Eight things I Learned from 50 Naked People.

Eight things I Learned from 50 Naked People.

Everything you’ve experienced is stored in your body at a cellular level. Each cell is a record of all of it. I’ve felt it in your skin. Being born. Being held. The time you fell off your bike and weren’t that hurt but very scared. That brutal sunburn on your shoulders at 14. The time you fell out of a tree and broke your collarbone. The first time you felt deeply loved. The person who hurt you so badly you thought you were broken for good. Your muscles remember it. They remember it like it happened 10 minutes ago.

Your successes hold your shoulders high. Your losses pull your chest inward. You hold your sadness in your throat, your anger in your jaw and your fear in your belly. Your happiness rises and falls in your chest. Love rolls in and out on the tides of your breath. It’s all there, all the time. {You can release the parts that hurt, if you want to. Yoga and massage are the best ways I’ve seen.}

Chocolate Coconut No-Bake Protein Bars

Makes 8 large bars or 12-14 snack-size squares

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup softened coconut butter
3-4 scoops of chocolate whey protein powder
3/4 - 1 cup water

NOTE: If you are using quick oats instead of old fashioned, you will require less water

Line a square baking dish with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add water to 3/4 cup of water to the oats, stir, and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes so the oats absorb the water.

Add the protein powder and coconut butter to the mixture. With clean hands, kneed the batter until all the ingredients are well combined and the mixture becomes moist and doughy. (I found it helps to roll it all into a big, solid ball). If the powder is not dissolving into the mixture, add more water, a tablespoon at a time.

Press the mixture into the square dish evenly. Flatten out the top with a spatula until smooth and even.

Pop in the freezer for 30 min. The mixture should be firm and cool but not frozen solid. Lift the paper out of the dish onto a cutting board and cut into desired squares.

Topping tips: Feel free to add other ingredients to the mix like mashed banana, almonds, ground flax seed, anything goes! You may even want to top the squares with a sprinkling of unsweetened, shredded coconut, or slivered almonds before freezing.

Nutritional info for 8 bars:
Calories: 250
Carbs: 21 g
Protein: 20 g
Fat: 20 g

For 12-14 snack-size squares:
Calories: 154
Carbs: 13 g
Protein: 14 g
Fat: 13 g

*Nutritional info will vary slightly depending on the type of whey protein you use

Eat Six Times a Day? The Dangers of Frequent Eating.

Eat Six Times a Day? The Dangers of Frequent Eating.

There Are No Accidents

Appreciate everything and everyone. Look upon every experience you've ever had, and everyone who's ever played any role in your life, as having been sent to you for your benefit. In this universe, which was created by a divine, organizing intelligence, there are simply no accidents.

~ Wayne Dyer


What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has his eyes if he is a painter, or his ears if he is a musician, or a lyre at every level of his heart if he is a poet, or, if he is a boxer, only his muscle? On the contrary, he is at the same time a political being, constantly alert to the heartrending, burning, or happy events in the world, molding himself in their likeness.

~ Pablo Picasso

who knows if the moon’s

 a balloon, coming out of a keen city
in the sky–filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it, if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we’d go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody’s ever visited, where

spring) and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves.

~ e.e. cummings


♥ Now is the time for you to know that everything you do is sacred.

♥ The words you speak become the house you live in.

♥ I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.

Actions for discovering the awesomeness all around you:
1. Make friends with prayer and meditation by spending time with them
2. Seek out the company of people who are sources of love, and assimilate

♥ Now

All your worry
Has proved such an
Find a better

♥ Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living
In better conditions.


18 Life Lessons I Want My Daughters to Hear

I found this article to be of great advice...
18 Life Lessons I Want My Daughters to Hear. by Rebecca Lammersen
I want to give them 18 little light bulbs to illuminate their journey…

1. Don’t strive to be popular, settle for being yourself, settle into yourself .
Over the years, I’ve learned that the popular people are the most insecure. The popular girl or boy surround him or herself with others to hide from their own insecurities. When you settle for yourself, you will never settle for anyone who is not themselves.

2. Eat your dessert every day.
Every day, have a treat. Not as a reward, but as a privilege. It is an honor to taste, to enjoy, to salivate and dance with sweetness. Don’t deny yourself this privilege. You have a mouth, you have taste buds, use them.

3. Say No at least once a day.
Don’t be a people pleaser. You can’t do everything and you can’t please everyone, so say, No. By saying no, you are respecting yourself and your energy. Trust me, people will respect you more because when you do say yes, you will mean it. No one will ever question your presence or intention.

