Yoga Suits Her
I’ve been teaching yoga since 1980. A lot of my identity is tied up with being a yoga teacher. What does that mean? What should that mean? On this site I explore my personal journey and provide commentary on the state of yoga in the twenty-first century. I invite you to have a look and see what may be here for you.
Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar
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. Even though yoga was considered an activity mainly for fringe dwellers, the physical style I was doing seemed tame enough.
When I eventually came to live in Australia, I continued to participate in yoga. I found my way to Iyengar Yoga classes and loved the physicality of this method. So much so that I did yoga teacher training and became qualified as an Iyengar teacher.
It took me years to learn and accept that there were benefits in doing what I thought of as the more esoteric practices. I gradually added Yoga Nidra, Pratyahara, meditation and Pranayama to my repertoire of practices. When I was nursing injuries or recovering from surgeries and illnesses, these practices were invaluable healing aids.
Now, I’m about to add another string for my teaching bow by learning and practising something relatively new to me: Mudras.
I’m very pleased to announce a return visit to the Yoga Shed by Rachel Zinman, my friend and yoga colleague. She will be leading a workshop on Mudras on September 1st (Saturday) 2-5pm.
This is how Rachel describes the value of practising Mudras:
Mudras bring together mind, intention and energy to invoke a feeling of stillness and contentment.
The classic yoga text book, Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, defines Mudra as a gesture or an attitude, and further states:
Mudras are a combination of subtle physical movements which alter mood, attitude and perception to deepen awareness and concentration.
We probably have all done Mudras in some yoga classes. The most common Mudra is the salutation, Anjali Mudra, prayer position. Then, there’s Maha Mudra, the great seal. Yogic texts say that this seated breathing pose ‘can cure all disease if practised enough.’
The inverted restorative pose, Viparita Karani, or legs up the wall, is also described as a Mudra. It’s an excellent preparation for meditation.
And, San Mukhi Mudra also serves to prepare us for meditation as it encourages Pratyahara (control of senses).
Rachel’s workshop will be practical as well as theoretical in that we will be learning a flowing gesture sequence. Her session will include asana, pranayama and mantra, too.
To make Rachel’s visit even more special, there is the option of staying for supper after the workshop and enjoying the music of Kirtan. I’ve experienced the devotional music that Rachel and her husband, John Weddepohl, play, and it’s wonderful–not to be missed!
The workshop is open to all levels of students. I hope you will join us September 1st, a day which also marks new beginnings–the first day of Spring.
Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Teach Yourself Yoga. Just ask and quote ISBN: 978-0-6487945-0-9.
Please send me feedback about the book. I’d love to hear about any errors or problems with eBooks on various devices. And please review the book wherever you get it. Reviews will help more people discover the book.
The Previous 3 Posts
Finding the Right BalanceThere’s a problem I face when developing a new workshop: I don’t know exactly how much material to put in. Typically, I get excited and create too much. Fortunately I’m experienced enough to calibrate how much I can teach in a workshop as I go along.Still, I get attached to the sequence of poses I’ve created, to having it flow seamlessly and to being able to include interesting variations.I ran into this too-much-material problem when I was teaching a new workshop called ‘Yoga: A Lifelong Companion’ at The Yoga Shed in Richmond, NSW this last weekend. […]
Every day of the week except Sundays I do a yoga practice in The Shed from 7:30-9 am. You can pretty well set your clock by me.Lately, and in anticipation of a workshop I’m leading this next weekend, I’ve been mixing up the usual practices I do of a morning.Instead of a strict physical practice which I love–standing poses, inversions, backbends, forward bends–I’ve been doing more meditation and pranayama. […]
The first time I went on a meditation retreat, I could not for the life of me imagine how I could find the time for it. Between teaching, running my yoga studio, and doing my own yoga practice, it was never going to happen. Then it dawned on me. I could just take out my diary (this was well before google calendars) and mark out the required days. So, I did. I drew a line through the ten days that the vipassana retreat was scheduled for and made a mental fence around those dates. Subsequently, everything fell into place. […]
I know, I know. Yoga teachers all want to teach remotely. I’ve been no exception. Here are some video and audio productions that I’ve made. Not many – it’s something that I alway mean to get around to.
No, I’m not selling yoga mats or clothing. I don’t even have a t-shirt… yet. But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want. Have a look, I’m never sure what you’ll find.