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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • How Green is Your Yoga Practice?

    It’s St. Patrick’s Day. As I contemplated how to tie yoga practice to the holiday, I came up a bit short. There’s no Shamrock Pose or Leprechaun Pose. It’s true that we’re “lucky” to enjoy a yoga practice, but that’s a bit general. I settled on today’s color: green. There’s the “wearin’ o’ the green.” Wearing something green is easy, but certainly not specific to yoga practice. How about using a green yoga mat? That’s stretching things a bit, so to speak. I’m instead going to discuss a different meaning of “green.” Green is another word for “sustainable.” In  yoga...

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  • Meatless Monday: Lentil Minestrone

    Soup is a standby in my house. I love that it all comes together in one pot. I also love that the aroma of a slow-simmering soup permeates my whole house. And maybe most of all, I love that it usually tastes better the next day, when the flavors have had a chance to integrate. Today’s soup is a whole meal in a soup pot. It’s got everything—lots of veggies and lentils for protein. The recipe came from my fave cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. I’ve made this soup many, many times. It is always tasty and...

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  • Save Your Wrists in Sun Salutations

    Vinyasa, based in Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations), is arguably the most popular form of yoga these days. From traditional Ashtanga—where the idea for Vinyasa came from—to newer forms such as Power, flowing from one pose to the next is the standard in many classes. Inherent in most of these flowing practices is a core sequence: Plank Pose to Chaturanga Dandasana to Urdva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog) to Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog). In many classes practitioners move through this sequence 20-plus times. In all these poses, the upper body bears a big slice of the responsibility for supporting...

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  • Yoga Practice Rugs — Not Just for Ashtangis

    Ashtanga Yoga, developed by the late Patabhi Jois, is the foundation for many current popular yoga styles. Vinyasa styles such as Power Yoga and Flow Yoga were inspired by Ashtanga’s continuously flowing sun salutation variations. While most practitioners use nonskid yoga mats for stability, in Ashtanga practice, Yoga Practice Rugs are the standard. Here’s Why Ashtangis Love Yoga Practice Rugs In Ashtanga, it is traditional to jump from one pose to the next in some parts of the sequences. Practicing jump-throughs on a nonskid mat can be hazardous if your foot—or feet—stick to your mat mid-jump. Ashtanga Yoga is a...

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  • Meatless Monday: Lentils and Caramelized Celeriac

    Have you ever seen celery root (aka celeriac) in a produce section and wondered what the heck it is? Or why would anyone want to eat such a funky-looking veggie? I have. But that was then and this is now. I’ve used celery root in a number of recipes. Even though I’m not a huge fan of celery, celeriac’s milder, earthier taste has grown on me the more I’ve worked with it. A while back I posted a recipe for a gourmet soup featuring celery root. Today, I’ll share a recipe for a protein-packed salad featuring a caramelized version of...

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  • Pranayama Bolster: Not Just for Pranayama

    Do you practice pranayama? The fourth limb of yoga—coming just after asana—pranayama is an essential part of Hatha Yoga practice. Practicing with attention to the breath is one of the things that separates yoga from other physical disciplines. Pranayama is a slow build. Unlike asana, where people often feel immediate results, breathing practice integrates more gradually. For this reason, many practitioners lose interest. Plus, it can be very frustrating. It can be harder than you’d think to take a deep, satisfying breath. Breathing deeply is especially challenging when we’re sitting. That’s why BKS Iyengar devised a way to practice lying...

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  • V-Shaped Meditation Cushion for Comfort

    Round meditation cushions—zafus—are standard fare in most yoga and meditation spaces. For many people, these cushions do the job. They elevate the pelvis to make it easier to sit with a relaxed, straight spine. But for some, especially for those with hip joints that easily externally rotate, the contact point where your thighs hang off the edge of the cushion can get uncomfortable, especially in long sittings. That’s why Hugger Mugger designed the V-Shaped Meditation Cushion. How do you know if you have hip joints that externally rotate easily? Sit on a folded blanket (3-5 inches thick). Are your knees...

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  • Urdhva Dhanurasana: Wheel of Energy

    Backbends are one of yoga practice’s great gifts. Because our daily lives don’t require a lot of backbending, doing some sort of backbend every day is a way to balance our forward-folded lives. Plus they’re energizing and just plain fun. Backbends take many forms, from smaller backbends such as Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) to full-body backbends such as Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow), the subject of this post. All of them can be beneficial to our bodies. They mobilize our spines, lengthen our front bodies and strengthen our back bodies. In Yoga International, teacher Rod Stryker writes: “Urdhva Dhanurasana increases the vital...

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  • How Yoga Sandbags Can Help You Deepen Practice

    Sometimes just the right adjustment from a trusted teacher brings about a breakthrough in your practice. A gentle tug on your shoulders in a back bend can open up new breathing space. Or a gentle weight on your upper thighs in Supine Hero’s Pose can relieve back strain. But our teachers don’t join us in our home practice. How can we enjoy the same kind of opening and release when we practice alone? Yoga Sandbags can help. Yoga Sandbags are a longtime staple in Iyengar Yoga practice. Like other familiar yoga props such as blocks, straps and bolsters, Yoga Sandbags...

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  • Meatless Monday: Roasted Carrots

    I love carrots no matter how they’re served. I especially like fresh, raw garden carrots. They have been a staple in my cooking for years, in soups, salads and stews. But I’ve rarely given them star status. They’ve always been an integral part of a recipe, but never the main event. I recently acquired a new cookbook, The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson. It’s a fun read, with simple recipes, photos—always a plus—and appealing artwork throughout. One simple recipe that looked intriguing on first perusal was a recipe titled Red Roasted Carrots. I tried it this week and it was...

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