Tag Archives: balanced life

Habits and Change

By Dia Penning, originally posted by Love Light Yoga June 7, 2017. Dia will be presenting Yin Yoga and Social Justice  at Hollyhock September 2018. 

My work in social justice and yoga has dovetailed a number of occasions over the last 5 years. More often, I find myself in spaces where we talk about spirit and demonstrate our long held physical tensions as parallels for the tensions in the world. How can one do effective public work if their internal landscape is a mess?

Justice is not, strictly, an external concept.  As we continue to examine normalized violence and our collective capacity for self-harm and dishonesty, the sickness in our world becomes much more sharp.

Continue reading Habits and Change

This is What a Real Yoga Body Looks Like

by Sarah Donaldson

Now I am definitely not a ‘yoga body’. I love yoga and partake when I can. Sometimes days and weeks escape me before I can make it back to the studio. The way yoga makes you feel is like a nurturing blanket bending your muscles and stretching them out. Yoga is like a really good yawn mixed with a hug; this is why I enjoy it. It is peaceful, relaxing and my body is thankful. I do not go to class to seek weight-loss or the perfect yoga body; I go to soak up the energy in the room and be me (in my medium body of curves).  Thus, I weigh my yoga teacher on their positive energy and outlook, not on their waist band size.

by Jen Priest via Elephant Journal

This is What a Real Yoga Body Looks Like“Excuse me ma’am, I really enjoyed your yoga class tonight. But I wanted to come by and tell you that as a yoga teacher, you need to lose weight. Namaste.”

Wow, well this was an unexpected turn of events from the yoga class I taught tonight.

How many times has this all happened to us though? When someone (a stranger usually) comes up to us and imposes their idea of what we should do, be, look or behave like to fit their idea of perfect?

The answer is: all the time. And then what happens? We become sad, self-conscious and unhappy with ourselves, feeling like we are unworthy or not lovable the way we naturally are.

This is the message today: we need to start a revolution of self acceptance and love for who we truly are—and for once, not care what anyone else has to think or say.

For once, just say, “F*** it, I’m gonna do me! Be me and love me, for myself and no one else!”

Seriously, right now, say that out loud.

To cycle back to the beginning, this was a comment I received from a student right after teaching (what I thought) was a class with wonderful energy and great people sharing their practice together. She questioned my eating habits and other exercise practices I do outside of yoga… and then pinched my side.

I was at a loss for words—especially since this happened in a yoga environment, a supposed safe haven from judgment and hate. I had struggled with an eating disorder for eight years, and had found a good place—but these comments shook me and I began to question all of the personal progress I have made in my life.

I was faced with a choice, as we all are when people criticize and critique our life to try and “fix” us. I could either fall into old bad habits of the eating disorder and self-loathing.

Or, I could finally realize that I love myself and I’m perfectly fine the way I am, no matter what judgements a stranger may have and if you don’t think so, then great, that stranger can carry their judgment to their grave but I will keep living in light and love and no longer be affected by another’s hate or criticisms.

That is my message: we all need to rally together and promote self acceptance and love. Let’s keep on living our life happily knowing that we are all beautiful and undying souls and we were born perfect and will never be more perfect than we are at this very moment.

Continue reading here.

The Center Must Hold

by Thomas Atum O’Kane via atumokane.com

For several months I have heard this phrase in my meditations, dreams, and spontaneously throughout the day.  In this past year my calling has taken me to North and South America, Europe and Asia, and the Middle East.  The story of the world now is a planet in transition, trying to give birth to a greater consciousness.  Everywhere there is liminality, the “in-between  time,” when the identities,  forms and myths that embodied the previous paradigms are dying, while the ones that will embody the new consciousness have not been fully envisioned or manifested.

In our personal lives times of great transition are marked by deep uncertainly, fear, anger, grief, disillusionment, even despair. This can be balanced by the sense of a new calling filled with possibilities, hope, growth, dreams, expansion and a revivified life.  During such passages we are asked to wait, listen, and stay connected to our soul while not clinging to the old identity or grasping onto a premature way of escaping. Imagine this condition magnified billions of times throughout the planet.


In this era of enormous polarization, uncertainty, fear and anger, the center must hold or we shall fall into chaos rather than emerge into planetary consciousness. There is real danger from those who feed the fires of polarization, especially the ones who have no mature sense of the destruction they can unleash. Those who claim with absolute certainty that they know the way are the ones who can lead us blindly into an abyss.

Carl Jung warned of the destruction that occurs when a group of people becomes possessed by an emotion and they lose their individual consciousness. What was Yugoslavia is a prime example of how the rather recent layers of more civilized consciousness can revert to a more primitive, tribal mentality. I was in Mexico during the N1H1 flu and personally witnessed Jung’s warnings, as the media drew the world into the possession of collective fear within days.

Given what is occurring throughout humanity we should not be surprised to find these conditions mirrored in our lives and all around us. It is a naïve form of specialness to expect that because we are on a personal spiritual journey that we will not be affected by the state of the planet in crisis. The great gift of spirituality is that it offers us, through various traditions, a body of proven teaching and practices that will aid us in holding our own center.

Hazrat Inayat Kahn noted that the condition of humanity at any time is a refection of its consciousness. Enough people must be able to hold their own center in this turbulent time so collectively we can hold the center for humanity.

Read full article here.

Thomas-Atum-OKaneThomas Atum O’KanePhD, a longstanding and well-loved presenter at Hollyhock, is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance. He holds a MA in psychological counseling and a PhD in transpersonal psychology. Atum has been a senior teacher in the Sufi Order International, where he served as secretary general for 12 years. He leads workshops, retreats, and pilgrimages in North America, Europe and the Holy Lands. atumokane.com


Thomas will be at Hollyhock on Cortes Island:

July 7-12, 2013 presenting Time of Transition

July 12 – 17, 2013 for The Seven Valleys is the Soul’s Journey

Oct 18-23, 2013 for The Art of Spiritual Guidance (two-year program)