The 8 Limbs Blog, launched in March 2010, explores yoga, ayurveda, parenting, community, and many other subjects. Use the Category search to find part postings on the subjects you care about.

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Back in 2014 I decided to finally travel to India, the primary source of yogic teachings, to spend ten days meditating in a shrine to Sri Vidya, the Tantric lineage of my teachers. Sri means “most auspicious, beautiful, joyful”; vidya means “knowledge.” I didn’t really know at the time why exactly I was going, how I’d get there, or what it would be like, but I knew I had to go. After two years of planning and preparing, and two days of travel, I arrived in Khajuraho, a remote town in the state of Madhya Pradesh, the aptly named “middle province” of India.…

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Attention. It’s a valuable resource. When we pay attention we are stretching toward the object of our attention. Whatever we pay attention to, be it an ideology, a social media post, or a person, we are spending (thus the term pay!) that resource. And as many of us have discovered, our modern lifestyles – often guided by devices – can squander that precious resource and leave us scattered and unable to focus. Fortunately, there are wisdom practices, like yoga and meditation, that do the opposite. The last three of the eight limbs of yoga can be seen as progressive stages…

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4 Little-Known Reasons to Study and Practice Mindfulness Meditation  1. Differentiation: The classical guidelines for practicing mindfulness meditation, according to the   Sutta (Four Foundation of Mindfulness), is to chunk our experience into categories, a process called “differentiation” in psychology. By categorizing our experience, life becomes more manageable, and self-awareness increases. For example, imagine a person is driving and late for a meeting and suddenly becomes stuck in traffic at a stoplight that seems to be unchanging for five whole minutes. As the minutes tick by, they feel worse and worse, and by the time they get to the meeting, they…

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To our 8 Limbs community in West Seattle, When I took over the reigns of 8 Limbs Yoga Centers in January 2020 and a lease at W. Seattle set to expire a month later, my goal and hope was that by extending the lease and some investment and TLC, I would be able to revitalize the studio and keep it in the 8 Limbs family for many more years. There was no doubt that the studio held an incredibly special place in the hearts of so many of our students, teachers, and partners. Unfortunately, Covid 19, the resulting shutdown of…

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Almost ten years ago 8 Limbs started an annual ritual called the 28 Day Commitment. We chose February, a bit removed from the resolution madness of January and the shortest month of the year, and have continued in some form or another ever since! Our aim was to invite rather than challenge, and empower, a commitment from the inside rather than a goal set on the outside. We wanted more people to experience the benefits of daily practice, sadhana, and worked to provide resources to support this. This year we are simply offering this reminder to practice daily, in some…

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There are multiple health benefits of doing “breath hold.” An average healthy person with no special training can hold his (or her) breath for about half a minute. Increasing the hold time gives more opportunity for the inhaled air to pass through the thin lining of the air sacs and into the blood vessels which then improves oxygen saturation and helps the brain to stimulate our breathing. Breath retention has significant health benefits. The eventual goal of Pranayama is “Kevala Kumbhaka”. More details here. With practice you can resist the stimulus to breathe for longer but it remains carbon dioxide…

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Our minds, they are tough to control. I know mine is! And that’s why I’m a yoga practitioner. When I was introduced to the practice in 1996 it was immediately clear that the combination of postures, with attention to breath, gave me a clearer mind, one more able to focus and concentrate. I was able to pay better attention in general (something I’ve always struggled with), to others, to the present moment, and rein in the constant movement of my mind. Ever since, I’ve been a practitioner of the eight-limbed (aṣṭa-anga) path of yoga. For more than a year we’ve…

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Our senses – they are our link to the world outside of ourselves. They guide us, and they distract us. They lead us to what we like, and turn us from what we don’t. They keep us alive, and can also do quite the opposite. We continue our journey through the eight limbs of yoga with Pratyāhāra, the fifth limb. Pratyāhāra is the withdrawal or movement away from the senses. This can happen naturally through the gathering of one’s attention, or through practices such as bhramari breathing, bee’s breath, or shanmukhi mudra, placing one’s fingertips to seal off the senses…

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The power of one breath never ceases to amaze me. I can be tightly wound, worried, or on alert, and one slow, deep breath, especially one into the back of my body, leaning back in my chair, or dropping into my heels, and I am on the path back to presence, moment-to-moment mindfulness, relief. Our bodies want to be on guard and ready for anything; we are wired for survival. And the yogis discovered the most immediate toggle switch for our autonomic nervous system was our ability to control our breath. Breathing is a process that happens without us thinking,…

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3 Reasons to Meditate when the Sh#t Hits the Fan According to the field of complexity science, complex systems all go through periods of chaos, chaos defined as a system that is “difficult to predict.” If we look at history through this lens, what we see are times of Order and Chaos: Dickens began an excellent novel with the line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Weather patterns go through this cycle of order and chaos, and so do human-made systems. Companies can go through periods of exponential growth, then come crashing down. Celebrities…

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