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  • Expand the Heart with These 3 Yoga Poses

    When we use the term “open-hearted” what comes to mind is a person whose kindness extends to all. We can develop an open heart by practicing qualities such as those listed in the yoga sutras. These include kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity. We can also open our physical heart space in our asana practice. Practicing poses that mobilize and expand the rib cage help us maintain mobility and spaciousness in that area. The rib cage is the structure that houses the heart. Mobilizing the thoracic spine, to which the ribs are attached, is the most effective way to create...

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  • Give Your Body Some Gratitude

    The past few years have given me a bit of a wake-up call. My body, which has always been very low maintenance, has been sending me a big message: “Stop taking me for granted!” Almost two years ago, my left hip was replaced because of hip displaysia. I’ve long known it was only a matter of time for my right hip. Now the time has come. In another week, I'll have a new, titanium hip joint to match the other one. On the first day of an 18-day meditation retreat I at Spirit Rock Meditation Center last summer, I received...

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  • Grounding Your Yoga Practice

    In 1989, I went to Pune, India, to study with Geeta and BKS Iyengar. A group of 30-some dedicated practitioners from around the U.S. joined senior teacher Mary Dunn for a three-week intensive. I gravitated toward a group of teachers who all stayed at the same $10 per night hotel—which I’m sure is not nearly that good of a deal these days. In the evenings, we’d gather on one of our balconies and discuss our day of classes. A theme that kept arising in our discussions was disappointment in the absence of “advanced” poses in our asana classes. Most wanted...

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  • Trying Hot Yoga? Here Are Some Tips

    As the year comes to a close, most of us have one major priority: finding just the right gift for each person on our list. A close second could be finding a way to maintain fitness while navigating the season’s traditional celebration of copious amounts of food. The key is to remember to move our bodies, even as we enjoy our holiday treats. But the weather can be a bit nippy for a brisk walk. So why not warm up AND move your body by trying a Hot Yoga class? Most Hot Yoga classes take place in a room heated...

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  • At Peace with Change

    It’s hard not to feel betrayed by your body when you get sick. I’m not talking about getting a cold or the flu, severe allergies, chicken pox, measles or mumps, although these conditions pose challenges of their own. It’s when you find yourself facing a life-changing illness—cancer, say, or renal failure, or a host of neuro-muscular disorders—that you might think of life’s changes as unfair. And if you practice yoga, you may feel betrayed by the changes in your body, as well as by the very practice that you expected to keep you healthy. This sense of betrayal is rooted...

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  • Teaching From Your Intuition

    I started teaching in 1990. I didn’t know much about reading the energy of the room or listening to intuition. In my first position, I worked with some very challenging young people and cried most days. My principal told me that if I could teach there, I could teach anywhere, and he was right. As the years passed, the students didn’t get easier yet my ability to handle anything that came up got better and easier. Eventually I became a mentor teacher; I realized that it was imperative for teachers to connect with their intuition and trust what they know...

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  • The Hugger Mugger Catalog: A History

    Back in 1986, when Sara Chambers founded Hugger Mugger Yoga Products, she couldn’t have predicted its future. From its humble beginnings of a single strap and pair of shorts, the company has cultivated a worldwide community. In order to build that community, Sara knew she had to get the word out. Back then, the flagship for any mail-order business was their catalog. But how to begin? Sara and I knew each other from public classes she attended and I assisted. At the time, my day job was as a darkroom technician for a photographer, Butch Adams. Sara enlisted me to...

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  • A Quality Life Community: Yogic Service for Cancer Survivors

    Yoga for Cancer Survivors at Sundance Resort October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. From now until December 31st, your Hugger Mugger purchases will benefit A Quality Life Community (QLC). Founded as a resource for cancer survivors and their families, QLC provides complementary support—including free yoga classes at six different Utah locations. The organization’s founder, Amy Conn, sent us the message below, sharing her experience as a cancer survivor and her inspiration to found this wonderful organization: by Amy Conn A Quality Life Community celebrates our cancer survivors every day, but in October we get the opportunity to not only...

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  • Writing Yoga: Empty Mat, Empty Page

    Before I begin, the emptiness seems so vast, and my thoughts and actions seem so small, so insignificant, that they hardly seem worth pursuing. Where should I begin? With cat and dog tilts? Mountain pose? Forward bends? And what should I write? Can I describe the discomfort? The emptiness? The insignificance of these actions? Amazingly, though, once I step on the mat or open my journal, these fears evaporate, and the emptiness disappears, too, no longer a vast vacuum waiting to swallow me up. Instead, I find myself excited by the prospect of discovering something new in a place that...

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  • Celebrate Pumpkin Seeds!

    Which came first: the pumpkin or the pumpkin seed? It’s one of those great mysteries we may never be able to answer. What we do know is that in terms of receiving national honors, National Pumpkin Seed Day (today) precedes National Pumpkin Day, which we’ll celebrate every year on October 26th. We also know that pumpkins and their seeds have been around a long time. Native to the Americas, the oldest evidence of pumpkin-related seeds were found in Mexico, and date back to somewhere between 7000 and 5500 BCE. Eat Your Pumpkin Seeds! In addition, we know that pumpkin seeds—aka...

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