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Gazing Inward: Yoga for Your Eyes


Sacred Body
Fearless Mind
Tantra’s Essential Practice

Breathe Easy
20 Ways to Heal Allergies

Restorative Yoga
Real Hope for Chronic Pain

In Food We Trust
Beyond Local and Organic

A Conversation with Rod Stryker

Enlightened Ego
Identity in Meditation

spring 2010 ■ published by the himalayan institute ■

Professor Langdon
Unveils A New Symbol

Professor John Langdon, widely credited as the founder of the contemporary

ambigrammic art form and whose name and work have been used by Dan Brown in
his bestselling novels, has devised an ambigram representing the concept of advaita or
Effectively meaning ‘not two’, advaita reveals that the nature of both ourselves and the
universe is essentially One.
The Book of One by Dennis Waite, from which Professor Langdon drew his inspiration,
is essential reading for those wanting to investigate the ancient wisdom of advaita.
Utilizing both classical and contemporary sources, The Book of One provides a
comprehensive overview of this teaching.
Dennis Waite is a distinguished writer in the field of advaita. His previous work,
Back to the Truth: 5000 Years of Advaita, is already a modern-day classic.

The extensively revised, 2nd edition of The Book of One is available to buy from Amazon

for more information, visit


Cover: Yoga teacher Katrina Amato

photographed by Jasper Johal

30 Sacred Body, Fearless Mind:

Living Tantra (Part 2)
Harness prana shakti—the inner divinity—with a potent tantric
practice that will charge your mind with vitality, insight, and the
power to heal. By Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

36 In Food We Trust
Industrialized food harms the earth and our bodies. Thankfully,
there’s a wave of passionate innovators who are growing a healthier
food culture, one radish at a time. By Jake Miller

42 Untying Our Wings:

The Way of Non-Attachment
Through the practice of dispassion, we can loosen the knots that
keep us earthbound—and soar to new spiritual heights.
By Eknath Easwaran


18 Points of Practice 5 A Yogi’s Legacy
The Enlightened Ego Remembering Swami Satyananda
By Rolf Sovik Saraswati (1923–2009)

48 Yoga Sutra 2.15 54 Skillful Action

Original Pain Confessions of a Meditator
Translation and commentary By Irene Petryszak
by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
JOYFUL LIVING 96 From the Sages Himalayan Institute
9 Yoga Threads Isha Upanishad (verse 1) MEMBER SERVICES
Your guide to eco-shopping, local Translation and commentary 6 HI View
banking, and springtime ayurveda; by Swami Rama President’s Letter
plus Rod Stryker on his practice
70 HI Bulletin
16 From Our Kitchen PRACTICE News for Members
Delightful Dhokla 22 Heart of Hatha
73 Program Guide
By Jon Janaka Apana Vayu: The Anchoring Breath
March–July 2010
26 Total Health By Sandra Anderson
Yoga and meditation seminars, retreats,
Natural Allergy Relief 52 In Practice teacher training, and more
Polina Plotnikova / Getty Images

By Carrie Demers, MD Gazing Inward: Yoga for Your Eyes

By Jennifer Allen Logosso ETC.
58 Asana Solutions 4 Editor’s Note
Yoga for Chronic Pain
By Kelly McGonigal
7 Mailbox

64 Books & Media


spring 2010 issue 109
Swami Rama
Natalya Podgorny
From the inner city to the White House, from editor at large
the farm stand to the kitchen table, Americans are adding Shannon Sexton
a healthy serving of mindfulness to their meals. Last year’s { editorial board }
Rolf Sovik, PsyD
lauded documentary Food, Inc. showed scores of viewers Rod Stryker
the darker side of agribusiness, while First Lady Michelle Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD
Deborah Willoughby
Obama promoted healthy eating on Iron Chef and planted
managing editor Crystal Ketterhagen
a high-profile organic garden on the South Lawn. She had senior editors Sandra Anderson,
plenty of company—43 million vegetable gardens sprouted Irene Petryszak
across the country last spring, up 19 percent in just one assistant editor Jancy Langley
editorial assistant Kathryn Heagberg
year. More and more, we’re looking at the food on our plates and in our shopping contributing editors Anna Dubrovsky,
carts and contemplating how it affects our health, environment, and society. Linda Johnsen, Doug Keller, Carrie Demers, MD
I snapped out of my own food coma four years ago. For longer than I care to { art }
admit, I’d been an unconscious vegetarian, subsisting almost exclusively on frozen creative director Jeanette Robertson
art director Barbara Gerhardt
vegetables and imitation meat products. But when I found myself working in the senior designer Jacqueline Bogdan
organic garden at the Himalayan Institute, my relationship to food was turned on design associate Darlene Clark
contributing designer Stephanie Lora
its wilting ear. production coordinator Vincent Tedeschi
Early spring kicked off my schooling in the art of growing and connecting with photo editor Loreda Everett
what we eat. We tilled rye and other cover crops into the soil as “green compost.” photographers Jagati, Maureen Cassidy,
Andrea Killam
We seeded Lincoln leeks and Cipollini onions in the greenhouse and transplanted
{ business office }
them into nutrient-rich beds. We dug up parsnips that had wintered over, and executive director Matthew Douzart
watched asparagus shoot up through the earth. After weeks of anticipation, we marketing director Todd Wolfenberg
business manager Zachary Ketterhagen
harvested armloads of Royal Oak Leaf lettuce and Italian Wild arugula. circulation manager Laura Brownell
But what truly awakened my appreciation for nature’s bounty was communing advertising coordinator Jennifer Wood
with friends and fellow seekers—praising a new salad dressing or discussing the { patrons }
miracle of mycorrhizal fungi—while eating this fresh wholesome food in our din- Dada Doulatram Boolchand
Ramesh Daryanani
ing hall. This experience of sharing, of building community around food, is the Harshadbhai Desai
thread connecting the five visionary food advocates profiled in Jake Miller’s feature Beverly Foit-Albert
(page 36). Whether they’re crusaders of food justice or farmers on a spiritual mis- Indru Malkani
Manu Sawilani
sion, these voices of the edible revolution are united in their effort to nurture a food
{ advertising }
culture as healthy as biodynamic bok choy. Goodfellow Publishers’ Reps.
For us aspiring yogis, the collective shift toward health and sustainability for- 510-548-1680
tifies our own awareness of how intimately food connects us to the web of life. Deena E. Brown, ext. 305
When we eat food close to its source—fresh, unprocessed, locally and sustainably
Geoff Goldstein, ext. 302
grown when we can get it—the richness of its prana, its life force, is palpable. And E-mail
as Pandit Rajmani Tigunait illustrates in his feature (page 30), increasing and con- Marketplace and Classifieds
centrating prana in our bodies is the key to a fruitful practice of tantra. Liz Dalbianco, ext. 301
Speaking of fruitfulness, Yoga+ recently won a Folio Eddie award for the third
{ subscriptions }
year in a row—a gold one at that—so you can be sure there are plenty more seeds Phone 800-253-6243 ext. 4
of authentic knowledge in this issue for you to sow in your own practice and share E-mail
with a community of fellow seekers. Bon appétit! ■
Published by the Himalayan Institute
Kathryn LeSoine

Natalya Podgorny, Editor

4 yoga + joyful living spring 2010


Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1923–2009)

It is with great respect that we observe the passing of Swami founded the influential Bihar School
Satyananda Saraswati, a renowned spiritual teacher and the of Yoga—an ashram and teaching
founder of the Bihar School of Yoga in northeast India, who left facility well known for publishing
his body at midnight on December 5. translations and commentaries of tra-
Though Swami Satyananda lived and taught in India for ditional texts—and Sivananda Math,
much of his life, his influence and scholarship has reached a philanthropic organization that pro-
around the world. His many books—Four Chapters on Freedom: vides scholarships, infrastructural de-
Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sure Ways to Self- velopment, and food aid in rural India. It was during this pe-
Realization, and Kundalini Tantra, among others—have been riod that Swami Satyananda wrote and translated prolifically
anchors on the bookshelves of devout practitioners since he be- before retreating to a life of meditative seclusion as a parama-
gan publishing nearly 40 years ago. hamsa in 1988, where he remained until his passing.
Born in 1923 to landowners in Almora, India—a small city As his disciples report, Swami Satyananda took maha
near the northern Nepali border—Swami Satyananda began samadhi, the final great union with undifferentiated Con-
practicing yoga at the age of 15; at 19, he found his way to sciousness, while doing japa, or mantra meditation, with a
Courtesy of Bihar School of Yoga

Rishikesh, where he met his guru, Swami Sivananda Saraswati. smile on his face. To commemorate this occasion, followers
After 12 years of sanyas training, Swami Satyananda began trav- and friends performed a shodashi puja—a 16-day ritual wor-
eling extensively throughout India as a parivrajaka. ship. Though Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s physical pres-
Following Swami Sivananda’s death in 1963, Swami Sat- ence has left the world, his devotion to yoga philosophy, prac-
yananda established his headquarters in Munger, and put tice, and education leaves an enduring legacy for which we
his travels and studies to use as a teacher and a leader. He are profoundly grateful. ■

Tune into
Inner Peace Transforming Lives





6DWFKLGDQDQGD $VKUDP¥<RJDYLOOH® Buckingham, Virginia (150 mi. SW of Washington DC) spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 5

“When women leave Sierra’s
workshop at Omega, their
transformation is
absolutely visible!”
—Carla Goldstein, Director of the
Women’s Leadership Center at the
Here in the foothills of the Poconos, the sun’s crossing of
Omega Institute the celestial equator—the beginning of spring—brings dramatic changes. As
March gives way to April, refreshing rains and soft breezes herald winter’s end.
Water cascades down sloping fields, cleansing everything in its path. The debris
RECLAIM is carried into the streams, and sediment gradually settles, revealing sparkling
clear water and brightly hued vegetation.
your In ancient cultures, these springtime events contributed to a rich mythology.
The Greeks told of Persephone, who was carried off to the underworld for half

P OW E R the year, but whose reemergence brought forth new life and abundance. The
Romans celebrated the goddess Flora, a name that now signifies plant life. The
Teutonic celebration of the deity Eastre (a name related to Easter as well as to
the hormone estrogen) signified renewal and fertility. And the ancient Persians
worshipped the sun god Mithra at the vernal equinox, hoping for redemption.
While some of this mythology is preserved in current religions, much has
vanished—and seems unlikely to return. Historically, myth was commonly
interwoven with superstition, sometimes resulting in fanaticism and bigotry.
Worse, myth was taken for science and governed people’s lives at the expense
of common sense.
But myth also acted—and continues to act—as a bridge to a higher reality.
It connects us with personal spiritual truth. In this sense, the advent of spring
is a metaphor for purification, redemption, renewal, and growth.
Encased in a climate-controlled office, it’s
easy to lose touch with the grand passage of
spring. Becoming oblivious to nature’s rhy-
In Goddess to the Core, Sierra
thms is as great a misfortune as being too wed-
Bender offers a unique method
ded to the mythology about them. Spring is a
of healing from the inside out benediction. During its passage, purification
that breaks the cycle of stress and renewal surround and infuse us, bringing
and disempowerment by devel- the promise of transformation.
oping all four bodies—spiritual, Here at the Institute, the great themes of
mental, emotional, and physi- spring are already at work. For some, the no-
cal—to help women reclaim, tion of purification means spring-cleaning,
restore, and rejoice in their both within and without. For others, this is a
beautiful and powerful feminine time for the renewal of rituals and practices
that winter has dulled or buried. And for still
others, there is redemption in the air—atone-
“Sierra Bender is a force of ment for unwise actions and the opportunity to cast off unproductive habits.
nature, an inspired teacher
who has created an astonishing
Here’s hoping that you will find time for a leisurely walk in the full radiance
technique of transformation of spring light; that the sun’s rays will warm your spirit; and that in one mythi-
certain to reveal the goddess cal way or another, spring will blossom in your mind and heart. ■
—Wade Davis, bestselling author of Rolf Sovik
The Serpent and the Rainbow
President, Himalayan Institute
Andrea Killam


6 yoga + joyful living spring 2010


From asana questions to green suggestions, readers respond to our winter issue.
Deborah Willoughby’s article, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” left me glowing; I felt as though
I genuinely connected with her experience. I, too, have struggled as a spiritual pil-
grim—often impatient and restless with my practice, striving for a peace that
seemed elusive. That peace has come to me slowly, in stages. Ms. Willoughby’s
richly articulated article rang true: pilgrimage to sacred sites may connect us to the
Divine; but in the end, when the pilgrim is ready, she can realize the sacred any-
where—be it halfway across the globe or in her own backyard.
Shirley Lindbergh, New Haven, Connecticut

Safer Backbends? ders, adding more of my rightly pointed out—in a de- mats (Yoga Threads)—I
Though the article “Safer weight than previously, and stabilized posture. just gave up on my old one
Backbends” by Doug Keller couldn’t budge her. If such Doug Keller and was having trouble
mainly focused on how to a simple experiment can making sense of all the new
align and support the pel- prove that standing in Hands-on Assists options. It would have been
vis during backbends, for tadasana with the pelvis Thank you, Katherine Pew, nice to know a little more
tadasana he recommended nutated adds to the body’s for your article, “A Yoga about where each mat was
that “the pelvis be locked physical strength, why are Teacher’s Guide to Adjust- made and the emissions
into a stable, unmoving posi- many of us still teaching our ments.” I have been teach- involved in the process;
tion at the sacroiliac joints... students to stand with the ing yoga regularly for almost maybe as more yoga prac-
by slightly scooping the tail- tailbone tucked down? two years and I am still re- titioners and prop compa-
bone down and forward.” Cecilia Micallef luctant to physically assist nies realize the importance
However, in a teacher- Brighton, Queensland, Australia my students. My training of sustainable manufactur-
training session, Judith included many assisting ing, more information will
Lasater once demonstrated Keep in mind that nutation and techniques that have helped become available. Until
how tucking the tailbone in counternutation refer to the sub- with my own practice, so then, keep us in the loop! ■
tadasana actually weakens tle action of the sacrum, not a I know I have the skills to Gael Naly
our standing posture. She did gross movement of the pelvis. To give hands-on adjustments. Montecino, California
a simple experiment that I isolate and position the sacrum, With every class I become
did with my students after the practitioner needs to engage better able to read students’
reading your article: I asked the actions of mula bandha, as bodies. Thank you for shar- We love hearing from you!
one of my students to stand described in the article. Since the ing the insight of a skilled To prove it, we’ll send you
with the tailbone tucked sacrum is nutated when neutral, teacher and inspiring me to a free relaxation CD if we
down and forward (counter- a slight counternutation (or take my teaching one step print your letter. E-mail us at or
nutated). I stood behind her, “scooping of the tailbone”) further and become more
send your comments to Mail-
pulled down on her shoul- is appropriate to stabilize the hands-on. box, 952 Bethany Turnpike,
ders, and her knees buckled. sacrum in tadasana and provide Cherie Ebert Honesdale, PA 18431.
Then I asked her to stand support for an upright spine. If, Idaho Springs, Colorado Please include your full
with her tailbone pushing however, one dramatically tucks name, address, and phone
back and her pubic bone the tailbone down and forward, Eco-Mat Awareness number. We may edit your
moving downward (nutated). thereby tipping the top of the pel- Thanks for the well-orga- letter for length and clarity.
I pulled down on her shoul- vis back, it will result—as you nized piece on greener yoga spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 7

8 yoga + joyful living spring 2010
YOGATHREADS Deepen your practice, inspire your life

The Seeker’s Gift

Yoga teacher Rod Stryker doesn’t stay in
one place (like his home in the mountains
of Colorado) for very long—he keeps his
body moving, from Miami to Maryland,
Seattle to Charlotte, and everywhere in be-
tween. But seated in a sunlit room on a fall
day in Pennsylvania, it’s clear from his
steady blue eyes that, despite the geo-
graphic staccato of his teaching schedule—
his mind remains still and calm.
“I’ve always had a sense of what was
waiting for me,” says Stryker, who, at the
age of 19 began an ambitious homespun
practice that quickly became a life calling.
He spent several months struggling alone
with B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga before
finding himself, for the next 17 years, learn-
ing and teaching with Mani and Alan Fin-
ger in L.A., where he discovered something
that has sustained his practice all these
years: the “germ,” he calls it—that driving
force to follow the yogic path. “It was the
biggest gift they gave me.”
After that seed was planted—then nour-
ished by travel abroad and 15 more years

The Seeker’s Gift Living Yoga
How to Nap like a Yogi

Previous page: Crystal Ketterhagen; This page: Andrea Killam; Model: Stacey Galloway; Top by Lily Lotus
of study with Pandit Rajmani Tigu-
nait, the teacher who he says catalyzed When travel (or everyday life) wears you down, a simple variation of yoga nidra
his spiritual progress—Stryker ma- (yogic sleep) taught by Swami Rama can help you restore your energy. This practice
tured as a practitioner and as a teacher helps you settle into a profound state of rest while remaining alert at a deeper level of
in his own right. Along the way, he’s consciousness. By drawing your attention to your heart center, you will become a
silent witness to your sleeping body and mind.
seen the popularization of yoga; the
birth of four children (two sets of
twins!); and the genesis of ParaYoga—
his own integrative, scripturally based
1 Choose a room where you will not be disturbed. Sit on the floor
against a wall, stretching your legs out and crossing one ankle over the
other. Cup your palms in your lap and, with your eyes closed, either
style of teaching that combines yoga, allow your head to hang forward or to rest against the wall.
meditation, ayurveda, and tantra. His
students, numbering in the thousands,
work diligently to weave ParaYoga
2 Feel the relaxed movement of your breath, letting it
flow easily and smoothly. Then observe 3 to 5
breaths at the nostrils, to center your mind.
practices into their own lives all over
the country. “Some day,” he reflects, “I
would like to look back and think that
I helped seat something of significance
3 throat
Next, one by one, rest your awareness (and
breath) at the eyebrow center, then at the
center, and finally the heart center.
in the West.”
But even if years have passed and
his name and legacy have become ubiq-
4 Keeping your awareness at the heart center,
quietly resolve to let your body and mind
sleep for a specified length of time (say, 10
uitous in the American yoga commu- minutes). Trust your mind to awaken you
nity, it’s easy to discern the precocious when that time has elapsed.
19-year-old in Stryker: his steady reso-
nant voice, the fierce determination
in his eyes—the essence of a spiritual 5 Asthe(butyoumerest
sleep, continue to be aware of
sensation of the breath
no mantra). You are simply
seeker, still making his journey.
letting your body sleep, with
—Jancy Langley
Listen to Rod Styker’s advice for
new yoga teachers and watch a
slideshow of his Art of Asana series
6 Stay in this state until your mind
wakes you up. Then slowly shift
your head and stretch your
at body. Draw your attention out-
ward, opening your eyes into
your hands and then to the
In Sanskrit room around you. >>
Nidra means “sleep.” The prefix
ni- indicates restraint, downward
motion, and the collection of things
spread out. When we
sleep we settle down,
draw the mind away
—Rolf Sovik

from the senses, and rest

our focus inside. Yoga
nidra is sleep infused with

10 yoga + joyful living

marie wright

Our Classic Collection

Now in Organic Cotton
800.217.0006 spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 11


To Your Health Everyday Ayurveda

Homemade Ginger Ale The 12-Hour Fast

Tired of ginger tea? Try this tasty soda recipe. The pungent heating qualities of According to ayurveda, the body is
ginger can help keep spring colds at bay. programmed to direct its energy to-
ward cleansing and assimilation in the
Combine 1/2 cup of freshly grated ginger, 1 cup of cane sugar, and 4 cups of water
hours just before midnight, when agni
in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 9 minutes. Cool and strain.
(digestive fire) is weakest. To support
To serve, add about a 1/3 cup of this ginger syrup to a chilled glass. Top with seltzer this process, ayurvedic physicians rec-
water and garnish with lime. Adjust proportions to taste. Serves 4 to 6. Refrigerate ommend refraining from late-night
leftover syrup for later; the flavor intensifies. snacks and going to bed around 10
p.m. By fasting for 12 hours every
Variations: To create extra zing, cook ginger with 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom,
night—between dinner and breakfast
or a few cloves. Adding 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cooking ginger imparts
(7 p.m. to 7 a.m., for example)—you
a subtle earthy flavor. A splash of cream before serving makes it
free your body from the burdens of
dreamy. —Ruby Wells
meal-related digestion so it can con-
duct mental, emotional, and cellular
cleansing in a more concentrated way.

Clock on plate: Glenn Frank /; Ginger: Julie Toy / Getty Images
In the Pantry The 12-hour fast also respects
Ginger agni’s daily waxing and waning cycle
which, according to ayurveda, corre-
Spicy, soothing, and invigorating, gin- sponds to the rising and setting of the
ger is something of a miracle. This sun. That’s why it is wise to eat a
rhizome has kapha-balancing properties healthy breakfast in the morning, eat
that have long been appreciated by your largest meal at noon when the
ayurvedic practitioners. Recent studies sun is the strongest, eat a lighter din-
have validated its most common use— ner as the sun is waning, and then al-
treating nausea. But ginger has many low your stomach to rest until the sun
more facets: it is believed to aid diges- comes up the following day. This fast
tion, assuage rheumatoid arthritis, supports metabolism, prevents accu-
help clear ama (toxins), lower blood mulation of ama, normalizes weight,
sugar, reduce cholesterol, and improve and combats kapha imbalances (which
circulation. It is known in ayurveda are common in the spring). >>
as “the universal medicine.” —R.W. —Shannon Sexton

Conscious Consumer Spirituality in Action

Eco-Seals for Eco-Deals A Better Bank

These days, discriminating between greenwashed and genuinely green goods can be for Your Buck
tough. That’s where certifications come in handy—experts create standards that we
all understand. You may have heard of the basics (USDA Organic for food, LEED
for building materials, Fair Trade Certified for imports); here are some lesser-known
certifications to aid your eco-choices at the checkout line:

FSC The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies that all wood-derived
product parts start life in a sustainably managed, socially responsible forest.
Watch for their logo on paper, furniture, plywood, guitars, and more in
stores from Staples to Sam’s Club, or check their list of retailers at

Cradle to Cradle These standards evaluate a product’s materials from

birth to death and back, including what economists call “externalities”—
often hidden public costs like energy and water. Look up products—like
Aveda shampoo or Greenweave recycled polyester—at
With all the buzz about the global eco-
EPEAT If there’s one thing our society depends on, it’s the PC—and it’s nomic slump, getting a local perspective
made of harmful stuff. EPEAT is a system designed to monitor computer on your own financial footprint can feel
manufacturers and encourage them to build more sustainable, less toxic ma- hopelessly complicated. Looking for a
chines. Search and compare the gamut of make and model at; look way to get more involved and learn more
for their Gold, Silver, or Bronze certification when you’re ready to shop. about your money, where it goes, and
what it does?
Design for the Environment This EPA program carefully reviews each Join the wave of people rediscovering
ingredient in chemical-based products for household and en- a different kind of bank, often complete
vironmental safety—think with financial classes and even a commu-
paint, ink, detergent, nity cause: the local credit union—
solvents, and car- where you (the customer) are also

FSC symbol: ©1996 FSC A.C.; Cradle to Cradle Certifiedcm is a certification mark of MBDC; Woman:
care items. Find the shareholder (or “member”).
products they’ve Established by President Roo-
analyzed at sevelt in 1934 to “promote thrift and and thwart usury,” credit unions
watch for their are coming back in style, thanks
seal of ap- to their nonprofit cooperative
proval when structure, focus on local finance,

Chris Gramly /; Bank: ilbusca /

you hit the and often lower interest rates and
hardware higher returns. Since 2006, mem-
store. bership has increased by
4 million people, and
EcoLogo Oh, capital—the amount
Canada! You’ve of money available
brought us McIntosh red ap- for lending—has
ples, Mounties, and a simple user- risen 22%.
friendly eco-certified product database at Want to give co- EcoLogo’s life cycle operative banking a
assessments consider a balance of environmen- try? Find a credit
tal criteria, and label everything from area rugs union near you at
to engine oils. —J.L.
14 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

Spring 2010
SHOW: March 25–28, Toronto,
Get moving, dancing, and singing!
Take workshops, attend lectures,
and watch demonstrations by dy-
namic yoga teachers, authors, and
music and movement artists like
Seane Corn, Rodney Yee, and Wah!.


FERENCE: April 6–11, Boston, MA;
From tantra to yantra, hatha to heal-
ing, this conference zooms in on all
the most compelling topics in yoga
today. Along with yoga classes,
teachers and studio owners will ap-
preciate handy workshops like
“Greening Your Business” and “Stu-
dio Ownership 101.”


San Francisco, CA; May 22–23,
Chicago, IL;
This bustling sustainability confer-
ence gets greener—and bigger—
every year. Come celebrate and learn
about new eco-products; hear from
activists and authors working for so-
cial and environmental justice; and
sample the best in vegetarian and or-
ganic cuisine with over 350 vendors,
125 speakers, and plenty of musi-
cians, filmmakers, and more.

San Mateo, CA; ayurveda
The National Ayurvedic Medical As-
sociation’s annual conference helps
experienced and aspiring health
practitioners network with their peers
and catch up on news in the field
through panel discussions, prac-
ticums, and product and research
demonstrations. ■ spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 15


Delightful Dhokla
This tangy melt-in-your-mouth snack is packed with
protein and spiced perfectly for spring. By Jon Janaka

N eed a little spice in your

life? Try dhokla—a soft,
spongy, savory treat
from the west coast of
India. You can cook this golden
delicacy in about 40 minutes and
serve it as an appetizer, a teatime
The Batter
Yield: 8 servings

1 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon besan

(chickpea) flour
3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 cup hot water

3 In a medium bowl, combine the tur-
meric, salt, yogurt, and hot water. Stir.
4 Add the flour and whisk until thick
and well mixed.
5 Lightly oil the pie pan.
6 When the water in the steam pot is
boiling, add the baking soda to the bat-
snack, or a light but nourishing 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
ter and whisk until the mixture is
meal. Some of the ingredients are 1 teaspoon salt foamy and bubbly.
unusual, and it might take you a 2/3 teaspoon baking soda
few tries to master the recipe, but 7 Pour the batter into the pie pan and
trust me—it’s worth the effort. 1 Set up a 5- to 6-quart pot for steaming carefully lower it into the steamer. Steam
You’ve never tasted anything like that will accommodate a 9-inch pie pan, for about 20 minutes at medium heat.
dhokla before. using a lid that allows a little steam to Test it with a toothpick—if it comes out
From an ayurvedic point of view, escape. Add 3 to 4 cups of water, using clean, the dhokla is finished.
dhokla is a kapha-pacifying dish that a trivet to elevate the pan above the wa-
terline (about 11/4 inches). Turn the 8 Remove the pan from the steamer.
can keep you warm and invigorated
burner on high heat and prepare the Place a serving plate upside down over
on a rainy spring day. The mustard
batter as the water comes to a boil. the top of the dhokla; quickly invert the
oil and hot pungent spices stoke
pan and lift it so the dhokla falls onto
agni (digestive fire), which tends to 2 Sift the besan flour into a large bowl. the plate. Cool for 10 minutes while
dampen with the change of weather.
making the tangy sauce.
The besan flour and yogurt are ex-
cellent sources of protein, the latter
serving as a complete protein—im-
portant in any vegetarian’s diet.
Like other baked goods made
with yogurt, dhokla has a short
shelf life. Serve it warm or at room
temperature within a few hours of
cooking, and store leftovers in the
fridge for up to three days.

