Integral Yoga® Magazine, Issue No.131 "Be a Channel"
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Be a Channel

Everything on this earth has a purpose and that purpose is to serve: to be useful and to bring some benefit, at least to somebody. Be a channel. If anything comes, pass it on. Do not cling.

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

(photo: Swami Satchidananda at Ananda Kutir, Yogaville, late-1980s.)

Divine love is the affection shown toward the spirit of the individual. Personal love is the love that is shown toward the body, or the mind and its characteristics, or, the person’s belongings; anything that is materially-based. Even though there is spirit in each and every individual, the individual is called an individual, because of all the features that are separate from the other person. Spirit is the same in quality and quantity in every individual. So there is no individual quality in the spirit, but temporarily, the spirit seems to be divided into separate entities, which you label as a person. This division is only in the mind and the body. A good analogy is when you take a few different kinds of containers to a water source, such as a lake, and you fill the containers with water. The water takes the shape of each container. The water in the pot will be called pot water. Water in a cup will be called cup water. But once the containers are broken, the water again becomes mixed up together and it is the same original water. The very same analogy is given in the Upanishads, using the idea of akashaMORE

Human beings have a deep longing to live together in harmony. People only feel completely alive when experiencing loving bonds with one another. Everyone, of all faiths and no faith, knows this truth, and most profess it openly. And yet people fight incessantly.... Often it is on the Internet—which was launched as a forum for unity—where people attack one another, under the cloak of anonymity. This state of constant conflict is a major source of stress and unhappiness for millions of people. Is there a solution? We believe that the answer is yes. Further, as is the case with all big problems, within this crisis lies an opportunity. Polarization contains the seeds for personal excellence and spiritual advancement... The solution—and the opportunity for each of us—lies not in disagreeing less, but in understanding the appropriate way to disagree with others, even when we are treated with hatred. A valuable clue can be found in the words of the 8th-century Indian Buddhist master Shantideva in his text “A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life”: “Unruly beings are as unlimited as space / They cannot possibly all be overcome, / But if I overcome thoughts of anger alone / This will be equivalent to vanquishing all foes.”  MORE
By Cathy Free

An explosion in Iraq led to the amputation of both of his legs. Then Army veteran Dan Nevins faced 36 surgeries, a divorce and an emotional battle with the invisible wounds of war. The years after the 2004 attack left him anxious, restless and plagued with nightmares. Nevins knew he needed help.... “I was spiraling downhill fast.” In 2014, upon reaching a new low and trying to find his way out, Nevins called a friend, Anna Dennis. He told her that he was overwhelmed with anger and despair. She replied, “Dan, you need some Yoga in your life....” At his first lesson, he found himself frustrated, wobbling and unstable on his prosthetics. “It was painful, and I was angry because she kept telling me to press my feet into the ground,” he said. Finally he told her: “Quit saying that word! I don’t have any feet!” And then in a fit of resentment, Nevins took off his prosthetic legs and flung them aside, a radical move because he was ashamed of his stumps—only his doctors and family had seen them. His friend instructed him: Root down and rise up. This time, he imagined roots growing downward from his stumps. “I raised my arms, and it felt as though life was shooting out of my hands,” he said. “Tears were streaming down my face.”  MORE

This past week, featured this film released by the Integral Yoga Archives titled "Many Paths, One Truth." Originally titled, Y.E.S. (Yoga Ecumenical Service), it was filmed at Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville in Connecticut during Guru Poornima, an annual celebration that Swami Satchidananda expanded to include not only one's personal spiritual teacher (as the traditional celebration is for) but also to honor all faiths. "When we are dealing with ultimate truth, with religious truth, we have to allow the truth to take hold of us," says Br. David Steindl-Rast in this film documenting a 1977 interfaith gathering which explored how a universal vision can bring change into the world. Celebrants include: Swami Satchidananda, Br. David Steindl-Rast, Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, Rev. Gesshin (Roshi Prabhasa Dharma), Father Robert Beh, and Mushida Taj Inayat. Watch the complete film by Oscar-winning director, John Goodell on the interfaith teachings of Swami Satchidananda, one of the pioneers of the interfaith movement in America.

