4 Non-Physical Benefits of Yoga

While we all are aware that yoga makes you more fit and flexible and is probably one of the best substitutes for the gym, it has other advantages apart from making you physically healthy too.

Yoga has proved to be one of the best methods to stimulate your mind and achieve a zen state which most of the people in our world are striving for these days. But first, make sure you have one of the best yoga mats out there, something like Manduka pro would be perfect.

Following are a few benefits of yoga which entail any description of the benefits of yoga apart from the physical aspects of it:

Increased Patience

In this fast-paced world, none of us have any patience anymore to wait for things to happen. We want them badly and we want them soon. We don’t wish to wait but we forget that anything which is important requires time and patience.

Growing up, finding the job you love, finding the relationship perfect for you, etc. , all of this would require a lot of patience because you certainly won’t find all of this overnight. Yoga helps you in this aspect and makes you more patient with your expectations towards life. As you practice yoga poses, you realize that you won’t master a pose overnight, it would take time and hence in this process, you learn patience to deal with other aspects of your life too.

Improved Concentration

Yoga is all about focusing your mind and body so that they are in the same alignment for you to master a yoga pose. It makes sure that you aren’t getting distracted by your surroundings and just focusing on the act of the yoga pose you are trying to achieve.

Once you are able to focus your mind and avoid distractions, it becomes easier to concentrate on other things in life too. You are better prepared to discard all kinds of unnecessary information and just process the ones important to you. Improved concentration also helps you in retaining more information which can help you in your work endeavors too.

Yoga 1

Peaceful mind

As we already know that Yoga helps in improving your concentration skills, this can come really handy when you have too many thoughts swirling through your head and you need some peace from all these random thoughts.

Yoga teaches you how to control your breathing and mind. As a result, you can tame your mind and neglect all the thoughts which are causing you so much confusion and anxiety. You can focus on important stuff or altogether just relax your mind into a completely blank slate, thereby entering into a peaceful state of mind.

Stress reliever

Stress and depression have grown to become quite usual for most of the people. As our world is evolving and new technologies are being introduced, people are becoming more ambitious and stressed out. All of us are running in a rat race wishing to be first and when that doesn’t happen, we become morose and depressed.

Yoga, as told earlier, helps you in centering and calming your mind. It helps you in taking control of your body and mind with the help of deep breathing. Once you take deep breaths and focus on your mind, you feel your mind and body relaxing. It’s like a piece of cake. Anytime you feel stressed or depressed, just practice yoga for 5 minutes and you will see a tremendous change in your feelings and energy.

Well, what are you waiting for now? Go and become the master of your mind by performing a few yoga poses every day. You will soon see that not only you have become fit and healthy but mentally proactive too.

Yoga 2

I’m Baaaaack!!!!


Hello, World Wide Web True Yoga Blog Friends,

Yes, I am back!  You can’t keep me down or shut me up…

I will always be back, I will always rise…no matter how long it takes.

Several things happened that had me not blog on the True Yoga Blog for a while.  First of all, I had a work position that required me to be very conscientious about my personal endeavors since I was in the public sector for a while.

But, now that I’m back in the private sector that is not cause for concern.

Also, I had no idea that my domain name was deactivated.  The True Yoga Blog email address has become inundated over the years with junk email, unfortunately.  That is why I had to finally take that email address of the True Yoga website.  I had not checked that email in a while since I had been so busy with other things in my life, motherhood, work, moving and more.  They deactivated the True Yoga website and the site was down for a while.  But, I finally restored it once all the dust settled and cleared from the many things that were going on over the past couple of months…

As I mentioned, I relocated for a  job that I love.  I am a Wellness Coordinator for a wonderful company and I LOVE what I do.  I get to focus on helping people to live healthy, thriving lives and I am even teaching Yoga at my work one day a week.  How awesome is that??!!!

I am hoping that you will be hearing from me a lot more now…at least a few times a month now that I don’t have to be censored and concerned about mixing business with personal.  I don’t know how people live that way…Hillary Clinton?  Goodness, gracious…especially nowadays when EVERYTHING is so scrutinized.  Privacy is a wonderful thing I have grown to realize.

I am still amazed at how powerful the changing of the seasons are.  As you know, the Spring Equinox just occurred on March 20.  This is such a powerful time of ushering in change in our lives.  To me, the Spring Equinox has a powerful way of illuminating any and all BS.  Yes, I said BS as in BS.   Those who are operating or functioning from a disingenuous, dishonest place become exposed and those who are seeking to live in alignment with God’s will, truth, love (however imperfectly at times) are strengthened.  From God’s strength, we realize we no longer have to give our power away to those people or those fears.

I realized I was letting people intimidate me.  No more.  That intimidation was coming from a fear of loss.  I finally realized that no one can take anything away from me.  Therefore, no one has power over me but the power I LET them have.  With the igniting of the Spring Equinox I have stopped giving my power away, I am realizing there is nothing to fear and I am letting that ALL POWERFUL LIGHT OF GOD shines truth on everything especially those whose intentions are not Godly or pure.  Bam!


That’s all for now.




And, don’t look back.

And, I will always be back!

Just like the Terminator…I’ll be back! 😉

God bless you all!

