Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Dear all:
We want you to know we sincerely hope you’re all safe and dry. These are the times we really understand perspective in priorities in our lives. The yoga center is OK. We are too. We will reopen activities Friday, September 2.
Love to all.

Dear Yoga family:

We will be filming this Saturday’s Yoga class.  If you are not comfortable with you face showing up in the media please come visit us during our weekly schedule.  Also stay tune for the release of our of short clip of 2017.


Many times we come to yoga, and the last thing I need/want to do is sit! So, why do I sit in yoga. Many times, we have so many things in my mind, my life, all of the sudden has moved so quickly I do not know how a week just past. I know I have so many things in my mind, so worry about so many things… and finally I remind (force!) myself to come to yoga! Yeah! The practice! Before I even start moving, can I remind my mind to be also be here with me?! My mind many times is somewhere else, staying back in my problems or preoccupations, and all that!


Sitting in Roop Dhyan

Sitting, and closing my eyes, allows me to remember, re-member, become a member, whole, one more time. Just allowing myself to breathe, take that one breath, and surrender to the moment. The smell of incense, the silence of the surrounding, the instructor instructing me to interrupt my own distracting dialogue… all these make my practice more intentional, deeper.

Sometimes, stopping to re-start, is the best way to reconnect to all the things I know, deeply inside of me. It is not learning, it is not a class, but a chance to practice all the things I already know and have forgotten. That is why I sit. That is why I love yoga. It all allows me to come back to my heart, the gateway to the All Attractive!

This year, 2013, has been a year of change. Circumstances, people, jobs, ideas, all have been transforming in my life. It is the nature of the world we live in, as we (don’t) understand. One important aspect of change is my age, others say experience. This has affected and is constantly affecting my perspective of life.

As many of you may know, there have been many things that have changed around my life and the yoga center. There have been many new and wonderful people coming through our doors, touching our lives. I have seen many people affected, process, and grow, many times in unexplainable ways during their yoga practice. The magic of yoga, this center, and the intentions you put in them is what makes it all possible. The chanting and the satsang going on every week have been, I believe, a powerful way to recharge and be able to offer the best we have of ourselves, Jerry and I. This is truly a gift of grace from beloved teacher.

We have had beautiful additions to our center. Balaka and Eileen are very special souls that understand and offer the most humble loving teachings in yoga. We have had so many more wonderful instructors subbing and offering their heart through their practice, as much as experiencing, what our yoga center also has to offer from the special ones that attend our center. I have seen people healing their bodies with patience and constancy. I have noticed people growing emotionally and spiritually with us, as we all experience the softening of our heart.

Our center feels, because it does not matter what it looks like, or whatever happens right outside our doors; it feels more and more a true place of grace. Knowingly or unknowingly, we all receive the grace, that something special, by being there. We might fight it intellectually many times. We might fight it with fear, many times. We might be shocked by the unexpected je nais sais quoi, and ignore. But, it is the seed of change, the change in our hearts. I feel it, and I want to share that with as many people as I can!

I really love what we do. I really hope all of us, a deeper experience, through this body. I know that all of us, in our yoga center, are fulfilling the original intent of this place not being a center for exercise of the body, but an exercise of the heart; the loving heart.

As much as we understand love, with that, we offer all we have every time. I know I speak for Yogesh, Jerry, Balaka, and Eileen, with all our faults, we offer our love in every class. And we are so grateful to feel your love back. May we have more moments together.

On the edge of my bed, in the midst of serenity. How can I even start to explain what life in an ashram may mean or is doing to my life… especially, my spiritual life, how can I begin… My intention is reach you and share with you the hopeful possibilities of life.

I have, like many of us, gone through some difficult times in my life, and I know they will happen again. It is not the things that happen to us, bow we perceive them. Like in our yoga practice, it is the intention and the action, not the reaction from the actions where we concentrate our efforts. So, it is not without effort that I take the body to a spiritual retreat. It is then the mind that reacts. Although I may physically be here, in the midst of an ashram with mantras and chanting embracing me, if my mind is is not here then, there is no intention. We all have the experience of sitting in a math class where our body is there, but our mind is everywhere else. The mind’s purpose, I have learned, is to bring happiness to the atman (soul). Unfortunately, we confuse the source of permanent happiness – and we look everywhere, only finding bits and droplets.

I only understand what happens in my heart…as I sit, listen, meditate in God, in all those beautiful qualities that we truly know inside,  then tears of joy come to me eyes. It is joy that I have felt before but different. This is beyond my intellect and beyond my simple understanding.

I have know enough times despair and sadness. I know I might feel them again. Now, however, I know, that this sensation I can always reach for, if I sit and practice devotion to Divine Love, true yog (connection).

