Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


what are the different types of yoga? what is hatha?

The styles of yoga on offer are endless. Teachers often blend different practices to suit their needs, and give it a name that ends up on a class schedule, familiar only to those who frequent the studio. Most types of yoga stem from a few different schools, which have splintered into countless directions. Yoga as […]


how to do headstand (sirsasana)

In comments past, Merka asked:  “My vinyasa instructor LOVES inversions and headstands. However, I am slightly terrified of headstands because my arms are quite shaky when I do them. Do you recommend any arm exercises, in addition to downward dog, that would help build muscle? How do I encourage my body to relax when I’m […]


grammar for yoga teachers

When looking for a studio to complete my advanced training, I admit that somewhere in the process of choosing ISHTA, a deciding factor was that most of their teachers had a basic command of grammar. Perhaps I could be less judgmental, but it’s a matter of elegance. If you want your students to respect you […]


how to slide pranayama into your day

I try to do five minutes of pranayama in the morning or before bed. If I’m energetic, I just sit down and do it. If I’m exhausted, I make my way into legs up the wall and rest there a few minutes. Then I begin some gentle pranayama. If it’s morning, I might sit up afterward and do more vigorous pranayama if I have time, and end with a savanasa (corpse pose). If you don’t have five minutes?


pranayama प्राणायाम

Pranayama translates from the Sanskrit, प्राणायाम, as “restraint of life force.” Prana is life force, or energy, similar to qi (chi) in Chinese medicine. It is said to travel most easily with the breath, and prana is sometimes translated as breath, or even as spirit. The suffix -āyāma translates as regulate, restrain, or most commonly, control.