Lori’s Thoughts about John Schumacher’s Announcement

I have received several notes about John Schumacher’s announcement of the closing of Unity Woods Yoga Center’s ‘brick-and-mortar’ operations.

The first thought that came to my mind was: what a rite of passage. Think about it. Unity Woods has been fostering the practice of Iyengar Yoga for forty years! What an amazing accomplishment.

The first emotion that came to mind was love.

First, I love yoga. For those of you who have practiced with me, studied with me, know there is no need for an explanation on the ways I hold yoga in my heart and how that love spill over into my practice and teaching. love my teacher John, for so many reasons: for one, he offered a path for me to follow the profound teachers of B.K.S Iyengar. For over two decades, I have studied with John, and he has opened is heart and mind, himself personally and shared his knowledge of Iyengar Yoga, which seeped through me personally and guide me professionally. I could go on and on, but I think you get the sense of my love and gratitude to John. I love the teachers that I have practiced and studied with for all these years. These amazing teachers who have also shared their lives, their families, their knowledge, and their commitment to the transformative path of yoga.

I love the students. I have learned so much from them, as I know they have learned from me. As John mentioned in his letter, I too have seen laughter and tears, birth and death, sickness and health, marriage and beyond, enduring friendships, and so much more.

The two wings of yoga are practice abhyāsa and detachment, vairāgya. Now, I won’t take too much time looking back. To practice non-attachment to the security that Unity Woods has provided. There are so many unknowns ahead of us. With online yoga, we all have to dig deep. I say that Iyengar Yoga is a yoga of personal responsibility, and now practicing at home, you must be accountable to yourself. And, we can hope that in-person classes will resume sometime in the future. But let’s celebrate the present. Be present with our selves. Practice! Let the transformative power of yoga on the body, breath, mind, and spirit continue to steep within you. John is still here teaching. I’m still here teaching. Many of the Unity Woods Teachers are still teaching. Seek what you need from within. It is there for you to grow and expand.

Peace and light,

Año Nuevo

We visited this State Park near Pescadero to see the elephant seals pups. These seals travel the farthest over a period of a year, apparently than any other migrating water creature. They come to rest, give birth, nurse, mate again. The adults leave and come back during the summer to molt.
The photos are of the pups who must now find their way to the water and food. They are born at about sixty pounds and over one month go to three hundred fifty. The grown males weigh 4000 pounds!



Monterey Bay Aquarium

Today we visited the Aquarium. What a fascinating day. We watched a live feeding in the main tank. There was a ‘swirl’ of 10,000 sardines, moving and flowing as they ate krill.

We saw sharks, sea turtles, penguins, bat rays, sea horses, octopus, and some other worldly jelly fish.

An Update

Hello. I see the Winter Storm has given way to some pleasant weather for you.
I have been out of touch and not so able to sit and write about Yoga and life in Santa Cruz.

I have had a sick family member and it has taken a lot of my time. I’d love to share some thoughts and several photos which sort of capture the essence of living on the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz.

First yogically, I have been working on washing my mind of the vṛttis. It’s the fluctuations of the mind that interfere with presence of mind; equanimity, and basically, drains us of energy we need to put toward more productive endeavors.
I have been taking class with Kofi Busia here, when my schedule permits. He says I think too much. I think too much in my asana. Hmmmm. It’s been an interesting thread to consider. And how does this thinking on the mat transfer to thinking off the mat, and I realize I too waste unnecessary energy on thinking about aspects of life that are not in the present, that don’t impact the present, and possible have no impact on anything at all.

I am trying to catch myself – take an extra breath; look at the sky (which I have been doing for decades as a way to re-assert presence); look at the water or a beautiful flower. Whatever is necessary to break the flow of vṛttis. I took a workshop with Lois Steinberg a couple of weeks ago. I had a cold and was not up for vigorous asana, but I wanted to participate. She said, ‘dry up the river of your vṛttis, and fill up the river of your practice.’ That is EXACTLY what I have been working on.

So, take a moment and check in with yourself off the mat. See where your thoughts go; what are your thought patterns. Are they serving your path of presence? Another thought that I came across at Eli’s school. In my own words: Everyday is a present, a gift and that is why we should live in the present.

OK, so I am trying to organize a trip back mid April. Details to follow.

Here are some photos of the sky from the spectacular view at the UC Santa Cruz campus, where I walk a couple days a week. Can you see the slight hint of the rainbow? It has been there in the same spot twice this past week. And the sky transforms as the sun begins to set.

A full moon rising photo from my house.
And, there is a home down the street that seems to have campers in front quite often. This week there was a converted bus and it was really ‘out there’, and I took the photo of the AUMs on the side.

I hope to write more regularly, and I have a few local classes to upload soon.