How many people do you hug on a daily basis? How often do you experience physical touch given with intention and caring?
Don’t get me wrong, I love yoga. I love being a yoga teacher. It’s been an integral part of me and my life for more than ten years. I’m still uncomfortable with telling people that I teach yoga for a …
Ever wonder how, if yoga is supposedly 5,000 years old, it showed up here and now in the west? 5,000 years ago, the oldest scripture that we know of, the Vedas, were intuited by the rishis (seers) who gained the …
Those of us who’ve fallen in love with yoga know full well how it begins to consume our thoughts and our world. And, in the beginning, it can be hard to know how to feed our obsession and bring the joy we feel through yoga into our daily experience. Well, luckily, there are 3 simple guidelines we
I wrote a book titled Myths of the Asanas. This was before I found out about the real myth of the asanas… that most all of the ones practiced these days are less than 100 years old. Not kidding. I’ve …
We hear a lot on the news about what is wrong with society. We hear a lot from our friends and family about what is wrong with us. In fact, it’s likely that daily we ourselves even have thoughts that criticize and judge what is wrong with our body, our family, our life and our outlook.
Every yogi knows that a goal is to develop a personal practice so that we can take responsibility for the transformation that yoga creates. Knowing how to lead ourselves through a practice that both challenges and inspires us is the …
Yoga is often praised for its far-reaching effects on nearly every aspect of the human being. The physical practices create health in the body. Breathing practices can alleviate stress and anxiety. Devotional practices inspire community, and meditative practices can help to calm the mind.
For some reason, spiritual practitioners have a reputation of being tech-illiterate. While I know this not true in many circumstances, here’s a short list of reasons that technology can help enlighten you to more of the amazing wonders of yoga just in case some of you are on the fence, or haven’
As humans, we often talk about how we rescue animals. I certainly do. I spend every December rallying people for my Downloads for Doggies drive (previously Podcasts for Puppies) in order to try and raise money for the ASPCA.
This special holiday sequence is designed to stretch muscles that holiday travel and stress can leave stiff, as well as boost energy by increasing blood flow to the back.
Around the year 1492, Christopher Columbus proposed a sail around the world to find a more direct trade route to the East Indies. He wanted to sail west and end up on their eastern shores. This would fly in the face of the widely held belief at that time that the earth was flat. Surely, people told him this trip would be impossible.
I've cured an incurable disease. For more than a decade, I was told that my autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, would leave my thyroid in permanent disrepair and that I would be taking a pill every day for the rest of my life. What I was told was wrong. I knew...
I was 14 years old when my doctor first noticed my enlarged thyroid. At that time, I was told it was nothing to worry about, and probably just a result of my fluctuating teenage hormones. When I was 20, I went back to the doctor who did a routine blood test and found out that I had hypothyroidism. Without much in the way of explanation, she simply handed me a pill.
This was a light travel year for me. By the end of 2012, I will have been on the road for 100 days throughout the year. I’ve done three international trips, weekend excursions across the country and even short train …
Whether it’s because we miss our favorite yoga class, live in a remote area, or simply want to take matters into our own hands, here are the top tips for becoming your own guru.
It’s happened to all of us at some point in our lives. The storm hits. The light goes out and we can no longer see the forest for the trees. Friends try to cheer us up, and tell us to look at the bright side, but we can’t see it. It’s gone. We feel locked in darkness and that’s when it happens: we lose hope. Or, do we?
Compassion—Yoga Sutra 1.33: Maitri karuna muditopekshanam sukha duhkha punyapunya vishayanam bhavanatash chitta prasadanam Translation: By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains it’s undisturbed …
Forward folds draw your attention inside and away from worldly concerns.
During an election year, there's always a lot of convincing and haggling going on. Dinner tables are split amongst those on one side and those on another, but this happens regularly regarding other subjects as well. We all have our opinions and things we believe strongly about, and we often feel compelled to try and win people to our way of thinking. When has that ever really worked?
One of the most important teachers in my life recently passed away. I received an email from her son to let me know. The news was like the punctuation on her most powerful teaching: that I didn't need her and that I had everything I needed to live my happiest...
Because yoga is meant to be done anywhere, anytime, by people of any means. Want something for free? I’ve got a ridiculously large archive of free podcasts on my website that include meditations, classes, stories, lectures and insights. It’s all there for you.
Pattabhi Jois was credited as saying, “Do your practice, and all is coming.” This often quoted thread of wisdom warrants being tattooed on the front of every yoga mat these days. For the yoga practitioner, nothing is more important than …
Adjustments seem to be a lost art. I have been to many yoga classes where the instructor never so much as places a pinky on me. In our modern-day society of litigation and miscommunication, hands-on adjustments in yoga classes can …
I cast the judgement and threw the stones—until they hit me square in the face. For many in our modern yoga culture, ahimsa has exactly one translation: vegetarianism, or potentially more focalized: veganism. I understand this and for most of my life, I have adhered to this practice. However, there’s something wrong with this translation of ahimsa. It’s not completely accurate.
The article below was originally published on The Huff Post. Krishnamacharya has three qualifications for a yoga teacher. As the source of much of modern day yoga, and the teacher of luminaries like B. K. S. Iyengar and Shri …
For many in our modern yoga culture, ahimsa has exactly one translation: vegetarianism. Or, potentially more focalized: veganism. I understand this and for many years (most of my life, actually), I have adhered to this practice. However, there's something wrong with this translation of ahimsa. It's not completely accurate.
