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Archive for November, 2009

2002 Hammerwood Dr pics 029

Another life lesson. We are fully engaged in making the website very interactive. All of the sudden we realized how much our expectations may always lead into disappointment. We had put all of our efforts in creating the best website for our students. We had worked so much in updating it daily, increased the volume of entries, updated the calendar, etc. Then, all of the sudden the site goes down and we are left dangling. It is disappointing to think of all the people that we know come to visit and read our entries. It may lead into frustration when we things are not under our control. But, when are they, really?

Haven’t we all experienced the same feelings?  Is this common or natural? I know even coming to the teach a yoga class with the expectation in my mind that all students come to experience the perfect class. Boy! That is a heavy burden to carry. I am not always there, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. It is always a very heavy responsibility on our shoulders when we have one of the 20 students not have a great class… It is hard to be in the moment and not fall in the trap of the false ego. It is hard to stay away from my own expectations, even the expectation to be of service to everyone. It is impossible to be all that all the time. What is it one to do?

Easier said than done. All I can do is our best every time. To show up in every circumstance, just to be there, and be opened and observant to what comes up in every breath. It is not meant to be pretty all the time. It is not meant to be easy all the time. It is not meant to make us look away, but look into. That is to practice yoga.

Perfection is an unattainable concept in this world. Perfection is a spiritual quality. We do experience glimpses of it, but they do not last here. They entangle us enough to make us believe we need more of this, our drug. That is the concept of maya in yoga. We think we need more things, another puff of a cigarette, another drink, another job title, another relationship, another drop of happiness. We are all thirsty for happiness and love.

We are in the process of making our lives more spiritual, and we will miss the mark, more often than not. Compassion and truthfulness have to be close companions. These are painful qualities that are best first applied to our own selves.

If we find ourselves so engulfed in our own ego, then love others. Service to others is the best way to make love practical. We will forget that we are or not perfect, what we lack or where we fall short. There are so many people in need around who need us. We will then realize our connectivity with others – we are nor alone. Maybe the lesson is to know that we are here together for one purpose alone, to learn to love God. Just another life lesson.

As scary as it is sometimes to try something new, I think it is all about showing up.  After being in the “Fun with the Fundamentals” class this week, something just got stuck in my mind.  It is important to simply show up how you are, and trust.

The act of coming to yoga class, with all these different moves, and words, and pictures, the Sanskrit, the breath, it is so much to take in.  How intimidating this all can be!  It is very unsettling to have all new things coming in our direction.  So many things come to my mind when this happens.  Our first instinct is to build our protective walls, they have worked for so many years, and they certainly will work now.  Although, I question if this is the way we grow?

How much do we miss in our lives from not jumping in?  What are the consequences that we are so afraid of?  Is it losing something of us in the process? Or is it simply leaving our comfort zone.  Much of that is true for me.  However, I end always jumping in.  There are these preset rules that we have made in our mind that sometimes paralyzes us – I know it does me.  It is comforting to know that I can just show up as I am.  I do not have to change who I am, and do not have to add or subtract anything to the experience.  All I need is to enter with that wonder and fascination of a new opportunity.

Yoga has a way to teach us simple things of ourselves.  It is beautiful to see how much yoga opens people’s hearts.  It is amazing to see inside their souls.  It is there that I learn so much, and cannot help them but to immediately love them.  I am always in awe to discover strong, powerful people, with such great loving intentions for their lives and others. We find this in our center, within our practice, in and out of the mat.  We learn to support each other, and learn to become a community.  We learn to care for each other.

This is spiritual live.  This is the basics of our training in this worldly experience to learn to love selflessly.  And yoga is just a tool to rediscover THAT indescribable strength inside each of us.  It is us who open that door to make it all possible.  When I take one step towards God, God takes one thousand steps in our direction.  It is my experience.

Title: Indian Classical Musicians
Location: Path of Tea
Link out: Click here



\”Sacred Music of Ancient India\”

Friday, Nov. 13, 7:00 p.m.

Venue: The Path of Tea
2340 West Alabama

$15 in Advance
$20 at the Door

Please join Annette Raj in welcoming Indian classical musicians from Nepal to Houston. Our fellow yogi, Babette Ackin, has worked very hard in organizing their tour.
The first time I experienced hearing Indian classical music in person, I felt, \”this is yoga.\” Please come and experience the bliss!
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2009-11-13
End Time: 21:00

It is amazing to see how everyone’s energy affect a yoga class. From an instructor’s perspective it is very nice to see the mind being so clearly affected by the body and breath. Time after time I see people being affected by taking the time to celebrate their connection to their physical body. I am affected by my breath and physical body.

I do not know if it is just reflexes, or a second nature from years of practice. We sat down after class and talked about with one student after class about ujjayi pranayama (breathing). This is the breath that sounds like “Darth Vader”. This breath consists of closing the back of the throat, with lips touching, mouth closed, and feel the air swirling in the mount and back of throat, as in a yawn. The simple sound of the breath and the focusing the mind into the “feeling it”, creates this intense liberating feeling inside out.  The mind has no other choice than to listen in. The senses quiet down, the body intensifies its energy and vitality. The whole system starts bringing energy from the abdomen upwards. This brings attention to the abdominal cavity and its muscles, its breath, its own bandha in the first chakra, in the pelvic area.

