We are all on this incredible journey, each one of us walking our path. The yogis say our journey is from darkness to light. Samkhya philosophy calls the darkness tamas and the light sattva. Tamas is the quality of stillness, heaviness, inertia — when your body feels stuck, heavy, lazy, and tired, and when your mind is dark, depressed, and you have a lot of confusion, and are living in ignorance. We go first from tamas through rajas before we reach sattva. Rajas is the quality of movement, fire, and intensity. You have to go into the fire. Your practice will be intense. It takes hard work. You are up against old, stuck energy, bad habits, and patterns in your mind that aren’t serving you. Breathe into the fire. Stand your ground. Stay calm and find stillness in the middle of the movement. It’s the balance of these first two qualities that will lead you to the light of sattva. Sattva is the quality of balance, a place where the body feels light and energetic, and the mind is focused but calm. This is the place where the light can flow through you. This is the place where you will be able to experience the true nature of your Self. Keep walking on your path. It’s a long, slow journey. Just take it one step at a time. Enjoy every moment. This is your journey. This is your life.Read More
Really fun Shiva Power class last night at Kula Yoga Port Orange!!! Back to basics.
I was talking yesterday about practice and detachment. What is practice? Effort to steady the mind — concentration. What is detachment? Letting go of distractions. So, our practice is the practice of concentration, staying present, looking at the distractions, and letting them go.
You’re taking a journey to the center of your Self. You’re walking to the center of the wheel. You’re not going to suddenly burst into flames when you experience the true nature of your Self, or turn into light and disappear. Yoga won’t make all your problems and all of life’s challenges go away. But you can change your relationship to those problems and challenges. Yoga will help you shift your perspective. You change your relationship to your Self and you change your experience of the world.
The ego is the part of us that is constantly created separation. If you identify with the ego then you are constantly looking for the world around you to change for you. Yoga is asking the opposite. You change your relationship to your Self and your experience of the world changes.
Be the change! This is our practice. This is the shift of perspective.
“Copy the teacher, copy the teacher, copy the teacher.”
“I am Yogi Gupta, I am Yogi Gupta, I am Yogi Gupta.”
A happy belated birthday to my teacher — Dharma Mittra, who turned 80 yrs old last month. I’m so excited that I will be able to see Dharma this week while I am in New York. I’ve been lucky enough to take 3 Teacher Training programs with Dharma over the past 8 yrs and have come to New York on several additional trips for intensive study.
Dharma sometimes shares a story about practicing with his teacher, Swami Kailasananda — Yogi Gupta. He talks about focusing intensely on copying the teacher, trying to become like the master himself. We walk in the shadows of the great teachers who have come before us. We try to follow in their footsteps. We keep moving things forward, and our students are right behind us. As Dharma would say, “we are all just helping each other along.”
“Copy the teacher, copy the teacher, copy the teacher.”
“I am Dharma Mittra, I am Dharma Mittra, I am Dharma Mittra.”
Feeling grateful for this moment and everything that has led to this moment. Thank you, Dharma.
The wall can be a crutch when we practice inversions. But it can also be a tool to help you magnify areas of weakness or areas where you are disconnected and lacking awareness.
I love using the wall to magnify how much core we need in our handstands. If you aren’t ready to do this exercise against the wall you can lie down on the floor first and practice your handstand against the floor, with your hands on the wall.
I was talking with an old friend today over coffee about love and the deep Soul connection kind of love that is so hard to find. I think we often confuse love with the lust. Just like we often get confused about who we really are and the true nature of the Self. Do you really love your partner? Or are you seeking their love? Love is kindness and compassion. Love says I want the best for you and I want you to become the best person you can be. Love is two people walking down the road together, headed in the same direction. You are responsible for your own happiness. I am responsible for my own happiness. I enjoy your company but I don’t need you.
I think before you can really love anyone or anything you have to learn to love yourself. And in order to love yourself, you have to get comfortable with yourself. Sit in stillness. Be alone. That person you are attracted to doesn’t have the answers to your problems. You have the answers to your problems.
The work you do on yourself is the most important gift you can give to the world. Go into the fire. Let your stuff come to the surface and let it go. Cleanse your body and cleanse your mind. Clear out that old stuck energy and make same space.
Are you ready to love someone? Or are you just looking for someone to love you?
Thank you, Haipoo Yoga for hosting me for another great Shiva Yoga Intensive program! I love the new studio and had a wonderful time with the students this week. Grateful to you for your support and our ongoing collaboration. Namaste.Read More
How old were you when you first started practicing yoga? Fun pictures at the Guangzhou Dreamer Yoga Festival.
