The Obstacle Race

Remember, Yoga practice is like an obstacle race: many obstructions are purposely put on the way for us to pass through. They are there to make us understand and express our own capacities. We all have that strength, but we don’t seem to know it. We seem to need to be challenged and tested in order to understand our own capacities. In fact that is the natural law. If a river just flows easily, the water in the river does not express its power. But once you put an obstacle to the flow by constructing a dam, then you can see its strength in the form of tremendous electrical power.
—Swami Satchidananda

Everything I Needed

I asked for strength and was given challenges to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and was given problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and was given brain and braun to work.
I asked for courage and was give danger to overcome.
I asked for love and was given troubled people to help.
I asked for favors and was given opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted.
I received everything I needed.
——Author Unknown

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, what to do as you sit there, how to maintain your motivation for practicing, how to overcome common obstacles, and how to set up an ongoing practice structure that works for your life.

We Call It a Practice

“Why dowe call yoga a practice? The yoga poses of life—the grief, the fear, the uncertainty—rarely offer us the option of coming to child pose or modifying the posture. The yoga mat offers us a safe and controlled environment in which we can witness our challenges, embrace our discomfort, and hold space for our struggles. A yoga practice doesn’t prevent the storms of life, but it does teach us to weather those storms more gracefully”
Darren Main “The River of Wisdom.”.

Develop the Courage

If you don’t develop the courage to do that which has been give to you to do, or if you just go around trying to convince other people or get their approval, what will happen is you will lose your nerve, and other people will convince you that what you are doing doesn’t have any value and you’ll give up on your dream. How much time do you have left? When you start thinking about that you will realize that you don’t know. Most of us don’t use the stuff that we have brought into the universe, so stop wasting valuable time in the wake of others opinions. If you want something, you have got to be relentless. You’ve got to learn how to become resourceful. You’ve got to learn how to become creative. The power to hold on in spite of everything. In spite of every excuse your mind can conceive of. The power to endure, this is the winners quality. The ability to face defeat and failure again and again without giving up. There’s greatness in you! And you’ve got learn how to tune out the critics outside, and more importantly the critic inside! Most people give up on themselves easily. Did you know the human spirit is powerful? It’s hard to kill the human spirit! You are unstoppable! Live your life with passion, and with some drive!
—Les Brown

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 download with a new Audible membership.

What If?

What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words
What if the temple was the Earth
If forests were our church
If holy water—the rivers, lakes, and ocean
What if meditation was our relationships
If the teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being.

—Ganga White

A Place Within Me Opens

Sometimes, during my early-morning meditation, a place within me opens and parts of myself let go that I didn’t even know were holding on. In these moments I feel all the hard places in my heart and body yield to a great softness carried on my breath, and I am filled with compassion for the part of me that is always trying, always organizing, problem solving, anticipating. My mind stops and simply follows my breath. A great faith washes through me; a knowing that everything that needs to get done will get done. My shoulders drop an inch and the small but familiar ache in my chest eases—The moment stretches. There is enough: enough time, enough energy, enough of all that is needed. A great tenderness for myself and the world opens inside me, and I know that I belong to this time, to these people, to this earth and to something that is both within and larger than all of it, something that sustains and holds us all. I do not want to be anywhere else. I am filled with a commitment to, and a compassion for myself and the world.—Oriah Mountain Dreamer from the book The Invitation

The Breath Inside the Breath

Are you looking for me?  I am in the next seat.

My shoulder is against yours.

You will not find me in stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in cathedrals; not in masses nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.

When you really look for me, you will see me instantly —you will find me in the tiniest house of time.Kabir says:  Student, tell me, what is God? “He is the breath inside the breath.”

—  Kabir

 

The Simplest Thing in the World

Breathing is one of the simplest things in the world. We breathe in, we breathe out. When we breathe with real freedom, we neither grasp for nor hold on to the breath. No effort is required to pull the breath in or push the breath out. Given the simplicity of breathing one would think it was the easiest thing to do in the world. However if it were truly so easy there would be few unhappy or unhealthy people in the world. To become a welcome vessel for the breath is to live life without trying to control, grasp, or push away. And how easy is this? The process of breathing is the most accurate metaphor we have for the way that we personally approach life, how we live our lives, and how we react to the inevitable change that life brings to us.
— Donna Farhi

The Mountain Top

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop . . . And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.
So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!
——Martin Luther King, Jr. (spoken on the eve of his death)

Brotherhood

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.
–Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution

Breaking Rules with Jake Heilbrunn

At eighteen, Jake Heilbrunn entered college like millions of other high school graduates. But after developing a chronic skin condition and falling into depression, Jake realized staying in school didn’t align with his dreams.

