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

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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…

This ancient practice can help modern writers

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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…

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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…

When you think of deeply cultural cities, places like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago might come to mind. Maybe Nashville does, or maybe Portland. Cities that are renowned for producing art, movies, music or innovative ideas.

You probably don’t think of San Diego.

San Diego is so often only defined by its beauty. We have beautiful weather, beautiful people and beautiful beaches. You probably don’t think of beautiful culture -- roots, history, and the capacity to produce significant art or innovation.

But that’s a tragedy. San Diego has meaningful art, it has culture beyond some kitschy Southern Californian stereotype…

Practical lessons about the human condition.

  1. Sweat at least once a day. Your ancestors were once hunters and gatherers, farmers and peasants. They worked for their food. We weren’t designed to poach our prey at a fast food drive-thru. So get off your ass and let your pores rain glorious sweat. It’s how we were built.
  2. Never let a large group of really high people get ahead of you in line at the liquor store. Chances are, if you’re at a liquor store, you probably need whatever you’re going to buy now.
  3. Majority opinion and the truth are not synonymous…

Mike Peterson

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

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