Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

yoga and the true non-self?

What can you feel? I practice yoga because it helps me feel, which is something I’d trained myself to avoid. It’s an internal exploration that is unspeakably beautiful, and precious few teachers convey this. (Do I? Probably not well.) It’s partly because not many are looking for an internal practice, which means that sticking with […]


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 […]


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 […]


on the time i saved someone’s life after a backbending class with genny

or at least his leg After the non-cheesy yoga post, how about a cheesy yoga/meditation story and an intro to the backbends category. Why backbends? Because they’re my weakness, my Achilles’ heel. I don’t hate them. By no means. I feel great after, and sometimes when, I do them. I just don’t do them well. […]


tradition: ashtanga, vinyasa & 8-limbs lite™

The yoga history thread is on hold as I’ve picked up too many books on the subject to continue until they’re parsed. Much has been published since I first read up on it ten years back. If you must read something now I suggest Joseph Alter’s Yoga in Modern India. For a break, I’ll address […]


yoga history & hatha yoga : 101x

Last week when I wrote the “Wait. What is Hatha Yoga?” piece, things got out of hand. My intention was to explain simply that Hatha yoga is all physical yoga, not a style of it. But that exploded. Hatha yoga has a long and complicated history, which has thankfully gotten much more attention in the […]


how often should I practice yoga?

Why not everyday? Because yoga is not my life, you say? Oh. Okay then. The answer varies. Yoga? But I’m Not Flexible (Beginners) When I first practiced yoga, it was very sporadic. Probably not even once a week. Are there any benefits to practicing once in awhile? Yes. Most people feel good during or after […]


new topic: cheesy yoga/meditation stories

Who wants more stories about how yoga opened a heart to the love and abundance of the universe? Or, say, how yoga teacher training “transformed” a life and taught a budding yogi to unconditionally love everyone present. “Even the most difficult people!” That, gentle readers, is not transformation or yoga. That is repression. But I […]


art & yoga: photography as a daily practice

Photography has always been something that brings me into the moment (except, perhaps, the few years I worked full time as a photog). It also makes me happy. Seeing something that strikes my interest and playing with it via the camera brings me joy. I’ve noticed that on these walks, a few shots can turn […]


to practice or not to practice: ladies’ holiday

There are as many takes on yoga asana practice during menstruation as there are euphemisms for it. Ladies’ holiday, your moon (not to be confused with the moon), ladies’ days, your flow, the curse, crimson tide, the rag, that time of the month, and, refreshingly, your period, are a few you’ll hear in wider yoga […]


yoga :: what to wear?

part 2 of 2. See also part 1: “preferably something opaque” endures all trends Because my shala is closed on the weekend, yesterday I took a led power class. This class is such a circus, and so different from quiet morning Mysore, that I take it almost to test my ability to focus. You know, […]


yoga at home for the holidays

Last week I was commiserating with a student who’d missed class about how difficult it is to establish a home practice. It took me about two years of consistent classes to really get into practice on my own. Establishing a daily home practice took not only dedication, but concentration. It’s much easier to make yourself […]


why meditate?

I had promised myself I’d do a meditation retreat back in May, when I’d finally have some time. But, May is a festive time for university people and I had a lot of celebrating to do. Then it was June and I am a summer girl. I couldn’t dedicate a week or more to sitting […]


sexytime with william broad

I somehow managed to ignore most of the uproar over William Broad’s “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” in the NYT. I didn’t really get his point, as it seems like a no-brainer. You can hurt yourself doing any physical activity, and that’s why you’re selective about what yoga you do and classes you take. […]


ouch. my wrists/hands hurt in adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog)

I’m reposting this as many of you have had questions about wrist and hand pain in down dog. It’s a quick post to answer MM’s question about her hands—the base of her hands hurt in down dog. This is a great question, because it’s a common problem. Often the wrists hurt for people who are new […]


how I found ashtanga

I don’t talk about my own practice much here, but it’s time. Largely because when my students leave Columbia, they always ask. My own yoga has always shaped my teaching, and it’s taken its share of twists and turns over the years. Until 2010, I’d been doing a hatha-vinyasa practice for the previous few years […]


on meditation

We’re still on break and you just want to relax a bit. But you can’t without your yoga? You don’t say. Watch this then. If you don’t wanna watch the long I’m-a-scientist-I’m-not-into-meditation-or-heaven-forbid-yoga intro, JKZ begins at 7 minutes. ..   Though Kabat-Zinn is known for his work with meditation, his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program […]


is yoga Hindu?

There’s a debate on about yoga’s origins, and it’s gone viral “—or as viral as things can get in a narrow Web corridor frequented by yoga enthusiasts, Hindu Americans and religion scholars.” This is the buzz covered in the November 27, 2010 article, “Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga’s Soul,” by Paul Vitello. What […]


Namaste नमस्ते

Months ago, a friend living in Beijing complained about yoga teachers using Sanskrit and not explaining the meaning. She was especially annoyed by closing class with “namaste,” when many didn’t know what it meant. I believe my friend and colleague Ben also takes issue with this. I’m guilty of it, I admit, largely because I […]


the yoga of sylvester graham

Jessica’s fantastic comment a few posts back reminded me of my undergrad thesis on health reform. Sylvester Graham was an activist of the 1800s. He had many interesting beliefs (and followers, like Ralph Emerson and Upton Sinclair), some of which parallel those of yogis. He was generally severe, believing that such things as cold cereal […]


5,000 years?

I have to admit, I sometimes ask myself if I’m part of this world. The yoga world, I mean. On Tuesday, the New York Times wrote a piece on foodies and yoga, and it seems to be popular, given its rank on their most emailed list: “When Chocolate and Chakras Collide.” My favorite part of […]