Archive for December, 2012

I have thought about recapping my year but as I look back I see that the blog became a lot more about eagles than my practice. Of course, now my practice is also eagles but this blog is about yoga, so for next year, less eagles. Also, instead of looking back I am looking forward. So this blog will go back to it’s initial focus, MY PRACTICE. PERIOD. But I am leaving the eagle flying in for the background because the eagle is my spirit brother.

In the past year my practice has had it’s ups and downs but as a very wise and young teacher said to me recently, Miss SB, the practice is the teacher, I am even more convinced that that is the truth.

When practice ebbs and flows, and slows and stops, it remains a reflection of the mind patterns. And yoga is about settling the mind patterns. The mind is like an out of control child that has to be punished. The mind, however, punishes itself. The practice of asana reflects the mind patterns, not the reverse. And the breath pattern is an extra clue on how the mind is working. Once prana is under control, you are ready for the higher limbs.

In Light on Yoga Iyengar says the problem with modern yoga is the desire for immediate results, instant gratification, and a reverence for the tradition. These values are antithetical to our Western values. All of how we measure success is based on these exact criteria and many are resistant to try it the other way.

My yoga practice this past year reflected mind patterns. Often my yoga was stress or exhaustion. This is neither a good breath or mind pattern and the asana practice does not hide anything.

So I went back to a more traditional practice that does not allow me to wander through poses I like or ignore those I don’t. The pattern is set to be followed the way it is sequenced. Traditionally the Ashtanga yoga system does not allow you to go to the next pose until you have mastered the preceding one. The type of system serves me the best because it requires mental discipline as well as physical.

The Bikram system does this quite well. The system is structured and disciplined and you master the 26 poses. And if you feel you have mastered a pose, there are the ‘champions’ who remind you that you did not.

Go back to pranayama breathing and start over.

Bikram pose

A lot of yogis do not feel there should be a yoga championship or yoga competition but I have to say I am a bit enamored of the champions. I love looking at the pictures.

In a set sequence the bad and good days are more pronounced. I had a very good day on Thursday and felt….optimistic. Today I had a not so great practice and was frustrated. But today I am tired and a little stressed out.

And I REALLY want to do this pose:

forward bend

So I will post more on the New Year but I am on eagle watch this weekend. There are two hatchlings due Monday through next Thursday for Ozzie and Harriet. I am vigilant. And will practice.

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Another one of those what is yoga REALLY about posts. You know. How many times does a yoga teacher announce at some point in class that what yoga is REALLY about is xyz.

We talk a LOT about a total mind/body/spiritual alignment but how can you teach that? It has to be in the experience of yoga.

Teachers talk about being PRESENT in the MOMENT and it all gets to sound soooo NEW-AGEY. Gregor Maehle says that that is what a lot of the current yoga really is, a bunch of new agey stuff that sounds good, especially on a poster, card, or some little brief saying we see people sharing on FB and twitter every day. Maehle says it has to be a complete contemplation on ALL of the limbs of yoga, not just one or two.

The Bruce Lee video displays exactly what that experience is. I love martial arts practitioners because they already know how to cease those never ending mind fluctuations.

If the breath is not steady, the mind is can not be steady, and neither can the body.

Lee is in each in every moment of this ping pong game. He isn’t anticipating. He isn’t planning a strategy. He just has practiced. A LOT.
And so he never misses. The opponent looks frustrated mentally and just immerses in the body experience. No matter who wins, Lee is definitely one cool MF.

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God I am SO relieved after hearing the news that Bret Bielema is leaving the Badgers for Arkansas:

That Barry Alvarez is going to coach the Rose Bowl:


Could barely sleep last night. I have to say I had one run in with Bret at a gas station early one day and the guys behind the counter were trying to engage him in a little football talk and he was a totally rude asshat. Just saying.

Anyway, other news, let me see, OH tonight I am going to teach my first class at Yoga Eight in Madison Wisconsin. I am rather excited about teaching a Modified Primary Series. So get your ardha badha padmottanasana on and come down at 4:15:


I am still teaching my 8:30 Intermediate on Fridays at Inner Fire Yoga, but this will give me an opportunity to share what I practice. Here is the web site:


This is a great studio with really excellent knowledgeable teachers so you can not go wrong by giving it a try.

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As a yoga teacher I love using metaphor to explain what yoga is. For example:

Yoga is rinse repeat:

Practice practice practic. Enough with the theory. I love spending an hour or hour and a half teaching the alignment of yoga and then spend the last five minutes telling them it isn’t important. But I am kind of sick that way.

Music is a great metaphor that everyone relates to and the music is enough of a metaphor that you don’t have to explain. Let the students figure it out.

iyengar music

Even Iyengar knows that. I doubt he uses music to teach but he still KNOWS that. I don’t ALWAYS use music but when I am at home doing some really intense sequencing I try to find music to inspire me. I LOVE STING.


But if he ever stops in to my class he is going to have to buy some pants first.

Not in MY class is this allowed. Put it away Sting. Go directly to Bikram Yoga class and do not look back!

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