Monday, December 12, 2011

Hard Times

“One moment, face flat on the ground, reminded me that these hands were made for pushing strings and feeling thunder in my bones. So if lightning strikes me, what did I expect?”

If I pray for anything, I pray that I continue to tremble, that I continue to weep, that I continue to laugh, and that I continue to become inspired.

And I pray the same for every one of you.

Sometimes, when we talk about life, we talk about how hard it is. Trials, tribulations, dangers, toils, and snares. Among the numerous possible responses to these hard times, there are two in particular that crop up quite commonly: falling in love with our problems, or shying away from them.

Both are instances of victimhood. I’ve played both cards on different occasions: “Oh yeah, I went through this terrible trauma. You would never understand, you can’t even begin to dream of comparing your grief to mine,” “I will avoid becoming vulnerable because I might be forced to delve into my supposed issues, which would be painful and challenging. Not that I have any issues. I just mean if I did. You know?”  It’s either too dangerous to confront, so we continue the pattern and disconnect from others, or we are so proud of our suffering that we, well, continue the pattern and disconnect from others.

Now, it’s very likely that a lot of us have met with our demons, have looked them in the eye, and do not glorify or hide from them. And yet, many times we say, “It’s just so hard.”

Here’s the deal. What are we comparing? We are comparing our current situation with an ideal: an ideal stemming from memory, projected fantasy, or what we suppose another person’s superior situation is. WHY are we comparing? Because we don’t want to be where we are.

Think of your least favorite hip-opener, or any pose that you mentally brace yourself for. Be aware of your reaction. It’s such a hard pose, why am I putting myself in this situation? I would much rather do this other pose, it’s so much more comfortable for me right now. I can’t relax into this, I’m putting stress in other parts of my body, and it’s just so frustrating.

If it wasn’t hard, chances are I wouldn’t need to be there.

If it didn’t evoke such a strong reaction in me, chances are it isn’t where my growth is.

Perhaps a change in vocabulary is necessary. To say something is hard also implies a battle, a fight, something we need to conquer. When in reality, the greatest challenges are our greatest mentors and advisors. Is it work? Heavens, yes! It is beautiful, gritty, joyous work. I count myself lucky and blessed to be faced with such a challenge. It keeps us inspired.

I invite you to be courageous, beautiful yogis. You are worthy and capable of true growth and connection. I see you, and I see where you are. Blessed am I to be a witness to such grace.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I say YES!

“There will always be moments in life when I stand at the end of an experience, look back, and wonder how the hell I got myself into such a beautiful situation.”


November. The weirdest thing to me about November is that sudden shift when the sky is enveloped in blackness by mid afternoon. It may also be for that reason that I'm having such a hard time finding my feet again after finishing Veera's teacher training this last weekend. I am a creature to loves and thrives on routine, but get me off my roller coaster, and it's a challenge to try and figure out how to clamber back onto something that's still going fifty miles an hour.

Last month I wrote about connecting with our story of origin, and I feel like I'm still on a similar track. But not so far back. I want to talk about the importance of saying yes to yourself, and the powerful wisdom in thanking who you were three months ago, six months ago, a year ago, ten years ago.

Between three and six months ago, I planted a kernel in my brain that would lead to me feeling more unstable than I have in a long time. That's what happens when we start to dig, whether it be looking in the metaphoric mirror, or hanging out in half pigeon, wondering how our hip joints could be so much like legos mummified in plastic wrap.

Now? Insecurity. Completely uncomfortable to the point where my skin itches and my body feels anxious like there's miles of energy compressed inside my muscles and my bones, and it's a GOOD thing. I'm 'suffering' from what I like to call creative constipation. I go so long without expressing myself in a creative way that I eventually reach a point where when I try to get back into it, I notice how much unnameable stuff is shoving a battering ram against my heart, trying to break through a rusty lock.

So I would like to take the time and thank my former self, three to six months ago, for saying yes. Saying yes to taking that left turn that led my path here. In honor of that former self, I opened up a folder from a chapter in my life where I wrote some form of creative writing once a day without fail. Sometimes you take a look at a thing you produced a long time ago, and in that moment it's a gift to yourself in the present. Exactly three years ago, I wrote something I needed to hear right now.

Namaste, my beautiful yogis. I am thankful for each and every one of you. I challenge you, and encourage you, to say yes. Start this new day with vigor.

"beauty manifests itself in its one million skins
shaping words poured from flexing fingers.
cry! they whisper in the ears of little children wandering by:
dirty faces and wide eyes—
tears dropping in unpredicted patterns
are no less lovely than that silly little smile you keep
perched beneath your nose.
don't be quick!
your simple minded states rest easily between overwhelming joy
and heartbreak clinging to your ankles.
to sit and stare, not so wasteful
as the times you went by forgetting all you saw.
notice me! they beg, weaving between the hollows of your face,
and the human being sitting next to you—
I emerge in moments, lingering only as long
as you watch."
by Tasia-Ray Weatherly, October 28, 2008

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What are we creating?