4. Never feel guilty for moving away from me, for traveling or going on an adventure.
I want you to leave me, to travel far away and only send a post card once in a while. I didn’t birth you to burden you. I birthed you to release you. My love is here whether you are two feet from me, or 20,000 miles away, go be you.

5. Know that you are absolutely right when you think that the calculus class you are taking is boring…and is information you will never use in real life.
You are right, yet understand that the patience you cultivate when sitting through the class, and the discipline you strengthen to solve the problem, will be the foundation that will allow you to persevere through every challenge and experience in life.

6. Please don’t wait until marriage to have sex.
Just wait until you meet someone who makes you smile, makes you laugh, respects you (as your father does), holds your hand and isn’t afraid to cry in front of you.

7. If you go shopping and you like something, don’t buy it right then.
Put it on hold. Go about your day, go to sleep, and the next day if you are still thinking of it, buy it.

8. Choose something to have faith in.
If you have faith, you have hope, and when you have hope you always see a way. When you see a way, you never give up.

9. Listen to the whisper, the churn in your belly and the goosebumps on your arms.
Those sensations are not sensations at all, they are you speaking. Don’t listen to the second voice, that is just doubt, and definitely don’t listen to the third voice, that is just someone else’s opinion. Always and only trust yourself.

10. Cut your hair short at least once, it will free you.

11. Find Your Yoga.
I don’t care if you ever do a down dog in your entire life, just find something that calms your mind, and devote yourself to it. Find something that keeps your mind and body connected, healthy and working together, because in the times when everything else seems disconnected, it will keep you centered and grounded.

12. Acknowledge your gift.
God put you on this Earth with a legacy, you just have to see it. How do you see it? See this life as a journey. Learn as much as you can, read as much as you can, dance as much as you can, speak as much as you can, listen as much as you can, do as much as you can, travel as much as you can because that’s how you will see it. It’s already inside of you, you just need to spark it, so ignite as many flames as you can, and notice which one keeps burning. That goes for your life partner and your friends too.

Say hello to strangers, smile at the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, or the person behind you at the grocery store. You never know, not only could they be your everlasting flame, but they could help reveal your gift. Your gift is your legacy, the legacy that will help serve the world.

13. Look around you and see the world, as you do now.
Point and rejoice as you see a bird fly by. Stand with your nose pressed to the glass as the rain pours down. Pick up a leaf or a flower and hold it as you would a piece of gold. Put it on your nightstand and cherish it. If you do this, you will take care of our earth and you may even heal it.

14. Always cheer for the underdog…
…because they have courage to stand up to the top dog.

15. Check in with yourself when you leave someone’s presence.
Ask yourself, Do I feel uplifted and happy? Or, do I feel depleted and lethargic? If you feel uplifted, the person you were just with is a supporter, keep them around. If you feel depleted, the person you were with is an enemy to your heart, don’t associate with them and make no apologies.

16. Write.
Your thoughts are precious and important. The best guidance you will get, is from yourself. Write them down and read them.

17. Clean your room.
How you keep your space, is how you keep your mind. When things are neat, clarity will walk with ease.

18. If you only remember one thing, remember this: You are the most important person in the whole world.
You determine your own direction, and if you trust your own compass, you will always remain on your path.

The Heart of Gratitude. ~ Jamie Allison

The Heart of Gratitude. ~ Jamie Allison

The Poetry of Yoga team shares on this Thanksgiving week a poem (that doubles as a prayer) from the Volume 2 Book Anthology which releases on 12.12.12.  

The piece below, titled “The Heart of Gratitude,” was written by Jamie Allison and is published on pages 206 – 207 of the new book.

The Heart of Gratitude

OM, the Eternal One
Sweet Spirit
Ocean of Possibilities
Endless River of Creative Power
Divine Mother
Womb of the Universe.
Paint my life with your sacred paintbrush.
Saturate me with the full spectrum of color
so that I may taste every aspect of you that is me.
Let inspiration flow through me
like the illuminative dawn spreading out across the sky
kissing all creation with your spark of love.
Golden Sunlight reflects off your infinite forms
of manifestation creating a mirror for your magnificence.
Eternity is offering herself as a secret waiting to be told,
a mystery waiting to unfold.
May I imbibe this wonder and drink
from this everlasting cup!
Evening bird song punctuates the quiet hush of twilight.
My heart longs to linger a little longer in
the sweetness of this departing day.
Hold me in the deep blue velvet of your starry night sky.
Bless me with peaceful sleep so that I may welcome a new
day and offer myself fully,
without hesitation to the wonder of this life.
The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. . . . The ordinary objects of human endeavour ~ property, wealth, outward success, luxury - have always seemed to me contemptible.