Jon Janaka has worked in the Himalayan

Institute kitchen for the past five years.

The cilantro garnish pacifies the

heating mustard seeds and oil.

16 yoga+joyful living spring 2010

The Sauce
1 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds
3 tablespoons 100% pure mustard oil
18 fresh curry leaves
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

21/2 cups water

2 tablespoons sugar
21/2 teaspoons salt

1 In a small saucepan (with a tight-fitting lid nearby), heat

the mustard oil on high until it smokes for about 1 minute
and the color changes from golden to almost clear. Take the
pan off the heat and let it cool for 30 to 60 seconds. (Other-
wise, the hot oil will scorch the remaining ingredients, creat-
ing a bitter taste.)
2 Add the mustard seeds and quickly lid the pan while they
begin to pop. (Tip: If the oil has cooled too much for the seeds
to pop, remove the lid, turn the heat to medium, and wait
until the seeds turn gray—they’ll still release their flavor.)
3 When the seeds have settled down or turned gray, add
the curry leaves. There should be just enough heat left in
the pot to darken their color.
4 Add the lemon juice, water, salt, and sugar. Bring up the
heat and boil for 3 minutes, then set the pan aside.

Finishing Touches
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 Cut the dhokla into pie-style slices or small squares, and

pull the pieces apart slightly, so that the dhokla has room to
expand as it absorbs the sauce.
2 Pour the sauce in 1/4 cup measures over every inch of the
bread. Don’t worry if there is extra liquid at the base of the
plate; the dhokla will continue to soak it up.
3 Garnish with the red pepper and fresh cilantro leaves.

The traditional method of preparing dhokla involves a night
of fermentation to make the batter bubbly and light. We
speed up the process by using baking soda, as if it were a
quick bread. But if you want the “slow food” experience, omit
the baking soda and let your batter sit, covered, in a warm
spot overnight. ■ spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 17


The Enlightened Ego

Yogic scriptures reveal that there’s infinitely more to us than body,
personality, and accumulated possessions. Meditation introduces us
to that which is beyond them all. By Rolf Sovik

A mysterious and powerful instru-

ment of awareness lies hidden
within us: the mind. Over
the past several issues, we’ve been ex-
ploring the nature of the mind in medita-
tion. It is said to have four principle func-
tions: manas, buddhi, chitta, and aham-
words play a number of roles. They reg-
ister a sense of self-identity, mark the sep-
arateness of one person from another,
and signify our possession of things—
the effort to extend ourselves into the
surrounding world (this is “my car”).
The familiar sense of self supplied
myself that I have not considered? Am
I other than who I seem to be?”
The perception that one’s identity
is both something less and something
more than it seems is a paradox that’s
at the core of yoga philosophy. Con-
sider this passage from the Bhagavad
kara. For a brief recap of the first three, by the mind at each moment is labeled Gita (6.6), one of countless such scrip-
see “A Yogic Map of the Mind” (page ahamkara in Sanskrit. It’s a term con- tural references to the nature of iden-
21). Here we’ll explore the last function: structed from two words: aham (“I”) tity: “The Self is the friend of that self
ahamkara—the individual self, or ego. and kara (“maker” or “doer”). The by whose Self the very self is con-
To begin, let’s examine what we mean mind, as ahamkara, is the maker of an quered.” Translators have attempted
by self-identity, and then look closer at “I.” With every action, it proclaims: “I to sort out the ambiguity around the
how it is influenced by meditation. am the doer” and “These actions are term “self” (or atman) by leaving refer-
mine.” Thus, when we use the word “I,” ences to the individual self in lowercase
Who Is the Self? we imply an identity constructed within and capitalizing references to the Self
When we refer to ourselves we use words the mind itself. Your “I” is the identity that represents transcendental reality.
such as “I,” “me,” and “mine.” These of a particular body, a particular person- On the lesser side, we cling to a limited
ality, particular patterns of thinking, self—we grasp onto our ego and the
and a particular life. things with which it identifies. Yet each
Rarely do we inspect our own iden- of us is also a manifestation of some-
tities very closely. We simply are the thing more enduring than we appear to
player of roles (parent, teacher, tennis be. Just as a wave on the surface of the
player) and the owner of qualities (at- ocean remains part of a vast underlying

joSon / Getty Images

tractive, articulate). Thus, when we ask
ourselves the question “who am I?” with Find more scriptural references to
sincerity, it can arouse curiosity and fur- the Self, and listen to these verses in
ther inquiry: “Is there some aspect of Sanskrit, at


expanse of water, each of us is part
of a vast field of pure consciousness,
or Self.

The Nature of Identity

According to the Sankhya tradition, a
dualist school of classical Indian philos-
ophy, each person’s identity is an assem-
blage. You are the construct of a con-
scious Self (the subject or knower of
experience, purusha), and an uncon-
scious body/mind (which serves both as
an instrument of awareness and an ob-
ject of experience, prakriti). You have a
body, but your body is not the entirety
of you. You think, but your thoughts are
also not the whole of you. Within each
of us lies a pure inner witness—the
knower, or consciousness.
The mind, acting like a highly pol-
ished mirror, receives the light of con-
sciousness, reflects it in its innermost
surface, and takes on a likeness of con-
sciousness itself. According to the sage
Vyasa, we thus perceive our thoughts to
be “the same as consciousness” because
of their proximity to it. This process is
designated by the unique Sanskrit term
asmita, literally “I am-ness,” a semblance
of true awareness. The term implies a
false sense of identity, one that is mis-
taken. It is mistaken because, once re-
flected in the mind, consciousness no
longer knows itself in its pure nature.
What is otherwise unlimited, blissful,
and eternal, through the confusion of
asmita, gives the mind the appearance
of consciousness. Then, through the
agency of ahamkara, the mind supplies
us with a limited sense of “I.” Until we spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 19

know ourselves deeply, we cling to the
finite identities created within the mind
by ahamkara.
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of
pain in this. Over the course of time, we
must learn to address the unpleasant re-
alities of life that result from identifying
with a body: health is unreliable, the ag-
ing process creeps steadily along, and
death is a certainty.
Does life offer an alternative to the
suffering that comes with false identifica-
tion? The answer to this question lies at
the heart of yoga. Despite our deeply in-
grained patterns of misidentification,
something in life calls to us, whispering
that there is more to be known. This is
the call of meditation.

The Self in Meditation

Meditation, say the sages, gradually dis-
pels the falseness of self-identity and re-
veals a deep and true Self. This requires
a process of purifying the ego.
Scriptures recommend two comple-
mentary strategies for refining ahamkara
during meditation: First, soften your
grip on the limited self by contemplating
such statements as “I am not merely a
body” or “I am not governed only by
mundane desires.” Second, rest your
mind in the presence of the Infinite by
focusing the mind on a mantra.
The Bhagavad Gita (6.25) says:
Slowly, slowly, one should turn away
(from desire), quieted by a steady dis-
cernment. Actively establishing the
mind in the Self, one should think of
nothing else.
The Yoga Vasishtha (5.59) similarly
Abandon that which is knowable—
the object. What now remains is the
pure consciousness which is free
from doubt. I am the infinite Self, for
there is no limit to this Self. It is the
beauty in all, it is the light of all.
Through the implementation of
these two strategies, meditation can lead
you to an expanded self. Gradually, it di-

20 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

A Yogic Map of the Mind
Here’s a brief review of the first three aspects of the mind we examined in previous
issues, and the influence of meditation on each of them.

Manas, the everyday mind, is the coordinator of the senses and the mental screen
on which thoughts and images occur. In meditation, manas is calmed. Its ener-
gies are collected rather than allowed to shift about. Sense activities quiet, mean-
dering thoughts settle down, and attention becomes focused.
As manas is calmed, a more discerning dimension of the mind, the buddhi,
awakens. The buddhi assigns meaning and value to experience. Through the
practice of meditation, the buddhi witnesses mental activity, lending a sense of
dispassion to inner life. When it is purified, the buddhi provides a refined reflec-
tion of consciousness itself.
The chitta is the unconscious storehouse of past thoughts and experiences—
the bed of memory. It accumulates impressions and blends them with current
mental imagery to give understanding and richness to experience. Stored impres-
sions are propelled back onto manas in the form of
habitual behaviors or desires. In meditation this
can take the form of a fantasy, a distracting Ahamkara
thought, a simple desire, or a powerful emo- (self-identity)

tional urge. However, the process of medita- Buddhi

tion deposits impressions of peace and con- Manas
(everyday mental
centration in the chitta. These provide mind) witness)
support during future periods of meditation.
+ To learn more about the four aspects
of the mind, go to

minishes the notion that your “I” will identities are gradually dissolved, so
find permanent happiness in any of the that there can be a restoration of whole-
limited identities you have assumed, and ness—not a loss, but a filling in of your
it allows you to trustfully abide in the identity.
presence of pure consciousness. The essence of meditation, then, is
But despite the encouragement of the the expansion of self. It is a process in
scriptures, a fear may persist. You might which the narrow confines of limited
wonder, “What will happen to me if I identity are gradually transcended in fa-
truly relax in meditation? Will ‘I’ vanish? vor of what the Bhagavad Gita calls “the
Lose the self that I seem to be?” boundless happiness” of Self. To medi-
In fact, meditation helps us realize tate is to dwell in that deep and joyful
that our true identity simply cannot be nature. Then, manas, the lower mind,
lost. Consciousness is the unperturbed rests in its focus; buddhi awakens to its
subject of awareness, not its fleeting ob- role as the inner observer; impressions
ject. In meditation, the self senses the in chitta from previous meditations
fullness of Self. Disturbances and false come forward for inner support; and the
identities created by ahamkara increas-
Rolf Sovik, PsyD, is the author of Moving Inward: ingly relax into a higher sense of Self.
The Journey to Meditation. He is the president of This is the nature of meditation—a
the Himalayan Institute, and serves as the co-director mind coordinated in the effort to rest
of the Institute’s branch center in Buffalo, New York. in one’s own Being. ■ spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 21

Apana Vayu: The Anchoring Breath
Activate and direct downward-flowing energy for
confidence, strength, and a grounded sense of purpose.
By Sandra Anderson

A ll yoga practices ultimately engage the movement of prana—the innate

life force. In the last issue, we discussed prana vayu, the first of the five
vayus, or subdivisions of the life force. Now we turn our attention to apana vayu—
of equal importance in the practice of hatha yoga. While prana vayu governs
the intake functions, apana, which is most active in the pelvis and lower ab-
domen, governs the eliminative functions (excretion, urination, menstru-
ation) and the downward and outward flow of energy in the body.

On the subtle level, apana eliminates Apana Vayu in Asana

not only physical wastes but anything unde- With a little practice and awareness, almost
sirable or threatening to good health. It sup- all of the classical asanas can be done in a
ports the immune system and helps keep the way that provides access to apana vayu; in-
mind free of destructive forces. When apana deed, mobilizing apana in the pelvis and then
is weak, the integrity of the mind-body com- redistributing it is one of the main goals of
plex is also weakened, and we become sus- asana work. This engagement of apana is
ceptible to illness, fear, doubt, confusion, the intention behind mula bandha, the root
insecurity, and loss of purpose; when it lock—a practice which is often misunder-
is strong and balanced, apana roots and stood as a clenching of the sphincters of the
grounds us, providing the foundation for a pelvic floor, but which, when properly acti-
healthy body and a flexible positive outlook vated, can awaken and enliven asana. Ini-
on life. tially, you can in fact approach mula bandha
For most of us, however, the constant by contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor
downward drain of apana necessary for between the pubis and the tailbone (includ-
proper eliminative functioning can also de- ing both the urogenital and the anal sphinc-
plete us, leading us away from the inward ters). But in order to work with apana effec-
unity that is the goal of yoga. The prac- tively in asana, you will need to engage a
tices of hatha yoga train apana to work effi- subtler, more complex aspect of mula
ciently—they help us conserve and redirect bandha. On the muscular level, this means
this energy so we can access deeper planes of initiating and activating each pose from
awareness. By repurposing apana, we build deep within the lower belly; this way you
a foundation from which we can awaken and stabilize at the root without clenching, and
intensify our inner spiritual fire. ease the flow of apana into the structure of spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 23

+ Learn more about the practice of if you were pulling the mat apart, or if

1 mula bandha:

Download a podcast and read about
prana vayu at
you ski, executing a snowplow. Lift the
sit bones and draw the pubic bones back
between the inner thighs; then lift the
pelvic floor and contract and hollow out
the pose. (It is important to note that, the lower belly. Allow this energetic acti-
traditionally, mula bandha is discour- vation to draw you deeper into the pose.
aged during menstruation—if you suc-
ceed in catching hold of apana at that 2. Vrikshasana (tree pose)
time, you may inhibit or even stop the The legs and sacrum work together to
flow of menses.) stabilize this pose and awaken and redi-
The following selection of poses ex- rect apana. Start with both feet parallel
plores how apana vayu can be activated under the hip joints and evenly pressed

2 across several classes of asana and vari-

ous pelvic alignments. Standing poses
use the activation in the legs to energeti-
cally integrate the pelvis with the torso
into the floor. Rotate one thigh open
and bring the foot to the top of the groin
(or inner thigh if half lotus is hard on
your knees). Hold the pose in place by
and the extremities, rooting us deeper staying engaged through the lower belly,
into the pose and directing apana into the muscles around the sacrum, and the
the architecture of the asana. Sitting inner thigh of the standing leg. Draw up
postures, which are intrinsically stabil- through the standing foot, press the
izing, provide an ideal opportunity to bent knee back, and draw the tailbone
strongly engage apana. In twists and for- toward the floor. (If you have the foot to
ward- and backward-bending poses, the the inner thigh, press the thigh against

3 activation of apana anchors the body

and allows for a smooth flow of energy
from the root up through the spine.
In the poses below, focus on the posi-
the foot to lift up off the standing leg.)
Then draw up through the front of the
spine as well as the center of the chest,
throat, and head. Keep your focus on
tion of the pelvis, the engagement of the the engagement in the lower belly and

Photography by Kathryn LeSoine; Model: Sandra Anderson; Wardrobe: Grace tank by Zobha; Lolita pant by Prana
lower belly, and the activation of the refine the breath, softening in the lower
legs. With even, full breathing and re- rib cage and the back of the waist. With
laxed but conscious engagement, you this engagement of apana, you’ll feel
can harness the powerful force of apana taller and stiller in the pose.
to effortlessly stabilize and energize your
postures. 3. Ardha padma janu shirshasana
(bound half lotus head-to-knee pose)
1. Prasarita padottanasana (spread- This seated forward bend combines ele-
legged standing forward bend) ments of both the standing poses just

4 Notice how the pelvis is inverted here,

drawing attention to the lower belly and
pelvic floor. To start, step your feet wide
apart with the toes pointed inward
described. In the bound version, the
heel presses deep into the lower belly
as you fold forward. Start sitting up
straight with the legs directly in front of
slightly (the feet should be close you. Use a prop and/or bend the knees if
enough to feel stable in the needed to bring the pelvis into a neutral
pose). Keep your weight position. Rotate one thigh open, bring-

5 evenly spread across the sole of

each foot and fold forward from
the hip creases. Use your feet to help
awaken the pelvic floor and apana vayu:
ing the foot to either the inner thigh or
the top of the groin. If your leg is in half
lotus position, wrap the arm on the
same side behind the waist and catch
Ground the big toes, lift the arches, and the toes if they are available; otherwise
bend the knees slightly. Then press the leave the hand on the floor beside the
feet down and away from each other, as thigh. Press the bent knee down, then

24 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

ets. After releasing the pose, rest with
A Quick Look at the Five Prana Vayus your head to one side and notice the en-
ergy circulating from the pelvis through
Our life force, prana, divides itself into five vayus, each governing different the whole body.
functions and aspects of being.
Pranayama for Apana Vayu
Vayu Area of Body Function Kapalabhati
Governs intake, inspiration, propulsion, Kapalabhati is a pranayama practice
Prana Chest, head as well as a shat kriya—one of the six
forward momentum
cleansing actions of hatha yoga. With its
Governs elimination, downward and
Apana Pelvis emphasis on the exhalation, kapalabhati
outward movement
enhances elimination of volatile meta-
Governs assimilation, discernment, bolic wastes and dispels sluggishness
Samana Navel
inner absorption, consolidation and congestion, while engaging the seat
Governs growth, speech, expression, of apana in the lower belly.
Udana Throat
ascension, upward movement The defining characteristic of kapal-
Governs circulation on all levels, abhati is a sharp, forceful exhalation
Vyana Whole body from the abdomen, followed immedi-
expansiveness, pervasiveness
ately by a passive, relaxed inhalation.
The inhalation and the exhalation are
hinge the pelvis forward from the hip the lower belly; activate the inner thighs asymmetrical—the exhalation feels like
joints and draw the pubic bones down to bring the thighs down and out away a staccato note, and the inhalation is on
and back. To deepen the connection from the pelvis. Then draw the shoulder the rebound. Therefore, it’s important
with apana, exhale and engage the lower blades toward the waist and soften the to quickly and completely relax after the
belly and pelvic floor; inhale by expand- jaw and the eyes. Breathe easily without exhalation.
ing the upper belly only. The contrac- releasing the action of the pose, and no- A daily beginning practice consists of
tion just above the pubic bone deep in tice the energetic connection between one to three rounds of 7 to 11 breaths at
the abdomen provides a platform and the pelvic floor, the entire length of the one breath every two seconds, resting
support for the breath. The flywheel of spine, and the crown of the head. between rounds. Add 5 to 10 breaths
the breath, in turn, generates energy in per round each week to increase your
the body and absorbs and contains this 5. Shalabhasana (locust pose) capacity, and gradually pick up speed to
energy at a deeper level. With strong energetic and muscular en- about one breath per second. Eventu-
gagement in the pelvis, shalabhasana ally you may practice for one to three
4. Baddha konasana (bound angle pose) powerfully activates apana and strength- minutes at this speed. If you feel dizzy
The inner thighs, lower back, and pelvic ens the whole backside of the pelvis, or light-headed, feel a stitch in your side,
floor are intimately related to, and gov- legs, and lumbar spine. You may need or lose the rhythm, rest with normal
erned by, apana. Because bound angle to start with one leg at a time to build breathing, and next time try fewer
pose activates these regions, it is one of strength; keep the pelvis on the floor in breaths, or consult a teacher to refine
the most powerful postures for awaken- the single-leg version. For full locust, po- your technique.
ing and directing apana. To begin, sit sition your arms straight on the floor un-
with the pelvis in a neutral position; if der the body so that you have maximum Watch the author demonstrate this
necessary, sit on the edge of a folded leverage to lift the pelvis up off the floor: pranayama at
blanket to maintain the natural curve in interlace the fingers, or rest the upper
the lower back. Then press the knees thighs or groin on the little-finger side of In the beginning, focus your attention
down and feel the pelvic floor lift. Tilt your fists; if the elbows feel strained, try at the lower belly. Work to stabilize the
forward, reaching the pubic bones down a different hand position. Consciously body while keeping your exhalations
and back and lengthening the lumbar draw the pelvic floor in and up. Press deep and rhythmic. Then refine your
spine. Continue drawing forward from the arms and the chest down and lift the practice with a one-pointed inner mental
legs and pelvis away from the floor. focus at the eyebrow center. The name
Yoga+ senior editor Sandra Anderson is co-author Keep reaching the legs back and up, kapalabhati means “illuminated skull”—
of Yoga: Mastering the Basics and has taught and engage the inner thighs to secure promising a halo when the purification
yoga and meditation for over 25 years. the femurs in the center of the hip sock- of body and mind is complete! ■ spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 25


Natural Allergy Relief

A Holistic health expert Carrie Demers,

MD, answers your questions about the
causes—and prevention—of allergies.

I’ve come to dread spring because

of my hay fever. As soon as the sea-
son is in bloom, I start sneezing, my
eyes get red and watery, and I feel
fatigued for weeks—sometimes even
months. I’ve tried antihistamines but
responds to a non-harmful substance
(such as pollen, dust, or dander) and at-
tacks it as if it were a dangerous invader.
Rather than protecting the body, this
faulty immune response creates a set of
symptoms that becomes a disease state.
ating allergic reactions. These medica-
tions control symptoms but they often
come with side effects like drowsiness,
headache, dry mouth, loss of appetite,
dizziness, and fatigue—and they do not
heal the allergic state.
they dehydrate me. Are there natural You have many common allergic re-
treatments that can help? sponses: congestion, sneezing, eye irrita- Addressing the Roots of the Problem
tion, and fatigue. Other symptoms in- Agni, Ama, and Immunity
Yes. Natural systems of medicine— clude coughing, wheezing, headache, Several holistic systems of medicine ar-
ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, itching, and hives. Substances that pro- gue that folks develop allergies due to
and herbalism, to name a few—recom- voke these reactions are called allergens. three factors: a compromised immune
mend a variety of herbs, supplements, In the spring, the most common aller- system, a weak digestive system, and
and lifestyle adjustments that can not gens are pollens released from trees, toxic overload. As a result, natural treat-
only relieve your symptoms but begin to grasses, and other plants. Allergens trig- ments generally focus on strengthening
address the root causes of allergies from ger the release of the compound hista- these systems and clearing toxins. In
a holistic perspective. I can suggest easy mine which binds to histamine recep- the parlance of ayurveda, our agni (di-
everyday strategies that will guide you tors, stimulating the immune response gestive fire) supports immunity. But
toward a sniffle-free spring. But first, that leads to allergy symptoms. Most al- when agni is weak, our digestion is in-
let’s look at how allergies begin. lopathic treatments are anti-histamines
Physiologically, an allergic reaction (such as Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, and Listen to a Q&A with Dr. Carrie
occurs when your immune system over- Zyrtec) which block histamine from cre- Demers at

Natural Histamine Blockers

If you really feel like you need an antihistamine, try the all-natural bioflavonoid Quercitin. It is best used preventa-
tively (starting six to eight weeks before allergy season begins) but can also reduce existing allergy symptoms. Take 400 to
600 mg one to three times a day, adjusting your dose according to need.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) has been used as an anti-allergy herb for centuries. In one randomized placebo-controlled
study published in Planta Medica, the leading international journal in the field of medicinal plants, 60 percent of the par-
ticipants found nettles to be effective in reducing their allergy symptoms, and nearly half (48 percent) stated that nettles
were at least as effective as their allergy medications. The recommended dosage is 300 to 350 mg of freeze-dried extract in
capsule form one to three times a day. However, I’ve worked with patients who have reported marked improvement in
their symptoms from simply drinking two to three cups of nettle tea daily.
In addition, many scientific studies have shown that vitamin C reduces blood levels of histamine in the laboratory, and a
Kathryn LeSoine

few more studies have shown the same in humans. Recommended dosing is 1 to 3 grams two to four times a day during al-
lergy seasons (spring, summer, and fall); reduce dose if it causes loose stool.

26 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

complete, and the residue (or ama) of
that unfinished processing becomes toxic 6 Homeopathic Remediesine
waste in the body.
Yoga and ayurveda advise keeping You can also treat allergies with homeopathy, a natural system of medicine
your solar plexus and abdominal mus- that supports the body’s intrinsic healing capacity on a subtle level. It is in-
cles strong to enkindle agni, reduce ama, expensive, and when prescribed according to individual needs by a qualified
and boost immunity. I recommend prac- homeopath, it can be highly effective.
ticing leg lifts, stomach crunches, and a Homeopathy is based on the paradoxical theory that “like cures like.” A
cleansing kriya yoga technique called substance (such as coffee) that causes a particular set of symptoms (such as
agni sara—a breathing practice that acti- insomnia, restlessness, and irritability) in a large dose can relieve those
vates the deep abdominal muscles and symptoms in an extremely diluted dose.
the pelvic floor. A beginner version of Below are common homeopathic remedies for allergies. Find the one that
agni sara is to contract the abdominal describes your dominant symptoms, and take a low-potency dosage (be-
wall, drawing the navel into the spine on tween 6x and 30c) two to three times a day for two weeks. If you notice that
the exhale, and smoothly relax on the in- you’re feeling better, continue taking it through the allergy season or until
hale. (You can watch an instructional you are symptom-free. If not, work with a qualified homeopath to find the
video at right remedy.
You can also take cleansing and/or
immune-building supplements: Remedy | Symptoms
• Chyawanprash: This rejuvenative Allium cepa Nasal mucus irritates the nose or upper lip; eyes
ayurvedic preparation is made from are runny but the discharge is bland and non-irri-
amla berry, which is cooked into a jam tating. Worse from warm rooms, better in open air.
with over 30 tonifying herbs and fruits.
Arsenicum album Stuffiness and copious watery nasal discharge that
It’s high in vitamin C and strengthens
burns the lips; a burning sensation in the eyes, nose,
agni and immunity. Take one teaspoon
and/or throat (often right-sided); sneezing upon
once or twice a day with a warm drink
waking, often with a tickle in the nose; anxiety and
(milk or herbal tea) through the winter
restlessness; symptoms are better from warmth
months to support your immune system.
(hot drinks, warm baths).
• Astragalus (Astragalus membrana-
ceous): This Chinese herb is best taken Euphrasia officinalis Symptoms are centered in the eyes: profuse tear-
for a month before allergy season to ing that is acrid and burning in nature; bland, non-
strengthen immunity and fortify your irritating nasal discharge. Respiratory symptoms
constitution. Take one teaspoon of pow- (runny nose, cough) are worse on rising in the
dered root as a tea, or 500 mg in tablet morning; symptoms are better in open air and in
form, three times a day. the dark.
• Echinacea, goldenseal, burdock, Natrum muriaticum Watery or egg-white-like nasal discharge; parox-
and/or red clover: Take these blood- ysms of sneezing; chapped lips and cracks at the
cleansing herbs two to three times a day corners of the mouth; dark circles under the eyes;
in tincture or capsule form, both before headaches.
and during allergy season. Follow the Sabadilla Itchy nose; violent, debilitating sneezing; runny
dose on the package. eyes that become worse in cold outdoor air and
from flower pollen; symptoms are better from
Excess Kapha
warm drinks and warm rooms.
According to ayurveda, kapha, the ele-
mental energy of earth and water, rises Wyethia Extreme itching in the throat and palate that can
throughout winter and early spring. You extend to the ears; sore throat with hoarseness.
can see the cold, heavy, damp qualities of
kapha in the changing weather as the Most health food stores carry homeopathic remedies, as well as combina-
snow melts, the rain begins to fall, and tion remedies, which mix several remedies together into one “allergy relief”
the earth becomes heavy with moisture. tablet. Although the latter approach sacrifices the precision of individual-
The kapha within us also begins to liq- ized prescribing, many allergy sufferers still find relief from their symptoms.
uefy, and we struggle with colds, aller- spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 27

gies, and bronchitis, along with other kapha-related issues such
as lethargy, weight gain, and depression. You can quell kapha
with ayurvedic treatments that are heating, drying, and invig-
orating to balance kapha’s cool, moist, heavy qualities.
• Exercise vigorously for 30 minutes a day until sweat
forms along your spine and under your arms.
• Treat yourself to a sauna.
• Eat a kapha-pacifying diet of light non-glutinous grains
like quinoa and millet, plenty of vegetables (except roots and
squashes), and warm, cooked, spicy, dry foods. You may also
benefit from avoiding heavy and/or oily foods like wheat and
dairy (especially ice cream).
• Learn a cleansing yoga practice called gaja karani (a ther-
apeutic vomiting technique also known as the “upper wash”).
It’s not the most popular anti-kapha remedy, but it’s highly
effective for treating allergies. The upper wash involves chug-
ging two quarts of mildly salty water when you wake up in
the morning, then promptly regurgitating it. (To learn the
practice, visit It rinses excess mu-
cus from the stomach and draws mucus from the nose and
bronchi, reducing congestion, building heat, and quelling ka-
pha. (This practice is contraindicated for people with hiatal
hernia, acid reflux, hypertension, and heart disease.)
• Practice vigorous pranayamas like kapalabhati to
strengthen your inner fire—melting excess kapha and,
hence, mucus. Kapalabhati is best done preventatively;

Minimize the Triggers

If you’re susceptible to hay fever, allergists rec-
ommend staying indoors with the windows closed
on dry windy days, washing your linens and clothing
often, and running air purifiers in your house to re-
move molecules of pollen. Use a neti pot to rinse your
nasal passages of dirt, germs, pollen, and excess mu-
cus with a soothing saline solution; for best results, re-
peat this nasal wash several times a day. (Learn more
about the practice at

don’t practice it if you have nasal and/or sinus congestion.