As I was explaining this, my entire body went into a sense of meditation and introspection. It was amazing to see how a breath may affect the intensity of our own energy. It was almost like opening a door, and an invitation to the depth of my body. 

Yoga does that for me. Makes my body react in such an intense sense of looking in.  What I find is amazing, ok, most of the time. If I simply let my self look into paramatman, the Divine waiting to be rediscovered in us. It is not us, it is that connection to the Divine living inside. It is that section of us that we recognize and acknowledge in a namaste. This only makes me humble to see that when we listen in, we can hear God inside. When we sit down, with devotion, with gratitude and love, we can feel the Divine inside. Not because He/She is inside of us, but because He/She is also inside of us. Many times, we say in class that yoga is moving meditation. Yoga really gives us chance to people that have so much going outwardly, to use the body. The body is honored through each move, each pose, each breath, as a temple for the spirit. This way we can connect to the Divine also living inside of each of us. That I see in every face after class…

In our attempt to keep all involved and updated, I am going to start posting, hopefully, daily updates on this blog.  We certainly hope this may become an exchange too.  So we do await for your comments at the end of each blog entry.

Let me start by updating all of you on the amazing time we had at the cooking “class”!  it turned into, as many things tend to do in our center, into a wonderful time to be together.  We all shared recipes, food, and a time to laugh and be together.  It was a pretty amazing activity.  We all hang out like a family.  It was heart warming to see everyone sharing and just being genuinely happy.  Many of us truly commented on how this really felt like “thanksgiving”… How can it not feel like that?! 

There we so many aspects to be thankful for!  I cannot have words to thank Mohan and Vidula for letting us use their very comfortable home to get together.  Anyone that walks into their house feels like home.  Also, we are so grateful to Sabrina who contributed at the very last minute with a delicious dish.  Serge, our unofficial recorder!  He never missed a dish, a step, a preparation!  You never know when that flash is coming through!  Don and Betsy for their pleasant and constant smile and easy going personality!  Hui and Eric that are always game for everything!  It is the people that truly make the difference!  Of course, next time, we will pull out the ping pong table a little sooner!  If you are expecting the recipes, make sure you check my entries this week!

So far away in so many ways from my family, our center has shaped to be more than a group of friends, but truly a spiritual family!  So grateful!

April Bui, Director

April Bui, Director

Our Yoga Center has always found profound interest in supporting and maintaining a sense of community.  We recently have encountered a beautiful non-profit organization that provides acupuncture for our community, and they do it in a loving way.  We asked them to introduce themselves to our yoga community.  Here is what they shared with us.  Alternatives to support our health is what we want to encourage.

Greetings! St. Teresa Acupuncture Wellness Clinic is a nonprofit organization founded with the purpose for providing alternative healthcare to the public that is safe & natural, effective, and affordable for all people and all income levels. Our clinic is a grassroots response to the rising costs of healthcare, the challenging economy that undermines so many people’s livelihood, and to the public’s growing need and demand for alternative medicine (specifically Traditional Chinese Medicine) which currently is not covered by governmental agencies or most insurance companies. We recognized a real basic need in our community for a workable system of healthcare for everyone. Thus, our vision of a compassionate and equitable healthcare service was conceived to fulfill the medical needs of all people from all socioeconomic strata and from all walks of life.

Our clinic offers comprehensive Chinese Medicine treatment including pain management, chronic fatigue, stress/anxiety, smoking cessation, addiction, sleep disorders, headaches/migraines, hypertension, allergies, asthma, arthritis, fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS/oncology support, immune disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, neurological disorders, muscular disorders, respiratory disorders, women’s health, men’s health, and mental health.

St. Teresa is a nonprofit and nondenominational organization that is operated and supported by voluntary donations only. Treatment is offered equally to all patients and no person will be denied service due to one’s inability to donate or pay. If you have further inquiries about our services, please feel free to contact April – (713) 922-3474.

ReikiFlyerTitle: Reiki Class
Location: Devanand Yoga Center
Link out: Click here
Description: Lori has always had a deep passion for the healing arts and a great love for the adventure of life, and has been offering a number of different holistic modalities with heart and soul for the past 15 years. She fell in love \’at first touch\’ with Reiki, and moved into Mastery 8 years ago, adding the element of teaching the subtle yet powerful healing art to her practice. Lori is also a Registered Professional Counsellor with the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association with a Master\’s Degree in Transpersonal Psychology, and a Registered Yoga Teacher who studied Interdisciplinary Yoga in Nosara, Costa Rica in 2004. She brings great respect and reverence to the richness of the healing journey in all of her work, feeling called to integrate the energies of mind, body, and spirit through the various healing art forms she feels blessed to share with others. The depth and grace of Lori\’s personal healing journey combines beautifully with her skills and talents as she assists people in the journey of powerfully and compassionately transforming the obstacles standing in the way of their best lives, assisting them to live fully, authentically, and with great passion and purpose. Lori is at the heart of Esencia Awakening Arts ( – offering Transpersonal Psychotherapy, Reiki, Healing Flow Massage, and Yoga + Meditation. She is very excited to have just finished writing her first book that is in the process of becoming published, entitled: The Beauty Way: Living From The Awakening Heart. Feel free to contact Lori at: lori@esencia.caand at 647.637.3586
Lori Myles, Reiki Master, M.A. Transpersonal Psychology, Registered Professional Counsellor, Certified Aromatherapy Health Therapist, Registered Yoga Teacher.
Date: 2009-12-06

