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Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

Self correcting…

I was wrong (or at least only half right). When I wrote about Svadhyaya about a year-and-a-half ago, I did reveal the big yoga truth about this elusive Niyama. (You’ll have to read the blog to find out…but it’s not what you think. Really.). Within the concept of Svadhyaya lies the practice itself and in so…

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the truth hurts

i’m 47. i know it’s generally not smiled upon for a woman to shout her age to the hilltops, but smile away. there are things i can control in this life–my attitude, my diet, my practice–and there are things i can’t. aging is way up there with the things i can’t. honestly, i wear my…

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yoga for butterflies

it must be pretty comfortable to be a caterpillar. you get to wrap yourself up in a warm, soft cocoon and sleep for ages. pretty much my world’s greatest fantasy. but then…there’s a choice. you can stay cuddled in your comfy cocoon for the rest of your life until you die, or you can wake…

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oh! my!! god!!!

we’ve all been there. something terrible–or seemingly terrible–happens and we suddenly become very religious. we pray and pray to a god we only really talk to when something terrible (or seemingly terrible) happens. we promise him we will never sin again if he just fixes this one problem. we’ll give 100% of our income to…

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there are no bad decisions…

when you look back upon your life, there’s a good chance that you can pick out the good decisions from the bad. breaking up with your abusive boyfriend, good. breaking up with the love of your life, bad. leaving a dead-end job, good. leaving a fabulous job for hopes of better, bad. jumping into your…

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because, cecil the lion.

warning. you may be personally offended by this blog post. sorry. it’s actually time to get off your high lion, step back and truly examine the concept of ahimsa. i have to admit, i have not seen the viral video of a dentist killing cecil the lion. because i’m already a vegan, i feel like…

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get smart

’tis the season. christmas. the time of year where i have to explain over and over again why i–a jew–do not celebrate christmas. the conversation usually goes something like this: them: merry christmas. me: thanks, but i’m jewish. i don’t celebrate christmas. 🙂 them: really? why not? me: because i’m jewish. them: but why don’t…

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om sweet om

so it took me a little while to foster a consistent home practice. a few years really…well, let’s be honest, a decade… for the first few years, i would hunker down for a home practice, do a few sun salutations, a couple of poses, and ten minutes later, i was done. that was the end…

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now, that's the yoga spirit!

so…here’s a challenge…find the spirituality in a yoga class…in los angeles. i’ll wait… waiting… still waiting… sort of hard to find, huh? lodged somewhere deep between the guy with the turban who molests women and the naked girl who does a really nice split…it’s there…i promise you. and it’s there in every class. preposterous, i…

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how to go vegan in three easy steps

there are some very hard things about being a vegan. for one, you can’t be a party to hurting, killing, or maiming any animals. (sorry!) like, you can’t trade the pain of an animal for the satisfaction of your sweet tooth, for example. it took me 21 years of being a strict vegetarian to finally…

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sagging upwards: the yoga inversion secret you need to know!

ever see one of those REALLY OLD yogis or yoginis and wondered how on earth they stay so young? if the answer is no, it’s probably because you did see one but didn’t even realize it because s/he seemed so strong and vibrant. there is a secret, you know. the yoga fountain of youth, if…

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the party’s over

so, i was leading this fabulous handstand workshop. everyone was having a great time. it was like the best party you’ve ever been to, minus the sex, drugs, and alcohol. rock stars everywhere, legs flying hither and nigh. fun! fun! smile! smile! fun! yay! and then, out of nowhere, the whole world came crashing down.…

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pump up the volume! somewhere else…

let me preface this post by saying that i love music. from classical to classic rock, and even country, i love it all. you would be hard-pressed to find any genre on earth missing from my ipod, and music keeps me company pretty much every moment that i’m awake…except while i’m practicing yoga. kill me…

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are your goals holding you back???

when i was just a wee lass of maybe 14, my father handed me a dumbbell. it was some random dumbbell, whatever weight, and he asked me how many times i thought i could curl it. sporty spice that i was, i picked a high number–say, 50–and he handed me the weight and told me…

