Pass the Flame By Lauren

Pass the Flame By Lauren

Have you ever been drawn to darkness? It possesses this seemingly undying power to reel us in and keep us close. Yes, I am speaking slightly metaphorically and don’t mean to sound too demonizing, but everywhere I look, every screen I turn on, and every conversation I take part in lately seems to revolve around this darkness. Aside from this past cold winter seeming unusually long, the weight of the war-torn world has been tossed onto our shoulders, many of us much too young to carry this weight, by all different kinds of media; particularly by the little “smart” tool most of us now hold in our hands the majority of the day.  Maybe you’re even using it to read this right now, however, I promise I won’t linger on the darkness for long, so please continue to read. Saturday, April 15th, began with hearing news that shook me to the core, as I’m sure it did to us all here in these quiet towns of Central Massachusetts. It reopened a wound I knew would take some time to heal again. That night I attended my first Easter vigil mass. It’s a mass meant for healing, rejuvenating, and new beginnings. Arriving right on time, the chapel was full, the atmosphere, solemn. As we made our way to a few open seats, I looked up and realized not a single light was on, and each person was holding an unlit candle. The ceremony began in the back of the chapel where we slowly found light as a bonfire was ignited. A few moments later, a flame was passed to one...

Abundance in the Mud By Molly

Abundance in the Mud   This year, I’ll have to wait a little longer for walks through the woods in early spring, because as I write this on April 1st, I’m looking outside and seeing ice and snow. But I’m willing to wait a little longer, as there is something magical about those quiet springtime walks. The still snow-damp earth soft underfoot. The first green shoots nudging out of the ground and toward the light. The way my heart seems to beat in slow, steady rhythm with the slow, steady rhythm of nature herself. And then there is the smell! The sweet smell of spring, mud-rich and fresh. These springtime walks have a way of calming me. I can come to the woods and be assured and supported by nature. I feel grounded with my feet on dark soil and winter-wet leaves. I come out of the grip of some petty thought, leave my to-do list behind when I hear the nuthatch’s song or the drumming of the woodpecker on a hollow tree. And I arrive.   In your yoga classes, you have probably heard the term grounding used. And in fact, many yoga teachers are conscious of leaving space for students to ground and center at the start of practice, whether in silence and stillness or grounding into the physicality of the body. It’s very common to come to your mat with the sound of your boss’s voice still in your head, your proverbial check-list is still unchecked, or you’re thinking about your half-filled fridge at home and the dinner that is not going to make itself. You...
Shutting Off The Stress Response With Meditation By Marissa Fratoni

Shutting Off The Stress Response With Meditation By Marissa Fratoni

Shutting Off The Stress Response With Meditation By Marissa Fratoni   Fear is an emotional reaction to a perceived threat to our well-being. It lets us know when we’re in danger. It lets us know when we need to act appropriately to steer away from said danger. It is a powerful emotion indeed. So powerful that it can take over our psyches and start doing incredible damage in our lives. So how does this work? This whole fear damaging our lives thingy? To gain a basic understanding, let’s talk about the nervous system. We all have two divisions of the nervous system — our voluntary system, and our autonomic system. The voluntary system is the one that can be controlled by conscious thought. We use the voluntary system when we control our breathing, when we decided to stand from a seated position, when we’re driving a vehicle for example. The autonomic system (I call it the “automatic” nervous system) is one that is not controlled by conscious thought. It’s the part of the nervous system that keeps our hearts beating, keeps our digestive systems working, and keeps us breathing when we’re not thinking about it (very important!) The autonomic nervous system is further divided into two divisions — the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS.) Each division has it’s own set of functions, but for simplicity-sake, we’re just gonna focus on the body’s stress response as it relates to fear. The sympathetic nervous system is the more well-known division of this nervous system. The SNS is responsible for the fight-0r-flight response. The system that puts you in an active...
Ostara: Finding equilibrium in the extremes By Mandi Garrison

Ostara: Finding equilibrium in the extremes By Mandi Garrison

  Have you noticed the uptick in anxious energy? Most places I go seem hurried, dry, ready to break. People are noticeably rushed, and there are extremes of emotional responses and angry outbursts. Does this sound like your world lately? Even the weather is extreme, with the pendulum swinging from 70 degrees to snow. Just as we start to get excited about spring, we wake up with a nor’easter outside. It isn’t all bad. Really. We tend to live in a world of extremes, and when the pendulum swings one way, it naturally swings to the other side. But we have the choice to remain in a neutral place. Michael Singer said to stop the pendulum from swinging to the extremes, simply let it go. “Don’t participate in [the extremes], and the pendulum will naturally come to the center. As it comes to the center, you will get filled with energy.” This is our opportunity during the Spring Equinox, or Ostara, on March 20. I know it isn’t an easy thing to do. When we spend months hiding in the shadow of winter, with more dark than light, in the comfort of our warm homes—the shifting balance of light and dark can feel like being pulled out of the metaphorical womb, and tossed into the real world. When we enter the Spring Equinox, we cross from the dreamy, creative, and watery sign of Pisces to the fast, energetic, fiery energy of Aries. We cross through the threshold to the beginning of the astrological wheel where anything is possible. Aries is cardinal fire—the fire starter. Aries energy is a necessity...
Ahimsa and Tech Timeouts – By Sawrah

Ahimsa and Tech Timeouts – By Sawrah

If you’ve ever been to a class at CMYW, then you have probably heard the Sanskrit word Ahimsa. As the first Yama, it is basically our secondary studio motto. It is translated roughly as non-harming or non-violence.We often use it as a way to show our students not to go “too far” with their bodies and to respect their boundaries while still learning to find their edge and grow. Ahimsa is also why you find a lot of yogi vegetarians who don’t kill insects; both considered non-harming practices. Ahimsa though, is broader than that. It trickles into every area of our life, our body, our spirit, and how we enter the world. It is also often said that it applies to thought, word and deed.   I recently had a birthday and engaged in some personal life review, as often happens around birthdays and the turn of a new year. At first,  I found myself completely ignoring Ahimsa, being harsh and harming in my thoughts and words towards myself. The negativity towards myself in thought, word and deed, was subtle but often times it was glaring. I examined this a little further to get to the root of it and I found it to be linked with some specific behavior that I am always monitoring but not always taking action around, my technology use. I found that after I spent time on social media (which honestly I have to do for work, but can often get sidetracked), my ahimsa in thought went out the window, towards myself, towards others, towards the world. My negative self talk peak for the...