Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

How many times we have heard that “it” has nothing to do with us. Well, I think as I get older (or wiser) I realize how these saying are even more true and real. As I sit through satsang on Friday, and I hear the words of a devotee of Radhey and Krishna explaining this, the words become just so real. Of course, I immediately think of passing these just wonderful concept to “my” yoga students.

As I understand these ideas and listen to them in my head, I can see how it all connects. We try so hard all the time to do our best. We have so many hopes and expectations and desires about the outcomes of our actions. Yes, I do this all the time. I am always hopeful that this idea or thought or action might provoke change in this or the other person or situation. I guess there is nothing wrong is wishing the best to the people we love. However, these expectations do not have to turn into attachment. Let them be. The consequences of a deep breath we hope are to trigger that deep energy inside of us, and to open the alveoli, to remove impurities from the metabolites of our cellular respiration, etc. The subtle difference is if we sit and expect, desire, attach our thoughts to that result, and we wait. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it does not. Either way, it is ok. The result is not ours to control. There are many forces that will act and affect on the result of our actions. In the Bhagavat Gita Krishna tells Arjuna (and to us all through him) that we should always do our duty, and offer our results to the Divine.

Trust and surrender

Trust and Surrender

As I reflect on this, I can think of so many times that I am not even focused on the now, but on the reactions, the effect of my actions. It is so much simpler (not always easier) to be present, to do and live this moment the best I can. The fruit of my actions will happen. I will learn as I evaluate the reactions, and do this better next time. There are plenty examples where my actions have brought undesired reactions to others. Many times it is very hurtful and difficult to see this. All I can do is try to stay humble, and try my best again. I guess, it is another lesson learned from surrendering in yoga.

It is simpler to concentrate in the now, to do our best in the moment. Just listen, be attentive, do your best in this asana. The fruit of our actions is not up to us. The intent of our action is.

From murky waters, not of murky waters

The Lotus flower is the national flower of India, as mystical as it is beautiful. Many consider this flower to be sacred, however, beyond sacred it is a powerful metaphor. The lotus can be a symbol of beauty and purity, and Divine Energy, with mesmerizing presence, anyone gets absorbed by it.

It is impossible not to evoke emotions of softness and peacefulness when looking at a lotus flower. The flower grows usually in murky ponds. One of the unique characteristics of this flower making it different from the water lilies, is that the lotus leaves grows above the water surface. The leaves of the lotus are called emergent leaves. Truly a lesson in itself.

We constantly talk in yoga about the invasion of the world around us into the world inside of us. Many times, I know I struggle with the pull and the “distractions” of the senses. It is not easy for me to maintain that constant focus in my internal remembrance of the Divine Love. Yoga also teaches us that we have seven centers of energy called chakras. These start from the tailbone area, go through the heart, the middle chakra, and finish with the crown chakra at the top of our head. The crown chakra is symbolized a lotus flower of one thousand petals.

It is comforting to think of the lotus flower to help find and maintain that balance in our lives. The flower grows, emerges, feeds, and lives of the murky water. Eventually, a beautiful delicate water emerges, with such splendor, and from an unsuspected origin. In the same way, our energy rises up, through our spine, from the lower chakras to the higher chakras, ending in the crown chakra, with the desire of the ultimate realization, God Realization.

The lesson seems simple, though no easy. We have a body, the senses, the external world, to help us. it is our job to emerge, and rise above. Our intent might be to live like the lotus flower, coming from the world, but not of the world. Our meditations may be guided by the image of a lotus flower. The soft colors, the beautiful petals, the impressive flower that opens searching, looking upwards, for that Divine Love. Its beauty does not come from the flower itself, but from its intent – reach above, humbly.

 “The belief about or picture of the future”, that is the dictionary definition of an expectation. I hate my birthdays. As my birthday approaches, every year, unfailingly, I feel the child in me wanting to celebrate the birthday I feel I never had. I want lots of friends and lots of candy! I want loads of (eggless) chocolate cake, and (eggless) ice cream! I want all

Lady and sanyasi

Street action in Sangli

my friends getting along and having incredible much fun together… I really do not mind getting old, really! Through the years that expectation of a perfect birthday has not been fulfilled, maybe close in many years, but never to my expectation. And so it happens with so many things in my life, daily and long term… I experience, discover, and provoke disappointment in others from unmet expectations.

If we apply the Vedic concept of the innumerable lives we have lived, then the chances of us experiencing this frustration is uncountable. Of those uncountable times, how many I have been the cause? In my case, probably, more than your average soul. Therefore, it is easy to lose faith and find blame on self or others, because the pain caused and the pain felt is real. However, how many times we can go through the same process of expectations and disappointments? Well, as many times as we need to – truly. There is a lesson to be learned. I know for me, the lesson relies on love, what is it to really love?

Every time I rely on the transitory world, the result will be transitory. If I am expecting this job will make me happy, or the new relationship, or my newest car, then, most likely it will eventually result in disappointment. My job will end, and so will my car, so how can I be truly happy? Happiness and love are absolutes.

As I focus my eyes on a particular experience or circumstance, or even an individual, most likely it will result in transitory happiness and eventual disappointment. Love and eternal happiness are only found in permanent things. Happiness and love are absolutes. The only permanent aspect of our lives is the spirit. Thus relying on spiritual experiences and cultivating them, will be the best source (and only true source), in my experience of love and happiness.

As I step on my mat, all I ask is that I be present to the experience of opening my heart to the Divine Love around me. I ask that I can quiet down my expectations of the world, and learn to accept love without judgment. I hope I awaken bhakti or Awareness of Divine Love.

Traveling and taking a vacation is always an experience that is unparalleled. We take vacations to relax, to change scenery, to open our horizons to new cultures and places. It is always exciting to look for that renewal. This trip I am experiencing is, as I expected the trip of my life, in that and many others I am still to understand.

