There's a certain magic that occurs in travel. Navigating unfamiliar terrain keeps the mind alert and the senses sharp. Even a mundane trip on public transport or a walk along what might be seen by the locals as an unremarkable residential street is seeped in intrigue. Strange bird song, a shocking scent of juniper, a crescent moon hanging in the sky so close it can't be real. My time in Australia, on the other side of the world, quite unexpectedly turned my world upside-down.
This process of facing the things I own, one by one, has brought me closer to knowing myself. In making conscious and careful choices about the objects that surround me, I've honed my tastes. In learning to live with things as they speak to me in the present, not as relics from the past or things I might need in the future, I've learned to live more immediately with myself.
I'm crazy about this poem by Roger Keyes. Susan Lip Orem shared it in her class at Heathen Hill Yoga a few weeks ago. It's been near to me ever since. Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) is a famous Japanese painter of the Edo Period. You may have seen his iconic images of waves.
When I stay in the pose longer, when I watch my physical and mental reactions, when I finesse the alignment and economize the effort, I learn and I change.
I've listed below three sequences that have inspired my home practice over the past two weeks. Each can be practiced in 20-40 minutes. Set a timer for the poses with specified timings. I encourage you to hold the poses longer than usual and observe what arises.
A dedicated home practice is a rich playground for exploration, living with questions and treating yourself right. Yoga teachers: This is an absolute must for honing an authentic voice and clear point of view.
I've listed the top five reasons I cheat on my yoga classes with frequent (sometimes twice daily) practices at home. My list includes some tips for getting started and inspiration for falling deeper in love with your own yoga at home. I intend to add to this material in the coming months -- to flesh out the information below with practical guidance on your personal journey.
According to the Yoga Sutra, one of the five Kleshas (afflictions of the mind) is Abhinivesha, most often translated as “clinging to life” or “fear of death.” This affliction dilutes mental focus and compromises one's ability to discern the real from the unreal – an obstacle on the path towards liberation. It's not that I actually thought I was going to die out there in the water, but deep down we all have an innate survival mechanism that signals a flashing red light when danger is near. The tough part is discriminating between legitimate danger and an overactive mind.
Spring is in the air and I had a great time teaching my inversions workshop on Saturday. Thanks to all who made it out on a rainy afternoon. In preparation for the workshop, I was inspired to switch up my usual ways of getting into the upside-down poses. There are many paths to the same destination and asana practice provides an illuminating outlet for exploring various methods of moving through time and space. A taxi from LaGuardia, the subway from JFK, or a bus from Newark. All paths bring me home eventually...
Anticipation of spring has inspired me to clean up my diet. I'm cutting back on dairy and animal protein and getting the most out of protein rich beans, seeds, and veggies. I've always been a lover of spice and cooking with Indian spices fills my kitchen with warmth and color!
Dal is delicious. Warm and filling comfort food for the lingering winter cold, yet light enough to leave you feeling energized. Top with a squeeze of lemon and fresh cilantro for a taste of sunshine on a cold day.
Has this cold spell left you feeling rigid, disconnected from your body, and maybe a little deflated? Warm up and cheer up with this simple home practice to release you calves, open your shoulders and mobilize your upper back.
We as humans hold onto things. Our relationships to familiar objects, people, and places form a tapestry of self-identity. And while it's often scary to do so, we must shed as much as we acquire as we move through life. Each of my departures from Japan is a process of letting go. Letting go of the temporary apartment I've occupied, the streets and favorite restaurants that surround it, the people with whom I've shared countless walks and meals and conversations.
I took this photograph at the start of my vacation in Santa Monica. The view through a camera is captivating. A lens provides a portal to seeing the foreground, the background, and most importantly the relationship between the two.
The shore is a long distance away. The plants in the foreground are nowhere near as big as they seem in this image. But what if everything in the foreground of our experience could be this big, this meaningful? And what if we coud see what's right in front of us while still keeping an eye on the horizon?