See page 25 to learn the technique.
I recommend doing these kapha-pacifying therapies
throughout the winter so that, when allergy season hits,
there is little accumulated kapha to create the familiar
symptoms. When you add some of the herbs, supplements,
and strategies for reducing ama and strengthening agni and
immunity, you can begin to eliminate the root causes of al-
lergies—and enjoy spring in all its glory. ■

Board-certified in internal medicine, Carrie Demers, MD, is the director of the

Himalayan Institute Total Health Center.

28 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

time to
This spring, take a leap into full expression of
who you are through experiential programs that
ignite your passions. You’ll return home

ready for whatever

the world brings.
Kim Eng • Kali Ray • David Swenson
Bo Forbes • Krishna Das • Rodney Yee
Elena Brower • Erich Schiffmann
Stephen Cope • Dharma Mittra
Bryan Kest • Amy Weintraub
Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati
Priti Robyn Ross • Aadil Palkhivala
Sylvia Boorstein • Snatam Kaur
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait • SARK
Julia Cameron • Alberto Villoldo
Tara Brach • Caroline Myss
Daniel J. Siegel • Emilie Conrad
John Demartini • Robert Thurman
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen
Sarah Powers • Noah Levine

2010 Yoga Therapy Intensive with
Gary Kraftsow, Bo Forbes,
Judith Hanson Lasater, and others
Yoga Fusion with
Claire Este-McDonald, Alicia Orr,
Mahan Kirn Kaur Khalsa, , and others

Stockbridge, Massachusetts 800.741.7353

Harness prana shakti—the inner divinity—with a potent tantric practice that will

Tantra ignites your innate

power to grow and blossom
in every aspect of your life.

30 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

charge your mind with vitality, insight, and the power to heal. By Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

Living Tantra
(PART 2)

Let’s begin by reminding ourselves of the distinctive nature of

tantra as encapsulated at the end of my last article:
For ages people have been fighting an unending war—the war of good and
bad, right and wrong, virtue and sin, heaven and hell, sacred and mundane,
freedom and bondage. Everyone caught in this war—monks and householders,
clergy and laymen, politicians and philosophers, men and women, poor and
rich, businessmen and those fully committed to inner life—are equally miser-
able. Tantra has a remedy for this misery. This remedy works because a tantric
seeks freedom in the world, not from the world. In tantra, the sacred and the
mundane are held together in harmonious balance. Worldly success and spiri-
tual development go hand in hand. This is a joy-driven path, a path of active
participation in life. It is not a path for those who seek salvation after death but
a path for those who seek health, wealth, peace, and happiness here and now. >>
The events I shared with you in the last issue show that the range Inner Temple
of tantra is as vast as life itself. Within tantra there are numerous paths—each leading A tantric begins his spiritual quest by
to unique experiences. Some tantric practices are trivial and shallow. Others are pro- changing his worldview and his attitude
found and deeply meaningful. Some focus on the acquisition of worldly possessions toward his own body, mind, and senses.
and power. Others have spiritual enlightenment as their central goal. Some tantric For ages, people have been living with a
paths place exclusive emphasis on rituals and others employ yogic techniques to self-defeating philosophy that condemns
awaken the kundalini shakti and chakras in one’s own body. Some use yantras and the world and thereby promotes the idea
mandalas to awaken and gain mastery over the healing power. Other paths employ of finding freedom from it. According to
that philosophy, the body is the focal
unique internal visualizations and con- from the domain of afflictions.” Thus point of misery: pleasure is the doorway
centration techniques to awaken and tantra refers to the path of health and to hell; worldly objects are a burden to
acquire that same healing power. Some healing, science and spirituality, that the soul. In the view of tantra, this phi-
tantrics use herbs to accelerate their holds our full expansion and develop- losophy is deeply flawed.
practice and others use unique breath- ment as its main objective. It shows us According to tantra, the world is
ing techniques. Some go as far as to use how we can grow and blossom. It shows beautiful. Life in the world is beautiful.
drugs and sex while others abstain from us how to find purpose in life and how Our inability to see the beauty within
both. But all tantric paths and practices to weave the tapestry of life in the most and without is bondage for it forces us
have one common theme: the acquisi- meaningful manner, how to protect and to live in this world purposelessly. The
tion of power. nurture ourselves, and how to protect quest for freedom here and now begins
The power to be and the power to be- and nurture others. The principle of in- with understanding the sacred nature of
come, the power to grow and the power tegration lies at the core of tantric philos- our body, mind, and senses. According
to blossom, the power to explore limit- ophy and practice. This principle refers to tantra, the body is the living temple
less possibilities and the power to mate- to the integration of our worldly endeav- of divinity. The center of consciousness
rialize those possibilities—these are the ors with our spiritual pursuits, the inte- (soul, atman, jiva) is the highest divinity
hallmarks of tantric spirituality. Rising gration of personal empowerment with within us. A vast portion of the powers,
above our limitations and gaining access the empowerment of others and the em- potentials, and privileges of this divinity


to the limitless domain of the power of powerment of the natural world. Good remain dormant. This dormant power is
will, the power of knowledge, and the and evil, sacred and mundane, coexist called kundalini shakti. Only a fraction
power of action is the ultimate goal of harmoniously in this tantric world of of its potentials are available in their
tantric wisdom and practice. The term integration. Following the principle of awakened form. The power and poten-
tantra itself tells how to gain access to integration, a tantric practitioner at- tial of the soul that is awakened and ac-
this boundless field of power. tempts to find freedom while living in tive in us is called prana. Prana, the force
Tantra is a compound of two verbs, the world and aspires to experience the that keeps us alive, is the intrinsic and
tan and tra. The verb tan has two sets fullness of life. vibrant attribute of this inner divinity.
of meanings. The first is “to expand, to To a tantric, life is not bondage but For all practical purposes, this prana
grow, to expound, to give meaning.” Tan the gateway to freedom. To be born as shakti is the highest god in us, for it is
also means “to weave, to intertwine, to a human is an opportunity to experience this particular aspect of divine power
integrate, to connect, to breathe new- our oneness with Absolute Conscious- that helps us gain access to the infinite
ness into the old, to pull the present out ness—our own inner divinity. God, Ab- dormant potentials within.
of the past and give it a meaningful fu- solute Consciousness, deposited Her The forces that pervade and perme-
ture.” The second verb in this com- limitless power of creativity in each of ate every nook and cranny of our body
pound, tra, means “to protect, to free us. Gaining access to that limitless cre- are emanations of prana shakti, the inner
from sorrow, to help one move away ativity fulfills the purpose of life. And dy- divinity; they constitute our core being.
ing without knowing and experiencing These forces are gods and goddesses.
+ Read Part 1 of “Living Tantra”
that power defeats the purpose of hu-
man birth.
They live in the body. They heal and
nurture it. They maintain order in the

32 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

body, ensuring that every limb, organ, and mandalas in conjunction with generated by the practice, is charged
and system function harmoniously. mantras and the visualization of de- with vitality, stamina, and willpower.
They preside over our thoughts, speech, ities—follow their own unique rules In tantric terminology, first infusing the
and actions. The guiding intelligence of and laws. This approach is known as mind with prana shakti and then infus-
these divine forces offers all the tools samaya tantra. The tantric schools that ing a practice with this prana shakti is
and means we need to experience them combine these two approaches are called known as prana dharana. To clarify why
as integral to ourselves. This guiding mishra tantra. However, the adepts be- this infusion of prana shakti is so crucial,
intelligence empowers us to know, longing to all of these paths—kaula, let us see what happens when a prac-
through our own direct experience, that samaya, and mishra—share a common tice—non-tantric as well as tantric—is
these divine forces are us and we are understanding: no matter which path undertaken without this infusion.
them. That is why, according to tantra, you follow or which practice you under- Let’s say you have learned the art of
the human body is the most complete take, you must have a clear, calm, and creating a mandala. You drew it on silk
yantra and mandala—and the finest of tranquil mind. cloth, accurately and with faith. Before
all temples. Gaining access to the in- A disturbed, distracted, or stupefied you installed the mandala on your altar,
nermost chamber and discovering the mind is not fit to follow any path. Culti- a holy man from India or Tibet blessed
inner divinity, the center of conscious- vating a clear, calm, and tranquil mind it. For five years you have been making
ness, is the goal of tantra. and infusing it with prana shakti, the ra- daily ritual offerings and meditating fol-
diant, indomitable life force, is the first lowing all the guidelines, but you see lit-
Concentrating the Life Force and foremost practice of tantra. Infusing tle or no result. Why is your practice so
Over millennia, tantra has discovered the mind with prana shakti is the most unsatisfactory? According to a tantric,
countless techniques for entering the in- crucial of all tantric practices for it en- the main reason is that you have been
This spread: Poppies: Gregor Schuster / Getty Images; Weaving on loom: Win Initiative / Getty Images; Uedatsmugi: Tohoku Color Agency / Getty Images

ner world and experiencing our oneness sures that the mind—which is at once meditating while facing a piece of silk
with the divinity within. Some of those the most important instrument of prac- cloth. The mandala you drew on that
techniques place greater emphasis on us- tice as well as the container of the energy cloth was not charged with prana shakti
ing external tools and means; others em-
phasize internal means. Those using
external tools are ritualistic and follow
a set of rules and laws that ensure the rit-
uals are effective and fruitful. This ap-
Previous spread: Fire: Gary S. Chapman / Getty Images; Young woman touching poppies: Lisa Stirling / Getty Images

proach is known as kaula tantra. Those

using internal tools—such as asanas and
pranayamas in conjunction with bandhas
and mudras, and meditation on chakras

Just as a loom weaves many

threads into one cloth, prana
dharana gathers diffused energy
into a concentrated space.
By offering herbs to a
sacred flame—either
through external ritual or
internal visualization—
tantrics come to know
themselves as an integral
part of a greater whole.

and so it remains lifeless. Meditation on In a traditional tantric practice, you prana shakti (the life force); to make
it is also lifeless. go directly to the crux of the matter—in- prana shakti become concentrated; to
The same is true of an internal non- fusing your mind with the living, vibrant intensify the life force until it begins
ritualistic tantric practice, such as med- energy of prana shakti. First unite your to glow and breathe life into anything
itation on a particular chakra. For ex- mind with the prana shakti so it is fully falling within its field.” The life force is
ample, you are trying to awaken the healed and nourished. This fully nour- everywhere in our body in a diffused
healing force of the navel center. The ished mind will reclaim its pristine char- form. It is performing its function in a
mantra you picked from a book is cor- acteristics—clarity and insight, stability diffused manner, which is just enough to
rect. It is an authentic mantra for awak- and concentration. It will reclaim its keep us alive. In order for this life force
ening the healing force. The image of fire ability to receive and retain revelation. It to perform extraordinary feats, it must
your mind has conceived is correct. The will reclaim its power of discernment. It be concentrated.
technique and procedure you are using to will learn to travel with the prana shakti Concentration begins by collecting
enter the navel center are also correct, to wherever concentration, meditation, the diffused energy and compressing it
yet you have been trying to awaken your and samadhi are needed—to yantras in a well-defined space. In that confined
navel center for years, without success. and mandalas, to statues of gods and space, the energy begins to exhibit ex-
Why? The answer is simple: the mantra goddesses, and to spiritual/religious em- traordinary properties which were lying
you picked from the book is lifeless and blems—and will witness the infusion of dormant within it. These extraordinary
you did not infuse it with prana shakti the life force into those objects. There- properties include infusing the mind
before using it. The image of fire is also after, any form of practice—ritualistic or with the power to rise above distur-
devoid of the life force, and the navel non-ritualistic, external or internal—will bances, distractions, and stupefaction,
center has not been infused with living, become fruitful. This whole process is and become still and composed. With
awakened, vibrant prana shakti. Thus called prana dharana. the unfoldment of its extraordinary
the whole practice is lifeless. Prana dharana means “to concentrate properties, prana shakti is able to heal



34 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

and nurture the body, mind, and senses. brushing this opening. But in the tantric contain the information and instructions
It is able to infuse the mind with the tradition, a practitioner is led to become that our endocrine system and the inter-
power to reach every nook and cranny in aware of the movement of breath at dif- connected network of other organs need
the body as well as any destination in the ferent places in the throat and mouth in order to function harmoniously. The
external world. Once it is concentrated, cavity. For example, while practicing the master glands in this region thus receive
the prana shakti is able to beam its heal- tantric form of bhastrika pranayama, an ordinance (ajna) from the hypothala-
ing and enlightening properties to any you can maintain the awareness of the mus and pass this same ordinance on to
point in time and space. Accompanied movement of your breath at the hollow the organs involved in complex and mu-
and assisted by the concentrated pranic of your throat. This balances the meta- tually dependent biophysical activities.
force, the mind is able to awaken the bolic process. If you are in the habit of It is important to remember that we
dormant energy of any of the chakras in overeating, it will reduce your appetite. are talking about the entire region and
our body, as well as the energy dormant If your appetite is devitalized, this prac- not a particular organ or spot in that re-
in mantras, yantras, mandalas, herbs, tice will increase it. Awareness of the gion. Vibration/pulsation in that region
gems, or any object of meditation or rit- breath at the tip of your nostrils, on the will activate the energy of the ajna
ual worship. The tantric practice of other hand, will lead to an entirely differ- chakra, the center of consciousness that
prana dharana is the means of concen- ent result—the experience of an extraor- fills the space in the area known as the
trating the pranic force. dinary fragrance. “third eye.” This is the most suitable
When you practice bhastrika as a center for the concentration of prana
Bhastrika and Beyond stepping-stone to the practice of prana
The systematic practice of prana dha- dharana, however, you focus the move-
rana begins with a tantric variation of the ment of the breath as it brushes the soft Hypothalamus
well-known pranayama technique called palate, at the back of the roof of the
bhastrika. To practice bhastrika, sit with mouth. The pituitary gland sits slightly
Offerings: Crystal Ketterhagen; Flames: sandramo /; Weaver: Tom Stoddart Archive / Getty Images; Illustration: Patrick Lynch

your head, neck, and trunk in a straight above the soft palate, at the base of the
line. Close your eyes and relax your brain. This is the region associated with Pineal Gland
shoulders. Restore your normal harmo- the ajna chakra, the eyebrow center.
nious breathing pattern. Then begin to When, with the help of your awareness,
inhale and exhale forcefully through both you allow the exhalation and inhalation Soft Palate
nostrils. Breathe with the active involve- to brush against your soft palate, it
ment of your abdominal muscles while creates a pulsation in the region of the
keeping your chest region as relaxed as pituitary gland, and the energy residing
possible. Each time you exhale, pull your there becomes active. The pituitary
abdomen in; when you inhale, push it gland is a master gland that regulates The tantric form of bhastrika
out. How strongly and forcefully you key organs in the endocrine system. The activates the ajna chakra’s energy
move your abdominal muscles in and out pituitary gland’s role in the regulation of (shown in blue).
and how fast and forcefully you inhale our reproductive organs and, more pre-
and exhale depends on your current level cisely, the regulation of our moods and shakti. Awareness of that center during
of strength, stamina, and experience with emotions (which largely depend on hor- the tantric version of bhastrika will at-
the practice. Don’t go beyond your cur- monal changes), is well understood. tract the pranic forces that are diffused
rent capacity. Be especially gentle and The pineal gland is located in the same throughout the body. Complete the
mindful if you have had surgery in the ab- general region. The pineal gland not bhastrika-style breathing by inhaling
dominal area, are pregnant, or have high only regulates the secretion of mela- deeply into the ajna chakra and retain
blood pressure. tonin, but also exerts its influence over the breath to your comfortable capacity,
In the regular hatha yoga style of the process governing relaxation, re- thus compressing the prana shakti and
bhastrika, awareness of the movement newal, and rejuvenation. containing it at the eyebrow center.
of the breath is concentrated at the open- The newly emerging science of psy- Then exhale and breathe normally, let-
ing of the nostrils—air flows while choneuroimmunology makes it easy to ting your awareness rest in the vibrant
understand why tantric adepts call the field of energy at the ajna chakra.
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD, is the spiritual energy field of this region ajna chakra, As the pranic forces become concen-
head of the Himalayan Institute. A teacher, lec- the command center. The pituitary trated at the ajna chakra, awareness of
turer, Sanskrit scholar, and author, he has prac- gland receives hormonal secretions from that center will intensify. The greater
ticed yoga and tantra for more than 30 years. the hypothalamus. These hormones the intensity, the (continues on page 68) spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 35

36 yoga + joyful living spring 2010
Industrialized food harms the earth and our bodies. Thankfully, there’s
a wave of passionate innovators who are growing a healthier food culture,
one radish at a time. By Jake Miller

The Good-Food
Food is love. The first time I ever heard that was when I asked my friend
Jona what in the world he was thinking cooking for 100 hungry guests on his own wed-
ding night. Jona bought heirloom tomatoes from his neighborhood farmers’ market
and served a splash of rich golden squash soup in shot glasses hand-painted to match
the bridal flowers. The vegetarian menu wowed even the most committed carnivores
at the party, and each course served to tighten the bonds of our shared community.
It’s easy to believe that food is love when you’re play. The scenery is beautiful, but what’s even more
enjoying a special meal for family and friends, or when inspiring are the people working and living together,
you bite into a peach that’s still warm from the sun. growing healthy food and a strong community while
But how do those words apply to a society where peo- revitalizing the environment.
ple eat meals alone in their cars, or where whole com- Elsewhere in Mattapan—and throughout the city,
munities don’t have access to basic fresh produce, let the nation, and the world—the view is not always as
alone a sun-warmed peach? lovely, with epidemics of malnutrition and obesity
On a late summer afternoon last year, my two-and- striking within the same communities, sometimes par-
a-half-year-old son and I went to one of our favorite adoxically within the same person. Many experts say
spots, where a series of paths wind between woods that this growing crisis is due in large part to an indus-
and fields, around the old grounds of a defunct psy- trial food system that pollutes the environment while
chiatric hospital on the edge of Boston’s Mattapan propagating cheap, low-nutrition processed food. One
neighborhood. Nowadays it’s home to the Boston out of every three children born in 2000 could develop
Nature Center and the Clark Cooper Community diabetes, the Centers for Disease Control tells us, and
Gardens, where gardeners from all walks of life share obesity rates are rising. Today’s children may be the
tips and talk about the weather, while naturalists first generation of Americans to live shorter lives than
watch wild turkeys patrol the edges of the plots. My their parents.
gregarious son hails them all, saying hello to the At its best, food is love; at its worst, it can be
growers, the butterflies, the turkeys, and the vegeta- toxic—to our health, to the environment, and to our
bles ripening on the vine. It’s a little bit of magic to communities.
see this slice of the world through his eyes, where In response, a diverse food movement has arisen,
everything here belongs together and has a role to with farmers, public health activists, social justice spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 37

advocates, and people who love to eat Frances Moore Lappé “If we start with a sense of lack—lack
well, all collaborating to create alterna- ENVISIONING ABUNDANCE of stuff and lack of goodness—we’ve
tives to the industrial food system. The In 1971, Frances Moore Lappé found bought this caricature of ourselves, this
real beauty of this movement is that none herself poring over books and reports in shriveled sense of ourselves, that all we
of its strands can exist in isolation. It’s a the agricultural library at the University can count on is greed,” Lappé says. But
healthy, vibrant ecosystem—a commu- of California, Berkeley. She felt confused. in the real world, we’re all much more
nity of innovators helping to grow a new In study after study, evidence showed than that. “Look at the behaviors and
sustainable food culture. there was more than enough food for the traits that have been hardwired into us.
Here are five key players who em- world to eat, yet policy makers and pun- Cruelty? Selfishness? Yes, but also fair-

Previous spread: Cultura / Alamy; This spread: Kale: simonkr /; Portraits: Frances Moore Lappé: Deborah Kushma / Courtesy of Small Planet Institute; Makani Themba-Nixon:; Joel Salatin:
body the diverse ideals and approaches dits were talking about famine and lack. ness, cooperation, and creativity.”
of this movement. They’re working in “I was this kid trying to figure out, Breaking through this illusion of
cities and out in the countryside, on the ‘Why is there hunger in the world when scarcity—the idea that we don’t have
left and the right of the political spec- there’s enough food to make us all enough to eat or that we don’t have the
trum, with gourmets and with commu- chubby?’” she says. power to change the world—has been
nities that are struggling with hunger. She went on to write Diet for a Small the constant theme of her work (which
Some of them came to the movement Planet (1971), a three-million copy best- includes 16 books and co-founding the

Courtesy of Polyface, Inc.,; Alice Waters: Paul Sakuma / AP Photo; Will Allen: Darren Hauck / The New York Times; Community garden: Wildscape / Alamy
when they realized that food was a key selling cookbook that provided delicious anti-hunger think tank Food First).
component of social justice; others came recipes and showed how adopting a diet She’s as passionate about it as ever. In
to share their love of fresh healthy food based on grains and vegetables, and eat- her latest book, Getting a Grip: Clarity,
when they realized that too few people ing lower on the food chain, would allow Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone
had access to it. A sense of intention con- everyone on earth to have enough food. Mad (2007), she says that under the
nects them all—a commitment to build- It wasn’t the details of the diet that wrong conditions—extreme concentra-
ing a food system that promotes not just were the key revelation, Lappé told me in tions of power, cultures of anonymity,
efficiency and profits, but health, com- a recent interview: it was the simple real- and scapegoating—most of us will be-
munity, environment, and ethics. ization that scarcity is a state of mind. have selfishly and cruelly.
The beauty of the food justice and
“WE ARE CREATING THE LANDSCAPE THAT OUR sustainable food movements, she says,
is that they create the opposite of these
CHILDREN WILL INHERIT, ONE BIT AT A TIME.” conditions, which allow our better selves
to shine through. Social power is dis-
persed, anonymity is diminished by true
community, and everyone has to shoul-
der some of the responsibility for the
state of the world we live in. It’s easy to
see how when we eat and garden to-
gether, shop at a farmers’ market, or be-
come a member of a community-spon-
sored agricultural project, we don’t just
build a healthier food system, we build a
healthier democracy.

