52 weeks…Rudy’s Introspective Retrospective

Regardless of the day before,
in 2020
we arise at 6 or maybe 7,
and while the world is turned upside down,
masked up, six feet apart and locked down,
I sit with a dedicated community of breathers.
Every morning, Joyce and I,
start the day in a good way,
expanding our lungs, calming our nerves,
finding our centerpoint, getting perspective.
While terror fills the land, infection rates soar,
and thousands pass every day,
this community of Gentle deep breathers
meets in sacred space, our numbers growing,
creating connection, hope, trust,
to air out our fears, sadness, and shock.
Living in paradoxes, while
holding paradoxes in our hands, within our hearts,
knowing that everything’s changing
yet hoping somehow it’s not.
Facing realities, ever adjusting, letting go
adapting, adjusting, accommodating, even accepting unimaginable delays,
cancellations, separations, closures.
I return to expectations, intertwined with memories, imagination and longing.
Daily facing realities, immortalities, vulnerabilities, the latest new uncertainties.
Kicking and screaming inside, I resist life’s insistent terms. I listen, I hear
Don’t hold too tight, lest ye get rope burns.
A calm returns, gathered again, Zoom-ing, alternate nostril breathing, again,
stretching again, this way and that.
Ah, someone new…yay…
Sweet…an old acquaintance has joined us in practice today.
Every day, a new day, full of possibilities.
Spring 2021, what have ye to teach me?
What new shoots will emerge as the sun rises higher?
What possibilities? What options? What choices await us?
Round and round it goes… and… we’re breathing…
Steady on.

What’s your introspective retrospective? Please share (briefly or at length) in the comments below.

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17 Responses

  1. Namaste in appreciation for the dedication to practice and it’s benefits as I work to calm the mind and body! This pandemic experience reflection by Rudy is filled with Truths of a teacher helping me find gratitude in my life. Thanks to Gentle yoga I am grounded in the body and uplifted by the breath. Om Shanti, Om Shanti, Om Shanti!

  2. What a beautiful set of words and thoughts
    You brighten the day every day with our yogi family
    Spring has sprung and Rudy and Joyce have taken us on this great journey

  3. Rudy your words are inspiring. Your gentle guidance in daily practice is a refuge where support, encouragement and compassion are ever present. A haven in the “sturm und drang” of life. This past year has been a revelation – thank you so much for providing space for gathering, breathing and sharing.

  4. Rudy you have such a way with words. I have always enjoyed your writings. Your words inspired me to pause & reflect on the past year as well –
    I realization the simple, yet profound wisdom of breath when faced with life’s challenges. (daily morning Chair work)

    In Yoga we are repeatedly told “return to the breath” – new positions, cramps, doubt, fatigue, monkey mind, no matter what the experience – “return to the breath”. Three simple words repeated perhaps a thousand times in our Yoga life. I never truly appreciated the meaning of “return to the breath” until 2020 hit, pulling the rug out from under all of us. Over the past year I somehow forgot the breath. I was unable to settle into my usual Yoga practices which had guided me through every adult crisis for the past 20 years. Numerous times I would try to settle into your CD guided Yoga practices. All unsuccessful. Then one day I reached for you in a different way – the internet. And,- Bam! there was my life line! Thrown to me from the high tech source of the internet. There you were live! My dear friend reminding and showing me to “return to the breath.”
    A heartfelt, thank you for your willingness to reach out, educate, share a safe and welcoming space. Thank you for reminding me to “return to the breath”. Slowly but surely my nervous system is resetting thanks to you – Wishing you both many blessings and huge hugs as 2021 continues.
    Rudy & Joyce ,LLC! (which stands for – Life Line Couple)

  5. The idea of gentle yogi for me was floated in a conversation with a colleague about a year ago and it planted in my brain. Took a while to take root but it did. With your and Joyce’s gardening and the company of new friends, that idea has been growing. Maybe a little shakily. Our live’s uncertainties can be so disturbing and unsettling as you have said so well. You are a beacon, guiding us to our own selve’s healing powers. Thanks

  6. Your words are a testament of something magical that has been created through community. It feels as though we are almost living in a separate space and protected by our practices and attitudes. Long live this caring community you both have conceived and inspired.

  7. With humor and focus, with heart-weariness and warmth, with a one-world community and solo-ness of spirit, you capture what we have been thru together. Your voice and heart/mind guiding us to the forever now. Thanks Rudy and Joyce for this anchor and release every day.
    peace, salaam, shalom.

  8. Dearest Rudy, Thank you for creating this deep and spacious space for us to be, together. Yay. Even when I am unable to attend … 8 am has you and Joyce in my heart. Yay.

  9. Admiration and gratitude to Rudy and Joyce for being there for our sangha every morning since 3/20/2020! You fully represent every aspect of what it means to be a Yogi or in this case Yogis. Bravo and thank you ever so much.