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you complete me yoga-ly

here in america, we say “hi” and we say “bye” and, so far as i can tell, those words in their deepest, most profound translations mean “hello” and “goodbye”.  it’s really nice that we wish that the “bye” is a good one…that’s how thoughtful we americans are! 🙂 in india, they say “namaste”. it’s sort…

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how you know you've arrived

what level are you? surely, you’ve been asked that before. so, what do you answer? level one? two? three? (that’s clever yoga-speak for beginner, intermediate, or advanced). how do you know? because you can do a handstand? because you can’t do a handstand? actually…neither factor matters one bit. and if you think it does, you’re…

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how you know you’ve arrived

what level are you? surely, you’ve been asked that before. so, what do you answer? level one? two? three? (that’s clever yoga-speak for beginner, intermediate, or advanced). how do you know? because you can do a handstand? because you can’t do a handstand? actually…neither factor matters one bit. and if you think it does, you’re…

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p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face!

staring contest! no smiling! (but you can blink!) and what does this have to do with yoga at all??? well, a big part of yoga is practicing non-reactivity. and… we all know that when we feel emotions, our facial muscles tell our story. we’re happy, we smile. sad, we frown. did you know, however, that…

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the more i know…

when i took my first teacher training, i was sure i already knew everything coming in…and at least as much as my teachers. i was merely taking the course to get my certification, as a formality. i mean, i already had almost a year of experience. i was teaching. i could do inversions in the…

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playing with peanut butter

thomas edison, one of the greatest inventors of all time, didn’t just pop a lightbulb out of his ass and become famous. in fact, it took edison a purported 10,000 trials before he came up with the bulb. first, he tried everything he could think of. he even went so far as to try to…

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a yogi’s lesson in grammar

so, a friend of mine was telling me about this party he went to. of course there was a ton of alcohol and basically everyone was smoking pot. there were people doing coke–maybe harder stuff. married people were making out with other people…who didn’t happen to be their spouses. general debauchery, you could say. i…

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wow! this yoga thing really #%@$#$%@# calms me down!

so, my yogathletica classes are, admittedly, really hard. and the other day one of my regular (and quite strong) students was struggling through a challenging posture when she suddenly just stopped trying and with tears in her eyes and a choke in her throat implored me “i thought yoga wasn’t supposed to be stressful! i…

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you can probably ignore this one…

poor cobra. poor updog. these guys are like the tragically neglected stepchildren of the vinyasa family. there are a lot of poses that you can watch and fake, but these ain’t two of them. taken in broad strokes, you get a whole bunch of hyperextended elbows, collapsed lumbar spines, and clenched shoulders and necks that…

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shhhhhhhvasanaaaaaaaah!

savasana. you love it or you hate it. (and if you love it, it’s impossible to understand how anyone could possibly hate it.) ultimately, this posture of complete relaxation is the actually the most challenging pose of all, as the mind is the hardest of all the muscles to control. throughout your entire asana practice…

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fire! fire!

so you’re in this yoga class, in some lunge for an extraordinary amount of time, and your leg is burning off. if you don’t get out of this pose, you’re just going to die…but the teacher is rambling, pontificating about some sutra or guna or something and the pose has no end in sight. your…

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flip that switch!

for my first year or two of yoga, i had no real introduction to arm balances or inversions. i had seen them in photos, but that’s it. they looked freaky and scary and there is nothing you could have done to convince me that i could actually do one. this stuff was for people who…

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the end.

a few years ago i was in a workshop where the instructor was trying to teach us how to press up into handstand. all around the room, desperate yogis were jumping, hopping, kicking up…anything they could do to get into that handstand. then there was me. the only person in the room stuck in uttanasana…

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yoga and addiction

it’s no secret by now that yoga is a fabulous tool for overcoming addiction. in fact, you can find “yoga for addiction” or “12-step yoga” in studios all across the globe. a large part of any dedicated yoga practice, in fact, is the overcoming of our habits and addictions (no matter how big or small),…

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i admit it! i’m guilty! guilty! :(…

i love asana. inversion asana. standing asana. twisting asana. balancing asana. any kind of asana asana. and i love alignment. knees bending, arms straightening, heart lifting. the whole thing just gives me purpose. but i’ve been in class lately, listening to teachers, taking themselves way too seriously, preaching fire and brimstone about the “traditional” way…

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is john friend just being a good yogi…?

