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
Silver Linings of the Shutdown
As we approach the one-year mark of the Covid pandemic, let’s stop and take stock. Depending on where you live and who you are, the “Covid experience” can be like night and day. Some have lost loved ones, their livelihood, their health. Others are chugging along, more or less as usual, albeit wearing masks, working…… Continue reading Silver Linings of the Shutdown
Before I started law school, I knew a lawyer who decided to move to the East Coast. Scott was a senior associate at a firm in California. Moving would require another bar exam, a new job, upheaval for his family. Scott was a sports fan and quoted legendary coaches. Regarding his move, he cited Bill…… Continue reading Moving On
Back to Back Yoga Classes
Wendy attends three of my Zoom yoga classes weekly. Currently the classes are spaced apart, with a rest day in between. Next year, I’m rearranging my class schedule—and she’ll end up taking two classes on consecutive days: Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. “I might have to sleep in my yoga clothes:),” she wrote in email.…… Continue reading Back to Back Yoga Classes
Lifetime Investment: Yoga Props
Two decades ago, I was a new yoga student. My first yoga prop was, no surprise, a mat. Turquoise blue, it was one of those pebbly textured mats, made in Germany, favored by Iyengar yoga practitioners. Guess what, I still have it. It’s one of my second-string mats, and it’s seen spiffier days. But it’s…… Continue reading Lifetime Investment: Yoga Props
When Will Yoga Classes Go Back to Normal?
In March, I assumed that “in person” classes would resume by early summer. In July, I was still leery about fall, but added one studio class at the Yoga Space to my Zoom schedule. Now I’m convinced that pre-Covid yoga classes won’t return for a long time. Sure, studios and community centres have reopened. But…… Continue reading When Will Yoga Classes Go Back to Normal?
Ending yoga classes with “namaste”
When did I first hear someone say “namaste”? No surprise, it was uttered at the end of my first yoga class two decades ago. I had no interest in yoga until then. I had to be persuaded to try it. But I was immediately hooked. After class I asked the teacher about the type of…… Continue reading Ending yoga classes with “namaste”
Give me one reason
During a Vancouver workshop with John Schumacher last year, I was surprised to hear his instructions on exiting Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand). “Lie down,” he said, “keep your shoulders on the blankets, head on the floor.” What? My typical shoulderstand exit was to slide my shoulders off my blanket stack. Whether I kept my ribcage…… Continue reading Give me one reason
Look closely, see deeply
In San Francisco last summer, Lois Steinberg analyzed Virabhadrasana II for a long time. Most students attending the five-day workshop were teachers or experienced students. But Warrior II was nevertheless a worthy challenge. Using an adept student as a demo model, she emphasized how the bent knee must rotate outward to elongate the groins and adductors.…… Continue reading Look closely, see deeply
Seeing versus seeking
Writing a memoir is much trickier than it seems. It can come across as indulgent, fake, or just plain boring. If the theme is obviously philosophical or spiritual, there’s even greater risk of grating on the reader. So I kept my expectations in check when Ray Brooks approached me about copyediting his second memoir—now published as The…… Continue reading Seeing versus seeking
Yoga is not a photo-op
A few weeks ago, a friend forwarded me a photo of yoga students seated in Sukhasana, eyes closed. “Got this in an email. I see you!” he wrote. I immediately recognized the setting: September 2016. Firooza Razvi workshop. Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco (IYISF). I attended that workshop and, sure enough, there I was.…… Continue reading Yoga is not a photo-op