Tag Archives: gratitude

The Threads Of Consistency

After all these years, I still find coming to the mat to be the most nourishing thing I do for myself. Though it isn’t always easy to get to the mat. Or even enjoy what is taking place beneath the surface of my skin while I am there. No matter the texture of the experience I am always grateful to have done it when I am through. Beyond gratitude in my heart there is in addition a general calm peace of mind and a quiet relaxed quality to my body. Type of practice, time of day, time of year, what is taking place in my life, what is taking place in my mind, are all variables that contribute to the quality of my peace and calm post asana. Yet, however fleeting, in all cases the nourishing calm holds me and reminds me of the unconditionally loving spaciousness of spirit.

I’m not sure this is anyone else’s experience but I like to think most are in some way similar. This is why yoga asana has become, and continues to be, so very popular. All that twisting, bending, breathing, and stretching really works. As some wise sage once said “quiet the body, quiet the mind, enjoy the spirit”.

Though I know all this to be true it is still not always easy to get on the mat. I have watched myself through the years avoid my practice at the hardest times when I knew it would benefit me the most. Perhaps that aversion is similar to holding onto anger. We hold onto anger to not have to feel the pain it hides, and coming to the mat always reveals what’s lingering beneath the surface. Other times coming to the mat has been the only solace in my life when everything else felt out of control.

No matter my own inconsistent habits and behaviors, I know that consistent practice is really where it’s at. Consistent practice cultivates nuance and growth, maturity and patience, fortitude and humility. Consistent practice sets a tone for everything that takes place off the mat as well, enabling the deep integration of what is garnered from practice and remains long after the asana has gone. With consistency asana practice becomes a long and steady candid voice narrating the story of truth, consciousness, and bliss through one’s life.

Cultivating any new behaviors or habits requires effort. For this reason, doing new things with the support of others is beneficial. Groups and buddy systems keep people motivated to accomplish a goal, as well as accountable for not showing up. In addition is the joy of the shared celebration of triumphs and successes.

In Sanskrit the word Kula translates loosely to community. A Kula is a group of people with like-minded focus. The community of a yoga studio is a Kula. Sharing growth on the yoga mat with a Kula enriches not only the relationships inside the studio but also beyond. Every time we learn to be vulnerable we empower ourselves to experience more intimacy in our lives. Yogic journeys are by nature vulnerable. The shared vulnerability in a yoga class transforms fear of intimacy into openhearted courage and a desire to truly know others with the ability to connect, another powerful gift of a regular and committed practice. And a Kula is not limited to the community within the walls of a yoga studio. The yoga Kula is world-wide and as diverse in its stylized forms as the world of people who practice.

This holiday season we at Shree invite you to join the Kula and commit to practicing through the season as a gift to yourself and your spirit. As Suki so beautifully wrote about recently we are offering a special yoga challenge which will support this gift to yourself. (All info on our website.) However, you don’t have to be here in Taos or practicing in the walls of Shree to participate. Feel free to play wherever you are. Connect with self and others. Remember even if fleetingly calm that nourishes, expands, and stokes the fire of your heart.  I’ll be there and I hope you will too.

With love, always, in all ways, for giving, in joy,




When the sun is standing still.

Go to the place within you that is both silent and cacophonous in the same breath. It is there, in the moving within the stillness, and the light inside the dark, that all is. And it is there that all is happening.

I have learned in some years of “practicing”, and “refining”, and “being good”, on and off the mat that nothing that seems to be the real goal, is it. There are endless caverns of respite within effort, and deep tides of peace that only come from restlessness and disease. I believe that it doesn’t have to always be this way, but that for many, like myself, we must crawl through the rocks on our knees to find what is real. And simple. And good already, birthed from the sweat and grunt of time. Looking back, I heard this wisdom from many mouths, but who was I to listen? And who is any teacher to tell? We all must learn and find ourselves.

