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Inspiring Stories

A potpourri of thought-provoking posts on many different daily-life subjects.
  • Stepping Back from Anger

    Stepping back from anger isn’t easy.

    When people who you love are taken from life too soon or when life doesn’t go as planned, you can feel hurt and angry

    You can slip over the edge into anger over “little” things, too, such as if someone leaves dirty breakfast dishes in the sink or if a friend forgets to call.

    I know that I can feel anger rise over something as seemingly insignificant as a loved one leaving the house in the morning and forgetting to say goodbye.

    I used to become angry about all of these “big” and “little” hurts, these things that...

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  • Stand TALL

    I’ve often wondered about my attraction to sunflowers. I think they attract me because they’re tall, bright, beautiful and come in so many varieties, very similar to people.

    What’s the connection to yoga? Stay with me, please.

    Yoga has helped me to stand tall and shine bright, like a sunflower. I came to yoga in need of dealing with my addiction to substances and my inability to think straight or sit still. Yoga has helped me with these issues and much more. When I was younger, I loved how yoga shaped my body. Now I love how yoga shapes my mind and...

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  • Teaching Yoga: Replenishing Your Energy

    In the past two weeks the pile of unopened mail in my kitchen has grown taller and more unruly. Every so often I try to neaten its edges but I have done nothing to reduce its size. It’s not that I don’t want to; it just hasn’t risen high enough on my list to do anything about it. I’ve pulled out all the bills, but the extracurricular literature—magazines I hope to read sooner or later—remains neglected.

    The current mountain is an accumulated backlog resulting from my taking a weekend off to attend a music festival in San Francisco. The lofty heap...

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  • Santosha: A Different Holiday Yoga Practice

    How Practicing Santosha Can Bring the Magic Back
    I’m not sure when the winter holidays began being equated with stress, but I think I know why. When I was a child, holidays were well-orchestrated events. My parents loved to surprise us with special, unexpected gifts we hadn't asked for, and loved to set a cozy and festive stage for the ultimate event, the opening of gifts. They got a huge kick out of seeing us enjoying ourselves, so they took great care to make things as magical for us as they could.

    Now as an adult, I find myself wanting to recreate...

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  • Opening the Door of Compassion: A Response to the Tragedy of Cecil

    The Door of Compassion
    “The idea that some lives matter less than others is at the root of all that is wrong with the world.” ~ Paul Farmer

    I grew up in a mini menagerie. At various times my parents, sisters and I shared our homestead with parakeets, a goat, a horse, chickens (pets named Sam and Henry), tropical fish, rabbits, turtles, mice and cats, always cats. For years, my dad shared his basement workshop with a tarantula that came inside from the cold. He saw no reason to kill a creature that was doing no harm. He even named it.

    We treated...

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  • Compassion: On and Off the Mat

    How Practicing Yoga Cultivates Compassion
    It’s a mystery how it happens, but, thanks to the poses that I do on my mat, I can feel a deeper sense of compassion for others and for myself. Why is that, I wonder?

    When I press my palms against the mat in Downward Dog, I can feel compassion for my tight hamstrings and stiff shoulders.

    Standing on one leg in Tree Pose, I can feel compassion for the back of my wobbling calf, my out-of-balance hips.

    In Plank, I can feel compassion for my aching wrists and elbows.

    And in Mountain Pose, I can feel compassion flow through...

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  • Can Yoga Help Us Overcome Fear?

    Can Yoga Help Us Overcome Fear?
    I’m not sure when I realized this, but yoga has helped me to overcome many fears—fear of being seen, speaking in front of groups, trying new things. Fear stopped me from moving ahead. I have used and can use my practice to move through just about anything. Insidious as it sounds, the benefits of a daily yoga practice have a way of sneaking up on you.

    Of course, for humans, fear has kept us alive historically and presently. There are legitimate fears that teach us about survival: fear of moving objects, not having enough food and...

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  • The Season of Generosity

    Photo courtesy of Santito the Cat

    ’Tis the Season of Generosity
    One of my clearest, most nostalgic memories from growing up is that of the excitement of Christmas morning. Our parents would round up my two sisters and me so that we could all converge on the living room simultaneously, run to our piles of presents, and ooooh and ahhhh in unison. The excitement of seeing my wishes granted, and the surprise of gifts I hadn't asked for was just so much fun. That excitement sustained me through the day as we visited relatives and friends.

    But the next...

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  • What is Iyengar’s Legacy?

    What is Iyengar’s Legacy and What Will be Yours?
    September 6th will be the 30th anniversary of my dad’s passing. Taken by a sudden heart attack while talking on the phone, his death was a huge shock. He was not old—63—and very athletic, vital and energetic. Here one moment, gone the next.

    About a year after his passing, my sisters and mother and I got together for a few days. I clearly recall sitting in my younger sister’s apartment one afternoon, all of us ranting about politics. Reagan had just been reelected, and none of us was happy about it. As the...

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  • Why Be Mindful?

    Why Be Mindful? Anything Can Happen Any Time
    One chilly February day in 1997, I was rushing to a meeting with the founder of the soon-to-be-opened Cancer Wellness House. About three blocks from my appointment, I was happy to be greeted by a green light at a major intersection. As I entered the intersection, BAM! Suddenly, my car was turned sideways in the middle of the intersection and I was completely dazed and confused. A witness told police that another car T-boned mine while running the red light.

    Although I was wearing my seat belt, my head hit the driver’s side window...

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