Welcome to the Kripalu Yoga Posture Clinic, week ten! Here, Devarshi Steven Hartman, Dean of the Kripalu School of Yoga, and Jovinna Chan, Assistant Dean, share sound tips to help ground your Supine Twist. These clips can be enjoyed independently or as a series for a complete practice, once they’re all published. Come back every Wednesday for this 12-week series. Enjoy!
The road from the unattainable to the beauty of the reasonable
Cheryl Kain, guest blogger
“Perfection is the enemy of excellence.”
I spent my teens through my early forties chasing perfectionism, in everything I wore, wrote, performed, thought, ate, and spoke. My deeply insecure core instinctively poured my “flawed” self into countless self-help books, groups, and ways of creating a “perfect” persona. I’ll break it down for you: In search of the perfect body, I starved myself or, at least, politely deprived it. Leaving the house sans perfectly-nonchalant-but-fiercely-hip outfit was not an option. I needed the perfect vibe or I didn’t deserve Los Angeles to see me.
If I wasn’t a full-time, seven-days-a-week yogini, I was a failure. If my singing career didn’t land me a record deal with a major label and a European tour, then what was the use? If I wasn’t an international celebrity already, then why bother? Life felt frustrating, sad, and heartbreakingly unsatisfying.
What’s insidious about perfectionism—or, more accurately, the pursuit of perfection—is that it leads nowhere. Wait, I take that back. For me, it led to frustration, chronic low self-esteem, heart palpitations, extra weight (funny how dieting can do that), and the soul-crushing feeling that nothing in my life would ever be good enough. I could never seem to do or have or be what was perfect.
Mark Pettus, MD, is a board-certified internist and nephrologist who has been practicing for more than 25 years. He currently serves as Chief of Medicine at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, New York, and is the author of The Savvy Patient: The Ultimate Advocate For Quality Health Care. Mark has been featured on numerous television and radio programs nationally.
Q Describe what you do in 15 words or less.
A I serve as Chief of Medicine at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, New York, overseeing all aspects of patient care, quality, safety, and performance improvement.
Q Tell us about a turning point in your life.
A Ten years ago, when I was in my early forties, my blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and quality of life were beginning to take a turn for the worst. This was an epiphany for me, as I became awakened to the power of self-care and self-regulation. As we are clearly not prisoners of our DNA, I started on a mission to transform the health trajectory that had consumed both of my parents at young ages. I eat whole, nutritious foods, move a lot, and meditate often. My life will never be the same-or, as another famous Yogi (the baseball player) once said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
Q What do you love about teaching?
Welcome to the Kripalu Yoga Posture Clinic, week nine! Here, Devarshi Steven Hartman, Dean of the Kripalu School of Yoga, and Jovinna Chan, Assistant Dean, share sound tips to help your Bridge pose soar. These clips can be enjoyed independently or as a series for a complete practice, once they’re all published. Come back every Wednesday for this 12-week series! Enjoy!
Artist, Loren Talbot, shares her experience in creating this collage: The Long Walk.
This piece entitled The Long Walk was inspired by a book with the same name. It was written by the author, Slavomir Rawicz who was a Polish prisoner locked in a Siberian camp. He and six other’s escaped from the camp and crossed after six months through the Himalayas’ into freedom.
While there has been much discussion in recent years if the acts in the book actually took place or were imagined; the story is one of triumph from imprisonment, physical and mental survival and free will. I made this collage after reading the book. The Himalayas are collaged gears representing the miles the group had traveled and the sun setting symbolized the end of the journey. I added Chinese characters in the piece to acknowledge the ongoing occupation of Tibet as it is hard to think of these mountains without their many layers of history.
Welcome to the Kripalu Yoga Posture Clinic, week eight! Here, Devarshi Steven Hartman, Dean of the Kripalu School of Yoga, and Jovinna Chan, Assistant Dean, share sound tips to help your yoga Triangle pose soar. These clips can be enjoyed independently or as a series for a complete practice, once they’re all published. Come back every Wednesday for this 12-week series! Enjoy!
In this series, we hear from recipients of KYTA’s Teaching for Diversity and Rachel Greene Memorial Fund grants, as they change the world one posture at a time.
Melinda Atkins, Guest Blogger
Introducing yoga to a group of middle-school students is an enlightening experience, especially after teaching yoga full-time to high-school students. Middle-school minds are more impressionable, and their bodies more malleable, than those of their older counterparts. Eager to learn discipline, most are still children who want to be grown, and the success the practice rewards them with along the way encourages their self-confidence.
Today’s student typically suffers from poor posture, poor eating habits, and poor self-esteem. For middle schoolers, with an overt awareness of their changing bodies, classroom performance is hindered. With surges and shifts in hormones, along with excessive technological stimuli, students are hard-pressed when it comes to focus. This ultimately causes stress and, for many—especially those struggling to assimilate—failure.
Years of teaching high-school English has instilled in me an empathetic view of the physical, mental, and emotional demands involved in adolescent development. Armed with a master’s degree in Education and an understanding of the impact a pedagogic approach to yoga would have on adolescents, I created a semester-long yoga course and taught it as part of a high-school curriculum.