We ARE triumphant through God’s redeeming, unfailing love and grace.

Please like the Fresh Fruit Cleanse page if you haven’t.  You will find good info there.  Like this recipe I am eating for dinner tonight:  http://www.honeygheeandme.com/2012/04/crockpot-chicken-peanut-curry/ (Smells SOOO good…it’s in the slow cooker right now…I did less spice…more honey.) Holy yum!  God, it feels good to be free-spoken again.

Thank you, God!!

And thank you faithful True Yoga Blog friends.  Where there is a will, there is a way and God IS the way.  OM.

Electionment :)

I just made that word up, but, it means the enlightenment that comes from the social, political, spiritual process of an election. :)   Because no doubt in our differences and diversity we realize the reality of our oneness.  We are all one…we are all the same.  :)   One breath…one blood…one love…

I’m sure you have also been tuned into so many people’s opinions and preferences (facebook, twitter, etc) regarding the upcoming presidential election this Tuesday.

Here’s my final thought on it all.  May the best person to lead and unite our country and world for the Highest Good of all win.  :)   Om Shanti.

While our leaders or anyone may not be a perfect person, I trust our leaders in this country to lead for the Highest Good of all.  That’s all I know.  I’m definitely not worried about the outcome, but, I do think it’s important that the President who is elected be able to unite us for the Highest Good of all.  The only way our country and world will grow better is if we have a cOMmon goal for, again, the goodness of all…

OK, so, on a different note…I’d like to share an article with you on the True Yoga Blog.  I’d also like to share a couple of awesome products I received and have had the opportunity to try out recently.  First the article…then the reviews on the products.  The article is by the wonderful and intelligent Melina Meza.  I so appreciate her inspired wisdom and I’m sure you do, too.  I love sharing her articles on the True Yoga Blog.  Oh, yes, also, I am finding the flow with motherhood and it is wonderful…challenging in moments…but absolutely awesome.  So grateful for this blessed life that has come into my life.  So, so grateful…om…  Also, grateful for feeling almost completely back to myself, again.  I did have a bit of postpartum healing and recovery.  But, a daily 15 minute Yoga practice (looking forward to longer practices again one day) has helped me to strengthen, revitalize and re-energize myself every day.  I’ve learned, yet again, through pregnancy and now with a child in my life that life is best lived, enjoyed, experienced one day at a time, trusting, in God’s plan to support us and guide us because it absolutely will…IF…we believe and surrender to His Grace, Goodness, Glory…

Ok, here is the article by Melina.  Thank you, Melina, for sharing this with all of us…

by Melina Meza, E-RYT, BSN

With fall’s arrival, it’s an excellent opportunity to make some lifestyle adjustments that honor the changes occurring out in Nature. A few examples include: going to bed a little bit earlier each night, slowing down and doing less activity in general, wearing warmer clothes and scarves, saying YES to creative projects and hot baths, strengthening your digestive fire with warm soupy foods, and detoxifying your organs with a simple whole food diet and herbs before the onset of winter. Each will hopefully help you connect to Nature’s rhythm and bring nourishment to you and your family.

Living in harmony with nature is what Seasonal Vinyasa Yoga is all about. This means you learn to see and embrace the changing world around you in all its seasons, ages, and states, including suffering and destruction, as well as joy and renewal. Since we are part of Nature, we have the opportunity to be graceful and let the seasons flow. We can do this without clinging or grasping, despite our preferences for certain seasons, those times of year that resonate with our core elements and make us feel more like ourselves. And yet, developing equanimity and contentment with all seasons—regardless of dosha, or where you live—is essential to well-being.

Now that a new season has started, consider taking some time to reflect on these questions to help you connect with where you live, as well as your state of mind, physical health, goals, and aspiration for the fall.

Consider these questions:

·      What changes are going on outside in Nature?

  • How does this season make me feel?
  • What are the challenges I face?
  • What brings me joy during this season?
  • What diet or lifestyle routines do I want to change?
  • Am I getting the right amount of sleep?
  • What yoga or exercise routine feels the best to me?

After reflecting upon them, see whether are there places in your life where you are interested in making some changes? Can you sense what part of your life is more inclined to go out of balance (diet, work, spending habits, travel) during particular seasons? Are you willing to change a behavior or habit for two weeks, one month, or the entire season? While this may seem like a short window, it is enough time to witness considerable changes in your personality, bodily functions, energy levels, sleep patterns, and general well-being. Here’s how to get started:

Stepping Into The Fire – Tapas

Select one aspect of your life you wish to change. For example, I want to clean up my diet, so I am going to stop eating all foods made with processed sugar for the entire month of October.

As you experiment with ridding yourself of your vice or habit in the short term, you will learn that certain habits or cravings have stronger karmas (meaning, in this case, mental or emotional history) than others and may require more than a two-week cessation to break free from the bondage accrued over many years (or lifetimes). The important thing to be aware of is how much tapas (fire) is needed to bolster your willpower and break away from each vice. People are always surprised by the amount of effort and discipline it takes to break from their habituated way of being. This realization is another important concept in yoga. To grow and transform (indeed to become enlightened), we must strive to live consciously instead of unconsciously.