It is now, facing the winter solstice 2016, when the world is been cracked open, yolk broken and spilled, once again, and I feel it is safe to relax and begin anew. There is no less passion, just less me in the way of the work. And oh, so much more urgency for the process of unveiling the truth about real: medicine; politics; religion; health and wellness; love, trust, and compassion than ever before. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it once again, as many times as needed: a mantra, a prayer – practice is over. No more suffering at our own hands for perfection, only forward motion and steps toward something we can all feel at home in.

As the sun comes to a momentary pause, may we also sit still and source a link to the rhythm of the movement that is never absent, in all things. Blessings for your own moments of stillness, may they bring to you just what you are seeking and need – healing, rest, self-reflection, irreverence, reverence, faith, or just the chance to BE, and quit doing, if only for a breath or two.

Love and respect, Suki Ola

In the Middle

My obsession with finding resolution has led me down some strange, and awkward paths. Looking back I can see quite clearly how choices I made as a younger human were tethered to some deep yearning within myself to fix… everything. It didn’t matter if it was my motor broken or someone else’s, but just that there was something to repair. Recently as a student (which is, like, my favorite thing to be), in Kelley Tredwin’s Breathing is Good Medicine workshop on mindfulness based stress reduction and the power of the breath, I was rekindled to the knowing that a mind needs to complete a thought. Oh, poor mind, ever-destined to chase resolution around like a mystical bone in a world of unfinished, and beautifully undone cycles.

Kelley used the example of mulling thoughts over until far too steeped in the middle of the night. Without the clarity of daylight, a brain will just continue to ramble about, trying to resolve an issue that cannot, by default, be solved by thinking alone. Some dilemmas, like: the crumbling vitality of our environment; deep veins of hatred and judgement that perpetrate all manner of disgusting behavior; war; and the proliferation of over-packaged, processed food that neither nourishes nor sustains life, just cannot be solved in one act or one day. Even a year with superb collaboration from all beings everywhere might not save the planet, but I believe that even so, the actions we take today matter. What paradox. Dear mind, be patient.

The character of Shiva in the pantheon of deities and gravitational heavyweights of Hindu thought is well known for his offering of destruction, oft-named Lord Destroyer. But dissolution is only one of Shiva’s five acts, or states, of the eternal. The first four of Shiva’s acts are creation, sustenance, concealment, and revelation. Each of these five states charges toward ultimate dissolution, which is perhaps why he is so well known for the end. But every end has a beginning, and a middle, and a place where the path is lost, and then found again before meeting itself in resolution. And upon complete dissolve, an energy has the capacity to be reborn and begun, again.

As I understand the concept, all things in the universe are ever acting amidst the reality of one of these five states. The first and the final – creation and dissolution – are fleeting, maybe even momentary. From the conception of a human being to the emergence of a thought, creation happens in an instant. Often the end of a concept, body, or belief occurs in a similar tiny time frame. In science, such momentous shifts are called quantum, and can be proven to not be arriving out of nowhere, but to be the result of much courting, conversation, and collaboration.

Most of the time we spend in our bodies is settled in the state of sustenance, or maintenance. The acts and habits of preservation that sustain life are where we spend the most time and energy, while living. Though landmarks and aha-moments do plant their stakes into the fecund soil of our consciousness and tissues from time to time, the majority of the day-to-day is just that; brushing teeth and little greasings of the wheels that keep things rolling. To live fully in the act of sustenance is by default, to not know what is to come, but to trust. And unless one is dying to die, and can’t wait to dissolve into the ether in an act of solving all the issues of having a body, for now, let go. I encourage myself to savor the good stuff in the middle, and let more than a few strands remain frayed and untied, just for today.

