Windhorse: in Tibetan Buddhism, the symbol of tireless energy dedicated to serving the greater good.
Elena Brower is a sweet, caring, charming, popular, skilled yoga teacher. Waylon Lewis is an overcaffeinated, passionate, ambitious, workaholic author, publisher and editor. Together they’ll publish a “Timed Poetry Slam,” each week or so. ~ ed.
Gameplan: We’ll propose a topic to one another, and write a spontaneous, one draft, five-minute-or-less poem on said subject.
Our first round question, from Waylon. The next round question will be offered via Elena.
My first suggestion is inspired by Elena herself:
“You do a ton…always moving, working, family, teaching, expending energy. In the Buddhist teachings, Trungpa Rinpoche talks about how we all have limitless energy as long as we regard others and their good points and problems both as a delight, an opportunity for compassion.
You seem to have genuine interest, joy, charm in everything you do. Would you write us…
…a little contemplation poem about the relationship between joy, work, energy, relaxation?”
Elena’s offering Poem:
Am I there yet?
This dream, coming true, is it real?
These connections, real.
This family, loving, healing, real.
This child! Real!
This practice, real.
These fellow humans, longing, real.
This fullness, this love, real.
One practice now.
~ Elena Brower.
The tiger is not tired by the hunt. The rainbow is not tired by shining. Rain doesn’t get bored of falling. Arrows aren’t afraid of the target. The earth doesn’t fear the roots of a tree.
I know a massage therapist who shakes her hands out after working on someone.
“I don’t want their stress,”
That’s not right. People and their stress and their issues and their alcoholism and their leaving lights on and their turning the heat up too much not caring that it comes from coal which is cut off the tops of mountains are, for the bodhisattva, further fuel and inspiration.
I practice this. I fail at this. I practice this.
My ex-girlfriend tired me out. But if we can learn, remind ourselves, again and again—if we can practice not pushing away pain or loneliness and clinging to pleasure or desire—well, we can wake up, relax, and being to truly, fully, madly, deeply enjoy everyday ordinary life.
I enjoy ordinary things. I enjoy my bicycle. I enjoy my coffee. I enjoy my friends. I enjoy this cool Autumn’s day. I breathe in my fear and I breathe out my willingness to keep practicing, and failing, and trying again.
Because failing isn’t a problem: if we get knocked down, we must pick ourselves up again. It’s easy to say—and easy to forget.
And either way, we have no choice.
~ Waylon Lewis
Jonah’s mama, founder and co-owner of Virayoga in New York City, Elena has been teaching yoga for 14+ years.
After graduating from Cornell University in 1992 with a design degree, she worked in textile and apparel design for 6 years, living in both New York City and northern Italy. After completing a year studying Art Education at the New School and teaching art in two schools in downtown New York City, she trained with Cyndi Lee, subsequently met John Friend, and began studying Anusara. More than ten years of study with John Friend, Douglas Brooks and Hugo Cory led her to the Handel Group™, with whom Elena collaborates to bring practical, day-to-day relevance to the yoga. Elena’s classes are a masterful, candid blend of artful alignment and attention cues; they bring patience to your mind, articulation to your body and empowerment to your heart.
From the Museum of Modern Art to the Great Lawn at Central Park in New York; from the playa at Burning Man to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, she is honoured to offer larger-scale experiences of yoga, but Elena’s true service is in shifting awareness within the smallest interactions; one family, one household at a time. She holds Reiki Levels I/II Certification and practices Pranic Healing. She loves collaborative teaching, alongside colleagues such as Sianna Sherman, Christina Sell, Noah Maze, Christy Nones, Amy Ippoliti, Bill Mahony, Ross Rayburn, Elizabeth Rossa, Schuyler Grant, Nikki Costello, Kelly Morris, Leila Astarabadi, Seane Corn and Kathryn Budig. She’s been featured in the New York Times, Yoga Journal, Natural Living, the Element Yoga for Beginners DVD series, FitYoga, ABC News, NBC News and is the voice for Deepak Chopra’s groundbreaking video game LEELA, which blends meditation with game play. Elena is also the Executive Producer of ON MEDITATION, a series of short films regarding the reality of meditation, to be released in 2012. Recent classes are available online at Yogaglo.
Along with her own Art of Attention writings, Elena contributes to the Huffington Post, Kris Carr’s CrazySexyLife, elephant journal, TheDailyLove, and is an original board member of YogaEarth. Elena’s recently developed an essential oil blend called GIVE that proudly benefits her favorite global cause, Women For Women International.