Beyond Asana Blog

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

Two Birds Oct 04, 2018
Two birds, beautiful of wings, close companions, cling to one common tree_ of the two one eats the sweet fruit of the tree, the other eats not but watches his fellow. Mundaka Upanishad-2.png

Two birds, 
that both exist in our minds.
The thinking mind. The doer. The mover and shaker.
And the watcher, the observer, the awarenesss that witnesses and remains unaffected.

It’s so basic to what we KNOW to be true in yoga, right? The idea that we are self-relational creatures.

We can know what we’re thinking. Unlike these birds, we can give words to our inner experience. 

It means, of course, there’s an awareness that lives BEYOND our thinking mind. And, we can know it. Whoa. In some ways, it’s the whole point of what we’re doing isn’t it?

The Participant-Observer, as anthropologists call it. 

We participate in our lives, and...

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🏡 The Yogi Home Companion🏡 Sep 11, 2018

Lily’s home with a little cold today. She’s resting in our bed like I used to in my parents' room. I remember days like the one she’s having today. Home. In bed. Warm. Safe. Quiet. Apart from the activity of the rest of the world.

It’s fitting too, because I’ve been thinking a lot about home since she asked me the other day, “What is home to you, Maman?” 

With the Jewish holidays rolling around it’s fitting, even natural, to reflect on family and celebrations past in the beautiful home I grew up in; The place that saw celebration after celebration, ordeal after ordeal, the building (feels funny to even call it that) that held the...

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🤔 How Does Asana Become a Transformational Practice?🤔 Sep 04, 2018

I used to think my job was about helping people do a better Downward Dog. 
Or helping them to release some of the tension of their day. 
Or teaching them how to breathe more freely.
And, yes, this is all PART of my work. 

Awakening awareness in the body, installing functional patterns of movement and breath, 
Imprinting healthy postural alignment in asana and for the rest of life (because for me, asana has never NOT been about functional movement, but I digress.)

But really, ultimately, what I do is teach people how to use asana as a transformational practice. 
As a gateway into their own personal journey of growth and self-development,
As a path of inner discovery.
As...

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🧞‍♀ Taking Magic Seriously 🧞‍♀ Aug 20, 2018
 

I often hear from students that they appreciate that I’m a ‘real’ person with a ‘real’ body. I’m not exactly sure who or what I’m being compared to when they say this, yet I do endeavor to be someone who teaches from my own experience of yoga and of life. 

And I’ve always been very comfortable with the ‘real’ things we do in yoga, the abhyasa, the steady, dedicated effort we make, the concrete “actions” of yoga.

But a few months ago, I got a different message. I was journaling about one of the contemplations I’d offered to my Skillful Yogi members to clarify their focus for their practices...

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💙 The Blueberry Revelation 💙 Aug 20, 2018
 

These Lac St-Jean wild blueberries, as any good Quebecer will tell you, are simply the best in the world. Sweet, flavorful, juicy, available only for a few short weeks a year, they are the textbook definition of a PERFECT blueberry IMHO. 

I’ve been snacking often on them as I’ve been planning for my 5-day women’s retreat next week. The other day, it hit me: this is the first ever Evolving Your Yoga retreat. 

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a book about deepening yoga practice for the past several years. It’s soon coming to fruition, so it made total sense when I realized (duh! of course) that this will be the first...

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What If... Aug 13, 2018


What if I KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that EVERYTHING in my life was unfolding exactly how it was meant to be?

What if I had FIRM CONVICTION in the perfection of my life, right here, right now?

Now, I’m not saying there are not things that need to change, or areas that must evolve and shift. Not that there aren’t actions I need to take to encourage that change, evolution, and shift.

But, how would beginning from that place of unconditional acceptance change how I felt and acted? How I approached unease, difficulty, and pain?

I journalled here yesterday about some of those questions. Like many of us, I’m feeling the intensity of these times. 

Maybe it’s...

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Why I Stopped Trying to Make Sense of The Senseless Aug 07, 2018

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of my oldest sister’s passing. She would have been 60 years old and a grandmother of two, soon to be three. 

It’s on days like this when I realize, yet again, that I will never be able to understand WHY certain things happen.

As anyone who has lost a close loved one knows, we’ll never be able to answer the question why? Why what should have been, could have been, is never to be?

Yet, while senseless tragedies will remain just that, I choose to believe that there is something else, something greater, something more all-encompassing than the pain and suffering (as well as the happiness and joy) in our lives. 

Something...

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🛶 Taking The Long Road Home 🛶 Aug 02, 2018

Earlier this week my family and I spent the day on a canoe. As we made our way down the idyllic, meandering Missisquoi river I got to thinking about how THIS was once the ONLY feasible way of getting from point A to point B. 

There were no shortcuts, no highways, just a river with its twists and turns, sometime placid and peaceful, sometimes unpredictable, feisty and turbulent. There was no option but to go with it. We couldn’t take another faster or more efficient route.

In yoga, I’ve never been all that interested in shortcuts or promises of quick and easy transformation. For one thing, when we’re talking about delving into our inner landscape, I don’t...

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Yoga Teachers: What do You Tell Students Who Say They're Too Busy For Yoga? Jul 14, 2018

I BET IT'S SOMETHING LIKE THIS...

As yoga teachers, we’re experts in offering the best of ourselves to our students. As mothers, daughters, sisters and wives, we know how to be there for our families.

Most of us are really, really good at taking care of others, supporting those we love and serve with our positive energy and the wisdom gained from our study and learning.

Yet, as we all well know, it can be harder to turn the tables and direct that love right back toward our selves. Don’t we see this dynamic not only in our lives but in the lives of our students? How easy, almost automatic it is to think that taking care of our bodies, minds and spirits is something...
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Where There is Dharma There is Victory (Let's Hope So) Jul 07, 2018

I was talking with a few other teachers recently about showing up for class on days when we are totally not feeling it.

I could relate. Hasn’t it happened to all of us?

Maybe someone in our family isn’t well, maybe we’ve got a ton of other things that need attending to, maybe we are just plain uninspired. For whatever reason, or for myriad reasons, we just Do. Not. Feel. Like. Teaching. Today.

 

Here’s the thing:
One in our group said that when she takes her seat something begins to shift. Effortlessly. The class comes into existence and honoring her role as teacher completely changes her state. As she steps into the stream of her dharma the...

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