We often talk about yoga as a 'mind/body' exercise, or about the practice of 'mindfulness', as though it was a simple dichotomy: Here is a mind and here is a body and I will put them together and be mindful. I think this is all very interesting, but a lot more nuanced and complex in practice. I've been teaching introductory mindfulness techniques in daily life for a while, and my sense is that it is helpful to have a theoretical framework in place that captures some of this nuance.
When we first met my husband used to joke about how I cooked multi course dinners with just a fork. This is hyperbole, but it is true I didn't have a microwave or a blender or a food processor or a mandolin or a meat thermometer, or.... well, you get the idea. It isn't that I didn't cook. I rarely ate out and baked bread weekly for a long time, and even made dozens of boxes of chocolates at Christmas time. I just never saw the sense of having more kitchen ware than I needed, and was happy to do things like kneeding dough by hand.
Yoga studios tend to have a certain look. Part of this has to do with the practical needs of doing yoga. For example, a carpeted floor tends to hold more dust, and is less desireable for a practice where your face is regularly close to the floor. Part has to do with the rather long and highly fluid history of the practice of yoga.
“Blink!... Blink!” ordered my ophthalmologist. Two ophthalmologists checked my eyes for nearsightedness, complete with the eternal question, “Which is better? One? Or two?” Turns out I needed a daily dose of eye drops, especially working in windy Foster City. Otherwise I could see perfectly fine.
While I'm not sure that I will be able to give you anything as good as last year's holiday/end of year 'zombie twinkie' blog ( http://blog.ideafit.com/blogs/ariadne-greenberg/the-requisite-holiday-survival-guide-because-of-course-we-will-be-running-from-hordes-of-zombie-twinkies ) I found a couple of handout s(while I was doing some end of year cleaning)
The idea of using pressure and friction on the human body for health and relaxation is not new. Massage was prevalant in the time of the Roman empire: if you went to the baths it would be common to have a body rub in addition to the hot and cold tubs. The Greeks as well had it, and before them the Egyptians and the Chinese, and the Indians. There are even some European cave paintings that suggest massage may date back thousands of years earlier. So the practices and the understanding of their benefits predate a lot of our modern medical science.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I think about and use shavasana (http://blog.ideafit.com/blogs/ariadne-greenberg/shavasana-and-meditation ). Since then I find myself thinking about, and talking to my classes about the beginning of the class. If in part Shavasana is the transitional pathway out of the physical practice, into the meditative practice, and then out into our lives, it is balanced by what we do at the beginning of practice, when we step on the mat.