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Integral Yoga® Magazine, Issue No. 134 Yoga is Tranquility
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Yoga is Tranquility

The very definition of Yoga is tranquility. Equanimity in body and mind is Yoga. Real Yoga is functioning with tranquility in the midst of activity.” 
                                          —
Sri Swami Satchidananda

(photo: Swami Satchidananda in the Swiss Alps, late 1970s)

 

The Real Meaning of Spiritual Living
By Sri Swami Satchidananda

Leading a spiritual life and experiencing God, at all times, is nothing supernatural. It’s just an ordinary simple thing. You don’t have to fly in the air, swallow nitric acid, or sleep on a bed of nails. I mean, you don’t have to do anything extraordinary. Physical and mental feats are all gymnastics and they defeat the purpose. That’s not what you call spiritual experience. You might never have a big fantastic vision. Spiritual life is to live a simple, beautiful, ordinary life. You have never seen me reading minds or floating in the air! If anything has to happen let it happen by itself; you don’t need to try to make things happen. Just lead a clean, good life—a life free from tension, physical and mental. The Bible tells us, “Blessed are the pure in heart.” Keep that as your sacred mantra: purity of heart. All you have to do to experience God within is to keep your heart pure, like the heart of a child. Such a heart is free from tension, from anxiety, from worries. It is free from fears, fear of getting things and then of losing things. If something has to happen, your fear is not going to stop it. See that every minute, your life is a useful life, that you are doing something for the benefit of somebody.  MORE

 
Teaching of the Month: Opening to Grace
By Swami Ramananda

There’s a book of Rumi poetry entitled Unseen Rain, referring to an imperceptible grace that is always flowing toward us—we have only to cup our hands and open our hearts to receive it. It is with this intention to set aside our personal preferences and humbly quiet the mind, that we chose to practice "Opening to Grace" for the month of April. Although Arjuna, a character in the Bhagavad Gita, was considered a masterful warrior, he was paralyzed when his mind was clouded with doubt and sorrow. He was only able to regain his power when he recognized his confusion, admitted his helplessness, and opened himself to be guided. The Buddha resolved to be still until all the movement in the mind ceased and he experienced the universal consciousness that is the ground of all being. Though in different ways, they both opened themselves to the infinite source of wisdom that lies within and around us all. Opening to grace can be a challenge in a culture in which we are trained in many subtle ways to be confident, to know the answers, to be successful. It requires a sincere willingness to acknowledge the limitations of the mind and all that we know.  MORE

A Journey to Humility
By Jeff Ananda Kamen

Forty-one years after I last saw Swami Satchidananda, I moved to Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville, the ashram he built in the forest of Central Virginia. The place rescued my failing health and gave me a second act at life. I thought I was the oldest person in Yogaville until I encountered my first Hatha Yoga teacher. She had 15 years on me and moved as though on a cloud.... Almost two years ago, I was set on a course to the premiere of Shakticom’s new documentary, Mataji: The Devoted Life of Swami Gurucharanananda celebrating Mataji’s 90th birthday and her life of devoted service. I didn’t know two years ago that my assignment would become the latest addition to my own sadhana (spiritual practice) and tapasya (spiritual austerity). In the process of making the film, I reached out to Integral Yogis here in the USA and all over the world. I photographed our beloved Mataji everywhere, adoring her even more each time. Pointing a camera at a spiritual master is an increasingly intense experience of joy. Sam Eberle and I interviewed her. I confess to having really wanted to have a personal on-camera presence in this one-of-a-kind documentary.  MORE

A new documentary by filmmaker and author Jeff Ananda Kamen, with narration by Sam Eberle, about the inspiring life of the joyful senior monk at Satchidananda Ashram—Yogaville. At age 90 Mataji serves 12 hours a day, leads morning meditations, offers worship services called pujas, teaches Integral Yoga Hatha classes, conducts one on one counseling for visitors and staff, reads aloud from Swami Satchidananda's books to people having lunch at the Ashram, teaches classes on Raja Yoga, and petitions government agencies to protect the environment. An inspiring journey into the devoted life and service of this remarkable monk.