Observation – Svadhyaya

And like any good scientist, I highly recommend keeping a journal and taking notes during your experiment to log the changes you observe in your mind, body, and spirit on a daily basis. Your insights and reflections may continue to be valuable long after the experiment is over. Svadhyaya and self-reflection help cultivate a pool of experience to help you grow more consciousness in your blind spots. Everyone learns at different speeds, so it’s essential that you experiment with how much to study or change at one time and honor the lessons as they come. If you take on too many studies at once, experiences stay superficial. Too much information without practice can create mental constipation. Instead, think about the “less is more” maxim and strive for deep connections in your relationships to teachers and texts. Go slow and enjoy every moment in your practice, digesting and savoring the insights that feed you along your spiritual path, as you evolve from unconscious towards more conscious living.

Arrival – Isvara Pranidhana

With tapas sparking the enthusiasm and curiosity for the adventure and svadhyaya lighting the way through self-study and reflection, we use isvara pranidhana (the omniscient self, God within) to teach us to be the lord of our own actions (remembering that actions can mirror intent better than words), to investigate the meaning of faith (from personal experience and scriptures), as well as to remind us to offer our unique gifts and talents to the world in which we live. Through our practice of isvara pranidhana, we learn to humble ourselves and soften the ego in order to receive the counsel, sustenance, and unconditional love that comes from joining with nature, the divine, God, or whatever you choose to call it. You’ve arrived at the end of your experiment. Can you let your heart rest now, appreciating your willingness to grow, remembering your wholeness, and knowing you are divine?

This blog is inspired by chapters in Melina Meza’s Art of Sequencing – Volume Two – Seasonal Vinyasa book.

Melina Meza, BS Nutrition, 500-RYT
Melina has been exploring the art and science of yoga and nutrition for over 18 years. She combines her knowledge of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, whole foods nutrition, and healthy lifestyle promotion into a unique style called Seasonal Vinyasa. Her devotion to yoga and eating well, to teaching and nutritional counseling, and to traveling and experiencing different cultures combine to create a colorful and enlightening perspective from which to share that which she loves about yoga in its entirety. Meza is the author of the Art of Sequencing books and Yoga for the Seasons – Fall Vinyasa DVD. www.melinameza.com

And, now for the True Yoga approved products for the Yogi/nis at heart…

Aurorae Northern Lights Yoga Mat

How beautiful are the colors in this mat?  This one is the Sunset color but they have many other wonderful options, as well.  I love this mat and would have kept it for myself, except, it was meant to be given to a friend who was beginning a new life journey.  I knew he would appreciate a new Yoga mat to accompanying him on his new beginning and life.  So, I gave it away.  But, I loved it and thought how beautiful it was as soon as I opened it up.  He loves it, too.  What I love about these mats are they are biodegradable!  How awesome is that?  It was always difficult for me to understand how we, as Yogis, could hope to be so environmentally conscious and yet be practicing Yoga on Yoga mats that weren’t good for the environment.  So, you can practice guilt-free with this Yoga mat.  You can order your Aurorae Yoga mat on amazon.com.  Thank you, Aurorae, for creating and sharing this wonderful mat with me and us.
Barefoot Yoga Mysore Practice Rug and Silk Eye Pillow
OMG…I love the Barefoot Yoga Silk Eye Pillow…it is fabulous.  Hands down the best eye pillow I have ever tried.  First of all, it’s beautiful and made with 100% silk… And, the scent is incredible…just the right essence of lavender to relax and de-stress you.  I have used this several times, as a new mom who has needed some R&R, and every time I have been able to relax and renew.  As a friend of mine said, God can restore us with even ten minutes of healing rest…that’s the kind of awesome things He can do.  I simply lie down on my back in Savasana and apply the pillow and within a few minutes, I feel myself float away into lavender heaven.  Oh, and who knew lavender is good for anti-depression something we can all appreciate to help us feel good and our best day-to-day.  I also love that the pillow has a zipper so you can refill it if that’s ever necessary.  In other words, it’s good for life!  What a wonderful gift idea for you…or for a loved one.  You’ll be so grateful you gave yourself or a loved one this wonderful gift.  You can click here to learn more or order your own Silk Eye Pillow.   As they say on the Barefoot Yoga website just below the product description… Just Surrender…  Exactly Barefoot Yoga…we will…thank you for helping us to feel good in our surrender…
OK, truth be told…I love the Mysore Travel Practice Rug, but, I don’t use these types of mats, usually.  However, I’m so grateful to be given this wonderful gift and, perhaps, when I’m ready for a hot Yoga practice again I will.  It is beautiful, though, and I can tell you that if you like Mysore Rug Yoga Mats for your Yoga practice…you will LOVE this one.  Plus, you can take it anywhere with you because it folds up as small as a shirt in your suitcase…so there isn’t ever a reason not to practice Yoga… :)   You can learn more and order your Mysore Travel Practice Rug here.

Let’s see…what else True Yoga friends…

How fabulous is this…  A film by Ram Dass called Cultivating Loving Awareness...  Here is more info…I’m looking forward to watching and experiencing this as we each open to the love we are, sharing that with the world through our hearts and minds.  One of the most powerful things we can do is pray for a better world within us and all around us.  The saints say to pray without ceasing.  Aummmmmmm…love…love…love…all you need is love…let our hearts and minds be healed so love is all there is within us and all around us with each breath we breathe.  Forgive yourself and others because now is all there is and now is the only moment we know for certain will be…

Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter because we are so deeply interconnected. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.

