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Inspiring Stories

A potpourri of thought-provoking posts on many different daily-life subjects.
  • Teaching Yoga: Replenishing Your Energy

    Teaching Yoga: Balancing the Responsibility Scale

    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—r…continue reading

  • 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 gr…continue reading

  • 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 f…continue reading

  • 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 Plan…continue reading

  • 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 …continue reading

  • 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 m…continue reading

  • 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 a…continue reading

  • 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 tha…continue reading

  • A Steady Unfolding: The Yoga of Patience

    The Yoga of Patience

    I had the good fortune to spend 18 days at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in the past few weeks. My partner and I attended two back-to-back nine-day retreats. The first nine days focused on the cultivation of kindness and compassion, and the second nine days focused on mindfulness practice. I feel immense gratitude for the teachings, the practice and the wisdom of the teachers.

    When I tell people who haven't engaged in this type…continue reading

  • Cultivating Appreciation - Knowing You Have No Toothache

    Lily
    Cultivating Appreciation - Knowing You Have No Toothache

    A while back some nasty bacteria set up camp around my lower right wisdom tooth. The sensation was one I’d never felt before. Swollen gum tissue had displaced the tooth, so much so that the only teeth that articulated in my entire mouth were the infected one and the upper one opposite it. And when those two teeth came together, shock waves shot through my mouth.

    My dentist thought the t…continue reading

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