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
The “yoga foot” has been much studied, taught, debated, and photographed. But what about the “yoga hand”? A few weeks ago, I was practicing yoga with my friend Sharmeen. She observed one of my standing poses and suddenly asked, “Why are your fingers spread apart like that?” Surprised, I exited the pose. “You mean like this?”…… Continue reading The yoga hand
A few months ago, one of my original yoga teachers, Donald Moyer, observed my Tadasana. Under his scrutiny, I tried extra hard to perfect my pose. To my surprise, he said, “You’re tucking your pelvis.” What? If left to its own devices, my body is overly mobile in the lumbar spine. I am a natural pelvic…… Continue reading Pelvic tilt: how much is too much?
If a yoga teacher refers to your psoas, do you know what she’s talking about? The Iyengar method of teaching yoga is precise and detailed. Instructions are conveyed visually (through demos) and verbally (through words). Teachers sometimes discuss whether specific anatomical terms should be used. Is it better to say “hamstrings” or “back thighs”? Can…… Continue reading Where’s your psoas? Your sacrum? Your big-toe mound?
When I took my first yoga class in 1997, I had no idea who the “major” teachers were. I didn’t know what “Iyengar” meant and had to ask my first teacher, Sandy Blaine, to spell it. I met Sandy fortuitously since she then taught at UC Berkeley’s rec center (free classes for members!). But I…… Continue reading Knowing “who’s who” among yoga teachers
Years ago I discovered Lydia Davis’s fragmentary short stories. While extremely brief and lacking standard beginning-middle-end structure, they were strangely compelling. Recently I was reminded of her: the title of my last post, “The End of the Story,” is the title of her only novel. For fun I Googled her name and found an interesting…… Continue reading The challenge to my intelligence
Last month I acquired a couple of Yoga Journal magazines from the late 1980s and early 1990s. What a revelation! I’m familiar with the magazine, having subscribed on and off (mostly on) since the late 1990s. But what a difference two decades can make. So impressive were the back issues that I found limited archives online…… Continue reading Yoga Journal (and yoga), then and now
Last summer I got into the annual weeklong intensive taught by Donald Moyer and Mary Lou Weprin of The Yoga Room in Berkeley. One day, Donald explored backbends, including Eka Pada Rajakapotasana I, with a strap looped around the rear foot. As I ventured deeper into the pose, he looked at me and commented that I…… Continue reading Remembering a teacher’s teachings