Early Bird price for Costa Rica Retreat

June 12, 2017

Early bird price ($300 off regular rate) until July 31st! Please inquire about details.

Rio Chirripo Lodge


New Hampshire Retreat

June 12, 2017

Bethel Farm


Meditation classes at YogaWorks

June 8, 2017

Hello yogis,

I am teaching a new meditation class at YogaWorks Soho on T/TH from 8:45-9:30am! I am really excited to be able to share this practice with you, which to me has been more transformative than any amount of asana practice. Please join us right after the 7:30am morning class!

YogaWorks NYC


Pranayama class at Yoga Agora

June 8, 2017

Hello yogis,
the Pranayama class at Yoga Agora has moved to sundays 3:30-4:30pm, for all of you who want to dive deeply into the world of breath and can only make it on weekends!
This class is only $8 and open to all levels.

Yoga Agora


Paris-ite

June 3, 2017

Looks like we have to take climate justice into our own hands, which is anyway the best way.
I am thinking of a few immediate and powerful actions through which we can bring compassion into the world and stop funding climate change:

Divest from unethical banks and put your money either into Amalgamated Bank (for NYC) or Credit Unions. (Or hide it in a sock in your drawer at home, like grandma did). Let’s stop funding the oil business and pipelines.

Stop funding the meat and dairy industry, which causes some of the greatest harm to the environment (deforestation, water and air pollution, monocultures, pesticides, using up food resources). Going vegan is the most healthy choice for your own body, for the earth and climate, and of course for the animals. (Systemic speciesism is the same as systemic racism but on a much larger scale. It’s much more violent and much bigger in numbers – that is probably why it is hard for us humans to admit, because the suffering we cause to animals is so overwhelming).

Use less, live more. How much do we really need, and how much of our desire is simply perpetuated by advertising and the economies who want us to keep spending money? Resources on earth are finite, but our desires are infinite. Can we cultivate contentment and truly enjoy what we have, in this present moment, right here on planet earth? Can we come to understand that we ARE organism earth ourselves, and if we exploit the planet, we exploit ourselves? If we heal our relationship with mother earth, we heal ourselves?

art: Oliver Jeffers


Wake up!

May 16, 2017

Friend, wake up! Why do you go on sleeping?
The night is over – do you want to lose the day
the same way?

(Kabir)


Stand firm in that which you are

May 16, 2017

Be strong and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts
of imaginary things
and stand firm in that which you are.

(Kabir)


Being Awake

May 7, 2017

In meditation we are cultivating a capacity for stillness, intimacy and coming into contact with our basic goodness. Breath by breath we work to hold the quality of courage: we connect rather than escape, find liberation instead of reinforcing habit, build generosity instead of resentment. Our lives happen in the present moment. Our true selves are who we are right now. Nothing stays the same. Meditation is opening to the ever-changing moment and experiencing ourselves as flow. Meditation helps people turn toward their experience, suffering and reactivity in a friendly way.

(Michael Stone)


On Power, by Matthew Remski

May 6, 2017

One of the most helpful things I’ve understood from professional cult psychologists like Cathleen Mann is that the charismatic leader and the organization surrounding him could be selling any ideology whatsoever. The content of the cult is not the purpose of the cult. The purpose of the cult is to accumulate power. The only real function of the cult’s content is to enhance the mystique surrounding that power.

I remember arguing in great detail with my fellow followers of Michael Roach about whether his teachings on Buddhist emptiness were coherent — either internally, or with his purported tradition. They were neither, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that the more time we spent talking about the riddles he laid out for us, and the more time we spent not being able to answer those riddles, the more we inflated his importance in our lives, the more mysterious he became, and the more power he had.

The purpose of debate was not to actually further knowledge in the lineage. That would assume that Roach had a legitimate position within it, which he didn’t. It was to occupy the emotional labour and attention of the students, which was then co-opted into material and hands-on support. It’s like FB that way: it doesn’t care for the most part what you post here. It cares about whether you’re participating or not. The main thing it wants is for you not to leave. You are FB’s narcissistic supply.

One of the main prayers that Roach taught everybody to say was a reduction of an old Tibetan refrain in which the student requests the teacher to stay close. This got blown up into students weeping at his feet and saying “Please stay, please stay with me.” His email address for years was alwaysstay@aol.com. Attachment disorders? Of course. But the real kicker was that it was Roach who was demanding that we all stay. It didn’t matter what we were staying for. He got us to say what he needed to say, but couldn’t.

I see a potential application of this mechanism to understanding — or rather, stopping the attempt to understand — 45 and the GOP. It’s more than obvious that there is no coherent content, agenda, or worldview beyond the purely libidinal rape-pillage-and-run. Nothing makes sense, and they feel no need to hide that or apologize for it. Their understanding of history, the Constitution, and congressional etiquette is no more detailed than the average Yankee cultic appropriator of an Indian religion. This is all because the content doesn’t matter to them. Power does. That sole value will shift the goalposts of any discussion, create its own language and standards for truth, and hope that you spend time wondering what kind of universe their “reasoning” about things like pre-existing conditions comes from.

This is a grim view, but it might offer a small amount of relief in one important area. It might help conserve a little of the energy burn of misplaced attunement. It seems natural to spend a lot of time asking about how the AHCA could possibly make sense to anyone, to ask: what could they be thinking? But if it’s only always-already about power, they are literally thinking *nothing*. So thinking about them as though they are thinking and feeling like you do inflates their power and mystique while depressing your own. You are puzzling over a riddle that they don’t even care about and aren’t qualified to answer themselves. You’re engaging them on points of government when they have no interest in government, beyond how it can be a further mechanism of their dominance. In the cult, our biggest mistake was to believe that Roach was interested in Buddhism more than in himself. That’s what kept us in the room.

I wonder whether in the end it will be the cult psychologists, experts in altered and trance states, and scholars of New Religious Movements that will ultimately shed more light on 45 & co than the forests of paper we’re currently felling to print our progressive political think-pieces. If they are, I wonder what new pathways of resistance their work will offer.

I appreciate the poetry of “When they go low, we go high.” It feels pure. But I think it’s bringing sticks to a gun fight. I don’t think you can resist power with reason and content. Power doesn’t care. It feels no shame. The challenge would seem to be about how to answer irrational power with something equally visceral and compelling.


People’s Climate March

April 30, 2017

The climate is changing – why aren’t we???

Go vegan, recycle, ban plastic, use green energy, walk & bike, use public transport, grow your own food, introduce alternative/complementary currencies for local economies, divest from unethical banks, stop shopping for things you don’t need, instead use your time to do things you really love to do, breathe fresh air, move your body, take care of animals, take care of clean water, talk to the trees, listen to the plants, relax, love, share.

Three inspiring documentaries: Tomorrow, Cowspiracy, What The Health. All links in the left column on this website.


100 Days of Failure

April 29, 2017

100 days of failure to protect home planet Earth and her green lung (forests) and blue lung (oceans). We need a climate scientist at the top, best scenario: a gay woman of color!


