How Understanding the Kleshas and Gunas Helps Your Asana Practice

Our mental approach to a posture says it all

by Kara-Leah Grant Asana is a powerful tool to access our psyches, release tension in the body and help us understand the hidden aspects of Self. Practicing asana gives us the opportunity to observe our relationship with the postures, with our bodies, with our minds and with our breath. This relationship is what reveals ourselves to ourselves. In other words, paying attention to questions like this is how we use asana to awaken. Are you liking the pose? Disliking the pose? Or are … [Read more...]

Join Me for a Forty Day Meditation and Manifestation Practice Designed to Rock Your World

Meditation is awesome - really!

by Kara-Leah Grant, author of Forty Days of Yoga My asana practice has been strong and regular for the last few months thanks to a combination of Mysore-style Ashtanga with Peter Sanson, and teaching more Vinyasa Flow classes (which necessitates more practice and prep for asana sequences). But I've been really missing meditation. It's been harder to fit it in when I'm doing at least 90 minutes of asana most days. However, I know that's just an excuse... and there's always a workaround or … [Read more...]

A Review of Modern Yoga: An Accessible, Detailed and Nuanced Take on Yoga for the 21st Century

A great addition to any yoga library

by Kara-Leah Grant I love yoga books, and I'm often disappointed by them - not because they don't have great information, but because too often they're just a collection of postures or sequences with very little information about actual Yoga. My favourite books are those that deepen one's understanding of yoga, as a state of presence, as well deepen our understanding of postures - which are simply a tool of yoga. Modern Yoga by Duncan Peak does both of these things. And even better, it does … [Read more...]

Benjamin Lorr on Why he Didn’t Write about Bikram & the Sexual Assault Allegations in Hell-Bent

benjamin lorr

by Kara-Leah Grant The moment I was a chapter into Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain and the Search for Something like Transcendence in Bikram Yoga I knew I had to track down the author Benjamin Lorr and interview him for YLB. So I did. And he didn't disappoint. Benjamin was an overweight school teacher who'd graduated with a double degree in environmental biology in creative writing when he walked into his first Bikram Yoga class in 2008. Within three months he'd lost 45 pounds, met a yoga … [Read more...]

Mystery Solved! Why Bikram Classes Were Triggering My Back Pain

Working with the spine can take time & patience.

by Kara-Leah Grant,¬†Musings from the Mat Eureka! Since I wrote about my experiences with pain in Bikram classes, I've been mindfully watching my yoga practice, and eventually tip-toed back into the Bikram room. Here's what happened. First, some background. I've long had back issues, which you can read about here. Over the last two years, I've been going into Bikram classes pain-free, experiencing pain during class which starts at Pranayama Deep Breathing - the first postures in class, … [Read more...]

Home Yoga Practice Questions: Do I Need a Home Practice if I’m Regularly Going to Yoga Class?

When you practice at home, you've got more time to play in the postures.

by Kara-Leah Grant, author of¬†Forty Days of Yoga It's easy when you regularly go to yoga classes to dismiss the idea of home yoga practice - after all, you don't need it right? You're already practicing in class 2 or 3 or maybe even 5 or 6 times a week. However, even if you are going to class, there is much to be gained by also doing a home yoga practice. It doesn't have to be every day, and it doesn't have to be long. Ten minutes is enough. Even such a small amount of time can have … [Read more...]

Wanderlust Auckland 2014 Delivers the Perfect Yoga Festival

Cameron Shayne, demonstrating in Bring Sexy Back

by Kara-Leah Grant It's the day after Wanderlust and I feel like a brand new woman. My body is worked, in the very best possible way, and my posture feels significantly different. It's like decades of misalignment has finally been worked through. It's not unexpected - I started the day with three yoga classes back to back. That's 4 and a half hours of intense yoga. After a two hour break where I stood and watched lithe and limber Cameron Shayne teach a martial-arts inspired flow, a … [Read more...]

Why a Great Yoga Teacher is Sometimes Crucial to Progress Your Practice

Peter working with a student in backbends

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat Six weeks or so into regular Mysore-style classes with Peter Sanson and I've having some serious insights and openings - not just on the physical level, but also on the emotional, mental and energetic level. But of course - how could it be any other way? These things are all intertwined and I've known this for a very long time. Before I found Peter, I'd been searching for a yoga teacher for a decade or so, while doing a home practice and sporadically … [Read more...]