The Open Awareness Yoga Blog

Latest blog posts

  • This week I’m super excited to announce that I’ve added two new weekly in-person and streaming classes to my teaching schedule at Sellwood Yoga (pictured above). On Monday evenings I’ll be teaching a Restorative Yoga class and on Thursday late afternoons, Afternoon Yoga. Each class has......

  • Raise your hand if you prefer novelty to familiarity. ::raises hand:: I do!   Not in all things. I really like my home and studios to be familiar. But generally speaking, I have a tendency toward new things. New experiences, new projects, new books, new practices,......

  • Lately I’ve been thinking back on the process of healing I’ve been undergoing over the past few years. Although I maintain strong professional boundaries, the borders between what I do for work, what I’m interested in, and what I do for my own personal growth......

Philosophy posts

  • Ugh Isn’t life boring? I mean, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes something unusual happens, planned or unplanned, and things are exciting and new for a while. But have you ever noticed that even when you go on vacation, for instance, things are still basically normal? You......

  • Dear Friends,  I got nothing today. I’m uninspired. Let me open a Yoga book and see what pops up.  From my notes in the margins:*Yoga as a reaction to the practice of manipulating the physical environment for sense gratification e.g. sacrificial offerings for boons A boon is a......

  • New to gardening Adam and I bought our first house last fall and inherited a beautiful garden from the previous owner. Seeing as how this is my very first garden to tend, I’m working on the advice of neighbors who point out weeds, a whispered......

  • “To understand what follows the reader must…allow himself to be in a proper state of mind. “You are asked – temporarily, of course – to lay aside all your philosophical, religious, and political opinions, and to become almost like an infant, knowing nothing. Nothing, that......

  • Make it stop Raise your hand if each passing year of your life brings you more awareness of the world that generally, well, hurts to be aware of. ::raises hand::  Young people know what’s up I was listening to a couple youths on the radio (first audio......

  • “The chief element of happiness is this: to want to be what you are.” -Erasmus   A quote made more poignant when a quick Wikipedia study on Erasmus reveals he was most likely a gay man serving loosely as a Catholic priest who, to distance himself......

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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

  • 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......

  • First of all, with that title up there is anyone else picturing a bare butt sticking up out of a convertible? No, just me? ???? Ok, on that note let’s get down to business… What parts of you lie beneath your consciousness? Do you think about......

  • 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?......

  • Cartoon from the animal cartoonist named Jimmy over at theycantalk.com Have you ever been in conflict with somebody who just checks out? Maybe you’re trying to explain yourself, make a point, or get them to understand something, but they aren’t responding. It’s like they aren’t......

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......