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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog
Healthy Yoga Practice: Don’t Stretch Your Joints!
For the past few years, I've been on the faculty of the teacher training program at Avenues Yoga Studio in Salt Lake City. Early in the 2013 training, one student who had been teaching in a fitness studio asked a very important question. She explained that one of her female students became unusually flexible prior to ovulation, probably because of the presence of “relaxin,” a hormone that relaxes the ligaments that hold together the various joints in the pelvis—hip joints, sacroiliac joints and... read more
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...read more
Eat Root Vegetables to Take Off the Chillread more
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.
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...
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.
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...read more
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...read more
’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.
... read more
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...read more
How Using a Yoga Wedge Can Save Your Wristsread more
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...
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...read more