When Great Trees Fall

When Great Trees Fall

By Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

baja, mexico retreat – march 2022

The chakra system is a bridge between: heaven and earth, inner and outer, above and below, mind and body. The chakras form a ladder allowing us to climb to heaven or get down to earth. The goal of the chakra system is about wholeness and integration. It is a template for transformation and a formula for wholeness.1 Join Ossi Raveh and me, March 3-9, 2022, at the beautiful Yandara Institute in Baja Mexico as your guides along this path toward alignment and illumination.

There will be twice daily asana practice exploring the chakras and a meditation practice to close our days. There will be plenty of time during the day for optional excursions, hiking, surfing, or simply lounging on the beach or next to the pool.

Click here for more information and how to reserve your spot!

  1. Anodea Judith’s Chakra Yoga. Anodea Judith. Llewellyn Publications. 2017.

What You’re Feeling is Grief

I’ve been saying this to folks in my circle for the past few months. In the West we don’t deal with grief particularly well. We want it done and over with; whether it’s others or ourselves. Well, it just doesn’t work that way. Click through to read the article.

For some, the tools we have been using to cope with unprecedented loss and stress are no longer working.
— Read on nymag.com/article/2021/02/what-youre-feeling-is-grief.html

New Class!

As the last hours of Summer slip into Autumn, no doubt this message finds you moving back towards a bit of “routine” (whatever that means these days) in your life. While I’ve been teaching through the pandemic, the start of Autumn has offered me the opportunity to add a new class to my schedule.

Beginning Tuesday, September 22 (and regularly thereafter), I’ll be offering a one-hour Slow Flow (gentle yoga) class. Class will be via Zoom at 10:00am ET. This class will be super accessible and appropriate for beginner and seasoned practitioner alike. No acrobatics, just a super chill slow flow yoga class!

Your payment ($15.00) will be considered your sign up and a Zoom link will be sent to you fifteen minutes before class start time. When you register, please indicate in the notes field “Slow Flow 9/22” or whatever the date is your registering for.

Additionally, in these initial stages of setting this up, kindly send me your email address (via “contact me“) so I am sure to have it for sending you your link. I will not abuse the privilege of having the email address.

Your payment can be made:

Venmo: @Dennis-Teston-1

PayPal: PayPal.Me/yogidennis

I look forward to the opportunity to once again connect with you. Please reach out with any questions.

Ethics of Yoga

Navigating day to day life is a challenge for all of us. How can we gain mastery over our choices? How do we gain skill when we feel stuck? How do we move deeper into a richer, fuller life?

Yoga comes with a set of ethical disciplines giving you direction toward a well lived life. The Yamas and Niyamas are the first two limbs of the eight limbs of yoga as outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, They are the method how we can clearly navigate life and make it rich and fulfilling.

This LIVE ONLINE five week module will explore the first two limbs of yoga, as outlined in the sutras, and help you put into practice on a daily basis these tenets. This series begins Saturday, July 11 at 4pm ET to 6pm ET. It will continue on Saturdays until August 8. You can attend individual weeks or attend all five.

Find more information at Brooklyn Yoga Project by clicking through here.

 

Generosity

Happy Monday! You may not know this, but after my corporate life, I moved into the hospitality world working at an event space in Soho. Hospitality is defined as the generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. While day-to-day event planning is no longer part of my life, the same spirit of generosity remains in what I do today. After all, people won’t remember what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

On Saturday, May 2, I’ll be doing a thirty minute dharma talk online via Zoom through NY Loves Yoga. Rather than a fee for the talk, we’re asking for donations (via PayPal) for City Harvest. City Harvest is New York City’s largest food rescue organization, helping to feed the nearly 1.2 million New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables. They will rescue 66 million pounds of food this year and deliver it, free of charge, to hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens and other community partners across the five boroughs. You can sign up and donate here.

