how i learned to practice at home

how i learned to  practice at home

lost in my living room One day, I was in class with five other people. We were sitting quietly on our mats facing our teacher. Instead of leading us in a meditation as she normally does, our instructor asked if any of us had a home practice. There was dead silence. I was looking to … Read more

Beginning the Yogic Journey

Beginning the Yogic Journey

If someone told me when I started doing yoga that the hardest part of the practice would be getting on the mat, I wouldn’t have believed it. During the first six months of doing yoga, I looked forward to my classes. I couldn’t wait to see what poses we would do and afterward I would … Read more

Connections

Connections

One of my yoga teachers is leaving the area, and the news of his imminent departure was a surprise to me. I have been attending his Sunday vinyasa class for over a year and it played an important part in my practice; it was the first vinyasa class that I ever took. Before I met … Read more

sangha

sangha

One day my teacher asked me to participate in an asana demonstration. Halfway through class, after he had walked around the room observing the twist we were practicing, he asked everyone to get out of the pose except for me. I stayed in the twist while the rest of the class gathered around my mat. … Read more

asanas: concentration

asanas: concentration

getting out of your head Once I took a class with a teacher who asked her students to keep in mind the ABCs of yoga while doing our asanas: attitude, breath and concentration. During the class, I tried my best to keep them in mind, but I don’t think I succeeded. I did not get … Read more

the cold shoulder

the cold shoulder

an exercise in acceptance One Sunday, I went to a vinyasa yoga class. During our sun salutations, the teacher asked us to try dolphin instead of downward dog. I don’t know why the pose is called dolphin. To me, it looks just like downward dog except that your forearms are flat on the ground with … Read more

the space between breaths: kumbhaka – pranayama

kumbhaka pranayama breathing pause space inhalation kumbhak yoga exhale point present benefits of exhale

This summer, I took an eight-week course on pranayama, the yogic art of breath control. Halfway through the course, we began to work with kumbhaka , the state of suspended breath. I was a little apprehensive because of my previous experience with breath retention. Kumbhaka: discovering the value of pausing Regardless of whether the retention … Read more

breathing

breathing

a duel of wills I recently took a breathing awareness course at my yoga studio. We met once a week for eight weeks. Our weekly homework assignments included a home practice of 20 minutes four times a week consisting of a set of three asanas – two restorative poses that varied from week to week followed … Read more