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“I offer this practice to the Sadguru, the Teacher within all things, The Teacher that is the Prana (life) from which my body emerged, The Teacher that sustains and nourishes me with each breath,
The Teacher whose lessons are in every life experience—even pain and death.
May this practice open me to the wisdom of the Sadguru, That my mind may know peace,That my heart may know compassion,And my life may offer peace and compassion to all beings. Om Shanti, Om Peace

—Darren Main

Yoga and the path of the Urban Mystic

Bridges

True teacher use themselves as bridges over which they invite students to cross—then, having facilitated their crossing, collapses with joy, encouraging them to become bridges for others.

—unknown

Love Will Dissolve It All

There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer,
no disease that enough love will not heal;
no door that enough love will not open;
no gulf that enough love will not bridge;
no wall that enough love will not throw down;
no sin that enough love will not redeem . . .
It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble;
how hopeless the outlook;
how muddled the tangle; how great the mistake.
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.
—— Emmet Fox

All Our Waves are Water with Jaimal Yogis

Jaimal Yogis is an outdoorsman, award-winning writer, and frequent teacher. He is the author of Saltwater Buddha, a humorous coming-of-age memoir about running away to Hawaii at sixteen to surf, nearly becoming a Zen monk, and eventually winding up at Columbia Journalism School.

In this interview Jaimal talks about his new book, All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride

 

 

Resources

Jaimal’s Website

 

Purchase

All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride

Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea

 

Darren’s Books
Amazon | Audible

 

Direct Download

Beyond Birth and Death

We go on believing we are separate. We are not—not even for a single moment. Drop the idea of separation—and the fear of death disappears. If you become one with the whole, you will live forever.
You will go beyond birth and death. . .
—Rajneesh

As Powerful as the Ocean

The drop of water is only weak when it is removed from the ocean; replace it. and it is as powerful as the ocean….If a portion of one unit excludes itself from the whole, it makes no difference to Principal Being, but it makes a vast difference to the unit. The ocean is not conscious of the removal of a drop of water, but the drop is very conscious of the ocean when it is returned… —Baird Spalding

Dropping the Struggle with Roger Housden

In our culture of “get more, have more, be more,” is there any place for “thanks, I’m good”?  In this interview, Darren talks with Bestselling author and acclaimed teacher Roger Housden who says yes in this alternative to nonstop striving and self-criticism.

 

Resources

Roger’s Website
Purchase Dropping the Struggle: Seven Ways to Love the Life You Have
Learn More about Roger’s other books

 

Learn More about Darren’s Books and Audiobooks

Dropping the Struggle

 

Inward States

Heaven and hell are inward states. Sink into self and all its gratifications, and you sink into hell; rise above self into that state of consciousness which is the utter denial and forgetfulness of self and you enter heaven.
—James Allen

The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq with Paul MacAlindin

Paul MacAlindin was called to help create a National Youth Orchestra in the world’s toughest place for music, Iraq. Through his book, UPBEAT: the Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, he explains how a youth orchestra became the crucible for the young musicians’ trauma and hunger for education, to create the most powerful cultural ambassador Iraq has ever seen. Although the story ends tragically with the invasion of Daesh in 2014, MacAlindin reflects on the power of paradox and conflict in creating powerful art and uniting people in peace.

Resources
Paul’s Website

Purchase: UPBEAT: the Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq

Direct Download

Accepting Your Reality Right Now

The first step to change,… is accepting your reality right now. Honoring your process. Compassionate self-awareness leads to change; harsh self-criticism only holds the pattern in place, creating a stubborn and defensive Basic Self. Be gentle with yourself as you would with a child. Be gentle but firm. Give yourself the space to grow. But remember that the timing is in god’s hands, not yours.
? Dan Millman, Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior

Love is a Warrior’s Sword

You haven’t yet opened your heart fully, to life, to each moment. The peaceful warrior’s way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability–to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt. All along I’ve shown you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.
? Dan Millman

FREE Sample: Spiritual Journeys along the Yellow Brick Road Audiobook

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved stories of all time and with very good reason.  The images and symbolism in this story contain profound guidance and wisdom that speak to the heart to the human condition.   By reflecting on Dorothy’s search for home, the Tin Man’s quest for love, the Scarecrow’s desire to learn and the Lion’s need to face his fears, powerful insight and wisdom can be realized on your own journey along the Yellow Brick Road of life.

