Transition to Teaching

Teaching changes things. I miss my regular practice. I miss practicing at the same time every day. I miss practicing in a room full of Ashtangis. I miss getting daily assists into Supta Kurmasana.

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See how much help I need in this pose?

But I wouldn’t change a thing about my life right now. Continue reading “Transition to Teaching” »

Vegan Lentil Quinoa Stew

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Recipe time! With fall underway, I thought I’d post one of my favorite vegan cool-weather stew recipes. This is a totally ahimsa-friendly recipe, and it could easily be made sattvic by removing the onions, garlic, and chili powder. It packs a serious protein punch, costs almost nothing (less than $4.00), and leftovers (if you’re lucky enough to have any) freeze beautifully. Continue reading “Vegan Lentil Quinoa Stew” »

Yoga, music, and a Kirtan in Indy

 

kristin-luna-ray

Ashtangis don’t practice to music. Music in the yoga room pulls me away from my breath and the internal experience of practice. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy music. In fact, I love it. When I’m not practicing, I almost constantly have music on in the background. I listen to everything from bluegrass to black metal, and I love it all. I even used to be a music writer for NUVO.

Continue reading “Yoga, music, and a Kirtan in Indy” »

Running into Yoga

Eighteen months after my very first attempt at running, I ran a half-marathon. I finished with a time of 1:40:35. That’s pretty fast, especially for a beginner, but I wanted to get faster. I didn’t want to be “fast for a beginner.” I wanted to win races. At the rate I was improving, it was possible.

Indianapolis-mini-marathon-2011

Continue reading “Running into Yoga” »

Effervescent Embers: How to make Kombucha

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First, how adorable is that graphic? One of my besties, Amber, made it for the purpose of this post.  Check her out so she can make fabulous graphics for you, too!

Second, what the heck is kombucha?

Continue reading “Effervescent Embers: How to make Kombucha” »

Well, I quit my day job.

Remember how I said I wasn’t going to quit my day job and teach yoga full time?

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Image credit: yoganonymous.com

Well, I lied.

My last day at my current job will be August 28.  I’m officially leaving because of a teaching assistantship at Butler University, but I’m also leaving to be a full-time yogi.  Continue reading “Well, I quit my day job.” »

Styles of the yoga styles

I was getting ready to walk into a vinyasa class, wearing short shorts, as I am wont to do occasionally.  A fellow yogi and friend (non-Ashtanga) complimented me on the tattoo on my leg, and then said, “A lot of Ashtangis have leg tattoos.  Or maybe I just notice it more because you guys wear the short shorts all the time.”

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Adjusting my short shorts.

Continue reading “Styles of the yoga styles” »

Awkward Ashtanga Moments

There was that time I extended into my fifth Navasana after a strong lift-off, the morning sun streaming in the wall-length windows, and let out an echoing gastronomic eruption in an otherwise silent room. Continue reading “Awkward Ashtanga Moments” »

So I thought I wanted to be a yoga teacher…

I’d looked at teacher trainings in exotic places like Thailand and Bali, and I’d researched teacher trainings at local yoga studios.  Heck, it’s hard to find a yoga studio that doesn’t offer teacher training. I’d fallen in love with my own yoga teacher’s ability to meet each practitioner on common ground and offer support with indiscriminate grace.  Or maybe I just love her ability to touch the back of her head with her feet while balancing on her forearms.  Long story short, I decided that I wanted to share my love of yoga with the world because yoga is the best thing EVER and I wanted to bring it to EVERYONE.

Eka Pada Koundinyasana

Continue reading “So I thought I wanted to be a yoga teacher…” »

A history as twisty as its asanas.

Yoga wasn’t always an array of beautiful white bodies in expensive clothes with limbs that bend into complicated poses.  It has a muddled history that began in a decisively brown-skinned world before its appropriation by westerners and eventual viral spread throughout the western world.Possible evidence of yogic practices was found as early as 2500 BCE in the form of a seal featuring what some consider to be a prototype of Lord Shiva in a yoga pose, and textual references to yoga began to appear around 300 BCE, but they described a moral and philosophical practice instead of the physical postures that are so pervasive on Instagram and YouTube. Hatha Yoga, the first arm of yoga to include those physical postures, didn’t manifest until the 1400’s and is chronicled in detail in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the better-known classical texts on yoga.

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The “proto-Shiva” seal credited as evidence of yoga’s ancient roots. Image credit: Elephant Journal

Continue reading “A history as twisty as its asanas.” »

Treatise on Tradition

I’ve been a dedicated ashtangi for a little more than a year and a half. At first, my practice was less than traditional. To be fair, it wasn’t all my fault. Our Mysore program had two different teachers with very different styles, so there wasn’t as much consistency as there is in most Mysore rooms. Continue reading “Treatise on Tradition” »

Yoga Quiets the Chatter of the Mind

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My teacher Amanda Markland gives me an assist into wheel.

