1 John 1:7

June 24, 2019 Opinion, Philosophy

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. This verse is a dear one to me for a few reasons. It’s the one that made me first realize that in order to be free, to live in freedom, I mustn’t hide parts of me away. All of me, the good and the bad, must be visible. ThatRead More

Ashtanga Yoga – Why I Practice

March 27, 2019 Opinion, Tradition

Recently, I was faced with the question of why I practice ashtanga yoga. I’ve been asked that from time to time, and usually say something like ‘it helps me feel better” or “I feel more balanced.” Most people accept that and while it’s not wrong, it really doesn’t convey how I truly feel about the practice. But how do I put that into words so people understand? Truth is, I just hadn’t figured that out. Partly because the practice ofRead More

What Is Your Why?

January 20, 2019 Travel, Workshops

In December SLAY made a road trip to Indianapolis to attend a workshop with Taylor Hunt. I really enjoy these events, mainly to get a different perspective on the same tradition. Each teacher brings different insights to the practice that is informed by their life experience. Although the Ashtanga tradition has remained the same there’s always a new way to look at it, a new way to break down a posture, a new way of thinking, and new questions toRead More

Time

May 20, 2018 Opinion, Philosophy

My daily Mysore practice with Satinder Khalsa this month has me rethinking my relationship with time. More specifically, I’ve been asking why time is so important to me. I am realizing there has never been a point in my adult life where there’s not been a quiet sense of urgency. It’s always there in the background, just below the surface. A sense that time is fleeting. Time is of the essence. There is no time to spare. There is noRead More

Fence Sitting: Capitalism versus the Eight-Fold Path

April 28, 2018 Opinion, Philosophy

One of the great joys of practicing Ashtanga at Casa Bagus are the group discussions afterwards. The shala provides an inviting gathering space where we talk about all sorts of topics from anatomy, postures, philosophy and current events. We learn so much from each other through these impromptu discussions. Indeed, within these interactions lies the spirit of yoga itself. One question came up recently that’s been on my mind for some time: Can we find balance between our materialistic, consumerRead More

Unpacking the Opening Chant

March 31, 2018 Tutorial

In the Ashtanga tradition we begin each practice by reciting two versus taken partly from a longer poem known as the Yoga Taravalli: OM Vande Gurunam Charanaravinde Sandarsita Svatma Sukhava Bodhe Nih Sreyase Jangalikayamane Samsara Halahala Mohasantyai Abahu Purusakaram Sankhacakrasi Dharinam Sahasra Sirasam Svetam Pranamami Patanjalim OM The Ashtanga Yoga research Institute interprets the Sanskrit meaning in this way: I bow to the lotus feet of the Gurus, The awakening happiness of one’s own Self revealed, Beyond better, acting likeRead More

Brain Chemistry and Yoga

March 24, 2018 Opinion, Science

I recently came across an interesting article coauthored by three researchers of neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge. In it they describe a practice that’s been going on in Silicon Valley for awhile and is now spreading to other industries called, “microdosing,” which “involves taking minute quantities of drugs such as LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) or mescaline (found in the Peyote cactus) every few days.” The doses are so small (about a tenth of recreational use) that there are noRead More

Ashtanga at 60

March 18, 2018 Opinion, Tradition

I turn 60 this year so the physical demands of Ashtanga have been on my mind a lot lately. It is, in my opinion, the most physically challenging Yoga practice there is. It’s not just the level of strength, balance and flexibility one needs to get through the practice, but the added stamina it takes to do it early in the morning before most sane people have climbed out of bed. And I’m just referring to primary series (there isRead More

Collective Yoga

March 11, 2018 Opinion, Philosophy

I had this wonderful thought coming out of Savasana at yesterday’s morning Mysore practice. It was more of a sensation than a formal thought. It was a physical realization that this experiment we call St. Louis Ashtanga Yoga (SLAY) is actually a collective, a cooperative, something new in the world of modern posture yoga I believe (at least new to me). We could not have planned this tribe if we wanted to. We evolved from a rather odd chain ofRead More

The Paradox of Choice

March 5, 2018 Opinion, Philosophy

The inability to commit to one path for fear of choosing the wrong path causes one to choose no path at all. When there is an abundance of choice a kind of paralysis can set in. It’s the paradox of choice. This insight is what bubbled up for me at the recent Govinda Kai intensive in STL. It reminds me of the old Rush lyric, “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.” I’m choosing notRead More