Creating a “Spiritually-Balanced” Diet: Four Valuable Guidelines from the Yoga Tradition

We all know that balanced nutrition is crucial for our health, but we often don't realize that both what and how we eat can have an equally-important impact on our emotional and spiritual well-being.  In today's article here at "The Living Yoga Blog" we'll … [Read More]

Pratipaksha Bhavana – Another Valuable Tool from the Cognitive Branch of Yoga

In today's article here at "The Living Yoga Blog," we explore another valuable tool from the Yoga tradition for making better choices and experiencing greater peace.  Known in Sanskrit as pratipaksha bhavana, or "mindfulness of opposites," and it … [Read More]

Building a Personal Yoga Practice: The Integral Yoga Hatha Sequence

What Is Integral Yoga? We all know the physical postures of yoga are just one part of a tradition that addresses not only the body, but also the mind, our social self, and our sense of spirit.  In India, the term for this inclusive approach is "Raja" or … [Read More]

Yoga & Faith, Part 2: Building Healthy Faith & Skepticism 

In our previous article, we explored why the Yogis considered both faith and skepticism to be essential for healthy development on the spiritual path.  We also discussed the fact that most of us find that one comes more readily for us than the other.  For this … [Read More]

Yoga & Faith, Part 1: Is Yoga a Faith-Based Tradition?

Today's topic here at "The Living Yoga Blog" comes from our current philosophy program, in which a student asked the important question: "Is Yoga a faith-based tradition?"  This is actually such a significant topic that we will be exploring it over the course … [Read More]

The Meaning of Hatha Yoga (and No, It’s Not “Sun & Moon”) 

  As you’re probably familiar with, the term “hatha yoga” is used to refer to the physical branch of Yoga. Curiously, one of the most common misunderstandings in today's yoga world – and in turn, one of the most commonly-transmitted errors – is the … [Read More]

The Yogic View of Intuition: Pros, Cons & Considerations

A common belief in modern yoga is that yoga helps us to get in touch with our intuition.  This is absolutely true, and certainly one of the many benefits of regular practice, but there are also some clarifications the Yogis found it can be helpful for us to … [Read More]

Attachment vs. Commitment on the Yogic Path

One of the key principles of both Yoga and Buddhism is the idea of non-attachment – learning to free ourselves from dependence upon our possessions, our occupations, and even our ideas.  While this concept can definitely be a liberating one, it can also bring … [Read More]

Sutra Studies: “The Locks & Keys,” Yoga Sutras 1.33

In our earlier articles on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, we discussed its general background and some of its primary teachings.  In today’s article at “The Living Yoga Blog,” we’re going to explore a specific sutra that addresses common social challenges and … [Read More]

Why I Never Use Music & Why You Might Consider the Same (Especially if You Teach…)

A friend was surprised to hear that I never play music during yoga classes or in my own practice.  She went on to mention the fact that she had never been to a yoga class where music wasn’t played, and had assumed that it was somehow essential.  However, when … [Read More]

Svadharma: Balancing Our Unique Nature with Our Role in Society

We’re all aware that we live in an age that places great emphasis on individuality – one that stresses the importance of finding our own unique path in life.  At the same time, we also know what it's like to ask how we can honor that individuality while … [Read More]

Namaste: What It Really Means….

You’ve probably seen the very funny video from “College Humor” showing what it might be like if Gandhi were to take a contemporary yoga class.  The hilarious (and highly-accurate) skit shows his steadily-growing frustration with teacher and fellow students, … [Read More]

Yoga & Relationships, Part 2

Last week at “The Living Yoga Blog,” we began our exploration of another often-overlooked aspect of the Yogic path, which is how relationships contribute to our spiritual growth.  In today’s article, we’ll continue our discussion, offering further examples … [Read More]

Yoga & Relationships, Part 1

If you’ve studied the major texts of Yoga, you’ve probably noticed there isn’t a great deal of guidance when it comes to relationships.  This actually makes considerable sense when we take into account the audience for which these works were written, but it … [Read More]

Sadhana: The Power of Personal Practice, Part 2

Last week at “The Living Yoga Blog,” we examined the importance of having a regular spiritual routine, or sadhana, as well as some of the key elements you might wish to consider in building your own.  In today’s article, we’ll continue our discussion by … [Read More]

