A couch-driven getaway

Bolsters and blocks from teaching ‘Stonehenge’ pose

One of my favourite restorative yoga positions also happens to be one of the easiest to set up. It’s also one of the few restorative poses that’s easier to do at home—and no, it’s not just laying on the couch.

Restorative yoga is, by nature, prop-intensive. We want to provide enough support for our bodies to fully relax and a lot of the shapes call for multiple bolsters, blocks, blankets, straps, and whatnot, stuff most of us don’t have in inventory.

But the pile of bolsters and blocks pictured (not to mention all the blankets we used!) created by doing ‘Instant Mallorca’ (aka ‘Stonehenge’) pose at a yoga studio is totally avoidable at home—using couch cushions!

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Meanings, meditations, and modifications

The report from the most recent MRI on my right knee is filled with words I don’t understand — and not just because they’re German. ‘Subluxation’ is the same in English and auf Deutsche. ‘Chondral degeneration’ and ‘joint effusion’ are pretty close. ‘Arthrose’ translates neatly to ‘osteoarthritis.’ And meniscus is readily understandable with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘c.’

The meaning of the medical terminology is opaque in either language. The effects on my life, however, are obvious — and leave me wondering about what osteoarthritis and a host of complications mean for meditating.

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The 22nd

The current term of my creative writing programme is all about poetry. Lots of reading, critiquing, analysing, and, of course, writing. We’re being asked to write about things that move us deeply. And to share work from published writers (who I think of as ‘real‘ poets) that inspire us.

The first poem I wrote this term is about saying goodbye to Sofie. She comes to mind so clearly on the 22nd of each month: the date of her death (in February) as well as the date of her birth (in December).

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Selected short-story reading (vol. 3)

I’m well into the first term of the final year of my Post-Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing from the University of York (not to be confused with York University in Toronto!) and this term’s focus is poetry. The last four weeks have confirmed that I enjoy reading poetry far more than writing it.

And, whether reading or writing, I prefer prose to verse.

To that end, here are three more short stories I recommend.

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The return of virtual yin

Autumn always makes me want to get snuggly. The colder months are perfect for cosying up and taking it easy—and the slow, meditative approach of yin yoga is a perfect match.

To make it easier to get some hygge this autumn, I’m brining back monthly Friday evening yin yoga sessions. Three relaxing 75-minute online classes (with video replay), from my home to yours.

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Delcious-ness in a jar

My mum’s granola has always been a serious crowd-pleaser. Crunchy, nutty, different from batch to batch—and regularly requested in care packages. But when I was eating vegan a decade ago, its butter content made it unsuitable.

I couldn’t very well live without homemade granola, so tried a few vegan recipes. Most simply subbed in oil for butter, leaving the final product bereft of buttery richness and slightly greasy. Then, I stumbled on a delicious alternative…

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What I’ve learnt in ten years of teaching yoga

A woman in a red tank top with arms above her head and palms together in a yoga-like posture
My very first yoga photo shoot

I wish I could say that I’ve perfected the art of teaching over the last decade, but I’m still learning. And I question a lot of what I thought knew over the years.

As I’ve become more settled in who I am as a teacher, I’ve veered away from the one-size-fits all approach of most (if not all) Hatha yoga teacher trainings. I infrequently use the Sanskrit names for postures or talk about chakras. I’m less rigid about sequencing and frequently switch up the flow I’d planned based on student needs in the moment. I’m more comfortable teaching on the fly, but also more dedicated to prepping classes.

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