Sleep

April 20, 2017

“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama


FLOW

April 3, 2017

FLOW, also known as THE ZONE, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.

Six factors encompassing the experience of flow:
1. intense and focused concentration on the present moment
2. merging of action and awareness
3. a loss of reflective self-consciousness
4. a sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
5. a distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
6. experience of the activity is intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience

“The similarities between Yoga and FLOW are extremely strong; in fact it makes sense to think of Yoga as a very thoroughly planned flow activity. Both try to achieve a joyous, self-forgetful involvement through concentration, which in turn is made possible by a discipline of the body.”
(Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)

State of FLOW: the fusion of the body and mind, where time ceases and things happen by themselves.
(Breatheology – The Art of Conscious Breathing, by Stig Avall Severinsen)


Free your mind

March 7, 2017

Practice meditation.


Waves

March 7, 2017

Even though waves arise, the essence of your mind is pure; it is just like clear water with a few waves. Actually water always has waves. Waves are the practice of the water. To speak of waves apart from water or water apart from waves is a delusion. Water and waves are one. Big mind and small mind are one.

(Shunryu SUZUKI: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)


Balance

March 4, 2017

Whatever we see is changing, losing its balance. The reason everything looks beautiful is because it is out of balance, but its background is always in perfect harmony. This is how everything exists in the realm of Buddha nature, losing its balance against a background of perfect balance.

(Shunryu SUZUKI: “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”)

earth_growth


Smile

February 15, 2017

Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Being Peace”)

smile


Being Peace

February 15, 2017

Without being peace, we cannot do anything for peace. If we cannot smile, we cannot help other people to smile. If we are not peaceful, then we cannot contribute to the peace movement. A fresh way of being peace, of doing peace is needed. That is why it is so important for us to practice meditation, to acquire the capacity to look, to see, and to understand. Peace work means, first of all, being peace. Meditation is meditation for all of us. We rely on each other.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Being Peace”)

peace


Moved to act

January 30, 2017

“Once we wake up to the reality of interconnection and interdependence, we see that our actions have an effect and that we can’t only commit to stillness, especially since other beings are suffering.”
(Michael Stone: Feeing the Body, Freeing the Mind)


I’m with Her

January 26, 2017

im-with-her


We The People

January 21, 2017

We the people can create the kind of life we wish to live together on this earth right now right here. We the people stand for equality and climate justice.

Here are some groups you can join for organized and effective action:

OBAMA FOUNDATION
INDIVISIBLE
RISE AND RESIST NYC
GET ORGANIZED BROOKLYN

980xwethepeople

art: Shepard Fairey


Activism is collective healthcare

January 21, 2017

There is alternative and western medicine. Some health issues can be treated with acupuncture, other acute life-threatening injuries need immediate treatment at the intensive care.
When a country is ruled by leaders who work for peace, justice and the people, the people in turn have the great privilege to cultivate spiritual practices. Deep social change has to begin with ethics and inner work at the root level, before it can radiate out into the world. However, when the leaders of a country are not working for the people, the earth or world peace, but their motivation is based on personal power and material gain, spiritual practitioners need to switch to emergency mode. We need to take our spiritual practices out into the world and educate ourselves in the art of peaceful protest and direct action. We need to take responsibility for our lives, instead of resting on our privilege, letting others do the work or waiting until democracy has turned into fascism. And maybe we could have been more engaged in the first place (maybe we were but were not strong enough) – we are all in a learning process.
It is always important to ask ourselves how the practice we engage with is affecting our lives and the world we co-create. However, there are degrees of urgency. The red flag is up. Let’s wake up and get over any kind of fear, lethargy or spiritual bliss-bubble. If you have never protested before, this weekend offers plenty of opportunities for engagement and meeting new friends!
Thank you Barack Obama for being a rare example of a leader working for the people, freedom and equality, instead of personal interest. You have been a great inspiration. May we take it from here.

shepard-fairey-we-the-people-inauguration-posters-5

art: Ernesto Yerena


Happy New Year!

January 1, 2017

Wishing everyone a peaceful, happy and inspired new year!!!

I will be away from 1/4 – 1/22, resuming my regular teaching schedule on monday 1/23.

rabbit

art: ROA


My wish for 2017

January 1, 2017

Plant trees, not hate. ❤

tree


In good spirit for 2017, let’s focus!

December 30, 2016

rabbit
global-warmingvegan

Go Vegan ❤


New classes at YogaWorks Brooklyn Heights

December 29, 2016

Hello Brooklyn yogis,

I will start teaching more classes at YogaWorks Brooklyn Heights as of 1/24: Tue+Thu 5:15-6:15pm Vinyasa 2/3. Please join us in the new year!

long-tail

art: ROA


New schedule at Yoga Agora

December 29, 2016

Hi yogis,
Yoga Agora is launching a new schedule for 2017, and I will be teaching some non-asana classes (pranayama & philosophy), which I am particularly excited about. Please take a look at the website. Classes are by donation, $8 or $10, depending on the length of the class. Starting 1/25.
Peace to all of you,
Nora

Yoga Agora website

wednesday
8:30-9:30am Pranayama
10-11:20am Vinyasa 3 Plus Meditation

friday
5-6pm Vinyasa 2
6:30-7:45pm Vinyasa 3

sunday
12-1:30pm Vinyasa 3 Plus Pranayama
2-3pm Vinyasa 2
3:30-4:30pm Yoga in Action (Satsang/Philosophy)

img_8407

art: ROA


Happy holidays

December 26, 2016

Happy holidays to all human and non-human animals!

friend


Inspiring quotes by Michael Stone

December 23, 2016

wake-up-2

calligraphy: Thich Nhat Hanh

Let us, with compassion, vow to bring to realization humankind’s deep desire for freedom and construct a world in which everyone can truly and fully live.

Humans and all organisms are members of the system we call planet earth. As members of this system we form a web, knotted together intimately and inextricably. We are born from the earth, supported by the earth, and return to the earth, and we need the earth to live. The earth is not just what supports us; it sustains us. It cannot be considered a commodity, because it is our greatest resource.

Learning to perceive our lives as situated in the greater whole of organic life keeps us connected to the living and breathing whole of which we are made. The goal of yoga is vidya – seeing things as they are, being with life as it is, not as we need it to be or expect it to be. Yoga dismantles our basic mode of self-interest. Yoga teaches us to perceive the world more truly than our habits first suggest.

The yoga of Patañjali is groundbreaking in that it requires an awakening to the inherent insubstantiality of self-image.

Awakening is an accurate way of describing the spiritual path as it captures the concentric process of waking up from veils of habits and delusion. At the same time, we must remember that awakening is not dependent on a path, or anything else for that matter. Pure awareness is unconditioned.

Awareness is always free.