Listening to his inner voice and following his heart, he took a leap of faith, left school and hopped on a one-way flight to Guatemala. The result—an amazing adventure and a the inspirational new book, Off the Beaten Trail.

 

Resources

Jake’s Website

PURCHASE: Off the Beaten Trail

Willpower

In order to make progress in any aspect of life, it is essential to develop your will power and your personal strength. Often, however, when you decide to develop your willpower, you may resolve to do dramatic things, but this can actually cause problems for you, because if you can not yet do what you resolve, then you will find that your strength and your willpower are being damaged rather than developed. If you sincerely want to develop personal strength and willpower, you should first learn to keep yourself open and be an observer of yourself until you observe that your willpower has become dynamic. Instead of making such dramatic resolutions, simply make yourself open to observing yourself and decide to experiment in observing yourself.
—Swami Rama

A Prisoner of Habits

You have been a prisoner of your habits and it has not been good for you. It is because of wrong habits of thinking and doing in this and other lives that your bodily kingdom yields not to invasions of disease, troubles, moods and ignorance. From now no say, “I am not the slave of the body. I am the director of my own kingdom. My thoughts are going to be exactly as I wish them to be.”
Once you have changed your habits, you will say to yourself, “How simple it was to do it. How unkind I have been to myself for not exchanging my soul-stultifying habits for those that bring happiness.”
—Paramahansa Yogananda

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 doing yoga today because CorePower felt safe, familiar and modern.     While the CorePower style of yoga doesn’t speak to everyone, Trevor’s  vision of what a yoga studio could be has had measurable and uplifting effects on the broader yoga community.

On a personal note, Trevor has always been a strong supporter of my work—promoting my books at CorePower and even endorsing one of them. While I didn’t work for CorePower, I have taught workshops at many of their studios.  Trevor always lifted me up, encouraged my work and had my back as a teacher.    I know many yogis around the United States who are the teachers they are today because he believed in them, and gave them a solid platform from which to offer their considerable gifts.

The word yoga means union—and at times like this, it is a helpful reminder that we are first and foremost yogis.  To my fellow CorePower yogis, know that the broader yoga community  is here to support you so please don’t hesitate to lean on us.  Yoga doesn’t happen in yoga studios.  It happens when we join together that which was perceived to be separate.    I hope that the whole yoga community can honor Trevor’s passing by realizing that we are bound together, not by the studio we call home, but rather by the practice itself.

I feel sadness and grief that a fellow yogi has passed but I also feel such joy and gratitude for all he contributed to my life and work and for the community he started that is home to some the most wonderful yogis I know.

 

 

 

From Illusion to Truth

Sanskrit
Asato maa sat gamaya
Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya
Mrytor maa amritam gamaya
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

English
Lead me from Illusion to Truth
Lead me from darkness to Light;
Lead me from the cycles of birth and death to spiritual Liberation.
OM peace, peace, peace

—Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Belleau Wood

Oh, the snowflakes fell in silence
Over Belleau Wood that night
For a Christmas truce had been declared
By both sides of the fight
As we lay there in our trenches
The silence broke in two
By a German soldier singing
A song that we all knew

Though I did not know the language
The song was “Silent Night”

Then I heard my buddy whisper,
“All is calm and all is bright”
Then the fear and doubt surrounded me
‘Cause I’d die if I was wrong
But I stood up in my trench
And I began to sing along

Then across the frozen battlefield
Another’s voice joined in
Until one by one each man became
A singer of the hymn

Then I thought that I was dreaming
For right there in my sight
Stood the German soldier
‘Neath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here’s hoping we both live
To see us find a better way

Then the devil’s clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again

But for just one fleeting moment
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven’s not beyond the clouds
It’s just beyond the fear
—Garth Brooks
from the song Belleau Wood

The Great Spiritual Tension

The great spiritual tension between the contemplative life of the monk and spiritual activism in the world dissolves entirely with one word—namaste— the light in me bows to the light in you.
When meditation reveals the light in ourself we naturally want to bow to the light in all beings—to act on their behalf in reverence and devotion.

