Practicing Yoga Uphill, in a Snowstorm, with One Hand Tied Behind My Back

It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.     – C.S. Lewis

This morning (Wake the Heck Up Yoga at 6a.m.) was possibly the toughest class I have taught.  If you are looking for a doozy of a yoga practice, not just some pan-flute music and leg stretches – you missed it. You want to be a bad-ass yogi?  Try doing yoga at 6a.m. while there is an elevator being installed 50 feet away. Want to work on listening to your own body? Try that when the (near constant) sound of the drill being forced through concrete is rattling your skull a little. Did your Doctor recommend mindfulness and breathing practices to calm you down? Maybe you like to do savasana (that last pose in yoga when you just lie on the floor) with a lavender scented eye pillow? Me too. It sounds lovely. So, how about doing yoga with the aromatherapy of hot metal, grinding  through stone?  Once you can do all that…then you can be Bad-Ass Yoga Master too.

Today’s morning practice was by no means ideal. It would never be my goal to have to yell “RELEASE ALL THE STRESS AND TENSION IN YOUR NECK”  over the incredible volume and mind numbing sound of concrete being drilled thru.  My mind was very busy. I was teaching class, and on the inside apologizing to everyone (present & not present) for this horrible disruption in our normally lovely morning routine. I was encouraging the folks to remember their mantra or intention of the day to stay focused and present, while silently cursing the two workers who were drilling a hole into my brain. I wanted to unplug their #@$% drill and shout, CAN YOU GIVE IT A REST FOR 15 MINUTES SO WE CAN FIND SOME DAMN INNER PEACE?!?!?!

I didn’t do that. I promise, Mom. At the end of the class everyone laid on their back, like normal. I started to do my shtick of the final resting pose, talking folks through releasing all their muscles. And then I just stopped talking because I felt ridiculous.  And spontaneously, everyone started giggling on their back. It wasn’t even contagious because they surely couldn’t hear each other!

While I hope this doesn’t happen again, it is a good reminder of how hard it is to focus, stay calm, and present when life around you is shouting, shaking, and far from your control. How do you stay present and in touch in the midst of  distractions and chaos? How do you stay calm and engaged while watching the news, or having a conversation about the Presidential election? How do you focus on anything while the voices of fear, hope, anxiety, and grief are having a frat party in your head? How do you ever show up for a yoga class when chronic pain is shouting at you all the time?

It is really hard work. Keep showing up. Let’s keep practicing, despite the noise of it all. Want to come? You really don’t have to have it all together to show up for yoga. It’s okay if your mind is amuck with distractions, self-critique, anxiety, grocery lists; join the club. Me too.

So, on this little site is a schedule of the classes I teach.  Your first class with me is always free.  After that, I suck the blood out of you by charging $5 a class. You can buy a 10 class pass for $50 so you don’t have to pay me every time you come. The next retreat is Saturday, March 12th, 9a.m.-noon at Philo Presbyterian Church. $20, if that works for you. Beginners are welcome, but you need to be able to get up and down from the floor with relative ease. 🙂 Okay? If you plan to come to the retreat please email me, Rachel, at

peace on your head,





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