john Calabria

What an incredible Fall we’re having! Yesterday, out walking in the mildest November day I can recall – the last of the leaves were surrendering as I tended to the last few root crops still in the cooling earth. Sweet Potatoes, Burdock Root, an abundance of leeks and Jerusalem artichokes…. Gratitude just couldn’t wait for Thursday.

Here is one the great loves of my life sporting her finest Fall sweater:

Yoga in ConcordHer Majesty takes my breath every day as I step out my front door. I claim that moment as sacred while we journey through the seasons together.

Soon, the last of her blood-red leaves will return to the soil and she’ll stand vigil, stripped naked to the elements – beautiful as ever, while the wheel turns patiently towards the budding spring.

The all-pervading beauty appears in clever disguises. Often. Be still, and drop into that great presence where the seemingly ordinary moments – reveal their extraordinary nature.

   We lower the bar as to what brings us to joy, simply by noticing more.

​On Thanksgiving morning you’re welcome to join our 9am-10:15 Peaceful Yoga class in West Concord​. And looking ahead, We’ll also gather at 9am on Christmas Day morning. On New Years day we’ll start a little bit later, how does 10:30am sound?

Enjoy your day of giving thanks.

peace, light and love, I’m grateful for your support and kind words of thanks and encouragment.

-john

p.s. Stay tuned for a few exciting new offerings in the works. I’ll share the news soon.

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Namaste,

I hope that you’re enjoying these amazing days as we ease into Fall as much, (or more!) as I am

Our Harpist had a double booking, and had to postpone her coming to play for us. I’m so happy to share that Bernadette Yao will step in, bringing her amazing guitar and beautiful vocals, offering sacred sounds for us to practice to.

West Concord Yoga

Bernadette will play for our Sunday Morning Yoga Class in West Concord.

I’ve got a few of Bernadette’s cd’s and love playing her music in class, It will be sweet to have her back! This all-levels class starts at 9am in West Concord this coming Sunday, Please come a bit early so we can get started right on time?

I’ve had a few requests to restart our Sunday Noontime class on the Concord/Maynard/Acton line, and have reached out to the owner of that beautiful space overlooking the River to see if that is possible.

Please let me know if a Sunday Noontime class would interest you?

thanks so much, and I’ll see you in class.

-john

P.S. Remember to fill out your raffle ticket each class for a chance at winning this top of the line Yoga mat that Barefoot Yoga Company sent me.

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Namaste and Happy Solstice!

I’ve been totally humbled… I was feeling great, my practice strong, near top condition, flexible, and had boundless energy in preparing my gardens.

Then, A sweet potato planting mishap left me with a tiny, less than 1/4 inch cut on the top of my foot.

This little cut has been my teacher through quite a journey into the healing process. This little cut has shown me the strength of the human immune system, my ability to be with discomfort, and surrender to the wonders of modern medicine via four days in the hospital.

sweet potato slips

I embrace it all, to see the good and the bad, and the good in the bad. Resilience is one word that comes to mind.

This cut is a window, that has allowed me to meet some of the most present and compassionate people I have ever known.

This window has reinforced in me how family, friends, and community are the most important things.

That in accepting help, you allow the helper to serve, to express and nourish their caring nature…. So healing for both involved.

 and much more as I live into the unfolding of now. 

I am feeling much better after a week of mostly rest, and look forward to our peaceful 9am Sunday morning Yoga class tomorrow, followed by our weekly schedule of classes.

Thanks for all your well-wishes and helpful encouraging words, Here’s hoping that you are well, and I’ll see you in class.

in light, love, and gratitude,

-john

p.s. We’re restarting our class raffle, wait till you see the awesome top of the line Yoga mat that Barefoot Yoga sent me to give away to one lucky student.

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Namaste, by request, I’m sharing the poem I read in class last Sunday. It was read at a very beautiful wedding ceremony between an apple farmer, and a potato farmer… that I was honored to be a part of.  

