VIDEO: Inner Tranquility: A Guide to Seated Meditation

Watch the Video Series on Conscious 2 In this hour long course, meditation teacher Darren Main shares how to set up and engage a regular seated meditation practice. Using relatable analogies and personal stories, he artfully explains why it is so important to include this ancient practice in a modern lifestyle. If you have ever wanted to try meditation but were confused by all the different techniques, or felt bewildered as you sat down on the cushion, this short course is the perfect introduction that explains why you should even care about meditating, how to physically set up the posture, more »

AUDIOBOOK: Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic

FREE Download*  •  Free Sample Since the release of the first edition in  2001, Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic has quietly become a bestselling book on modern yoga philosophy.  In fact it used as a textbook in hundreds of teacher training programs around the world because of its user-friendly style. Now the much anticipated audiobook edition is available for busy modern yogis. Read by noted Shakespearian actor, Jesse Dornan, this unabridged recording is a great companion on long drives or while doing chores around the house. You can download a copy for FREE* on Audible! It is also available for download on iTunes and Amazon. * Free more »

Remembering Trevor Tice

On Tuesday, shockwaves traveled through the yoga world as news of Trevor Tice’s death arrived on our Facebook walls and in our Twitter feeds.  Those of you who practice at  CorePower Yoga are likely very familiar with Trevor as he founded the chain of studios that began in Denver and quickly opened in cities big and small around the United States.  Currently CorePower Yoga has more than 160 locations. It would be impossible to overstate the number of people who found yoga because of Trevor’s vision of bringing yoga to the masses in a new and modern way.  There are countless people more »

What is Atman?

Understanding the True Self or Atman is fundamental to living as a yogi. The atman is the unchanging part of who we are that is characterized by uninterrupted joy and bliss. In this video, Darren explains Atman. Please consider supporting this video series Darren’s books are available on Amazon Find more great Living Yoga videos and podcasts HERE.

Yoga and Mindful Politics

Subscribe on YouTube NOTE: This episode was filled just before the November 2016 Election in the USA. Is it possible for a yogi to be politically involved? Can a yogi be a force for change in this world without losing one’s center? In this episode we will explore the practice of mindful involvement in the political system and how to maintain your equanimity when things don’t go the way you like. Darren’s books are available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fY4uHV Find more great Living Yoga videos and podcasts at http://www.livingyogaseries.com

NEW CLASS: Yogic Breathing

Starting April 17, 2016, I will be offering a weekly yogic breathing class.  Pranayama (yogic breathing) is one of the most requested classes, and yet few studios are offering classes dedicated to this important aspect of the practice.   Details Below. Yogic Breathing Sundays • 6:00 ON • Yoga Tree • 1500 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103 [map] For thousands of years yogis have known that the breath is the key to mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Often emotionally and mentally cleansing, this class offers the opportunity to focus fully on the fourth limb of yoga—pranayama. By using basic breathing techniques, gentle holds more »

Intro to Yoga Philosophy

Sunday, March 20, 2016 • 8:00 AM PST Online Event • 90-Min • $15 Register Now  Yoga is a life-changing practice.  Perhaps, like many students, you started your practice for physical reasons, but have come to realize that yoga heals and transforms the mind as well as the body. In this ninety-minute webinar,  we will explore the basic tenets of yoga philosophy.  When one more fully understands the philosophy of  yoga, the practice takes on an entirely new dimension, allowing for a radical shift in the way we perceive the world and the relationships that define our lives. Register Now 

Info Session: Pilgrimage to India

Online Webcast • Sunday, January 31, 2016 • 9:00 AM FREE • Register Now _________________________ Yoga was developed in ancient India where it has evolved for thousands of years into a practice offered in yoga studios, gyms, churches and community centers around the world.  For people whose lives have been changed by this ancient practice, traveling to India can be a powerful experience. In this free webcast, Darren Main will offer advice for anyone who wants to make this life-changing journey.  Not only will you learn about his annual yoga retreat on the banks of the Ganges River, you will gain valuable tips more »

Healthy Teacher-Student Relationships

Free Online Course for Yoga Alliance Member Watch Now Darren Main, E-RYT 500, explores the unique – and often misunderstood – relationship between yoga teacher and student on an emotional and psychological level. Learn tips for creating a safe, supportive space to take students deeper into their practices.