Left to right: Frances Moore Lappé, Makani Themba-Nixon, Joel Salatin, Alice Waters, and
Will Allen use diverse methods to achieve the same goal—a sustainable food system.
Digital Digest
Learn more about these sustainable
food projects and how you can get
No yard? No community gardens
near you? No problem. Use this
Web-based tool to start your own.
Neighborhood gardens The digital home of the original
build strong communities. Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, CA,
with resources to help you start your
Since she started writing about food,
own school garden project.
Lappé says, things have gotten a lot larly hard, and that’s why it’s crucial to
worse, but also a lot better. empower these communities to find ap-
“We’re heading very rapidly in two propriate, integrated local solutions. The blog that pre-digests all the im-
directions. The dominant direction is Themba-Nixon is the executive direc- portant food policy and sustainability
horrific. We’ve turned food into a health tor of Washington, DC–based Commu- issues for you.
hazard,” she says. “At the same time, nities Creating Healthy Environments
much more than I ever could have imag- (CCHE), a new nationwide initiative Will Allen’s tips for growing worm
ined when I began, people are reclaim- to support innovative solutions to the compost, establishing an aquaponics
ing their own food traditions, learning crisis. In its first round of funding in greenhouse, or getting involved in the
more about soil ecology. A recent study 2009, CCHE supported water activists movement for sustainable commu-
from the University of Michigan shows in the Southwest, youth programs in nity food systems.
that if the whole world went organic we Madison and New Orleans, and a pro-
would increase food output and build a gram to introduce community vegetable
healthier environment. gardens on a tribal nation’s ranch in Learn more about Community
“My hope is in the evidence, and the Montana. Think of it as an innovation Supported Agriculture, where con-
evidence is in,” says Lappé. “We have incubator, supporting creative strategies sumers buy a share in a local farm’s
the power to make a better world.” that other communities can learn from production and get ultra-fresh food
and build on. while providing farmers with better
As for childhood obesity, Themba- cash flow.
Makani Themba-Nixon Nixon says, we won’t solve the problem
SEEDS OF JUSTICE without addressing the root causes—the Get the lowdown on Joel Salatin’s
“Food has always been at the heart of the land-use policies, predatory marketing, model of pasture-based permaculture.
struggle for social justice,” says Makani and underfunded public infrastructure
Themba-Nixon, a community health ad- that make it difficult for kids and fami-
vocate. According to her, it’s all a ques- lies to make healthy choices in the first The United States branch of the
tion of “Who has access to land, to food?” place. It’s easy to blame personal choice international movement to support
Often the answer comes down to race and individual character flaws for prob- good, clean, and fair food and to
and wealth, Themba-Nixon says. That’s lems like obesity, which seem so private, preserve endangered culinary and
part of the reason the epidemics of child- but it’s not enough to simply ask individ- cultural institutions in the face of fast
hood obesity, diabetes, and heart disease uals why they don’t take better care of food and fast life.
have hit communities of color particu- themselves. We also have to ask, as com-
munities and as a society, questions like, Tools and tips for skillful engagement
Jake Miller is a freelance writer based in Boston, Is anyone selling fresh fruit and vegeta- in democracy, including “food democ-
Massachusetts. He has cultivated tomatoes in his bles nearby? Are the streets and parks in racy,” from Frances Moore Lappé and
window, basil on his porch, and worm compost the neighborhoods safe for children to daughter Anna Lappé.
under his desk. play in? Is the soil in the neighborhood spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 39

too contaminated for gardening? And
The Ethical Diet what’s for lunch at school?
Changing the way you eat is a good start, but real change comes when we build com- Part of Themba-Nixon’s inspiration
munities that can support viable alternatives. Here are eight steps to help you expand in the fight for social justice is a love for
the circle of good food in your life—beyond your plate and into your neighborhood: healthy food that started in her own
• Start talking about food. Don’t stop. “I was very fortunate to be raised by
• Learn where the food you already eat comes from. a mom who was into organic and grow-
ing your own before it was cool,” she
• Ask at your local markets and restaurants if any of the food is locally or sustain- says. “She was always baking things and
ably sourced—let them know that this is something that their customers value. sprouting things. It gave me a great ap-
• Talk to producers at farmers’ markets to find out what the freshest and most preciation for food, not just as fuel but as
delicious local foods are at the moment. something sacred and alive.”
• Talk to your friends and family about your food traditions and values. An elabo-
rate potluck feast—or a trip to gather you-pick strawberries—is a perfect op-
portunity for meaningful conversation.
Joel Salatin
• Grow something yourself and then eat it. You don’t need to launch a new com- Joel Salatin calls himself a Christian
munity garden project to feel the power of connecting directly to the food chain. conservative libertarian environmental-
Plant a pot of basil on your porch and make one perfect batch of pesto, or cap- ist and a “lunatic farmer.” He also calls
ture some wild yeast and make an über-local batch of sourdough bread. himself a “caretaker of creation,” believ-
ing that his role as a farmer is to make
• Make eye contact with the people around you when you’re eating. At a harried the cattle, chickens, turkeys, pigs, and,
family meal, this simple moment of connection can create a sense of calm. In a most important of all, the grasses on his
crowded café, it can help you build new friendships and expand your personal farm, happy, and then to stay as far out
community. of the way as possible while nature pro-
• Add meaning to your meals by saying grace. You can thank God or simply take duces abundant healthy food. He sells it
time to acknowledge the community of people, plants, and animals that worked all from his local food shed, to his neigh-
together to provide your food. Infusing food with intention is also a great way bors, and to nearby restaurants.
to encourage yourself to eat healthier. “Pasture-based livestock and local
food systems can feed the world and

An apprentice gathers pastured eggs at Polyface Farm; in the classroom and the garden, the
Edible Schoolyard program teaches kids about the relationship between plants and food.


heal the land,” Salatin says. “These are
not mutually exclusive.”
As proof, Salatin offers his own Poly-
face Farm, a family-owned, multi-gener-
ational 550-acre operation in Virginia’s
Shenandoah Valley. He’s been so suc-
cessful at proving his claim that he now
devotes several months a year to writing
and speaking about his message and
Salatin believes that we were put here
to nurture God’s creation, not to pillage
it for maximum profit in the short term.
The secret to the abundance of the farm
Eggplant: Valentyn Volkov /; Ben Blasiman gathering eggs: Courtesy of Polyface, Inc.,; Edible Schoolyard kitchen: Courtesy of the Edible Schoolyard;

is a carefully choreographed dance that

mimics and enhances the natural food
web of a grassland ecosystem. Salatin’s Growing Power, a Milwaukee nursery, blends tried-and-true indoor agricultural methods
pigs, turkeys, and rabbits, as well as the with innovative techniques like aquaponics.
farm’s 450 acres of woodland, all have
their own dances to perform. Sunlight
feeds a polyculture of grasses, cattle
farm in 1961, the Salatins have trans-
formed their Shenandoah Valley home
+ Visit to learn
about other sustainable food visionar-
graze on that pasture (encouraging the from an eroded shell of a farm into a ies, print out tasty recipes, and more.
grass to grow again), the cattle’s manure treasury of living abundance.
feeds the insects that feed the poultry, “Awareness of our connection to sustainably produced ingredients—and
the chicken manure enriches the soil, our ecological umbilical brings decision- helping to launch the Slow Food move-
and so on. making integrity to our daily lives,” says ment in the United States. But before
If the answer is as simple as letting Salatin. “And it allows us to participate she became a chef she had been a pre-
nature work, why is our food system in a cause far bigger than ourselves, with school teacher at a local Montessori
such a mess? the joyful reality that we are creating the school and has always been a firm be-
“First of all, as a culture we have landscape our children will inherit, one liever in the value of public schools. The
been raised with a dominion mentality bit at a time.” sight of the King school on her daily
not balanced with a nurturing mental- commute was a sobering reminder of the
ity,” Salatin says. “We have not had an harsh reality of public education for
Fruit kabobs: Courtesy of ESYNOLA; Aquaculture: Courtesy of Growing Power,

environmental ethic, but rather an ex- Alice Waters many of our underserved children. She
ploitation ethic. We ran through the en- A DELICIOUS REVOLUTION decided to see if she could help change
vironment much faster than we realized Every day, on her commute between that reality.
it was not limitless. Second, as a West- her home and her world-famous restau- In her first visit to the school, Waters
ern parts-oriented culture, we did not rant, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Califor- outlined a wildly ambitious plan to com-
practice holism like Eastern cultures. nia, Alice Waters drives past the Mar- pletely overhaul the way the kids experi-
While this made us technologically su- tin Luther King Jr. Middle School. enced food—growing their own in a gar-
perior, we sacrificed social and environ- When she first began to notice the den, learning to cook it themselves, and
mental ethics.” school around 15 years ago, it looked sharing it with their classmates. Today
You don’t have to take his word for so poorly maintained—with raggedy the King school’s Edible Schoolyard is
it, either. Salatin is so convinced of the overgrown lawns and broken win- a prototype for a new kind of holistic
virtue in his way of farming that his en- dows—that she thought it might be healthy school lunch program. Kids
tire operation is open to the public— abandoned. In fact, she writes in her learn to grow and cook their own food—
from the pigs aerating cow manure to recent book, Edible Schoolyard (2008), and eat much healthier lunches, teachers
the chickens and turkeys foraging in their more than 1,000 sixth, seventh, and incorporate the garden into their sci-
mobile enclosures. And, as Salatin says, eighth graders were studying there. ence, math, and humanities classes, and
they’re not only producing delicious Waters is known for revolutionizing parents and neighbors build new rela-
food for the local market, they’re healing American cooking—bringing simple, tionships that strengthen the school and
the land. Since his family bought the exquisite flavors to life with fresh, local, its community. (continues on page 72) spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 41

Through the practice of dispassion, we can loosen the knots that keep
us earthbound and soar to new spiritual heights. By Eknath Easwaran

Untying Our Wings

The Way of


They get their name from their breathtaking way of dropping suddenly
in free flight and doing somersaults as they fall, then spreading their wings
and soaring back into the sky. And they have tremendous endurance.
They can fly without rest for 8 to 12 hours, and in India—especially in the south, where I
grew up—the onset of the monsoon rains heralds marathon competitions to see whose pi-
geons can stay aloft the longest. It is easy to understand why raising these beautiful birds
has been a sport for maharajas since Akbar the Great.
This is one passion that rajas have in common with children, and when I was a boy,
a cousin and I decided to raise pet pigeons ourselves. Our ancestral home had wide court-
yards and second-story tiled roofs, rather like a Spanish hacienda, and every morning
these tumblers would come to sit on the red roof tiles and wait for rice or black gram to
be spread on the courtyard to dry in the sun. It was not easy to make friends with the
birds at first, but my cousin figured out a way that we could crawl up under the roof from
the inside, slowly remove one or two tiles, and then stretch our hands out gently with a
little black gram in our palms.
For days nothing happened. But after a while one pigeon decided that I was a friend
and my hand was a hospitable hand, and he came over and tentatively pecked at my palm.
If you do not like pigeons, I admit, that pecking can hurt. And once they start pecking
they pace around excitedly in circles and call “coo! coo!” to their fellows, so that quickly
you have quite a number of them pecking at the grain in your palm. It took some patience
to keep our hands still, but once they began to trust us, we could slowly get hold of the
bird we liked and it wouldn’t even struggle.
We didn’t know anything about pigeons when we started keeping them as pets. But
children have a lot of time for pigeons, and we took good care of them. We learned their
favorite cereals and kept a fresh supply of them in half a dozen small pots. My cousin
made little wooden homes which we upholstered with cotton from the fields. The result
was so comfortable that one of my friends exclaimed, “Wouldn’t I like to be a pigeon and
have a nice little home like that!”
Pigeons, of course, are used to flying freely. Until they became accustomed to By relaxing our grasp on
living with human beings, we had to tie their wings. Some of the girls in my fam- possessions, we begin to
ily were experts at this. They knew just how to hold the pigeon, spread its wings reclaim our freedom.
gently like a Japanese fan, and tie them loosely with a thread so that the bird

42 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

would not be able to fly away. For a few it reached 100 feet or so it would start Meant to Soar
days the bird stayed in the courtyard doing somersaults while we children Human beings are very much like these
while we made friends, pecking up the cheered and waved below, marveling at pigeons. All of us have wings, though
food we tossed out for it and going in its speed and grace and the glint of the we do not suspect it because they are so
and out of its little home. Then we sun on its neck. After seeing the little fel- tightly tied. We are not meant to stay on
would untie the wings and release the low land-bound for so long, puttering the ground and peck at crumbs of per-
little creature into the air. around the courtyard as if it had never sonal pleasure and profit. We are meant
That was a thrilling moment. The pi- had wings at all, it was exhilarating to to soar—to give our time and love freely
geon would shoot straight up, and when see it soar joyfully into the air. to everyone around us. That is the es-
sence of spiritual growth, and the whole
purpose of meditation and other spiri-
tual practices is to free our wings and al-
THAT TIE US DOWN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, In India’s mystical literature, the
OFTEN BECAUSE WE THINK THEY ADD ties that keep us earthbound are called
“knots that strangle the heart” because
TO OUR STATUS OR PRESTIGE. they constrict our capacity to love.
There are millions of these ties, but per-
haps the easiest to see are what I call
personal attachments: possessions and
activities we cling to that claim our time
and attention at the expense of those
around us.
Many of these attachments are mate-
rial. Most of us have accumulated things
that tie us down one way or another,
often because we think they add to our
status or prestige. Other attachments
might be activities we enjoy that benefit
no one, including ourselves. Whatever it
is, we can’t imagine doing without it.
That is the hallmark of an attachment.
These ties might seem gossamer, but
they add up. They can bind us so to those around us. We bind up
tightly that we can scarcely move our own vitality this way, our ca-
beyond the limited circle of our pacity to live, to give, to love.
personal likes and dislikes. Imag- The Bhagavad Gita, which
ine if your favorite possessions Mahatma Gandhi called his
were actually attached to you. “spiritual reference book,”
How difficult it would be to drag throws light on what happens in
them around even for a day! Yet such cases in the mind. “When
the mental load we carry is no you keep thinking about some-
less burdensome. Shedding even thing,” it points out—car,
a little of that load leaves us feel- clothes, cats, computer—“at-
ing as light and free as if we really tachment comes.” It really is
did have wings. that simple. To get attached to
We don’t have to own many something, nothing more is re-
things to get attached to them. quired than thinking about it
I have known students whose over and over and over until that
Previous spread: Vince Bevan / Alamy; This spread: Feathers: Stephen Mallon / Getty Images; Pigeon in flight: Adrian Muttitt / Alamy; Heart and strings: Jay Corbett / Getty Images

worldly goods fit into a dorm room, yet just your hair but your life that has be- becomes a habit. Then our thinking gets
were fiercely attached to a pair of faded come bound up with pins. caught, and the more it is caught, the
jeans with a story to tell. The issue is not less awareness we have for anything else.
how much we have but how tightly we It’s All in the Mind In my village school, we children
hold on to it. While we are holding on to Ironically, attachment can slowly stran- used the English word “love” rather ca-
something for ourselves, we are not free gle even our enjoyment of the things sually, making statements like “I love
to help others. to which we are attached. They tend this book!” Our teacher, who was partic-
Attachments can come so easily! to grow on us, consuming more and ular about grammar and usage, would
Over the years I have come regretfully to more of our time and attention. After always correct us: “People are to be
the conclusion that there is nothing on a while, as Henry David Thoreau says, loved. Things are to be used.” Tragi-
earth in which the human being cannot we become not their owners but their cally, we have got it backwards today.
be caught. People can get tied to such a servants.
variety of knickknacks. If they go for a One of my high school English teach- How to Untie a Knot
walk on the beach, they must pick up ers made this point in a way I have never Here the Buddha offers a wonderfully
some little shell or stone and take it forgotten. He had written a sentence on practical strategy. Just as a knot can be
home. After a while these treasures ac- the board—“John owns a Ford car”— untied by reversing the steps required to
cumulate into a collection that must be and asked us to rewrite it in the passive tie it, he says, attachments can be loos-
dusted, cared for, and preserved. Soon voice. Most of us got it right: “A Ford ened by doing the opposite of what cre-
it is part of the household, to be passed car is owned by John.” But one of my ated them. Whenever you find yourself
down eventually to some puzzled off- cousins wrote instead, “A Ford car owns spending time and energy on something
spring when we discover that we could- John.” We started to laugh, but our you are attached to that doesn’t benefit
n’t take it with us after all. teacher stopped us. “He may not know anybody—tinkering with your Honda,
Or it might be hairpins—hairpins about the passive voice,” he said sternly, cataloging your music, exploring malls
from around the world, hairpins down “but he knows about life. And that is or catalogs to find more things to buy—
the ages. You become an authority, ad- more important.” put your attention somewhere else in-
mirers ask you to give lectures and offer There is nothing wrong with posses- stead. Again, it’s that simple.
classes, and after a while you find it’s not sions, even rather pointless ones. There Of course, simple doesn’t mean easy.
is nothing wrong with hobbies and activ- But understanding brings motivation.
Spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran founded the ities that are not at the expense of life. Once you see what your mind is doing
Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in 1961. His The problem is simply that when our to you with these little habits and decide
books include Passage Meditation and translations time and attention get caught like this, you prefer the freedom of making choices
of the Classics of Indian Spirituality. that is time and attention we cannot give yourself instead, you will discover a


MORE AND MORE TENDERNESS AND CONCERN FOR OTHERS. spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 45

The Art of Letting Go By Anna Dubrovsky thousand and one little ways to practice
untying these knots every day.
Whenever you find yourself spending
ON AUGUST 29, 2005, three pine trees crashed into the roof of the time in a way that seems out of propor-
Yoga School in Covington, Louisiana, about 40 miles north of New Orleans. tion, for example, or indulging in some
Owner Becky Gelatt considered herself lucky; Hurricane Katrina did far activity that you secretly admit to be a
worse that day. In its aftermath, Gelatt had a lot of work on her hands: deal- waste of time, disengage yourself and
ing with the roof, of course, but also with the profound grief that washed put your time somewhere more con-
over her close-knit yoga community. Katrina was a brutal reminder that structive instead. Pay more attention to
nothing is permanent—that everything material can be taken from us at any your family; do something necessary
moment. And it brought up a question: How do we prepare for loss? that you’ve been putting off. When you
For starters, we can apply the concept of self-discipline, or tapas, to our can do this, you are withdrawing love
daily lives. Giving up coffee or cashews or anything else to which we’re com- from that thing or activity so that you
pulsively attached is a form of tapas. The shedding of attachments gives us a can direct it freely.
fuller appreciation of our inner strength, culminating in a sense of freedom. I can give one small example of this
And it steels us for the inevitable. Choosing to let go of attachments trains us at my own expense. South India is full of
to loosen our grip when we have no choice. Hurricanes happen. Recessions cashew trees, and when I was a boy, the
happen. “The whole process of aging is a process of giving up—as profound path to school led through a cashew nut
a loss as having a house swept off the ground,” says Gelatt, 70. “Yoga orchard. Everyone likes cashew nuts,
teaches us to let go with grace.” and the tree in fruit is an artist’s de-
Whether we choose to give up something, or something is taken from us, a light—beautiful colors made to capti-
period of grief ensues, Gelatt has found. After Katrina, she helped many stu- vate the eye. So a cashew orchard is a
dents cope with grief and fear by teaching restorative poses such as child’s double temptation, and we boys, trans-
pose with a bolster beneath the torso and a blanket draped over the body. parently honest on other occasions, reg-
(See page 61 for more restorative poses). “When people feel comfortable ularly stopped to rob those particular
in a pose, they feel safe,” Gelatt says. “In feeling safe, they can relax a little trees on our way to school.
more.” She recommends long exhalations, which have a calming effect, along I must have done this throughout
with a mental recitation such as “As I let go of the breath, I let go to all.” my career in high school. Then, after In-
As the eye of the hurricane swept through Louisiana, Gelatt chanted a dia’s independence, all our cashews be-
traditional Sanskrit verse. Drawn from the Upanishads, it reminds us that gan to be exported to the United States
letting go is also a process of letting in. of America—a matter of foreign ex-
change—and those delicious nuts disap-
Asato ma sad gamaya Lead me from the unreal to the real. peared from my life. For the rest of my
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya Lead me from darkness to light. time in India, I got no nearer to a
Mrityor ma amritam gamaya Lead me from death to immortality. cashew than the factories where they
were processed.
When we give up attachments to things that are impermanent—unreal— I thought I had forgotten this child-
we become attuned to that which is unchanging and real. We move from hood passion until many years later, in
the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. “I could hear trees the U.S., when a hospitable friend with
creaking and cracking and falling, see parts of roofs flying by,” Gelatt re- whom I was staying discovered this
calls. “I never stopped chanting.” It took several weeks for electricity to be skeleton in my cupboard. She brought
restored to the Yoga School, but when the lights came on, Gelatt saw a new a big tin of cashew nuts and
direction. She shifted her focus from general classes to teacher training so left it on my table as
that more yoga teachers could serve the community. “That was a realiza- a surprise.
tion born of the storm—how many more qualified teachers we need,”
she says. “We don’t know why these losses occur. But they
could be a preparation for something better, something
higher, something mysterious.”

Hear the above Sanskrit verse


46 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

That evening I was reading
the Gita with deep concentration
when I suddenly discovered that
my right hand was missing. I set
the book aside and looked for it.
It was hidden in the cashew tin!
I was utterly astonished. My
mind and I are on fairly good
terms, so I said sternly, “You
can’t be doing what I think you
are doing! Nibbling without my
approval?” My mind looked
sheepish. “Boss, you don’t think
I would do that, do you? I was
only trying to find out what was
in the tin.”
Clearly, this was time to nip
a compulsive attachment in the
bud before it got out of hand.
I did not eat a single cashew
that day, though my mind was
craving for them. All those old,
fierce memories were aroused, Find ease in the world: the less you hold the more you can love.
but every time they clamored for
cashews, I went for a fast walk repeating
my mantram or gave my mind some-
little, it is freer everywhere. When we go
through the day catering to our own pri-
+ Read more articles by Eknath
Easwaran at
thing spiritual to read instead. vate preoccupations and prepossessions,
The next day was the same, and the we are tying our wings till they become We do not have to grow wings to soar
next. For a few days, I read with my bound so tight that we don’t even be- to these heights; we are born with them.
book supported by both hands. lieve they are there. But each knot Nobody has bound them but ourselves,
Finally the craving went away. I for- untied means a little more freedom— and nobody but ourselves can set them
got about cashew nuts completely. That a little more freedom to love. free. This is a challenge for a lifetime,
day I told my mind, “Now you can take When you want nothing for yourself but as we learn to do this, we come to
a handful and enjoy.” alone, the whole world is yours to enjoy. feel more and more tenderness and con-
This is freedom. And, let me tell you, “To arrive at having everything,” John of cern for everybody.
cashew nuts eaten in freedom taste a the Cross says, “desire to have nothing.” Finally, when all the ties that bind
hundred times better than nuts eaten This is real joy, which no one has de- our wings are undone, the love released
Cashews: Mike Kemp / Getty Images; Girl running: Travis Rowan / Alamy

under the tyranny of a craving. scribed more ecstatically than the Eng- is boundless. You can give an infinite
I would be the first to confess that lish poet and mystic Thomas Traherne: amount of it to your partner, children,
this isn’t easy. Not only that, it can be parents, and in-laws and still have a lim-
unpleasant. After all, attachments are You never enjoy the world aright, itless reserve for everyone else. This in-
things we say we love. But that is the till the Sea itself floweth in your creases the joy of living a million times.
problem: love is caught in them. When veins, till you are clothed with the If loving your close ones can bring such
you want to love more, to expand your heavens, and crowned with the joy, the mystics say, how much more joy
love beyond its present circle, to untie stars: and perceive yourself to be must come with loving all? ■
the knots that are strangling your heart, the sole heir of the whole world,
you get the overriding motivation to go and more than so, because men are From “Untying Our Wings” by Eknath Easwaran
against these conditioned habits. Then in it who are every one sole heirs as (Blue Mountain Journal, Spring 2006). Copy-
you get an exhilarating taste of what well as you. Till you can sing and right 2006 by The Blue Mountain Center of Medi-
freedom means. rejoice and delight in God, as mi- tation, P.O. Box 256, Tomales, CA 94971, Reprinted with permission.
The marvel of this is that when we sers do in gold, and kings in scep-
free our attention anywhere, even a tres, you never enjoy the world. spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 47

YOGASUTRA Translation and Commentary by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

Sutra 2.15

¥⁄¿®Ÿº™Ÿ¥–~—響ƋÅêÊí®@ Δ‡⁄%⁄Δ¿Ë∞Ÿôò
Æ‹:êºÂΔ –Δ@Ä ⁄ΔΔ‰⁄é≤:
duÅkham-eva sarva≥ vivekinaÅ

Because the effect of an action is accompanied by pain, because the action itself is
accompanied by the experience of pain, because the subtle impressions of action
contain pain, and because the forces that motivate us to perform an action mutually
contradict and oppose each other, to a person endowed with discernment, all is pain.
Original Pain
Sutra 2.15
Before diving deep into the contents of this sutra, it is important
to remind ourselves that the ideas expressed here have no meaning ei- pari®ŸmatŸpasa≥skŸraduÅkhair = pari®Ÿma
ther for those established in the full knowledge of reality or for those + tŸpas + sa≥skŸra + duÅkhair
totally blind to it. This sutra is for those who know that the domain of pari®Ÿma effect; result; evolving from a cause
bondage and freedom stretches beyond the world perceptible to our
senses, and who therefore know the difference between short-lived tŸpas heat; fever; scorching; feeling of being
pleasures and lasting happiness, yet are not strong enough to live and burnt
act in the light of this knowledge. Such people are called viveki—those sa≥skŸra subtle impressions of actions;
with the power of discrimination to understand the difference between residue of actions
good and bad, right and wrong, true happiness and mere pleasure. This
sutra is meaningful only to them. duÅkhair instrumental case of duÅkha;
The first point Patanjali makes in this sutra is that because the re- sorrow; grief; pain
sult of every action is accompanied by pain, all is pain to a person en- The Sanskrit grammar rule known as samasa
dowed with discernment. Normally our actions are goal-driven. We set dictates that duÅkha accompanies the three
a goal, develop a strategy to achieve it, and perform actions in an at- preceding words. As a result pari®ŸmatŸpa-
tempt to accomplish our goal. This is what any sensible person does. sa≥skŸraduÅkhair means: the result of action
However, our wisdom fails us when we do not realize that the result of is full of pain, the action itself is full of pain, and
our actions is based on several factors. Some of these factors are known the residue of action is full of pain.
to us while others are not. Some are under our control while others are gu®av‡ttivirodhŸcca = gu®a + v‡tti + virodhŸt + ca
not. For example, factors buried in the oblivion of the past walk into the
present and influence the outcome of our current action. And some fac- gu®a intrinsic attribute of primordial nature—
tors may be related to the actions of others colliding with our actions sattva, rajas, and tamas—the three fundamental
and influencing the result. Still other factors might be the effect of our forces that motivate us to think, speak, and act;
carelessness, which undermines the results of our actions. the primordial force of matter and energy known
Even though we know that this is the general dynamic of actions as sattva, rajas, and tamas; the forces of revela-
and their outcome, we become attached to the fruits of our actions. tion, pulsation, and inertia; according to yoga
This attachment causes us to suffer from anxiety while we are perform- philosophy, these three forces constitute the
ing our actions and from disappointment when we do not reap the an- body of primordial matter and energy and their
ticipated results. Actions accompanied by anxiety, and results accompa- functions oppose each other
nied by frustration and disappointment, are painful. Our inability to v‡tti function; modification; rotation
escape such actions and their results is painful. Our inability to stop
such actions and their results from creating an impression on our mind virodhŸt 5th case of virodha: opposition;
is painful. contradiction
The second point Patanjali makes in this sutra is that because ac- ca and; also
tion itself is accompanied by the experience of pain, all is pain to a per-
gu®av‡ttivirodhŸcca because of the opposing
son endowed with discernment. To a significant extent the idea of pain
nature of the three primordial forces and the
and pleasure is unique to each individual, but in general, pain comes
thought constructs they engender
from dissatisfaction and pleasure from satisfaction. Satisfaction and
dissatisfaction are associated with the result of our action. Our experi- duÅkham pain; sorrow
ence tells us that the result is dependent on several factors in addition eva definitely; invariably
to our current action. But our lack of knowledge regarding all the fac-
tors that lead to a successful outcome fills our mind with doubt. From sarva˜ everything; all
doubt comes fear. >> vivekinaÅ 6th case of vivekinaÅ: a person of right
jtimages / Alamy

understanding; a person of discernment

Listen to the Yoga Sutra in Sanskrit at spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 49

