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Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

Several years ago, one of my students brought a woman friend to class. She thought her friend, a Protestant minister, could benefit from yoga. The woman was very polite during class, but gave my friend a stern little talk in the car on the way home. She couldn’t come to classes, she said, because it […]

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I think that one of the hardest concepts for new yoga students to get their head around is that asana, or yoga poses, aren’t static. They aren’t poses to be struck and held; they are a framework for movement, opening, and exploration – no matter how subtle these actions may be.
In my opinion, much of […]

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On the dual subjects of expansion and contraction, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I’m posting this short video of the jelly fish at the aquarium. Created by Stacy Alexander, the images are set to Ben Harper’s cover of Strawberry Fields.
Since I have quite a few people in my life, yoga students and friends, who complain […]

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Recently, on a fall trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I found myself mesmerized by the movement of the sardines in the large kelp forest tank. Watching the school expand and contract, I was struck by how this seemed to occur without communication or effort.

In fact, I learned there that there is no designated leader. […]

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I don’t think anyone is going to argue with what I’m about to say: Americans are obsessed with transformation. This may be rooted in the Protestant beginnings of the nation, or it may be deeper in the human psyche. But it seems that now, more than at any other point in time, we are […]

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One of my friends recently took a beginning yoga workshop. She has practiced a little yoga at home and decided she would try it with experienced instruction.
I know she has a physical history of childhood heart surgeries and had recently been spending quite a bit of her personal energy healing some emotional childhood hurts. […]

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A friend of mine – one who obviously knows me well – emailed me this cartoon yesterday… I found it so funny, I thought I’d share it with you. It’s an “Opus” panel by Berkeley Breathed, and it seems like the perfect follow up to my post about the death of Jerry Falwell. I sincerely […]

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It’s funny how once I start thinking about something, the theme seems to reappear throughout my daily experiences.
Not long after I started working on my last post about the western feminine gender polarity of yoga, I was in a class with Tony Briggs at Turtle Island Yoga in Marin County.
As is often the case, Tony […]

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Historically, yoga has belonged in the domain of men. It was developed by and for male bodies, and often draws on the language of male experience. Consider, for example, the Virabhadrasana, or Warrior, series of poses, which depict bodies in battle poses. (Click here to see Warrior I, II, and III.)
Yet in the United […]

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After my last post about metta or maitri, a friend posed this question to me:
“Many meditation exercises to develop metta forbid you to focus on someone with whom you’re romantically invoved or sexually interested. Why is this? And, how, then, does metta become extended into intimate relationships?”
I’m certainly no expert in Buddhist or yogic philosophy, […]

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In a previous post, I’ve mentioned maitri – the yogic concept of lovingkindness that is known as metta in the Buddhist traditions – the practice of unconditional love.
Loving the whole world is a good idea, right?
But what about the guy who honked at me in traffic yesterday? Do I have to love him?
Or, what about […]

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This week, I’ve found myself considering the recent deaths of two men. One of them — Joseph Rattigan — a former senator and justice from Northern California, a liberal, educated, and erudite jurist who championed the causes of many disenfranchised groups, including minorities, the elderly, and the disabled. An old friend to our […]

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Right Action and Reaction

I know this woman, very neatly pulled together, who always has a vertical crease down the front of her pullover shirt. And she has the habit of constantly checking this crease and smoothing down the front of her shirt.
Once, when I saw her putting her laundry away, I asked her why she folded her shirts […]

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People and dogs have cohabitated for many years. One group of researchers at UCLA thinks that dogs may have been domesticated as far back as 100,000 years ago.
So what does living with dogs teach us? They teach us about faithfulness, patience, and playfulness. They teach us how to relax. They become integrated into our lives. […]

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A true child of the Wonder Years, I grew up reading classic children’s literature. No Captain Underpants for me. I read about Hans Brinker and The Black Stallion, and the Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew. My voracity for reading kept the librarian at the downtown library delighted and on the lookout for new finds to […]

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What is an avatar?

In the past year, one of my friends lost a family member to cancer after a struggle of many years. Even though this death was inevitable and expected, witnessing it was tougher than she had anticipated, as she provided care at home through the final hours.
After months — even years — of anticipation and preparation, […]

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One of the things I love to do at the end of a yoga class, when my students are settling into savasana, is to read them a poem. Sometimes the poems relate directly to yoga, other times, the connection is less obvious.
I found this poem, by the Pulitzer-prize winning poet Lisel Mueller, on page 112 […]

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