The yoga block

For my first six months of yoga classes, I used no props–at least what I now know as props. At the Berkeley RSF in the late 1990s, all we had were towels and padded gym mats (which did come in handy for kneeling).  Eventually we got mats. But I didn’t try a block until I set foot in an…… Continue reading The yoga block

Unsupported shoulderstand?

A friend pointed me to a blog post, “Please, NO Lifts in Shoulderstand,” by Sandra Sammartino, a yoga teacher based in White Rock, BC. My initial response? No way. In Salamba Sarvangasana the overwhelming majority of people need shoulder support, such as folded blankets. Then I stopped and caught myself. In my prior post, “Learning on your…… Continue reading Unsupported shoulderstand?

What it’s like at RIMYI (Part II)

Note: This post continues my “self interview” about RIMYI. Read Part I first. Was the student population diverse? Based on my unscientific observations during August 2014, the biggest contingent was from Italy. I met dozens of Italians and many British and French. I met a handful each from the US, Canada, and Japan, and others from Germany, Australia, Spain, Russia, Hungary, Hong…… Continue reading What it’s like at RIMYI (Part II)

What it’s like at RIMYI (Part I)

Since flying home two weeks ago, my temporary life in Pune already feels distant–long ago, far away, a parallel world that words cannot quite describe. Once back, my mind switched to the here and now, the immediate stuff of life. Sooner than I probably realize, my memories of RIMYI and India will grow fuzzy, however vivid they once were. People will stop…… Continue reading What it’s like at RIMYI (Part I)

Yoga injuries: who’s at fault?

Ever been injured in a yoga class? Chances are, we’ve all felt a twinge in one class or another. So, who’s at fault? The teacher? The student? Or are occasional tweaks simply part of being active and exploring our limits? Since William Broad began writing about yoga injuries in the New York Times and on Facebook, most fingers have been…… Continue reading Yoga injuries: who’s at fault?

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

Have you tried the Three Minute Egg?

When I first saw ads for the Three Minute Egg in Yoga Journal, I hardly glanced at them. I already have my favorite propsand the colorful foam “eggs” seemed gimmicky. But the ads kept appearing. One featured “signature eggs”—featuring well-known teachers Annie Carpenter, Jason Crandell, Aadil Palkhivala (who, like Cher, signed only his first name),…… Continue reading Have you tried the Three Minute Egg?

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

“Footstickers” and yoga feet

December 21 was winter solstice, the longest night of the year. In Vancouver, that means a narrow window of daylight. While I’m not particularly vulnerable to SAD, I did feel rather depleted when it turned darkish by 4pm yesterday. Maybe it’s my massive Lonely Planet write-up, which always seems intractable until I’m perhaps 75% done. It’s…… Continue reading “Footstickers” and yoga feet

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