Please join us for a unique experience on November 13th

A new film, Cultivating Loving Awareness, explores the path to realizing loving awareness with four insightful teachers: Ram Dass, Krishna Das, Sharon Salzberg and Mirabai Bush.

Join us for a special screening of Cultivating Loving Awareness and a live video chat with Ram Dass and Krishna Das on November 13 at 7:30 pm EST.

Follow the link below to sign-up for this free event.


And, even though I haven’t had a chance to finish it…yet…I was sent this inspiring book called It’s Never Too Late. Yes, as I heard Deva Premal and Miten say at their concert…there is a second chance for all of us…with each exhale we breathe…there is the opportunity to begin again…to let the past go…to release and to begin anew in this moment, this breath full of love, peace, forgiveness for all…  So, exhale the love to all as you let go and surrender…

Here is more about the book…I think you’ll enjoy this wonderful and inspiring story, too…

At the age of 85, William Moss realized he was an alcoholic.  Rather than despair over this late realization, he had an epiphany about his purpose in life—to help others recover from the devastating and debilitating disease.   It’s Never Too Late (Glitterati Incorporated, October 2012) is a story about the frailty of man and the power of God and Moss’s amazing spiritual journey that accompanied him on the path to sobriety and peace, with a special introduction by George H.W. Bush.

Moss, an extremely successful businessman, oilman, producer, actor, writer, entrepreneur, father, and husband, lived a life many only dream of.  He was often the life of the party but unfortunately partied too hard on many occasions. Because of delayed business meetings, Moss missed flights on two separate occasions.  In each case, the planes crashed, killing everyone on board.  After this plane crashes, Moss felt he had been spared him for a reason, although he did not understand the exact reason at the time.

Moss’ candid tale is woven with stories of suffering, forgiveness, happiness, and second chances.  From his acting days in Hollywood to his oil business heyday, to four shattered marriages, and then finally finding Dianne, the love of his life, It’s Never Too Late is the journey of a lifetime.  The book provides hope and comfort and the greater realization that we all have a purpose in life—even if we haven’t discovered that purpose yet.

You can order your copy of It’s Never Too Late on amazon.com.

And, of course, you can also order your copy of the Fresh Fruit Cleanse by, yours truly, on amazon.com.  The spiritual teachings say that when we make a spiritual effort everything in the future will improve.  Good health and nutrition and caring for the body, which, is your temple…is one of the ways we make a spiritual effort.  The Fresh Fruit Cleanse book gives you all the info, guidance and many wonderful recipes you need to live your life in the healthiest way each day.  One of my favorite quotes in the book is by David Wolfe.  He says…

When our health improves, every other aspect of our life improves simultaneously.

When I first heard that quote at an Anthony Robbins seminar, almost ten years ago, I realized in that moment the truth of that saying.  And, I have experienced the truth of that teaching first hand over the years.  Yes, it is true…  You can learn more and purchase your copy of the Fresh Fruit Cleanse book here. You can also read the most recent post with tips for your health and well-being on the Fresh Fruit Cleanse blog… Stay tuned for a post about the powerful, healing and medicinal benefits of Turmeric powder…a spice that has been used for centuries in the East for healing…

Love to all of you and I will be back soon, again, when there is more time to write and share.  In the meantime, thank you for your love and patience, with updates on the True Yoga Blog, as I let go and surrender to this new journey of life and motherhood…

God bless all and God bless America and the world…

Namaste :)

Right Here, Right Now: Atha and Mindful Eating

And, one more article by the beautiful Melina Meza. Thank you for sharing your yoga-inspired wisdom with us!

Right here. Right now.
Eating mindfully and applying atha to your practice.
–by Melina Meza, RYT-500, BS Nutrition

I’ve been deeply inspired in my daily life by the very first sutra in the classic text called Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The arrangement in which the sutras are placed is related to their significance, so the very first word in the first yoga sutra is central to understanding what Westerners call “yoga.” The whole sutra is atha yoga anusasanam. Atha is translated as now, also referred to as the moment-to-moment transition. This simple word, atha, echoes the basic wisdom often forgotten in today’s society, that in order to feel whole and connected, you must be present. Right here, right now. But, where do we spend most of your life? Somewhere in between the past and future…

I once heard a riddle that asked, “If you had a treasure to hide, where would you hide it?” The answer is, “in the present moment.” What would happen if we started weaving this wisdom from the Yoga Sutra into our daily life and eating? Would our health improve? I believe it would. This first step is perhaps the most important step on this journey because it brings your attention to what you are doing at the moment, no matter what you are doing. How can you ever understand or feel the benefit of a well-prepared meal, restorative or vigorous yoga practice, healthy relationships, parenting, working, or whatever you do in life, if you are always distracted by emails and text messaging or if you are busy fantasizing about sometime other than right now?

