The Standard “Thankful for Stuff” Blog Post

Okay, so this will probably be another non-“Yogic” post, but I am thankful for my yoga practice.  For over ten years it has been my companion, my friend, my confessor, my cheerleader, sometimes a little pesky, often an annoying voice in my ear, more often it has encouraged me, comforted me, given me self-esteem, courage…

Why Mountains?

I’ve been asking myself, why am I drawn to mountains?  Why do I get the whole “spiritual” vibe when I’m on a mountain?  Enough so, that less than a week ago I moved to Idaho to be surrounded by them?  The Eastern spiritual “capital” of the world, Tibet, is high in the mountains; and others…

Advanced Teacher Training: How I Made It Look Easy And Just Horrible All At The Same Time

For the last three Saturdays I’ve been attending an advanced teacher training at Yogaview in Chicago.  The course, (Sara Strother, kick-ass instructor extraordinaire) covered qualities of effective teaching; cuing poses toward energy/weight bearing points; and sequencing. Thing was, the room was full of yoga instructors, and the teacher kept asking for volunteers.  Now, I know…

The Heartache of “Advancing” in One’s Practice

Milestones.  Or progression.  Or advancement.  Setting, or just achieving, “goals” in the yoga – asana practice seems so un-yoga-like.  “I want to be able to do this pose” or “why can’t I do that pose” counters the teachings of the Sutras and Buddhist practice that one of the causes of suffering is “attachment” to goals.  It’s…

Charitable Yoga Teaching

We all do charity in our own way.  I’m excited to be teaching to attendees at next week’s “Feeding America” annual conference in Chicago. It’s a great program that brings food banks together with charitable contributors and suppliers, to make sure Americans don’t go hungry. Feeding America

From The Teacher’s Mat: Beach Yoga Edition

By now you all know I’ve been teaching 3, 4, 5 classes a week at the beach all summer.  Now that the season’s over, here’s some observations after seeing folks practicing start to finish over a seasonal cycle, and talking and getting to know them: •   People who never would have thought of taking…

Close Of Summer Message From Sun And Moon

“Another season of beach yoga has passed! We’ve practiced through rain, sand in our eyes, brisk mornings, and under the intense heat of the sun. We’ve found peace and solace in the midst of hectic North Ave. Beach. Hours have been put into the mats that find themselves on the shores of Chicago’s beautiful lake…

Home Practice Motivation

Motivation.  Some days you have it, some, well …  August 7th home practice diary: 1.  Down Dog.   2.  Check thermostat.  3.  Down Dog.  3.  Adjust music.  4.  Sun salutation A.  5.  Does that plant need to be trimmed?  6.  Sun salutation A.  7.  Take pictures for blog post … You get the idea.  When…

The Internal Struggle On The Outside

I’ve been teaching lots of beginners this summer – first timers – thanks to Groupon and people’s desire to do yoga on the beach.  One thing I’m seeing is the struggle these folks have with yoga.  It looks like a confusion on their faces, sometimes it looks like anger.  Sometimes, sadness.  This surprises me, as…

I Can’t Do Yoga …

… I’m not flexible.”  We’ve all gotten it – the “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible” response when we tell people we do yoga. My usual response kind of stinks, usually a mush-mouthed statement about how yoga is more than just bending and stretching, there’s spiritual, emotional and other aspects and gee, you should…

From The Teacher’s Seat III

Seven months into teaching yoga now, I’m averaging probably four classes a week.  I’m really getting into teaching.  Observations from a new teacher just keep coming: 1.  Yoga gossip is boring.  If you’ve ever wondered what your yoga teachers gossip about, don’t.  It’s boring. 2.  I’ve all but stopped doing hands on adjustments.  Not a…

Old Dog, New Tricks

I am obsessed with the second yoga sutra, loosely translated as “yoga helps to still the mind” (or, “yoga is to sill the patterning of consciousness” by Chip Hartranft).  Freedom from suffering is the great promise.  Hartranft explains that this is the origin of yoga practice, or “yoking” the mind: stilling the mind requires intensive…

Take Time Off to Improve Your Yoga? Huh?

Just got back from two weeks hiking, camping and eating.  Only took one yoga class near the end of the two weeks. Interesting phenomenon when I got back and into my first class:  a lot of asanas that had been giving me trouble – notably urdvha dhanurasana – were totally easy! I’m not saying it’s…

We Met A Man On A Journey

We met a man in the Pecos Wilderness the other day.  He told us about the wildfire down the canyon and that he and his wife were booking it out of their campsite.  He said they lived a block away from the Moore tornado in OK last week and watched it tear through their neighborhood…

The “What Is Yoga” Elevator Pitch Post

Ever get that question?  “What is Yoga?”  Ever get that one?  The answer is something we should all have in our pocket, ready to take out and give to whomever is asking.  But is there really a good, short explanation? My friend Jimmy knows what yoga is – skinny suburban housewives in tights driving to…

How Just Being There Helps Students

Phenomena I noticed in a class I was teaching the other day – just being there helps students.  The pose was triangle headstand – Sirsasana II – at the wall.  It was a beginners class with about 8 students in it.  I instructed the pose, then let the stu’s workshop it.  When I was done…

Meditation and the Asana Practice

Until about last Fall, I had “meditated” a few times a week for about a year.  Yeah, air quotes around “meditated.”  I would lay on the floor for ten or fifteen minutes, sometimes listen to cool music.  Sometimes sit in a comfortable chair.  Take a longer savasana after practice.  Even though there’s no technical requirements…