A key principle of functional alignment in Yin Yoga is NOT stressing an area of the body you don’t intend to stress. A good way to understand this is through Swan Pose. Let’s look more closely at the anatomy of Swan Pose and the differences between aesthetic vs. functional alignment.
Minute of Mindfulness: My blog on the teachings of the dharma.
To understand the differences between a yang and a yin approach to the same pose, let’s consider the common cues and benefits of Yang Yoga’s Cobra Pose and Yin Yoga’s Seal Pose.
In Yin Yoga, as in all intelligent forms of physical yoga, alignment matters. But alignment in Yin Yoga has little to do with whether your foot is pointed in the “right” direction, or whether your knee is at a precise 90-degree angle. In Yin Yoga, the functional intention is the only reason to do the pose.
In order to understand what Yin Yoga is really about, it helps to directly address what it’s not about. Clear and safe instructions on how to practice Yin Yoga are critically important, so here’s some straight talk about some of the biggest misconceptions out there.
When students come to a Yin Yoga class, I often get the sense that they think of Yin Yoga as gentle, quiet, and meditative. This idea seems to stem from a common misconception that Yin Yoga is a form of restorative yoga. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For over three decades, Pattabhi Jois sexually and physically abused his yoga students, mostly women. This abuse happened in plain sight. To understand how this was possible requires an exploration of toxic group dynamics, methods of deception, and networks of complicity. Matthew Remski explains this all in his fantastic book, “Practice and All Is Coming.”
Yin Yoga offers many benefits – on a physical level, an energetic level, and a mental level as well. If you’ve been thinking about trying “the other half” of yoga, here are 6 reasons to get started – and stay consistent – with your Yin Yoga practice.
As an introduction to the practice of Yin Yoga, here is a high-level overview about what Yin Yoga is, how it differs from other styles of yoga, and some of the many benefits of a Yin Yoga practice.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Stephen Asma, author of Why We Need Religion – a book that dramatically changed my view of religion and its role in our culture. We discussed a wide variety of topics, from how religion has shaped our emotional lives for millennia to predictions for how religion will evolve in America.
In our recent conversation, we discuss the relationship between yoga and meditation, and then I prompt Bob to talk about his new project The Mindful Resistance Newsletter. It is an outstanding weekly digest of current events, presented soberly and succinctly. Bob’s intention is to mute the flame of emotional outrage and overcome the divisiveness of tribalism in order to promote real cognitive empathy and more beneficial engagement.
I had the great pleasure of speaking with David Lesondak about all things fascia. David has the great ability to explain challenging concepts in plain English that are easy to understand. If you do yoga, you’ll want to listen to what he has to say.
Tami Simon is a true pioneer in American spirituality. From Sounds True’s website: Tami, “founded Sounds True at the age of 22 with the mission of disseminating spiritual wisdom. As a pioneer in the conscious business movement, she focuses on bringing authenticity and heart into the workplace while honoring multiple bottom lines. Tami hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today’s leading teachers, delving deeply into their discoveries and personal experiences on their own journeys.”
In this interview, I ask Gil about his new book, The Buddha before Buddhism, in which Gil provides translation and commentary to one of the oldest extant Buddhist texts, The Atthakavagga, or The Book of Eights. What was so interesting for me to hear was that, perhaps, the Four Noble Truths – widely believed to be the first discourse given by the Buddha – may not have been his first teaching, at all.
If you’ve taken my Mindfulness Module, you’ve experienced an exercise where I play a piece performed by Aaron Goldberg’s trio, and we discuss how the layers of jazz are similar to the layers of the meditative process: Body (as the rhythm), breath (as the bass), thoughts (as the piano). And people invariably comment, “Who’s that musician? I love it, and I didn’t think I even liked jazz.” Here’s my interview with that musician – a modern master, Aaron Goldberg.
In Buddhism, it is often said that the core teaching of the Buddha is his teaching on Dependent Origination. There are passages in the Suttas where the Buddha says, “He who sees dependent arising, sees the Dharma.” It’s pretty central stuff!
But, whenever I’ve tried to make sense of the more detailed explanation of this central teaching, I’ve always been left feeling bewildered and confused. To describe this teaching as opaque would be an understatement.
In Part 2 of my ongoing conversation series for www.meaningoflife.tv with David Barash, we dive more deeply into his intellectual trifecta, “Existential Bio-Buddhism.” And we look at how each system of thought and understanding can help develop an orientation to life. It’s not that we discover the meaning of life, rather we uncover a way to create […]
As part of my ongoing conversation series for www.meaningoflife.tv, I’ve had the great pleasure to connect with David Barash, professor emeritus of psychology – specifically evolutionary psychology – at the University of Washington. In this conversation, David unpacks the convergences and divergences between Buddhist views of the world and those of a biology. David’s book: […]
During his junior year of college, a tragic accident during a game of pick-up basketball disrupted Howard Axelrod’s course in life. As a way to make sense of himself and of life, Howard did what I’ve only fantasized of doing: he went to live in the woods, in utter solitude, for a very long time. In […]
And so the general approach is this: when people meditate they try to focus on their breath or body and not allow themselves to be distracted by their thoughts. That is, they try not to allow themselves to be drawn into thinking, or to get lost in thinking. I’ve received variations of this instruction from many well-meaning meditation teachers over the years: “Allow your thoughts, but don’t get lost in your them.”
Ellen Langer is a social psychologist at Harvard University who has done four decades of research on non-meditative mindfulness. This is a unique form of attention regulation. Ellen defines mindfulness as an “active state of mind, where you notice new things.” Sounds simple, and it is. But its simplicity belies the profundity of its power. In […]