Some of the most important things yoga has taught me have nothing to do with bendy poses

When you first practice yoga, you’ll probably feel a range of physical and mental benefits. But it’s only when you dig a little deeper, past the physical poses, that you learn the most important lessons and skills yoga has to offer.

Contrary to the contemporary image of the practice, yoga is less about specific postures than it is about stilling the mind. At its core, yoga is a suite of tools and practices that are meant to foster union — whether between your mind and body, or you and the world around you.

Those tools do include the physical postures…

Alternate nostril breathing for stillness and relaxation.

Photo by Amelia Bartlett from Unsplash

There’s a simple breath exercise in yoga that you can use as a tool to increase calm, reduce anxiety and stress, and boost your mental performance. Best of all, you don’t need to do any fancy poses to try it out.

Although primarily known for its physical postures, the practice of yoga is also deeply focused on control of the breath through certain techniques known as Pranayama. Yogis have been perfecting the art of breath control and retention for centuries. Although the practices have ancient roots, they are still just as effective today.

Breathing techniques can have a variety of…

This ancient practice can help modern writers

Credit: Neonbrand/Unsplash

Yoga and writing may not appear related at first, but the practice of yoga and meditation can have clear and tangible benefits for any writer.

In his bestseller and classic On Writing Well, William Zinsser writes that “clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other.” In his opinion — and mine — a “muddy thinker” is going to have a harder time writing clearly, succinctly, and successfully.

Thinking clearly is a skill that you have to cultivate. As Zinsser puts it, it’s a conscious act that “writers must force on themselves.” It may come easier to some…

I woke up today to the soft tune of birdsong outside of my window. After a sleepless, fitful night, it felt like a small respite. But it didn’t last long. Within minutes, I was overwhelmed by that same feeling of dread and despair that had occupied the entire night before. Put simply: I am terrified.

Yesterday, half of America voted to elect a man that nearly the entire country was certain couldn’t win. And while that half of our nation is celebrating now, I am terrified.

I am terrified for women. I’m terrified that free and able access to reproductive…

Mike Peterson

Writer and yoga teacher from San Diego. | Sustainability and mindfulness advocate | Fan of jazz, books, and the outdoors.

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