Breath and Body

Different Paths to Wellness

Posted by on Apr 11, 2015 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on Different Paths to Wellness

Different Paths to Wellness

I have been doing quite a bit of wellness writing lately, and thought it would be a great idea to step away from my own frame of reference and my own go-to health tips, and pass the torch to a few friends and colleagues who are able to offer invaluable insights on the subject. Q: What is your best wellness tip to offer people who are looking to improve their overall sense of health and wellbeing?   Lisa Kilgour, registered nutritionist for Eat More Real Food: “I find when people are feeling low they’re out of touch with how food makes them feel. Low mood can be a sign of eating...

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some things i learned from Leslie Kaminoff

Posted by on Nov 27, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on some things i learned from Leslie Kaminoff

some things i learned from Leslie Kaminoff

Leslie Kaminoff came to Toronto a few weeks ago and set my mind abuzz with new ideas about how anatomy and the breath connect, and how yoga practices should naturally vary from person to person.  He was incredibly down-to-earth and approachable which made my incessant question-asking feel less invasive.  I had THE yoga anatomy guy in the same room, I wasn’t going to get away without filling my brain to capacity in those three short days we had together.  I’m in the process of registering for his 9 month anatomy practices course, so for me this is just the beginning. Here are...

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On flexibility and balance

Posted by on Nov 8, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on On flexibility and balance

On flexibility and balance

Last Sunday I was reading the New York Times and came across an article entitled “Women’s Flexibility is a Liability” by William Broad.  It’s not his first dramatic piece about yoga, outlining all of the risks and associated injuries, surgeries and the like.  His last article about yoga and injury drew all sorts of feverish responses from the yoga community, some hailing his article as a beacon of Truth, others defending their practices or teaching saying that all physical activity has inherent risks and that his angle was sensationalistic.  This latest piece is...

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the common cold

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on the common cold

the common cold

Well, I’ve got it, the first cold of the season.  After a healthy and vibrant summer, it comes as a kind of shock to feel sub-optimal, but I know that we’re heading into that time of year when most of us are moving from one mild (or not) health infraction to another so to some degree it’s expected.  I find that doing my best to ease through the symptoms while my body does what it needs to to fight the bug can make a big difference.  Here are a few suggestions that you may entertain when faced with a nagging cold. * Don’t try to fight what your body is doing to rid...

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a lotta vata

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Blog, Breath and Body | Comments Off on a lotta vata

a lotta vata

Sigh.  It’s that time of year again.  The season when things go topsy-turvy and I start to think that everyone is talking about me behind my back, upset at my actions, wishing me ill, avoiding me, judging my appearance, not liking my classes, misunderstanding me.  And so on.  I wake over and over in the night, sometimes even spend over an hour worked up about some miscommunication that never even took place.  It all feels vaguely psychotic, and if I didn’t know what was going on, I’d probably be a bit worried about myself.  But it’s fall, and it’s windy and...

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sadhana

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on sadhana

sadhana

A few weeks ago, a student asked me how long it would take her to improve in her practice, in particular to feel more ease in her standing poses.  Of course there’s no easy answer as everyone’s body shifts differently, reacts differently, and people commit differently to their practices in terms of how many hours per week are dedicated to yoga asana.  But besides feeling less struggle and more easy in the body, students really need to understand that the whole psychology behind this question doesn’t really apply to the true idea of yoga at all.  It is not the destination...

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what you need

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on what you need

what you need

I’m in a moving phase.  I’ve been upping my dose of more athletic forms of yoga, walking too fast, exploring the city, and frequently traveling outside of the city.  And when my body is not moving, my mind takes over for me.  Or so I’ve just noticed. I just got back from a 4 day whirlwind vacation in New York.  There was a lot of walking in noise, bumping into people, eating and drinking in places bustling with energy.  Then I got off a plane, wolfed down lunch, and zipped off to teach a class.  And I’m back to the shuttling of a toddler here and there.  There...

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intention

Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on intention

intention

As a beginner student to yoga, I was often unsure of what to do when teachers would tell us to take a moment and set an intention for our practices.  Or even more so, to dedicate the practice to someone else.  It seemed an odd thing to be asked to do, and I usually found myself sitting with a buzzing mind, glazing over the very request with an internal eye roll.  It wasn’t until years later, also at the time when my practice became more involved, that I started to think about what setting an intention could mean for me and my time on the mat. The cue to set an intention gives you a...

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water, my teacher

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on water, my teacher

water, my teacher

Nearly two years ago we sold our lakefront home up north and chose to set our roots in the the sand of the Beach area of Toronto.  Set in the east end, it’s a neighborhood with a small-town vibe, a sense of removal from the buzz of downtown.  It seemed the easiest place to transition back to the city from our years spent in a small lake-filled town, both for our dogs and for ourselves.  Early morning walks to Lake Ontario, sun lifting up from the sling of the horizon, are quiet and peaceful.  The waves lap in from someplace unseen, and so standing at the shore is reminiscent of...

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on meditation: label your thoughts

Posted by on Jan 22, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on on meditation: label your thoughts

on meditation: label your thoughts

Meditation can be a daunting practice for those with busy lives, racing minds.  There are so many different methods, it can be hard to know how to get started.  I’ve recently come across a method that is simple enough, focussed enough, and gentle enough (on the self-judgment front!), and wanted to share it with readers who may be looking to start a meditation practice.  Let’s call it “label your thoughts”.  The following is an excerpt from the book Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron: “Meditation practice is a formal way in which you can get used to...