  10. What you have expressed here Rudy is the ever hanging kaleidoscope of experience and feelings. You speak what’s real and true for you and it is this quality that makes my practice safe and softening and strengthening. Thank you for living what you teach—-I hear your practice come through to our practice. This year of you and Joyce showing up every morning is the greatest act of kindness and caring. You have created your healing space and we have come! And come back… it is no small feat to have held steady this year. I hear you say STEADY ON
    Through my day. I can BE WITH Whatever I’m feeling——practicing having my witness and just watching myself feel. It’s a great new dimension—-a life saving gift. And I never tire of being reminded to be a neutral observer or soften or follow the breath or the infinite cues you offer. Thank you too for our online family—-giving us time after class to learn and share and listen. Thank you Joyce for all you are and all you do to create our lives together. Much gratitude🙏🏻🥰❤️ I will read what you wrote here many times🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  11. Yvonne’s reading of a John O’Donohue poem during the “first annual” Celebration of Daily Breath Practice with Rudy reminded me of another of his poems “Morning Offerings”.
    Thank you, Rudy, and the morning breath community, you have my heart.

    I bless the night that nourished my heart
    To set the ghosts of longing free
    Into the flow of figure and dream
    That went to harvest from the dark
    Bread for the hunger no one sees.

    All that is eternal in me
    Welcomes the wonder of this day,
    The field of brightness it creates
    Offering time for each thing
    To arise and illuminate.

    I place on the altar of dawn:
    The quiet loyalty of breath,
    The tent of thought where I shelter,
    Waves of desire I am shore to
    And all beauty drawn to the eye.

    May my mind come alive today
    To the invisible geography
    That invites me to new frontiers,
    To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
    To risk being disturbed and changed.

    May I have the courage today
    To live the life that I would love,
    To postpone my dream no longer
    But do at last what I came here for
    And waste my heart on fear no more

  12. A quiet peace has crept in to take root here.
    A peace of gratitude, for surviving and learning in the past year.

    I have learned to trust what is here, now,
    and even to make room for when now doesn’t feel so good.

    Trusting also, and marveling the ability to see around corners.
    It will happen again, if I am attentive.

    In gentle practice we explore the divine place between effort and allowing.
    Wisdom is cultivated in this place.

    With Rudy and Joyce we will practice well in the year to come,
    And celebrate again, very soon.
    *******************************
    Best wishes to Joyce and Rudy and everyone! Peace, peace, peace…

  13. The Hopi Prophecy for this new millennium says that we must let go of fixed ideas;
    let go of the shore;
    and swim out in the turbulence.

    It also tells us to see who is there with us;

    and celebrate.

    For the past year every morning at 8:00 Rudy and Joyce have provided for us
    the space of a river,
    a craft,
    and the source for so many of us to gather;
    to move through the turbulence
    keeping our heads above water…

    breathing, breathing, breathing.

    And celebrating being together.

  14. I have long wanted to learn more about using the breath to enhance my gentle yoga practice. How amazing that I could begin to find answers to my breath questions (and so much more) in an online yoga class in a pandemic. I never imagined doing yoga online! This has been a remarkable year. I’m really glad we paused to mark the milestone with a community celebration. Thank you everyone who helped organize and host, to the performers, and the audience. That was a party I will never forget. The memories keep me smiling.

    For me, the morning practice has been/is a peaceful beginning to my day. It’s a threshold to pass through with stretching and breathing that brings energy to my body and peace to mind. Not every time, but, every so often with the help of the breath, I am briefly able to get beneath the chattering mind and just feel and be, without thoughts and judgments pushing and pulling me. There is letting go. A place from which to get perspective on difficult issues in my life. Refreshment! I feel hopeful and balanced as I leave each practice session. “It’s a new day!” and I look forward to the day and the opportunity of a fresh start. And no matter what happens, I have learned I can return to the breath. The anchor is always there.

    A year ago, much of our society was frightened, worried, isolated, and locked down. As we sheltered in place, Rudy and Joyce, you selflessly, patiently nurtured and grew a wonderful community. Your gifts complement each other. By your lead and your example, we learned “We can do this!” together. You two have worked so hard to make this the best experience for all of us, investing time and resources into equipment and technology, always open and learning. You are available, encouraging, and responsive to each of us. Such big hearts! I can’t imagine a greater gift during this challenging year, Rudy and Joyce, than your kind, helping hands; calm, guiding voices; and the caring community you have nurtured (all of you!!), which comes into my home each morning. I come to you; you come to me. Thank you.

  15. What beautiful words Rudy. So rich and full of the textures of living. You have led us in this dance of life, full of colors and sparkles, shadows and motion, breath and heartbeats. Guiding and teaching us to navigate the temperamental waters of Mother Nature. Joyce, you have nurtured and cultivated the Sangha with a steady hand. And wonderful Sangha, we have grown to be a family….whether we have been together all year or one day. A magnificent mosaic of caring human beings with Pranayama and love being our grout, our cement. Rudy and Joyce and Sangha……..with the deepest of gratitude and ‘not- taking-this- for- grantedness’. Love, Susie❤️❤️❤️🤸❤️❤️🙏🙏🙏💥❤️❤️❤️

  16. From Hannah in Denver: One year ago I set out on what I call Neighborhood Patrol. I decided I would get to know my neighborhood in a way I never have before, walking it every day, watching every new flower bloom, every new puddle form and dry up, saying hello to everyone I saw on the street. I have done this now for a full year, and it comforts me now, especially in the aftermath of Monday’s shootings in Boulder. I have seen a family add a new baby, met many dogs in their yards, greeted people putting the trash out, or walking, or gardening, or playing. Narrowing the scope of my vision has improved the quality of my life, oddly enough. Accepting gifts where they offered, rather than looking for them where I expect or want them to be, has become a practice. I welcome it.

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