I could not think of a different place I would rather be receiving the New Year. I wish you, the same…

We are always immersed in thought when the end of the year comes. For some it is the end of the world as we know it (but, isn’t every minute the end…a new beginning?). It is always a great time to be grateful.

We are so grateful to have been part of your life and you of ours. As we always remind ourselves, this Yoga Center, in its uniqueness would not be here if it were not for you, specifically you! We never claim to be perfect or the best. We never aspire to be competitive with others, or even think of ourselves in comparison with others. We humbly want to be the center that is truest to our mission. Our mission is to bring the most honest practice of yoga, in what it means to us, and share it with you.

Our commitment is to be there, as humbly and honestly as we can every time you come. Because in that vulnerability and that “real” experience is where we all get to experience life, together.

It is, as you know, never about the money, or the fame, or the flashiness. It is always our intention to be about the intent, to be an experience of Peacefulness, Harmony, Truthfulness, and most importantly our intention of Divine Love. Some may argue, it is a little about sweat too… 🙂

We are grateful that you are coming. We are grateful that you have come. We are grateful that you thought in coming more often…

In all ways, we are grateful, because every time we, you and us, are there, we are “more” alive and hopeful that we are practicing remembering who we truly are, part of that Divine Love.

We humbly and sincerely wish you wonderful truly Holy Days!

It is like walking in a fog of uncertainty and doubt. It is like jumping in a river with murky water. It is like being suffocated with the smell of a cheap perfume. We have an incredible capacity to adapt and get used to new conditions. We live in this world bombarded with circumstances, conditions, distractions – and we go through them. We all make it. We all survive. But survival many times is not enough. We want more – I know I do.

When do we stop to take a step back and look at the reasons why we are where we are. Why are we walking, swimming, breathing? Where are going? What are we looking for? Did we forget?

It seems I am waiting for that next goal, to reach that number, to obtain that title, to have an epiphany. I am waiting for that magical heavenly event, parting of the clouds. I am waiting for happiness to find me. Indeed I believe happiness is a gift, and is gracefully given to us. I believe it is not because I deserve it. It is not because I do not deserve it. But I realize it is simply not found in all those places I keep looking. It cannot be found in the most delicious food, or in the most beautiful car. I know I cannot find happiness in that expensive pair of shoes! Happiness is ever increasing, permanent, everlasting – food is not; my car lasts for a few years; my shoes go out of style! Happiness cannot be there…

The more I discover love for permanent, unchanging, Divine matters, then happiness starts sneaking into my heart. All of the sudden a smile, a flower, a sunset, a meditation reminds me of all that is beyond. My eyes fill with tears. The sound of a chant makes my heart skip a beat. And I want the entire world to sign with me, to fill it with me.

I believe we all do. I believe we all have that deep core memory and wisdom of what is peaceful, harmonious, true. I believe we all are craving and searching for that. I believe that we all hanker for Love, Divine. We know what it is. We simply forget.

Let’s purify, rub our eyes, take a deep breath, and reinvigorate our desire to keep looking in the right place – to turn our attention to the permanence of Divine Love. Let’s remember. Let’s not forget.

Over two centuries ago, the great English poet William Wordsworth cautioned the world on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution that “Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; / Little we see in Nature that is ours….” What Wordsworth observed was the beginnings of a mass exodus of people from a simple agricultural, world where they lived in harmony with Nature, to an imbalanced materialistic world, divorced from the earth they once honored as the source of life and livelihood. This spiritual divide has widened with time, and many now see our earth only as an exploitable resource. Many have lost touch with nature and no longer understand the importance of our intimate connection with the earth and with each other. In a hurried world of obligations and deadlines, it is easy to see how people have disconnected, but yoga helps us to bridge this disconnect and restore unity.

The early rishis realized the importance of this connection and provided rich teachings for future generations to ensure a means to maintain this harmony. Yoga, as commonly understood in the West, is the unity of mind, body, and spirit; yet it is more than this. Once this unity is understood, we may then unite with the Devine, which—as the Lord Krishna teaches in the Bhagavad Gita—exists within all things; although, all things do not exist within the Devine. We must consider carefully the impact our actions have upon life in all its forms and the earth that sustains it. When we lack this understanding, we fail to be fully human—to be fully complete—and find ourselves in discord with the Universe and each other.

Thousands of years before the coming of the iPad, people were very much aware to the world around them and their connection to it. Technology is a wonderful thing, but it does not change us into something non-human. Society is out of synch with the Universe as it moves gracefully on—cycle within cycle, marked by the changing constellations of the night skies, the seasons of the year, and the migration of animal life. Each of these offers us a chance to not only reflect upon the certainty of change and impermanence but also to pause and celebrate the delicate and intricate balance of Nature and our place within it. People have honored Nature in many ways, such as celebrating spring as it begins the renewal of life. As the Vernal Equinox nears on March 20, many yoga practitioners will gather together for Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations), while others will sit mindfully in meditation.

