Happy Holidays in this Winter of 2015

IMG_1999Dear Students and Friends,

I hope this finds you healthy and happy this holiday season, and enjoying your yoga practice which certainly helps us remain healthy and happy as the years pass. I’m seeing that very clearly, as I recently celebrated my 71st birthday, and also welcomed our seventh grandchild into the world!

The holiday season in all spiritual traditions and religions comes back to what Yoga is really about, Love. Love of Self, Love of Other. To open our hearts with more and more compassion, tolerance and understanding in these challenging times is what our practice invites us to do. It’s much easier to close down and ignore or deny the pain and fear in the world, living happily in our own personal little bubble. Yet that is neither honest nor useful.  To take the fearlessness, confidence and acceptance we find on the mat and channel it into a cause that is meaningful and inspiring to each of us is to contribute to making our world a better place.

My colleague and dear friend Betsey Downing and I shared an incredibly meaningful time in Maya Tulum, Mexico with a group of inspirational women who are doing some amazing things in the world, on our annual Spirited Women’s Retreat. It was a time to share and discuss and be inspired by each other in so many wonderful ways.  We will be staying in the U.S. next year, on Emerald Isle on the coast of North Carolina at Trinity Center. The dates will be August 21-August 28, and we are in the midst of doing the brochure now which should be on our websites by January 1.

Coming up in February are not one, but two yoga retreats to Jamaica!  I am excited about doing my first retreat with my friend and awesome Willow Street  yoga teacher extraordinaire, Maria Hamburger.  Maria graduated from one of my earliest Teacher Trainings, in 2002, and has gone on to study and explore the therapeutic aspects of yoga, as well as specialize in yoga for MS and Parkinson’s Disease. Her teaching is direct and precise, as well as creative and exploratory. And fun!  The retreat is January 30-February 6, at Sunset on the Cliffs and you can download the brochure from this site.  And then more fun two weeks later, when Moses Brown and I will be doing our 12th Jamaica Yoga Vacation back at the Negril Escape. The dates are February 13-Feb. 21.  Moses teaches with a wonderful combination of humor and love. You can download both brochures with registration forms from this site. Each retreat will be a great respite  from the February chill, and non-yogi spouses are welcome.

Betsey and I will also be doing our annual 4 day mini-Spirited Women’s Retreat for women 45 and older at Kripalu Holistic Health Center in Lenox, MA.  The dates are April 28-May 1; more information is on this site.  Our intention is to encourage and inspire all of us to step into our greatness as wild, wonderful & wise women!

I continue to enjoy splitting my time between teaching at Willow Street Yoga Center and Oxford, MD on the Eastern Shore. We now have a wonderfully dedicated group of Eastern Shore yogis and yoginis that is growing each year. Wherever did I get the idea that I was even going to “semi-retire?”  But I can’t imagine ever stopping. I also love my Hospice work in Easton, Md that is tremendously rewarding. We are blessed to be close to five of our seven grandchildren who we see in each week on the Western Shore.

I wish you all the happiest of holidays. May you experience the love, compassion and abundance of the season. May you grow closer to the Grace that each day offers and may you offer back that Grace in a meaningful way. My very best to each of you, may you prosper and grow in every way in 2016.

Namaste with Love,

Suzie

 

Summer 2015 is Flying By!

suzie_fbDear Friends and Students,

Well, we seemed to have the Winter that would never end, and tho Spring was late, it was more than welcome, and now the heat and humidity of Summer is upon us.  I’ll happily take it!  I hope this finds you having summer adventures and/or some great relaxing beach time or whatever makes you happy.

