The last thing I expected was for one of my yoga teachers to sound a Socratic note. After a six hour session, he made a disconcerting remark: “I hope this workshop has raised more questions than provided answers. I hope it has made you realize how lost you really are.” This comment came after a grueling week-long workshop in the traditional practice of Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, which entails memorizing sequences of physical postures. In this practice of breath-synchronized movement, every…
This past summer I was invited to attend an event series called ‘Resistance is Futile! Mental Wellness and Sensuousness.’ It was a communal exploration of these topics, with a focus on the epidemic of millennial anxiety and given the nature of the subject matter, the hostess asked me to open the evening with a meditation and movement exercise with the intention of helping people to ground, release nerves and arrive in their bodies. I prepared talking points to inspire discussion.
At the Vipassana course, I felt connected to the natural cycles of the day and night, the sun, the moon, the stars, in a profound way. I wasn’t speaking to or interacting with any humans, which allowed for a much deeper connection with the natural world. I would wake at 4am, walk outside to the meditation hall with the stars.
During my travels in 2016, I was fortunate to spend two weeks at Purple Valley, a magical yoga retreat in Goa, India. On one of our movie nights at Purple Valley, we watched the documentary: Doing Time, Doing Vipassana. It shows a breakthrough in prison reform in 1993 when Kiran Bedi strove to turn Tihar Jail in New Delhi, notorious for its inhuman conditions and one of the largest high-security prison complexes in the world, into a peaceful ashram.
The following article is an expansion of a number of philosophical discourses that I make in workshops and courses. I have also included supporting information on specific master teachers relevant to the different forms of Yoga philosophy that I am discussing. My purpose is to encourage students to follow these links, and as inspiration strikes to put these subtle aspects of Yoga into practice
2018 has so far been a time of deep letting go and reorientating into a new way of being. The lunar eclipse and Blood Moon at the end of January created an opportunity for a new level of healing, which has been demanding that I walk fearlessly into the unknown, that I break free of the stories of my past, which means breaking free of my victim narrative. When I came onto this earth, my soul made an agreement to come into this body. My original alignment: mind, body and essence.
Seemingly appropriate for almost any situation the interpretation, intended or perceived, may vary from ‘well it’s almost identical, it’s just a fake’ to ‘really it’s nothing like what you are asking for at all, but perhaps it will do’. It is one of my favorite sayings, sitting perfectly alongside the lovely Thai people. As I travel around the world teaching workshops in yoga anatomy, it is not the volumes of anatomical texts that bubble across my consciousness but this simple phrase and how we might explore our human potential with the concepts that percolate through it.
Karma yoga, or selfless service, is one of the paths of yoga and is the yoga of action. It is performing every action, both on and off the mat, in totality, with complete presence, authenticity and love, without any expectation to receive anything in return. It is a powerful way to transform ourselves, to break out of the cycle of likes and dislikes: the cycle of attachment that leads to suffering.