Mark Stephens' Musings

These writings are informal reflections on practicing and teaching yoga. Click on any title to read the entire piece.

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Yogas in History (Plural)

Submitted by Mark Stephens on Tue, 05/03/2016 - 07:15

Yoga has evolved more in the last seventy-five years than in the previous thousand years. This assertion deserves some explanation in order to shed light on what this might mean for teachers and teaching in the present day and going forward. What are the evolutionary trends? How is yoga changing? As yoga teachers, what might we anticipate in the coming years, and where are we in the evolutionary process of yoga? 

 

Evolving Yoga

Submitted by Mark Stephens on Tue, 05/03/2016 - 07:13

While the reality of yoga history is that yoga has always evolved through the creative explorations and new experiences of those deeply into the practice, today there are tens of millions of people worldwide stepping onto yoga mats with some intention related to living a better life. On every continent, in nearly every culture, across the cycles of life and the patterns of gender, ethnicity, religion, and belief, we find people practicing yoga.

Breathing in Consciousness

Submitted by Mark Stephens on Thu, 04/28/2016 - 20:46

Part of the beauty of yoga asana practice is that each and every different asana highlights tension and other sensation in the body. Paying closer attention, we also come to detect how the different asanas stimulate different emotional and mental reactions; a certain posture done in a particular way, time, or other circumstance tends to generate its own somewhat unique effects on the mind. Each asana also tends to affect the breath in different ways, however subtle the differences may be.

Embodied Wholeness

Submitted by Vie Santos on Mon, 04/25/2016 - 22:52

The evolution of one’s awareness is an integral aspect of yoga as a transformative practice. In Hatha yoga—the big umbrella over all styles, brands, and lineages utilizing postural and movement techniques—this practice is one of more fully awakening and deeply integrating on the path to a more holistic, congruent, and healthy life.

The Seat of the Teacher

Submitted by Mark Stephens on Tue, 04/19/2016 - 22:15

Poses are static representations of idealized forms, something models do for cameras in an effort to send an external message. Typically airbrushed and enhanced in other ways, they are anything but real. Asanas, by contrast, are alive and personal; they are an expression of organic human beings exploring, living, and intentionally evolving in the temple of the bodymind. When we appreciate a student through the wisdom of our heart, then we more naturally see the intrinsic beauty already manifest in their practice.