the miracle of our lives

La Trouvee, oil on canvas. by Anne Markham Bailey

La Trouvee, oil on canvas.

as we learn to explore the unfolding moments of our life, whether good moments or bad moments, happy moments when everything is going our way or those moments when only terrible, awful, not-at-all-good things, people, messages and events keep coming our way one after another, as we practice moving inward we may well discover a joy without cause, that is beyond the buffeting of external events. If we place our intention upon listening to ourselves as we are, as we unfold and change in each moment, we may find the safe place that will not desert us. And in that safe place we discover the space that contains us all, each separate, unique, breathing, here together.

Yoga Basics Class March 02 – April 06

Join our community of gentle practice as we explore basic traditional yoga techniques and poses. This class is aimed at helping students to access yoga practice in a supportive and inclusive environment. If yoga has ever seemed unapproachable, try this class!  Don’t let age, mobility and/or body issues prevent you from tasting what the ancient practice has to offer in this 6 week series.

at Embody Practice Center Birmingham, AL

Monday March 02 – April 06.
5:30-7:00 p.m.
Loose, comfortable clothing encouraged
Mats, blankets and props provided

Suggested Donation:
Drop-In  $15/Class
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Whole Series of 6 Classes:  $72.00 (Must be used in succession)
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Give me a call with questions @ 205.907.7347 or email amb@annemarkhambailey.com

Anne Markham Bailey at The Cloisters

Anne Markham Bailey at The Cloisters

Suckled Round

from the glove collection of Belle Wallace, Gowanda, New York.

from the glove collection of Belle Wallace, Gowanda, New York.

I unfold garuda wings and shriek across the valleys of our pelvic bowls. Bells and bowls shake and murmur in open skies, on archipelagos of swirling plastic bags, sliding clear cut slopes, newly dug canals and stinking lakes of pig shit. An unblemished wind arises and strokes the choke of rush and hate. To hate for love’s sake can never be. Love cannot emerge from a puckered heart. Us and Them is always a misunderstanding. We are stardust all, risen and rising from space in a billion luminous hearts, unfolded season after season in a single cherry blossom that is purpose to witness a single time. Is there a reason that we appear and set to sounding “Mama, Mama, Mama.” We stir when pricked and swell at the sight of breasts and babies. Night falls and we are surrounded by stars as we spin, splintered and blind to your heart as mine, twirling in space, suckled by the rounds of the moon.

The Good Enough Song

Almost 20 years after George and I divorced, I still missed the singing. He played his grandfather’s guitar and I’d sing harmony with him. We wrote songs of our own and we sang from the canon of American folk music.  Our singing together was such a precious communication, an intimacy founded on harmonious vibration.

Robert Huffman sings at our Thanksgiving gathering at Camp McDowell.

Robert Huffman sings at our Thanksgiving gathering at Camp McDowell.

Two years ago, I noticed that my son left his acoustic Seagull guitar when he moved to Brooklyn for law school. I asked my old friend Robert Huffman of the High Fidelics and folk singer extraordinaire if he’d teach me to play. Thus I embarked on a re-assembling of heart, powered by my own body and breath. This morning I practiced “The Water is Wide” on that same Seagull guitar, playing with the phrasing and pitch. And Tuesday night my parents Walter and Nancy Bailey sat by the fire in my living room after dining on scrumptious French onion soup that Robert Heithaus made for us, and I played some old favorites, including “Danny Boy.”  Good, good. Good. Fine. Essential.

Our breath is made for our singing. Please sing. Work with your mental hangup of not being a good enough singer, or not being able to sing. “I can’t sing,” is something I hear over and over. It is not true. Take a deep breath and let it ride out in sound. Do it again. This is your voice. This is the root of your song. Yes, it is a metaphor and it is a fact. Singing is fun. This is a gerund. Singing and laughing are close, are lovers, ride the exhale out into the world, linger and fall away into silence, to rise again. This song, our song fills the space around us. Our singing is good enough for song.

The Route to Joy

Last nightDSC_0436 in bed my mind moved into a closed loop of negativity. This loop is an old friend of sorts I suppose. The track is about comparison, and I am on the losing end. The loop plays like this: I have not achieved as much. I’ve not made as much money. I don’t have the same status. All this presses down upon who and what I am. Voluminous clouds of gloom murmur (once again) that I am not good enough, shake their heavy and judging heads that I’ve not lived up to my potential. What a shame. How sad. Anne could have been something. She could have achieved more.

And then, my mind opened and light filled the space. I saw an adobe village on a mesa, soaking in the rich color of the sun. Many people were gathered there and the scene expanded to include human beings all across the mind screen, lifting their chests, lifting their hearts in joy. Not pressed down but rising in gladness, absorbing the wealth of their inheritance as human beings simply by being here in this moment.

Our birthright is joy, always available to us. My experience is that turning away from the negative mind requires continued and repeated practice. One of the miracles and I do mean miracle in the most splendid and fantastic sense of the word – is that our minds will turn to rejoicing late in the dark night when surrounded with despair.

Being the Body: the yoga of sacred presence

Anne Markham Bailey:

Registration is open!

Originally posted on Anne Markham Bailey:

scan15 by Anne Markham Bailey

Being the Body

the yoga of sacred presence

all bodies . all levels . all traditions

This morning workshop places a gentle focus on deepening into the power of who you are right now.  In a safe and inclusive atmosphere, we will explore the roots of yoga practice, accessible for all ages, body types and levels of practice.  Learn the fundamentals of resting the mind in unison with the body. Explore the breath as the basis for living rich and fulfilling lives, moment by moment.

January 10, 2015 and/or February 07, 2015 (can be done separately or following one another)

Saturday 9-12 a.m.

Embody Practice Center 3918 Montclair Rd #100, Birmingham, AL 35213

Register Online for January 10th ($25)

Register Online for February 7th ($25)

Register for Both! ($50)

Anne Markham Bailey is a certified YA yoga instructor and a seasoned meditation guide.  She has trained…

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The Practice of No Answers

Thanksgiving 2014 (118)The Alabama river cane flute is in my hands and living breath moves through me but is not mine. In combination and with applied intent, sound rises and expands across the oaks and the hickory, as it is meant to do. I relax into the process, feeling the rigid edges of judgment nudging this intimate moment when I am not checking on myself, not manipulating experience but just being here, without any answers.

For many years I reigned myself in. I played a strange and exhausting game of trying to project the person that I thought the person I projected to be across from me, “The Other”, would appreciate and accept so that I could be part of the relationship that I projected to be the most marvelous possible.  And the shining, laughing, vulnerable arising of spirit and moment, the changing self that is me was shut out much of the time. This is so common for many of us. Poor dears, all.

Ah, how the process of time and practice are precious. I don’t have to be the best. I am happy in the woods with this flute, smelling the rock cliffs close to Clear Creek, listening to the water land on stone as I press air through a well-tooled reed. Together we arise as miracle. I don’t need to know why.