The freedom to be at ease in the world rests on recognizing the world as being free unto itself and especially free of our idea that the spiritual is a realm separated off from everything of which we are aware at this moment. Do you think that there is something else? Do you think yoga practice or any spiritual practice is going to take you away somewhere? What kind of belief system is operating behind the scenes if we think that “the spiritual” is anything other than this? Pay attention, this is all there is.

When I allow myself to dissolve in the freedom of pure awareness, I find myself completely myself, which in essence is the freedom to be nobody.

Yoga is not beyond this body, but rather it is the recognition of union through this body, this mind, and this very experience right now.

When we look outside, we try and find reality, and not finding it there, we search inside. If we draw a circle, what is outside is inside, and what is inside is outside. Life is outsideless. Nothing can be excluded. Reality is everywhere.

Go deep inside, our yoga practice teaches us, go deep into the feelings of inbreathing and exhaling, and suddenly the path leads outside. I look into the nature of the breath, in this very moment, and I’m looking into the nature of nature.

We must do our best to listen to one another and the pulsing world that sustains us, and to work on behalf of biodiversity itself, not on behalf of our infinite desires and habit energies. It’s not just reflection that the spiritual person must cultivate but also the response to the insights arrives at through reflection and the deep commitment to take our practice out into the world. The world is calling out for people like you.

If we want to change society and work toward issues like social justice or environmental awareness, we need to understand the inner dimension of change. Personal psychological transformation is key because culture is psychological. Simply performing outer ritual can only go so far, whether in religion or political action. All religious, spiritual, or justice-based practices come down to the personal psychological transformation that helps us think of others and, in doing so, teaches us to become less selfish. Spirituality, psychology, and social change cannot be separated.

(Michael Stone, Yoga For A World Out Of Balance)

fullsizerender

artwork: Banksy


Water = Life

November 29, 2016

waterislife

#NoDAPL


Poem by Cory Booker

November 23, 2016

We must always:
Be uncomfortable amidst injustice;
Disquiet in the face of wrongs; and
Disturbed as unfairness persists.

We must never allow bigotry to be easy; or hate to normalize
We must remain defiant
We must resist.

More dangerous than hate is apathy
More dangerous than bigotry is silence
And More dangerous than injustice is the acquiescence to it.

Let us be resolved:
To be vigilant in the defense of others;
To be restless in pursuits of justice;
And let us never grow weary in the work of love.

nohate


STOP Dakota Access Pipeline!

November 21, 2016

WATER = LIFE

share-nodapl

Please stop the militarized police violence against peaceful water protectors and indigenous people. Respect sacred land and Mother Earth. Protect clean drinking water. No Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, North Dakota.
#NoDAPL


Stop discrimination, stop hate!

November 12, 2016

Love Rally NYC, Washington Square Park 10/11/16

america-does-not-discriminate


Shiva’s Third Eye

October 3, 2016

Lord Shiva is always depicted with three eyes. As long as his third eye is closed Maya can exist because then Shiva has but two eyes, duality; and Maya is the essence of duality. But when the third eye (the eye of Jnana – transcendent wisdom) opens, he sees only unity. That third eye cannot differentiate in any way so the cosmos, which can exist only through duality, must be dissolved. As long as Lord Shiva’s third eye is open, nothing can exist but the undifferentiated condition. When it again closes then Shiva becomes subject to duality, and the cosmos can again arise.

(Robert E. Svoboda: Aghora – At the Left Hand of God)

shiva-third-eye


Seek to know the Infinite

September 15, 2016

Whatever you know is just words, names of finite phenomena. It is the Infinite that is the source of abiding joy because it is not subject to change. Therefore seek to know the Infinite.
(Chandogya Upanishad)

infinite


Matters of the Heart

September 15, 2016

All matters are matters of the Heart
All names are names of the Heart
Everything comes from the Heart
Everything has as its source the Heart.
(Mazu)

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-7-43-39-pm


Intertwined

August 10, 2016

We need to exercise both our body and our mind. The nature of the body is form and substance. The nature of the mind is consciousness. Because the body and mind are different by nature, what benefits them is different in nature as well. The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness. When we give our mind and body what benefits them, a natural harmony takes place. With this unified approach, we are happy, healthy, and wise.

(Sakyong Mipham – Running with the Mind of Meditation)

Intertwined


Remember Who You Are

August 8, 2016

“Inner work is as easy to exploit by the charismatic teacher as outer work is exploited by capitalism.”
– Matthew Remski

Remember who you are

artwork: chase


Vegan health risk

August 2, 2016

Found this on Jonathan Dickstein’s Instagram page.

vegan health risk


Healing from the heart

July 9, 2016

Yoga is my secret hiding place, a bright safe place in the eye of a storm. My calm center can be reached without saying a word, or forcing it. Just being. It brings awareness to the fact that I am completely a part of the universe.

(Saira C., female prisoner and yoga practitioner)

Healing from the heart

illustration: Lisa R., female prisoner and yogi in solitary confinement
book: A Women’s Practice: Healing from the Heart by Kath Meadows


The Guru trouble spot

July 5, 2016

In recent years, many people submitted themselves to a spectrum of spiritual teachers promising some form of salvation. Are gurus, as they claim to be, a necessary doorway to religious experiences that make life more profound? Or rather, are they filling deep needs and thus inadvertently pointing to trouble spots and lacks in the fabric of our culture, as well as revealing the depth of our conditioning to want authorities and mistrust ourselves?

(The Guru Papers – Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad)

Guru


Independence / Interdependence

July 4, 2016

The practice of yoga empowers us to stand autonomously and independently in ourselves, as we cultivate inner peace at any given moment. At the same time we come to know our interdependence with one another, as we breathe the same air, circulate the same water through our bodies, and extend care towards the collective body of planet Earth.

Happy interdependence day.

Earth Crayon


Interview with Maty Ezraty

June 26, 2016

“Yoga is a healing art for the body and mind that ultimately is supposed to be leading us to greater happiness and acceptance.”
(Maty Ezraty)

maty


Statistics of the invisible

June 23, 2016

1) 2.5 million humans incarcerated in the US
2) 9 million dairy cows incarcerated in the US
3) 9.2 billion animals slaughtered in 2015 in the US
4) 8.5 billion new chicken raised for food in 2015 in the US
5) 51.4 billion chicken slaughtered world wide per year
6) 56 billion animals slaughtered per year world wide (excludes sea animals)

Facts 2-6: GO VEGAN

Fact 1: You can send a yoga manual to a prisoner through this website (only $10)
prisonyoga.org

chicken cagesincarceration


The yoga paradigm shift

June 21, 2016

Yoga belongs to everyone.

Yoga practice is a tool for inner peace, no matter who you are, no matter where you are.

Yoga is universal knowledge. It is not owned by a guru who has it and who will pass it on to a disciple who does not have it. That concept is a complete myth. The knowledge of yoga is freely accessible to anyone and everyone at all times and in all places. It becomes available to you when you listen deeply, when you pause, when you connect.

Reinforcing the spiritual ladder of hierarchy by placing oneself below another is perpetuating the myth of yoga as a power practice.

