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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • Snuggle Up with a Yoga Bolster!


    Why Our Yoga Bolsters Feel So Good …
    Meet Abraham Avelar. For more than eight years now Abraham has been Hugger Mugger’s prime bolster maker. It may seem like this would be a straightforward job, but in order to create just the right balance of inner firmness and outer softness, our yoga bolsters have to be sewn and stuffed just right. Abraham has learned the techniques well, and has invented a few himself.

    We cut, sew and stuff our bolsters all in our Salt Lake City-based facility. We started making bolsters back in the 1980s...

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  • Yoga Heals — Most of the Time


    Yoga Heals — Most of the Time
    A yoga teaching colleague recently related a story about a student at her studio who suffers from a rare neurological condition that causes tremors. Yoga, with its ability to smooth out your nervous system ought to be the perfect solution, right?

    In this case, not so much. The student’s condition had actually been worsening, causing suffering for herself, and distracting her fellow students. The fact that she is exploring yoga as a possible way to alleviate her symptoms is certainly positive. But when my friend told me that...

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  • Utthita Parsvakonasana: Face the Freeze with Ease

    Utthita Parsvakonasana:  Face the Freeze with Ease
    It’s sunny and 14 degrees outside. The basement office in my 1917 bungalow is probably sub-60 degrees. I’ve been wearing layers indoors for more than a month. Every time I remember to pay attention, I find my shoulders ever-so-slightly hunched up and pulled forward, my body reflexively trying to guard against the cold.

    But here’s the thing. Hunching up and pulling in doesn’t help. It doesn’t make me even a fraction of a degree warmer. All it does is create tension and stress and restrict my breathing.

    I explored this on a long-ago 30-day meditation retreat...

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  • Yoga Poetry - The Slant of Everything

    Yoga Poetry - The Slant of Everything
    Always just to your right, an angle at sunset

    or slashing down from the pilot light of the clouds,

    the slant of everything. Sometimes, no danger,

    just heat lightning and crickets to echo the humidity.

    Sometimes everything lifted on one sudden breeze,

    surprisingly cold as it slants through the summer

    opening between day and night. The golden west

    calls past the horizon ahead. The shimmering east

    loses its heat and stillness. The moment transparent,

    the air thin so that what you know and don’t know,

    those you’ve lost and those you’ve yet to love,

    converges at one point just over your view of

    the western-most cottonwood...

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  • Perfect Rest: Yoga for Insomnia

    No Insomnia Here

    It’s after 3:00 am. You’re wide awake, mind racing. You might be worried about paying your mortgage. You might be puzzling over something someone said to you and rehearsing your response. Maybe an upcoming project has you feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps you are excited, on the cusp of an event you’ve long anticipated. Each minute that ticks by brings you closer to rising time. This knowledge gives you something else to worry about.

    I began experiencing insomnia when I was five years old. My earliest instance of sleeplessness left a bold imprint in my memory. For...

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  • What’s the Secret to Life? Breathing!

    What's the Secret to Life? Breathing!
    When I set out on the path to become a doctor, I really didn’t have any idea just how much stress I was inviting into my life. Fortunately, I had the good sense to marry a well-trained Yoga instructor. Before my wife introduced me to Yoga, I always thought it was some sort of stretchy self-torture. In fact, I’m still not 100% convinced that it wasn’t developed as a torture method. Either that, or it started as a game of Twister that went horribly wrong. Over time, I realized that the real treasure of Yoga...

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  • Back to the Roots: Warming Veggies to Take the Chill Off

    Hearty Roots

    Warming Veggies to Take the Chill Off
    Much of the U.S. population has been inundated with snow or shivering in subzero temperatures for more than a month. 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.

    Of course exercise, including certain yoga poses, can be really helpful. Standing poses such as Warriors I and II; core strengtheners such as Navasana; and...

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  • Should You Teach Yoga When You’re Sick?


    Creating Safe Space:  Should You Teach Yoga When You’re Sick?
    Last winter dealt me a double whammy. After three years free from all manner of maladies, the sore throat/sinus/fever malaise caught me in early December. Then in the wee hours one January morning, the nasty norovirus took hold. The most violent symptoms abated after about 24 hours, but I felt the effects for four or five days. I hear that norovirus is making the rounds again this season. I’m knocking on wood …

    (FYI: Norovirus is the leading cause of temporary...

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  • Preparing the Body for Surgery: A New Kind of Yoga

    Preparing the Body for Surgery: A New Kind of Yoga
    “Breathe in one nostril for a count of four, and out the other for a count of eight,” Ursula told me today, sharing the kind of thing you might hear in a yoga class. Only I wasn’t in a yoga class, and Ursula isn’t a yoga teacher, but an energy healer. Lying on a massage table, breathing as she told me, I was learning another kind of yoga: a way of yoking with my body and soul that doesn’t involve Downward Facing Dog or Trikonasana, but there’s certainly enough Savasana to...

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  • Body Mindfulness - Why Yoga Really Is All About the Body …

     … Even Though Yoga’s Not Just About Asana
    “It is through the body that everything comes to the mind. It is through and with your body that you have to reach realization of being a spark of divinity. How can we neglect the temple of the spirit?” — B.K.S. Iyengar (Sparks of Divinity, Rodmell Press)

    When I first read Iyengar’s quote many years ago I interpreted this way: It is through our practice of asana, at those times when we lose the struggle and become the asana, that we see into our true nature, the undefined spaciousness that connects us all. This...

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