Making Your Yoga Practice a Moving Meditation

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From interview of Ashtanga yoga pioneer, David Williams, in Guruji:

More and more over the years, I work to make my yoga practice a moving meditation, and then at the end of my practice, when I get up and walk away, I continue that meditation into my life, all day long. So I consider the practice to be the foundation of a twenty-four-hour-a-day meditation.

26 Bikram Hot Yoga Postures

Falling out of a posture means you are human; getting back into the posture means you are a yogi. – Bikram Choudhury

In Memory of a Yogi ~ The Mahasamadhi of Paramahansa Yogananda

“To commune daily with God in deep meditation, and to carry His love and guidance with you into all your dutiful activities, is the way that leads to permanent peace and happiness.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA.

The writings of Paramahansa Yogananda have been a guide to me ever since I took up yoga more than 10 years ago. You may or may not know that March 7th marks the 60th anniversary of Paramahansa Yogananda’s mahasamadhi (a yogi’s final conscious exit from the body at the time of physical death). The spiritual legacy of Yogananda –– author of Autobiography of a Yogi, founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, and one of the preeminent spiritual figures of our time –– continues to flourish today, with evermore seekers internationally turning to the sacred science of yoga meditation.

As so much of Yogananda’s life work and teachings focused upon the inward journey, on this important anniversary, we offer the following quotes on meditation from the master himself:

“Through meditation one can experience a stable, silent inner peace that can be a permanently soothing background for all harmonious or trialsome activities demanded by life’s responsibilities. Lasting happiness lies in maintaining this evenly peaceful state of mind.”

– from Inner Peace: How to Be Calmly Active and Actively Calm by Paramahansa Yogananda

“The moon’s reflection cannot be seen clearly in ruffled water, but when the water’s surface is calm a perfect reflection of the moon appears. So with the mind: when it is calm you see clearly reflected the moonèd face of the soul. As souls we are reflections of God. When by meditation techniques we withdraw restless thoughts from the lake of the mind, we behold our soul, a perfect reflection of Spirit, and realize that the soul and God are One.”

– from Where There is Light by Paramahansa Yogananda

“Through meditation I will stop the storm of breath, mental restlessness, and sensory disturbances raging over the lake of my mind. Through prayer and meditation I will harness my will and activity to the right goal.”

– from Metaphysical Meditations by Paramahansa Yogananda

To discover more information on the Self-Realization Fellowship teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda visit www.yogananda-srf.org.

[Quotes and photograph provided courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA. All rights reserved].

30 Dr. Seuss Quotes for Yogis to Live By

Yoga Lover

Siddharta listened.  He was now listening intently, completely absorbed, quite empty, taking in everything.  He felt that he had now completely learned the art of listening.  He had often heard all this before, all these numerous voices in the river, but today they sounded different.  He could no longer distinguish the different voices–the merry voice from the weeping voice, the childish voice from the manly voice.  The all belonged to each other: the lament of those who yearn, the laughter of the wise, the cry of indignation and the groan of the dying.  They were all interwoven and interlocked, entwined in a thousand ways.  And all the voices, all the goals, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world.  All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.  When Siddhartha listened attentively to this river, to this song of a thousand voices, when he did not listen to the sorrow or the laughter, when he did not bind his soul to any one particular voice and absorb it in his Self, but heard them all, the whole, the unity, then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of one word.