The time for a paradigm shift has come. Let us equally share the practices of peace, stability, and inner freedom with one another. Let us be transparent in our actions. Let us break down the walls of separation and come together in unity, cultivating a vision of absolute equality beyond race, color, privilege, gender, or species. This world needs warriors of unconditional love with sharp and unconfused minds. This world needs love more than fear.

Act from love not fear

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Awareness in every pore of your skin

June 20, 2016

Yoga aims for complete awareness in everything we do.

(B.K.S. Iyengar)


Extend yourSelf beyond yourself

June 20, 2016

Extension brings freedom.

(B.K.S. Iyengar)

Energize

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Ethics are the foundation of yoga

June 20, 2016

There is no spiritual improvement without an ethical framework.

(B.K.S. Iyengar)


Pleasure in the Real

June 12, 2016

Awakening is joy that takes pleasure in the Real.

(Vimalakirti)


Kali Ma

June 12, 2016

The sun’s pure and brilliant essence cannot be dimmed
By the darkness that endures for a thousand kalpas.
Likewise, the luminous essence of mind cannot be dimmed
By the long kalpas of samsara.

(Tilopa)

Kali Ma


Empty space

June 12, 2016

Be sure mind’s nature is groundless voidness;
Your mind is insubstantial like empty space –
Like it or not, look at your own mind!

(Padmasambhava)


Space

June 12, 2016

Space can contain everything, but space has no concept of the thought that it can contain everything.

(Nirvana Sutra)

Sky


Nonmeditation

June 12, 2016

Nonmeditation: Nothing to do, nothing to elaborate, nothing to seek. Everything flows naturally from the essence of the mind. When the tension of the mind that is brought on by the ego ceases, duality collapses, and we taste the unique flavor of all things. In this great abandon lies the secret that no one believes in because it is of a revolting simplicity.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)

The absence of struggle is in itself meditation.

(Chögyam Trungpa)


Absolute solitude

June 12, 2016

In our absolute solitude is the key to our freedom.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)


Black Moon tonight

June 6, 2016

black panther


June 4, 2016

CRYPTIK MOVEMENT – Ministry of Public Enlightenment

palm


Animals matter

June 4, 2016

Abolitionist veganism, as developed by Gary Francione, is based on the simple idea that all animals, human and nonhuman, matter morally. We stop our cars in front of dogs, raccoons, and deer because we recognize that these animals do matter. They matter first in the sense that their own lives mean something to them, and this “meaning to them” produces the recognition in us that their lives also mean something for us. We intuitively grasp that how we behave towards animals does matter, it does mean something. As Gary Steiner states in Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism, “The origin of ethical principles is not some detached transcendent standpoint. It is a felt sense of lived kinship with other sentient beings.” Ethical principles derive from this intuition of “mattering,” not the other way around.

Live consistently. Go vegan.

Blue Wolf

(From: “Spirituality, Speciesism, and the Ethical Symmetry Gap” by Jonathan Dickstein)

See more at: http://www.ecorazzi.com/2016/05/30/spirituality-speciesism-and-the-ethical-symmetry-gap/#sthash.r0d0QyDH.dpuf

Black Wolf


June 3, 2016

CRYPTIK MOVEMENT – Ministry of Public Enlightenment

ganesha


Ganesha

June 2, 2016

Ganesh

CRYPTIK MOVEMENT – Ministry of Public Enlightenment


Eliminate the unnecessary

May 27, 2016

Eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
(Yumi Sakugawa)

Eliminate the unnecessary


Happy full moon!

May 22, 2016

Full Moon

Om Chandraya Namaha


Pulse of the Earth (what you can do in the park)

May 21, 2016

Lie down on your back in Savasana. Relax completely.
Breathe into the center of your chest. Feel the pulsation of your heartbeat.
Breathe through your heart all the way down toward the center of the Earth until you sense the heartbeat of the Earth.
Let yourself become pure pulsation and rhythm.
Through deep breathing and deep relaxation, become one with the core of the Earth.
Your heart and the heart of the Earth are one.
You are the cosmic heart, cosmic pulsation, universal rhythm of all.


Hello earthling

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Transmission

May 16, 2016

Whatever we are doing, we are a transmission of our being.

(Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill)


Become an environment

May 16, 2016

The best we can do is become an environment that allows every person we meet to open in the optimum way they can open up.

(Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill)


Open Heart

May 12, 2016

Meditation is a way of listening more and more deeply, so we hear from a more profound space, exactly how it is. To hear how it is, we must be open to it, thus the open heart.

(Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill)

Open Heart

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Nothing can transform That

May 12, 2016

That transforms all things, but nothing can transform that.

(Yuanwu)


A great letting go

May 12, 2016

Let us dare to abandon the frenzy of seeking. Let us dare to stand aloof, to doubt all that has seemed essential to us up to now, let us dare stop believing in anything at all; then we will have the experience of a great letting go. Then, in this relaxing, we will perhaps be able to taste of the essence of inconceivable freedom.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)


Simply that

May 10, 2016

The unmodified, uncorrected nature of the mind is liberated by its being allowed simply to remain in its own original, natural condition.

(Padmasambhava)


Ask the snake

May 8, 2016

Ask the Snake

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Stop all seeking

May 8, 2016

For those who have attained the Way, there is nothing that is not the Way.
You should observe your present state – what is the reason for it? Why do you become confused?
This is the most direct approach! Be free from both confusion and enlightenment.
Stop seeking. It is a sickness. Then monkey mind will stop. When you see things in this way, you will be free and independent.

(Ch’an master Foyan)


Forget the chakras

May 8, 2016

Forget the chakras. Perception of them is completely conditioned and illusory. It depends on your beliefs. If you believe there are seven of them, you will feel seven. If you believe there are twelve of them, you will feel twelve. If you do not believe chakras exist, you will feel a thousand chakras. What is important is that awareness become more intense, that the capacity to concentrate become keener, and this leads to the possibility of feeling intensely the openings as well as the closings.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)


The subtle body

May 8, 2016

The subtle body is a refined sensing of the gross body; it is not another body. There is a very small difference: this subtle gross body includes the universe.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)


It can be fully known

May 8, 2016

The Clear Light of your own intrinsic awareness is empty, like the sun rising in a cloudless illuminated sky. Even though this light cannot be said to possess a particular shape or form, nevertheless, it can be fully known.

(Padmasambhava)


You should look at your own mind

May 8, 2016

It is certain that the nature of the mind is empty and without any foundation whatsoever.
Your own mind is insubstantial like the empty sky.
You should look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not.

It is certain that self-originated primary awareness has been clear and luminous from the very beginning,
Like the heart of the sun, which is self-originated.
You should look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not.

You should look at your own mind, observing it again and again.

(Padmasambhava)


Mind

May 8, 2016

All activity deliberated by the mind is activity of limited consciousness.

(Chen-houei)


Peace is the way

May 5, 2016

There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.

