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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • The River of Your Life: A Yoga Meditation


    The River of Your Life: A Yoga Meditation
    Writer Anne Lamott says there are two great metaphors for our lives: rivers and gardens. Thinking along the river lines when it comes to yoga, I recently decided to use this guiding metaphor as a way to explore the running and slow meandering of our lives during a Savasana meditation. Feel free to use my words or adapt your own to unfurling the river we live.
    River Meditation
    Note: Leave time, usually 3-4 long breaths of time, between paragraphs.

    Once you’re comfortable with Savasana, elongate your...

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  • What Love Looks Like


    What Love Looks Like
    This morning as I sat in meditation a stray thought popped into my head seemingly out of nowhere, as most thoughts do. I momentarily wondered what I would do if I went outside to feed my four beautiful feral cats and found that one of them was sick, injured or worse. Would I go to work anyway? How would I deal with it? I dutifully dismissed the thought and returned to my breath.

    After I got up from my sitting practice I went to feed the ferals. I first noticed that the bed...

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  • Upavista Konasana: From Side Splits to Stillness

    Upavista Konasana: From Side Splits to Stillness
    My dad was a competitive gymnast in his teens and 20s. When he stopped competing, he still enjoyed practicing in our yard on his pommel horse. My sisters and I inherited his athleticism in various ways, but I ended up with the lion’s share of his flexibility.

    While my sisters and I had fun crawling around the yard, spider-like, in backbends—what yoga practitioners call Upward Bow—I was the only one who could flop down into side splits and bend forward with a perfectly straight back and rest my chin on the ground. It was a...

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  • Yoga Injuries Again: Healthy Hip Joints

    Yoga Injuries Again:  Healthy Hip Joints
    Five years ago my sacroiliac (SI) joint was so completely, chronically out of alignment that at times I literally could not walk. After many trips to a chiropractor, neuromuscular therapist and many extremely uncomfortable acupuncture treatments, my chiropractor suggested I have X-rays taken so that he could see what was at the root of the issue. The X-ray showed an amazingly healthy spine with symmetrical spacing between vertebrae, healthy discs and beautiful spinal curves—qualities I attributed to a longtime asana practice. My SI joint didn’t look half bad either. My SI problems were due to...

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  • Healthy Asana Practice: Don’t Stretch Your Joints!


    Healthy Asana Practice:  Don’t Stretch Your Joints!
    Last spring I was honored to be invited to co-teach a training at Avenues Yoga Studio in Salt Lake City. The 20-some students were earnest, curious and right on board with our slower-than-usual approach to asana practice, and our emphasis on meditation and philosophy. I am inspired to know that this group of teachers is bringing their wisdom into the world of yoga.

    Early in the training, one student who had been teaching in a fitness studio asked a very important question. She explained that one...

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  • Teacher-Student Relationship: Students Have Power Too


    The Teacher-Student Relationship:  When to Call the Teacher Out
    Twenty-seven years ago, in my first year of teaching yoga, I attended a workshop on using yoga to heal back issues. The workshop was a week long and was team taught by what was then a who’s who of senior yoga teachers. I had previously worked with only one of the teachers on the roster, so I was excited to experience teachings from so many others with stellar reputations.

    Around mid-week, I was enjoying a class with a well-known senior teacher. While we practiced Dog...

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  • Is Yoga at a Turning Point?


    Is Western Yoga at a Turning Point?
    Joseph Goldstein sometimes recounts his meditation adventures in his dharma talks. In one particular talk, he spoke of a time when he was sitting in meditation and rather enjoying a long thinking jag. In the midst of being thoroughly absorbed in thoughts and reveries, he remembered where he was and what he’d intended to be doing. This prompted him to give himself, as he says, “a little talking to.” He asked himself the question, “Do you want to think, or do you want to be free?”

    This story has...

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  • Blogging Yoga Teacher Training: Every Day is a Good Day

    Blogging Yoga Teacher Training: Every Day is a Good Day
    It's a beautiful Saturday morning in Salt Lake City and a small group of women are gathering gingerly in a pebbled courtyard. We smile at each other, almost nervously. We’re playing guessing games in our head: What’s her story? Is she here for the hour-long Yoga Basics class? Or something more? We notice who holds bags that might contain books and light snacks. We smile at each other, a little nervously.

    The first day of my 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training is not like the first day of school. The first day of...

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  • Gomukhasana: Facing the Cow

    Gomukhasana: Facing the Cow
    It’s common knowledge that cows hold sacred status in India. To ancient nomadic and farmers, cows represented wealth, nourishment and nurturance. While they are valued for their milk that yields staples of the Indian diet—ghee, yogurt and cheese—cows are not slaughtered for their flesh. Only when a cow dies of old age can her hide be made into shoes.

    In Hindu mythology, Nandi the bull is a constant companion to Shiva, the Lord of Yoga. Nandi not only provides Shiva with ground transportation, but he also shuttles Shiva and his wife Parvati around the Universe.

    The cow has not...

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  • In Gratitude

    In Gratitude
    The wind thanks you, unfurling over the worn horizon

    so it can billow into night. The stars too, whether talismans

    of light dying or just being born, behind the small birds

    arriving or staying behind, who balance gratefully

    on thin branches of the coming winter. The squirrel

    in the field, the hidden fox, the mammals under and over

    ground, find a way out of no way. The world is composed,

    is composing itself, anew even in a narrow time: flashes

    of red on a gray day just before the red-winged blackbird

    folds back in silhouette. Whatever act of kindness flies

    lands in the heart of a moment, a seasonal...

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