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Yoga Philosophy

Asana, the physical practice, is just one small part of the yoga tradition. In this category, we discuss all aspects of yoga. Feel free to contribute!
  • Mindful Speech: The Power of Words

    If you like to keep up with national politics, this year is a doozy. The interesting clash of personalities has made the dialog perhaps even more contentious than it’s been in the past.

    This pattern is reflected in many of the toxic communications among online observers. Even people who stand on the same side of the issues regularly hurl insults about each others’ candidates of choice. It is sad to see such divisiveness.

    This is not especially new though. Online communications in general are a minefield. The proliferation of anonymous commenting on blogs and social media has allowed people to insult others...

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  • How Mindfulness Can Help Your New Year Resolutions Stick

    Mindfulness for a New Year
    I want to say at the outset that I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that resolving to change old habits and develop new ones is not a worthy endeavor. It is, and I think it’s the most important work of our lives. It’s just that doing it simply because it happens to be the beginning of a new year seems a bit forced to me. I get the logic: new year=clean slate. But just because the calendar has turned over doesn’t mean we’re necessarily ready to change along with it.

    Setting an intention...

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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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  • How to Practice Ahimsa on the Mat

    Most who practice yoga these days have at least heard of the word ahimsa. We might even have read some of the in-depth literature on it, or practiced incorporating the idea of ahimsa—non-harming—into our lives. Translated as “dynamic peacefulness” by Alistair Shearer, it is arguable that ahimsa is the foundation of the entire practice.

    Ahimsa is the first of the yamas, the first of yoga’s Eight Limbs. In the yoga tradition, the yamas, along with the niyamas (skillful living practices) were introduced to children and practiced before learning asana or pranayama, or the meditative limbs. Coming from a foundation of non-harming...

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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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  • The Yoga Sutras: Learning Through Experience

    The Yoga Sutras:  Learning Through Experience
    Not long ago, I found a link to a short autobiographical account of B.K.S. Iyengar’s journey into yoga. He began his journey into yoga at age 14. After only two years of study with T. Krishnamacharya, Iyengar was told by his guru to go out into the world to teach. The rest of his yoga journey of almost 80 years has been spent studying on his own, mainly through deep exploration of the workings of his own body and mind, as he did not have the resources for formal study.

    Unable to purchase books, he made...

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  • Cultivating Everyday Karma

    Tomato


    Everyday Karma in My Garden
    A few years ago, I dug up the sod in my front yard and parking strip to replace it with drought tolerant plants. While my yard is quite small, six years of drought—and even more years of minimal watering—had rendered my soil, particularly the dense, sun-cured ground in my parking strip, positively adamantine. The excavation process required many hours with my modest shovel, piercing the granite-like ground, pulling up clumps of roots and whacking the root clumps with the side of a garden spade to loosen the excess dirt and return...

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