E-RYT 500, yoga instructor for children and adults

Let Your Red Flags Fly

“A gentleman at the bar would like to buy your next round,” the bartender tells me. She leans close and whispers, “The guy behind me in the black shirt.” I glance over…

Click here for the whole essay, published on Sivanaspirit.com!

 

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I Was There

I was there

In the room

When you left

 

The vessel remained

But I knew

You were gone

 

My first home was in that body

But without you it was nothing more

Than an abandoned building

 

I didn’t know where you went

People kept asking if I felt your presence

“No,” I said angrily. “She’s dead.”

And my heart shut down

 

I went to the place they put you

That strange filing cabinet of discarded flesh had no trace of you

You always hated funerals

I should have known you wouldn’t hang around there

 

For a long time you were lost to me

My soul boarded itself up

“Closed for repairs” it said

 

I had looked everywhere

In churches and worship halls

In books and memories

But still you eluded me

 

I finally gave up

She’s gone for good

God isn’t real

That’s it

 

Then I started working on my heart

Chipped away at the concrete barriers I had built

Pried the wooden boards from the doors of my soul

 

Slowly

 

Painfully

 

Methodically

 

Until finally

It opened again

 

And there you were

Had been all along

Waiting patiently

For me to come home

Holiday Detox

I don’t give a fuck how many holiday cookies you ate. Tell me about when you swallowed your pride and asked for help.

I couldn’t care less about how many times you went to the gym. How often did you go outside of your comfort zone to try something new?

The size of your gut doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Show me your guts by opening up and being vulnerable.

I don’t want to know what it says when you step on the scale. What does it say about you when you step into your power?

I could give a shit about how tight your ass is. How tightly do you hold a friend in need of comfort?

That thigh gap doesn’t interest me at all. What are you doing to close the gap between who you are inside and who you are around other people?

Please don’t go into the details of your new fad diet with me. Instead share the details of your dreams and how you’re going to accomplish them.

Forget those stretch marks on your skin. Show me how quickly you can stretch your outer layers and grow into a bigger and better person.

Instead of shedding the extra pounds, what if you lost the criticisms, judgments, and negative self-talk you picked up last year?

Don’t let the matter of which you are made determine how much you matter in this world.

Carnivorous

 

I watch the sun and wait.

 

As you approach my leaves unfurl.

Shall I spin some slippery sentiments that you’ll slide down my throat upon,

Or set a hair trigger trap to snap shut when you tickle my fancy?

Tempt you with a colorful object, dangling delectably, beckoning you down a one way street,

Or draw a bath of sweet nectar for you to sink into, leaving only bubbles behind?

 

I slowly digest each word you say, gorge on the giddy energy you give, swallow your smile whole.

 

Satiated, I turn my face to the sun again

And wait.

 

Rivers & streams & oceans of thoughts flow across the terrain of my mind

wearing grooves deeper than the Grand Canyon

Ruts, patterns and old ways of being get entrenched in the landscape of my consciousness

Just like Patanjali said,

Yoga is the calming of the whirlpools of the mind

Calming the rapids so I can see clearly what lies beneath the surface

Fat lazy fish of thought are easier to catch in still waters

The Gift of Presence

Life is often busy, and at this time of year even more demands are made for our time. It may seem like your yoga class or meditation practice is an easy place to cut back to save time. But as Gandhi famously said, “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” Luckily for us, studies have shown positive effects from as little as ten minutes a day. The key is doing something consistently. Giving yourself the gift of presence, whether it’s a full hour of yoga postures or a few minutes of quiet, is so important to maintain wellness both mentally and physically. Science has routinely shown that yoga and meditation create more clarity, reduce stress, decrease blood pressure, and increase happiness among other benefits.

If getting to a group class is difficult, I’m also available for private yoga and meditation sessions either at your home, workplace, or a studio. My general rate is $100 an hour, depending on time and location. This investment in yourself can also be split with up to 4 other people. Please contact me at brandao.erin@gmail.com to set up a time for you or a loved one!

Offering

She snatches the tablecloth out from under my perfectly positioned place settings. Deep red wine runs in rivers down the table legs. “No use crying over spilled blood!” she cackles, lapping up the liquid from between my thighs. I vacillate between awe and terror, wild laughter and crazy tears. Everything feels like it’s fucking falling apart, together.

In the shadow of the new moon, the end and the beginning, the goddess is rising in the form of alpha dog and omega man. As my body recognizes another missed opportunity to procreate, it sloughs off the old to make way for the new. Each month throwing a fit in red waves of blood and pain, before wiping away one last tear and cheerfully beginning to once again paper the walls of the nursery. What naïve optimism, what unwavering faith. And I continue to thwart its plans, nipping in the bud any new growth; I can barely keep myself alive sometimes.

She cracks open my ribcage, delicately cups my still beating heart in her rough hands and holds it up to my face. “Look!” she laughs. “Listen!” she insists. “This is all that matters. THIS IS ALL THAT REALLY FUCKING MATTERS!”

If you forsake your heart the world will forsake you, will always feel empty, cruel, void of love and meaning and purpose. But forsake the world for your heart and she will open herself up before you, lay herself down in front of you, and beckon you to have your way with her.

“Why oh why,” she continues, her words hissing in my hear, “do you question the only thing that is true, real, and honest? Dark clouds gather in your mind, heavy rains of worry and fear drowning your precious heart. Clear away the clouds of uncertainty, connect to what is real in me, which is what is real in you.”

Her words caress my soul as her many arms bless every inch of my skin, washing away the debris of many lifetimes, many lovers, many deaths, many joys, many sorrows. Layer after layer she strips me bare until I tremble and surrender, until I lay naked and vulnerable, until I have no choice but to let go. I asked for this, I remind myself.

“I am ready,” I whisper with quiet ferocity as she plunges her hand, still holding my heart, back into my awaiting chest.

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