~ Albert Einstein


Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

~ May all beings be happy and free, and may my thoughts, words, and actions contribute to the happiness and freedom of all.

Mantras are like medicine for the soul.

When we select a word or series of words to repeat in the form of a mantra, we are affirming it to ourselves and allowing its meaning to seep below the surface, into our subconscious, helping to shift our negative habits and patterns into positive ones.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namah

I bow to the elephant-faced deity [Ganesh] who is capable of removing all obstacles. I pray for blessings and protection. In Hindu teachings, Ganesh is known as the god of wisdom and success and the destroyer of obstacles. 

Sanskrit is considered by some linguists to be the “perfect language,” as its correct pronunciation evokes a unique vibration in the Universe, placing into motion whatever you are trying to manifest through your mantra.


~ The sound of the universe. It's the first, original vibration, representing the birth, death and re-birth process.

~ Chanting the sound OM brings us into harmonic resonance with the universe – this is a scientific fact! OM is said to vibrate at 432 Hertz, which is the natural musical pitch of the Universe, as opposed to 440 Hertz, which is the frequency of most modern music.

~ Decreasing your frequency to coincide with that of the Universe stills the fluctuations of the mind, allowing you to practice yoga through sound. OM is an idyllic way to begin and end a yoga or mediation practice, and also comes in handy when you just need to chill out.

Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
Nisprapancaya Shantaya
Niralambaya Tejase

I offer myself to the light, the auspicious one (I bow to Shiva - the supreme diety of transformation, who represents the truest, highest self)
the true teacher within and without

Who assumes reality, consciousness + bliss

Who is never absent and full of peace

Independent in existence, the vital source of illumination

Powers of 'Bija Mantra' Meditation

In Vedic tradition, “Bija Mantras” are used as tools for the expansion and widening of one’s mind by utilizing the power of sound vibrations. “Mantra” is a Sanskrit word made up of two syllables: “man” (mind) and “tra” (liberate). Thus in its most literal translation the word “Mantra” means “to liberate one’s mind”. In Sanskrit a “seed” is called “Bija.” The word “Mantra” when translated by virtue of its practical use relates to a sound that can “create transformation.”

Certain sounds which cannot be translated into a literal meaning but have the power to create great transformative growth and expansion in humans at the physical, emotional and spiritual levels are known as “Bija” or Seed Mantras.

The Source of Bija Mantras

To truly understand the transformative power of “Bija Mantras, we need to realize that any form of sound in the universe is vibrational energy. Human speech or words is also a combination of sound waves each of which resonates at specific vibrational frequencies. According to ancient Indian texts as well as the latest works in quantum physics, the whole universe was created through cosmic sound energy which was then followed by heat and light energy and eventually life forms. So sound vibrations are intimately connected to our “prana” or “life energy”.

How Bija Mantras Work

In Vedic healing and spiritual traditions, specific mono syllable seed sounds or “Bija Mantras” were developed to create balance and harmony in the human body, mind and soul. Each and every part of our body functions at a specific rhythm and pulse and when all our systems are balanced and tuned with each other we experience perfect harmony and health. On the other hand, any imbalance in our body can lead to mental, physical or emotional dis-ease. Sound therapy is a very effective way to heal and rejuvenate ourselves as every cell in our body is mainly composed of water which makes them excellent sound resonators! Thanks to the recent developments in the field of Psychoacoustics, the ancient practice of using sound energy for holistic healing practices is now gaining even more credibility!

A Simple Yet Powerful Bija Mantra Meditation Ritual

In yoga there are 7 specific Bija Mantras that vibrationally align our energy centers or chakras through sound energy:

1. Root Chakra – Bija mantra: LAM (Pronouncd as lum in alum )
2. Sacral Chakra – VAM (vum as in thumb)
3. Solar Plexus Chakra – RAM (rum)
4. Heart Chakra – YAM (yum as in yummy)
5. Throat Chakra – HAM (hum as in humming)
6. Third Eye Chakra – U ( u as in uber)
7. Crown Chakra – Om (aum)

You can chant each mantra while lying down or by sitting in a cross legged meditation pose. You can focus on a particular chakra and chant its specific seed mantra repetitively in one sitting or do all seven in succession one after the other. These mantras are very powerful even when they are chanted silently.  The expansion of the mind from the “I” into the all encompassing cosmic energy is a wondrous transformation.