One translation of the word “mindfulness” means to pay attention or take care in everything you do. Mindfulness and atha have a lot in common, they both remind us that now is the prime time to pay attention to life and take nothing for granted, they both graciously steer the waxing and waning mind towards one goal, one task versus many. After all, can your energy really go more than one place at a time?
Mindfulness or atha can be used as a “mantra” to be repeated throughout the day in various activities such as yoga, meditation, walking, cooking, paying the bills, or listening to a friend. Repeating this mantra throughout your day will help remind you to stay present and awake, right here and now. What would it be like to wake up to each moment’s sensual offerings and accept that moment as enough?

Mindful eating
What if eating became a part of your meditation practice? Whether you eat three square meals a day or numerous smaller meals, eating food is something every human must do to survive. To maintain healthy tissues and organs, it’s essential to eat the right foods every day. Because we all need to eat so regularly, it’s a great place to consider sequencing in mindfulness and atha into your daily routine. Enjoy how your food tastes, smells, how well it digests, and how much you need to satisfy your hunger.

In the western culture, people are not fully conscious of the fact that they are eating; instead, we are busy driving, typing at the computer, watching the TV or a movie, reading the paper or discussing politics or the latest Facebook events while hanging out with friends. Each of these scenarios requires a certain amount of energy output–energy that is pulled away from the digestive and metabolic functions occurring within. There is a classic saying, “Where your mind goes, your energy will follow.” So, why not focus on eating when eating, to prepare your digestive organs to process the nutrients?

If we were to apply mindfulness to eating, we would start by choosing a special, clean place to eat each meal, free of clutter and distractions. I believe it is valuable to choose a specific comfortable seat just for eating (like you do for meditation) other than your couch, desk, bed, or car because it promotes conscious eating. This also prevents overeating. Consider the classic conditioned behavior patterns described in Pavlov’s experiment. His research proves just how easily you can train yourself to get hungry every time you approach your desk, couch, or car if that is where you most commonly eat. Conscious, mindful eating promotes efficient digestion and metabolism, so you’ll have more energy at the end of the day, week, and year to do your life’s work. When you take the same seat over and over again to eat, you’ll remember that eating is a ritual for nourishment rather than a reward or comfort tool.

By eating in a quiet seat, you also give your body the opportunity to stop vibrating from the day, calm the sense organs, indulge in a few deep breaths, and drop into a moment of appreciation for the delicious food you are about to consume. The food you eat, after all, will soon become you, so it would be wise to be attentive to your new guests and pray for a speedy, harmonious transformation in the walls of your GI tract.

Learn more about yoga, nutrition, and Ayurveda in one of Melina’s upcoming workshops or retreats: www.melinameza.com

The Crow Pose Challenge!

Oh my gosh…first of all, my eyes are burning and everything I’m looking at right now has this haze around it because I spent three hours in the pool being photographed doing Yoga poses by this awesome photographer in Dallas, Kathleen Wilke. I haven’t spent that much time underwater since I was a kid. And, a lot of times when I was a kid I would were goggles. I had forgotten what it feels like to have chlorinated blood-shot eyes…it burns and even makes it hard to concentrate…I don’t recommend keeping your eyes open for very long in a chlorinated pool.

But, I did feel like a kid again. One of my fellow Yoga friends was also photographed with me and it really did feel like we were 8 or 10 just playing in the water. It was awesome. I was just saying in class yesterday how powerful it is to consciously connect with the elements. (especially now in the Spring as everything in Nature is being energized by the expanding sunlight.) As children, we were always immersed in Nature.

For most of us as adults, it requires a little more of a conscious effort. I was saying how powerful it is to practice Yoga poses outside, on the earth, in the sun, feeling the air, and if possible, by water. If we are ever feeling energetically depleted, one of the best remedies and reenergizing techniques is to be in Nature, and of course, practicing a few Yoga poses to really absorb the energy, is even more powerful than just walking, etc.

The reason why the elements energize us is that we are the elements. Our body is mostly space, followed by water, earth, fire, and air. We are a microcosm of the macrocosm, as we know, but sometimes we forget the reason why Nature is so powerful for us is that it reconnects us with the pure essence of yourself.

No wonder why kids have such boundless energy, because they are constantly connected to Nature’s infinite energy supply. So, I’m glad I got to take my own advice because I got to absorb it all spending so much time outside today…

There’s so much I could write…it’s been a while since I last posted. Sometimes, I want to share my whole life story with you, the True Yoga Blog has often felt like journaling to me. But, to spare you, I will say this. Life is good. The experiences we are growing through are ever-increasingly awakening us to the preciousness of life and the present moment. It’s a gift to be awakened, and often, pain is one of the most powerful illuminators.

What’s happened in our world recently has shaken us out of our comfort zone. Or, as Shiva Rea would say, it’s been a Mooladhara (1st Chakra) shaking and awakening. And, we are blessed to realize our true security is not fiscal but spiritual. This teaching is scriptural and the strength of Spirit is found in yourself as we realize Sangha, the gift of spiritual friendship and community. I’m inspired when I think of the community that’s evolved through the True Yoga Blog, and the community of readers that has grown as we share these thoughts and ideas together, awakening us to new states of awareness individually and collectively.