Sadhana: The Power of Personal Practice, Part 1

The start of a new year is often a time for new goals – whether healthier diet, more frequent trips to the gym, or better financial planning.  And yet, when it comes to our spiritual growth, the idea of a formal personal program may seem unusual. In fact, even … [Read More]

What is Karma? – Foundation, Elements & Misconceptions, Part 2

In our previous article, here at “The Living Yoga Blog,” we began our exploration of one of the most important and also most frequently misunderstood concepts in Yoga, karma. Today we’ll continue our discussion of how it works, as well as why a better … [Read More]

What is Karma? – Foundation, Elements & Misconceptions, Part 1

In spite of its central role in many spiritual traditions, karma remains a concept that is surrounded by misunderstanding, even among dedicated students of Eastern thought. For that reason, in today’s article at “The Living Yoga Blog,” we’re going to take a … [Read More]

Yoga & Qigong: Contrasts & Complementarity, Part Two

In our previous article we began an exploration of the relationship between yoga and qigong with an overview of the basic philosophy and practices behind qigong.  Today, we’ll continue our discussion with a deeper look at where the two traditions differ, as … [Read More]

Yoga & Qigong: Contrasts & Complementarity, Part One

Today’s topic at “The Living Yoga Blog” comes from one of our readers, who asks:  “Along with yoga, I see that you also practice and teach qigong.  Could you share a bit about how the two compare for you, as well as the benefits you experience from practicing … [Read More]

The Four Ashramas: The Yogic Stages of Life & What They Can Teach Us

Of the many challenges in today’s world, one that is often overlooked is the lack of clear flow we can experience as we move between the various stages of our lives.  From childhood to our final years, we often feel unsettled or unfulfilled, in part because we … [Read More]

Enlightenment: What It Is & Why You Really Should Think About It (Part Two)

In our previous article, we explored some of the ways enlightenment has been described in order to help those of us on the Yogic path better understand the goal toward which we are heading.  In today’s article, I’d like to share some thoughts on why this … [Read More]

Enlightenment: What It Is & Why You Really Should Think About It… (Part 1)

If you’re like most practitioners of yoga, you probably think of enlightenment as a distant ideal that only applies to advanced practitioners. And yet, numerous Yoga masters have encouraged their students – even novices and those with worldly responsibilities … [Read More]

Understanding What Yoga Isn’t: Clarifications from Classic Texts & Modern Sages

Throughout its history, there has been a fair amount of confusion as to what yoga is.  It can be helpful for modern students to know this confusion is far from new, and that yoga has often been misunderstood both in the West and the East, and by outsiders as … [Read More]

The Koshas: Understanding the Yogic View of the Mind-Body Connection – Part 2

In last week's article, we began our exploration of the koshas, or the layers of the human body and consciousness.  In today's article, we'll take a look at each of the five layers in more detail, including how they impact one another and how a deeper … [Read More]

The Koshas: Understanding the Yogic View of the Mind-Body Connection – Part 1

Most regular students of yoga are already familiar with concept of prana, or the vital energy of the body, but may notunderstand exactly how it relates to the other elements of our bodies, as well as our thoughts and feelings.  In today’s article, we’ll take a … [Read More]

Yoga Question & Answer: “Can my yoga practice serve as a replacement for meditation?”

In this week’s installment we explore another audio clip from our “Living Yoga Immersion” at Old Town Yoga Studio.  In this selection, we explore one of the most common questions on the Yogic path and also one of the most important ones: “Can my yoga practice … [Read More]

Yoga Question & Answer: “How Careful Do I Need to Be When Ending a Fast?”

Again, in this week’s installment we change format a bit as we explore another audio clip from our “Living Yoga Immersion” at Old Town Yoga Studio, discussing another common question on the Yogic path. This week’s question: “I’ve heard it’s important not to … [Read More]

Yoga Question & Answer: “How Can We Best Approach Fear of Particular Asanas?”