Ever since I was a child, Autumn has been a season of magic to me. I was born right around the fall equinox when the weather began its transition: the leaves grew brittle and turned a brilliantly rich orange or maroon, the crisp air threatened to bite your nose off, and everything and everyone stood trembling on the edge of something new, a fresh start.

Autumn is the epitome of transformation, of resurrection. Even my name echoes the everlasting cycle: Tasia, meaning “the resurrected one.” Thus, this has always been a powerful force in my life. Each time I come to my yoga mat to meet my higher Self, my former skin crumbles and flakes off, and I seek to understand the new transition that has come to commune with me.

We break open. Again, and again.

It occurred to me today how important our Creation Story is. Not as a fixed state, or definition that writes out our past, present, and future in permanent ink. No. As a place of origin, a beginning, where we always have the choice to go a different direction. Congratulations, you pass Go and collect $200 dollars, and oh, by the way, the board is completely different than the last time you came around.

I use the term “Creation Story” loosely, in hopes that you, you, and you may interpret it in whatever way speaks to you. In so many spiritual traditions, religious traditions and family histories, the reverence held for the Beginning, for a Birth is absolutely astounding. Equally as astounding is the number of shapes, stories, symbols, and metaphors the Creation Story takes on. And the impact, oh! The look in my mother's eyes when she describes giving birth to me, it is unlike any other look. I liken the Creation story to oral storytelling traditions. The Creating truly comes in with the telling, with the new details, the new symbols, the new connections, the new ah-has. Where we come from is not important because of the where, but because of our changing relationship with it.

I rediscovered the story of my birth, and it completely shifted my conception of who I am. I am the leaf, torn from the tense branch of the tree, whipped and twirled, reveling in in the feel of the wind and the stunning beauty of my dance, while wondering where I will land. I will always land somewhere, and I know that my resting place is where I make my temporary home, until the wind plucks me up again.

Creation is never fixed. Never. It is pure intention born from infinite, reoccurring possibilities.

Let me say that again. Pure intention.

I realized, with new intensity, that my Birth arose from careful planning, pure awareness and presence. My ancestors purposefully crafted my existence, though they did not know who I would become. This has never ceased. You see, creation is a continuous practice and tradition. It is my tradition, it is YOUR tradition. It is a gift, a set of crafting tools that has been passed down to us from every living thing. When I say it is important to be in relationship with our Creation Story, I mean we are the shepherds of the intention we were born from, and the intention we are born with. With this tradition comes tremendous responsibility.

You may have found yourself, once or twice (at least), in a difficult pose, trembling, doubting, wondering what the hell the teacher is thinking. They're crazy, right? When it going to be over? I don't have much strength left.

What keeps you in that pose?

Not the teacher.

What are YOU creating?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


     As I finished writing my story for the month, I suddenly realized that this is a very appropriate topic for the upcoming season: fall. I know technically we're still in summer, but fall will be rounding the corner quickly. I've long held great reverence for the autumn season, not only because of the transitioning weather and the excuse to wear striped, knee-high socks, but because of the symbol of the falling leaves. What a perfect metaphor for letting go to make room for something new. And, as I find tends to happen, I'm finding this concept is very, very, relevant in my life right now.

     It's strange to me how attachment manifests itself in my life. Or, rather, funny and startling. There will inevitably always be something that surprises me, no matter how long I continue my journey towards awareness. That's the cautionary tale I tell myself: “You don't know everything.” You don't have to know everything. Believe me, that's a hard lesson for me to accept. But, as I've been kindly reminded by others (and myself), the most important step is to notice, acknowledge. Hello, my name is Tasia. I have attachments.

     In this moment it's a passing comment between friends that unearthed information I wasn't aware of. Information I maybe didn't want to know or didn't think I was ready to hear. Information that potentially shakes a core part of me that was gripping tightly to a former sense of reality, a former conception of history. My history. A new friend reminded me recently that we create stories in our heads, and those stories become our reality, even if it's all a bunch of made up shit that has nothing to do with what's really going on. And when those stories get interrupted, falsified, disillusioned? Oh damn, stop the car!

     You see, I am constantly relearning that there is a big difference between my experience, and the story I make up around that experience. Which brings us to an interesting question: what version of our history, and by extension, our present, do we hold on to?