Police officers and firefighters across America are coping with the stress of life on the front lines by slipping into a downward dog. The nonprofit group Yoga For First Responders is teaching these emergency workers a better way to handle the demands of their hazardous jobs. 36-year-old instructor Olivia Kvitne Mead founded YFFR in 2013 after she was inspired by her work with military veterans. If the 5,000-year-old practice could help them with PTSD, then she was certain that first responders could avoid burnout and perform more efficiently at the scene of emergencies. “There is a missing skill set in first responder training and that is what is leading to these high statistics of burnout, divorce, alcoholism and suicides,” said Mead.... And it’s a good thing that she pursued the idea, because she turned out to be right. “There are lots of Yoga programs for veterans but they are all focused on after their tours of duty,” said Mead. “That doesn’t happen for first responders. They are in their jobs for 30 years until they retire. They go to work and see trauma, death, destruction, loss and the worst part of humanity, then they have to go home and be a mother or a father, a husband or a wife.”  MORE

Gotama Buddha’s familiar story follows the archetypal hero’s journey: he left behind wife and child and renounced the ordinary world to seek the holy life. Dipa Ma followed a similar path, but with an unexpected turn. Ultimately she took her practice home again, living out her enlightenment in a simple city apartment with her daughter. Her responsibilities as a parent were clarified by her spiritual practice; she made decisions based not on guilt and obligation but on the wisdom and compassion that arose from meditation. Instead of withdrawing to a cave or a forest hermitage, Dipa Ma stayed home and taught from her bedroom—appropriately enough, a room with no door.... Though intensely interested in Buddhism from a young age, like most Asian women of her era Dipa Ma had little opportunity to undertake serious spiritual training. However, by midlife she came to devote herself fully to meditation, attaining profound levels of insight in only a short time. She found a way to incorporate her family into her spiritual journey and went on to teach specific techniques for practicing mindfulness in the midst of everyday activities.  MORE

A conversation between Dr. Swami Sarvaananda and Karla Helbert, LPC on Yoga for grief and loss, recorded at Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville in February 2019. Swami Sarvaananda is an Integral Yoga teacher, swami, and chaplain. She has served at Hospice of the Piedmont and the University of Virginia. She also cofounded the Integral Yoga School/Yogaville Vidyalayam. Karla Helbert is an Integral Yoga teacher and therapist, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and Compassionate Bereavement Care Provider. She conducts The Compassionate Bereavement Care Certification® program and workshops on Yoga for Grief and Loss.

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 31st and 32nd sutras of Chapter 1 in which Patanjali further delineates the nine main impediments by expounding on the "accompaniments" to the obstacles to spiritual growth. Patanjali also offers a guidance on how to prevent these impediments.
    These distracting obstacles are accompanied by, duḥkha: dissatisfaction, sorrow, suffering, and a pervasive, persistent feeling of precariousness; frustration from not having desires fulfilled; restlessness or trembling of the body; agitated or labored inhalation or exhalation. When the mind wanders in its focus or resolve, the obstacles appear accompanied by any or all of these accompaniments. The essence of duhkha, often translated as pain, sorrow, or suffering is more than that. It is grounded in a persistent sense of never-ending precariousness, a baseline of uneasiness or anxiety that forms the backdrop of our lives. Duhkha is a feeling or belief that life is flawed; that it can’t be trusted. Duhkha, manifesting as suspicion is the pathology of ignorance.  MORE

Integral Yoga Featured Teacher: Jennifer Block
Interview by Sara McElwain
Jennifer Block is a certified Integral Yoga 500-hour teacher who teaches at the Integral Yoga Institute of New York. She currently teaches the First Step Yoga class to formerly homeless women, in conjunction with the Coalition for the Homeless, and also teaches Chair Yoga at senior centers.
    What is your definition of Yoga? Yoga is a way of life and a way of being connected to both yourself and the outside world. It is not only loving and caring for yourself; it is also sharing that love and care with others on a daily basis as you interact with them in a variety of situations. It is listening and responding to what you hear. It is giving with no expectations.
    What do you love about Yoga? The yogic lifestyle, which nourishes the mind, the body, and the spirit. I enjoy asana practice because I always feel calm and relaxed afterward. I enjoy the vegetarian food because that not only keeps my body healthy, it is also quite tasty, especially those veggie lunches at IYI. Most of all I love being part of a yogic community known as a sanghaMORE
Inside Yogaville

Yogaville embodies Swami Satchidananda's ever-flowing grace. Walking on the road from LOTUS with a good friend is such a joy. Sangha (spiritual community) is one of Gurudev’s inspiring gifts to each of us. Everyone has a life story that comes with them into the ashram. But the most important narrative is the new one we write with our aspiration, meditation, and service. If you are relatively new to Yogaville there are so many fun and inspiring things to learn about its residents. For instance, Integral Yoga minister Rev. Prakash Capen, who is famed for her compassionate, wise counsel, was a firefighter during the first decade of Yogaville. Before that she served in leadership positions at Integral Yoga Institutes on both coasts. Currently, she often leads our silent retreats and is an Accessible Yoga advocate and guest speaker at the AY conferences. Then there’s Bhaskar Deva. He was one of Gurudev’s pilots and a core member of the pioneers that built the ashram under Gurudev’s hands-on instruction. Today, he co-teaches Yoga of the Heart® and leads annual Yoga and Kayaking workshops on the James River at Yogaville. (photo and report by: Jeff Ananda Kamen)

Inspiring Meme of the Week
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