Beyond Asana Blog

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

Instant Comfort Dec 15, 2021

 

Sometimes you get a kitchen gadget that goes straight into storage after few weeks, rarely to be used again. Other times, you get a tool that proves to be something you can’t imagine living without.

We love dhal, especially in the winter. It’s a nourishing, comforting meal that costs pennies to make.

How do we make our perfect dhal repeatedly, easefully, and quickly?

The Instant Pot. If there’s one small appliance that has changed our lives for the better, it’s this one. With the money we save making big batches of soup, the Instant Pot quickly paid for itself.

More recently, my husband perfected this sticky rice.

You might find, like we did, that...

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Our Simple Instant Pot Dhal Recipe Dec 15, 2021

 

Step 1: Soak 2 cups of red lentils (Masoor dhal), ideally few hours, but a last-minute soaking of 30-45 minutes also works fine.

 

Step 2: Prepare your ingredients

1 Tbl. Black mustard seeds

1 Tbl. Coriander seeds

1 Tbl. Cumin seeds

1 tsp. Black peppercorns

3 pods cardamom

A bit of turmeric

Reduce everything to a powder in a dry blender or grinder. This is your masala, or spice mixture.

 

Prepare the other components:

Chop 1 onion

Dice 3 cloves of garlic

Mince 2 inches of Ginger

Get a 796 ml (28oz) can of crushed or pureed tomatoes (even diced tomatoes are fine, it will change the texture of the dhal)

Optional: chop another vegetables of your choice: celery, carrots, etc....

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From Busy to Full Dec 08, 2021

 

In yoga, we recognize that words don't just have power, they are power. In Nondual Tantric philosophy, language is recognized as a form of Shakti, the universal energy of creation. Therefore, language not only describes our reality, but it also impacts (some would even say determines) how we experience it.

As we wind down toward the end of the year, I’m guessing there’s no shortage of things on your to-do list.

On my agenda today is filming a class and a pose tutorial for a media outlet. Tomorrow, I’m delivering a webinar to a group of teachers (more on that below!). Friday, more filming plus phone meetings with...

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Word Power Dec 01, 2021

 

Just thinking about an upcoming dental appointment is making my jaw clench. While that may not come as a surprise, it’s fascinating when you think about it, isn’t it?

In Nondual Tantric philosophy, the power of language is known as Matrika Shakti. One of the interpretations of Matrika is “Little mothers.”
 
The letters of the alphabet give birth to words. Words give birth to meaning. Meaning gives birth to thoughts, associations, concepts, images. All this creates our reality. It’s happening nonstop, all the time.
 
To begin to get a sense of this incredible power at work and glimpse the immense...

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Letting the Heart Have its Say Nov 25, 2021

 

In anticipation of tonight’s long-awaited family gathering for Thanksgiving, I took some time to become quiet.

In the stillness of meditation, a question arose:

How can I live from my Heart this holiday season?

It's the ever-present inquiry that yoga whispers into our ears and the ongoing quest it gives rise to: the pursuit of living a more conscious and purposeful life, and contributing positively to the world around us.

I’m planning to begin very simply, with the smallest possible ways of achieving this:
 
Asking myself: What is needed at this moment?

Being kind to myself and the people I’m with.

And, most importantly, slowing down often and long enough to allow...

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The Perspective of Precipitation Nov 18, 2021

 

With the arrival of winter to our lovely little corner of the world, it's the time of year when us Northerners become very attuned to the different forms of water: rain, freezing rain, snow, blowing snow, sleet, and ice.

Consider precipitation as a metaphor for how energy moves in your life, how it flows to all the things you do, the ways you move, the roles you play, and the projects you're working on.

Where is energy flowing placidly like a gentle mountain stream? Where is it moving wildly like a rushing river? Where is it frozen like an icicle?

The good news is that unlike the Canadian winter, once we've observed all this, we do have some say in the matter. We...

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Perfectly Imperfect Nov 11, 2021

 

I recently received the proofs for a photo shoot I did for a forthcoming book.

How many of the poses looked perfect?

Uhh, none.

How many were completely and undeniably perfect?

Well, all of them.

The truth is, I’ll never do a perfect asana.

Yet, from the perspective of the truth, how could my postures be anything but pure perfection?

Just as I was mulling this over (because its something I’ve been thinking about for only, say, 25 years now), I read this, sent to me by a wise student who had also been contemplating these questions:

You are neither good enough nor not good enough. An apple seed is neither good enough nor not good enough, it simply is in the...

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The RealĀ "Every Damn Day" Work of the Yogi Nov 03, 2021

 

Confidence: Certitude, self-assurance, reliance on one’s own resources and powers, trust, firm conviction, sureness.
 
In the new course on Nondual Tantra that I'm co-teaching, I was reminded of where true confidence comes from: The remembrance of our innate fullness, wholeness, and perfection. 

Just like a flower can’t be separated from its fragrance or the sun can’t be separated from its rays, this tradition teaches that this fullness can never be taken away from us because it’s who we are at our essence.

Anything else – all our smallness, insecurity, and self-doubt – is considered a state of forgetfulness.

Not that the...

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Our easy sticky rice in the Instant pot Nov 01, 2021

 

1 cup of Calrose rice

1 cup and 2 Tbl. water

1 Tbl. rice vinegar

 

Put everything in the Instant Pot.

Set to “Pressure Cook” for 6 minutes, and let it sit on “Keep Warm” for about 8 minutes (or a little more if you are busy).  

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Seriously Though, Don't Go Back to Sleep Oct 28, 2021

 

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


- Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
 
I take these words quite literally these days, as the weather turns colder and I become ever more comfortable under the covers. When the alarm clock rings and it's time to get up for meditation, hopefully I can remember Rumi's advice, Don’t go back to sleep.
 
More profoundly, though, this poem calls on us...

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