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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog
Spiritual Arrogance: The More People Doing [My Practice] the Better
I have a neighbor who is perhaps the kindest, most generous and considerate person I have ever met. George spends a lot of time outside, working on his house and in his yard. I’m always glad to see him. Even if I don’t interact with him, I smile at his presence, knowing that it’s a good thing for the world that he is in it, spreading good will to everyone around him. He doesn’t have to try. After so many years of practicing kindness... read more
Yoga Tunes - Yoga with a Surrey with a Fringe On Top
“A Surrey with a Fringe On Top,” that wonderful and dreamy song that Gordon MacRae sings to Shirley Jones in Oklahoma, is perfectly suited for sun salutations, at least in my world and, on occasion, in the yoga classes I teach.
Having grown up in a 1960s household in which my mother played show tunes while spraying Lemon Pledge on every wooden surface, I developed an early attachment to sweeping overtures and sentimental ballads. Show tunes were generally the soundtrack to my constant daydreaming. I would walk down the hall...read more
Do You Shortchange Your Savasana?
Decades ago I attended an early morning—6:00 to 7:00 am—asana class for a few months. While I’m not a natural morning person, I attended the class because it was one of only three each week that my favorite teachers offered. The class was usually vigorous, as morning classes often are. While I enjoyed the opportunity to start my day with asana practice, I always felt a bit agitated and ungrounded when I left the class. Sometimes I even felt a little nauseated. Being a novice of only a few... read more
Who Does Yoga? If You Can Breathe, You Can Do Yoga
At least once a week I have a conversation with someone that goes like this:
Them: What do you do for a living?
Me: I teach yoga.
Them: Oh I would love to do yoga but I am totally not flexible.
The idea that yoga requires flexibility and strength is one perpetuated by the media, by the increased number of classes with the word “power” before them, and the definition of yoga as “asana.” Individuals who could seriously benefit from spending some time on a yoga mat stay...read more
Walking Your Talk: Are You a Yoga Show Off?read more
One of the things I really loved about yoga practice from the get-go was the fact that it is not meant to be competitive. My early teachers were all quick to emphasize that comparing yourself to your neighbors is not helpful. As a decidedly Type B introvert, I found this to be a relief. We Type B introverts do not always fare well in a world that celebrates getting ahead. We’re just not as good at it as our Type A friends, and when it’s not in your nature to strive it...
Why I Teach Old-School Yoga
I began practicing yoga in 1982 at a modest studio behind the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. The teacher was June Bains, a trim, 60-something woman whose studio space had pink, plush carpet and no yoga mats, music or art on the walls. Still, it was a dedicated yoga space, something that was quite rare in those days.
What made me fall in love with yoga was the profound peace I felt when I left the class. After my very first class, I remember getting into my car and turning it on...read more
Spring Yoga - A Poem by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
Pre-Vernal Yoga Class
Look at the tips of branches: green buds almost ready
The grass newly shaggy. Bundles of miniature hands,
pale purple, just opening their palms into lilac.
The damp sky wants to evaporate itself pure blue.
The four women in this mid-day yoga class want
to soar into strong arrows and subtle warriors
but it’s still pre-vernal: everything, everyone
just on the edge of bursting out of the narrow shoots
of winter’s sharp metal to become bodies again.
Each breath, another space before space is filled out.
Each stretch, another breaking out of the singular.
Each bird landing...read more
MC Yogi Rocks Urban Flow Yoga
As soon as I found out I was heading to San Francisco for a work event, I looked into taking another class from Rusty Wells at Urban Flow Yoga. “If Rusty Wells started a cult, chances are I’d join it,” someone named Khanjera tweeted recently. If I lived in San Francisco, I’d probably be a regular at Urban Yoga for Rusty’s deep, sweaty, lovey and chanting-infused classes. Rusty wasn’t on the schedule that day, but MC Yogi was subbing for him! Sweet!
Urban Flow Yoga is...read more
Vasisthasana: Balancing Outside Your Comfort Zone
If you practice yoga, you probably favor some poses over others. Most of us like the poses that are easy for us as well as the ones that show off our strengths. The others, not so much. At some point in my 30 years of practice, almost every pose that’s been within my reach has held favorite status for me, at least for a while. Since every pose influences the mind-body in a different way at life’s different junctures, all yoga’s asanas have fallen... read more
Integrity Matters: Who is Your Yoga Teacher—Really?
Last week I went to a funky roadhouse called The Garage on Beck to listen to some friends who play jazz there on Thursday nights. I happened to join a table that included a friend I hadn’t seen in years. This friend is a longtime Zen practitioner of 20 years, until the center where he practiced imploded in early 2011 due to sexual impropriety on the part of its leader.
My friend told me how after 20 years of committed practice, his teacher’s lapse in integrity has soured him on...read more