for and the #healing itself in all interactions and situations.

The simple ways to cultivate connection daily becomes the practice itself; these include, but are not limited to the following for me:

  1. Dancing
  2. Playing xx (e.g., music, music, climbing up a tree)
  3. Learning (e.g., a new languages, skills, perspectives)
  4. Sharing

Today’s first practice of 2022 utilizes mudra, affirmation/mantra, pranayama, movement/asana, and visualization. Please feel free to explore the readings that inform this practice and explore other offerings in platforms listed below. As always, I invite you to practice in the spirit and intention using the processes and language of nonviolent communication (more details below).  You can find a link to January’s first LIVE practice here.

Mudras in Today’s Practice

Kalesvara Mudra is dedicated to the deity, Kalesvara, who rules over time.  In this mudra, we place our middle fingers together, touching the first two joints of the index finger and thumb tips.  Bend the fingers not touching inward with the thumbs pointing toward the chest and spread your elbow widely to the outside  (Hirsch, 134).  

Benefits:  This mudra is said to strengthen memory and concentration as well as calm agitation.  It can also support new habits (like those many new year resolutions wish to encompass), helping change character traits, supporting memory and concentration, and/or eliminating addictive behavior; with this in mind, it is recommended that it is practiced 10-20 minutes each day for this intent  (Hirsch, 134). 

Suggested Affirmation:  I enjoy being xx [this] or xx [that] (Hirsch, 135).

Visualization:  Imagine a situation or scene in which you act and react in a new way. 

Pranayama:   Take 10 long deep even breaths, listening and observing your breath, and lengthening the pause after the inhalation and exhalation evenly as we progress (Hirsch, 134).

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Nonviolent Communication (also called Compassionate Communication) carries the assumption that we have a shared desire to give and receive from the heart.  Thus, even yoga practice can cultivate compassionate communication which fosters listening, respect and deep empathy and engenders this mutual desire to give from the heart (Rosenberg, 12) both to ourselves and the greater world (when we are ready).  Whether this meets you in disbelief or in possibility, I invite you to explore the process through our practice together or further reading.  The four components are::

  1. Observation
  2. Feelings
  3. Needs
  4. Request

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References for this practice:

Hirschi, G., Grimm, C. M., & Ito, J. (2016). Mudras: Yoga in your hands. Weiser Books. 

Rasmussen, Rune H. (2021). The Nordic Animist Year. Nordic Animism.

Rosenberg, Marshall B. (2015).  Nonviolent Communication:  A Language of Life. PuddleDancer Press.

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We invite You be part as #EMY expands.  Please visit us on our new platform or YouTube channel (links below).  Your support has made this possible, and We appreciate You!

EMY on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvMnkeD2ZpGCszoQte51a0A

EMY Blog:  https://irresistiblecircumstances.blog/

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Please explore more of the beautiful music (and inspiration to stay strong) on Fred Altensee’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4RM

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Irresistible #Connections

November Garden 2021

https://youtu.be/mTEdTbYa0I0

This 50-minute practice is the first of three in a series as the Northern Hemisphere moves into the winter months and busy holiday season.   November’s theme on EMY is connection to #moment through practices using visualization, movement in and out of familiar postures, and breathwork using the language of nonviolent communication (#nvc). Be blessed in your abundance and practice.

November 1, 2021 – Connection to #moment

Irresistible #winter

November 2021

The hardest part of moving from autumn to winter is #change in sunlight. As the Sun moves further south with each passing day, I am pulled to hibernate, drawn to the warmth of a hot cup of tea, a book, a hot steamy bath, and my legwarmers. Moving into the busiest part of the year causes great conflict within, waves of uncertainty. To combat this, I use my practices to connect to the #moment, spending even the smallest moment of time outdoors in Sun, tapping into this beautiful affirmation. The familiar warmth reminds me of familiar postures that I return to again and again for grounding, balance, and hope through the pain of season, mental fatigue, and existential crisis. I know that winter will make practices like this impossible for a time and I will miss the sweet familiarity of cold mornings and warm afternoons; the butterflies will migrate or hibernate and leave only dried cocoon upon dying perennial, the Cuban tree frogs will return to warmer haunts, and our neighborhood duck families will swarm our lawns picking grubs and bugs and leaving not-so-beautiful reminders that in Spring we will have new little duck babies. The mornings would be shrill without wonder and curiosity, such as that of our last new moon and Samhain reminding us of the tenuousness but abundance of this moment; creativity through winter seasons sustained and fed by our connection to this.

