Grounded Goodies

Gita Brown, a passionate teacher, shares her musings on creative spiritual pursuit through yoga and music.

Playtime!

Santa! Wait for me!

Santa! Wait for me!

This weekend I attended a fabulous writing workshop at Grub St, a huge center for creative writing, in Boston. The topic was a focused look at the role of narrative in memoir. I’m working on a large project, and I needed some literary know-how, and boy I got tons of great information that will shape my work from a mass of wordy words into a relatively cohesive piece. One little thing was lacking, though, and I just couldn’t put my finger on my unease throughout the day. I let the tickling annoyance play around in my brain, and fully focused on the six hour workshop. During the commute home aha! We were missing play! The whole class was very serious, intense, intellectual and full of opinions, ideas and constructs, all made more important by the closeness we all feel to our characters and text. But there was little laughter, levity, or sense of playful exploration of ideas that is vital to creative endurance.

Laughter lets in light Laughter lets in space to breath Laughter helps us remember that what is seems serious is hardly serious at all Laughter reminds us that life is play Laughter connects us to each other and to a greater truth

Laughter lets in light

Laughter lets in space to breath

Laughter helps us remember that what is seems serious is hardly serious at all

Laughter reminds us that life is play

Laughter connects us to each other and to a greater truth

Are you taking everything so very seriously right now? Does it seem like the pursuit of a candy cane perfectChristmas is maddening? 

Here are ways to let laughter in your life:

Watch bits of old sitcoms on Netflix or Hulu. I find that sometimes just 10 minutes of a favorite show helps kick off the laughter and brings light to my day.

Observe kids at play-children should be our role models on this front!

Snuggle a pet

Once I saw a friend put up a Facebook request for jokes-her friends flooded her comments section!

If you need a little help, watching a cat in a shark costume riding a Roomba might help…just sayin’

Or reading silly student answers might tickle your funny bone!


All love and laughter,
Gita

Waiting with Grace

One amazing by-product of my yoga practice over the past twenty years is the grace it’s given me to embrace all aspects of my journey. I used to be an anxiety-driven mess, pushing myself to constantly achieve external success. This left me tired, made my immune system  stressed, and turned me into a big ‘ole cranky pants. Lots of meditation and yoga practice gave me a way to ‘workshop’ these feelings, spending time observing myself and my tendencies gave me clarity and ease to let go of behaviors that weren’t serving me well. I’m looking forward to sharing ideas of how you can have similar experiences with our new blog, coming in 2014!

The Power of Waiting

These days, I do a much better job of enjoying each moment in life, especially the juicy bit where waiting occurs.

Waiting at traffic lights, waiting in store Holiday lines, waiting for an email reply to that Very Important Question, waiting for the delayed plane;

All are fodder for practice, an opportunity to take a few deep breaths, a moment to notice the sky, smile at a fellow traveler, to notice the tension of the moment and accept all of it’s sensations.

The moment the archer pulls the bow back is necessary for the arrow's flight.

Waiting is doing.

Preparation is action.

Waiting is essential. It’s the time when all of the coordination of people, events and equipment is orchestrated flawlessly by the Universe for our benefit. 

Tea always helps me wait with grace!

Tea always helps me wait with grace!

Join us in waiting with grace!

Take a deep breath, and step fully into the present moment. Take another slow, full breath. Notice the sensations that are present. Just be.

Stay tuned, 

xox
Gita

Take a Leap of Faith!

Leap with us as we pull back the curtain on our struggles and joys, showing how yoga has helped shape and focus our lives.

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Release anxiety in 5 easy minutes!

Hello my lovelies! Last night I woke up ravenous and my tummy was rumbling for a midnight snack. I rarely indulge at this hour, but I heeded my bod’s demands and snuck down to the couch with some Mary’s crackers and almond butter. As I crunched happily, I began to hear a pair of Great Horned Owl’s hooting away. I listened to them as I ate my snack, amazed that their deep-toned conversation went on for 30 minutes, and very close to our house! I finished my snack, read a little inspiring story, and went back to bed, sleeping peacefully until my youngest dog decided to wake me up by flipping my hiking boot around, saying “Yo! Wake up! Time for our walk!” This peaceful night and morning vibe is the norm for me now, but it wasn’t always this way.

 I am a driven person by nature, I’ve got tons of energy and I get stuff done. But this drive is a knife’s edge, and if I get overly busy I head to burn-out quickly. Throughout college and grad school, I’d wake up and immediately my mind would begin spinning. I’d attempt to relax and enjoy waking up, but by the time I crawled out of bed I’d be mentally exhausted and physically wired to negativity and over-thinking everything. Not  fun for Gita, or my loved ones! 

