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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • Yoga Strap: Open Your Shoulders in Gomukhasana

    Use a Yoga Strap for a Great Shoulder Opening
    Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) is a staple in my morning yoga classes. Years ago, several of my students made up unflattering names for it—Cow Pie, Mad Cow, etc.—because it was so challenging for them. Now those same Cow Face naysayers have turned into Cow Face converts, even sometimes giving up a bit of their Savasana to do it if I don’t offer it in class.

    Gomukhasana is quite complex. It’s classified as a hip opening pose, as it stretches all the glutes—maximus, medius and minimus—as well as the piriformis and the tensor fasciae...

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  • Is Cleansing Right for You?

    Is Cleansing Right for You?
    Everywhere we look, people are talking about detoxes and cleanses. I have been using my diet and my yoga practice to cleanse my body and mind for many years. People often ask me questions about cleansing. Following are the questions I’m asked most often as well as my answers.

    Would a cleanse be right for you? For someone who is living in a polluted environment, eating processed foods, drinking alcohol, fluoridated and chlorinated water, smoking, taking medication, and anything else that puts toxins into your body, you would benefit from doing a cleanse. If you have any health...

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  • Meatless Monday: Tender Tomato Tart (Yum!)

    Make this Incredible Tomato Tart for Meatless Monday
    It’s time to pull out one of my all-time favorite recipes. This tart is so good it defies description. The filling is exceedingly simple to make, and the results are unbelievably delicious. It’s light and savory, but the carrots and homegrown tomatoes give it a hint of sweetness.

    I’ve used a good-quality frozen whole wheat pie crust when I was in a hurry, and the pie was wonderful. But if you have the time and inclination, making a tart crust is well worth the effort. If you make your crust from scratch and use...

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  • Why Practice Yoga and Mindfulness?

    What Does Mindfulness Have to Do with Anything?
    Patricia has been coming to my yoga classes for more than 15 years. Last week while we were in the midst of practicing a quadriceps stretch at the wall she said, “I have to say how much I appreciate the work we do in this class.”

    Patricia and her husband had spent the previous week hiking in Glacier National Park. They met a friend there whose back problems prevented him from hiking at all. He spent the entire week indoors at the lodge looking at his devices, she said. When she asked him if...

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  • Meatless Monday: Fresh Gazpacho Starring Homegrown Tomatoes

    Meatless Monday: Try a Refreshing, Chilled Gazpacho
    In August and September, I’m always looking for ways to use my bounty of fresh homegrown tomatoes. While they are best eaten raw and as unprocessed as possible, there comes a time when there are just so many of them that I have to come up with recipes that call for lots of them.

    Gazpacho is a great way to use lots of homegrown tomatoes that takes full advantage of their robust flavor. I’ve tried many recipes over the years—there are lots of great choices on the web. But my favorite is from The Natural...

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  • Bound Angle Pose: Support Your Spine with a Yoga Strap

    Bound Angle Pose: Use a Yoga Strap to Support Healthy Sitting
    I was first introduced to poses associated with yoga in grade school, when my sisters and I took ballet lessons. I remember practicing Baddha Konasana—called “Butterfly” in girls’ ballet classes—every day. With ballet’s emphasis on turnout, Butterfly is one of its important warm-up exercises.

    Practicing Baddha Konasana requires and develops outward rotation of the hip joints—that is, if the hip joints are shaped in such a way that outward rotation is even possible. The pose develops outward rotation by stretching the adductors (the muscles that draw the leg in toward the...

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  • Meatless Monday: Penne with Tomatoes, Olives, Lemon and Basil

    Start Fresh

    Meatless Monday: A Simple, Fresh, Piquant Summer Pasta Dish
    Few things in life are more pleasurable than eating a sun-warmed homegrown tomato within seconds of picking it. So when I harvest tomatoes and herbs from my garden for a dish I’ll be making, I always indulge in some sweet cherry tomatoes while I’m at it.

    A close runner-up to eating tomatoes while you’re still in the garden is making a dish that uses fresh tomatoes that were picked within the last hour. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I feel that there’s a bit of extra prana in...

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  • How to Relieve Knee Pain with Yoga Blocks

    Yoga Blocks Alleviate Knee Discomfort
    Having spent most of my yoga teaching life in Utah, the place that touts the “greatest snow on Earth,” I’ve hosted a lot of dedicated skiers in my classes with various knee issues. Movement restrictions tend to fall into two camps: those whose knees don’t flex very far and those whose knees feel painful when the knees are flexed and the thighbones are externally rotated in seated poses, as in Sukhasana (Cross-Legged Pose). I’ve observed that if someone experiences one type of knee pain, they usually don’t have a problem with the other.

    In the first case...

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  • Ardha Padmasana: A Lotus Pose for Everybody

    Supta Ardha Padmasana: A Lotus Pose for Everybody
    In 2001, I co-taught a teacher training with Donna Farhi in Vancouver, BC. The 50 attendees were experienced yoga teachers and body workers from all over the world. During the training we questioned teaching methodologies that shoehorn students into a one-size-fits-all model.

    One misconception we talked about was the perceived necessity of practicing what is probably yoga’s most emblematic pose: Padmasana (Lotus Pose). That day we spent two hours practicing the poses Donna practices to prep her body for Lotus. When we tried Padmasana toward the end of the class, I noticed that despite...

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  • Meatless Monday: Chilled Avocado-Cucumber Soup

    Meatless Monday: Cooling Avocado-Cucumber Soup
    Soup from scratch is one of my favorite things to make. In the winter, a bowl of hot soup is comforting and warming, with the added bonus of providing meals for several days.

    In the summer I don’t have much of a taste for anything hot, including soup. So instead, I’ve collected several chilled-soup recipes that have become summer staples. This is one of them.

    The cucumbers make this soup very cooling and refreshing, and the avocados give the soup substance. Because the flavors of both are somewhat neutral, it’s the other ingredients—lime, garlic, white miso and dill...

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