Love and peace with the messiness,

Suki Ola

Seven Years of Shree

Many of us experience life in measurements of gains and losses. Time, elusive and fleeting is the ribbon that strings these moments together and measures the distance between. And, whether approved of or not, all things that begin must come to an end, both stages along the way marked on the thread of time. Knowing that all things will end, it is our nature to celebrate the continuation of that which is, while it continues to be. Celebrating life with each passing anniversary of birth while acknowledging what has come to pass in the days between is a favorite past time for adults and children alike. Same goes for the anniversary celebrations of important days and the monumental moments of our lives we deem worth keeping track of.
The 13th of July marks the day Shree Yoga Taos opened its doors with the mission to serve our community, and seven times now we have crossed over the threshold of this marked moment acknowledging the gravitas this simple action has had on many lives. In Buddhism there is a practice known as right livelihood, or the act of making a living with actions that are life enhancing rather than destructive. Though yoga is rooted in the ancient teachings of Hindu practices, the Buddhist practice of right livelihood is very much at the heart of the intent to serve up yoga. This is understandable when considering that the lifestyle of a yogi is in so many ways a map that enhances ones ability to more clearly understand and choose that which is life enhancing, that the curious mind does not need to ask too many questions to make the leap of connecting these dots. And so at Shree for the past seven years we have done our best to serve our community in a way that is life enhancing. And once again we have the great good fortune to continue to celebrate right livelihood and positive contribution to our community as Shree celebrates completing its seventh year of service.
Over these past seven years the walls of Shree have held with love many weary and tired souls. The floor has supported numerous brave leaps into new walks of life. Teachers have challenged boundaries to be reexamined, pushed, made stronger, and/or dissolved altogether. The community has embraced the diversity of those who have found the practice to benefit their wellbeing and in that diversity also cultivated more unity as we all looked beyond that which separated us and into that which we shared. Shared breath has carried many through difficult to navigate terrain, silent losses, heartbreaking grief, as well as the stories that make life more flavorful and robust. Laughter and delight has filled the space so palpably that corks jumped out of champagne bottles of their own accord. And mostly, gratitude like time, continues to mark and measure each passing day with reminders of what has been gained and what has been surrendered. 

So on this our seventh birthday it is with deep respect for your intrinsic beauty that we honestly wish to thank you all for being a part of our livelihood, our community, and the many flavors of the measurements of time that we celebrate today. May we be lucky enough to continue to enjoy all that Shree has to offer, together, for many more years to come.

With love, always, in all ways, for giving, in joy,


Thanks giving, two thousand and fourteen.

Looking into the crystalline November sky is a practice that grants perspective.  In the face of so much expanse, so many stars twinkling, such vast space, is the invitation to let go of the details and doldrums of everyday that might feel burdensome.  Sometimes.  The only thing we must remember is to look up!

When our stores of memory are full of begrudging thoughts and feelings, it is nearly impossible to feel grateful, but the scales tipping to more memories of joy and happiness allow gratitude as an attitude, to settle in as the norm.  Make a conscious effort to remember one thing you are grateful for each day, slowly filling the tray of your own memory scales with the guru presence of joy.  The diligence to remember and be present with what is just once a day will begin to tip the scales toward more feelings of abundance and gratitude.  That’s math at work for your state of peace and mind.

Gratitude is like a muscle in the human body.  It is a collection of many thought patterns and behavior, fiber-like and tangled together, which express in the form of potent energy.  Alone, a muscle is little more than tissue, but when in yoga, relationship and symphony, with the rest of the body, a muscle is an activator, expresser and electrical responding tool that determines much about the subtle experience of embodiment.  Muscular activity chomps up a huge amount of energy.  It is helpful to study the most efficient way to move, stand and rest to ameliorate extra strain that improper alignment, repetitive action and unconscious holding patterns lay on the body whole.  Same same, it takes an incredible amount of effort to hold on to feelings of lack.

Yoga asana is training in lightening the load of  a body’s extra-effort behaviors and allowing for the heart’s grateful spirit to lead the way into a practice of meditation and lovingkindness.  The simple discipline of bringing to mind one thing that brings feelings of gratitude builds the kind of deep integral core strength, rooted in thankfulness, that allows for less effort in all action.  And just like our physical musculoskeletal system, each small thought-bundle of fibrous satisfaction means more strength and facility for the entity.  The point is not to ignore what is a challenge, but to sweeten it all with consistent reminders of what is good, one flash of contentment at a time, until the scales are forever full and tinged with gold.

Building the happiest kind of muscle I know, Suki