Kara-Leah Grant gets up close & personal about life on and off the yoga mat in her long-running yoga blog, Musings from the Mat.

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...]

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...]

What is Love? Deep Acceptance of the Other, and Opening to Vulnerability

Yoga helps us learn to be ok with feeling vulnerable

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat I've been pondering the nature of Love over the last year or so, holding many deep conversations with my wonderful girlfriends and reflecting over two decades of short and long-term relationships. I've got plenty of material to draw upon! And you know what? I think I've got it. I know what love is - and what it is not. Love is a deep acceptance of the other person. Out of that ground of deep acceptance arise actions that create one's day to … [Read more...]

Oh God, Am I Addicted to Email and Facebook Now?

Addicted to email? Photo Credit:  bPlanet, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat Living my yoga means a constant awareness of my state of being. It means checking in with myself to see what's really going on below the surface of daily life - of parenting, working, practicing yoga, looking after the house, spending time with friends and family. Lately, I've noticed a lack of joy or fun in my life, even though on the surface, everything seems to be going from strength to strength. I successfully moved from Glenorchy to Napier and … [Read more...]

Wound-Relating: When Relationships Break Us Open and Set Us Free

Liberated!

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat Last year I wrote in detail about my desire for a relationship, moving into a relationship, the issues that came up in the relationship and then… nothing! What happened! Obviously, much has unfolded, and the strange thing about using my own life to illustrate a process of yoga and self-inquiry is that when I start a story, I feel obligated to finish it. Kind of like Charles Dickens when he was serialising Two Cities… he wouldn’t stop before the end … [Read more...]

How Living Your Yoga Can Mean Taking Parenting Lessons From The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)

Even The Rock can help in our yoga practice...

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat First night in Napier, staying at my Uncle's house. The TV's on. I haven't lived with a TV for three years. It's novel. I sit to eat my dinner and catch the beginning of a movie. By the time I've finished my dinner, I've grasped the plot and I'm chuckling at the weirdness of the Universe. The movie is about a high-achieving, selfish, self-centered football player who discovers - when she shows up on his doorstep - that he has an eight year old … [Read more...]

The Terror of Single Parenthood

Single parenthood can be terrifying

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat Three years ago this New Year's Eve I took my year old baby boy and left my mentally unstable and addicted partner. I had zero dollars in my bank account, and an ambivalent attitude towards motherhood - something I had chosen under duress because of the pathetic belief it would make my partner happy. Stupidity to the nth degree. It did not make him happy. Instead, a child was brought into an already unstable and messed up relationship. And … [Read more...]

How a Fear of Intimacy was Sabotaging My Intimate Relationships

Fear of intimacy lives in the heart... opening into Lotus Mudra

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat On August 18 I started a forty day Heart-Opening Kriya. I'd just started a new relationship and wanted to support the opening of the heart as much as I could. That initial commitment to 40 days extended out to 90 days, and finally 120 days - and I finished on Sunday December 15. It was an extraordinary time for me, for many reasons, but I wanted to share with you the major result - if you want to call it that - of this practice. I finally got down … [Read more...]