Holiday Shopping for the Hard-To-Buy-For Yogi

  Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season has officially begun leaving yogis and their friends and family seemingly with two choices.  One: dive head-first into a cesspool of commercialization or Two: boycott every calendar month that starts with the letter “D”   I  propose a third option—mindful giving.  Mindless giving is rooted in stress filled obligation and usually involves ugly socks or a Diamonique broach from Zales.  Mindful giving on the other hand leaves the giver,  the receiver and by extension the whole world feeling a little bit healthier and a lot more compassionate.     Below are ten gift ideas for more »

Witness the Change

By Darren Main Back in January I turned forty-four— a fact that seemed much harder to embrace than turning twenty-four or thirty-four.   In many ways, I don’t feel much different.  In fact, I feel more alive, more grounded and more content then ever.  And yet, each time I go for a haircut, I notice decidedly more grey hair.    Each time I wash my face, I am acutely aware that fine lines are now framing my eyes, and the other day my son asked me why my belly stuck out more than his. There is an interesting paradox to more »

Panel Discussion: Pujya Swamiji , Bishop Andrus & Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati

On July 21, 2015  Grace Cathedral hosted a panel discussion moderated by Darren Main.  Speakers included renown spiritual leaders Pujya Swamiji, Bishop Marc Andrus and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati.   If you enjoy this free recording please consider making a donation the Grace Cathedral Community Preschool  About the Speakers Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati (often called Pujya Swamiji ), is one of India’s most revered and beloved spiritual leaders. He is the President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India, and the founder of the Hindu Jain Temple in Pennsylvania. He is also the founder of numerous humanitarian and environmental organizations, and actively engaged in interfaith work more »

My Time at Yoga Tree

Tim and Tara Dale came into my life at the perfect moment. I had just found out I was HIV+, a business relationship was ending, and I had just been evicted from my home. I felt rudderless, alone and unsure of my future. Tara and Tim not only offered me a job at this new studio called Yoga Tree, they also offered me their friendship. They helped me transform one of the most hopeless times in my life into one of the most exciting and growth filled times. They stood by me when I adopted my son, recovered from an more »

Spiritual Capitalism

By Darren Main “The Church needs to do a reality check.” according to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Ireland.  This following  the landslide vote legalizing marriage equality in  his country.  And while I share his view about the need for a “reality check”, we arrive at that conclusion from very different places. His view has more to do with messaging.  That the church simply needs to work harder to get their message out—in this case, the message being,  “homosexuality is sinful”.  My view, however has to do with something I call spiritual capitalism.       Just as one can choose to shop at Safeway, Walmart or Whole Foods for their more »

The Reality Check

By Darren Main “The Church needs to do a reality check.” according to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Ireland.  This following  the landslide vote legalizing marriage equality in  his country.  And while I share his view about the need for a “reality check,” we arrive at that conclusion from very different places.   His view has more to do with messaging.  That the church simply needs to work harder to get their message out—in this case, the message being,  “homosexuality is sinful.”  My view, however has to do with something I call spiritual capitalism.       Just as one can choose to shop at Safeway, Walmart, or Whole Foods more »

HIV=AIDS?: A Civil Discussion

HIV/AIDS denialists, sometimes called  AIDS Dissidents or AIDS Re-Thinkers, are a very small but vocal group of scientists, researchers, activists, and journalists who question the causal link between HIV and AIDS. Because I have been featured in several documentaries about HIV that have a decidedly ‘Dissident’ editorial slant. I get a lot of emails about my own views on the so called AIDS Dissident Movement. My personal view is that a variety of factors or cofactors affect the health of an HIV+ individual, but HIV is the primary cause of AIDS and there is over thirty years of research to back this up. more »

Classical Hatha Yoga Postures

While the practice of yoga has its roots in ancient Vedic culture, the style of yoga practiced widely here in the west, hatha yoga, is fairly new.   Most traditions of hatha yoga trace back to three primary texts—  The Hatha Yoga Pradipika,  The Gheranda Samhita and The Shiva Samhita. Collectively these books detail only about 30 classical yoga poses.  Most modern styles of hatha yoga include many more postures, however.    Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, for example, details many, many more postures.    In the chart below,  I have listed all of the classical yoga poses and the location in the various books in which more »

In Lieu of Flowers. . . .