Fear makes us nervous. Nervousness to do anything about it, is painful. find ourselves more spontaneously and
compromises our inner stability. Our Patanjali’s final and most important effortlessly motivated to perform our ac-
breathing becomes erratic and irregular. point is that, because the forces that mo- tions correctly and reap the results of our
Simply by looking at us, an adept yogi tivate us to perform actions mutually actions wisely. When we are already in
can see that we are trembling deep in contradict and oppose each other, all is the firm grip of the subtle impressions of
the realm of our senses and mind. Our pain to a person endowed with discern- our past actions, the starting point—nur-
strong attachment to the result of our ac- ment. The fundamental force motivating turing sattvic forces—can be difficult.
tion forces us to hate anything and any- us to perform our actions is known as However, if we remember the first three
one who poses a threat. This hatred sets guna. Guna means “quality, characteris- points that Patanjali makes in this sutra,
a new series of actions in motion to assist tic, attribute, defining factor.” In the con- the task becomes much easier. If we per-
our original action. These new actions text of spirituality in general and yoga in form our actions without either attach-
ment or aversion we can accomplish the
IF WE PERFORM OUR ACTIONS WITHOUT goal: freedom from all miseries.
A careful analysis of the first three
EITHER ATTACHMENT OR AVERSION WE CAN points tells us that attachment to the re-
ATTAIN FREEDOM FROM ALL MISERIES. sults of our actions and aversion to any-
thing that poses an obstacle to the results
are accompanied by anger, greed, and an- particular, guna means “essence, essen- are the true sources of misery. To clarify
imosity, and not only produce their own tial force, fundamental force, the most this key point, let me share an experience
negative results but also contaminate the primordial energy.” It is one, and yet, with you.
result of the original action. Seen from due to its threefold distinct functions, it The city of Kanpur in North India
the vantage point of discernment, all of is described as three: sattva, rajas, and had long been the base of the Himalayan
this is painful. tamas. Sattva is the quality of illumina- Institute’s activities. My teacher and the
Both the result of actions and the ac- tion, revelation, clarity, transparency, Institute’s founder, Swami Rama, had
tions themselves, all accompanied by spiritual enlightenment. Rajas is move-
pain, lead to Patanjali’s third point: Be- ment, pulsation, animation, the power of
cause the subtle impressions of actions changeability. Tamas is darkness, inertia,
contain pain, all is pain to a person en- heaviness, the property of the energy
dowed with discernment. Our actions that blocks revelation, the property of en-
are goal-driven. If we are not careful, ergy that blocks the view of the truth.
both our actions as well as the results be- These threefold forces pervade every-
come contaminated by attachment and thing that exists, including our mind and
aversion. This inevitably leads to the its functions and behaviors. Everything
next level of contamination: anger, jeal- in the universe is simultaneously sattvic,
ousy, greed, doubt, fear, and violence. rajasic, and tamasic. Each of us has a
Yet we continue walking on the path mind filled with sattvic, rajasic, and
of action. In the process, we create im- tamasic forces. These forces influence
pressions in the mind filled with these the functions and behaviors of our mind.
negativities. These impressions, called When sattvic forces dominate our mind,
samskaras, in turn motivate us to under- we gravitate toward sattvic thoughts.
take similar actions. Thus we get caught When rajasic and tamasic forces domi-
in a vicious cycle: action to impression nate, we become interested in attending
and impression to action. These impres- rajasic and tamasic thoughts. It is impor-
sions become more powerful as we rein- tant to remember, however, that when
force them. Eventually they become so one force dominates, the others are not
powerful that they begin to dictate how cancelled, for the law is that these forces
we act. This is what yogis call karma coexist and through their coexistence
chakra, the wheel of karma rotating at a play an unending game of supporting,
seemingly unstoppable velocity. Our opposing, and negating each other. The
abililty to comprehend how unhealthy goal of yoga sadhana is to make an effort
and destructive these subtle impres- to nurture and thereby strengthen the
sions are, coupled with our inability function of the sattvic force so that we

50 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

many students there. One of them, Mrs. every opportunity to visit Swamiji and are motivated by the forces of sattva in
Chittra, was generous, kind, well-read, Dr. Sunanda Bai there. her mindfield. But as soon as she sees
and a serious meditator. She had taken a At one point, Swamiji assigned me to Dr. Sunanda Bai, the force of rajas domi-
leading role in organizing Swamji’s lec- proofread manuscripts of his lectures be- nates. She forgets who she is and she for-
tures in the city, transcribing them, and fore they were sent to the printer. Mrs. gets her goals. She gets pulled into jeal-
getting them published. In time, another Chittra was in charge of all publications ousy, hatred, and other negative thoughts
student appeared. Dr. Sunanda Bai was so this assignment allowed me to work arising from attachment and aversion.
the principal of Kanpur Medical College closely with her. I found her charming, in- The forces that motivate her to put her
and one of the city’s best surgeons. Soon telligent, and efficient. She was admirable virtues of love, kindness, compassion,
after meeting Swamiji, Dr. Sunanda in every respect but one: her attitude to- and forgiveness into practice are sub-
Bai’s worldview and lifestyle changed ward Dr. Sunanda Bai. Mrs. Chittra did dued by opposite forces. The motivating
drastically. She became more disciplined, not acknowledge Dr. Sunanda Bai’s exis- force in her mind is contradicted and op-
more precise in her speech and action, tence, even in her own home. When Dr. posed by another force, and she is caught
and even more diligent in her work— Sunanda Bai greeted Mrs. Chittra, Mrs. in these mutually contradicting and op-
both professional and spiritual. Despite Chittra avoided eye contact. I wondered posing forces filling her mindfield.”
her busy medical practice, she dedicated why the behavior of a loving, serious spiri- When I asked Swamiji about the so-
a great deal of time and energy to spiri- tual seeker would change so dramatically lution to this seemingly unending prob-
tual pursuits. She was one of Swamiji’s in the presence of another loving, spiritu- lem, he replied, “That’s what the next
few students who had sat at the feet of ally elevated person. sutra is all about.” ■
his master, Bengali Baba, and had stud- When I expressed my curiosity about
ied directly with him. Soon, because this to Swamiji, he said, “Mrs. Chittra is Fluent in both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit,
of her own presence and because of a perfect example of Patanjali’s Yoga Su- Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD, is the author
Swamiji’s frequent visits, her house in tra,” pointing to sutra 2.15. “She is a of more than a dozen books on yoga philosophy
Kanpur turned into a shrine. I sought wonderful person. Most of her actions and spiritual practice.

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Easy on the Eyes

Tame wild thoughts and deepen your awareness with drishti,
a gazing technique for focusing the mind. By Jennifer Allen Logosso

H ow often do you find yourself “going through the motions” in yoga class while your eyes wander around the room—
glancing at the graceful student three mats down or the ticking clock—instead of tuning into your body and breath?
A technique called drishti (the method of gazing at a focal point in yoga practice) can help you draw your outward-
looking eyes—and mind—inward, so that your asana routine becomes a moving meditation. Through drishti you
can cultivate a deeper level of concentration, improve your alignment, and tune into the inner sensations of the
body in every pose, so that you’re practicing the way the ancient sages intended—with full awareness. As yoga expert David
Frawley writes in Inner Tantric Yoga, “Fixing the gaze…not only concentrates the mind but draws our energy inward along
with it, extending the action of pratyahara, or the yogic internalization of the prana and the senses.”
In asana classes, teachers often recommend drishti for maintaining
balance in one-legged standing postures like vrikshasana (tree pose),
but the technique can be applied to any posture to improve your focus.
+ Drishti is utilized in other yoga practices,
including trataka—a cleansing meditative
Let’s explore drishti in pashchimottanasana (seated forward bend pose) technique that involves gazing at a candle
by directing our eyes toward a natural focal point: the toes. flame. Learn more at

9 Drishtis
Wondering where to gaze when you’re practicing drishti? The Ashtanga
Yoga system (taught by Sri K.Pattabhi Jois) identifies nine directions
or focal points.
1. Nasagram drishti—tip of the nose
2. Ajna chakra or bhrumadhya drishti—between the eyebrows
3. Nabhi chakra drishti—navel
4. Hastagram drishti—hand
5. Padayoragram drishti—toes
6. Parshva drishti—far to the right
7. Parshva drishti—far to the left
8. Angushthamadhyam drishti—thumbs
9. Urdhva or antara drishti—up to the sky

To learn more about which drishti to employ in each asana, see

David Swenson’s book Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual. As a
general rule, think about casting your gaze in the direction of the
stretch—the proper point is the one that honors the energy of
the posture while maintaining safety in your body. For exam-
ple, in trikonasana (triangle pose), you might gaze up to-
ward the hand that is in the air, straight down at the
floor, or in line with the nose and sternum. Where to
look isn’t as important as how to look—the key is to
shift your focus toward your inner experience.

52 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

Step One • Assume a comfortable
seated posture with the legs outstretched.
If your hamstrings are tight, elevate your
hips by sitting on a folded blanket, or
bend the knees slightly and use a strap
around the feet—these modifications
will allow the body to safely release into
the pose. Spiral the thighs inward, point
the toes upward, and extend through
your heels.

Step Two • Gently cast your gaze to-

ward your toes (this form of drishti is
called padayoragram drishti). Then, in-
stead of pulling your torso forward with
your arms or a strap, soften your gaze so
that the lines between your toes and the
floor begin to blur (almost as if you’re
looking beyond or through the toes). By
gazing in the direction of the stretch,
your body will naturally move in that di-
rection. With each inhalation, allow the
spine to elongate in the direction of the

Step Three • On each exhalation, al-

low the body to soften and surrender
into the stretch while maintaining an
open heart and keeping the gaze softly
fixed toward your toes. Notice how the
awareness of the body intensifies when
you steady your gaze and eliminate vi-
sual distractions.
Soon you’ll discover that there are
a variety of sensory impressions—the
quality of the stretch, the strength or
weakness of the muscles involved, the
quality of your postural alignment, the
sense of spaciousness within the body—
that you may not have otherwise noticed.
All of these sensations emerge as your
gaze becomes one-pointed. Gradually
Blend Images /

you’ll begin to witness the dialogue of

your mind—simply watching distracting
thoughts as they come and go—as you
begin to settle into a peaceful meditative
version of the pose. Now that’s what you
came to class for, isn’t it? ■

Jennifer Allen Logosso is a yoga instructor,

teacher trainer, and owner of Sundari yoga
studio in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 53


Confessions of a Meditator
In the calmness of meditation we get
glimpses of our best self…and our worst.
Here’s how one practitioner navigated
through her darkest hours. By Irene Petryszak
Meditation is easy, right? Just close
your eyes and slip into a still, calm, cen-
tered place within. Do it daily and your
life will become more balanced and har-
monious as you begin to feel a deeper
sense of peace, joy, and love. In no time
at all, you’ll be enlightened. That’s what
I believed some 30 years ago when I was
young and spiritually ambitious. Then
my teacher gave me a mantra practice
that knocked me to my knees.
Meditating with this new mantra
brought me face-to-face with old unre-
solved issues that flooded my conscious
awareness with painful images and feel-
ings of deep sadness, rage, and despair.
One day as an intense surge of grief
welled up, I wondered what would hap-
pen if I surrendered to it consciously,
riding the wave of emotion all the way
to its end: Would I go insane or become
enlightened? I was determined to sit
through it and find out. Instead, the
mind’s self-protective mechanism kicked
in and I fell asleep. Day after day I tried
but kept failing. In those days I slept a
lot. My teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigu-
nait, used to joke, “If you could reach
enlightenment through sleeping, you
would be enlightened.” Instead I was
So why bother meditating? Isn’t it
saner, more pleasant, to simply stay on
life’s surface, rather than diving into the
muck of the unconscious? I ponder this
each time a strong negative feeling,
thought, or image circles like a vulture
when I go inward. That’s when I remem-
Daily practice cleanses ber the beauty of meditation: It can be
the unconscious mind of done in stages, at our own pace. We can
impurities, even when it be like spectators at a movie, watching
seems to stir up trouble. our life unfold on our inner screen. If
a memory or a feeling arises that is too

54 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

painful to bear, we can simply stop the for a while—perhaps sitting for shorter
film by ending our meditation for the periods of time, or doing less japa, or
day—and go about our business until mantra repetition.) The more fresh wa-
next time, when we can again try to wit- ter we add, the less dirty the water in the
ness our thoughts and emotions without bucket becomes, until finally the water
getting so involved. is pristine. How long that takes depends
on how much dirt there was at the bot-
Drops in the Bucket tom of the bucket to begin with, and
Unfortunately, I wasn’t always patient. how we behave between meditation ses-
A friend of mine who had found himself sions. Do we spend the rest of our time
unprepared for the deeper stages of med- in a way that supports the clear water
itation cautioned me to take it slowly, to being poured into the bucket, or in a
fully assimilate any disturbing images way that adds more dirt?
and feelings before intensifying my prac-
tice. Pointing to a bucket, he explained Sorting Mantras
the process of meditation to me in this Of course, there are layers upon layers of
way: See the dirt at the bottom of this dirt (or, in the parlance of yoga, impuri-
bucket? What happens when I add clear ties) that are obscuring our essential na-
water to it? The water gets dirty. That’s ture, which is pure consciousness. The
what happens when we meditate. The more impurities we remove, the more
clear water from our meditation mixes mental and emotional clarity, peace, and
with the unclear thoughts, emotions, joy we experience. Panditji often uses
and desires in our mind, and for a while the analogy of doing laundry to explain
we feel unsettled, wondering why we’re how different mantras can be used to
meditating when it’s making us feel wash away various types of impurities.
worse instead of better. When the water At first, he says, we have to rinse our
stops swirling, the dirt settles back to clothes in plain water, just to remove the


the bottom, and it seems like nothing thickest layer of dirt. We do this by start-
has changed. But on a subtle level, it ing with the universal mantra so’ham
has. Now we know there is some dirt (pronounced “so hum”), which is the
we need to clear away—and hopefully natural sound of the breath. Coordinate
we feel a little calmer and more content the mantra with the breath by mentally
from our sitting practice. saying the word so on each inhalation,
Next time we meditate, he contin- and hum on each exhalation.
ued, the dirt swirls up again. If we can After doing this for a few weeks (or
handle being out of our comfort zone even months) we may want to move to
and continue meditating every day, then the next stage: putting the clothes in the
it is like adding more and more clear wa- washer with detergent. This is the role of
ter to the bucket. (If we can’t handle the a guru mantra (given by a teacher for our
Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

intensity, all we have to do is slow down specific needs), which gives the mind a
more personal focus, allowing us to delve
To learn more about these deeper within. Then we begin to see the
mantra practices go to stubborn stains that detergent alone can-
soham for audio instructions and not remove. For these we need bleach or to download stain remover—a practice of the gayatri
a podcast. mantra, which begins cleansing the ten- spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 55

dencies of our unconscious mind. So, now, while I’m meditating, I see
It was the gayatri mantra that had the mind as an upward- and downward-
brought me to my knees. Old repressed flowing spiral. When I climb the upward
memories began bubbling up during my spiral in meditation, it gives me the
meditation on a daily basis: Suddenly I strength—the clear water, the clear
was a child with immigrant parents who mind—to dive downward with new
were struggling to survive in a foreign awareness, so that I can see my old unre-
land and didn’t have the time or pa- solved issues in a new light. Sometimes,
tience to help me with my problems. I can finally make peace with something
Now, as I said my mantra I felt the emo- that has been troubling me for a long
tional pain all over again. I would have time, so it loses its power—it becomes
alternating desires to scream and smash a faded image in the background of my
windows or eat chocolate and cry—and, mind, with no substance, no bite. Other
of course, sleep a lot. But the next day I times, when a deeply knotted, rooted
would sit and say my mantra, because al- fear or memory shakes me to my core, I
though it brought my impurities to the have to take a break and try again.
surface, it also gave me a glimmer of
higher awareness: one that is free of fear, Don’t Give Up
anger, and sadness—filled, instead, with Meditation has made me stronger, more
peace, love, and joy. balanced, and kinder to both myself and
others. I have found that no matter what
The Spiraling Mind surfaces, I need to sit daily. Whatever is
I find that the deeper I delve into medita- lurking in the shadows will not go away
tion, the more impurities I discover. At until it is brought to light, and if I lose
the same time, I experience more con- the fight one day, there is always the
tentment as I become less of a partici- next. And yes, I was finally able to con-
pant and more of a witness—no longer sciously ride those initial waves of anger
identifying with the thoughts and feel- and sadness to the end, where I experi-
ings that arise from within, but simply enced a great sense of peace, love, joy—
observing and letting them go. At times, and finally, release. Until another wave
however, it seems unending and frustrat- arose and I had to go through the pro-
ing, and I find myself wondering: Will I cess all over again. It made me under-
ever get to the bottom? Is there a bot- stand that enlightenment can come in
tom? Am I making any progress or am I bits and pieces.
like a hamster on a wheel, running end- Each of us needs to find our own way
lessly in place? inside. How long we sit and how much
One day I decided to read through practice we do depends on what we
the journals I’ve kept over the past 30 want to accomplish. Meditation both
years to see if I could find an answer. I stirs things up and clears them out. But
came to an entry where I had had a pro- if at any time in your practice it becomes
found realization—a definite break- overwhelming, witness yourself reacting
through. But then, imagine my surprise, and step back. Maybe journal about it or
when, flipping through the next year, I self-dialogue. Or tend to your regular
came to another entry with the very business. Or go for a walk. Or eat some
same realization, as if it were the first chocolate. Or take a nap. Whatever
time I’d had it. And the year after that, works for you. But next day, go back to
the same thing! That’s when it dawned your meditation. Even if it’s only for five
on me that I was experiencing this real- minutes. Don’t give up. It is your path
ization at different levels. The first time to freedom and self-realization. ■
was only at a surface level of my mind
and heart; each time after, it was increas- Senior editor Irene (Aradhana) Petryszak has
ingly deeper. been teaching yoga philosophy for the last 20 years.

56 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

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Though chronic pain may

be difficult to diagnose
and treat, the suffering is
impossible to ignore.

Yoga for Chronic Pain

Unveil the truth about your pain and discover a
new world of hope and healing. By Kelly McGonigal

T here are few things more frustrating to a person with chronic pain than hearing someone say, “Your pain
is all in your mind.” But if you’re one of the estimated 50 to 75 million Americans living with chronic pain,
these words might actually be the key to relieving your suffering. Chronic pain is in the mind—but this
does not mean what you think it means. The experience of pain is real. Pain has a biological basis. It’s just
that the source of pain isn’t limited to where one feels it or thinks it is coming from.
For decades, scientists and doctors thought that pain could be caused only by damage to the structure of
the body. They looked for the source of chronic pain in bulging spinal discs, muscle injuries, and infections.
More recent research, however, points to a second source of chronic pain: the very real biology of your
thoughts, emotions, expectations, and memories. Most chronic pain has its roots in a physical injury or illness,
Tara Moore / Getty Images

but it is sustained by how that initial trauma changes not just the body but also the mind-body relationship.
The complexity of chronic pain is actually good news. It means that trying to fix the body with surgeries,
pain medications, or physical therapy is not your only hope. By first understanding chronic pain as a mind-body
experience and then using yoga’s toolbox of healing practices—including breathing exercises and restorative

58 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

poses—you can find true relief from pain when the threat is minor or non-exis- keep you stuck, feeling the same emo-
and begin to reclaim your life. tent. Second, the brain can become tions, thinking the same thoughts, and
more likely to interpret situations as even experiencing the same pain.
The Protective Pain Response threatening and sensations as painful, Samskaras do not always lead to
Understanding the difference between producing pain responses that are out of suffering—they also lead to positive
acute pain and chronic pain will be criti- proportion to any real danger. Finally, change. Just as trauma, illness, pain,
cal to your ability to reduce and manage with repeated pain experiences, the and stress leave traces on the body and
your pain. Let’s begin by examining the boundaries between the many aspects of mind, so do positive experiences. What
basic steps of the pain response: sensa- the pain response—sensation, suffering, you practice, you become.
tion, stress, and suffering. and stress—get blurred. In most cases Learning is lifelong, and none of
The protective pain response begins of chronic pain, the mind and body have the changes you’ve learned have to be
when the body experiences some physi- learned all too well how to detect the permanent. Neuroplasticity can be
cal threat, such as a cut, a burn, or an in-
flamed muscle. This threat is detected THE BEST WAY TO UNLEARN CHRONIC STRESS
by specialized nerves and sent through
the spinal cord and up to the brain AND PAIN RESPONSES IS TO GIVE THE MIND AND
where, among other things, the threat BODY HEALTHIER RESPONSES TO PRACTICE.
signals are transformed into pain sensa-
tions. Emotion-processing areas of the slightest hint of a threat and mount a full harnessed for healing. Your mind and
brain also get the message, triggering protective response in all its glory. body have learned how to “do” chronic
a wide range of reactions, from fear to So the things that make pain so effec- pain, and your job is to teach it some-
anger. Combined, your thoughts and tive at helping us survive acute emergen- thing new.
emotions about the physical sensations cies and handling short-term pain are the
of pain make up the suffering component very things that make chronic pain so Unlearning Pain Through Relaxation
of the full pain experience. complex and persistent. The pain you The best way to unlearn chronic stress
To help you take action, the threat feel may reflect a protective mind-body re- and pain responses is to give the mind
signals have been simultaneously routed sponse that has become overprotective. and body healthier responses to practice.
to the areas of your brain that help the By helping you transform chronic
body launch an emergency stress re- Pain Again pain-and-stress responses into “chronic
sponse, coordinating the actions of the Why does past pain make you more sen- healing” responses of mind and body,
nervous system, endocrine system, and sitive to future pain? You can thank one yoga helps reduce your suffering of
immune system. The emergency stress of the great wonders of our nervous sys- chronic pain. Your mind and body have
response triggers a cascade of physiolog- tem: its ability to learn in response to ex- built-in healing responses that are just
ical changes that give you the energy and perience. This ability is called neuroplas- as powerful as their protective pain-and-
focus to protect yourself from life-threat- ticity. Through the repeated experience stress responses. Whether it’s a medita-
ening danger. of pain, the nervous system gets better tion on gratitude, a relaxation pose that
Even after the threat is gone, the pain at detecting threat and producing the puts the body and mind at ease, or a
response is not over. The mind and body protective pain response. So unfortu- breathing exercise that strengthens the
are very interested in making sure you nately, in the case of chronic pain, learn- flow of energy in your body—they all
know how to protect yourself from this ing from experience and getting “better” share the benefit of bringing you back
threat in the future. So the nervous sys- at pain paradoxically means more pain, home to your natural sense of well-being.
tem begins the process of learning from not less. Relaxation specifically has been
this experience. Any kind of injury or ill- Both modern science and yoga share shown to be healing for chronic pain.
ness, even one that is short-lived or ap- this idea: present pain and suffering have It turns off the stress response and di-
pears to be fully healed, can change the their roots in past pain, trauma, stress, rects the body’s energy to growth, repair,
way the nervous system processes pain. loss, and illness. Modern science uses immune function, digestion, and other
words like neuroplasticity to describe self-nurturing processes. The relaxation
Understanding Chronic Pain the process of learning from past expe- response unravels the mind-body sam-
Chronic pain differs from acute pain in riences; yoga uses the word samskara. skaras that contribute to pain and pro-
three important ways. First, the body Samskaras are the memories of the body vides the foundation for healing habits.
can become more sensitive to threat, and mind that influence how we experi- Consistent relaxation practice teaches
sending threat signals to the brain even ence the present moment. Samskaras the mind and body how to rest in a spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 59

sense of safety rather than chronic emer- that you can inhale and exhale through skip it. There are several things you can
gency. Below, we will look at a breath- different parts of your body—as if your try that may make you feel more com-
ing practice and several restorative nostrils were moved to that part of the fortable. First, stay with the visualization
yoga poses that promote the relaxation body. Start with your feet. Imagine the and direct the breath right at the sensa-
response. breath entering your body through the tions of discomfort or pain. Imagine that


Breathing the Whole Body soles of your feet, and exiting your body the breath is dissolving or massaging the
Breathing the body is a visualization through the soles of your feet. Notice tension and pain. Imagine the solidity of
practice adapted from the traditional any sensations there. Feel, or imagine, the tension or pain softening. Find the
practice of yoga nidra (yogic sleep) and that flow of energy in the feet as you space inside the pain. Second, try mov-
the body-scan practice taught in Jon Ka- breathe. Now repeat this visualization ing your attention back and forth be-
bat-Zinn’s mindfulness-based stress re- for other parts of your body: Your lower tween the uncomfortable area and a
duction program for people with chronic legs, knees, and upper legs. Your hips, more comfortable area. For a few breaths,
pain. Start in any comfortable relaxation lower back, middle back, and upper breathe into the painful area; for the next
pose such as shavasana (corpse pose). back. Your belly and chest. Your shoul- few breaths, breathe into another area.
Place your hands on your belly and feel ders, upper arms, elbows, lower arms, Switching back and forth like this can
the movement of the breath. Notice the hands. Your neck. Your forehead and teach the mind how to give the uncom-
belly rising and falling, and notice the the crown of your head. fortable sensations less priority. You are
breath moving in and out of your body. When you get to an area that feels practicing a healthy kind of distraction:
In this practice, you will imagine tense, uncomfortable, or painful, don’t intentionally shifting your focus while

60 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

+ For more advice about yoga for chronic pain, go to

still being present in your body. restorative yoga an active process of fo-
When you have worked your way cusing the mind on healing thoughts,
through the whole body, let yourself feel sensations, and emotions.

the breath enter the body through your The order of poses presented here is
nose, mouth, and throat. Imagine the just one possible sequence. As you ex-
sensation of breathing through your plore the poses, you may find that your
whole body, as if the body were gently ex- body prefers a different sequence or that Supported Bound Angle Pose
panding as you inhale and contracting as you would rather stay longer in one pose This pose relaxes tension in the belly,
you exhale. Feel, or imagine, the flow of than practice several poses for shorter chest, and shoulders that otherwise can
energy through your whole body. periods. You can also integrate restora- restrict the breath. Lean a bolster on a
tive poses into an active yoga session. block or other support (such as tele-
Restorative Yoga phone books). Sit in front of the bolster
Restorative yoga turns on the healing with your legs in a diamond shape. Place
relaxation response by combining gen- a pillow or a rolled blanket under each
tle yoga poses with con- outer thigh and knee, making sure that
scious breathing. Be- the legs are fully supported without a
low you will learn four deep stretch or strain in the knees, legs,
restorative yoga poses or hips. Lean back onto the bolster so

that may be practiced that you are supported from the lower
on their own or in a back to the back of the head. Rest your
sequence. arms wherever is most comfortable.
There are several factors that make Nesting Pose Nesting pose creates a Now notice the whole front of your
restorative yoga so relaxing. First, each sense of security and nurturing. It may body relax and gently open as you in-
pose is meant to be held for longer than also be a position you are comfortable hale. Follow this sensation and feel the
a few breaths. You can stay in a restora- sleeping in, making it an excellent pos- ease in the front of the body as you
tive pose for 10 minutes or even longer. ture to practice if you have insomnia or breathe.
The stillness allows the body to drop other difficulty sleeping.
even the deepest layers of tension. Sec- Lie on your side, legs bent and
ond, restorative poses use props to sup- drawn in toward your belly. Rest your
port your body. Props can include the head on a pillow, and place a pillow or a
wall, a chair, a couch, pillows, blankets, bolster between your knees. Rest your
towels, or bolsters designed especially arms in whatever position feels most
for restorative yoga practice. The right comfortable. If available, another bol-
Restorative poses: Printed with permission by New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

support in a pose will make it feel effort- ster or pillow may be placed behind
less, so your body can fully let go. your back for an extra sense of support.
You shouldn’t feel strong sensations Rest in the natural rhythm of your

of stretch or strength the way you might breath, observing each inhalation and
in a more active yoga pose. Stretching exhalation as it moves through the
and strengthening, although healthy, are body. Take comfort in the simplicity
both forms of tension in the body. They and effortlessness of this action. Supported Backbend Pose
are a kind of good stress on the body, Supported backbend is a heart-opening
asking the body to adapt to the chal- pose that reinforces your desire to em-
lenges of a pose. But restorative yoga is Kelly McGonigal is the editor in chief of the Inter- brace life and not let challenges—in-
all about letting go of tension and stress. national Journal of Yoga Therapy. Visit her at
cluding pain—separate you from life.
Although these poses may look as This pose also works magic to release
though you are doing nothing, this is far Adapted with permission by New Harbinger Publi- chronic tension in the back and shoul-
from the truth. Restorative yoga rests cations, Inc. from Yoga for Pain Relief by Kelly ders, undoing postural habits that come
the body but engages the mind. The McGonigal, PhD. ©2009 Kelly McGonigal. from spending too much time at a desk,
breathing elements of each pose make ( at a computer, or driving. >> spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 61