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Pain and Gain

Posted by on Jan 6, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on Pain and Gain

Pain and Gain

I recently finished reading Hell-Bent by Benjamin Lorr, a book which explores the author’s experiences from within the world of competitive yoga and the Bikram yoga teacher training program.  (I must say it was highly entertaining.  Bikram the character and Bikram the practice are both explorations in “over-the-top”!) While much of this information was new to me as I am schooled in the vinyasa yoga tradition, some of it stuck me as plainly shocking.  In my own years of training (with the wonderful, insightful, educational Frog Lotus International), I learned that despite...

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To Every Season…

Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on To Every Season…

To Every Season…

It’s the time of year when we find ourselves starting to crave warm food and drinks, starchy stick-to-your-ribs meals and cozy sweaters.  It’s also the time of year when nights seem to be growing infinitely longer, the days are grey, our energy levels and moods match the season as we glance longingly at the couch.  Many teachers will talk about the need to tune into this, to allow yourself to bury your head in the snow and wrap yourselves up in blankets, slow down your practices and encourage the quiet introspection.  That’s one philosophy, and it’s a popular one....

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step into the light

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on step into the light

step into the light

Tomorrow is Diwali, the day that marks the new year of the Hindu calendar.  Translated, Diwali means “row of lights”, and is known as the festival of lights.  During this 5 day long festival, celebrants light lamps around the house, offer puja to gods and godesses (Lakshmi and Kali are the big ones), and share meals and sweets with family and friends. Diwali also has a strong symbolic component.  It is a time when we are encouraged to turn away from the darkness and towards the light, to recognize the false identification with our egos (separate sense of self) and align with...

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Durga

Posted by on Oct 23, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on Durga

Durga

When a demon who possessed the power to evade death by man wreaked havoc upon the earth, the gods combined all of their power and radiance and created Durga, an incarnation of Devi the divine mother, to slay him.  In doing so, she brought love and light back to the world.  Wife of Shiva, mother of Ganesha (in the form of Parvati), she is a fearless warrior.  Using her many arms to hold a variety of weapons, she is the one equipped to slay the many faces of evil in the world.  Because she can bring an end to darkness and suffering, jealousy, ignorance, ego and fear, she is seen as the...

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Harvest

Posted by on Sep 23, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on Harvest

Harvest

How comfortable are you with recognizing your achievements?  Of stepping back and taking stock of the work you’ve done, appreciating how far you’ve come, or what you’ve accomplished?  Throughout the year we are so busy working, striving, chipping away that we may neglect to allow for reflection and recognition. Is it that our society tends to be so removed from the agricultural system which relied so heavily on the seasons, had such clear boundaries of when you work, when you rest, when you sow and when you reap?  Is that why some other cultures, ones more aligned with...

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Choose Your Own Adventure

Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

How long have you been attending the same yoga class?  When the seasons transition, when your moods shift, when you develop an injury or a particular therapeutic need, do you still stick with your habitual class?  There are so many different styles of asana practice, each one offering distinct benefits (some also carrying risks), why not use a growing awareness of the individual needs of your body and look to your physical yoga practice as a kind of therapy for whatever ails you or to seek balance when you are feeling off-kilter? Are you feeling lethargic, slow, heavy, and stuck?  Try an...

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All Things Are Flowing

Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on All Things Are Flowing

All Things Are Flowing

Last night I was fortunate enough to slip away and attend one of Sheila’s classes at Seven Seeds.  At one point she reminded the class to turn inward and consider the self that showed up on the mat that night.  You are never the same person, you are never inhabiting the exact same body.  I started to think about how difficult it can be to remain mindful of who we are rather than relying on a rather robotic memory of who we were (something I recently wrote about here).  Memory is a powerful thing.  If we abide by it we can find ourselves convinced that we are the same self.  We...

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Hot Hot Heat

Posted by on Aug 14, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on Hot Hot Heat

Hot Hot Heat

I did it.  I took my first Bikram yoga class. I had been meaning to try it for some time as students had asked me what I thought about it, and while I’ve taken hot yoga classes before, I’d never done the Bikram style.  Last night at the playground I was talking with a dad who had just returned from taking his Bikram teacher training and it was that conversation that tipped the scales and led me down the street and around the corner for my first go. The studio was hot.  I got changed into yoga shorts and a light tank, and carried my water, hot yoga towel and mat into the...

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Come As You Are

Posted by on Aug 12, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on Come As You Are

Come As You Are

I remember being so excited at the arrival of my books that were required reading for my first yoga teacher training.  I sat flipping through the photographs of yoga postures in the Yoga Journal book first with inspiration, then nearly immediately with dread.  This is what I’m supposed to know how to do?  Other people can do these things?  I can’t, I thought.  I mean I really can’t.  My sporadic practice plus lack of experience attacking more challenging poses may have put me at a disadvantage in real terms, but it was my head space that kept me glued in place.  I...

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Savasana

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on Savasana

Savasana

Iyengar has said that in every pose there should be repose.  We may acknowledge that finding surrender in an asana like Virabhadrasana 2 can be a challenge (though it is possible!), but assume that when we are “just lying there” in Savasana, relaxation must be happening. For most of us, this is not the case (at least at first). In Light on Life, Iyengar argues that humans are the only animal that must make deep repose a conscious endeavor.  Animals in the wild work and play hard but then relax and refuel with such natural abandon.  They make it look so easy!  See the way in...

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All content by Lisa Veronese. Please do not publish or copy my material without my consent.