What To Do About Negative Judgments

"Fear" by Keoni Cabral via Creative Commons

“Fear” by Keoni Cabral via Creative Commons

by Jeff McMahon

It’s taken me a lifetime to figure out what to do about negative judgments. And I’ve figured it out only recently thanks to one remarkable teaching.

At times, the wisdom traditions seem to scorn negativity, which might incline us to suppress it. But doesn’t it seem likely that negativity offers insights that we suppress at some risk? Continue reading

Who Is Your Love Teacher?

TulumBy Jeff McMahon

Once upon a time my love teacher and I traveled to Mexico to spend some days living in a thatched hut, swimming in the sea, and soaking up some sun. We lived in a community of yogis who dressed mainly in loose shawls, which they dropped to the sand when they wanted to swim, entering the sea naked.

My love teacher relished the freedom to go topless on that beach, but her skin was not accustomed to the Mexican sun, and her sunscreen was no match for it. Continue reading

I’m Going To Stop Popping The Question

HowWasClass?I’m going to stop asking the question most often asked of yogis after an asana class: “How was class?”

I’ve asked this question hundreds of times to hundreds of yogis, because it seems harmless enough a question to ask. We might even think of it as a caring question. We want you to be happy, we want you to have a good class, we want to find inspiring classes ourselves, so… how was class?

But I’ve come to believe that question doesn’t do anyone any good, and it may even do us some harm. Continue reading

Love: Women on Non-Attachment

by Jeff McMahon

yogini

Photo by railaspindolabirds via Pixabay

Many of the best-known writers on non-attachment are men—such as Anthony de Mello, who explains how attachment destroys love in his little book, “The Way to Love,” and Eckhart Tolle, who distinguishes love from “normal addictive relationships” in his passage, “Real Love Doesn’t Make You Suffer.”

I’ve shared these challenging teachings with fellow yogis, and some have pointed out the gender of the writers.

It’s one thing for a man to be non-attached, they’ve told me, but it’s another thing for a woman—because women create beings in their bodies and send them out into the world.

Try doing that with non-attachment. Continue reading

What You Get Into When You Get Into Yoga

By Jeff McMahon

People who’ve known me for decades will occasionally say, “You’ve really gotten into yoga.” That sounds so funny to me. To me it sounds like, “You’ve gotten really into being” or “You’ve gotten really human.” What you get into when you get into yoga has always already been there. Yoga is just a clearing of obstacles, obstructions, obfuscations, a vacuuming of the dust bunnies that have been suffocating the you that was always you. You’ll recognize the you that you become when you get into yoga. Oh yeah, there I am. I remember me. It’s the you that was born. Get into being, get into being human, get into being unobstructed.

Week 12 - Dust Bunny Large Enough To Have a Name

I Just Want A Teacher Who Practices Ahimsa

photo by Anath V Rao

by Jeff McMahon

Anusara founder John Friend was in town not long ago, and a few local yogis, including some teachers, took the occasion to reveal the judgements he inspires in their minds.

Whatever story we tell about John Friend, it seems he’s creating opportunities for people to practice ahimsa. Continue reading