Yoga in Practice

Experienced practitioners often feel discouraged when a naturally gifted dancer, gymnast, or martial artist performs an advanced asana with little effort. As I have mentioned before, there are people with elongated joint capsules and their extraordinary range of motion is a gift. You and I may have to work at it, but the many rewards of Yoga training are still there.

Yogic methodology consists of many facets and asana is just one of the many parts. Many students who have extraordinary flexibility admit they struggle with another part of their practice. Such as: The student with exceptional flexibility who just can’t calm down to meditate, balancing in asanas, pranayama, Yogic Philosophy, and so on.

Unfortunately, I have seen many promising practitioners quit practicing asana, due to a competitive mind-set. Within their own minds – they were in competition with every student in the class and, possibly, their Yoga teacher too.

Remember that Yoga means “union.” In simple terms we can say union of mind, body, and spirit. There are many more explanations about union, but that could be a separate article. There are also many branches of Yoga training and therefore many types of union, but competition is far from union.

Competition enhances the ego and the ego is just a part of your personality. The ego resists union for its own survival. The ego is our social mask and does not want to share anything.

Remember, the next time you start to feel envious of another student or teacher – that is not union. If anything, it will hold you back from union and many more valuable contributions that Yoga can make to your life.

Yoga Teacher Training Question of the Month

Q: My wife is suffering from disc herniation and this pain has caused 15 degree scoliosis. Some doctors has recommended surgery, but physiotherapists do not recommend it and they say just exercise will improve it. She is doing her exercises for 2 months but no improvement is observed. I would appreciate if you help me in this matter.

Please bear in mind that I have no medical degree and am not a medical professional. The advice given is that of a Yoga Teacher. Always consult with your physician for a professional opinion.

Every case and every individual’s situation is unique, so we can’t provide a general answer for everyone. For information purposes, below you can find an actual request from someone and our response.

A: Thank you for your inquiry. Please understand that my opinion is that of a Yoga teacher and I have no medical degree. That said – I understand both opinions and both sides of the issue. Sometimes surgery is the only option left, but alternative methods, such as chiropractic medicine and Yoga therapy also have a proven “track record.”

In order to see if this situation can be corrected without surgery or further pain to your wife, you may want to locate a physiotherapist or chiropractic doctor with a Yoga teaching background. This would be someone with a medical background, who specializes realigning the spine, and teaches Yoga.

Since your wife has been in therapy for two months, with no change for the better. It would seem her present exercise routine is not sufficient. It is still possible for her to get relief without surgery.

Another possibility is a Yoga therapist. Yoga therapy improves the quality of life for many people with back problems and Scoliosis, but you need a therapist who will get you results.

Lastly, when it comes to the spine and back pain, there are no guarantees — even with surgery. That is why surgery is, often considered, your last resort.

Recipe of the Month

After last month’s Portabella / Cabernet recipe, more recipe requests came in. If you have a vegetarian favorite, please feel free to send it in. Until then, here’s another one of mine.

Cajun Red Beans & Rice


2 cups dried red beans

5 strips Morning Star veggie bacon, cut fine

½ cup uncooked Basmati rice

2 ½ quarts water

2 tablespoons McCormick Mesquite Seasoning

½ teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons of celery salt


Soak beans overnight in 1 qt of water in a large bowl


Add another 1 1/2 qts. of water, veggie bacon, garlic, Mesquite seasoning, Cayenne pepper, and celery salt.

Simmer slowly for 3 – 4 hours until beans are very soft, and water has cooked down to a thick sauce.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over cooked hot, Basmati rice

Serves 6.