The Frontier of Limits

Are you limited or limitless?


The word "limit" often elicits a rallying cry of "no!" And yet, the etymology of the word "limit" is the Latin word limus, which means "frontier." Frontier implies a much more dynamic and adventurous exploration. I like that; let's explore.


If you weren't limited, why would you come to the yoga space, and with what would you make?


There exists a counter culture movement of "I can do anything! I am infinite! Screw limits!" While this may be true in an energetic or psychological sense, it couldn't be farther from the truth. Your body occupies a defined space and range of abilities. Outside the most superficial layers of your body is definitely not you--it's where you end. There are clear delineations of your structure, including cognitive limits, mechanical limits, and dynamic limits. You will not go on forever. And your limited embodiment allows for a mode of engagement. You can do and make and create with what you've got.


I think limits are cool, and offer perspective as well. They illustrate a vantage point of choice. You can stay at your limits, do less than your limits allow, or go beyond your limits. All modes are valid.


Limits provide an ability to measure. If you didn't have limits, you couldn't be limitless. I'd argue that because you are bound to something, you are also inherently limitless. And, limitations are also not set in stone. Your levels may shift (increase or decrease). Your effort has a direct impact on this.


In yoga class, you meet your limits head on. The beautiful complexity of you that prevents you from levitation or innately floating up to a handstand also let's you make yoga poses! You can form side angle pose because you have bones and muscles that work in that way. And you will run into and rub up on your limits in these tense moments. The checks and balances system of your limits are sensation and pain. Once you know where you are, you can choose. Do I stay here? Blow past? Pull back? Consider how you proceed in these situations and more as you move.


You in your life also has limits. You can't do it all, but you can do something. Where do devote your limited capacity? Do you stay at your limit, recoil and do less, or break through and do more?


May you be an adventurer of limit. May you know where you're going, what you've got, and hold true to your limited limitlessness.


The word of the day is divine. It's a weighty word. What meaning does the word divine evoke? Think on that for a bit.


Holy, spiritual, something else? Sure, why not.


Words adapt with culture. They are like tiny myths and stories that evolve over time. You can garner an interesting perspective when you explore the etymology of a word.


If we go back in time a bit, the word divine at one point meant "to conjure," "to guess," or "to make out by supernatural insight." Think of the word "seer" or "soothsayer." Interesting! Nothing too holy there.


If you travel even farther back, divine harkens to the word deus, or, "deity." The farthest back I can find is the root word dyeu, which just means "to shine."


Divine means just to shine!


I love this. To be divine is to radiate something--to emit. From an internal locus, you to turn to, participate in, and be alive in the world. It isn't an exclusive club, or something for only the uber pious. We can all do that. We all do that already. It's called waking up!


In the yoga tradition, Surya is the lord of the sun. He is the great emitter. He is not cryptic or unavailable; he is accessible to all. Look up and he's there. Surya represents an overtly visible form of the divine; you can plainly see him day by day by simply showing up in the world. He is a reminder that we all emit.


If that's our definition of divine, we are all certainly conjuring and shining in yoga. No extra effort needed. We step into the fullness of a self-driven experience. We gather, create something, and emit bit of heat, austerity, and effort. We turn to our own sun, to our own divinity, to ourselves.


Just being here, in this space, on this earth, today, now, is divine. We organically shine in the beautiful complexity that is life and its movement. We turn to the world and turn to ourselves as recognition of our own capacity and divinity.


Showing up to the ritual is enough. Showing up to your life is enough. May the heat and purity of your practice that you create mean something to you. May all of your movements remind you that you already shine!

Same 💩, Different Day

One of the premises of Sri Vidya Tantra ("Goddess Lens Weaving") philosophy is engaging with recursion. We use the metaphor of a wheel that spins endlessly. Quite similarly to how the universe spins on and on. Or how the Big Bang happened, the Big Crunch will happen, and the Big Bang will happen again. Or how the cycles of your body continue on. Or how you get up and face the mundanity of every day. Get it?


But, each iteration is not a clone of the iteration before or the iteration to follow. Layered atop these cycles is the richness of rasa. The rasas are the qualities of experience--the "juice, essence, and tastes" of life. There isn't one rasa--that would be boring. There are 8 rasas that capture the variation of being alive. They are:

Love (Srngaram, शृङ्गारं)

Humor (Hasyam, हास्यं)

Disgust (Bībhatsam, बीभत्सं)

Fury (Raudram, रौद्रं)

Compassion, (Kāruṇyam, कारुण्यं)

Heroism (Vīram, वीरं)

Terror (Bhayānakam, भयानकं)


Wonder (Adbhutam, अद्भुतं)!


