Part 1 of a three-part series Ever taken an Iyengar yoga class? If yes, you’re probably watched a yoga “demo,” short for demonstration. Teacher performs pose, step-by-step, with verbal instructions. Students watch and then try the pose themselves. What’s your opinion of the demo method of teaching? Last year, I very belatedly read Lois Steinberg’s…… Continue reading The Demo Method
“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?
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
When I first tried yoga two decades ago, I was coming off a back injury. Well, not an injury per se. Just inexplicable, transient discomfort in my lower back. At work, sitting at my computer, I’d feel restless and just plain achy. My employer was very accommodating about ergonomics. My chair was well made and…… Continue reading Nagging Aches and Pains: An Introduction
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
Around the new year, I sometimes set new resolutions. Or, at least, I think about the past year. I can’t resist the symbolism of the new year as a threshold. Toward what? A better year, a better self? I’ll keep the particulars of my 2022 resolutions to myself. But three overarching thoughts arose in the…… Continue reading A Few Thoughts on Resolutions
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
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”
Part 2 of a three-part series My ears perked up when Abhijata recounted her yoga beginnings during Q&A one day. In 2000, when she was 16 or 17, Abhi moved to Pune to attend college. Curious about yoga, she began taking classes with her aunt, Geeta, and uncle, Prashant. In the yoga hall, she’d take…… Continue reading Are You a “Practitioner”?
Part 1 of a three-part series In May, I attended a six-day virtual intensive with Abhijata, granddaughter of BKS Iyengar. I had seen her teach twice before and I had the same reaction: I can learn something from this person. In her latter 30s, Abhi is the current standard-bearer of Iyengar yoga. What does she…… Continue reading Abhijata and the Future of Iyengar Yoga
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?
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