Beyond Asana Blog

Being and Becoming

Jun 07, 2018

 

Some teachers will tell you that yoga is not a path, that it’s a journey and not a destination. That it’s simply about being present to what is.

I partially agree with this. Yoga IS a way of BEING with ourselves, a practice of inner attention, a way of seeing and responding to what ‘is’, with a stance of compassion and unconditional self-acceptance. Yoga IS in the things we do that we call yoga. Yoga IS the practices.

But it’s more than that, because JUST that can feel aimless and undirected. And, for me, the gifts of yoga are cumulative and progressive.

Yoga is also a process of BECOMING. It’s a path we travel. Yoga sets us on a clear trajectory toward inner expansion, freedom, and greater consciousness in every part of our lives.

Yoga has a goal. And that goal is awakening to the fullness of our inner being and, from that experience, becoming more benevolent human beings.

Isn’t it the case that over time (even after a single class)...

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Listen...

May 31, 2018

There’s always a moment on retreat where a palpable shift happens. I go from being like a butterfly flitting about from flower to flower to being more like an eagle perched on a branch, quiet and focused. 

When my mind finally relinquishes its attachment to its usual preoccupations an expansive inner horizon opens up. I’m free, untethered from the pull of my thoughts. I tap into a tremendous sense of peace, expanded perspective, and vast possibility, as if I hold the fullness of the sky inside myself. 

It feels at once like an extravagant and luxurious gift to myself, and at the same time like the most basic, necessary nourishment for my soul. 

Isn't it true, that
Once you’ve bathed in the sweet waters of inner stillness, 
Once you’ve heard the voice that speaks without words, 
Once you’ve tapped into the awareness that exists beyond what your mind tells you, 

You recognize that this, and only this, is the...

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Your Yoga Renaissance

May 22, 2018

 

In a workshop this past weekend, longtime teacher and author Richard Rosen said something that echoed my thoughts on about longevity in yoga (I’m paraphrasing here):

Progress in yoga is not linear. This is especially important to remember as we continue over time. We might go from a to b to c, then back to a, and even find ourselves at minus a.  The important thing to remember is that this is natural. Plateaus in yoga and even times when we seem to regress in our practice are to be expected. Furthermore, these are usually positive because it means we are shedding old patterns that no longer serve us, and with that have the opportunity to discover new possibilities for our practice.

I would add:

Whether you are at point a, b, c or minus a, know that ALL of these places can be equally as interesting, rewarding and hold the same rich possibility for growth.

In many ways, continuing in yoga is simply about responding to what is. And ‘what...

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11 Ways Yoga Teachers Sell Themselves Short: Don't Spend Another Dime on Yoga Teacher Training or Continuing Ed Until You Read This!

May 10, 2018

 

Before you enroll in another yoga training or professional development program, make sure you’ve checked off all these boxes:

1. Confirm that your teacher is available and happy to offer you personal guidance and one-on-one support during the length of the training, whether in person or by distance.

2. Check out your teachers’ teachers, know whom they’ve studied with. Consider it a red flag if the faculty of your training does NOT willingly and openly share the history and background of their own learning. 

3. Make sure that your teachers are also continuing students of yoga themselves, and that they are committed to their own ongoing and active development as a teacher.

4. Join a program that promotes an ongoing, supportive, and respectful community gathered around yoga practice and study, not just the business of teaching yoga. 

5. Find a teacher who lives their yoga, who has plumbed the depths of their own experience through internal practices...

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Moving Forward: How Do you Know If You're Making Progress in Yoga?

May 10, 2018

 

I welcome and celebrate forward movement in yoga. Like melted snow rocking its descent down the mountainside, yoga is a dynamic journey with purpose, direction, and flow. It’s a continual unfolding of the truth inside.

Without the momentum of moving toward greater levels of authenticity, freedom and independent happiness, we’re likely to feel that we’re just spinning our wheels in yoga practice (and teaching).

We crave results, signposts that tell us our practice is actually working for us in the tried and true arena of REAL LIFE.

It’s the gifts of our practice that propel us forward.

Greater consciousness in relationships is rewarding. 
Purposeful living is invigorating. Shedding limiting habits of mind generates power. Naturally expressing kindness, respect and generosity toward others is deeply satisfying.

How do we ensure that these kinds of shifts happen regularly and consistently? How do we keep moving forward in yoga?

It’s worth...

