If there’s one thing you remember the next time you get on your mat to practice yoga (or lace up your running shoes or get on a machine at the gym), let it be this: If it hurts, change it. You are welcome to challenge yourself to your comfort level in class, but please don’t connect suffering through painful movement with yoga. You can find suffering in plenty of other areas of life! During our first yoga lesson together recently, a client told me, “squats always hurt my knee
I often hear from folks who want to try yoga but are convinced that they don't have the right gear or the right body or the right lifestyle for it. It's no wonder! When we think of yoga in the West, we often think of thin, bendy, white ladies wearing Lululemon, and practicing arm balances on $80 yoga mats in a yoga studio. It makes yoga seem very exclusive.
There are lots of guides out there for the "essential" things you need to practice yoga, which are usually laundry li
I've been trying to write this for days. Although I want to write about why it's ok to risk imperfection in our actions against injustice rather than doing nothing, in all honesty I've been scrutinizing every single word to the point I've considered just sending you a list of links. I've softened the language. I've made it more direct. I've scrapped everything and started from scratch, then edited again. Bear with me as I now try to walk my talk. I may still put my foot in my
I teach a pose in my yoga classes that I've been calling the “funky flamingo.”
Obviously the funky flamingo isn’t a sacred, ancient yoga pose! It’s just a fun shape with a silly name that can become part of your yoga practice when you bring your attention, breath, and compassion to it.
If you’re curious, here’s a version of it: There's a lot going on! Chair pose, a heel squeezing up to challenge the hamstrings, a twist, plus balance. If you're having a tough balance day
Something I often hear from clients after private yoga lessons is, “I wish I could do this right before bed. I would sleep so well!”
That’s where one of the best parts of private yoga comes in: the personalized “homework” between sessions. Yoga homework can be poses, breathing practices, meditations, and/or relaxation exercises that feel manageable for your schedule and intentional for your needs.
Sometimes that’s a few poses you can do in the office or a brief meditati
Exercise used to be my unhealthy obsession. It usually felt joyless, but I gave it hours every day. I’d jog alone at night and lift weights so aggressively that I was nearly always sore. If someone delayed my "workout" (a term I rarely use now!), I would get so anxious that I wanted to cry. My friends called me a health nut, but when I was honest with myself, I wasn’t exercising for my health. I was willingly sacrificing my safety and mental health to shrink my body into OK-n
After what feels like weeks upon weeks of rain, the sun has finally emerged here in Chapel Hill. The past few days have been beautiful, balmy, and nearly 90 degrees, and after being in a bit of a funk, the lure of light is irresistible. My yoga mat has a few bits of fresh bark ground into it from practicing on the porch, and I’ve got a funny tan on my lower legs from wearing my capris for meditation in the sun.
In honor of one of my favorite outdoor yoga seasons, I’m off
I'm not too worried about how yoga poses look. I'm interested in how they feel. During a yoga class some years ago, I was practicing a warrior pose and experimenting with how different it felt to shift my weight from the inside of my foot to the outside. Suddenly I noticed the teacher by my side. She looked me up and down for a moment and then asked me to, “Suck in your stomach.”
Even though she couldn’t see it, my core was active. But in an attempt to be a “good” y
The first time I watched a video of myself teaching yoga, I had to take a time out. Even though I knew the lighting wasn’t quite right and I was wearing a boxy shirt that didn’t move properly and had sweat marks from the humidity and sunshine, the way I saw my body shook me. I’d taught yoga hundreds of times in this body, but I hardly recognized it on screen.
After uttering a loong “oooooooof,” I excused myself from the video my friend and I were reviewing together, and sa
Last month I wrote about lowering your standards so self care is an invitation, not an obligation. For example, rather than resisting an hour of yoga, offer yourself one pose. If more happens after that one pose, awesome! If it doesn’t, you’ve still practiced.
The purpose in lowering standards is to offer yourself an invitation to self care that’s easy to say “yes” to. The more often you accept that invitation, the sooner you’ll find yourself with a steady habit that can g