YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine Category

As we move through our practices and our days, we need moments to pause and integrate. In humble surrender, we bring our heads below our hearts and lay down our wilful ego so that a deeper, wiser intelligence may move through us. This is one of the many gifts of the Extended Child Pose. Deeply introverted, like being back in the womb, this pose is a necessary resting and rejuvenation pose between more vigorous asanas. When done correctly, it will exquisitely lengthen your spine vertebra by vertebra. It will openRead More
Your body and your breath are in continual relationship. An embodied state is an expression of the dance between spirit and matter. The Sanskrit word Tantra literally means “to weave” or “to expand”. In this way, yoga is about weaving a dance between spirit (breath) and matter (body), while liberating dormant potential energies and infusing the body-being with consciousness. As you focus on the interplay between breath and the sensations in your body, your practice becomes a meditation on the relationship between spirit and matter and amplifies the synergy betweenRead More
Breath awareness offers each of us unique and profound insight into who we are and how we are feeling. It connects our inner, personal world of sensations, thoughts and experience, with the outer world that unfolds around us. One of the more introverted yoga poses, the forward bending Crab pose, is a welcome relief at the end of a busy day of “doing”. It moves your awareness away from the external and helps you develop greater internal wisdom. It is also a wonderful pose to start your day, as itRead More
Each fluttering, colourful butterfly was once a caterpillar. It was not born with the beautiful wings on which it soars. Instead, it had to surrender to a great transformation to see the world in a whole new way and experience newfound freedom. In many ways, our spiritual path is like this. As one of my favorite children’s books, “Hope For The Flowers” by Trina Paulus, reminds us, we can too easily become stuck in basic survival and forget that a butterfly waits to be born within us. For some ofRead More
  With the intake of air that fills your lungs comes the accompanying power of the force of life itself. Your breath ebbs and flows, as do day and night, the sun and the moon, the leaves on the trees, and the waves along the ocean’s body. As you befriend your breath, you learn to feel its rise and fall as an effortless expression not just of your human experience, but as a source of connection to a much greater whole. We can find a sense of presence through ourRead More
When a towel is overloaded, you twist it to wring it out. Twists in a yoga practice are similar to this for our nervous system. They reset the firing signals and impulses that initiate our patterns of thoughts, movement and behaviour. Because of this, twists are like engaging a wellness refresh button for our body/being. The following lying twist exercise is safe for anyone who has a healthy spine. If you are suffering from any form of disc inflammation or herniation, do this with much caution, or not at all.Read More
Next to our shoulders, one of the tightest muscles in our body is often our hamstrings. We spend a lot of our time sitting, causing these long, powerful muscles to atrophy. Some people are born with naturally flexible hamstrings, while the rest of us need to put in a bit of effort to keep the stabilizing gems long and supple. If you have ever taken a yoga or exercise class that included hamstring stretching, you likely know that there is no muscle that can bring up issues of frustration moreRead More
Through practicing and teaching YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, I have come to know that any form of movement that arises from wanting is one that perpetuates or creates karma. Whether we push into a pose and reach for some elusive sense of externalized perfection, or move out of a pose feeling uneasy or even repulsed by what we felt in it, we are acting from an unyogic, that is, non-unified, divisive, or ego-driven state of mind. This will only generate suffering for ourselves and others. Yoga’s physical exercises areRead More
Deepening your awareness of your breath is a vital key to unlock the alchemical power of Hatha Yoga. The breath is like a bridge to your inner and outer worlds. When you focus on its flow, your breath will gently, yet powerfully, dissolve any notions of being separate. Awareness of the breath will bring you to rest in a field of profound unity with all that is. When the body is relaxed and healthy, its various rhythms (cardiovascular, craniosacral, respiratory, etc) flow in a synchronous dance within the whole. InherentlyRead More
As we explored in my last YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine article, “Follow The Wave In Your Spine”, there is a natural wave-like impulse that flows through our spine. It exists within us all, at any given moment. It is the pulse of life itself. Due to the effect of gravity and the way we identify with our habits, we hold tension in our tissue, electrical and nervous systems. When newborn, our bodies/beings are highly receptive to growth. We breathe with life with greater co-creative fluidity. With age, we tendRead More