The “Third Option”

A friend and I have been having a discussion this week regarding the concept we like to call the “Third Option.”

When we are faced with problems or challenges we explore a couple of options for the best solution. We explore the obvious options. However, quite often, none of the options we see before us really feel like the “best” option.

Then there is the “Third Option.” The “Third Option” is all of the options that lie just outside of our immediate knowledge, experiences, and awareness. Unlike the two choices of Robert Frost, the “Third Option” is not the road well-trod, nor is it the road less taken – it is all of the roads that have yet to be forged, hidden just behind the brush. The “Third Option” is where exploration, creativity, and critical thinking collide.

Today I invite you to seek out the “Third Option.”

* See Robert Frost reference

Restorative Yoga After Long Flights

Our friends at Movement for Modern Life sent me an email today letting me know that they had a video to help you with restoring and reenergizing your body after a long flight. Even if you have practiced your inflight exercises, your body (and especially your legs), are going to need a little extra help to recover from the lack of circulation due sitting for long periods of time and the effects of high altitude.

Their description of the video states, “This supine yoga class, mostly with the legs up the wall will help the body recover from flights by reducing swelling in the legs and feet. This class encourages deep release from tension inducing flights, draining of the fluid and restoration of the circulation for the legs and hips. The poses and relaxation will help you feel fully ‘landed’ in your new destination. You will need to be near a wall and keep a block or a book and a strap handy.”

Of course when you are traveling, you probably won’t have a yoga strap and a yoga block to aid in your hotel room yoga adventures…

TIP: To replace the yoga block try an in-room phone book or multiple pillows. To replace a yoga strap, you can use the belt from your complimentary bathrobe or simply use a  towel.

 

 

Check out all of Movement for Modern Life’s beautifully made videos for yoga on the go!

 

 

California Spirit Festival

California Spirit Festival

I am very honored to be a part of the behind the scenes efforts of the California Spirit Festival coming to Sacramento in April. I know so many of the amazing people involved and they are working around the clock to produce an amazing and uplifting event.

Sukhbir Kaur of It’s Time to Live and Tyler Langdale of Yoga Shala, the co-founder’s of California Spirit Festival, are true leaders in the yoga industry and they will be teaching, and offering up their spirit, side by side with Les Leventhal, MC, Yogi, Steve Gold, Girish, Jai Jagdessh and SO many other amazing teachers and conscious artists.

We hope you will join us in this opportunity to raise our consciousness in community!

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About California Spirit Festival

The California Spirit Festival is home to a collaboration of yoga, dance, meditation, kirtan, and COMMUNITY! Held in Sacramento, its mission is to cultivate a STATE of consciousness that helps to elevate one another towards peace through health, wellness, and awareness.

California Spirit Festival brings together top teachers in California for weekend full of heart opening backbends, movement as medicine, sound to heal the soul, and connection with community that has never been seen before!

Start your day with long held yin postures, balancing your nervous system with Kundalini Yoga or setting your spirit free with 5 Rhythms dance. Then get your sweat on as you vinyasa your way into a deepened sense of flexibility in you spine and in your mind!

Feeling hungry now? Visit our Organic Kitchen! Committed to farm-fresh food and vegetarian cuisine, this kitchen has something for everyone. Enough goodness to keep you nourished through the day as well as lightness to keep you moving with ease.

Feeling like you want to chill? Visit our mediation room or stop in at panel discussion on community activities and topics that are designed to raise action and awareness. As the day winds down let the heart fill up in the Grand Ballroom with the healing vibration of kirtan and chanting.

Know your spirit, be your spirit, and let the California Spirit Fest set your soul free!

Our Mission

The California Spirit Festival’s mission is to create opportunity for people to raise their level of connection to the planet and one another. Our goal is to provide an environment where people stretch their bodies and their minds by deepening their practice of yoga, dance, music, mantra, and mindful eating.

Our Vision

To highlight Sacramento as a city that embodies the spirit of health, wellness and social & environmental responsibility as a means to healing us as individuals, as a city, as a state and as a planet.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

Pilgrimage – The Latest Album by MC Yogi, California Spirit Festival Teacher and Performer

 

 

 

 

The Practice Is Not About NOT Falling

There is no magical spiritual pill that eliminates thoughts, emotions and suffering. Thoughts come and go. Emotions come and go. We grow old, we get sick, relationships change, people die. When we try to seperate these things out out from our spiritual-human condition and lable them as bad, we are turning our back to the waves only to be smashed against the shore. That too is fine. Simply stand up from the shore. Then turn around and face the waves and watch them come and go. And when they smash you to the shore again, simply stand up from the shore. Only when we are fully aware of this process does compassion arise. Does grace arise. Does truth arise. Then we can stand up from the sky.

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This post was inspired by a Dharma talk given by Steve Weintraub on Sunday, November 25,  2012 Check it out! 

The San Francisco Zen Center post all of their amazing collection of Dharma talks here. What a gift!

