August 2011

Go-To Poses

Go-To Poses

Yoga is portable. If you have been attending classes for umpteen years and have not yet made the transition to doing yoga at home, you may not have made that discovery. So, here’s another incentive talk 🙂
Nowhere is the portability of yoga practice more appreciated than when you’re on the road. Even in the most modest lodging, you’ll find space to do a few back-saving postures.

The “hanging partial squat” or “bed chest opener” are so necessary after driving Highway 101 for many hours, as we are on this vacation. […]

Privileged

Privileged

I’m on the opposite side of the continent from the battered U.S. Eastern seaboard, afflicted as it has been by Hurricane Irene. I’ve been sheltered for the last two days in the Olympic Wilderness area of Washington State.
My awareness has been opening to include the destruction, even death, on the East coast, even as I take in the awesome magnificence of where I am at the moment.
As a launching pad for appreciating the one-million acre Olympic National Park, I am lodged at rustic Kalaloch with it’s expansive sandy, log-jammed beach. There have been so many first sightings. […]

Good-byes

Good-byes

Have you got the habit of saying proper good-byes?
My sister passed away 13 years ago. I knew when I left her at her home in Ohio as I returned to Australia that I would never see her again. Everything I had to say I had said in words and embraces over the two terminal months I spent with her. I guess that’s what I call a proper farewell. Emptying out of all the things you want your loved one to receive from you because you may not have that next chance.
Humans are funny creatures, rather deluded really. […]

Chapter One: Don't Know

Chapter One: Don't Know

Yoga teachers have a hard time conveying what this age-old, enormous wisdom system is.
One way to explain it is to pass on esoteric philosophical concepts as they appeared in ancient spiritual texts – difficult to understand and not the real experience of yoga; another way is to take those yogic ideas and water them down or recast them in contemporary terms – and perhaps much of importance gets lost along the way.
In any case, yoga practice can be a subjective experience that is difficult to explain in words. […]

Is Dolphin Watching Considered Yoga?

Is Dolphin Watching Considered Yoga?

Yes.
Well, I think so.
I am in paradise here at my friend Joyce’s home which faces the wide calm sweep of the Strait of Georgia.
This morning, I stumbled out to enjoy a waterview yoga practice, and saw pods of dolphins out at sea. They cavorted, careered, and carried on for about 30 minutes, until a cetacean-seeking boat interrupted their antics. […]

WiFi Withdrawal

WiFi Withdrawal

I’ve noticed that the practice of yoga can become addictive for some, especially those personalities who have that little bit of a tendency to get obsessive about things.
That would be me.
When I discovered Iyengar yoga in 1979, I would sometimes attend a couple of classes a day, would attend classes every day, except Sunday, and did a teacher training course only five months after my first class.
I learned a lot. There’s a narrow line between passion and obsession. […]

Getting Familiar with Family

Getting Familiar with Family

The refinement of yoga practice isn’t necessarily the perfection of an advanced pose like Dwi Pada Viparita. For my money, mature yoga practice derives from the expression of yama and niyama – the “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots”..
Nowhere is the practice of concepts like “ahimsa” (non-violence) and “aparigraha” (generosity) more challenging than when we are relating to our families.
The original meaning of family goes back to servants/household/domestic. […]

For the People

For the People

An ex-pat Filipino friend who has lived in Chicago for many years took us to see his favourite thing:

A sculpture by Anish Kapoor, “Cloud Gate”, is made up of 168 highly polished steel plates with no visible seams. It weighs 110 tons; think gi-nor-mous. The sculpture is situated in Chicago’s beautiful Millenium Park.
More important than any of its vital statistics is the way the public is drawn to this shiny feature, like latter-day Narcissuses trying to discover themselves in warped reflections. […]

Chicago: late 19th c. Yoga

Chicago: late 19th c. Yoga

It’s hard to imagine Chicago, “that toddling town”, the Windy City, inspiration for the glitzy dance-musical, as being a place where Vedanta was showcased in the United States.
The stage was the Parliament of World Religions in 1893, and the inspiring presenter was Vivekananda.
“The eloquence of Swami Vivekananda and his introduction of eternal values of India…has been identified by many to mark the beginning of western interest on Indian values – not as merely an exotic eastern oddity, but as a vital religious and philosophical tradition that might actually have something important to teach the West. […]

You Can Go Home Again

You Can Go Home Again

And I did yesterday, “home” being a two-story brick dwelling on the edge of fashionable Oak Park (Chicago), which my family moved from in 1959.
The current owners, Mr. & Mrs. Comancho, answered my door knock, and, remarkably, let us strangers into their home. They are an elderly Mexican couple, Chicagoans since the 1920’s. When I was growing up in this neighborhood, it was multicultural, but upwardly mobile, populated by lawyers and doctors, like my dad.
It’s a true experience, that one’s childhood home looks small compared to the memories we hold. […]

From Clay Tablets to iPads

King Tut is getting around a lot these days via traveling exhibitions. I’m talking of course about Tutankhamen, the boy king of ancient Egypt.
I know a bit more about him from having seen his personal effects and mummified remains in an exhibition in Tucson the other day. The many artifacts on display were reproductions, including jewellry, chariots, weapons, oil lamps, and many statues representing icons and idols. Two of the statues portrayed scribes – individuals who plied a much respected profession in Tut’s time. […]

Tucson Orthopedic Institute

Not a typical holiday destination, but I’m here doing my familial duty – accompanying my sister to her pre-op visit to the orthopedic surgeon.
I don’t mean to be voyeuristic; this is a scary and intensely emotive time for my sister.
But I’m a yoga therapist at heart, I guess. So, I’ve read the xrays with interest. A scoliatic spine unfortunately adds complications to a ruptured disc and disc degeneration. […]

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