“We are always seeking contact with Heaven. But how many of us have made any reasonable contact with Mother Earth?”
–B.K.S. Iyengar, Sparks of Divinity
Go vegan, it simply makes sense. Sit under a tree and practice meditation. Lie down on the earth and practice Savasana. Enjoy the beautiful weather, spend time outside, and get high on shades of green.
“Once a psychic revealed to me that my words had little effect on other people, but that the energy we shared together could inspire them. That was when I stopped offering narration of yoga and started the conduction of prana.”
Practice is the continuous effort to become firmly established in the stable state of the True Self, in which everything and everyone is experienced as one’s own Self. – interpretation of PYS I.13+16
“The perfection of asana is the perfection of one’s relationships with all beings and all things.” – Sharon Gannon and David Life
Thank you to the most incredible photographers for their magical yogic eye.
Thank you to Carrie Owerko for inspiring me to see and feel asana as a portal into the infinite.
“In the beginning there was darkness only. In this darkness the One silently breathed.” (from the Rig Veda)
Please join me for a deep breath in Pranayama class on thursdays from 4-5 pm at the Jivamukti Yoga School NYC!
A few of the thousand names of the Goddess.
Salutations to the Divine Mother, who is the Mother of all.
Salutations to Her who came out of the fire of Pure Consciousness.
Salutations to Her who is radiant as a thousand suns rising together.
Salutations to Her who is a treasure house of Divine beauty.
Salutations to Her who dwells in a lotus forest, the thousand-petalled lotus of the Sahasrara.
Salutations to Her who dwells in the centre of the sea of Nectar.
Salutations to Her who is the original Mantra itself.
Salutations to Her who is the witness of everything.
Salutations to Her who (as the Kundalini) revels in the nectar flowing from the Sahasrara through the whole of the Kula Path (Sushumna).
Salutations to Her who is the Female Element (Kundalini) in the Kula Path.
Salutations to Her who is the innermost Reality of the Kula Path.
Salutations to Her whose chief residence is the Muladhara.
Salutations to Her who in her ascent from the Muladhara breaks through the Brahma-Granthi (the barrier of Brahma to the subtle dimension).
Salutations to Her who then emerges in the Manipura Chakra.
Salutations to Her who then breaks through the Vishnu-Granthi (the barrier to still subtler dimensions).
Salutations to Her who then abides in the center of the Ajna Chakra.
Salutations to Her who finally breaks through the Rudra-Granthi (the barrier to the subtlest dimension).
Salutations to Her who then ascends to the Thousand-petalled Lotus known as the Sahasrara.
Salutations to Her who sends streams of Nectar (spiritual bliss) from the Transcendant Moon in the Sahasrara.
Salutations to Her who shines like a steady flash of lightning.
Salutations to Her who then establishes herself above the six Chakras.
Salutations to Her whose immense joy consists in the union with Shiva.
(excerpts from the Sri Lalitha Sahasranama)
Eat carrots, not animals – nurture your heart with compassion and veggies! My friend Lydia sent me this picture, what a sweetheart.
“The Earth will be safe when we feel safe in ourselves.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
At night make me one with the darkness.
In the morning make me one with the light.
(Wendell Berry, from “The Mad Farmer Poems”)
“Our perception of time may help. For us it is very alarming and urgent, but for Mother Earth, if she suffers she knows she has the power to heal herself even if it takes 100m years. We think our time on earth is only 100 years, which is why we are impatient. The collective karma and ignorance of our race, the collective anger and violence will lead to our destruction and we have to learn to accept that.
And maybe Mother Earth will produce a great being sometime in the next decade … We don’t know and we cannot predict. Mother Earth is very talented. She has produced Buddhas, bodhisattvas, great beings.
So take refuge in Mother Earth and surrender to her and ask her to heal us, to help us. And we have to accept that the worst can happen; that most of us will die as a species and many other species will die also and Mother Earth will be capable after maybe a few million years to bring us out again and this time wiser.”
– Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
“When we’re mindful, we can see the destruction that has been caused to the animals and the planet in order to produce meat and dairy for our consumption. With this awareness, eating vegan food becomes an act of love towards ourselves, towards our ecosystem and the planet.”
Don’t miss this incredible documentary: COWSPIRACY – The Sustainability Secret. Why nobody talks about animal agriculture being the leading cause of global warming, deforestation, species extinction, Amazon depletion and water pollution.
A Hanuman workshop intermingling vivid story telling with deep hip and heart opening. With Jivamukti Yoga teachers Nora Heilmann and Tamar Samir.
Saturday 24.8. from 14:00-16:30 at Jivamukti Yoga School Berlin Mitte.
“One of the signs of God-realization is joy. There is absolutely no hesitancy in such a person, who is like an ocean in joyous waves. But deep beneath the surface, there is profound silence and peace.” –Lex Hixon, Great Swan
Jivamukti comes from the Sanskrit word Jivanmukti: ‘living liberated’ or Jivanmukta: ‘one who has attained Self-realization’.
The Jivamukti Yoga method was founded by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984 (NYC) as a path towards enlightenment through compassion for all other beings. It is an integrated yoga method which combines a vigorous and challenging physical practice with Ahimsa (principle of non-harming), Bhakti (devotion, chanting), Dhyana (meditation), Nada (deep listening, use of music) and Shastra (study of ancient yogic scriptures).
Jivamukti Yoga is an experience of the art of yoga at its fullest potential. Asana means not only posture, but in a wider sense it is the yogi’s seat and connection to the earth. Jivamukti Yoga spiritually activates the practitioner to create a mutually beneficial relationship with the earth and all other beings. A vegan diet is one of the primary expressions of the Jivamukti Yoga practice.
Live simply so that others may simply live.
Yoga (=union) is the actual experience of the oneness of being, the interconnection and co-dependence of all things. But not everybody perceives life as such, rather most of us navigate as separate entities encountering a ‘world out there’.
Yoga is not only that state of union, it is also a process and practice. As long as we still see others as others, and as long as we experience suffering or sadness on some level, we might as well engage with these practices that have been brought to us by all the many amazing teachers of this ancient tradition.
The art of yoga covers 4 main fields of study:
jñana yoga (study of scriptures=shastra, meditation, philosopical contemplation), bhakti yoga (devotional path, chanting, performing rituals), karma yoga (selfless service to others, offering one’s actions without expecting anything in return) and hatha yoga (practice of physical postures in connection with conscious breathing). Those 4 branches have been integrated into what is called integral yoga or raja yoga (yoga of being, royal yoga).
At Svaha and Jivamukti Yoga studios we practice the integral path, which combines all aspects of the tradition.
8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga:
According to the Yoga Sutra (196 verses on the practice and philosophy of raja yoga) written by the sage Patañjali, there are 8 steps towards the attainment of yoga, complete realization and absolute freedom.
1. Yama – 5 ethical guidelines how to interact with others, the first and most important one is ahimsa = not harming any other being
2. Niyama – 5 observances for one’s own life
3. Asana – seat, connection to the earth, physical posture (establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with the earth and all other beings)
4. Pranayama – restraining and releasing the prana=life force, techniques of yogic breathing
5. Pratyahara – withdrawing of the senses
6. Dharana – concentration, one-pointed focus
7. Dhyana – meditation
8. Samadhi – same as the highest, dissolving of a self, true perception
In the western world, yoga practice mostly focuses on step 3, asana (physical postures), but as you can see, it is only a small fraction of the entire system.
krama=uninterrupted sequence of events or movements in time
vinyasa krama=the very specific practice and technique of joining intention, breath and movement in a flowing and uninterrupted sequence of movements in order to experience the continuity/oneness of being, yoga.
The vinyasa krama practice can be experienced especially during sun salutations (surya namaskar), which is a prayer to the sun. We are tuning into the cycles of nature by honoring the continuity of the sun’s movement as a life sustaining principle for all living beings on earth.
Vinyasa Krama is the conscious placing of an ordered sequence in time. The yogi wants to master time(ing) in order to become time itself, merge with time and transcend it. This practice helps us to observe change in every moment of life and learn to be at ease with the impermanence of things.