The Karma of Guilt and Pride

ALL THINGS arise from emptiness, meaning NO THING has it’s own inherent nature. You do not exist without everything else that has ever materialized in shape, action, word, thought and feeling up until this point. AND every now and again, with practice, we can choose to wake up from our sleepwalking and see the truth of both the separate and not-separate existence, and rest as the observer, as consciousness, in that duality which is also non-duality. Of course the only reason we are able to do that is because of everything else that has ever materialized in shape, action, word, thought and feeling up until this point. Consciouses arises from the void of emptiness just the same as all things. It does not dwell somewhere beyond it. We arise together and with everything else. Compassion for oneself and others can not occur with out seeing the co-arising existence we and all things share. So remember this in your suffering and in your joy: If you are feeling guilty for your causations, effects and states of being affected – it’s not just your doing. And if you are feeling prideful for your causations, effects and states of being affected – it’s not just your doing. You can relax now.

The Divine Wisdom of Travelling With Your Baggage

Divine wisdom is the understanding and acceptance that all flows from the same source which brings you all the teachers you label as positive and negative people who influence your life, all your past experiences clouded by an inconsistent memory. All sensations. All perceptions. Your bio checmical make up, evolution, the environment, culture and society, you clear meditative still points and your wild passions and aversions. Your moments of pure joy and heated anger. You addictions and liberations. Judgments and love. The ego and the observer.

Divine wisdom is like going on retreat with all your baggage and leaving retreat with all your baggage. It’s resting with your baggage.

Wake Up!

The sound of the Han opens the period of meditation in a zendo.

Often inscibed on a Han: “Great is the matter of Birth and death; Life slips quickly by; Time waits for no one; Wake up, wake up; Don’t waste a moment!”

or

“Completely freed from yes and no;  great emptiness charged within;  no questions, no answers;  like a fish, like a fool.”

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Karma – The Law of Cause and Effect

In Bali, I am looking into the potential of setting up a business partnership with a successful, yoga clothing designer named Karma. When I tell people this, I always get the same quip… “Oh, well then, you should have good karma!”

There is no “good karma.” Just as there is no “bad karma.” They is only karma. Cause and effects.

Newton’s law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This may be true in physics, but not when it comes to life.

In life, for every cause (every action, thought and emotion) far reaching, sometimes highly unequal, opposite and similar ripples of effects (reactions) can occur.

When observed closely it is plain to see how something we do has both a feeling of negative and positive consequences. In fact as I was talking with Karma today, this was clearly presented, when he had mentioned that he was feeling the stress of growing his busy business. I said yes, that indeed, he should expect to feel even greater forms of stress as he becomes more successful. The stress will just be a different kind.

Not only do our actions create both positive and negative experiences, they do so not just one time, but as a continual flow. One action now will create positive and negative experiences in an interweaving dance along time. All time.

One of the most important things to remember is that not only do our actions create both positive and negative experiences for us, but for others as well. Certainly for the ones closest to us, but for many people around us, including people we have never, and will never, meet in life.

I understand that any success that I may have brings both positive and negative consequences to myself and others. I love what I do, so I probably work more than what may be healthy, sometimes putting a strain on both myself and my family. And though it pains me dearly that this happens, I know that there are people who feel insecure and defeated (or even annoyed!) around my successful choices in life and the way I talk about them versus feeling inspired. I also know that certain things that have happened in the past that seemed like a failure at the time turned out to have very positive effects later on.

One day I was trying to get a job at a yoga studio when I totally stuck my foot in my mouth and made a rather negative comment about another business, only to find out that the owner of that business was the friend of the yoga studio owner who I was talking with! Yikes! Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. I ended up working at another yoga studio that was a wonderful match for me and brought me years of enjoyment and growth, and even though that studio is closed now, it still brings opportunities my way that bring enjoyment and growth (and prosperity!)  Even then though, who can really say what would have been the more positive outcome. And who can really say if the outcome that I find so positive for myself was actually the best thing that could have been for the studio I ended up working for. Of course, we could go crazy and end up in a depressed and self defeated state if we get hung up on these things or feel immobilized if we keep going round and round with such thoughts. However, it is important to have perspective.

I am all for enthusiasm. It brings enjoyment to life and I know from experience that it is one of the most valuable tools for success in business. However it is easy to get carried away in excitement and loose perspective. It is easy to develop feelings of “can do no wrong” when we are successful and when everything seems to be going our way. Be enthusiastic, love what you do, reach for great heights, but hold on to a humble heart and accept law of karma, which is the acceptance of things as they are.

Even compassion has it’s karma. One time, I was talking with Tenshin Reb Anderson, a zen priest, about what to do concerning bugs, particularly in dealing with bugs that may cause us harm. On one hand I did not want to kill them if possible, on another hand there was a time where a small infestation occurred that posed a potential health risk to my family, so I had them exterminated. He told me a story about a time when he was at Tassajara Zen Center in Marin County  and two of the priests had come across a deer, tangled in barbed wire, very near death and in a terrible state of suffering. They had decided to end it’s suffering via a compassion killing. As zen priests, making the decision to kill a life form is a very grave matter, but ultimately the two men had felt in their heart that it was the best option. It turned out that their choice, made from love, made everything worse! Both for the deer and for them. He said there are no right or wrong answers about dealing with the karma of killing bugs that may cause harm to humans. It has been an age old problem that Buddhist have dealt with, so you must follow your heart and accept what may.