(Mahatma Gandhi)

Anahata


As the heart of the sun

May 4, 2016

As the heart of the sun
Cannot be veiled by an eternity of darkness
So too, the realization of the ultimate nature of the mind
Cannot be veiled by an eternity of samsara.

(Machig Labdrön)


Mahamudra

May 2, 2016

Abandoning all bodily activities,
Remain like a bunch of straw cut loose.
Abandoning all verbal expressions of speech,
Remain like a lute with its strings cut through.
Abandoning all mental activity,
That is Mahamudra.

This body of yours is impermanent like a feather on a high mountain pass,
This mind of yours is empty and clear like the depth of space.
Relax in that natural state, free of fabrication.
When mind is without any support, that is Mahamudra.

(Machig Labdrön)

Close your Eyes and Imagine

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


The universe is manifested within

May 1, 2016

The venerated Shankari (Shakti), source of energy, opens her eyes and the universe is reabsorbed in pure consciousness; she closes them and the universe is manifested within her.

(Spandakarika, verse 1, Daniel Odier)

Keep Your Channels Open

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


This love cannot be found in someone else

April 29, 2016

This love cannot be found in someone else, the so-called master, but only within yourself. Abandon the hope that someone will pour over you the fine ambrosia…; taste it at the source of your own heart. Fundamentally, there is neither master nor disciple, although there is sometimes a non-neurotic connection between two people who walk together in space. It can be said that this is love.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)


Silence pervades

April 29, 2016

It is not we who reach the state; it is the state that reaches us.
It is not we who create silence; it is silence that pervades us.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)


Form / Space

April 29, 2016

When form no longer exists, there is space.


All that is here is elsewhere

April 29, 2016

The pulsing of consciousness is the source from which the tantrika drinks; it is the manifestation of the Shakti. The worlds are not divided; all that is here is elsewhere, all that is not here is nowhere. Duality and nonduality are united within the heart of reality, like shadow and light, silence and sound, sun and moon. There is no separate reality. Everything is the expression of the supreme Shakti.

(Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika)

Atman


The great release

April 29, 2016

The great release of yoga brings us back to our absolute essence through expansion.

Elevate Your Frequency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elevate Your Frequency (by Yumi Sakugawa)
quote: Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika


Mother Earth is a Temple, not a Dustbin!

April 25, 2016

Because Earth is so beautiful, we are attracted to her, we fall in love with her, we desire to experience her beauty.
We become embodied as human beings in order to taste her, the oceans, forests, rain, rocks, air.
Earth continues to be beautiful, but also wants to teach us: Let go! Return to the source!
How many continents will you need to travel until you have saturated your need to experience things external to you?
Lie down on my back, says Earth. Relax. Let the center of your heart become connected with my center. Feel your heart’s pulsation become one with the pulse of my heart. Feel rhythm.
Earth revolts: earthquakes – humans wake up!
Earth veils: confusion, pollution, consumption, never enough stuff – how far do I have to push you until you let go? Is there not enough trash covering my skin yet?
Earth flirts: how many more lovers until you get tired of it? When will you be ready to go back to love in its purest form?
Earth plays: she dances, she sings.
Earth teaches. Earth is the teacher.
Earth provokes.
Earth is the Guru, the heavy, the dark, the center, the magnet, the core.
Earth is the Bindu of the cosmos, the center of the wheel.
Earth is Zero. Earth is Samasthiti. Earth is home.
Don’t look for your light out there in the stars. Travel home to the pulse of the heart of the Earth.

Mother Earth Shiva

Graffiti on a wall in Goa, India.


Empty / Full

April 25, 2016

Within is void, without is void, like an empty vessel in space.
Completely full internally, completely full externally, just like a pot in the ocean.

Empty within, empty without, empty like a pot in space.
Full within, full without, full like a pot in the ocean.

(Hatha Yoga Pradipika IV.56)


Vijnana Bhairava Tantra (excepts)

April 5, 2016

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Fix attention on the inside of the skull. Close eyes.

12. Meditate on the inner emptiness of central nadi.

15. Listen to the Anahata sound.

16. Meditate on Om and the void at the end of it.

20. Meditate on the void in one’s body extending in all directions simultaneously.

21. Concentrate on the void above and the void below.

22. Meditate on the three voids: below, in the heart, and above.

23. Contemplate on the body which as the limited subject is void.

25. Meditate on the skin as being like an outer wall with nothing within it.

26. Merge the mind and the senses in the interior space in the heart.

27. Dissolve mind in the Brahmarandhra. (This is the so-called 1,000 petalled lotus.)

35. Concentrate intensely on the idea that the universe is completely void.

36. Meditate on the empty space within a jar.

38. Concentrate on the space which occurs between two ideas.

39. Contemplate on the gap between one thought while suppressing another thought.

40. Contemplate on one’s own body as the universe and as of the nature of consciousness.

69. Concentrate on one’s own self as a vast unlimited expanse.

77. The same self is in every body.

81. Think: “I am not my own body. I exist everywhere”.

83. Contemplate that the same consciousness exists in all bodies.

100. Develop Sama towards all.


The origins of Iyengar Yoga!?

April 3, 2016

Swastikasana with belt support will put your practice on fire.

Pranayama Kundalini


The journey inward

March 29, 2016

We must discover what each sheath of being longs for and nourish it according to its subtle appetites. After all, it is the inner or subtler kosa that support the layers exterior to them. So we would say in yoga that the subtle precedes the gross, or spirit precedes matter. But yoga says we must deal with the outer or most manifest first, i.e., legs, arms, spine, eyes, tongue, touch, in order to develop the sensitivity to move inward. This is why asana opens the whole spectrum of yoga’s possibilities. There can be no realization of existential, divine bliss without the support of the soul’s incarnate vehicle, the food-and-water-fed body, from bone to brain. If we can become aware of its limitations and compulsions, we can transcend them.

(B.K.S.Iyengar, Light on Life)

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.08.55 PM


Kalicat

March 27, 2016

Kalicat

My teacher in all matters of yoga and life.


One

March 15, 2016

The Self is one, though it appears to be many.


When you look

March 15, 2016

When you look into another’s eyes, what you see is the Self, fearless and deathless. That is Brahman, the supreme.


Dreamless sleep

March 15, 2016

When one is absorbed in dreamless sleep,
He is one with the Self, though he knows it not.
We say he sleeps, but he sleeps in the Self.

Rest Dream

When a person is sleeping soundly,
Free from dreams, with a still mind,
That is the Self, fearless and deathless.
That is Brahman, the supreme.

(Chandogya Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Salty

March 15, 2016

As a lump of salt thrown in water dissolves and cannot be taken out again, though wherever we taste the water it is salty, even so, beloved, the separate self dissolves in the sea of pure consciousness, infinite and immortal. Separateness arises from identifying the Self with the body, which is made up of the elements; when this physical identification dissolves, there can be no more separate self. This is what I want to tell you, beloved.