Yoga = union (sanskrit root yuj = to joke, connect), the joking of the individual sense of self to the cosmic eternal Self
Yogi = one who practices techniques to bring about Self-realization, also one who has attained Self-realization
Hatha Yoga = yoga of physical postures and breathing techniques, preparing the body for seated meditation. (ha=sun, tha=moon) Hatha Yoga is the joining of opposite forces such as sun and moon, pingala and ida nadi, body and mind through breath, individual sense of self with the oneness of being.
Sadhana = conscious spiritual practice
Dhyana = meditation, absorption, uninterrupted focus of attention
Sakshi = witness, non-judgmental observation
Samadhi = ‘same as the highest’, enlightenment, Self-realization, cosmic consciousness, bliss, ecstasy
Brahman = the expansive one, changeless reality of all things, no name no form, pure love (Sanskrit root bri = ever expanding)
OM = the primal sound/vibration, most powerful mantra
Guru = remover of darkness, teacher, enlightenment principle
Sangha = community
Satsang = attachment to the truth, association with like-minded people who remind you of your true potential
Jivanmukta = one who is enlightened to the true nature of being while still living (jiva=individual soul, mukta=liberated being)
Jivamukti = yoga style founded by Sharon Gannon and David Life, path to enlightenment through compassion for all other beings, integrated method of yoga combining physical practices with ahimsa (non-harming), bhakti (devotion), dhynana (meditation), nada (deep listening, music) and shastra (study of scripture). Living liberated.
Moksha = liberation
Samsara = the wheel of birth and death, suffering
Karma = action (Sanskrit root kr=to act). The law of karma is the law of cause and effect, action and reaction, interrelation.
Anarchy = Self-rule. True Self-rule means to be guided by the inner divine Self, not motivated by the desires of ego. The philosophy of Self-rule is called anarchism.
Ahimsa = non-harming, reducing the harm we cause to others in as many ways as possible (first of the 5 Yamas from Patañjali’s Ashtanga Yoga)
Vegetarianism = the practice of not eating meat (according to the yamas/yogic ethical guidelines in the Yoga Sutra of Patañjali, a vegetarian diet is key to the yoga practice)
Veganism = the practice of not eating or using any products derived from animal sources
Nada Yoga = deep listening (for the unstruck sound), the yoga that is attained by hearing the nadam/OM, creating a sound body/mind by listening from the external (music) towards the internal (nadam)
Sanskrit = the perfect language (put together, constructed, highly refined), ancient language of India, a potent vibrational language with the inherent power to invoke what is spoken
Chakra = wheel, energy center within sushumna nadi, the central energy channel along the spine. There are 7 chakras: muladhara (root place), swadhisthana (her favorite standing place), manipura (jewel in the city), anahata (unstruck), vishuddha (poison-free place), ajna (command center), sahasrara (thousand-petaled lotus).
Nadi = river, current, subtle energy channel through which prana flows, similar to meridians. There are said to be ca. 72 000 nadis in the body, the 3 main ones being ida (moon channel/left), pingala (sun channel/right) and sushumna (central channel, ray of light).
Prana = vital energy, life force
Pranayama = yogic breathing techniques, restraining and freeing the prana/vital force in the body
Shakti = feminine power of the divine, force of nature (prakriti)
Kundalini = consciousness, ‘serpent power’, potential energy said to lie dormant at the base of the spine as a coiled up snake, moving upwards through the central channel (sushumna) once being awakened
Bandha = energetic lock, the 3 main bandhas are mulabandha (root lock), uddiyana bandha (flying up lock) and jalandhara bandha (chin lock, net lock, cloud catching lock)
Ujjayi = upward victorious breath, particular way of deepening and lengthening the breath in asana and pranayama practice by slightly closing the vocal cords to create a smooth subtle sound in the throat
Kapalabhati = skull shining (kriya, cleansing breath)
*source: mostly based on glossary from “Jivamukti Yoga, practices for liberating body and soul” by Sharon Gannon and David Life