India is not only on the other side of the world, 11.5 hours ahead of Houston, but a world apart in history, culture, language(s), politics, spirits. It is one of those trips where every moment is an experience. It is finding life lived so intensely that is almost incomprehensible to my eyes. I do not pretend to understand the culture in a few days, or even grasp the pulse of the country. I can simple understand what all these experiences do to my mind and heart.

India can be at first glance a city of opposite extremes. The cities overflow with incredible amounts of people negotiating small spaces, traffic, roads, time, resources, communication, relationships with each other. It is at the same time a place of over acts of peacefulness, of pockets of spirituality. Riding on rickshaw, among the constant concert of honking (Honk OK Please!), the motorcycles, cars, pedestrians, and water buffalo (if not elephants) all struggle for the same piece of road. The rickshaw driver, a college educated man, who drives this tricycle for someone else for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, raises his hand out the side and lets the bus pass him in a complete act of peaceful reconciliation, a spontaneous act of ahimsa. And so it is on the streets, where every few blocks, many times on the same block, the scent of incense attracts your attention to a devotional corner, small mandir, where you will find a deity being looked after and revered by anyone who walks by.

And so it is, that in every step, we find life, spiritual life, as the background of all activities, names, businesses, marriages, and the desire to live intensely, in community, with all religions, with all peoples, with the understanding that live is there and will be there…we just need to open our eyes to live it, and live it intensely.

Inspiration by the kindness of her heart!We seldom take the time to celebrate our successes. We mostly are concerned with our challenges and difficulties. Indeed our challenges are the experiences that make us grow; however, there is always to time to celebrate.

This time we are celebrating our dear yogini friend, Evalyn. She and her company have been featured in the front page of the Houston Business Journal (read entire article). Our dear Evalyn’s sacrifice and effort in her company and capacity to motivate her staff has paid off. She has been nominated for the third year in one of the fastest growing businesses in Houston. This year she and her company are within the 81 fastest growing companies in Houston for 2010.

We do have the responsibility to live in compassion of each other. We seldom stop and think how the pain, the suffering of one is the suffering of all.  Even more rare is the ocassion when we think about the happiness of one is the happiness of all. This is truly how we feel about Evalyn. She is such a special individual who shows that capacity and focus in the depth but softness of her yoga practice. Evalyn brings so much love and sincerity to her yoga practice that is inspiring to all of us!

We do celebrate Evalyn successes as they are also ours!

Congratulations Evalyn!

This is a post that was meant to happen a long time ago. The Devanand Yoga Center, although you might be tired of hearing about how wonderful it is, well, it is more than that – it is magical. It is magical because it brings so many people, ideas, hearts, souls together – in a constant act of giving.

There is no secret that economic times are affecting us all, and the yoga world is no exception. When encounter with this challenges in the almost 2 decades of existence in Houston, the yoga center has always found its way. However, the circumstances are not less magical every time. There have been many incredible people that believe in us and what we do.  Our members have reacted in some incredible ways, in all different expresions of support.

There have been immediate reactions of people providing their payments on our automatic paypal account. Many of you, regardless of the frequency of attendance, have decided to pay their monthly fee. Others, knowing that our rent increased, immediately offered to add on to their monthly fee the difference to cover the increase. Furthermore, one dear friend of the center offered to place the electric bill of the center in her credit card, thus alleviating the burden of this bill.

And it is not all monetarily. Many volunteer to input data in our database, bring water bottles as a donation. Others choose to bring votive candles and incense. There are members that offer their time and effort to recycle. Of course, I have to mention the ones that come to vacuum and clean the center so it is neat and organized in time for class. Most just come and are practice what they learn, to undertand that the happiness of one is the happiness of all. 

It is the loving actions of our members that makes this place so incredibly special. It is truly not about one person, or one or two people, it is all of us that makes this place a solace for the soul. It is the energy of the individuals and desire to open their hearts that makes our center so unique. It is you, that makes the difference in everyone’s lives.

The Devanand Yoga Center could not exist if we did not have that special spiritual energy that unites us. It is through us that we make it manifest.


Our community

Our community

The Devanand yoga center, is not a regular place for yoga, it is truly a community. Through the many years of the yoga center’s existence, the center has been dedicated to provide opportunity to participate in what a yoga commune we understand it to be. We are so grateful.

People do not seem to understand what it means when we explain this center to be a non-profit center. Our culture many times trains us is disbelieve and/or distrust. We truly are a group of individuals that wants to offer an opportunity to experience yoga non-commercially. We desire of this yoga center to be very personal. We do want the best, the most individually significant experience for each present. We do not care who the practitioner is, young, wise, in shape physically or spiritually, skin color, language, religion. We are interested in the REAL you. We want to really offer the opportunity for each to experience their true identity, our real Ego. We want to share what we have learned, and continue to learn. We want to continue to grow together, in support of each other. We understand this center is not for all. We are looking for that special person that is looking for “that” experience, that personal experience, through our body and mind, to remember our spirit.

In the Devanand yoga center we try so hard to bring an honest sentiment of caring and love to each activity of the center. We try not create expectations, because many times they bring disappointment. However, we always put our heart and soul when we are there. Sometimes it is more successful than others, and it is ok that way too. We will keep practicing…

We do think back on the many eyes, and voices, and hearts we have seen. We are so humbled to think back of all these years of seva, service for the love of others. This is our motivation to see the thousands of people that we have touched, and that have touched our souls.

Our only prayer is to continue to have the strength and clarity of mind to maintaining this space open, our center, your center. You are the special people that make this a special place. We only hope for the future; we gain motivation from the past; we want to serve in the present!


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