Beyond Asana Blog
My weekly blog is a forum for contemplative inquiry into the intersection of yoga practice, traditional teachings, and real life.
"You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other."
---Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching
In my summer online program, we’re exploring how yoga invites us to learn from nature, to recognize and benefit from the timeless truths she holds.
For some time, I’ve been fascinated by the fundamental paradox of our existence as embodied spirits, as physical beings with a subtle essence. And, how yoga helps us...
I'm thrilled that my new studio and online practice community were chosen to be featured in Stylight's survey of the finest yoga in Canada.
But when I multiply that by all the teachers, all the studios who are lighting up hearts in every corner of our fair land, well, that just blows my mind. Canadian yogis, Canadian yoga teachers, you rock!
Here's a thought: Yoga is about returning to oneself in this deepest sense. During most of our day, our awareness and attention is likely (and necessarily) focused outward on actions, tasks, conversations. In yoga, we turn our awareness back into ourselves. The first thing we do in class is sit, close our eyes, and become aware of our breathing. We start to turn our attention inside.
During practice, through consciously moving the body and engaging with the breath, we deepen this inner connection.
Consider how your yoga practice offers you a conduit back to yourself. Through breath, attention, kinesthetic and energetic awareness, the practice brings us home to ourselves again and again.
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.
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....
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...
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.
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...
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....
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...
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...