Enjoying summer on a beach in Canada.

Enjoying summer at an undisclosed beach in Canada.

I’m not sure why, but this summer I’ve been particularly DESPERATE to experience the full glory of being outside and having a summer. One theory is that this last winter in Vermont was awful. Another theory, that I feel might be more accurate, is I have come to recognize that there is a lot that life, and particularly summer, offers. I don’t want to miss out on it. As you’ve heard from being in my classes, I like sunshine and warm weather…not so much cloudy and cold. So, with that in mind I’ve been swimming in the lakes, motorcycling around Vermont and Canada, kayaking, car camping – it’s really been an awesome summer so far!

But, with this awesome I’ve felt a bit guilty – here’s why. In my mind (and outside of my mind in talking to students) I’ve said, “I have more free time over the summer than during the rest of the year, so I’m going to really get motivated and make a yoga video EVERY week. It’s going to be awesome!” After a couple weeks of enjoying the summer and not making a video, I changed my thoughts to, “I have more free time over the summer, and I REALLY want to have some fun this summer, but I’d love to made some videos as well. I’m going to make a video every OTHER week.” Well, that didn’t work, either.  Now we are in August and I have no new videos, so this is what I’m saying now. “IT’S SUMMER!!! Sometimes it’s ok not to make yoga videos.”  :-)

You know, making yoga videos and doing yoga are great…but…camping and riding my motorcycle and kayaking and warm sunshine are pretty great, too. I can’t really do those things in the winter, but I can make yoga videos in the winter. I’m thinking there is no reason to feel guilty about taking time off from doing something you love and want to do because you want to do something else you love and you want to do.

So, if you are like me and out there enjoying summer and taking it in and having fun, and maybe not doing as much yoga, awesome!  At the heart of yoga is finding your inner light, being happy, seeing the good…so if being outside having fun is helping you do that…you are doing YOGA!  I’ll be seeing you at the campground…then come September, I’ll be seeing you back on the mat – Happy Summer!

P.S. If while you are out there having fun you want a yoga class while on the beach, you actually can download one of the 80+ videos I ACTUALLY have made and take your own personal class right on the beach – you wouldn’t be the first person to do it.  :-)

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Music I’m using this week. Transformative…I like it. :-)

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Maceo Parker played on the waterfront last night as part of the Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington. If you don’t think you know Maceo, you might be mistaken. He is an awesome saxophonist who worked with James Brown in the 60s and Parliament-Funkadelic in the 70s, so you probably have heard him play.

In concert, he does this great thing of making anything he says a musical phrase. Introducing the drummer for example, turns into a funky danceable rhythmic riff “give the drummer some, give the drummer some…”

He kept doing this wonderful sort of ostinato with “We love you.” Moving the emphasis from one word to another. He’d make these marvelous expansive heart-shaped gestures: arms spreading wide to simultaneously take in the entire audience and conduct (the entrances in this band rival anything James Brown ever mustered). He conveys the feeling that he really does love us. His whole band really loves us. Their facial and musical expressions and their body language make that pretty clear.

The whole thing made me think of Bhakti Yoga (Sutra #76 of course – Teachings on Bhakti should be reflected on; practices that awaken it should be undertaken.). Maceo awakened the love for sure. Imagine the impact of telling thousands of people over and over again at every concert “We love you.”  I’m pretty sure the cumulative impact of this practice over time is right up there with that of our great spiritual leaders. I imagine His Holiness the Dalai Lama would dig Maceo – and the other way round, too.

~ Jane

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