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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • 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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  • Get Back to Your Root Vegetables

    Eat Root Vegetables to Take Off the Chill
    In the Northern Hemisphere, January is cold as it gets. If you are like me, you may not have felt truly warm for a very long time. Despite the layers I wear inside my drafty, old house, there’s always a chilly edge that just doesn’t abate—until I remember how to heat myself from the inside.
    Rev Up
    Vigorous movement can help take off the chill. Outdoor activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing will have you peeling off layers. If you live in Utah, these activities have the added advantage of exposing you to blue...

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  • Talasana: Sway Like a Palm Tree

    Talasana: Palm Tree Pose
    January signifies new beginnings, a fresh, new, canvas on which to paint our intentions. The new year often inspires a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle, including caring for our bodies, stimulating our minds and seeking new, revitalizing experiences, or experimenting with balancing what we already do with practices that complement our lives.

    The key is patience. Changes, big or small, take time. It takes time to form new habits. While you may feel the urge to jump into your new regimen with both feet, sometimes it’s wise to start by dipping a few toes in first.

    If you’re...

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  • Yoga Poetry - Not Rare But Precious

    Precious Rest

    Yoga Poetry
    Not Rare But Precious
     

    Think of what’s not rare but precious.

    ~ Ruth Gendler

     

    The gift of light. Of dark.

    The squeaky swing set

    that’s really a blue jay

    searching for love and gravity.

    What tells you to lie down.

    Why standing back up

    each morning is precious

    as breath or clouds splintering

    into rain dissolving the drought.

    The horizontal day that turns

    into the vertical night,

    the stubble on the path

    between the furrows of labor,

    hope, and need. Any curve

    wheeling toward the horizon,

    all the dreams of finding

    your house has extra rooms,

    the ease of a broken love

    suddenly making sense,

    the return of a lost locket

    from childhood, and in it,

    your grandfather’s...

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  • Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions?

    Prasarita Padottanasana on a Nature Collection Ultra Mat

    How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
    Are New Year’s resolutions a thing of the past? An antiquated practice moving inexorably toward extinction? If you read the numbers, you could easily get that impression. According to a CBS poll, 68 percent of Americans claim they do not make resolutions. That number is 10 percentage points higher than it was just two years prior to the poll.

    Perhaps it is because we’re too busy and preoccupied to ponder our goals, or maybe it’s because time and again, many of us have...

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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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  • Why Bendy People Might Not Make the Best Yoga Teachers

    Trikonasana

    How the Struggle Teaches Yoga Teachers How to Teach
    Years ago, I heard a famous quote embellished in the film, Annie Hall. In the film Woody Allen said, “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach gym.” (Allen’s embellishment is the second sentence.) It was meant to diss teachers, especially gym teachers I guess, but in my three decades of yoga practice and teaching, I’ve come to understand this quote in a completely different way.

    I was born with a very loose-knit body. My dad was a gymnast, and I inherited his hypermobile body. So when...

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  • Use a Yoga Wedge in Dog Pose

    How Using a Yoga Wedge Can Save Your Wrists
    Adho Mukha Svanasana, aka Downward Facing Dog Pose or simply Dog Pose, is arguably the most ubiquitous of poses. Yoga teacher Donna Farhi calls it the “‘garlic’ of yoga poses—a panacea for whatever ails you.” Dog Pose is simultaneously an inversion, an arm balance, a forward bend and a restorative pose. It opens your shoulders, strengthens your arms, lengthens your spine, stretches your legs, inverts your internal organs and nourishes your brain. It invigorates and calms. For dogs and cats, Dog Pose is the equivalent of a morning cuppa, an elixir to...

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  • Yoga Poetry - Everything That Rises

    Yoga Poetry - Everything That Rises
    Rise up without fear

    to the coffee and daylight

    skimming the dark.

     

    Rise through the remnants of the dream

    where you are lost, all pay phones broken.

     

    Rise toward the piano you haven’t played

    for months, and place your hands

    on the keys of your memory.

     

    Play badly but loud, and let the ringing

    rise through your arms.

     

    Rise into the first slant of light breaking

    across the living room floor

    to coat the sleeping dog.

     

    Open the door into the cold and run

    to the passenger door to lean in

    and start the car in your slippers.

     

    Rush back inside and let the next

    vessel warm for you as you dress...

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  • Instant Maui - Your 20-Minute Vacation

    Take a Midwinter Break in Instant Maui
    It’s the season of short days, long nights and monumental to-do lists. Potlucks, concerts, rehearsals (for those of us who play holiday concerts) and gifting take us out of our usual routines. At a time when our schedules are stuffed to capacity, often the first things to get knocked off our to-do list are those niceties we do to take care of ourselves.

    I’m writing this month to suggest—strongly—that you leave at least one of your self-nurturing habits on your list. Please note that I’m making this suggestion for myself as much as I am...

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