Sitting, place a bolster or fortable, turning your head to the side.
a stack of pillows or blankets Be sure that whatever support you are
under slightly bent knees. using is high enough and sturdy
Place one folded pillow or enough to support you, without creat-
rolled blanket or towel behind ing strain in the back or hips. If you feel

you; when you lie back, it a strong stretch that is uncomfortable
should support the upper rib to hold, you need more support.
cage, not the lower back. If In this pose, the belly, chest, and
you need extra support under- back all expand and contract with each
neath the lower rib cage and lower back, Supported Forward Bend This pose breath. Feel the movement of the whole
roll a small towel to support the natural relaxes the hips and back, unraveling torso as you inhale and exhale. Feel your
curve of the spine. Place a rolled towel the stress of daily activities on the belly and chest gently press into the sup-
or a small blanket to support your head spine. Hugging a bolster and resting port of the bolster or pillows as you in-
and neck at whatever height is most your head on its support provides a nat- hale. Let the sensation of your breath
comfortable. ural sense of security and comfort. deepen the sensation of being hugged.
This pose improves the flow of the Sit cross-legged on the floor. Lean for- ———
breath in the upper chest, rib cage, and ward onto the support of a sofa, a chair, These simple relaxation practices
belly. Allow yourself to feel this move- or a stack of pillows, blankets, or cush- will lead you on the path of ending your
ment as you inhale and exhale. Imag- ions. If you have a bolster, place one end suffering. Yoga can teach you how to
ine breathing in and out through your in your lap and the other end on the focus your mind to change your experi-
heart center. Visualize the movement of sofa, the chair, or the stack of support. ence of physical pain. It can give you
breath from your heart to your lungs as Rest your head on whatever support is back the sense of safety, control, and
you inhale, and from the lungs back out available. If you are using the bolster, courage that you need to move past your
through the heart center as you exhale. you can hug it in any way that feels com- experience of chronic pain. ■

62 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

The best new reads, CDs, and films for springtime inspiration

Communication (NVC), a
technique used in education,
international mediation, and
interfaith dialogue. In What
We Say Matters they openly
share their struggles and suc-
cesses with NVC practices:
distinguishing between feel-
ings and needs, requesting
rather than demanding,
choosing connection over
conflict, and finding mutually
Dancing the Flame of Life True Food What We Say Matters satisfying solutions. Giving a
Dona Holleman Annie B. Bond, Melissa Judith Hanson Lasater and clear, basic explanation of
Don’t be fooled by the flashy Breyer, Wendy Gordon Ike K. Lasater NVC—punctuated by help-
title: this asana manual is a Want to improve your health The Lasaters, both long-term ful charts, exercises, and re-
detailed, engaging practice and green your life but feel students of yoga and Bud- sources—they show how
book rooted in the principles overwhelmed by all the con- dhism, did not fully appreci- we can put satya and right
of “Centered Yoga”—a tradictory advice in the info- ate and understand the yoga speech into day-to-day prac-
hatha style focused on balanc- sphere? Here’s help: True principle of satya, or truth, tice with our partners, chil-
ing the masculine and femi- Food sifts through the eco- and the Buddhist precept dren, parents, friends, and
nine. Inspired by everything lore to offer you eight simple, of right speech until they colleagues—at home, at
from Taoism to the teachings well-researched, kitchen- and started practicing Marshall work, and in the world.
of B.K.S Iyengar, Holleman market-ready steps. This es- Rosenberg’s Nonviolent —Helen Hryndyk
encourages readers to find a sential reference book pro-
“state of peace in the body vides not just the how-to-do
that is neither indulgence nor but the why-you-should, too. Moving Melodies
warfare.” Each chapter focuses on one
The core asana section step, such as “Eating Local” Kundalini Meditation Music
builds on her best-selling or “Aim for Organic”; inter- Snatam Kaur, Mirabai Ceiba, and others
Dancing the Body of Light and spersed throughout are sea- Melodic and heartfelt, this compilation explores
deftly breaks down more sonal recipes, nutritional tips, sacred sound. Each track dwells in a specific in-
than 200 poses and varia- and practical recommenda- tention—healing, prosperity, connecting with the divine femi-
tions, ranging from the basic tions about shopping and nine—while the accompanying booklet provides instructions for
(tadasana) to the more ambi- cleaning green. The authors chanting and meditation.The otherworldly mantras, vocals, and
tious (yoganidrasana). The also provide convenient gongs are an invitation to deepen your practice. —R.W.
supporting chapters clearly charts, which elucidate every-
explain anatomical principles thing from mercury levels in Higher & Higher
and offer astute tips for teach- fish, to what organic labels Neshama Carlebach and the Green Pasture
ers; a complementary audio really mean. From the neo- Baptist Church Choir
CD expounds on relevant phyte to the veteran on the Neshama Carlebach, a star in the Jewish music
topics, such as proper breath- path to greener health, True world, collaborates with a Baptist choir from the Bronx, NY,
ing. Dancing the Flame of Life Food’s accessible style aims to singing songs mostly written by her late lauded father, Rabbi
flawlessly weaves the gross please and inform all. Shlomo Carlebach. What lies at the intersection of Jewish
with the subtle. —Ruby Wells themes and Baptist Gospel? A musical portmanteau that is
—Kathryn Heagberg uncommon, uplifting, and remarkably moving. —R.W. >>

64 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

vegetables, and bread-baking We can (still) do it!
basics. Get ready to discover
a new canvas: Brown doesn’t With Women’s History Month (March) around the corner,
just give instructions, he we’ve compiled a few picks to inform, inspire, and empower
aims to inspire by “acquaint- Rosie the Riveter’s yoga-practicing, globally-conscious grand-
ing your palate with your daughter. —J.L.
palette.” —Jancy Langley
For the Body
The Woman’s Yoga Book
Asana and Pranayama for
All Phases of the Menstrual Cycle
Bobby Clennell
The Mind Is Mightier Featuring a foreword from Geeta Iyen-
Than the Sword gar (B.K.S.’s daughter) and her own il-
Lama Surya Das lustrations, Clennell offers readers straightforward practice
In an intelligent, down-to- tips based on 30 years of personal experience in this 2007
earth offering, Lama Surya congenial no-nonsense guide to life in the female body.
Das—one of America’s fore-
most Buddhist teachers— Great Yoga Retreats For the Spirit
mixes stories from pop cul- Kristin Rübesamen; Pray the Devil Back to Hell
ture with anecdotes from Angelika Taschen (editor) Abigail E. Disney and Gini Reticker
long-gone Buddhist masters. With a trove of alluring im- In a powerful incisive film, Disney and
Das takes a 2,500-year-old ages and light descriptive Reticker juxtapose wrenching footage of
tradition and connects it to text for the travel-planner, Liberia’s blood-soaked 1990’s civil war
the reader’s contemporary Taschen pinpoints the with an understated, inspiring, spiritually
life in a colloquial style that world’s finest yoga holiday laden narrative of the interfaith women’s
reads like a captivating con- destinations. From Bhutan peace movement that helped end it.
versation. —Steven Coraor to Virginia, there are beauti-
ful photographs of well-ap- For the Heart
pointed rooms, asana studios Committed
overlooking the sea, and A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
limpid pools aplenty. —R.W. Elizabeth Gilbert
Like a dear clever friend at Sunday
Yoga: Immortality brunch, Gilbert relays easy enlighten-
and Freedom ing insights on love, marriage, and the
(Princeton Classic Editions) baby(less) carriage. Supported by broad historical research
Mircea Eliade and couched in her own international Homeland Security-
A new edition of Eliade’s beleaguered second marriage story, Eat, Pray, Love’s au-
groundbreaking and schol- thor delivers a witty and warm sophomore memoir.
The Complete arly work on the history, phi-
Tassajara Cookbook losophy, and practice of yoga For the Future
Recipes, Techniques, and offers readers another chance Half the Sky
Reflections from the Famed to explore the now 50-year- Turning Oppression into Opportunity
Zen Kitchen old classic—a beginning for Women Worldwide
Edward Espe Brown point for much of Western Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Replete with more than study on yoga. A fresh intro- Two Pulitzer-winning New York Times
just recipes, a seasoned Zen duction by scholar David journalists find iron-willed women from
chef’s insightful guide blends White offers insight into the the brothels of Phnom Penh to the fistula hospitals of Ad-
35 years of work and food- personal roots of Eliade’s in- dis Ababa. Before you reach the back cover you’ll yearn
writing with well-explained spiration. —Rolf Sovik and learn to lend a hand in empowering women abroad. ■
cooking techniques, odes to

66 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

Self-Transformation Program
A four-week residential experience

Join a community of people devoted to personal growth,

selfless service, and the ongoing Himalayan Institute
projects that benefit humanity. For a brochure and
application e-mail
or call 800-822-4547 (press 8) or visit us online.
090917 spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 67

Living Tantra (PART 2)
(continued from page 35) detail above: awaken the prana shakti involves the precise application of prana
at the ajna chakra with bhastrika-style shakti to accomplish a specific purpose.
more pranic force will be attracted to breathing, retain the last inhalation at For example, you wish to cultivate heal-
that center. “Intensity of awareness” is the ajna chakra, and rest your aware- ing power—the power to heal yourself
another way of referring to the concen- ness in the pranic field pulsating there. and/or to heal others. Let’s say you wish
tration of mental energy. Practically Through regular practice, you make the to boost your strength and stamina. You
speaking, therefore, the pranic force is prana shakti become stable and com- wish to restore your vitality and youth-
making the mind become concentrated, pact at the ajna chakra. Do not do this fulness. In that case, you would medi-
and this concentration of mind is con- practice for more than a few minutes a tate on one of the most powerful healing
centrating the pranic force even further. day. If it is done accurately and method- mantras—the maha mrityunjaya man-
Once this process has begun, it gathers ically, a five-minute practice will gener- tra—while keeping your focus at the
momentum spontaneously and the ate more than enough shakti to recharge navel center, which is already filled with
prana shakti becomes more and more your entire body and mind. You will intense, awakened, and active prana
concentrated. This pranic concentration have enough shakti to command your shakti. This third step of the prana dha-
is seen through the eyes of the mind as a mind to attend to the object of your rana practice is for healing oneself. If you
choice. Not only will your mind return wish to heal others, you would go on to
from numberless corners of the world, the next step.
it will stay at the ajna chakra joyfully. The fourth step of prana dharana in-
Through prolonged and consistent volves undertaking and completing a
practice, prana shakti and the mind be- tantric practice called purascharana.
gin to embrace, nurture, guide, and sup- This practice consists of reciting a man-
port each other. As this happens, any tra a specific number of times while fo-
quest—worldly or spiritual—becomes cusing at the navel center, then making
easy and fulfilling. an offering with the same mantra into
Practicing the next three steps of the sacred fire at the navel center. You
prana dharana requires a deepening un- would go into your navel center and,
Trikhanda mudra can serve as a vehicle derstanding of tantra, especially the se- with the exhalation, bring the fully
for transferring healing power to someone cret of tantric rituals and why they bring awakened, active healing force from the
or something outside of yourself.
dramatic results. The second step in- navel center into your nostrils. From
volves selecting an object and bringing there, you would transfer it into a special
radiant field of energy. Tantrics call it it into the field of prana shakti concen- hand mudra known as trikhanda mudra.
bindu, an ocean of vibrant, radiant prana trated at the ajna chakra. For example, As you dissolve the trikhanda mudra,
shakti compressed in a dot—a point of you could bring an image of sacred fire you would transmit the healing power to
reference beyond our normal concepts into the intense pranic field at the ajna the person or precise aspect of the natu-
of time, space, and the law of causation. chakra. When it falls into the awakened ral world you wish to heal.
Here, the pranic field is so intense, so and active pranic field, it automatically The process of prana dharana as de-
compact, that it is lit by its own efful- comes to life. No longer an inert, mo- scribed in this fourth step can also be
gence. Its healing and nourishing power tionless image, it will share the vibrant used to breathe life into a particular yan-
is so intense, so awakened and active, pulsation of the prana shakti. Then you tra, mandala, or mantra. As tantrics
that anything—yantra, mantra, man- could bring this living fire down to the affirm, only an awakened mantra or
dala, form, shape, or visual object—that navel center, and with the power of mandala can awaken our minds and
falls in this field instantly comes to life. mantra, formally place it there. Tantric hearts. Only a ritual brought to life
It is through this power that we can adepts use unique mantras to further through the power of prana shakti can
breathe life into any practice—tantric feed and nurture the fire at the navel cen- heal or nurture ourselves or others. The
or non-tantric. ter. An understanding of the dynamics practice of prana dharana is the means of
of fire in tantric cosmology forms the making our practices come to life. The
Advanced Prana Dharana basis for these practices. beauty of prana dharana is that we bene-
The tantric practice of prana dharana, The third step of prana dharana fit from it while we are practicing it.
which is established on the firm ground Once charged with and guided by this
Andrea Killam

of the tantric version of bhastrika prana- Watch Pandit Tigunait demonstrate energy, we gain the competency to un-
yama, is completed in several steps. The bhastrika and the first step of prana dha- dertake any practice, including the ones
first step has been described in some rana at forbidden to ordinary seekers. ■

68 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

How can you help protect
the prairie and the penguin?

Simple. Visit and learn how the world’s

leading environmental groups are working together under one
name. And how easy it is for you to help protect the prairies and
the penguins and the planet.

One environment. One simple way to care for it.

HI BULLETIN News for Himalayan
Institute Members

Humanitarian Update
HI’s humanitarian projects span multiple objectives, cultures, and continents. Here are a few
of the ways your membership is helping our global community. —Amanda Masters

HI Cameroon Allahabad, India Tibetan Refugee

The HI Cameroon (HIC) Energy Farming, a core piece Settlements
community center is in the of HI’s humanitarian pro- In September 2009, monsoon
midst of the dry season—a six- gram, focuses on the sustain- rains drenched the Tibetan
month period of little to no able cultivation of oilseed Rabgyeling settlement in
rainfall. From November to crops, like castor and Ponga- South India—home to the
April, municipal water sources mia pinnata, to provide green HI Energy Farming program,
are severely rationed; people energy; increase crop diversifi- where 20 acres of marginal
must haul water from pol- cation; and promote organic land have been planted with
luted overused streams; and land-management techniques. Pongamia. These biofuel-yield-
the incidence of waterborne In 2006, the first EF plots ing trees are a source of both
and dehydration-related dis- were planted on the 30-acre environmental and economic
eases greatly increases. campus of the Himalayan regeneration for the local com-
To address this problem, Institute in Allahabad. This munity; but the extreme rain,
HIC and the Buffalo Arts Stu- original site has been a test- and the waist-high grass that
dio, a nonprofit cultural cen- ing ground for new meth- came with it, threatened to

Man at well: Chelsea Abella; Marc Demers: Andrea Killam; Hand: Andrea Killam
ter in Buffalo, NY, installed a ods—like intercropping and choke the young seedlings.
30-foot well on HIC Energy advanced composting—and The four Tibetan HI staff
Farming land in the village of new crops, like the medicinal members recognized that
Clean drinking water means
Kishong. Now the well facili- herbs turmeric and ginger, they’d need help, so they or-
greater quality of life for the tates year-round cultivation of found in many HI health ganized a “Public Contribu-
villagers of Kishong. medicinal and oilseed crops products. tion Day.” In a tremendous
and provides public water via a This well-established EF show of support, dozens of lo-
roadside tap. In a place where site now serves as both a train- cal Tibetans took to the fields,
water is precious, a permanent ing center for local farmers in clearing the grass by hand, or
clean-water source will make a India as well as a model for with machetes. The staff soon
powerful difference for villag- HI community centers organized several more Pub-
ers’ health and quality of life. around the world. lic Contribution Days with
over 150 volunteers in total.
+ Find more HI humanitarian updates
Thanks to the community’s
dedication, the Pongamia proj-
ect can continue to take root.

2009 in Review Thanks to the ongoing support of our members and over 100 resident karma yogis,

January–March April–June

HI Cameroon opened
HI Press launched the The Energy Farming
the Energy Farming
first of 24 e-books. program was launched
Training Center and
at the Rabgyeling HH Dalai Lama
two Total Health Yoga+ became HI’s
Tibetan settlement. met privately with
Centers. membership magazine.
an HI delegation.
HI led a pilgrimage HI released the rejuvenative
to Kamakhya, India. herbal formula chyawanprash.

70 yoga + joyful living spring 2010

Biofeedback to the Future
Thanks to portable, sophisticated equipment and a growing body
of supporting research, biofeedback has become more pre-
cise and popular than ever. But it was already a fascinating
science by the 1960s and ’70s: therapists tinkered with elec-
trodes and monitored subtle physiological activities such as
brain waves, muscle tension, and skin temperature, enabling
clients to observe and alter their own behavior.
Early leaders in biofeedback even collaborated with
advanced meditation and yoga practitioners, in-
cluding Swami Rama, HI’s founder.
Which is why, when the Northeast Re-
gional Biofeedback Society came to HI
A sensor on the fingertip
Honesdale, some practitioners felt like measures temperature changes,
they had come home. According to Dr. while electrodes on the palm monitor
Richard Soutar, a lecturer at the October activity in the sweat glands.
conference, “it’s strange and wonderful
to be back at Swami Rama’s place,
where things began.” —Jancy Langley


Taste the Tradition
In the early 1980s, Marc Demers was studying physical education in Alberta, Canada, when
he took a class that changed his life: yoga. That first course led him to the Himalayan Institute,
where he’s been refining his practice and studying vegetarian and ayurvedic cooking ever since.
These days, Marc heads up the HI kitchen, which produces three wholesome, balanced meals
a day, seven days a week, for 100 to 200 people.
Last October, Marc and his staff revitalized and expanded the menu with classic, well-tested
recipes. “We try to take something useful from everywhere we find it,” he says. The aromatic
results—from warm curried dahl to pesto-laced whole wheat pizza—have had the whole cam-
pus buzzing. What’s the secret ingredient? “In order for the food to be nourishing and nurtur- The man behind the
ing,” Marc says, “one should possess those qualities while cooking.” —Camilla Padaki ■ meals: Marc Demers

HI continues to be a leading organization in yoga, tantra, humanitarianism, and natural health.

July–September October–December

The first Organic Gar- HI India secured a 14-acre HI Mexico established

dening Apprenticeship campus in Khajuraho, India. its first branch center.
Program began at HI’s
HI released Vitamin C
Honesdale campus.
and Neti Mist.
HI’s residential program
The Oprah Show was featured in a New
featured HI’s neti pot. York Times article. spring 2010 yoga + joyful living 71

Good-Food Revolution
(continued from page 41) Will Allen all the heat needed to keep the green-
TILLING THE INNER CITY houses warm and producing vegetables
Waters’ Chez Panisse Foundation When Will Allen bought Growing throughout a harsh Midwestern winter.
has also helped launch a sister program Power, a nursery in Milwaukee, Wiscon- But the soil and the food grown on the
in New Orleans, a sustainable food proj- sin, his plan was to start a small urban property aren’t an end in themselves;
ect at Yale University, and a network farm where he could grow produce for they’re the means—the groundwork
of school gardens and holistic culinary sale to the local community. That mod- upon which strong communities can
projects sprouting across the country. est vision changed when a group of come together to solve the profound
In September 2009, the Greensboro neighborhood kids asked him to show problems of our food system.
Children’s Museum in North Carolina them how to grow their own food. What “A lot of times I’ve heard, ‘Let’s go
broke ground on a new garden, becom- was meant to be a small for-profit busi- in—we have 200 vacant lots—bring
ing the first children’s museum in the ness has grown into a nonprofit commu- some compost in and throw it down,
country to join the movement. nity food center, offering not just pro- and everyody’s going to run out of their
Each garden is created by the chil- duce but the know-how to grow, pro- houses and start farming,” Allen told
dren to be a lovely place and to help cess, market, and distribute sustainable a group of activists in Minneapolis ear-
make their school more beautiful. This healthy food. It’s one of the most influ- lier this year. “If you’re not able to en-
isn’t a side effect of the project; it’s one ential forces in urban farming in the na- gage the community, nothing else can
of the main principles. “Beauty is a lan- tion, if not the world. really be sustained.”
guage,” Waters writes. “A beautifully Allen, a MacArthur Fellow and a for- Allen is working to overcome the all-
prepared environment, where deliberate mer professional basketball player and too-common perception—especially
thought has gone into everything from marketing executive, has developed inno- among urban youth—that farm work
the garden paths to the plates on the ta- vative holistic techniques for integrating must be cruel, grueling, or dirty. The
bles, communicates to children that we fish farming into his plant-growing opera- 6'7" force of nature who appears year
care about them.” tion. Growing Power produces astonish- round and all over the country in his
It’s all part of what Waters calls her ing amounts of food and lush vermicom- trademark sleeveless hooded sweatshirt,
“delicious revolution.” The secret is post in remarkably small spaces—25,000 has turned the gift for sales that he first
that the seemingly selfish act of wanting plants, thousands of fish, plus laying exhibited at corporations like Kentucky
to eat delightful food is actually based hens, goats, rabbits, and turkeys, all on Fried Chicken to promote something
on sharing and connecting: people cook two acres of inner-city land. This oasis of much more precious than the secret
together, eat together, and work to- fresh nutritious food lies in the heart recipe of 11 herbs and spices: inspira-
gether with their local farmers to build of what Allen calls a “food desert,” but tion for a community of citizens to
a healthy community. Growing Power’s message and methods work together and take control of their
are spreading far and wide, with spin-offs own food system.
and partner projects around the nation “I don’t build gardens with fences.
and a new project launching through the Everybody’s talking about, ‘You gotta

Will Allen: Darren Hauck / The New York Times; Asparagus: Floortje /
Clinton Global Initiative to share the put up a fence to protect the garden.’
methodology in Africa. No. You have to engage the commu-
Everything on the small city farm is nity,” Allen says.
integrated: The aquaponics tank not He sees a future with 50 million new
only grows fish, it also produces nutri- growers—not just full-scale farmers
ent-rich water for the tomatoes and salad but families with rows of pots on their
greens grown in the greenhouse. Allen’s porches, students turning soil in school-
beloved worms, which he proudly counts yards, neighbors sharing plots in com-
among his livestock, not only digest mil- munity gardens. If it works, they won’t
lions of pounds of food waste to produce just be growing food. They’ll be grow-
nutrient-rich compost, they generate ing stronger interdependent communi-
Urban farmer Will Allen believes in the
ties that rely on and nurture one another
power of worms and community.
as surely as the tilapia and lake perch
growing in Allen’s aquaponics tanks de-
pend on the composting worms and
floating watercress that complete their
cycle of life. ■

72 yoga + joyful living spring 2010


74 program calendar
spring/summer 2010

program highlights
yoga practice
yoga philosophy
ayurveda and health
total health center
residential programs
teacher training
meet our faculty
registration and
90 guest information

Welcome to the Himalayan Institute,

the premier center for yoga, meditation, spirituality, and holis-
tic health. Our vibrant community sits on a peaceful 400-acre
campus in the rolling hills and verdant forests of Pennsylvania’s
Pocono Mountains. The Institute provides the perfect setting for
seminars and retreats, residential programs, holistic health ser-
Andrea Killam; Model: John Daskovsky

vices, and outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and bird watch-
ing. Join students from all over the world in discovering the path
to a balanced, integrated, and fulfilling life.

Our diverse programs explore hatha yoga, meditation, ayurveda

and wellness, stress reduction, and yoga and tantra philosophy.
We also offer yoga teacher trainings, spiritual excursions, medi-
tation retreats, and self-transformation residential programs.
Himalayan Institute Program Guide

3–7 ■ Pancha Karma ..............................................83 5–9 ■ Pancha Karma ..............................................83
4–30 ■ Self-Transformation Program........................86 6–6/1 ■ Self-Transformation Program........................86
5–7 ■ Dynamics of Meditation: The Inward Journey ....82 7–9 ■ Dynamics of Meditation: The Inward Journey ....82
★ 12–14 ■ The Art of Self-Care: Discover the 7–9 ■ When to Practice What: An Exploration
Healing Power of Yoga .................................83 of Hatha Yoga ..............................................79
17–21 ■ Pancha Karma ..............................................83 14–16 ■ Live Your Yoga: Ten Principles
19–21 ■ Loud, Soft, Silent: Exploring the Use of to Guide Your Life ........................................81
Sound in Yoga ..............................................78 14–16 Perspectives on Kundalini: A Spring Conference
25–28 ■ Total Detox: Reclaim Your from the Kundalini Research Network ...........77
Vital Energy and Focus .................................85 19–23 ■ Pancha Karma .............................................83
26–28 ■ The Lost Masters: Our Forgotten 21– 23 ■ Swimming with the Current: A Viniyoga
Spiritual History with Linda Johnsen..............80 Exploration of Breath, Movement, and Asana .78
21–30 Members’ Homecoming Program .................77
★ 28–30 ■ Chakras and Asanas: A Journey Inside ...............79
2–4 ■ Holiday Retreat: Rest, Reflect, & Renew .....82
7–11 ■ Pancha Karma .............................................83 june
8–5/4 ■ Self-Transformation Program........................86 2–8 ■ Pancha Karma ..............................................83
9–11 ■ Dynamics of Meditation: The Inward Journey ....82 3–29 ■ Self-Transformation Program........................86
15–18 ■ Feed Your Fire: Stoke the Fire of Your Body 4–6 ■ Dynamics of Meditation: The Inward Journey ....82
with Susan Taylor ..........................................84 4–6 ■ Sacred Sequencing: A Prana Flow Weekend
16–18 ■ The Yoga Sutra: Your Guide to Asana and with Maria Garre ...........................................79
Pranayama Practice.......................................78 10–13 ■ Feed Your Fire: Ignite the Fire of Your Mind
21–25 ■ Pancha Karma ..............................................83 with Susan Taylor ..........................................84
22–25 ■ Living Ayurveda: The Power of Cleansing.....83 10–13 ■ Total Detox: Reclaim Your
23 – 5/2 ■ 500- HourYoga Teacher Certification Vital Energy and Focus...................................... 85
Program—Spring Segment ...........................87 ● 11–13 ■ The Foundation of Yoga: A Study of
30– 5/2 ■ Living Tantra Series: Tantric Tradition and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika ..............................79
Techniques (Part 1 of 6) 16–20 ■ Pancha Karma .............................................83
with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.........................80 18–20 ■ Journey to OneSelf: The Five Dimensions of
30– 9/30 ■ Organic Gardening Apprenticeship Program .....86 Human Experience with Gary Kraftsow .........79
25–27 ■ Bhakti Yoga: A Taste of Love and
★Tuition-FREE for Himalayan Institute Members Surrender......................................................81
● Tuition-FREE for HI Members with yoga 25–7/18 ■ 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification
teacher certification Program .......................................................87

■ Yoga Practice

■ Yoga Philosophy ■ Meditation ■ Ayurveda & Health ■ Residential ■ Teacher Training

1–27 ■ Self-Transformation Program........................86

2–4 ■ Dynamics of Meditation: The Inward Journey....82
2–12 ■ Special 10-Day Meditation Intensive .................77
7–11 ■ Pancha Karma .............................................83
9–11 ■ Mantra and the Art of Meditation .................82
12–15 ■ 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training:
Teaching Methods .......................................87
15–18 ■ 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training: Yoga
and Ayurveda ...............................................87
16–18 ■ Stress Busters: Practical Tips for a
Hectic Lifestyle .............................................84
21–25 ■ Pancha Karma .............................................83
23–25 ■ Living Tantra Series: Secret of Tantric Rituals
(Part 2 of 6) with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait .....81
26 Guru Purnima: Annual Celebration
in Honor of the Tradition..............................77

Sample Seminar Schedule

6:00 a.m. group meditation

6:30 a.m. hatha yoga
Andrea Killam; Model: Nema Nyar

8:00 a.m. breakfast

10:00 a.m. lecture/workshop
12:30 p.m. lunch
3:30 p.m. lecture/workshop
6:15 p.m. supper
7:30 p.m. lecture/workshop
9:30 p.m. group meditation
Himalayan Institute Program Guide


Living TM

with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

Unlock the Complete Power of

Yoga, Ayurveda, and Meditation
Six-Part Series, April 2010–July 2011

Join the Living Tantra movement with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. What is tantra? Why is tantra
so important in the 21st century? How does tantra complement yoga, ayurveda, and other
forms of healing? Why are the promises made by the texts and teachers of these traditions not
fully coming true? And how can tantra help these promises become realized once again?

