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Monthly archives: July 2016
- Moving from attention to awareness
- Posted 04 Jul 2016
- Our minds have the tendency to be overly reactive, to zero in on what appears to be the most pressing thing at any given moment, to the exclusion of everything else. For survival in prehistoric times, such focussed attention was probably a healthy response. But to live mindfully (and thus to maximize happiness), it is best to minimize this tendency.
- Minimum and maximum edges
- Posted 11 Jul 2016
- You have probably heard a yoga teacher say something like "come to your edge, but don't overstep it". The place that is usually called "the edge" is the point along the stretch continuum beyond which you are in danger of injuring yourself, and beyond which your awareness deteriorates into an obsessive focus on whatever body part is experiencing the greatest intensity. Using yoga teacher Erich Schiffmann's terminology, I want to refine this concept by calling this place your maximum edge, and talk about another place along the stretch continuum, your minimum edge, which is the place where you first feel a stretch. Becoming aware of your minimum edge will help you come into poses more mindfully and more deeply, and reduce your chance of injury at the same time.
- Hip openers and hip alignment
- Posted 18 Jul 2016
- Hip alignment can be challenging—perhaps more so than the alignment of any other joint in the body—because of tightness of the ligaments that support the joint, and tightness in the muscles that articulate the hips. While none of our joints are as flexible as they were when we were infants, the hips typically lose a greater percentage of their range of motion over time than any other joint in our bodies. This is because the hip joints are extremely flexible when we are born, but in our daily lives we make use of a very limited part of their original range of motion, and muscles and connective tissue will tighten up naturally to permit no more than the range of motion repeatedly required of them.
- Posted 24 Jul 2016
- Pranayama, one of the core disciplines of yoga, is often translated as "control of life force" or "breath control", because 'prana' means life force, and 'yama' means control or restriction. However, if you understand Sanskrit spelling and word contraction rules (which I barely do) you would know that 'pranayama' cannot be a contraction of 'prana' and 'yama', because the second 'a' in 'prana' is short, while the second 'a' in 'pranayama' is long. (This is not a matter of interpretation. A short and a long ‘a’ are two different characters in Devanagari, the writing system used for Sanskrit, and as far as I know, no one has ever found an original source in which pranayama was spelled with a short ‘a’ in the second position. If someone did, that would reopen this argument, but in the absence of such a source, this is an open and shut case.)
- Announcing Gernot's first Annual Yoga Retreat Winter 2016-17
- Posted 31 Jul 2016
- This March I attended a yoga retreat with Richard Freeman and absolutely loved it. I didn't just love studying with Richard and his wife Mary (who are fabulous), I loved becoming part of a community of wonderful like-minded people coming together to do what they love. I was amazed by the fact that at least a third of the students had come to the same retreat the year before, and some had been coming three times or more, turning the retreat into an annual reunion of old friends. I would love to help foster such a sense of community among my own students, and thus I am starting my own annual yoga retreat tradition.