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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

Celebrate The Journey

  • Uttanasana: Expand Your Breath

    Whether yoga practice can actually “detox” our bodies is controversial. Hot Yoga systems claim that sweating is a powerful way to detox. Physiologists dispute this, saying that perspiration is meant to cool the body, not detoxify it. While trace amounts of heavy metals have been found in sweat, detoxing is not the primary purpose of perspiration. Other systems in our bodies, they argue, are more responsible for detoxification. These include the filtering action of the kidneys, the detox processes in the liver, the elimination processes in the intestines and every exhalation we take. We practice yoga asanas (poses) to free...

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  • Meatless Monday: Broccoli-Squash Vegan Pizza

    In the past 20 years or so, the popular definition of pizza has changed radically. I first noticed it when pizza bakers started using pesto instead of tomato sauce as a base. From there it turned radical—pad thai pizza, carrot butter pizza, taco pizza—you get the picture. While I love traditional tomato-based pies, I also enjoy trying something different. The day I made this pizza I was craving a pizza with cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). A few months ago, I tried a sauce-free kale and cannellini bean pizza, probably the least traditional pie I’ve tried so far. Today’s Meatless...

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  • Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward Facing Dog Pose

    Adho Mukha Svanasana, commonly known as Downward Facing Dog Pose or simply Dog Pose, is arguably the most ubiquitous of poses. Yoga teacher Donna Farhi calls it the “‘garlic’ of yoga poses—a panacea for whatever ails you.” Adho Mukha Svanasana is simultaneously an inversion, an arm balance, a forward bend and a restorative pose. It opens your shoulders, strengthens your arms, lengthens your spine, stretches your legs, inverts your internal organs and nourishes your brain. It invigorates and calms. For dogs and cats, Dog Pose is the equivalent of a morning cuppa, a remedy that clears sleep-induced physical and mental...

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  • 6 Yoga Poses to Expand Your Heart

    Have you ever been in a yoga class when someone (maybe you) experienced a spontaneous emotional event? Sometimes, especially in intensive workshop situations, a new physical opening may trigger an emotional opening. The Eastern medical model posits that emotions are stored in specific organs. Here’s a list of organs and their corresponding emotions, according to Chinese medicine: Heart, small intestine: Joy Spleen, stomach: Worry, over thinking Lungs, large intestine: Sadness Kidneys, bladder: Fear Liver, gall bladder: Anger The theory is, when we stretch and squeeze the tissues around these organs, the emotions stored there can be unleashed. There haven’t been...

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  • Meatless Monday: Vegan Jambalaya

    You’ve heard the song. You know, the joyful Hank Williams Sr. rave-up that dozens of artists have recorded. But what exactly is jambalaya? The word “jambalaya” comes from the Provençal word jambalaia, meaning a “mish mash” or “mixup.” In culinary terms, I’d say this is pretty accurate. While there are necessary ingredients—celery, onions, peppers and rice—jambalaya is a meal-in-a-pot with grain, veggies, and traditionally, meat. Of course, this blog focuses on meatless Monday meals. So I went about looking for a good vegan jambalaya recipe to share. I found lots of different takes on the traditional dish. This tells me...

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  • Natarajasana: Shiva’s Dance

    In Indian mythology, the shape-shifting god Shiva famously assumes the form of a dancer at times. Being a god, however, Shiva is not just any dancer. He is, in fact, the literal Lord of the Dance, Nataraj, from the Sanskrit natar-rajan, or “dance king.” In this rollicking form, Shiva is often depicted encircled in flames, four arms flung in all directions, one foot crushing a small, misshapen figure that represents ignorance, while the other kicks out in enlightened joy. Shiva dances to destroy, and he destroys in order to create. In Shiva’s dance, sublimating the veil of ignorance brings about...

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  • Flax, Herbal or Beads—What’s the Best Eyebag Filling for You?

    They may seem small and humble, but eyebags are a powerful tool for promoting relaxation. Whether you’re practicing yoga asana or just needing a five-minute break, resting with an eyebag can help smooth the jagged edges in your nervous system. An article in Yoga Journal claims that applying gentle pressure to the eyeballs promotes deep rest, and even happiness: “Light pressure on the eyeballs lowers heart rate, sometimes by quite a bit, by eliciting what’s called the oculocardiac reflex. It also stimulates the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve has an extensive resume: It regulates heart rate and digestion, and it’s...

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  • Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Steak

    When I was growing up, the rare occasions when we would have steak were always cause for celebration. My Depression-era parents rarely sprung for expensive cuts of meat, but when they did it was always noted and appreciated. By everyone except me. I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. I didn’t care much for any kind of meat, but I really couldn’t stand steak. Nothing about it was appealing—the heaviness, the texture, the aggressiveness of the flavor. The fact that it was a big deal in my family made me feel clueless, but I couldn’t argue with my...

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  • Supported Bridge Pose: A Bridge to Healing

    In 1989, I went to India to study with B.K.S. Iyengar and his daughter Geeta. Studying yoga in India was an eye-opening experience. While there are many, many great teachers in other parts of the world, there is something about practicing in the place where yoga began. The rhythm of life in India is just so different from that of the West. I don’t know how to describe it without sounding New Agey, so I’ll leave it at this: I’ll just say that it was an immersive experience—definitely tangible, but also indescribable. On the more practical side, it’s undeniable that...

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  • Sukhasana: Easy Pose? Not Necessarily

    The definition of Yoga, according to Alistair Shearer’s translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, is “the settling of the mind into silence.” Asana (the physical practice)—like all the other aspects of yoga—is meant to support the settling of the mind. Some sutra scholars believe that asana was originally conceived to be just the simple sitting posture for meditation, Sukhasana (Easy Pose). All the other poses were developed to prepare the body for Sukhasana. Despite its name, Easy Pose, as anyone who’s practiced meditation likely knows, when you sit in Sukhasana for any length of time, it is anything but easy...

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