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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • Parsvakonasana: Finding Continuity

    Parsvakonasana

    Parsvakonasana: Finding Continuity
    Utthita Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose) is a pillar among standing poses. It combines strong grounding with expansion and spinal rotation. It looks like a lateral stretch, and may even feel somewhat like one, but it’s not. In a true lateral stretch, your pelvis is not moving in the same direction as your spine (think Parighasana or Gate Latch Pose). In Side Angle Pose, your legs, pelvis, spine and head are all on a continuum. Finding that continuum is the art of the asana.

    Utthita Parsvakonasana is one of the poses that...

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  • Meatless Monday: Parsley Pesto

    Italian Parsley

    Meatless Monday: Parsley Pesto
    Most of us are familiar with basil pesto. It’s the most traditional form of pesto. But over the years, many other base ingredients have proven to make tasty, refreshing pesto pastes as well. Kale’s recent popularity has made it a worthy pesto base, by itself and in combination with fresh basil. Arugula also makes a delicious, savory pesto.

    Currently, parsley of both the curly and Italian varieties is going crazy in my backyard garden. I can see that I’m soon going to have a hard time keeping up with...

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  • Yoga and Respect: Nothing is Trivial

    Yoga and Respect: It’s the Little Things
    I lived on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1990. During that year Aadil Palkhivala frequented the Big Island to teach workshops. I was fortunate to get to work with him a number of times and very much appreciated the depth of his practice and teachings, even way back then.

    One of his workshops was held in a venue that usually accommodated tumbling and wrestling, so the floor was covered with gym mats. Aadil took the opportunity to have us all practice jumping across the floor in Chaturanga Dandasana. If we crashed...

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  • Meatless Monday: Spring Garden Vegetable Hodgepodge

    Meatless Monday: Spring Garden Vegetable Hodgepodge
    I’m a big fan of Deborah Madison, former chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. For that matter I’m a huge fan of Greens Restaurant. On the fortunate occasions that I get to visit the Bay Area, I always make time to go to Greens at least once. The food is healthy, innovative and always inspiring.

    As a vegetarian since 1978, it’s like Christmas to go to a restaurant where I can order anything on the menu. Back in the early days, salads were often the only thing I could order at most...

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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...

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  • Ease Your Lower Back with a Yoga Block

    Standing Forward Bend with Big Blue Block

    Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) is one of yoga’s most emblematic poses. We practice it in almost every style of yoga—as part of the Sun Salutation, as a resting pose between other standing poses and as a part inversion/part hamstring stretch on its own.

    The most immediately noticeable effect of practicing Standing Forward Bend is, of course, the sensation in the hamstrings. But Uttanasana has many other benefits as well. Like most forward bends, it calms the brain and nervous system. It is also said to reduce anxiety...

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  • Yoga for Gardening: Poses to Practice in the Dirt

    Wall Dog

    Yoga for Gardening: Relief for Your Achin’ Back
    Springtime signals blooming bulbs, veggie planting and for me, lots of requests from students for yoga poses to counteract the effects of gardening.

    Shoveling, squatting, kneeling and bending over—the forms your body has to assume to get your garden ready for planting—all take a toll, especially when we likely haven’t been doing these things much over the winter. Here are some tips on how to minimize the effects of some of gardening’s most popular positions:

    • Shoveling: One of the problems with shoveling is...

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  • Meatless Monday: Spring Arugula Salad

    Meatless Monday: Spring Arugula Salad
    Anyone who says salads are unexciting has never tasted arugula. When the leaves are small, they pack a hefty, savory punch; when they get bigger their peppery flavor can be downright spicy. I’m not sure how arugula grows elsewhere, but in my garden it’s always the first of my salad greens to be ripe for picking. It’s also the first to bolt, which it does quite suddenly.

    Because I usually have an abundance of arugula in my garden, I’ve tried lots of salad recipes. I also enjoy it in frittatas, as an uncooked pizza...

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  • The Wisdom of Humility in Yoga Practice

    Humility in Yoga Practice
    “A deep sense of humility will help you learn yoga. It is important to remember that no one path or school has a monopoly on the truth.
    There are excellent and poor practitioners in all schools of yoga.

    “Gaining maturity in yoga practice involves learning to respect the paths that other people are on and acknowledging their merits, maybe even acknowledging that your own path is lacking in some area where another one excels.” ~ Geeta S. Iyengar

    I stumbled upon this quote by Geeta Iyengar recently. For me, it was both timely...

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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...

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