Thursday 26 May 2022

One Nation, Under desks

 One Nation, under Desks

(Paraphrased from Amanda Gorman's poem from Tuesday this week)

I could continue to pace back and forth from small room to terrace, go back to the beach and pick up some more trash hoping to move this pain out of my psyche, or I could write about it.

For my international friends, this line is inspired from a short poem that Amanda Gorman wrote in response to the horrors of gun violence yet again toward little ones, at an elementary school in Texas.  "One education, under desks"

Our national pledge of allegiance is more accurately known now as a pledge to hypocrisy.  Of course there is no One nation, undivided, with liberty and justice for all.  Amanda Gorman nailed it because she knows it, and anyone who holds a global view of humanity can see the arrogance and narrow-mindedness in what we ask our kids to recite in school.  

This year when I was in my home state of California visiting my family who all live on the Central coast, I spent my afternoons relaxing or practicing yoga in the little park behind their home, the park where I watched my nieces grow up, rode bikes with them, kicked the soccer ball around, and watched them grow to become expert tennis players.  One day as I was crossing the wooden plank bridge over the stream that enters the park, a young mom with her little son, perhaps 3-4 years old were walking toward me.  He had just had an energetic exchange with another person in the park, he was carrying his toys.  I heard his mom say, that was very nice that you said hello, but you don't need to tell strangers where you are going and what you are doing, but it was nice that you said, hello.  It wasn't the remarks that hit me at that moment, it was the expression in his young face that went from pure joy to exact opposite, a gray cloud passed his face and he looked afraid.  Boom.  The kid just grew up, he knows now that even in the most intense moment of joy when all feels so light, there is the other shoe that will drop, something to be scared of that he can't understand, yet.  I turned around to watch them go, and saw that his head was down now and his gait slowed.  He was taking this in.  I felt I saw a moment when a kid had to 'grow up.'  His day took a turn.  I hope he asked, why?  I hope his mom found the right words.  But I understand now, this little incident is nothing in a little one's life as, as young as pre-school they are taught about guns, that they will harm them and how to protect themselves.  A child in the U.S. goes to school to learn this.

The first thing I thought of is that quote from Einstein about the important moment in our young lives when we will have to make the decision. is the universe a malevolent one or a benevolent one.   He knew no creativity, no genius, no breakthroughs will come from a place of fear.  Fear is stuck, stagnant. I wanted to find other words for that little guy because of what I saw in his face. 

Tiny kids who hold fear grow to school kids who are nervous and/or can bully their way away from this fear, they can become anxious adolescents then anxious adults who believe in conspiracies, feel they can protect themselves from this fear if they have a gun, we also elect the anxiety-ridden when we are not careful, mindful, resourceful.  I know I just fast-tracked there and it is far more nuanced than this, but is it?  We see it right in front of us everyday when we open our phone.

Amanda goes on to say inhumane, which is what this is.  In a society where taking care of each other is ever increasingly rare, a non-benevolent society. how do we add access to assault weapons to the toxic mix that is our malevolent society.   We, Americans, chose the side Einstein cautioned.  What are we going to do about it?

I remember having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, K through 4th grade classes, when I was little I didn't understand the words, instead of "indivisible, with liberty and justice for all", I said, invisible, with liberty and it's just all fog.

Schools scared to death.

The truth is, one education

under desks.

Stooped low from bullets

That plunge when we ask

Where our children shall live

and how

and if.

--Amanda Gorman

Weekend Yoga

Dear Everyone!

I wanted to write sooner, but the tragic news from the U.S. took some
wind out of my sails.  Systemic problems can do that to us. I hope you
are well.  My practice and lifestyle here is a very sane one to say the
least.   I got feedback that some of you are interested in the Saturday
class online with me at 10am, that sometimes you can join.  Please let
me know if you would like the class this Saturday? Also Caroline is
kindly giving the community classes each Sunday until the end of June. 
We can reassess what is happening with all the summer travel after
that.  I would love to show you a little part of the island!

I put the notice on the website.  Saturday classes online and Sunday at
11 with Caroline.

