Welcome to my yoga website! I’m Roxanne Halpine Ward, a yoga teacher and writer in the Philadelphia area. My yoga blog chronicles my journey as a new yoga teacher, a new mom, and a person still constantly growing and learning. I write here about anything related to yoga and wellness, including physical postures, health, fitness, meditation, spirituality, food, and finding calm, peace, joy, and balance in a busy world.
Happy Mother’s Day May 14, 2013
For Mother’s Day this year, I wanted to share just a few of the things that inspire me about my mother, Diane. My mom has been struggling with a chronic illness for the past 25-30 years and has had three major surgeries, as well as countless unpleasant procedures and medication regimens. She’s had long periods of remission, but also long periods when her illness flares up and causes her frequent bouts of debilitating pain. She’s had to make drastic changes to her diet and other habits in order to keep her disease in check – it’s something she manages on a daily basis.
But what I want to share about my mom isn’t the disease that life has handed her – it’s her refusal to let that disease define her life. When I was a kid, Mom went back to school part-time to earn her associate’s degree, and later her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, all while working, taking care of her family, and dealing with her illness (she had two of her surgeries during this period). I get my respect and love for education from her. She also jumps at every possible opportunity to see and experience the world and just have fun. She loves to travel, always makes time for her friends, and will drop everything to hang out with her granddaughter. She always has some project going, like repainting the bathroom or digging a pond in the backyard. Everyone I know is inspired by her wild holiday decorations. As a teacher, my mom has inspired many students to achieve their best, all while pretending she doesn’t really care. Mom is passionate, enthusiastic, and has a great sense of humor, and rarely do people realize how much of what she does is done in presence of great physical pain. Mom accepts what is but lives in the moment, never letting hold her back from living her life. I may be a yoga teacher, but I can learn a lot from her attitude.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
Gayatri Mantra April 30, 2013
I really enjoyed listening to this version of the Gayatri Mantra during savasana at the end of last night’s yoga class, so I thought I’d share it with you:
Here’s a transliteration of the Hindu text, which is drawn from the Rig Veda:
Om bhur bhuvah svah
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yo nah pracodayat
I looked around for a few different translations. Wikipedia has several nice ones, but they’re all male-centric, referring to the creator deity as a “he”. Here’s a non-gendered one I’ve read before:
Embracing Earth, Heaven and Beyond
The sacred source is revealed
Evoking the resplendent flame
The all-pervading light venerates us all.
(From The Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi, page 108.)
Devi actually connects the mantra to Gayatri as a female creator and the mother of the Vedas (see pages 107-116). Devi writes, “From Divine Light, she creates all life.” I like thinking of the mantra in that spirit (especially since I used it for savasana during a prenatal yoga class!).
And another, simpler, translation that I quite like:
Let us meditate on the light of the sun which represents God, and may our thoughts be inspired by that divine light.