In January I somehow pulled a muscle in my back while teaching. Exactly when and how I did it, I don’t know. Perhaps I twisted too deeply demonstrating Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose). I was teaching “cold,” from not warming up beforehand and from the freezing winter temperature outside. Toward the end of class…… Continue reading Are you in touch with your breath?
Before a pranayama class at RIMYI in Pune last August, we students were sprawled on our mats. Some sitting, some chatting; others, like me, lying down leg stretches. When the teacher, Rajlaxmi, entered the room and settled herself on a bolster, I swung up, sit-up style. “Lie back down!” she yelled. What? In a flash, we…… Continue reading Yoga protocol: why does it matter?
I bumped into an old friend during my holiday trip to California. “Dylan” has always been an athlete, so I wasn’t surprised that he’s still avidly into hockey, skiing, and other sports. But I didn’t expect him to say, “And here’s one for you. I’m learning to play bluegrass banjo.” What? Is Dylan even musical? Anyway, he wanted a quality instrument,…… Continue reading Learning on your own
When I first started practicing yoga in Berkeley, I wore contact lenses all the time. Then a friend commented that wearing contacts permanently enlarges blood vessels in the eye. “Look at people who’ve never worn contacts,” he said. “The whites of their eyes are much whiter.” He was right. So my original vanity to avoid…… Continue reading In defense of wearing glasses while doing yoga
In the late 1990s, I took to yoga asana without a second thought. My body immediately loved it. I initially attended three to five classes weekly. My little apartment, with carpet and cat, wasn’t ideal for home practice, but I eventually appropriated a floor and wall space at the UC Berkeley rec center for my…… Continue reading Pranayama, sleep, and other New Year’s resolutions
Reading “What Broke My Father’s Heart,” New York Times Magazine, June 14, 2010, by Katy Butler, plus readers’ comments, disconcerted me on several levels. First, it forced me to contemplate my own parents’ aging (and my ability eventually to help them when I live thousands of miles away). Second, it highlighted the pitfalls in the…… Continue reading Loss of control
I first read about the sport of freediving two summers ago, in an August/September 2008 Hana Hou! magazine article, “On One Breath” by Michael Shapiro. Researching the sport with gusto, Shapiro himself trains to do a four-minute breath hold and a 100-foot dive. Insanity! My interest was further piqued in “The Deepest Dive,” The New…… Continue reading Extreme breath control