Brahmacharya—literally, under the tutelage of Brahma1—is the one of the Yama, or codes of Universal Conduct, found in Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutra”. As BKS Iyengar defines it, Brahmacharya “means the life of celibacy, religious study and self-restraint.”2 When examining the true meaning of Brahmacharya, it is interesting how divergent the published interpretations of this precept really…

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wait! don’t go!

i can pretend it doesn’t bother me, but it does. i hate it when someone leaves my yoga class early (unless, of course, they warn me before class). okay, maybe it’s my ego getting in the way…i promise i’ll work on that…if you promise not to leave my class early. here’s the thing. i’ve taken…

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the best yogi alive!

think of who you perceive as the best yogi/ni alive. and then let me guess. is it that guy who can stand on his head without any hands? or that girl who can press up to handstand…even in her underwear? ooh! ooh! i know! it’s that guy who can stand on one hand, with one…

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wait a minute!

time is relative. i know it seems concrete. a minute is sixty seconds, is 60,000 milliseconds, 1/60 of an hour. pretty definitive, right? and when someone (say, me) asks you to hold a yoga pose–let’s say a handstand–for a minute you think, “no! that’s forever! i can’t hold that long! you’re just being cruel!” but…

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hold the applause…

i can do some funky stuff. i love arm balances and inversions and i work really hard on them. so, when my teachers need a demonstrator, i’m often the one who’s asked to demo. and i’m totally cool with that. in fact, i enjoy it. but somewhere in the past five years or so, it’s…

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yoga…the most dangerous activity on earth!!!

in the last 24 hours, i’ve been inundated with clients, friends, family, and strangers emailing me this link: How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/magazine/how-yoga-can-wreck-your-body.html?emc=eta1> By WILLIAM J. BROAD and if you teach yoga in the western hemisphere, i assume it’s come across your email a time or thousand as well… but on the off-chance…

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$#!+ some very famous yoga teachers have told me…

my classes have always been small…one or two handfuls of dedicated and very hard-working students. yogathletica classes are unique, unlike most any class out there (definitely way unlike the popular classes), and egotistically ungratifying. my classes are for people who want to work on some seriously tough challenges, regardless of the outcome. i’ve never been…

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confessions of a yoga douche

so there’s this picture going around the internet of a guy doing a modified pincha mayurasana (forearm balance) in the middle of a bikram studio with a bunch of indignant girls sitting around, utterly unamused. on it is the caption “don’t be a yoga douche”. it’s gotten hundreds of “likes” on facebook, followed by hundreds…

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building core strength for handstand

in my last video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPEuNlDQ2eM&feature=share), i showed you how to do a freestanding handstand in the middle of the room. consider this the prequel, showing you how to build and utilize your core strength specifically for coming into these slow, controlled handstands. we will work with the wall as a tool for learning how to…

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paying the yoga bills

i know a yogini who had $30,000 in debt with target. yes, target. please don’t ask me how…i can only imagine. anyway, seven years passed and the debt still wasn’t paid. target was still knocking down her door for payment and she was indignant. according to her, if seven years have passed, the debt should…

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sex sells!

so, there have been some comments about my incredibly glamorous hairstyle in yesterday’s youtube video. perhaps i should reshoot with something more fabulous. afterall, sex sells, right? i’m sure the yogis thousands of years ago would never have shot a video like this without at least a stylist and some strategic make-up! what was i…

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freestanding handstands! happy christmukkah!

for your holiday gift, i spent hours if not days looking for the perfect present. it basically came down to a candle shaped like jesus, a latke doorstop, or this…a video on how to do a freestanding handstand (adha mukha vrksasana) in the middle of the room. yi-ha! right? check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPEuNlDQ2eM&feature=youtu.be

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holiday aparigraha

forget about the list of things we want during the holidays–the jewelry, the cars, the houses in the hamptons–and let’s talk for a second about the things that we need. any day of the week, you can hear yourself with that list. it’s a great topic of conversation. “i really need a new pair of…

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