Summer yoga in Boulder.

I am delighted to be joining forces this summer with Julia Horn and Dominick Antonelli for some light-hearted, celebratory yoga with live music to highlight special organizations around Boulder.  See you there!

The first of this series is coming up:

Saturday, June 22 at the Dairy Arts Center, 9:30 am.

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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

2019 Retreats.

To immerse yourself in yoga practice in an unhurried way, to explore new territory both externally and internally, to access more of your individual potential, to spend quality time with new and old friends, to eat well, to return home with a sense of lightness, expansion, and clarity about your role in the world – join me for a yoga retreat in 2019.

I am delighted to announce three carefully selected retreats on the calendar for next year – there is something for everyone to look forward to.  Reserve your spot early!  Details are here.

Paonia, Colorado in February

Riviera Maya, Mexico in May

Broome Hut, Colorado in August

 

Big Decisions.

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At various stages through our lifetimes, we are faced with big decisions about what to do with ourselves.  Beyond providing for our own individual basic needs, this becomes a question of how to be most useful to the world, leveraging all our experience, training, privilege, and unique inclinations and circumstances.

You may know that I was in graduate school for the past several years, developing numerical models of ice sheet dynamics and meltwater drainage beneath glaciers.  This is arguably important work, as these processes have significant consequences for sea level rise and global climate effects in the coming decades, and we need accurate predictions in order to properly prepare and adapt.  Upon completing my PhD in civil engineering this summer, I was presented with some very nice, stable, well-paying opportunities for postdoctoral research in academia and at national labs to continue similar modeling work.  After serious consideration, I turned them all down.

What have I done?  Why would I do such an irresponsible thing and not “use” my degree?  I see a distinction between the ice sheet modeling work, which is useful for predicting sea level rise and dealing with problems that are coming, and teaching yoga to people, which has great potential to actually change how things move forward.

After visiting my parents last week, I received an email from my dad, a retired astrophysicist who spent his career studying cosmic rays to understand the origins of the universe.  He wrote: “I’m not sure there is any way to get there from here, but wouldn’t it be neat if the world were full of compassionate and mutually supportive rational beings?  We should collectively kick away the ladder of evolution, which got us this far up, and start perceiving things in a better way.”

This is precisely why I am drawn to the path of yoga.  In a way, the decision was already made long ago.  The practices and teachings have somehow always seemed familiar; some people would assert that this is a result of practicing in previous lifetimes, but you can think what you like about that.

Sometimes there appears to be a divide between yoga and modern Western science or physics, with each side misunderstanding or misrepresenting the other perspective, or trying to draw inappropriate comparisons.  This usually isn’t intentional, but is typically a result of not having the proper background in the language of advanced mathematics or the subtle internal language of yoga.  Both disciplines provide systematic methods of understanding the nature of reality, and I find myself in a somewhat unique position of being relatively highly trained in these seemingly distinct realms.  It will be interesting to see how this might be useful, and what doors open along the way.

I am delighted to be teaching at The Yoga Workshop now, in the Ashtanga tradition, which is a tremendously effective approach to personal yoga practice.  Beginning next week on October 22, I will be teaching guided Short Forms classes on Mondays and Wednesdays at noon, and I am also assisting Ty Landrum in morning Mysore classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Plans are underway for retreats and workshops in 2019 to explore the expansive possibilities and purpose of yoga.  Details will be forthcoming soon.

I’ll look forward to seeing you again, and I would love to hear about what you have been up to, along your own path.

With great love,
Aleah

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