GO- Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch, Woodbourne, NY

FIT Staff
Aug 6, 2013

I spent 10 days earlier this summer doing two of my favorite things- sleeping in a tent and yoga. There were a lot of other favorite things included in those 10 days like walking everywhere barefoot, eating tasty organic food, rain on my tent top, lullaby choruses of tree frogs calling (and bull frogs and green frogs and leopard frogs and wood frogs and spring peepers!), uninterrupted yoga practice and meditation, a cow named Prema, waking up to a bell, meals with a view, red spotted newts, permaculture and food forests, amazing souls and kirtan and well...I'll just stop listing now because I could honestly go on and on.

I've always wanted to spend time at an ashram but various things have held me back. Mostly my own mind- not sure if I'll 'fit' in, not sure if my yoga practice is solid enough, not sure if I can meditate without moving for that long or practice pranayama continuously. That lovely voice we have in our head telling us we're not ready, we're not good enough. The voice that says, maybe next year. Well, screw that voice.

It's wonderful to feel confident and put together all the time, but where is the growth in that? I always remind myself that 'growing pains' have the word pain in them for a reason. How much more obvious can it get, folks, that this thing we call life may be a wee bit uncomfortable at times? It's been my experience that most things in life that are worth it are formidable at some point along the way.

I recently looked up the definition of 'formidable'. It means causing fear or dread. Yeah, that's what I thought too. It means having qualities that discourage approach. Imagine the monkey bars when you are 5 years old. Yep, impossible. It also means 'tending to inspire awe or wonder'. Tending to inspire awe and wonder. Awe and wonder. So all those deep, dark dreams locked away in your heart- bring them out into the sunshine. Whisper them to yourself at dawn, write them down in a book using bold splashes of color, look a friend in eye and tell them exactly what makes you tick. Then let's chase those those dreams and fill our lives with awe and wonder.

Life is going to hurt. Sometimes, it's going to seem like it hurts all the time. It's going to make you squirm, make you cry, make you yell, make you ball up your fists and stomp your feet. But when you can, when you have that brief moment of clarity through the muck- just remember awe and wonder. The fear and pain and tears will dissolve and we will be filled with awe and wonder. It's our attitude that determines our happiness, not our circumstances.

So I went to the ashram and I did all the things I love this summer. Slept in a leaky, wet tent for 10 days, woke up at 5am daily to a bell no less, walked everywhere barefoot because the ground was so saturated I kept sliding out of my flip-flops, listened to deafening choruses of wildlife or howling wind or pounding rain every night, flipped over ground-shakingly during my headstand, fidgeted during meditation, asked questions I thought were silly about plants I should know, ate breakfast by myself in silence, chanted loudly off key and mispronounced Sanskrit during kirtan and drank no coffee.

It was amazing. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat- and I didn't even tell you about the awesome training I took or the phenomenal souls I met at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch (http://sivanandayogaranch.org/).

Upcoming Classes & Events

Meditation- Tuesdays, 7-8:15 p.m., Converging Paths Meditation Center

Enchanted Yoga- Wednesdays, July 10- August 21, 2013, 6-7 p.m. The Enchanted Cottage, East Sandusky Bay MetroPark, 4011 Cleveland Road. Bring a mat or blanket- no experience necessary! We will be outside on the deck when the weather is warm or perhaps take a winding, walking meditation through the meadows! $10/clas

Park PALS- Wildlife as Symbols- Monday, August 12, 2 p.m. & Saturday, Aug 17, 10 a.m. The Frost Center, Osborn MetroPark. Do you know the symbol for the United States? Let's explore how wildlife are used as common symbols for a variety of things. Registration Required.

How Animals Eat- Saturday, Aug 17, 2013, 12 p.m. The Frost Center, Osborn MetroPark. What do animals eat? Join us as we feed our animals and learn about how and what exactly they eat. we have snakes, frogs, toads, turtles, and salamanders! Registration Required.

Full Moon Night Hike- Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013, 7:30 p.m. Edison Woods MetroPark. Join the Naturalist for a beautiful night hike on each month's full moon! Please leave flashlights at home; the moon will light our way. Family, friends, and friendly canine companions are always welcome! Hikes will last about an hour, registration appreciated.

Park PALS- Hiding in Plain Sight - Saturday, Aug 24, 10 a.m. & Monday, August 26, 2 p.m. The Enchanted Cottage, East Sandusky Bay MetroPark. Many animals are specially adapted to survive in their environment. Let's play a game of hide and seek to illustrate some of these adaptations! Registration required.

Park PALS- Bird Beak Buffet- Saturday, Sep 7, 10 a.m. & Monday, Sep 9, 2 p.m. The Frost Center, Osborn MetroPark. All birds have some sort of a beak specialized to eat certain types of food. Come learn who eats what. We'll explore the difference between a pelican, eagle, hummingbird, heron and more! Registration Required.

Bats in the Park- Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013, 8 p.m. Edison Woods MetroPark. Learn about the furry little misunderstood creatures that fly, and go on a bat hunt. Registration appreciated.

Full Moon Night Hike- Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013, 7:30 p.m. The Enchanted Cottage, East Sandusky Bay MetroPark. Join the Naturalist for a beautiful night hike on each month's full moon! Please leave flashlights at home; the moon will light our way. Family, friends, and friendly canine companions are always welcome! Hikes will last about an hour, registration appreciated.

Park PALS- Looking at Leaves- Saturday, Sep 28, 10am & Monday, Sep 30, 2pm. The Enchanted Cottage, East Sandusky Bay MetroPark. There are almost 1000 species of trees in North America! We will compare leaves from various trees at Stockdale Arboretum to see if we can identify them! Registration Required.