There comes a time in every yoga teacher’s life when he looks down at the mat before him and asks, “Is this all there is?” His passion for yoga and teaching is still strong, yet he may also feel stuck, even a bit stale. He needs something new, something to reinvigorate his love of teaching. [...]
by Tresca Weinstein, guest blogger There’s a well-known story about a sitar player (in some versions, it’s a lute player) who was discouraged with his meditation practice and went to the Buddha to ask for instruction. “What happens when you tune your instrument too tightly?” the Buddha asked. “The strings break,” the musician replied. “And [...]
The New Year is a time of transition, when we’re teetering on the verge of new opportunities and possibilities. Simultaneously, we’re experiencing the tail end of 365 days filled with defining, transformative moments, and the imprints of these experiences—be they gains, losses, successes, setbacks—can be most palpable when we reflect upon them this time of [...]
Brian Leaf, guest blogger One morning, as I was meditating, I realized that I needed to write a book. But I had the distinct feeling that, before I could get started, I had to clean my office. By myself. Not hire a cleaner, but get down and scrub. So I cleaned. I braved the spiderwebs. [...]
There are times when a radical change of course is necessary in life. The old way just isn’t working anymore; a new approach is required. We don’t know where we’re headed, but we know it’s time to forge a new path. Transformation is imminent.
I was at such a juncture a couple of years ago. Newly divorced and living 10 minutes from my ex-husband, I felt stuck in my past. Surrounded by reminder after reminder of my former life, I felt the need to alter my geography to jumpstart a transformation. With a hearty dose of trepidation and anticipation, I left Boston and moved to Los Angeles.
by Carly Sachs, guest blogger
I remember shyly asking my classmates to take off their shoes, the school linoleum cold on our feet as we teetered and crashed into our desks and each other. The assignment for Ms. Rotar’s seventh-grade English class was to give a how-to speech. I had decided I wanted to teach my class to do yoga, despite the fact that I had never actually done yoga. So armed with my books from the public library, I taught my fellow students how to do Tree pose, Vrksasana.
Why I was so determined to do yoga still confounds me. I’d heard about yoga for the first time in the course catalog of my local Jewish Community Center under the classes for seniors, and soon after my seventh-grade speech, I asked my mom to sign me up.
An excerpt from The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Wisdom (Bantam 2006).
In this book, Steven Cope, MSW, investigates the wisdom tradition of yoga from the point of view of six contemporary characters—modern yogis struggling with issues of love, work, addictions, careers, and unfulfilled longings of many varieties. Weaving together narrative story and expository teachings, the book brings alive the rich, and very relevant, applications of yoga’s ancient teachings.
The following piece, “The Spirit of the Strivers,” is taken from the prologue.
So what are you doing this New Year’s Eve? Watching the ball drop over Times Square on television … again? For many of us, the typical New Year’s celebration can feel like old hat after a while. We start looking for more profound ways of honoring the space between letting go of the old and embracing the new. For those seeking a spiritual connection during times of transition, the world’s wisdom traditions—including Peruvian shamanism, Kabbalah, and yoga—offer rituals rich with meaning.
Shamanic philosophy sees the turning of the year as a time to honor and give back to Mother Earth, and a way of tapping into and acknowledging nature’s cycle of transformation. According to Ray Crist, founder of the Jaguar Path, which fuses yoga practice and the philosophy of Peruvian shamanism, the Q’ero of Peru believe that we’re all shamans—each of us possesses an intuitive power and wisdom that connects us to both the world around and the world within. Rituals empower people because, he says, “through ritual, we can be the catalysts that bring forth healing and change into our own lives.” To celebrate the power of change that the new year brings, the Q’ero shamans perform rituals such as the despachio, an offering of gratitude to Mother Earth for all she provides.
J. L. Johnson, guest blogger
When Edmund Hillary set foot on the summit of Mount Everest in 1953, it was his greatest feat: a first ascent that would forever link his name, along with that of his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, to the world’s highest peak. But it wasn’t his greatest challenge. That would come in 1975, when Hillary’s wife and 16-year-old daughter were killed in a plane crash. “It changed everything,” he told Time magazine. “My life disappeared.”
Hillary did eventually remarry, and carried on with vital environmental and humanitarian work in his beloved Nepal. When he died in 2008, it was as a climbing legend who had conquered the unconquerable—but also as a husband and father who’d spent years tackling a much more personal obstacle.
Whether it’s loss of a job or loss of a loved one, accident or illness, sooner or later we all find something daunting that is standing in our life’s path: An obstacle. A roadblock. Or, as suggested by Kripalu Healthy Living faculty member Maria Sirois, PsyD, a mountain: something that can seem insurmountable but can help us learn to value the climbing process itself and give us greater perspective as we rise.