Beyond Asana Blog

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

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...

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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...

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Shouldn't All Yoga Be Therapeutic? Jan 24, 2019

Certainly, yes. The holistic vision of yoga sees the human being as a composite of physical and subtle energies. Though there are various models of who and what we are according to yogic philosophy, they all describe the individual as an integrated whole. A whole that is made up of interpenetrating layers and energies that include body, breath, mind, emotions, and spirit. 

Yoga offers practices that address, nourish, and harmonize each of these component parts of ourselves to foster equilibrium, integration and connectivity. 

Done from this perspective, how could these practices NOT lead to a greater and deep-seated sense of well-being and integration?

 

...

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Shouldn’t All Yoga Be Therapeutic? Jan 11, 2019

Certainly, yes. The holistic vision of yoga sees the human being as a composite of physical and subtle energies. Though there are various models of who and what we are according to yogic philosophy, they all describe the individual as an integrated whole. A whole that is made up of interpenetrating layers and energies that include body, breath, mind, emotions, and spirit. 

Yoga offers practices that address, nourish, and harmonize each of these component parts of ourselves to foster equilibrium, integration and connectivity. 

Done from this perspective, how could these practices NOT lead to a greater and deep-seated sense of well-being and integration?

Isn’t it...
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Now More Than Ever: Taking Hold Of The Renewing Power Of Spirit Dec 18, 2018

As we wind down toward the darkest day of the year, here's a timely reminder about the ever-increasing preciousness of slowing down to wake up, and finding the regenerative power in our practices:

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From Chapter 9 of my forthcoming book, "Evolving Your Yoga: Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice":

"...the importance of resetting ourselves, of taking time to slow down, to come back to our physicality, to release stress on a regular basis, has become even more crucial to maintain a sense of balance and harmony. It is vitally necessary for our well-being. Not only must we prioritize time dedicated to removing ourselves from the world of our screens, we need reliable and...

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🕯The Power Of One-Pointedness 🕯 Dec 17, 2018

In our ever-quickening world of instant, continuous, and unending opportunities for distraction, the ability to focus our minds remains vitally important for our well-being.

The ability to draw our attention temporarily away from the busyness of our lives and direct our mental energies into our own selves is a key instigator for the transformative power of yoga.

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 8 of "Evolving Your Yoga: Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice:"

"One of the great benefits of retreats, and the reason why they are such an important part of the yogic tradition, is that in a retreat setting there are limited opportunities for distraction.

In the many spiritual retreats...

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Yoga As A Practice Of Self-Honouring Dec 14, 2018
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In writing "Evolving Your Yoga: Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice," I interviewed over 25 longtime teachers to hear their experiences and insights into how yoga practice evolves over time. 

Many of them generously shared personal stories of how yoga helped them to find emotional healing and develop a more caring and loving relationship with themselves. 

Chapter Seven is perhaps the one that feels most personal for me as well. I believe it’s one that will resonate with many of us who’ve found greater self-love and self-acceptance through yoga. Here's an excerpt:

"My hatha yoga practice played an essential role in shifting the nature of my inner...

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🎄The Power Of Prana 🎄 Dec 13, 2018

 

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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...

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5 Reasons why I Was Not At All Surprised To Learn That... "The Happiest Yoga Teachers Are The Ones Who Aren't Trying To Make a Living From Teaching Yoga." Dec 10, 2018

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...

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🦋Being And Becoming: Yoga As a Path Of Transformation 🦋 Dec 07, 2018

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...

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