All posts tagged: pain

Are you doing yoga “right”?

This is a re-post of one of the most read blog posts I have written in the past 5-years.  This originally appeared in the blog in February 2009.  It’s a great reminder as we start the new year for a healthy and safe way to approach your practice. Both new yoga students and more experienced yoga students, at some point in a class or practice, may wonder if they are doing a particular pose correctly.  Many students wish that instructors would just come over and correct their pose or hope that, in time, they’ll start to get it right.  Most new students are sure they can’t possibly be doing yoga right and many experienced students have developed poor alignment habits that feel right, but are blocking them from deepening their asana practice. This is why we all, regardless of experience level, need to continue to take classes, workshops and find instructors that provide encouragement and assistance in deepening our practice at all levels.  Even the Masters have a guru. A well-trained instructor has studied principles …

Hope, Marx and the Body

I have had the great fortune of studying with and, in some cases, just been able to listen to, some people that I would consider to be genuine geniuses.  My fortune has been so great, that it would not be possible to list everyone here.  One of these people is David Harvey, who I met and studied with when I was a student at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York.  David Harvey is a critical geographer and anthropologist with significant passion for improving the conditions of life for humans everywhere.  Anyone who has studied Anthropology, or perhaps, any social science, knows that, it doesn’t look good for humans.  Almost every ethnography documents some kind of suffering—-the kind that we inflict on each other, the kind that we inflict on ourselves and the tragedies inherent with war, famine, natural disaster, racism, disease and the list goes on.  After six years of graduate work in Anthropology, I can tell you that the research consistently reveals that we aren’t that nice to one another and we don’t …

Yoga and Hope

In the March 2010 issue of ODE Magazine, there is a thought provoking article, Great Expectations: How hope therapy can help banish mild mood disorders and boost happiness, by Catherine Ryan.  Among the many things that I started to think about was the way that yoga promotes hope. What precisely is hope?  Hope is a subtle sensation and state of being, sometimes an emotion, that provides a vague sense that something other than what “is” can be possible.  It provides the foundation for every change, every decision and every transition that we find ourselves on the other side of.  Without hope, the capacity to love, to move, to grow or to change is stifled and the great shadow of fear and doubt can overwhelm us.  Hope is sometimes confused as faith, but although these both require one another, they are quite different.  In order to act on hope, one must have faith in the potentially positive outcome of one’s actions.  In order to have faith, there must be a song of hope in one’s heart …

Meditation for Haiti

SAFE and EFFECTIVE FINANCIAL DONATIONS to HAITI My web home page is the New York Times, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that the images of injured children, devastation and large numbers of bodies being scooped and dumped by trucks have not taken their toll on my heart-mind.  This is a most challenging time for Haitians all over the world.  This is most likely an understatement and one that I may never, and definitely hope to never, understand the true depth of.  The New York Times has a list of organizations currently accepting donations and you can access it here: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/haiti-disaster-relief-how-to-contribute/?scp=12&sq=giving%20and%20haiti&st=cse If you live in Pittsburgh, or even close, Quiet Storm, a local vegetarian and vegan restaurant, is hosting a benefit dinner: HAITIAN MENU Jan 19 I want to offer Yoga Matrika blog readers some links to organizations that are accepting donations: UNICEF http://www.unicefusa.org/?gclid=CLzslMOfp58CFWkN5Qodrxrk1Q DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS http://doctorswithoutborders.org/ PARTNERS in HEALTH http://www.pih.org/home.html Obviously, there is GREAT need and money is a type of energy that we can send directly to these organizations …

Mindful Focus of the Week

Last week, the focus for Mindful Yoga was “the organs.”  We learned to support asana using the internal structures of the body and acknowledge our organs for all that they do.  This week, our focus is the sacral center (2nd Chakra).  I always pick a focus based on what I am working on in my personal practice and recently, for the first time in years, I managed to aggravate my sciatic nerve.  It’s hard to say how I did it—-Demonstrating a reverse triangle when I wasn’t warmed up?  Carrying a heavy messenger bag on one shoulder?  Sitting with my legs crossed for too long?  Good news is that it doesn’t matter how it happened, only that it’s over now and the experience provided inspiration to give some juicy love to the sacrum this week. The sacral area is associated with creativity and when we create and acknowledge sensation here we are filled with optimism, passion and direction.  Life is vibrant! If you can’t make it to Mindful Flow on Tuesday night at Yoga Matrika in …

Pain and Yoga

In Leboyer’s classic book of yoga for pregnant women, Inner Beauty, Inner Light, he includes an interesting analysis of how pain during practice should be treated.  Pregnant or not, this analysis applies to all yoga practitioners and provides a way of thinking about pain that is respectful and safe. “Pain is nothing but a message, an alarm bell.  What will you do when the alarm bell starts ringing?  Will you sit there?  Will you say: ‘This bell is terrible.  But one has to be courageous, to endure.’  Will you not rather go and see why it is ringing?”  (page 49) Yoga practice is a process of never ending discovery.  Each time that we move our bodies into an asana, it will feel different, look different and act different.  It is this mindful practice on our mat that provides us with a map for understanding our reactions, thoughts and way of moving through the world off the mat.  Yoga practice should not be painful or cause injury.  Our practice should provide us with experiences that inform …