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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • How to Choose the Best Yoga Bolsters for Your Practice

    Do you ever feel the need to just lie down and do nothing? It’s no wonder. Most of us spend most of our time working, running from one scheduled commitment to the next—either at work or at home—until we fall into bed to sleep. Or course, sleep is essential, but so is rest. And there is a difference.

    According to Judith Hanson Lasater, rest differs from sleep, at least partially because in deep sleep our brains are still being stimulated by dreaming. Dreaming, especially stressful dreaming, can create tension in our bodies. When we consciously rest, the aspects of...

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  • Stand TALL

    I’ve often wondered about my attraction to sunflowers. I think they attract me because they’re tall, bright, beautiful and come in so many varieties, very similar to people.

    What’s the connection to yoga? Stay with me, please.

    Yoga has helped me to stand tall and shine bright, like a sunflower. I came to yoga in need of dealing with my addiction to substances and my inability to think straight or sit still. Yoga has helped me with these issues and much more. When I was younger, I loved how yoga shaped my body. Now I love how yoga...

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  • Meatless Monday: Garden Pizza

    A few days ago I opened my last pint of garden tomato sauce. Last fall, I made two different kinds of sauce with overflow of my tomato crop: fresh and roasted. The jar I’m currently dipping into is fresh, and so flavorful.

    Not wanting to waste a precious drop of it, I’ve been using it in various combinations all week. My favorite treatment so far is a pizza I made on Saturday.

    I’m a longtime pizza fan, having put myself through Indiana University working as a server at Mother Bear’s Pizza Barn for four years. The job was...

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  • How to Use a Pranayama Pillow

    One of the first bolster-type pillows that Hugger Mugger made back in the 1980s was the pranayama pillow. Made to BKS Iyengar’s specifications, the pillow is designed to support the spine and expand the chest for free respiration in supine pranayama practice.

    Until the 20th century, pranayama was always practiced in a sitting position. BKS Iyengar discovered that not all his students could sustain this position easily for long periods of time.

    Using props, he designed a way for practitioners to practice lying down instead. This allowed students of all body types to practice pranayama with a neutral...

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  • Carving a Path into the Unknown

    How do you carve a path into the unknown?

    Stepping into the unknown—whether it’s a new pose or a new stage in our lives—is a challenge precisely because there are no handrails, guidelines, or previously trampled paths to point the way. You have to carve your own path.

    The first time that I left my hospital bed after surgery, I realized how much my yoga practice helps me learn how to find a path where none exists.

    That morning it felt like I’d never stepped out of bed before. But, turning mindfully to drop my legs over...

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  • Shedding the Yoga of the Past

    In July I’ll celebrate 30 years of teaching yoga and 30 years of practicing Insight Meditation. I began practicing in my mid-20s and have practiced continuously since then. A whole lot has changed over the decades.

    Yoga’s popularity has exploded in the past 15 years. And what constitutes popular yoga is completely different from what it used to be. In the ’80s and ’90s, Hatha Yoga was the most common form, with Iyengar-style practice as its most popular subset. Kundalini Yoga had a strong, but smaller following. Ashtanga was starting to get a foothold, but except for the relatively...

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  • Meatless Monday: Basmati & Black-Eyed Peas

    Last week I sang the praises of one-pot meals. Just last evening, I enjoyed a one-pot meal of spicy Indian descent from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. I got this wonderful book from my niece for Christmas a few months ago. So far, every single recipe I’ve made from it has been a winner.

    The ingredient lists of Indian recipes can look intimidating—longer than most recipes. Don’t let the list length intimidate you though. The list is longer than usual because it contains small amounts of various spices. If you mix these up beforehand, the cooking process is pretty quick.
    ...

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  • Pranayama: Linking Body and Mind

    Supine Pranayama with Pranayama Pillow and Blanket

    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali outline an eight-limbed framework for yoga practice. These limbs, in their written order, include:

    Yama: Ethical precepts, including non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, wise use of sexuality and non-greed
    Niyama: Daily practices, including cleanliness or simplicity, cultivation of contentment, commitment to practice, study of self and sacred texts, dedication of your practice to something bigger than oneself
    Asana: Physical postures
    Pranayama: Refinement of the breath
    Pratyahara: Releasing attachment to the senses
    Dharana: Concentration
    Dhyana: Meditation
    Samadhi

    While the limbs are not hierarchical—all of...

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  • Meatless Monday: Meal in a Soup Pot

    Two things I love about vegetarian cooking (besides the taste!):

    Vegetarian cooking lends itself to cooking from scratch. Because I quit eating meat in 1978 when vegetarian convenience foods were non-existent, I had to learn to cook from scratch. In the process I discovered how much I enjoy making meals from scratch, and how much better they taste than processed foods.
    Vegetarian cooking lends itself well to one-pot meals, those soups, stews, sautés and bakes that contain everything you need, but also combine well with a simple side salad.

    Today’s recipe is a brothy, but hearty, soup from...

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  • Setting Intention

    Make a Vision Board!

    Many of us set intentions before we begin our yoga practice, start a new year, or even at a new moon. According to Webster, intention is a determination to act in a certain way, a resolve.

    You may have heard of the Sanskrit term Sankalpa, which has been described to me as a vow or commitment, so it’s a bit stronger than an intention. Many times I have heard the two used interchangeably. No worries though; choose the word that feels best for you.

    My life experiences, whether it...

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