~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

50 Amazing Yoga Quotes and a Winner of the Manduka eKO Lite Yoga Mat Giveaway


Congratulations to Dani, winner of Daily Cup of Yoga’s Manduka eKO Lite yoga mat giveaway!! Thanks to all for participating, following, and sharing. The yoga quotes totally rock!! Now that I’ve read through all of them a few times it makes me want to go unroll my yoga mat right now.  I think you’ll enjoy reading and pondering these quotes as much as I have.
  1. “Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.” ~ Krishnamacharya
  2. ‎”I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.” ~ Gandhi
  3. “One becomes firmly established in practice only after attending to it for a long time, without interruption and with an attitude of devotion.” ~ Yoga Sutra I.14
  4. Samskara saksat karanat purvajati jnanam. Through sustained focus and meditation on our patterns, habits, and conditioning, we gain knowledge and understanding of our past and how we can change the patterns that aren’t serving us to live more freely and fully.” ~ Yoga Sutra III.18
  5. “The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
  6. “For me, yoga is not just a workout – it’s about working on yourself.” ~ Mary Glover
  7. “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
  8. “Have only love in your heart for others. The more you see the good in them, the more you will establish good in yourself…” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
  9. ‎”Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.”  ~ Jason Crandell
  10. “ Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built.” ~ Rumi
  11. “You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” ~ Sharon Gannon
  12. ‎”In the darkness, I am light.”
  13. “Everyone can do Ashtanga. Except lazy people.” Sharath Jois
  14. “Just breathe.”
  15. “Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists.”
  16. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl
  17. ‎”The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
  18. “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” ~ Yoga Sutras
  19. “In stillness all conflict must end.” ~ Phillip Urso
  20. ‎”To perform every action artfully is yoga.” ~ Swami Kripalu
  21. “Breathe…”
  22. ‎”Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
  23. “Don’t forget to breathe!”
  24. ‎”The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.” ~ Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
  25. “A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves.” ~ Jay Fields
  26. Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu. May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
  27. “The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.” ~ Rodney Yee
  28. “Stirum sukham asanam. Seated posture should be steady and comfortable.” ~ Yoga Sutra
  29. “When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
  30. “When we can remove the masks of our own making, then the one who has been longing to be seen sees itself unbounded, just as it is.”
  31. “You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”
  32. “The pose begins when you want to leave it.”
  33. “The wisdom obtained in the higher states of consciousness is different from that obtained by inference and testimony as it refers to particulars.” ~ Yoga Sutra
  34. “Let your practice be a celebration of life” ~ Seido lee deBarros
  35. “He shining, everything shines through him.” ~ Bhagavad Gita
  36. “Ashtanga yoga is 99 percent practice, one percent theory.”  ~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
  37. “Remember, it doesn’t matter how deep into a posture you go – what does matter is who you are when you get there.” ~ Max Strom
  38. “Make an attitude to be in gratitude, you will find the whole Universe will come to you.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
  39. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Gandhi
  40. “The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.” ~ Rodney Yee
  41. “Eye on the drishti!”
  42. “Any belief, whatever it is, is counterproductive in the context of the practice of yoga. One holds a belief instead of knowing. For example, you wouldn’t say you believe in your right ear, since you know your ear, no belief is required. Believing always excludes knowing. When jnana (supreme knowledge) comes through the practice of yoga, you will know. Do not be satisfied with believing.” ~ Gregor Maehle
  43. “Breathe through it, and release anything that does not serve you.”
  44. “First month paining, second month tired, third month flying.” ~ Sharath Jois
  45. “Namaste!”
  46. “Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring at the door. Keep knocking, and eventually the joy inside will look out to see who is there.”
  47. “Practice and all is coming.” ~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
  48. “The world is the gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.” ~ Swami Vivekananda
  49. “Desire, ask, believe, receive.” ~ Stella Terrill Mann
  50. “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”

When the Mind Constantly Runs

When the mind constantly runs
after the wandering senses,
it drives away wisdom, like the wind
blowing a ship off course.

And so, Arjuna, when someone
is able to withdraw his senses
from every object of sensation,
that man is a man of firm wisdom.

Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation

There are No Obstacles!

There are no obstacles: There are only opportunities. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda

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As a lamp in a windless place…

As a lamp in a windless place does not waver,
so the yogi whose mind is focused
remains always steady in meditation
on the transcendent self.

Bhagavad Gita 6.19


Commitment to Practice

As I’ve been slowly reading and enjoying Krishnamacharya over the last few weeks, I’ve been impressed by the dedication and commitment the modern sage required of his yoga students.  Most folks who take up yoga today, this yogi included, have no idea what it means to practice under the tutelage of a guru.  We just sort of show up when it’s convenient or absolutely necessary.

Krishnamacharya, however, was very selective of those he took on as students.  As shown in the following examples related by Krishnamacharya himself, he had a number of methods for measuring the commitment and discipline of those who sought his mentorship.

A man suffering from asthma came to me, along with one of my students.  After talking with him and testing him, I found that his diet was unhealthy and his habits erratic.  He questioned me, “In how many classes will I be cured?”  I was not happy with his attitude.  I did not take him as a student.  If I had, he would not have practiced.  He would have told others that he was a student of Krishnamacharya, and that yoga was not working.  Disrepute for me and, more so, a bad name for yoga.  Not necessary.