Get the entire audiobook. . . 

Audible | iTunes | Amazon

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Healing Trauma Triggers with Lisa Danylchuk

Donald Trump’s ‘Access Hollywood Tape’, numerous allegations against Bill Cosby and many other  high profile news stories about sexual assault have been reported in recent years bringing up strong emotions in those who have experiences trauma of their own.  In this discussion, autho Lisa Danylchuk talks about the triggering effects these stories have had and how practices like yoga and meditation can help people recover from trauma.

 

Resources
Lisa’s Website

PURCHASE
How You Can Heal
Embodied Healing


Direct Download

“Light on Yoga” Concordance

Looking for a pose in the hatha yoga modern classic, Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar?  The list below will help you find what you are looking for!  B.K.S. Iyengar listed almost 600 different poses—rather than list the page number, the order in which they appear in his book is listed.

 

# Sanskrit English name or description
1 Tadasana Mountain
2 Vrksasana Tree
5 Utthita Trikonasana Triangle
7 Parivrtta Trikonasana Rotated Triangle
9 Utthita Parsvakonasana Extended Angle
11 Parivrtta Parsvakonasana Standing Spinal Twist
14 Virabhadrasana 1 Lunging, back foot turned out, arms up
15 Virabhadrasana 2 Lunging, back foot turned out, arms open
17 Virabhadrasana 3 Balancing on one leg, torso & leg parallel to floor
19 Ardha Chandrasana Half Moon
23 Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Standing one legged balance
28 Parsvottanasana Standing Forward Bend over one leg
34 Prasarita Padottanasana 1 Standing straddle forward bend
36 Prasarita Padottanasana 2 Standing straddle forward bend
41 Ustrasana Camel
42 Utkatasana Awkward Pose
44 Padangusthasana Pulling on toes forward bend
46 Pada Hastasana Stepping on hands forward bend
48 Uttanasana Standing Forward Bend over one leg
49 Urdhva Prasarita Ekapadasana Standing split
55 Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana Half bound Lotus forward bend
56 Garudasasana Eagle
60 Salabhasana Locust
63 Dhanurasana Bow
65 Parsva Dhanurasana Bow turned on side
67 Chaturanga Dandasana Four-legged Staff
71 Nakrasana Crocodile
73 Bhujangasana 1 Cobra
74 Urdhva Mukha Svanasana Upward Facing Dog
76 Adho Mukha Svanasana Downward Facing Dog
77 Dandasana Staff
78 Navasana Boat
81 Gomukhasana Cowface
83 Lolasana Dangling Earring
84 Siddhasana Adepts Seat
89 Virasana Hero
96 Supta Virasana Reclining Hero
100 Bhekasana Frog
103 Baddha Konasana Bound Angle
105 Padmasana Full Lotus
108 Tolasana Scales (lotus variation)
109 Simhasana 1 Lion (lotus variation)
111 Simhasana 2 Lion (lotus variation)
113 Matsyasana Fish (lotus variation)
115 Kukkutasana Rooster (lotus variation)
116 Garbha Pindasana Embryo in the Womb (lotus variation)
119 Baddha Padmasana Bound Lotus
122 Yoga Mudrasana Yoga Seal
124 Supta Vajrasana Reclining Thunderbolt
129 Janu Sirsasana Head of Knee Down
132 Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana Twisted Side bend
137 Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana Seated Bound Half Lotus Forward Bend
139 Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana Half Virasana Forward Bend
