Practice makes progress. Practice can be a way of life. Practice loving. Practice eating well. Practice your favorite art or hobby. Practice whatever you practice that allows you time to be present with yourself repeatedly. Let the power of practice enrich you. It’s the practice itself that can be the medicine for what ails us.
Improvement occurs naturally as we practice regularly. At the same time, that precise regular practice often leads to a heightened awareness of the complexity of who we are. That is good news and/or bad news depending on how you look at it. Practicing brings up our “stuff”. Don’t quit right at the moment when breakthrough is ready to happen. You may not know when breakthrough is ready to happen. If you ever go through frustration, discouragement, inertia or overwhelm regarding your practice you can be sure that breakthrough is right around the corner.
It’s a natural sequence of events.
(Read this next part slowly – see if you can relate)
The sequence can go something like this:
interest/inspiration, effort, joyful anticipation, commitment, more effort, resistance, frustration, unmet expectations, lack of interest, resignation OR a return to interest/inspiration ….
What brings us back to the interest/inspiration stage? What fuels the fire of commitment? In my case, I bring to mind a memory. A memory of the way I felt. Felt incredible. Touched a place that was magical. Want it again. Or sometimes I practice just getting really present with what is – immersing myself so fully in the present moment that I get carried back, almost effortlessly, to those things that I know I am committed to. Love returns. Practice happens.Yay!
What brings you back?
My inspirational vocal teacher and good friend, Kath Robinson, has a wonderful take on this subject. She calls it moving from the inspiration stage of practicing to the refinement stage and then back again. At first – inspiration. We fall in love and that carries us for awhile and then the details – many of the things that don’t work show up. This is the refinement stage. We get to refine the raw materials we started out with. We just don’t give up. Jumping into that refinement process whole heartedly is a great way to move back into the inspiration stage again. Back to love. Back to interest. Back to fascination.
The power of practice is a force to be reckoned with.
Let your commitment to what’s most important to you lead you toward those things that support and nourish you.
Today as I was working on material for my upcoming Yoga Retreat in the Redwoods I came upon a distinction that I find fascinating. It illustrates how a simple action can shift the course we are on. How a simple action can begin to chip away at unconscious patterns of thought and behavior.
I was planning around the words Stop, Look and Listen and came to see that the more appropriate theme would be Stop, Breathe, Look and Listen. A simple yet profound difference. Here’s what it means to me. Without awareness of the “breath”, I proceed from my normal adrenalized headset and all that goes with that – like the ego-oriented attachments around fear and desire. When I stop and then take the time to breathe, even just one deep breath, I catch a moment. A moment just long enough to connect with something “more” than my typical way of being. It’s almost as if another part of my brain or being wakes up to join the party. It’s awesome! A peaceful presence tempers and helps to design my actions in a way that would have been overshadowed had I not stopped and taken the time to breathe “on purpose”.
As we move through our Yoga Retreat weekend Nov. 1 -3, one of the things we will be doing is practicing Stopping, Breathing, Looking and Listening in a variety of contexts. We will take this opportunity to witness how a very small action can contribute to our overall transformation. We will explore the truly effective Power of Practice. Come join us.
November 1 – 3, 2013 (Fri. 4pm through Sun. 2pm)
with Julianne Rice
at Land of Medicine Buddha
Register now below!
Click here for a description of Core Flow Yoga and a biography of Julianne
Come join us! Don’t miss it. I am feeling peaceful remembering my intention for this special time away. My intention is to set up a weekend that will provide us with a chance to:
Check out the details here including our weekend schedule (subject to minor changes). Hope to see you at the Retreat or in class soon!
Cost: (includes room and board and tuition for all sessions)
2 people per room: $450 per person
3 or more people per room: $400 per person
*You do not need to have a PayPal account in order to pay with your credit card here
2 people per room: $450 per person
3 people or more per room: $400 per person
Cancellation Policy: Retreats are non-refundable. A credit toward a future retreat will be issued, in case of cancellation.
Full details will be sent upon receipt of full payment.
Land of Medicine Buddha is magical! Join us for a weekend of relaxation, yoga, walking, hiking, sauna, massages, writing (optional), great food and fun! Massage sessions available during the weekend, upon request beforehand. Contact Julianne at firstname.lastname@example.org
View beautiful images of Land of Medicine Buddha
Food is vegetarian, mostly organic. All types of special needs accommodated – email email@example.com with special requests
Rooms are lovely and comfortable with their own private baths. Rooms are doubles, triples, quadruples or dormitory. They are the same price and are assigned on a first come first serve basis. Pay in full early for first choice.
