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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • A Meditation for Abundance

    The Goddess Lakshmi

    A Meditation for Abundance
    Often people ask me how they can create more abundance in their lives. My experience is that the Universe answers our requests so it’s important to be very specific about what we want an abundance of in our lives.

    After doing some asana (maybe some sun salutations) and pranayama, take a seat, make sure you sit in a comfortable fashion where your spine is upright and you’re not likely to slouch. Set your intention or sankalpa. Commit to the practice and decide what your focus of abundance and...

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  • Meatless Monday: BBQed Veggie Skewers

    Meatless Monday: Join the Barbecue with Tasty Skewers
    In the decades since I stopped eating meat, people have often asked whether I miss eating hamburgers on the grill. I don’t. I actually don’t care for the smell of barbecued burgers, but I do like the taste of grilled foods.

    Barbecues and potluck picnics abound in the summer. Vegetarians can always partake of the meatless sides at an outdoor barbecue, but why not participate in the main event? You can always bring a ready-made or homemade veggie burger, but making skewers (aka kebabs) is easy and fun, and there’s lots...

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  • Supta Padangusthasana: Sustainable Stretching

    Supta Padangusthasana: Sustainable Stretching
    There are many reasons people decide to start practicing yoga. For me, it was simple curiosity, at least at first. Many of my students come to yoga to bring some calm to their lives. Some want to increase flexibility. A healthy percentage of my students originally came to practice hoping to resolve a physical issue, especially back pain. Whatever your intention, practicing yoga can indeed confer these benefits, along with other unexpected rewards.

    This month’s pose is one of my favorites for increasing mobility, helping alleviate back pain, and for helping connect students to the...

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  • Free Your Breath with a Yoga Block

    Prasarita Padottanasana with a Big Blue Block

    Practice Prasarita Padottanasana with a Yoga Block
    Prasarita Padottanasana is one of yoga’s most balancing standing poses. Its symmetrical shape keeps your pelvis, sacroiliac joint and spine neutral and quiet, while the active rooting of your feet and legs allows your upper body to be soft and receptive. I like to settle into Prasarita in between standing poses to allow my body to ground and integrate.

    Practicing Prasarita Padottanasana confers many benefits. It strengthens and stretches the inner legs, hamstrings and spine; tones the abdominal organs; and calms...

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  • 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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