It's a very different feeling creating your own yoga session than it is showing up for a yoga class. In my 20 years of yoga practice, I've gone through periods of knowing that I needed the structure and guidance of another yoga teacher and other times when I was able to go much deeper into my own yoga practice by going solo. (more…)
Meditation, in yogic practices, is not usually given as much explanation time in beginners yoga classes as guidance on the positioning and alignment of asanas. In fact, many of the explanations used by yoga teachers actually arise from Buddhist meditation techniques. Partly this is due to the fact that Buddhist practices have more written material available - having been developed and maintained through Buddhist monastic traditions.
So what's the difference and isn't it...
Here are a couple ways of understanding what might happen in yoga, from a philosophical perspective.
The most discussed explanation is the whole idea of steadying the fluctuations of the mind (called vrittis
in Sanskrit). If you've been going to yoga classes, you've probably heard the teacher say or read something like this: we are surrounded by distractions that take us away from our true self. Yoga is a technique that allows us to not be pulled...
One of the name speakers at the American Academy of Religion
national conference that I attended was author Karen Armstrong. Her list of published books include: The History of God
, The Gospel According to Woman
, and The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions
. Although she is not a religious studies scholar, she has succeeded in bringing many of the issues explored in our field to the public.
Among my notes...
Today begins Navaratri,
a nine day celebration dedicated to the female energies named Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. In light of my last entry ("Considering Gender in Yoga"), I always welcome this chance to reclaim the feminine in spiritual practices. Navaratri is celebrated by men and women, young and old. (more…)
Although I've already revealed that I'm not the peppiest person in the morning, I also know that morning is the best time for a yoga practice.
Actually, there are two best times: at sunrise and at sunset. Many traditions and cultures encourage some sort of practice that pulls you away from either the sleep state or the mundane activities of the day so that we can notice these shifts of energy- in the light, the air, the animals...
Doing my own home retreat (see yesterday's entry) got me thinking about the whole idea of retreats-and unfortunately why nowadays it seems to be only for those who can afford to stop their lives and pay to go into the forest for a few days. (more…)
There is a practice I remember one of my Sivananda teachers describing where you don't speak for 3 days, called mouna
- it is a voluntary vow of silence.
I remembered this because when I get depleted, my voice becomes very weak and I recently started feeling as if I was using massive amounts of energy just to engage in conversation. (more…)
Although there are super-teachers who say that even when they are sick they continue their physical yoga practice, I'm not one of them. I usually tell students to notice when their bodies are clearly signaling to take a full and complete rest. (more…)
The weather has been perfect for long fast-walking, I mean like 4-5 miles in less than an hour!
Although I've never been a jogger, I can outwalk most of my runner friends. Even before my years of doing standing warrior poses, I always had amazingly strong legs. And, I've been feeling a need to build endurance into my physical movements and this is by far the most beautiful way to do it...