142 Krounchasana Heron
144 Marichyasana 1 Seated Spinal twist variation
147 Marichyasana 2 Seated Spinal twist variation
152 Upavishta Konasana Straddle Forward Bend
162 Paschimottanasana Forward Bend
166 Parivrrta Paschimottanasana Twisting Forward Bend
167 Ubhaya Padangusthasana Big Toe Standing Balance
168 Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana 1 Balancing forward bend
170 Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana 2 Balancing forward bend
171 Purvottanasana Inclined Plane
188 Urdhva Dandasana Headstand with legs lowered to 90 degrees
190 Salamba Sirsasana 1 Suuported Headstand (on forearms)
192 Salamba Sirsasana 2 Suuported Headstand (Tripod, fingers toward face)
198 Baddha Hasta Sirsasana Headstand with forearms crossed in front of face
201 Mukta Hasta Sirsasana Headstand with arms straight, back of palm on floor
212 Urdvha Padmasana in Sirsasana Lotus Headstand
224 Salamba Sarvangasana Supported Shoulderstand
244 Halasana Plow
246 Karnapidasana Plow with knees to ears
248 Supta Konasana Plow with legs straddle
259 Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Shoulderstand with legs lowered to bridge
261 Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana Full lotus in shoulderstand
269 Pindasana in Sarvangasana Shoulderstand with lotus lowered to forehead
283 Chakrasana Backwards Summersault
287 Supta Padanghustasana Reclining leg stretch toward head
292 Uttana Padasana Fish with legs and arms raised
296 Setu Bandhasana Bridge
304 Marichyasana 3 Seated spinal twist variation
306 Marichyasana 4 Seated Spinal twist variation
312 Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 Seated half spinal twist
329 Pasasana Spinal twist squatting with legs together
331 Ardha Matsyendrasana 2 Spinal twist, one leg straight & one leg half-lotus bound
333 Ardha Matsyendrasana 3 Spinal twist one leg in half-lotus
343 Astavakrasana Arm balance legs to side
348 Bhujapidasana Arm balance both legs over arms, feet crossed
354 Mayurasana Peacock
357 Pincha Mayurasana Peacock Feather
359 Adho Mukha Vrksasana Hand Stand
364 Kurmasana Tortoise
368 Supta Kurmasana Sleeping Tortoise
371 Eka Pada Sirsasana One foot behind the head
394 Dwi Pada Sirsasana Both feet behind the head, arm balance
395 Tittibhasana Arm balance, legs straight over backs of arms
398 Vasisthasana Side Inclined Plane holding toe, leg straight
403 Visvamitrasana Side Inclined Plane leg straight to front over arm
410 Bakasana Crow
412 Parsva Bakasana Side Crow
419 Urdvha Kukkutasana Lotus Crow
433 Eka Pada Galavasana Flying Side Crow
476 Hanumanasana Split
477 Samakonasana Straddle Split
478 Supta Trivikramasana Reclining leg stretch (pull foot to head)
482 Urdhva Dhanurasana 1 Upward Facing Bow (wheel)
487 Urdhva Dhanurasana 2 Drop-back, lowering from standing to wheel backwards
512 Kapotasana Baby wheel, Dove, or Pigeon
513 Laghuvajrasana Baby Wheel, hands to knees
542 Eka Pada Rajakapotasana 1 King Pigeon
555 Padangusthasana Dhanurasana Full Bow
591 Natarajasana Dancing Siva
592 Savasana Corpse

Classical Hatha Yoga Poses

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 they are described—including Light on Yoga .  The second tab on this spread sheet lists all of the poses covered in Light on Yoga.

