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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • 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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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  • Why Things Go Better When You Listen to Your Body


    Why Things Go Better When You Listen to Your Body
    Once I started listening to my body (admittedly <1% of the time, especially at the beginning), I was surprised by how it affected how I felt. (I’m obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed sometimes.) My bodily experience shifted—in that, I actually had one. Unreal. (Thank you, yoga.)
    Shouting From the Rooftops
    As my yoga practice helps me continue to hone this tool, and my body has to use more of a microphone and less of a bullhorn (we’re still a...

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  • Ardha Supta Virasana: The Courage to Open

    Ardha Supta Virasana: The Courage to Open
    What do skiing and sitting in chairs have in common? Well, not much in terms of musculoskeletal engagement, adrenal activity and sensory delight. However, there is one thing that both have in common. When you sit and when you ski, your hip joints are in a flexed position, i.e. you are bent forward at the hips.

    There’s nothing wrong with flexing at the hip joints; our bodies are meant to do that when we sit, walk, ride a bike or ski. But most of us spend a significant portion of our lives...

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  • Tips for Yoga Teachers: Honoring Our Teachers

    Tips for Yoga Teachers:  Honoring Our Teachers

    Teaching Yoga is an honor. It is an opportunity to share what is most sacred in us, and an opportunity to guide others in the process of transformation. This is not a small thing. It is not only an honor; it is an enormous responsibility. For who among us can point the way to transformation if we ourselves have not tread that path?

    No one steps into the role of Yoga teacher without a whole lot of support from our families, friends, communities and our own teachers—Yoga teachers and teachers of...

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