     My past is clearly imprinted on my skin, on my heart, like a tattoo that is continually being worked on, added to. Yet as I feel more, feel new things, the perpetual change creates a vastness to my soul and freedom of my spirit that cannot be contained by my perception of where I thought I was or who I think I am. It's the little things that hold me to old perceptions, too. Tricky things. Instinctive habits. You know what I'm talking about. I've found when I don't let something end, it haunts me as a ghost, whispering in my ear unintelligible words... Yet those words are so very powerful.

     These small things that tie us to made up stories: habits, thoughts, words—they are gateways. In my case, they are literally paths held open so that communication with certain people that were a part of my life might continue in the future. As if my life were in a deadlock, in flat tension that does not vibrate towards new growth, but towards staying in the same place. Static. This is not the nature of living things.

     It is perhaps an odd correlation, but my asana practice has been a mirror to this same concept. Specifically, I've long since held certain assumptions and opinions about what my body could and couldn't do. In part, those assumptions linger because of old injuries and having to be mindful, but mostly because of fear and letting certain time-limited restrictions define my abilities. I get used to how my body is, and feels. I'm totally convinced of my physical capabilities. But! Oh, but! My reality only changes when I let it go. Let it go, let it fly free, think of not what I once couldn't do, but what I might be able to do. Persistence is a fabulous word when put into practice, as I've found through my determination to practice forearm headstand every day. Gripping the floor for so long only to raise my feet to the sky and let them fly. Before, it never even crossed my mind that I could even attempt such a thing. But I say it again, there will always be something that surprises me. Pleasant surprise, or no, they're often nudges to illuminate an old thought that may no longer suit me. Me. Present moment Self. How will I paint myself today?

     I would love to hear of any stories you have! What are some recent moments when you realized you were holding on to something that no longer suited your present Self? Comment below, or leave comment on our facebook page. And don't forget to have a wonderful, challenging, and engaging month, beautiful yogis! Let's bring in fall with a bang. 


Friday, August 5, 2011


How do we cultivate gratitude in the spectrum of our experiences?

As human beings we are often bombarded with such a wide array of changes. Some we effortlessly rejoice in. Others trouble our hearts and minds, testing our eagerness to feel, be vulnerable, and let go. We've all experienced these. They arrive on our doorsteps dressed in many guises, at multiple points in our lives. Yet it is always what we choose to do with these difficult experiences that make the difference. Can we greet every moment, understand them, let them go and... be grateful for them?

I suffered a back injury when I was thirteen, causing a major change in physical capability, and it sparked a journey I could never have anticipated. The best way to keep my pain under control is through physical activity, which is how I tumbled half-consciously into yoga's multifaceted lap. But as I continued my blossoming yoga practice, I discovered something absolutely amazing. While it was chronic, my pain was never the same moment to moment. I realized I could actually cultivate awareness in my own body to better understand it, and myself.

Pain has a funny way of making you hyper-aware of the moment. It's the vivid flash of light that catches our attention. After several years of having to pay attention to what my body is feeling, and understanding the subtle differences, I've begun to recognize what my core feels. Through all of this, I have a more intimate relationship with this delightful, flawed, perfect, intricate vehicle that I am in constant communion with.

This physical experience became a beautiful metaphor and lesson for the mosaic of sensations in my life. If it's possible to feel gratitude for the reality of an injury, and the reality of my body as it is... there are so many possibilities! And it all starts on the mat, with you, with your body, your heart, your beautiful self. In practice, during moments of intensity, I focus on finding a calm attention. My body courageously and humbly builds its strength, limbs shaking, sweat tumbling down my skin like a river, muscles burning. Practicing along side, I cannot help but thank my form, and what brought me to this point, with an honest grace that I'm only beginning to discover.

How do you cultivate gratitude on and off your mat? Have you ever found gratitude in unexpected places? Let us know on our Facebook page!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


     One of the amazing things about human beings is our capacity for reflection or self-study. I find yoga is a powerful vehicle for furthering this, especially since self-study is a part of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. But this is not always an easy process, nor does it always feel like a simple one. In class alone, we experience so many things: thoughts, feelings, sensations, that well up and hopefully tumble out of us. But what happens once we walk outside the studio doors? Or when we step off our mats? Sometimes I let my gifts gained from the practice fall by the wayside; if we are too busy to stop and feel the feedback our own bodies are offering us, why are we practicing?

     What I have to offer to you here is simply an expression of my journey. I am a yoga teacher, an artist, and most importantly a human Being on a spiraling path with many bumps and ditches in the road. Perhaps my path looks similar to your road or maybe it is completely different; but where I am is not more or less advanced/enlightened than where you are. I hope to engage in dialogue so we might explore ourselves, the world and universe extending around us like tree branches. Why? Because it's amazing. WE are amazing, and if you're like me, you might be ready to dig a little deeper... and open.

     As the conversation grows, or if you are simply moved to share something, you can comment on the posts, or feel free to go to Veera Yoga's facebook page.

See you on the path!