Still, meditation is generally not well understood. We practice in a group, but we often don’t know what it’s all about. Some people think meditation is really hard to do. They say, “I come to the monastery, but I can’t sit. I don’t have much endurance. My legs hurt, my back aches, I’m in pain all over.” So they give up on it and don’t come anymore, thinking they can’t do it. But, in fact, samadhi is not sitting. Samadhi isn’t walking. It isn’t lying down or standing. Sitting, walking, closing the eyes, opening the eyes—these are all mere actions. Having your eyes closed doesn’t necessarily mean you’re practicing samadhi. It could just mean that you’re drowsy and dull. If you’re sitting with your eyes closed, but you’re falling asleep, with your head bobbing all over and your mouth hanging open, that’s not sitting in samadhi. Real samadhi can be practiced with eyes open or eyes closed. You can be sitting, walking, standing, or lying down. Samadhi means the mind is firmly focused, with all-encompassing mindfulness, restraint, and caution. You are constantly aware of right and wrong, constantly watching all conditions arising in the mind.  MORE


This film was the first American TV documentary about Yoga in the USA. It was produced by Yogaville resident and journalist Jeff Ananda Kamen for WNET/13 TV in 1973. Enjoy!

Patanjali's Words: Kriya Yoga
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 leaps ahead to Chapter 2 to its very first sutra. In sutra 2.1, Patanjali presents the system of Kriya Yoga, which is comprised of three foundational practices on the yogic path toward Self-realization: tapas, svadhyaya, and Ishvara pranidhanam.
    Tapas, like any heat source, can illumine and it can purify. A campfire produces both light and heat. The light illumines the campsite revealing objects and people within its reach. One of the definitions of the root, tap, suggests that as a result of tapas, an individual can shine upon–benefit in some natural way–others. But, if engaged in, in an unbalanced way, it is just a way to torment oneself. Heat also has the power to purify.... Tapas, as both light and heat, explains why, when Patanjali arrives at the sutra that describes the fundamentals that underpin all Yoga practice, the first word (tapas) brings to mind light and heat. In this one word, we see that the very foundation of the Yoga life rests on understanding that challenge and hardship are not mere uncomfortable experiences, but occasions that can help us break through the manifestations of ignorance allowing pure light to illumine us.  MORE

On April 1st, Burger King made an announcement that many thought was an April Fools joke. Here's how the Washington Post covered the announcement.
    Burger King, whose quarter-pound Whopper pushed its competitors a half-century ago to create their own two-fisted hamburgers, now plans to roll out a vegetarian version of its signature sandwich, relying on plant-based patties developed by San Francisco Bay area start-up Impossible Foods. The Impossible Whopper will be introduced this week at Burger King restaurants in the St. Louis area—in the very state that last year banned the use of the term “meat” for any vegetarian or cell-based substitutes for animal-raised meats. No, this is not an April Fools’ Day joke. In fact, Burger King’s plan could be the impetus that motivates the highly competitive fast-food burger industry to push for more meat alternatives at a time when beef production has raised countless alarm bells for its contributions to methane production and climate change. A Burger King spokesman told the New York Times that if the Impossible Whopper succeeds in the Show Me State, the company will expand distribution to all 7,200 restaurants nationwideMORE

Harness the healing power of Yoga and creativity to establish emotional stability and resilience during this weekend workshop. Yoga can help you lead a happier, more cheerful life. If negative thoughts and feelings keep you from happiness, Integral Yoga has practices to deeply transform and balance the emotions.

  • The psychological impact of Yoga asana (posture) practice
  • Breathing practices to increase day-to-day coping skills
  • The healing power of art and creativity to access and process emotions
  • Grounding meditation for emotional balance
  • How to take Yoga off the mat and into daily life to develop healthy emotions

Our goal is to integrate the mind and heart so we feel peaceful always. Join us for a Yoga and Creativity workshop to collectively work toward this goal. More info here.

 
Inside Yogaville

Long time Integral Yogis Asangan and Karuna Binstock are beginning to settle into Yogaville after relocating from Maryland. Asangan (pictured above with one of his recent commissions) is putting the finishing touches on his studio, where he will continue his masterful artworks. A news article covering one of his early installations in Maryland described his sculptures in this way: "Alan Binstock, an artist, architect and Yoga devotee from Mt. Rainier, has had some outstandingly
 




original, individual works in group shows around town over the past few years....... Beautiful as the materials and craftsmanship are, it is the evocative power that makes 'Orb' (pictured above) extraordinary. Through a sphere suspended between two rectangles, Binstock calls to mind simple and complex molecular structures, a planet locked in ice, the birth of the cosmos… He’s worth watching."
—Ferdinand Protzman, The Washington Post
Inspiring Meme of the Week
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