Beyond Asana Blog
My weekly blog is a forum for contemplative inquiry into the intersection of yoga practice, traditional teachings, and real life.
I remember the moment I knew with firm conviction that I would dedicate myself to asana practice in a major way. It was a summer afternoon in Manhattan. I had just finished taking a yoga class and I was walking to catch the crosstown bus.
I looked like just another person walking down Third Avenue, but inwardly I felt completely lit up, alive with an energy that was sweetly pulsing throughout my entire body.
It was as if I were a string of lights around a Christmas tree that had just been plugged in. I was compelled to just be with the experience. I found the nearest place to sit, which happened to be a concrete landing outside of an office building. I paused...
Over on another Facebook page, one member recently reported her findings from a survey of 100 yoga teachers. It came as no shock to me to hear that one of her discoveries was that the most satisfied yoga teachers are the ones who don’t need to earn an income from teaching, those who teach simply because they love sharing yoga.
In fact, this is something I hear often. More than that, it’s something I’ve LIVED.
I’ve made my living as a yoga teacher for 20 years. I now mentor a community of teachers, many of whom also teach full-time. It’s our livelihood, the way we support, or contribute to supporting, our family. For me, and others like me, teaching yoga...
In theory, at least, it’s easy to understand that yoga is clearly a path of shift and change. A good practice doesn’t leave us quite the way it found us. It’s physically, mentally, and spiritually edifying.
However, it may be hard to identify and articulate the ways in which we have experienced the transformative power of the practice.
For students and teachers wishing to expand and deepen their practice, the understanding of how and why yoga works as a path of positive change is crucial.
This is why I felt it was important to delve into the transformative aspect of yoga, and specifically to examine how shift happens in yoga, why it...
This was the chapter that couldn't wait to be written. It's such an important message, I believe, for anyone wishing to deepen their yoga and certainly anyone who teaches it.
This single shift of mindset, from approaching yoga as a client, a consumer, or even simply a practitioner, to being a student of the practice. Well, it changes everything, don't you think?
From Chapter 2, "Evolving Your Yoga: Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice":
"Among the many skills we develop in yoga, the skill of being a student is perhaps the most important. It’s the meta-skill that encompasses all the others.
Unlike most other subjects, being a student of yoga is not only about the...
Beginning today and for the next few weeks I'll be sharing snippets of what you'll find in each the chapters of my forthcoming book, "Evolving Your Yoga: Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice."
Many of us who've been practicing yoga for a while know without a doubt that yoga helps us in our lives. We feel better in our bodies, clearer in our minds, more in touch with our emotions; we’re better equipped to handle stress, and we function more capably in all areas of our lives as a result of our practice.
Yet we may not know exactly how yoga does this, or why yoga works not just physically and mentally, but on all levels of our being.
In looking at both my own...
We're blanketed with the most spectacular, abundant covering of snow today. It's still, peaceful, and best of all I don't have to go out until much later.
Giving ourselves - and our possibly (maybe probably) tired bodies, ragged nervous systems, and overworked minds - the gift of STILLNESS, SILENCE, and TIME for renewal is not only necessary and precious, it's the absolute BEST way to meet the holiday season.
"I love that you opened up your home to receive us and create a safe space for us to share. I have to say that I didn't feel "less than" because I was a new teacher, I love that there was so much respect between all the different levels of experienced and less-experienced teachers. I feel like it is hard to find sometimes."
Boy, don't I know it. Sadly, a community of yoga teachers is NOT always the most welcoming place for a new teacher to be. Our Skillful Yogi Teachers' Retreat on Saturday was, for me, proof that it doesn't have to be that way. That we can reclaim the community and support we need as teachers of yoga.
Beyond the practices we shared, beyond the wisdom...
Over on a colleague’s Facebook page there’s an interesting discussion about what, besides training, makes for great teaching. Presence, empathy, humility, motivation, finding one’s own voice, these are all great answers, the question is: How do you do it?
It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. In just the past few weeks, several new teachers have reached out to me with the same curious situation – hundreds and hundreds of hours of training, yet little confidence in their abilities as a teacher. They’re bloated with information but unable to effectively share it, to deliver their knowledge in a way that they feel good about...
Still processing the intensity of the weekend, still feeling raw, still grieving the senseless tragedies, and considering this (again) today:
"In the beginning, there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof, the source of life. And then, in the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand, thousand things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light.
And then, perhaps because this is a Jewish story, there was an accident, and the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke. And the wholeness of the world, the light of the world was scattered into a thousand, thousand fragments of light, and they fell...
As I begin my 50th year, this is the question on my mind and on a post-it note on my desk.
Thank you, Brandi Carlile, for asking it.
Holding this question and trying to live it everyday is my intention for this new year. To no longer waste time with petty differences and insecurities, and to do what I can to make my little corner of the world shine a little brighter.
My main ally in this endeavor is, of...