Dr. Douglas Brooks: Conversation & Statement re: John Friend & Anusara Yoga.

Dr. Douglas Brooks: Conversation & Statement re: John Friend & Anusara Yoga.

Love Day ♥ February 14,2012 ♥ I am love...still I dream of more ♥

Saint Valentine's Day, often simply Valentine's Day, is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentinus. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is celebrated in countries around the world, mostly in the West.

The day first became associated wi...th romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").

Come inside
Of the heart's house.
There is peace and solace there.
~ Rumi

You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.
~ Barbara De Angelis

A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art or love or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his (or her) heart first opened.
~ Albert Camus

Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
~  from the movie "A walk in the clouds."

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other all along.
~ Rumi

The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.
~ Rumi

Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."
~ Paolo Coelho

from Mother Teresa: "I have found the paradox: that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
May we grow the love no matter what...

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.
~ Maya Angelou

Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself -- and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to -- letting a person be what he really is.
~ Jim Morrison

Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.
~ Bruce Lee

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
~ Rumi

I believe that two people are connected at the heart, and it doesn't matter what you do, or who you are or where you live; there are no boundaries or barriers if two people are destined to be together.
~ Julia Roberts

Cranberry Chocolate chip Oatmeal cookies. Vegan, gluten-free option

Cranberry Chocolate chip Oatmeal cookies. Vegan, gluten-free option

Human Experience via Mystic Mamma


I wonder if the sun debates dawn
some mornings
not wanting to rise
out of bed
from under the down-feather horizon

If the sky grows tired
of being everywhere at once
adapting to the mood swings of the weather

If the clouds drift off
trying to hold themselves together
make deals with gravity
to loiter a little longer

I wonder if rain is scared
of falling
if it has trouble letting go

If snow flakes get sick
of being perfect all the time
each one trying to be one-of-a-kind

I wonder if stars wish
upon themselves before the die
if they need to teach their young to shine

I wonder if shadows long
to once feel the sun
if they get lost in the shuffle
not knowing where they’re from

I wonder if sunrise and sunset
respect each other
even though they’ve never met

If volcanoes get stressed
If storms have regrets
If compost believes in life after death

I wonder if breath ever thinks
about suicide
I wonder if the wind just wants to sit
still sometimes
and watch the world pass by

If smoke was born knowing how to rise
If rainbows get shy back stage
not sure if their colors match right

I wonder if lightning sets an alarm clock
to know when to crack
If rivers ever stop
and think of turning back

If streams meet the wrong sea
and their whole lives run off-track
I wonder if the snow wants to be black

If the soil thinks she’s too dark
If butterflies want to cover up their marks
If rocks are self-conscious of their weight
If mountains are insecure of their strength

I wonder if waves get discouraged
crawling up the sand
only to be pulled back again
to where they began

I wonder if land feels stepped upon
If sand feels insignificant
If trees need to question their lovers
to know where they stand

If branches waver in the crossroads
unsure of which way to grow
If the leaves understand they’re replaceable
and still dance when the wind blows

I wonder where the moon goes
when she is hiding
I want to find her there
and watch the ocean
spin from a distance

Listen to her
stir in her sleep

7 Awesome Gratitude Quotes

By Jason Wachob

I think we'd all agree that expressing gratitude daily is something we can always improve upon. Here are seven of my favorite quotes on what many consider to be the secret to happiness, health, love, and success -- gratitude.

1. "Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgment of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties." -- Sarah Ban Breathnach

2. "Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind." -- Lionel Hampton

3. "Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." -- Buddha

4. "Take full account of the excellencies which you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not." -- Marcus Aurelius

5. "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein

6. "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." -- Melody Beattie

7. "When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears." -- Tony Robbins

On Knowing What is Meant By Goodness: The John Friend Controversy, with Respect.

On Knowing What is Meant By Goodness: The John Friend Controversy, with Respect.

16 life lessons I learned from Dickens.

16 life lessons I learned from Dickens.

Wintery February 10th - Keeping the Light Within

Vision without action is only a dream.

