A Lesson in Falling

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.

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How the Japanese art of decluttering sparked joy in my home, my marriage and my yoga practice

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.

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Hold the Pose. Learn. Change.

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.

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Home Practice Love Affair

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.

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Surfing and Falling Down Laughing

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.

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Home Practice: Funky Headstand

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...

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Clean Eating: Yellow Split Pea Dal

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.

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Impermanence

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.

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Home Practice: Turn Your World Upside Down

At its best, autumn is a season marked by fresh starts and new ventures. The cool air moves us along. We shift our wardrobes, our food cravings, and the temperature of our beverages. Our moods mingle with the changing colors of the trees. But this quickly evolving landscape can all to often wrench us into a frenzy of activity.

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Home Practice: Foot and Leg Refresher

Do your feet and lower legs get swollen in the summer heat? Do you experience tightness, cramping, and pain in your calves, arches and toes? Have you spent your days and nights traipsing all around the hard city streets with little more supporting you downtown than a thin slice of rubber and a string between your toes?

Show those dogs some love! Follow this simple home practice to refresh, awaken, and bring greater fluidity to your foundation.

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The Idea of God

The idea of God is one that has confounded me for as long as I can remember. Growing up with a family mix of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Pagans, Thespians, Poets, Hippies and Tree Huggers, I was left to paint my own picture of the big spirit in the sky. Now, immersed in the diversity that is New York City and from my time spent in Japan, I've added a few more colors to my palette. 

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"it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; just pay attention..."

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?

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