Mindfulness Via Yoga

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The Senses on Tour in England


During the first ten days of this past month of July I spent ten days in England, traveling with a group of two dozen members from my Episcopalian community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  We started with a home stay in Lancaster, England, and traveled from the northwest corner to the southeast corners of England, including, but not limited to,  Canterbury, Oxford, London, and the countryside.

Many personal accounts have been written or presented in lecture or video. I promised the leader of Contemplative Prayer/ Christian Meditation to write a brief blog about the experience, my awareness of England, as I experienced it via the senses.  First the experience and then the sense of stillness or awareness.  Check back every so often as I think through the meanings attached to photos and events – and post awareness of personal sensory experience.

Here it is.

Hearing  Choir boys.jpeg  The visit.  The image.        We managed to visit A Cathedral A Day. Nowhere was the sound so sweet as that of the choir in the Lancashire Cathedral. We learned that the right to be a member of the choir included rigorous practice sessions and a very clear commitment to be present at all rehearsals. Memorable was the ceremony where the red-robed ( on trial ) young boys were invited to move up, to wear white robes and to sing fully vested.  As the priest welcomed them, he said, ” Malachi and Joshua. One of you is a book of the Bible.” Malachi and Joshua shrugged, looked at one another, and clearly wondered which of them was so honored. Who names their kid Malachi?

I think of the fullness of sound as I picture it rising —– in the acoustics of the high, high space within these beautiful cathedrals.  In yoga study, I think of the spaciousness of the crown chakra, indescribably floating above the head and the body, space within space.  The Buddhists might say,  Emptiness is form, form is emptiness.

The mind always wants to fill space and the meditator seeks to empty it.  One step in developing single focus would be to fill that cavern with sound, without words.  Harmony becomes a single sound uninterrupted by concepts devised by man.


Touch.  Tapestry.jpg Of course we were not invited to touch the beautiful tapestries, the ornate altar cloths, such as this one in the Chapel of Saint Thomas in Canterbury Cathedral. Yet their richness so exemplified the sense of touch in the the silk, the threads, the handwork of the artists, that we met at every turn in these ancient places of worship.

My own days of fine needlework are gone with aging eyesight. Yet, I remember, clearly, working in needlepoint on  chair cushions, as requested by my mother-in-law, so many years ago. She and I did a lot of needlework together which brought us close and in a relationship founded on the touch of the needle and the cloth. When I was soon to be a young bride, she took me to the downtown department store where we bought linen napkins and little cloth forms of thNeedlepoint chair (1).jpge letter S.  For many weeks, while I was waiting to be married, and while my father-in-law was dying, i stitched over those S letters in the corners of the napkins.  Later, I wonder how she must have thought of him when, widowed, she and I worked together, many weeks,  taking the needles in and out of the forms for the chair seats. Now she is gone, too, and the chairs are dispersed to the houses  of various people. Whenever I pull out one of those chairs for a family dining event, I think of her and I wonder: Did she or did I touch this yarn to cloth to form the bases for a family ritual half a century later?

SmellSmell of Irish Sea.jpg

Who could forget the salty smell of the Irish Sea, our first stop, the Norman graveyards at the ancient chapel of St Peter, not far from our landing in Manchester.

incense burning.jpg    Smell deserves another chance in this blog. The vigorous swinging of the brazier of incense at the high altar in the cathedral in Lancashire priory connoted years of practicing this art form by a very old priest.

Incense can be tough to take in the sense of smell. There is a mind over physical frailty to see oneself enclosed within it, a piece of holy ritual. This is one to work on, eh?

Taste.fish n chipsjpeg.jpeg  Not far from the site of the (above)Irish Sea, was the first of our stops for Fish and Chips in a proper British tavern.  The table is set. We waited for our food at a rough wooden table, clearly showing the hand of its creator. In the distance the same Irish Sea while we waited for the cod fished from it.
Palates and plates wTaste.jpgere full.



The gardener in me will never forget climbing the winding road ( 6 feet/ 6 inches wide) up the hillside in the lakes district of the Cotswolds. At every turn we saw the wild foxgloves in their brazen pinks.


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Ayurveda. An Intensive Workshop


 A Two-Part Ayurveda workshop

Ignite Power Yoga Studio in York  ignitepyoy.com

Sunday afternoons *  1 to 5

November 13 and 20, 2016

Week one

KPV 3 circles

Gain a true and deep understanding of your doshas mix. You may be delightfully surprised at what you learn about yourself when you study dosha qualities in a group setting.  We will use a more comprehensive set of tests, beyond what you can find online.  This workshop is perfect for the yoga student who wants to expand the practice or who has learned a smattering of Ayurveda knowledge and wants to move along.

Week two                   IMG_2010 (1)

Discussion of all the cleansing rituals and a hands-on chance to work with therapeutic and blended oils.   Your registration fee includes a free sample of an oil that compliments your dosha mix. We will apply oils, as much as you wish, and engage in broad discussion of the variety of oils available, where to get them, how to use them in a range of situations.

Sign up for both weekends, well before November 13, to get advance materials.

This workshop is practical in nature.   We look at these elements of your lifestyle:

√   Your true qualities in contrast to situations dictated by the stage of your life now.

√   Communication: Words and Strategies to get along with people unlike our selves.
Where Yoga teaches us the moral and physical practices for ease of body and mind, Ayurveda looks at health-care. It looks at individual ways we imbalance unknowingly.

An Ayurveda counselor has gone through some level of this intensive “medical school” of eastern medicine.

Drawn from understanding of nature’s rhythm and laws, Ayurveda is built around the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth and helps you place yourself in harmony with their roles in the natural world.

There, our emotional, physical and psychological selves can stay balanced with the laws of nature. Learn, through Ayurveda’s science for practical living, how to recognize your special tendencies through cravings, personality preferences, and relationships that we don’t always understand at a deep and objective level.

√    Food. Eating food is a practice in Ayurveda. Food is medicine.iphone December 21-2013 071 Our choices and how we prepare them go a long way to influence the movements of our minds and the energy and strength of our bodies.

We look at origins of cravings and we look at ways to evaluate broad fads and media hype that seek to eliminate or emphasize specific foods in our diets.

√  Seasonal and Daily Routines of Cleansing and Caring for the body are at the core of this science of health and wellbeing. Choosing the proper base or blended therapeutic oil  considers your true nature as well as adjustments of the seasons.

Sign up  here    and sign up soon. Early bird pricing is special. That’s done because you want to be prepared to fully immerse yourself in these teaching. And get an early bird  discount !

You may want to bring along a close friend or someone of a relationship that will benefit from deeper communication tools (emphasized in this presentation).

Roberta Strickler RYT-E-500 is a graduate of the Foundations of Ayurveda certificate program and a 20-year practitioner /teacher of the elements of Ayurveda and Yoga.Version 2

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What the Wild Flower Says

Consider the shy, grounded hepatica.



The wild hepatica stays on the same rocky shelf, maturing year after year. As its fuzz ripens to open to leaves that will frame the blue flower, the lovely hepatica never complains of growing old, even though it is stiff all day from sitting on a rock in shade. Instead it enjoys what others see in it – a wise and beautiful, rooted living creature full of wisdom from its years of experiencing and opening.
Noted during a walk on the Red Dot Path, Himalayan Institute, March 16, 1996.