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Yoga Practice

When it comes down to it, yoga is all about practice—the day-to-day experience that eventually makes yoga our own. Here are tips, musings and commentary on the practice we all love!
  • 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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  • 5 Balancing Poses to Keep You On Your Feet

    Many years ago, my mother fell and broke her hip. Or maybe her hip broke and she fell. Sometimes it’s impossible to know which is the chicken and which is the egg. At any rate, the fall was almost the end of her. Long story short, after a stint in the hospital, she was progressing well in rehab. A day before she was to go back home, she went into kidney failure. Apparently, in the course of her obediently taking all her prescribed meds, the combination of so many medications was too much. Her caregivers stopped her medication completely and...

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  • Practicing Yoga No Matter What

    For 25 years I taught yoga at the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City. Eliot Hall, the church’s community space, has long been home to many of the city’s non-traditional community events. It has housed acoustic music coffeehouses on the second and fourth Fridays of every month for more than 30 years. The Humanists of Utah meet there each month. The Salt Lake Acting Company’s Utah culture spoof, Saturday’s Voyeur, was first performed in Eliot Hall. And these are just a few examples of the community-minded atmosphere at the church. The welcoming environment—along with the sprung wood dance floor—made...

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  • 3 Stabilizing Yoga Poses for a Solid Foundation

    My first exposure to yoga asanas was in a commercial when I was probably in junior high. In the commercial, a slim young woman in a leotard spoke calmly about whatever product she was promoting while moving through a series of crazy feats of flexibility. Because I was already hypermobile, it piqued my curiosity, and eventually I found the practice in the early 1980s. Like many people, I misunderstood my natural hypermobility as a plus for practicing asana. I gravitated toward the poses that my body could do easily, and eschewed the ones that were challenging. In my particular body...

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  • Over-50 Yoga: How to Make Your Yoga Practice Sustainable

    It’s that time of year again—resolution time. If you haven’t yet made a resolution—or resolutions—you’re not alone. According to an article in Forbes, only 40 percent of Americans make resolutions. Only 8 percent of Americans stick to them. Still, it’s not a bad idea to set intentions for the new year. Because this blog concerns all things yoga, I’m going to delve into yoga resolutions. And because I’m over 50, I’m going to focus on how to approach starting classes when you’re in my demographic. I began practicing in my 20s, but over the years my practice has evolved in ways...

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  • Tips for Healthy Holidays

    I’ll start out with the assumption that all good yoga practitioners will practice moderation during the holidays. But then I’ll add a dose of reality. It’s easy to slip, and honestly, it’s probably okay once in a while. My yoga and meditation teacher, Pujari Keays, used to teach that it’s good to give yourself a “goop day” once in a while. This means that it’s okay to slip off your usual healthy regimen sometimes. It’s not what you do once in a while, he said, it’s what you do most of the time that determines your overall health. Plus, stressing out...

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  • Got a Newbie On Your List? Some Beginner Yoga Gift Ideas

    Starting a new class of any kind can be intimidating. We never know what we’re in for. Lots of questions arise: Will it be too challenging—or too easy? Will I like the teacher? Will I feel comfortable? And on and on. Starting a yoga class is no different. There’s such a huge variety of yoga styles it’s hard to know what to choose. In addition, it’s one thing to start in a beginning class where everyone is on the same page. If, on the other hand, you decide to attend an ongoing class, you could definitely feel at sea in the...

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  • Standard Yoga Bolsters 3 Ways

    Last week, I blogged some suggestions for keeping your yoga practice alive when you’re traveling. Travel may be an obstacle to practice sometimes, but general life busyness can also take a toll on our yoga practice. Running through a few quick sun salutations is probably better than no practice, but it won’t necessarily sustain and restore your energies. We also need rest to balance busyness. That’s where restorative yoga comes in. Restorative yoga was developed by BKS Iyengar as a therapeutic practice to heal specific physical imbalances and to regenerate spent energy. Restorative yoga guru Judith Hanson Lasater learned about restorative...

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  • Travelasana: How to Maintain a Holiday Yoga Practice

    Today and tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day) are the biggest travel days of the year. It’s fun to reconnect with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. But sometimes, in the rush of travel and celebrations, our yoga practice takes a back seat. Often, our accommodations are less than ideal for practicing yoga. There may or may not be sufficient space, or where there is a good amount of space, it may be very public. But the rush of the holidays is really an ideal time to keep up with practice. It can help us be more mindful in our interactions with others, and...

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  • The Virtues of a Clean Yoga Mat

    It’s a nice perk when yoga studios provide yoga mats for their clients. But it’s not so nice when you can see that previous practitioners have left their sweaty mark on the mats. That’s one of many reasons why it’s smart to bring your own mat to your favorite studio. But our own personal mats aren’t above getting a little grotty either. Especially if you practice a sweaty style of yoga, your mat may need to be cleaned every day. Why? Three things: There’s the aesthetic assault of looking at a dirty mat while you’re facing downward in Downward Facing Dog (and...

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