I will leave you now with a version of a famous zen story.

A farmer had a beautiful horse. One day the gate  was left opened and the horse ran away. The villages felt sorry for the farmer and said, “You are so unlucky.” The farmer simply replied, “We shall see.” A few days later the horse came back with another beautiful horse at it’s side. The villagers were very happy for the farmer and said, “You are so lucky.” The farmer again replied, “We shall see.” A year later, while the farmer’s son was out riding the new horse, he fell and broke his leg. Again the villagers said, “You are so unlucky.” The farmer simply said, “We shall see.”  Not too long after, all the young men in the village were called to war and every one of them was killed. The son, having a broken leg, remained safe at home. Once again the villagers commented, “You are so lucky.” Again the farmer relied, “We shall see.”

 

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Never Miss an Opportunity, When Opportunity Knocks on Your Door

The Wanderlust Festival was amazing! I should tell you that I worked there managing the Meditation Dome, so I really didn’t participate in any of the yoga classes going on. However I did get to see and hear some of the teachers such as Shiva Rea, Rod Stryker, and my new friends at the Expanding Light Ananda Retreat Center and those passing moments were such a transformative and inspiring experience!
 
I did get to go experience some really great music performances. The Wailers put on a great show. Mc Yogi’s uplifting music teared me up a bit even while I was dancing my booty off and Michael Franti, who I have seen in concert numerous times, was the best ever!
 
For me, working at the Wanderlust Festival, feels the same at participating in intense yoga teacher trainings or yoga retreats. Both leave me feeling rather broken by the end of the experience, and yet, I feel somehow better for it. In these kinds of experience I always learn a lot about what I am really capable of. I walk away with my self-imposed limitations minimized. I feel more energized, stronger and wiser for the experiences, as I know that I am capable of putting forth more energy than I ever thought possible!
 
But what I really learned this year, and what I want to share with you, is how to be ready for opportunities when they present themselves to you.

Recently, I have been reading Napoleon Hill’s books “Think and Grow Rich” as well as his course the “Law of Success.” From reading these I have started working on my Definite Chief Aim in life and have even found a friend who is reading and working on the same who has become apart of my Master Mind Alliance.

Before I left for the Wanderlust Festival, my Master Mind Alliance friend sent me an email inspiring me to set big intentions for my Wanderlust Festival experience before I left. I wrote back to him about something that had been on my mind, which was getting an opportunity to run into Michael Franti and doing a short video interview with him about his experience practicing yoga while he travels on tour, so I could share his words and thoughts with you here at The Yoga of Travel. A few months ago this very same friend had actually lent me a video camera that I could use for this site and other endeavors. I was ready should the opportunity present itself!

On Friday, I had just gotten off of my shift at the festival and left the yoga production office to make my way to the staff dining hall. I was quickly coming out of a passage way into one of the main vendor areas of the festival when BAM, I literally almost ran into Michael Franti. In fact I only missed him by a foot or two! There he was…just cruising around in a relaxed manner looking at vendor tables. I happen to know from others that Michael Franti is very approachable. I had set my intention before I left for the festival and sure enough the universe conspired to give me the very opportunity I desired.

So did I get the video interview to share with you? Nope. The universe was there for me, however I did not follow through on my end as I LEFT MY VIDEO CAMERA AT HOME! I was not ready to accept and grab the opportunity in front of me because I was unprepared! I wish I could tell you that I simply forgot it. However, the truth is for several days before I left I kept reminding myself to pull the video camera out and get it ready, but in the end I listened to the negative voice in the back of my head that said, “Why bother? The chances of running into Michael Franti at a good time to do a quick interview is slim to none!”

Lesson learned.

This is actually the second time this year that I have set my intention on something big and sure enough the opportunity arose, and yet I was unprepared for it.  I won’t get into what the other request to the universe was, as I am still preparing for it even though it has already shown up. I promise to get back to you on the matter another time (Oh the mystery! I guess you will just have to keep coming back here to find out!)

Intentions are so powerful, and we also have to be ready and prepared when the opportunities actually arise if we want to grab a hold of them. Opportunities are constantly knocking on the door. The question is, “Are you present to answer?”

This post is dedicated to my Master Mind Alliance friend Scott McKinnon. If you ever need some beautiful screen printing work or other promotional materials you can contact him at his business Creative Impressions 916-454-2432.. Tell him Stacy sent you!

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Off to Wanderlust Festival in Beautiful Squaw Valley

Looking forward to bringing you back some great stuff from the trenches.

If you are going to Wanderlust, come say hi to me at the Meditation Dome!

http://www.wanderlustfestival.com/