Rocky Mountain High

Apple

Of my eye…

Why did anyone name

New York City

The Big Apple?

Surely they never saw

The Rocky Mountains

For these juicy peaks  

Appear to be

The biggest apples

That my eyes have ever picked

Rock Steady

Silent witness

Your jagged edges

Pierce the sky

Like a royal crown in sunlight

Rendering beautiful and warm

The cold ugly fact that

Our lives can feel

Broken

Craggy

Irregular

Rugged

Uneven

Barbed

Cleft

And we can still stand strong

(Don’t know where I’m going

Just know that I am

Happy to be 

Here,

Where I am, for

Now

How long does Here & Now last?)

There is no throne on Earth

That can raise anyone

To the level of your majesty

And yet people prostrate

Before petty thrones

Encrusted with jewels

Splintered from your sides

In  a farcical display

Of missing the peak

By magnifying the Human Ego

At the expense of the Environment

Great Mountains:

Dissolve our arrogance

Our ignorance

Our folly

And our greed

Humbled by the persistent creed

Of a presence so lovely and generous

May we realign

With a real source of

Awe

Praise be

Mountain Spirits

~ Sandi H.

Boulder, Colorado

Summer 2018

uneaten cookies

I love

Being by

Mountains

They are like 

So many needed things

Like a gathering

Of tribal chiefs

Of wise, non-attached

Observers

Who remain steadfast in their element 

N’importe quoi qui arrive

They remind me

That even the Earth

Can rise like cookie-dough 

And resist eating 

Its own baking

Mountains are like the cookies

That the Earth saved for us

🙏⛰🍪

~ Sandi H.

Boulder, Colorado

Summer 2018

Stepping Up

There is a Mountain
That I want to climb
And for so many years
I have exhausted myself
Walking in circles around its base
But somehow, today, something is different
Maybe I’m just tired
Of making myself dizzy
Because today I hear a voice that says,
Hey stupid!
Mountains can only be climbed
By stepping up…

~ Sandi H.

Boulder, Colorado

August 2018

39127256_10155857269947613_1328857173370863616_o.jpg38938457_10155857270117613_903152616425390080_o.jpg38888289_10155857270232613_715596127663030272_o.jpg

prose: unborn giants

 

image1 2

Handstand at sunrise over Wonderland Lake, photo by Diana Shangguan, Boulder, Colorado July 2018

Unborn Giants

Do you ever

Feel

Like you have to look up

Every word you want to use?

Like you no longer know

What a word really

Means

Whether it really fits

The idea in your head?

Or the idea in your

Heart?

In what womb do ideas grow

Before emerging

To take shape

In the world?

Can ideas become

So so so

Big

Before ever being born

That they no longer fit

Any words

Any forms

Any framework

To express them

To dress them

To make them

Presentable?

Perhaps

Naked ideas

Only come to reality

In the realm of

Sheer sound

Where their forms

Matter less than

The Way they form

Music

Might well be

The only vagina

For unborn giants

To enter the world

~ Sandi H.

Boulder, Colorado

August 2018

Which side are you on?

image1.jpeg


Handstand in front of mural by Madeleine Tonzi (2017) on Pearl St. Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Sven Stocker. August 1st, 2018

Which side are you on?

The side of the oppressor

Or the side of the oppressed?

Can we see

Beyond our side?

Can we switch sides?

Can the side of the oppressor

Become the side of the oppressed?

And vice versa?

On the side of the oppressor

Do we believe we are entitled

To claim Rightness, to claim Wholeness

While forgetting what we’ve excluded

From the side of the oppressed?

On the side of the oppressor

Do we listen mostly

For consensus, for a chorus

Of Rightness, of Wholeness

Without heeding the voices

On the side of the oppressed?

On the side of the oppressor

Do we seek Pleasure with disdain

For the Pain of Injustice

And pride ourselves on choosing

Compassion?

Is it a choice to be

On the side of the oppressed?

On the side of the oppressor

Do we turn from Darkness to Light

By running from our shadows

The monsters of our own making?

Ignorance is bliss, or

Ignorance is terror,

When we are ignorant of the other

On the side of the oppressed?

On the side of the oppressor

Do we Give Back for not knowing

How to actually take less?