The location is easy to get to from Silicon Valley, the setting is breathtaking and the schedule is designed to provide a comfortable structure with built in flexibility.
Is this retreat for you?
Remember that all portions of the retreat are optional.
Sample Schedule – subject to change
(All sessions are optional. Massages on request)
4:30pm Check in, Gentle Stretch and Savasana
7pm Gentle Stretch
7:30pm Lecture and Practice: Keys to Unlocking the Heart and Soul of Yoga (Pranayama and Meditation Practice with Special Guest Swami Divyananda from the Integral Yoga Institute in San Francisco)
7am Morning Sadhana
8am Breakfast and Walk
9:30am Check In
10:30am Core Flow Yoga/Pranayama and Meditation
1:30pm Walk to Enchanted Forest, Yoga in the Enchanted Forest, Hike
3:15 – 5:15pm Free time (sauna, massage, read, rest, etc)
4pm Writing Practice with Special Guest, BeaLisa Sydlik
5:15pm Check in and Savasana
7pm Check in
7:30pm Special Program featuring the Santa Cruz InterPlayers
7am Morning Sadhana
8am Breakfast and pack up car
9am Meet in Pine Room/Creekside Walk
10am Check in, Core Flow Yoga/Pranayama and Meditation
Sadhana = spiritual practice of stretching, chanting, breathing practices and meditation
Pranayama = specialized yoga breathing practices
Savasana = deep relaxation
Note: The weekend is designed to get you home early enough on Sunday so you still have time to prep for the week ahead.
Hope to see you there!
Sign up now…3 spaces left as of Oct. 27
“I really enjoy Julianne’s yoga retreats. She is such a good teacher and the retreats are always a lot of fun. Yoga, hiking, good company, and great food, too. I’m looking forward to her next retreat” ~ Rich Hubbard
“A weekend retreat with Julianne is a true gift of joy, life and learning – from the moment you drive up to the Land of the Medicine Buddha there is a sense of peace – I so enjoyed deepening my yoga practice on a physical and spiritual level. There were so many wonderful treats in the weekend from new poses to experiencing a concert in the meadow, a meditative walk along the trails and the sound of laughter ringing in the hills. Thank you Julianne – I am looking forward to your next adventure” ~Cheryll Getsinger
“I strongly recommend going on retreat with Julianne, her kind and generous teaching is a great gift to give yourself. On retreat with her I got to be very quiet and slow down and reconnect with nature. Thank you Julianne!!” ~ Stephanie Antoine
“My retreat with Julianne at the Land of Medicine Buddha was the first yoga retreat I ever attended. I was nervous at first. I had taken classes with Julianne for a long time, but I expected that there would be a qualitative difference between attending a single class, and an entire weekend. I was right in thinking that there is a qualitative difference. I was wrong in what that qualitative difference was. I had imaged I’d be doing yoga for 14 hours a day, and emerge from the weekend exhausted and brutally sore. I finished that weekend, thanks to Julianne and the other attendees, an energized and transformed person.
I was introduced to seeing how a daily meditative practice can lighten and invigorate ordinary lived experience. Julianne’s gentle sessions and the environment at Land of Medicine generated a remarkable appetite and sense of peace. The dining experiences at Land of Medicine – either in chosen solitude or mindful camaraderie – are absolutely excellent; their food rocks. I was surprised by an increased appetite in a basic, visceral sense. But also I gained an appetite for learning more about yoga generally.
Because an overall perception I gained was that the sensation of effervescent grace and beauty was ever there to be experienced, would I but be attentive enough to see it. And the beginning of that seeing came at that retreat with Julianne, through the stillness of that sacred space. In the shimmering of wind chimes in the trees, with little else but the soft landing of dust motes to punctuate a silent meditative hike. It was ushered in with the calm after-dinner walks back to my room accompanied by the sound of monks chanting in the temple. There is a thankful, positive, absence of electronic devices ringing and beeping. I shared a room with 2 other women, and slept like a baby.” ~ Michelle Sandell
On the eve of another wonderful Santa Cruz summer day I am left appreciating – so much. I just finished listening to an audio book by Carol Burnett, Reflections on Her Life. She is so positive and so focused. When asked about her first show business opportunity when she was about 17 years old, she reports: “A friend of my parents, a show business fellow, asked me if I thought I could get into a chorus, I replied “well probably not because I can’t dance that good and I can’t sing that good, I guess I’ll just have to have a featured role.” How fun is that! She was always ready to play and wanted to do it all the time. I often feel that way yet I try to pinch myself into “reality” and remind myself that i must “work” for a living. Or do I? As I play more at everything I do I notice that I seem to magnetize into my world so much more goodness than I could have imagined. Having a playful spirit about stuff also results in more willingness to do all the things that I think I “should” do. It helps me “want” to follow through with my self-disciplined behaviors. Who knew? Well, I did have a clue…Yet, I am just thrilled to once again see some proof of the pudding I hope that you are playing this Summer and practicing at all the things that you know bring you closest to that sense of peace within and joy in your world.
