Posts from ‘interviews’
The “seven factors of enlightenment” may sound a little lofty, but in her new book, Close to the Ground, author Geri Larkin breaks them down so they feel attainable to regular folks.
In this video interview, I talk to Larkin about the seven factors, the process of writing her book, and her transition from ambitious career woman to “reclusive monk.” From the down-to-earth anecdotes throughout the book, I had a feeling that Larkin would be a storyteller, and her video presence confirmed my hunch. She was just as wise and easy to relate to as I suspected she would be.
Geri Larkin is a former management consultant turned Buddhist monk. In 1999, she started Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple in the heart of Detroit, where she was guiding teacher for its first five years. Larkin is the author of seven books on Buddhism, and writes a regular column for Spirituality & Health. These days she lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she volunteers, babysits, writes, cleans, and practices.
We live in a time when we have access to unfathomable amounts of information and knowledge, literally from the tips of our fingers. This can benefit our yoga practice, and our understanding our bodies and selves, as well.
With basic equipment, committed teachers with something to offer can reach potential students anywhere around the world. While this means that anyone can become a YouTube yogastar, it also means that intelligent and skilled teachers with unique insights are accessible from your computer.
Renee Sills is one such teacher. The Portland, Oregon-based yoga teacher and somatic therapist is experimenting with online platforms. In addition to weekly classes, she has two upcoming workshop series, including “Anatomy & Yoga for Female Bodies” and “Yoga for Healthy Bones & Joints.” With a background in New Media, dance and movement therapy, she has an interesting perspective on the apparent paradox of transmitting body knowledge and awareness through the online medium. Here are her responses to my questions about her work and practice.
Your work is based in anatomy studies. When we understand our anatomy, what do we understand about ourselves?
I teach anatomy through the movement. Anatomy is much more than the present state of the body because the body grew into what it is now, and it is still growing. How the anatomy looks and works is a constantly evolving process that began at conception. Yoga asana and pranayama help us to recall the formation of our existence through remembering the patterns and physiological function of how our bodies came to be where/what they are now. When we understand our anatomy in its own history (how it developed into what it is now) then we can also understand patterns that have developed due to habits and life trauma such as injury or shock (some yogis might call these patterns samskaras). When we understand the process of evolution then we also understand the key to resolving habitual patterns that aren’t helpful: we can go back to the pattern before the habit developed and rebuild from there with support and mindfulness. This is how many forms of therapy work – of course it would be the same in the physical body. Continue Reading
Tommy Rosen knows a thing or two about addiction and recovery. The LA-based yoga teacher has 21 years of recovery from acute alcohol and drug addiction under his belt – and his experiences fuel his personal mission of offering the tools of yoga to people trying to recover from addiction.
After years of teaching yoga for recovery classes, workshops and retreats, Rosen’s latest project takes his work to a whole new level. Recovery 2.0: Beyond Addiction is a five-day online conference bringing together 35 experts from the yoga, spirituality, medical and holistic recovery fields. Rosen produced and hosted the event, which is available completely free to people around the world.
“The internet brings people together,” he told me. “It’s scalable to infinity and reminds us that anything is possible.”
In this audio conversation, Rosen tells us more about the vision and purpose behind Recovery 2.0, introduces us to some of the experts involved and shares his theory for why addictions have become so prevalent in North American culture.
In this excellent Skype interview, two of the biggest cheerleaders for increased diversity in the yoga community, Dianne Bondy and Chelsea Jackson, talk about the many complex issues surrounding the subject. Bondy, a yoga teacher based in Windsor, Ontario, invited Jackson, yoga teacher and founder of Chelsea Loves Yoga, to be on her latest podcast guest.
This dynamic exchange covers some of the issues surrounding diversity across cultures, communities, genders, races, and more. As Jackson commented on her Facebook page, “It is not always a comfortable conversation, but I think yogis are the best ones to start them!”
With her background in dance and massage therapy, Ellen Saltonstall has an innovative and multifaceted approach to therapeutic yoga. The New York-based instructor has extensive training in Iyengar and Anusara Yoga, and she specializes in anatomy and therapeutics, of which she is a life-long student. She has also been practicing and teaching Kinetic Awareness, a method of self-care using rubber balls to massage tight areas of the body, for over 30 years. Ellen has published two books with Dr. Loren Fishman, Yoga for Arthritis and Yoga for Osteoporosis, and has several other books in process.
In this audio conversation, we discuss the different modalities in her yoga “toolbox,” how yoga – particularly, proper alignment – can be beneficial for arthritis, and the unique responsibilities of the yoga therapist.
Ellen Saltonstall will be in Montreal for a weekend workshop, Yoga for You: Customize Your Practice with Tools for Healing, March 22 – 24 at Shri Yoga.