Sanskrit Alternate Sanskrit Name English Pradipika Gheranda Samhita Shiva Samhita Light on Yoga
Bhadrasana Gorakshasana Gracious 1:54 2:9-10
Bhujangasana   Cobra 2:42-43 73
Dhanurasana   Bow 1:25 2:18 63
Garudasana   Eagel 2:37 56
Gomukhasana   Cow Face 1:20 2:16 81
Gorakshasana Bhadrasana Cowherd 2:24-25 117
Guptasana vajrasana, muktasana, siddhasana Secret 1:37 2:20
Kukkutasana   Rooster, cock 1:23 2:31 115
Kurmasana   Tortoise 1:22 2:32 365
Makarasana   Crocodile (dolphin) 2:40 62
Mandukasana   Frog 2:34
Matsyasana   Fish 2:21 113
Matsyendrasanda   Twist 1:26-27 2:23 312, 331, 333
Mayurasana   Peacock 1:30-31 2:29-30 354
Muktasana vajrasana, vajrasana, siddhasana Liberation 2:11  
Padmasana   Full Lotus 1:44-49 2:08 3:103-107 105
Paschimatasana   Forward Bend 1:28-29 2:26 162
Sankatasana   Dangerous 2:28
Shalabhasana   Locust 2:39 60
Shavasana   Corpse 1:32-33 2:19 592
Siddhasana vajrasana, muktasana, gupsasana Perfection 1:34-43 2:07 3:97-102 84
Simhasana   Lion 1:50-53 2:14-15 3:108-112 109, 111
Svastikasana   Fortunate 1:19 2:13 3:113-115
Ushtrasana   Camel 2:41 41
Utkatasana   Fierce (chair) 2:27 42
Uttanakurmasana   Extended Torttoise 1:24 2:33 364
Uttanamandukasana   Extended Frog 2:35
Vajrasana guptasana, muktasana, siddhasana Thunderbolt 1:37 2:12
Virasana   Hero 1:21 2:17 89
Virshasana   Bull 2:38
Vrikshasana   Tree 2:36 2
Yogaasana   Pose of Yoga 2:44-45

A Brief Introduction to A Course in Miracles

A Course in Miracles is a three-volume book that offers a complete system of spiritual psychotherapy. It uses familiar Christian terminology to express universal spiritual themes. Unlike much of Christianity, it is more a philosophy such as Vedanta or classical yoga. A Course in Miracles has the sole aim of helping students remove the psychological blocks that prevent us from experiencing love and joy.

The three volumes are the Text, the Workbook and the Manual for Teachers. The Text is the first book in the three-volume series. It is the foundation on which ACIM rests. It is by far the largest portion of A Course in Miracles at 669 pages. It is also the most abstract of the three books. Reading and studying the Text allows the student to understand some of the basic concepts that A Course in Miracles teaches. The Text redefines just about every common Christian term with each of these concepts presented in a new light, devoid of the guilt with which these terms have so often become associated.

The second volume, the Workbook, is a practical expression of the concepts in the Text. It provides 365 daily lessons to train the mind to perceive correctly. It is the tool that is used to “remove the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence”. The Workbook is divided into two sections. The first section works to undo the thought patterns we currently hold. The second replaces those patterns with a more accurate thought system. Over the course of a year, these simple yet profound lessons reshape the way the student thinks. By using these lessons, a new vision of the world is achieved, and the student begins to see through eyes of peace and forgiveness, rather than through the eyes of doubt, fear and prejudice.

The third volume, the Manual, is A Course in Miracles’ way of preparing its students to bring their newfound peace of mind to others. A Course in Miracles states over and over that we are all teachers to each other. Either we teach a message of fear or one of love. The Manual helps us to present a message of love in a clear and direct way. The Manual also includes a Clarification of Terms, which shines light on some of the basic concepts in the Course material.

Frequent Questions about A Course in Miracles

WHERE DID ACIM COME FROM?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask. According to the writing in the three volumes, the author was Jesus, speaking through Helen Schucman. Some people believe the book came from her subconscious and others believe that Jesus wrote it directly through her. The nice thing about A Course in Miracles is that you don’t need to believe in Jesus, or believe that he wrote it, in order to benefit from it. There are many people who ignore the claim that Jesus was involved altogether, and still experience the peace that A Course in Miracles promises.  Like all spiritual paths, A Course in Miracles should be evaluated based on its effectiveness. Like all thought systems, it should be free of contradictions. Where it came from or how it was inspired is of little consequence either way when you judge the material on its other merits.