Krishnamacharya knew that those with weak commitment would not practice and would not see the benefits of a yoga practice.  He wasn’t looking for money; he was looking for commitment.

Another asthma patient had come to me.  He too asked me a question right at the beginning:  “What fees do I need to pay?”  I replied, “How long have you had this disease?”  He replied, “For more than twenty years now.”  I said, “Then it will cost you one hundred rupees.  Bring one hundred rupees to the next class and we will start the treatment.”  [A hundred rupees was a lot of money in those days in India–perhaps like asking for five thousand dollars today.]  Surprisingly, the man brought a hundred rupees with him to the next class.  From this, I knew that he had sincerely committed to the treatment and would follow what I told him.  I told him, “I don’t want a hundred rupees from you.  You can take it back.  I only wanted to know if you had enough commitment to follow the disciplines and restrictions I am going to suggest to you.”

Just something to think about.  Namaste!

Download free PDF article:  My Studies with Sri Krishnamacharya by Srivatsa Ramaswami

Self-Discipline and the Yogi

Excerpt from The Shambhala Guide to Yoga by Georg Feuerstein.

In order to gain the unsurpassable bliss of the Self, the yogin willingly adopts a life of strict discipline.  The aspirant begins by carefully regulating his or her moral behavior.  This forms the bedrock of all types of Yoga.  Reduced to its bare bones, yogic morality is the recognition of the universal Self in all other beings.  The various moral rules expounded in the Yoga scriptures are a symbolic bow to the Self within the other person.  Thus Yoga morality is inseparable from Yoga metaphysics.  In their moral conduct, the yogins aspire to preserve the moral order of the cosmos within the limited orbit of their personal existence.  In other words, they seek to uphold the ideals of harmony and balance.  This endeavor is by no means unique to Yoga.  Rather the moral code followed by its practitioners is universal and can be found in all the great religious traditions of the world.

As the American social critic Theodore Roszak correctly understood, the yogin’s first step must necessarily be a moral one:

“[H]igher consciousness is born out of conscience.  ‘Consciousness’/’conscience’: the very words are related, reminding us that we cannot expect to expand spiritual awareness unless we also expand our moral awareness of right and wrong, good and evil.  Later perhaps there will be ecstatic harmonies beyond the description of words in which the good and the evil of the world will be revealed as, mysteriously, the two hands of God.  But only the soul that has honestly cast out violence, greed, and deception may begin the ascent to that lofty vision…

“Surely too many Western practitioners of yoga are playing trivial games with the psychic and physiological spin-off of the divine science.  They learn to clearn their sinuses, to mitigate their migraine, to flirt with the joys of the kundalini.  Perhaps, besides achieving an enviable muscle tone, they even happen upon occasional intimations of samadhi.  But all these achievements become barbarous trifles if we forget that yoga, like all spiritual culture, is a life discipline and a moral wisdom.”

Time for Yoga…

Have a hard time fitting yoga into your day?  Consider this simple thought:

“Instead of finding time to practice Yoga, practice Yoga all the time.” ~ Bob Weisenberg



How to Listen

“When we listen as if we were in a temple and give attention to one another as if each person were our teacher, honoring his or her words as valuable and sacred, all kinds of great possibilities awaken. Even miracles can happen. To act in the world most effectively, our actions cannot come from our small sense of self, our limited identity, our hopes, and our fears. Rather, we must listen to a greater possibility and cultivate actions connected with our highest intentions from the patient and compassionate Buddha within us. We must learn to be in touch with something greater than ourselves, whether we call it the Tao, God, the dharma, or the law of nature. There is a deep current of truth that we can hear. When we listen and act in accordance with this truth, no matter what happens, our actions will be right.”

—Jack Kornfield, from A Path With Heart

Learning to Listen


Yoga Sutra Meditation

Yoga Sutra 2.7 – 2.11

Attachment is a residue of pleasant experience.
Aversion is a residue of suffering.
Clinging to life is instinctive and self-perpetuating, even for the wise.
In their subtle form, these causes of suffering are subdued by seeing where they come from.
In their gross form, as patterns of consciousness, they are subdued through meditative absorption.