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7 Reasons *Not* to Choose Our Small Group Retreat This Summer (Yes, You Read That Right):

May 04, 2018

 

Was it just a coincidence that I (unknowingly) scheduled my teachers’ retreat at the same time that Wanderlust comes to Quebec? Maybe. 

Or it might be the universe’s clever way of inviting me to share what I believe to be the differences between a yoga music festival and our small group intensive. 

 

Unfortunately, you can’t attend both. That’s why I have included 7 reasons you may want to choose Wanderlust and forego our intimate intensive planned at the same time… and 7 reasons you may be better served by attending our intimate, sacred and nature-based retreat. The choice is always — of course — yours. 

7 REASONS TO CHOOSE WANDERLUST
1. To be in a high-energy, action-oriented scene

2. It can be really fun way to spend the weekend with your yoga buddies

3. To practice with cool lighting, awesome playlists and see some impressive asana demos

4. For making connections

5. You get to try out different...

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🌀Let's Talk About Twists 🌀

Apr 25, 2018

 

Okay, I finally can talk about Spring without feeling like a fraud. Here in Southern Quebec, it is now officially warm enough, the earth thawed out enough, to call it Spring. The birds are singing, the fiddleheads are ripe, my 3-week cleanse feels easier, and I'm even starting to consider changing over my closet.

It's time to talk about spinal twists.

Although twists are not necessarily “big” poses, don’t be fooled. Even though sometimes it might feel like not much is happening, they are deeply detoxifying, rejuvenating and stimulating. Twists are powerful and fortifying not only for the spine but for the organs as well. After a good twisting practice you should feel lighter.

Twists are the perfect spring cleaning poses.

Here are some pointers for working deeper in twists and feeling great in your back after:

I'll start by addressing the perennial (or at least very common) question about spinal twists.

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QUESTION: Should I square my hips...

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🦃On Not Letting The Turkeys Get You Down 🦃

Apr 06, 2018

 

I’ve loved this mug ever since the stationery-store wandering days of my youth.

Where I live now we have real turkeys. Wild ones. While they have their own charm, there’s no denying their clumsiness. They’re big, heavy, and slow, really awkward fliers.

We all know what its like to be held down by the turkeys that show up in our own lives everyday. They’re the little annoyances that nag us, snags that need untangling, and misunderstandings that need to be clarified. They’re the myriad frustrations that tighten our jaws, hunch our shoulders, restrict our breathing, and contract our energy.

And of course, there are also the inner turkeys that sabotage our freedom and hold us down. The habits, foods, even relationships that no longer serve the forward movement of our lives.

This poor elephant seems to have surrendered and accepted the reality of his situation.

But we know that isn’t the only option. Yes, letting go and releasing the weight of...

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My Least Favourite Part of my Job

Mar 28, 2018

 

Yesterday, I did one of the least favorite parts of my job. I practiced with my own yoga video from my new online program. The way I did it (and actually got to enjoy it) was this: I pretended I was listening to someone else. Complete detachment. Vairagya.

How are you living your yoga today? How does your practice play out in the REST of your life?

It’s worth revisiting that living one’s yoga is not a new idea. Even when it was a renunciants’ path, yoga was wholistic – it addressed and involved all parts of oneself. And, yoga has always been an integrated practice, designed to be lived.

WHOLISTIC: relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the dissection into parts 

INTEGRATED: to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole. To unite, absorb, assimilate, embody, incorporate

Body, Breath, Mind, Spirit
Jnana, Karma, Bhakti
Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga
Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishwara Pranidhana

...

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It’s More Than Physical: Working with Yoga-Related Injuries, Part 2

Mar 21, 2018

Here's last week's part 1 on the topic of yoga-related injuries that addresses common causes of yoga-related injuries and tips to avoid them.

Thanks to research and investigation, not to mention the woefully infamous 2012 New York Times headline, Can Yoga Wreck Your Body?, the conversation around yoga-related injuries has greatly expanded over the past several years. Notably, through Matthew Remski’s WAWADIA project, many long time practitioners are now sharing stories that document and explore the multi-layered and often nuanced psychosocial and cultural dynamics at play in both acute and chronic yoga-related injuries.

What to do if you get injured during practice

It seems obvious, but I’ll say it anyway - stop and rest! Lying on your back with your knees bent is usually a good, all-around resting pose. Breathe gently if possible, exhaling through the mouth to soothe and relieve. Ask for assistance and do whatever is needed to take care of...

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