Action without vision just passes the time.
Vision with action will change your life.
~ Joel Barker

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.
~ Joseph Campbell

To live and speak our truth. Becoming congruent with who we are, we shed that which is not authentic, true or in resonance with our being. We state our truth with words, deeds and our inner conversation that creates our reality. When we say "I am ..." we are speaking into being that reality. Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, Speak Life!!!!

Affirmation: I am well, I am full of life, i am full of love, i am full of joy, I am present here and now in this place, I am strong, I am wise, I am enjoying my life, I am creating my life in wonder, I am fully receiving every good thing, I am Loved! I Am.
~Keith Allen Kay

Comparison is the thief of joy

I feel blessed to teach yoga and to be a part of this amazing community of Anusara Yoga. We navigate our selfs through the philosophy and practice of our method to have more understanding, clarity and to be more human. Sensitive, compassionate, loving and always honoring the highest in our selfs and others. This community of loving Teachers and beautiful Students is what our teacher John Friend has trained and brought together to celebrate life, the universal and each others heart.

We are humans in all our steps. Let's face the challenges of being human with grace, truth and open heart.
Grateful for the teachings
Gratitude to my Teachers
Namaste - Konstantinos Charantiniotis

Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness

the gold in life is in the second chances

No one else can hold your hand or take this voyage of the Soul for you, and yet ...at no time will you be alone, for you can never truly be alone.
~J M Harrison

The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand.
~ Frederick L. Knowles

If you live the life you love, you will receive shelter and blessings. Sometimes the great famine of blessings in and around us derives from the fact that we are not living the life we love; rather, we are living the life that is expected of us. We have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and Light of our own nature.
~John O'Donohue

When you practice forgiveness, and let go of the story - let it fall away - only then can pure emotion begin to transform into pure power within the crucible of the heart. This becomes Kirya Shakti usable to us as positive energy ~ a Gift of the Goddess! "... but even in the dark we orient toward the light. We hold to the highest." ~ Christoper Tompkins

When I was 5 years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down: "Happy". They told me that I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.
~John Lennon

Imperfection is beauty,

madness is genius
and it’s better to be
absolutely ridiculous
than absolutely boring.
~ Marilyn Monroe

Sex, Bliss, Tantra & the Anusara Revolution.

Sex, Bliss, Tantra & the Anusara Revolution.

on Feb 8, 2012
Sex, Bliss, Tantra & the Anusara Revolution.