(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

Salt


Who is to catch hold of whom?

March 15, 2016

There must be a duality if you are to catch hold of something else, but what is is only the one Self, not a duality. Hence, who is to catch hold of whom?

(Ramana Maharshi)


Maitri Upanishad

March 14, 2016

One becomes like that which is in one’s mind – this is the everlasting secret.


Shiva Power!

March 14, 2016

Om Namah Shivaya.

Shiva Power 1Shiva Power 2


Salutations to Her

March 11, 2016

Sri Lalita

 

Salutations to Her who is realized through devoted meditation.
Salutations to Her who is verily like an axe for clearing the jungle of Samsara (transmigratory existence) in which the Jiva is caught.
Salutations to Her who is the embodiment of auspiciousness.
Salutations to Her who is attained through true devotion.
Salutations to Her who dispels all fear.
Salutations to Her who is the bestower of happiness.
Salutations to Her whose face shines like the autumnal moon.
Salutations to Her who is full of peace.
Salutations to Her who has no support other than Herself, but supports everything else.
Salutations to Her who is free from all affectations of external contacts.
Salutations to Her who is eternal.
Salutations to Her who is not limited to and by any form.
Salutations to Her who is never agitated.
Salutations to Her who is beyond the three Gunas of Prakrti – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
Salutations to Her who is the Partless Unitary Whole.
Salutations to Her who is ever serene.
Salutations to Her who is free from desires.
Salutations to Her who is free from afflictions.
Salutations to Her who is eternally free.
Salutations to Her who is not subject to change.
Salutations to Her who is beyond the sphere of multiplicity.
Salutations to Her who is not dependent on anything or anyone.
Salutations to Her who is ever-awake Consciousness.
Salutations to Her who has no cause for Herself, as she is the first cause.
Salutations to Her who has no limitations.
Salutations to Her who is free from all doubts and anxieties.
Salutations to Her who is without any egoism.
Salutations to Her who is free from false view of things.
Salutations to Her who dispels all illusions.
Salutations to Her who is devoid of self interest in any matter, as She includes everything in Herself.
Salutations to Her who is without anger.
Salutations to Her who destroys the tendency to get angry.
Salutations to Her who is free from greed.
Salutations to Her who has no doubts.
Salutations to Her who is not involved in the cycle of births and deaths.
Salutations to Her who is without any modifications, as she is pure consciousness.
Salutations to Her who is beyond all differences.
Salutations to Her who destroys the sense of differences.
Salutations to Her who is deathless.
Salutations to Her who destroys all fear of death.
Salutations to Her who is without involvement in action.
Salutations to Her who needs no gift, as everything in the universe is hers.
Salutations to Her whose locks of hair are shining black in color.
Salutations to Her who is indestructible.
Salutations to Her who is difficult to attain.
Salutations to Her who is hard to approach.
Salutations to Her who is difficult of access.
Salutations to Her who puts an end to sorrow.
Salutations to Her who bestows all happiness.
Salutations to Her who is omniscient.
Salutations to Her who is deeply compassionate.
Salutations to Her who is all auspiciousness.
Salutations to Her who is the Mistress of the whole universe.
Salutations to Her who is the all.
Salutations to Her who is the essence of all mantras.
Salutations to Her who is the Manonmani, the transcendent consciousness.
Salutations to Her who is the Supreme Goddess.
Salutations to Her whose form is magnificent and all-embracing.
Salutations to Her who is Mahamaya (Supreme Power).
Salutations to Her who is the Supreme Reality (Sattva).
Salutations to Her who is the Boundless Energy.
Salutations to Her who is boundless delight.
Salutations to Her who is the great enjoyer.
Salutations to Her who is supreme in strength.
Salutations to Her who is supreme in wisdom.
Salutations to Her who is the witness of the Supreme Lord’s (Mahesvara’s) awesome destructive cosmic dance at the end of the creative cycle.
Salutations to Her whose form is exquisite.
Salutations to Her whose smile is charming.
Salutations to Her whose eyes move like fish in the streams of beauty flowing from Her face.

-excerpts from the Sri Lalita Sahasranama


Between states of dreaming and waking

March 10, 2016

As a great fish swims between the banks of a river
as it likes, so does the shining Self move between the
states of dreaming and waking.

(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

Form and formless


…and live in all.

March 9, 2016

Those who know the supreme Self as formless,
Know all, gentle friend, and live in all.
Those who know the Self, the seat of consciousness,
Know all, gentle friend, and live in all.

(Prashna Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)


Established in AUM

March 9, 2016

Those who have become established in AUM,
What happens to them after death?

AUM is both immanent and transcendent.
Through it one can attain
The personal and the impersonal.

AUM has three sounds.

When the whole mantram, A, U, and M,
Indivisible, interdependent,
Goes on reverberating in the mind,
One is freed from fear, awake or asleep.

Established in this cosmic vibration,
The sage goes beyond fear, decay, and death
To enter into infinite peace.

(Prashna Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

braun OM


Who?

March 9, 2016

When a man is sleeping, who is it
That sleeps in him? Who sees the dreams he sees?
When he wakes up, who in him is awake?
When he enjoys, who is enjoying?
In whom do all these faculties rest?

(Prashna Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

Take rest

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


The Breath of Life

March 9, 2016

Prana burns as fire; it shines as the sun;
It rains as the cloud; it blows as the wind;
It crashes as the thunder in the sky.
It is the earth; it has form and no form;
Prana is immortality.

Prana is born of the Self. As a man
Casts a shadow, the Self casts prana
Into the body at the time of birth.

O prana, all the world depends on you.
It is you who gives us the breath of life.

The main prana dwells in eye, ear, mouth, and nose;
Apana, the downward force, in the organs
Of sex and excretion. Samana,
The equalizing force in the middle,
Digests food and kindles the seven fires.
Vyana, distributor of energy,
Moves through the myriad vital currents
Radiating from the heart, where lives the Self.
At the time of death, through the subtle track
That runs upward through the spinal channel,
Udana, the fifth force, leads the selfless
Up the long ladder of evolution,
And the selfish down.

The sun is the prana of the universe,
And it rises to bring light to our eyes.
The earth draws the lower fire of apana;
The space between sun and earth is samana,
And the moving air is vyana.
Fire is udana. When that fire goes out,
The senses are drawn back into the mind
And the person is ready for rebirth.
Whatever the content of consciousness
At the time of death, that is what unites us
To prana, udana, and the Self,
To be reborn in the plane we have earned.

Those who realize this go beyond death.
Their children too follow their footsteps.
Those who perceive how prana rises,
Enters the body, and becomes fivefold
To serve the Self, they die not; they die not.

(Prashna Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

prana-breathprana-life-energy18


Who moves the world?

March 9, 2016

The light of Brahman flashes in lightning;
The light of Brahman flashes in our eyes.
It is the power of Brahman that makes
The mind to think, desire, and will. Therefore
Use this power to meditate on Brahman.

