Integral Yoga® Magazine, Issue No. 112 "Shine Your Light"
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Shine Your Light
 “Though it is celebrated once a year, we can celebrate Deepavali every day. When the darkness is gone, when the light shines forth, we are celebrating Deepavali. Daily, and in our lives every minute, Deepavali is successfully celebrated when you are completely free from ignorance. Ignorance is the darkness. When the ignorance is gone, you are in light. What is that basic ignorance? Not knowing who you are.

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

The residents of the Integral Yoga Institute of San Francisco reaffirm at the end of morning meditations the intention we have embraced for our spiritual growth while living in community. We chose a phrase from the end of that affirmation as our focal practice for November: “to be caring, useful and supportive members of the community.” I think this intention can be a profound way of growing more conscious of our interconnection with each other and our ability to contribute in positive ways to our world. These three words—caring, useful and supportive—guide us to approach our interactions with an open heart, and to think of the well-being of others and the needs of the group as a whole. We express sincere caring by wishing for others to be well and happy, by appreciating their strengths and virtues and ignoring their shortcomings, by forgiving their mistakes, and by making time to listen and understand them. When we observe behavior in someone that causes harm to anyone, this intention guides us to mindfully offer feedback in a way that clearly expresses care.  MORE

Diwali (or Deepavali), a five-day festival celebrated in Autumn each year by four different religions begins on November 7th. Also known as the “Festival of Light” it represents the triumph of good over evil. Though usually linked to the Hindu faith, some Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists also celebrate Diwali. For Hindus, Diwali marks the celebration of the return of Lord Rama. For Sikhs, the festival coincides with Bandi Chhor Divas, the Day of Liberation, celebrating the release of Sikh religious leader Guru Hargobind from prison in the 1600s. Jainism is an ancient Indian religion and Diwali marks the anniversary of religious leader Lord Mahavir achieving moksha—freedom from the cycle of reincarnation. Buddhists celebrate Diwali as Ashok Vijayadashami. This is the day Indian Emperor Ashoka the Great converted to Buddhism. His support of the religion allowed it to spread across India.

Meditation is one of the most universally prescribed solutions for a variety of problems, but what happens when you physically can't meditate? As the result of a severe viral infection I developed nervous system problems. Relaxation and meditation were difficult with nerves that were twitching and shaking.... It took five months before a life changing, progressive disease was ruled out by a neurologist. A test a month later confirmed POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), an autonomic nervous system dysfunction.... When my nervous system went haywire, I was a Yoga and meditation teacher who was currently in not one, but two Yoga therapy training programs.... If there was one thing I should have remembered from my Yoga therapy training, it is, with credit to Elizabeth Cunningham Bossart of Yoga Well Institute: “Little, little.” Don’t throw everything and the kitchen sink at the person who needs to heal. Start with something small. One tiny thing. The original point of asana was to prepare the body to meditate. So walking became my asana.  MORE

Metta meditation is not a magical spell you can cast on the population of the U.S. in order to produce a state of utopian bliss. It is not a cure-all for oppression and the unequal distribution of power and privilege. Metta meditation doesn’t work like that. It’s about being determined, courageous, and patient in purifying your own heart and mind. Metta is a meditation practice that involves concentrating and reciting, either silently or out loud, phrases of good wishes toward yourself and others.... What this form of meditation is designed to do—and for many people does very successfully—is to purify us of hatred and ill will. Good will, or loving-kindness, is the antidote to ill will, hatred, and enmity. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., talked about the need for “aggressive nonviolence.” There are times and situations in which we have to show up and throw down, and this may be such a time. Whether I do that from a mind of toxic hatred, or from a mind that recognizes that every human being has at some point been my mother, my parent, or guardian, depends on how well I practice mettaMORE