My first yoga practice was when I was studying acting in the UK at RADA for a summer program. We did yoga in one of the movement classes. I don’t know if they were allowed to call it yoga back then because of the perceived connection to religion. I looked back on what we were doing when I started practicing regularly after I’d returned home from the program and realized we’d been doing yoga in some of our movement classes
Teacher’s dinner Guangzhou Yoga Festival!!! So great to see some old friends here in Guangzhou and meet some new friends too. I’m grateful for the invitation and honored to be here with such a nice group of teachers. Thank you, Gillia for inviting me to be a part of the festival.Read More
Our final Shiva Power class at Haipoo Yoga yesterday morning! A deep Twisting class with extra core work to prepare for our afternoon Handstand Workshop. This was a really fun group to work with and I’ve enjoyed watching everyone grow a lot in just a few days. We managed to cover some yoga philosophy and I had the students read and discuss five of my published articles on different aspects of the practice as well. I am confident that I shared as much as I could in our 3 days together. I think the greatest thing we can do as teachers is share everything we have with our students. If we do a good enough job they won’t need us anymore. Ideally, we want to eliminate ourselves from the equation altogether. Everything I have is yours! The way we honor our teachers and pay back the debt we owe to them is to share the teachings and become teachers ourselves. There’s an old yoga saying — “He who teaches and doesn’t practice is a fraud. And he who practices and doesn’t teach is a thief.” Better not to be either one.Read More
Yoga is constantly asking you to look at the truth.
Where are you at in this moment? Right here? Right now? Look at your strengths. Look at your weaknesses. There is no spiritual by-pass. You’ve got to go through your stuff in order to get to the other side. You’ve got to sit in the darkness before you can see the light.
What’s your relationship to the truth? Stand your ground. Hold your focus. The Universe is testing you. Are you really ready for this moment? Are you really ready to be this vulnerable? Look at the mirror. What do you see? What are you learning about yourself?
It is our acknowledgement and acceptance of the present moment that allows for our growth, and allows us to integrate the disconnected parts of ourselves. What are you not ready to look at right now? Maybe it’s time to have a look. It’s time to go through the fire, and get to the other side.
Let your practice break you wide open. Let it break you down. You are cleaning your pot. You are cleaning out the closet. Put in the effort. It’s worth it. Time to get on your mat!
One of the things I learned from my teachers was to teach the students to wake themselves up. I don’t do a lot of hands-on adjustments until I know students really well. Even then — I follow a few simple rules when it comes to adjusting students in class. If I can cue you verbally to find the adjustment yourself I think it’s more powerful than me simply using my knowledge of the pose to put your body in a better position. If verbal cues don’t work, then I’ll try to “mirror” for you what I want you to find in your own body. If that doesn’t work, light touch can be enough. Now, find it on your own. If all else fails or if I think a full hands-on adjustment will really help you deepen your work and you couldn’t get there on your own, then I’ll do the full hands-on adjustment. But the goal is for you to one day not need me around. I think if we do a great job, one day we’ve given our students everything and they don’t need us anymore. In a lot of ways, our job as good teachers, is to one day eliminate ourselves. Is your teacher teaching you to be self sufficient? Are you growing? Are you waking up? Are you waking yourself up? My teacher, Dharma often answers questions by asking a question back — “What do you think? Use your discrimination.” I think the best teacher’s force us to figure things out on our own. Maybe the best thing for you and your growth is to do things incorrectly for a little while and then figure it out on your own?Read More
I taught a big Sun Salutation practice this morning at the Zhejiang Yoga Cultural Festival. Good attendance! It was very early in the morning and a little cold. But we persevered.
Sun Salutations have been practiced by yogis for thousands of years. When we practice them we are walking in the footsteps of our teachers and their teachers.
We practice sun salutations for four main reasons in yoga.
1. They help to quickly warm the body up.
2. They help to balance the nervous system and are a great preparation for meditation, or can be used as a meditation themselves.
3. They help us connect the idea of the brightest thing in our world with the brightest and lightest part of ourselves.
4. They are a gratitude practice. Each day, try to start the day practicing gratitude. Shift your perspective. Try to be grateful for the day, for this moment right here and right now. Practicing gratitude helps you open your mind and open your heart.
Enjoy this beautiful day!!! Namaste! Thank you, everyone for practicing with me this morning!
From our Backbending workshop last week in Shenzhen at Dream Space Yoga!
I love this deep Shoulder stretch and Chest opener. It’s a great partner pose that is a real “feel good” pose for both partners.
I’ve been working a lot on opening my shoulders and my hip flexors to deepen my backbend poses.
If we are really honest with ourselves, the “yoga mirror” shows you everything you need to look at, all of your imbalances, all of your strengths and all of your weaknesses. Do you have the courage to look in the mirror — and are you willing to put the effort into making the necessary changes in your life — both on and off the mat to find balance?
