Why Flexibility?

I've been thinking a lot about flexibility lately and thought I’d share some of my preliminary musings. I've been randomly asking people the question, "Why are we so often awed by flexibility? Why do so many asana practitioners want to be more and more flexible?" Often, the first response is a moment of silence or an upturned eyebrow. Sometimes - especially when it's early in the morning - that silence is followed by more silence. Other responses include: It looks cool. I think would feel good to be able to do it. It's a beautiful aspect of the human form. It connotes a sense of freedom. I want to be flexible so my body is not in the…

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The Joy and Shame of Double Dipping

Recently, while at a brunch I saw a delightful sight. A young boy with a big spoon reached into a big tub of creamy white yogurt and with utter glee brought the yogurt to his mouth and licked the spoon clean. His smile was wider than his face. His eyes brightened as he prepared to launch in for a second time. Just as his spoon was about to reach the container, a woman near him exclaimed in a commanding voice, "Stop! You can't do that! That's double dipping." All of a sudden his wide eyes constricted, his shoulders sagged and his chest caved in. He slumped towards the floor and turned his back away from the yogurt tub…

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Thoughts on the Trapezius and Charismatic Leadership

I find that paying attention to the patterns of our bodies is a fascinating adventure in and of itself. In addition, I am often intrigued by how lessons I've learned from my body can be a metaphor for my own life, my relationships with others and my understanding of global dynamics. One day, while teaching a yoga class a thought came to me: the trapezius is like a charismatic leader! I said this out loud to the amusement of my students. It sounded intriguing, but now I needed to explain it. The trapezius is a large superficial muscle. In anatomical language, superficial means that it is closer to the skin. It begins in the back of the head…

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Handstands and Wonder

One afternoon, after teaching a class on handstands I was sitting on the grass while some kids were playing. They put their hands on the ground, kicked their legs up in the air and then immediately fell down. They were trying to do handstands without giving them any label. After doing this a number of times one of them squealed in delight, it's so much fun, “we jump up and then fall down again.” I was awed. She didn't care that she couldn't hold her legs up in the air. She didn't care that she kept falling down. She just continued to jump up and fall down. I could have interpreted her actions as a story of perseverance…

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