When we truly see the light in another, our own light shines forth dissolving the seemingly eternal ache in our hearts and the near constant struggle of the ego mind. To see the light in one being—your own light or that of another, is to win the cosmic game of hide and seek and ease the suffering of the world.
—Darren Main, The River of Wisdom: Reflections on Yoga, Meditation, and Mindful Living

You Are the One with Kute Blackson

Motivational speaker and author Kute Blackson is unique in his approach to empowerment.  Unlike those who promise to simply help people “get” what they want, Kute’s life work instead reveals to people what they have to give, by liberating who they are most truly and deeply. The focus: Freedom.  In this interview  Kute talks about his work and his groundbreaking new book You Are The One: A Bold Adventure in Finding Purpose, Discovering the Real You, and Loving Fully.

 
 

Resources

Kute’s Website

PURCHASE: You Are The One: A Bold Adventure in Finding Purpose, Discovering the Real You, and Loving Fully

Direct Download

I Asked For….

I asked for strength and was given challenges to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and was given problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and was given brain and braun to work.
I asked for courage and was give danger to overcome.
I asked for love and was given troubled people to help.
I asked for favors and was given opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted.
I received everything I needed.
——Author Unknown

Unlock the Fullness of Life

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

Hands

By Jewel

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won’t be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
But it didn’t steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But i knew it wasn’t ever after
We will fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what’s right
Cause where there’s a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small, i know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God’s eyes God’s hands God’s mind
We are God’s eyes God’s hands God’s heart
We are God’s eyes God’s hands God’s eyes God’s hands
We are God’s hands God’s hands We are God’s hands

Seeing Through the Veils of Our Stories and Dramas

More than any other human need, perhaps even more than food and shelter, we human beings, born of other human beings, nurtured by and connected to them, need to touch one another.    We need to stay in contact and acknowledge our interdependence and love in order to live in a sacred way.  Think about your own life, the times that you have deeply touched another persona and what that has meant to you; the times of difficulty when you have allowed another person to touch you, to help you.  It is not with our righteousness or our ideas that we solve the ills of the world but with the power of our kindness and our capacity to be intimate with one another.  By seeing through the veils of our stories and dramas we come to know  one author’s pain and sorrow.
—Jack Kornfield,  Soul Food: Stories to Nourish the Spirit and the Heart 

World Peace Prayer

We pray for the power to be gentle; the strength to be forgiving; the patience to be understanding; and the endurance to accept the consequences of holding to what we believe to be right.

May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome hatred. We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe in a world emancipated from violence, a new world where fear shall no longer lead men to commit injustice, nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.

Help is to devote our whole life and thought and energy to the task of making peace, praying always for the inspiration and the power to fulfill the destiny for which we were created.
— adapted prayer from the Week of Prayer for World Peace, 1978

Yoga and Mindful Politics

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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

The Fruit of Action

It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
—Mahatma Gandhi

The Enneagram with Karl Hebenstreit

karl_hebenstreitThe Enneagram is a popular method of understanding personality types and how to more effectively communicate in business and personal relationships.  In this episode, Enneagram expert and author Karl Hebenstreit talks about his new book and how the Enneagram can help you better understand your own personality and the personalities of the people in your life.

 

Resources

Purchase Karl’s Book

 

 
Direct Download

To Live Meaningful Lives, We Must Die

In our civil war, we’ve seen death. We’ve watched our people die. Gone forever. As terrible as it was beyond the reach of the Resurrection ships, something began to change. We could feel a sense of time, as if each moment held its own significance. We began to realize that for our existence to hold any value, it must end. To live meaningful lives, we must die and not return. The one human flaw that you spend your lifetimes distressing over… Mortality is the one thing… Well, it’s the one thing that makes you whole.

—Number Six, Battlestar Galactica