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the gift of yoga: to get and to give

My first experience with yoga was a community college class in the evening when I was young. I remember such a heavy sense of  sleepiness every time I left class, I could barely drive home. No thanks, this gift was not yet for me. Later in life, in Denver, I walked into a Core Power Yoga class at the Highlands. The foyer was awkwardly small, but the dim, mirrored room was warm and inviting. Music played gently, luring me into a rare soft space. There was time at the beginning of the class to set our intention–our prayer; that moment on Read More

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What is the 8-Limbed Path?

Throughout history—just as now—people were fascinated with yoga. What is it? How does it work? How does it incorporate various realms of existence from physical to spiritual? And then around 200BCE—to describe it with a modern parallel—Patanjali came along and wrote Yoga for Dummies: 8 Paths to Union. If aforementioned title truly existed and had an annotated table of contents, it would look something like this: Yoga for Dummies: 8 Paths to Union Section One: Why? Yoga can and should be more than just exercise. Being mindful of the other seven elements beside Asana creates a holistic and rewarding experience for Read More

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and then I flew

Several years ago, I walked into my local recreation center for a summer morning yoga class and did not know that I would be introduced to flight. As our teacher instructed us into crow, I remember distinctly thinking: “yeah, right!?” She modeled for us, compacting into something similar to an extreme cat pose, weight over wrists, and then she lifted her feet off the ground. Again, “yeah, right?!” Everything in me knew that was impossible for me. And now, crow is one of my favorite postures. The process of: seeing a variety of teachers break down the posture; being encouraged Read More

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effort without struggle

On the 4th of July, I found myself on my mat in a C2 class in which the teacher introduced the theme of freedom. The idea did not immediately resonate with me as it was overplayed and cliche. However, then she defined freedom to her: Freedom is effort without struggle. Now that struck a nerve and moved me to conviction beyond my mat. I can think of so many areas of my life where I tend to be enslaved in struggle: condemnation of myself and others, insecurity, weight, anxiety–to name a few. Back on my mat, she kept coming back to Read More

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yoga, to me

The following is my first homework assignment for Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). The prompt: What is Yoga and Why I do I practice Yoga? Yoga is a prayer. It is a moment to pause in humility, honoring the fact that I am created, and that in this creation I can do beautiful poses–or perhaps fall out of beautiful poses. In countless classes, I have carried the weight of those near and dear to my heart, and through yoga, I have sent them my energy. On my mat, I have interceded for them. Yoga is a collective breath. It is syncopating with the Read More

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look down to look up

One of the most memorable moments in my yoga practice for me, to date, is the time I rolled over from Savasana into cradled side position–which is the way I always sleep. The instructor gently but confidently brought to our attention that in this moment, we are reminded that the Earth is always there, beneath us, supporting us, lifting us, sustaining us. Always. there. How beautiful. So today, as I set this intention: notice your feet on the ground all day I frequently was drawn to that image: innocence resting on the ground, supported and sustained. I realized as I Read More

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sweat. blood. beauty.

For a while, I went to yoga to let go. The mere act of inhaling and exhaling meant the taking in of all the things that stressed me out during the day (which was a lot) and the letting out of those things in surrender. And after a few deep breaths in child’s pose, I moved into the present, into the moment, and out of my “monkey mind.” It was a beautiful thing. And then, I cancelled my yoga membership. What a mistake. A mistake I was glad to rectify. Since my renewed membership and my rejuvenated practice, I have Read More

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Balance

This week in yoga, I had a moment of clarity. While twisting and I won’t lie–straining–into Ardha Chandrasana–Half Moon Pose–listening and adjusting according to the cues of the guide, this thought popped into my head: breathing is balance. Breathing is the very epitome of balance. It is this innate and graceful dance between the paradoxes of in and out, take and give, inhale and exhale, use and release, mine and yours. It is a force of oppositions in harmony. It is the presence of both the nutrients and toxins, preservation and decay. In every breath–albeit conscious or inherent–there is an embrace of Read More