Having written about the Westboro Baptist Church in my book, Hearts & Minds and having  debated Shirley Phelps,  I find  myself struggling with the passing of her father, The Rev. Fred Phelps.  As the founder of the infamous  church ‘meets Jesus’, the rest of us are left with a quandary about how to mark his passing. Little nice can be said about his life, his deeds or his words.  He and his followers picked at Matthew Shepard’s funeral, the funerals of countless fallen soldiers and the funerals of children gunned down while at school.  They proudly called women sluts and whores, hosted more »

Darren Featured in Yoga Journal

Upping the Ante for Teacher Training Yoga Journal • 10/21/13 Yoga Tree, a large studio chain in the San Francisco Bay Area, will be offering teachers enrolled in its 500-hour teacher training program the chance to declare a major, marking a shift toward a university-style teacher training. The school joins the ranks of other educational institutes upping the ante for yoga teacher training.  Naada Yoga Studio in Canada also encourages its advanced teacher trainees to declare a major, and Loyola Marymount University recently launched a master’s degree program in yoga studies that also satisfies the requirements of 500-hour yoga teacher training certificate. This also comes more »

Passage To India

Passage to India Getting lost in the captivating places of India, the birthplace of yoga, can lead you to find new parts of yourself. By Meera Subramanian and Yoga Journal To travel to India, the land of yoga’s origins, is to enter a country that is in constant transformation, yet somehow timeless. It is a land with a temple or shrine around every corner, where the sacred is revered in every river and mountain, where the search for enlightenment is in the air. For many yoga students in the more »

Farewell to Karl Erb

One of San Francisco’s finest yoga teachers, Karl Erb passed away earlier today after living with cancer for a number of years.  Karl was a fellow yoga teacher at Yoga Tree,  a part of the teacher training program and a friend.   The way he lived with—and smiled at, his cancer demonstrated just what an amazing yogi he was. About a year ago, Karl called me to tell me his cancer had returned and that the prognosis was not good.  I asked him how I could support him and his answer was simple, clear and without hesitation. “Let me keep more »

Modern Yoga Gurus

The following gurus and masters are largely responsible for bringing yoga in its various forms to the west.  These sometimes controversial spiritual leaders, have written a virtual library of books.  This is but a sampling of their more popular writings.   Mata Amritanandamayi (AKA Amma or ‘Mother’) 1953-Present- • About Love Is the Answer Volume 1 by Mata Amritanandamayi Love is the Answer Volume 2 by Mata Amritanandamayi   Amrit Desai 1932-Present • About Amrit Yoga: Explore, Expand, Experience the Spritual Depth of Yoga by Yogi Amrit Desai Kripalu Yoga: Meditation-in-Motion, Book 1 by Yogi Amrit Desai Kripalu Yoga: Meditation-In-Motion – Focusing Inward, Book 2 by Yogi more »

The Miracle: A Reflection On My Life Since Testing HIV+

By Darren Main I waited on hold nervously—my index finger still a bit tender from where I had pricked it a few days earlier I had used “mail-in HIV tests” in the past without incident. The process was rather simple: prick your finger, rub a blood sample on a card and mail it to the lab.  A few days later, a robotic voice  on the other end of the phone would ask for the unique serial number associated with my test kit, and then, after confirming the digits several times, the metallic voice would inform me that I was HIV more »

I Just Tested Positive, Now What?