Happiness is such a choice isn’t it? My great friend and colleague Betsey Downing is now reading a book entitled ”     “.  I remember when I turned 50, I made a conscious decision to be happy, and to always bring an element of fun into whatever endeavor I embarked on.  Life is too short to do anything else. I believe that the purpose of our life is to awaken, enjoy and learn from our experiences. We’re not helping anyone by being miserable. Events need not determine whether or not you’re going to be happy, they’re just events. You alone determine that! Michael Singer, in The Untethered Soul, says, “if you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is.”  Yes, of course, we will be challenged, the test of our commitment is exactly what stimulates spiritual growth. Singer goes on to say, “in fact it is the unconditional aspect of your commitment to be happy that makes this the highest path. You get to decide whether or not you will break your vow.”  Simple but not easy, but what in life that is truly meaningful is easy?

And speaking of some great events coming up to help your happiness quotient, the first being Betsey Downing’s and my workshop at Willow Street Yoga on Sunday July 26 for women of all ages, “Honoring the Divine Feminine.” Click on the link here to know more!  Before our workshop Betsey will give a free lecture on Climate Change on Friday night and how we can help, and on Saturday will give two more powerful workshops.

And for all you women over 45 we are about half full for our annual Spirited Women’s Retreat in  Maya Tulum, Mexico this coming October. This is our 8th retreat and second year at the beautiful Maya Tulum Resort. We liked it so much last year, everyone wanted to go back again! Please click here on the link here to download a brochure with all the details and registration form. Don’t wait too long though, as we have to release our extra rooms by the end of August, so please get your deposit in by Aug. 15.

And if you’re not looking forward to another cold snowy wet winter, plan to take a break in February with either a Jamaica vacation with Maria Hamburger and me from January 30 to February 6, or  with Moses and me from February 13-21.  Click on links to learn more here!

My husband John and I will be happily embarking on a Windstar Cruise to the Scandinavian countries in July and then after four years, in August, I will be returning to Northport, Maine for a two week personal retreat in my little rented rustic cabin, Mt. Spruce which overlooks the beautiful Penobscot Bay. Summer is flying by, and we want to make every moment count.

I’m still loving teaching my five classes at Willow Street but also doing some workshops and series of classes in Oxford, Md. where our retirement home is. Our little yoga kula there has grown to about 20 dedicated and wonderful practitioners, some of whom are coming to our Mexico Retreat this year!  Very rewarding and fulfilling for me in many ways as we continue to make dear friends at this stage in our lives. And the four grand girls keep us busy and entertained on our days on the Western Shore!  We celebrated our oldest grandson, Jody’s High School graduation not long ago, and are so proud of him for receiving a full tuitional scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston. And his younger brother Reid, has a beautiful voice, is in Chorus and also plays a mean violin.

So as they say in Jamaica, (and I say often!), “Don’t worry, Be Happy” and have an awesomely wonderful and happy Summer,

In Love,  Suzie

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Happy New Year 2015

IMG_5055 Dear Students and Friends,

I hope you and your families had a joyful and meaningful holiday season.  May the beauty and love that is generated from gathering together this time of year hold us as we venture forward into a new year, one that may be full of mystery or dedicated to a specific personal vision.  Or maybe a little of both!  I continue to enjoy my “split time” between the Eastern Shore (Oxford, MD), and Takoma Park, and am now teaching a class on Sat. mornings at the Oxford Community Center which is also a wonderful way of making new friends with common interests. I don’t know what 2015 holds for me as yet, but I remain open and eager for new discoveries.  One of the most exciting things I did in October of 2014 was to jump out of an airplane for my 70th!  It was definitely thrilling, and helped me overcome my fear of heights that was getting stronger as I was getting older!!  Very glad to still be able to take risks and step into my fears!!

Moses Brown and I will soon be celebrating our 11th year of teaching together on the cliffs of Negril in Jamaica. It is one of the most fun and financially viable yoga vacations ever, and we still have just one more space for a yogi or yogini!  Not a bad getaway from the February winter chill!  The dates are Jan. 31-Feb. 8, and non-yogi spouses are welcome. You can download a brochure with registration form from this site.

