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.

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? […]

Does all Misalignment come from “Incorrect Breathing”?

I was asked to comment on the statement, ‘All misalignment comes from incorrect breathing ‘. A teacher said this to one of my students when they explained that they had a postural imbalance. The teacher was insinuating further that if the student would get adjusted “with breath” as in opposed to “without breath” misalignments would sort themselves out.

What’s Causing That Knee Pain?

Recently, I was instructing my students on looking after their knees in hip-opening asana. I said, “Do you know anyone who is pretty inflexible in how they like to do things, is very sensitive, tends to hold a grudge if you do something they don’t like and if you hurt them they may even never forgive you for the rest of their life?! Your knees are like that!” […]

The Samadhi Interview

The Ashtanga Picture Project interviewed me on latest book and its subject samadhi. Here it is:

Q: What is Samadhi?

A: There is actually a whole chapter in the book clarifying this and defining samadhi.

Why right leg first into lotus posture?

In my 2006 text Ashtanga Yoga Practice and Philosophy I wrote: “Why is Padmasana traditionally done only by first placing the right leg and then bringing the left leg on top? When asked this question, K. Pattabhi Jois quoted the Yoga Shastra as saying […]