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25 ways to be a revolutionary

23 Feb

in an everyday life:

84ed2-revolution-logo11. Believe in humanity, no matter what you hear, no matter what you read.
2. Believe that we will create a world that is equitable.
3. Believe that you are part of the solution, then, act on it.
4. Touch the earth, ask for her help, breath with her.
5. Open your arms & open your heart.
6. Believe in humanity’s capacity for change. Really, believe.

7. Boycott FOX, they have no ones interest in mind. NO ONE.
8.On second thought, just stop numbing your mind. TV, obsessive smartphone use, drugs, booze–it all gives someone else the upper hand.
9. Make presents for your friends, with love, even if they are silly.
10. Say thank you to someone who works in service, or a service person. Say thank you.
11. Where are you most happy? Spend some time there.

12. Take control of your body. Appreciate it, use it, if possible, heal it.
13. Use your voice. Sing, chant, dialogue.
14. Meditate, sit in silence, pray. Lend your energy to cosmic change.
15. Hug someone, kiss someone, cuddle, hold a hand. Share your space, intentionally.
16. Be there for the youth, for the elders, for your peers. Show up.
17. Prepare. And, always be prepared.
18. There’s a quote that says do what you do: if you can protest, protest; if you can write, write; parent your children; teach. Do what you do and do it to the best of who you are.
19. Pause before you speak.
21. ASK a lot of QUESTIONS.
22. Treat the earth like you love her.
23. Laugh.
24. Do some yoga.
25. See yourself in everyone.


Moving On

13 Jan


I have started the year with a group of students from Columbia College Chicago. At the Headlands Center for the Arts, they are exploring the earth, their connection to it, the maps we create and the ones that are written in and on our bodies. As their yoga guide, I am encouraging them to uncover their deep valley and river bottoms, to unearth the parts of themselves that they are ready to get rid of and to put down the burdens that make their travel too heavy.

As my own new years unfolds, I am examining similar themes. I am finding that it is sometimes much easier to carry the burden with you, even if it’s heavy as hell, cumbersome or something that you’ve outgrown. It sometimes seems easier to continue to carry it all rather than figure out how to leave it and let go. I share the tears of my students as I am leaving behind the parts of me that I have identified with for so long. For me its those parts that give me weight with others-the titles and the organizations. The things that tell the outside world, I am worthy in it. My 20 years on my  students doesn’t make leaving the past behind any easier. In some ways, I think it may be harder…20 additional years of habit, 20 additional years of brain grooves reinforcing my survival as intimately linked to all the things that no longer serve me.

So then, what do I identify with in the mean time? What am I suggesting that my students pick up as they lay down the things that are not supporting their growth? I am suggesting space, trial and error, and creativity. As a society we are up against some major shifts in our social fabric, we are examining  race inequity, transphobia and misogyny in a different way, holding one another accountable and demanding action. What we need as a society has shifted so intensely that sometimes I have trouble seeing a day or two in front of me, let alone projecting one or two years into the future. The one thing I know today is the same thing that I have know since I was a child, yet the depth of it often eludes me; Love is the one thing worth identifying with, and that you can find love by following excitement in your spirit.

If you are buoyed by chanting in the streets, you are showing love. If you find solace in caring for your family, friends or students, you are showing love. If you sit at the feet of your deity and open your heart to the cosmos, you are showing love. You are demonstrating love each and every time you remember and act upon what is just. You are showing love with every heavy burden you put down and every smile that you gift to someone.  I have embarked on a list of 100 things to do in 2016. Those things are as mundane as getting my house painted and as exciting as solo-international camping. Each one of those things gives me space to grow, is done out of love, and excites my spirit.

What excites your spirit?

No Enemy

19 Aug

photo (1)

As an antiracism facilitator, artist and yoga teacher, I see many facets of a human being.

I witness peoples reflexive interaction with one another as well as their deepest held personal insecurities and fears. So often there is an overlap in the two where fear exists, anger and hatred react.

We are given the gift many times every day, both on and off the mat, to face the attitudes that imprison us. We can face them in our own bodies and minds or we can reflect on them in the structures that make up our communities and countries. With every breath we have a choice — we can be the change we want to see.

What are you ignoring in your body, in your soul, in your community or your country?

What are you willing to see?

How can your breath allow you to face things head-on and become a light for those around you?



Heal the World, One Word at a Time

14 Jun

“and there we were, the same human beings. It was just that he was wearing that skin and I was wearing this skin. And it was no more or less than that.”
-Baba Ram Dass

Even in 2013 we have so much work to do. Children in schools bullied by teachers and other students for not falling into line or looking different. Odd conversations on planes that leave us all feeling as if the air has been let out of our tires. Explaining to our young children of color why they see so many people people that look like them going to jail on TV and not so many people that look like them as their doctors or teachers.

Cracking the Codes is an amazing film by World Trust and Shakti Butler that goes further than your typical diversity seminar and is held in so much love that it is truly accessible, even to those that believe that racism no longer exists in the world.

Through her and her teams skillful facilitation people are encouraged to examine places where they have been othered, bringing your experience directly into the body. And once you feel an experience from your own perspective, you can not pretend that it does not exist.

I love this film for the ways it made me open my own eyes, for the window it gave me on the shared experience of wanting to belong that we all have. And, how exclusion and systematic reinforcement of exclusion continue to harm the whole world and make use sicker and sicker.

