Barrie's Blog

Retro Yoga

Jan 21, 2020

In the La Presse article last weekend, I think Ève Dumas landed on several important qualities of my approach to yoga practice and teaching.

Slow, lasting, profound, are some of the adjectives she used to describe it,, and also the phrase “almost anachronistic,” which I admit I kind of loved.

I agree with all this.

The longer I teach, the more old school I feel. Maybe I’ll start to call my brand of yoga “retro yoga.” I’ve been looking for a catchy name.

Yesterday in our Power of YOU program, I gave a talk on reigniting passion for practice. The unglamorous work of continuing to show up.

If you’ve hung with me long enough, you’ve heard me talk about it over and over, how one of the most important skills we can master as students of yoga is to get good at beginning again, to welcoming ourselves as we are, to embracing the tapasya of practice and simply continue, even when we don’t quite feel like it or when it's...

Continue Reading...

Using Yoga FOR You, Not AGAINST You (Warning: Non-Yogic Behavior Below)

Jan 17, 2020

The companion to my daily morning contemplation and journaling is...a big, strong cup of coffee with...get ready...a generous helping of half-and-half.

I'm grinning as I say this because I used to think I should hide this habit of drinking coffee from my students, I would feel it wasn't yogic or that I wasn't acting in integrity.

I remember once on a retreat one of my students came up to me at breakfast and accusingly said, "YOU drink coffee?" As if I should be ashamed of myself for such egregious non-yogic behavior.

For a while, I admit I played into it. I felt ashamed for treating my nervous system and digestion this way.

Truth be told, when I do a 3-week cleanse once or twice a year, I DO forego coffee in favor of the strongest green tea I can find.

And I always go back. My Kapha constitution responds well to it. I've stopped apologizing for it.

Recently, I read in an interview with the New York Times that Deepak Chopra himself drinks up to 5 cups of coffee per day if that makes...

Continue Reading...

Your Yoga Golden Age

May 18, 2019

Every astrologer whose ever read my chart has told me I have the chart of a teacher, there’s no getting around it. Yet, I’ve also ALWAYS seen myself as just as much a community leader as a yoga teacher. It’s a role I love and take to heart because it’s crucial. It’s been critically important for me, and to those I serve. We all need to feel heard, seen, acknowledged, and supported in order to thrive in ANY area of our lives.

In my online program, participants have been reflecting on their yoga stories, recounting the trajectory of their practice from the time they first started until now.

When I hear the stories of these longtime practitioners, one thing I see again and again is that many of us have had a GOLDEN AGE in yoga. A period when our practice flourished when we fell in love with yoga as OUR path, got lit up about the possibilities it unfolded for us and made breakthroughs. For some, this was during teacher training, for others it...

Continue Reading...

The Joy Of Being A Yoga Well-Wisher

Mar 11, 2019

This weekend in St. Jon’s reminded me of just how much I love and appreciate local yoga communities.

When teachers create the space and time to gather around practice, not business,

Counting breaths, not hours,
Communicating with thoughtfulness, respect, and good will,
Sharing with authenticity, and not a drop of pretense,
Listening with openness, not judgment.

50480787_10158052032064409_1417237829271945216_n.jpg

We’re grateful for every moment we have together, for we know how rare it is to be a room like this and to be in each others’ good company,

And, how important it is to nourish ourselves so we can feed others.

To serve our own longings, so we can be of service.
I believe this kind of connection is essential for longevity in practice and in teaching. The opportunity to be in authentic connection, to be well-wishers for others on the path, to find comfort in giving and receiving support. To find resilience in practice, inquiry, and sharing. To know that there are others working quietly, constantly,...

Continue Reading...

Yoga Teachers: Here’s The Truth About Credibility And Curiosity

Mar 11, 2019

A friend who’s been diagnosed with an “incurable” medical condition shared something interesting with me the other day. She said that the doctors she seeks out for help with her condition are NOT the ones who claim to have all the answers. She looks for the doctors who are open to learning, to finding out more, to new treatment protocols and information.

Similarly, the BEST chiropractor I know, the one I trust completely, is the one chiropractor I’ve met who is continually learning more and more about his field, about how back pain in the body manifests, what’s most effective in treating it and preventing it from reoccurring.

He’s the one who uses his knowledge as a springboard for diving in with his patients to explore and learn from them. He’s the one doesn’t claim to have “the” method that will fix everyone, every time.

Like my friend, when I look for a chiropractor, I’m not seeking out the person who claims to...

Continue Reading...

