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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • The Yoga of Walking

    I’ve always loved walking. Back in the 1960s, when most people considered going out for a drive to be a leisurely Sunday activity, my father took us out on walks. Unlike most kids in our neighborhood, my sisters and I walked the mile to school, rain or shine—but not uphill both ways. As a family, we spent summer evenings walking to the Ohio River to watch the barges and the occasional steamboat glide by. We never rode an elevator when we could climb the stairs.

    So when I started practicing Insight meditation in the 1980s, I took to the walking meditation...

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  • Sequencing Yoga Poses: Not Just Cool Choreography

    Sequencing Yoga Poses
    In 1989 I went to India for a three-week intensive with B.K.S. Iyengar and his daughter, Geeta. Mr. Iyengar had just turned 70, and Geeta was officially handling the majority of teaching duties. However until the last week of the intensive, B.K.S. appeared every day and taught much of every class. During the last week, he traveled out of town to teach a class for one day, leaving Geeta to teach on her own.

    Because most of us were preparing to board a plane for the long trip home, Geeta led a class designed to prepare us for flight...

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  • Ending a Yoga Class

    Ending a Yoga Class
    When we begin teaching at a certain time, we don’t usually envision the class ending. Such was the case with my Monday noon-1:00 pm. Class I started teaching three years ago. The class was one of the first at a new yoga studio in the west side of our town where there aren’t other yoga studios, which tend to be clumped on the east side. Our hopes were high: this was a suburban area with lots of people, and surely many would want to come practice yoga in their own neighborhood.

    While the yoga studio has grown...

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  • Revolved Lunge - Settle In

    revolved


    Revolved Lunge aka Chaise Lounge Pose
    Born to Anjana (a supernatural woman) and Kesari (king of the monkeys), Anjaneya had magical powers and royalty in his genetic inheritance. His godfather was Vayu, the wind god. Anjaneya was considered to be the reincarnation of Lord Shiva. His auspicious pedigree made him a bit of a star among mortals.

    According to legend, Anjaneya once mistook the sun for a glowing piece of fruit. In an effort to grab it for himself, Anjaneya leapt repeatedly, much to the annoyance of Indra, the sun god. After all, even the Koch brothers...

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  • Yoga Gossip: Have You Ever Been Dissed by Another Teacher?

    The Yoga Gossip Machine:  What Do You Do When Another Teacher Disses You Behind Your Back?
    When students ask my opinion about another teacher in town, I’m deliberately vague. First, with the plethora of teachers (100 or more) being trained annually in various local trainings, I no longer know 99 percent of the teachers in town. Second, even if I do know the teacher about whom they’re inquiring, I don’t necessarily know how the student and teacher might connect. I encourage them to find out for themselves if another teacher might have something valuable to teach them. My response is always...

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  • Yoga and Flexibility: Do You Have to be Flexible to Practice?

    Why Yoga and Flexibility Are Not Synonymous
    Fred is hands down the least flexible person I’ve ever encountered. In 28 years of teaching asana, I’ve never seen anyone who came close to his lack of mobility. His Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) was little more than a forward nod. Before coming to my classes, he had not sat on the floor since childhood, and required tall stacks of blankets to do so. But he didn’t mind using props for every single pose. They helped him feel more relaxed. He came to my classes weekly for more than two years, and consistently reported...

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  • All Sewn Up - How We Make Our Yoga Bolsters, Eyebags and Meditation Cushions

    Trina Ensures Our Yoga Bolsters Make the Grade
    Have you ever wondered what makes great yoga bolsters stand out? Like most things, there’s not just one factor. The number one quality that makes yoga bolsters rise above the pack is the balance between firmness and softness. A great bolster is firm enough that it bends only a miniscule amount, but is soft enough on the outside that it’s comfy for Restorative practice.

    Abraham Avelar, Hugger Mugger’s bolster master of the past eight years, has found the perfect combination of firm and soft. In order to fill a bolster to perfection, he has...

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  • Tips for Practicing Yoga Outdoors

    Take Your Yoga Outdoors!
    Practicing yoga outside in the sunshine is idyllic. Maybe there’s a gentle breeze flowing, or you’re so close to the ocean, you can feel the wind off the waves. A change of scenery can shift your perspective, and inspire profound reflection.

    But what happens when it’s so hot outside, you can’t even touch your mat? Dark colored mats get really hot in the direct sun. Suddenly you’re not reveling in the fresh air, or the scenery. You’re looking for the nearest shade, or the nearest bodega where you can buy a cool drink.

    If you are planning to practice...

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  • Yoga Poetry - The Bridge

    Yoga Poetry - The Bridge

    White

    The bridge is made of weather. The bridge is made of time.

    Translucent, the color of water, it spans the world in sharp relief

    to lushness of green, western edge of blue, rain shadow in between.

     

    Five miles north, the cedars drink up the storm while the sky inhales

    old starlight, already dead when it lands, for rock and root,

    bowed thunderhead and nightfall, velocity and cricket song.

     

    The bridge is a slim path between dusk and longing, a wide swath

    from sleep to starlight, an arm of weather linking here and there,

    telling us...

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  • Chaturanga Dandasana: Help from Your Hyoid

    Chaturanga Dandasana

    Chaturanga Dandasana:  Help from Your Hyoid
    What’s an eight-syllable name that, when spoken by a yoga teacher, elicits fear (or at least, a groan) in roughly half the population that practices yoga? The same phrase evokes a feeling of invincible awesomeness in many others. The answer:  Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose).

    Chaturanga looks like a push-up, but it’s not a push-up. It is primarily practiced as a transition pose in Sun Salutations, often between Downward Facing Dog and Upward Facing Dog or Cobra. Chaturanga requires a great deal of upper body strength, and therefore, it also builds...

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