In one of the books I’m reading right now called The Mystery of 2012 it talks about the rapidly evolving consciousness because of the profound interconnectedness of everything these days, due to the groundbreaking pathways of communication we’ve realized over the past, (it’s hard to believe), but, just 20 years. (not even that long)

If you had told Mozart that in the future humans would own tiny boxes the size of a coin, made from some strange material that was neither wood nor metal, with two strings coming out of the box that, when placed in their ears, would enable them to hear any of his compositions as clearly as if they were in a room with an orchestra, would he have believed you? On the contrary, he would probably have thought you mad.

One person who believed our destiny was indeed a collective spiritual awakening was the French priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Exploring the evolutionary trends toward greater complexity, connectivity, and consciousness, he argued that humanity was moving toward an “Omega Point” – the final end and goal of evolution.

He believed that the universe had been through several major stages of evolution, starting with what he called “cosmogenesis,” the birth of the Cosmosphere, the universe. Next was “geogenesis,” the birth of the Earth (geosphere); following that, “biogenesis,” the birth of life (the biosphere). With human beings, there came “noogenesis” and the “noosphere,” the sphere of thought. He predicted that the final stage, the one that led to the Omega Point, would be “Christogenesis.” This would be the birth of Christ consciousness, not in an individual but in the collective-the spiritual birth of humanity as a whole.

Teilhard de Chardin believed this Omega Point would happen thousands of years in the future. Like many others, he did not take into account the implications of ever-accelerating change. In his later years, he commented on the impact of radio and television in bringing humanity together. Technologies like these, he said were bringing the Omega Point much closer. Just before he died, the first computers were being developed. Perceiving the potential of this new technology, he predicted that they, too, would bring the Omega Point even closer. If he had lived to see the emergence of the Internet, he would probably have realized that the Omega Point could come very soon indeed.

When we look at what is happening in the world today, it is understandable that we might scoff at the very idea of a collective spiritual breakthrough. The daily news may well lead us to believe that we are heading ever more rapidly toward breakdown rather than a breakthrough.

That is, indeed, one likely possibility. I do not want to downplay the dire urgency of the world situation. If we don’t make some radical changes, we are surely headed for a disaster of one kind or another.

I also believe that positive change is possible. If we can develop the wisdom needed to navigate our way through these turbulent times safely, the potentials are staggering and unimaginable in scope. Let’s put our hearts and minds to proving that we can pass Buckminster Fuller’s final evolutionary exam and become a truly magnificent species. We are, after all, our only hope. – The Mystery of 2012

One of the things you can do is take positive action. Of course being in service is one of the best ways we can take positive action. One of my teachers says the most powerful practices are Study, Service, and Meditation. When we yoke these three practices together it becomes a trinity and amazing things awaken within us and around us. The one I get to be committed to, that I have yet to develop a consistent practice with, is service. It is my commitment to awakening this third practice as I grow into the Spring.

I also encourage you to take personal action, meaning, what are the ways in which you can better yourself. Of course practicing Yoga is one way. But, our Yoga practice must go beyond our weekly practice. That’s why I’m encouraging each of us to cultivate a daily practice of Crow Pose throughout Spring. The reason why I am suggesting Crow Pose is that it is the foundational arm balance in Yoga. The arm balances are the way we awaken optimal core strength, there is simply no other way to awaken your core strength that deeply.

So, the arm balances, and specifically, Crow Pose, is just a place we get to grow into and practice, consistently, if we aspire to realize real progress and positive change. What kind of progress awakens from a consistent practice of Crow Pose? While each of our practices evolves in a personal way, some of the awarenesses I’ve awakened to through Crow Pose are that it activates Manipura Chakra (3rd Chakra). The 3rd Chakra is the center of will and determination, self-confidence and energetic strength. It is the place where we realize our potential, what’s possible when we commit ourselves to a vision.

As we stoke the fire, which is the element connected to 3rd Chakra, unhealthy, heavy egoic habits are dissolved and the lightness of inspiration is awakened. It literally strengthens your energetic field (aura) causing impure influences to be impenetrable, especially the negative intentions of other people. So, yes, Crow Pose is all this and more. Start practicing it each day, for just a few minutes, and you will be amazed at what transforms within you and all around you as we grow into the Spring season of our Soul.


Open to Your Higher Power with Integral Yoga

Did you know there is a style of Yoga known as Integral Yoga? It is recognized as a system in and of itself, just as Hatha-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, Mantra-Yoga, Laya-Yoga, Jnana-Yoga, Kriya-Yoga, Raja-Yoga and Samnyasa-Yoga are. Oh, you mean there is more than one style of Yoga? Yes, indeed. The physical style of Yoga we practice in the West is all part of the style known as Hatha Yoga or “forceful Yoga.” Hatha Yoga is the Yoga of postures and any Yoga practice which predominantly involves the practice of Poses, whether it’s Vinyasa, Bikram, Power, Hatha, Kundalini, Iyengar, Astanga, etc. are all a part of Hatha Yoga. All forms of Yoga have the same fundamental objective: to transcend the egoic consciousness and to realize the Self, or divine Reality. Hatha Yoga is quite a complex system, involving postures, breathwork, meditation, concentration and so on. Often Yoga teachers will incorporate sophisticated breathing practices into their classes as part of a Yoga practice….

