Ginger Tea

Hey all! Thought I would switch it up a bit from what I usually write about and share a recipe with you that has really helped me lately. Have you noticed that I haven’t been doing as many hands-on adjustments in class recently? It’s because your girl has a little shoulder injury. To ease the inflammation (and just feel awesome all over) I make tea from fresh ginger. Ginger’s therapeutic qualities are vast, but this tea especially helps inflamed joints and digestion issues. Its spicy and sweet, and will make you smile. Here’s how to do it. 

Slice as much fresh ginger as you’d like, as thin as you can (you could even use a potato peeler)

Boil some water

Put the sliced ginger directly in the boiling water and turn down heat to medium-high

Do some yoga/dance around your living room for fifteen minutes while the hot water pulls the healing goodness out of the ginger

Enjoy the smell of your kitchen 

Strain the ginger out of the hot water and into your favorite mug

Add some honey and lime if ya want

Get super cozy and drink the hell out of your fresh ginger tea

 

You will notice your mood change within the first sip, it’s invigorating stuff! This tea will heal bum shoulders and bad days. Promise. 

 

Love,

G

Advertisements

I miss yoga in south Georgia

I was looking through my past blog pots on here and I realized something. I haven’t written about yoga in a very long time. The truth is, yoga and I…well…we haven’t been getting along recently.

This is going to be a “ranticle” and not so much an article, so hold on to your ass people. I feel like I should apologize, but I’m not going to do that. Because this is how I feel.

Berkeley, California. I sip tea as I talk with my friend in a cafe. I look out the window and the rain is relentless, like it has been every day for the past week. I remember back to August when I first moved back here, and how I had the idea that my personal yoga practice was going to grow, infinitely, because I was living in a place with so many famous teachers and hundreds of studios.

It’s the Bay Area, where everyone is a yogi, where even the dogs do yoga, where you can do sun salutations and meditate in the middle of a park without getting weird stares.

This sounded amazing, coming from Savannah, Georgia, where yes, there’s yoga, but not anywhere near the volume that the Bay Area offers.

My friend and I keep chatting, and the conversation steers towards yoga, and I have this urge to say something that I never thought I would say or feel. I look back outside, think for a moment if what I’m about to say is true, or half true, or if I’m just in a bad mood, but I want to hear it out loud, because I want to know how it feels to say it and have it represent me. So I say it.

I hate the yoga in the Bay Area.

And usually when I say things like that, in such absolutes, and especially if the word hate is in there somewhere, it doesn’t feel true. But this time, it did. It felt unfortunately authentic.

I have searched, for months now, at different studios with different teachers for someone that I can practice with, at a time that works for me, at a cost that won’t hurt too much. And the most surprising part of the process of NOT finding this, was that in Savannah, I could walk into any class with any teacher and be satisfied. Even if I didn’t agree with a word they were saying, I could respect their class and be grateful that I was receiving a challenge and a new perspective. But in the Bay Area? I haven’t been able to do that as much.

I’m not a picky yogi. I love, really love, just about every style of yoga out there, and I’m down for whatever when it comes to asana, talking about philosophy, or doing weird pranayama or meditations. I love it all.

So why can’t I practice? I realize that this is probably a lot of me, or all me, being ego-y and maybe it’s just one of those natural lulls that practicing anything takes every once in a while, but I think it deserves to be examined.

In Savannah, I saw teachers who really wanted to be up there teaching, who loved holding space and helping others, teachers who were filled to the brim with gratitude simply because they had a class to teach at 5:30. The teachers in Savannah love teaching. That’s why they do it.

Here, I see teachers feeling entitled to teach a class, teachers that aren’t that grateful for the opportunity to hold space, teachers who don’t really want to teach but they think they should be, so they do.

That’s the Bay Area, a bunch of people who do things and have these progressive attitudes not because they truly feel that way, but because they think they should feel that way. And yes, this is how a lot of communities are, but in a place where being a certain way and believing in certain things is so big and so important to be accepted as a member of our culture, it gets hard to say or act on how you really feel. Or even know how you really feel.

Judgement. All judgement, I know.

I think that’s happening with the yoga here. Classes that are being taught by teachers who haven’t fully examined what they’re teaching, or what they believe in, or what they think all this yoga nonsense is really about. And so even these amazing classes rub me the wrong way because I pick up on these weird, disconnected kind of vibes.

And maybe this is all just a projection of my insecurities about the yoga I’m teaching. Who knows. But I do feel like I teach what I know and I believe in what I teach. I learned that from my first teacher, Steve Black.

The other day I was talking with fellow yoga instructors, and they were chatting about their teachers, who they studied with. Sharon Gannon and Judith Lasater were among their teachers, two women who I admire the hell out of.

Georgie, who was your first teacher? We have all been trying to figure it out, because you seem like you could be a mix of a bunch of teachers, so tell us. Who did you study with?

I smile. I tell them that they wouldn’t know my first teacher, that I studied with him in middle of nowhere Statesboro, Georgia, that he’s less of a “yoga god” and more of a cowboy who drives an old pick up truck and sings in a band called Steve Black and the Brand New Heartache. He doesn’t have a Facebook fan page or a website, and he is just as likely to have a guitar hanging on his shoulder as he would a yoga mat. His southern accent is thick, but it’s more of a Tennessee accent and not go much Georgian, and I can talk to him about anything. And I would talk to him. I still do on occasion. I learned more about yoga from him than anyone else, and in every class I would get weeks worth of spiritual work done. He didn’t drink coconut water, but he did drink PBR and whiskey.

He used to write songs for me.

