Integral Yoga® Magazine, Issue No.121 "Making Mistakes"
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Making Mistakes

Making mistakes is normal. We all make mistakes, that’s how we learn lessons. Instead of worrying over a past mistake, do something to correct it and make sure that you do not repeat it.

“God bless you. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.”  —Sri Swami Satchidananda

Meditation: The Observer vs. The Critic
By Swami Satchidananda

Meditation can be like watching a movie—if you simply observe or witness the thoughts, without any judgment, you will enjoy the show. Watching the thoughts is different from analyzing and judging them. A judge in the court is analyzing the case and judging who is right and who is wrong. But a witness is the one who observes, who doesn’t take part in the problem, and doesn’t even say if it’s good or bad. Many people watch a movie and start judging. They think, Oh, what kind of cameraman is that? He made a big mistake. Or, That actor is not so good. They go as critics. There’s nothing wrong in that, but when you go as a critic, you can’t enjoy the picture. The minute you find something to criticize, your mind dwells on that and you miss many other beautiful, fine points which you could be appreciating. A real witness is unaffected by what is being watched. You can enjoy when the hero speaks lovingly to the heroine, and also when the villain snatches her. You will miss all the important points if you get carried away by criticizing an actor or the technology. As a witness, you are unaffected by anything, so you can enjoy everything. You just sit and watch.  MORE

The beginning of a new year is a natural time to reflect on and re-envision our lives. The tradition of New Year’s resolutions can be life changing or it can be a temporary way of fooling ourselves with lofty ideas that fade when reality hits. Clarifying our intentions for this life is useful, but really makes an impact when we translate the vision into committed actions. For example, I may be clear that I want to be more rested and energized as I embark on each day. I may want to make time for spiritual practices or participate in workshops that support my personal growth. But for those ideas to bear fruit, I need to break them down into specific goals. I have to commit to a specific bedtime to feel more rested each morning, and determine how many meditation sessions per week are optimal for me to adequately develop my practice. In addition to translating our vision into specific steps, it behooves us to reflect honestly on our other responsibilities, our physical and mental capacities, and our will power. It’s easy to set an admirable goal in a moment of inspiration that proves unreachable when we are stressed or struggling—a recipe for frustration and/or failure. A good goal challenges us in small ways, building confidence with each success.  MORE

In this clip from her series, "Architects of Change," Maria Shriver sits down with Dr. Dean Ornish, author of Undo It! to discuss his new book and what he learned from his teacher, Swami Satchidananda, who coined the term "undoism." Dr. Ornish has been one of the leading architects of change in the field of integrative and lifestyle medicine. Watch the full interview on Shriver Media via YouTube.

It’s only natural to expect good outcomes from any kind of spiritual practice. However, the certainty we long for in meditation only limits the depth of experience we’re about to have. You see, one of the biggest problems in the world today is the attachment to the outcome of our expectations. When things don’t go the way we expect, we mentally and emotionally suffer. Meditation is supposed to make us feel good. But when we think it hasn’t, we suffer abundantly. We might drop the practice altogether or think that meditation is just not for us. But it really all boils down to one thing. Before starting your meditation practice, make sure you ask yourself whether you have any expectations or not. Predicting how our mindfulness practice will go is a certain step toward failure. The fact is, our meditation practice might not always go as we imagine. In order not to give ourselves a hard time about it or set ourselves up for disappointment, we must practice “non-expectation” before meditating. Non-expectation simply implies believing that there’s no such thing as a “bad meditation.”  MORE

Patanjali's Words: Purusha—The True Self
By Reverend Jaganath Carrera

Rev. Jaganath, Integral Yoga Minister and Raja Yoga master teacher, has spent a lifetime delving into the deepest layers of meaning in Patanjali’s words within the Yoga Sutras. Our series continues with the 16th sutra of Chapter 1 in which Patanjali discusses the "highest non-attachment." He explains this attainment as being the result of Self-realization. But what is the True Self? Rev. Jaganath clarifies the meaning of the term "Purusha" and the term for that which causes attachments, the "gunas."
    Purusha can simply mean person, or something more lofty: Seer, Self and Owner. There are no capital letters in Sanskrit. The meaning is inferred from context. Purusha is the highest Self, spirit, pure consciousness, the eternal witness of all phenomena. Its counterpart is prakriti, matter that is devoid of consciousness. In Sankhya philosophy and in Patanjali’s Yoga, Purusha, consciousness, is one of two eternal realities, the other being prakriti (matter). Strictly speaking, in this tradition, Purusha refers to the individual soul as distinct from the universal one. This means that every person has his or her own Purusha, each identical. This differs from the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, which is based on a nondual vision: there is only one Reality with all names and forms we see around us as the product of ignorance, of misperception. Therefore, there is no difference between the individual Self and the Supreme Self. In practical terms, the difference between Sankhya and Advaita Vedanta makes little impact on day-to-day living or in spiritual pursuits.  MORE

Michael A. Singer (a student of Paramahansa Yogananda), the author of The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment, talks about Karma Yoga and the experience of surrender. While most students of Yoga think of Karma Yoga as selfless service, which is certainly true, Singer explores a mystical, and perhaps less well-understood, aspect of this path of classical Yoga.

You may be surprised to learn Albert Einstein depended very little on his rational mind. In fact, he made the following statements:

  • “The really valuable thing is the intuition. The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery.”
  • “I didn’t arrive at my understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe through my rational mind.”
  • “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is its faithful servant.”

However, for most of us, the very last thing the mind wants to do is serve us. The mind seems to have a mind of its own! It wants to be our master and will do anything to maintain control over us. Minds are unruly and use insidious methods to achieve this goal....The key is to realize the mind is neither bad nor evil. It is just its nature to strive to stay in control of us. Unfortunately, the mind is truly a horrible master. The good news is that meditation can train your mind to become the wonderful, faithful servant described by Albert Einstein.  MORE

Practice: A Spiritual Journey in India

Kurt Koontz freely admits that he was not wholly guided by his spirit when he first began to dabble in Yoga. An outdoor adventurer, he enjoyed the challenging physicality of the exercise, which led him to try several different types of Yoga, seeking both fitness and female company! When a friend encouraged him to seek new adventures in Rishikesh, India, the self-professed “Yoga Capital of the World,” Kurt felt called to the city and its Yoga. In Practice, his new memoir, Kurt guides readers through his three journeys to India in vivid, poignant detail. With unfailing honesty and humor, Kurt treats his readers to the visual and cultural richness of Rishikesh. He shares his unbound admiration for his new surroundings, and not only for the lush foothills of the Himalayas and the sacred River Ganges, but also for the many families who welcome him. Soon, that welcome extends into the Yoga world, where Kurt finds a Yoga teacher who will entirely transform his conception of Yoga. Practice is a spiritual exploration grounded in the modern world that speaks not just to yogis and travelers, but to all who strive to expand their own wisdom and compassion through soul-deep introspection.

Integral Yoga Natural Foods NYC: Mission Accomplished
When Integral Yoga Natural Foods (IYNF) opened in New York City 45 years ago, few people knew what Yoga was let alone “natural” foods. IYNF was New York’s only 100% vegetarian health food store for years. When it opened, there were a few stores selling natural foods, but now those products are widely sold by other retailers, including large chain stores, as a sign on IYNF’s door explained. The sign concluded with the phrase: “Mission accomplished.” The store was beloved by many in the Village and hundreds of loyal natural foods patrons were heartbroken to learn that the store closed because of overwhelming competition in the changing retail landscape. Shoppers appreciated that they could get expert advice from the staff, especially from Manu Dawson, who used to run the apothecary. Thankfully, Manu will still be available for free consults at the Integral Yoga Institute (IYI). Chandra Sgammato (general manager of the IYI) said, “We want to assure everyone that the IYI is not closing. We teach Yoga to people of all ages, sizes, fitness levels, and physical conditions. If you don’t think you can do Yoga, come and let us show you that you can. The closing is very sad, but now everyone knows what brown rice is, and organic food is everywhere." We all can be proud of our store's success in that respect.” Indeed. Mission accomplished! (with Sarah Dowson, WestView News)
Inside Yogaville

Christmas Eve is always a joyful occasion in Yogaville. It begins with an inspirational service, the choir singing, and this highlight that everyone looks forward to: Mataji offering the puja (worship service) to baby Jesus and the spirit of Christ.

Each year, Mataji (Integral Yoga's seniormost swami) and Hope Mell create a beautiful altar adorned with fresh poinsettias. Having Mataji, a former Catholic nun, lead the worship service is always very special. On Christmas, gifts are exchanged and a festive meal follows!
Inspiring Meme of the Week
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