Blog Posts

Āsana as a 21st Century Life Practice

yogaoffthemat

We often hear “taking yoga off the mat,” how doing āsana might be relevant to our non-mat lives. After a workshop at Shakti Yoga by Douglas Brooks, who teaches South Asian religion and philosophy at the University of Rochester, that question came up again for me. Brooks doesn’t teach āsana, but he does, most certainly, teach yoga. For him, yoga is an invitation to live your life more fully now, in the 21st century. It’s hard to think yoga without

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Sunshine As Medicine

sunshine

The sun peaks in through the window and I am enveloped by the warmth. It makes me smile before I’ve even opened my eyes to start the day. What a nice gesture from the universe, this early morning greeting of heat and energy. I wasn’t always aware of these subtle messages, and sometimes I still encounter hectic days where I forget to acknowledge them. Days where I am on autopilot, busy or rushed. But most days I am able to

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Same You, New Perspective?

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The beginning of the new year usually sparks new year’s resolutions, goal setting, new dreams or maybe resolving to catch up on past years’ resolutions. The process of new year’s resolutions potentially sets us up for feeling like we’ve failed when we don’t accomplish those resolutions. Does it mean that we shouldn’t have any? I don’t believe so. What is it with our constant desire to be more than who we are or want more than what we already have?

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A Yoga Politics?

politicsjoseph

Should yoga have a politics? Most might say no, that “politics” and “yoga” don’t mix and should not. Yoga is for getting away from the world, its hectic pace, and never-ending challenges. “I come here to chill!” a student said, in the wake of the recent ugly political campaign. I appreciate the sentiment, but I also think that every sustained activity we pursue has a politics to or in it, producing—intentionally or not—support and defense for certain ideas and arrangements

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Shift Happens

shifthappensleaves

It seems as humans we spend a lot time attempting to keep things organized, in place, and just how we like them. Yet, one thing we know is that change is inevitable. We only need to take a look out our window, pause to see what is happening with our children or parents, or live through an election cycle to see that shift happens constantly. Change invites us to the full range of our humanness. It can be thrilling and

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Reflections on a Personal Yoga Practice

home practice

If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while a home practice has probably crossed your mind. Seventeen years ago was when it first crossed mine. I was practicing regularly at a heated vinyasa flow studio when my teacher asked how my home practice was coming along. I’m pretty sure I had a deer caught in headlights when I responded, “What practice?” She explained how coming to class was great for guidance and community, but that a personal practice was where

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From Sour to Sweet

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From Sour… Earlier this month I was across the country in California, in a unfamiliar yoga room surrounded by mats of mostly unfamiliar practitioners. Gone was the familiar temperature and energy of my living room where I practice alone and the studio space where I practice with mostly familiar faces of similar-minded yogis. Waiting for my beloved teacher to arrive and the teacher intensive training to begin, my state of mind was also anything familiar to what it usually is prior to practice on the mat. Stories

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A Glimpse into the Light of Yoga

glimpseintoyogacoffee

Yoga yoga yoga. Such a beautiful thing. Is it a thing? Sometimes. Perhaps more an experience or a verb? It would appear to mean so many things to many people and yet what is this elusive word “yoga”? It has been defined by sages and charlatans alike, embraced by leaders and lovers. If we collectively conjecture that “we think something”  to whom or what are such thoughts occurring? What is the essence behind or beneath this terrain of thought and

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What Yoga Students and Teachers Owe Each Other

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An earlier title for this post was “The Guru Problem in Yoga.” I chose instead to focus on what often creates that problem, when it occurs: the relationship between teacher and student. I thought, a guru or “master” can’t exist without students or devotees. It’s the same with charisma and popularity: without the contribution of the adoring, the adored can’t exit. When things turn out badly in teacher-student relationships, students as well as teachers sometimes blame the other, forgetting their

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Am I a “Real” Yogi?

rolling out mat

My yoga journey began over 16 years ago when I was working in Singapore. I started with no real knowledge or awareness about alignment, bandhas, chakras or pranayama and I don’t even remember if it was taught in Sanskrit or English. There were no expectations or cares about whether I was doing anything right or wrong. They say ignorance is bliss. Since then, my personal yoga journey has taken me on some interesting turns. I’ve studied and taken teacher trainings

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