Nalanie Chellaram, Integral Yoga teacher trainer and Gibraltar/Spain Integral Yoga Centres director, has been sharing stories in her "Lessons I Learnt " video series. The series, filmed over 1-1/2 years, consisting of 22 videos, was recently completed and is available on YouTube. Nalanie's personal stories of her interactions and teachings she received as a close student of Swami Satchidananda are inspirational and enlightening. Having grown up in the Harilela family of Hong Kong, who adopted Swami Satchidananda as their family Guru, Nalanie traces the evolution of her relationship with her Guru. We're so grateful that Nalanie has shared these experiences. (Special thanks to Les Anand Roberts for filming this series.)
In the early years of my career as an Integral Yoga teacher, I worked with a lot of different populations—adults, seniors, cancer patients, kids and even toddlers. But I very consciously avoided one group: teens. I didn’t want to deal with their attitudes and hormones, and I was intimidated by the idea of teaching teens. But, one day about 11 years ago, an opportunity arose to teach Yoga to under-served teens at a public high school and I reluctantly gave it a try. Since then, I’ve never looked back. Teaching Yoga to teens became the most meaningful and rewarding work I have done in my life. And now, training adults how to teach Yoga to teens and bringing Yoga into public schools has become my greatest passion and my hope for the future of our world....Fortunately, teens are incredibly open and impressionable once you establish a genuine connection with them. They are seeking new ideas and experiences as they explore who they are and their place in the world... Three ways teaching Yoga to teens changes the world: catalyzing inner peace and transformation, fostering compassion and community, and empowering teens to become agents of positive change in the world.  MORE
"No Irredeemable People"
An Interview with Sita Lozoff

 Sita Lozoff is the spiritual director of Human Kindness Foundation, whose primary work is the Prison-Ashram Project. The project encourages incarcerated men and women to use their time in prison for spiritual growth, as if they were living in an ashram.  Sita and her late husband, Bo, began the Prison-Ashram Project in 1973, as part of Ram Dass’s Hanuman Foundation. In 1987 they founded Human Kindness Foundation to continue the work. Over the last 40 years, the Human Kindness Foundation has published and distributed spiritual books by Bo Lozoff and others. The books are free for men and women behind bars. Bo’s book, We’re All Doing Time, which the Village Voice called one of the 10 books everyone in the world should read, is in its 21st printing, with half a million copies in print. In this interview, Sita talks about what inspired her to devote her life to redeeming convicts, her spiritual journey, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Read the interview here.

In this short UPLIFT film, evolutionary biologist, Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D, visits the ashram in Rishikesh, in which the Beatles spent time in the late 1960s. He is interviewed by UPLIFT writer, Jacob Devaney on how science frames the world we live in and what it can tell us about the nature of love and wellness. Dr. Lipton discusses the science of epigentics and how it shows that our beliefs and how we see the world have a greater impact on our wellbeing than our genetics. The greater our spiritual growth, the less we are victims of genetics. Beautifully filmed in India.

The Heart of Asana
By Marc Mukunda Morozumi

Asana refers to one of the eight limbs in the Ashtanga Yoga system as explained in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. According to Patanjali, the definition of a posture, or pose, means one that gives steadiness and comfort, where restlessness gives way to clear thought on the infinite. Swami Satchidananda details that "Unless the body is perfectly healthy and free from all toxins and tensions, a comfortable pose is not easily obtained." So practicing the asanas with steady effort and right challenge will enable the body to move away from discomfort and toward ease and stillness. I often share that asanas are more of an inward journey, less focused on making complicated shapes with a competitive mind. I invite my students (and myself) to approach the practice as a moving meditation: leading us inward via the gift of this physical body, to awareness of the energetic body and ultimately to the mind. By practicing your asanas as a moving meditation without strain and with relaxed breath, you can discover what the yogis recognized with the body: We have a deeply rooted connection to the natural world and access to the peace within which is our true nature.
A few weeks ago, 59 seekers from across the United States arrived in Yogaville to take the annual Fall Silent Retreat. They benefited from the Integral Yoga teachings, which are even more accessible to participants who receive them without distractions, inside the cocoon of silence. These retreats are truly among the crown jewels of Yogaville programs. They were created by Swami Satchidananda, with the support of his senior students. These days, navigating the intricacies of administering a silent retreat is the responsibility of Yogaville's superb workshops team led by Bhuvaneshwari. (Text and photo by Jeff Ananda Kamen: The sky conditions over the Quad as the Fall Silent Retreat began.)
Copyright © Integral Yoga International/Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville,Inc. All rights reserved.
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