Hello to everyone near and far. I’d love to share with you an insight that came unexpectedly to me this week.
My insight came to me through music. I’ve always loved music and dancing and learn a lot from them. Enjoying some amazing songs recently I noticed that sometimes my life reflects the lyrics and feelings of my favorite songs and sometimes it doesn’t. Have you ever noticed that? Right now my favorite song is One Voice by The Wailin’ Jennys. What’s your favorite song today? I take pause every time the song One Voice starts – it has a way of stopping me in my tracks. It catches my heart as well as my ears.
In my class “Singing as Spiritual Practice” this week, our teacher Kath Robinson gave us an assignment that touched me deeply and has had me reflecting on it’s impact ever since. Paraphrased a little bit, she said “first time sing this song and express yourself fully, second time sing this same song and listen fully and third time sing this same song and sing it in a way that feels really, really good to you.” So for the third repetition I ended up blending just the right amount of expressing and listening to find that sweet spot where my heart and voice met as if for the first time. It felt really loving. I was beside myself. I immediately wanted to figure out how to apply this magical process to the rest of my life. I remember so vividly another time I felt this same pull to apply what I had experienced to my whole life – it was when I took my first yoga class in college. What a trip down memory lane. Thank you, Kath. Thank you, all. Self expression and listening. – listening to our own heart song and the songs of others, expressing ourselves in ways that only we can. I hope to share time, energy and/or space with you this year. Contact me. Really. I would love to hear from you.
I am back! Yay! After a time of rest and recovery I am back to work and play…both in my InterPlay world and my Yoga world. Stay tuned for news regarding a Land of Medicine Buddha Yoga Retreat the weekend of November 1 – 3, 2013. I have missed connecting with all of you. I look forward to thoroughly updating this website. I had a long down time and I apologize that I was missing in action for a while and the site has been out of date. I am back. Back to work Thinking of you fondly.
I’m excited to share with you the details about our June Yoga Retreat at the Land of Medicine Buddha. I haven’t seen many of you for a long time. Perhaps this retreat will be of interest to you this year and we will have a chance to connect again. I look forward to that. After you have read the post below, be sure to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you still have any questions. See details, photos and links below.
Yoga Retreat with Julianne Rice
June 22 – June 24, 2012
(Fri. 4pm through Sun. 2pm)
Cost $400 (partial scholarships available)
Register and pay here (in full or in two parts)
Payments due by May 22, extended deadline May 30. $15 additional late fee thereafter.
Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel (Santa Cruz area) is magical! Join us for a weekend of relaxation, yoga, walking, hiking, swimming, great food and fun! Massages and Reiki sessions available during the retreat, on request.
If you are wondering if you would like to come, ask yourself the questions below. If you answer yes to any of them, you may want to join us. The location is easy to get to, the price is affordable (assistance if needed), the setting is breathtaking and the schedule is designed to provide a comfortable structure with built in flexibility.
Is this retreat for you?
Schedule See below. Remember that all of the yoga classes and walks/hikes are optional. Everything on the retreat schedule is for all levels, with one exception. The yoga class on Saturday morning will be vigorous and appropriate for those with intermediate yoga experience. All of the other classes will be appropriate for everyone.
Yoga Retreat Schedule
(all yoga sessions and walks/hikes are optional, massages can be scheduled anytime on Saturday)
Yoga – Gentle/Moderate
Yoga – Gentle
Walk – to the Meadow
Walk – Redwood Stream
Yoga – Vigorous
Hike – Enchanted Forest Loop
Yoga – in the Meadow
3pm Free time for Massages, Reiki, Swimming, Sauna…
Yoga – Gentle
Note: The weekend is designed to get you home early enough on Sunday so you still have time to prep for the week ahead. Hope to see you there!
View some great photos and details of past retreats below:
|Land of Medicine Buddha|
|Friday, 4/30/10 – Sunday, 5/02/10|
|Land of Medicine Buddha|
|Friday, 09/11/09 – Sunday, 9/13/08|
Traditionally, the gift of yoga has been shared from individual teacher to individual student. With the rapt attention of each on the attention and intention of the other. An experience of caring. An opportunity for growing.
Each session, a meeting. A moment leading into others…at once predictable, next a flash of insight. Not like any insight, this one special. Sometimes, one that leaves your jaw dropping and your heart skipping a beat. A special kind of beat. You know, like the tinkling of a tambourine…
A muscle here, a breath there, a gaze of depth and curiousity. That opening that only the mentor could see as the crown jewel that it is. Touching beyond what meets the ordinary eye. Deftly brushing up against the heart and soul of what really matters. Oh my – a gift. Moving through ordinary time, tasting the preciousness of rarefied moments, slowly but surely returning, never quite the same.
Teacher? Student? Insight? Opening? Ordinary? Sometimes very clearly distinguished, sometimes blending together.
The trust, the commitment, the time, energy and resources all combining together. A type of alchemical process. Creating and re-creating over and over again a fertile soil for transformation – sometimes at the speed of light.
Who would have known?
Deep, deep bows, to that which does.
I am finding that teaching one on one sessions is deeply rewarding. I know for sure that it is for me, I believe it is for those I teach as well. The undivided attention, the unhurried pace, the promise of challenge and acceptance, and the presence of kindness.
Working to improve posture, delving below the surface to explore the cause of imbalances, breathing conscious breaths, tending the mind, visualizing, affirming, resting deeply and meditating. A session of one and a half hours includes many things.
A student makes themselves available for such teaching for a variety of reasons. There can be different reasons yet there are a few that are quite similar, in fact often the same. When efforts to improve the quality of their life and their physical and mental health begin to not work that well anymore they appear with a very open and willing presence. Very teachable, curious enough to let go and experiment with that which for whatever reason they believe holds a promise for them.
Months into the process, transformation is already visible. Skin glowing, breath breathing easier, muscles relaxing, patience present, smiles surfacing, confidence building. It is such a great gift to be a witness of this. My efforts to help bring a person into the presence of his or her own spiritual strength pays big dividends. I sigh a big sigh of relief and appreciation.
I had a chance to hear an interview with bluegrass singer/songwriter Alison Krauss tonight. She referred to her work as a “celebration of improvisation”. She mentioned the value and attraction of simplicity and truth. Her words inspired me. I began thinking about how much I am enjoying my involvement in a technique of improvisational self-expression, called InterPlay interplay.org
InterPlay, being a love of mine for many years, has recently come back into the foreground of my daily life. A bit difficult to describe in words, I will try…
InterPlay is fun. It is creative, truthful, sometimes simple and sometimes complex. It is entertaining, thought provoking, it connects one to another and it is always improvisational.
A class can look like a group of people coming together to improvisationally play, laugh, talk, move/dance, vocalize/sing, tell stories and hang out in bits of stillness and silence. A facilitator guides, sometimes with more detailed instruction, sometimes with less. There is no skill “level” required in any area. It is wonderful for anyone and everyone.
As I mentioned, hard to describe in words, you may want to take a look at a beautiful explanation developed over many years and some photos on their website: http://www.interplay.org/index.cfm/go/about:home/
The reason I bring InterPlay up is because when Alison Krauss mentioned the “celebration of improvisation”, I felt a spark of familiarity and recognition. I have found a level of delight in the InterPlay practices that tops everything and anything that I have ever done. Delight, a lightness, joy and relief that stem from feeling that I am finding and expressing parts of me that are the REAL truth of who and what I am. A freedom to just be who and how I am and have it be fun, affirming and unpredictable. Always surprises!
I realize that improvisation is something that many may think of as “scary”. As something that is inherently capable of bringing up self-conscious and awkward feelings. On one hand the potential for that is always there, on the other hand, as a safe space is set up by a leader in InterPlay sessions and affirming connection is experienced, it’s not that bad. Not even for the more introverted, sensitive personalities.
What InterPlay calls “forms” assist the people present to find a captivating focus. When focused, most people notice that the self-conscious, awkward feelings decrease, if not totally disappear. A form, for example, might be the instruction to Walk Stop and Run – anywhere you want to and in any way you want to. While you are busy doing that, you forget about being self-conscious. One thing leads to another and levels of freedom are experienced that are unexpected and most welcome.
Like in life, improv has us dance on the sometimes scary edge of “not knowing” and the immanently exciting and nourishing edge of “self discovery”. Perhaps it is in part because of this dance of opposites that these practices can be not only outrageously fun but also indescribably deep and richly soul-satisfying.
Whether I am leading or simply participating, I find the InterPlay practices to be life-enhancing and delightful.
It is very exciting to know that currently InterPlay is growing into a global social movement for peace, health, and freedom as people regain faith in embodied, creative practices and ideas.
Check out this InterPlay video: