Karma Chameleon

Karma Chameleon

As this year is preparing to gear up into full swing after a summer of fun, I’ve been cataloguing the goals and ambitions that keep returning to me, clarifying what it is that I want to work on and invite into my life in these next months. These meditations, while most definitely a strategy of procrastination, have highlighted a set of recurring patterns that seem to be an indelible part of my path to negotiate. In a word: karma.

So we all know what the conventional understanding of karma is: the action that yields either good or bad results effecting this life or future ones. As in, karma slaps Taylor Swift for bullying Katy Perry. So the internet tells me. Context aside, apparently Tay-tay did bad things to Katy and is now reaping the karmic outcomes.     

Hmmmm…

Resolution

Resolution

The internet provides sobering statistics as to the success rates of New Years' resolutions—studies apparently report that 80% plus of new intentions fail. Going to yoga more consistently is often part of these resolutions and its follow-through can be similarly short-lived. I wonder how this tradition can relate most beneficially to our yoga practice—our practice that is based first and foremost on a commitment of countless lifetimes to ways of being that lead us to live comfortably on the edges of our egos.

Breathing life: yoga, inspiration and human receptivity

Breathing life: yoga, inspiration and human receptivity

What is it about a crowded yoga room that inspires practitioners? Why does a confluence of sweaty bodies contorted into a variety of postures motivate students in the same room to enter into their practice more deeply and absorb its benefits more fully? The question of inspiration is, I believe, one which may be approached on etymological grounds. From spirit to respiration to inspiration: the role of breath in the cultivation of an inspirational practice space is vital. 

Shankaracharya and the embodiment of non-dualism

Shankaracharya and the embodiment of non-dualism

Sri K Pattabhi Jois belonged to the Hoysala Brahmin caste, a subset of the popular Smarta Brahmins whose root teacher was Adi Shankara (788-820 CE). Adi Shankara is considered to be one of the most revered Hindu philosophers and theologians. His works establish and consolidate the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, or non-dual Vedanta. We invoke Shankaracharya every morning as we chant the Ashtanga mantra. By honoring the two lotus-feet of the plurality of gurus, we hope to quiet the poisonous effects of samsara, or conditioned experience. We begin our daily practices thus by paying homage to the lineage of teachers that offer access to an experience beyond the prison of worldly existence. 

Stumped by instructions: What to do when 5 different teachers give you 10 different cues

Stumped by instructions: What to do when 5 different teachers give you 10 different cues

We’ve all been there. This one tells you to KEEP YOUR LEG STRAIGHT at all costs and hold your toe. This one tells you to bend your knee and hold your toe. This one tells you to keep your leg straight and use a block (we are in California after all). And this one tells you not to worry about your alignment, but just to breathe. It seems like a game that yoga teachers play with their students: just how confused can we make you?  

Marichyasana A: No Hands to Help

Marichyasana A:  No Hands to Help

Named “ray of light” of the sun or moon, Marichi is the son of Brahma, the cosmic creator, and one of the seven or ten sages of creation in the Vedas. Before the creation began, Lord Brahma required consuls who could be held responsible for the creation of the remaining Universe. He therefore created 10 Prajapatis, “rulers of the people,” from his Manas, or “mind.” Marichi is one of these Manasaputras of Lord Brahma, a seer or lord of creation who may intuit and proclaim the divine law of the universe.