November’s theme is connection to #moment through practices using visualization, movement in and out of familiar postures, and breathwork using the language of nonviolent communication (#nvc). Today’s LIVE practice on EMY’s Facebook goup is the first of three in a series as we move into the winter months and busy holiday season in the Northern hemisphere.  

For my friends in the Southern hemisphere, this practice is equally powerful. As the focus of practicing #nvc is the practice of grounding in the return to our familiar Earth, so, too, is exploring and cultivating #space where all the elements are balanced and nourish and support us.  May you be blessed in your #abundance and setting.

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Below are more resources for these practices, which draw upon work of Marshall Rosenberg and his student, David Weinstock (links below), and their exemplars of grounding and mindfulness practices to cultivate and sustain the language of nonviolent communication (NVC).

For more on NVC:

David Weinstein on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-What-…

Classes with David Weinstock (and so much more!)

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More about NVC, Marshall Rosenberg, and the Center for Nonviolent Communication

https://www.cnvc.org/node/243492

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EMY on Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvMnkeD2ZpGCszoQte51a0A

#irresistible stories


It’s a humid Monday morning, the week before Halloween. I’ve been toying with new ideas in the classroom in my head all weekend. Our big district shared a “retelling” of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi to teach author’s purpose and comparing and contrasting the presentation across multiple mediums. I’ve never been a huge fan of this narrative, mostly because of its origins and underpinnings, but our class will get a chance to see Nagaina and discuss her character traits. And I, the teacher, may get to hear those robust ELA words like “cold”, “capricious,” “calculating,” and “cruel.”

The thing about stories is that they retell all on their own through what we read, hear, and tell. To adequately improve reading comprehension, one reads. It helps to have a guide, and thanks to the Internet and the fabulous watered down curriculum, I have everything I need to teach: links, 100 page guides, teacher guides, powerpoints, and a sad, sad retelling. A retelling that no student or teacher would parse those robust ELA words like “cold”, “capricious,” “calculating,” and “cruel” from the district’s retelling of the “epic” battle of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Nagaina. Maybe that’s the point (to not replicate another feminine demon?). And after three days of graphic organizers and questions that loop about the point in the roundabout, convoluted way, I told students to submit their work. Let’s read the actual story.

It’s a humid Monday morning, the week before Halloween. I’ve been planning the stories I wish my students to read, hear, and tell, so that maybe one day soon in discussion I’ll hear those robust ELA words like “cold”, “capricious,” “calculating,” and “cruel.” And I’ll be able to counter them–as Nagaina would do for her children. Or better yet, my own students will counter them with new words of their time, place, and setting; but that’s another story.

irresistible #algorithm

October 2021

I’m working on this complicated algorithm in my head. It fits not the rhyme or measure of my #thought and current realities, but patterns itself in #memory: the phases of the moon, the rising and setting of the sun, the taste of the morning breeze, the call of birds in neighboring trees, the traces of summer last in the garden, the footstep of my lover, and the scratch of the cat on the front mat. I can almost, almost hear this algorithm, maybe a frequency undiscovered? There’s a heaviness to it, like gravity or dense matter, but there is infiniteness, too, within its formulas. I’m working on this complicated algorithm in my head and how to write this in symbols and letters and numbers.

irresistible #planning

Elijah Clarke, October 2021

It’s Saturday, and I’m sitting down to plan. I had the opportunity for a planning day at school yesterday, away from the constant hums and bangs of the classroom; this being one of the first ones in 5 years or so that involve me carving out personal time, which–since Covid–has seemed so precious. Planning next steps felt a little easier than during the huge uncertainties of 2020, the election of Biden, my husband’s retirement, and hybrid digital format, but the “survival” line of thinking habit is so hard to break. It’s hard to shut down the necessities, self-created in a bygone error for a system that wholly operates digitally now. Learning is, indeed, all about connections, inter- and intra-personal ones. Learning with “survival” thinking–for both the student and teacher–is fodder for getting the same results, declining test scores, especially now that 2021 has brought a new set of uncertainties.

