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Yoga Commentary

Yoga is in the news all the time these days. When we read opinion pieces online, we like to jump into the conversation. Feel free to jump in too!
  • 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...

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  • Are Yoga and Western Medicine Incompatible?

    Supported Backbend When Yoga and Western Medicine Can Work Together In the past few days, an article by a yoga teacher named Hemalayaa has been making the Facebook rounds via bloggers such as it’s all yoga, baby, YogaDawg and Linda-Sama Karl, among others. The author of the article expresses shock and disappointment at the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications by yoga teachers who, she opines, are just taking a “happy pill” rather than doing the hard work of dealing with their issues. She then offers suggestions as to how to get yourself over the hump of depression, such...

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  • Teaching Yoga: On Hip Joints and Humility

    Eka Pada Rajakapotasana—A Pose from the Distant Past Teaching Yoga: The Wisdom of Humility For the past two years I’ve had the privilege of attending retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center led by Joseph Goldstein. Co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, Goldstein has written or co-written—with the likes of the Dalai Lama, among others—11 classic books on mindfulness practice. His voice has been a constant in my three decades of mindfulness practice. On silent vipassana retreats with my mentors, Pujari and Abhilasha Keays, we listened to Goldstein every day. This adds up to 200-plus hours of listening time for...

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  • Why Listening to Your Body Might Not Be Enough

    Listening to Your Body is Important, But So is An Experienced Teacher If you practice yoga, you’ve probably heard the entreaty, “Listen to your body.” It’s good, sound advice. When you embark on any physical practice, it’s important to know and respect your body’s limits. Those limits can change over time, of course, but tuning in and listening to your body and what it’s trying to communicate to you each time you practice is essential not only to your body’s health, but to the growth of your practice. How else can you really know the effects of an asana? As...

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  • Why Bendy People Might Not Make the Best Yoga Teachers

    Trikonasana How the Struggle Teaches Yoga Teachers How to Teach Years ago, I heard a famous quote embellished in the film, Annie Hall. In the film Woody Allen said, “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach gym.” (Allen’s embellishment is the second sentence.) It was meant to diss teachers, especially gym teachers I guess, but in my three decades of yoga practice and teaching, I’ve come to understand this quote in a completely different way. I was born with a very loose-knit body. My dad was a gymnast, and I inherited his hypermobile body. So when...

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  • Another Way of Looking at Body Positive Yoga

    Body Positive Yoga - Why Yoga Really is All About the Body “It is through the body that everything comes to the mind. It is through and with your body that you have to reach realization of being a spark of divinity. How can we neglect the temple of the spirit?” — B.K.S. Iyengar (Sparks of Divinity, Rodmell Press) When I first read this quote years ago I interpreted this way: It is through our practice of asana, at those times when we lose the struggle and become the asana, that we see into our true nature, the undefined spaciousness...

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  • Body-Positive Yoga: The Aging Yoga Body

    Body-positive yoga is gaining ground. As we start to welcome all shapes, sizes, races and genders, here's a plug for celebrating our aging bodies too.

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  • In Praise of Older Yoga Teachers

    Why Older Yoga Teachers Have a Lot to Offer—If You Take the Time to See It Truth be told, this post has been brewing in me for a while. But today when author and yoga blogger extraordinaire Carol Horton posted this blog on Facebook, I finally decided it was time. (Please note that Carol didn’t write this blog; she found it and posted it for discussion.) Let me start with this disclaimer: I am an older yoga teacher. I’m 58 years old and have been teaching for 27 years. So you may choose to filter this blog through the lens...

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  • Cheap Yoga Deals: How Does the Yoga Community Benefit from Them?

    Cheap Yoga Deals:  How Does the Yoga Community Benefit from Them? Everybody loves a deal—everybody. That includes me. I can easily be sucked into buying something I don’t need just because it’s deeply discounted. Who knows? I might actually need that discounted thing someday. Might as well get it now while it’s such a great price! About four years ago, the internet exploded with deals. Sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial, as well as Google and Amazon began offering deep discounts for all sorts of goods—from clothing to haircare products—and services—from restaurants, hotels and spas to various training programs...

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  • Got Emotion? Yoga Can Help — But Not in the Way You Think

    Got Emotion? Yoga Can Help — But Not in the Way You Think I feel fortunate. I got to grow up in a time and with a generation that has dominated Western culture since we were but wee sprouts. I’m part of the baby boom generation, and even though this vast swath of American culture is steadily and inexorably moving into senior status, I still feel very lucky. We had the Beatles and the cultural tsumani they unleashed. We were in eye of the civil rights hurricane. We were the generation that awakened to the reality that war is not...

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