Starting this April, invest in your personal practice. Living Tantra offers the perfect balance
between intellectual and experiential learning. It will complete our study of yoga, ayurveda, and
other paradigms of health and healing, and empower us to put our knowledge to work in the
world around us. Study online or in person. By taking part in the experience you will:
■ Experience and learn to practice principles of tantra that will accelerate your personal
transformation and healing
■ Become proficient in tantric techniques for healing and nurturing your family, community,
and the natural world
■ Create an enlightened lifestyle where worldly achievement and spiritual fulfillment are not
in conflict
■ Significantly enhance your existing knowledge and experience of yoga, meditation,
spirituality, ayurveda, and holistic health

Part 1: Tantric Tradition and Techniques

Dallas • Miami • Honesdale • Buffalo • St. Louis • Milwaukee • Kripalu • Pittsburgh •
Lansing • Washington, DC • Denver • Phoenix • London • Los Angeles • Birmingham •
Sao Paulo, Brazil • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For dates and more information see insert between pages 72 and 73.

Experience Living Tantra online or at any of the live events. Entire course recommended;
however, live events can be taken as independent seminars.
> Early registration price: Complete course – Online & Live: $2400 (special offer: $1,008)
Single sessions – Live: $400 (special offer: $300)
Andrea Killam

For complete information & registration:

Register now and receive a free Living Tantra T-shirt!*
* while supplies last; some restrictions apply
Special Events Upcoming Guest Teachers
Perspectives on Kundalini: Linda Johnsen is the author of eight
A Spring Conference from the Kundalini books on ancient wisdom traditions,
Research Network including Lost Masters: The Sages of Ancient
May 14–16 Greece and Daughters of the Goddess: The
Women Saints of India. See page 80 for full
With Lawrence Edwards, Judith Miller, Jyoti Prevatt,
program details.
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Barbara Harris Whitfield,
Charles L. Whitfield The Lost Masters:
Our Forgotten Spiritual History
This conference will offer participants and presenters the rare
March 26–28
opportunity to gather and discuss the powerful impact that
yoga and meditation practices, spiritual emergence, transcen-
dent experiences, and the transformative power of kundalini Maria Garre is a senior teacher and
have on individuals. Through keynote presentations and pan- director for Shiva Rea’s Samudra School
els of experts we will explore what the process of transforma- of Living Yoga offering Prana Flow Yoga.
tion and change looks like from clinical, research-based, and She is also the creative yoga director of
traditional spiritual and yogic perspectives. Ananda Shala in Frederick, MD. See
page 79 for full program details.
> Cost: $150; $125 if registered on or before March 15, 2010.
Sacred Sequencing:
Add 2 nights’ accommodations (see page 90 for rates).
A Prana Flow ® Weekend
June 4–6

Members’ Homecoming Program

Gary Kraftsow has been a pioneer in the
May 21–30
transmission of yoga for health, healing,
Deepen your yoga practice by tapping into the resources of our and personal transformation. He began his
spiritual community. Participants rise early for group meditation study of yoga in India with T.K.V. Desi-
and yoga, attend classes, and participate daily in five hours of sea- kachar in 1974. In 1999 he founded the
sonal tasks. This program includes the weekend seminars Swim- American Viniyoga Institute. See page 79
ming with the Current (May 21–23) and Chakras and Asanas for full program details.
(May 28–30). Open to Himalayan Institute members only.
Journey to OneSelf:
> Cost: Members $300, including 9 nights’ accommodations The Five Dimensions of
(based on double occupancy—see page 90 for rates). Human Experience
June 18–20

Guru Purnima:
Special 10-Day Meditation Intensive
Annual Celebration in Honor of the Tradition
July 26 Pay for Dynamics of Meditation and get
Mantra and the Art of Meditation free
On this special day, students traditionally come back to their
July 2–12
teachers to refresh and rejuvenate. Come and celebrate with
the members of your spiritual family! We invite you to join us Just pay $25 per night for accommodations Sunday to Thurs-
for the celebration from 7 to 10 p.m. at no charge. day! Participants rise early for group meditation and yoga,
attend classes, and participate daily in five hours of karma yoga
(selfless service). See page 82 for details on both seminars.

800.822.4547 77
Himalayan Institute Program Guide


The Art of Self-Care: Discover The Yoga Sutra: Your Guide to ■ Find your core alignment and
the Healing Power of Yoga Asana and Pranayama Practice strength in standing and sitting pos-
March 12–14 April 16 –18 tures, and learn how to apply that
stability and ease to other postures
With Rolf Sovik With Sandra Anderson ■ Use pranayama to heighten aware-
See page 83 for more program The three verses of the Yoga Sutra ness of inner space, and draw the
information. which address asana invite us to explore mind to an inner resting place
stability and ease, surrender into effort-
> Suggested Reading: Yoga Sutra of
lessness, and transcend the limitations
Patanjali (translation by Ravi Ravin-
of physical awareness. This approach
Loud, Soft, Silent: Exploring the dra recommended).
to asana opens the door to awareness of
Use of Sound in Yoga
prana, and the expanded inner space of > Cost: Members $250; non-members
March 19–21
the body. We’ll see and experience how $275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations.
With Kathy Ornish asana and pranayama are the foundation
for other practices described in the Yoga
Sound can be external or internal; it can
Sutra. In this seminar we will:
be loud, soft, or silent. Come explore Swimming with the Current:
practices that integrate sound, mantra, ■ Thoroughly investigate the spe- A Viniyoga Exploration of Breath,
and chanting with asana, pranayama, and cific sutras that address asana and Movement, and Asana
meditation. Learn how sound can connect pranayama, and understand their May 21–23
you deeper to the koshas—the five dimen- place in the Yoga Sutra
With Kathy Ornish
sions of your being. Topics include: ■ Explore the play of opposites in asana
as a means of creating inner space Asana is commonly taught by empha-
■ Yoga practices that incorporate sound
sizing a precise external form which
and chanting
might not be constructive for an indi-
■ The panchamaya kosha model in
vidual’s body. How can we improve the
theory and practice
use of movement in asana to support
■ The cognitive, emotional, energetic,
our body’s individual needs and pro-
and symbolic effects of sound
mote constructive change? Come learn
> Cost: Members $250; non-members the Viniyoga technique of creating the
$275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations. pose from the inside out. By integrating
the breath, movement, and awareness
of the spine, we can deepen our poses
while deepening our self-awareness.
Learn how to:
■ Use the primacy of the breath to
initiate movement in the spine
during asana
■ Use the breath to stabilize and mobi-
lize your structure in asana
■ Adapt the breath to amplify the struc-
tural and energetic effects of asana
> Cost: Members $250; non-members
$275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations.
For accommodation rates and registration details, see page 90.

When to Practice What: An Sacred Sequencing: A Prana ■ The tantric origins of hatha yoga
Exploration of Hatha Yoga Flow® Weekend ■ The purpose and intention of hatha
May 7–9 June 4–6 yoga in spiritual practice
■ Purification of the body with three of
With Karina Ayn Mirsky With Maria Garre
the six cleansing practices (shat kriyas)
This experiential seminar will explore Transform your personal yoga practice ■ Balancing and focusing the oscil-

yoga asana and different hatha yoga into a living prayer—alive with inten- lating positive and negative energy
styles as means to optimize health and tion and meaning. Through Prana poles through asanas, pranayamas,
well-being. You will: Flow, a transformational vinyasa-based and bandhas
practice created by Shiva Rea, learn
■ Learn how different types of postures > Suggested Reading: The Hatha
how to infuse your personal practice
support the systems of the body Yoga Pradipika by Svatmarama
with the sacred each time you step onto
■ Explore how different approaches of (text by Swami Muktibodhananda,
the mat. During this seminar you will:
hatha yoga, such as restorative, yin, Bihar School, recommended).
kundalini and vinyasa, affect your ■ Experience Prana Flow classes to
> Cost: Tuition-free for members hold-
somatic systems awaken dormant energetic patterns
ing yoga teacher certification; other
■ Understand how different yoga and reconnect to the sacred within
members $250; non-members $275.
postures and hatha yoga styles affect ■ Learn the Prana Flow wave theory of
Add 2 nights’ accommodations.
the doshas and subtle body, and how sequencing
these correlate to our quality of mind ■ Create a personal Prana Flow

> Cost: Members $250; non-members Journey to OneSelf: The Five
$275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations. > Note: This program is appropriate Dimensions of Human Experience
for experienced practitioners and yoga June 18–20
teachers. Completion of this program is
With Gary Kraftsow
applicable toward Shiva Rea’s 200/300
Tuition-Free for Members
hour teacher-training certification pro- Journey to OneSelf is an exploration
Chakras and Asanas: gram and Yoga Alliance CEUs. of panchamaya, the five dimensions
A Journey Inside of human experience, as described in
> Cost: Members $250; non-members
May 28–30 Vedic texts. The practices and experi-
$275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations.
ences of the workshop are intended to:
With Shari Friedrichsen
■ Nourish the physical
Yoga asanas and breath awareness ■ Energize the vital
guide us to the more subtle aspects of Tuition-Free for Member Teachers ■ Educate the intellect
our bodies and minds. Exploring the
The Foundation of Yoga: A Study ■ Refine the personality
chakras through our asana practice can
of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika ■ Fulfill the heart
open the door to a deeper well of experi-
June 11–13
ence that invokes our inherent sacred Using the tools of asana, pranayama,
nature. In this seminar, you will: With Sandra Anderson chanting, deep relaxation, meditation, and
personal ritual, we will explore the multi-
■ Practice asanas, bandhas, and breath The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is the most
dimensionality of human experience and
awareness to explore the chakras comprehensive early text describing
Andrea Killam; Model: Kathryn Heagberg

infuse each dimension with awareness,

■ Learn about the relationship between hatha yoga and its practices. The focus
intention, peace, and commitment.
the body, mind, and chakras of the text, and of our study, is prana—
■ Practice asanas that help the body the innate vital force. We’ll discover the > Suggested Reading: Yoga for Well-
stay grounded and the mind stay calm subtle aspects of practice intended to ness and Yoga for Transformation by
awaken the spiritual power buried deep Gary Kraftsow.
> Cost: Tuition-free for members; non-
in the nervous system and mind. In
members $275. Add 2 nights’ accom- > Cost: Members $250; non-members
workshop format, we will explore:
modations. $275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations.
800.822.4547 79
Himalayan Institute Program Guide


The Lost Masters: ■ Explore teachings of karma and Living TantraTM Series (Part 1 of 6)
Our Forgotten Spiritual History reincarnation as they were taught Tantric Tradition and Techniques
March 26–28 throughout the ancient Western 17-City Tour Starts April 16
world Honesdale, PA (and via Web)
With Linda Johnsen ■ Learn why top scholars now acknowl- April 30–May 2
Yoga ashrams in Europe 2,600 years edge that Druids and yogis were part
With Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
ago? Famous Greek philosophers of the same tradition
studying in India? Jesus in Kashmir? ■ Discover what Gnostic Christians Tantra is the key to a life of fulfillment
Meditation classes in ancient Rome? really believed and prosperity. This seminar is the
Award-winning author Linda Johnsen ■ Practice the style of meditation gateway to a comprehensive under-
has uncovered historical evidence of taught in Rome 2,000 years ago standing of tantra and how the tantric
spiritual practices in the ancient West- approach to health, healing, spiritual-
> Suggested Reading: Lost Masters:
ern world paralleling the yoga tradition ity, and religion empowers us to excel
Sages of Ancient Greece by Linda
of India. Review the latest findings on in every aspect of life. The underlying
the surprising historical links between theme is the awakening of kundalini
India and early Christianity, the Magi, > Cost: Members $250; non-members shakti at the navel center, the founda-
and the Druids. We will: $275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations. tion for all forms of tantric practice.
We’ll lay the groundwork for this
crucial awakening with the practice of
prana dharana. We’ll also explore the
EXPLORE THE SACRED NATURE OF OUR difference between tantric and non-
BODY AND THE WORLD AROUND US. tantric versions of yoga, meditation,
and religion, and discover how tantra
has shaped astrology and ayurveda
and influenced the art of India, Tibet,
China, Japan, and Southeast Asia.
> Cost and Registration: For more
information see insert between pages
72 and 73.

For accommodation rates and registration details, see page 90.

Live Your Yoga: Ten Principles Transformation Through Love: Living TantraTM Series (Part 2 of 6)
to Guide Your Life Bhakti Yoga Secret of Tantric Rituals
May 14–16 June 25–27 Honesdale, PA (and via Web)
July 23–25
With Irene Petryszak and HI Faculty With Irene Petryszak and Mary Gail Sovik
With Pandit Rajmani Tiguanit
Step off the mat and into the world. Bhakti yoga, the path of the heart, is love
Yoga is more than postures and breath- in its purest and highest form. This path This is an opportunity to explore the
ing practices; it’s about self-discovery is our connection to the Divine, and it sacred nature of our body and the world
and exploration. Who are you really? offers a framework in which to transform around us so we can experience the joy
Why do you do the things you do? And our worldly relationships—family, that is our birthright. We will examine
how can you change what you want to friends, colleagues—into deeply the scientific basis for tantric rituals and
change? This seminar focuses on the sustaining spiritual ones. By establish- how these rituals awaken subtle forces
yamas and niyamas, ten principles that ing a relationship with that which is of nature, ward off obstacles, and create
comprise the first two steps in the eight- eternal and unchanging within us, we conditions favorable to both worldly
fold path of raja yoga, as described in can experience true inner peace and joy. success and spiritual growth.
the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Come join
In this seminar we will explore how We will explore both the mystery of the
us in a combination of lecture, discus-
to open our hearts through asana, inner fire, which leads to inner awaken-
sion, and guided hatha and meditation
chanting, meditation, stories of sages ing and personal empowerment, and
practice. You will learn:
and saints, and discussion about the the mystery of the fire ceremony, which
■ How the yamas and niyamas can help path of devotion as described in the leads to healing the natural world.
you with the many different stages Bhagavad Gita and Narada’s Bhakti We’ll learn how to select and combine
and trials of life Sutras—focusing on the principles of ritual ingredients, build a sacred fire,
■ How to deal with your problems in a love, forgiveness, gratitude, surrender, apply the appropriate mantras, and
conscious and compassionate way and selfless service. The timeless path infuse the entire practice with the inner
■ How to apply your personal yoga in of divine love is as alive and relevant fire residing at the navel center. Major
daily life today as it was in the days of the topics include:
ancient sages. Come learn how you can
> Suggested Reading: The Royal ■ The science of fire: the formulas for
transform your everyday life from the
Path: Practical Lessons on Yoga by fire ceremonies, the techniques for
mundane to the sacred, from the trivial
Swami Rama; Yoga: Mastering the selecting ingredients, building the
to the profound.
Basics by Sandra Anderson and Rolf fire, and making the offering
Sovik (pages 224–229). > Suggested Reading: Narada’s Way of ■ Why the first three chakras and their
Divine Love by Swami Prabhavananda; physical counterparts are the most
> Cost: Members $250; non-members
The Perennial Psychology of the Bhaga- afflicted areas in our body, and how
$275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations.
vad Gita by Swami Rama (Chapter tantric rituals can repair this damage
Twelve). ■ Tantric rituals and herbal formulas
Tuition-FREE for Member Teachers for creating a new reality and reshap-
> Cost: Members $250; non-members
ing our destiny
The Foundation of Yoga: A Study $275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations. ■ The power of collective conscious-
of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
ness and the role of tantra in creating
June 11–13
a peaceful atmosphere in a troubled
With Sandra Anderson world
See page 79 for more details. > Cost and Registration: For more
information see insert between pages
Andrea Killam

72 and 73.

800.822.4547 81
Himalayan Institute Program Guide


Dynamics of Meditation®: Mantra and the Art of

The Inward Journey Meditation
March 5–7 , April 9–11, May 7–9, July 9–11
June 4–6, July 2–4
With Rolf Sovik
With HI Faculty
Yoga practitioners use a variety of man-
Dynamics of Meditation is the Insti- tras to protect and guide the mind in
tute’s flagship seminar. Get in touch meditation. These include the so’ham
with your physical vitality, free the mantra, mantras given for individual
forces of your mind, sharpen your intel- practice, and powerful mantras from
lect, and unfold your innate spiritual ancient scriptures such as the Vedas.
self. Topics include: But what sort of protection does the
mind need? And what sort of guidance
■ How to sit, breathe, relax, and con-
do various mantras offer? This weekend
centrate in preparation for meditation
seminar will explore the practice of man-
■ How to assess your physical, mental,
tra meditation in depth—with attention
and energetic capacities
both to the methods for using a mantra
■ How to curb the roaming tendencies
and the meanings associated with par-
of the mind
ticular mantras. You’ll learn:
■ How to meditate on the breath and
the primordial sound ■ The real nature of stilling the mind in
> Suggested Reading: Meditation and
■ The role of trustful surrender in medi-
Its Practice by Swami Rama; Moving
tation and daily life
Inward: The Journey to Meditation ■ The practical foundation leading to
by Rolf Sovik.
mantra meditation
> Cost: Members $250; non-members ■ How to complete an extended mantra
$275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations. practice
> Cost: Members $250; non-members
$275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations.
Holiday Retreat: Rest, Reflect,
& Renew
April 2–4
Meditation Retreats
Join us for the holidays! It’s a golden
Come anytime and stay as long as you
opportunity—join other committed
wish! Enjoy our beautiful 400-acre
seekers to reflect on the spiritual mean-
wooded campus, meditate in the pres-
ing of this special season and to deepen
ence of the sacred flame, and create a
your practice. See Meditation Retreats
program of renewal and spiritual prac-
(right) for more details.
tice that is right for you. We provide a
> Cost: Accommodations only. quiet room, meals, hatha yoga classes,
videotaped lectures, and suggestions
to make your program enjoyable. Book
a wellness service at the Total Health
Center for an additional fee. Weekend
seminars are not included.
> Cost: Accommodations only.
A Y U R V E D A & H E A L T H

Tuition-FREE for Members

Pancha Karma Living Ayurveda: The Power
of Cleansing
The Art of Self-Care: Discover
March 3–7, March 17–21, April 22–25
the Healing Power of Yoga
April 7–11, April 21–25, May 5–9,
March 12–14 With Carrie Demers, MD,
May 19–23, June 2–8, June 16–20,
James Miles, and HI Faculty
July 7–11, July 21–25 With Rolf Sovik
In our fast-paced, over-consuming
Modern medicine offers many helpful
Come enjoy ayurveda’s quintessential world, we have lost sight of the impor-
tools to address symptoms of sickness
cleansing and rejuvenation treatment. tance of clearing toxins from our bodies
and injury. But we can supplement
Pancha karma promotes healing and and minds. We imbibe food and all
medical care and guard against future
renewal by eliminating toxins and sorts of sensory and mental impres-
illness by cultivating healing strategies
restoring the free flow of energy in the sions that are then stored in our cells
of self-care. Yoga serves as an integral
body. The four-day program includes: and memories. This accumulation
practice for self-care, leading from
burdens us, making us physically and
■ Ayurvedic consultation with our suffering to healing, and from healing
mentally run down, and can lead to ill-
holistic physician to self-fulfillment. Explore the theory
ness. Cleansing techniques can remove
■ Daily ayurvedic massage, oil and techniques of personal health, and
the debris that clogs us, freeing the
treatments, and steam therapy develop a spirit of optimism that will
bodily fluids, vital energy, and the mind
■ Daily hatha yoga and meditation sustain you through any ailment. This
to flow with ease. Come learn cleansing
instruction weekend retreat will include:
■ Biofeedback session
tools to use throughout your life. Our
■ Light cleansing diet
Asana and deep relaxation methods for: experienced staff will provide informa-
■ Various cleansing techniques as
■ Recognizing imbalances tion from a variety of sources, including
■ Creating self-acceptance yoga, ayurveda, and eclectic herbalism.
■ Evening lectures on ayurveda,
■ Awakening inherent healing energy Participants will be led through a juice
■ Expanding the physical and mental fast and an optional complete intestinal
cleansing, and meditation
■ Concluding physician consultation
space for healing cleanse. Topics that will be covered:
with lifestyle recommendations Meditation methods for: ■ The effects of cleansing on
■ Seeing the positive potential of illness consciousness
Relax in a chalet-style Guest House
■ Cultivating peace and health ■ The benefits of juicing
surrounded by peaceful wooded
■ Practicing healing mantras ■ Herbs for cleansing the blood, liver,
grounds. The program begins on
■ Turning toward trustful surrender and intestines
Wednesday afternoon and concludes
■ The yogic kriyas
at noon on Sunday. Space is limited > Cost: Members $250; non-members
■ A cleansing diet and the pros and
to four participants, and fills quickly; $275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations.
cons of fasting
reserve in advance through the Hima-
Left: Jim Filipski / Guy Cali Assoc.; Model: Luke Ketterhagen

■ The importance of intestinal cleansing

layan Institute Total Health Center,
■ Types of enemas and their uses
> Note: This program begins on
> Cost: $1,250. Add $500 for 4 nights’
Thursday evening and concludes
private accommodations. A $500
at noon on Sunday. Enrollment is
deposit is required at the time of



800.822.4547 83
Himalayan Institute Program Guide

A Y U R V E D A & H E A L T H

limited. All participants will undergo Upcoming Programs with Susan Taylor, PhD
a brief health screening to determine
that these cleansing practices are safe
Feed Your Fire™ Series Ignite the Fire of Your Mind
for them. This program is not suitable
Eat, Breathe, Meditate for June 10–13
for those who are pregnant or who
Optimal Metabolism
have gastritis, ulcers, or inflammatory To live intelligently means more than
bowel disease. Dr. Susan Taylor, a nutritional bio- simply cultivating your intellect. Equally
chemist who has trained in yoga sci- important is the ability to tap your intu-
> Cost: Members $360; non-members
ences for the past 30 years, has brought ition and inner wisdom. This module of
$400. Add 3 nights’ accommodations.
East and West together to create the the Feed Your Fire program will help
Feed Your Fire system of healing, resto- you discover:
ration, and rejuvenation for women.
Stress Busters: Practical Tips for ■ The principle of creating a balanced
a Hectic Lifestyle mind with diet, breath, and meditation
July 16–18 ■ Nutrients and herbs that cultivate
Stoke the Fire of Your Body
and nurture an active, joyful, and
With HI Faculty April 15–18
vital mind
Take a weekend to invest in your own You’ll discover how to properly nourish ■ The relationship between your
well-being. In this day and age of mobile your body so that it fully rejuvenates thought patterns and the foods you eat
phones, e-mail, and ever-shortening your brain and your mental energies. In ■ Techniques for enhancing concentra-
deadlines, we all need a refresher course an invigorating teaching program that tion and memory
on how to reduce stress in our busy lives. combines diet, movement, breathing, ■ Finding your creative outlet
and meditation, you will: ■ Detoxifying your mind—getting rid
Learn and practice simple asanas,
of mental clutter
breathing and relaxation techniques, ■ Discover your unique energy pattern
and wellness tips selected specifically ■ Gain a new understanding of nutri-
To register for Susan Taylor’s
for today’s yoga-minded corporate tion and the brain
programs, call 978-255-1379 or visit
types. Walk away from this weekend ■ Learn how to ignite your metabolism, To reserve accom-
feeling empowered to bring balance and balance your hormones, and maintain
modations, call the Himalayan
he Himaalaaya IInstitute
y n In sttit
i ut
calm back to your daily life. Learn: your optimal weight
at 800-822-4547.
■ Create a Personal Vitality Planner
■ Stress buster exercises for home, ■ Enhance your internal and external
work, and even the car
■ Powerful breathing techniques to ■ Learn restorative exercises designed
relieve stress
to infuse your body with vital energy
■ Deep relaxation techniques
■ The art of joyful movement
■ How to replenish your immune system
■ Meditation in action
> Suggested reading: The Art of Joy-
ful Living by Swami Rama, Freedom
from Stress by Phil Nuernberger,
PhD, Science of Breath by Swami
Rama et al.
> Cost: Members $250; non-members
$275. Add 2 nights’ accommodations.