Do we suffer from too much stuff

And too little Connection?

Do drugs numb our conscience

As our mind-bodies cry

For the suffering we’ve been ignoring

On the side of the oppressed?

On the side of the oppressor

Can we Stretch? Dialogue?

Can we lengthen our spines

Open our hearts

Follow our breath

From This Side to That Side?

Like, a side stretch y’all

And in so doing,

Can we Recall

Unity Beyond Oppression?

~ Sandi H.

Boulder, Colorado

August 1st, 2018

Clearwater Hudson River Revival 2018

A Festival for Live Music & Environmental Activism?

On the Hudson River?

Yes!

I’ll be there.

“Inspired by Pete Seeger’s desire to clean up the river over forty years ago, Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival initially helped raise the funds to build the sloop Clearwater, which has since become a world-renowned floating classroom and a symbol of effective grassroots action. Today, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. is a non-profit organization that sails at the forefront of the nation’s environmental challenges. The revenue raised by the Revival goes to support Clearwater’s numerous educational programs and its work toward environmental and social justice—as well as keeping the sloop Clearwater afloat.” ~ www.clearwaterfestival.org

clear water fest info.png

ka, reading, practice, awakening: ashtanga updates from #yogawithsandi

Ka Book Cover.jpg

Currently, I’m reading the eye-opening book Ka Stories of The Minds & Gods of India by Roberto Calasso. It was recommended by my teachers Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor, whom I’m excitedly preparing to study with this summer in their Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Intensive in Boulder, Colorado.

My first impression of the book is that it’s like Monty Python doing the Mahabharata! I have only seen a bit of the brilliant Monty Python, and I have only read a little bit of the epic Mahabharata, but this was the impression (and I’ve been watching more Monty Python clips on youtube ever since reading this book – genius).

In terms of storytelling, Ka, so far, is surreal, sometimes hilarious, awkward, uncomfortable, blatant, mysterious, insightful, and totally giddy. The stories are full of resonance from a space beyond logical sequence and conclusion.

In this post, I have no intention of doing a complete book review (I’m only in the middle of the book) but simply of sharing how reading is resonating with practice, and how, in general, reading can infuse our lives with a nourishment and perspective that is palpable if we pay attention to the words, images, and ideas in our circulation.

Ka takes my mind out of conventional patterns and expectations. So refreshing! It feels like I’m tripping on magical mushrooms while reading, though caffeine is the only drug I’ve been on. The stories are like gifts of insight into how the mind can, in seeking to understand its own nuances, conjure beauty and terror, how it can flow into far-out expanses and far-in embellishments to seek to explain why it is flowing at all.

This dual awareness is something that we can perceive when watching our thoughts in meditation, too. Reading Ka is like a kaleidoscopic meditation that brings to mind the very movement of mind, a mind that is contemplating its furthest forms: divinity, absurdity, and the dance between them – humanity.

Sometimes I am asked for recommended reading. Despite the number of my books sitting on a shelf in my mother’s basement, I’d like to believe that libraries are living creatures, shedding skin and reinventing themselves over time. Here on my website library, I have compiled a list of a few books that I recommend reading as an ongoing reference and resource for Ashtanga yoga practice. Without claiming to have fully grasped these books at all, they are the books that I often refer to and quote from or recollect when posting clips from my practice on my insta-feed #yogawithsandi.

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is often quoted as saying that Ashtanga Yoga is 1% theory & 99% practice. Perhaps this highlights the underlying question:

our thought bodies & our physical bodies, how do they bind and/or free each other?

View this post on Instagram

Practice evolves with a daily commitment. Every day is different. Some days are smooth. Some days are rough. Some days are both. Some days are rest days (7th day of the week, plus moon days and menstrual days) and those days are important too. Binding in the Marichyasanas took a long time for me. I used to think I would never get past these poses, and that there was something uniquely “wrong” with me, preventing me from doing them. “Why does it look so much easier for others?” With practice, we discover that our obstacles are not so unique, and that they are not so solid, either. Everyone goes through something. It’s a blessing in disguise to find our something, because this is where we discover the meaning of practice. Without obstacles, we would have no need to practice! Without practice, we would believe too much that our obstacles are real! In this way, practice and obstacles are like Yin & Yang – interconnected, one exists inside the other. One obstacle disappears and another arises. How we relate with practice determines the power of the obstacle. ☯️ . . . . . . . #yogawithsandi #twist #bind #marichyasanac #mysore #ashtanga #vinyasa #yoga #sadhana #yogachikitsa #healthandwellness #healing #transforming #yogastudent #yogateacher #yogadaily #plantpowered #vegan #veganflexy #veganstrong #health #wellness #meditation #movingmeditation #yinandyang #playfulyogispace #yogarocklandcounty #yogabergencounty