Title: Yoga in the Park
Location: Memorial Park, W Memorial Loop
Link out: Click here
Description: Free yoga class in the open air!! Come practice with us. Bring long sleeves and a blanket for the ground.
Start Time: 10:00am
Date: 2009-11-14
End Time: 11:30am

Rain is purifying. Rain is a blessing from God.”  I was reminded in class this week on the words of Swami Devanand. Like a seed, those wise words have stayed and grown with my heart. Almost 20 years later, I am reminded beyond the words, but through the energy and intent, that all we need to do is remember and never forget Gratitude and Love.

Yoga has affected so many aspects of my life. I look back and realize the beautiful experiences it has brought to me, so undeservingly. I have traveled many places, met many saintly people, practiced spiritual retreats, shed many tears of joy, and celebrated spiritual friendships. Last week, I was reminded of one of my first retreats with Swami Guru Devanand in the heart of the island of Dominican Republic.  I traveled to the mountains, within the heart of the island. The retreat was in one of the most magnificent locations, with so much green, so many sounds, such breath taking views. Furthermore, it also was very rustic lodging, no solid food, lemonades with honey, showers at 3:30am to be ready for our 10 hours of daily meditation. Seven days to simply be with oneself, in complete silence, with no books or distractions, except being with oneself.

I do remember struggling through the meditations, my knees reminding me constantly their need of attention, and my mind writing the most decadent cooking book. I cannot say it was easy. I cannot say it was pleasurable. I do remember clearly a midmorning meditation when the skies broke loose. The rain poured over the tin roof in the designated meditation hall. My most intricate pizza recipe was interrupted, and I had to listen. For the first time I had to pay attention, away from my thoughts and my struggle to maintain the presence of my mantra. In that moment I was awoken by the incredible force of nature. God had to remind me to pay attention. He wanted me present in the sounds and the silence, to the struggle and to the embrace, the hunger and the fulfillment, to the void and the love. I was able to surrender and listen to my heart.

I step onto my mat every day, and I am reminded of the sacredness of every breath, of every movement, of my surrendering mind (many times not so much!). I am even more humbled and awed at the yoga center we share. This center goes beyond individuals. This center instructs and loves me at the same time. I am especially touched to see the sincerity of the 1 (or 28 students) in class. I feel all the yogis around the world that had come through and have left their heart and vibrant energy with us. Their experiences live in it, and so their opened hearts; the loving intent of so many is still present. I am grateful to all of you. I am grateful to God for talking through the rain.

Thank you!

Thank you!




The Thanksgiving season is speeding toward me faster than ever this year. So of course, I haven’t started planning it yet, but this writing is certainly making me think about it. So besides the usual things to plan like figuring out what am I going to cook,(it’s never the same menu since I like to make it easy on myself ☺), making lists of needed supplies, etc., this holiday does make me think more about my actual thanks giving or its kissing cousin: gratitude.

Sabrina's casserole is almost as good as her chaturanga dandasana!

Sabrina's casserole is almost as good as her chaturanga dandasana!

Gratitude has not always been a conscious part of my life. I learned, sometimes the hard way, that gratitude was earned just like anything else. I thought life owed me a free “Happiness Express” card and of course, it needed to be platinum or is it black now? That may be a good sign that I do not know for sure. So, with consciousness and “showing up” ability, I realized more and more that gratitude was like a muscle (hopefully not the arm muscle) because for the life of me I cannot seem to get the arm balancing pose of Chaturanga Dandasana. It’s the four limbed staff pose that usually follows our all time favorite: the plank pose, just in case you were wondering.

So anyway, as the cliche says: if we do not use it we lose it. And so it is with gratitude.  Even when I am having a not so good day, I will make an effort to see that even in such a day there is a reason to hope. Like with yoga, the more I practice it the stronger I become.  The art of thankfulness follows suit. The more I practice it, the more I can see something that I can feel gratitude for, thus strengthening my spirit,The art of thankfulness follows suit. The more I practice it, the more I can see something that I can feel gratitude for, thus strengthening my spirit, mind and body ever more. It’s a win, win, win situation!

You are probably wondering why this piece is titled “Not On My Thighs”. Well, in conclusion of this little writing, I wanted to share with you this little poem that came across my readings. The poem made me smile and hopefully it will make you smile as well.

Thanksgiving 8000 Calorie Poem

May your stuffing be tasty

May your turkey and/or tofurky be plump

May your potatoes and gravy

have nary a lump

May your yams be delicious

and your pies take the prize,

and may your Thanksgiving dinner

stay off your thighs

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thank you Devanand Yoga for providing such a loving, peaceful place for yoga practice. Namaste!

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