I have always enjoyed the joining with others in Surya Namaskar, but meditation offers an opportunity for a more intimate exploration of ourselves as part of the Universe.  Before I begin my meditation, I gather together fresh water, seeds, sugar cubes, and incense. When I locate an appropriate outdoor location for meditation, I offer these gifts to the Devine presence manifest in all things: the water to the plants, the seeds to birds and animals, the sugar cubes to insects, and the incense to the Universe itself. This is in no way a formal ritual taken from any ancient text, but it is deeply personal and important to me. Ritual for the sake of ritual offers only empty actions. Whatever you do, be creative and have fun—make it personal and relevant to your intentions of meditation.

The rituals for the Vernal Equinox change from year to year as I do, but my meditation has been consistent. This is a very simple meditation that can easily be adapted to suit anyone. Begin by grounding yourself and making a deep connection with the earth; sit comfortably on the ground, allowing the pelvic floor and the Muladhara Chakra to connect with the earth—not just feeling the earth but imagining yourself growing out of it, being a real part of it. Explore the earth with the fingertips at the sides of the hips, and begin to inhale, letting the breath slowly guide the arms upward, bringing the hands together over the Sahasrara Chakra and exhaling to lower them in Anjali Mudra to rest at the Anahata Chakra. Repeat this three times, imagining your hands gathering the Universe’s energy as they sweep upward and guide it into your heart.

After the third inhalation, exhale the hands to rest palms upward, bringing the thumbs and index fingers together in Gyan mudra. Rest the tongue between the upper palate and the ridge of your upper teeth. Slow the breath, and allow your awareness to expand, inviting and welcoming all sensory experiences: the breeze upon your skin; the coolness or warmth of the earth; the smells in the air; the sounds of birds, insects, wind, and so on. The important thing to remember now is to not allow yourself to attach to the source of the experience. For example, when you hear the sound of a bird, try not to think “that’s a bird…. I wonder what kind of bird that is….” Simply experience the sensation, without identifying it. In this way, allow your awareness to dissolve into the Universe and the Universe to dissolve into you, fully embracing God consciousness….

Namasté ~

Chris Lane

As I wake up this morning, there are all these emotions and thoughts and ideas… where do I start to be able to even

Prem Mandir, Vrindavan, India

convey these feelings. In only a few days, we are, once again, on our way to the mystical spiritual lands of India. It just hit me last night, after our satsang (group mediation)that we are visiting the inauguration of Prem Mandir(The Temple of Love) in Vrindavan, India.

I remember at the age of 6 or so, I ran downstairs, with the curiosity and determination a child can have, I walked into my loving father’s study, where he was buried in books and the reading of philosophy and positive thinking. With the deepest of desperations, I asked, “Dad, what is Love?”. I do not remember his answer; I do remember and do know, however, my search since. There has been plenty of moments of pain and deceit, many moments of crying myself to sleep. There have been deep moments of suffering. I have looked in many places for love and happiness, even in the most unlikely places. I did find moments, sparks, glimpses of what that means; none lasting or really satisfactory – I always knew there had to be more. The disappointments led to deeper discouragement and frustration, maybe anger. I gave up many times.

I was hearing of a student’s reflection on how difficult the practice of hatha yoga has become. At the beginning yoga was (arguably) an easy, fun, enjoyable “light” work out. But to many of us the more we become present and stay in asana, the deeper we connect. Is that something I am prepared to do? Yoga is indeed simple, though not an easy task. The more we pay attention, we find loads of thoughts and emotions. For many of us it is easier to stop, avoid, and/or look away. It is a very common reaction. I do it all the time, I do know! Through my many years of practice, I realize now it has nothing to do with that movement, that physical pain and discomfort, or frustration. It has little to do with my hips or my shoulder, or my knee. The physical body, as we have heard many times, is more than a structure of movement. The hands are to hold things, but also to let them go. The chest is to protect, but also to open up the heart and emotions. The legs and hips are the means of motion, movement in our lives, or to simply stand in place, grounded.

So, our physical yoga practice is exactly that, a practice of rediscovery, re-membering of who we are. The process of discovery is never easy. The path is full of ups and downs. We have given up uncountable times, as the yoga philosophy teaches, for uncountable (truly uncountable!) lifetimes. How are we to change in one class, or one posture, or in one month, or one year, or a lifetime? We do change, but maybe in ways we do not realize or expect now. Every breath done in consciousness changes something inside of us, every time. The questions is, are we able to sustain it? Are we able to persevere and find encouragement? Are we able to maintain focus? The is not a right or wrong answer, simple our sadhana (practice) is what matters. Some days are better than others. Some (many) days not so good. That is the nature of our imperfection, though we may choose to place blame outwardly.

