The Empowering Philosophy of Life

Greetings! Can you feel the promise of spring? I can. Even though there’s still snow on the ground and it’s still cold out, the sun is higher in the sky and the bird songs are getting louder.

I want to share with you an insight I had while teaching at Esalen Institute last month. The insight has to do with how yoga is about getting healthy. In addition to gaining physical health–which is the foundation for living in joy-mental and emotional health is vitally important.

Tantra tells us that our true nature is freedom and that the true nature of freedom is bliss. Whenever pain stops or diminishes and you become free from pain, bliss is what follows. Bliss, in the most basic sense, is the experience of moving from pain to no pain. Any amount of release from suffering is always accompanied by a release of tension, which is characterized by some form of increased happiness or bliss.

When I was cross-country skiing during the frigid weather a few weeks ago, I began to experience numbness in my fingers and toes after only being out for 15 minutes. When the numbness began to spread to my arms and legs, I realized I needed to sprint back to the lodge to warm up. I’ll never forget the relief I felt when I made it back to the lodge and began to thaw out. I went from suffering to non-suffering. Bliss was the resultant emotion.

You need to nurture joy in order to experience it. Joy is natural. But due to fear and other self-limiting beliefs, joy is buried under a pile of suffering. This suffering can take the form of self-doubt, self-hatred, confusion, judgment, hopelessness, loneliness, anger, resentment, or […]

Five Elements of Thinking

Dear Friends,

Happy February! It’s cold here in New England! We have over two feet of snow. It’s beautiful in its own kind of way. But then you need to be a skier and/or enjoy shoveling to be able to say that! Lucky for me I enjoy both, which is why I don’t mind the winter.

But recently I went on a teaching tour out west where I found some warmer weather. I taught a weekend workshop in San Antonio, TX, hosted by Jane Goldstein, an Ashaya Yoga™ Apprentice. Her students were so enthusiastic and very receptive. They brought out the best in me. On the last day, I began my session with an insight I received in my meditation practice that morning. I can’t wait to share that with you at the end of this newsletter!

In San Antonio the temperature was around 65º and sunny. Then on Sunday, I continued flying west to visit my mom in Mission Viejo, CA. There it was 70-75º! The purpose of this visit, in addition to spending time with family, was to write. I completed 16 hours of writing. I was well taken care, well loved, and very well fed, which contributed to a great environment in which to concentrate. Thanks Mom.

On Friday I was off to Big Sur, CA, to teach a weekend and a 5-day course at Esalen Institute. Esalen is amazing! It was like entering another world. The beauty of the cliffs overlooking the ocean was exsquisite. Temperatures were 75-80º!!! We saw whales, sea otters, seals, hawks, a snake, and condors (largest birds in the Western Hemisphere). Esalen reminded me of my early days at Kripalu because of the feeling of sacred community. Esalen was created […]

Healing for Your Back


I’ve been teaching yoga therapy workshops recently and am super inspired by the amazing healing power of the Ashaya Yoga™ method. I’ve seen many people get out of pain using yoga therapeutics, and I thought it would be wonderful to share some tips over the next few months that can help heal the lower back. Today I will focus on the psoas (so-as) muscle.

Pain-free living is our birthright. Our factory setting is joy. Whenever you move towards better alignment, your body will shift from pain towards greater freedom. Good alignment is good therapy. Pain is a teacher and we need to listen to it. Physical pain can point to something out of alignment in the body. It can also carry the message that we need to change something in life or in our mental or emotional landscape. Your body is not separate from your life. The body is the microcosm of how you are living. Carolyn Myss says, “Your biography becomes your biology.”

It’s easier than you think to heal your body. I’ve had many injuries over the years and I’ve healed through refined alignment in yoga. I’m not opposed to using the medical model to heal. But I am a firm believer in the efficacy of yoga to bring integration, wholeness and healing. I recorded a short video for stretching the psoas muscle that focuses on the physical actions in the body. This video shows you how to do Lunge Pose, (2.5 minutes). By learning a few simple techniques and actions in the body, you will be able to align and stretch the psoas muscle to relieve and perhaps eliminate back problems.
Fun Facts About the Psoas Muscle

It’s the muscle in the middle. It […]

Ashaya Yoga™ Vision

Taking Next Step: Ashaya Yoga™ Vision & Pathways for Teachers
Welcome from Todd Norian
With great humility, gratitude, and steadiness of heart, I am delighted to share with you the vision of Ashaya Yoga™. Over the last two years, I have contemplated the deepest desires of my heart. I have reflected deeply on my life and have asked myself these questions: What do I want to offer? How can I bring at least a little more light into this world? What’s the legacy I want to leave behind? My hope in writing this letter is to express the vision I hold for Ashaya Yoga™ and to inspire you to join with me to create a community of possibility and a community of the heart that supports each of us to bring our dreams into reality.
Ashaya Yoga™ Vision
The vision of Ashaya Yoga™ is to serve the evolution of consciousness on the planet and increase self-awareness, wholeness, healing, and freedom. Ashaya Yoga™ places great importance on high standards of excellence, integrity, and authenticity while maintaining a nurturing, lifelong practice filled with discovery.

Ashaya Yoga™ seeks the alignment of body, mind, and heart in a loving and non-competitive environment, one where we reflect to each other the greatness and true power we see in each other. Employing the skillful practice of the yamas and niyamas (yogic ethics), we share our accomplishments, our challenges, and our vulnerabilities, practicing the healthy boundaries and communication skills required to bring that greatness into the world with integrity and joy.

A contemporary and evolving yoga, Ashaya Yoga™ immerses you in the ancient wisdom teachings of yoga with the goal of returning you to your heart’s deepest knowing and identifying the unique gifts only you can […]

By |September 10th, 2014|Ashaya Yoga|0 Comments|
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    Is the Guru Dead? Embracing the Dark and Light In Our Teachers

Is the Guru Dead? Embracing the Dark and Light In Our Teachers

Greetings! I was recently interviewed for the Shift Network on the topic, Is the Guru Dead? Embracing Light and Dark In Our Teachers. This is a fascinating topic and worth talking about. I believe in today’s “abuse-of-power” culture, we have a big misunderstanding about the term “guru” and the role of the spiritual teacher. I went into more depth in the interview which is available on my media page. But I wanted to underscore a few things I said and explain more here.

The word “guru” means teacher. It also literally means the weighty one, or the heavy. It refers to the power of being in your center to such an extent that you become unmovable in your dedication to follow your heart and stay connected to a bigger energy. Like a cast iron cauldron, the guru is someone with the capacity to hold space for the full spectrum of light and dark, life’s joys and challenges, without getting knocked off balance.

In a broader sense, guru, comes from the term “gurutva” or the guru principle. This describes the process of learning that life is our teacher, if you are open to receive the lessons. If the student is ready, the teacher appears. If you are open and receptive, you will receive the lesson life is trying to give you. Guru is synonymous with grace in that the guru is the power of the universe to reveal your true nature, which is the highest joy, bliss, and the most unimaginable experience of the light of the divine. In this sense, guru is the process by which we are led from darkness to light, ignorance to knowledge, from the limited to the unlimited, mortal to the immortal.

“Gu” […]