(Kena Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

mindfulness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


AUM

March 7, 2016

AUM stands for the supreme Reality.
It is a symbol for what was, what is,
And what shall be. AUM represents also
What lies beyond past, present, and future.

The mantram AUM stands for the supreme state
Of turiya, without parts, beyond birth
And death, symbol of everlasting joy.
Those who know AUM as the Self become the Self;
Truly they become the Self.

OM shanti shanti shanti

(Mandukya Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

black OM


Mahavakyas (great sayings)

March 7, 2016

prajnanam brahma – consciousness is brahman
aham brahmasmi – i am brahman
tat tvam asi – that thou art / you are that
ayam atma brahma – the self is brahman
sarvam idam brahma – all is brahman
ekam evadvitiyam brahma – brahman is one, without a second
soham – i am that
sarvam khalvidam brahma – all of this is brahman

brahman: (from the root brh) that which expands, ultimate reality, beyond all distinctions or forms


Two birds

March 7, 2016

Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree,
Intimate friends, the ego and the Self
Dwell in the same body. The former eats
The sweet and sour fruits of the tree of life
While the latter looks on in detachment.

(Mundaka Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

Two birds 1


Those who see all creatures in themselves

March 2, 2016

Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no grief.
How can the multiplicity of life
Delude one who sees its unity?

The Self is everywhere. Bright is the Self,
Indivisible, untouched.

O mind, meditate on the eternal Brahman.
Remember, o mind, remember.

(Isha Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

I feel like this is the beginning of a longer story

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Brahmaloka – City of Brahman

March 1, 2016

In the city of Brahman is a secret dwelling, the lotus of the heart. Within this dwelling is a space, and within that space is the fulfillment of our desires. What is within that space should be longed for and realized.

As great as the infinite space beyond is the space within the lotus of the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained in that inner space, both fire and air, sun and moon, lightning and stars. Whether we know it in this world or know it not, everything is contained in that inner space.

Those who depart from this world without knowing who they are or what they truly desire have no freedom here or after. But those who leave here knowing who they are and what they truly desire have freedom everywhere, both in this world and in the next.

All those we love, alive or departed, and all things we desire but do not have, are found when we enter that space within the heart; for there abide all desires that are true, though covered by what is false.

Like strangers in an unfamiliar country walking over a hidden treasure, day by day we enter the world of Brahman while in deep sleep but never find it, carried away by what is false.

The Self is hidden in the lotus of the heart. Those who see themselves in all creatures go day by day into the world of Brahman hidden in the heart. Established in peace, they rise above body-consciousness to the supreme light of the Self. Immortal, free from fear, this Self is Brahman, called the True. Beyond the mortal and the immortal, he binds both worlds together. Those who know this live day after day in heaven in this very life.

(from The Chandogya Upanishad, transl. Eknath Easwaran)

Your heart is a sun

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


A comparative study

February 29, 2016

When the five senses are stilled, when the mind
Is stilled, when the intellect is stilled,
That is called the highest state by the wise.
They say yoga is this complete stillness
In which one enters the unitive state,
Never to become separate again.
If one is not established in this state,
The sense of unity will come and go.

(Katha Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

I.2 Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind.
I.3 When that is accomplished, the seer abides in its own true nature.
I.4 Otherwise, at other times, the seer is absorbed in the changing states of the mind.

(Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translation by Edwin F. Bryant)

I am the silent witness

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Oasis of silence

February 27, 2016

subway: ear plugs
yoga: karnapidasana (ear pressure pose), shanmuki mudra
home: meditation
morning: keep electronic devices turned off
walking: focus on breathing
mind: replace noisy thoughts with OM or other nice mantra

oasis of silence

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa


Now this is inspiration for practice!

February 19, 2016

Scorpion Monkey


Embodied liberation

February 17, 2016

“This is a liberated being: one who experiences reality as divine.”

Web of fire

illustration: Yumi Sakugawa
quote: Christopher Tompkins


Fresh as a flower, solid as a mountain

February 15, 2016

Yumi Sakugawa meets Thich Nhat Hanh.
“My intent is to be as fresh as a flower and as solid as a mountain.”

TNH + Yumi


You are that

February 8, 2016

Meditation culminates in the state of samadhi. It’s not that you practice samadhi. Nobody can consciously practice samadhi. Our effort is there only up to meditation. You put all your effort in dharana. It becomes effortless in dhyana, and you are just there, knowing that you are in meditation.  But in samadhi, you don’t even know that. You are not there to know it because you are that.

(Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)

dharana: concentration
dhyana: meditation
samadhi: absorption

Chrystal

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa


Dedication

February 8, 2016

Try not to possess anything for yourself. Let us all dedicate our lives for the sake of the entire humanity. With every minute, every breath, every atom of our bodies we should repeat this mantra: “Dedication, dedication, giving, giving, loving, loving.” This is the best japa, the best Yoga, which will bring us all permanent peace and joy and keep the mind free from disturbances of the citta vrttis.

(Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)

Turn your art into an offering

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa


Flow

January 25, 2016

We begin to develop the power of our minds through concentration, through one-pointedness. Following the breath, we develop the capacity to put the mind on one thought and keep it there and let everything else flow by. We don’t stop our minds. We let them flow. But we bring one thought constantly to the surface. We keep coming back to one thought all the time. Breathing in, breathing out. Breathing in, breathing out. Rising, falling. We note breathing in, breathing out. A one-pointed mind is free of the intellect. It is a supple, useful mind.

(Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill)

Turtle 2Turtle 1


You ARE the meditation

January 25, 2016

We are the meditation. There’s nothing to do. Our whole life is a meditative act. There’s no time we leave meditation. It’s not just sitting on our meditation pillows. Whatever we are doing, it’s all meditation.

(Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill)

Waves 2Waves 1


Focus

January 6, 2016

To stay in the present moment takes concentration. When we have concentration, we have a lot of energy. We won’t get carried away by visions of past suffering or fears about the future. We dwell stably in the present moment so we can get in touch with the wonders of life, and generate joy and happiness. If you focus on your breathing in a relaxed way, you are already cultivating an inner strength. Like that happiness arises lightly and easily.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud No Lotus)


Focus

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa


What is Yoga?

December 26, 2015

Kali

Yoga is a movement
From untruth to truth.
From darkness to light.
From ignorance to knowledge.
From pain, suffering, disease and death to peace, happiness and eternity.
From unreality to reality. To ultimate reality.
The main goal of yoga is freedom of the spirit.
Yoga is beyond religion and science.
Yoga is not the property of anyone, it belongs equally to everybody.
It is the property of nature and consciousness.
Yoga is mastery of the mind.
To become a yogi is to become a master of the mind.
Realize eternal consciousness, which is operating in you through your heart, and which is manifest in you as your eternal teacher.
It is manifest in you in the form of different divine sounds (anahata nadam), a subtle and constant vibration, similar to OM.

(Shri Brahmananda Saraswati)

Shiva


Lungs of the Earth

December 26, 2015

My intention for 2016: Plant trees! Restore the lungs of the Earth.

