If you are used to doing Yoga asana in a group setting, it’s a common pitfall to compare your progress with the people around you. But there is no end goal in Yoga asana. No matter how long you have practiced, there are always new steps and levels to reach. If you are focused on trying to get your hips as open as the next person or do sun salutations with the most flair, you’re not honoring your personal journey. Progression in asana is something that comes over time and with dedication. Rushing into the full expression of a pose runs counter to the teachings of Yoga.
Green vegetables are showing up everywhere lately -- raw in salads, pureed in smoothies, even baked as chips. It’s good to see more people interested in eating healthfully, but just because a little bit is good for you doesn’t mean that more is better. In fact, too many green vegetables without enough grounding, nourishing foods can quickly send vata dosha soaring.
Recently I have been looking back to February 2016, when I found myself on my mat in the bright, spacious yoga room at Hale Pule’s Yoga teacher training. In that expansive month-long opportunity, I learned to look ahead.
Landing with a thump in my plank pose, I hear Myra say, “Look ahead.” “Look ahead when you jump back.” Later when I jumped forward to meet myself at the top of the mat, I noticed how I clung to the image of my feet, following them compulsively to meet my hands, as if they might not be there if I didn't strain my neck to ensure they were moving.
By Myra Lewin
It’s September, and about midway through the month marked the transition to vata season. Even here in Hawai’i, I can feel the warmth of the summer pulling away as the days become just a bit shorter. Where you live, the first frost might already be on the ground.
This time of year is when nature begins to turn inward, a natural response to balance the moving quality of vata. It makes sense that you also want to follow suit. You may find yourself wanting to stay in a bit more and focus on taking care of yourself. You may be inspired to pull out your roasting dish to bake pumpkin until it is tender and delicious. Follow your inner wisdom to relax and welcome nourishment.
It is profoundly healing to allow your body to just be.
Tadasana, or mountain pose, is often overlooked. But its stillness builds strength that is unlike anything that comes from movement. Rather than rushing through it, come to the front of your mat, pause and notice how powerful it feels to stand tall like a mountain.
Tadasana forms the foundation for all the other poses. When you set up this pose properly, you’ll understand how your muscles and bones are designed to function. Bring intention to tadasana regularly and you won’t question what hip-width distance is, or what it means to have your head directly above your shoulders -- you’ll just know what your natural design is by feeling it.
The next time you are tempted to eat lunch while checking email or want to have dinner in front of the television, pause and take a few slow, deep breaths first. As you inhale, you welcome prana, the life force that is our connection to the divine.
We get prana from our breath, but also from the food we eat. Plants have done the work of transforming the prana from nature into nutrients that make it possible for our bodies to move and our minds to think. The food we eat is the reason we can have this incredible experience of being alive.
By Myra Lewin
As I write this, I am in Vietnam listening to a beautiful symphony of frogs, crickets, waterfalls and who knows what else.
Listening to this song outside my hotel room is a good reminder of how much I enjoy traveling. But over the past few decades, as I made spiritual growth my main priority, the way I travelled began to change. I still love visiting new places, but I don’t spend my time running from one activity to the next or eating big meals in fine restaurants. These days, I bring my spiritual practices with me (along with a small rice cooker for hotel room kitchadi) and enjoy the wonder of being surrounded by new sights, sounds and experiences. Gone are the days when I ended my vacations so exhausted that the only way I could feel better was by planning the next one. Now, I come home filled with more energy and a deeper connection to my path.
By Noriko Morimoto
I had always heard that a woman’s menstrual cycle goes for about 28 to 30 days. But since I first started my period, I have never enjoyed that kind of regularity. There were times when I would have my period just once a year. When it did come, it was preceded by extreme PMS. Sometimes I would experience depression so heavy that I would have suicidal thoughts. These intense emotions would go away as soon as my period came, leaving me confused and scared for the next time. This was no way to live.
It’s no fun to practice Yoga out of habit. Each time you unroll your mat is an opportunity to find freshness and joy. When you find yourself in a rut, give birth to a new experience with a fun pose like garbhapindasana, or embryo in the womb pose.
Garbhapindasana is great for bringing in a childlike sense of joy. As you rock back and forth around your mat (one time for each month of gestation), you can't help but smile, let go and enjoy the twists and turns of life. As you come out of the pose and into kukutasana, or rooster pose, you are reborn into a new experience of yourself.
By Nafisseh Soroudi
I have a cousin who regularly goes to India to do panchakarma. As a long-timer New Yorker, she says this practice is what keeps her sane. I was intrigued by her experience but had not considered it for myself until I began to experience some digestive and emotional issues that I wanted to get to the heart of.
I found Hale Pule’s program and was attracted to Myra Lewin’s wisdom. I wanted to learn from her and heal my body at the same time. I signed up for panchakarma with these priorities.