Eventually all this tension wore me to a nub;  something had to give. I’d been doing yoga and visualizations for years, but realized I needed to dig my well of holistic pursuit deeper if I wanted to quench the burning pit of anxiety that resided in my stomach.

 Just 5 minutes!

Enter morning meditation. Out of sheer frustration, I woke up every morning, sat up in bed, and meditated for 5 minutes. I’d use all kinds of guided meditations I found at the local bookstore, it was pre-Amazon and iTunes days, now it’s even easier to access these materials! Having a structured time period, and someone else to guide me through the exercise was crucial to my success. 5 minutes, that’s was how I started! Like water wearing away rock this daily practice helped me feel more steady and grounded.

I’ve noticed a magical alchemy that happens as I sit on my blanket yet again, in complete silence, watching the stored traumas and dramas my mind creates.  For those moments I don’t have to do anything about my anxious thoughts. No ‘to-do’ list needs to be generated, I don’t have to share it with other people, I don’t have to actively pursue being any different than I am, I don’t have to react. It’s very freeing. Sometimes change comes out of this non-judgemental awareness of my own mental state, but most times it just feels like sweet relief that I can sit there with how things are, and let it be all good.

 How you can feel some peace in just 5 minutes!

You don’t have to take my word for it, you can try it for yourself, for free! Just click here for my free 5 minute breath meditation. 

You can do it right now, or make a date with yourself to try it out before bed tonight. Go for it! I know your mental and physical health is important to you, and it’s important to me, too. Join me in five minutes of peace….ahhhh….I feel better already.


Some freebies to help you:
Here’s a cool meditation timer, if your an Apple kinda user 

Here’s some cool free meditations  by one of my favorite inspirational guys, Deepak Chopra

Here's my cool free meditation


All peace to you,
Gita

p.s. Did you find this useful? Leave a comment below, or share it with others by forwarding this to a friend or colleague who might enjoy it. Thanks!

 

 

 

Lucy repeats a very sacred mantra for her meditation practice!

Lucy repeats a very sacred mantra for her meditation practice!

Rainbows of Inspiration

Hello everyone!

As I write this there’s an amazing full double rainbow outside my window. The clouds are layered in a steel grey hue blanketing the horizon, lightening up to spun white marshmallow fluff mid-way to the heavens. In front of this backdrop is a multi-colored miracle, the unseen becoming seen by a miracle of moisture, light, and neurons willing to perceive it. Mid-way up the gleaming arch rays of lights stream downward, visible rays of clarity and inspiration. Outside the coffee shop people gather, pointing upwards, pausing to snap photos and exclaim in wonder and joy. 

I feel a bit like this rainbow in my own life these days. For many years my intention and practices have been silently gathering, my desires marrying with action again and again. Now  my intent is passing into a state where the strange alchemy of people, time, and open minds are bringing my light forth into the world in new and inspiring ways. May these offerings provide inspiration, clarity and peace.

 

New Creative Arts Therapies Department

I teach classical clarinet and yoga through the South Shore Conservatory in Hingham and Duxbury, Massachusetts. I’m thrilled to take on a new leadership role as Yoga Chair in our Creative Arts Therapies Department. Yoga at the South Shore Conservatory is an extension of our mission to provide quality education in the arts. Yoga is a natural art form that unites body, mind and breath  through disciplined practice, is creative and artistic in nature, and functions to develop concentration, personal expression, body awareness, improved health, emotional stability, and greater sense of overall well being. Cultivating awareness of overall states of wellness, physical ease, and mental discipline is essential to the development of each artist.

We offer Yoga for the Special Child® and Yoga for Performers. Stay tuned as we develop and grow in our service to the community. 

Scituate Yoga

Hi Scituate peeps! We are back to our weekly adult class starting Thursday 10/17/13 from 9-10am. Hope to see you on beautiful Scituate Harbor for some Om-ing and peace-making! You don't need to be a resident of Scituate to sign-up, and drop-ins are welcome! Please contact me if you have any questions, I'd love to see you in class!

Advanced Teacher Training-phew I did it!

I recently completed the Advanced Teacher Training in Integral Yoga, completing my journey to 500 hour certification. It was a mind-expanding experience, the benefits of which continue to unspool in my life. The Integral Yoga Academy recently released my video testimonial about my experiences this summer. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on at a training, or what living at an ashram is like, this video has insight for you! 

http://www.yogaville.org/yoga-teacher-training/the-benefits-of-a-residential-program/

YouTube Video of the interview.

 

Om Shanthi Om

Peace to You,

Gita

 

 

 

Gorgeous shot of the rainbow, as seen at Plymouth Harbor. Photo captured by the awesome Denise Maccaferri. 

Gorgeous shot of the rainbow, as seen at Plymouth Harbor. Photo captured by the awesome Denise Maccaferri. 

