Extreme Weather: Can We Do Yoga?

Extreme Weather: Can We Do Yoga?

Days of extreme weather might be the way of the future. Who knows? Most scientists say this is the way we are heading.
If so, we need to include reflective practices as part of our yoga routine. We need the tools that create mental and emotional space to deal with difficult situations. It’s not enough to keep up with a strong physical practice. Meditation, savasana, yoga nidra, and pranayama are necessary to weather all conditions. Not only extreme climactic fluctuations.

Do You Do Yoga as Exercise?

Do You Do Yoga as Exercise?

I hear countless conversations, read articles and hear lectures about how yoga is not just a physical exercise system. We’ve all heard them. We’ve even said such things ourselves.
Still, it’s a hard habit to break, that is, considering yoga as a way to improve fitness, flexibility, and strength. Of course, those are great benefits that asana practice (postures) can provide.
However, it’s far easier for me to go into the Yoga Shed to do an asana practice  than sit down and do pranayama (yoga breathing) and meditation. Sometimes I even have to make myself do savasana. […]

It's Always Time for Mindfulness

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What do you think of when you think of the expression ‘defining moment’? A peak experience, or perhaps a monumental decision that might change the course of history?
A less common but equally justifiable view says that people are defined by many tiny moments occurring over time. In Nature writ large, this shows up as the drip-drip-drip of minerals in caverns where stalactites are created, or the inexorable motion of glaciers that eventually scours out vast lakes.
I think you know where I’m heading here. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-7 – Breathing is the Bridge

 A friend and colleague asked me today why I don’t teach pranayama – the yoga breathing – in my yoga classes. I should, I know I should. I was trained in a particular method of yoga that disallowed the practice of breath control until, as Patanjali advises, ‘perfection is attained in asana”. Oh goodness, what a high bar! Nevertheless, when I did yoga teacher training with my first Iyengar teacher, we students would do an hour of pranayama before each asana session. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-53 – Give the Mind Something to Do

A Sutra a Day: II-53 – Give the Mind Something to Do

 

I heard of a good reason why it’s hard for us to concentrate on breathing or to meditate. It’s because we don’t really have much experience with staying focussed on just one thing at a time.
For example, I went for a beach walk today and, at the same time, was listening through my head phones to an audiobook. As I drove to the beach, I was thinking about my shopping list. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-52 – In Stillness, You Discover You

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At various junctures in my life, I’ve been ‘forced’ to do more reflective practices. Illness, medical conditions, surgery, even emotional upsets have done that to me – and I have no regrets. I seem to have to learn things the hard way.
During one of these periods in my life, I discovered the healing audio recordings of Richard C. Miller. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-50 – The Breath Teaches Sensitivity

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Breathing is one of those things that is just there. Or, is it? Do you always remember to breathe when you’re practising yoga?
It seems to amuse my yoga students when I ask them to breathe – not because I’m trying to be funny but because they recognise it’s so easy to suppress breathing ‘when push comes to shove’. In the effort of attaining a challenging pose, relaxed breathing gets jettisoned.
There are many theories of how to breathe for best results when doing asanas or pranayama. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-49 The Companionable Breath

A Sutra a Day: II-49 The Companionable Breath

I’m a late bloomer when it comes to doing yoga breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation. If you are similar to me – you like to be active both mentally and physically – it could take you awhile to settle down enough to savour the sweetness of these practices.
Until till then, you might be like an untrained puppy, bucking the leash. Perhaps avoiding the inevitable – even missing the fragrance of yoga.
This morning, at the end of my physical yoga practice, I lay down, and for some time I played with lengthening my inhalations and exhalations. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-38 Work Your Dreams!

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The practice of yoga can become addictive for some people, especially those personalities who have that little bit of a tendency to get obsessive about things, like me.
When I discovered Iyengar yoga in 1979, sometimes I would do more than one class a day. I would definitely be at the studio every day (except Sunday), and I even did a yoga teacher training course only five months after my first class. The course went for six months. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-16 – To Prop or Not to Prop

The air this morning was clean, fresh and cool from last night’s gentle showers.  A good time, I thought for practising pranayama.
I thought of another goal when I went out to the Yoga Shed to practice. I wanted to incorporate the poses that I will teach in one of the sessions of the Byron Yoga Therapy Course next week.
You’d know if you’ve ever been to my yoga classes that I get students to use props for almost every pose. […]