Balance and Center of Gravity

Today’s Class, Wed. 9:30am class focused on Working with Gravity for balance!

The need to balance becomes very apparent as we get older.  We hear stories of older people falling, breaking a hip, others complaining that they don’t have balance when they are walking or moving around.  Here are my tips for better balance:

  1. Gravity does one thing and one thing only; draws or pulls everything down!  On the surface, it feels like we are doomed to just become a puddle on the floor, but let’s think more in terms of how that in itself can help us balance.  Gravity provides an opportunity for an equal and opposing action.  How can we use that to our advantage?  When we are sitting, we allow the lower body ( hips down) to surrender to gravity, so we can use the upper body (waste up) to resist that force.  More we get settled with the lower body, more we can rise up.  We root down to rise up.  We use this throughout the practice, in all the postures.
  2. If we slouch when sitting or walking, we create multiple points in the body where gravity will pull us down.  When we sit or stand straight..( shoulders aligned with hips, hips aligned with feet etc.), we create a single linear relationship with gravity and then we can use gravity to oppose it effectively.
  3. Create a central reference for the body.  The central channel, that runs from the tail bone to the crown of the head, also is the CNS ( Central Nervous System).  The whole body is built around that center.  So when we walk, sit, run, we are always using that central line as the reference for the body.  The body is always drawing towards the center of the body.  Visualize a straight line from the crown to the tail bone and you can extrapolate a straight line down to the feet and use that as a reference for your body to draw towards.
  4. Lack of sleep, anxiety, fear can contribute to falling as well.  Pay attention to that and resolve these issues!  Above 60 is the Vata time of our life, where the Vata related imbalances such as insomnia, anxiety, fear can take hold.
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Ayurvedic Food/Nutrition Principles

Ayurvedic Medicine is the mother of all natural medicine.  It is over 5000 years old wisdom that is cognized by enlightened beings who understood how human body works and how life works.  Food has been used to heal, to prevent disease and to promote good health and longevity.  There is no system of medicine that I know of that understands that in an all inclusive way.   Ayurveda provides that bigger umbrella of deeper understanding that we can use to assess all different kinds of food, diets and its nutritional and medicinal effects on our physical and our mental/emotional health.  Ayurveda ‘s nutritional health system is highly sophisticated yet it can be made as simple as possible so we can use this ancient science and wisdom in a practical way without having to understand everything.


Simplicity is very important in a world that grows noisier every minute.  That indeed is the ultimate sophistication to use a complex system to simplify it enough for practical use.  We can use some basic concepts to understand the bigger picture of food and nutrition and its effect on the body.


1.  Energy

Food conveys life energy or prana to the body.  It is not the same as calories.  Calories can give the body “fuel’ to burn, but not the vitality and luster.  When we eat food that has sufficient calories but is devoid of the energy, we might miscalibrate our feedback system.  When energy is lacking in the food, the body can signal to continue eating even when sufficient calories have already been consumed.  Junk food is a perfect example of this concept.  We always want to reach for more.  It isn’t just because it is stimulating our taste buds, but the energy or the prana in the food is missing so we continue to eat.

2.  Quality

Food conveys its qualities to the body.  Light food will lighten the body and heavy food will make the body feel heavy.   That is simple, right!  Salad vs chocolate cake.  Dry food can dry or dehydrate the body, like popcorn that is why you may feel thirsty.  Cold foods can feel cooling to the body, but repeatedly consuming them will cool the digestion.  Spicy food can inflame the body.

3.  Tastes

Different tastes have different digestive and post digestive effects on the body.  A balanced meal includes 6 different tastes.  These tastes are:  sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter.  Different tastes stimulate the different enzymes to be secreted to digest those tastes.  That allows the digestive system to work in its full capacity and moreover, satisfies the body’s need for all tastes and curve the cravings.  The taste that is over consumed is sweet and under consumed is bitter.  That may be one of the contributing factors for overconsumption of caffeine and alcohol -as they provide the bitter taste.  We can add the bitter greens to get the bitter taste in our meals instead. Different tastes have different effect on the body.  Overconsumption of sweet taste is inflaming.  Bitter taste cools the body.

