June Book Club

May 12, 2014

Our next Yoga Book Club meeting will be on Tuesday, June 17. We are reading Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown, M.D.

As you might recall, Play is my word this year so I am very excited to see what Dr. Brown has to say on the subject! Hope you’ll consider joining us! Email me at register@merylarnett.com for more details.

About The Book:

We’ve all seen the happiness on the face of a child while playing in the school yard. Or the blissful abandon of a golden retriever racing across a lawn. This is the joy of play. By definition, play is purposeless, all-consuming, and fun. But as Dr. Stuart Brown illustrates, play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish through play.

Dr. Brown has spent his career studying animal behavior and conducting more than six- thousand “play histories” of humans from all walks of life-from serial murderers to Nobel Prize winners. Backed by the latest research, Play (20,000 copies in print) explains why play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve and more. Particularly in tough times, we need to play more than ever, as it’s the very means by which we prepare for the unexpected, search out new solutions, and remain optimistic. A fascinating blend of cutting-edge neuroscience, biology, psychology, social science, and inspiring human stories of the transformative power of play, this book proves why play just might be the most important work we can ever do.

This Too

May 12, 2014

Last week, we spent some time talking about taking our hands off the controls and experiencing true joy in the moment. When the planning and to-dos and dreaming have to take pause so that we can actually experience the moment for what it is and enjoy it. This theme originated out of the experience of my younger sister’s wedding last weekend, but as I’ve continued to sit with this idea of setting aside planning and doing and instead experiencing the present moment, I’ve realized just how hard it is to do this very thing in more difficult moments.

Last Wednesday, I was feeling pretty lousy. I couldn’t decide if I was just overtired or coming down with a bug, but I was definitely out of sorts. Normally on Wednesday nights, I teach a private yoga class for a dear friend and her boyfriend; it is always a fun time to practice and catch-up about our week, but this past Wednesday I just wasn’t feeling it. As I laid on my couch, I went through a very familiar debate –

Should I cancel? No, this is my living. I can’t cancel every time I feel sick. 

But what if I’m sick? Wouldn’t be irresponsible to spread germs?

They are good friends; they will definitely understand if I need a night off. 

But what kind of example does it set if your yoga teacher blows off yoga?!…

And, round and round we go. After maybe 10 minutes of this mental roller coaster, I caught myself. Let go of the planning and sit in the moment. No it wasn’t joyous and wonderful like a wedding. It was sticky and uncomfortable and filled with feelings of doubt and guilt and insecurity. But instead of pushing all this away or trying to make it better, I used a familiar mantra from Buddhist teacher Tara Brach, “This Too.”

This too. Meaning all of these feelings and thoughts are valid and real for me in this moment. I accept them.  And, in that acceptance I could see that I was truly tired and ill and needed a night off. I called my friend and cancelled our lesson. And, as I knew they would be – they were lovely and understanding and supportive. Because everyone needs a night off once in awhile. Everyone gets sick. These are realities for all of us.

So my challenge to you all this week is this: not in great moments of joy, but in little moments of obsession, doubt or fear, can you pause and experience the moment just as it is? Remind yourself, “This Too.” What can attention and acceptance teach you in this moment?

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise. 

~William Blake

Right. And Right.

April 28, 2014

Soooooo, my sister is getting MARRIED this weekend?! I absolutely can not believe this is happening, and I am beyond excited and delighted for her.  Recently, we were at her bachelorette party and, during the course of the weekend, we (my three sisters) went to run some wedding errands. During these errands, I continually had the experience of realizing how different my sisters and I think. My thoughts of what is next, what the “right” decision is, varied from both of my sisters. It was an awesome reminder of how gray “being right” really is –

What we see so clearly as right or true is very definitely so different from those around us. Our truth is colored by how we are raised, our communities, our groups, our religions or beliefs. Our truth is colored by our own individuality and perceptions of the world around us. Very often differences of opinion don’t come down to right or wrong but to both being right from different views. It is a great reminder to take off those glasses once in while, polish the lens, and then try on someone else’s glasses for a second. Slow the roll on saying no or shaking your head in judgement. Open your ears and listen with a fresh perspective. And then, if it is your sister, go ahead and tell her she is wrong anyways. After all, that is what sisters do…

Littlest Sister, Bride-to-be, Me & our Mom!

I recently became the happy owner of Erin Gleeson’s first cookbook, The Forest Feast. This book is based off of her gorgeous blog. Her photos and recipes are a constant source of inspiration for me! This week I’m madly in love with this radish toast recipe. Not totally healthy, not totally un-healthy. Radishes have been abundant and tempting at my local market the last couple weekends and I’m delighted to have a new way to serve them.

 

Dirty South Yoga Fest

April 14, 2014

Save the Date 6.14.2014 

I am honored to be a part of the first Dirty South Yoga Fest!

Atlanta’s homegrown yoga festival: an afternoon of locally grown yoga, live music, quality yoga instruction, community, local flavors, local brew and festivities.

I’ll be co-teaching a one hour class on the Yamas & Niyamas from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. with one of my dear friends and teachers, Marlsya Sullivan.

Living Your Yoga: A Look at the Yamas & Niyama On and Off the Mat

In this practice we will take some time to talk about how we bring our yoga off the mat. We’ll discuss Truth, Non-Grasping, Contentment and Discipline – and the ways we can explore these principles on our mat and out in our world. We’ll have a short, simple practice and finish with a 15 minute guided meditation to wrap up your festival experience and prepare you for the lifelong practice that follows!

Festivities and Music by Atlanta band The Shadow Boxers from 6:30 -8:30 pm at White Provisions District

A portion of the proceeds to benefit non-profit Centering Youth

 

Schedule of Events:

2:00-2:30 p.m. Arrival and Check In at White Provisions

2:30-3:30 p.m. Class 1

30 min break

4:00-5:00 p.m. Class 2

30 min break

5:30-6:30 p.m. Class 3

6:30-8:30 p.m. Live Music and Festivities

Tickets Available Soon! 

I’m Listening

April 14, 2014

Last week, we spent some time talking about how expectations get in the way of connecting with those we love. I want to hone in on this a little more this week as we start paying attention to LISTENING as a way to connect.

How many of us at one time or another have vowed to become a better listener? I know I have. But what is it we are really ‘listening’ to? Isn’t it true that we pay attention first to what is the loudest? The thing that is so big, so strong, so demanding that we have no choice but to notice it. Just my guess here, but I’m pretty confident for most of us, that big, loud thing is usually our REACTION to what is being said rather that the actual words. Right? We say we are going to listen and then our gut or our heart or our mind starts yelling, and we don’t even realize that our listening has been pulled into reacting.

To Listen, Mark Nepo says, “is to lean in softly with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.”

But, what gets in the way of leaning in softly? What gets in the way of listening? Tara Brach offers us three common obstacles to listening:

1. Wanting – how do we want to be perceived by the person speaking? What do we want them to think of us?

2. Self-Protection – our natural reaction to criticism or to hearing things that play on our fears.

3. Zoning Out – when we aren’t wanting or protecting, we most often just zone out into thoughts of what else we could/should be doing in this moment.

So, we want to listen but we face obstacles and reactions; what do we do to help us forge ahead and listen with “a willingness to be changed by what we hear?”

We Pause.

We Stand Still. 

We give ourselves a moment to notice what is happening in this very instant and bring ourselves back to the work at hand – listen with our whole being. Stand Still. Listen. Connect.

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