Total Detox:
Reclaim Your Vital Energy
and Focus
March 25–28, June 10 –13

With Carrie Demers, MD, Mary

Cardinal, Shari Friedrichsen, and
James Miles
Take advantage of this profound oppor-
tunity to gain firsthand experience of
the rejuvenating impact of a balanced,
systematic detoxification process. Learn
how to optimize the functions of five
major cleansing organs: the colon, kid-
neys, liver, lungs, and skin.
In this three-day experiential learning for-
mat, you will learn how to incorporate
the best ayurvedic and yogic cleansing
and renewal techniques into your daily Total Health Center
life, so that you can once again feel and Specializing in Ayurvedic and Yogic Techniques
perform at your best.
For over 35 years, the Total Health Center has combined Western medicine
The practical program format incor- with Eastern systems of healing in an integrated approach to holistic health.
porates carefully planned exercise, Our therapeutic treatments are designed for accelerated healing, preventive
relaxation, self-reflection, self-massage, care, and long-lasting vitality. Join us for a comprehensive ayurvedic health
juicing, and an herbal extract and dietary program such as Pancha Karma, Total Detox, or Ayurvedic Rejuvenation,
regime to facilitate total cleansing and or choose from a wide range of à la carte services, including:
■ Therapeutic massage and body treatments
> Added Bonus: All participants of the ■ Biofeedback
Total Detox Program will receive a ■ Holistic chiropractic care
free massage from our Total Health ■ Individualized yoga therapy
Center. ■ Consultation with an ayurvedic physician
> Note: Space is limited. This program
Ginger & jar: Andrea Killam; Massage: Yanik Chauvin /

Ayurvedic health programs are supervised by Carrie Demers, MD,

is not open to participants in any of
medical director of the Total Health Center for the last 12 years. A holis-
the Himalayan Institute Residential
tic physician, board-certified in internal medicine, Dr. Demers integrates
Programs, including the Self-Trans-
modern and holistic approaches to health, including ayurveda, herbs,
formation Program.
homeopathy, yoga, nutrition, and lifestyle changes.
> Cost: Members $450; non-members
$500. Add 3 nights’ accommodations. Our combined approach to wellness will help you
re-establish your natural state of ease and wholeness,
and restore harmony between body and mind.
For a complete list of services, visit:
Call ahead to book your appointment: 570-647-1500

800.822.4547 85
Himalayan Institute Program Guide


a month-long Self-Transformation Pro-

Immerse yourself in a community of
people devoted to personal growth, selfless service, and the ongoing humanitarian
gram, included in the cost.
> Cost: $3,000 for one year. Internships
projects of the Himalayan Institute. of three to nine months are also avail-
able; cost is $300 per month after the
Self-Transformation Program™ 10-Day Residential Program Self-Transformation Program.
March 4–30, April 8–May 4, May
This program includes two weekend
6–June 1, June 3–29, July 1–27
seminars, five hours of karma yoga on
Organic Gardening
Learn and practice proven techniques weekdays, and daily yoga classes and
Apprenticeship Program
for transforming your habits and creat- practicums. Begin on any Friday and
April 30–September 30
ing a healthier lifestyle in this power- stay through the following Sunday.
ful four-week residential program. Learn and practice the art of organic
> Cost: Members $400; non-members
Attend the Institute’s popular weekend gardening while participating in the
seminars and participate in daily yoga Himalayan Institute Residential Pro-
classes and progressive study sessions gram. This five-month apprenticeship
on the body, breath, mind, and soul. Residential Internship Program provides hands-on experience and train-
With four to five hours of karma yoga ing in organic gardening techniques,
If you wish to make a long-term com-
(selfless service) a day, you become an as well as the full range of educational
mitment to self-transformation and
integral part of the community, while programs and community activities
service, join our vibrant community of
learning to maintain your practice in available to Institute residents. We will
spiritual seekers. As a resident, you will
the midst of daily activities. focus on a variety of organic methods for
enjoy numerous educational opportuni-
composting, mulching, seed propaga-
> Cost: Members $750; non-members ties, share in daily karma yoga, support
tion, greenhouse techniques, plant selec-
$825. our humanitarian efforts, and practice
tion, crop planning, bed preparation,
time-tested yoga disciplines. Begin with
soil types, planting calendars, pest and
pathogen control, seed saving, irrigation,
All residential programs are by application only. Cost includes accommodations and cultivation. The program begins
and vegetarian meals. To apply or learn more, call 570-253-5551 ext. 3018 or with a month-long Self-Transformation
e-mail Program, included in the cost.
> Cost: $1,200 for five-month program.
Scholarships are available for quali-
fied students.

D edicated to a tradition of excellence

in teaching for 35 years, the Himalayan
Institute offers yoga teachers compre-
hensive and systematic training in classi-
cal yoga. We teach yogic techniques for
body, breath, mind, and spirit in 200-
and 500-hour certification programs.
Our program topics include system-
atic meditation training, quality asana
instruction, training in pranayama
and relaxation techniques, therapeutic
yoga, yoga philosophy and psychology,
anatomy, diet, and lifestyle.
The Himalayan Institute is a registered
school with Yoga Alliance, meeting the
requirement for national registration at
both the 200- and 500-hour levels.

200-Hour Yoga Teacher 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Study in India: 200- and
Certification Program Certification Program 500-Hour Yoga Teacher
Three-Week Training Intensive Spring Segment: April 23–May 2 Certification Programs
June 25–July 18 Summer Segment: August 6–15 February 2011

With Rolf Sovik, Sandra Anderson, With Rolf Sovik, Sandra Anderson, Immerse yourself in the spirit of yoga
Shari Friedrichsen, Carrie Demers, MD, Shari Friedrichsen, and HI Faculty and imbibe the wisdom of an unbroken
and HI Faculty spiritual lineage in its homeland. Both
Two 10-day segments (spring and sum-
the 200-hour and the 500-hour training
Includes theory and practice of all mer) include all contact-hour require-
programs will be offered at our garden
aspects of yoga, teaching techniques, ments for advanced teacher training.
campus on the bank of the Ganga in Alla-
introduction to Sanskrit, anatomy and Students may begin their training with
habad, India. These programs include
physiology, stress management, and either segment. See for more
visits to shrines and sacred sites. For more
mantra meditation. Additional require- information.
information visit
Residents: Maureen Cassidy; Yoga class: Blend Images / Alamy

ments include assigned reading, home

> Prerequisites: 200-hour certification
study, exams, meditation journal, and > Cost: Call 800-822-4547 for more
or equivalent and a regular practice.
a teaching evaluation. See for information.
Open to students of all traditions.
more information on course content.
Participation is by application only.
Participation is by application only.
> Cost: Tuition $1,500 per segment;
> Note: This training includes Teach-
application fee and HI membership
ing Methods (July 12–July15) and
(nonrefundable) $100; accommoda-
Yoga and Ayurveda (July 15–July 18) Registered Yoga School
tions $50/night.
> Cost: Tuition $2,400; application fee
and HI membership (nonrefundable) How to apply: To download an application, visit For more information
$100; accommodations $50/night; and to reserve your accommodations, call 800-822-4547 (press 6).
books (approximate) $280.

800.822.4547 87
Himalayan Institute Program Guide

meet our
Sri Swami Rama
faculty Sandra Anderson in Honesdale, PA. She is the former
Founder Co-author of the award-winning Yoga: coordinator of the Himalayan Insti-
One of the greatest adepts, Mastering the Basics and a senior editor tute Teachers Association, and holds
teachers, writers, and human- for Yoga+, Sandra Anderson’s work degrees and certification in both tradi-
itarians of the 20th century, draws on her studies of traditional yoga tional and Montessori education.
Swami Rama is the founder texts and her extensive visits to India,
of the Himalayan Institute. where she conducts an annual yoga Carrie Demers, MD
Although he left his body in teacher training program. Sandra holds Board-certified in internal medicine,
1996, his teachings live on in a degree in geology and began her stud- Carrie Demers, MD, is a holistic physi-
his students and in his books. ies in yoga while working in the environ- cian who blends modern medicine with
mental protection field. Initiated into the traditional approaches to health. After
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD Himalayan tradition in 1988, she lives at receiving her medical degree from the
Spiritual Head HI and teaches all aspects of yoga. University of Cincinnati, Dr. Demers
Chairman and Spiritual Head went on to study massage, homeopathy,
of the Himalayan Institute, Greg Capitolo nutrition, herbal medicine, yoga, and
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait is Greg Capitolo began practicing hatha ayurveda. She has been the Director of
the successor to Sri Swami yoga and meditation in 1994. He the Himalayan Institute Total Health
Rama. Family tradition gave studied with several experienced yoga Center for the last 12 years. Widely
him access to a vast range of teachers while working in accounting, recognized for her expertise in holistic
spiritual wisdom preserved finance, and IT. After completing health, Dr. Demers has been inter-
in both the written and the oral the Himalayan Institute’s teacher viewed by numerous magazines and
traditions. As a young man, he lived and training program in 2005, Greg began newspapers. She lectures nationally on
studied with renowned adepts before teaching yoga classes at corporations holistic health and ayurveda.
meeting his spiritual master, Swami such as Oracle and Sybase. In 2006,
Rama of the Himalayas. Pandit Tigunait Greg took residence at HI, where he Shari Friedrichsen
is fluent in both Vedic and Classical currently serves as the Director of Shari Friedrichsen has been teaching
Sanskrit and has an encyclopedic Finance and Information. yoga for over three decades. She is a
knowledge of the scriptures. He holds a key facilitator at the teacher training
doctorate in Sanskrit from the University Mary Cardinal programs at Santa Monica Yoga and the
of Allahabad, and another in Oriental A yoga teacher and educator specializ- Himalayan Institute. Shari has studied
Studies from the University of Pennsyl- ing in therapeutic yoga, Mary Cardinal asana and meditation with respected
vania. He has written 14 books and has serves as the yoga therapy coordinator teachers like Pandit Rajmani Tigunait,
lectured and taught worldwide for more for the Total Health Center at the Amma Sri Karunamayi, B.K.S. Iyengar,
than 30 years. Himalayan Institute’s headquarters and Judith Lasater. As a subtle anatomy

Sandra Anderson Greg Capitolo Mary Cardinal Carrie Demers Shari Friedrichsen Sarah Goddard James (Slim) Miles
expert, her unique style integrates the Kathy (K.O.) Ornish Mary Gail Sovik
breath, proper alignment, and visualiza- Kathy Ornish is a certified yoga thera- Co-director of the Himalayan Institute
tions to draw the student deep into the pist and teacher through Gary Kraft- in Buffalo, NY, Mary Gail Sovik has
inner experience of each posture. sow’s American Viniyoga Institute studied yoga since 1973 under the
(AVI), a certified ParaYoga teacher, guidance of Swami Rama and Pandit
Sarah Goddard and has studied in the Iyengar and Rajmani Tigunait. She holds a master’s
Sarah Goddard earned a master’s degree Himalayan Institute traditions. She is degree from the University of Notre
in materials engineering and completed a consultant at the Preventative Medi- Dame in guidance counseling. She
an eight-year career prior to joining the cine Research Institute in California teaches meditation and guides women’s
Himalayan Institute in 2004. A student and is a program assistant in the Foun- spirituality groups in Buffalo.
of yoga for over 10 years, she has taught dations for Yoga Therapy program at
yoga in corporate, clinical, and studio AVI. Kathy has a yoga therapy practice Ishan Tigunait
settings. Sarah currently serves as the and teaches group classes in East Lan- Son of Pandit Rajmani Tigunait,
Program Manager for HI. sing, Michigan. Ishan Tigunait received his first spiri-
tual lessons from Swami Rama. He
James (Slim) Miles Irene (Aradhana) Petryszak earned a degree in computer engineer-
An herbalist and natural health consul- A senior editor of Yoga+, Irene Pet- ing and worked for IBM before return-
tant, Slim Miles has worked in the natu- ryszak served as the Chairman of ing to the Institute to head the Energy
ral foods industry for almost 20 years. the Himalayan Institute from 1996 Farming initiative, which provides
He served as the Director of Production to 2008. She holds a master’s degree sustainable rural empowerment for
and National Herbal Education at Gaia in Eastern studies, and has studied communities in developing countries.
Herbs before coming to the Himalayan and practiced yoga for 30 years in the Ishan now serves as Director of Stra-
Institute in 1998, where he teaches herbal United States and India under the guid- tegic Development for the Himalayan
medicine, ayurveda, homeopathy, aro- ance of Swami Rama and Pandit Raj- Institute and spearheads the expan-
matherapy, and cleansing for health. As mani Tigunait. She teaches meditation sion of the Institute’s humanitarian
HI Head of Research and Development, and yoga philosophy at HI. projects around the world.
Slim customizes herbal supplements and
formulates Himalayan Institute products. Rolf Sovik, PsyD Deborah Willoughby
President and Spiritual Director of the The founding editor of Yoga+, Deborah
Karina Ayn Mirsky Himalayan Institute, and a clinical psy- Willoughby holds a master’s degree in
A certified teacher of Rod Stryker’s chologist in private practice, Rolf Sovik English literature from the University of
ParaYoga, Karina Ayn Mirsky is the has studied yoga in the United States, Virginia. After a career in Washington,
director of Sangha Yoga in Kalamazoo, India, and Nepal, and holds degrees DC, as a writer and editor, she turned
MI. She draws on her experiences as a in philosophy, music, Eastern studies, her attention full-time to the study and
performance artist, massage therapist, and clinical psychology. Co-director practice of yoga. She has studied with
and cancer survivor to convey yoga as of the Himalayan Institute of Buffalo, Swami Rama and Pandit Rajmani
a therapeutic science and catalyst for he began his practice of yoga in 1972, Tigunait in both the United States and
personal transformation. Karina was and was initiated as a pandit in the India, and served as President of the
featured in the March 2008 issue of Yoga Himalayan tradition in 1987. He is the Himalayan Institute from 1994 to 2008.
Journal as one of 21 teachers under the author of Moving Inward, co-author of She currently teaches meditation, yoga
age of 40 who are shaping the future of the award-winning Yoga: Mastering the philosophy, and Vedanta at the
yoga in America. Basics, and a columnist for Yoga+. Honesdale campus.

800.822.4547 89
Karina (Slim) Miles
Ayn Mirsky Karina(K.O.)
Kathy Ayn Mirsky
Ornish Kathy Ornish
Irene (Aradhana) Petryszak Irene (Aradhana) Petryszak
Mary Gail Sovik Rolf
Rolf Sovik
Sovik Ishan
Ishan Tigunait
Tigunait Deborah
Deborah Willoughby
Himalayan Institute Program Guide

and guest information
Room Descriptions
Dormitory: Separate dorms for men and
Plan your experience
women accommodate up to 18 guests; For the total cost of your stay, add the bunk beds only; shared hall bath. (We cost of accommodations to the program
cannot guarantee lower bunks. If you tuition (indicated at the end of each
By phone program description). Full payment
are unable to use an upper bunk, please
800-822-4547 select another type of accommodation.) is required at time of registration and
Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EST can be made with VISA, MasterCard,
Standard Double: Double occupancy
AMEX or Discover.
room with two twin beds; sink in room;
By e-mail shared hall bath. There are a limited Cancellations/Refunds: All monies number of rooms with a full bed; please will be refunded in full, less a $75 pro-
make reservations in advance. cessing fee, if you cancel 24 hours or
Accommodations more prior to your arrival date. If you
Accommodations include vegetarian meals, Standard Single: Private room with twin
cancel within 24 hours of your arrival
hatha yoga classes, and full use of guest bed(s); sink in room; shared hall bath.
date, all monies will be refunded, less
facilities. Please make your reservations at Deluxe with semi-private bath: Double a $250 processing fee. A refund is not
least two weeks in advance. occupancy; sink in room; shared bath. available if you cancel on the work-
Regular accommodations Deluxe with private bath: Full bed;
shop’s arrival day, if you do not show
(per person, per night) private bath. up, or if you leave an event early for
any reason. The Himalayan Institute
Pricing Member Non-Member Deluxe Suite: Full bed; private bath; reserves the right to substitute faculty
Dormitory $65 $75 sitting area with sleep sofa. for any event and to cancel any program
Standard Double $75 $95 Guest House: Chalet-style two-bed- at any time. Upon cancellation, you will
Standard Single $115 $150 room apartment with private bath; be given a complete refund.
small living room/sitting area with sleep Discounts: In addition to the 10%
Deluxe accommodations sofa; kitchenette with refrigerator (no membership discount, we offer an
(Single occupancy rate below; cooking facilities). optional student and senior (65+) dis-
$65 per additional guest*) count of 10% on most programs and
Solo travelers: If you are traveling
Pricing Member Non-Member alone and have reserved a shared room accommodations. Discounted group
(double), we will assign a roommate of rates are also available. Please call 800-
Deluxe with
semi-private bath $150 $180 the same gender. 822-4547 for more information.
Deluxe with Meals Financial Assistance: The Himalayan
private bath $180 $210 The Institute’s nutritionally balanced veg- Institute endeavors to make spiritual
Deluxe Suite etarian meals are always freshly prepared and educational programs available
with private bath $210 $240 by our kitchen staff and served with to everyone. We offer some financial
homemade bread. When possible, we assistance to students who would oth-
Guest House serve food grown in our organic garden. erwise be unable to attend a program.
(per night; up to 3 adults*) Scholarships are by application only;
Breakfast consists mainly of hot cereals deadlines apply. Call 800-822-4547 to
Pricing Member Non-Member (cooked grains), yogurt, and fresh fruit. request an application.
Guest House $240 $270 Lunch is the main meal of the day;
it typically includes rice, legumes
*Families with children: Please call for specifics on your
accommodation options and class attendance policies. (dahl), vegetables (subzi), and salad.
Children ages 6-13 pay half price for meals; children 5 and Supper is light, consisting of soup,
under stay for free.
a side dish, and fresh fruit.
Arrival and Departure accessories, products from our Total Other nearby airports include:
Weekend seminars generally begin on Health line, and much more. ■ Newark Liberty International

Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. and conclude Airport, NJ (EWR)

Humanitarian trAID Bazaar: At our
Sunday at lunch, unless otherwise noted ■ JFK International Airport, NY (JFK)
gallery-style bazaar, you can learn more
in the seminar description. ■ LaGuardia Airport, NY (LGA)
about our global humanitarian projects ■ Philadelphia International
Check-in time is after 2:00 p.m. on day and purchase gift items crafted by arti-
Airport, PA (PHL)
of arrival. If arriving after the front desk sans from around the world, including
closes, check-in instructions will be left Sacred Link Jewelry, wood carvings, Buses run from New York City’s Port
for you at the reception area. Supper is and original paintings. Authority to downtown Honesdale via
served from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m; if you are Shortline Bus:;
Wellspring Homeopathic Pharmacy
unable to arrive by 6:40 p.m., please 800-631-8405.
specializes in natural health care prod-
plan to have supper before arriving at
ucts—homeopathic remedies, herbal Taxi via Maple City Transit from AVP
the Institute.
extracts, nutritional supplements, airport to the Institute is approximately
Check-out time is 2:00 p.m. on day flower essences, and personalized ser- $80 one way, per person ($10 for each
of departure. vices—to help heal the whole person. additional person, up to 4 people) and
must be arranged in advance. Taxi from
What to Bring: The Institute provides Hiking Trails: Our peaceful campus is
the bus stop in Honesdale is about $16,
bed linens and towels. Please bring your surrounded by 400 acres of woods and
one way. Confirm rates when making
own toiletries, including soap, tooth- meadows. We recommend that you
reservations (credit cards not accepted):
paste, bathrobe, slippers, etc. You may bring sturdy footwear to explore the
also wish to bring a flashlight, hatha natural beauty of our trails.
yoga mat, and umbrella. Car Rental: The Institute has arranged
special rates for our guests with Enter-
Dress: Modest, casual, and comfortable
Getting Here prise Rent-A-Car (reserve in advance
clothing is recommended.
Driving and mention the Himalayan Institute);
The Himalayan Institute is located visit or call 570-253-3844
in northeast Pennsylvania at: for details.
Guest Facilities
952 Bethany Turnpike
With the exception of the Guest
Honesdale, PA 18431
House, rooms are located in the main
Himalayan Institute Branch Centers
building, a former Catholic seminary. Enter the above destination in
offer programs, services, products, and
In the tradition of retreat-style hous- Yahoo or Google maps or visit
humanitarian projects around the globe.
ing, our accommodations are modest,
without the interruptions of television, In the US:
Global positioning coordinates (GPS)
telephone, or radio. Honesdale, PA; Buffalo, NY;
North: 41.65250 West: 75.29916
Pittsburgh, PA
Wireless Internet: Access is available in
Approximate driving times from major
many public areas of the Institute. International:
nearby cities:
India, Cameroon,
Himalayan Institute Total Health Scranton, PA 45 minutes
Great Britain, Curacao, Malaysia
Center: A range of wellness treatments New York, NY 2 hours, 30 minutes
and health services—including thera- Philadelphia, PA 2 hours, 45 minutes Sacred Link Affiliates are like-minded
peutic massage, ayurvedic consultations, Boston, MA 5 hours yoga studios and organizations offering a
biofeedback, and yoga therapy—are Washington, DC 5 hours variety of programs and services.
available by appointment. Call ahead to
By Air and by Land
book your treatment: 570-647-1500. Visit for more
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International
information on our Branch Centers
Bookstore: Our well-stocked campus Airport (AVP) is the nearest commercial
and Affiliates.
bookstore carries an extensive collection airport, approximately one hour’s drive
of books, DVDs, CDs, yoga attire and by car.

800.822.4547 91

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¤ÀŸ ΔŸ–Òamidam –arvam æatki†ca jagatyŸº úagat |

tena tyaktena bhu†j¤thŸ mŸ g‡dhaÅ kasyasviddhanam ||

Whatever moves in this changing world is enveloped by Isha.

Enjoy it but claim nothing. Do not covet any man’s wealth.
—Isha Upanishad (verse 1)

T he 18 mantras of the Isha Upanishad contain the key to

all secret sciences and higher knowledge. Reflection on
the first mantra gives us an understanding of ideals and
aspirations that will enrich our lives.
The whole universe is immersed in Isha (God). We forget
Covetousness is a form of attachment. To overcome attach-
ment, understand that God is everywhere and cultivate detach-
ment by pondering the perishable nature of both the body and
the world. This mortal body and its transient enjoyments are
not the ultimate aim in life.
that God is omnipresent, that everything belongs to God, and Finally, do not rob anyone of his property or rights. Due to
that we have nothing of our own. Ignoring this truth, we be- ignorance and lack of spiritual practice, people cast greedy eyes
come so attached to the world of our creation that in the in- on the property of others with the thought of having it for them-
evitable flux of change we suffer intense pain and anxiety at the selves. Greed and acquisitiveness cause unhappiness. Moreover,
thought of separation from our imagined possessions. The ever- the universe is immersed in God, and nothing really belongs to
blowing wind of change quickly transforms everything in this us. Why then should anyone crave the possessions of others?
world, yet a changeless power supports and nourishes all cre- Who can claim wealth to be his permanent possession?
ation. The ideals embodied in this first mantra of the Isha Upan-
The objects of the world can be most enjoyed in an attitude ishad nourish our understanding and spiritual practice: see the
of perfect non-attachment. When pleasures are enjoyed merely same God in all and everywhere, perform actions and enjoy the
for their own sake, we become selfishly attached to them—this world without attachment, and do not deprive others of their
demeans our character and sets us up for future suffering. But rights. The highest good, for both individuals and society, flow

Tinyevilhog / Getty Images

when we enjoy the objects of the world in the spirit of detach- from these ideals. ■
ment, they become a means for higher achievement.
Translation and commentary by Swami Rama;
adapted from Book of Wisdom: Ishopanishad.

Listen to this verse in Sanskrit


96 yoga + joyful living

Revised Edition Praise for Anatomy of Hatha Yoga

Anatomy of “The result of an obvious labor of love, Anatomy of Hatha Yoga explains hatha yoga in
demystified, scientific terms while at the same time honoring its traditions. It should

Hatha Yoga go a long way to helping yoga achieve the scientific recognition it deserves. Useful as
both a textbook and reference, this work is a book that all serious yoga teachers and
practitioners will want on their shelves. It will also be welcomed by sympathetic
physicians—and there are more of us all the time—as well as physical therapists and
A Manual for Students, Teachers, other health professionals.”
and Practitioners —Timothy McCall, M. D., author of Examining Your Doctor:
A Patient’s Guide to Avoiding Harmful Medical Care
Over 100,000 copies sold (from the foreword to Anatomy of Hatha Yoga)

“Anatomy of Hatha Yoga will be the bible for yoga instructors and practitioners who are seeking
in-depth knowledge explaining the anatomy and physiology of their discipline. It will be years, if
ever, before anything comes close to surpassing it.”
—Michael J. Alter, author of Science of Flexibility and Sports Stretch

“Anatomy of Hatha Yoga by Dr. David Coulter contains useful information not only
for yoga instructors, but for anyone working with the musculoskeletal system—
Winner of the physical therapists, bodywork therapists, chiropractors, personal trainers, and mas-
Benjamin Franklin Award sage therapists. I recommend it to everyone who does any kind of bodywork.”
for Health, Wellness, and
—Ohashi, author of Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu, Reading the Body, and The Ohashi
Bodywork Book

“. . . this ranks as one of the most impressive books to come our way in the last several years. . .
Advanced students and yoga teachers will want Anatomy of Hatha Yoga as a desk reference and
will find themselves consulting it repeatedly in the years ahead.”
—Phil Catalfo, Yoga Journal
Figure 10.4b. A dissection of
the peripheral nervous system “Coulter uses anatomy to illuminate the structure and execution of the poses and, at
(adapted from Sappey, 1889)
the same time, brings the anatomy alive through the poses and selected exercises. . .
if you are a Yoga therapist or teacher, or a student who enjoys breaking down the
poses and putting them back together again, then you will most definitely want a
copy of this book to refer to over and over again.”
—Richard Rosen, International Journal of Yoga Therapy
H. David Coulter “The book is certainly exhaustive and comprehensive in its scope and breadth, offer-
ing insights into such kriyas, and more subtle aspects of Yoga practice such as mudras and
With a Foreword by bandhas from a Yogic as well as from a Western scientific point of view.”
—Jane Sill, Yoga & Health (UK)
Timothy McCall, M.D.
“Every posture is analyzed exhaustively in terms of the muscle and joint actions
involved, and there are many tips and observations that will help the student to
Distributor: improve his/her yoga practice.”
Cardinal Publishers Group, 2402 N. Shadeland Ave., Suite A, Indianapolis, IN 46219 —Ruth StC Gilmore, Spectrum (UK)
toll free: (800) 296-0481 tel: (317) 352-8200 fax: (317) 352-8202
“(Coulter) leads the reader through the intricacies of anatomy systematically, with a
Publisher: watchful eye on the goal: to understand yoga practice better. . . For example, three ways
Body and Breath Inc. to accomplish the sometimes awkward feat of isolating the rectus abdominis muscles in nauli
US $29.95 retail kriya are explained in a section on abdominopelvic exercises.”
—Rolf Sovik, Yoga International

Anatomy of Hatha Yoga is the first modern authoritative source

“Coulter’s book is by far the most comprehensive and stands as a definitive statement on
that correlates the study of hatha yoga with anatomy and physi-
the relationship between yogic practice and human anatomy, as anatomy is defined in terms
ology. Yoga teachers, personal trainers, medical therapists, or any- of Western biology and physiology.”
one who is curious or troubled about how the body responds to —J. S. Alter,
stretching and exercise will find in this book a cornucopia— Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
partly new and partly old—of readable and reliable information. “(Anatomy of HathaYoga) is a premier book in the field. Every yoga teacher as well as any health
It was written and edited to meet the needs of a general audience professional or layperson interested in exploring the anatomical and physiological
largely unschooled in the biomedical sciences, and yet to attract and aspects of hatha yoga should own this unique publication.”
challenge the interests of medical professionals. —Martha J Greenberg, Ph. D.,
—Body and Breath Inc. Doody’s Reviews, reprinted in Choice