4. Digestibility

We are what we digest!  One of the pillars of health in Ayurveda is strong digestion and its one of the forte’s of Ayurvedic medicine as it is the seat of health and disease. Ayurvedic medicine has countless ways to power up the digestion, by using herbs, spices, combinations of meals, understanding the timing of the meals, the consciousness of the cook and the quality of the environment where food is being consumed all have an effect on the digestion. Digestion is not just limited to the food we eat, what can we digest the life experiences or do we push them into the subconscious where it effects our habits, health.  Ask yourself how it feels after the consume something, gas, bloating, indigestion,  constipation, sleep, mood etc.  Ayurveda uses spices, herbs as medicine to build strong digestion and to make the food not only aromatic and rich in taste but easy to digest, process and assimilate in the body.

5.  Emotionality

The holistic approach of Ayurveda understands the whole picture.  Every thing affects everything else.  Food effects our emotions, hence the need for sugar when one is feel low and down.  Emotions effect our ability to digest the food and the experiences.  Eating is sacred and a celebration of life.  There is no guilt associated with cooking for oneself and taking the time to eat.  It is a necessarily activity much like sleep.  Food must be enjoyed and it must appeal to all the senses in order for it to convey the maximum health benefits.  If Potato chip or chocolate cake is your thing, have some once in a while and enjoy it without worry or guilt.  The worry factor will turn the food into poison and it is that feeling that compels us to keep eating as we are now trying for that bad feeling to go away but can’t and the cycle turns downward.

You can try this.  Eat spicy food when you are angry and intense, it will make you more angry and intense.  So you want to opt for something little calming, and soothing food.

6.  Consciousness

When there is so much information, we naturally seek for it to be simplified.  So, when we find a food item that is good and agrees with us, consuming it more does not make it better.  Type of food, what tastes to include or exclude, how to eat according to your constitution and imbalance, how to eat according to seasons, all that requires that we become more conscious of the effect of food  on our body, and emotionality and psychology.  Although simplified, the Ayurvedic nutrition is sophisticated and asks that we know when and how to adjust.



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The Yoga Path

Many wonderful Yoga studios with the group classes continue to draw more and more people into the practice.  From kids to seniors and men attending Yoga, we are shattering the myth that Yoga is only for the young and fit.  We are hearing the message everywhere that Yoga is for everybody and indeed it is!

However, not everyone who would benefit from the practice is convinced that they too can join the practice.  The population that still stays away is the one with physical limitations, chronic illness.  This is where the traditionally developed postures that were developed for a teenager become on obstacle to those wanting to access it for deep healing and restoration.   Yoga was not developed as a group exercise. The teachings were passed on from the teacher to student when the teacher felt the student was ready and was done individually.  The evolution of Yoga into group exercise has spread its practice and brought health, consciousness and equanimity into the world.

Even when there are more and more practitioners of yoga with over 30 percent of practitioners over the age of 50, there are many who fear Yoga or chalk it up to a practice not meant for them.  Perhaps it is not.  Everything is not for everybody.  However, in the face of chronic conditions and limitations,  the question is not whether this practice is for you, rather it is more about aging well and disease free and Yoga with its vast application and mind/body integration is one heck of a modality to help you do just that.

Many in their minds equate aging with moving less and less, living a sedentary life style and loose their purpose. ” What’s the point now?”  as I have heard many times.  That is exactly the point, to rediscover yourself through movement, live fully and make every moment count.

In the yogic philosophy, the older years are indeed golden.  This is the time where we enjoy the fruits of our labor, share our wisdom with the younger generation and fulfill those dreams that were put on the back burner to raise a family or career.  But without a fully functioning body, sadness and depression set in.  It does not need to be this way!

This is where Yoga therapy and specialized studios can put the life back in your time left,  renew the hope of fulfilling your dreams and make the older years truly golden.  Don’t think main stream Yoga studios and classes.  Instead, think about a practice this is custom designed for you so you too can move your body in spite of the limitations, you too can feel well and fight those chronic conditions that you have been dealing with for years.

Using the physical to connect with our deeper truth and benefitting the physical at the same time is quite an extraordinary practice.  Strong and supple body, a conscious mind and a spiritual vision is the promise of Yoga practice.  Any physical movement is a great medicine for the mind, but the Yoga practice does that more specifically and scientifically.

When the postures create hesitation, fear, that is when it is necessary to broaden the deepen the horizon of Yoga.  There are a countless ways to move into the body to address physical limitations and help you enjoy the physical activities that you once did.  Yoga therapy is not about postures, rather it is about making you more mobile and pain free; it is not about perfecting the posture but to find a way to move into your perfect body.

Life changes in so many ways as we get older; family dynamics, changing bodies, change in the home environment.  For many, this change can lead to anxiety and depression and isolation.  So, to antidote that, it is crucial that we reach out, take care of ourselves and reinvent our life. It is more important to take ownership of our health in the older years as the quality of our life depends on it.


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More on Yoga and Ayurveda

A lot is happening in the world of Yoga and health! If we weren’t convinced before on the benefits of Yoga and why it really should be a part of everyone’s life, we sure are now.  There are countless inspiring stories and examples of how Yoga has helped people totally turn their life around and the benefits are immense and much needed in these times.  Recently, a student shared the New York Times column on Yoga, and it is reinforcing what we already know and experience.  It is nice to read in case you forgot why you practice or were practicing yoga

  1. Yoga may keep your brain young! A weekly routine of yoga and meditation may help to stave off aging-related mental decline, according to a study of older adults with memory problems.
  2. 12 minutes of yoga can improve your bones! Dr. Loren M. Fishman of Columbia University has been gathering evidence for years, hoping to determine whether yoga might be effective therapy for osteoporosis.
  3. Yoga improves your balance! Tai chi, dancing, even brushing your teeth on one leg can work your balance pretty well.
  4. Yoga may prevent inflammation! A class visit, a new book on yoga’s risks and benefits and the prodding of friends prompt a longtime skeptics reconsideration of the ancient and popular practice.
  5. Yoga can relieve back pain! Weekly yoga classes relieve symptoms of low back pain about as well as intense, regular stretching sessions, a new study shows.
Another phenomenon that has awaken everyone is the effect of our life style on our health!  I love how everything comes around in a full circle, if we wait long enough!  Of course, life style effects our health, in fact, our health is a direct result of our life style.  When we think of the word medicine , we think of pills. But we are expanding our definition to a much larger context now.  The real medicine is our life style! Life Style is everything from what goes into our mouth, what we take in through all our senses, how we live with others and our environment, our understanding and connection with nature, how we spend our time, how to keep body/mind/spirit healthy! This is what Ayurvedic medicine is all about!
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5 Essential Keys to Change Habit Patterns

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A New Mindset for Changing Habits

Our health, happiness and our success is a direct result of our habits.    We are not taking about the harmless or inconsequential habits but a pattern of behavior that repeats over and over again and keeps us stuck.   It is an established pattern of being, of feeling, of living, or relating and is deeply wired  in our psyche and  has deep neurological grooves that are difficult to overcome with affirmations, will power and discipline alone.

There is no doubt how hard it is to change these patterns of behavior!   Much harder, though, is to live a life that does  not look like anything we had wanted because of our habits.

Habits are learned, we are not born with them.  And when something is learned, it can be unlearned.  Denial, resistant and rationalization is a natural part of the process as long as we are not stuck in it forever.   We have countless examples and inspiring stories of people making radical changes in their lives.  They change the way they view themselves, they change the direction of their lives, go back to school to finish their education,  they leave that job that was sucking the life out of them, they leave that toxic relationship, kick the worst of addictions and much more.   We all have that fire inside of us waiting to be lit.  Once we discover that fire, it is no longer possible to live any other way.

Changes that stick are the ones that are made from deep within.  Habit patterns are a symptom of  our deeply held beliefs about ourselves, about life, about relationships, about health, about money and other things that affect the quality of our life.  We know that in order to eradicate the symptoms completely, we must treat the root cause of those symptoms.   Until we dive deep and change our beliefs, any change we make on the surface level will only be temporary.   Our beliefs are a result of our past experiences, conditioning and old structures( that we once had to establish  because they served a purpose then). Once they served their purpose and no longer represent us now,  they are no longer needed.  However, they become part of our conditioning and will continue to control our behavior unless we evaluate them from time to time and discard them once they have served their purpose and are no longer needed.

in that sense, habits by themselves are not good or bad, they merely feed the belief patterns that we are holding in the subconscious. The subconscious does not judge the habits, it simply does what it needs to do to maintain the status quo – the belief.   A habit is a good habit if it is taking us in the direction we want, if it isn’t then it simply is a distraction away from our goals.    It is up to us to decide our direction and evaluate whether a habit/choice/action  is taking us in that direction.

