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To Breathe or not to Breathe, that is the Question

Pranayama is very popular these days, and, I suspect, often wrongly taught. Although many teachers use that famous quote from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika: “Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by and by, so the breath is controlled by slow degrees, otherwise it kills the practitioner himself” It seems that they disregard – or their students disregard –...

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Mega Matcha Mango and Super Smoothies

Mega Matcha Mango Makes 2 glasses Grab your kimono and get your Zen on. Matcha Green Tea is one of my top three favourite foods. Studies on the health benefits of green tea have gone off the scales in recent years and rightly so. Green tea is proving to be effective against a range of illnesses. It is known as...

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Starting Third Series (Again) – Reflections on an 11 year relationship.

I first began to practice the third series of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system in early 2005, shortly after relocating to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Northern Canada. I had learned the primary and intermediate series from Mark Darby in Montreal the year before, and following a period of travel and then settling in a very remote and isolated corner...

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Raw Paddy Thai

Makes 4 servings Takes 45 minutes plus possible time in A & E I could not resist naming this dish after my Irish roots. Ok I lie slightly. I made this dish for the Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga YouTube channel. We had run out of red cabbage in the kitchen that day and all that was left was white cabbage....

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Where is the feminine in yoga?

Yoga has become the ultimate female activity, with 80 per cent of practitioners from the ‘fairer’ sex 1 . On the surface, the synchronised movements, bodyweight balances, and attention on breath seem more feminine than masculine, but a closer look shows it is anything but. The angular forms, linear movements, and mechanical instruction stem from male created systems serving to...

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You Stop There, Part II – Reflections on my second trip in Mysore with Sharath Jois

I recently completed my second three month trip practicing with Sharath Jois at the KPJAYI in Mysore. Last year I wrote two blog posts about my first trip, “A New Chapter” and “You Stop There”. These articles expressed my perspective of the experience of starting over as a beginner with Sharath, after having had a daily Ashtanga practice for 12...

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Holistic Asana Practice

An Article for Asana Teachers What does it mean to be holistic in terms of practicing (or teaching) Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga? Holistic means whole, or even part of a whole, and implies completion, integration and oneness. Holistic characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole Part One In...

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Spring to Life

We began as mineral. We emerged into plant life, and into the animal state, and then into being human, and always we have forgotten our former states, except in early spring when we slightly recall being green again. Rumi Living in Ireland one season merges into the other on a daily basis. As an island we don’t experience the hardship...

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Themed Interview with Mark Darby: Forwardfolding

So this season I decided to do some interviews themed around different aspects of the practice. The format is a chat about the subject and then a demo /workshop. In this interview I get to talk to Darby and I chose forwardfolding not only because a good few students struggle at least initially with these types of postures but also...

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