The True Meaning of Yoga and Why It’s Not About Asana

Mastered that mind yet? Photo Credit: Pete Longworth

by Kara-Leah Grant Let's get technical, technical, I wanna get technical... Let me hear your ego rock... OK fellow yoga students. Here's the deal. The word 'Yoga' gets bandied about all over the place, but it's rarely defined. We assume that we all know what we're talking about, but often we're talking about different things. First up, physical postures are not Yoga. They are called 'asana'. When you go to what is commonly called 'a yoga class', you are likely attending an asana class. … [Read more...]

The Key to Ageing Gracefully

What we often end up comparing ourselves to...

by Kara-Leah Grant I watched Madonna on the Grammy's a few years ago and I almost wept. Who was this shell of a woman, her papery-thin and paper-coloured skin stretched tight across her face? We all know she's nearly 60, where's the deviant wrinkles, the glorious salt & pepper hair, the relaxed winks as she settles into enjoying her undisputed reign as Queen of Pop? Instead, she's morphed into a caricature of her once saucy and irreverent self. I yearn for the Maddy of old, who was … [Read more...]

Melissa Billington on Why It’s So Hard Showing up for Yoga Self-Practice {video}

Melissa Billington in a still shot from one of her online videos

by Kara-Leah Grant I've known Melissa Billington since 2008 and been close friends with her since 2010. We've had -literally - hundreds of discussions about the nature of yoga, what it means to teach and what it means to practice. Melissa has also been a regular writer on The Yoga Lunchbox. She used to teach yoga on The Morning Show, back when it was filmed in Wellington. And a couple of years ago wrote, produced and acted in a one-woman show called PocaHAUNTus: Shapeshifting history into … [Read more...]

How Love’s Shadows Invite Us Into Deep Intimacy

Vulnerability and openness leads to intimacy leads to physical intimacy. Photo Credit: Pete Longworth

by Kara-Leah Grant I didn't expect to feel this way when he arrived in my life. But this man who I'd been friends with for four years online before finally meeting in person landed in my heart with the softness of a blown dandelion flower gone to seed. Looking back, I asked myself, when did I know? When did I realise that we had this connection, this intimacy, this opening into relationship? Was it when he stayed at my house after getting off the plane? Was it when he got off the … [Read more...]

Jonni Pollard on the Nature of Unbounded Consciousness and Awakening {video}

Jonny_P_1300x600

by Kara-Leah Grant I first met Jonni Pollard at Wanderlust Great Lake Taupo in 2015. He was leading the mass meditation at 7pm on the Saturday night. I'd bumped into the other Jonnie from Wanderlust - Jonnie Halstead - hovering nervously around the Mothership, which turned into the mainstage and dance floor in the evening. Jonnie with an E confided in me that this dude from Melbourne - also called Jonni - was about to lead a mass meditation and he wasn't sure how it was going to go down. Yes, … [Read more...]

When Kundalini Awakens. Now What?

Surrendering to Kundalini, and Shiva. Photo Credit: Pete Longworth

by Kara-Leah Grant Recently, I sat down cross-legged to do my daily Kashmir Shaivism Tantric* practice as I have done every day for the past 150+ days. More if you count my first attempt at hitting 1000 Day Practice, when I got up to Day 338. This practice has become very familiar to me. However, unlike my asana (posture) practice, it is still something I am intellectually imposing upon myself. I am executing the practice - which consists of pranayama, chanting, visualisation and meditation … [Read more...]

The Mysterious Case of the Mala Beads that Weren’t

The mala beads that weren't... and then were. Available here.

by Kara-Leah Grant A beautiful set of mala beads made their way into my hands a year or so ago. They are gorgeous. I've put them on so many times, tried them with this outfit and that. Yet every time... I end up taking them straight back off. They look amazing. But there's something about it that doesn't feel right. Maybe it's the colour of the beads. Maybe it's the way they hang slightly off centre. Maybe it's because I'm not used to wearing something with 108 beads. Or something that … [Read more...]

Peter Fernando on Illness as a Spiritual Practice {audio}

Find Freedom in Illness

by Kara-Leah Grant Peter Fernando has been living with chronic illness for almost two decades, including seven years spent as a monk in the Thai Forest tradition. He's seen over 24 different health professionals in different modalities, including both conventional, Tibetan, Chinese, and alternative medicine. At some point though he realised that his experience may not go away and his focus shifted to changing how he was relating to his illness and the pain. His new book Finding Freedom in … [Read more...]

Home Yoga Practice: What Counts if You Are a Yoga Teacher?

Asana isn't the only way to practice. Nor is a mat required. Photo Credit: Pete Longworth

by Kara-Leah Grant A few months ago I wrote an article stating that if you teach yoga, you must have a daily self-practice. That article was widely shared, and read. And it triggered some strong reactions. There were comments, and emails where people shared with me the reasons why they couldn't practice yoga every day. Some of these teachers were only teaching one class a week, on top of working 50+ hour jobs, and they were often teaching disadvantaged groups. They felt like what they were … [Read more...]

The Kiwi-Based Musician Taking the International Yoga World by Soundscape Storm [video interview]

Arli Liberman, ambient soundscape musician and composer. Photo Credit: Pete Longworth

by Kara-Leah Grant He started yoga because he had lower back pain, moving from Bikram to Vinyasa to Yin at East West Studios in Auckland. Then Nikki Harris, the studio owner asked musician Arli to play his soundscape ambient tunes for a yin class. Fast-forward a couple of years and Arli is about to go on a multi-continent tour playing music for top international yoga teachers like Shiva Rea & Elena Brower. It's a world away from his up-bringing in Israel, where he became a session … [Read more...]