Kristen Davis Interviewed at Elephantbeans

My dear friend and co-conspirator in yoga, Kristen Davis, has been interviewed over at the very entertaining and eclectic Ashtanga-based blog Elephantbeans. Kristen’s ideas on integrating Alexander Technique with Iyengar Yoga have had a great influence on me:

“My teaching comes out of my own experience, the dialogue between my mind and body as I practice. This dialogue comes out of all my years of Alexander Technique and the way I apply it to my yoga. The mind and body have a symbiotic relationship. The mind must coach and cajole, the body responds, and the mind is rewarded with an incredible sense of peace and serenity.

Step 1. The mind must observe, simply see what’s there, as is, without judgment. Be willing to meet the body where it’s at, in that moment.

Step 2. The mind must put an end to any nonsense—inhibit or stop any habitual pattern, any negative action, any effort that is misplaced.

I say that with a certain strictness, but really this is where there’s a lot of coaxing and cajoling. We are often dependent on these habits in very deep ways (on an emotional level); they don’t release easily. Knowing this, the mind can guide and imagine, but ultimately the body will respond in its own time, on its own schedule, so there has to be a certain looseness, playfulness. You can’t be tied to the fruits of your labor; you can’t take yourself too seriously .

Step 3. Then the mind must tell the body what it WOULD like it to do, direct the actions it wants (the actions that will better organize the body and take it deeper into the pose). There is a cooperation between the mind and body –the action cannot be forced, but must come out of an integrated sense of ease. Again playful, exploratory.”

Check out the whole interview for more yoga goodness.

(Interestingly, there’s a short piece in Fityoga Magazine about this very subject this month. I’d post a link to their site, but it’s kind of a crappy magazine and they haven’t updated their site since August, in any case.)


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Web Round-Up

The State of New Jersey has introduced a bill to license yoga teachers and yoga studios. (Esutra)

Washington State has begun to enforce a three-year-old ruling that requires yoga studios to charge 9% sales tax, with some studios being told they now owe three years of back taxes. (

Yoga teacher Celina Miller has started a new quarterly magazine and website called YogaMom. “YogaMom has a little bit of yoga, and a lot of healthy-living, lifestyle focus. It's about real moms looking for realistic tips. It's not all granola,” she tells Connie Baggett of the Clarksdale Press Register. (Source: Montgomery Advertiser)

An Australian study has found that activities that cause sustained pressure spikes in the eyes, such as Salamba Shirshasana (Head Stand), could make certain eye diseases such as Glaucoma worse. This is not really news, though, as such contraindications should be known by any properly-trained yoga teacher, but I thought the list of other activities that increase eye pressure was interesting: playing the trumpet or other wind instrument, swimming with goggles on, weight-lifting, doing sit-ups on a slant board, rubbing your eyes, and even sleeping face down. (The Australian)

A study at John Hopkins University in Baltimore has found that women with Rheumatoid Arthritis can be helped by yoga poses (with appropriate modifications), pranayama (breathing) and deep relaxation. (

The National Fatwa Council in Malaysia is considering a ban on yoga for the nations nearly 18 million Muslims. (International Herald Tribune)

Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation has donated $850,000 to New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center to combine yoga techniques with conventional medical therapies for a number of their non-terminal cancer patients in a year-long experiment. (New York Times)

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Web Round-Up has a couple of interesting posts in its blog:

“77 Surprising Health Benefits of Yoga” By Alisa Miller

“The Ultimate Guide to Yoga: 100 Blogs, Tutorials, and Resources” By Christina Laun (Sadly, Y:A+S didn’t make the cut.)

Anti-Gravity Yoga: Crunch now offers specialized yoga classes practicing poses suspended from the ceiling. Available at locations in NY (in Fort Greene), LA and Miami, with Chicago coming soon. Check it out at Looks like fun. (

Yoga Doc: In the documentary “Enlighten Up!” the filmmakers take a complete newbie to yoga and immerse him in it for a month, even going to India to meet the living masters such as Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar. The movie has started to play in limited engagements here and there. (I’m seeing it at the San Francisco IndieFest Documentary Film Festival in a couple of weeks. Can’t wait!) Here’s some coverage from it Boulder, CO run:

Om the road: Boulder skeptic immerses himself in yoga for film (

Colorado Matters Download Page: Yoga Documentary “Enlighten Up!” (

Egg Block: Diane Cesa at The Everything Yoga Blog has a review of a new egg-shaped foam yoga block.

Famous People Do Yoga Better: The Huffington Post has a piece on the media and business commodification of yoga. (Do Yoga, Get Rich?: High Rollers Are Hitting The Mat)

Choosing the Best Style for You: WebMD offers an overview of the different styles of yoga. As usual, Iyengar comes off as only being suitable for the aged and infirm. (A pet peeve of mine.)

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