What are you working on right now? What areas of your body need to open up or get stronger? What areas of your life need some attention?
The story of Vacistasana is a story about a Great Sage, a sacred cow, and magical powers. But it’s ultimately about the journey from darkness to light. There was no sacred cow that gave the Great Sage Magical powers.
The power is within you! You just have to do your practice. Be consistent! Be patient! Train your mind to focus! Keep waking up. Everyday, wake up a little more. And a little more. You can do anything you focus your mind on. Some people might think you have a secret, a sacred cow, or are lucky, or have magical powers. But you know your power comes from your practice, from your dedication and hard work. The power is inside you. It’s inside all of us. You just have to learn how to access it! And then you can do anything.
Really fun Shiva Power class last night at Siddhi Yoga Shala in Athens. Thank you @mariamaganariyoga for inviting me to collaborate and teach at your studio. Really nice group of students. Thank you to everyone who came to take my Shiva Power class.
I was talking last night about the shift of perspective in yoga, and how profound it is when we make that shift. The mind is constantly falling down. When we are governed by the ego we are constantly judging, criticizing and commenting on everything. The mind is never satisfied. But when you touch the deepest part of yourself and realize that there is a part of you beyond the body, mind, thoughts, and ego, you start to see the world differently. You begin to move through the world with more gratitude. Love, kindness and compassion automatically starts to flow from your heart. The question arises in your mind — how can I be of service? How can I help others? This is yoga! Take the journey. Shift your perspective. Experience the true nature of your Self.
Hanging out in Bali after a photo shoot with some new friends. Yoga allows each of us to experience our true nature. Who are you at the center of your Self?
You are the experience of awareness experiencing itself. You are not the witness, but the experience of witnessing. You are not the lover, but the experience of loving. You are not compassionate, but the experience of compassion. You are not kind, but the experience of kindness.
Expansive. Beyond time and space. You are everywhere and nowhere. You are pure love. Separation exists only in your mind, and because of your ego.
Imagine, for moment, it’s as if there’s no you and no me. Just for a moment, there’s no separation.
We are travelers on a journey —home, to experience who we really are, underneath all the layers of who we thought we were.
What an inspiring weekend with Dr. Richard Miller! I’ve been practicing Yoga Nidra for over 12 years and teaching it for the past 10 yrs. I’ve been trained in 2 traditions and I found Richard’s knowledge incredible. He helped me connect the dots in a lot of areas and helped me understand what is happening neurologically in different parts of the practice. A few really profound moments where I was able to unlock and make sense of this ancient practice and increase my understanding. When knowledge turns to wisdom! His practice was very powerful as well and it really resonated with me. I’m definitely going to be doing a training with him down the road. Thank you @irestrichardmiller for a really wonderful weekend! Thank you @larrypayneyoga for hosting and all that you do to provide so many opportunities for us to continue to grow and learn. The never ending journey of learning! Feeling very grateful.Read More
Last night my mind was very heavy. I was working on a technical problem with my computer and the cloud and on the phone with a support specialist. It was a long day too. I was getting tired and feeling overwhelmed with the situation. We kept trouble shooting the problem and couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
I could feel myself getting frustrated. I could feel the emotions coming up. I tried not to get attached to them. It was hard. I was agitated.
One of the things that helped me shift my perspective was remembering one day a few years ago, coming up the elevator to the Dharma Yoga Center during one of my trainings with my teacher, Dharma Mittra. I asked Dharma how he was doing and he surprised me when he said that his mind was very heavy that day and very sad. There was a pause and then he shrugged and laughed and said, “but it’s just the mind” and gave me a knowing look, and I understood a little better the concept we talk a lot about in yoga of shifting our perspective.
I always remembered that morning. And it helped a lot last night. I could feel myself getting caught up in my thoughts and the anger and frustration I was feeling. I kept telling myself — it’s just the mind. Let it go. It’s not you. It’s just the mind.
I went to bed and slept well last night and woke up feeling very light and energized. I remember thinking that It was so silly that my mind was so upset and agitated last night. And even sillier that I was getting agitated and upset too.
The mind is always going to be on the roller coaster. But it doesn’t mean that you have to be too. You’re not the thoughts. You’re not the emotions. You are the space between the thoughts. You are the witness of body and mind activities.
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead, here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced as birdwings. — Rumi
We started the weekend off with a Meditation Workshop on Friday night. It was a really great evening, with some philosophy and Yoga Sutras discussion, and exploring many different ways to meditate. There are a lot of different meditation techniques because there are a lot of different people with different tendencies. You don’t have to master every technique. You want to pick one the works for you and use it to take you where you want to go. Many paths leading to the same destination. Thank you to everyone who came out for the workshop. It was a lot of fun to practice with all of you.Read More