Prana, The Brain, and M&M’s

I invite you to picture in your mind a classic late 20th century office complex; a big room with fluorescent lights, rows of square cubicles and stale air; the smell of weak coffee in styrofoam cups and the soft buzzing whirl of hard drives and printers; offgasing gray-blue carpets and upholstered chairs on plastic wheels. Mixed in with all this sensory input—the ubiquitous jar of M&Ms. This M&M jar would just sit there, hour upon hour, calling on people to have one; daring them not to overindulge. A few workers would proudly resist, but for most, the pull was too strong and the jar would be empty by the end of the day. Why were those M&M’s so…

0 Comments

Eyes Up To Freedom

Once upon a time two guys were standing on the muddy shore of a huge sea. This was the first time that they had seen such an immense body of water and they didn’t know what to do. They were at the front of a group of escaped slaves who were running for their lives. The world's most advanced army, equipped with swords and chariots, was chasing them. Their people had been enslaved for 400 years and this was their first chance at freedom but now their feet were in the mud. One of these men, looked down and said, “Yuck. My feet are all muddy. This mud looks exactly like the mud I’ve been using for 30…

1 Comment

She said, “Cut My Spine Off”

A yoga student of mine shared with me her concerns about a loved one. She asks: So what can I do about my sister-in-law? Every time we call and ask, "How are you?" she replies, "I'm in pain." Here’s how the conversation usually goes: I ask, What are you doing about it? “There's nothing that can be done except drugs.” Have you tried everything? “I saw a chiropractor a long time ago but it ended up hurting my neck.” What else could you do? "There's a surgical procedure developed in Germany, but it isn't approved here.” Could you go to Germany to get it? "I'd have to learn German first and I'm not good at languages." Is there…

0 Comments

Sit and Read with a Happier Spine

  I am fascinated by how everyday habits of movement affect overall health. Sitting is one the top of the list. By now, most people have heard about how too much sitting is deleterious to our health. While it's true that continuous sitting causes a whole array of problems, sitting in and of itself is a natural human movement. The main problem with sitting while reading is that it often leads to prolonged slouching. Eye placement is a major culprit. Vision is a powerful force. The entire shape of our body gets determined by where we place our eyes. For example, looking down with our eyes inhibits the extensor muscles in our upper spine. This means that when…

1 Comment

Moving Like the Moon

  Living on rural Maui, where there is little artificial light, I spend a lot of time gazing in awe at the abundant night sky. Being able to see so many stars has piqued my curiosity about the celestial bodies and I realize that I’ve held some erroneous assumptions for a long time. For example, I used to think that a full moon was an all-night event that happens about once a month. In other words, that there is one entire night when the moon is completely full. Similarly, when I first started yoga, I thought that the perfect yoga asana (pose) consisted of holding a single, static position for a long period of time. It turns out…

0 Comments

Blue Zones Project: Talk Story With Sandra

This article was originally posted by Blue Zones Project, Central Maui January 5, 2019.  Soon after I moved to Maui, I came upon an intriguing sight. People of all ages were gathered together outdoors in the center of Maui Mall. They were chatting excitedly and had a look of eager anticipation on their faces. I was momentarily confused by a booming voice calling out, 'B12… D4...' Then someone yelled 'Bingo' and I realized that the booming voice was not referring to vitamins. I looked around and saw a booth with a Blue Zones® banner. I wanted to know what was going on so I went to check it out. I was greeted with great enthusiasm by three lovely…

0 Comments

Heroic Eighties

When my father turned 80, I organized a surprise party so that he could celebrate while being surrounded by what mattered most to him: family, friends (including fellow tennis enthusiasts), good food, and a grand piano. As he walked into the room full of lifetime friends, he put his hand to his wrist and with a wide smile joyously proclaimed, “My heartbeat is slow and steady." My father immigrated to the United States from Israel when he was twenty- five. Having spent his youth under British colonialism and then the nascent country of Israel, he had minimal exposure to American culture prior to his arrival to study at NYU. As he built a stable home for his family…

1 Comment

Tricky Trikonasana: My Travels with Triangle Pose

When I first started practicing yoga, Triangle (Trikonasana) was an iconic pose. Those who could get their hand all the way to the floor were considered to be advanced practitioners. Having a bit of hypermobility, I was able to accomplish this fairly quickly and thought I was doing good for my body. Then I began to learn more about alignment and realized that lengthening the spine is a fundamental aspect and benefit of modern postural yoga. Yoga instructor Matthew Sanford puts it succinctly, "it's all about the spine – stupid." With this insight, I adjusted my practice to make the length of my spine a central focus of my practice. On days where I felt tighter, I reluctantly…

0 Comments

Why I Moved to Maui

When people ask me why I moved to Maui, I have a very quick answer – for the fresh air and the lilikoi (passion fruit). It sounds funny but the thing is, it’s also very true – at least the first part. The next question people ask is “How did you move to Maui?” My quick and somewhat glib response is “I just did.” Which is also true. While I don’t usually write publically about my personal health concerns, today I’d like to share a longer explanation. My hope is that sharing my story will be beneficial to others with similar experiences. For a number of years before moving to Maui, I had been suffering from fatigue and…

3 Comments

On the Edge of a Hurricane

The bamboo is swaying, the rain is blowing sideways and the soaking wet chickens look like a new hybrid species as their feathers are matted to their skin. It's a wild, bold and beautiful day. The air vibrates with excitement and possibilities. I feel I could stand still and breathe forever. Right now, living on the edge of a hurricane, I am wishing this day would never end. I have never lived in the tropics before, so this is my first hurricane. Tornadoes and earthquakes are old friends, but hurricanes are new. I know of them only from the stories of the devastation and suffering that they have caused. I am fortunate. The island of Hawaii, more commonly…

0 Comments
Close Menu