Beyond Asana Blog

My weekly blog is a forum for contemplative inquiry into the intersection of yoga practice, traditional teachings, and real life.

Getting Aligned Jul 14, 2021


Much of the conversation about postural alignment in yoga revolves around cues, biomechanics, evidence-based theories of movement, and evolving perceptions of healthy movement patterns that could apply to many different physical disciplines.

But of course, what makes yoga, yoga, is the understanding that the physical body is only one part of who we are. And that’s what’s missing from many of these discussions in my view. When we treat alignment as purely biomechanical, we overlook the fundamental yogic understanding that we are more than just the body.

There are different models of the human being in the yoga tradition. What they all have in common is the...

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Renew, Renew, Renew Jul 08, 2021


A few months ago, I was invited by a media outlet to share an excerpt from my book that I felt was particularly fitting for this time. There were several that felt pertinent, but none more so than Chapter 9: Renew Yourself.

After what we’ve lived through over the past year and a half, renewal is so important right now, both for yourself and others. Even as (or maybe because) many parts of the world are starting to open, you might feel understandably confused, challenged, or just plain tired.  

It's time to remember what you’ve been learning and hearing in yoga for years, maybe even decades: The only true and lasting source of renewal is found right inside...

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The Nostalgia Problem Jun 30, 2021


June can be a nostalgia-inducing month for parents because of transitions like the end of the school year and the start of summer vacation. 

Turning points like graduations, weddings, and in my case my 14 year-old’s birthday and her first summer job, can also pull me into wistful memories of childhood (hers and mine) at this time of year.

I have mixed feelings about nostalgia.

On the one hand, it’s an attractive place to hang out. It can be comfortable to reminisce about sweet memories, life-defining moments, and experiences that have shaped who we’ve become.

At the same time, nostalgia is inherently problematic because it’s a state of longing for what was...

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The Lady of Light Jun 23, 2021


Dawn arrives, shining like a lady of light
stirring all creatures to life….
Dawn’s light breaks the shadows.
Her face turned to all things across the wide world,
she rises in splendor, enwrapped in bright clothes.
Shining in golden colors, dressed in rays of light,
she guides forth the day…. 
-Rig Veda, 7.77.1-1 (translation: Prof. William K. Mahony)

The Vedic poets heralded the dawn as a lady of light. For me, this image evokes the majesty of the sunrise, and metaphorically, the dawning of the inner light of wisdom and understanding.
The nature of sunlight is to reveal what’s been hidden in darkness. Likewise, the awakening of self-knowledge...

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Destination: Wholeness Jun 16, 2021

I love this painting by my friend, James Anaya Fishman. To me, it expresses the complexity of our human experience and our capacity to embrace the whole spectrum of it.

Integrating all the pieces and parts of myself - the messy and the beautiful, the strong and the vulnerable, the mundane and the sacred - is such a valuable part of what my yoga practice is about.

Yoga gives me tools to address the fullness of who I am, to penetrate the depths of my inner being and to process the outer story of my life. It offers me a place to settle, to process, and to heal.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that every part of myself benefits when held up to the light of yogic wisdom...

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In Praise of Ordinary Jun 09, 2021


You know that feeling of recovering after you’ve been sick, when you wake up and finally feel “normal” again? And you’re just so darn grateful simply to have your energy back and be able to go about your day as usual?
That’s what it feels like in our town this week as restaurants finally open for in-person dining, summer activities are being planned, and my daughter no longer has to wear a mask all day at school.
While I know this isn’t the case for everyone, life in our little corner of the world is starting to feel normal again, which in itself is a cause for celebration.

The joy of gathering with friends, hugging loved ones, and being...

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From Doing Yoga to Being Yoga Jun 02, 2021


Have you ever heard something in yoga class that moved you deeply? That resonated with you as true on an intuitive level? Maybe even brought a tear to your eye? For me, that happened when my first teacher said to our class:

“Yoga is a path that takes all of us with it, no part gets left behind.”

These words struck a profound chord within me because it was at that moment that I first understood that yoga could be more than a class I took once or twice a week to exercise my body and reset after a stressful day at work. Hearing those words, I grasped that yoga was a holistic discipline, a set of practices that could address the whole of my being and that held the...

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Moon Lessons May 26, 2021


I wrote this week's post under the full moon light. Brilliant and bright, casting shadows of tall trees onto the fields around my house, it was magnificent. 

The moon, of course, holds such significance on the path of yoga.

The full moon, purnima in Sanskrit, is a symbol of the fullness of our inner selves. It reminds us of the perfection that lies within each human being, even when it gets obscured or partially hidden from our view. 

Isn't it true that the moon is always full even when it's not shining in our own backyard?

But here's the biggest lesson I took from the moon this morning:

The way the moonlight illumines the night sky, as if with the softness...

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Available for Beauty May 19, 2021


You know those three "hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" monkeys? I have an untraditional interpretation for them.

Last night, I went out for a walk at dusk. It was a gorgeous night. The colours of the sunset were spectacular, the light was magical, the birds were singing, the air was fragrant. And yet, I repeatedly caught myself wrapped up in my own mind, completely oblivious to the beauty happening all around me. Not hearing, not seeing, not feeling any of it. What a shame.

Again and again, I had to bring myself out of my thoughts and into the moment. And that was just the first step.

It's one thing to witness and acknowledge a beautiful sky. It's another to...

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How do you know it’s working? May 12, 2021

Even if we're yoga teachers, or seasoned students with years of practice under our belts, articulating the benefits of practice might not be something we’re accustomed to doing.

How is yoga serving you in your life right now?

What are the specific practices that you find most useful? Why?

When I completed my book I started speaking to small groups about how to deepen, expand, and integrate the benefits of yoga. I focused on questions like these so people could hone in on the exact ways yoga was serving them in their lives.

Very practical answers often came up, such as:

"A few minutes of  Alternate Nostril Breathing helps me to feel grounded and not nervous before a...

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