Category: Philosophy

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Becoming Animal: Using Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Meditation as Embodiment Practices for the Cultivation of Organic Intelligence

A practitioner in my Mysore program recently asked me: “If one side of a posture is more open than the other, and I feel like I can keep going deeper in the more open side, should I hold back to try to even it out with the less open side?” My response drew from what I feel is one of...

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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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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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This Body

Titles can be tricky, especially in this society of speed, sound-bites and stimulants. Other options included ‘What happened in the summer holidays’ and ‘My appendix, the NHS, sangha and sustainability’. It began on the first Saturday of August. A busy day with many commitments. In the afternoon I was feeling a bit unwell – nothing too serious. I mused to...

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Mula Bandha and Float Backs

Part 1: The Three Bandha The word Bandha can be defined variously as “lock”, “blockage” and “doorway”. Mula Bandha is the lower lock, meaning “root” or “earth”. There are a few definitions that I like regarding MB, so I wanted to start by sharing some of those. Wikipedia Mūla Bandha is the principal, key and primary Bandha of the Yogic...

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Why I don’t Chant, Part 2: Tradition and Self Authority

Last week I published an article titled “Why I don’t Chant”, in which I explained some of the reasons that I don’t use the Ashtanga opening and closing mantras in my classes or in my personal practice. As expected, I received mixed feedback on the article. Some people expressed that it resonated with them deeply, while others felt that by...

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Why I don’t chant

I don’t think I love God more than I love music. Why would a European sitting there, who doesn’t know the difference between Krishna and Rama, listen to this music for two hours? Why are instrumental concerts so popular? Do we know if the performer is playing a kriti in Kannada or Telugu, or if that kriti is talking about...

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