The work City Harvest does is needed now more than ever. Sometimes when we’re feeling a stuck; a little stingy towards ourselves and the world around us, a bit of generosity helps. Sign up for the class. Make a donation. It’s a win-win. You’ll make YOU feel good…and you’ll make someone else feel good.

Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine (Part #1)

Greetings! Two weeks into this quarantine and the new normal seems to be settling in finally. At least for me, it’s been a moment of exploration and stretching (mentally, emotionally, and physically) way beyond my comfort zones. I’d be lying, though, if I said it hasn’t taken its toll on my mental wellness.

In the early moments of the quarantine, a dear friend posted a list of Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine. The list was compiled/written by Eileen Feliciano – a school and clinical child psychologist with a private practice in Brooklyn. It contains some very solid advice. She advised in the original post that “…I can’t control a lot of what is going on right now, but I can contribute this. ITS LONG!”

I didn’t want this to get lost. Because it’s long, I will post five tips per day in reverse order, so there will be a chronology. (If you’re joining in on this after the original post (#5), hop to the next post to see the rest.)

I hope you find this helpful. I wish you all ease.

Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine from Eileen Feliciano (Part #1)

1. Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.

2. Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial. Put on some bright colors. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.

3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. If you are concerned of contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less traveled streets and avenues. If you are high risk or living with those who are high risk, open the windows and blast the fan. It is amazing how much fresh air can do for spirits.

4. Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!

5. Reach out to others, you guessed it, at least once daily for thirty minutes. Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting—connect with other people to seek and provide support. Don’t forget to do this for your children as well. Set up virtual playdates with friends daily via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc—your kids miss their friends, too!

May all beings have happiness.
May all beings have joy.
May all beings be free from suffering.

Deep love and gratitude to you all.

Namaste.

Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine (Part #2)

Greetings! Two weeks into this quarantine and the new normal seems to be settling in finally. At least for me, it’s been a moment of exploration and stretching (mentally, emotionally, and physically) way beyond my comfort zones. I’d be lying, though, if I said it hasn’t taken its toll on my mental wellness.

In the early moments of the quarantine, a dear friend posted a list of Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine. The list was compiled/written by Eileen Feliciano – a school and clinical child psychologist with a private practice in Brooklyn. It contains some very solid advice. She advised in the original post that “…I can’t control a lot of what is going on right now, but I can contribute this. ITS LONG!”

I didn’t want this to get lost. Because it’s long, I will post five tips per day in reverse order, so there will be a chronology. (If you’re joining in on this after the original post (#5), hop to the next post to see the rest.)

I hope you find this helpful. I wish you all ease.

Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine from Eileen Feliciano (Part #2)

6. Stay hydrated and eat well. This one may seem obvious, but stress and eating often don’t mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!

7. Develop a self-care toolkit. This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, comforting music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. A journal, an inspirational book, or a mandala coloring book is wonderful, bubbles to blow or blowing watercolor on paper through a straw are visually appealing as well as work on controlled breath. Mint gum, Listerine strips, ginger ale, frozen Starburst, ice packs, and cold are also good for anxiety regulation. For children, it is great to help them create a self-regulation comfort box (often a shoe-box or bin they can decorate) that they can use on the ready for first-aid when overwhelmed.

8. Spend extra time playing with children. Children will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Don’t be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation play through. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children—it is how they process their world and problem solve, and there’s a lot they are seeing and experiencing in the now.

9. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth. A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is important to move with grace through blowups, to not show up to every argument you are invited to, and to not hold grudges and continue disagreements. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this.

10. Everyone find their own retreat space. Space is at a premium, particularly with city living. It is important that people think through their own separate space for work and for relaxation. For children, help them identify a place where they can go to retreat when stressed. You can make this place cozy by using blankets, pillows, cushions, scarves, beanbags, tents, and “forts”. It is good to know that even when we are on top of each other, we have our own special place to go to be alone.

May all beings have happiness.
May all beings have joy.
May all beings be free from suffering.

Deep love and gratitude to you all.

Namaste.