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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • 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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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  • Entering a Pose or Entering Your Body? You Decide

    Entering a Pose or Entering Your Body? You Decide
    Last summer I was at an amazing workshop taught by Rod Stryker on his book, The Four Desires. His work is a yogic style of Desire Mapping.

    Not only was I learning how to excavate and manifest my heart’s desires in a new way, I was moving more deeply into an asana practice that yes, helped me to understand and love my body more dearly.

    It was not long after a skiing accident in April of 2014 that I attended this workshop, and I realized how my mind and...

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  • De-stress Your Shoulders, Chest and Neck with a Sukasana Pillow

    Simple, Supported Backbend with a Sukasana Pillow
    Most of us spend most of our days hunched over a keyboard. When we leave work, we hunch over a steering wheel. They we get home and hunch over a cutting board. You get the idea. We spend a whole lot of our lives bending forward, often to the detriment of our neck and shoulders.

    Yoga has many antidotes for this, of course. Twisting, side bending and back bending all help to loosen up our beleaguered upper bodies. I often recommend to my students who suffer from neck and shoulder stiffness that...

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  • Meatless Monday: Kale Salad #4

    Kale Salad with Tomatoes, Olives and Feta for Meatless Monday
    The kale keeps on coming. Even if you don’t have a steady supply in your back yard, you can find organic kale in most grocery stores. Because it’s in season, it’s more tender than in the wintertime, making it great for raw consumption.

    This is the fourth kale salad I’ve offered in the Meatless Monday series. I made this one several times last summer, but had to wait a while to make it this year, until I had enough ripe cherry tomatoes in my back yard. Tomatoes are exceptionally...

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