25-minute breathe better MP3. Recorded during the week-long wildfires in California October 2017.
Interested in studying Patanjali's Yoga Sutras? Overwhelmed by the choices? Which book is best?
Each book will have the author's flavor and perspective. Here are a few of my favorite resources for different levels of interest and experience.
Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
I feel like I was a walking head before yoga.
Even though I played competitive sports and was active, I wasn't really communicating with my body. Oh, there were plenty of commands - run faster, you can do it, no pain, no gain - but very little conversation.
When I first started yoga, it was like I had to translate everything - put your left foot forward... okay....left.... foot... where is my left foot?... now, forward... more forward... come on left foot! ..... why doesn't it get to the top of the mat? ... - Anyone else have that in their head? Progress was slow, but progress came, and it came more quickly once I understood the role of the breath and the bandhas.
It's like you come to yoga with a "flat tire" for a body - even if you're active, there is rarely awareness. The yoga postures and alignment start the conversation. You begin to feel - which can be as simple as equal weight on your feet, as subtle as the stacking of your bones, or as complex as the emotions that arise when a pose is challenging, unfamiliar, or uncomfortable.
And as you begin to feel, your inner awareness unfolds, reaching ever deeper, to subtle concepts like the bandhas. As seals, the bandhas patch up "leaks" - weaknesses, sleepy deep core muscles, underutilized stabilizers - and strengthen you from the inside out. The bandhas also create more of a container inside of your body. Which is why they are a prerequisite for pranayama - breath expansion practices.
Pranayama comes from two words. Prana which is life force, vitality, eternal energy. It's like Qi in other Eastern Traditions or Mana in the Hawaiian Tradition. Ayama means to liberate or remove restraints. When you dissect the word, you see that pranayama is designed to invigorate, expand, and liberate the life force and energy inside of you.
Once the breath has a strong container, a solid vessel, it gains momentum. Then you pump prana into the body. Prana creates space and potential for something new to arise, for transformation to occur. It inflates and enlivens your body with awareness.
Instead of clunking along with a flat tire, you cruise, glide, and really ride the vibrancy of being in-body.
This is how yoga makes you more youthful and vital. This is what sustains your practice for a lifetime. This is the alignment of feeling uplifted inside and out.
"Without full awareness of breathing, there can be no development of meditative stability and understanding."
~Thich Nhat Hanh
What are the bandhas? What is the deep core? Are they the same?
Yes and No.
Here we explore the diffference between the bandhas, the deep core, and learn how to activate Mulabandha, the root lock.
highlight reel of my favorite books over the years.
This is the "Clear Blue Sky" Visualization Meditation from the Ajna "Command" or 3rd Eye Chakra Classes.
Just like there are many different poses, there are many different practices and "shapes" of meditation. There are meditations on the breath, loving kindness, or walking. With visualization meditation, you turn your sense of sight inward and utilize your imagination to expand your perception.
This was recorded during class and is only about 6 minutes. I recommend setting a timer for the amount of time you want to meditate then use this recording to get you started.
Download the MP3 File by Clicking Below.
Exploration and Practices for Chakras 5, 6, and 7
practice more than poses
You're more than a bag of bones and muscles. The Chakras are tools and a language for exploring the energy anatomy of your body. Exercises and Awareness Techniques for Chakras 1-4.
Contribute to the book! What are your burning questions about yoga?
Obviously the spine is of vital importance for the physical body, and the Yoga Tradition describes yet another layer – Susumna Nadi – running parallel to the spine. Nadi means “channel” or “pulse”. It’s the yogic equivalent of an energetic vein or meridian. Susumna is referred to as the Eye of Hurricane or the Center of the Spinning Wheel because life in the body revolves around this central axis. Susumna is the super-highway for prana (vital energy or life-force). It’s a place of stillness, calm, focus and connection. It’s an ideal, like Samadhi, Nirvana, or Enlightenment.
In preparation for my last class in Fairfax, I asked myself "If there is 1 thing to teach, 1 thing to tell my students, what would it be?" #1: Have a long term vision for your practice.
How to work with injuries and view them as learning opportunities (part 2)
How to work with injuries and view them as learning opportunities (part 1)
20-minute Home Practice MP3 to open hips, ground, and center for change and challenging times.
Fundamental Flow Home Practice MP3 from Fall Retreat 2016
An e-guide with yoga postures and practices to improve your sleep.
Just like new students have common misalignments and challenges, new teachers have common questions and similar roadblocks. This call with my assistant Noelle Callahan is like Teaching Yoga 101. We cover what you need to know to get started and how to gain traction as a teacher.
Commentary on Yoga Sutras 1.2-1.4
Home Practice Resources from the Yoga for Energy & Serenity Workshop at Yoga Mountain Studio in Fairfax.