Is Yoga a “White Exercise Class”?

Image: From the exhibition #whitepeopledoingyoga Artist Chiraag Bhakta Glancing into a typical US yoga studio window, you would think Yoga equals a “white exercise class,” as Skill in Action author Michelle C Johnson has termed it. Now is the moment, more than ever, that yoga is called to take the opportunity to interrogate, and further […]

Leaving the Palace

During our current physical distancing and Covid-19 Stay Home rules, I recognize that “Leaving the Palace” may seem like an odd topic to be writing about. But bear with me.  I have been studying Buddhism for decades now, and I am always drawn back to the basic teachings during uncertain times. While many religions are […]

Is Yoga “Woo-woo”?

tree branches

At a recent festival I attended, representing Breathing Space, I met many interesting and fun people. One of them was a person who told me, in no uncertain terms, that after practicing yoga for 30 years — that there is no point in any “woo-woo” discussion of yoga, and really it’s “just stretching, no matter […]

The practice of de-centering

What is this practice of “de-centering,” and how does it relate to yoga, meditation, and living your life fully? From the Buddhist perspective, as you meditate, you might have an experience of yourself that is less rigid, less tied to your story, your likes and dislikes, your constant seeking of comfort. De-centering takes the form […]

Yoga at Community College II

Week 2 of assisting a community college yoga class. It’s very enjoyable to interact with high school-to-college students who are discovering yoga for the first time. We all come with our abilities and our hesitations (including the teachers!). It hurts my heart to see how young people – especially young women – struggle with body […]

Yoga at Community College

At the community college this past Monday, I co-led a class for high school-to-college students, ages 17 – early 20s. These students, as my colleague stated, “would likely never go to Kripalu, or even step inside a yoga studio.” As you can imagine, many were shy about taking the poses. There was a lot of […]

Presence III: The Storyteller

In yoga and in meditation, the notion of authentic presence, or being fully present, is often discussed as one of the hallmarks of practice. Presence is understood as our inherent nature, and any inauthentic or not-fully aspect is due to obstacles, trauma, or just plain habit. Simply being in the body, breathing, is the simplest […]

Principal Witness

Yoga today is such a vast tapestry of schools, methods, approaches, paths, and outcomes that it is very hard to discern the bottom-line “shoulds” of yoga. This is the freedom and beauty of yoga — flowers blossoming in an endless array of colors and forms — but as the media is happy to tell us, […]

Yoga for Bone Density

A study reported in the NY Times gave some positive support for yoga as a way to support bone density. The poses they suggest are the following: “tree, triangle, warrior II, side-angle, twisted [revolved] triangle, locust, bridge, supine hand-to-foot I, supine hand-to-foot II, straight-legged twist, bent-knee twist and corpse pose. Each pose was held for […]

Offering II

In yogic philosophy, the Niyama (observance) of Ishvara Pranidhana (devotion) calls one to offer the fruits of practice to something greater than oneself. That is, centralizing all benefits of actions to one’s own betterment will limit that benefit. This is discussed in Buddhist practice as “dedicating the merit.” Whatever practice one does can immediately be […]