What I love about Integral Yoga is the founder of it, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), developed it as a way to adapt Yoga to our Westernized world. As we evolve in our practice, all of the different styles of Yoga eventually intersect and we begin to integrate different aspects of them into our Hatha Yoga practice. Integral Yoga, though, simplifies the approach, which at times, can appear to be complex as we deepen in our journey. Here is an excerpt from The Yoga Tradition about Integral Yoga:

Integral Yoga is the synchronized action of personal aspiration “from below” and divine grace “from above.” The essence of aspiration, however, is self-surrender, which must be complete for grace to do its transformative work.

Integral Yoga has no prescribed techniques since the inward transformation is accomplished by the divine Power itself. There are no obligatory rituals, mantras, postures, or breathing exercises to be performed. The aspirant must simply open himself or herself to that higher Power, which Sri Aurobindo identified with The Mother. This self-opening and calling upon the presence of The Mother is understood as a form of meditation or prayer. Aurobindo advised that practitioners should focus their attention on the heart, which has anciently been the secret gateway to the Divine. Faith, or inner certitude, is deemed a key to spiritual growth...”

It’s important to know that no Yogic path is an easy one. The practice of self-surrender, or surrendering to Divine Will is the journey of a thousand miles…. Yet we can simplify our approach to it. It is said that one can reach enlightenment through the constant repetition of a Mantra over and over again. Integral Yoga resembles the teachings of Jesus to me…to open up one’s heart and to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within it. I love that Yoga strengthens whatever our personal faith is, giving us a direct and tangible experience to continue to deepen and grow spiritually, as well as, physically, mentally and emotionally, ever-evolving into our Highest Good.


Take it Easy…

I workout about 5 – 6 times per week. My weekly routine consists of 4-5 days/week of a 20-minute cardio workout, followed by light weights and some abdominal strengthening exercises. I also an incorporate few backbends into my daily routine and some stretching. I usually practice Yoga about 3 days/week and incorporate 15 to 20 minutes of meditation into my daily routine most days of the week.

Because I teach Yoga, I spend even more time than this stretching daily when I am demonstrating certain poses in class, or even sometimes joining in on the Yoga practice with the class to flow with them from time-to-time.

The reason I’m sharing all of this with you is that I am becoming increasingly aware of how overexertion or being imbalanced in our physical wellness routine can affect us and be detrimental to our overall goals physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Last night, as I was teaching Yoga, I was speaking to the class about being balanced and taking time to rest. That when we do too much we create imbalance and this can be counter-productive to what we intend to create…

As I said this, I heard a voice inside of me say, don’t workout tomorrow. Take it easy tomorrow and rest. Do nothing. What?! What I find though, is when I give myself permission to rest, when I do return to my daily regimen of health and wellness, I feel much stronger, calmer and energized than before.

We experience this all the time when we let ourselves come into Child’s Pose in Yoga class. One of the most challenging parts of creating balance in our lives is actually giving ourselves the permission to get down on our knees and put your head on the ground and just let go and DO NOTHING.

So often my Yoga teacher will mention how the benefits of DOING NOTHING can be way more powerful and transformational on every level of our Being than overexerting ourselves to do something, i.e. making sure we get our workout/yoga practice in, etc. How overexertion can produce unhealthy levels of cortisol in our body which has the body be unresponsive to our efforts. She uses the imagery of the person who goes to the gym every day and yet never seems to change anything. Their bodies are stressed out and the only way to bring the body back to a balanced state is through a relaxation promoting practice like Yoga, Meditation, Massage, etc.

With this being said, I thought you might enjoy reading this article about stress from overexertion and how it affects our Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Take time to take it easy…

Cortisol and Stress: How to Stay HealthyFrom Elizabeth Scott,
Your Guide to Stress Management.

Cortisol and Your Body
“Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more:

-Proper glucose metabolism
-Regulation of blood pressure
-Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
-Immune function
-Inflammatory response

Normally, it’s present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at its lowest at night. Although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it has been termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.

Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects:

-A quick burst of energy for survival reasons
-Heightened memory functions
-A burst of increased immunity
-Lower sensitivity to pain
-Helps maintain homeostasis in the body

While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response to be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that functioning often doesn’t have a chance to return to normal, producing chronic stress.

Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:

-Impaired cognitive performance
-Suppressed thyroid function
-Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
-Decreased bone density
-Decrease in muscle tissue
-Higher blood pressure
-Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, as well as other health consequences

Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!

To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, the body’s relaxation response should be activated after the fight or flight response occurs. You can learn to relax your body with various stress management techniques, and you can make lifestyle changes in order to keep your body from reacting to stress in the first place. The following have been found by many to be very helpful in relaxing the body and mind, aiding the body in maintaining healthy cortisol levels:

-Guided Imagery
-Listening to Music
-Breathing Exercises
-Other Techniques

Cortisol secretion varies among individuals. People are biologically ‘wired’ to react differently to stress. One person may secrete higher levels of cortisol than another in the same situation. Studies have also shown that people who secrete higher levels of cortisol in response to stress also tend to eat more food and food that is higher in carbohydrates than people who secrete less cortisol. If you’re more sensitive to stress, it’s especially important for you to learn stress management techniques and maintain a low-stress lifestyle.” From: http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/cortisol.htm

Isvara Pranidhana-Let go and let God…

Since the time I was a child, I can remember praying at night and saying, “God, please give me a voice, please give me the opportunity to make a positive difference.” I would pray this relentlessly. Then, one day five years ago, I took a Yoga class. It was like I came alive again, my inner child reawakened and I felt full of life. Not long afterward, I took my first job in an Advertising Agency in Corporate America, at the age of 23. It seemed the natural path, my dad had owned his own advertising agency for over 30 years in Cleveland, OH. However, I found myself at work, feeling unfulfilled, and spending a great deal of my time surfing the web and reading about Yoga, my true passion.

