My winter of Supta Virasana

This winter I’m teaching Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) every week in my two-hour classes. Every week. Will simple repetition boost progress in this surprisingly demanding restorative pose? If taught only occasionally, students never familiarize themselves with it. Most require elaborate prop set-ups to accommodate tight quadriceps and iliopsoas, knee and ankle issues, and so forth. If unfamiliar with the pose, they can’t remember how to…… Continue reading My winter of Supta Virasana

Home practice in my hometown

Flying into Hilo, my hometown, two weeks ago, I gazed out the airplane window. An endless, supersaturated palette of green, along the Hamakua Coast. While much of the world, including California (my subsequent stomping ground) is suffering from drought, Hilo has had over 12 inches of rain in the month of April alone. The aerial view was striking. What a vast bountiful island. So…… Continue reading Home practice in my hometown

Take it to the next level

Last summer, I resumed freestyle lap swimming after a hiatus. I’m purely a rec swimmer and will never be super fast, but I still want to cut my 1000-meter time, 25 minutes. “What’s a ‘decent’ 1000-meter swim time?” I asked my yoga student who does triathlons. Here’s her paraphrased answer: It depends. A fast swimmer will…… Continue reading Take it to the next level

July challenge: Supta Virasana every day for 31 days

In June, I attended a three-day workshop with Chris Saudek, a senior Iyengar teacher based in Wisconsin. She made her first trip to RIMYI in 1980, and today her midwestern decorum belies her brilliantly intense sequences and drill-sergeant rigor. I gain much physically from her workshops: my hip flexors were toast after the first full day, while…… Continue reading July challenge: Supta Virasana every day for 31 days

On being “ready” for a pose

Yesterday someone asked me, “How do I know if I’m ready for a pose?” “Which pose?” I asked back. “Handstand.” During a recent workshop with senior Iyengar yoga teacher Gabriella Giubilaro, she finally kicked up, with a minimal spot. But she usually requires more help. She’s rather nervous about the pose, and handstand requires a bit…… Continue reading On being “ready” for a pose

Finding a meditative experience in an Iyengar class

The same student who sparked my prior post, “Criticism and praise in yoga classes,” asked another question about Iyengar yoga classes: “I… love my vinyasa practice because of the familiar repetition and rhythm—you can lose yourself in the continual movement. Do you think you can ‘get’ that meditative experience in an Iyengar class? Maybe on…… Continue reading Finding a meditative experience in an Iyengar class

Holding the plank

Last week, I happened upon the blog of Lauren Lipton, a journalist and novelist based in New York. (Blogger’s fate: you waste time reading other people’s blogs.) In her post “a whole lot of nothing,” she mentions, “I can now remain in the plank pose for three and a half torturous minutes.” That caught my…… Continue reading Holding the plank

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

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

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