Why Learn Yoga Pose Names?

“The Sanskrit words all sound alike,” I once heard a yoga student say. “I’m just not motivated to learn pose names.” She was otherwise a keen student. Although she took up yoga later in life, she’d done other types of movement work and had strong body awareness and self discipline. She wasn’t the type to…… Continue reading Why Learn Yoga Pose Names?

Trouble Getting Started? Make It Doable

In May, walking past a Little Free Library in Kitsilano, a book title caught my eye: 3 Minutes to a Pain-Free Life. That very day, I was finalizing a blog post on chronic pain. What a coincidence. The book was “like new” and I couldn’t resist taking it. Written by Joseph Weisberg, a physical therapist,…… Continue reading Trouble Getting Started? Make It Doable

10-Minute Tree Pose: Adventures in Long Holds

The first one-legged balance pose that I learned was Vrksasana (Tree pose). It was doable, although somewhat unpredictable and nerve-wracking. There’s no mistaking if you’re standing—or not. Over the years, I made friends with Tree pose, so aptly named. I now practice and teach it regularly. During the pandemic, Vrksasana made it into my heavy…… Continue reading 10-Minute Tree Pose: Adventures in Long Holds

The Social Side of Yoga Classes

This fall, one of my students, “Sophie,” noticed me silently marking my attendance sheet. “Would you take roll aloud?” she asked. “I want to learn people’s names.” After a momentary pause, I agreed. Later, I decided that standard roll call isn’t ideal for learning names: Unless students are sitting in a circle, it’s hard to…… Continue reading The Social Side of Yoga Classes

Asana and “Direct Experience”

Part 3 of a three-part series I have a love-hate relationship with writing. It was excruciating to write this blog post. I procrastinated. I started and stopped. I killed time watching the Olympics. I deleted hard-won paragraphs that ultimately didn’t fit. I took breaks to watch Ted Lasso. I might not have finished if I…… Continue reading Asana and “Direct Experience”

Why Are You Doing What You Do?

For several years, “Sam” regularly attended my yoga classes with his wife. One day, she arrived alone and said, somewhat apologetically, “He needs it, for sure, but he just didn’t see enough change.” Sam was lean and fit at middle age. He enjoyed running and had tight hamstrings, a troublesome shoulder, and occasional back pain.…… Continue reading Why Are You Doing What You Do?

Unfinished Projects

In the early 2000s, I dabbled in Zen meditation at Berkeley Zen Center. Twice a week, after work, I’d drive from my apartment to the center for zazen, sitting meditation. I went alone and knew no one there. It was a silent ritual. Walk through garden. Remove shoes at door. Step into zendo, muted and…… Continue reading Unfinished Projects