A few years ago, Mara Carrico wrote an article called ”The Truth About Tantra” in Yoga Journal, in which she made the following prediction: the next revolution in yoga in America will be Tantra.
While I had my hunches that we would see an increasing interest in genuine Tantra, Carrico was spot on prophetic! That is, she predicted a vigorous new interest among yoga enthusiasts in the deeper study of Tantra philosophy as opposed to the bedroom slackers who dabble in the more shallow Sex-Tantra. Or Neo-Tantrics, as prolific yoga scholar Georg Feuerstein has dubbed those who often mistake the Kama Sutras for the Yoga Sutras. Those who mistake orgasm for enlightenment.
That, says Tantra, is to misjudge the rope for a snake.
Since Carrico’s article was published, John Friend and his limber army of Anusara devotees have taken the country and the world by storm, one twist and forward bend, one studio at-a-time. He has indeed been busy, both promoting a philosophy deeply rooted in Tantra and teaching a yoga practice that—well—is at least in part grounded in the Hatha Yoga practices that flourished during the Tantric renaissance of the early Middle Ages (400 AD).
At first glance, it seems that Anusara and its thousands of enthusiastic followers have dug themselves some deep Tantric roots while they at the same time are creating that next Tantric-yogic revolution.
The members of the Anusara Kula (family), just like the Tantrics of old, are, they say, more interested in Bliss with a capital B than in mere copulation. On this important topic the Kularnava Tantra, a well respected authority on the subject, speaks with a straightforward voice:
“If [you] could attain perfection (siddhi) merely by drinking wine, all the wine-bibbing rouges would attain perfection. If mere intercourse… would lead to liberation, all creatures of the world would be liberated…”
So what is Tantra, according to Anusara? In the group’s own words: ”The vision of Anusara yoga is grounded in a Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness. In this philosophy we take the premise that everything in this world is an embodiment of Supreme Consciousness, which at its essence pulsates with goodness and the highest bliss. All of creation is divinely danced into existence for the simple delight and the play of embodying the Supreme’s own blissful nature.”
As a frequent writer on everything Tantric, I could not have said it any better. This poetic vision of Tantra resonates with everything that I have learned, both philosophically and experientially. Tantra is about becoming the bee that seeks the nectar of Bliss. Indeed, says Tantra, we humans are not hardwired for suffering, as some mystics will claim, we are hardwired for Bliss.
(But intrinsic goodness is not the only aspect of the universe of Tantra, however. There is another Tantric concept, let’s call it intrinsic badness. We shall return to this issue later. For now, let’s focus on the Bliss.)
Bliss in both Tantric and yogic terminology is Ananda, which is different than the sensory bliss of sex, good food, and a hot chocolate aphrodisiac. Ananda is extrasensory, Kama is sensory. Ananda is not skin deep, not a short-lived orgasm, it is experienced beyond the body, in the deep within, the metaphoric flower that blooms in the deep reality of the soul.
To put it succinctly: Tantric yogis developed hatha yoga to still and purify the body to prepare it for meditation. Thus the ultimate bliss Tantra talks about is not the bliss of asana but the bliss of samadhi.
Yes, it is blissfully relaxing to practice asana, but that feeling, which for most is short-lived and is quickly lost in a days work, is not the Bliss of samadhi. To achieve that Bliss, the asana practice needs to be internalized and grounded in deep, sitting meditation—in pratyahara, pranayama, dharana, then dhyan, and if you’re experienced and graced, the Bliss of samadhi. Very few, if any, yoga studios teach that kind of Tantra, that kind of classical Asthanga, or Raja Yoga. Not even Anusara.
But Tantra is not about denying or suppressing the body’s needs, either. In the words of the Buddhist Tantric teacher, Lama Yeshe: “There is no reason at all to feel guilty about pleasure; this is just as mistaken as grasping onto passing pleasures and expecting them to give us ultimate satisfaction,” he writes in his widely acclaimed book Introduction to Tantra: The Transmutation of Desire.
No need to feel guilty about pleasure, but there is a need to distinguish, to discern between pleasure and bliss, between kama and moksa, between lust and liberation.
So, Bliss, according to Tantra is spiritual ecstasy, spiritual love, spiritual liberation. It can be cool as a monsoon breeze, as in the case of the archetypal, detached sage Ramana Maharshi, whose Ananda-state was not expressed in dance as the wild man Ramakrishna did, but to sit and smile in silence like a modern Buddha.
Bliss can indeed be ecstatic, as was the case with cosmic poets Rumi, Kabir and Mirabai. Either way, the Bliss we are talking about, is not the pleasure of deliciousness, as Rumi put it, but that which gives deliciousness—namely that which is profoundly beyond the ulterior needs of the ego, that which has truly and freely blown the heart open wide to receive the wind-currents of the Divine.
How true is Anusara’s philosophy to the philosophy of Tantra? Does the following paragraph from John Friend’s Shiva Shakti Tantra philosophy reflect the inner essence of Tantra?
”Life is good. Indeed, goodness is the absolute nature of the universe. There is no intrinsic or absolute evil in the universe. However, because we are born free to choose our own experience, human beings are capable of mistakes and deliberate malevolence-moving out of alignment with the Divine in a way that creates suffering and harm. Although nothing has a malevolent or evil essence at its absolute nature, goodness takes on a relative state in the world of manifestation.”
I mostly agree. Depending on how we define evil, however, there is actually an intrinsic badness in the universe. From the very start, says Tantra, there was trouble in God’s paradise. This shadow-side to the Divine is built into the very essence of nature. And that, to me, is Tantra’s insightful elegance, an insight that satisfies both reason and intuition.
Yoga philosophy express at least two distinct views of the universe: nonduality (Vedanta), and qualified nonduality (Tantra). That is, while Vedanta on the one hand sees Brahma as real and the world as an illusion, Tantra sees both the world (Shakti) and Brahma (Consciousness, also called Shiva) as real. In its essence, says Tantra, there is only Brahma, that is the absolute ground, the absolute goodness, in Anusara terms, the universe is made of. But, if that was all, Tantra would basically be Vedantic and otherworldly, which it is not.
In Tantra, Brahma=Shiva +Shakti. It is Shakti (Cosmic Energy), which binds Brahma in the form of Shiva (Cosnciousness) and creates the world. And while doing so, the nondual Brahma becomes qualified, becomes dualistic, becomes the world. Hence, Tantric cosmology, recognizes the world as relative truth and the Divine (Brahma) as absolute truth. The world undergoes change while Brahma does not. So, Shiva (Consciousness) and Shakti (Energy) are just two different expressions of Brahma (Cosmic Consciousness).