(p.s. our Sunday Noontime Yoga class is Acton is now on hiatus for a few months.) Enjoy these words to live by… Om Shanti, I’ll see you in class.  -j

A Blessing for The Journey

Let us vow to bear witness to the wholeness of life,
realizing the completeness of each and every thing.
Embracing our differences,
I shall know myself as you,
and you as myself.
May we serve each other
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to open ourselves to the abundance of life.
Freely giving and receiving, I shall care for you,
for the trees and stars,
as treasures of my very own.
May we be grateful
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to forgive all hurt,
caused by ourselves and others,
and to never condone hurtful ways.
Being responsible for my actions,
I shall free myself and you.
Will you free me, too?

May we be kind
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to remember that all that appears will disappear.
In the midst of uncertainty,
I shall sow love.
Here! Now! I call to you:
Let us together live
The Great Peace that we are.

May we give no fear
for all our days, here, there, and everywhere.  

 – Sensei Wendy Egyoku Nakao.

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Mikhail Sadovnikov spins wet clay for us, the last sequence of sculpture is amazing… I found this mesmerizing and hand to share.  Enjoy, -j

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By john calabria:

Namaste,

Michelle shared this great Yoga video with me, it’s a short medical imaging project showing x-rays of a person flowing through some Yoga postures. I’m sure this will be seen by many Yogis!  Enjoy:

In Sanskrit, Sat means truth, and Sangha means gathering, or community, therefore Satsang means a gathering of truth seekers.

And we’ll do just that this coming Friday February 28th from 7pm to 8:30 at Yoga and Nia for Life. 135 Commonwealth Ave, West Concord.

A Satsang is like a Yoga class without the postures, Where a teaching is given, that is then meditated on, But unlike a Yoga class, there’s room for dialog, and questions, as we grow in understanding, together.

It’s sort of a Yoga teacher training experience… without the formality. If you like the stories I tell in class to convey themes sometimes, then you’ll find Satsang fruitful. This is also a co-creatinon. If you have a poem, a song, a perspective. Some bring instruments, some bring stillness.

If you teach Yoga please come, perhaps deepen your understanding, and maybe share perspectives from your lineage on the subject at hand. We’ve got filtered water and heaps of blankets to sit on, though you may want to bring your own cushion.

I hope to continue this tradition monthly, and have our Satsang be a container for offering music, mantras, meditations, potlucks, guest teachers, posture clinics, films that convey yogic themes, Kirtan, and any ideas you may have as well. Please do me a favor, can you forward this to any friends who may be interested?

Who knows? Perhaps this becomes the teacher training program that many of you have been asking me to develop.

Our Satsang will be by donation, there’ll be a hat at the door.

Peace, Many thanks for your ongoing support, and I hope you can join us.

-john

P.S. Our second Sunday Noon class in Maynard/Acton with the amazing river view is off to a great start, Click to see our Grandmother Tree that inspires our Vrkshasana, tree pose.

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New Beginnings

Namaste.

Many of you have asked, and for at least a year now, I’ve been looking for just the right space to host a second Sunday Peaceful Yoga class. And when I opened the blinds and saw the river… I knew that this was it.

Yes, we’ll still be gathering in West Concord at 9am for Yoga, starting tomorrow, February 2nd. at Noontime I’ll be starting a second Yoga class at On Your Toes Studio in Acton.

Situated on a peninsula of Acton, exactly midway between Maynard and West Concord, is 77 Powdermill road, Acton MA. (Rt 62) Across the street from the Stop and Shop plaza.

The entrance to the studio is marked by the ‘A’ in the above picture. Costs will be inline with my other offerings, and same as the local studios, $17 to drop in, and I’ve made up books of ten @$15 per class, that will also be honored for our Monday 9:30 am class at Half Moon Hill, in West Acton.

It’s a quiet and clean space, with plenty of easy parking. I’ll have a few mats on hand, but this not being a Yoga studio, (at least not yet) please bring what you need for practice.

