Lost in thought?

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Instead, mind your thoughts. Over the past decades of mentoring people in mindfulness practice, the most common quandary I hear from novice meditators is this: “I can’t meditate. When I sit down to meditate, my mind becomes busier than ever. I thought meditation was supposed to help you quiet your mind.” Sound familiar? I’d guess […]

Baby backbends: Yoga’s unsung power poses

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You won’t see them on Instagram. There are so many other backbends that look way more impressive on a sunset-drenched beach. In fact, they may barely register as backbends when you look at the outer form. Indeed, they are called “baby” backbends, suggesting lesser poses that are reserved for people who can’t do the “real” […]

Manual adjustments in yoga class

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What to do and what not to do Years ago, one of my former students took a yoga class at a local health club. My student had been practicing for several years and had developed a healthy range of motion, meaning she was plenty flexible, but not extremely so. On that day, the class was […]

Human hibernation

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Yogic help for deeper sleep Right now, much of the world is sleeping. Creatures such as bears, marmots, bats and bees hibernate. Reptiles fall into a state of sluggishness and inactivity called “brumation.” According to Peter Wholleben, author of the book The Hidden Life of Trees, even trees fall into slumber. Letting their leaves lose […]

From being in the moment to Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is trending these days. Since 2014, mindfulness has made the cover of TIME twice. The practice even has its very own magazine, Mindful, with articles touting the practice’s benefits, including stress management, trauma relief, alleviation of chronic pain and a general sense of contentment; daily life practices—mindful eating, listening and gardening; and practices of […]

The sleep puzzle

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It’s not so simple Do you have trouble falling asleep? Or staying asleep? If so, you’re not alone. According to data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 30-35% of Americans experience at least temporary insomnia. Ten percent of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia, defined as three sleepless nights a week for three months or […]

The “if only” trap

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Finding contentment in your life as it is In 1996, I attended a 30-day silent Insight meditation retreats. As with many retreat centers, the cabin where we practiced was designed to provide the perfect conditions—remote location, comfortable accommodations, nourishing meals, quality teachings and quiet surroundings. However, quiet surroundings were nowhere to be found. A cabin […]

Hearing meditation

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Doorway to the present There are lots of things to love about spring and summer—the long hours of daylight, the invitation to shed layers of clothing, and the opportunity to spend more time outdoors, for example. One  thing I personally love about the warmer weather is the opportunity to open windows in my house and […]

Respect

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The yoga of cultivating care I lived on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1990. During that year a longtime yoga teacher based in Seattle, Aadil Palkhivala, frequented the Big Island to teach workshops. I was fortunate to get to work with him a number of times. One of his workshops was held in a […]

Students of silence

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University of Utah students learn from composer Phillip Bimstein about the power of “radical quiet” On a chilly February afternoon, a crew of workmen yelled and their tools clanged at a worksite on the campus of the University of Utah. Heavy equipment beeped and roared. A saw screeched through concrete, or maybe metal. Meanwhile, in […]

Peak experiences

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Nice, but sometimes an impediment People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, […]

Connect and release: A yogic approach to neck pain

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I begin most of my yoga classes by asking if students have “requests.” These requests include types of poses they’d like to practice (maybe standing poses or twists), or areas of the body that need attention (hips, hamstrings, low back). Almost every time I ask, someone requests help for a tired, stiff neck. From the […]

 
 
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