Again in this week’s installment we change format a bit as we explore another audio clip from our “Living Yoga Immersion” at Old Town Yoga Studio in which we discuss another common question on the Yogic path. This week’s question is: “I find Chakrasana … [Read More]

Is Yoga Appropriate for All Faiths? – Understanding the Pros & Cons

Since its arrival in the west, a frequent question about Yoga has been whether it’s appropriate for those of other faiths.  Many believe Yoga does not belong in schools since, in their perspective, it is a religious practice, and there are those who … [Read More]

Question & Answer: Eating in Silence

In today’s offering at “The Living Yoga Blog” we share another audio clip from our “Living Yoga Immersion,” this week exploring the topic: “I know it would be good for me to eat in silence, but I have a hard time giving up the chance to connect with … [Read More]

Question & Answer: Tension in Neck & Shoulders During Pranayama

In our next few installments, we’ll change format for a bit as we share audio clips from our “Living Yoga Immersion” at Old Town Yoga Studio in which we discuss some common questions that arise on the Yogic path. We hope you might find the change of format a … [Read More]

The Kleshas in Detail: Abhinivesa or Fear

This week at “The Living Yoga Blog” we conclude our exploration of the five kleshas or obstacles to realizing our inherent peace with a more detailed look at abhinivesa or fear.  We’ll look at the various and perhaps … [Read More]

The Kleshas in Detail: Dvesha or Aversion

This week at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the five kleshas – the obstacles to realizing our inherent peace – with a more detailed look at dvesha or aversion.  We’ll look at the various and perhaps … [Read More]

The Kleshas in Detail: Ragas or Attachment

This week at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the five kleshas – the obstacles that prevent us from realizing our inherent peace – with a more detailed look at ragas or attachment.  We’ll look at the various and perhaps unexpected forms … [Read More]

The Kleshas in Detail: Asmita or Egoism

This week at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the five kleshas – the obstacles to realizing our inherent peace – with a more detailed look at asmita or egoism.  We’ll look at the various and perhaps unexpected forms egoism can take, how it … [Read More]

The Kleshas in Detail: Avidya or “Misunderstanding”

This week at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the five kleshas – the obstacles to realizing our inherent peace – with a more in-depth look at avidya or “misunderstanding.”  We’ll look at the four primary forms of avidya and how … [Read More]

The Kleshas, or Five Obstacles to Realizing Our Inherent Peace

In this week’s article at “The Living Yoga Blog” we shift our focus to another key theme of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the kleshas or the five obstacles that prevent us from realizing our inherent peace.  Often translated as “veils,” … [Read More]

Stages of Mediation in the Eight Limbs of Yoga

In this week’s article at “The Living Yoga Blog” we conclude our exploration of the Eight Limbs with a look at the fifth through eighth limbs describing the progressive stages of meditation.  Because we’ve already discussed meditation in a previous article, … [Read More]

The Role of Asana & Pranayama in the Eight Limbs of Yoga

In this week’s article at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our detailed exploration of the Eight Limbs with the third and fourth limbs, asana and pranayama.  Because we’ve already discussed both of these in previous articles, today’s brief installment will … [Read More]

Ishvarapranidhana — Embracing What Is Beyond Our Control

In this week’s article at “The Living Yoga Blog” we conclude our exploration of the ethical principles of Yoga with the final niyama, ishvarapranidhana or “learning to embrace those aspects of life beyond our control.”  As with our previous principles, we’ll … [Read More]

Svadhyaya: Self-Study & Scriptural Study

In this week’s article here at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the ethical principles of Yoga with the fourth niyama, svadhyaya, which has the dual meaning in the Yogic tradition of both self-study and study of scripture.   As with our … [Read More]

Tapas or “Seeing Challenges as Potential Grounds for Growth”

In this week’s article here at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the ethical principles of Yoga with the third niyama, tapas or “seeing challenges as potential grounds for growth.”  As with our previous principles, we’ll look at tapas in … [Read More]

Santosha or Contentment

In this week’s article at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the ethical principles of Yoga with the second niyama, santosha or contentment.  As with our previous principles, we’ll look at santosha in both the direct and subtle forms in … [Read More]

Saucha or Purity

This week at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the ethical principles of Yoga with saucha or purity.  As with our previous principles, we’ll look at saucha in both the direct and subtle forms in which it can be understood, as well as … [Read More]

Aparigraha or Non-Coveting

This week at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the ethical principles of Yoga with a look at the fifth yama, aparigraha or non-coveting.  As with our previous principles, we’ll look at aparigraha in both the direct and subtle forms in which … [Read More]

Brahmacharya: Mindfulness of Sexual Energy

This week at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our exploration of the ethical principles of Yoga with a look at the fourth yama, brahmacharya or mindfulness of sexual energy.  As with our previous principles, we’ll look at brahmacharya in both the direct and … [Read More]

