How I Deal With Frustration in Practice

frustration Mar 06, 2020
Ever feel like storming off your mat in frustration? Or worse yet, not even getting on it? We all feel frustration with practice from time to time. So how do we deal with it? Oftentimes, this is actually two questions: one is about frustration with your own practice; the other is frustration because you’re comparing yourself to others.
 
We all get frustrated with our practices sometimes, but it can be easier to break out of if you can remember the two central concepts of impermanence and nonattachment. Whatever it is you’re frustrated with will change, just like everything in life does. So recognize and accept the impermanence of the moment and the frustration, love the whole process, and move forward in your practice without attachment to the outcome.
 
But with the frustration of comparing yourself to others, it can be a little easier to address because you don’t need to change your own mindset. All you need to do is remove the things you’re...
Continue Reading...

How to be Accountable for Practice

accountability Feb 29, 2020

Ever lie in bed on a Monday morning after hitting snooze and make excuses for why you should skip practice? I know how hard it can be to get started. In my years practicing and teaching I’ve met some people who spring out of bed prioritizing practice above all else, and others to whom the practice never really sticks. I think most people fall somewhere in the middle where accountability for practice can be a challenge.

One really incredible thing about yoga is that you’re ultimately accountable only to yourself. Your practice is YOUR practice, while this is ultimately an incredibly freeing truth, many of us are supremely challenged by holding ourselves accountable. This is just one more of the ways that our practices and our lives mirror each other.

The fact is, accountability is hard - it’s even harder when you’re the only person you’re answering to! Because holding ourselves accountable is such a central challenge, it’s also a great opportunity...

Continue Reading...

Goals: 0% Injury Rate

injury Feb 21, 2020

In my last blog post I wrote about why I think Ashtanga Yoga is dangerous. There are a lot of injuries that can happen in the Ashtanga practice from either pushing too hard, carelessness or misinformation. And talking injuries can be a bit of a taboo subject. Students don’t tell the teacher that they are hurt, either because they don’t realize it until later, there is a shame regarding the injury, or my personal pet peeve - they don’t want to make the teacher feel badly.

There seems to be a common misconception in contemporary Ashtanga that injury is an acceptable, expected, or even glorified part of the practice. I think there’s a fairly open dialogue about it these days - the teachers in many workshops and trainings I’ve been to have talked about their goals of having no injuries, and I absolutely believe that we can accomplish a 0% injury rate in Ashtanga. While the system is a physically rigorous one, a holistic practice should be geared toward...

Continue Reading...

Why I think Ashtanga Yoga Is Dangerous ☠️

Uncategorized Feb 13, 2020
 

I was recently asked if Ashtanga Yoga is dangerous. My immediate response was a vehement “of course not!”

And then I thought about it a little more. 

I realized that my initial reaction was a conditioned response rather than a considered answer. It was knee jerk reaction rooted in defense of a practice that I love and have devoted my life to. If I had been asked this same question 15 years ago, I would have had the same response and then gone on to explain that safety is all in the way the practice is approached.

Today, after years of practice and teaching, my views have softened. My experience of practice has changed. I’ve weathered injuries and I’ve witnessed injuries. This has changed both my approach to teaching and my view on whether Ashtanga is dangerous, meaning precarious, perilous, or risky. Ashtanga yoga certainly involves the chance of injury or harm unless dealt with carefully.

Over the years I have had the occasional student accidentally...

Continue Reading...

Instagram Yoga vs Reality

instagram Jan 16, 2020
 
I'm fond of saying no one can show you the inside of yoga. You have to experience it yourself. When I see someone practice I can only guess how a student feels or where their mind is during practice. The outside doesn't tell us much about what is going on inside. And that's the shame of social media - it's one dimensional.
 
An increasingly common issue among yogis (and people who are interested but haven’t taken the leap yet) is the question of Instagram versus reality. We’re inundated all the time both with messages from social media and messages about its effects on us. This is just as true in yoga as anywhere else.
 
The question of “Instagram yoga” versus “real yoga” is a challenging one, mostly because they’re kind of false terms. Yoga is, first and foremost, the practice of each individual who engages in it. It’s not something that can be captured in a single photo, and it’s not something that can ever...
Continue Reading...

