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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • Meatless Monday: An Unusual, but Magical Combination

    When I first saw this recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, I was intrigued. I wasn't sure how this unusual combination of flavors would come together. But once I made it, I knew it would be a regular in my recipe canon.

    I first made this soup probably seven or eight years ago, and I’ve made it many times since then. It’s my partner, Phillip’s, all-time favorite soup. It’s one of the few recipes I haven’t altered in some way. It’s perfectly balanced just as it’s written.

    I’ve used white, red and black quinoa in this recipe. Using black quinoa...

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  • Relax Your Back in Forward Bends

    Forward bends are an integral part of asana practice. Bodies folded in half “like a jack knife” are iconic images in the yoga photo canon, and loose hamstrings are often considered to be essential to being a “good” yogi. (I quibble with this, but that’s another post!)

    Because of the wide variations in body structures, many—probably most—people will never touch nose to knee with straight legs. This is not a problem. Yoga practice was never meant to be about performance.

    The good news is, forward bends confer other benefits beyond hamstring stretching. Forward bending is calming and grounding, and it is much...

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  • Meatless Monday: Carrot-Cashew Soup

    Meatless Monday: Carrot-Cashew Soup
    In past Meatless Monday blogs, I’ve extolled the virtues of the wonderful home-cooked food at the place where I’ve practiced silent vipassana meditation for the past 30 years. Today I’ll share my all-time favorite: Carrot-Cashew Soup.

    Abhilasha Keays, teacher and cook at The Last Resort in Duck Creek, Utah, makes sharing meals at the retreat center feel like a privilege, preparing each meal with fresh, organic ingredients and infusing the food with her love of cooking.

    The Last Resort is the first place where I ate soup for breakfast. While it’s a bit out of the ordinary, the soup...

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  • What Yoga Is and Is Not

    As yoga’s popularity has exploded in the past 15 or so years, there are a whole lot of new yoga styles and modalities have sprung into existence. In addition to Hatha, Kundalini, Iyengar, Viniyoga and Ashtanga, the styles that have proliferated in the U.S. since the 1960s, there are the “yoga ands,” hybrid practices such as yogalates and paddleboard yoga. And then there are the Ashtanga spinoffs such as Power Yoga, and the Bikram spinoffs such as Hot Yoga. Modalities such as Viniyoga, trauma-sensitive yoga and Yoga Therapy cater to individual needs.

    All these different styles have widened yoga’s appeal, and...

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  • Teaching Yoga: Replenishing Your Energy

    In the past two weeks the pile of unopened mail in my kitchen has grown taller and more unruly. Every so often I try to neaten its edges but I have done nothing to reduce its size. It’s not that I don’t want to; it just hasn’t risen high enough on my list to do anything about it. I’ve pulled out all the bills, but the extracurricular literature—magazines I hope to read sooner or later—remains neglected.

    The current mountain is an accumulated backlog resulting from my taking a weekend off to attend a music festival in San Francisco. The lofty heap...

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  • Yoga Teaching: The Wisdom of Not Knowing

    This morning a student asked me what should have been a simple question: What should I be feeling in this position?

    A minute or so later, I’d given her the best non-answer I could. Why a non-answer? First, I’m not inside her body. I can’t know what she’s feeling. Second, there are many, many variations on what she could be feeling depending upon where the resistance is in her body. Finally, we are all put together differently, and we’ve all cultivated different habits in our bodies over the decades. No one’s asana practice will ever be exactly like another’s. For that...

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  • Practicing Yoga: Moving Into Stillness

    Practicing Yoga, Quieting the Monkey Mind
    “When the mind is steady, we can see a little truth. When the mind is disturbed, we can't see anything.” Swami Kripalu

    Before I started practicing yoga, my mind would run in different directions at once, thoughts pulling one way, then another, making it hard to concentrate, hard to focus, hard to stay in the moment or even recognize the moment that I was missing.

    But then I stepped onto my mat and began my asana practice, and something about the movement of my body on my mat helped me find my way into stillness in...

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  • Teaching Yoga: Lifting the Veils

    How Teaching Yoga Uncovers Your True Self
    As a lifelong teacher, whether it be science, health or yoga, I love and appreciate the trust that people give me in my teaching. I take that very seriously. Patanjali tells us in the very first Yoga Sutra-1.1 अथ योगनुससनुं atha yoganusasanum that when we begin the study of yoga, both teacher and student commit to the practice, the teachings and to each other. More than an intention, it is a sacred vow that both are to honor.

    Through this commitment I get to experience the change my students have over time and they get...

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  • Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Cassoulet

    Try this Hearty Vegetarian Cassoulet for Meatless Monday
    Since I stopped eating meat in 1978, vegetarian cuisine has continuously become more creative and exciting. Turning traditional meat-laden recipes into meat-free meals is part of the fun of vegetarian cooking. As a person who was never a fan of meat, I find vegetarian versions of traditional meaty recipes to feel fresh and complex compared to their heavier counterparts. Without the more assertive flavor of meat, all the other ingredients get a chance to shine.

    Because I was never enamored of meat, I don’t feel a need to use products that mimic meat. However...

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  • Inspire Your Yoga Practice with Mindfulness

    If You’re Bored with Yoga Practice, You’re Not Paying Attention
    How many times would you guess you’ve practiced Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)? Or how about Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)? Pick any one of yoga’s staple asanas and you may have placed your body in its requisite shape hundreds or even thousands of times. Does it ever feel like the same old, same old? How is it that some people can nurture a yoga practice for 30, 40, 50 years or more and not be completely bored with it?

    Whatever kind of asana you practice, keeping your yoga practice interesting can...

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