Reflections on Travels.

The other day a number of ten-years-on photos showed up in friends' Facebook feeds. Nostalgia-driven endeavors often draw me in, and I searched my 2009 photo albums for a suitable photo of my cat, Buddy.

In scrolling through archived photos, I was struck by the number of photos from my travels in India and Nepal. I've been fortunate to have spent a good deal of time in South Asia, and I have many rich memories of the people, places and traditions I encountered in these travels. These encounters enriched my life in many ways, both expected and unexpected.
My first trips to India were ostensibly to explore the roots of Yoga. At the behest of my friend Nagindas Sanghavi, I embarked on a pilgrimage to meet Sri Morari Bapu. After a whirlwind flight, 30-hour trans-India train trip and an introduction to the ubiquitous autorickshaws, I made it to my inaugural Ram Katha in Kolkata, India. Meeting Bapu proved propitious, as he let me in on an open secret; the Yoga postures I diligentl…

A Master's degree... in science!

Last month I completed the requirements for an MS in Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. In my quest for a Ph.D., this was a significant step, and I'm super-pleased to have made it this far. It takes a village to raise a child, and the same holds true in pursuing an advanced degree, particularly when it comes to birthing a thesis!

In the University of Wisconsin - Madison Kinesiology Department, there are two tracks for the MS degree. The non-thesis track, as the name implies, does not require writing a thesis, and is based on completing a body of coursework. The thesis-track MS, on the other hand, requires most of the same coursework, along with the submission of a thesis. Pursuing a Ph.D. requires the MS-thesis, so I matriculated in the thesis-track program in the Fall of my 50th year.
After fits, starts and a pretty bumpy return to academia, I finally gained traction in my second year of graduate school. With a perfectly imperfect data-set in-hand, I wrestle…

Marathon and No-Self Care

Through running, I've had the chance to directly experience the teachings of my beloved teachers on the wooded trails of Blue Mound State Park. There have been moments of vividly recognizing mind, periods of boredom, flashes of inspiration and ample opportunity to use body sensations as the object of meditation. Meditation and running have become inseparable.

A couple of weeks ago I completed my first marathon, and in the process I completed my longest-ever running-meditation session. As in my shorter long runs (15 - 20 miles), calm abiding and clear seeing were interspersed with periods of boredom and distraction. In addition to experiencing the standard-usual during the marathon, I also experienced protracted periods of ego-clinging. While ego-clinging may sound like a hindrance to recognizing my true nature, it was an eye-opening opportunity to pull back the proverbial curtain on a fundamental source of suffering.

As I meandered through the Kickapoo Valley Preserve in the Drif…

Longer Runs

Since shuttering Mound Street Yoga Center, I've enjoyed stretches of time that I haven't experienced in decades. For example, I now have Saturday mornings wide open in my calendar. While I deeply miss the community that came together most Saturday mornings for Yoga, I am thrilled to have this new-found time in my schedule.

As nature is said to abhor a vacuum, the grad-student life almost inevitably engulfs any unscheduled time. To help prevent calendar-encroaching, I protected my Saturday mornings by plugging in long runs.

At first the long runs were about ten miles in length. Thanks to the aerobic base that I've been building since 2014, these long runs are now more commonly fifteen to twenty miles long. This distance-creep is not accidental - I'm training for my first marathon!

Later this month, I plan to run the Driftless 50 trail marathon. This debut performance will most likely not be the prettiest showing, as this trail marathon (and many others) seems to go up …

Reflections on 30-years; Breathe

In reflecting on 30-years of teaching Yoga, I have arrived at three points that I consider essential parts of physical practice - Embody | Align | Breathe

In the prior two blog postings, I unpacked my thoughts on Embody and Align, and today I'd like to explore what I mean when I say breathe.

Breathing is certainly an essential part of the Modern Postural Yoga (MPY) practice, though not always for the reasons that are mentioned. For example, there is a pernicious myth that deep breathing increases oxygen concentration of the blood. While this claim may sound alluring, it's just not true. The body keeps blood oxygen concentration very tightly bound within certain limits, and all the deep breathing in the world is not going to alter this concentration very much. Even if deep breathing did alter concentrations of blood oxygen, would this be desirable?

How many of you consume foods or supplements that are considered anti-oxidants? If you do, you already have a sense of how excess …

Reflections on 30-years; Alignment

You may think that writing about alignment would arise spontaneously for the founder of Alignment Yoga, though I’ve struggled to coalesce my thoughts into a manageable blog posting. After some serious procrastination, I’ve decided that tonight is the night to put fingers to keyboard, and tease apart some ideas about alignment.
In the prior blog posting, I discussed how simply feeling your body is the essence of practice. Independent of technique, cues or alignment, embodiment is perhaps the greatest gift that can arise from investing the time and energy into mind/body practice. Riding on the coattails of this de-emphasis on form is a de-emphasis on postural alignment. This was and is intentional - alignment is overrated.
Many people inhabit bodies that may be considered misaligned, yet experience little if any pain. Other people may suffer terribly with the supposed symptoms of misalignment, yet their bodies are fundamentally well aligned. In working with bodies, causality is often c…

Reflections on 30-years; Embodiment

As many of you may have seen, my wife and I recently decided to close our Madison-based Mound Street Yoga Center. This decision has been a long time in coming, as the fortunes of our iconic, single-room studio have been declining for quite some time. I am nostalgic for its former glory, though honesty, I am also relieved to openly discuss the years-long decline that consumed more and more of our time and energy. A lovely chapter is closing, and in its wake, another chapter most assuredly has begun.
Part of this closing-of-chapters involves my approach to teaching Yoga. As my previous blog posting initiated, I’m reflecting on 30+ years of teaching Yoga. What does it mean to do something for thirty years, and how does this longevity inform future actions?
I’ve traversed many paths within the corpus of Yoga – from purity-of-essence-alignment, to the most vigorous of Vinyasa-flow; ultimately finding satiety within the midrange of the pendulum’s swings. The resulting body of work identified …