A post shared by Sandi Higgins (@sandi_higgins) on

View this post on Instagram

“If the Buddha is he who leads toward awakening, his Vedic precursor was the young woman who comes forward, ‘like a girl without a brother who walks toward the men,’ visible from afar: Ushas, sovereign of awakening. Before it became a noun, Bodhi, ‘the awakening,’ which was Buddha’s revelation – and which the fainthearted translate as ‘illumination’– was actually an imperative – ‘Awaken!’ – issued from the lips of Ushas. But there was a duplicity about Ushas that enchanted men and distressed them. The Buddha wanted to put an end to it. And this, not the awakening, was the novelty of his doctrine.” ~ Roberto Calasso, Ka 🌅 2nd Photo: depiction of Ushas from mygodpictures.com ✨ . . . . #Ushas #SovereignOfAwakening #RgVeda #Vedic #Goddess #GoddessOfDawn #Awakening #Bodhi #Buddha #Buddhism #Hinduism #YogaStories #Mysore #Ashtanga #Vinyasa #Yoga #Backbends #Kapotasana #Sadhana #Plantpowered #YogaWithSandi #RobertoCalasso #Ka #MindAndGodsOfIndia

A post shared by Sandi Higgins (@sandi_higgins) on

View this post on Instagram

Asanas can be an inner movemental pharmacy – offering preventative (as well as curative) medicine for the mindbody’s many possible imbalances and ailments. Here is this morning’s Garbha Pindasana (embryo in the womb pose) into Kukkutasnaa (rooster pose) 🐣🐓 from the Ashtanga Primary Series. 🌷🌸🌷🌸🌷 “Garbha Pindasana dissolves the fat of the lower abdomen, purifies the manipura, or third, chakra, and wards off diseases of the liver and spleen. … By means of Kukkutasana, the intestines are purified, the fat of the lower abdomen dissolved, and diseases affecting the bowels and urinary tract, as well as excess phlegm, are cured.” ~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Yoga Mala 💐🐘📿 . . . #yogawithsandi #mysore #ashtanga #vinyasa #yoga #ashtangayoga #primaryseries #yogachikitsa #yogamala #srikpattabhijois #krishnamacharya #patanjali #8limbs #asana #movementalmedicine #healing #shamanism #balance #sunrise #garbhapindasana #kukkutasana #plantpowered #vegan #veganflexy #veganstrong #yogadaily #sustainability #longevity #liberation #healthandwellness

A post shared by Sandi Higgins (@sandi_higgins) on

View this post on Instagram

So close yet so far 🌸💕 #springing

A post shared by Sandi Higgins (@sandi_higgins) on

View this post on Instagram

Who’s got your back? … Your legs! Backbends have a lot to do with awakening the engagement with our thighs – particularly the front and inner thighs, quads and adductors. This progressive series of 3 backbends from the Ashtanga Intermediate Series (ustrasana -> laghu vajrasana -> kapotasana) brings attention to this as we anchor into the earth through our shin bones and extend back in increasing degrees, asking our thighs for strength, flexibility, steadiness, support. We can hold a lot of emotion in our thighs, so backbends can take us into what false beliefs about ourselves we may be holding in this area of the body – inviting us ultimately to let that sh*t go so that we can hold the space for our true self and our trust of this self, our “ground of basic goodness” as Chogyam Trungpa called it, to emerge. 🙏🖤☮️ #yogawithsandi #backbends #emotionalholding #bodywisdom #yogaofthesubtlebody #mysore #ashtanga #vinyasa #yoga #healing

A post shared by Sandi Higgins (@sandi_higgins) on