After practicing yoga for over thirty years down in the big smoke we felt called to move back into nature into an environment ideal to go deeper into the higher limbs of yoga practice. The Vedas suggest that when one comes to the middle of ones life (around 50) to change ones mode of life and spend more time on spiritual practice than on earning ones livelihood. This mode of life is called vanaprashtha (forest dweller). This same mode of life is suggested in many yogic texts. Although our modern society strongly discourages us to devote ourselves primarily to spiritual practice when one could accumulate wealth, we decided to take the leap.

This blog will give you updates of what we are currently working on and it will give us the opportunity to stay in contact with the many people and students we have worked with throughout the last few decades. Of course if you want to post any questions, your mountaintop yogis will do their best to answer them.

Pranayama questions answered

After my last article “Researching Pranayama” I was asked to expand more on the idea of Prana, what a ‘rejecter of prana’ is, whether people can be ‘deficient’ in Prana, and how it can be stronger in some people than in others? What are some of the most beneficial ways to improve our pranic body and where do pranayama, meditation, asana and diet come into play? Do thoughts or mind patterns affect our pranic body? […]

What’s the Problem with Your Shoulder?

Our shoulder is a precision instrument that simultaneously has a vast scope in its range of motion. With pinpoint precision we can synchronise our shoulder muscles to maneuver our arm to point our finger precisely at our object of choice – an action that requires the coordinated recruitment of numerous muscles that surround our shoulder joint like a clock. Your shoulder blade or scapula has 12 muscles which attach to it, each pulling it in different directions, and that is without counting those muscle that attach to your arm! […]

Researching Pranayama

I have recently been approached by the new Center for Consciousness Science, which is part of the University of Michigan’s Medical School, in regards to advise for their project on brain and psychological dynamics associated with yogic breathing (pranayama) techniques. Apart from answering their questions I also pointed out that one of their main challenge would be to eliminate negative circumstances that influence the performance of pranayama (i.e. to enable your practitioners to perform repeatable sets of data.) Some of these are: […]

Awaken the Body’s Intelligence – Yoga in Cold Places, on Planes and when Adding on

I had a query from a student who usually practices in a hot, tropical climate with temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). She travelled to a cold place and her body seized up when having to practice at 5 degrees Celsius (40 Fahrenheit). After a long international flight with prolonged sitting her body developed a lot of painful sensations, including pain hamstring insertions and origins, at the sacrum and the sit bones. To top it she experimented with new advanced postures such as Vishvamitrasana […]

Yoga and Aging

When I was young and naïve I used to say “the good thing about practicing yoga is that as you get older you only get stronger and more flexible!” This is true up to a point and that point is different for every body. The fact is that as we age our body slows down. All of our bodily functions are affected as our cells multiply more slowly and we end up with less new cells. This means the process of rejuvenation is slower than that of degeneration. This sounds terribly bleak and some do attempt to deny the aging process but even animals, who have no concept of aging, do not escape the natural atrophy of our physical bodies. One problem with the aging process is our inability to accept and adapt to it. […]

Is forgiveness the start of self-love?

In my last post I pointed out the importance of self-love for ones yoga practice. I was asked whether forgiveness is the start of self-love?

It is indeed. When talking about forgiveness, however, we need to understand that it has two aspects, to forgive oneself and to forgive others. Ultimately they will both merge into one but when we begin the practice of forgiveness we notice that we specialize either in holding grudges against ourselves or against others. Some individuals may find that they need to first forgive themselves to be able to forgive others or vice versa. […]

Why I continue to practice Ashtanga

Recently I read an article in which the author wrote about her difficulties in maintaining her Ashtanga practice. She called her practice “hard, really hard, exhausting” and complained that it “never gets any easier” and that she just kept upping her expectations or that at least her teachers did so. My experience has been completely contrary to that and I want to share it because it might help some people. […]

Bringing Our Hands Together in Prayer

Bringing our hands together in prayer is a universally understood gesture of peace and good intent. Prayer is an occasion to commune with our innermost heart. It abolishes the borders of religion and personalises our connection to Self. In the chamber of our heart we connect to our deepest feelings and give form to what is often yet unrevealed, even to ourselves. […]

How to deal with the Dark Night of the Soul?

I have been asked to write about the “Dark Night of the Soul”. The medieval mystic Saint John of the Cross coined the term and it describes the painful relapses of a spiritual seeker who has tasted (possibly repeatedly) freedom, joy and ecstasy only to rebound and to again enter the darkness of ignorance and conditioned existence. In this context I was asked whether the Dark Night is unavoidable, what exactly causes it and why it manifests so starkly different in individuals and whether there is anything that could mitigate it? […]