The Open Awareness Yoga Blog

Latest blog posts

  • Structure or a blank slate? Tell me, are you the type of person that likes to have a structured schedule with time set aside in chunks to complete the tasks of your day, or do you prefer a wide open schedule with a loose idea of the......

  • TL;DR There’s a yoga practice called pratipaksa bhavana from Sutra 2.33:Upon being harassed with negative thoughts, one should cultivate counteracting thoughts.   Maybe that’s all you need for today. Or maybe, you want to know why… The long explanation… Metaphysics, as defined by Oxford Languages, is “the branch of philosophy that deals......

  • Some Yoga advice for high emotion environments With the holiday season upon us, and with it the high emotions of reconnecting with family and friends while navigating obligations, expectations, and the weird way we seem to revert into family roles we thought we’d long since......

Philosophy posts

  • TL;DR There’s a yoga practice called pratipaksa bhavana from Sutra 2.33:Upon being harassed with negative thoughts, one should cultivate counteracting thoughts.   Maybe that’s all you need for today. Or maybe, you want to know why… The long explanation… Metaphysics, as defined by Oxford Languages, is “the branch of philosophy that deals......

  • Some Yoga advice for high emotion environments With the holiday season upon us, and with it the high emotions of reconnecting with family and friends while navigating obligations, expectations, and the weird way we seem to revert into family roles we thought we’d long since......

  • Jiddu Krishnamurti I picked a book off my bookshelf this morning, a collection of writings and talks by J. Krishnamurti, a late 19th, early 20th century philosopher/mystic/teacher. Interestingly, Krishnamurti’s origins are in theosophy, a western occultist religious movement that he, as a boy, was groomed as......

  • Yoga, it’s more than physical As much as I love and adore the embodiment practices and the physical aspects of Yoga, I know what lies beneath the way we care for and inhabit our bodies is our powerful, pesky mind. Without a certain mental attitude,......

  • What is Yoga about? Yoga is a practice of organizing your efforts to support a calm and steady mental state. It’s basically all about calming the mind. The first Yoga Sutra of Patanjali says atha yoganusasanam: now I’m going to tell you about Yoga. The second says Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah: Yoga is calming/restraining/minimizing......

  • Imagine this… Imagine how it feels to be up and outside early in the morning, when there’s light to the day but before the sun has fully risen. The air is crisp and smells fresh, the ground dewy. It’s quiet and the day feels new.  ......

Subscribe to our newsletter​

Get updates on class times, special events, and other news.

Yin Yoga posts

  • First, a story A couple Fridays ago I was talking to a friend and fellow yoga teacher about integration. You know, bringing the pieces together, making them talk. Finding the connection points. As our conversation unfolded, I recognized something in myself. I had been keeping......

  • This week I want to highlight Yin Yoga poses for beginners. On Wednesdays we practice together for 45 minutes on Zoom, but I know not everyone can make class live and besides, some of you might be wondering what Yin Yoga is in the first......

  • Wondering if Yin Yoga builds strength? The short answer is yes – just not in the way you might be thinking. Yin Yoga is an exercise for your connective tissues, not muscles. When you build muscular strength, you’re exercising in familiar ways: working up a sweat,......

Anatomy and physiology posts

  • Brains! You have a brain! You’re carrying around 2.5 to 3 pounds of it in your head at all times, no wonder your neck gets sore. Not only are you carrying this weight in your head, you’re carrying the evolutionary development of our species. According......

  • January I tried something different with online OAY classes and went with the theme of “Anatomy Month.” Over the last three weeks, we split the body into three parts – hips on week one, shoulders week two, and spine week three. This week, we put......

  • Stress and Relaxation When teaching people about their stress and relaxation responses I try to be careful not to demonize the stress side of things. It seems to me that in the “wellness world,” we overemphasize the rest/digest response without touching into the importance of......

  • What parts of you lie beneath your consciousness?   Do you think about breathing every time you breathe? Probably not. Breathing happens unconsciously.   Same with movement. You don’t have to explain to your hips and legs how to walk each time you take a step.  If......

  • Polyvagal Theory  Last time I posted I wrote about your autonomic nervous system – your fight/flight and rest/digest response. In this post I want to introduce you to a bit more nuance in understanding how we as humans deal with threat and trauma, using Polyvagal......

  • Think of the thermostat in your home or on a space heater. You set a certain temperature and when the sensor senses the room reach that temp, the heat cuts off. What if something was wrong with the sensor and the heat didn’t turn off?......

Yamas and Niyamas

  • Did you know that yoga is much more than a physical practice? The asana, or postures, we practice in a typical yoga class is the third of a total of eight limbs of yoga. The first two limbs of yoga are yama and niyama, or......

  • The yamas can be understood as ways in which we interact with the world around us. Things we must observe to be good, solid people. It’s no surprise that telling the truth makes the list.  We now arrive at our second core discipline, satya.  Satya:......

  • There are five yamas and five niyamas, for a total of ten moral and ethical precepts to help guide one’s life. Here is the third precept, asteya. Asteya: Non-Stealing Resisting desire for that which does not belong to us.   This one, like the others,......

  • The eight limbs of yoga, including the yamas and niyamas that we are working through, are not meant to be completed in a linear fashion. It’s not that you master all five yamas, then move on to all five niyamas, and only after that you’re......

  • The language of yoga is Sanskrit, and Sanskrit words mean so much more than a simple and direct translation can do justice. We do our best to express the concepts in English. The next and final yama is one that feels to me to go......

  • The yamas are external observances, ways we strive to show up in our community and our household. Conversely, the niyamas are internal disciplines, ways to aim to be on the inside, personal rules to follow for a spiritual life. The first niyama is sauca. Sauca: Cleanliness, Purity Recognizing the......

  • Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah (Sutra 1.2) states that yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind. It’s a move away from the myriad distractions of knowledge, misconception, imagination, memory, and even sleep into a place of centered presence unaffected by these states of......

  • Yoga is both the goal and the steps you take to get there. That is, one practices yoga in an effort to achieve yoga. The word yoga has many definitions. It means to yoke or to unify, to become one with the object of concentration.......

  • Yoga is a robust philosophy full of advice and practices based on thousands of years of experience. Yoga has evolved with its master practitioners, who are themselves connected to a lineage of teachers through the history of time, to suit the changing needs of the......

  • Yoga is not a hard and fast dogma. It’s flexible. It’s open. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali themselves recommend six techniques for concentration before simply saying “or practice anything that is uplifting.” (1.32-39) Even as a non-yogi who has no interest in the practice, you’ll......