Betsey Downing and I had a total blast with 26 of the most inspirational Spirited Women on our sixth annual Spirited Women’s Retreat near Tulum, Mexico. The highlights were wonderful discussions, renewing and making new friendships, some great trips, and of course the unforgettable Mayan Belly Massages!  O, and the yoga wasn’t half bad either!  Next years dates are October 24-31 so mark your calendars.  We will be at the beautiful Maya Tulum Resort on the same incredible beach we were this year. We will hold the numbers to 36  and registration will open March 24 and first come, first served. The brochure should be available to download by early February.

Betsey and I will also be doing our annual 4 day mini-Spirited Women’s Retreat for women 45 and older at Kripalu Holistic Health Center in Lenox, MA.  The dates are April 2-5 over Easter weekend; more information is on this site.  Our intention is to encourage and inspire all of us to step into our greatness as wild, wonderful & wise women!

We are also ruminating about giving an online meditation course. Both of us have had committed meditation practices for over 35 years, and think we might have a little to share in this direction as well.  We are both being drawn to teaching more meditation in all of our workshops and we feel the time is now, because we are at such a delicate balance with world and planetary issues. Not that we can meditate or transcend them away, or even want to, but from a deep and committed meditation practice, we can be more effective activists as we make a more and more healthy engagement in the world.

And then there is The Kindred Spirits Reunion on February 20-22 of 2015 in Austin, Texas  that was an incredible brainstorm by my good friend and yogini extraordinaire, Desiree Rumbaugh.  This will be for all Anusara” teachers, both present, and for those who left the system last year, as well as for those who were in the process of certification. Betsey and I are helping Desire organize this, and it promises to bring us all back together in a beautiful way.

And for all my dedicated and devoted yoga students at Willow Street and elsewhere, I want you to know that being your yoga teacher is an honor, and a never-ending process of growth and service. We have seen, again and again, how yoga changes lives, and being part of that is a great  privilege. Without your presence in my classes and workshops, I would not be able to continue in what I consider to be one of the most sacred and honorable professions one can do.   

I urge you to stay in the deepest connection to the Divine in however you experience It.  May you know that the Divine longs for you as much as you long for the Divine, and all will unfold as it should as we enter the sacred mystery of 2015.

Fly High and Trust,

IMG_5020_2Blessings and Love, Suzie

 

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The Dog Days of Summer (2014)

Hopefully, some of these days are Downward Facing Dog Days and you’re wagging your tails in delight from lots of summer fun and good vacation time. And of course, delighting in your own yoga practice as well. My husband, John, who retired in January, and I are spending long weekends in Oxford, MD on the Eastern Shore, exploring the creeks and rivers in our little Boston Whaler. We’re delighted by the fact that the sea nettles have stayed away so far this year and the swimming is grand!

Our big adventure this year is a cruise/trip to Alaska for a couple of weeks in early August. Before we leave I wanted to give ya’ll a quick update on my upcoming retreats and other teaching activities.

Betsey Downing and I will be giving our annual Spirited Women’s Retreat October 25-November 1 of this year, at the wonderful zen-like resort of Maya Tulum in Mexico. We are about 2/3 full, so if you are on the fence or if you have any friends who may be interested in joining us for the SWR, tell them to register soon!  On August 25 Maya Tulum will release all the rooms that we have not booked for our retreat, and there may not be rooms available if they wait too long. The brochure and all the info is here.

Next up is the Jamaica Retreat led by Moses Brown and me from January 31-February 8, 2015. Registration just opened and we’re already more than 2/3 full. We are at a new place this year, up the road a bit from the Negril Escape with fewer rooms available.  No worries tho, as folks can still stay at the Negril Escape or the Mirage, both in walking distance.  We can take only 40 in the yoga space tho, so don’t wait too long if you’re thinking of coming!  Again, click here for all the info.

