lisa fierer

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emily_valentine_2010_5_sml I never thought I’d be bullied by a 65 yr old man with a toy airplane.

Over a month ago, I was teaching an all-levels Standup Paddleboard Yoga class at a community lake. The class began like all the others I’d been teaching for the last three years: I did a brief on land introduction to paddleboarding and how to access yoga poses while balancing on the water. Then we launched our boards and paddled for about 20 minutes to a secluded area in the southwestern part of the water. On the way we paddled past an empty swim beach (which opens at 10am, the same time my class ends) where 8 men, ranging in age from about 65 …

FullSizeRenderIn midst of hoards of bikers honeymooning with their motorcycles, I decided to call it quits. As it is with the ending of any relationship, this one had been rocky for quite some time. Of course in the beginning I was in love and it was blissful, from the moment I saw my first Harley.

It was early June of 1978, in central Illinois, when the air was still cool but held the promise of heat that would be liquefying asphalt come August. I dropped my mom’s hand in the Kroger’s parking lot, blinded by sunlight glinting off the thundering pipes, and watched the burly bearded driver and his much younger looking blonde passenger cruise around the corner until my …

images‘Tis the season of giving, but I’m thinking about stealing.

It was a Thursday in late November. I walked in to teach a noon yoga class that I was subbing for one of the owners of The Yoga Pod. I had planned on using the topic of Stealing as the theme, or what are often referred to as Dharma Talks. These are spiritual or philosophical concepts woven into the foundation of the class. The word “dharma” comes from the Sanskrit root dhri, meaning to “uphold” or to “sustain.” From this perspective, the best way to think of dharma is to say: that which upholds or sustains the positive order of things: the nation, the community, the family …

images-1It turns out that you can use Vedic (Sanskrit) Chanting instead of taking 2 Valium, although it’s not marketed quite that way. Actually, I don’t know if there’s really a marketing campaign for chanting. Yet.

I first got turned on to chanting while laying in corpse pose in one of my first yoga classes. My mind was absorbed with the absurdity of being alive and trying to play dead, which was how I interpreted the purpose of corpse pose (Savasana). This is so dumb, what’s the point? I wondered. I would later learn that such incessant thoughts are called “citta vriti,” often translated as “monkey mind”. And better yet, when I began studying the Yoga Sutras, I learned “Yogacitta

The Thing About Thirst

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images-2I’ve never been so alive as when I was dying of thirst. I have always been compelled by thirst, after all, it is one of the non-negotiable things about being human, our bodies are about 60% water and still we’re always thirsty for something. I’ve thirsted for a lot of things in my life: love, safety, acceptance. I know that sometimes the human brain has trouble distinguishing between thirst & hunger, but physical and spiritual hunger seems to come from a slightly different place; thirst is a seeking and it is both universal and unique to each one of us.

This lifelong spiritual thirst of mine, the desire for connection, for intimacy, is one of the things that brought me …

Seduction

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images-3Great loves often begin when things go wrong.

Desperation has been my ticket to many things, including yoga. I took my first yoga class in 1999, because I was desperate. I had sustained a shoulder injury and had tried everything to heal it. I began to notice the blissed-out calm on the faces on the peaceful folks coming out of the yoga class at my gym. They looked yoga-stoned and I wanted some of what they had. So when I saw an offer for a free week of yoga classes, I signed up. My first svelte-bodied yoga instructor had dark curly hair and even though she was only 30, her wisdom about the practice of yoga and lack of ego …

images-4The truth is, I love books.

I know that, in this day and age, actual books made with paper and glue are becoming somewhat obsolete, nudged out by Kindles, iBooks, audio books, etc but none of them seduce me in the same way as a real book. Holding a thick paperback in my hands, letting the black print of the words gaze softly into=my eyes is a magical feeling.

But despite my lifelong book love affair, I never dreamed of actually being an author. That was reserved for those, well, inspirational folk.

See, It’s all yoga’s fault.

I never would have taken on the monumental task of bringing a book to life if it wasn’t for that damn pigeon pose. …