Ease, Yes, But Here's How (Some) Online Yoga is Raising The Bar on Practice And Community

Feb 21, 2019

This morning, a fellow yoga teacher posted an article she wrote about how online yoga supports your self-care goals. You know, things like the convenience of being able to do yoga at home (or at the beach, like the student who sent me this photo), the comfort of practicing in your pajamas if you feel like it, the ease of being able to do a class whenever you want, on demand. All valid reasons, of course. Why go to yoga when you can have yoga come to you, right? 

What I realized, as I read her list, is how different our Skillful Yogi online community actually is in the realm of “online yoga.” Actually, we’re much more like an online retreat site than simply an online studio. We’re not merely the easy or more convenient substitute for live yoga. 

In many cases, we’re the option that serves our members BETTER than what’s available to them where they live. Why? Because they’re selective, they know what works for them, and they’re...

Continue Reading...

Why "Been There, Done That" Are The Saddest Four Words I Can Hear When it Comes to Yoga

Feb 14, 2019

We’re diving into studentship this week on The Skillful Yogi. We’re exploring some of the many wonderful and nuanced attributes of being a student of yoga. Skills like cultivating our curiosity, honing our discrimination, building a solid faith that’s based on inquiring into our experiences in yoga, and so forth.

I often tell teachers I work with that being a student is the meta-skill of being a teacher, the one overarching ability that if we get good at it, encompasses all the other things we might do and learn as teachers. 

 

In my own yoga journey, my dedication to being a student, well, it’s been my pillar. It’s what I’ve leaned into during times of uncertainty and self-doubt as a teacher. Though my teaching will come to an end someday, my love for the subject of yoga is something I know will continue throughout my life.

This is why, when a yoga teacher tells me they feel as if yoga no longer has anything to offer...

Continue Reading...

"Love Yourself"

Feb 14, 2019

I almost never do this, but today I wanted to share what I wrote in the daily column I write for my membership. I spent so many Valentine's Days alone and wishing for someone or something to make me feel complete. I know so well how that longing feels. Here's the lesson I learned about that and that has fueled my yoga practice for more than 20 years now.

"LOVE YOURSELF"

These two simple words, for me, express the ultimate reason I practice and teach yoga.

My relationship with myself was not always positive, kind or loving.

 

But when I discovered, more than 20 years ago, that asana practice could not only be a way to move and awaken consciousness in my body but was also a field for cultivating a more loving relationship with myself well, that was the game-changer that turned asana from merely an interesting physical and mental pursiuit and made it into a major practice of my sadhana.

For me, yoga has been and always will be a path toward self love. This is the...

Continue Reading...

Yoga Teachers : Here's The Truth About Credibility And Curiosity

Feb 11, 2019

A friend who’s been diagnosed with an “incurable” medical condition shared something interesting with me the other day. She said that the doctors she seeks out for help with her condition are NOT the ones who claim to have all the answers. She looks for the doctors who are open to learning, to finding out more, to new treatment protocols and information.

Similarly, the BEST chiropractor I know, the one I trust completely, is the one chiropractor I’ve met who is continually learning more and more about his field, about how back pain in the body manifests, what’s most effective in treating it and preventing it from reoccurring.

He’s the one who uses his knowledge as a springboard for diving in with his patients to explore and learn from them. He’s the one doesn’t claim to have “the” method that will fix everyone, every time.

Like my friend, when I look for a chiropractor, I’m not seeking out the person who claims to...

Continue Reading...

What is an Advanced Asana ?

Feb 08, 2019

Is it simply, as my colleague Doug Keller puts it, “doing postures other people can’t do? Of course not. Though that’s the way we sometimes think about.”

This weekend at Expo Yoga 2019 I'll be teaching an "advanced" arm balances class. Montreal yogis, I hope you'll join me! But be forewarned: For me, the opportunity for "advanced" practice never lies in the pose we achieve, but rather, what we learn about ourselves in the journey toward getting there.

 

Sure, we'll be playing around with physical challenges, standing on our hands, much like this elephant. But what makes that "yoga," of course, lies in the intention and awareness we bring to it, doesn't it?

Rather than external accomplishment, deepening our asana practice calls on us to refine our awareness and expand our capacity for listening, noticing, feeling, sensing. We harness the power of all our senses as well as our intellect to awaken an ever deeper awareness and mine...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Close

50% Complete

FREE BONUS CONTENT

Our free, online bonus content is designed to complement and enrich your experience of Evolving Your Yoga. Resources like video pose tutorials, downloadable journaling prompts, breathwork, guided visualizations, and more will support your exploration of each of the Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice.