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  • Yoga Marrakech
  • KUAN YIN

    KUAN YIN
    KUAN YIN,, GODDESS OF COMPASSION AND WISDOM,,, 
  • ASHTANGHA YOGA MARRAKECH

    ASHTANGHA YOGA MARRAKECH
    ASHTANGA YOGA MARRAKECH OFFERS WEEKELY GROUP CLASSES OR PRIVATE LESSONS, AT HOTELS, RESIDENCES, VILLAS,,,,,,, ONE HOUR ONE HOUR HALF TAILOR MADE TO GROUPS , INDIVIDUALS  ENQUIRIES HEARTOFA@GMAIL.COM
  • YOGA MUDRA YOGA

    YOGA MUDRA YOGA
    YOGA MARRAKECH IS HAVING A WEEKEND OF MUDRA MEDITATION WORK,, SATURDAY MORNING AND SUNDAY MORNING IN MARCH   MUDRA WORK IS INTERESTING AS IT IS A WAY TO HEAL ,, STRENGTHEN ,,RESTORE AND NOURISH THE BODY    THERE ARE MANY MUDRAS,, OFTEN CALLED YOGA OF THE HANDS   WORKSHOP IS 3 HOURS ENQUIRES HEARTOFA@GMAIL.COM
  • MEDITATION CLASSES IN MARRAKECH

    MEDITATION CLASSES IN MARRAKECH
    YOGA MARRAKECH IS STARTING WEEKLY MEDITATION CLASSES COME SPRING, THESE CLASSES ARE OPEN TO ANYONE AND WILL BE HELD WEEKLY AT YOGA MARRAKECH CENTER NEAR THE STADIUM. FOR FURTHER INFO CONTACT HEARTOFA@GMAIL.COM
  • YOGA MARRAKECH HEALING YOGA WEEKENDS

    YOGA MARRAKECH HEALING YOGA WEEKENDS
      YOGA MARRAKECH OFFERS WEEKEND YOGA RETREATS FOCUSING ON ASANA, POSTURE, BREATHING PRANAYAMA, RELAXATION, MEDITATION,MUDRA AND MANTRA WORK. BODYWORK OF YOUR CHOICE CAN ALSO BE INCLUDED. JUICING VEGETARIAN OPTIONS INCLUDED. STARTING SPRING YOGA MARRAKECH OPENS ITS DOOR TO INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLERS AS WELL AS LOCALS  WANTING TO DEEPEN OR BEGIN THEIR YOGA PRACTICE, RELAX, UNWIND AND […]
  • My Yoga Online
  • Wanderlust Colorado Ticket Giveaway!

    Wanderlust Colorado Ticket Giveaway!

    Win a pair of four-day tickets to Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass plus a Kula market goodie bag -- an $1100 value!

    Want to get away to Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass this summer? Tell us why you want to go and you could win! 

    ENTERING TO WIN IS EASY: Tell us why you want to win in the comments section below.

    For another chance to win, enter on Facebook too! Join your My Yoga Online community on Facebook and enter to win! 

    Share the love: Tell your friends about this great giveaway. Just click “SHARE” at the top of this post.

    This weeks prize: Win a pair of four-day festival tickets to Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass, July 3 - 6, 2014. Featuring: Seane Corn, Gurmukh, Jonny Kest, Rod Stryker, MC Yogi, Jurassic 5, & many more celebrated teachers, performers and artists! Each ticket includes your choice of three yoga classes per day, outdoor activities and access to all musical performances. Plus, you'll be treated to a Kula market packed with goodies from a select group of craft and food vendors -- a huge prize valued at $1100!

    Wanderlust Festivals are all-out, ecstatic celebrations. Each festival gathers the world’s leading yoga teachers, top musical acts, renowned speakers, exquisite chefs, and thrilling performers, weaving together an experience that surprises & delights. Join us on the mountaintop for a daylong retreat or a multi-day adventure, Wanderlust events are an opportunity to unplug from the ordinary and discover the extraordinary.

    Win two FREE four-day passes to Wanderlust Colorado this July, the perfect getaway for you and a friend :) -- an $1100 value!

    Make sure to follow and like Wanderlust on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+

    The fine print: Click here to read the official contest rules. By submitting a comment on this blog or commenting on or ‘liking’ the Facebook post, you agree to the official contest rules.


    More Yoga
  • Welcome to Yoga for Athletes. Win Prizes!

    Welcome to Yoga for Athletes. Win Prizes!

    What are you training for this season? Whether you are getting ready for a marathon or a team sport, or simply want to get in shape for the summer, our latest practice guide is for you! Our 14-day Yoga for Athletes series will stretch and tone your entire body, increase your focus and provide the recovery your body needs to thrive. From April 1st-14th, empower yourself with yoga practices designed to increase your performance and create balance in the body.

    Are you ready to take it to the next level? Get strong, build flexibility, boost your training and increase mental focus with Yoga for Athletes on My Yoga Online.

    Win prizes from Gaiam and Vega!

     My Yoga Online is giving away a grand prize to the most active participant, over $300 in value!

    • Vega is giving away a tub of Sugar Free Energizer, a box of Hydrator, and a tub of Vega Sport Protein -- a $145 value! 
    • Gaiam is giving away a Metro Gym Bag in Charcoal, a Restore Strength and Flexibility Kit, a Restore Total Body Foam Roller 36", and a Sol Dry-Grip yoga mat -- a $145 value! 
    • a t-shirt from My Yoga Online -- a $30 value!
    • a $500 charitable donation to the Ocean Conservancy on your behalf!

    ENTER TO WIN IN FOUR EASY STEPS: 

    1. Complete the challenge by practicing daily.

    2. Actively engage in our community by commenting on our daily content.

    3. Invite your friends.

    4. Be social! For another chance to win, share the challenge on social media!

     

    Make sure to follow and like our friends on social media!

    Vega on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

    Gaiam on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest

    The Ocean Conservancy on Facebook and Twitter

     

    Supporting the Ocean Conservancy

    At the end of this series, My Yoga Online will make a $500 donation to the Ocean Conservancy in the name of its most active participant, but you are welcome to make a personal donation as well.

    A donation to the Ocean Conservancy could:

    • Help to organize beach cleanups around the globe, and fight the trash and debris that threatens our ocean's health ( they have removed 144,606,491 pounds of trash in the last 25 years).

    • Aid in the maintenance and security of sustainable fisheries.
    • Fund the creation of protected habitats for healthy and thriving wildlife to live.
    • And much more.

     


    The fine print: Click here to read the official contest rules. By participating in the challenge you agree to the official contest rules.


    More Yoga
  • Enter Our Yoga Bloopers Twitter Contest

    Enter Our Yoga Bloopers Twitter Contest

    Join our #YogaBloopers Twitter Contest and Enter to Win a Sol Soft-Grip Yoga Mat from Gaiam -- a $65 value!

    Have you ever had a laugh out loud experience with yoga? Whether you fell out of a pose, added an extra "OM", or showed up to class in jeans, we want to hear your Yoga Bloopers! Over the last couple weeks at My Yoga Online we have been enjoying your Yoga Blooper tweets and we want to keep the laughs going. Coming exclusively to Twitter March 25-April 1, share and spread the laughter with your yoga community and @MyYogaOnline by using the hashtag #YogaBloopers.

    One lucky Yoga Blooper will receive a prize from Gaiam!

    Gaiam is giving away the Sol Soft-Grip Yoga Mat, it's fun and bright for spring – a $65 dollar value!

    Make sure to Follow and Like Gaiam on Facebook and Twitter! 

    ENTER TO WIN IN 3 EASY STEPS:

    1. Follow @MyYogaOnline on Twitter.
    2. Share your laugh out loud Yoga experience with the hashtag #YogaBloopers and tag @MyYogaOnline.
    3. Spread the laughter! For another chance to win, add a photo or video link via Instagram or retweet other #YogaBloopers.

    The winner will be announced April 2, 2014. Note: If you have already shared a #YogaBloopers with us previous to this contest, don’t worry we will take them into consideration as well.

    The fine print: Click here to read the official contest rules. By submitting a comment on this blog or commenting on or ‘liking’ the Facebook post, you agree to the official contest rules.


    More Yoga
  • Master the Splits in Five Weeks with Ashleigh Sergeant!

    Master the Splits in Five Weeks with Ashleigh Sergeant!

    We are excited to announce a new progressive series on My Yoga Online that will guide you into the splits with confidence and ease! From March 28th-April 25th, join Ashleigh Sergeant every Friday on My Yoga Online for a five-part series on Hanumanasana: Front Splits Pose.

    Full splits requires strength and opening for the entire body. In this five-week series, Ashleigh Sergeant will prepare the canvas of your body for this dynamic and challenging asana.

    Five weeks to the Splits with Ashleigh Sergeant

    To get the most out of this five-week series, we encourage you to practice each sequence several times per week.

    Friday March 28, Hanumanasana Part 1: A Warm Up
    This is an important part of the series that will prepare the canvas of your body.

    Friday April 4, Hanumanasana Part 2: Thighs and Hips
    This week’s class focuses on thighs and hips and includes thigh stretches, lunges, squats and more, to build and tone the leg and hip muscles in order to open and lengthen them.

    Friday April 11, Hanumanasana Part 3: Inner Thighs, Groin and Core
    This class uses skillful alignment, functional strength training, dynamic non-linear movement and repetition to powerfully tone and open the core, groins and inner thighs.

    Friday April 18, Hanumanasana Part 4: Strengthen and Open the Back of the Legs
    Focus on toning the thighs to release the back of the legs.

    Friday April 25, Hanumanasana Part 5: Full Split
    Tone and open the hamstrings and leap into full splits!

    This series will also be arriving in your inbox via our Saturday newsletter for the next five weeks.  Stay tuned for our first practice this weekend!


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  • Featured Charity: Shanti Uganda

    Featured Charity: Shanti Uganda

    My Yoga Online Supports Shanti Uganda

    My Yoga Online is proud to support Shanti Uganda as part of our latest practice guide, Sacred Power of the Goddess, on now until March 21st. At the end of the Goddess guide, My Yoga Online will be donating a total of $500 to Shanti Uganda on behalf of two active participants. Stay tuned for details!

    The Shanti Uganda Society began with a vision to unite traditional birthing practices with modern best practices and provide conscious birth training for communities impacted by war, poverty and HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Founded by Natalie Angell-Besseling, a yoga teacher & doula with a background in international development, Shanti Uganda's first programs began in 2008. After a trip to Uganda in 2007 volunteering as a doula at a local hospital, Natalie connected with a group of women who were making paper beads in Kampala. This initial meeting led her to Kasana, Luweero where after working with the community, the first women were selected from a group of 600 HIV positive women to form Shanti Uganda’s first Income Generating Group. With the support of our women’s group and the guidance of community members, the organization began the planning stages for a community birth centre.

    After purchasing one acre of land in Nsaasi Village, building of the Shanti Uganda Birth House was completed in the spring of 2010 and doors were opened in the fall 2010. Shanti Uganda is a registered Canadian Charity, a Ugandan NGO and a Private Not-For-Profit Medical Facility registered through the Ministry of Health in Uganda.

    Shanti Uganda now serves close to 500 women and their families every year and in 2013 delivered 191 healthy babies! Shanti Uganda values unity, connection, growth, sustainability, integrity, and holistic development. 

    To become a volunteer or to make a monthly donation visit: shantiuganda.org 

    Learn more about Shanti Uganda in this profie video, and check out this photo essay, "Delivering with Dignity." 

    Shanti Uganda Warehouse Sale in Vancouver, BC

    Shanti Uganda’s Annual Warehouse Sale is happening two days only in Vancouver, BC on March 22 & 23rd! Enjoy 50% to 75% OFF ALL handmade African jewelry and handbags! The sale is on from 10am to 6pm at 87 East Pender St. in Chinatown! Shanti Uganda's Warehouse Sale is the perfect one stop shop for Mother's Day with meaningful gifts that honor and support mothers around the world. 

    The Shanti Uganda Society empowers women in order to create sustainable change! Each bag and every piece of jewelry has a story. As paper is rolled and threads are sewn, stories, love and laughter are shared, bringing experiences, hope and respect into the community.


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  • Free Online Kundalini Yoga Poses and Exercises
  • Do Your Thoughts & Your Beliefs Colour Your Perception of the World?

    Do Your Thoughts & Your Beliefs Colour Your Perception of the World?

    Our popular contributor Kara-Leah looks at the yogic perspective on life. Is life as it is, or do we colour it with the filter of our minds and beliefs?

    by Kara-Leah Grant, Author of Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice.

     

    About four years ago, I started paying serious attention to the way I was looking at the world. 

    I witnessed my reactions to news and current affairs shows, so I could gauge whether I was coming from an open-hearted centredness perspective, or a right/wrong ego perspective.

    More often than not, it was my ego that was engaged. It was like I just couldn't help it. I was judgmental, analytical, dismissive, and even cynical.

    Yet this was entwined with a so-called "spiritual" perspective on what I saw - more like a superior perspective! I was critical of people for their attachment to things, for their total absorption in the drama of their lives, for the way in which they blamed others for their circumstances, for the way they criticized, dismissed, analysed and judged other people.

    In other words, I was what I saw.

    And we all are.

    The outer world, or at least, our perspective of the outer world, is but a reflection of where we are internally.

    My ability to witness my reaction to the world showed me I was a long way from where I thought I was most of the time.

    And that was ok. Bringing the shining light of awareness to our thoughts is the first step toward changing them. Being aware of thoughts creates a gap inside where one can just allow those thoughts to fade away, instead of reacting to them and acting on them. It creates an opportunity to shift mindset and practice seeing in another way, with compassion and love.

    Because what does a yogi see when he or she looks at the world?

    One thing and one thing only.

    God.

    As the great Sufi saint Shams-i-Tabriz said:

    Do not think that God is only in your heart. You should be able to recognise him in every garden, in every forest, in every house, and in every person. You should be able to see Him in your destination, in all the stages of your journey, and in your fellow pilgrems.

    You should be able to see Him on every path, in every philosophy, and in every group. You should be able to see Him in all acts, in all deeds, in all thoughts and feelings, and in all expressions of them.

    You should be able to recognise Him not only in inner lights, but also in the lights that you see in the outer world. All colours and even the darkness are the same Being. If you really love Him, if you want to find His love and be blessed by it, then see Him in every corner of the universe.

    What a challenge! It is not so hard to see God (or the Divine, Allah, Goddess, use what word you will) in the forest, or the lake, or small children, or animals. The light shines forth brightly. But to be able to see God in the people we encounter every day, even those who commit crimes, or do us wrong? That is difficult. Yet when one reaches this place, and can see the Divine shining forth from everyone and everything, then one has found and connected with the Divine within.

    This is true peace, true bliss, or samadhi.

    This is coming into Self, and knowing that Self exists in All.

    This is Yoga.

    Yesterday a friend and fellow spiritual traveler asked me what the point of my practice was.

    I hadn't considered it like that before, and indeed have perceived that to an extent, my practice has tended to be an escape from the challenges of the world, just as an alcoholic turns to the bottle to escape the world. But yesterday I was able to answer, the point of my practice is to be able to see the Divine in all I encounter. To be in a place of love and compassion at all times.

    Then, when I look at the world, instead of being analytical, critical, superior, and judgmental... seeing only what is wrong and what can be changed... I will be loving, compassionate and kind... and see only perfection as it is in that moment. What peace!

     

    I'll let you know when I get there... could take awhile! 

    About Kara-Leah

    Kara-Leah is a writer and yoga teacher who has always been infinitely curious about the make-up of the human psyche and body. Regular yoga helped her heal and recover from chronic back issues, including a spinal fusion at age 16, and two episodes of psychosis at age 29.

    Her daily home yoga practice began in earnest when people kept asking her to teach them yoga.  She?s since trained as a teacher with Shiva Rea, and immersed herself in practicing, teaching yoga and writing about yoga. Kara-Leah lives just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand with her son Samuel.

     She?s the publisher of The Yoga Lunchbox and has just published her first book, Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice. She?s also a regular contributor to the Elephant Journal

    Connect w/ Anmol

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    1. Comprehensive Guide to the World of Meditation Practice – Part 2
    2. Comprehensive Guide to the World of Meditation Practice – Part 3
    3. Comprehensive Guide to the World of Meditation Practice – Part 1
    4. How to Stop Negative Thinking and Overcome Negative Thoughts
    5. Poll: Which Presidential Candidate is Better for Spiritually Uplifting the World?
  • How to Stay Grounded for a Better Meditation Practice

    How to Stay Grounded for a Better Meditation Practice

    Tom Von Deck is a meditation trainer, speaker and author of the Kindle bestseller, Oceanic Mind ? The Deeper Meditation Training Course. He specializes in making meditation a much much easier and more customized process for busy people from all cultural, spiritual and non-spiritual backgrounds.

    Tom began his meditation journey in the late 1980s at the age of twelve or so. He has studied with various teachers and within variety of traditions. He has extracted the golden essence of all spiritual, mind/body/spirit and stress reduction practices. Tom is now sharing this knowledge with all who wish to learn via guru-free instruction as a fellow traveler on this giant rock with a hot gooey center called Earth.

    I'd like to welcome Tom to Mastery of Meditation, Yoga & Zen.

    How to Stay Grounded for a Better Meditation Practice

    by guest author Tom Von Deck.

    Do you know how to stay grounded? 

    This is one of the many problems a lot of us have, especially in this modern world of rapid flux. Being un-grounded, in fact, can be the cause of even more problems. This includes colds and coughs and many other issues.

    Groundedness dramatically enhances meditation. In this article, we'll look at some ways to stay connected with our bodies and the world of form so that we can improve our practices.

    Signs that you?re not staying grounded:

    • Spaciness and forgetfulness
    • Being accident prone
    • Easily losing things 
    • Emotional overwhelm
    • Forgetting what someone just said
    • Finding difficulty concentrating in meditation
    • Coming up with ideas and not implementing them
    • Lack of body awareness or breath awareness
    • Noise and light sensitivity

    Forgetting why you just walked into the supermarket and then trying not to look stupid by going to an isle and reading the labels on the pork rinds and shuffling around some Pringles cans and then leaving the store and driving away when you finally remember what you wanted after the second traffic light, and it was actually Pringles.

    What does well grounded mean? Signs of groundedness:

    • You are less overwhelmed by annoyances
    • Body awareness
    • You have a feeling of purpose
    • You get upset less easily
    • You can get more done in less time
    • Better meditation!

    One way to be more grounded is to take regular walks if you have the time. Try to feel your feet as much as possible. Pay attention to the breath. 

    Use your senses as much as you can during the walk. "Take in" the trees, sounds of birds, smells of lawns and flowerbeds or whatever you notice. 

    Hatha yoga, or almost anything you'll learn in a western yoga studio, helps you to anchor yourself in body awareness. Take some classes if you haven't already. Anmol provides lessons as well. 

    Aromatherapy baths also help to anchor you in your body. Grounding essential oils include sandalwood, cedar, patchouli, frankincense and sage. 

    Regular exercise is a great one. I've been running in place the equivalent of a mile every day, and both the body awareness and the simple routine of running is very grounding. 

    Grounding meditations certainly help me at times. I'm thinking of the visualizations that you may find on YouTube. 

    There were times not very long ago when meditation was very elusive to me, and this cleared it up with a 10-15 minute visualization I found on YouTube. Meditation became easy again. 

    Now, I'm doing even more grounding activities in daily life and it's getting even better.

    A lot of these grounding meditations on YouTube are similar. They involve imagining roots growing from your feet into the ground and visualizing yourself receiving the Earth's energy through those roots. 

    Sitting under a tree can be very relaxing and grounding for many people. Try it barefoot for added sensation. Take some normal activities like exercise, eating and reading into the yard if you have one. 

    Diaphragmatic breathing as often as possible will anchor you in the feeling of breath, and this can be grounding. Deep breathing also brings groundedness because breath is intimately related to awareness. When you're less aware and present, your breathing is more shallow.

    If the boss yells at you, your breathing may restrict itself. That's because you do not want to feel the sensations associated with the scolding. Deep and calm breath means that you are open to life, sensation and feeling. These are essential components of groundedness. 

    Diaphragmatic breathing, through the nose, is a very good way to breathe throughout the day so that you stay present and grounded. 

    Put one hand on the belly and one on the chest. Breathe through the nose. Your chest shouldn?t move much. Your abdomen should inflate in all directions like a balloon. 

    You may feel a gentle massage-like feeling in the lower back and groin. Breathe consciously like this as much as you can. 

    The more you practice staying grounded, the easier it will be to meditate. Meditate smart, not hard. 

    About Tom Von Deck

    Tom Von Deck is a meditation trainer, corporate speaker and author of Oceanic Mind ? The Deeper Meditation Training Course. Tom specializes in making meditation a much easier and more customized journey for busy and non-busy people from all backgrounds and paths. He runs a hub for free meditation training at DeeperMeditation.net. You can also find him on Facebook, Google+ and other sites. 

    Connect w/ Anmol

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    Related posts:
    1. How to Stay Motivated for Home Yoga Practice
    2. Daily Meditation Practice For February | Find Joy, Peace and Happiness
    3. Guided Meditation Video Series for Daily Meditation Practice
    4. Zen Meditation Technique – Practice & Hidded Secret – Free Guided Meditation
    5. Sound Awareness Meditation Technique – Free Guided Meditation Book for Daily Practice – Ch 2
  • Five Excellent Yoga Books to Add to Your Library

    Five Excellent Yoga Books to Add to Your Library

    Our popular contributor Kara-Leah looks at the importance of surrounding yourself with a supportive community of friends ? people who understand the spiritual path and can help you along it with honest and compassionate feedback and support. 

    by Kara-Leah Grant, Author of Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice.

