Integral Yoga® Magazine, Issue No. 175  The Silent Witness
View this email in your browser

“The Silent Witness”

Know the silent witness within, which is always aware. To know the Knower you should stop trying to know other things first. The rest will come automatically. This may remind you of a beautiful saying in the Bible, ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all else shall be added unto you.’ If you don’t know the Knower, even if you have the whole universe, it will be useless to you.

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

(Photo: Swami Satchidananda meditating in Hawaii, mid-1970s)

Many people are concerned about the violence in our society and about the threat that violence poses to the very existence of our planet. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word that means non-violence. Following ahimsa doesn’t simply mean not killing. We cannot live without destroying other lives. When you eat vegetables, you are killing, destroying something. Even if you don’t eat anything, you kill. Do you know how many bacteria you kill each time you take a drink of water? Millions. If it is a matter of avoiding killing alone, I would advocate eating meat. Why? Simple mathematical calculations: If you want to eat spinach, how many plants must you kill? Certainly ten or twenty for even one meal. But how many people can eat from just one sheep? Say ten people. If every life you take is one “sin,” which is better? Certainly, killing one sheep would be better. So it’s not killing we are talking about here. We are talking about non-violence. What do we mean by violence? If I do something to you and you feel hurt, my act was violent. Causing pain is violence. If we want to be non-violent, our food should come with as little pain as possible.  MORE

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, had he lived, would have turned 91 this year. He did not call himself a yogi but he lived his life and led the civil rights movement with a deep dedication to the spirit of ahimsa, or nonviolence .... In 1955, Dr. King began what would be a thirteen year campaign to dismantle racial segregation all across America. Dr. King was only 26 years old when he moved to Montgomery, Alabama to preside over what would become the historic Montgomery bus boycott to end racial discrimination in public transportation. It was also the first major nonviolent action by African-Americans. Led by Dr. King, 50,000 people refused to ride unless they had access to all seating not just the back of the bus. It was during the year-long bus boycott that Dr. King first declared his connection to the ancient yogic principle of nonviolence known as ahimsa. Dr. King said, “Christ gave us the goals (for this movement) and Mahatma Gandhi (gave us) the tactics".... I was 12 years old when Dr. King was leading the bus boycott. Dr. King and I first met almost 10 year later when I was 21 and a radio reporter based in New York .... I did not realize it at the time, but it was Dr. King’s powerful connection to Spirit that touched me deeply.  I had no idea that one year later I would begin a journalistic and spiritual journey that would change my life.  MORE

In this short excerpt from the film, The Science Behind Yoga, Professor Sat Bir Singh Khalsa (Harvard Medical School and a leading Yoga therapy researcher), explains the cutting edge research on how Yoga changes your brain.

The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns
from the Foreword by Bhikkhuni Anandabodhi

The First Free Women is a collection of poems written by the first female Buddhists. These poems, collectively called the Therigatha, or Verses of the Elder Nuns, were composed around the Buddha's lifetime, and their themes of freedom and love have endured until today. In this new translation, Matty Weingast revives the collection with a modern adaptation that preserves the original wisdom and voices.
    Reading through this new rendition, feeling the visceral response, and experiencing the sense of clarity and connection that came through, I realized that Matty had taken these poems far beyond what I had hoped for. At times it has been a struggle to make my way as a Buddhist nun. Both the support and the modeling that elders can give has been missed. Much of our history and the legacy we receive through the Pali canon can be pretty tough. Nuns are often framed as being a problem, simply by fulfilling our aspiration to give ourselves wholly to the path of awakening. It’s challenging when a purehearted intention is met with opposition within the very community to which you belong, just because of your physical form.  MORE
A Few Poems from The First Free Women

Tissa ~ The Third
Why stay here
in your little
If you really want
to be free,
a thought of freedom.
Break your chains.
Tear down the walls.
Then walk the world a free woman.
Translation by Matty Weingast

Sumana ~ Flowering Jasmine
Walk through
the mind
all day
all night.
When you find
each thought
it began—
here your circling ends.

Lyrics from the Thirukkural, the South Indian classic text (circa 500 CE), are set to music by two Grammy winners, in this ode to ahimsa by South Indian composer A.R. Raman, with additional lyrics by the Irish band U2—yet another inspired meeting between east and west. The kurals used in this song are from couplet 313, translated as: "Even when a man takes revenge on others who hate him, in spite of him not hating them initially, the pain caused by his vengeance will bring him inevitable sorrow," and couplet 319: "When a man inflicts pain upon others in the forenoon, it will come upon him unsought in the afternoon." Enjoy this east-west fusion!

This past year has seen a number of significant changes in the New York Yoga community. As the popularity of Yoga has grown, so has its commercialization by large new corporate providers. Among other things, this has led to the closing of a number of respected Yoga studios. We’ve observed that many of these commercial Yoga providers focus narrowly on the physical side of Yoga, ignoring the deeper, spiritual aspects on which Integral Yoga is built. We, at the Integral Yoga Institute of New York are embarking on a campaign to re-present, so to speak, the essence of Integral Yoga with the message “Go deeper” and answering the often asked question “What is Integral Yoga?” with this simple truth: Integral Yoga is a complete system to transform your life. What sets us apart from many other organizations is our dedication to a higher purpose, to bringing good health, peace, joy, love, and light to all. Our work is grounded in the teachings of Swami Satchidananda and Integral Yoga, which includes the benefits of Hatha Yoga but goes much deeper to offer people a chance to feed their souls’ desire for growth, wellness, and spiritual awakening.  MORE

Inside Yogaville

Following the New Year's silent retreat, the annual staff silent retreat was held in Yogaville. This second week of silence included meditation, Yoga classes, and other sadhana (spiritual practice), as well as enjoying community activities. The retreat is something all look forward to as a time to renew, recharge, and get re-inspired as a beautiful start to a new year!
Inspiring Meme of the Week
Copyright © Integral Yoga International/Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville,Inc. All rights reserved.
Sign up for this free eMagazine on our website: or

Our mailing address is:
Integral Yoga Magazine
108 Yogaville Way, Buckingham, Virginia 23921 USA

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list