January is ‘The Month of Good Intentions. It’s the time to get back on track if you’ve taken a detour off the straight-and-narrow. January first is a blank canvas, a fresh sheet of print paper, a blank slate.
Next year marks the 50th year that I’ve been practising yoga.
Sometimes when I say that to students in class, I’ll add: This is how someone turns out after doing this much practice.
It’s one of my weak jokes. I mean to say, I’m pretty healthy but I’m not a total paragon of health and fitness. I’m a seventy six year old with a collection of old injuries and medical conditions, and some of the infirmities of ageing.
The good thing about staying with yoga all these years is that those injuries, conditions and ageing have taught me how to adapt. They’ve all been teachers, shaping my approach to yoga, and even my attitude towards life. Yoga is an amazing discipline for helping you get in touch with yourself if you are willing to learn.
At the beginning of 2020, I took on a powerful resolution: I would do a daily loving kindness meditation. I love this practice as a way of healing not just me, but all beings and the planet too. It’s a way of expanding the field of love and kindness on the planet. Never was it a more necessary practice than right now.
A yoga studio is a sanctuary In these 'corona times' we're living through, I'm newly appreciative that I have a dedicated space for doing yoga practice. It's made me think about what the special allure of a yoga studio is. Students have been coming to the Yoga Shed on...
Yoga Sequence for Boosting the Immune System
Yoga practitioners are human and subject to illness, despite following the most conscientious lifestyle. So when in recovery from any nasties, this practice based on one of B.K.S. Iyengar’s sequences is an invaluable practice. […]
I feel quite affectionate about this book. I believe it does deliver on its promise of inspiring the reader to do yoga, to follow the simple programs and to reap the many benefits of this ancient discipline. It is written in an accessible, inclusive style to reach a wide audience of young and old, male and female and people from all walks of life.
I do wonder, looking back, why I did push myself in all these activities. Why did I do poses like Ekapada Raja Kapotasana (pigeon pose) or Astavakrasana (8 angle pose) or Ekapada Sirsasana (leg behind the head pose)?Was I testing myself! Showing off? Competing with other yoga teachers? Probably a mix of all three.Another way
There are countless events that can interrupt a disciplined routine. Extended holidays will do it. Being laid low with an illness, or suffering an emotional upset. Moving house and even changing jobs are other meddlesome events.
I tell myself that after taking a long trip, I will to get back into my practice as soon as I’m on home ground. Yet, it doesn’t always happen that way. As the folks of Westeros are prone to say, ‘Words are wind.’
All that matters in the end is that you take action. Getting right back on the mat and into a regular routine.
It’s being said loudly and often by teachers of my generation that modern yoga has become too superficial. In an article in the American Yoga Journal, Ann Cushman makes the case for the importance of asana practice. But then, she then goes on to say that when students become more serious about practicing, they need to take on some of the other instruments in the yogic toolkit.
When I was first learning yoga, I was a very conservative version of who I am now. I attended high school and university in Arizona. At that time and even now, Arizona was one of the most conservative bastions in the U.S. It was Barry Goldwater country, if that means anything to you.
I married at 22 years old in a big Catholic Church wedding and became pregnant within four months. When Jeff and I divorced five years later, I was ready to do something radical. I enrolled in a ten-week yoga course. […]
I’ve been invited to teach at a very special festival at the end of the year called Shambala–Lost Paradise.
Now that I’ve accepted the invitation, I’m wondering what it will be like. From the description below, it sounds like so much more than a yoga festival experience. Here’s how Lost Paradise advertises itself, incorporating some of these elements:
A Hidden Wonderland…Dancing under the Stars. Nurture by Nature. Sparkling Conversations by Water. Yoga in Full Flow. Acoustic Sessions. Inspirational talks. Pop-up Performances. Twinkling Pathways. Rejuvenating Massage. Disco Yurts. Twilight Parades. Electronic Alcoves. Sumptuous Feasts. Four-Poster Day-Beds. Late Night Speakeasys. […]
If you are situated high up on a windy hill as we are, or even in one of those urban wind tunnels created by high-rise buildings, be prepared. For winter, rug up, muffler up, and go head down, bum up, in your yoga practice.
At present, early in the season, it’s hot and sultry. I feel lazy. I don’t want to do anything except lie in my hammock, dozing off with an unchallenging book.
Returning from a long overseas winter holiday has done nothing to improve my discipline. It’s been so very hard to kickstart my practice after two months of travelling. Yet I have done it now.
Getting back into the routine of writing weekly blog posts has been harder. I’ve been sitting at my computer and immediately think of chores: watering, laundry, grocery shopping. […]
In the U.S., the stifling stickiness of the hot weather season is undeniably upon us so we yoga practitioners need to adapt to this climate. It’s not as humid here in Tucson as in the buildup to The Wet of Australia’s tropical north, but this weather can still be mind-numbing and body-immobilising.
We yogis can do our bit to create more connection in the world every time we get on our yoga mats or cushions. We can breathe in kindness and breathe out rancour. We can be kind to our bodies in our asana practice. We can practice loving kindness in our meditations. When we join hands in prayer position, we can make that gesture mean it, that is, I see the divinity in me and you, too.
In the absence of internet information, I decided to create my own holistic way of dealing with my upcoming surgery.
I started talking with my friends to share my journey. The simple fact that I was willing to be open and vulnerable helped eliminate any residual shame.
I started keeping a journal in which I could collect information on hysterectomies, and more importantly, write down questions and feelings as they arose.
Consistency is the key to successful home yoga practice. It builds a habit, a neuronal pathway or a psychological groove. This momentum will carry you along even when your mind or life tries to pull you in other directions.
I know from experience that there are times when I’m tempted to break my routine. I’m human. But I’m always glad after the fact that I did my practice, not the least because I kept my commitment.
There’s an element of faith in the beginning. You’re hoping that you’ll feel as good at the end of your practice as you do at the end of your class sessions. But your faith in yoga practice will be validated. The more practice you do, the more effective your sessions become.
The expression ‘practice makes perfect’ doesn’t totally fit with yoga philosophy. Rather than being a perfectionist, do a ‘soul practice’. Do it to heighten your level of enjoyment and interest. This is usually the way that you get truly hooked on regular personal practice!
May you walk in beauty — Navaho prayer and blessing
In January of this year I taught a five-day immersion course for yogis with the theme of Beauty–living life beautifully. It occurred to me that the quality of beauty is a worthy one to strive for. And yoga conveys beauty on so many levels. […]
The kindness of friendsI’ve always thought that practising kindness was one of the most beautiful yoga practices there is. I’m not always good at it but kindness and generosity are my aims.In this post, I’d like to credit some of the many people who have extended kindnesses to Daniel and me thus far on our northerly camping odyssey. Even though, if these people heard me praise them, these special people would probably declare, ‘Aw, it’s nothing.’From the very first of our camp sites in the Coopernook State Forest, we’ve been pampered. Ken and Sal McGowan did everything for us. […]