Wisdom


Rolling Out the Mat

Rolling Out the Mat

Writing a blog post and figuring out what the content is going to be on any given day is a lot like rolling out a yoga mat in the morning and reckoning what sort of practice to do.
When the writing is good and the yoga practice goes well, it’s because they’ve naturally come toward you instead of having to chase after them madly with a butterfly net. […]

Finishing School

Yoga isn’t everything. I don’t mean to be an iconoclast, but the truth is that Life is also a very good teacher, and there are many good teachers in the world who are not strictly speaking yogis. Think Nelson Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi or Mother Teresa.
I’m going to spend this weekend with two of my favourite teachers at a workshop called Love, Intimacy and Sexuality. […]

Good Grief

Good Grief

I was reminded  after class today of the importance of proper grieving by one of my yoga students. We were chatting about his dad’s immanent death and the bitter-sweet process that he and his whole family have been in of letting go.
Earlier this year, when Daniel went to his mother’s funeral in the U.S., I went through my own private grieving at home. Grief for my mother-in-law but also for losses within my own family.
Death unleashes the most powerful emotions, if we let it. […]

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

Yoga teachers sometimes veer from the straight and narrow (if in fact they have been on it) and I admit to having missed a day of practice. This is especially sad as I have been on the road, between Sydney and Mitchells Island. I’ll pun and say that the road certainly takes its toll on one’s body.
On the other hand, by being stuck in the car for many kilometres, Daniel and I have been able to listen to a good deal of an audiobook called Life by Keith Richards. […]

Things Yoga Teachers Say

There are a few tomes around these days that are collections of sayings that your mother said or puns that your dad made. There could easily be a compendium of yoga teacher quips, as the words get stepped down generationally, like parents to kids and guru to acolyte.
Some of the advice you get from a yoga teacher is anatomical, as in “unshrug your shoulders”, or “let your breath animate your body.” Some is mental, as in “let your thought activity slow down as you watch the content of your mind”. […]

The Gift of Presence

When asked what gift he wanted for his birthday, the yogi replied: “I wish no gifts, only presence.” ~Author Unknown
Okay, okay, it’s a corny pun, But the above quip might also be seen as rather clever because it sums up the very aim of yoga practice – the cultivation of presence.
Today I was talking to my friend, Jen on the phone. Like me, she’s a yoga teacher. I mentioned something to her which I’d forgotten I’d told her before. She remembered it in detail. […]

The Watcher

The Watcher

I’m not a meditator, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit. Or, am I?
The ancient sage Patanjali – a pivotal proponent of the art of meditation – collected all sorts of wisdom of the times, compressed it into 196 pithy sayings, and gave them to us as a system of meditation.
I’ve read Patanjali’s Sutra from cover to cover, in the 7 or 8 books of interpretations I own. This is nothing against those many dedicated yogis who have learned Sanskrit to commit to memory and be able to chant all 196 Sutra. […]

From Sleep Deprived to Sweet Dreams

From Sleep Deprived to Sweet Dreams

I had the good fortune to meet a number of great yogis while teaching recently in Byron Bay, NSW. One of them, Jenny Beer, put me on to an “affirmation” she uses for nights when sleep is elusive or broken. I love the words and intent of this affirmation. It reminds me of some of the yoga teaching “mission statements”  that the trainees I instructed at Nature Care College in Sydney wrote to help steer them in their new careers. […]

A Tidy Desk

I learned something a couple of years ago that I’ve applied pretty well since then: you will never finish everything you need to do.
I put this sort of learning in the category of Really Important Stuff We Should Have Learned in School. Like how to change the oil in your car (well maybe you did learn this but probably not at school). Or, how not to get in arguments with your significant other about differences in driving styles while confined to your car. […]

"Excellence is not a skill: it is an attitude."*

"Excellence is not a skill: it is an attitude."*

This morning when I was doing backbends in my yoga practice, I was reminded of how important attitude is in doing yoga. Working the body too hard makes it feel brittle, especially on a cold winter’s morning. Being slack feels like not showing up for the event. I thought of a few attitudinal things that I could communicate when I taught my class this evening.
1. Yoga works to unite the body and the mind through involving the whole person: we are meant to focus our mind meditatively on each movement. […]