Monday evening classes in October.

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Happy fall, everyone.  I was not planning to teach yoga in any formal way this fall, but then my friend Julia Horn invited me to teach on Monday evenings at the Eldorado Springs Art Center this month… and I had to say yes.  So I invite you to come practice with me in this very special place, nestled in the heart of the canyon!  It is a lovely, easy drive from South Boulder, and not to be missed.  Payment is on a sliding scale (i.e. whatever seems right and affordable to you).

Classes will involve physical postures, breath techniques, and focused meditative internal practices throughout.

All Levels Hatha/Vinyasa Yoga

Monday evenings, 6-7 pm

October 7, 14, and 28

Eldorado Springs Art Center

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Summer.

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Here we are, with the most daylight of the year here in the northern hemisphere – and it feels wonderful. Light in the mornings, light in the evenings, big batches of kale and arugula pesto from the garden…

While the weather has been cool here in Colorado this spring, with snow still covering the high mountains, it has been hotter than usual in other parts of the world (like on the Greenland ice sheet). During the day, I work on modeling how the Greenland ice sheet retreats in a warmer climate, simulating the complex global physics and interactions of the atmosphere, land, and ocean. I go to seminars to hear other scientists talk about the circulation patterns and biogeochemical systems that make our planet habitable, and how they are changing.

As you are aware, many pieces of the Earth system are changing rapidly, in extreme ways, and on timescales much shorter than in Earth’s past climate cycles. As humans, we are collectively conducting a grand experiment with our planet by altering its carbon cycle in a big way, and we don’t fully understand the cascade of irreversible tipping points we are approaching (or have already tipped, in some cases). It will be interesting to see what happens.

You cannot separate yourself from the natural world, as you are woven tightly into the intricate web of life. Realizing this fact is a key part of the process of Yoga.  When you acknowledge this interconnected quality of existence, you can’t help but try to be kind and gentle.  Every action has far-reaching effects, so take responsibility and be deliberate in what you choose to consume and support, the things you buy, the food you eat, the clothes you wear. Get away from the computer, the phone, and the air-conditioned indoor environment. Open the windows, eat lunch outdoors, and live outside as much as possible. Enjoy the sunshine, the fresh warm air, the smell of young leaves and flowers and dirt, the caress of grass on your bare feet, the Earth rising up to hold you, the brilliant sky a container for it all.

Soak up the summer and the soaring majesty of our world. Don’t miss what’s here!

Moving toward spring, and whatever happens next.

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We have nearly made it through another winter. You probably notice the days feeling longer, and I hope you are enjoying the sunshine (and ALL THE SNOW in the mountains if you’re here in Colorado). I have always loved this time of year, with the first hints of growth and warmth blowing in on the gusty winds.

As we move toward spring and into whatever happens next for each of us, it is natural to feel a shift toward lightening, letting the old unnecessary things fall away or dissolve – which may include material stuff, thoughts, relationships, unhelpful habits, patterns, expectations, whatever. In cases of big transitions or letting go, it can feel like the ground dropping away from beneath you, and you may need to be patient, and trust your own wings.

As always, take good care of yourself: Make time to get outside, drink plenty of water and tea, eat nourishing foods, and don’t forget to look at the sky. I also recommend learning about Ayurveda (the Indian “science of life”, which considers and treats each individual uniquely, based on your own constitution for optimum health and well being).

And now, a spring treat and retreat!

Dreamy Sweet Potato Soup

You will need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, ghee, or coconut oil
  • Spices (bay leaf, black peppercorns, cloves, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon)
  • Salt
  • Cilantro for topping

Directions:

  • Cut sweet potatoes into slices, roast at 400 degrees F until soft.
  • Blend sweet potatoes with chopped fresh ginger and coconut milk in a blender (add as much water as needed to blend smoothly).
  • Heat oil in a pot, toast whole spices until they sizzle.
  • Pour blended sweet potato mixture into pot, add ground spices and salt to taste, plus water as necessary to get the desired consistency.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer as long as you like (5-30 minutes).
  • Serve with chopped cilantro, a fresh salad, and warm crusty bread.

 

Fire and Waves: A Yoga Adventure in the Riviera Maya, Mexico (MAY 9-12)

I am so looking forward to being back on the beach at Hacienda del Secreto in May! This special retreat over Mother’s Day weekend is the most luxurious and in-depth retreat I am teaching this year, and there is space for you!

It is impossible to adequately describe the magical feel and rhythm of the place, but it is an absolute dream. Just a few days of dedicated, unhurried practice and refreshing rejuvenation in this setting have a way of working on us in unbelievable ways. You simply have to experience it for yourself, and I would love for you to come.

 

Stay in touch, keep practicing, and I hope to see you again some day soon.

 

Heaps of love,

Aleah

Life is a lifelong journey.

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I recently wrote to one of my teachers simply to get in touch and let her know I appreciated a piece that she wrote about gravity and the dance between prana and apana.  Even though I haven’t seen Erica Kaufman in almost three years, somehow we stay connected.  She may be heading soon back to India for the Kumbh Mela, a super-massive spiritual gathering happening now in Allahabad — can you feel it?).  In her response to me, she wrote:

“Yoga is a lifelong project for me. Life is a lifelong project. I feel committed to living fully and respectfully— A wild dance at times.”

