Beyond Asana Blog

Using Yoga FOR You, Not AGAINST You (Warning: Non-Yogic Behavior Below)

Jan 17, 2020

The companion to my daily morning contemplation and journaling is...a big, strong cup of coffee with...get ready...a generous helping of half-and-half.

I'm grinning as I say this because I used to think I should hide this habit of drinking coffee from my students, I would feel it wasn't yogic or that I wasn't acting in integrity.

I remember once on a retreat one of my students came up to me at breakfast and accusingly said, "YOU drink coffee?" As if I should be ashamed of myself for such egregious non-yogic behavior.

For a while, I admit I played into it. I felt ashamed for treating my nervous system and digestion this way.

Truth be told, when I do a 3-week cleanse once or twice a year, I DO forego coffee in favor of the strongest green tea I can find.

And I always go back. My Kapha constitution responds well to it. I've stopped apologizing for it.

Recently, I read in an interview with the New York Times that Deepak Chopra himself drinks up to 5 cups of coffee per day if that makes...

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What's Your Meta Goal for 2020?

Jan 03, 2020

 

Happy New Year 2020!
 
Usually at the beginning of a new year I LOVE to create my goals, intentions, and visions for the coming months.

Like many of us I’m sure, I’ve been working on these over the past few days.

But something feels a little different this year.

I haven’t felt as strongly about all this as I have in past years. Until yesterday I wasn’t quite able to put my finger on it.

Today it feels clear.

What about the unexpected? The surprises? The gifts? The opportunities not yet known? The mystery and the magic?

I want to leave space for all of this in my life. Yes, I have goals and intentions. I plan to do my best to work toward them.

But I’m also really wanting to be able to let go at the end of the day, to empty out, to rest, to attune to the space beneath and beyond my personal desires and effort.

I want this year to be less about micromanaging my reality and more about dancing with it day by day.

I want to stay open to see what else,...

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A Holiday Blessing From Me to You

Dec 20, 2019

 

"May you always know the truth and see the light surrounding you."

I couldn't have said it any better than Dylan (obviously), but this is the blessing in my heart for each of you, and all of those you hold dear.

Isn't it true, that in the end, only love is what will remain? No matter what our accomplishments, our failures, our gains, our losses, love is the essence of what makes life worth living. It's the underlying ground of our own being that will always be there to welcome us, to embrace us, to hold us. It brings sweetness to all the flavours and colours of our lives.

Love is the source of all the great virtues we can experience and share, kindness, generosity, patience, presence, acceptance, compassion, and all the rest. They are simply ways of expressing the great love that lives inside of us. Love is what softens our hard edges, Love is the key that turns pain into growth. Love is what connects us all.

May you experience this truth as you give and receive love this...

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Making Peace with What Was

Dec 12, 2019

 

One of the steps toward turning the page and beginning the new year on the highest note possible is reflecting on the year that's passed.

This includes looking back on your blessings, your challenges, your accomplishments, and all the things that were not accomplished too.

Today, I invite you to turn the energy of peace we love to talk about at this time year inward, toward coming to terms with all that is left unfinished in your world, to make peace with all that remains unaccomplished and unresolved, all the works-in-progress that you will not see come to fruition in 2019. (Sure, we still have some time so don't limit yourself too much, but do be realistic.)

Reflecting back in this way allows us to release that which might burden us, to let go of that which we might be holding onto, and allow for a fresh, new start in the year ahead.

I invite you to consider:

What unresolved projects, or situations, or even relationships, are you ready to let go of in the coming year?

=>...

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On Becoming a Powerful Person

Dec 05, 2019

 

The challenge of stepping fully into our personal power is one I know a lot about. It’s one that’s been a defining theme of my yoga journey, actually.

You see, power is not something that’s important to me. At all. 
 
As a double Libra, my nature is the airiest of the air. I’m all about harmony, beauty, peace, and justice. I want everyone to be happy. Power just doesn’t interest me very much.

As a young person, I was known to be wishy-washy. It felt natural for me to subdue my will, to not take a stand for the sake of

Being nice,
Keeping the peace,
Wanting to please,
Fitting in,
Not making waves,
Or ruffling any feathers.
 
It’s been yoga, being a teacher, that’s changed all that in surprising ways.

Because being a teacher is an inherently powerful position. As a teacher, you have to be directive in order to do your job. You must take a stand. You have to know where you want your students to go in order to best serve them. You...

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In The Wake of Gratitude, Find Contentment

Nov 27, 2019

 

I spent yesterday reviewing and relishing all the many things, people and circumstances I am grateful for.

A healthy body,

A healthy family,

A thriving livelihood doing work that is deeply meaningful to me,

The many, many wonderful colleagues, teachers, and students I am connected with,

Surroundings that nurture me,

Fresh, wholesome food to eat.

And on and on and on. Gratitude. An essential practice for all of us wishing to experience more love and appreciation for this precious life.

As usual, the question on my mind is, "and so?"

How do I live this? How does gratitude help me become happier? More fulfilled? Better able to serve?

Perhaps the more important inquiry for me, for all of us, is not simply what we have to be grateful for, but how do we take the experience of gratitude, the recognition of all we are blessed with, into our lives? 

You see, I realized yesterday that for me, gratitude can be fleeting. "I'm so grateful to have a healthy, happy daughter" is quickly followed...

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Your Yoga Golden Age

May 18, 2019

Every astrologer whose ever read my chart has told me I have the chart of a teacher, there’s no getting around it. Yet, I’ve also ALWAYS seen myself as just as much a community leader as a yoga teacher. It’s a role I love and take to heart because it’s crucial. It’s been critically important for me, and to those I serve. We all need to feel heard, seen, acknowledged, and supported in order to thrive in ANY area of our lives.

In my online program, participants have been reflecting on their yoga stories, recounting the trajectory of their practice from the time they first started until now.

When I hear the stories of these longtime practitioners, one thing I see again and again is that many of us have had a GOLDEN AGE in yoga. A period when our practice flourished when we fell in love with yoga as OUR path, got lit up about the possibilities it unfolded for us and made breakthroughs. For some, this was during teacher training, for others it...

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Yoga Teachers: Here’s The Truth About Credibility And Curiosity

Mar 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 knowledge as a springboard for diving in with his patients to explore and learn from them. He’s the one doesn’t claim to have “the” method that will fix everyone, every time.

Like my friend, when I look for a chiropractor, I’m not seeking out the person who claims to...

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The Joy Of Being A Yoga Well-Wisher

Mar 11, 2019

This weekend in St. Jon’s reminded me of just how much I love and appreciate local yoga communities.

When teachers create the space and time to gather around practice, not business,

Counting breaths, not hours,
Communicating with thoughtfulness, respect, and good will,
Sharing with authenticity, and not a drop of pretense,
Listening with openness, not judgment.

We’re grateful for every moment we have together, for we know how rare it is to be a room like this and to be in each others’ good company,

And, how important it is to nourish ourselves so we can feed others.

To serve our own longings, so we can be of service.
I believe this kind of connection is essential for longevity in practice and in teaching. The opportunity to be in authentic connection, to be well-wishers for others on the path, to find comfort in giving and receiving support. To find resilience in practice, inquiry, and sharing. To know that there are others working quietly, constantly,...

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Ease, Yes, But Here's How (Some) Online Yoga is Raising The Bar on Practice And Community

Feb 21, 2019

This morning, a fellow yoga teacher posted an article she wrote about how online yoga supports your self-care goals. You know, things like the convenience of being able to do yoga at home (or at the beach, like the student who sent me this photo), the comfort of practicing in your pajamas if you feel like it, the ease of being able to do a class whenever you want, on demand. All valid reasons, of course. Why go to yoga when you can have yoga come to you, right? 

What I realized, as I read her list, is how different our Skillful Yogi online community actually is in the realm of “online yoga.” Actually, we’re much more like an online retreat site than simply an online studio. We’re not merely the easy or more convenient substitute for live yoga. 

In many cases, we’re the option that serves our members BETTER than what’s available to them where they live. Why? Because they’re selective, they know what works for them, and they’re...

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