I admire him because he is real. No bullshit about this dude, not one ounce. Because he was my first teacher, he set the bar high, and my tolerance for teachers who aren’t real is low. I’m glad for that. My bullshit radar is ultra sensitive, and while I’m not asking for a bad ass southern rocker yoga teacher (but if you’re out there, contact me directly), I want someone who knows their shit and isn’t afraid to question yoga tradition, and who will challenge me to do the same. I want someone who is fearless, someone who doesn’t just give students what they want and make it easy, but really teach what they know to be true, even if that doesn’t please everyone.

And the teacher that I did my official training with, Kelley Boyd, is just like Steve. She never once suggested that she was perfect, that she had anything figured out, that yoga had to be a certain way. She challenged me in ways that were different, like if I said something that conflicted with the inherent goodness that she saw in me, she would just look at me with this face like…hmmm….think again, little one.

She too, drives a pick up truck. Maybe that’s what I’m looking for.

I still have my home practice, that I do alone in my backyard, that I cherish so much. Every day, I look forward to it. But I need a teacher. We all do, no matter what our practice may be. We need someone to kick our ass a little and challenge the words we say.

I need someone who will say George, what the hell was that last blog post about, you don’t hate the yoga in the Bay Area, you’re just being bratty. Get your ass on the mat and let’s practice.

Why We Admire Heroism

“No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength. Learning for instance, to eat when he’s hungry and sleep when he’s sleepy.”-Jack Kerouac

This is why I do everything I do. Yoga, climbing, traveling, writing, adventuring. I do it all to feel strong. Not to be strong, or show my strength, but to feel strong. To unveil those little reservoirs of hidden power that are so subterranean not even our creator knows about them. And it’s not about jumping off the side of a cliff with only a parachute in hand, it’s not about being brave or gutsy. It is as simple as Mr. Kerouac stated above, eating when you are hungry and sleeping when you are tired. But being in full control of those things. Depending on only yourself to sustain your existence.

Self-reliance.

That makes me feel strong. I like being able to say no, I can’t do this climb, when everyone says that I can, or yes, I can do this, when everyone says that I can’t. Because I know my limits and my power. Everything I do is about finding those limits, testing them, hugging right up to the edge and dancing with The Line in the Sand. I like that about myself because it has made being alive incredibly fun.

Joshua Tree National Park. My friend Chris, on the last move of a climb, takes a big fall and his ankle quite literally pops out of the socket. After a few minutes of intense pain for Chris and pure shock for me and Matt, we realize that getting him and his now softball-sized ankle out of the middle of this desert is the best idea. We abandon our gear at the rock with the idea to make another trip back out to get it later, and carry Chris on our shoulders. Along the way we see a fellow climber, he looks at Chris, his ankle, and keeps on walking. He doesn’t say anything. Further along the trail we come upon a group of middle-aged tourists at the parking lot, maybe seven of them, and they don’t say anything either–just keep clicking their digital cameras at the Joshua Trees. Matt has to ask one them to help carry Chris while I run back to get our gear. On the way to the rock I notice that there is a group of about four other climbers sitting on a rock drinking Blue Moon who had watched the entire thing happen: the fall, me, as I wrapped his ankle, us, as we carried Chris away, and me again, as I am now trying to carry three crash pads, a backpack, all of our climbing shoes and personal belongings. I stare at them. Help me, I say with my eyes. I see one of them cut an orange slice and shove it into the neck of his bottle.

My adrenaline and focus on Chris blinded me from the fact that about a dozen people had seen us carrying an injured person through the Mojave desert and not one of them was willingly helping us. It’s not like we were in some big, well-populated city where you can pull the I Thought Someone Else Would Help kind of psychological deal.

We were relatively alone. In the desert.

I got angry and disappointed and wished, hard, that all of those selfish dudes back there were feeling like shit about themselves for not helping. Oh man, I should have done something to help those people, I wished they were thinking. It didn’t feel good to be so mad, to wish those things, but I find myself this morning feeling the same way and wishing the same things. Because I like to think that humans are a certain way, that we would act a certain way in certain situations, that we want to take care of each other, that we are good and brave and strong.

But we aren’t. Otherwise the stories on the news about someone doing something heroic wouldn’t make headlines, it would just be another person acting like a person. The fairy tales and epic writings and movies about heros wouldn’t be something we get starry-eyed over.

We admire heroism because it is rare.

I remember back to the first day of social psychology class in college, when all of the sudden a student started coughing violently, got up to leave the class, and fell down on the floor still coughing but gasping for air. The teacher did nothing, just kept lecturing and passing out syllabi. I look at the teacher, look around at other students, and realize no one is going to do anything. So I get up, in a room of fifty, and run over to the boy on the floor. I ask if he is okay. He starts to laugh. So does the teacher. It was all a set-up, a social psychology experiment. The teacher had asked the boy to fake it to see who, if anyone, would get up and help. Honestly, I felt tricked and a little angry that it was all a joke after worrying about this boy’s safety, but more than anything I felt proud. I am still proud of my reaction, and proud that I wasn’t one of the other students who sat there and did nothing.

Ironically, I think that people who are willing to selflessly help others are those who practice self-reliance. Because they know how fragile human existence can be, they know their personal power and their limits. Sometimes we truly need others. Being self-reliant taught me that. There are some situations that we will not survive if we don’t have another person’s help.

I feel blessed, in a world full of people not willing to help, that I am surrounded by heroes. I was born from a long line of heroes, all in their own way. My sisters are heroic and so are my best friends. I am attracted to people like this. The brave ones. The ones that would save my ass no matter what. They are the best to be around because they are self-reliant and know how delicate the human condition truly is.

I feel lucky. I feel alive. And I feel strong.

Happy Birthday Jack Kerouac, one of the people who taught me about being self-reliant and heroic, you would have been 90 today.

Image