Top Shelf



After a few hours of perusing the royalty-free music available on the internet, I was completely at a loss. All I needed was 5-10 seconds of fun, unique audio – WHY was it so hard to find? After mentioning it to my son, he suggested using music from DAV @activepoet, a friend who’s music is up-and-coming AND has been quite generous with letting him use it in his personal training and workout videos. The problem was that, although I loved many of his songs, I didn’t want lyrics for my what I was creating: an intro piece for my videos on YouTube. And I didn’t know the musician, Wooshay, who does the instrumental part of the song. “No problem”, my son assured, “I’ll just ask him.”

He sent the message and, much to my surprise, received a response within a few minutes. “Tell me which song and I’ll send it to her.” WOW! Choosing the song took a little longer as I wanted to consider all of his music while trying to mentally strip away the words from the sound. In the end, my first thought was the one I went with.

Official Title: Top Shelf – Wooshay, Dav @activepoet, & Slvmm
Link to the music video
The resulting intro came out really nice. Using mostly stills from my everyday practice over the past many years. I also included one short video component of me falling out of a failed attempt at karandavasana. I felt it was important to include this because, let’s face it, I am real. Like everyone else, I have my strengths AND I have my weaknesses. Keeping a nice balance in these two aspects of the practice is the message that I am trying to portray. With this honest approach to the practice, we can place our practice of yoga on the Top Shelf.
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Breaking Down the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series



For a while now, I have wanted to record and post a video covering the full primary series practice. At the same time, I wanted to provide more detailed instruction of ways to modify the practice to make it more accessible to everyone wanting to learn it. The result of this effort is not one but two videos of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series.

The first, featuring a Half Primary practice, was posted about a week ago. In this video, I offer modifications for many of the poses in the first half of primary. Due to the additional instruction required to provide the various options, I decided to keep it to only half of the series. Then, a few days later, I posted another video with less instruction in the first half but more modification/options towards the latter half of the series. This video covers the Full Primary Series from the opening chant to the closing chant.

I hope to create more content in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have ideas for yoga related video content that you would like me to consider, please leave me a comment either here on my blog or on my YouTube channel.

Good Things Happen



You all have probably heard the saying that sh!t happens. It does happen – perhaps a little too often actually. But good things happen too…

One good thing that happened while we were sheltering in place (SIP) is that I completed my final requirements for my RYT 500h certification. Although I struggle to find meaning in what this added certification means for me or my students right now, the not-so-simple act of finishing the process I began in 2014 is BIG.

And I could not be more proud.

What good things have happened in your world recently? Please share…because I care.

sthira bhaga



While LIVE on our Mysore ZOOM, I flow through my morning practice with an acute awareness that my teacher is watching. Not only is she watching, she is waiting for me to finish up my second series already so that she can see what progress I’ve made in the third series poses she gave me last week.

But my practice is slow today and my coffee has yet to kick in. Gasp if you wish; I don’t care what you think. I NEED my COFFEE.

As I lay on my back, working to place my lower leg behind my shoulders, I notice the moon through the window in front of me. In the window of the adjoining bedroom, I can also see the sun’s blessed light. It’s lovely and a part of me wants to spend another 5-10 breaths in yoga nidrasana. But then I remember my teacher. She’s watching. I hear her call the name of one of the other students. The last time she called his name, he was at pasasana, and I was 3-4 poses ahead in the series. I can tell by her words that he is now working on pincha mayurasana. It is clear that today’s practice has not been flowing as steadily as it should. I suppose the time I spent crying BEFORE going into kapotasana slowed me up…a little. Yeah, that was unexpected.

*sigh*

“Okay Juls,” I tell myself (quietly, as my computer is no longer on mute), “just breathe and get moving.” I limp along to the end of second and arrive at third with 30ish minutes until my work meeting. I am sore but have more energy today than last week. I might go well. I mean, miracles DO happen. Right!

WRONG!

Third Series has been described as “Divine stability; sublime serenity.” Reading this description sure makes it sound nice. Right? And, it IS nice. But it’s also HARD. The journey to this point is far from stable or serene (without the added pressure of having it be divine or sublime on top of that). I’m not complaining; I asked for this and I am happy to take it on. Lord knows my side body is weak and could benefit from a little stability – and serenity. My teacher knows this as well.

Nonetheless, I must admit that the difficulty that I am experiencing feels foreign yet satisfying. It feels right to finally be working on creating stability in the side body. And although there are moments when I question if I really deserve to be have these poses, I am super grateful that my teacher has allowed me to go here.

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lost connection



The anxiety of preparing to “go live” for real – with people actually counting on me was akin to the 1st time I subbed a yoga class. The difference, was that they first time I was called to sub was about 30 minutes after I taught my final certification test out class. I didn’t have weeks to get hung up on what I would teach or say; I just had to do it. The process of trying to connect (literally to the stream while connecting to the students on the other end) is whole other beast. I feel like it shouldn’t be as hard as it has been. But I don’t know why it always seems to fall short.

My theme for today’s class was actually connection. After 10 minutes of waiting for an image of my practice space to be picked up on my phone and magically appear on my laptop across the room, I was feeling almost helpless. I’d tested over and over and over again. My sequence was set and intentionally simple enough for anyone to join in and flow with us. The problem was that when the connection showed, I closed my laptop as it was behind the stream and seemed like an added distraction. I thought it would throw me off and figured that my son would let me know if I dropped off. My bad, I guess.

I taught my class, oblivious to the people that I supposedly was connecting with. Had I kept an eye on the screen, I would have been able to read the comments, AND I would have seen that the stream was dropped. It’s a bit ironic — but it might take me a bit to find amusement about it. At the moment, I am still disappointed in myself. *sigh* So much for non-judgment.

Can I just say that I miss the old way of teaching? I miss my students. I miss seeing them on their mats in front of me, struggling to learn their names, hearing their breath, watching them move along to my words, and even on that occasion when someone gave a look of confusion so I knew to rephrase my instruction.

Hours ago, after discovering the lost connection, a little too late to make it right, I had resigned to the fact that I should stick to uploading pre-recorded flows to my YouTube channel. I feel comfortable with that; even though I may have to re-record or add voiceover to my videos, I seem to be able to control it better. The problem with giving up on going live is that I fear that if I don’t figure out how to make this online way of teaching work that I will be even more behind the 8-ball once we return to in person teaching again. So…I guess I will keep trying to reconnect.

In the meantime, here is a video which was recorded, edited, with voice over added, then uploaded.

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