Integral Yoga® Magazine, Issue No. 156  First, Have Peace
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First, Have Peace

Detachment doesn’t mean you don’t care. If somebody gets hurt in an accident, will I feel sad? Yes, I will, and I will do anything possible to help the person—but without losing my peace. If I lose my peace when I see another in pain, then I will need somebody to help me also, and I can’t help anyone. You can’t bring peace to others unless you first have peace yourself.

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

(photo: Signing the cast of a student recovering from a car accident, Yogaville, late 1980s.)

How to Cultivate Healthy Ambitions
By Sri Swami Satchidananda

Proper motivation—having the proper aim behind our ambitions—is very important. All our actions have a motive behind them, and that motive should be a selfless one. Without a motive, there is no action. When you want to do something, ask yourself why you want to do it—what is the motive? Well, I’m doing it for the sake of somebody; to bring good to somebody, to bring joy to somebody. Then ask yourself if you expect anything in return? No. I don’t want anything in return. If that is your honest feeling, then good; it is a good act. But if the answer is, Well, I hope they can appreciate me and say I did a wonderful thing, then your motive is a little dangerous. Why? If by any chance, you are not appreciated, will you still be happy? Or will you think, Oh, how can they be like that; after taking all my service? They should have at least thanked me. Otherwise, I won’t even call them nice human beings! If your mind tells you that, then tell your mind: See, you were expecting the appreciation, and because you failed to get that, you criticized them. It is your expectation that created that criticism. One must be very careful about the motivation.  MORE

September 8th marks the birth anniversary of Sri Swami Sivananda, the Guru of Sri Swami Satchidananda. On this occasion, Swami Satchidananda was asked to speak about his Guru, the founder of the Divine Life Society (Rishikesh, India). He begins with a story of meeting his spiritual master for the first time. He explains how he was taken aback at first meeting his Guru, who was so unexpectedly personable, childlike—even humorous. Swami Sivananda, knowing that his new student had come to him from South India offered him his native South Indian coffee to drink! He was astonished by this and what a unique Guru that Swami Sivananda was. He shares other stories of how Swami Sivananda taught his disciples and this video includes film clips of Swami Sivananda (hear his voice giving upadesha–spiritual instruction).

Effective spiritual growth requires both a regular practice and a deepening awareness of the thought and behavior patterns that determine our ability to experience the truth. For this reason, we chose Svadhyaya, the study and application of scriptures, as the practice for the month of September. Svadhyaya implies both that we read and reflect on sources of reliable wisdom and that we apply that wisdom to our lives. Sri Swami Satchidananda commented that it is better to study a little and integrate it, instead of reading extensively. I often find myself highlighting the passages in a spiritual book that are really hitting home for me. But if I don’t find any way of incorporating them, a real opportunity is lost. One way to apply a teaching that inspires us is to transform it into an affirmation.... Ideally, we turn a teaching we have read into something specific that we do regularly, thus developing habits that embody spiritual principles. For example, contentment can be practiced by daily writing down things we are grateful for. Compassion can be actualized by committing to one or two acts of kindness a day. Will power and control of the senses can be developed in small steps, such as fasting by giving up the evening meal to let the body cleanse itself.  MORE

Buffy (Meera) Ford Stewart, an accomplished singer/songwriter—and wife of the late great John (Sanjay) Stewart (Kingston Trio)—recently recounted this story, which is so timely as we celebrate the 132nd birth anniversary of Sri Swami Sivananda, Swami Satchidananda's Guru: "My Guru, Swami Satchidananda, asked me to write the music for his beloved Guru's "Universal Prayer." I was a bit nervous having been asked to perform such an honorable task. When I had the music, Swami Satchidananda told me I had captured the essence of the prayer with music and voice. That made me very happy! It truly is a universal prayer for every faith, path, way of life..." Thank you Meera for sharing this story and your beautiful rendition of the prayer!

If Yoga was Meant to Enhance an Already Perfect Life,
No One Could Benefit from It

By Monica LeBansky

Before I had any experience with Yoga—the practice, the principles, the lifestyle—I assumed it was for people who already had their act together. Those who could live life successfully and were looking to enhance what they already had. I pictured holy men in caves or rich housewives with time to kill. You see, I was in rehab for my fourth time for drug and alcohol addiction. I couldn’t stop doing dope, let alone imagine dedicating time to stretching or breathing or whatever Yoga was. I had very real problems and needed a very real solution; I just assumed Yoga wasn’t it. A little background on me: I started using and drinking at a young age to change the way I felt. I didn’t want to feel like me (with all my fears and insecurities) and so I sought out a solution to my internal condition. The consequences of my chosen “solution” just happened to be disease and jail and degradation of any and all morals I had. But I firmly believe that we all have those fears and insecurities. I thought I was unique in my struggle, but as the years go by I learn that the human condition is full of self-defeating behaviors.  MORE

In this new video, Nalanie Chellaram (director of Integral Yoga Gibraltar & Sotogrande) talks about the beauty of acts of kindness. This inspirational video is part three of a series of short films under the title of "Love of Life, Life of Love." The music in this video is: "Thy Will Be Done," courtesy and kind permission of Terry Oldfield & Soraya Saraswati. Enjoy!

50 years. You get up every morning. What happens? A week goes by. A month goes by. A year goes by. You get up every morning for 18,274 days and 50 years have gone by. The year 2019, marked many 50th anniversaries for me: I have studied Yoga and Zen for 50 years. I have been a vegetarian for 50 years. I graduated college 50 years ago. My father passed away 50 years ago. The year 1969, was an historic year for a number of reasons: the moon landing, the Woodstock Festival, The Beatles album “Abbey Road,” the Vietnam War, Stonewall, the first 747 airplane, the first ATM machine, the first Wal-Mart opened, and the PBS station launched. My grandparents came from Russia through Ellis Island in 1904 and settled in Milwaukee and Omaha.  My grandfather was an Orthodox Jew. I have a twin sister and two older brothers. My father was a psychiatrist and my mother was a pianist. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. I was raised Jewish. I had a Bar Mitzvah, confirmation, and I married a nice Jewish girl. I graduated from Columbia University in New York City in 1968, at the height of the student protests and the Vietnam War.... It was at that time that I started to live and study at the “Uptown” New York IYI, as the Integral Yoga Institute on 500 West End Avenue was known back then.  MORE


In this webinar series, Avi Gordon (director of the Integral Yoga Teachers Association) interviews senior Integral Yoga teachers and teacher trainers, as well as visiting program presenters at Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville in Virginia (the headquarters of Integral Yoga International). In this interview, the much beloved senior Integral Yoga teacher trainer, Swami Asokananda answers questions on a wide range of topics including teaching Yoga, his Yoga journey, Yoga applied to daily life challenges, among others. (Note: Swami Asokananda's Bhagavad Gita vlog series will hopefully resume with our next issue, when he returns from his teaching tour in China.)

Inside Yogaville

Recently, Shanti Wagner was at the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS) repainting the Indian "rangoli" at the entrance way. Rangoli is an Indian art form in which patterns are painted on the floor or ground. Shanti is an accomplished artist and her work can be found in other areas of the Ashram including

the Mandala Market & Cafe, where she painted the beautiful sign and the door. I've been wanting to photograph Shanti's artistic contribution to Yogaville for a while, so I was very happy that she allowed me be present while she worked on her most recent project. (Report & photos by Bill Geoghegan)
Inspiring Meme of the Week
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