The Practice of Gratitude

One of my favorite things about teaching Mysore is how it makes me feel appreciated. I have a great group of students, and rarely does one leave the room in the morning without thanking me. And one of the things that I love most about practicing is how grateful it makes me feel to my own teacher, the lineage, and my ability to do what I love.

As we enter the holiday season, it seems like an appropriate time to address gratitude. Gratitude is an affirmation of the gifts and goodness we have received. And sometimes, gratitude is difficult because life is difficult. Navigating the holidays on top of all of the other daily responsibilities can be a bit overwhelming and leave us feeling worn down and anxious for the hoopla to be over.

Gratitude is a practice, and just like everything else, it gets easier the more you exercise it. The more effort you put into feeling gratitude, the more effortless the feeling will become in the future. The mind works – whatever you put into it will...

Continue Reading...

#REALPEOPLEOFASHTANGA

Lately I have been struck by the redundancy of my Instagram feed – and feeling a little uninspired by it. I hardly bother to scroll through it anymore because I already know most of what I am going to see.

I’m not the most interesting person – I follow primarily yoga teachers, practitioners, studios, clothing brands, and magazines. And you know what I have noticed – none of the pictures look real to me – or at least they aren’t anything near my reality.

I’m tired of seeing highly curated yoga photos, featuring a narrow range of body types, taken in exotic locations, wearing expensive fitness clothing, and showcasing largely advanced asana that might make Ashtanga specifically, and yoga in general, seem unapproachable.

Aside from the fact that it totally makes me jealous, I’m also worried that the culture of yoga is changing and that we are perpetuating it with all of our likes and follows. And I fear that some people are missing the...

Continue Reading...

Top Lessons Learned from Richard and Mary

The journey of yoga begins when we acknowledge our humanity. Yoga should make us feel more ordinary, less extraordinary. It should make us kinder, more tolerant, peaceful, happy and humble. The practice of yoga connects us more deeply to the web of life. And once we realize this the practice begins.

Old patterns die hard – if they die at all. We continue to suffer because we don’t remember correctly. We make the same mistakes, do the same things, repeat the same patterns. Our samskaras, habitual patterns that cause us pain, show up in our actions on and off the mat. The mind works with memory and our minds are tricky – they try to keep us from practicing because when we are practicing well the mind begins to dissolve. So practice slowing down, being present and aware and maybe you’ll be able to break some of your patterns on and off the mat.

You need a solid foundation. Over the course of the intensive we spent more time on sun salutations and standing poses...

Continue Reading...

When the Learning Starts

I’m not sure exactly when I stopped obsessing over asana. There’s been a gradual shift over the past couple of years, as I’ve become less hungry for the next pose and more hungry for how to become a better teacher, a more devoted practitioner, a better person. This year has been full of unexpected challenges which have shifted my perspective. I went to India to practice and was stopped there by life circumstances. I went to Encinitas to see my teacher to help me through an injury when I was too scared to practice, and now I’m working on new techniques and at a different pace.

 I’m here in Boulder almost 3/4 of the way through Richard Freeman’s month-long teacher intensive. This has been on my Ashtanga bucket list for years, and it has absolutely been worth the wait. The practice is slow and deliberate, led mostly by Richard. Confession: we haven’t done full primary yet! It’s a different thing for me, to take a month off from...

Continue Reading...

A Near Life Experience

Uncategorized Feb 01, 2016

Why do you practice?

It’s been nearly two weeks that I’ve been in India. Two weeks dedicated to practice and study with a teacher, and what a privilege it’s been. I know it can’t last forever, and I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. At home I lead a double life – one foot on the yoga mat and one foot in the regular world. Right now, I’m able to live with both feet on my mat and I feel more focused than I have in ages.

In practice, David calls me out on all my bad habits. He shouts at me to be decisive, to be disciplined, to be patient. It’s like he’s honed in on all of my least favorite traits. Working with a teacher daily in a room full of dedicated practitioners is a powerful thing – it’s hard and it’s humbling and it’s scary. It’s all of the emotions that make us feel so human.

On my mat I’m going to those uncomfortable positions that I hate to love. To those difficult asanas when I...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6