Tonight I'm planning classes for this Sunday at 8 and 9 a.m. at Yoga Tree Potrero Hill and thinking not so much about a sequence of poses, but much about ahimsa, non-violence. The longer I practice yoga, the more I see it in the world and the more I see the world within it. I had a chance recently to talk with a biology professor who is also a dedicated wildlife conservation photographer. Her work balances strong and soft approaches to educating viewers about the poaching crisis that threatens elephant extinction and calling hearts to end violence toward the friendly giants. Read my post about Susan McConnell's photography on the Stanford News site. See more of Professor McConnell's work on her website.
During my first years of practicing yoga seriously, I struggled to sit through pranayama and meditation class. Once I told my body to sit still, suddenly everything itched and ached and I had to move. In pranayama (controlling the breath or vital energy of the body), when I tried to sync with everyone holding a half-exhale, I felt as though I could die right then from suffocation. Of course, during the class one is free to move at any time or drop out of the pranayama practice and return to a normal, involuntary rhythm of breath. Despite my teacher's clear instructions to be gentle, however, I believed pushing harder was the way to move forward.
Slowly, though, I found the opposite to be true: as I made the mindful movement or took the extra breath, and did so without judgment, the practices came to me. I didn't need to chase them. The combination of pranayama and meditation helped me enjoy breathing deeply and sitting still. They've also helped me to be patient in other parts of my life – waiting out a struggle – and taught me to drop out of a situation that isn't working and isn't worth the fight. Paying attention to breathing helped me quiet my mind and let me listen to my body.
No matter whether you're paying attention to it, breathing is important if you want to live. Turns out sighing also plays an important role in keeping you alive. Read more from the Washington Post.
Some gentlemen at the Stanford Graduate School of Business auctioned themselves off for dates in the name of charity (Movember) and set up a fun morning for the group. Had an awesome time teaching them yoga outside on a sunny day, and then the guys made an impressive brunch. It was quite a party, even by GSB standards.
To bring yoga to your event (prenatal yoga for a baby shower, morning activity for out-of-town wedding guests), send me a note!
Continually bringing awareness to what we want to carry forward and letting go of what's harmful, or simply no longer relevant, creates space to live fully in this moment. One helpful tool to sharpen presence is a mindful practice of yoga.Read More
How do you stay present for what's happening in your life?Read More
Get out of the way: a lesson from some Nicaraguan sea turtles.Read More
Giving up something enjoyable, or simply familiar, even when hanging on isn’t healthy, can be tough. But sometimes sacrificing in one area leads to big gains elsewhere. Homer Simpson explains how.Read More
A Q&A on dance for people with Parkinson's disease with David Leventhal, former leading dancer with the Mark Morris Dance Group and current director of the company's Dance for PD program.Read More
A digest of an Inc.com piece discussing psychology research that found that people who framed their efforts to value progress instead of productivity reported more positive feelings about their actions. In it I read a strong connection to the work we do in yoga.Read More
Spotlight on Kylie Gordon of San Carlos, Calif., practicing hip flexion and spinal extension while squatting.Read More
A brief meditation comparing Lent and savasana, or corpse pose, in yoga.Read More