The Journey

Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—

though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations—

though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—

determined to save
the only life you could save.

Joyful Vinyasa

My gratitude has evolved into joy over the past couple weeks as I’ve begun to feel embraced by the wide arms of Cleveland’s yoga community. Yesterday evening, I taught an open-level vinyasa class at the Source Yoga Studio. I was encouraged to share an excerpts from the class, which was inspired, I am certain, by the wild and freeing sequences of Tory Jenis (Blackbird Studio, Ithaca, NY).

Warrior I (R)
Humble warrior
Warrior I
Warrior III
Mountain + grounding
[Transition: left foot back]
Low lunge twist
Vinyasa + repeat

Fallen triangle (R)
Crescent lunge (R)
Crescent twist
Warrior II
Side angle
Warrior II
Vinyasa + repeat

[Child’s pose, optional]

Forearm plank
Dolphin + leg extensions
Down dog

Warrior II (R)
Side angle
[Transition: straighten front leg]
Goddess squat
Straddle fold
Straddle twists (R + L)
[Transition: mandala pivot toward back of the mat]
Warrior II (L)
Balancing half moon
Standing split
Forward fold
Chair pose
Side plank (R hand down)
Wild thing
[Transition: L foot plants on the inside of R hand]
Crescent lunge (L)
Crescent twist
Warrior II (L)
Wide-legged down dog

On Joy and Sorrow

Kahlil Gibran

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.