Who's life is recursive, like Groundhog Day? Raise your hand. Oh, good--everyone's! But, recursive isn't necessarily boring. The exciting part is the possibility of rasa, the quality that colors each moment. You can't predict rasa; it organically unfurls.


Will it suck? Will it rock? Will it move you? Will it scare you? Who knows!


Yoga is the same way. Yes, you'll probably do the same, good ol' yoga poses each time you practice, replete with down dog and side angle. Nothing too novel. But what keeps you coming back?


Like a great work of art that elicits a new response each time, your movement leaves room for expression and nuance. Heaven and hell. Yoga is an exercise in the qualitative resonance that washes over the mundanity. We visit all the rasas across the flow of shape to shape.


Consider the speed of the wheel of your life. What is it right now? What was it today, this week, and this year? Recall all the speeds and rasas that you've experienced. The love and the horror, and every variant therein. Simply experiencing the wonder and spontaneity of being alive is evidence enough to your success.


May the shapes you make affirm your ability to be in all the rasas; all the moments. Honor both the steadiness and unpredictability of you, your life, and both in relationship.

Immortality Sucks

 "I never watch the stars, there's so much down here."



I love this lyric. Maybe Lorde is a yoga teacher!


In the Vedic tradition, when the gods need to make sense of the world, when it is required that they feel, intuit and experience life, they must descend from the heavens and assume a mortal form. You see, humans have muscles, bones, nervous systems and organs of perception--tools of action and sensation. In their divinity, the journey of the gods is somewhat flat and dim. But in human form, this journey becomes much more interesting, varied, and open-ended.


We are blessed with the ability to create and sense. We can bind ourselves to any course of action, and feel its weight, value, and emotion with deep ferocity. And then, it ends! Each moment of our lives is utterly mortal, just as we are. It lives and eventually dies like a spectacular shooting star. Shooting stars are so cool for their surprise and momentary explosiveness. Up there in zero-gravity, they're just rocks; their beauty is in their quick, fiery descent towards Earth.


This is spanda, or pulsation. The richness of the practice of yoga, or anything you bind to, is its fleeting resonance. It is and then it isn't. Whatever it is is whatever it needs to be for that frozen moment. Then the pose ends; the cycle ends.


Like a celestial being fallen from the sky, before you lies the ability to create a linking of little moments. Your commitment to practice creates something. Temporary lines of action or intent. Flashes of purpose or experience. And these too will end.


If mortality provides the vast forum for anything to happen, and the tools for you to appreciate the fruits of your labor, let's see what happens. The interest and value in each snapshot is in how they are woven together in time.


No yoga pose lasts forever. It will be and then pass. No situation, neither heavenly nor horrible, will last forever. May the shapes you make and affirm your ability to be a part of the fleeting, mortal world, and make meaning in its beautiful brevity.

Life Moves

This past week I was in Chicago. Late night flights, Ubers, taxis, time changes,  and more.


On my flight back home, I couldn't help but notice how quickly the landscape around me whizzed by. We cruised over Lake Michigan in a few short minutes; a Great Lake crossed in minutes! I later got home and googled the width of Lake Michigan: 118 miles. And we bolted across it like it was a small pond. 


After this "lake flash" moment, I experienced the worst turbulence in my life--scary-as-hell-I-might-die turbulence. It eventually cleared up after about 20 minutes, and I made it home to New Jersey alive. Talk about movement.


I began to think: What is this whole "aviation" thing? Is it natural? Is it normal? What was I doing miles and miles up in the sky? What's going on here?


There is a premise among us, especially in the fitness community, to move back to a Paleolithic stage (of life and diet); back to a purer, simpler era. I personally don't want to move back, I want to move forward. Life moves.


Flying around at 575 miles per hour is normal. It's the world. It's humanity's way of moving with the movement of life. Airplanes are designed to be sleek, aerodynamic, and efficient--to move well within the big, wild, blue orb of planet Earth.


The Shakti concept depicts the world as one of simply power, and how this power shifts like a pendulum one way or the other and back again. This shifting creates the potential for both order and chaos, pattern, error and mutation. It's the very movement of life.


Life moves and we have the opportunity to move with it. So if life moves, how you will move with it? This is what we ask in yoga.


Up, down, left, right and back again. The poses are the world and your body is both the aircraft and captain. As the world moves you, you move the world right back. You have the ability to leverage yourself efficiently and well in all the movements of life. Through clear skies and hurricane alike, we will fly into the variation of being alive and move within the movement.


May the shapes you make and affirm your ability to be a part of the electric world, and make meaning in its incessant oscillation.

Hold the Revelation, Please

A word of advice: everything that I say could be totally wrong.


I hope you don't come to yoga to be saved, seen, or heard. While those are all possibilities, they are not written in my agenda. Yoga is a forum of your experience, not my revelation.


You learn information in many ways. Yes, you do learn through revelation; that is, you are told something is true, like through your parents, caregivers, religious leaders, and most yoga teachers (😅). You also learn through your nervous system--sensation and direct experience of your environment. And you eventually get good at inference; if this is true or false, then that is also true or false, based on your learned experiences. We encounter all of these learning modes in yoga.


Allow me to offer you a revelation of mine, then you try it out for yourself: I'm a scientist of life and a skeptic at heart. I too get that throw-uppy feeling in my mouth when someone tells me "oh yes this is definitely true!" Don't sign up for what I say at face value, ever. I know what I know, and I don't know what I don't. In class I will impart a few of my own revelations, and the revelations of my teachers, to you. If all my revelations were unequivocally true, if it were as simple as that, you would be done with me and I'd be done with you after a few weeks.


But this is exactly where your experience begins! The most interesting thing about yoga is its subjectivity. It's not necessarily about what I say being universally true, but rather your application into experience and eventual inference in a meaningful way; your artistry of how a proposed revelation meshes into your vast knowledge of what you hold as true, or how it doesn't. Some things I've "revelated" will work for you, and some things won't. Some things you will call me out on as BS and some things you will rock out with. Cool with me. Your body is always true for you and your life, but not in all yoga poses and definitely not in all of my offerings.


In yoga, we will move through a full range of shapes, actions, and invitations. In every pose may you expand your experiential knowledge through the vehicle of potential revelation. "Oh...what's he saying? What's that? Why can I do this and not that? Let me try this out..." Honor all the ways in which you learn and apply each as valid.


Recall the excitement of that little voice in your head that says "Hey! Let me find out for myself!" Consider everyone who has taught you in your life; honor the lessons you have taught yourself above all.

You Work!

I have some really important news to tell you. You are a machine--a cyborg! To clarify what I mean, you are a fully functional, super healthy, hugely successful, infinitely complex bio-machine--that works! But you're not a clone. Beyond the vast variations that Homo sapiens share between one other, each member of the species works superbly well in their own way.


What? Boom! Mic drop!


This is such a radical concept in a world of cultural and media conformity, where very specific body shapes are considered the paradigm: slender, hollowed-out women and muscle-bound men. What are we measuring here? Waist and bicep size? What about function and good old sustainability of life?


Regardless of your specific situation, the results are in. You work! You aren't broken or less than. The mechanics of your body allow you to get up, engage in your environment, and move around in some way. Yes? Isn't this amazing enough?


Yoga is a celebration of all you can do, not what you cannot. You are already the most resilient thing in your life. Do whatever you want to your body, it will thrive in almost any situation. As you try on shape after shape and action after action, you step into the thick of your biomechanics. And sure, you can hone your skills, but only because your body allows for honing. Your body works within its built-in plasticity, and that alone gives rise to the possibility of refinement.


In asana class we move into big shapes; these poses are beyond wild and strange. And yet, using your network of intricate gears, wires, and the very electricity of your body vehicle, you can do them all in some way. You work within all of what you've got!


May you recognize the gifts of your mechanics and leverage them always. Consider the inherent capability that you hold and the beautiful machinery of who you are; you are your own flying time machine that works, adapts, and supports yourself towards inevitable success.

The Paradox of Planning

The paradox of planning is that you can never plan for it.


I find that the world around me is chaotic and unpredictable. And yet, I plan, plan, plan and over-plan. What usually unfolds is everything other than what I projected. And when I don't plan anything, sometimes all seems to work out. Can you relate? How can this be true?


Within chaos is the potential for anything to happen. Even thinking about what might happen creates more pathways of possibility--beyond what may have already been slated to happen from the get.


There are 2 levels of chaos systems. Level 1 systems do not react to predictions about them. Weather is a Level 1 system. Level 2 systems react to predictions about them. History is Level 2; the marketplace is Level 2; yoga is Level 2; you and your life are Level 2!