IS ACIM RIGHT FOR ME?
A Course in Miracles is a great path for a lot of people, but it is not for everyone. I recommend that you read A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, or Path of Light by Robert Perry. They are both easy to read, and they both outline the basic tenets of A Course in Miracles. Also, you may want to find a study group in your area or join one of my online groups. Many people find that joining a study group helps them understand the material more easily. A list of study groups throughout the world can be found through The Miracle Distribution Center. If, after doing these things, you feel like A Course in Miracles is going to be a part of your life, I recommend you purchase a copy of the book and begin to study it on a daily basis.

WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ACIM?
I have been a student of A Course in Miracles since 1991. Like yoga and meditation, it has become a fundamental part of my spiritual life.  Not only has it has helped me to move beyond much of the bitterness I once held toward Christianity, it has helped me look at the world in a new way. I read from A Course in Miracles almost every day and use it a great deal in my spiritual couching work.  I have also found it is a wonderful bridge between Eastern and Western philosophy.

Motherhood is a Choice you Make Everyday

Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.
? Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm

Only One

Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, comrades and friends — but only one mother in the whole world.
—Kate Douglas Wiggin

We Are Meant to Grow, Like the Lotus

I wonder if the world’s fascination has less to do with the flower itself, and more with the muck that it flourishes in. The Lotus flower is of an unparalleled beauty in its elegance and grace, yet its’ origins are of an environment that is a stark contrast. We cannot help but ponder such strange juxtaposition. However, there is something telling in this natural contrast between the flower and its environment: we are meant to grow, like the Lotus, and not dirty our hands in the mud that surrounds us.
—Forrest Curran, Purple Buddha Project: Purple Book of Self-Love

A Lotus Grows in the Mud

The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering… The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.

The Buddha Within

Please don’t run away from your suffering. Embrace it and cherish it. Go to the Buddha, (the Buddha within us all) sit with him, and show him your pain. He will look at you with loving kindness, compassion, and mindfulness, and show you ways to embrace your suffering and look deeply into it. With understanding and compassion, you will be able to heal the wounds in your heart, and the wounds in the world. The Buddha called suffering a Holy Truth, because our suffering has the capacity of showing us the path to liberation. Embrace your suffering, and let it reveal to you the way to peace.—Thich Nhat Hanh , 

The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy and Liberation

Nothing at All

The Buddha was asked skeptically, “What have you gained through meditation?” The Buddha replied, “Nothing at all.” “Then, Blessed One, what good is it?” “Let me tell you what I lost through meditation: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation, which leads to nirvana.” ? Gautama Buddha

Put Your Hands on the Ground

The pathway is open to you, it leads to the heart. There are many treasures to be found there….

Spend more of your time away from the diversions of your culture and commune deeply with your land. You are of it and it will respond to your sincere attention. Come to it for counsel–the trees, the plants Spirits, the animal Spirits, and the elementals.

Put your hands on the ground and send your intention…The more you offer honoring Mother Earth, the more wisdom you will receive…

—Shonagh Home from Ix Chel Wisdom: 7 Teachings from the Mayan Sacred Feminine

The Earth is Our Origin and Destination

The earth is our origin and destination. The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows.
When we emerge form our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural element. We are children of the earth: people to whom the outdoors is home. Nothing can separate us from the vigour and vibrancy of this inheritance.
In contrast to our frenetic, saturated lives, the earth offers a calming stillness. Movement and growth in nature takes it time. The patience of nature enjoys the ease of trust and hope.
There is something in our clay nature that needs to continually experience this ancient, outer ease of the world. It helps us to remember who we are and why we are here.
—John O’ Donohue from Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

The Yellow Brick Road

And so we can choose to walk our paths consciously or unconsciously. We can choose to listen to the guidance of our spirit, or we can ignore it. The yellow brick road is laid out before us to follow or stray from, to walk along or to sit at the curbside. As we make wise choices, we evolve and grow, learning what works and doesn’t work, and eventually we awaken in Kansas.

—Darren Main,  Spiritual Journeys along the Yellow Brick Road

A Hole in the Sidewak

I walk down the street.There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost… I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

But, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes me a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in. It’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault. I get out immediately.
walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.
I walk down another street.

—Portia Nelson