(Hint: There’s no easy answer.) Last weekend began the first segment of a teacher training I’ve been co-teaching for the past three years. It’s always fun to meet the new trainees and to hear inspiring stories about how Yoga practice has changed their lives.
Perhaps the most questionable convention in yoga practice is the assertion that headstand and shoulderstand are the “king and queen of asana.” Deeply rooted in classical traditions and adopted by modern hybrids, the emphasis on these poses is an example of a broader disconnect between ideals and actualities.
As a yoga teacher, I get lots of questions about the alignment of poses. Should I throw my head back in upward facing dog? Should I reach for my feet in a seated forward fold? Should I squeeze my quads and lift my kneecaps in tadasana? My best answer to questions like these is usually it depends on your approach to your practice. From my perspective, there are two versions of nearly every yoga pose: the traditional version and the biomechanically-updated one.
In the pursuit of health through yoga, the challenge is often more about shifting ingrained sensibilities than addressing physical limitations. Attempting to tune, fix, quantify, purify or explain a human body, as though it were more a piece of equipment in need of optimization or repairs than a highly temperamental organism, is not likely to heal the wounds or set a necessary course for well being.
Fred was hands down the least flexible person I’ve ever encountered. In 28 years of teaching asana, I’ve never seen anyone who came close to his lack of mobility. His Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) was little more than a forward nod.
by Caren Rabbino Matthew Sanford believes what he feels. Doctors, and the others involved in his rehabilitation from a car accident, didn’t. They insisted that a paraplegic, paralyzed from the chest down, couldn’t feel the sensations he was reporting. He was 13 and fighting for his life and the people entrusted with his care weren’t [...]
There you are in yoga class and you can't wait to leave. Not because you're tired and hungover, not because they're doing your least favorite pose in the universe (again for the third time this week -- what did you do wrong to anger the karmic gods anyway??). Nope, you're ready to roll up your [...]
Manners! You either got em or you don't, areweright? Please and Thank You still go a long way in this world, but when it comes to yoga studio etiquette, being conscious of others and behaving in a socially yog-acceptable way is often elevated to the next level. We've all been there, sitting peacefully in class [...]
Ahh...sacred savasana, the final relaxation pose where you can finally let go. UNLESS. Unless there's some incredibly annoying sound or distraction that inexorably pulls you out of your restful state. Blast! You know what we're talking about. The other day we asked everyone to share their savasana audible gripes and grievances as well as favorite [...]
All the hemming and hawing over what songs to play in yoga class. Who needs it? Here it is, the only playlist you'll ever really need (sorry kirtan and Krishna Das-ers). The hypnotic groove of The XX "Intro" on a 10-hour loop. The new MTV. You're welcome. Aw the 10-hour version is gone, but here's [...]