What a great weekend in Oklahoma! If only there had been more than one of me to enjoy all the fun that was happening!

The Festival of the Arts was happening in Oklahoma City. I was lucky enough to spend my lunch break Thursday strolling through the main thoroughfare and gazing at all the amazing manifestations of creativity! It was a beautiful day, and I enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the abundance of creative energy.

I also bought my first piece of real art! In previous years, I had been really taken by the photography of Joachim Knill, and I’ve bought several prints of his photography. When I happened upon him this year, his collection included some oil paintings that absolutely transfixed me, so I bought one!

This painting is called Forest Bear. I think it’s equally moving and precious. It makes me so happy that this guy greets me every morning in my yoga room. I don’t know very much about art , but I can tell you this: there’s something about the way Joachim Knill sees the world that reassures and pleases me. I hope to own more of his work in the future.

In addition to the arts festival this past weekend, Norman Music Fest 4 was rocking my hometown of Norman. The yogis and yoginis from the Ashtanga  Yoga Studio put on a fantastic Acro Yoga show Friday and Saturday nights.

I’m sure pictures will be on the website soon, but in the mean time look for documentation on the Ashtanga Oklahoma facebook page. These talented guys and gals worked really hard to put the show together, and it’s a beautiful display of grace, strength and the performance aspect of a developed yoga practice.

Despite all the happenings in Central Oklahoma, I spent my weekend in Wagoner at The Canebrake enjoying a rejuvenating and inspiring weekend with Doug Swenson.

Let me begin with the Canebrake: WOW, what an amazing and thoughtful resort! Located near Ft. Gibson Lake in Green Country, The Canbrake is an eco-conscious boutique resort in a natural, peaceful setting, featuring fantastic fare and very pleasant accommodations.

The Bracken family and their staff are very warm and welcoming, and they make every effort to see to your comfort and enjoyment during your stay. The Canebrake also features an ayurvedic spa and yoga classes in the eco-friendly yoga barn. Can you ask for more? Me thinks not. Do yourself a favor and have a meal, take a yoga class or spend a weekend at the Canebrake.

Man oh man, Doug Swenson is one cool cat! He blends a soft and hard approach to yoga asana, and his basic message is get to know yourself and develop a practice that compliments that self – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I can get down with that!

Despite his international fame and one heck of an impressive practice, he is an easy going, approachable and funny guy. Doug is very knowledgeable in both yoga asana and philosophy, and he’s created a unique, non-dogmatic approach to teaching and practicing that I find very inspiring and affirming.

Practicing with Doug is a blend of dancing at your edge, slowing down to tune in to your internal vibration and finding union with nature.  He shared fun asana techniques and tips to help develop a physical practice, and his adjustments and partner poses are so useful and pleasant.

Though his Sadhana Yoga Chi practice can be physically challenging; it is equally thoughtful, providing pause for connecting to your  breath and honoring yourself. He uses a number of natural metaphors to encourage awareness and thoughtfulness, and I find that his metaphors are very useful and digestible.

Humans should pay attention to their thoughts like clouds pay attention to the wind, because our thoughts become our future.

Doug is equal parts comedian, philosopher and yogi. His humility and playfulness are so refreshing, and his reminder to move like nature is a very organic approach to asana practice. Most of us, after all, are just animals living in the (concrete) jungle!

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