• Consciousness,  Practice,  Yoga Culture

    Dubstep yoga: An experiment in grounding in the primal.

    This past weekend I experienced  the blending two movement genres that made for a tantalizing experience outside of the mundane.  Dubstep yoga was conscious movement class in the basement studio of Edmonton’s premiere superfood eatery – Noorish Cafe.  The class began with an introduction to the dubstep electronic dance genre before we warmed up our bodies with a vinyasa yoga sequence lead by Edmonton teacher Graham Parsons.    The class was filled with the typical ocean of female 20-something lulu-warriors with a few young men nestled amonst us like red smarties in a box of monochromatic eye-candy.   Trendy, urbanite yoga culture fascinates me.   Hoards of beautiful people line studio’s like artwork…

  • Consciousness,  Yoga Culture

    Vinyasa, sweat and consciousness.

    Last weekend I went to a yoga class in Edmonton with a lovely yoga friend.  I knew going in that this studio was known for its physically challenging, vinyasa flow style.  Eternally – and obviously morbidly – curious I decided to explore the class despite it being significantly different than my usual style of yoga.  I spread my mat out near a window overlooking a construction site that was surrounded by various tributaries of traffic and pedestrians.  The room was already hot from the sweaty class before ours and I thought opening the window may offer some much needed respite in the coming hour – I was right.  The studio was a spa-like masterpiece draped in all the most…

  • Consciousness,  Yoga Culture

    A Violation of Satya (Truthfulness)

    Ok, so I’m a liar. And my ceiling told me so while I was staring at it at 3am last night. In a response to the now notorious article in the NY Times about how yoga can wreck your body I retorted that a yoga practice devoid of awareness – like the ones proliferated in studio capitalism around the globe – is bound to create injury. And then I did it. I lied. Not intentionally mind you, but lied nonethess. I said that through awareness we can avoid yoga injury. And it’s not true – because injury happens. And no matter how aware we are, there is always something that…

  • Consciousness,  spirituality,  Yoga in the Everyday

    Living and Dying in the New Year

    My two and half year old daughter has recently taken to announcing when “night” comes.  As soon a the sun’s light begins to fade she yells “night!” and with equal fervor at dawn the next morning she yells “night all gone!”.  I love her sense of rhythm.  I love that she gets excited the death of day and birth of night, and vice versa, with sensitivity to the continual cycling of our daily life. We’re coming up to a time that represents to most of us the completion of yet another cycle.  We enter the death of our calendar year, and like with any other death this makes space for the springing forth of…

  • Consciousness,  Ego,  Non-duality,  Practice

    The Play of Forces

    I’m obviously into forces these days.  My second last post talked about the importance of recognizing that our own personal will is but one of innumerable forces acting on our lives at any moment.  This post is about learning to cooperate with and see ourselves as a dynamic play of forces in yoga practice.  Through this, we come to know ourselves as something other than the rigid, crystallized entity we call our ego. The first force we must cooperate with is the grounding force – we must root before we can sprout.  This means yielding.  We must learn to yield our body weight into the points of contac we have with the…

  • Consciousness,  Practice

    A New Center of Gravity

    The mind is like a tornado.  Whirling thoughts circling at various speeds and intensities and our attention, at the center – the “eye”- of the storm, is no longer able to distiguish itself from the violent upheaval around it.  We try to find some sort of foothold in those thoughts, something substantial, meaningful that we can ground ourselves in.  We try to find something firm about reality through them – if we could just catch one, hold on to it and develop it long enough it would create a truth that we can live by.  So we try to crystallize parts of the tornado and through it create habits of personality.  Meanwhile…

  • Consciousness,  Inspiration

    The Angel Outside My Window

    She’s some kind of Waxwing I think – the angel that sings to me every day.  I like to imagine that she’s singing for me of course knowing full well that her song belongs to no one.  Her sweet melody seems to appear at the most critical moment – I’m grumbling about homework or housework, I’m sad about the rain or feeling isolated at home with a bored toddler.  Her songs shock me into presence, into a new cadence that renews the moment.  I am astounded by her ability to shift my outlook, I’m astounded, equally, by the fact that I let her.  This is an angelic moment: the interface between an outside force and…

  • Consciousness,  Intelligence,  Practice

    Asana: More Than Just Moving

    BKS Iyengar – Yoga Master I have always had a deep respect for Mr. Iyengar’s teaching.  Like him, I believe that asana is a path to liberation and the en-lightenment of our lives.  I was particularly struck recently by his description of the five stages of creating asana.  Below is a re-working of this description through my own interpretation.It is obvious to anyone who has practiced a moderate amount of yoga with various teachers that there are differences from yoga class to yoga class.  I have been curious about these differences for a number of years but have not been able to articulate them.  Mr. Iyengar does just this in his book The Tree…

  • Consciousness,  Ego,  Non-duality

    Two Realities

      I’ve just recently finished the book My Stroke of Insight by neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor.  In it she tells the story of a four hour stroke she experienced at the age of 37.  The stroke occurred on in the left hemisphere of her brain, the part her mind that coordinates language, speech, movement and most importantly, the stories of her life that create her sense of self or ego.  This hemisphere of the brain tends to dominate our daily lives with mind chatter, stories and beliefs, concepts and ideas that, as we know , keeps us bound in thought loops often of a destructive nature. With this part of her brain debilitated, Dr. Taylor became…

  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Practice

    To Be Fully Alive

    To be fully alive, expanding in all directions. This is my deepest wish, and my greatest fear. What does it mean to be fully alive?    This question has been haunting me in various forms for most of my life.  I can’t say that I’ve come to any conclusions about it.  Instead, I suspend the question in my heart and what rises in brief lucid moments is a vision of a radiant sun, expanding in all directions from the center of my chest.  I see it and feel it now and it brings soft tears to my eyes.  I sense that this symbol represents two things.   The first is that I can become…