Coming to Stillness

Head-to-Knee Pose (Variations on Janu Shirshasana)   Many years ago during a particularly intense period of asana practice I asked one of my teachers what she thought I needed to work on. I expected to receive another list of advanced postures, but after a long pause she said, “You need to learn how to be simple.” This was not the answer I had hoped for! I could certainly work my way through an exhausting regimen of postures, but could I be still for ten minutes? Could I take pleasure in … [Read more...]

The Window In: Following the Breath

"Everything that moves, breathes, opens and closes Lives in the Self." Mundaka Upanishad 2.1. Translated by Eknath Easwaran It begins when we are still in the womb - an expanding, condensing rhythm, threaded together by moments of pause. It is the pulse of the universe, and from the moment of conception we are that. While we are in our mother's body, the breath is an interior movement, a process of shimmering cellular respiration. At the moment of birth, when we first breathe into the lungs, … [Read more...]

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II)

By gracefully yielding to gravity, you can meet challenging poses with efficiency and ease. At the heart of all yoga philosophy lies the premise that suffering arises from a mistaken perception that we are separate. Whether we feel separate from other human beings, or separate from the trees we walk under, the rocks we walk upon, or the creatures that walk, fly, swim, and crawl around us, yoga insists that this separation is an illusion. The life force is intrinsic to all things, and any … [Read more...]

Falling Short of Knowing and the Ethics of Uncertainty: A Pedagogic Model for Teaching Yoga

In June 2103 Donna was invited to give the keynote address at the Australian Yoga Therapy Conference held in Sydney. Her address, "Falling Short of Knowing and the Ethics of Uncertainty: A Pedagogic Model for Teaching Yoga" was accompanied by a new PowerPoint presentation. In an articulate yet humorous manner Donna talks about the art and science of being an effective Yoga teacher and how this involves having a clear strategy and ethos that informs, supports and guides what we say and do with … [Read more...]

The Importance of Fresh Food

Down here in the Southern Hemisphere the garden is winding down for the winter.  Day-by-day summer vegetable crops long past their prime are reluctantly being lifted and hauled to the compost heap and in their stead green manure crops laid in to boost the nitrogen levels  in the soil for the coming spring.  Winter greens are flourishing with New Zealand Spinach, cavelo nero (kale), leeks and escarole lettuces to brighten the palette during the cold winter days to come.  Up in the Northern … [Read more...]

The Practice of Neti

In New Zealand we say that someone really got up our nose when we find a person annoying, confrontational or obnoxious. Perhaps every culture has some equivalent expression given how unpleasant it is to have unwelcome visitors take up residence inside the nose. Which makes it all the more perplexing that Westerners seem not to care overly about the cleanliness of their noses, (the inside, that is) especially given our obsession with bodily odor and our compulsion to have our pearly whites even … [Read more...]

Donna In Practice 2

Special thanks to Brian Gore who is the composer of this beautiful music. This piece was taken from the CD named "The Path of Least Resistance". Please visit the website, www.guitarpoet.com, for further information on Brian Gore. … [Read more...]

Donna In Practice 1

Special thanks to Brian Gore who is the composer of this beautiful music. This piece was taken from the CD named "The Path of Least Resistance". Please visit the website, www.guitarpoet.com, for further information on Brian Gore. … [Read more...]

Ayurveda and Purification Practices

Dear Friends, Late this year when I told several close friends that I was going to do Panchakarma, the ancient Ayurvedic cleansing practices, many were surprised. “But you have such a good diet already!” one exclaimed. “You’ve been doing Yoga your whole life!” said another. “You’re already so strong and fit!” And while all these claims are more or less true, like any mortal being no matter how good my diet is, or how many hours I spend on a yoga mat, “stuff” can accumulate not only in the … [Read more...]

The Courage to Give Birth

  As we hurtle forward into the uncertain climate of 2009, I have been reflecting on what a tumultuous time 2008 has been for so many of my friends and acquaintances and those within my Yoga sangha.  That year began with a bang for me, literally, when in late January only a few days after completing the 21-day Yoga teacher training program here in Christchurch a driver ran a red light and completely totaled my trusty Toyota station wagon, leaving me unharmed but shaken and my car a … [Read more...]