top of page


Thanksgiving weekend 2020-- I was scheduled to lead the 11th annual Uplift Yoga retreat at the Christine Center. A core group of 20-30 people had been convening in the woodland sanctuary of the center every year for a decade, with the promise of a break from the stressors of the larger world and the hectic doings of holiday planning. This year the worldwide pandemic derailed that plan. No way did I want to expose anyone to potentially deadly virus symptoms in the pursuit of mental and physical reset, no matter how badly it was needed in this time of great social turmoil. I considered staying home that weekend as well. After all, I didn't need solitude and a break from society-- I had been experiencing that for the previous 8 months. However, what I craved was some dedicated space in my life for holy ritual. More than ever I wanted to feel that sense of stepping out of time, which I have often been able to experience in that sacred space of the Center. So if I couldn't do it with a group, I would do it alone, or rather, with a friend, staying in a separate hermitage, and meeting up for distanced walks and snacks while bundled up on the 40-degree porch. Instead of hours of scheming and dreaming together in a tiny abode, we were alone together, each in our own hermitage, with no distractions from our own inner space.

I often have epiphanies or grand ideas or magical encounters when I visit the Christine Center. It was there,years ago, in the Earth hermitage, that I decided to start my journey as a yoga teacher and where I witnessed a doe nurse her fawn in the shade of the oak trees right outside my window. I have had awakenings and experiences at retreats that I had to stream-of-consciousness write down immediately lest I forget it was real. This time I allowed myself to let go of any such expectations of enchantment. We were, after all, the only guests that weekend. The place was otherwise deserted, though open to our wanderings through the silent meditation room and chapel. It was the dark of the year in an exceptionally dismal year, but a blanket of snow coated the grounds, and the sky was clear with a full moon escorting me the last few miles to the gravel road that led to the Center.

I went inside.

Having committed myself to only bringing 3 books, I set down to read with intention. I finished the first one the night I arrived.

On Saturday morning I felt called to my yoga practice in a way I hadn't experienced since the pandemic took hold. In fact, I had felt uninspired by yoga for several months and if I was honest with myself, must admit that I hadn't been disappointed in the cancellation of the retreat. I felt I had nothing new to present. I hadn't been to any workshops or training for months and nothing was filling my well. I unrolled my mat in the one-room hermitage and sat on the floor.

The images and energy started to flow into me unbidden, giving life to that cliché of receiving a download of information from the Divine. There was no effort of trying to figure anything out, it simply arrived fully formed and it was up to me to receive it and experience it and pass it along.

I moved my body and mind and breath in sync with this grand image of energy movement, and was present and receptive to the entire spontaneous practice.

After Savasana, I picked up my notebook and wrote it all down, lest I forget, complete with the exact asana sequence I experienced.

The seed may have been planted a week or two earlier, when I began to wonder what force in nature makes plants grow upward. I may have awakened something in myself that asked a question of the Divine and received an answer to a larger question I hadn't though to ask.

In what ways does energy move in nature and how may we notice and embody those movements for our own enlightenment?

The following is the answer that came to me, on that dark pause of a weekend in the woods, before I even knew the question.

Even as I was writing it all down, I tried to fit it into an existing paradigm. Surely this was not new information I was receiving. But I tried not to overthink it as I wrote. I trusted it would all make sense since it seemed to have come from something greater than my own mind. In the following weeks and months, it nagged at me that this didn't fit neatly into any system I was aware of. In yoga, things seemed to come in threes or fives, not sixes. Was I missing something? Was I an imperfect scribe who didn't get it just right? I tried to let it go and just refine what I was given.

As I delved into each type of energetic flow, and included them in my daily practice, it revealed itself to me, but it didn't all coalesce until an a-ha moment. I was the detective who had been looking too closely at a mystery and finally saw the solution when I got enough distance away.

It was actually there in my early notes, scribbled just after that initial yoga practice. Once I understood that Divine Grounding was the masculine energy, and Divine Uplifting was the feminine, the others fell into place. This wasn't new after all. This fit perfectly into ancient belief systems, and was simply a way of experiencing in our own energetic system, that which is eternal and infinite.

The energy flows and what they represent:

Diving Grounding – Masculine/Shiva

Divine Uplifting – Feminine/Shakti

Divine Integration – Creation

Divine Expansion – Sustaining

Divine Dissolution – Transforming

Divine Abiding – Space Between/Rest

This is the pulse, the rhythm of life, flowing like we observe it in world around us. We are, after all, not apart from, but a part of nature. It is our nature to flow with life.

Book: Text
bottom of page