“Copy the teacher, copy the teacher, copy the teacher.”

“Copy the teacher, copy the teacher, copy the teacher.”

“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.

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Ride the wave!

Ride the wave!

Sometimes you just have to surrender and go with the flow. The Universe has a plan for you. Ride the wave!
I’ve been in Taishan and Guangzhou the last 3 days. I’d never been to either city. Didn’t know any of the people I was meeting. Didn’t even know where I was staying. Just hoped the studio owner’s would pick me up at the train station.
Am meeting such lovely people and we are having so much fun. Enjoying meals together, practicing yoga together, laughing, and connecting.
I love this selfie I took on Friday night. This is Sandy, the owner of the studio in Taishan and Stella, my translator for the class I taught at the studio. They are both so nice!
I was talking with Sandy and her husband, Ricky about how my teacher Dharma always says that like attracts like and same attracts same. What’s the vibration you are putting out into the world? You will attract people who are vibrating on a similar level. Light attracts light. If you want to change your experience of the world — shift your perspective. Change your relationship to your Self and notice how your perception of the world changes. It starts with you!
Ride the wave! Let go! Let it go!

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Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher!

Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher!

Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! My teacher, Dharma is a master at the Head Balance pose or Headstand. You might have seen him in pictures balancing with no hands? Dharma tells this great story about practicing with his Guru and doing his best to copy his teacher during one of the practices.
We are following in the footsteps of the master teachers who have come before us. Think of how incredible it is that we don’t have to search in the darkness alone for the light. There’s others who have come before us who are a little farther down the path. All we have to do is follow in their footsteps. So grateful for Dharma and all my wonderful teachers. I am doing my best to follow in your footsteps. Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher!

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Yonion Festival — Day 4! My last class at the festival. What a fun day!

Yonion Festival — Day 4! My last class at the festival. What a fun day!

Yonion Festival — Day 4! My last class at the festival. What a fun day!I taught a Shiva Power Class/Backbending Workshop. We had a thunderstorm in the middle of the class. We were dry under the tent but the power to the sound system had to be cut and it poured rain. It was so loud.
Part of our yoga practice is going with the flow. We shifted to a much more workshop style class. My translator and I tried to be as loud as we could but it was still hard for the students to hear us. I ended up gathering everyone close to the stage. We demonstrated a few things to work on and then I sent them back out to their mats to practice. We did this a few times and it was actually quite a fun way to present to such a big group. Sometimes you get these wonderful spontaneous moments from just accepting things as they are unfolding. My teacher Dharma always used to remind us — Everything is happening the way it is supposed to be. What’s that famous quote — Yoga is not about stopping the waves but learning how to surf.

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Exploring Long Island.

Exploring Long Island.

Hiking on Long Island with my Dharma Yoga sister! Diana has been hosting me here in New York and she is such a great host. Grateful for her. She has inspired me to eat so healthy since I arrived here in New York. It’s been a great way to start the new year. I’m feeling refreshed and recharged. And it’s been so wonderful to practice everyday with my teacher, Sri Dharma Mittra. 

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Grateful to practice with one of my teachers Dharma.

Grateful to practice with one of my teachers Dharma.

A beautiful first day of the new year, practicing with my teacher, Sri Dharma Mittra, at the Dharma Yoga Center in New York. Grateful to be here. So grateful for Dharma. What a fun class! Nice to practice with so many old friends too. A really special day and wonderful way to start the new year. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your year is off to a good start and brings you much peace and love.

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Sun Salutation Workshop!

Sun Salutation Workshop!

Sun Salutation Workshop with my students in Qingdao! Breaking down Sun Salutation 1. This Sun Salutation is often associated with Hatha Yoga and it’s not as popular as it used to be. It’s a traditional Sun Salutation with 12 positions, making it perfect for the Vedic Sun Salutation chant. I love this Sun Salutation and practice it daily. Grateful to my teacher, Dharma Mittra for showing me this sequence and teaching me the traditional variation as well. Grateful to my teacher, Mr. Ramaswami for teaching me the Sun Salutation chant. The Sun is the brightest and lightest thing in our world. It is a symbol of the brightest and lightest part of ourselves, which we sometimes call our inner light.

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If you never try and fail, you will never find success!

If you never try and fail, you will never find success!

Once you have mastered balancing on your head in the Bound Head Balance and the Tripod Head Balance -- it can be fun to practice transitioning between these poses and other more advanced Head Balance variations. I learned so much about the Head Balance Poses from my teacher Sri Dharma Mittra. Dharma is a master at transitioning between Head Balances when he’s upside down and even balancing on the head with no hands. I’m not very good at these transitions yet but I find them a lot of fun. Some days I can balance on my head with no hands for a second or two and some days I can’t really find the balance at all. Always remember to have fun and keep your practice light. Be playful! I think we fall and fail at things we try 1000 times before we find the balance and find success. But if we never try and never fail we never find success. It doesn’t matter what your poses look like. It matters if you try. Get out of your comfort zone. Put forth your best effort. Let go of your expectations and let go of the results. Just show up and do the work. This is Karma Yoga. If you fall, don’t worry, no one is watching and no one really cares, except maybe you, and only if you are identifying with your ego.

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We started our practice with lots of pranayama today!

We started our practice with lots of pranayama today!

We started our practice with lots of pranayama today! And before that we even did some simple breath work. This was our last class together on the retreat. This class was in honor of my teacher, Dharma Mittra, and modeled after his Maha Sadhana practice. These classes offer what Dharma calls the "best of the best", with a sampling of different yoga practices. Breaking down how you are breathing can bring into focus areas where you are creating tension and magnify things you are doing that are making it harder for you to breath. These patterns of tension and things you are doing that are inhibiting the breath need to be undone and let go of before you can make progress in your yoga practice.

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Be a Good Partner.

Be a Good Partner.

My teacher, Dharma, usually does at least one or two partner poses in his classes. I've tried to add in a little more partner yoga into my classes since I started practicing with Dharma.

Partner yoga is a great way to connect with others. You learn to help support your partner and you learn how to let someone else support you. Every relationship requires this dynamic. Sometimes you are leading and driving the car, and sometimes you are going along for the ride.

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The Cell Phone!

The Cell Phone!

Yogis!  We’ve been talking a lot in class this past week about Vedanta Philosophy and Non-Dualism and the influence of this philosophy on our modern yoga culture. 

Vedanta gives us the idea that we are ultimately connected to everything and everyone and any separation that exists between us is only an illusion that is only in our mind.    

Classical Yoga philosophy tells us that in the stillness, when the mind is quiet, we have the opportunity to experience the pure Consciousness part of ourselves.  This is what the yogi’s call Self-realization, the realization of the Self, the experience of the pure Consciousness part of our self. 

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Savasana, Sense Withdrawal, Taking the Mind Inward.

Savasana, Sense Withdrawal, Taking the Mind Inward.

It’s one of the most important poses in a yoga class and often one of the most misunderstood poses.  The Final Resting Pose.  Savasana.  

My teacher, Sri Dharma Mittra, includes savasana in the category of the eight essential poses in yoga.  Dharma is well known throughout the world for being a master teacher and having created the asana chart, which hangs on many studio’s walls, featuring Dharma in 908 asanas.  According to Dharma, though, there are just eight ESSENTIAL poses: Head Balance, Shoulder Stand, Fish Pose, Lotus Pose, Cobra Pose, Seated Forward Fold, Seated Twist and The Final Resting Pose.   

How does the final resting pose make this list?  What is this final resting pose all about and why is it so important?  

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Love & Kindness - Community & Connection

Love & Kindness - Community & Connection

I remember practicing once with my teacher, Dharma Mittra, at the Dharma Center in New York, when I first went to check out his classes, about 6 yrs ago.  It was a master class but there were all levels of students in the room.  Some of the students were very advanced, far more advanced than me.  Some of the students were quite new and finding the class really challenging.  

Dharma loves to hold Parivrrta Parsvakonasana (twisting extended side angle pose) for a long time.  We were holding this pose for a really long time in this class and there was a woman in the class who was having a really hard time maintaining her balance.  She kept falling over and I noticed that she was getting really upset and frustrated.  She looked like she was on the verge of crying.  You could feel that she was becoming very overwhelmed.  

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When the Student Is Ready the Teacher Appears

When the Student Is Ready the Teacher Appears

One of my teachers used to say the world is like an echo. You get back what you put out. If your message is, "I hate you!" The world sends you back the message, "I hate you!" If you're message is, "I love you!" then the world sends you back the message, "I love you!" 

We are all vibrating at different frequencies. It's why sometimes we disconnect with people. You're not vibrating on the same frequency as them. They're not really hearing you. You're not really hearing them. You're not really 'getting' each other. 

One of the things that I've noticed since teaching yoga is that the clearer I get with the signal that I'm sending out, the clearer I get with what I'm teaching, with what I'm offering as a teacher,...it's like that signal gets heard loud and clear by the people who want what I am offering. These students pick up on it and they find their way into my class. We gravitate towards a teacher that we're ready for.  When the student is ready the teacher appears. 

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