Oasis of Practice



Practice can be a little like going on a desert journey–a very long, long desert journey.

We walk and walk and walk. The sun beats down on us. It’s hot and we are exposed to the elements. It’s hard to be steady with constantly shifting ground beneath our feet.

The landscape is vast and seemingly unending, unchanging. Sand dunes meld into each other.

Then, as if out of nowhere, a desert oasis appears. We stare in wonder, is it real or a mirage? Are our minds playing tricks on us?

Yet, our senses do not lie. We see the lush green, we are refreshed in its cool waters, we rest under the shades of palms, and drink our fill.

Sated, we are ready to go on, and happily continue the long journey home.

Photo: A surprise in our short desert walk from the Dome of Winds atop the old tombs to San Simeon’s ruins in Aswan in Upper Egypt. My friend Karina casting her shadow on the sand.

Resolution Starts with Practice


Resolution Starts with Practice

So ends the first teaching week of the new year. Some folks are slow to restart their practice after the holidays, while others–like myself–want to get on with 2014 with guns blazing.

Whatever pace we begin with, one thing is certain: this fresh start has us making intentions, resolving to do this or to do that, to NOT do this or NOT do that. Maybe it’s to master a posture or, at the very least, perform it with some sort of adequacy. Maybe it’s to practice daily or twice, or thrice a week.

The thing is, when it comes to practice, you just need to practice. Show up–whether it’s on your own to self practice or to a mysore or led class with a teacher. Show up. Be present. And it simply starts.

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois said it best: “Practice, practice, all is coming…”

Feliz Fin de Semana a todo!/Happy Weekend to all! Fresh start again next week, hope you see yourself on your mat!

Photo: Pazzifica signage greeting students at the studio foyer. I am teaching here in Barcelona at Espacio Vacio in Yoga con Gracia till March 7. Monday to Friday morning mysore starts at 7am and finishes at 9:30am. Evenings are Mon/Wed 6-8pm, Tuesday/Thursday 6:30-8:30pm.

Feeling Feedback


Feeling Feedback

There I was at kapotasana (pidgeon pose) yesterday morning nearly a week since touching heels. The New Year’s revelry in Sinai, trek back to Cairo, and travel to Barcelona–where it has taken some days to settle in both in life and in practice–had taken a toll on me. Needless to say, it was an intense five inhales and exhales.

As I sprung out of it, I felt an old emotion in my chest, a soft explosion, a subtle but potent release. I gasped aloud, grateful that I was alone self-practicing because crying came so very naturally with the breath. I felt my heart. I was surprised and relieved to feel a release from an old ache, which had been hiding so very stealthily in my body.

There you are, I thought, pulling myself together and getting on with the rest of practice–still crying, mind you.

Sometimes we can see it coming, this wave of emotion from some deep down place, moved out of its hiding place by one or a combination of unpredictable factors: real life events, an hour and a half of deep concentrated effort, strong intentions, a deep stretch or posture…

As a teacher, it’s quite a sight when you’re watching from a distance. The signs can be so clear, the flow of practice perturbed by the movements of the heart and mind. We actually look as delicate as we feel at these moments. The breath changes. The vinyasa stutters. The posture wobbles. Brows furrow. The face changes.

Other times it catches us unawares, and it feels a little bit like being an innocent bystander observing some great but secret shift happening in the mind, heart and body. And then it passes…sometimes softly, other times not so.

When it comes–and if you practice long enough and with enough consistency, these moments certainly will come–we must honor them. We must give ourselves enough space to observe this process called yoga, to learn the lessons that come, to work out what needs to get worked out. But this too needs to be balanced with a healthy amount of surrender, of letting things go and simply getting on with it, returning to the breath, returning to the steadiness of practice.

Photo: Mat laid out for my own practice this morning after the mysore class at Pazzifica Ashtanga Yoga in Barcelona. When I look at this photo I see a very special meeting place, where me and the deep down parts of me get to know each other intimately.

Wide Open Spaces


7:00am, January 7, 2014. I turn the key, turn the lights on, place Guruji’s photo on the altar, I light two candles. Students start to arrive, they lay down their mats and they start to breathe. The room heats while students move between standing postures. At a quarter to 8, we stop for a moment to fill the room with “Om” and the opening mantra.

What was an empty, dark room fills into my first mysore class in Barcelona, the beginning of a whole new teaching adventure.

Photo: The room and the mysore practice. I love this open space in Yoga con Gracia where Pazzifica Ashtanga Yoga has daily morning and evening mysore classes. Big windows, high ceilings, the room lends itself to the spirit of potential. Mysore mornings are Monday-Friday, 7am-9:30am.

Hola Barcelona!


Hola Barcelona!

Tomorrow I start teaching in Pazzifica Ashtanga Yoga, located at Shala Gracia, Calle Esglesia nº4-10 4ª planta (plaza virreina), Barrio de Gracia.

Looking forward to carrying on the work of Paz Munoz, who is entrusting me with her beloved students for the next two months. I step in with great pleasure and excitement in one of my favorite cities!

Mysore Class Horario/Schedule 2014

Lunes a Viernes/Monday to Friday de 7.00-9.30am
( Puedes llegar hasta las 8.00am)

Lunes y Miercoles/Monday and Wednesday 18-20hrs
Martes y Jueves/Tuesday and Thursday 18.30-20.15hrs.

Photo: Storefront artwork in the neighborhood of Gracia where the studio is located. Perfectly tells my story. Happy to be in Barcelona doing what I love.

Yoga Happens


Yoga Happens

Ok, despite declaring myself on vacation over the last week in Sinai, I didn’t actually totally stop teaching. Conversations turn yogic, people turn up interested and impromptu classes are set up right at that moment, right on the beach.

This is the nature of yoga. It simply happens. Not only when we will it, but whenever it is needed. Not merely when we seek it out, but when it is presented. The opportunity to practice does not just occur when we so skillfully schedule it; the opportunity to practice exists in every moment.

Photo: Afternoon class on January 1, 2014. A good day to practice. At New Moon Island, El Rashitain, Naweiba in Sinia, Egypt.




It’s the new year–once again. And if you’re like me, you might be taking some time right about now, keenly surveying your particular patch of world.

As I look around, I can feel the pull towards the pensive, the serious…This photo taken today reminds me to approach this time of contemplation with a healthy amount of wonder and playfulness–for this, the present moment, is also our playground.

Photo: Ayesh Camp, El Ras, Naweiba.