To break out of survival thinking and #moveforward, I’ve been setting myself up with a new set of skills, trying to think away from the idea of higher certifications (although I am pursuing them currently) and into other realms. I learned to do this fluidly last year, creating realities (in this crazy hybrid virtual and realtime, synchronous S&#! show) where there were none for #compassion and #listening so #needs and wants could be heard. I also learned what NOT to repeat from face-to-face past school years, and carry this into planning for the academic school year and retiring common core standards (more to come after training on the NEW new standards once again–my third cycle).

Teachers know the realities of any regular year–the traumas we experience or observe in others, but try to ignore. Once you are aware of an injustice or a circumstance, how can we just ignore it away? The public school systems of the United States have perpetuated many injustices, which cannot be ignored or silenced. Covid laid to bare this at an alarming rate, and we just didn’t have time to argue too much about academic excellence and dress code. Nor plan.

This greater issue for me personally was, and still is, sustainability. I’m constantly looking for an even #exchange of energies here, and constantly reminded we are a business transaction, a human resource (which is smaller in my district than the money dedicated to digital infrastructure). Yet, too, as a teacher and learner, I’m reminded here that I have agency. I try, instead, to learn new skills and explore outside of the box, moving forward. We have to learn how to give and take ourselves, and how to model this #balance in a world under great change. It’s a huge step forward for me to carve out time to plan, to understand its importance, and to be focused in something I once felt a great deal of #passion for, even though its #burdens are not sustainable.

Skill-building is just a fancy way of saying #practice (in my opinion) with a little planning. Here’s some actions I’m currently using as I #plan for opportunities:

Planning – Dream, List, Break apart, Chew On, Brainstorm, Revise, Reflect, Analyze, and Stick To

Getting outside – Camp, hike, sleep, hang out, take pictures, watch the skies, dream

Building intra and interpersonal skills with the goal to be connected to others. To hold and be held in their love. There’s sustainability in this :). What’s your attachment style? – One survey for this here.

Learning a language (or two) – I wrote my first one in German (it’s Haiku–the structure provides me much without getting into my own inner patriarchy) – might share it here.

Reading, writing and creating – A blog, a book, a poem, a video, a website, a masterpiece, a doodle.

Moving – move earth, pick up things, move air, flow like water, breathe the sky, dance, shimmy, move

Learning – Take a class (even if you don’t want to) – Anything! Today’s for me are mostly for professional development but I believe there’s always something to learn and #practice. I practice #NVC in those times of ennui and complete disbelief (there are times when a sense of humor comes in handy and #abandonment is a better course of action).

Practicing with awareness, #NVC, Yoga, Meditation. Turn it into #daily #ritual.

Putting myself out there – EarthmotherYoga is transforming into a business.

Listening without Judgement and Teaching with that in mind and #heart

Here’s one of my favorite videos on how to make #connection and building skills of #listening. May we all be blessed in our #abundance and #practice done and shared in Love.

irresistible #rebellion

Elijah Clarke, October 2021

It’s Wednesday. I am already feeling the pull of rebellious #aquarius, providing plenty of #excuses for Thursday. I look to the #skies for #signs. Wonder about the weather, even though I’m indoors all day long. I look to the skies for signs. Wonder about the weather. And begin #practice.

To embrace the darkness, I focus on the horizon. Night distinct from morning, which creeps even now at 4 a.m. Night is set apart by urban lights, twinkling awake, like the quiet stars hidden from the moment by this process. I draw a #rune, consider the whole and then the parts. Like the #night, there is #wisdom there for me. I embrace this #stillness and say a #spell, words falling deliberately and intuitively, like the quiet stars illuminated in the moment by this process.

Wednesdays bring an awareness of how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go. It’s a campfire kind of day; I want to sit around and stare into a fire, not really doing anything (because you know you must do something, most preferably, sooner than later).

It’s Wednesday. I am already feeling the pull of rebellious #aquarius, providing plenty of #excuses for Thursday. I look to the #skies for #signs. Wonder about the weather, even though I’m indoors all day long. I look to the skies for signs. Wonder about the weather. And begin #practice.

My Wednesday practice is full of #learning. I listen to podcasts, music, catch up on lessons in classes I’m taking, and focus on hearing other #perspectives. Like Wednesday, this reminds of how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go.

Here’s one of my favorites. Enjoy! May we be blessed in our #abundance and practices. #loveisall #loveislove #nvc

Irresistible #water

Did you send the #pain to hobble me
Take my word for what i see
Read my face, and you will know
 our ocean tide does ebb and flow
Where one begins, one dissolves;
in pain of #change, our world evolves
You watch it now, you know who
does my pain still strengthen you?
Take my word, it's mine alone
I'll claim this pain as my own.

We began summer school in a hurry this year. I took the four days off and went to the beach just about every day, washing myself of the Covid-19 school year in the beautiful elements at Canaveral National Seashore. During the last few weeks of school, I was fortunate enough to complete a long-awaited PD on Restorative Practices (https://www.iirp.edu/) and expand upon this through classes and continued learning at Embodied Philosophy (see below).

As the circle is an indispensable tool for restorative practices, I begin my 10-week, 3rd grade summer camp with a circle, a safe container. I’ve been out of the 3rd grade classroom for about 6 years now, and got my one-year stint at Civics teaching (a very interesting and polarizing subject with the events of January 6th). Civics is a difficult subject for adults, let alone adolescents. The switch to third grade was welcome, and needed as I will the 7th grade English language arts teacher next year.

This summer, circles are more of a tool for me, a common ground where this new class could establish dialogue and safe sharing. Throughout June, I will weave mindfulness practice into this school world. As predicted, there are many obstacles and challenges with cultivating a space of equanimity and compassion. I continue to work on these through unexpected (but not really) outbursts and tears (there have already been a lot of them). Bandaids and ice are wonderful in the moment, but the real work starts in circle.

This blog is a place to reflect and regroup, as well as practice words of NVC. From what I have experienced in 7 days, we can all still use more compassion and time to build trust before tackling learning challenges. There is strength in our differences of #perspective. Irresistible Circumstances was (and still is) inspired by my dear friend and extraordinary teacher, Danielle, who left this world 6 years ago. Her sweet, yet fierce, perspective has sustained my professional passion in any classroom or grade level. Her friendship was and is still a precious #gift, as her work touched so many students and colleagues. Irresistible Circumstances is a blog to share #perspectives and #goodwork which bring about positive change and healing.

Below is the first in Earthmother Yoga’s June 2021 series, inspired by readings, study, and practice of NVC and restorative practices during this summer, post-Covid-19 school year, Yay, for being without the onerous and mind-frazzling requirement of hybrid learning (no live and face-to-face synchronous learning)! June’s focus continues practices for #connection drawing on the elements based upon work of Marshall Rosenberg and his student, David Weinstock (links below), and their exemplars of grounding and mindfulness practices to cultivate and sustain the language of nonviolent communication (NVC).

Last week, we began with Earth (video embedded below), our home with present, familiar footing. Here we will continue to find common ground with ourselves and others. Today, we will expand and explore Water through our #practice of stepping into the deep waters of our emotions, and then returning to common ground in continued awareness of movement and breath. Today’s practice will be posted on Youtube following our live session.

Please help EMY grow by enjoying, sharing, and subscribing my channel. And, thank you!

For more on NVC and June’s practice series:

David Weinstein on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-What-You…/dp/1973115492

Classes with David Weinstock (and so much more) https://www.embodiedphilosophy.com/

More about NVC, Marshall Rosenberg, and the Center for Nonviolent Communication

https://www.cnvc.org/node/243492#abundance#earthmother#yogawitch#safeschools#irresistiblecircumstances

Earthmother Yoga on FB:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/669774807091487/

Please help our musicians and artists, by supporting and sharing. Here’s a favorite new discovery!

Beautiful music to #practice with:

Irresistible #organization

All the Elements 
Came to play
Danced and sang
And went their way
Fire in Moon
Moon in Fire
The South whispered secrets
Of North's dark desire
Bring me your frankness
Your spices and ice
Weave in the lemongrass
Bundle this tight
Walk all the quarters
Crouch on the ground
Fill sacred space 
With a Leo's Moon Sound.
All the Elements 
Came to play
Danced and sang
And went their way.
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#fullmooninleo

In previous incarnations, prior to the imminently eminent momentary unknowns and everyday survival modes of 2020, I was a sloppy #yogawitch. Not a person to methodically organize my life was I, any facet, focused more on the only structure I learned: language. Going through the motions of life while learning the rules through reading and writing #teaching and #practice’s purposeful mistakes, splitting infinitives deliciously aimed at irritating my perceived naysayers. Breaking small rules was an unconscious act of intention awry–a small wickedness and hidden pleasure. Over time, I let this go, confronting and discarding these darknesses hidden to me.

Shadows still dance in my inner realms and these, my familiars, I have learned to organize and call upon to move me past my disorganization and anxieties (I simplify here–there are many helpers involved). I can find these readily in myself and, as such, I began to see them in other places, outside my purview, in the collective. Last night’s full moon allowed these to dance and sing about us in our Full Moon circle. I hear and see those beautiful poetic birds of mystery; you can see them, too, maybe? They are here and here and here and here and here and every morning on my morning playlist (maybe you’ll find comfort and strength here, too?). The sound (not the words), as #memories fills my sight, organizes my Day and Night; my flow feels genuine and intuitively organized.

This is not to say I don’t recognize the sharp oppositions in play in the greater world–only my tiny justification of how presented before I saw my inner chaos. In those “other” roles and realms, those of mother, wife, teacher, daughter, sister, friend, employee, adult, woman, shadows pooled: a stack of dishes; a pile of laundry (clean and folded–or dirty); #practices scribbled down in the wee hours of the morning to do again (as if); a teacher closet with an #abundance of learning unused and a file cabinet of empty files which commiserates; a grocery list with items circled and forgotten; a bottle or two of lotions and perfume I’d never put on (the glass extraordinarily, iridescently filling spaces). Abundance of words and worlds I possess and reflect upon–light bouncing off every corner of my mind; the fast pace of my physicality finally caught up to me, and my body had to slow down, creating a new spaces and organizational flows.

Death is a real thing to me now. There. I said it. I wrote it. Death is a real thing to me now. Understanding comes from experience, I think. What was 2020 but one long catalog of lessons in being alright in the moment while doing what is epically needed to be done? And I understand I get confused, I get things wrong, I make typos, I run around in circles (literally) while I think of what I am doing, and I fucking procrastinate every hard task (as I am doing today), but I understand that each moment is predicated on the words I say to myself–spoken or carried within my thoughts (an element in myself). Beautiful organization takes time, and that same messiness in discovering this, carried me through 2020. Processing in new ways (and historical ways to me on Erika-Standard-Time) allowed me to handle death in the classroom.

My day-to-day as a teacher in a hybrid classroom during the pandemic is predictably challenging; we all do the best we can in our levels of awareness to #balance and ground and survive. I return to language here–mostly poetry (in all Her forms) and runes (ancient communication). And then, I enter our classroom and continue to practice the appropriateness and preciseness which convey the standards as equitably and compassionately as I am able. This is #goodwork, and this is happening all over our building–some teachers have multiple areas to teach (#gratitude for how they still do the same in separate spheres of realities). As I, too, run for the bigger classroom for my bigger face-to-face classes with my computer screen projecting my shirt and lanyard, with mouse and sheets of paper in tow, always one dropping to the floor), I’m learning to quell the words of self-doubt in mind which causes us to waffle in indecision at the most critical time for language–6th period!

I know I am not alone. I feel the energies move through me as shadows, pooling and accumulating in great abundance; warnings to be careful what type of #abundance one calls. This organization destined to fail: “Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer;/Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”. The pace is harried and my husband reminds me at home I don’t need to run to bed, and in his calm way, guides me to see my organizational spaces work both ways: to let out as well as in.

Here I linger on a blog. I let my mind get lost in those words that bounce around and catch in the shadows’ dark pools. I let the greater picture captivate my inner sight, the soft rhythm of a needed day off (one which I promised would involve grading). I am no longer a sloppy #yogawitch; today’s plans include my abundance of #dreams and #goals. This, the continued practice of letting Death’s presence remind of Life’s import, helps create and maintain #irresistiblecircumstances wherever I go.