Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Detailing and Knowing We Don't Carry the Load Alone
Our desire to create in a technology driven world may wreck havoc on our bodies. Sitting is the new smoking. We've heard this catch phrase across the media. What does it mean for those of us that sit and work on computers? Not only does it mean tight hips, but also some grumbly complaints in in our neck and shoulders.  
To help alleviate tightness in the hip joint, change positions regularly. I often work while kneeling at my desk. I will either be on both knees or one knee down and the other leg in a lunge position. This seems to really help alleviate tension and strain. 

As well, a few simple stretches for the upper body throughout the day may help decrease tightness in the head, neck and shoulders. Here's an easy exercise to do right now.

Levator Scapula, the muscle that elevates our shoulder, is at play often when we work on our computers or hold our devices.  With this particular muscle, it's important to let go of what is no longer necessary - to literally stop carry the load and "holding it up." 
I find this concept of getting rid of what I don't need connects with our movement work. I find myself trying to create cleaner and cleaner movement that still achieves my desired results. It's all in the details. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Life is Good!

I felt this way before the t-shirts were emblazoned and trademarked with this phrase! Life is good!   It’s also one of the reasons I resonate with Anusara Yoga. At its philosophical root, Anusara espouses that everything is intrinsically good. And there is a deep benevolence to life. All life is sacred.    

We all long for connection. Sometimes, we find ourselves traveling the world in search of connection and meaning.

We don’t have to go very far for the journey to be worthwhile. St. Augustine said, People travel to wonder at the height of mountains and they pass by themselves without wondering.

Through the teachings and trainings I’ve enjoyed with Anusara Yoga, I have spent much time wondering - as we all do about fundamental life questions:

Who am I?
What/who is God, the universe, and the nature of things?
What is my purpose?

May we all sense the good.

first published online in 2009 at

Saturday, July 9, 2016

One Ocean

Here’s my dad and me as we exit the Panama Canal’s last lock to enter Gatun Lake. At 72, my dad can balance in Tree Pose with ease. The most amazing thing is he started practicing Yoga at age 70! My nephew always jokes that you can spot my dad in crowd of gray heads -- because he’s the one standing fully upright!

For 7 decades, my dad has kept his body moving - mostly through his work as a Civil Engineer - walking job sites & climbing ladders. And for over 20 years, he’s been the only man in a twice weekly aerobics class held at my hometown’s middle school.

His latest journey into the mind/body connection through Yoga, has been significant.  Not only has his body become more flexible and less rigid, but also his mind  -- which has allowed him to feel his heart.  This softening of the heart has helped my “tuff & gruff” dad better support my mother who lives with Parkinson’s.

On the eve of 2009, my family embarked on a journey to the Panama Canal - a place that connects oceans & people.

As we begin our transition into another decade, may each of us unlock what binds us & holds us back from connecting.  Like water, may we allow ourselves to flow freely, rising or lowering to the next level of our experience.

And may we recognize, that on Earth, there is only one ocean. We have just labeled the parts. And from this profound understanding, may we see ourselves as whole.

Peace on Earth.  And Peace be with you.

first published online in 2009 at

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Composing Body, Mind, and Breath

Yep, that’s me! Looking like I’m going to fall into the icy water of Glacier Bay in Alaska! All of us seek balance in our lives! In yoga, we spend time balancing in our physical bodies -- finding ways to create evenness -- muscles doing exactly what they are supposed to do, with the right amount of energy, at the right time.

We practice a lot of poses where we balance on one foot or on our arms. Finding the middle ground is a balance of two opposites. In my classes, we often explore the seemingly contradictory concepts of hugging in while at the same time extending out. Between these two extremes, we find the balance -- the equanimity in a pose. In Anusara, we call it "balanced action." We are always balancing!!!

I learn a lot about words through my yoga studies. Sometimes it’s tracing common English words back to their roots in Sanskrit.  Other times, it’s stumbling upon a word that keeps popping up in my training.  Equanimity is one of those words that keeps showing up in my readings and in workshops.  Equanimity means evenness of mind; composure.

I know for me, I often come to practice with my mind out of balance. And when I finish my physical practice - there’s a renewed evenness to my breath and mind. I am composed.

During practice, we are composing a symphony of body, mind and breath.
The instrument we play is our physical body - the most amazing machine ever built by the Creator.

Striving for balanced action allows us to stay out of the icy waters and soar into the heavens.

May each of us find equanimity.

first published online at  copyright  2007 Lisa A. Long