If you just tested HIV positive, you are probably freaking out. The weeks and months that follow that news can be very disorienting. There are all new questions to answer for yourself. Questions about dating, whom to tell and what to do to keep yourself healthy are all new. The following are points to consider as you begin this new leg of your journey. In time you will learn to live with HIV and to have a wonderful and productive life. For now, just allow yourself to take things slowly. 1. Take a deep breath and try to relax. You more »

Nutrition & Supplements for HIV

Everyone needs proper nutrition to be healthy including macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).  HIV+ people, however, need to pay special attention to nutrition so as to support the immune system an help detoxify the body.  Generally speaking, one should be able to get ample amounts of nutrition from a diet rich in whole foods, but given the high staks associate with not getting enough of a given nutrient, adding supplements is often a good insurance policy. Below is a list of supplements that may be helpful in supporting your body’s efforts to stay healthy with HIV and to help counter some more »

Living Well with HIV: A Ten-Point Plan

By Darren Main Develop a meditation practice. The first thing I recommend a person do when they test HIV+ is to meditate. If they don’t know how, I teach them or recommend that they learn from someone in their area. The mind can be the greatest enemy or the greatest ally in the quest for health. Learning to quiet the ego mind will help a person make more rational decisions about their health, their diet and their future, while at the same time giving the body the space it needs to find balance and wholeness. Meditation is really the foundation more »

HIV & The Mind-Body Connection

By Darren Main • Fall 2000 For many, the mind and body are two distinctly different and separate forces. For them they co-exist peacefully at best. At worst they are at odds with each other, in strong conflict. In either case, there is a strong tendency to see them as separate with each having little or no effect on the other. In this column, I suggest we take a look at a more holistic view of healing by recognizing connections between the mind and the body. In this model, the mind and body are not seen as separate but rather more »

Learning to Sit: An Introduction to Meditation

By Darren Main Reprinted From Inner Tranquility: A Guide to Seated Meditation The Buddha was once asked which meditation technique was the most effective. The master’s response was both simple and profound. “The one you practice.” Therefore, start your practice with this simple technique and explore others as well. The important thing is that you get started and that you practice consistently. Sit in a comfortable upright position. Some people sit cross-legged, and others prefer to kneel. It is also acceptable to sit in a straight-backed chair. Allow your body to relax and take a few deep full breaths to shift more »

HIV Treatments: An Interview with Jon Kaiser, M.D.

By Darren  Main • Spring 2001 NOTE:  Because this interview was conducted in 2001, standard treatments for HIV  have changed and evolved.  Please consider that as you read this article.  Please consult your physician or contact Dr. Kaiser directly for the most up-to-date treatment options available if you our someone you know is HIV+. Over the past few weeks, my email box has been flooded with questions about HIV treatment in response to the U.S. Government’s new recommendation that people with HIV wait to start Antiretroviral cocktails.  As a result, more and more people are interested in learning ways to keep their more »

Hepatitis B Vaccines: Are They Safe?

by Darren Main • Summer 2001 Darren, I like your articles on gay.com, as I am a strong believer in holistic health. I exercise regularly, including doing yoga, I am trying acupuncture, and I go to a naturopathic doctor (who is not gay). I did go for full medical recently (at an allopathic doctor), and came back with excellent results. However, I tested negative for Hepatitis B and have not been vaccinated, and the doctor recommended that I consider Hepatitis B vaccine (he, like me, is a gay man). My Naturopathic doctor (who is not gay) said he normally would more »

Remembering Swami Kriyananada

In 1920 a boat docked in Boston, MA and a man by the name of Paramahansa Yogananda stepped onto American Soil.   He was only the second swami to come to the United States at that point, and his teaching and writing sparked the imagination of many young spiritual seekers.  Thus began the yoga revolution here in the West. Donald Walters was a direct disciple  of Yogananda and a member of Self Realization Fellowship  (SRF),  an organization founded by his guru. Walters eventually took vows and became known as Swami Kriyananda.   Yet after  a rather public and acrimonious split with more »

SF Bay Guardian Features Yoga on the Labyrinth

SF Bay Guardian • Karen Macklin  This beautiful Episcopal cathedral is home to awe-inspiring architecture, stained glass windows of Biblical scenes, and the famous indoor Grace Cathedral labyrinth, the walking of which evokes sweet, honey-glazed mind states. You can cruise the labyrinth any time during regular church hours, take a candlelit labyrinth walk on the second Friday evening of each month, or do yoga in the labyrinth each Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. with Darren Main. Read their other suggestions for cool stuff to do in the Bay Area!