Jennifer Davis and Mara Hesed

Looking In Breathing Out came about as a way of expanding the conversation we were having with each other. Over drinks, over meals, we realized we shared a fascination with those moments in our experience where magic meets the mundane.

 

Our ordinary, little lives are regularly touched by the extraordinary--in language, art, love and the ancient wisdom of yoga. We thought, why not share this with others?

It's not (all) about yoga!

Making a podcast is easy, right?  Well, so we thought.  It probably is easy for some people, but for us, it's been quite a learning experience, figuring out the technology, the structure, the content, and of course, the questions we wanted to pose for you, dear listener. Meanwhile, the world kept on turning,  turmoil abounded as pandemics raged, elections were fought and two thirds of our team traveled cross-country in a camper van to set up a new base thousands of miles away. Luckily, we were equipped with exemplary cocktail-mixing skills, a wealth of wine knowledge, a love of writing and a shared desire to learn, and keep learning.

Cocktail

Our aims for this podcast creature we were creating morphed during our weekly discussions: what did we really want it to be, and why? With one presenter being a yoga teacher, the other a yoga therapist, it was clear our focus would be yoga, somehow, someway.  We went back and forth -  how much it was going to be about yoga, how much through the lens of yoga and how much we were going to say about it being/not being all about yoga.

 

We agreed on a few things though. While yoga in our western modern times often is seen as "exercise" or "body toning," we knew it was much much more than that. We wanted to make sure that our podcast reflected our ongoing quest for understanding of ancient wisdom and that it would go beyond how to achieve a toned physique while we looked further into a achieving toned mind and a toned spirit.

It's all about yoga! 

You may have heard of the “8 limbs of yoga” – they are the steps a student takes to reach a state of health and happiness.  All limbs are needed, but the 3rd limb is where most of us start (and often stop) – it is the limb of asana, or yoga postures.  These limbs are in the Yoga Sutras, sort of a wellness guidebook written thousands of years ago by an Indian sage named Patanjali. 

They were written by the Indian sage Patanjali, and while they have gone in and out of popularity over thousands of years, they have stood the test of time.  Today, they are pretty popular, even if they are not on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Ganesh
Mara Hesed doing a backbend

The Sutras (we’ll call them that for short) are only one of the ancient texts that describe the philosophy and practice of yoga, both which leads the yoga student on a step-by-step path from unhappiness and unhealthiness to a state of health, well-being and happiness. They are written in 195 short morsels of wisdom, one-liners if you want.  

 

Of the 195 sutras, only 3 deal directly with asana practice, which help the student breathe better and so be better poised for meditation.  Through meditation, the student may reach a point of permanent liberation from the slings and arrows of everyday life (samadhi).   

 

The Sutras are rich.  And fascinating. And as applicable to our Western lives today as they were to the ancient rishis and to the people of India. 

 

In Looking In, Breathing Out we use the Sutras to examine and try to make sense of our everyday lives. If you listen, you’ll hear them pop up here and there, little gems of wisdom that give us something to hang our hats on.