We on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, the region that’s known as the Manning Valley, are incredibly privileged to live and in such a stunningly beautiful area.
Today I got to explore the coastal part of it that includes Khappinghat Nature Reserve and Creek, and Saltwater National Park.
Friends John and Julie took Daniel and me on an adventurous bike ride up and down dirt tracks and bush trails for 2.5 hours.
It was tough for me – not being a regular cyclist – and also, I was the only one in the group who’s sporting titanium/ceramic hips […]
The miracle that our human body is goes unnoticed most of the time. A yoga teacher has the privilege of bringing people home to their bodies in the way she conducts classes – and hopefully to a sense of wonder and appreciation about our embodiment. Over the years I’ve done several studied of anatomy and physiology. One of the reasons I love those sciences is that they present a map for one way of understanding our bodies. […]
Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check it’s watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. […]
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If you have been doing yoga fairly regularly, has your practice improved over the years? What I’m talking about is your ability to do more and more advanced asanas over time.
Isn’t this what motivates many people when they take up yoga classes? They have noticed a gradual deterioration of certain physical abilities and they’ve heard that yoga might be able to fix this decline and even improve their condition.
It is true that there are myriad benefits that accrue from doing yoga routinely. […]
Do you love words? If you’ve followed these posts for some time, you must know that I love words.
A favourite word of mine is articulate. It relates to two things that are important in my life and particularly in yoga teaching: language and anatomy.
In relation to speaking, being able to articulate well means I can speak precisely to be understood. […]
Do you subscribe to the notion that more is better?
I didn’t think I did, but when I visited my new dentist yesterday, I found out I was over brushing my teeth. Eek! I was just trying to do a good job. I had some decay in one of the teeth in my jaw’s upper left quadrant, and I thought I should be getting in there to give it a good scrub. […]
When I was growing up in Chicago in the 1950’s, there was a popular song called ‘He’s Got the Whole World in Hands’. Back then as a little girl, it was comforting to know that Someone was taking care of everything, even though it seemed to me that there were a lot of problems that were getting overlooked.
Now as an adult, I can see that each of us has to step up to the responsibility of creating a world that works for all of us. […]
It would be hard to imagine teaching a beginners yoga class without including the seated pose Dandasana. Why? Because it’s one of those poses that’s simple but still challenging. You start out relatively comfortably sitting on the floor, but then, you find there’s much to pay attention to: hamstrings, the curves of the back, your overall posture, for instance.
Think of Dandasana as being home base when you do a sequence of seated poses. You take a couple of minutes in Dandasana, being mindful of basic alignment points. […]
The laughing yogini pictured above (me, c. 1989) is demonstrating the seated pose called Samakonasana. Most people would be crying rather than feeling light-hearted in this position, as they struggled with the combination of external hip rotation and hamstring stretch. The technique that B.K.S. Iyengar describes in Light On Yoga for getting into this pose doesn’t make the pose one bit more user-friendly. […]
In terms of our anatomy, the spinal column is an engineering work of art. Getting up on two legs – evolving from bipeds to quadrupeds – allowed us humans to see further and freed up our hands to carry tools and perform other tasks. It also conserved energy. Comparisons have shown that humans walking on two legs consume only a quarter of the energy that chimpanzees use while knuckle-walking on all fours.
The changes in the spine’s relationship to gravity did, however, come at a cost. […]
While meditating this morning, I started to mentally create a to-do list. You may have had a similar experience; in the absence of other stimulation your mind starts to fill up the void with the overflow of your too-busy life. These might take the shape of conversations you had with people which you didn’t finish satisfactorily. Or, tasks that you promised completion of and then didn’t deliver. […]
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I taught a couple of classes this week which elicited happy responses from the students who attended. It’s not unusual to hear that people enjoyed a yoga class, but I did notice more compliments than usual. […]
Daniel and I went on a bush walk in the Kattang Nature Reserve today, just north of the long sweep of Dunbogan Beach. It’s been a mild winter which probably accounts for the early season wildflower displays we discovered scattered among banksia shrubs, casaurinas, and paperbarks. […]
Stretching the sides of your body, particularly hips, waist, rib cage, shoulder blades and arms, has benefits for your inner and outer body. In almost any yoga workout, you’ll find simple poses like triangle pose (trikonasana) or side flank stretch (parsvakonasana) enjoyable just because they open up the sides of your body so well.
I’ve heard the notion that the sides of our bodies are lonely parts. I get that. […]
If yoga abdominal exercises are done properly, they are of tremendous benefit in toning digestive organs and creating postural support in the lower torso.
What does ‘properly’ mean? It means we build up strength in this region slowly over time and we do the exercises regularly.
Abdominal exercises are the poses that fall into the category of poses we love to hate. […]
We’ve come to understand ‘core training’ from the worlds of the gym and Pilates. In the gym world, people have learned to practice ‘crunches’ and sit ups, the more the better, until six or even eight packs firmly form. Unfortunately there’s often collateral damage along the way, for instance, hip flexors wound tight as metal piano strings.
Pilates works better as it is a more subtle training that doesn’t just rely on toughening up one set of abdominals. […]
Standing poses give fairly immediate feedback about how a student is travelling at any given time. Is the sense of balance shaky? Are the legs dull? Is the mind overactive? Because the poses make one feel more open and free in the body straightaway, the student is more likely to want to persevere in practising yoga.
Upside down is such an interesting way of looking at the world. Beginners in yoga can get quite excited by turning upside down, and that can be good or bad. Too much excitement can take you out of your body; but just the right amount can make you feel elated. However, too much excitement might just give you the practice you need in calming yourself down.
Amazing things happen to your body’s systems and organs when you are inverted. It’s like the tide of a mighty river or ocean suddenly reversing. […]
I read a great article this week in which the author asserted that yoga teachers should be teaching their students to do personal practice – not encouraging them to come classes on-goingly.
That notion resonated with me so completely that it stopped me in my tracks. Despite the fact that I agree with the idea that students should practice yoga outside of classes, I haven’t been teaching them to do this. I’ve been in a state of resignation.
I’ve been teaching in the Yoga Shed on Mitchells Island for over three years now. […]
I did a meditation this morning to the voice recording of Jon Kabat-Zin in which I was able to practice accepting my busy mind.
I know that meditation is supposed to be about stilling a chattering mind, but I think I’ve discovered a precondition to having a quiet mind, which is having a good look at what the mind is really up to.
In the case of moi, at the times when I’m sitting for meditation, my mind is most often planning, and especially busy creating new projects. […]