From guest blogger Auriel Benker:

Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah – Yoga quiets the chatter of the mind

One thing that drew me to yoga was its close connection with meditation. My mind was constantly running and I was searching for a way to quiet my “monkey mind.” Continue reading “Yoga Quiets the Chatter of the Mind” »

Body Envy

As mentioned in a previous post, both me and my friend and guest blogger Auriel learned Garbha Pindasana and Kukkutasana recently, and it’s been interesting to watch our very different bodies adapt.  Continue reading “Body Envy” »

Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think?

Emma dropping back

Steve of The Confluence Countdown posted this incredible discussion of the irony present in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga on January 7, 2013.  That happens to be the Monday of the week I went to my first-ever Mysore room. Continue reading “Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think?” »

Self-care versus self-indulgence

Yesterday, my husband told me that he wished a woman we both know and love would “take care of herself.”  Continue reading “Self-care versus self-indulgence” »

The Power of Transitions

In the Primary Series, we talk about getting new poses, but with every new pose also comes the vinyasa that follows it.

For the uninitiated, we ashtangis do a vinyasa in between most poses, and in between the left and right expressions of them.  After exiting the posture, we inhale, press the palms into the ground, lift our bodies up, exhale, and toss our legs back to lower through chataranga dandasana, then inhale to urdhva mukha svanasana (updog) and exhale back to adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog).  Then it’s inhale and jump up, lifting the hips and exhaling to float the body through the arms and into position for the next pose. Continue reading “The Power of Transitions” »

Yoga and Capitalism?

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You’ll have to forgive me for this pseudo-academic rant.  I’m working on a paper examining the commodification of yoga as it gained popularity in the western world and moved away from the instructions for practicing yoga provided in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and thought I would share this short excerpt. Continue reading “Yoga and Capitalism?” »

It’s Saturday- Grab the Castor Oil!

From guest blogger Auriel Benker:

After I had been practicing Ashtanga for a few months, I started to hear talk of castor oil baths, also known as “Saturday practice.” Traditionally, Saturdays are the day of rest from an otherwise 6 day a week practice.

Continue reading “It’s Saturday- Grab the Castor Oil!” »

On Tristana method and the Primary Series

This video helped me get up and get my ass to class this morning.

watch.

Chanti, chanti, chanti.

Yoga Mudra

Ashtanga doesn’t hurt people. People hurt people.

Peace sign

“Oh, I couldn’t do Ashtanga.  It’s too advanced for me.” “Beginners shouldn’t do Ashtanga.  They’re going to get hurt.” “Ashtanga is a painful practice.” I hear statements like these all the time. The practice is not to blame for this phenomenon; it’s competitive practice rooms where the focus is on getting the next pose no matter what.

Continue reading “Ashtanga doesn’t hurt people. People hurt people.” »

Yoga for Better Digestion

From guest blogger Auriel Benker: One of the physical benefits I noticed right away from my consistent yoga practice is improved digestion. I struggled for years to regulate my digestion and feel good after eating. I had found some relief through changing my diet and adding certain supplements. However, nothing was so effective as when I combined it with my Ashtanga practice. Continue reading “Yoga for Better Digestion” »

Easy Gluten-free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love cookies.  But I also love avoiding animal products and inflammatory ingredients like wheat flour.  So what’s a girl to do when she’s craving chocolate chip cookies?

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Continue reading “Easy Gluten-free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies” »

The downlow on detox.

We don’t talk about toxins or detoxing in Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga, (silent practice!), but I’ve definitely heard it mentioned in other classes I’ve visited and in my 200-hour teacher training. Twists, for example, are praised for their detoxifying properties.  I’ve always just nodded my head.  Toxins are obviously bad, right? Continue reading “The downlow on detox.” »

Yoga Found Me

From guest blogger Auriel Benker:

My first introduction to yoga was at various gyms around the Indianapolis area shortly after graduating high school. I dabbled for 10 years until late 2012 when a friend invited me to a hot vinyasa class at a true yoga studio. I was ready to get fit and look amazing! Continue reading “Yoga Found Me” »

Recognizing avidya

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Blue hydrangeas in mason jar

“According to the Yoga Sutras, the recognition and conquest of avidya [the root cause of the obstacles that prevent us from true seeing] and its effects is the only ladder by which we can climb upward . . .” -T.K.V. Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga

I am almost constantly in one of the states of avidya: raga (attachment), dvesa (aversion), abhinivesa (fear), or asmita (ego). Continue reading “Recognizing avidya” »