Yoga and Relationships


Relationship is the ultimate and most arduous yoga. If we understand yoga to mean union, then relationship is a direct path to that union. Abdi Assadi (2008:57), Shadows on the Path.

I often feel that I am hopeless at long term, happily-ever-after relationships. For me, it hasn’t happened. A terrified, secret little me fears that I just can’t do it. This time, I want it to be different. I desire this to the core of my very soul. Right now, I have the kind of relationship others only dream about. This time, I want my relationship to last the rest of my life.

This post lays bare the recurring patterns in my long term relationships. My hope is to render impotent those behaviours and thoughts that no longer serve me. To burn them up with the harsh gaze of exposure, so that they no longer hold power over my life. I hope to inspire others to undertake this most difficult and brutal of self-assessments.

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Wednesday Whiteboard #7

Dotpoint 1:  Update on the 30 Day Yoga Experiment

This is day 14 of the Do-Your-Own-Yoga-Everyday experiment. So far, I can report that I haven’t missed a single day. It hasn’t been all sun,surf, and asana, though. In fact, it’s been largely japa, pranayama and mindfulness meditation. It fits so seamlessly with my morning routine, I feel like I should just keep it going after the 30 days are over. So yes, in case you can’t tell, I’m pretty chuffed with myself.

Which of course requires the Mouth of Sauron grin:


Dotpoint 2: The PhD Thesis is Almost FINISHED.

Ten years. Three re-writes. A total change of theoretical framework AND fieldwork location. Lots of boredom … and I have a PhD thesis that is a whisker away from being done. I’m going to Canberra (Australia’s capital, about 3000km from where I live) to prepare my thesis for submission in late July. If you’ve been through the PhD process, you’ll understand why I’m feeling so happy. This requires an even BIGGER Mouth of Sauron grin:


(Needs a dentist!)

Dotpoint 3: Tom and Katie are moving to Australia. Close the borders! NOW!!

The Anti-Depression Recipe That Saved My Life


The cliché is that creativity and depression go hand-in-hand. Like many clichés, this one is quite true. But creators are not necessarily afflicted with some biological disease or psychological disorder that causes them to experience depression at the alarming rates we see. They experience depression simply because they are caught up in a struggle to make life seem meaningful to them. Eric Maisel, (2002:4), The Van Gogh Blues.

This post has not been easy to write, even though I really wanted to write it. Revealing my innermost, blackest days will rend me wide open for all to see. This post details specific techniques within the process of my healing that I believe were critical to overcoming depression. I hope others might find it helpful to see that it is a long, painful process, but it is possible – largely without drugs.

Warning: long and personally revealing post.

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Real Yoga Vs … Well … Real Yoga

Downdog on Zeil

Through the years I have witnessed numerous spiritual seekers, all of them well-intentioned, who have lost their way by not paying attention to their own addictive patterns … yoga is particularly prone to this syndrome. Abdi Assadi, Shadows on the Path (2007:11).

I often get frustrated with myself for visiting the yoga supermarket. Mostly online, because there’s only two ‘brand name’ yoga styles here in Alice Springs. Online, I jump from yoga style to yoga style, favouring one for a few weeks, thinking hmm…. That looks like the one, the real yoga for me, only to find another style that I’d like to train in a week or so later.

The problem is that deep inside of me there is an ontological ‘real yoga’ – a foundational structure against which I measure everything else. It’s powerful. It’s the yardstick. The thing.

And yet, this is a false ontology because real yoga, as in traditional yoga, is something else very different from my own foundational, inner ‘real yoga’. In this post, I undertake svadhyaya of my understandings about real yoga, in an attempt to get to the bottom of the construct within my own corrupt belief systems.

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Wednesday Whiteboard #6


Dotpoint 1: Vale Sri Pattabhi Jois. In case you’ve been under a rock or in remote Central Australia (hey… that’s where I live and I still heard it), Mr Jois passed away on Monday morning. Regardless of what you think of Ashtanga-style yoga, Mr Jois was a giant of the yoga world. I honour his life, his memory and the precious gift he gave to the world. Hari Om Tat Sat. Om Shanti.