Before doing the deep inner work that is necessary to make long lasting changes,  it is  important to establish a mental frame  of mind that can serve as a foundation to make these changes.

  1. Changing habits are about Self Discovery not about Self improvement

Number one thing to realize is that changing habits is not about self-improvement, rather it is about self discovery.   It is a much kinder and encouraging way of thinking and it actually IS the truth.    It feels exhausting to think that we continuously have to improve regardless of where we are in our journey.  It can feel like chasing our tails at times.    The question to ask  is, “Is this habit a true representation of me?”   Anything that is not a true representation of who we are will naturally fall off as we move more and more towards who we truly are.

  1. Replace an Old Habit with a New One

Replacing an old habit with a new one works much better for our psyche than getting rid of the habit. .   Taking away something creates a vacuum and the subconscious will fill it with something else  unless we consciously fill it with what we want.   One of the most common example of that is weight gain after someone quits smoking.   As life changes, what we need also changes.  Therefore, it is good to review our habits from time to time to see which ones are no longer in alignment with our growth and our goals and replace them with the ones that are.

  1. Refrain from Negative Self -Judgment

Habits are not a moral compass to judge ourselves or others by,  i.e., bad habits don’t mean that you are a bad person.  It just means that we have been there, done that and it no longer holds our interest.      Ultimately, we are not our habits.  An over identification with our habits is a mental trap that keeps us stuck in the same pattern.   The negative self judgment makes us feel the familiar bad inner feeling that acts as a magnet for the same old habit that we are trying to change.  So, putting a positive spin on this even on temporary basis and believing that we CAN change the habits works to our advantage and becomes a catalyst in doing the deeper work to make the changes stick.

  1. Remember Your Why

When we are in the middle of the challenges, naturally we want to give up and do what we have always done.  Our comfort lies in the familiarity  not what is best for us;  comfort, however, does not bring growth.  It is in the middle of the challenge, that we must remind ourselves as to why we wanted to make the changes in the first place.

  1. Remember Your Potential

Our potential is always greater than what we have accomplished today.  Just because we can’t do something today does not mean we can’t do it tomorrow.   Self – identification is important for us to find our purpose in life but the negative Self – identification can be detrimental.   ” I am just a lazy person”, “exercise is not my thing”, ” I have anxiety or any other disorder”, are sure ways to remain stuck.  We only know what we know.  We never really know our potential until we put ourselves in the challenging or unfamiliar situations and realize we can do far more than we thought.  Then we begin to see ourselves differently and more than what we once thought of ourselves.  Attaching negative labels and adjectives to ourselves only undermine our potential as human beings and becomes a major mental block in uncovering that potential and really serves no purpose.  We are all a certain way until we are not!  We can break free of these mental limitations and labels that we impose on ourselves.    Since Self- identification is important, find the one that is going to uplift you, make you more of who you truly are and take you in the direction of your goals.

The whole of life is a learning process.  Just because you don’t know something today does not mean you won’t tomorrow.  Actually, you can and you will!

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Is Yoga a Religion!

Recently, a couple of my fellow Yoga teachers were asked to teach Yoga in a school but asked to not call it Yoga. Obviously, some parents are concerned that their kids might be learning some religious rituals, so not to upset the parents, teachers opt out of bringing Yoga into the school system.

Is Yoga a religion?  More than a debate, it is a fear that keeps this profound healthy practice away from many people especially our youth. Where there is fear, there is a need for better education.

Yoga teachings come from the Vedic culture (the oldest living knowledge/philosophy), a part of Hinduism.  The word Yoga means union: to unite with what we have become separated from i.e. to our physical body, to our spirit and to nature(you can fill in the blanks). That union can come through a physical practice (Hatha Yoga) or a spiritual practice (i.e. Bhakti Yoga).  The practice that is most popular in the Western world is Hatha yoga due to its obvious and documented countless benefits.  Having said that, a spiritual practice is not separate from a physical practice.  Try being spiritual in a body that does not work.  It is challenging, isn’t it? A spiritual practice means we are able to look at the bigger picture.  How is that possible when we can’t move beyond our body and are stuck inside our head?

The practice of Yoga provides a spiritual direction if that is what we are seeking.  The depth and wisdom of Yoga is like an ocean; it is endless, however, the teachings are dynamic and practical; it is not a dogma.  The learning is experiential, not forced upon.  The practice is meant for anybody in human form.  The fact that millions of people all over the world practice Yoga clearly indicates that one does not have to be Hindu to practice Yoga nor you become one by practicing it.

Without going all Webster, isn’t religion a gateway to spirituality?  When religion gets confused with politics, we remain stuck in the religion and sadly never really move beyond it to spirituality.  The practice of Yoga welcomes all humanity, all religions; it is a spiritual practice t0 connect with your own spirit through your body and mind.

We do not become Hindu by practicing Yoga just like we do not become Christian by attending Church. We remain who we are at pure consciousness in human form. When we are healthy in mind, body and spirit, we can happily move in the direction of our purpose.  If we pondered more on our spiritual development, there may be a less of a need to protect  our religions.  We live in a polarity world.  We unite only when we embrace diversity.  The point of religion is to unite, not to divide.  Spirituality unites all humanity and all religions.

As a society, being highly stressed has become a norm. We are told that we can have it all and right now, so we work hard to chase this ever-moving target. Inevitably this stress gets passed on to our kids.  We have placed more emphasis on their performance, whether it’s  sports or academics, but none on inner expansion and development.  Starved for real wisdom, guidance and connection, many kids become prone to anxiety, depression and unfortunately far too many turn to drugs.  In spite of drug education and all the damage control does not keep drugs away from kids.  Why is that?  Because Kids need an internal experience for reference as to what connecting with their body, mind and spirit feels like.  It is this experience that holds the power to keep them moving in healthier direction. The Yoga practice can and has served as prevention and can give the kids that experience.  But instead of seeking the truth, we continue to hide behind our fears and biases and keep this very practical and proven practice away from our children.  For a handful of parents who want to bring Yoga practice to their kids have an uphill battle as there is no collective support from our culture or society as a whole.

Yoga practice for school age kids is self-regulating.  Kids learn to check in with themselves, enjoy moving, gain a sense of self, have better body image, de-stress, are happy and better equipped to meet the challenges of school; not to mention agile and have less sports injuries.  All of this sets up a foundation for a healthy life beyond the school years.  Drugs or anything that is toxic to their well being no longer holds the appeal.

Holding on to beliefs, biases and fears that keep us stuck is a waste of our intelligence and spirit. The point is not to win or to be right, it is to bring joy, peace and freedom into our lives; it is to be happy and healthy.  For only then, we can serve humanity.  Yoga offers that.  Do not get hung up on words, seek the truth and dive into the practice and experience it for yourself.  Cultivate the experiential knowledge that unites humanity not divide it!

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Post Election

Sometimes, we have to be shaken to our core to wake up for once and for all! I hurt for all the women, people of different color and race, who thought this was their chance to end the gender and race discrimination and inequality , But I realize, we can end that right now regardless of who runs this country.

Our power, ultimately, lies in our actions, never the outcome! We don’t know what to do right now, but we can meditate, pray, nourish our body and celebrate our very existence. We can celebrate the fact that we CAN bring change in our homes, neighborhoods, communities by how we treat each other.

The outcome does not change our values, our potential and our strength. Our daughters and our sons can achieve all that they want to achieve. Lets teach them equality, respect, self love and love for all humanity and teach them how to take care of themselves, love themselves, honor themselves and how to create communities that unite and not divide. Our lives are a result of our actions and our actions alone. Yes, we may have an uphill battle but don’t despair and hold on to the love that we feel for ourselves, and the whole of humanity.

Let the voice of fear and anger find its own way! Let’s not be controlled by our own fears! When the world is THIS divided and polarized, there is fear on both sides. In a polarized world, we all loose! A victory that is borne out of fear and hatred is not a victory. A victory that dims the light of so many people is not a victory!

Right now, to love is to yield to the parts of ourselves ..( the fear, anger ..our own darker, shadow side) and accept and love our own darker side. That is all the opposition parts actually showed us – our very own shadow side. We may right now be blinded by our anger and not see this; don’t allow the anger to turn into hatred, instead channel it to open our hearts even more. Become whole, as we bridge the gap between the good and the bad, the fear and the love. To love is to trust in our innate goodness!

Don’t mistake the process for the end result! The end result is not who won or who lost, the end result is how we feel in our hearts, how we show up for what is important and how we uplift ourselves and our communities.

So, chin up! There is a blessing in every curse and curse in every blessing. Our job is find the blessing no matter what, move on and become who we truly are! We are whole – with the good and the bad, the negative and the positive. Let’s open our hearts to those parts of ourselves that we don’t like. The results have merely mirrored what we experience within ourselves.

Let’s be the change we want to see in the world! Let’s love, love and love!

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Yoga – more than skin deep

Originated in India some 8000 years ago, this ancient practice of Self-realization and transformation has become a much needed practice of the modern times. The undeniable health benefits of this practice are what draws about 20 million people in the US who have made Yoga a regular part of their health regime. The practice and teachings of Yoga are as wide and as deep as an ocean and provide an endless reservoir of self-exploration and deep wisdom for all of humanity and is free of any discrimination of age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, religion and belief. It is important to point out that what was meant to be an individual practice where the teacher imparted the knowledge to the student based not only on the physical needs but also on the mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of the student, has evolved into a mainstream practice accessible to all.     

What is Yoga?  When asked this question, even the seasoned practitioner and the teacher tend to fall short in the explanation as the true explanation lies in one’s experience. Derived from Sanskrit, Yoga means to “yolk” or to unite.  Unite us with what?  The explanation that is most commonly understood is that it unites us with our body, mind and spirit.  True, but a more insightful question to ask is what have we become separated from?  What we have become separated from is who we are and what we are.  We can call this our true essence or the Self. Other names are the Source or Pure Consciousness.  While it is true that Yoga is an integrated practice of mind, body and spirit, but there is more.  Mind, body and spirit is the trinity that comes out of  Pure Consciousness.  Our own consciousness is part of the greater Consciousness which unites all of life and is infinite.  The ultimate union then is of our finite self with the Infinite Self.

Consciousness is universal energy and life force.  Our journey into the physical body begins with consciousness just like a tree begins with the seed.  However, it transcends the human life as we know it and beyond the earth, in other words, it does not end when our human life ends.  It has no beginning and no end and is beyond the concept of time and space.  It is the source of all thought, emotion and our liveliness and contains the energy, information and intelligence.  Healing comes from connecting with this source and disease arises when we disconnect from this source.    

How then can a simple asana practice deliver such a union? How can simply being in a posture connect us with our true nature?  Here is my attempt in explaining it.  Through a system of breath work and body movements, we come in direct contact with our strengths, weaknesses, and with what we are holding on to. The continuous flow of the breath beckons us to let go and to find ease. This letting go happens at the cellular level and gets deeply embedded in our muscles, tissues and bones, creating memory, stirring parts of us that we may have tucked away. We move through the body to move  beyond the body. It is subtle yet powerful.  We find a resolve in letting go and experience the relief and the stillness that accompanies it. We may find a place that is of pure love and acceptance, a place that is complete and whole.  This is our true essence. Nothing needs to be said, all is experienced in this inner silence and calm.  The connection heals with the realization that we were never broken to begin with.

We walk away feeling lighter, freer and happier and ready to infuse our experience into our lives and  becoming more and more of who we truly are, Pure Consciousness. It is this experience that shatters our judgments of ourselves and others, gravitates us towards health promoting habits, lifestyle and relationships. This is how simply taking a yoga class to relieve back pain can result in finding our true purpose, serving as a pivotal point in our spiritual journey. This is the story of numerous practitioners who have come before me.  We have to know nothing, we simply have to practice and the results will unfold for us when we are ready.

The word Yoga, “union” implies that there are two opposing forces or concepts at play. Yoga is the art and science of bringing these opposing forces into a more harmonious existence. Yoga is the balance between fluidity and integrity, mind and body. finite and infinite. Why balance is sought after, spoken about and is out of reach for many is because of the allure or the temporary stimulation the extremes hold. Budha discovered that living in the extremes is the cause of suffering and real growth and happiness only comes from the middle path.  Doing too much would be to push into challenging postures in spite of the strain, pain or fatigue that one may experience, doing too little would be barely even trying. The place in the middle is the point of steady pleasantness in the body and ease in the mind, truly experiencing going with the flow.  Life becomes effortless as it was meant to be.  We feel free. This is how we know that we are experiencing Yoga.