We can use words to heal the world. With one sentence at a time we can start to break down paradigms that we accept as the norm.

We all have to start somewhere, on the mat, with a piece of art or in collaborative dialogue with another. How do you want to start the conversation?


Question Bridge

11 Jun

This is an amazing project by Hank Willis Thomas delves deep into the norms of race in our society and seeks to explode our assumptions about people.

It gives you the opportunity to see yourself where you are and at the same time transform your ideas about the community that you live in.

Political Yogi

29 Oct

Image Credit: Dieder Ruef

Know all objects to be impermanent

Let not their contact blind you

Resolve again and again to be aware

Of the Self that is permanent.

-T. Krishnamacharya

I was a political junky for years. I worked for both the cities of Chicago and San Francisco. Very left leaning municipalities, they served my progressive spirit to a t. Spending more time now with my family and in my studies, I’ve found that my political passion has waned some. Not because I no longer find it important to support progress in my city, country, or world but because the coverage of politics is too much like reality TV.

I love heated debates, perceived difference, quick witticism and pointed arguments. Some days I live for them. What I can’t get over right now is how our media seems to be embracing this as politics.

From where I see it, we are all in this together. What happens to you is also happening to me. It may not happen today, I may have a few more dollars in my pocket or some additional comfort in my walk from public transport to my home. I may even have better healthcare or options for elderly support. The thing is, at some point, I will be affected by my disregard for you or my attitude that you alone are responsible for your circumstances.

We are a system, democracy (not capitalism) is built on the idea that we all get a say in how things work and how our system shakes out. For me it is working from a collective idea of what is good for us all. It’s hard to totally parallel with the idea of the eternal Self, since we are still talking about humanity, but in there is the idea of recognizing the suffering of all as the suffering of one, and in turn the solution for one as the solutions for all.

As a youth what I loved about out political system was that those on opposite sides of the aisle worked together, they compromised and made slow change based on what was often good for a larger majority. What I see today is both parties marginalized, trying to make policy that serves them singularly and others that they perceive to be like them.

Here, in our humanness, we all have the same fears and anxieties, our politicians play on those enabling us to more effectively demonize the people we see as not like us. In the end, we all go back to the same place; this is just a moment in eternity.

We can choose to work together, make things happen or we can let people play us into thinking that our shells should determine how we treat each other.  I’m giving up the political drama, but I am still a junky for democracy. A junky for people working together to support a larger human family, for making this a space that will lessen the physical suffering of generations to come, or for an opportunity to develop a place and practice to learn about the Self: individual, collective and eternal.

How are you playing out your politics?

We are all broke! EAST BAY

26 Oct

With a little internet research and elbow grease, I found multiple classes a day that meet the Yoga for the Masses criteria, awesome, fun, and less than $10.

No excuses, get your butt to a class, take some deep breathes and be better for your homies.


7 am Square One, $6 Emeryville
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
6:15 pm, Lake Merritt Community Yoga/Yoga for the Masses, $5-$10 Oakland
6:30 pm, East Bay Community Yoga (Starline Social Club), $5-$15 Oakland


7 am, Square one, $6 Emeryville
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
4:30 pm, Yoga Kula, donation Berkeley


7 am Square one, $6 Emeryville
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
9:15 pm, Flying Yoga, donation Oakland


7 am Square one, $6 Emeryville
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
4:30 pm, Yoga Kula, donation Berkeley
6 pm, West Oakland Yoga, $10 Oakland
6:30 pm, East Bay Community Yoga (Temescal Arts Center), donation Oakland


7 am Square one, $6 Emeryville
9 am Adeline Yoga, $5-$15 Oakland
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley


10am, 12pm, 5pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley


11 am, Lake Merritt Yoga, donation Oakland
12pm, 5pm, 7pm (candle-lit!), Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
6 pm, Yoga Kula, $8 to $16 Berkeley
Please pass this on and post a link. I have had so many questions about low cost yoga, let people know it’s out there.

My mom is a yogi.

28 Aug

There is so much ongoing suffering in this world. And, it comes from this idea that we are separate, alone, cut off from one another. It manifests itself in brain diseases, physical afflictions, weird ticks, aberrant anti-social behavior  and I could go on. (Of course, I am not a doctor or psychologist, I want to be clear about that. I am basing this off what I have seen in people’s behavior and what I have read in texts.)

My mom, see, has been any form of several types of addict throughout her life. Those addictions have been largely based on her feelings of disconnect from others. She could insert many things, loneliness, despair, abuse, etc, but the amazing thing about my mom is that at 63 years young she is addressing all of these things. Addressing them through addressing that feeling of separation. When we “sense that everything is intertwined in continuous movement…We discover we can let go and trust, we can let the breath breathe itself and the natural movement of life carry us with ease.” (A Path with Heart, page 52)

She has moved across the country, lives downstairs from her daughter, daughter-in-law, and grandson. She doesn’t have any “people” here. She has herself, her god, her breath, her body, and a want to make her life an amazing tribute to love.

Sometimes when I look at her, I think, holy hell that is crazy, but she is walking her talk. Of course she would never call herself a yogi. But she would give pretty much anything to someone in need, without a grudge, because she always knows there is more. That and, she knows that person IS her, whether today or yesterday, they have walked in the same shoes.

That is good enough for her.

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