It really is, isn’t it?  Now that I am abruptly not teaching regular weekly studio classes anymore and am working full-time at NCAR, I have shifted into an entirely new daily rhythm – sitting in a chair all day after early-morning asana practice, cooking and eating dinner at a civilized time in the evenings at home with Eli, and sitting on a cushion in the dark quiet hours of the night, wide awake for mantra/kriya/meditation practice.  It has been heartwarming to unexpectedly run into students from the last several years in places like Lucky’s Market, at NCAR, and even up at a backcountry ski hut far from here.  A friend/student/co-worker recently told me that he still practices uddiyana bandha kriya first thing every morning after receiving it as a “lifelong homework assignment” in my classes, and that it helps him find his center and set the tone for the day.  Things like that are truly inspiring, and I’m glad that I have passed on something useful so far.

I am looking forward to some potent experiences together this year, and I have much to share as we all practice and grow, and move through our lifelong projects of Yoga and Life.  See below for details and registration for upcoming workshops and retreats in Colorado, Utah, and Mexico, as well as a special discount code for the Hanuman Festival held here in Boulder.

Rod Stryker (another of my teachers, also at the Kumbh Mela at the moment) recently wrote to me, “Blessings on your practice.”  I pass that on to you.

See you again someday soon.

With love,
Aleah


The Hanuman Festival is a yoga gathering held here in Boulder in June, bringing together excellent teachers from around the world for a weekend of yoga, music, learning, and devotional love.

My friends at Hanuman have offered a 10% discount to share with you: simply enter the code “aleah2019″ when you buy any pass.  Enjoy it!


Last call for Paonia!  There is one room open (available as a single or double).  This could be perfect for you!

February 15-17


 


FIRE AND WAVES:
A Yoga Adventure in the Riviera Maya, Mexico

May 9-12

Come with a friend, or share it with your mom (it’s Mother’s Day weekend, and my mom will be there!)


3rd Annual Mountain Hut Yoga Get-Away
Broome Hut, Colorado

August 9-11
SAVE THE DATE!

(Registration will open in April, but let me know if you would like to be on the advance list)

Waves (or, Big Decisions: Part 2)

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Season’s salutations to you! As we find ourselves in the shortest, darkest days (here in the northern hemisphere, anyway), it is a natural time for reflection, introspection, and quite possibly some changes.

You have probably noticed by this point in your lifetime the wavelike nature of it all – the ups and downs, highs and lows, good days and bad days, success and failure, clarity and confusion, inspiration and aimlessness. These waves do not necessarily follow a regular periodic rhythm or have equal amplitude from peak to peak, but we all experience the fluctuations of being alive. To be truly skillful in navigating the course of your own individual life, it is helpful to be able to observe yourself in these different phases – without becoming overcome by the low troughs or ungrounded in the soaring heights. If you can train yourself to do that, you will find a state of equanimity, able to fully appreciate both the glowing bliss, as well as the opportunity to grow as you pull yourself out of the muck. You might be surprised what you find there.

A few recommendations:

  • On the dark days, make sure to get outside and find movement. Go to the water or the mountains, or go for a short walk.
  • If you feel isolated and alone, reconnect with a friend you haven’t seen for a while, go to a yoga class, or volunteer to serve others.
  • When you are overwhelmed by time with family, holiday parties, conferences, or being around people in general, take a break to be alone. Go out for a run, make music, paint, or curl up to read or write. Be still, be quiet, and let your awareness go inward, toward the deep internal calm that is always there.
  • Breathe fully. Let the breath move freely through the entire body.
  • Make time for what you need.

On a personal note, this fall has been an interesting transition time (see my Big Decisions post from October). After a few months of not being fully involved in science, but teaching more studio yoga classes, I realized that that was not the right balance at this point. So here is the next next Big Decision in coming back toward a state of balance and riding the waves: I have accepted a Postdoctoral Fellow position starting in January, up the hill at NCAR (the National Center for Atmospheric Research, based here in Boulder at the iconic Mesa Lab overlooking the city), modeling the polar ice sheets and their interactions with the atmosphere and oceans to understand the changes that are coming with changing climatic conditions.

It is always amusing to see what falls into place. This decision in no way compromises my commitment and dedication to the practice of yoga, or to passing on those teachings. In fact, it gives me the freedom to fully follow both paths of science and yoga, and will also allow me to teach you in the most effective way. Starting in the New Year, I will be teaching much less in the form of regularly scheduled weekly classes, and I sincerely encourage you to consider joining me for one or more retreats next year. This actually follows more closely the way yoga has traditionally been taught by sages and teachers in the Himalayas for a long time – where you physically spend time with your teacher only occasionally. The real potency lies in what you take home with you from those periods of practice and study, and how you cultivate that over time through your own individual effort and practice. So I invite you to join me in Paonia in February and/or Mexico in May! See what grows out of it.

Enjoy the holidays. Please stay in touch, and know that I am here to support you in any way that I can.

With great love,

Aleah