Dotpoint 2: The Big Idea is flying. I can’t believe what’s happening with the creativity/life coaching/creative ethnography business idea that birthed only 2 weeks ago. It’s so exciting I can hardly sleep. Svasti is going to help me do some mean web design. YOU should hire her! It is a testament to getting your ideas out there into the world. They catch fire. They take off. Watch this space!

Dotpoint 3: A couple of great websites: The Anthroguys. Real anthropologists demonstrating the amazing possibilities of applied anthropological practice. Thanks to @Jammiegirl for this Tweet.

Lucky Balaraman’s inspirational mediation website: . Lucky has all kinds of great tips for establishing a meditation practice and using mediation to overcome problems. This latest post could be used as a teaching tool for yoga teachers explaining ‘the witness’ to students.

Dotpoint 4: I’m reading Abdi Assadi’s beautiful book, Shadows on the Path. If you’re interested in reading no-nonsense spirituality from a guy who’s been a drug addict, travelled the shaman’s path, been a yogi, a martial arts practitioner and everything in between, this book might be for you. If you like Adyashanti or Pema Chodron, then you will resonate with Abdi. Hear an amazing interview with him here. You can check out his book for purchase at

Om Shanti.

How Keeping a Journal Made Me Grow


Many times in my life I’ve been really, really stuck. Stuck in the black hole of depression, or stuck replaying an unpleasant exchange with someone inside my head. I’ve spent days –and sometimes months- going over and over painful past events and conversations with thoughts like: I should have said this, I wish I’d said that, or mentally lecturing the person who upset me.

About two years ago, I discovered something that (mostly) puts a stop to this the painful mental reprocessing: writing these conversations out in a journal. I’ve also found that journaling really helps me think about new ideas and plan major life changes. Journaling is now my main form of swadhyaya –self study. In other words, journaling has really helped me sort through my shit. I don’t know if it will work for you, but here’s what works for me.

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Wednesday Whiteboard #5


Dotpoint #1 Amanda, Where is the Old Blog?

There are some Big New Ideas happening for me. An exciting bend in the road for my life and it’s going to unfold right before your eyes. Which means that the blog will eventually have its own domain. So I thought I’d try a fresh new blog layout. I spent this afternoon (home from work as my son was sick) experimenting with WordPress themes.

The WordPress theme I really want to use is called Thesis. You can check it out here. I would dearly love to be able to use this theme here but doesn’t have that functionality – which is why I moved Desert Mandala (my family blog) to its own domain two years ago . As I’m not quite ready to launch the Big New Idea AnthroYogini is staying put for the time being.

Dotpoint #2 I met my brother’s birth mother.

Both my brother and I are adopted. I have been in touch with my birth mother for 11 years. Tonight, I met my brother’s birth mother. It was an amazing, beautiful experience.

As a mother, I can only imagine how hard it would be to give up a child –forever- with no hope of ever knowing that child’s fate. Nor can I imagine the shame and fear associated with being ‘a bad girl’ back in the 1960s.

I can tell you of the courage these women have, of the hope they held in their hearts for years, and of my own deep compassion and love for those who have relinquished babies and thereafter, could never bring themselves to have another child.

Tonight, I felt as though I had gained yet more very special family. I am truly blessed.

Dotpoint #3 What’s this Big Idea You Keep Referring to?

By the end of 2012, I am aiming to be largely self-employed in a consultancy/ coaching business focussed on:

  • Creativity for non-arty-farty people
  • Using creativity to overcome depression/other life challenges
  • Creative ethnography for life coaching and counselling
  • Creative ethnography to understand clientele, organisational culture, to monitor & evaluate

You can help me!

I’m inviting anyone reading this to:

  • comment on the ideas
  • post links or suggest books that might be helpful
  • complete an anonymous survey early next week

I would be forever grateful if you, dear reader, did any of these things. I’ll post the link for the survey early next week.