Then, September 11th happened, and I began to realize I was spending my time and energy in a career I was not passionate about. And, that my life was precious and too short to be spent that way…

So, in February of 2002, I decided to follow my heart, regardless of the price, and quit my job to teach Yoga. After moving back in with my parents for a while to lessen the blow from the loss of my corporate income, I eventually relocated to downtown Dallas (without their financial support) where I moved into a pretty crappy, old apartment. I worked at a restaurant, initially, to give myself “enough” income so I could afford to live and teach Yoga. It was a life of struggle, living in efficiency apartments and crying many tears over the pain of not really being able to afford anything, except the bare necessities, and barely even that.

At one point, when a check had bounced in my bank account, I sat with the few dollars I had in my hand at my desk, and crumpled them up, threw them and said, “I hate this stuff, I hate you, God, why do you have to make the world like this, this materialistic place where all that matters is money, why does it have to be like this.”

Even though the struggle, I managed to open up my own studio, under the guidance of a “friend.” This person told me he’d pay the first few months rent, though he never did. For a year, I struggled to keep it alive. But, after a year and without any capital left, I hit rock bottom this past September.

Overcome with financial struggle, I was talking to my friend on the phone and told her, “I’m going to slit my wrists.” Not knowing what to do, she called the cops and at about 1 am in the morning, the police knocked on my door. Though I had absolutely no intention of hurting myself, and of course realize the detrimental effect of saying these words carelessly, it was a cry for help. It felt like I was going down and no one was there to save me, not even my parents. Actually, that was the first time in my life I had called my parents, and they did not return my phone call the same day. It felt like I had no one.

When the cops arrived, I began to cry. I told them I was going through a hard time, letting go of a relationship, my business was suffering, and I was financially devastated. They told me I must call a family member or friend to stay with that night. So, when I finally got a hold of my brother, the police drove me to his house about 15 minutes away from downtown. It wasn’t easy showing up at my brother and his fiance’s house at 1:30 in the morning with the police. In fact, it was one of the most humbling moments in my life, where I felt completely revealed and naked. Like I could hide nothing.

But, from that point forward, I let go of the wheel. I decided to stop steering and to truly let God lead my life. I decided to let go of my wants and needs and thinking I know what is best for me, and chose to let the Divine Force of Life move me in the direction of my highest good. The interesting part is I thought I’d been doing this all along, but realize now, I hadn’t. I’d been trying to run the show my way.

In Yoga, this letting go of control is called Isvara pranidhana, or Surrender to God’s will. It can be a difficult process to get to this place…we can fight it and struggle with it for some people that may mean months and years, for others maybe even a lifetime. But ultimately, at some point in our journey, all that remains for us is to surrender our Ego and let go of our own interests to be lead by our Highest Good.

“After one has exhausted one’s own resources and still not succeeded, one turns to the Lord for help for He is the source of all power. The student prays: ‘I do not know what is good for me. They will be done.’ Others pray to have their own desires gratified or accomplished.” Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar

As long as we are consumed by our own “needs” we can not see there is something Greater intended for us. We have our pride so wrapped up in itself, we will often take ourselves to a place of desolation before we will let go of the steering wheel. Most of the time, we just keep thinking things are going to get better, we can turn the car around, and we keep hoping this is so. But, at some point, Authority/God steps in and says, “If you want to get his life turned around, you’re gonna have to let me drive.” When the cops came to my house, I could feel it was really God working through them.

I share this with you today, because of the radical transformation I’ve experienced in the few short months since I let go and let God. Letting go of having a studio was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. My entire identity/ego was wrapped up in being a Studio Owner and a business owner in Dallas, TX.

Once I allowed myself to surrender my identity, my ego, my life began to open up in ways I’d only dreamed was possible. In two weeks, I’m going to be traveling up to Ohio for the New Year to see my grandmother, sister, nieces, and nephews, who I haven’t seen in over 2.5 years, as well as, dear friends. When I was doing things my way, I never felt like I could afford the trip up there. Now, I have the resources and the time, thanks to God.

I’m getting to realize my dream of doing what I love and earning a living at it. Maybe one day I’ll have a studio again, but for now, I’m listening to the voice within me and allowing myself to be guided by that, rather than listening to other people tell me I need to do certain things (like own a studio) in order to be successful.

And, most of all, I’m getting a second chance, an opportunity to start over, wiser and stronger than before, and share my love of Yoga to even more people with an abundance of opportunities before me. Above all, I feel grateful. Grateful for the fresh start, grateful to be able to make a difference more and more all the time, and grateful to have struggled, only to awaken to a new appreciation and joy for living that’s sweeter and deeper than ever before. This year really will be a Happy New Year.

Click here to listen to a song about letting go and letting God: