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yoga, exoticism, & the new age

“A critique is not a matter of saying that things are not right as they are. It is a matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices that we accept rest… We must free ourselves from the sacralization of the social as the […]


on spirit and dissociation (part iii)

From last time, on Barbara Ehrenreich’s Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything: “But if Ehrenreich really does just chalk it up to physiology, why include the emotional precursors, without the influence they had on her biochemistry? Are we supposed to note them silently, empathize, and nod our heads […]


on spirit and dissociation (part i)

This spiritual experience business is difficult. How to explain the relationship I see between trauma, specifically dissociation, and spiritual experience? It feels clumsy. In March, I happened on a book by social activist Barbara Ehrenreich: Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything. It helped, and I’m going to lean […]


trigger mind

Perhaps I’ve been slow with the “how to practice when triggered” piece because it’s something I’m still working on myself. I cannot guide this, only share my experience. It hovers in unsafe territory. It’s become fashionable for yogis who are upset with their lives to put out diatribes that announce the writer’s own sizable issues […]


on teaching yoga to the anxious or traumatized. and for practitioners, too.

Forget what I said last time. I spent all day in the human room. We are all traumatized. I loved the Time Out New York cover a few weeks ago that read: “Are we anxious because we’re New Yorkers or are we New Yorkers because we’re anxious?” because it’s something I’ve long considered. New York […]


coccoyoga name change coming soon

There’s a name & domain change coming soon, so if you subscribe by rss you will need to update your feed. If you are subscribed by email, you’re automatically taken care of. The next post (written but not yet edited) will be up at popomoyoga.com (yoga for post-postmodern life). CoccoYoga will forward there, but for […]


quiz: wait. am i a traumatized yogi?

There’s been a lot of talk about yoga and trauma of late (especially here). It may beg the question: “Wait. I think and act like this sometimes. I’m not traumatized.” “Am I?” Some argue that everyone is traumatized in the post-post-modern era. While we certainly live in an age of anxiety (Kali Yuga for sure), […]


how to feel awesome [?]: self-soothing vs self-care

There was some helpful, interesting feedback on the last post, yoga, self-soothing, and feeling what ails you, about how we often use yoga and meditation to stay right where we are rather than to help us see and behave more clearly. Giulia, an art historian, had two remarks. First, well, can’t we just have some […]


yoga, self-soothing, and feeling what ails you

I’ve had little to say here of late. My thoughts on yoga are all over the place, which inevitably seem too intertwined with thoughts on life to give them voice here. How to separate and distill? It’s a practice, so I’m here. I could be swimming in the ocean, but I’m here. One looming theme […]


yoga mat as security blanket :: break it in

Mid-air I crashed. Bodymind lurched into panic, blackness. I felt myself tangled then searing pain. My left knee. What happened? Someone said, “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” I couldn’t see her, only indefinite forms moving around me. I sat on my mat holding my knee, trying to breathe. Recycled, unexpected terror, unknowing, pain, humiliation […]


today’s practice :: check yourself

Last time I gave a very brief rundown on Catholic/Tibetan Buddhist comparative religious history, as explained by Donald Lopez, Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, in Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West. I learned, again, that you don’t care much for history. And I offended some, which wasn’t my intent. I did not […]


the devil-lama & the wafer-god

During a recent meditation retreat, the senior teacher played this video of the Guru. I was troubled. Didn’t the teacher, holder of a hard science PhD, or anyone else, for that matter, feel uncomfortable? Embarrassed? It exoticizes Tibet to an extreme. Is it okay, unquestionable, because the Guru is of Tibetan descent? I went home […]


yoga, meditation, and dissociation

For a few months now, I’ve been working with trauma survivors. Yeah, that’s where I’ve been. It’s an Experience. I’ve felt unprepared for the work to an extreme I’ve never known before. So I’ve been talking to trauma survivors and therapists, and reading as much as I can. It has brought things together for me […]


Happy 2014!

Just off a week-long meditation retreat. I snuck out to teach on my birthday and New Year’s Eve, and practiced yoga before the 9a start time. Priorities. Having just read Emerson & Hopper’s book, Overcoming Trauma through Yoga, which recommends pretty much the opposite of the (formless) forms of the retreat (my 7th, so I […]


the thing about gurus: a kumaré review [revisited]

Another repost. Because it’s the time of year we huddle inside and watch flicks. Well, if you’re in the Northern parts anyway. This is one of the five movies I’ve seen in the last few years. Highly recommend. (Originally posted July 1, 2012.) Gurus have always been problem for me, perhaps my biggest in the […]


the daily minimum, at home

Tuesday I shared a basic ten (ok, fifteen) minute class to practice at home. Today we have a slightly more vigorous ashtanga-based option. We’ll call it “the daily minimum +.” If you are just beginning to practice at home, make sure to the same things you’d do in a class. Turn off your phone. Take […]


against platitude :: or :: a spiritual examination of “for a Reason”

Please know that this is not meant to insult or belittle anyone’s spiritual beliefs. I am not the gentlest of communicators. Trust that I’m working on that: Delivery is everything. I simply feel the need to point out relying heavily on platitudes as a form of spiritual bypassing might not be serving you well. When […]


emo yoga :: rage, fear, so sorry, etc

The last post talked a little bit about emotion from a classical Yoga standpoint. It may have been a little dry and unhelpful, especially if you do yoga to feel good rather than to achieve enlightenment. Most yoga practitioners today aren’t that interested in enlightenment (I’ve noticed that far more meditators practice with that aim […]


neurotic thoughts. unmanageable emotions. yoga.

This image, like those of the last few posts, is by Daryl Seitchik. She is awesome. Comment from the last post: I thought the practice would make me calmer, but it has actually brought a lot of my neurotic thoughts and unmanageable emotions (particularly rage) more to the surface. Luckily, it has also helped me […]


so much yoga & still such a bitch?

Carol made a thoughtful, helpful comment on the last post (thank you) which inspired this post. It sent me back to college and my process since. I, too, was very walled off in college and through my 20s. I felt anger fairly easily and some grief, but I was mostly numb. Frankly, I was somewhat […]


yoga & the true self?

Was on a fairly good writing schedule before the retreat. After, everything just feels like chatter. Is this important? What am I doing here? What was I saying? Retreats most usually take me somewhere I didn’t expect. On this one I read a few books about somatic psychology and feeling. One, Focusing, by Gendlin, is […]


yoga vacation: upstate new york

A few weeks ago I had some time off and needed to get out of the city. Once or twice a year I do a meditation retreat. Sometimes my own, sometimes a group, sometimes a combination. This year I needed to get some work done, so I looked up quiet places to go upstate in […]


book review: 21st Century Yoga

Last week, I took a little retreat upstate. It was nice, if rainy. I practiced. I sat. I ate goose eggs. I read a few books. While I had intended to read up on the new yoga history, again, due dates dictated my reading order. I started with a book of essays: 21st Century Yoga: […]


stretching the east : on backbends

So, backbends. I’m not good at them. But I need them. I like them. They feel good. They used to feel like a jolt of coffee, because I take so little breath into my upper chest in my regular breathing pattern. To stretch the chest is crazy energizing, especially if you tend to hunch forward. […]