Let the music move you through this confidence-boosting flow practice.
Adjustments seem to be a lost art. I have been to many yoga classes where the instructor never so much as places a pinky on me. In our modern-day society of litigation and miscommunication, hands-on adjustments in yoga classes can be both tricky and sticky business.
Have you ever had one of those days where you really want to skip your yoga class but didn’t want to skip the benefits of practice? Here are five good reasons to throw in the towel and skip fighting traffic …
In the yoga sutras, we’re given a few key points as to how yoga works (we’re given more than that, but let’s use the KISS system for now). Patanjali tells us pretty much right away that yoga is self-evident when …
I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with a friend in Bali. It's been half a year since I've seen him, and since then he's spent a good amount of time studying with a teacher here on the island. There have been profound transformations for my friend via this Balinese...
Over the years, I've had thousands of students. Two of them have defined what Arthur Boorman also illustrates: that anything is possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I love yoga. I love being a yoga teacher. It’s been an integral part of me and my life for more than ten years. I’m still uncomfortable with telling people that I teach yoga for a living. Here’s why:
No matter what kind of yoga we practice, or where we practice it, in most classes we will bring our hands into a prayer position at least once during any class. This simple gesture holds a lot of potency for the yogi, regardless of our background or beliefs. It's a gesture that holds hope. Hope is a core quality of our humanity.
I wrote a book titled Myths of the Asanas. This was before I found out about the real myth of the asanas... that most all of the ones practiced these days are less than 100 years old. Not kidding. I've spent nearly half of my entire life studying...
The quintessential yoga posture is lotus pose, or padmasana. We see grand images of yogis in lotus on book covers and in magazines, but the reality is that few of us can successfully do this posture. Why is that?
We are witnessing a revolution. Or, rather, a necessary evolution in yoga. The events of the past few weeks have caused such a stir and a ruckus in the yoga community that even members of other yoga disciplines are starting to wonder about the efficacy of having only...
The warrior poses (virabhadrasana 1, 2 and 3) are some of the most iconicpostures in yoga. Students are often encouraged to embody the spirit of a warrior as they’re standing in these formidable poses. Understanding the mythological background of these martial postures illuminates what a spiritual warrior actually represents.
What do you do when it's time to leave your teacher? At some point, every student must leave their teacher. It's a built-in principle of yoga. Parents raise children to be able to survive on their own at some point; its the same concept between teachers and students of yoga..
Ever end up in a yoga class and the instructor suddenly calls out, "Hanumanasana! Splits pose!" Well, it doesn't have to be as dire with a few simple tricks to help open the body in just the right way.
There's been a lot of recent hubbub in the media regarding yoga and its instructors. From the Times claiming that yoga can wreck our bodies to incendiary drama regarding gurus, it's probably a good idea to figure out what makes a good teacher in the first place.
Krishnamacharya has three qualifications for a yoga teacher. As the source of much of modern day yoga, and the teacher of luminaries like B. K. S. Iyengar and Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, this guy clearly knew what it took to possess the wealth of wisdom that yoga embodies. Of course,...
This beautiful video came out recently featuring a gorgeous yogini in nearly nothing doing advanced asana in a New York City loft:
I once heard a fantastic quote by William Shakespeare: "Even the devil can cite scripture for his purpose." There's been a ton of hullabaloo in recent days over the article in the New York Times that talks about the potential dangers of asana. Yoga teachers have reacted, yoga students are...
Resolutions are lame. There, I said it. Everyone is making them and trying to aspire to healthier, happier living, but do they ever really work out? After a while, the resolutions we make tend to dissolve into sources of guilt or consternation. So, why make them at all? There is...
Embody the spirit of a warrior with a heart opening sequence that builds courage, stamina, and grace. By Alanna Kaivalya
Everything in the universe has an opposite. We can take this to any extreme. Every night has its day. Every light has its dark. In the world of physics, matter has antimatter. As yogis (and as people), we have our …
In this heart-opening sequence, Alanna uses the metaphor of Arjuna’s battle in the Bhagavad Gita to illustrate the strength and stamina we need to cultivate in our lives to fight our everyday battles.
Alanna explains the undeniable power of music in Yoga Journal’s special music issue.
In this excerpt of Myths of the Asanas: The Stories at the Heart of the Yoga Tradition, the reader learns the purpose of these stories – to feel the interconnectedness of all beings through assuming their shapes.
A bunch of friends asked me recently if I would join them on a three day yoga adventure. I politely declined. Yoga is my life. I live it. Breathe it. Eat it. Sleep it. When I get up in the morning, if I'm not doing yoga, I'm emailing about it....
At the end of a teacher training in Bali, Indonesia, a student approached me wanting to have a talk about her life moving forward. We sat in a hippie-influenced cafe in the yogic center of the island, and after sipping her chai latte, she leaned forward and revealed to me that as soon as she arrived home, she was planning on quitting her job and getting a divorce. I took a deep breath, and said, "Well, I'm not surprised."
Born with a cleft palate and hearing impairment, Alanna was surprised when she first heard Sita Ram being chanted in one of her first yoga classes and experienced sound on a profound level. As a teacher, music has become her specialty. She chants and sings popular music in class, feeling the vibrations in a way that does not take them for granted, honoring music’s importance right alongside the asana’s in her yoga practice.