This heightened awareness serves as a preventative measure. Chronic psychological stress that caused blockages in the flow of this energy and intelligence begins to dissipate. This in turn helps us face our difficulties and not allow them to overwhelm us as they have in the past.   This increased ability to choose our own response fosters a renewed sense of control over our lives. It gives us strength to do the right thing at the right time and in achieving self-control and self-fulfillment. When we are at peace with our inner world, our outer world reflects the same back to us.  And that is what adds richness and fullness to our life experiences. We can feel being alive in every fiber of our being.  We can begin to move from surviving to living.  It is then no longer about what we do, but how we do it.   We now set up the ground for healing and health.  What we need to do to heal again becomes clear.  We become open to making changes that were not possible before.  We tune in to what we need and we find ways to get it.  We begin to believe that healing is possible and begin to trust in the bigger picture.  We move towards acceptance, which spares a lot of our energy that was tied up in worry, control and conflict.  Where we begin in Yoga and where we end up is hardly the point.  It is all the stuff in the middle of the journey that has the lasting effect on our lives.

The practices of Yoga and Meditation are intertwined.  Yoga practice itself is a meditation.  It uses the body, and the breath to train the mind and then to transcend it. This happens at the end of a yoga class, in the corpse pose. We observe without the struggle to figure it all out; we see all in its perfection, we restore our wholeness and trust.  When we begin to give to ourselves what we seek from others, we fill ourselves up to the rim to the point that we naturally overflow.  We forgive ourselves for the same qualities that hurt us in others.   It becomes easy to let go of past grudges because we realize how much energy it took to hold on to them.

My approach to anything in life is a pragmatic one. If doing something serves us, then do it.  As our life changes, our needs change and so do our rituals. Yoga is not about an external ritual or practice, it is about creating that inner attitude and experience that is important. We remember these experiences at a cellular level and seek to create those experiences in all aspects of our lives.  Yoga is about cultivating an ability to open ourselves enough that we can find something positive regardless of what we experience.  This ability to change our perspective, to be positive, is central to our psychological and emotional health, which in turn makes us better people.  As our inner life evolves, what matters more and more is how we are being with whatever life brings us. We acknowledge and accept that the outcome is ultimately beyond our control.

We are in everything alive; we shine in every star.  When we can connect with that part of ourselves which is beyond the body, mind and spirit, we see ourselves in all creation and we see all creation within us.  It is at this point where we realize we have begun to heal.

There is a deep connection between spirituality and healing.  To become more conscious is not to control the outcome of our actions; it is rather to co-create with that which is larger. It is to harmonize with our higher self and let nature do what is for the highest good. We regain our power when we harmonize with nature. We heal when we reconnect with the source out of which all life arises.  When we become that tuned in to who we truly are, there is no longer an attachment to a desired outcome, instead we feel okay with whatever happens.  We realize that what is in store for us is far more than we could have dreamed of.



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My Yoga Story


I stumbled upon a Yoga class 22 years ago when I was working full time as a CPA. Being born and raised in India where Yoga, in one form or another, is embedded in the culture and lifestyle, I was surprised and delighted to be in a formal yoga class.  I felt a sense of “coming home” and that started my Yoga journey.

After having taught Yoga to all ages, abilities and in all different settings, needless to say, the practice and teachings have influenced every aspect of my life, shaping, reshaping and transforming me in numerous ways.  Like many of you, I have endured many losses, enjoyed countless blessings and have searched my soul to the nth degree to make sense of things. The wisdom of Yoga helped me in ways I did not think possible and unfolded my path before me and I followed.

As Yoga paved the way for more learning and evolution, I started studying Ayurvedic Medicine and graduated as An Ayurvedic Health Practitioner in 2011 from New World Ayurveda.  Being the daughter of an Ayurvedic physician, I grew up wanting to be a doctor so I could help people live healthier and happier lives. The Western medicine did not uphold the same appeal for me, so I took some detours before I found my way back to Ayurveda.

We may be alone in our own unique journey but along the way we are fortunate enough to find teaches(formal and other wise) and mentors who show us what we may not see by ourselves. I have had the good fortune to study with many amazing teachers and mentors who have helped me to my next level of growth and evolution in my personal and professional life.

Meena Puri

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