Asteya: The Direct & Subtle Principles Behind Non-Stealing

This week at “The Living Yoga Blog” we continue our in-depth exploration of the ethical principles of Yoga with a look at the third yama, asteya or “non-stealing.”  As with our previous principles, we’ll look at asteya in both the direct and more subtle ways … [Read More]

Satya: Truth & Integrity in Word, Deed & Spirit

In this week’s article here at “The Living Yoga Blog,” we continue our in-depth exploration of the ten ethical principles of Yoga, today focusing on the second yama, satya or truthfulness.  As with our previous principle, ahimsa, we’ll look at satya in both … [Read More]

Ahimsa: Embracing “Non-Harmfulness” in Deed, Word & Spirit

In this week’s article we begin a more in-depth exploration of each of the ten ethical principles of Yoga.  With each principle, we’ll look at both the direct and more subtle ways the ideal can be understood as well as concrete ways we can apply the ideal in … [Read More]

Introduction to the Yamas & Niyamas: The Ethical Guidelines of Yoga

We began our journey here at the "Living Yoga Blog" with a look at the key principles of Yoga, followed by an overview of each of the major branches and techniques.  Last week, we shifted emphasis, beginning a more in-depth exploration of one of the central … [Read More]

An Introduction to the Eight Limbs

We began our journey at the "Living Yoga Blog" with a look at the key principles of Yoga, followed by an overview of each of the major branches and techniques.  In the next several weeks, we’ll shift our approach a bit, exploring some of the subtler concepts … [Read More]

Keeping a Spiritual Journal: A Powerful Tool for Self-Exploration

We began our journey at the "Living Yoga Blog" with a look at the key principles of Yoga, followed by an overview of each of the major branches.  Since then, we’ve continued with a closer look at the primary techniques, which we'll conclude this week with a … [Read More]

The Bhagavad-Gita: An Introduction & Invitation

We began our journey here at the "Living Yoga Blog" with a look at the key principles of Yoga, followed by an overview of each of the major branches.  We then continued with a closer look at the primary techniques, which we'll continue this week with a look at … [Read More]

The Yoga Sutras of Patanajali: An Introduction & Invitation

We began our journey here at the "Living Yoga Blog" with a look at the key principles of Yoga followed by an overview of each of the major branches.  We then continued with a closer look at the primary techniques of Yoga, which we'll continue this week with a … [Read More]

Yogic Diet, Fasting & “Spiritual Nutrition”

We began our journey here at the "Living Yoga Blog" with a look at the key principles of Yoga and an overview of each of the major branches.  We then followed with a closer look at the primary techniques, which we'll continue this week with a look at the Yogic … [Read More]

The Power of Breath: An Introduction to Pranayama

We began our exploration of "Living Yoga" with a look at the key principles of the Yoga tradition, followed by an overview of each of the four major branches.  In the next few articles, we'll take a closer look at the primary techniques, this week focusing on … [Read More]

Meditation, the Fundamental Technique of Yoga

We began our exploration of "Living Yoga" with a look at the key principles of the Yoga tradition, followed by an overview of each of the four major branches. In our next few articles, we'll now take a closer look at the primary techniques, starting with the … [Read More]

Exploring the Branches: Bhakti Yoga or the Path of Devotion

In our first article, we began our journey into Yoga with a look at its key principles, as well as a brief exploration of how each of the four branches of Yoga are designed to cultivate & support those ideals. We then continued with a deeper exploration of … [Read More]

Exploring the Branches: Karma Yoga or the Path of Selfless Service

In our first article, we began our journey into Yoga with a look at the key principles, as well as a brief exploration of how each of the four branches of Yoga are designed to cultivate & support those ideals.  We then continued with a deeper … [Read More]

Self-inquiry, Discernment, Self-study and Satsang

In our first article, we looked at the key principles of Yoga, including a brief exploration of how each of the major branches was designed to cultivate & support those ideals.  We then began in our last entry a deeper exploration of the branches, … [Read More]

Exploring the Branches: Hatha Yoga

In our last article, we looked at the key principles of Yoga, including a brief exploration of how each of the major branches is designed to cultivate & support those ideals.  In this and the next few articles, I'd like to share in greater detail the … [Read More]

The Heart of Yoga

Welcome to The Living Yoga Blog -- we very much hope you’ll find this to be a helpful resource in your exploration of the path of Yoga. We’d like to start by sharing a bit of the idea behind this site. We feel very lucky to live in an age where there’s so much … [Read More]