A Great Thinker

Every time I read any work by Jane Jacobs I am struck by her ability to describe the systems of our world so clearly.  She has written about architecture, urban theory, sociology, public policy and so much more.  She was an activist in every sense of the word, living her life true to her beliefs and values.  In my mind she was a true yogi.  Jane Jacobs once wrote, “The precept ‘know thyself’ includes knowing the scales with which one weighs actions and attitudes in the great world of work outside oneself.” She asks us to take responsibility for understanding our biases and prejudices and how these influence our actions with the world around us.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities  by Jane Jacobs

The Economy of Cities by Jane Jacobs

Cities and the Wealth of Nations by Jane Jacobs

Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs

The Nature of Economies by Jane Jacobs

Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics by Jane Jacobs



Perfectly Imperfect

How many of you were taught to strive for perfection or always to give 110%?  In theory this may encourage us to “be the best that we can be”, but does this factor in that we are human? Also what about the fact that if you give 110% on one endeavor you will be running on a deficit for awhile?  What I am getting at is that we regularly ask so much of ourselves in one part of our life that we are unable to fully be present in other areas of our life. Not surprisingly this leads us to feeling discontented and disappointed. Letting go of the illusion of perfection and understanding that it is through the imperfect aspects of life that we find true meaning is not an easy lesson.  It is something that we consistently have to revisit. I hope that the following words of wisdom will help.

“Seek always to progress rather than perfect” ~Taro Gold

“Only the idea of something is perfect. It’s expression in material, worldly terms is a mere shadow of that idea.” ~Plato

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” ~James Joyce

Wisdom Means Being Able To Say…

1. “I need help.”
2. “I am sorry.”
3. “I don’t know.”
4. “I forgot.”
5. “I feel (fill in the emotion).”
6. “I love you.”

Published in: on June 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm  Comments (1)  
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Sometimes what is a small gesture of kindness on our part can make a world of difference to someone else.  It is my belief that within the yama of ahimsa (yogic moral guideline of non-violence) one will find compassion, kindness and generosity.  By practicing ahimsa in all it’s many depths and manifestations the world not only becomes a better place but our lives grow fuller and more joyful.

To find more heart lifting images visit


Rough Edges

I don’t believe that we can hold ourselves or another to a promise of being perfect. Even though we aspire to learn and grow, imperfections will continue to arise. All I can do is sincerely commit to learn from whatever I encounter along the way. Like stones in a stream that are smoothed over the years by the flowing torrent, I will dwell in the stream of life and invite it to smooth my rough edges.

Michael Lee
Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, A Bridge from Body to Soul

Practice Life

“The point of yoga is to develop a level of clarity and self-understanding so that when we’re done doing our yoga practice we make really good decisions, because that will determine whether we’re fulfilled. Not the quality of our poses. But really the yoga is what happens when we’re done practicing yoga.”

~Rod Stryker

Squirrel Wisdom

  1. Make fun a priority.
  2. Let go of fear.
  3. Interact with your world.
  4. Eat your food upside down!  Why does pizza taste so much better while hanging upside down?  Because the toppings hit your tongue first 🙂

Published in: on May 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Symbolism of the Lotus

Symbolism is used throughout human history. The “symbol is an object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself, often of a more abstract nature.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolism)  Within the practice of yoga there are many symbols used.  Each posture itself is infused with more meaning than simply it’s bio-mechanics.  For example, in Ananda yoga each posture has an affirmation:

Standing Backward Bend – ” I am free! I am free!”

Balasana – Child Pose – “I draw toward my inner peace”

Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose – “I rise joyfully to meet each new opportunity.”

Even without an assigned affirmation, I am sure that many of you could describe the feelings that many of the poses evoke.  What about more traditional ideas of symbols?  The lotus flower is often front and center at yoga studios, embossed within yoga texts and represented within asana.  I was recently given a lotus flower with an attached explanation of the flower’s meaning.

“The lotus flower is one of the most ancient and deepest symbols of our planet. The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty.  At night the flower closes and sinks underwater, at dawn it rises and opens again. Untouched by impurity, lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind.

The roots of the lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, asking for sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.”

I love how this explanation makes note that “at night the flower closes and sinks underwater, at dawn it rises and opens again.” Reminding us that enlightenment is not a solid or permanent state, it is instead one aspect of a cycle.  What symbols play a role in your life or your understanding of yoga?  How do these symbols effect your practice?

Matador’s Mistress

It is not what you do on a good day that matters, it is what you do on a bad day.

-Matador’s Mistress

Published in: on March 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm  Comments (2)  
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Concentration and Consciousness to Unity

“….the sixth level of concentration is limitless consciousness.  At first, we see only consciousness, but then we see that consciousness is also earth, water, air, fire, and space. What is true of space is also true of consciousness…seventh level of concentration is nothingness.  With normal perception, we see flowers, fruit, teapots, and tables, and we think they exist seperately of one another. But when we look more deeply, we see that the fruit is in the flower, and that the flower, the cloud and the earth are in the fruit.”

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching p#99