Weekend Yoga Video: Dharma Mittra Back-bending Sequence

Here’s a little back-bending video by Dharma Mittra for the weekend. Check out the Dharma Yoga Center website to find out more about this legendary yogi. I thought this was an interesting quote by Paramahansa Yogananda I found on the site:

“In the beginning of one’s spiritual search, it is wise to compare various spiritual paths and teachers. But when you find the real guru destined for you, the one whose teachings can lead you to the Divine Goal, then restless searching should cease. A spiritually thirsty person should not go on indefinitely drinking from a new well; rather he should go to the best well and drink daily of its living waters.”

Pattabhi Jois and Yoga in India

Ashtanga Yoga Research InstituteA favorite quote of mine from Pattabhi Jois:

 If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter – if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self.

                                                                                Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois

Perhaps you’ve already read the article, “Pilgrimage to the Heart of Yoga” in BusinessWeek Online about the wave of yogis ascending to Mysore, India to practice at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, but if you haven’t read it yet, I’d recommend taking a look at it. If you’ve never been to India, you’ll wish you could go, and if you have been to India, you’ll start planning your next trip. Here’s a quick excerpt:

At 5 p.m. on a breezy Saturday, the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in the southern Indian city of Mysore is buzzing. Students from around the globe are thronging the steps of the three-story, light-gray concrete building. Clad in light-colored cotton pants and T-shirts, their backs ramrod straight, their eyes and skin aglow, they are queuing up to greet Sharath Ranga-swamy, 35, a master of Ashtanga yoga, and his grandfather, Guruji K. Pattabhi Jois, the institute’s founder. Some are there to inquire about their classes, which start at 5 a.m. the next day, and some are still hoping to enroll….[Click here to read more!]

If you want to see some good pictures of one pilgrim’s trip to Mysore, click here.  Let me know if you have some good pics of your own!

B.K.S. Iyengar NPR Interview

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar was released. In 2005, NPR interviewed Iyengar to discuss the physical and mental benefits of yoga. If you haven’t heard the interview, take a minute to listen to the words of one of yoga’s foremost pioneers. In the article that accompanies the interview, Iyengar discusses how yoga is more than just physical motions (the quote is actually from the book):

The practice of yogasana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga….While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end… Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit…Often, we hear people saying they remain active and light when they do just a little bit of asana practice. When a raw beginner experiences this state of well-being, it is not merely the external or anatomical effects of yoga. It is also about the internal physiological and psychological effects of the practice.

The Sacred Symbol “Om”

This beautiful poster has a variety of photographs of the “OM” symbol found all over India. The text on the poster reads:

The sacred symbol OM is found throughout India not only in temples, but also on walls, trucks and doors reminding those who see it all is One Consciousness.

Om is the eternal Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. This entire universe, including our body, mind and senses, is its manifestation, extension and expansion. Past, present and future all are nothing but OM. This was true in the past, it is true in the present and will be true in the future. And whatever else exists beyond the three divisions of time, that also is indeed OM. What is the essence of OM? It is the eternal vibration of awareness.

The poster is available for purchase on Amazon.com (sometimes).

Observing Aparigraha

Before the new week starts and we all head back to work or school, take a moment to ponder these words on non-coveting by B.K.S. Iyengar in Light on Yoga:

The yogi feels that the collection or hoarding of things implies a lack of faith in God and in himself to provide for the future….By the observance of aparigraha, the yogi makes his life as simple as possible and trains his mind not to feel the loss or the lack of anything. Then everything he really needs will come to him by itself at the proper time.

Read “Gotta Have It?” by Sally Kempton at Yoga Journal for additional perspective on aparigraha.

The Yoga of Listening

Siddhartha listened. He was now listening intently, completely absorbed, quite empty, taking in everything. He felt that he had now completely learned the art of listening. He had often heard all this before, all these numerous voices in the river, but today they sounded different. He could no longer distinguish the different voices–the merry voice from the weeping voice, the childish voice from the manly voice. They all belonged to each other: the lament of those who yearn, the laughter of the wise, the cry of indignation and the groan of the dying. They were all interwoven and interlocked, entwined in a thousand ways. And all the voices, all the goals, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life. When Siddhartha listened attentively to this river, to this song of a thousand voices, when he did not listen to the sorrow or the laughter, when he did not bind his soul to any one particular voice and absorb it in his Self, but heard them all, the whole, the unity, then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of one word.

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha