• Enneagram,  Inner Work,  Practice

    A Cauldron, Evolution and Trikonasana: Developing My Own Voice

    Trikonasana – sketch by Emily Sloat Shaw     For the longest time I have been amazed and sometimes perplexed by the vast number of ways to teach and perform asana.  There are factions who teach yoga from a perspective of fluidity being paramount – not concerning about alignment but rather concerned only with the feeling of life force moving in the body.  Other equally valid perspectives include those clearly invested in the importance of alignment, biomechanics, meditation and chakras.  And within each of these perspectives there are endless variations.  How does a practitioner know what way to practice or what guidelines to follow in performing asana? A key moment came to me not long ago when I found…

  • Inner Work,  Practice,  Yoga in the Everyday

    Yoga’s Guarantee – Liking vs. Learning

    Since I’m on a bit of theme of confessions (see last post) here’s another one: I don’t always like yoga. I know, shouldn’t I always be singing yoga’s praises?  Be an eternal advocate for it’s miraculous wonderment? In actuality, liking yoga has little to do with it’s transformative power.  We get so caught up in our desire for constant pleasure and gratification that when we are confronted with a pose that’s awkward or too challenging or too easy our tendency is to toss the vessel of such displeasure out the door.  There goes that posture, or that teacher or yoga altogether.And what do we miss when we do this?  An grand opportunity to learn.  Take back bending for example.  I…

  • Inner Work,  Intelligence

    A Full Range of Emotion

    I’m no stoic.  Despite all my efforts, I have not been able to quell the torrents of my  feeling heart.  In fact in this moment I feel: –   Content that I can relax in a sunwarmed chair in my favourite coffee shop. –   Relief for having time to write my blog. –   Anxiety because I really should be doing something other than writing my blog. – Sad that my gramma is in hospital –   Happy that after a 14 month marathon I have finished my Master’s coursework Moment by moment I feel these emotions whirling and storming through me, each with different intensities and flavours.  Depending on who you ask this may be considered…

  • Ego,  Inner Work,  Practice,  Yoga Culture

    To Occupy

    I used to be an activist.  I’ve marched for change, negotiated for respect, sat with peaceful comrades of social justice and written countless diatribes on every angle of human struggle one could imagine. I say used to, not because I don’t still have an investment in evolution.  I just do it different now.   I have spent a great deal of time pointing out the “ills” of culture and society while my soul lay waste as victim of my penchant for the “greater good”.  I had many ideas about what that meant and while I indulged these ideas with all the self-righteous indignation I could muster something else in me suffered.  In my vehement parading…

  • Ego,  Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Yoga in the Everyday

    The Mountain In Me

    One year ago I wrote a blog called “The River Runs Through Me”.    It was inspired by a small river located in a campground nestled amongst the Rocky mountains of Alberta.  Last year I was struck by the way that the river seemed to cleanse my soul, as if literally running through my cells, washing away the silt of stress and fatigue, leaving me feel fresh and alive.   I sit here, next to an unstoked fire, in the same campground and am amused and amazed by a different experience this year. I am happy to reconnect to the lovely little river that whispered renewal into my bones last year, but this year I am astounded by the mountains themselves. …

  • Ego,  Inner Work,  Practice,  Yoga Culture

    Developing a Home Practice – Thinking Way Outside the Box

    Over the past few weeks I have offered two workshops to my current students about developing a home yoga practice.  In both workshops, the pivotal point – the “a-ha moment” – seemed to be when we began to breakdown ideas about how a yoga practice “should” be.All around us we are surrounded by popular media that suggests there are quick fixes and formulas for solving any problem we might face.  People and corporations make obscene amounts of money of selling these ideas and we buy them because perhaps this product, plan or service will be the easy clear – cut, fast track way out of whatever suffering such things are said to alleviate.  These things are…

  • Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Practice

    A Poem That Pierced Me.

    In a brief stolen moment while my daughter was at gramma’s I meandered through a local used bookstore looking for treasures.  And what a treasure I did find! Amidst a stew of self-help books situated haphazardly on a giant bookshelf I found a book of poetry that went far beyond self-help and pierced straight into the heart of my Heart.  It is called The Breathing Field by a woman named Wyatt Townley who is a yoga teacher and poet in the U.S..  And, by the looks of it, soon going to be yet another amazing soul who’s immense current will inspire my own life.  If you’re out there Wyatt and ever read this, thank you from the bottom of…

  • Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Practice

    Yoga and Emotion

    Sometimes I love to revel in how immensely practical yoga and spirituality can be.  As a very sentimental person I find myself in the throes of wild emotional forces within me daily.  For many years I had minimal ability to make space for this inner wilderness.  Instead, I would find myself angry, depressed or anxious, yet I knew intuitively there was another way to allow the forces to move in me without being towed under by them.  This way has slowed shown itself to me over time through my practices and most especially yoga. Yoga calls us to be completely present amidst awkward and difficult sensations.  We are asked to stay with the inner…

  • 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…

  • Ego,  Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Intelligence

    The Gift of Faith

    In my last post I talked about being voluntarily passive in the face of the forces of life.  Rather than the ego intervening to create (or at least trying) a more palatable inner experience we ask it to let go and be still in the midst of thoughts, feelings and sensations.  As I said, this is a “leap of faith” trusting that life will move in an intelligent direction with out the ego micromanaging it.  Below is another excerpt on Faith – truly one of our greatest gifts.  When I was living at the Salt Spring Centre of yoga for a summer I was surrounded by a devotional community dedicated to the…