Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Place Where The Light Enters - Big Yoga

Welcome to the Big Yoga/JunoActive blog!  I’m excited to share with you the big-ness of Yoga—from the physical practice of Hatha Yoga to the more subtle practices such as meditation, self-inquiry, and devotion.  Yoga is an ancient tradition. The physical postures--Hatha yoga--were developed to enhance flexibility and comfort in the body, allowing the yogi to sit undistracted for long periods of meditation.  The ultimate goal was to realize the true nature of the Self, which is peace and supreme bliss.

You may have had a taste of that connection during a yoga class, or in a simple yet profound moment watching an exquisite sunset or a baby sleeping.  Suddenly, the mind is quiet and we feel suspended in time, peaceful and content.  That’s the sweet feeling that has kept me coming back to Yoga for over 40 years!

I want to share a little bit of my personal story.  I started studying Yoga back in the late 60’s, took a teacher training in 1978, and have been teaching ever since.  Recently,I moved to Yogaville, an Ashram community, after the devastating loss of my son, Sam.  At age 31, he was much too young to leave this earthly plane, but God had other ideas.  I came to Yogaville to spend time among old friends, meditating, chanting, and deepening my practice and enjoying the healing energy of the ashram.   Often we come to a spiritual practice because we are hurting.  In the words of poet and mystic, Rumi, “The wound is the place where the Light enters”.

If you’re interested in Yoga simply because you want to stay in shape, you won’t be disappointed!  There is a wide variety of poses, vinyasa flows, breathing techniques, chants, meditations, and guided relaxations that can be used as a way to firm up, settle down, expand your consciousness and minimize stress.  I look forward to sharing the wisdom of Yoga to improve the quality of your life, and the lives of all you love.

Meera Patricia Kerr
Author of BigYoga: A Simple Guide for Bigger Bodies

Monday, April 14, 2014

Springtime Renewal


Am I the only woman out there that has the hardest time with spring? While all my friends are enjoying the sunshine and planning trips to the beach, I find myself in the midst of an existential organizational crisis. The beautiful weather fills me with the overwhelming need to clean, organize, purge, dust, and all in all, make things fresh. I cannot sit still for the urge to renovate and renew.

It is for this reason that each spring, I have to remind myself that in the midst of all of this energy, I need to remember to focus some of that energy inwards. In other words, these beautiful days are also the perfect time to dust off spiritually. What is the best way to do that?

Walking meditation.

In Trail Dames, we have several leaders that host Meditation Hikes. These are hikes in which we walk quietly, focusing on being present with the sights, sounds and smells of growth. Often we will gather for a guided group meditation, focusing on a particular thought, like gratitude, acceptance or joy.
Often, however, I will find myself doing walking meditations all by myself. Sometimes I chose to concentrate on my breath….inhaling and exhaling with purpose and intent, while other times I will chose a mantra to repeat over and over as I walk. I am open to love, and opportunity is one of my favorites, along with 'I am enough.' That one always resonates with me. Finally, when I need to just clear my mind, I rely on the simplicity of rhythm and numbers. Counting to four with each step, over and over, can work wonders with stilling the chatter and movement of the mind. Spring brings with it such a sense of energy and rebirth that it can be easy to get swept away with it, stepping outside of ourselves and dancing with abandon. Enjoy this dance and joy of the season, but remember to stay connected to what is within. What better way to do that then hiking with purpose, surrounded by the smell of wisteria and the sound of birdsong?

Go for a walk……and enjoy your spring!

Anna Huthmaker

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