See you soon!  Namaste kala,


Chers tous,

Je voulais vous écrire plus tôt, mais les nouvelles tragiques en
provenance des États-Unis m'ont coupé l'herbe sous le pied.  Les
problèmes systémiques peuvent nous faire ça.  J'espère que vous allez
bien.  Ma pratique et mon style de vie ici sont très sains, c'est le
moins que l'on puisse dire.   J'ai eu des échos que certains d'entre
vous sont intéressés par la classe en ligne du samedi avec moi à 10h,
que vous pouvez parfois rejoindre.  S'il vous plaît laissez-moi savoir
si vous souhaitez le cours de ce samedi ? De plus, Caroline a la
gentillesse de donner les cours communautaires chaque dimanche jusqu'à
la fin du mois de juin. Après cela, nous pourrons réévaluer ce qui se
passe avec tous les voyages de l'été.

J'ai mis l'avis sur le site web.  Cours du samedi en ligne et dimanche à
11 heures avec Caroline.

 J'aimerais vous montrer une petite partie de l'île !

Michelle Jacobi
Certified International Assoc. of Yoga Therapists
Centre de Yoga du Marais
72 rue du Vertbois
75003 Paris, France
0033 (0)

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Thursday 19 May 2022

Learning through the senses

 I am distilling my daily practice into memory, putting this memory sense, the 6th sense into the marrow of my bones so that my marrow remembers this warmth .  It is in my bones that I feel the chill of Paris winters, I am in the studio and I guide my students but cannot get warm like them.  I think of this often, how can I keep this feeling of warmth in my bones?  Remember.  I am accumulating the heat that drives up from my terrace the warmth of the morning sun, right up into my child's pose simultaneously feeling the warmth of the sun on my back,  I feel like a bagel toasting, the cream cheese in the middle warming and oozing just slightly out the sides.  I will remember and take this back, for the brain won't know if it is actually happening or if it can go along with the ride that you made it take with you.   For my bones to remember softness, I have this, far beyond touch sound sight taste and smell, I have this memory.

First in the mind,
then in the body.
The abdomen relaxes,
then the breath sinks into the bones.
The life force is relaxed
and the body calm.
It is always in the mind.
Being able to breathe properly leads to agility.
The softest
will then become
the strongest.

Wu Yu-hsiang

Honored to have endorsed Peter's book:

Thursday 12 May 2022

May from Milos

My dear Students,

How is May in Paris?  Are you warm and enjoying your holiday plans this month?  Staying healthy, in your mind and spirit, too?   I hope each day touches you with some peace and joy.

Island life continues to teach me much.  My days and evenings are organized by the rooster who crows energetically 15 meters from my window each morning, so I'm in bed when he's quiet and up with him.  It's fine, I like the routine.  I hear he and his chickens will be moved to a farm when the tourists arrive because they are not going to like this schedule.  I pick up some new phrases or words each day, (from the Greeks, not the rooster) but pretty much concentrate on my own little routine here which is discovering more and more about the yoga practice and what it teaches me.  I feel very good.

Athena, my contact on the island and whom I've worked with 7 times now, would like to see us back.  She offered me a lovely arrangement for next May 2023.  If you would like to think about saving a week mid-month around the May holidays, we can have a week's yoga retreat here, 400 euros, all inclusive.   I was looking at the dates of May 15-21, 2023.  You can keep the idea in your mind and we can plan further when I am back.  No rush, we know there is so much going on in the world.

If you would like to have a class on video from here and see my little terrace garden, the internet is very good and reliable.  I am sure you have found a routine that is nice for you and I hope it is live because it is so important that we all come together in person again, it's important for our mental health and growth.  I will stay here through the summer, but if you would like a video class it could be transmitted through Skype like we used to do.  I can do Saturday mornings at 10, I could also do a Sunday class as well because the mornings work best here.  During the week, if you wanted an early am class before going to work we could do this on Tuesdays like the class we started during Covid.  The fees would be the same as when I was back in Paris. The classes online 1h 15 minutes. 15 euros.

I sincerely hope you are all healthy and well, please feel free to drop me a line with some news whether or not you would like to sign up for a class.  Namaste kala, which is Greek  for Peace be with you,  Michelle 
Centre de Yoga du Marais  72 rue du Vertbois  
75003 Paris, France  0033 (0)