I continue to enjoy teaching my five classes at Willow Street and doing an occasional series of classes in Oxford. That plus teaching some workshops, seeing a few privates each week, doing the two retreats a year and spending time with the grandkids makes for a full and happy life. I feel especially fortunate, with my 70th trip around the sun coming up this October, to have somehow been so blessed to have stumbled upon this Yogic path that has guided and continues to bless my life.

There’s an additional PS that is important to me and I feel needs to be said to all seasoned and budding yogis.  We are not here to transcend life, and live only in some state of bliss-filled nirvana. As we awaken to who we are, we realize the need to do all we can to make the world a more conscious place. To say no to the politics and politicians that are tearing at our democracy and yes, to those policies, which are far-reaching and necessary to the survival of our planet.  We need to speak up and out from that deep place that knows what’s right in our very soul!  Be progressive and always stand up for your Truth.

Love and Namaste,

Spring at Last! (2014)

Spring Greetings Everyone,

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter, and as I read the forecast for next week (March 27th or so), there may be more to come! Amazing, yet climate change is here to stay and we must do all to wake up people including our Congress, to take more action.  Sooner or later however, the daffodils and tulips will brighten our days and the sun’s warm rays will seep into our chilled bones. And unfortunately those suffering from Spring allergies will be challenged to fully enjoy the season. I always feel especially sorry for Spring allergy sufferers, which includes two of my kids!

Those of us who went on our annual 10th Jamaica Yoga Vacation in Feb. were very glad to make the get-away from our DC area Winter, and thoroughly enjoyed warm breezes, calm seas, and the friendliness of the Jamaican people.  Next year we will be going up the road a bit to try another small resort called Sunset on the Cliffs. The dates are Jan.31-Feb. 8, 2015.  You can download the brochure with registration form on this site.

My husband John has now been in Jubilado (Spanish word for retirement!) which means more like freedom, for over two months now!  He’s keeping quite busy, stepping up to being an even more awesome “Papa John”  to our four Grandgirls each week, volunteering for Parkinson’s presentations, and working out a lot more, which includes doing more yoga.  And must say he’s a big help around the house and to me!  We are still spending long weekends in our home in Oxford on the Eastern Shore and looking forward to getting our boat in soon, and getting out in the kayaks again.  Lots of eagles have been spotted in the area lately and the ospreys will soon be building their nests.

I’m looking forward to teaching at Kripalu with Betsey Downing very soon, and also to teaching some local workshops, both in the Silver Spring area and also in Easton, MD.  Betsey and I will be doing our annual Spirited Women’s Retreat at Maya Tulum this coming November. Registration is now open for that and you can download the brochure with registration form on this site as well as Betsey’s site, www.betseydowning.com.  Our cut off is 36 this year, so if you’re thinking of coming, please don’t wait too long to register.

Betsey and I are quite passionate about actively living our Yoga in these unprecedented times. This is no time to transcend or try to meditate away what is going on in our country and the world at this time. Those of us that have been meditating for some time know that deeper place of wholeness and connection to the One, to the All.  And no matter how nice it might be to stay in that place, we are also called to act from that place. I know I often feel a bit helpless as to what I can do in the face of the amazing shifts that are taking place, but just by keeping informed, speaking up and speaking out, and yes, even signing petitions all help, and in this way we can all make a difference.

Betsey calls this the Yoga of Engagement which I love. There is a new dimension of Consciousness awakening on our planet now, and as serious yogis we feel we have a responsibility to inform and uplift others to the new possibilities of our time. Marianne Williamson, a true spiritual activist,  is running for Congress in Ca. Check out her website,  www.mariannewilliamson.com.  Marianne is author of A Return to Love and other wonderful books. Betsey has an extensive Resource List on her website that you might want to check out as well.

So I wish you an amazing and awesome Spring season, that you may also give new life to any parts of yourself that have lain dormant this Winter, and that you may blossom and thrive and brighten and help to uplift our world.

Blessings and Smiles,  Suzie