Here’s to new beginnings, hope you can join us, and thanks for your support as we enter our twelveth year of practice together.

-john

Update: We’ve had three classes in the new space now, and it’s working out great!  Thanks to all who came out.  Peace. -j

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We had a sweet practice last Sunday, with the underlying theme being Seva, the practice of Selfless Service. To live intentionally asking “What can I give?” rather than “What can I get is   one of the greatest freedoms a human can attain.

Your greatest talents and gifts are not yours to keep; they are yours to share. They exist to serve others.

Debra Stark, founder of Debra’s Natural Gourmet is one who lives in service and shares her gifts. Her store and her 23 employees nourish and inform our community on so many levels…

As the Sunday before Christmas class ended at 10:30 a.m., I expressed my appreciation for all those present, for coming to class, and took a moment to appreciate our local businesses that
exist only because of our support.

I encouraged everyone to have a cup of tea at the bakery and afterwards to visit “Debra’s” for any last-minute needs, when they open at Noon. Debra smiled and thanked me for the mention.

In a recent class we renamed Tadasana, The Mountain Pose. It became “The Standing in line at Debra’s” pose: a reminder that in seemingly ordinary moments we can become deeply aware, and that by simply noticing more, we can unslump our whole lives.

The only ordinary moments, are the ones we allow to be ordinary.

The following Sunday as class ended, Debra told me she had decided to open the store at 10:30 today AND that the soup was already hot!

I repeated her announcement louder so that everyone could hear, and then asked her if the new store hours were just for the holidays? She responded warmly, “No, those will be our new hours going forward….. because of your Yoga class.”

What awesome news! (and, for the record, it’s not ‘my Yoga class’, it’s OUR Yoga class: it exists because you come.)

One of the reasons I chose to end my long engineering career is because I was tired of living the myth of The American Dream which is, in short, to get all you can get and to be a Winner, whatever the consequences. Instead, I only wanted to participate in deals that were not just “I Win!”, but rather “Let’s All Win Win Win”, a game of sorts in which everyone involved is better for the deal at hand, or else, I walk away. Practicing and teaching mindfulness and happiness certainly allows for that.

Debra’s opening 1.5 hours earlier is such a deal:

Her employees are happy to get more hours, and.. she’s choosing to pay them overtime. Win!

Yoga students and teachers are happy… we can pop in after class and see our friends, fellow students, and the always smiling and helpful staff, while getting what we need to nourish ourselves. Community grows. Win!

Though it was not the motive, Debra’s balance sheet will be that much stronger, along with the healthy food producers she sources from. Win!

Debra stocks many locally produced products, and much in-season local produce. A Win for the farmers and our local economy!

Students have told me that they would drive all the way home after class, only to come all the way back to West Concord to shop Debra’s in the afternoon. Less gasoline burned. Win!

So we have a Win Win Win Win Win!!!!! Fantastic. But wait, can we trace this awesomeness back to its root cause? You might have thought you were just going to a Yoga class on Sunday Morning, but look at all the goodness that came from that.

Steeped in the philosophies of Yoga is the knowledge that every action (or non-action) has powerful repercussions that ripple out, forever… and the root cause of this particular win-win-win comes from beyond the original founder of the Yoga studio, Elizabeth Bunker, and even beyond what inspired her to create Yoga for Life…

What Happens in Yoga doesn’t stay in Yoga….

Here’s hoping that our collective and skillful actions will tip the scale towards serving goodness in our world.

Please spread the word about her new hours, and if you’ve not been to Debra’s, make it a point to stop in and be nourished. It’ll soon become one of your favorite places to shop.
Yoga with john in West Concord
Om Shanti, and thanks to Shari Rose for helping me sort these words…

-j

p.s.

I’m happy to announce that I’m adding a new class to our schedule. By request, Starting February 2nd. On Sundays at Noon, we’ll be gathering at On Your Toes dance studio. 77 Powdermill Road, (rt 62) Acton MA. Just across the street from Stop and Shop supermarket. It’s a beautiful quiet space, with a wooded view overlooking the Assabet River. Plenty of easy parking, but please bring a mat, and anything you may need for practice.