    I love books - and I especially love yoga books. I've even written one of my own :-). My library is mostly made up of yoga books, and I refer to them again and again. Here's a selection of my favourite yoga reads.  

    Yoga of Heart: The Healing Power of Intimate Connection by Mark Whitwell

    Join Mark as he takes you on a journey through the intimacy of yoga practice - how it's designed to help us connect with each other too, not just with ourselves.

    This exploration of yoga as relationship goes right into looking at intimacy and sex as they apply to yoga. He describes sex as a vinyasa and suggests that love-making could also be seen as a daily spiritual practice.

    Marks also looks in-depth the relationship between a yoga teacher and a yoga student.

    He's pretty damning at times on the way that yoga has been taught over the years - describing B.K.S. Iyengar's teaching as 'gymnastic anatomy with scant regard for the principles of yoga' and describing K. Phattabhi Jois' asana sequences as 'being taught out of the context of the full yoga story'.

    Popular teachers are running competing businesses with arbitrary boxes of information and goals. Claiming authority, they have pushed exercise systems into the market and called them yoga. Much of it is misinformation or very partial information out of context of the whole story. They... exploit people's gullibility and good will. These systems create fixed patterns in the body and mind, and, at worse, cause physical and psychological injury and addiction.

     

     

    Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

    This is a break-through, must-read, buy-it-now book.

    It's so damn good, that whenever I stumble across a copy in a secondhand book shop, I buy it, because I'm always giving away the copy I own.

    This guy will blow your mind. A university graduate, Paramahansa Yogananda spent over thirty years living in the West. He was one of the first great yoga masters to come over from India.

    In this book, he tells the tale of studying with his guru - and a fantastical and magical story of expanded notions of reality it is. There's everything from dematerialising gurus to an old woman who doesn't eat or drink but just lives on prana, to fulfilled prophecies of illness and disorder and remembered previous incarnations.

    Yet it's inherent groundedness and practicality makes one think that maybe these experiences truly did happen. Here's an exchange between Paramahansa Yogananda (Mukunda) and his guru.

    "Mukunda, why don't you get an astrological amulet?"

    "Should I, Master? I don't believe in astrology"

    "It is not a question of belief: the scientific attitude one should take on a subject is if it is true. The law of gravitation worked as efficiently before Newton as after him. The cosmos would be fairly chaotic if its laws could not operate without the sanction of human belief... All parts of creation are linked together and interchange their influences. The balanced rhythm of the universe is rooted in reciprocity."

     

    Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope

    Part autobiography, part exploration of the link between yoga and Western psychotherapy, this book was enormously critical in helping me to understand the yogic journey within a psychological framework.

    Stephen Cope, a psychotherapist who left a practice in Boston to live, study and ultimately teach at the Kripalu Yoga Ashram, tells a damn fine story as he examines the way in which our practice of yoga affects our psyche - the ups and owns, the traps and pitfalls, the freedoms and liberation.

    It's the kind of in-depth, specialist understanding you're unlikely to get from your local yoga teacher, and it helps to ground the spiritual journey in a Western context. Stephen also goes into great depth about the awakening of Kundalini energy in the spine - something he both witnessed and experienced during his time at Kripalu. Here's him talking about his first experience of watching Kripalu's guru surrendering to the flow of prana in a demonstration of the true essence of Hatha Yoga:

    Ten minutes into the experience, I noticed a chance in my perception. Colours had become brighter, bolder. Light itself had become a palpable golden presence. The whole room dissolved into waves of light, particles of energy. I felt the room breathing together, moving together, pulsing and expanding and contracting. At one point, I had an experience of energy rushing up and down my spine.

    Compassion in Action: Setting out on the Path of Service by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush

    I discovered this book via a recommendation from a friend at a time when I was really struggling with judgmental thoughts about people in general, feeling spiritually more evolved or spiritually superior to more people I was running across. And then of course, I was judgmental against myself for having judgmental thoughts about other people all the time!

    This didn't help... all I could see was people's faults and weaknesses. I wanted to know where all the loving, compassionate, open spiritual people were and surround myself with them!

    This book helped me understand this phase in the spiritual journey as the first half of the book is Ram Dass (who wrote the seminal '70s text Be Here Now) talking about his journey. The second half is Mirabai Bush talking about practical steps for being of service in the world. It was Ram Dass's journey that really spoke to me initially - especially when he tells the story of having to return to his family home at the age of 55 and take care of his ageing father.

    This period of looking after Dad's household gave me a profound sense of well-being for having the opportunity to serve my father. When Mother had been ill and dying, there was Dad to look after her - and besides, I was far too busy being an independent, self-important somebody to find time or even acknowledge any responsibility for her care.

    Beyond Power Yoga: Eight Levels of Practice for Body and Soul, by Beryl Bender Birch

    When I first got back to New Zealand, lack of yoga meant I had to turn to a home practice. This book, and another of Beryl's, Power Yoga: The Total Strength and Flexibility Workout, were my bibles. Not only step-by-step instruction for Power Yoga, a derivative of Astanga yoga, but also details on other aspects of yoga including Patanjali's eight limbs.

    In Beyond Power Yoga, Beryl does just that, goes beyond Power Yoga and explores her journey into yoga and to India, yoga in action, breathing, meditation and 'leap into liberation - bliss'. She tells a damn good story, does Beryl Bender Birch (and how perfect is that name!?), using real life experiences from her own life to illustrate yogic concepts like bandha, vayu, tapas, yamas and niyamas.

    I love her description of yoga as:

    ...going in the direction and 'uncomfortableness', and making it comfortable... I don't mean going to the extreme expression of discomfort. I don't mean torture, for heaven's sake. I just mean slowly becoming more resilient, maybe noticing discomfort less, and requiring less comfort in your postures and in your life. And one day you will notice that, perhaps, some small level of 'discomfortableness' simply will not have authority over you or your experience at that moment.

    This is just a small selection of many of the excellent yoga books out there just waiting for you to read.

    About Kara-Leah

    Kara-Leah is a writer and yoga teacher who has always been infinitely curious about the make-up of the human psyche and body. Regular yoga helped her heal and recover from chronic back issues, including a spinal fusion at age 16, and two episodes of psychosis at age 29.

    Her daily home yoga practice began in earnest when people kept asking her to teach them yoga.  She?s since trained as a teacher with Shiva Rea, and immersed herself in practicing, teaching yoga and writing about yoga. Kara-Leah lives just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand with her son Samuel.

     She?s the publisher of The Yoga Lunchbox and has just published her first book, Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice. She?s also a regular contributor to the Elephant Journal

    Connect w/ Anmol

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  • Inspirational Quotes from Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

    Inspirational Quotes from Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

    Shunryu Suzuki was a Japanese-born Zen Monk who came to America in the 1959.

    Already a respected Zen master in Japan, he was impressed by the seriousness and quality of "beginner's mind" among Americans he met who were interested in Zen and decided to settle here. Inititally, he'd come to serve the Japanese immigrants in San Francisco but found their practice more superficial, and the Westerners more eager to learn meditation. As more and more people of non-Japanese background joined him in meditation, the San Fransisco Zen Center came into being and he was its first abbot. 

    Suzuki died in 1971.

     

    ?Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.? 

     

    ?If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few. ?

     

    ?Where-ever you are, you are one with the clouds and one with the sun and the stars you see. You are one with everything. That is more true than I can say, and more true than you can hear.?

     

    ?Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.? 

     

    ?I discovered that it is necessary, absolutely necessary, to believe in nothing. That is, we have to believe in something which has no form and no color--something which exists before all forms and colors appear... No matter what god or doctrine you believe in, if you become attached to it, your belief will be based more or less on a self-centered idea.? 

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  • Why Do I Resist my Yoga Practice When I Know it?s Good For Me?

    Why Do I Resist my Yoga Practice When I Know it?s Good For Me?

    Our popular contributor Kara-Leah has an intimate understanding of why we don't do our home yoga practice even though we know it's good for us, and we love it. Here she shares her personal insight into this quirk of the psyche.

    by Kara-Leah Grant

    Author of Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice.

    Been resisting your yoga mat lately?

    It's a common question I hear from readers and yoga students alike - why is it so hard to get on the mat when I know it's good for me and I feel so good afterwards?

    Oh boy, have I been there! Here's my experience, what helped me bust through that resistance once and for all, and what I learned in the process.

    My first yoga experience was a ten-week Iyengar course in 1995. I knew, without a doubt, that yoga was going to be an integral part of my life. That it was Super Duper Important and would forever Change Me.

    My next yoga experience? 2000. I think. Maybe late 1999. A four year gap at least.

    Serious Mat Resistance folks. Serious.

    So why?

    Why wait four or five years in between yoga experiences when I knew it was the thing for me?

    Fear. Unconscious fear mind you.

    I was seriously disembodied when I started yoga. I lived entirely in my head. Going to class and paying attention to my breathing brought me headfirst into contact with feelings and emotions I'd been denying and resisting for a decade or more. Total Unconscious Overwhelm. Get me the f%#k out of here.

    You, dear reader, are unlikely to experience anything quite so dramatic. I hope. Your mat resistance is likely to be of a more subtle kind.

    Like what I experienced eight or so years ago.

    I was living in Queenstown. I'd been practicing on and off for five years. I was building up a regular home practice. And now that I'd been asked to teach, totally out of the blue, I had committed to a daily practice.

    Every day, I would be On My Mat no Matter What.

    Some days I'd be squirming at the thought of practicing. I could feel this wall of protesting feeling loom up inside that begged me to steer clear of yoga.

    But I couldn't.

    I was teaching.

    Teachers practice daily.

    So despite this overwhelming feeling of Not Wanting to Practice, I got on my mat.

    And invariably, would cry.

    Yup. Every time. Tears and tears and more tears. Sometimes in child. Often in Warrior variations. Occasionally in upward dog or cobra.

    That was why I felt serious resistance to practicing yoga - because I'd spent a lifetime resisting feelings and some part of me just knew there were feelings waiting to be expressed and getting on the mat would give those feelings the green light.

    Invariably, I also felt so much better after getting on my yoga mat having a good cry. It was such a relief.

    Eventually, when I felt the resistance to practicing, instead of putting off my yoga practice and experiencing hours of that awful limbo hanging state, I would throw myself on my mat and declare,

    Right! Lets bring those tears on!

    It worked. Getting through the tears got easier and easier, and the number of practices where I didn't feel resistance and there were no tears became more and more frequent.

    This is my experience of Mat Resistance.

    Yours, my friend, will be different, but the same. A part of you knows that when you get on the mat, you will experience some type of change. You may experience some emotions. A different part of you is afraid of the change, and afraid of the emotion.

    The knowing and the fear create the resistance.

    Although, you could see it in another way.

    When you feel the resistance to practicing, you know there is something glorious waiting for you on the mat - some kind of break-through, some kind of letting go, some kind of transformation.

    So you can re-frame the feeling of resistance.

    Instead of feeling resistance and buying into it... and resisting getting on the mat. Feel the resistance and rejoice in it.

    Woo hoo! I feel resistance, it's gonna be a doozie of a practice!

    And then get on your mat as fast as you can and face whatever dragon needs to be faced.

    Make sure though that you take time to breathe into your body and enquire into the nature of the resistance so you know what you need to do. Not all resistance is the same, and not all resistance requires the same response.

    Some resistance is fear of change.

    Some resistance is fear of feeling.

    Some resistance is because your body is tired and wants a good rest - do yoga nidra instead!

    Working with your resistance in this way, with total awareness, will re-wire your brain.

    Eventually, whenever you feel resistance in your life, instead of buying into it and avoiding something, you'll know to turn toward it and enquire into it's nature so you know the best response.

    You'll be amazed at where this practice will take you, both on the mat, and off the mat.

    About Kara-Leah

     

    Kara-Leah is a writer and yoga teacher who has always been infinitely curious about the make-up of the human psyche and body. Regular yoga helped her heal and recover from chronic back issues, including a spinal fusion at age 16, and two episodes of psychosis at age 29.

    Her daily home yoga practice began in earnest when people kept asking her to teach them yoga.  She?s since trained as a teacher with Shiva Rea, and immersed herself in practicing, teaching yoga and writing about yoga. Kara-Leah lives just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand with her son Samuel.

     She?s the publisher of The Yoga Lunchbox and has just published her first book, Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice. She?s also a regular contributor to the Elephant Journal 

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    Looking for the benefits of Yoga for Kids for a proposal, advertisement, or even to convince your own children?  These benefits just might convince someone that yoga for kids is a great choice. Benefits of Yoga for Kids   All Kids Can Do Yoga: One of the major benefits of yoga for kids is that […]
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