On symmetry

Regarding my prior post, “Exiting savasana,” here’s another thought: I am obsessed with symmetry in asana. Thus I question any repeated asymmetrical movement (including always rolling right to exit savasana). Is there a good reason always to turn right? Or should we alternate right and left exits, for symmetry? (In class, of course, I’m all for…… Continue reading On symmetry

Exiting savasana

The other day, my student Lisa asked me why we always roll right (not left) to exit savasana. I grasped for an answer, mentioning two common beliefs: Lying on our right puts less pressure on our hearts, which sits on the left side. According to traditional Chinese medicine, adopted by Yin yoga practitioners, the left…… Continue reading Exiting savasana

Getting your ducks in a row

One of my students, Anna, is debating whether to continue yoga classes this spring. The class she attends, on Mondays from 12:45-2pm, immediately follows three hours of her own work, introducing music to babies and toddlers. As a Music Together teacher, she must be “on”: engaged and animated (the under-four set won’t cut you any…… Continue reading Getting your ducks in a row

Yamas, niyamas, and you

If you’re a yoga teacher, I have a query for you: Do you try to uphold the yamas and niyamas in your own life? Which of the yamas or niyamas are particularly challenging to you? Please share a real-life anecdote. (This query is an assignment for my Iyengar training. I asked a few teachers I…… Continue reading Yamas, niyamas, and you

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Hina Matsuri, cherry blossoms, and seasons

Today is Hina Matsuri, a Japanese festival translated either to “Doll Festival” or “Girls’ Day.” It falls on the third day of the third month. (Note: the former Boys’ Day is now Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day), on the fifth day of the fifth month.) For a straightforward background, read the Wikipedia entry. For the…… Continue reading Hina Matsuri, cherry blossoms, and seasons

The pleasure principle

What I thought was happiness was only part time bliss. “The Pleasure Principle,” Control (1986), Janet Jackson In my prior post “Sense, Sensuality, and Sensibility,” I questioned the idea of labeling any peak experience as “yoga” or “yogic.” In turn, some questioned me: Who am I to judge others’ inner lives while eating oysters or…… Continue reading The pleasure principle

Yoga arms

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Funky Door Yoga (a Bikram joint), used to use the slogan, “A regular yoga practice gives you a great butt.” (Note: I just checked the website and it now states, “A regular yoga practice gives you great legs.”) Yes, we’ve all heard about the yoga butt, yoga abs, yoga…… Continue reading Yoga arms

What does savasana mean to you?

In the beginning yoga class that I teach, a student I’ll call Chris finds savasana uncomfortable. Neither lumbar pain nor mental agitation is the culprit. She tucks her shoulders to open her chest, and she looks fine. But she never feels quite right. She’s a side sleeper, so lying supine doesn’t come naturally to her.…… Continue reading What does savasana mean to you?

All-or-nothing resolutions

He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future. George Orwell My free three-week pass at the mega studio elapsed on Monday. I took 25 classes in 20 days. A limited-time offer is a great motivator, isn’t it? Perhaps resolutions serve the same purpose. Here, the impetus is not a…… Continue reading All-or-nothing resolutions

Reawakening the body

“It’s not over,” he said. “There’s always a chance to change. You should not — you dare not — give up.” Gregg Mozgala, actor and dancer with cerebral palsy In yoga classes, I’ve notice some students’ difficulty moving their ankles and toes. Point, flex. Easy enough. Rotate them in synchronized circles. Okay. Now flex only…… Continue reading Reawakening the body