So, what is the loving thing to do? What is Love? Where am I today in my trying to understand the incomprehensible? I do not understand intellectually anything more than when I was 6 in my dad’s study. Although, I know my heart has experience the incomprehensible through practice and perseverance. My heart has been graced with experiences of Love, as I know we all have. To keep those loving feelings present it takes perseverance, patience, discipline, remembrance, and know there is not an only way or only one time. It took me 40 years of experiences to view Love as a daily action, rather than the misconceived romantic ideal.

Yoga means connection, is the path of search for the purpose of our physical experience, our body as a temple of our spirit, the temple or instrument to find Love, Divine Love.

Meditations on Spring

I was in a bit of a hurry this morning and nearly tripped over my backpack as I rushed out of the door. My apartment has been a bit of a mess for a while now along with everything else—I’ve been a moving whirlwind. Sometimes, in order for things to come together, the tangled energies that produce chaos must unravel causing more chaos. It takes time to reorganize, restructure and create new order. In many ways, it is a remarkable display of how life seems to be orchestrated by infinite invisible hands gently moving in concert with impeccable rhythm and precision. I’ve learned to trust and appreciate such wisdom comes forth from an unknown place deep within us all. To understand paradox and contradiction is to understand life itself—straight from the pages of my book of internal dialogue.

After making it out on the patio I rushed around fiddling with the keys to lock the door. I skipped down the stairs, missing steps all the while thinking of the endless errands to finish before the morning ended. It is a wonder I didn’t fall flat on my face as my mind raced against my footsteps. Pacing down the sidewalk, I felt something float past my face and gently graze my nose. I froze mid-step, looked around me and found myself being showered by hundreds of blossoms drifting from the trees. The neighbor with the infant across the way looked puzzled as I stood in awe. It was as if I’d instantly become a child ushered into a world that seemed so tranquil and magical. Maybe in some strange way, we are all just children making our way through a strange land. Moments like this remind me that we don’t make our way along this road alone.

I turned my head toward the sky while rotating slow enough to absorb the wonder. The red and pink blossoms danced and swirled around me. They seemed to mingle with one another with such boldness and grace. For a brief moment, I let my imagination run wild as I wondered what the rooted buds thought of the descending blossoms. I imagined them full of compassion and appreciation for the tree’s ever-fleeting oneness of the great trees. Each bundle of petals clinging to the branches, hugging the neighboring leaves while the others are flung from paradise. They make surrendering look so beautiful. They were so graceful and charming as they bowed in the air. I felt like them, in a way. I felt like I was awakening, in every sense of the word–

I felt like I was awakening, in every sense of the word--

I felt like I was awakening, in every sense of the word--

“He leaped gracefully, arms holding the thin air while the crown of his head bowed towards the ground. Smiling gently, he danced–awakened from a deep slumber.”

After I composed myself, I walked toward my car conscious of each step. The shameful face of the moon flashed its betrayal off in the distance just before it vanished deep within the blue. I noticed the grass soaked in dew even though the sunlight had spilled had spilled everywhere. The shimmering, shining drops made me smile as they mixed with the elegant rays. With the wind moving calm and easy, the blossoms roamed far and wide with an energy that seemed to be full of intent. They rolled across the jagged pavement with minds of their own as if they knew where they were going. I took one last sip of the scene and I headed off before the morning slipped away.

In that moment and time everything seemed sacred to me. What a luxury it would be if every moment could be just like that. It is an amazing thing to be able to witness such simple elements of divinity that great us every day while here on earth. Even while we remain cloaked in layers of flesh, clothes, statuses, labels…etc, we can taste a bit of the sweet nectar we hope to one day attain. I’m not quite sure when the notion of ‘Heaven’ became an unruly hostage of the popular imagination, to be completely honest. It seems nearly all of the major practices have some conception of an ethereal space beyond here that will one day allow us to bathe in eternal bliss. But for now, how blessed and very fortunate we are to see a hint of that spectacular vision of divine beauty unveiled–even here on earth and within us all.

Brian Bowers

Brian is musician, writer, intellectual, amateur photographer, and Fullbrigght candidate for 2012. Most importantly, you will find Brian practicing yoga and rediscovering his beautiful soul through Bhakti yoga in our center.

Today’s Classes
  • 6:30 pm - Mantra Chanting
  • 7:00 pm - Hatha Yoga
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