Restorative Yoga

In Defense of Slowness

In Defense of Slowness

Do you ever unintentionally pick up your phone and scroll through email or social media? Or, do you find yourself picking up your phone (or iPad or laptop) during even the briefest moment of stillness?

Yeah, me too.

By this time in our techie world, we know that our devices aren't great for our attention spans. Human beings are, on average, losing length in our attention spans as computers grow faster and faster. I even find myself, when planning a yoga class, tempted to speed up the tempo, to keep people (and myself) from growing bored.

Yet, we know from many of the great meditation teachers, neuroscientists, and yogis that paying attention is the best way to strengthen our bodies and minds. It’s also the best way to truly get in touch with our souls.

Concentration is key, dedication is key, focus is key. And truly, you are the key.

I wanted to write this post in defense of SLOWING down. If you read my posts, you probably enjoy yoga and astrology. Here’s some benefits of slowing down in each of these disciplines:

The Call of Yoga in Troubling Times

The Call of Yoga in Troubling Times

Astro-yogis, I have a confession: sometimes I see the news updates flashing across my phone, and I feel numb.

As a member of the yoga community, I’m acutely aware that this numbness is precisely why yogis are often criticized in troubling times.

To some, it seems like we live in a delusional space, talking about peace and bliss when our nation is torn apart by gun violence. And perhaps you yourself are wondering: how can I be thinking about creating calm—perhaps just sitting there in a meditation or just standing there in a tadasana (mountain pose) while it’s clear that SOMEONE NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING.

And of course, you’re not wrong to wonder that.

In the sort of yoga I practice (and likely you do too, if you’re in the United States and a yogi), the yoga practitioner is called to acknowledge reality as it is.

This means acknowldging the flaws and gifts within us, as well as the flaws and gifts outside ourselves. And this can seem fine (if still challenging) when the flaws we face are palatable: overcoming issues with perfectionism, finding balance, giving ourselves permission to fail. And of course, these palatable flaws are important for us to address.

But, in my experience, the task of acknowledging things as they are grows more challenging when we have to acknowledge the completely unpalatable, choking-hazard flaws in our reality.

Yoga for Grief: 7 Practical Techniques

Yoga for Grief: 7 Practical Techniques

Fall is in full swing, and the trees are shedding their leaves in blustery Eugene, Oregon. This changing weather reminds me that November marks the middle of the season to both let go and give thanks.

Letting go in the fall can be difficult. We let go of the sunny, warm weather; the trees let go of their leaves; and sometimes we're called to let go of something or someone we weren't ready to lose. 

It seems like so many people tend to pass on in the fall. I lost my dear, wonderful grandma recently, and a number of my friends are also in the midst of grieving friends and family who have gone too soon.

The pain that is left when we lose a loved one can be confusing and sad, but grief can also offer us a roadmap toward healing. 

In times of grief, I turn to those things that bring me comfort, those things that bring people together, those things that inspire me to see beyond the pain.

For me, that thing is yoga. But yoga for grief can go beyond your regular studio class and enter into the more intimate spaces in your life. Here are my suggestions for grief-soothing, heart-healing yoga...

5 Reasons Why I Love Restorative Yoga (And You Will Too!)

5 Reasons Why I Love Restorative Yoga (And You Will Too!)

“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.” — Aadil Palkhivala

Each week, I teach three public classes at Mudra Yoga in Eugene. One is a fast-paced vinyasa, one is a medium-paced hatha-style (steady flow), and on is a restorative yoga class. I’ve noticed that yogis have a general trend toward faster-paced more active yoga. This is hardly surprising. In our fast-paced world, it can sometimes take real physical challenge to move us from our head space to our heart space.

However, there is something incredibly uplifting, revitalizing, and (I would argue) essential to practicing restorative yoga as a regular part of your practice.

So here are 5 reasons why I love restorative yoga...