11
Mar
2015
1

Paschimottanasana

Paschimottanasana, translated as “Western Intense Stretch Posture”, is the first seated forward bend in the Ashtanga Primary Series. More demanding than the standing forward folds, these seated asanas may challenge you both physically and mentally at first. Paschimottanasana has three variations (A,B and C). A is the one illustrated here, where the big toes are grabbed with the first two fingers. In variation B, we hold the backs of our feet by wrapping our hands...
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8
Mar
2015
1

God vs. Yoga Part Deux

Last week I posted an article that summarized a news story which I personally found revolting. A Catholic priest in Ireland had likened yoga to Satan, and said a bunch of stuff so ridiculous, closed-minded and uninformed that I simply couldn’t help myself. I felt compelled to share it with others because I deemed it important for people to be aware that this kind of ignorant prejudice is still being promulgated by organized religion. (Here’s...
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7
Mar
2015
3

Ujjayi Who?

The first time I heard it, I thought it was a joke. When I heard it again, I thought the teacher was trying to be poetic. As he walked sloooooowly around the heated yoga studio telling us to “engage” this and start “looking inward” that, I had absolutely no idea what he meant. But the tooooone of his voice was so sloooow and sooooothing that I felt my muscles relaaaaxing into his words as my...
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4
Mar
2015
1

Dandasana

Dandasana is the first seated pose in the Ashtanga Primary Series, and is also known as Seated Staff Pose. Don’t be fooled by its appearance, it’s actually more challenging than it seems. This pose is important, as it lays the foundation for all the seated asanas. PHYSICAL BENEFITS - Improves posture - Strengthens back muscles - Strengthens all major core muscles (abdominals, back, legs, arms) - Stretches and opens shoulders / chest / hamstrings -...
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1
Mar
2015
2

God Vs. Yoga

A Catholic priest in Ireland had some very dire warnings for his parishioners concerning the evils of yoga last week. During a sermon about the Devil and exorcism, he naturally felt compelled to voice his concerns about the risks humanity faces by “seeking spiritual answers in yoga classes”. To his credit, he based all his arguments on factual evidence written by the Church. These facts are all true because the Church said so. Here are...
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28
Feb
2015
1

Life Strategy: Use In Case Of Emergency

I had a shitty week. If you know me (or if you don’t really, but read this blog), you know that I stay away from clumping things together as being “all bad” or referring to an entire anything as being all-around “shitty”, because not EVERYTHING can be “all” anything all the time. Riiight? It’s neither constructive nor useful to make sweeping generalizations, since they only lead to a snowball of negativity that in turn perpetuates...
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24
Feb
2015
1

Virabhadrasana 2

Last week we looked at Warrior 1, and this week we’re moving on to Warrior 2. This standing asana is the second of the three Warrior poses. The word “warrior” in Sanskrit refers to an ideal for yoga practitioners where the inner “spiritual warrior” battles self-ignorance (the cause of all suffering). It is a strong, assertive pose that requires both focus and inner strength. PHYSICAL BENEFITS - Strengthens arms and shoulders - Strengthens back muscles...
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21
Feb
2015
5

Why Hip Openers Make You Happier… After Making You Cry

One scorching hot day in a yoga shala in India, our yoga teacher-training master gave us an ominous and somewhat sadistic warning. It went something like this: “I know you’re exhausted, and I know most of you are going though a lot of inner turmoil. I know you’re angry, I can see it on your faces. And I just wanted to let you know it’s about to get worse”. His smile was met by 33...
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17
Feb
2015
1

Virabhadrasana I

This standing asana is the first of the three Warrior poses, and is known in English as Warrior 1. Love it or hate it, it refers to an ideal for yoga practitioners where the inner “spiritual warrior” battles self-ignorance (the cause of all suffering). It is a strong, assertive pose that requires focus and inner strength. PHYSICAL BENEFITS - Strengthens arms and shoulders - Strengthens back muscles - Strengthens legs and glutes (butt muscles) -...
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