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Happy MLK JR day to you.

Martin Luther King Jr. was the first African American to be on the cover of Time Magazine, and the first to win a Nobel Prize.

He travelled over 6 million miles, speaking at 2,500 events before his death.

He was arrested 30 times, yet could not be silenced. There are 900+ streets named after him in the US.

Some say he was an extraordinary person, but he would say that he was just a man of conscience, speaking his heart and mind fearlessly. He knew what mattered most to him, and he served it with conviction. Peace and equality was his thing.

This is not a day off, but rather a day on. This day is set aside officially as a national day of Service.

Are you passionate about something, some cause, What do you know to be true that could have Martin’s level of conviction and courage? What’s your thing? And how much of your energy does it get?

You don’t have to go get arrested, or travel 6 million miles, but… What do you serve? What do you love? and will you go and serve it today? Small acts, done with great care, ripple forever.

Would love to hear what your ‘thing’ is, what do you serve? And, you can do this anonymously if you’d like…..

I’ll go first, I’m committed to speaking out for the animals and Mother Nature. I’m committed to waging peace through the classes I teach, and the presentations I give. I will continue as long as there is breath in my body. To add yours, click on the comment link, upper right hand corner of the post…

If you’re not sure what your thing is, And you definitely have a thing… I’d suggest you check out The Firestarter Sessions  Living in Seva, or selfless service brings the ultimate level of happiness for a human. But don’t take my word for it.

Om Shanti, I’ll see you in class.  -j

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Your 2013 in Review

stuffing my cheeks. Namaste!

I received the best feedback from this writing exercise we’ve been doing over the years, So I’m dusting it off, updating a bit and reposting, I hope you do it, I think you’ll be glad you did:

(at the end there’s a link to a printable version)

Before we turn the page on 2013… Let’s look back.

No need to get too-heavy here, just acknowledging how far we’ve come, and where we’d like to go. It’s best to keep this somewhat lighter, and fun.

Can you carve out 10 –20 minutes for this meditation & writing exercise:

Make a cup of tea, get a nice pen, three pieces of paper, and a pad of post-its. Find a quiet place where you can sit.

Light a candle, and get comfortable. Let your breath smooth out and slide into meditation for a few minutes…

Once in quiet – creative space, reflect on your experience of 2013. Let your mind drift through the past year, the milestones that have passed, the highs and lows. Let it all come. Breathe.

Embrace the whole of where you are at in your life right now. Acceptance and appreciation of now, is the base-camp for your journey into 2014. In bold letters, title the first piece of paper:

 What I’m leaving behind in 2013.

 Inhale….Exhale… Start writing… Don’t stop, judge, or filter in any way. Get it onto the page. What are you so-done with? What will not survive the strike of midnight on December 31st?

Explore the facets of your life. Home, career, relationships, (might need more paper!) health, behaviors. Then get into the energetics. List your done-with fears, doubts, hesitations, and grudges… No, you won’t have to read this aloud in class. Keep going.

Have you been unkind or hurt anyone? Apologize. Has anyone treated you unkindly – unfairly? Forgive them. Make amends, Make your peace.

List your disappointments, and how you’ve disappointed others. Where are you kidding yourself?

(Breathe) Are you still carrying that bad habit? You know the one, the one you said you were done with last year. Go ahead and write it down. These ripples end here…

Phew. Still with me? great. Onward.

In bold letters across the top of the second sheet, write:

 How i’ve grown and what I’ve learned in 2013.

What has living through 2013 revealed to you? What have you accomplished in the different areas of your life? how have you grown, what have you’ve learned, especially those tougher lessons. are you evolving?

(breathe, steady and evenly) What obstacles have you overcome… what have you gained? Where have you surprised yourself in your strength?

What are the important changes you’ll bring forward into the new year. What are the high points, peak moments, sweet memories you’ll savor?

