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.

Ashtanga: Why it’s so Important to Trust the Process

Working with knees... softly, softly...

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat One of the great gifts of sharing my internal processes of life so honestly on-line is that I learn from myself. Often, a few years after I’ve written an article, I will re-read it and see the illusions that I was labouring under at the time. Yes, the article is usually about an insight into a difficulty, but there is always another layer or level of illusion. Through re-reading my own articles I’m able to watch myself wake up and become more … [Read more...]

Ashtanga: I Don’t Want to Break My Knees

Be gentle with knees!

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat My knees ache. They have been since about April of this year - about three months into a regular Mysore-style Ashtanga practice, two or three times a week. I also do a regular home practice of vinyasa, prana-led asana (slow and steady), meditation and pranayama. I've been able to do Half Lotus for some years now, including Standing Bound Half Lotus (without the forward fold). I have never had any prior knee issues or pain. Although my … [Read more...]

Giant Integration: Feeling Good vs The Truth of the Moment

Life is both rainbows and menacing storm clouds.

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat For over a decade now I've been living deep journeying into the Self. Post-Bali was no exception. I'd stirred up, identified and released a negative core belief centred around the third chakra. This was difficult work and intensely liberating all at the same time. I'm already seeing concrete results from the clearing of this old belief in the way i'm organising my yoga classes and new chakra course here in Wellington.  But that old third chakra … [Read more...]

Whereupon the Giant Flashes Back to Early Childhood and Wakes Up

Ganesh, remover of obstacles, watching over us all week

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat I'm on a 500hr Yoga Teacher Training with the Power Living Crew called Allow the Giant to Emerge. I'm triggered, massively, and have spent four days of mired deep in my shit. This Thursday evening I'm exhausted and I'm sitting in a Core Belief session with Keenan Crisp and Kristi Clark leading. (Which is really all about working with vasanas.) I'm sick of hearing about core beliefs, I'm sick of hearing about people's childhood memories, I'm even … [Read more...]

But First The Giant Must Dissolve in a Puddle of Tears on the Yoga Mat. Again

My tears could have filled this water feature.

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat It's post-Bali yoga teacher training with the crew from Power Living and I am totally spaced out. I don't know whether I'm coming or going. One minute I was in conversation with Duncan & the PLAY crew poolside at Potatohead in Seminyak, then I was in a taxi and off to the airport, flying for eight hours overnight, arriving the next day in Auckland, driving 2.5 hours to Tauranga to pick up Samuel, sleeping some more, and driving four hours to … [Read more...]

Forty Days of Meditation and Manifestation – Did It Work?

Meditation is awesome - really!

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat I've just finished a Forty Day Meditation and Manifestation practice. It's something I completely made up. I'd been wondering for many months about combining daily meditation with a conscious manifestation process because I'd observed in my own life that the first key step for creating anything new is always getting clear. Usually, before I write, I meditate or walk first. This helps to shift me into the ground of being, and out of my head. Out … [Read more...]

If All Ambition Falls Away, How Does Anything Get Done?

No more driving ambition?

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat It's a crisp, clear, clean autumn morning in Napier, New Zealand. Almost a frost, but not quite. Cold enough for me to see my breath as I stood waiting for the jug to boil. I have entire day stretching out before me with no appointments and no yoga teaching. My only commitments today are to The Yoga Lunchbox and writing. Something's missing though. Something that's been with me for a long, long time. Possibly since childhood. Actually, … [Read more...]

What are Vasanas and How Do They Affect Your Yoga Practice?

KL-Vasanas

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat Earlier this year I took a short workshop with Duncan Peak from Power Living. In the workshop he mentioned the term 'vasana', defining it as character traits or tendencies and he talked about how our practice stirs up these tendencies and brings them into consciousness. Now I'd never heard of vasanas, and struggled to remember the term after the workshop, which happened the day before Wanderlust. The day after Wanderlust, I was driving from … [Read more...]

Transmutation of Feeling States or What To Do When You Feel Like Shit

Variations of lunge

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat I'm making video tomorrow, of me teaching, to you, a home yoga student who wants to be inspired in your practice. I've done this before, a couple of years ago, when I started the Yoga Exploration Series. This is more of the same, yet different. Then, I stopped filming because I didn't have the audio quality necessary and was getting complaints from people about not being able to hear what I was saying. That project went on the back-burner while I … [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...]