In contrast to Anusara’s ”notion of an absolute goodness” there is also an absolute badness. In Tantra, Shakti is both Vidya Shakti—the universal energy that propels us toward divine goodness, toward the Divine) and Avidya Shakti—the universal energy which pulls us away from the Divine. In other words, Tantra says that good and bad, pleasure and suffering, is the very hallmark of creation. We’ve been potential jerks and saints from the very beginning!
This universal truth is recognized by Tantra as unwholesome tendencies (vrittis) located in most of our chakras. And thus the Tantric enterprise is to seduce Shakti to reunite with Shiva in this very life through yoga, through the raising of Shakti as kundalini, through overcoming our innate lethargy and badass tendencies for un-yogic mischief.
It is in recognizing this intrinsic good/bad, ignorance/enlightenment, pleasure/suffering dichotomy that Tantra scores an important philosophical and practical point. It ain’t all Bliss, Shri, and goodness in our universe, and the sooner we recognize and embrace that truth, the better we’ll all be!
In Tantric translation, this means we differentiate between that which is real and that which is unreal. That means we open up to the higher flow of intuition (viveka) through regular cultivation of deep trance-meditations. And that’s why I’ll say it again: the yoga movement needs to include more meditation after all these asanas!! (While the yogis of old did a lot more meditation than asanas, a good start is at least 1/2 hour of meditation after every 1 hour of yoga) Then that bliss will last a heck lot longer!
When these meditation trances are grounded in feeling, in emotion, in the heart, and in the mind, there is union, there is harmony, there is yoga. This takes time and practice, diligence and discipline rooted in the deep soil of the balanced body, in the worldview of yogic ethics—in ahimsa (non-harming), in asteya (non-stealing).
Tantric knowing is grounded in wisdom. It knows the difference between sex as a natural, passing pleasure and the spiritual love that is the lasting, all-embracing satisfaction.
In Anusara circles, the word ”kula” is used quite often. In the Indian vernacular, this word has some 20 different meanings. In Tantra, however, it refers to not just the sangha, those that gives us good company, or satsanga, but also to the kula of the kundalini. Which is to say, the container that forms the first chakra (yes, here the Sanskrit word kula refers to the first chakra as a container that houses the hibernating kundalini). In addition, the muladhara chakra also contains four propensities (vrittis):
Dharma—psycho-spiritual longing
Artha—psychic longing
Káma—physical longing
Mokśa—spiritual longing
In other words, the first chakra is not just the “lowest” chakra; it is actually the seat of our spiritual longing for both liberation and Dharmic action. Indeed, our thirst for both physical and spiritual love comes from this inner labyrinthine cave. Thus, according to Tantra, we are hardwired for spirituality, for dharma, for bliss. We are hardwired for lust, as well, but even as much for liberation, for spiritual union, for yoga.
Note here that Dharma (our innate, spiritual nature) is a natural human trait, as natural as the longing for sex. How come then, we humans think of sex a thousand times before we think of Dharma? How come then, we humans often practice sex without any consideration for Dharma at all?
The reason for that, says Tantra, is that kama has a short way to express itself. Lust is expressed in the next chakra as sex, for example, whereas the other propensities have a much longer route to travel up the chakra rungs than kama. Indeed, moksa (liberation) is not truly fulfilled before it reaches the highest chakra, the sahasrara, in the crown of the head.
That is to say, it is easy to love with lust, but not so easy to love from a state of non-attached Bliss. To put it simply, it takes a lot more effort to love with heart than with lust.
But Tantra does not maintain that all our sensory attractions are born from sexual desires. Behind every attraction, says Tantra, lies the pure desire for attaining happiness. Happiness is the ultimate desire of life, not lust. We are indeed hardwired for happiness, for Bliss. But too often we end up with the short end of the happiness-stick. Why?
The answer to that question lies at the very heart of the whole Tantric (and yogic) enterprise: that yogic union is a realization not merely enjoyed as emotion, as fulfilled attachment, but as realized essence. As Rumi urges us, do not long for deliciousness, long for the source of deliciousness.
This realization is of course devastating to the ego, which compulsively craves external, temporary attachments and enjoyments. But the soul, says Tantra, could care less; it is only truly at home in the internal chamber of its own Self, far beyond the busy wanting and craving of the ego.
The yogic journey, says Tantra, indeed the very meaning of yoga, is to seek union. And union is not found in that which disperses and fractures the mind (Avidya Shakti), but in that which unifies the mind, in that which brings it focus, synchronicity, flow (Vidya Shakti).
And to achieve that inner flow, so that the ego can dissolve its fractured self in the ocean of the soul—and thus become a transparent and discriminating witness to its own doings—the Tantrics developed, in yogic synchrony, Hatha Yoga for the body and Raja Yoga for the mind.
And that, my friend, is the true revolutionary message of Tantra: not to seek the temporary bliss of the body, but the lasting Bliss that includes and transcends the body.
But that, of course, is a lot easier said than done. Indeed, it is easy to philosophize about Tantric Bliss, but the important part is how we deal with the blisters. Yes, how is the American Tantric revolution dealing with its own shadow stuff, its own ego-baggage, how is Anusara composting those feelings that do not turn into bliss? How are we yogis dealing with our own pain-body, our own dukha?
There is a tendency among blissed-out yogis to deny or escape our own distress, sorrow, pain, dissatisfaction, our innate Avidya Shakti. I certainly have done my fair share of that, especially during my first few years on the spiritual path. Hopping from ashram to ashram, it was easy to escape interpersonal or personal issues and just move on and instead enjoy that inner bliss in kirtan, or in meditation. There was always another high to catch somewhere.
It took indeed a few years before I accepted in my heart what my guru Anandamurti meant when he said: “Your problems are your best friends!” And what do we do with our best friends? We embrace them! We accept them! No matter how lousy, crazy, stupid, or angry they are!
That embrace of the inner shadow is the Tantric way—to embrace struggle as a natural part of life; to transform and then transcend that struggle. And then, to eventually see reality for what it is—a series of pleasures (sukha) and pains (dukha)—and cultivate the union of yoga to remain peaceful and content beyond the transitory natures of both. That’s the dance of Tantra. That’s what is meant by Tantra embracing both duality and nonduality.
Indeed, this understanding lies at the heart of the mythological dance of Nataraja, where his arms and legs swing between life and death, between birth and destruction. While both feet swing above ground in the air, He is all balance and bliss. That is the metaphor for the Tantrika; to dance with the opposites; to not ever run away from our shadow. To be still in the middle of the storm.