Lungs of the Earth

photo by Tamar Samir


2016 Let’s Do It!

December 25, 2015

2016: Vegan Planet Earth – collective shift of consciousness toward a plant-based lifestyle!

Vegan


Psychedelic Devi (Jai Ambe Jagadambe) – by Balanda

December 14, 2015


Your Mind on Meditation

November 27, 2015

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa

Your Mind on Meditation


Hanuman

November 13, 2015

HanumanHanuman Play


Jaguar medicine

November 12, 2015

Sacred Jaguar teach me…
To wear my power lightly,
To walk with impeccability,
To approach life with compassion,
And to live up to the integrity of
My human potential.

Jaguar


Raven medicine

November 12, 2015

Raven… black as pitch, mystical as the moon,
Speak to me of magic, I will fly with you soon.

Raven

Throughout time, Raven has carried the medicine of magic. This has been true in many cultures across the planet. It is sacred, in the medicine ways, to honor Raven as the bringer of magic.

Raven is a powerful medicine that can give you the courage to enter the darkness of the void, which is the home of all that is not yet form. The void is called the Great Mystery. Great Mystery existed before all other things came into being. Great Spirit lives inside the void and emerged from the Great Mystery. Raven is the messenger of the void.

Raven’s color is the color of the void – the black hole in space that holds all the energy of the creative source. In Native teachings the color black means many things, but it does not mean evil. Black can mean the seeking of answers, the void, or the road of the spiritual or nonphysical. The blue-black of Raven contains an iridescence that speaks of the magic of darkness, and a changeability of form and shape that brings an awakening in the process.

Raven guides the magic of healing and the change in consciousness that will bring about a new reality and dispel “dis-ease” or illness. Raven brings in the state of wellness from the Void of Great Mystery and the field of plenty.

(from the book “Medicine Cards” by Jamie Sams and Divid Carson)


Direct experience

November 10, 2015

Words cannot convey the value of yoga – it has to be experienced.

– B.K.S. Iyengar


The Art of Self-Practice (Mysore Ashtanga)

November 7, 2015

This morning I practiced.
It was very simple.
I unrolled a mat, said a few words softly to myself, and began.

Nobody asked me to “open” or “expand” anything.
I was not instructed to take anything from one level to another.

No one asked me to “melt” any part of my body.
It was never suggested that I should “embody” some concept or another.
I didn’t hear anyone “speak their truth”.
No one assured me that I could “manifest” anything I wanted.

It was never suggested that I would be happier if I bought some new product.
I wasn’t told to pursue any bliss.
Spirit was neither mentioned nor invoked.
No one used the word “energy”. Nobody implied that I could be stronger, more beautiful or more free than I currently am.
In fact, no one spoke at all.

I spent two hours moving through a familiar sequence of poses. I did this practice in a warm, quiet room listening to my breath and the breath of those practicing nearby.
I was assisted by a gentle and patient human being who, for the most part, left me alone to do my work. At the end of my practice, I lay on the floor completely still for a long time.

When I was done, I quietly left.
People smiled at me on my way out. I smiled at them.

I will practice again tomorrow.

– Eric Jeffers


Whale medicine

October 31, 2015

Whale

We hold a depth of planetary healing and we resound the tone of love for all. What we most want to tell humans is to love yourselves. We find you have a hard time with this.

We whales know our magnificence and so see magnificence in you as well. We call to you to awaken to your vast power and dormant love.

If you swim with us or watch us, you will feel love. We invite you to relax into the depth of your being, to join us inside your being.

Our advice to you is simple – love. Let go of all that hardens your heart and weighs you down. We are buoyant and large because we hold an immensity of peace and contentment within.

Whale wisdom is no different from your own, for we are you. Feel the presence of whale inside yourself and you will know. We call to share love with you.

(from the book “Animal Teachings” by Dawn Brunke)


Black Panther medicine

October 26, 2015

Oh Midnight Jaguar… Wash me with your courage.
And steel me with your grace,
So I may know the value of
The void of time and space.

Teach me all your lessons,
How to face the dark unknown.
Then let me bravely leap
Into the shadows all alone.

Black Panther

Black Panther’s medicine allows human beings to face their fears and dark behaviors, exploring those internal shadowy aspects of being. Darkness is the place for seeking and finding answers, for accepting healings, and for accessing the hidden light of truth. Black Panther teaches us through our dreams to delve into the places within ourselves that need healing. She shows us how to track the unfamiliar territory found on the journey of self-discovery and to fearlessly face the unknown.

Embrace the unknown and flow with the mystery that is unfolding in your life.

(from the book “Medicine Cards” by Jamie Sams and Divid Carson)


Self-portrait of me / you

October 11, 2015

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa

self-portrait of me : you


Meditation will change your life

September 15, 2015

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa

meditation will change your life


Stone Mandala by Carlos Vazquez

August 3, 2015

Jivamukti Yoga Retreat at YogaRocks, Triopetra Crete, Aug 15-22
with Tamar Samir and Nora Heilmann

stone mandala


Free the almond

July 30, 2015

free the almond


Be a still pond

July 13, 2015

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa

Be a still pond


Palpate and sniff

July 2, 2015

“You must not seek, you must search. You must not see, you must look at. You must not hear, you must listen to. You must not touch, you must palpate. You must not smell, you must sniff.”

– B.K.S. Iyengar


B.K.S. Iyengar in Savasana

June 23, 2015

The best and most advanced asana: corpse pose, Savasana.

B.K.S.Iyengar Savasana


You are not your thoughts

June 16, 2015

illustration by Yumi Sakugawa

Not your thoughts


@ Mott Street

May 29, 2015

HummingbirdLove and peace


Contact Earth.

May 28, 2015

“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

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Shared energy transmission.

May 19, 2015

“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.”
—David Life

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Nature is within us, and we are nature.

May 5, 2015

Beautiful animal photography by Andreas Lie.

Double-Exposure-Animal-Portraits-by-Andreas-Lie-3Double-Exposure-Animal-Portraits-by-Andreas-Lie-4


What is practice

April 26, 2015

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


Relationship to the Earth

April 26, 2015

Blueprint for Joy

design: tamar samir


Recommended reading

April 7, 2015

This is the book for New Yorkers!

Silence


Pranayama Thursday 4pm

March 31, 2015

“In the beginning there was darkness only. In this darkness the One silently breathed.” (from the Rig Veda)

pranayama

Please join me for a deep breath in Pranayama class on thursdays from 4-5 pm at the Jivamukti Yoga School NYC!


Sri Lalitha Sahasranama

March 6, 2015

A few of the thousand names of the Goddess.

Sri Lalitha Devi

 

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.


Kundalini piercing the Granthis

March 6, 2015

ChakrasKundalini

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)


Channeling KALI

February 21, 2015

We are trying to stay warm by practicing fierce kriyas!

Peanutbutter Shakti & Coconut Kali