Release to our Roots

Hello my lovelies,

I got home from my three-week Advanced Teacher Training at Yogaville about two weeks ago. Since my return, I’ve been spending good bits of time getting re-acquainted with my poochies, hubby, garden, friends and colleagues. I’m also mindful as I cultivate a right relationship between my daily practices, my life as a householder and role as exuberant teacher. I’m consciously moving towards keeping awareness of my spiritual devotion in all activities. Can’t say I’ve mastered this peaceful awareness while being tail-gated in the fast lane of a Massachusetts highway yet, baby steps! 

One method that helps me find center is the practice of grounding. Each morning as I walk my dogs at the local cranberry bogs, I place my hands on the earth and exhale, imagining anything that’s no longer useful to me flowing out into the earth, and on my inhale I breathe in the stability of the earth. Over the course of the years I’ve practiced this, I’ve become aware of a subtle level of connection with the earth, helping me feel completely cleansed and refreshed after just a few minutes. 

We are in the magical land of ‘between-seasons’. It’s both Summer and Autumn, all rolled into one lovely paradox. Today as I placed my hands on the earth, I felt Mother Nature slowing down, the energy of the earth slowly releasing, compared to the the exuberant bursting forth of life I felt in spring. 

It seems to be inconsistent  that everything I’m observing in the natural world is beginning to quiet, to move from a state of abundant activity to one of gradually releasing toward a more neutral activity. Conversely, in our human lives, there is a big rush occurring: school is back in session, new classes to sign up for, kids entering into fall sports, weekends full of apple picking and last minute beach excursions, Halloween decorations already glaring from the supermarket aisles.

People seem a bit more stressed, rushed and hurried.

 

I’m wondering what we can do in our own lives to honor the seasonal change, while still maintaining our connection to our external obligations?

How can we foster harmony and begin to direct our energy towards our roots? Here are some ideas I'm playing with: 

  • Take time for a cup of tea or coffee on the deck.
  • Play in the dirt, otherwise known as gardening. Those weeds had a blast while I was away!
  • Take a slow stroll, saving the power walk for another time.
  • Get a little more sleep. Yes, I count power naps!
  • I’m letting go of one extra activity each week; using that time to pause, reflect and connect.
  • Go to a Farmer’s Market and savor the last of summer’s bounty & the beginning of Fall yummies.

May we all feel calm and relaxed as we move into Autumn...

Om Shanthi Om (Peace to You!),

Gita

 

 

A rock cairn I spotted at Yogaville a few years ago; balance and equanimity incarnate!

A rock cairn I spotted at Yogaville a few years ago; balance and equanimity incarnate!

Ashram 101

My name is Gita, and I’m 41 year old teacher passionate about music and yoga. I live and work on the South Shore of Massachusetts, spending my days spent flitting along the briny coastline between Boston and Cape Cod teaching, creating, and admiring the ever changing vistas. This summer I’ve come back to my spiritual home, Satchidananda Ashram in Yogaville, Virginia for a three week program, "Advanced Teacher Training", in Integral Yoga.

Located in verdant and rural Buckingham County, the ashram is a spiritual community, an interfaith beacon, and a self-described “yoga village” where all different ages and diverse types of folks come to learn, have retreats, and practice yoga. Dotted with shrines, rolling hills and views of the James river winding mistily by the temples, this place is my home away from home. I come to buff and scrub my ego away, make heartfelt connections with master teachers and fellow students, and relax deeply in the peaceful vibe. To me it feels like equal parts camp, spiritual center, and rustic spa.

Strolling to breakfast on my first morning I noticed trees now standing 3 stories high which were barely over my head the first time I came to Yogaville. It got me thinking how I felt starting on the spiritual path.  I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the task; I needed to unpack the negative patterns of my mind, untangle myself from an unhealthy marriage, work less and play more, and practice much more meditation and yoga. I was utterly overwhelmed, but somehow, just as the trees reached imperceptibly towards the light past their current limits I, too, grew bit by bit. These days I’m grounded in my practice, I fixed my relationship with myself, and I learned how to play again. 

If we can be as patient with our growth as we are with the trees, perhaps we’d feel less struggle and strife? Opportunities to practice patience abound at this training, where the meditations are long and the asana (poses) are rigorous. I promise to be patient, allowing my body and mind to continue to reach towards the light, growth coming through letting go.

Care to join me in a little patience? I promise to send you some ashram-love, either way.

Hearts Love,

Gita

xox

A tree at the overlook-Yogaville Virginia. 

A tree at the overlook-Yogaville Virginia. 

My feetsies a few years back at LOTUS Temple at the ashram. 

My feetsies a few years back at LOTUS Temple at the ashram.