yoga

May 22, 2021
Matthew sitting in nature with a family of geese

On Thursday I had the pleasure to lead a "Yoga in the Gardens" class at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It had been raining much of the day, and the possibility of rain continued during the class. In spite of that, nearly 50 people showed up.

The highlight of the evening occurred just a few minutes after I started teaching when a family of geese showed up and started walking toward me. Luckily, just before they got to me, they turned right into the marsh. One of the students in the class was kind enough to share her picture of that moment.

May 19, 2021
People doing yoga outside near a red barn

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 20, I will be offering a yoga class through the "Yoga in the Gardens" program at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Classes are FREE for members of the Arboretum and Spirit of the Lake. This class is sure to be enjoyable for beginners or experienced yogis. If the weather is nice we'll be in the Iris Garden and masks will not be required, but if the class moves indoors due to rain then masks must be worn for the entire indoor practice. Be sure to bring your yoga mat!

January 24, 2021
Person in the woods eyes closed with head against a tree

Breath is an ever-present aspect of life, which is part of the reason why "mindfulness of breathing," or ānāpānasati in Pāli, is probably the most common form (object) of meditation. Typically, the practice involves focusing attention on the physical sensations caused by the movement of the breath, the in-breaths and the out-breaths. Mindfulness of breathing is a feeling practice, not a thinking practice. It's so profoundly simple that we can do it at any time, whether seated in meditation, holding a yoga posture, or picking up after the dog.

January 17, 2021
Garden with purple and yellow flowers

Yogis, meditators, mindfulness coaches, Christians, and countless other spiritual seekers commonly employ the metaphor of the garden to represent stewardship. To view the mind as a garden is to view it as a place with potential value and commit to cultivating it. One must locate the space and make effort, which can take a variety of forms. One can tend to the garden of the mind while doing yoga, meditation, or any other activity in life.

January 4, 2021
Community Yoga Classes poster with people doing down dog

Starting tomorrow, Spirit of the Lake will begin offering free, live, online community yoga classes on Tuesday evenings, 5:30-6:30pm, to support the needs of the greater community. Each week during the month of January will feature a different Spirit of the Lake teacher.

December 26, 2020
Yoga mat with a free yoga class on December 27

Due to the success of the free yoga class I taught last weekend, I will be offering another free, online Gentle Yoga class tomorrow, Sunday, December 27 at 9am Central.

This class is for people of any age, including seniors and those with minor physical ailments, who prefer a more relaxed practice. Gentle Yoga introduces the basic foundations of any yoga practice by introducing proper alignment of yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and dhyana (guided meditation). Working gently, slowly, and compassionately, this class develops strength, flexibility, peacefulness, and clarity.

December 1, 2020
fresh food

For the entire month of December, 100% of the proceeds from all of my yoga classes will go to the ICA Food Shelf.

The mission of the ICA Food Shelf is "to offer hope as we provide assistance to our neighbors in need." Since 1971 they have provided food, clothing, and other vital assistance to people in my community. For instance, in local schools ICA distributes food bags, which contain easy-to-prepare food for the weekend, and also fit comfortably into a backpack.

November 22, 2020
join my world AIDS days yoga class

This World AIDS Day, Tuesday, December 1 at 6:00pm CST, I’m partnering with the Canadian nonprofit organization Tribe of Lambs and hosting an online, donation based, gentle yoga class with 100% of the proceeds going to support children born with HIV at orphanages in Jaipur, India. All money from this pay-what-you-feel class will go directly to fund clothing, food, and housing expenses for these children.

October 22, 2020
Selling Yoga book

The first meeting of the Spirit of the Lake Community Discussions & Book Club last night was a resounding success! After a brief centering exercise and introductions, we had a lively, thought-provoking discussion about a Yogaland podcast episode that featured an interview with religious studies professor Andrea Jain about her book, Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture.

October 7, 2020
A stack of yoga books

I'm excited to announce that we are starting a new Community Discussions & Book Club at Spirit of the Lake. Everyone is welcome! Come and connect with others on the paths of self-study and knowledge. Read, reflect, and share with a supportive community. The path of seeking knowledge is one that we may travel as we each explore our own journey on the path of Yoga. In seeking knowledge, and undertaking self-study, we can uncover many gems that may aid us as we work to find balance and clarity.