“The journey in between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.” – Barbara DeAngelis

This journey of life, can often be so very uncertain and so completely unpredictable—it can leave us feeling raw, open, and exposed…and vulnerable beyond any and all reasonable expectations.

But, so long as our hearts may smile and our spirits might dance—we shall always find the bliss and the happiness.

To quote Albert Einstein,

“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.”

So, today…just simply dance—and for all of those reasons above.

Because, you are the dancer and the creator of all of your dreams.

February 3rd, 2012

So excited for the Patrick Creelman
Wild Lotus Anusara workshop this weekend!

Every true idea, ideal and vision within your heart, longs for incarnation - to be made manifest. Put off worthless half truths that will never serve you. Put off restrictions and limitations born of fear. Put off notions of failure past, present and those yet not. Now, put on life, joy, passion and desire, the world longs for the manifestation of you.

~ Keith Allen Kay

I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are of one religion, and it is the spirit.

~Khalil Gibran♥

LOVE RAID! - from Open to Grace

Love Raids are sacred rampages of total kindness and uninhibited fervor in your being to let someone know how gorgeous they are and all the ways you want the world to remember that it’s very nature is ecstasy.

Love Raid

You are Perfect
You are Grace
You are Love

Everything about you is perfection becoming more perfect
There’s no end to your perfection
You Are That
You are the Great Expanse
Of Perfection becoming more perfect

How can Grace fall from Grace?
You cannot fall from Grace
You are Grace
Grace falls as Grace
It’s too big of a burden
To carry around..
Thinking that you’ve fallen from Grace
She has not deserted you
She has not cast you out
You cannot catch her
She never ran away from you
She is You
And when She does fall
It’s just like perfect ripe fruit
In the flow of gravity
Cracking open on this earth
Offering nourishment to all

The 12 laws of transformation

1.    seek the truth
3.    step out of your comfort zone
4.    commit to growth
5.    shift your vision
7.    relax with what is
8.    remove the rocks
11.  be still and know
12.  understand that the whole is the goal.