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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • Use Yoga Blocks in Intense Side Stretch

    Use Yoga Blocks for Extra Length and Ease
    Parsvottanasana, aka Intense Side Stretch, stretches your hamstrings as it lengthens your spine. It stabilizes and challenges your balancing abilities and energizes your legs.

    However, sometimes the relationship between the hamstrings and back needs to be brought into balance. For most of us, moving too far forward in the pose will cause the back to round and the front torso to contract. There is a variation that allows the front body to rest on the front leg, but for most of us, the greatest, most expansive benefit comes from keeping your torso long, parallel...

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  • Yoga Culture: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

    Yoga Culture: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
    In the past few days, I had the good fortune to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions. I presented both a yoga class and a musical performance there, and attended quite a few panels and workshops.

    Leading panels and workshops were Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Humanists, Agnostics and Atheists. The purpose of the Parliament was to bring people of all faiths—or no faith—together to talk about how to solve very real issues in our world: climate change, environmental degradation, human rights and the promotion of peace. Every single...

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  • Meatless Monday: Quince, Fall Fruit of the Ancients

    Meatless Monday: Try Something New—Quince

    For me, autumn means quince—lots of it.

    Never tried it? You’re not alone. I probably wouldn’t know much about it if I didn’t have a very prolific Portuguese quince tree in my back yard. The large, five-petaled quince blossoms are stunning, but what can you do with a fuzzy, oddly shaped, hard-as-a-rock fruit that you can’t eat raw? As it turns out, a lot—both sweet and savory. In case you’re not familiar, here’s what I’ve learned:
    Quince Has a History
    Quince is one of the oldest cultivated fruits on the planet. Its roots can be traced back to a...

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  • Shore Up Your Bridge Pose with a Yoga Block

    Restorative Bridge Pose with a Yoga Block
    Setubandhasana (Bridge Pose) is an all-around beneficial pose for counteracting the most prevalent poses we practice in our daily lives. You know the ones: hunching over a desk or a steering wheel, slouching in comfy chairs.

    Most of what we do every day involves flexing our hip joints and leaning forward, which shortens the front body and weakens the back body. When practiced actively, Bridge Pose is an accessible, easy pose that stimulates and strengthens the back body and expands the front body.

    Practiced passively, with the support of a Yoga Block, Bridge Pose not only...

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  • How Do You Find a Yoga Mentor?

    What is a Yoga Mentor?
    A few weeks ago I got to revisit the retreat center that became my spiritual home in 1986. I don’t remember how many retreats I’ve attended there, but I do remember there were some 10-day, a 21-day and four 30-day silent retreats. In addition I’ve sat a five-day and at least three seven-day retreats. I’ve also spent up to a dozen weekends there in retreat.

    You’ve probably never heard of the place. It’s called The Last Resort, and is nestled in the mountains east of Cedar City, Utah. If you haven’t heard of it, it has nothing...

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  • Meatless Monday: Waffles for Dinner

    Meatless Monday: Savory Corn Waffles with Salsa, Guacamole and Feta
    The unseasonably warm fall has been a boon to my tomato patch. Most years, tomatoes stop ripening toward the end of September. This year, with daytime temps in the 80s, my tomatoes are still ripening. This means that they’re still wonderful raw.

    Yesterday I decided to make fresh salsa and fresh guacamole with my fresh tomatoes. I wanted the salsa and guacamole to be part of a dinner, rather than simply an accompaniment for chips. Of course, I could have made burritos, tostadas or tacos as I have in the past. But...

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  • Yoga Blocks 3 Ways

    3 Great Ways to Use Yoga Blocks
    Yoga Blocks are one of the most essential tools in yoga practice. They give support, keep our joints aligned and allow us to breathe freely. Yoga Blocks were originally developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, who was well known for his insistence on alignment integrity. The three dimensions of standard-sized Yoga Blocks (4" x 6" x 9") were determined by Mr. Iyengar to offer the best choices for stability and versatility.

    Hugger Mugger designed our first Yoga Blocks back in the 1980s according to Iyengar’s specifications. Since then, we’ve pioneered the use of softer and lighter materials...

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  • Meatless Monday: Quinoa Salad with Zucchini and Herbs

    Meatless Monday: Protein-Rich Quinoa Salad
    Food always tastes better when you’re paying attention. Such was the case when I was on a silent mindfulness meditation retreat a couple weeks ago. The dinners at The Last Resort retreat center are stellar. They’re cooked with joy and served with love by Abhilasha Keays, whose culinary talents just keep blossoming.

    One of the new recipes that Abhilasha shared on the recent retreat is a quinoa salad with zucchini and herbs. She sent me the bones of the recipe and then told me how she played with it. I enjoyed the same improvisational spirit as I...

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  • How to Choose the Best Yoga Blocks

    Bamboo Yoga Block (top), Recycled Foam Yoga Block (left), 4-Inch Foam Yoga Block (right)

    Choose the Yoga Blocks that Fit Your Yoga Practice
    The first time I used Yoga Blocks 30-some years ago I can’t say I loved the experience. The blocks were very heavy—solid pine—and had sharp edges that dug into my skin. They were also very slippery. The chances of dropping them on toes—and causing significant damage—were high. Plus my ego resisted using something I thought of back then as a crutch.

    All that has changed. My small studio has 50 Yoga Blocks stored in its prop...

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  • Meatless Monday: Piquant Panzanella

    Meatless Monday: Be Creative with Panzanella Salad
    For several summers in a row, I’ve attended meditation retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. It is always a joy—a “coming home”—for me to be able to sit, walk and be in silence for a week or two. In addition to the joy of practice, I seem to have lucked out on practicing in places where the meals are stellar. I often come home from retreats at both The Last Resort and Spirit Rock with new recipe ideas.

    One meal that inspired further exploration happened at Spirit Rock three summers ago. I had a vague...

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