Take some time with this, We’ll squeeze every last bit of goodness from 2013 before moving on. These waves live on.

You’re doing great. Keep going! Here’s where it gets fun. Label the third sheet:

 I’m happy – healthy and thriving in 2013.

How would envision your ideal life. Again, ponder the aspects of your life. Relationships, work, creativity, your home, finances, health, your Yoga practice…

How do you feel in your body? Do you take in clean wholesome food, drink filtered water? Get exercise? What is your energy level…if your body had a charge indicator like your cellphone, what would it read?

Do you take time to contemplate, to meditate. when is the last time you learned something new?

Can you feel the interconnectedness of all life and energy, do you have a spiritual practice, a belief about how you fit into the big picture?

And the innermost self, when was the last time you were really happy, joyous, grateful? Had a good laugh? can you find inspiration in the simplest of things? Do you spend time in Awe.

 Is there any part of you that is yearning for nourishment?

 Write in positive and present tense, like it is already your reality, How will you feel? Describe in detail your day, from rising after a great nights sleep, your meditation, your breakfast… to the work you will do, to the beauty you’ll experience, all the way to tucking yourself in… Or being tucked in… content and slipping off into peaceful sleep.

Take a break, sip some tea, then meditate on this visualization, allow it to saturate you.

let a word or simple phrase of summary come to you.. A word that sums up this direction you’d like to move in, a quality you’d like to see more of in your life.

Write this theme, Your Mantra for the coming year – in your best penmanship on your post-it note.

 Finish your tea, slide back into meditation for a few minutes before rising.

 Bring your first sheet, and your candle outdoors, or to your fireplace where you can safely burn the list. Make a ritual of this, as your paper turns to ash, state:

I _______ release these qualities and experiences from my life…. and shed these anchors for real. So be it, cause I said so, Swaha!

The second and third lists you’ll read once more, then tuck away. Reflect on them in in a month or two, You just may need a refresher to get back on track.

Stick the post-it Mantra on your bathroom mirror, or a place where it will be the last thing you see before you go to sleep, the first thing you see before starting your day. Read it while you brush your teeth, ponder it for the full two minutes. (you do brush for two minutes right?)

Putting pen to paper, and writing intentions seems to work. We leap from, “I might want to think about maybe making this change someday, to “I’m doing this!” For more on these practices of writing down our intentions, check out the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

It’s been quite a year, and I created this writing practice to lighten up, and be more open to the currents of creativity.

Much water has passed under the bridge as they say, and I’ve learned much through love and loss, bliss, Wellness, and illness… good-fortune, and hardship. I have so much to be grateful for – and joyful about.

Not just on New Years, but each day I resolve to do my best. To show up, stay open and love fearlessly, to dust myself off after spectacular failures of my best whole-hearted efforts, and keep going.

I’ll stay in awe of the beauty of the little things in life, and open wide to possibility.

I will try not to be deterred or taken off course by the callousness, doubts, and fears of others. I’ll not limit myself through fear or hesitation, and will lean into uncertainty.

I love the quote about taking the leap… and growing wings on the way down, by Kurt Vonnegut. We need to leap often.

Of the thousands who will read this post in the next few days, how many will actually try the exercise? It’s up to you.. Nobody can do it for you. But I plead with you, I challenge you. Get three pieces of paper and invest some time in You.

Do it for the people who count on you.

There’s really no place I’d rather be, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing, so many thanks for your support, and for bringing friends and family to class, I really appreciate your telling others about our growing community in our brand-new space at 135 Commonwealth Ave in West Concord.

Please forward this to a friend? click the FB like/share button, email or tweet… Imagine the world we’d live in if more of us introspected regularly.  here’s the printable review:  your 2013 year in review

May all beings be happy and free. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti…

-john

p.s. Please share your word for the year with us? you can even do this anonymously. I’ll go first. Click on the comment link to see mine and then add yours. Thanks, and I’ll see you in class.

 

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