Before pausing for my summer break in August, I highlight some of the top episodes of the year so far, giving you a distilled recap of some of the conversations to catch up on or review again. I also announce the fall line-up and include suggestions for your summer reading.
Everyday Sublime: Shedding Light on Yin Yoga and Meditation
Yin Yoga and meditation are refinements of awareness. The purpose of this podcast is to illuminate the theory and practice of Yin Yoga, Chinese Medicine, and meditation as three interwoven tools for apprehending the "Everyday Sublime." As Stephen Batchelor says, "the mystical does not transcend the world, but saturates it."
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 book, “Practice and All Is Coming.”
In our yoga and meditation practice, we often value the cultivation of attention and awareness. But how might we better design our environment to support the development of attention? How might this redesign reinforce the intentions of our practice?
“Pack your rain gear before you leave home,” says meditation teacher Oren Jay Sofer. In this episode, Oren explores how we can “pack” tools of stability, balance, and non-attachment, better preparing us to face the inevitable foul weather of life.
Talking shop with Sebastian Pucelle, we roll up our sleeves and discuss potential interpretations of the Sanskrit word “nirodah” and what those interpretations mean for your practice.
Sebastian Pucelle describes meditation as a process of purifying the mind. Meditation isn’t so much about attaining anything in particular as much as it is a process of letting go of things that distort and disrupt one’s life.
Often in meditation, students can get frustrated by their mind’s difficulty in following the meditation instructions. Sebastian Pucelle, the wonderful French Yin Yoga teacher, suggests that the two most important aspects of a meditation practice are one’s intention and attitude, not the specific technique, per se.
The therapeutic encounter between a practitioner and patient is, in many regards, the most important part of a healing relationship. This encounter is another way of referring to the placebo effect. But far from being ineffective, all good healers try to maximize this effect. According to Dr. Daniel Keown, acupuncture is one of the most sublime forms of the therapeutic encounter.
How alive are you? This isn’t a question that Western Medicine frequently asks, but according to Dr. Daniel Keown, this question is at the heart of Traditional Chinese Medicine. And the quality, quantity, and circulation of our Qi determines the potency of our “aliveness.”
What is Qi? What are the channels of Chinese Medicine? What is fascia? These questions and more are taken up by Dr. Daniel Keown, explained with lucid brilliance. For anyone interested in Chinese Medicine, this is a must-listen.
Talking about difficult topics is not easy. Often we get trapped in patterns of reactivity and experience a clash of viewpoints. Oren Jay Sofer offers ways to move past through these impasses in learning how to identify the underlying needs being expressed – the needs that connect us to our shared universal human longings. From this sense of connection, collaborative dialogue becomes possible.
All too often, meditation is seen as a panacea for all that ails us. But meditation practice alone is not necessarily enough to smooth out the strife in our interpersonal conflicts. For this we need training in communication strategy – ways to escape the blame game and move towards a deeper understanding of shared needs and goals. In this episode, Oren Jay Sofer lays about a mindful approach to nonviolent communication.
Bernie Clark shares how his thinking about exercise has shifted from an emphasis on mobility to an emphasis on stability. This is important to how we think about what we’re doing in all forms of physical yoga.
In our youth, we’re more Yang and need to work on strength and stability. As we age, we become more Yin, and therefore need to spend more time working on maintaining our mobility.
This retreat inspired me to try a few hacks with regards to my relationship to technology – to make my phone less of the pocket-sized slot-machine that it’s become, I’ve tried to restructure the design of my phone as well as my timeframe around using it. And I invite you to join me on these digital hacks for better well-being.
In the Season Finale of Everyday Sublime for 2018, I take stock of the past year and look ahead to 2019 – and pay tribute to two of my dearest teachers, Rodney Smith and Jack Engler, who are both retiring from their decades of teaching and service.
In the second episode of a 4-part series, Yin master Bernie Clark unpacks the important concept of spinal neutrality and he explores how to think about symmetry, functional asymmetry, and dysfunctional asymmetry in the body.
In the first episode of a 4-part series, I welcome Bernie Clark back to the podcast to discuss his new book, Your Spine, Your Yoga. In it, Bernie talks about the main themes in the book including the importance of stability over mobility in the health of our spines.
Rather than trying to domesticate your thought process, Yin Meditation offers a process for refining your understanding of how your inner world works. Approaching your meditation with a receptive attitude is the least intrusive way of getting to know the natural terrain of your inner landscape.
In this final installment of my 3-part conversation with Jason Siff, we explore tricky Buddhist concepts of anatta (non-self) and nirvana. And we consider that present moment awareness is not sufficient for the development of deeper wisdom and understanding in one’s life. For that, memory is required.