Guarding the Mind

September 1, 2020
Guard standing by a gate

Mindfulness as a general awareness of the present moment receives a lot of attention these days. This kind of awareness is sometimes labeled "bare attention" or "present moment awareness." Some, however, teach mindfulness as one aspect of a practice that aims to do more. In certain yoga traditions, for instance, the ultimate goal is to still the fluctuations of the mind. Paradoxically, the most effective way to still the mind often requires more than just sitting still, and finding out what methods work requires experimentation. This article explores one method that many people find useful to cultivate mindfulness: the simile of the gatekeeper.

Combine Music and Yoga to Make "Moga"?

August 18, 2020
woman laying on a yoga mat with ear buds

I learned a new word today: "moga." No, I'm not talking about the Sanskrit word for chicken pox, moga, or the video game controller series. I'm referring to the equation Classical Music + Yoga = Moga. If you "combine yoga with a live orchestra" then apparently you can answer affirmatively to the question, "Do you moga?" It's the "latest wellbeing trend to arrive in London," circa 2015. "Moga" has even been featured on the "Trend Hunter" website.

Announcing Morning Yoga & Meditation

August 9, 2020
Morning Yoga & Meditation class poster

Starting tomorrow, I will be teaching a new "Morning Yoga & Meditation" class (online) at Spirit of the Lake on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30am to 7:30am Central. No previous experience is required for this class, which includes a 15-20 minute guided mindfulness meditation and a Hatha yoga practice. All aspects of this class support the development of peacefulness and clarity.

War Metaphors in the Bhagavad Gita

July 31, 2020
Cover page to Eknath Easwaran’s translation of The Bhagavad Gita

In the course of my yoga teacher training we discussed many of the influential yoga texts such as Patañjali's Yoga Sūtras, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita. However, our class understandably relied almost entirely on "secondary sources" such as Nicolai Bachman's The Path of the Yoga Sutras and Deborah Adele's The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice. I recently finished Eknath Easwaran's translation of The Bhagavad Gita, but it required a lot of commentary for me to begin to appreciate the messages, many of which are connected to war metaphors.

Drupal Accessibility: Why It's Worth It

July 24, 2020
Drupal logo

While some developers rightly focus on how to make websites accessible, this article focuses on the why. Why does the Drupal community hold accessibility in such high esteem? The Drupal community strives to provide a diverse and inclusive space, so building accessible websites clearly supports those goals. This article explores the stated reasons for Drupal's continued commitment to accessibility beyond the obvious truth that making websites accessible is the right thing to do.

More Than a Mere Yoga Teacher

July 23, 2020
people doing yoga

George Boole reportedly said, "A real mathematician ... must be something more than a mere mathematician, he must be also something of a poet." It seems to me that something similar could be said about being a yoga teacher in 2020, and that a successful teacher must be more than a mere yoga teacher. Yoga isn't "just exercise" anymore than it is "mere mathematics." But what else more "must" a yoga teacher be?

Intuitive Awareness

June 3, 2020
Cover of Ajahn Sumedho Intuitive Awareness

Over the past few decades, Ajahn Sumedho has said much about "intuitive awareness." Most often the Pāli word sampajañña is translated as "clear comprehension," but Ajahn Sumedho prefers to foreground the notion of "intuitive awareness" as a way to extend and elaborate how we understand this important meditation concept.

Mindful Home Improvement

May 31, 2020

Yesterday, I spent much of the day working on a deck project in my backyard. Activities such as housework and home improvement projects offer good opportunities to watch the mind. On meditation retreats, these activities get labels such as "working meditation" or "yogi jobs." The common wisdom seems to hold that we should perform these activities in silence, paying full attention to the task at hand. Over the past few years, I have been investigating the validity of this claim.