2020 Vision 🤓

What I love about the New Year is that it’s filled with so much possibility. What I love about the end of the year is the beautiful opportunity to reflect on what went right over the past 365 days and what I can do better in the New Year. I like to get really clear about what I want and put it on paper to make it more real and more achievable.

As a yoga teacher the New Year is one of the busiest times for me. Classes are full and everyone is anxious to make good on their resolutions. Twelve months later in December, only the diehards remain.

So what happens to our New Year’s resolutions between January and December? How can we make them stick?

I’ve spent a lot of time studying how to build good habits and systems and goal setting to help students stick to practice. Here are some ideas for you to improve your practice this year:

  1. Get clear about what you want to accomplish. 
  2. Put it on paper. Notes in the phone are nice but there’s something more real...
Continue Reading...

Practice Tips for Travel

travel Dec 17, 2019

As the holiday season kicks into full swing, I want to talk about a question that’s an annual challenge for a lot of people – how do I fit my practice into all this travel? Whether you’re on the go, staying with friends or family, or even feeling uprooted within your own home during the holidays, it’s hard not to worry about your practice getting thrown off. Luckily, I’ve got some tips for you!

First, make sure to bring a yoga mat, clothes, and any other essentials you need to make your practice happen. You don’t need to create any new reasons not to practice – getting a travel mat and having everything you need prepared in advance is an easy way to break down that particular barrier to your practice.

Second, find your space to practice! I know this can be challenging. Maybe you’re staying with family, or in a too-small hotel room, or sharing a room with someone – there can be all sorts of obstacles to finding a space for your...

Continue Reading...

Ashtanga 101 : Maintenance Mode

Have you heard yogis talking about “maintenance mode” and wondered what the heck it means?

Well, ultimately, a maintenance practice is different for everyone, because what it looks like is determined by what it is you’re trying to maintain. With maintenance practice, you are essentially setting yourself up for better practices to come - later in the week, later in the month, and in the coming months.

There are many different situations where maintenance practice might be appropriate. I typically do a maintenance practice when I’m traveling or when I have a very heavy teaching schedule (for instance, when I am teaching intensive studies or workshop weekends). I’ll also often do maintenance practices during big life transitions like a move or starting a new job, as well as right before or after ladies holiday. In short, I switch to maintenance mode when the rest of my life is too chaotic or unsteady for me to reliably get onto my mat knowing I can push...

Continue Reading...

Ashtanga 101: The Prop Talk

 

Traditionally in Ashtanga, many teachers will teach with absolutely no props. I think there’s some benefit to that but, personally, I like using props when I teach (and in my own practice). I think they foster independence and can be extremely helpful learning tools. Props can create space when we don’t have it naturally, and they can help us to repattern, and I would say that these are the two main times when we want to use props.

So, what does that mean? When I say creating space (or taking space away, maybe). It could mean helping you catch a bind, it could mean helping you shift forward to catch a bind, it could mean helping you make more space for your shoulders, or something along those lines. What it comes down to is this: if you cannot do the posture without the prop, use the prop – especially if you’re practicing at home and don’t have someone to help you!

The other time to use props is when you’re working on repatterning, and an example...

Continue Reading...

When is the Right Time to Participate in Workshops, Immersions, In-Depth Studies and Retreats?

 

I get a lot of questions about what I think of "continuing education" in yoga - workshops, immersions, in-depth studies, teacher trainings, retreats; basically anything outside of the Mysore room or led class. 

There is so much pressure to do that it can be difficult to know how to judge whether a learning opportunity will be beneficial to us. I'm going to broadly say "workshops" to talk about this, but I think the lessons of this post and livestream really are applicable to most continuing education opportunities.

On a community level, I think that workshops and other continuing education offerings can be a great way to strengthen bonds with your existing community, as well as a great way to expand it. Workshops give you a chance to connect with your teachers and fellow yogis in ways that there just isn't the space for in the day-to-day practice. If supporting your community is something that's important to you, workshops can also be an especially great way to do that with...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Close