Did you know you were going to discover Level 2 chaos systems in this blog? Do you know what will happen today? Do you know what yoga poses you will do well and not do well in each class?


You won't ever truly know until you get there.


Why do we bother studying Level 2 chaos systems, like yoga? Not to predict the future, but to widen our horizons; to understand that our present situation is neither natural nor inevitable, and that we have many more possibilities before us than we know.


Asana is an exercise in the unpredictability of life, and the twists and turns of possibility that organically unfurl. You are never a bystander to the variation of your body and world; but, rather, you are a master chameleon of chaos itself. Planning is paradoxical; keep doing it because anything can happen. Keeping planning because something will happen. Keep planning so that you will sometimes be right and sometimes be wrong.


Practice chaotic movement and variation. Leverage what you've got and respond to each moment with excitement as you explore all of the possibilities available to you.


May you be an artist of life, yourself, and the infinite combinations therein!

Make Art, Not War

I kind of hate the broad applicability of the phrase "Make art, not war." It sounds a bit like a nauseating, Oprah-esque, self-help blanket statement. But, I think there is a really cool premise somewhere deep down in there.


I don't think life is as reductive as "Make art not war" would have it. It implies linearity; that art and war are diametrically opposed aspects and one must be vanquished in favor of the other. Well, life is inherently wild. Moments will be sweet and calm; moments will be absolutely insane; other moments yet will be every variation therein. Sometimes war is necessary. Sometimes non-war is necessary. In order to live in the world, you might want to make meaning with both aspects. Try being alive without getting into a war here and there.


The artist takes raw experience, whatever comes up, and transmutes that into expression through a medium: paint, clay, voice, word, instrument, dance, etc. Many artists have historically lived through hardship--the fruit of their struggle was avant-garde creativity as it was inclusive of both the ups and downs.


"Make art, not war" is just not a complete statement. I think it should be expanded: "Artfully war with it all!" The good news is there's little to do here; you are already a gifted artist of life and being you!


Your body is living art. Like an infinitely layered canvas upon which you paint one picture on top of the next, generation of art doesn't stop. Each painting you create becomes the base for the next. Your body is a twisted, curved, rich masterpiece that has captured all of your life's movement. You are your own physical record of all that you have done; your body validates each moment as real. So yes, your body is not homogeneous; it is complex and beautifully warped in some way as you have artfully warred through life. What would be the point of art without a little war somewhere?


Then we get to yoga class. It's the same thing! Full body art! It's just another painting on top of the last. Make art with all of yourself. Consider the interest of creating with all of your broken, missing, working, and extra pieces. Artfully war with all of it.


Honor the way you have shown up in your life as an artist of yourself and the world around you. The interesting richness of being alive. The beautiful mess and masterpiece. Honor yourself as you weave your extremes into expression.

The Goddess

Yoga philosophy is just a lens for explaining how the world might work. And these figures and statues that sit before you in a yoga room are not something other than you or what you are not; they mirror all that is you.


The Masculine energy forms are associated with consciousness. Shiva, the dancer of extremes, can be thought to represent the extreme variation of thought and fluctuation in your mind. He is the force that destroys one thought to allow for the flow of the next. Shiva is not manifest; he's the voice/chat bubble in your head. You can hold a lot of dancing in your head.


The Feminine energy forms are associated with the physical world. Shiva's consort is Parvati. She is "Uma," literally the breath of life. She is the force that gives Shiva--and his big ideas--form. She brings that complexity out of your head and into your world. She is your ability to navigate those complexities and do something about them. She is response and activation.


Shiva and Parvati are together always. You can't have action without thought nor thought without action. You never are a spectator in the arena of your life. You are center stage.


Yoga class is an affirmation of the goddess. You literally breathe your own complexity alive; you make it manifest through your body. It is a visceral exploration in embodiment. In class, you experiment with leveraging your physical body for success in the world. Yes, you need your Shiva thoughts; then, we enact them. Note your ability to transmute thought into experience. Wherever you land along the way shows that you are beautifully alive.


The goddess tradition represents the inherent power and engagement that you already possess. She is your ability to act and respond. Consider all the skills and tools that you hold. Find support in your ability to be. May your movements affirm your ability to be alive and respond to the world with efficacy.

The Garuda has Landed!

Thank you for visiting my new website. Today marks the beginning of my entry into the digital space as a Yoga Teacher. The Garuda, or Eagle, is a symbol of eternal grace, vision, and engagement. May this place offer a view into my world and allow consideration for all who seek it.

More content and blog updates to follow!