Should a yoga teacher “make a statement”?

Say a yoga teacher walks into class wearing a Bernie Sanders T-shirt. She is making a statement. Is this appropriate for a yoga teacher? On one hand, making a political or any personal statement is not fundamentally wrong. Her quality as a teacher is not based on her political stance. On the other hand, the context is questionable. A yoga setting should be neutral and conducive to a…… Continue reading Should a yoga teacher “make a statement”?

Clothes, hair, and other material obsessions

In Vancouver, the yoga “uniform” is dictated by homegrown Lululemon Athletica. It’s the go-to source for yoga apparel, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, and yoga method. At The Yoga Space, an Iyengar studio where I study and teach, I recently found myself in a sea of Swiftly Tech tops and Wunder Unders (including mine). It’s not only a female thing.…… Continue reading Clothes, hair, and other material obsessions

Checklists and Iyengar yoga

To do list written on paper with blue pen

For my new volunteer job as “certification mark registrar” for the Iyengar Yoga Association of Canada, I must obtain signed contracts from newly certified teachers. Sending out forms and getting them back. How difficult can this be? Well, in my first batches of contracts, only half were done properly. Many were missing required elements, such as witness’s signature or street…… Continue reading Checklists and Iyengar yoga

Back to yoga teaching and blogging

In my everyday life in Vancouver, yoga plays a major role in my identity. People know me as yoga classmate, colleague, teacher, and blogger. People whom I’ve never met know me as YogaSpy; my blog is our connection. In contrast, my closest family members rarely mention my blog! They’re positive about it, but it’s not our main point of connection.…… Continue reading Back to yoga teaching and blogging

Hard or easy?

I once read about Ryojun Shionuma, a Shugendo Buddhist priest who achieved two grueling feats of physical endurance. First, for nine years during the May-September trekking season, he hiked 30 miles daily, navigating an elevation change of 4,000 feet with an occasional 30 min routine on his spin bikes. Every night, he would wake at 11:30pm,…… Continue reading Hard or easy?

At the pool

Several months ago, I was standing in the pool locker room, preparing to leave after my swim. I was late, busy, and filled with free-floating exasperation. Suddenly I noticed someone wringing a sopping swimsuit into an ominous puddle on the floor. “You should do that over the drain,” I said, sharply. “Then you won’t leave such a mess…… Continue reading At the pool

Do you sing? Do you chant?

I recently caught a CBC radio interview with twin sisters Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz of the French-Cuban musical duo Ibeyi. They have roots in France, having grown up in Paris, and in Cuba, homeland of their late father, well-known percussionist Anga Diaz. In the interview, the sisters commented on how everyone sings in Cuba. Singing is not restricted only to performers or…… Continue reading Do you sing? Do you chant?

Yoga and mirrors: do they mix?

At my sister’s home in Santa Cruz, I do a brief yoga practice before breakfast with my niece. In my bedroom, there are large mirrored closet doors. I typically face away from the mirrors. During my last trip, however, I ended up doing Sirsasana (headstand) facing the mirror. A sofa blocked my line of sight, so all I…… Continue reading Yoga and mirrors: do they mix?

Going “undercover” as a yoga student

Visiting San Francisco last summer, I took a few classes at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco, within walking distance from my friend’s house. “Have you done Iyengar yoga before?” a front-desk staffer asked me when I arrived. “Yes,” I nodded and smiled, but said nothing more. Away from home, I look for yoga classes not only to boost my practice,…… Continue reading Going “undercover” as a yoga student

Four months left in 2015: What will you do with it?

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” If Carl Jung is right (and he probably is), I haven’t been a blogger lately. I had high hopes to post frequently in August. After all, I had a few weeks’ break from yoga teaching. (In contrast, last summer in Pune I was immersed and extra alert (first time at RIMYI, first…… Continue reading Four months left in 2015: What will you do with it?

Matcha: traditional versus trendy

Several months ago, I acquired 100 grams of matcha from someone who sources it directly from a Kyoto farmer. Japanese green teas, such as sencha and gyokuro, are my favorites, but I’d rarely had matcha. I immediately did a Google search for “matcha preparation.” Among the many links appeared was a video by a young man named Kohei Yamamoto (no relation), “How to…… Continue reading Matcha: traditional versus trendy

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The yoga “demonstration”

In my first class for teens, I taught an active, but basic, sequence, with lots of jumpings and standing poses. Most were absolute beginners; even the basics were demanding. After class, however, the teens’ teacher, an Iyengar yoga student herself, made a request. “Next week show them some of the fancy poses,” she said. “Fire them up. They don’t know anything about…… Continue reading The yoga “demonstration”