Faith as Confidence

I have a devotional practice I do called “puja”, which is a practice of gratitude for the blessings of life. It’s the heart’s expression of its innermost experience. It’s an expression of the longing for freedom and the awareness of the vastness of the universe that lives inside of you. It’s a way of expressing thanks for the gift of life, the blessings of love, and the opportunities of growth and awakening that come through a conscious lifestyle.

Puja is the awareness of the beauty and vastness of life assimilated into an artistry of offering. Puja can be very simple or as elaborate as you want. The offering is to yourself first and then in whatever ways you choose to share. I usually light a candle and incense and offer symbols of the five elements: earth (by offering rice), water (by offering water), fire (by offering a candle and lighting camphor), air (by offering incense), and space (all of the elements combined).
“In India, the reason why people go to the temple to be part of the puja is to meditate with eyes open. We’ll also get to close our eyes to see what we can see.  But the reason for puja is to collect, to archive, and then to create an outward presence that places intention into forms.  That’s just the beginning of it.  Puja is “ritual” because it marks the threshold, enters into worlds of conscious and unconscious reality, because it can stir the soul and conjure the unknown that lies within. Like the best rituals, it makes its point that there is an incongruity, a space between the way things are and the way we wish they were.” – Dr. Douglas Brooks
Today while I stood before my altar […]

30-Day Change of Lifestyle Challenge!

As I was waiting to board my flight from Hartford, CT to LAX, I looked out over the crowded boarding area at all the people. There was a beautiful variety of beings, all different shapes, sizes, ages, colors, clothing, and hair styles. I asked myself, “Who are these beings?” “What are they doing? Where are they going? What do they think about? What do they believe? What is in their consciousness?
Click here to view the 30-Day Change of Lifestyle Challenge.
Of course, I had no answer to these questions. But one thing I knew for sure was that each person was a great being with a history of life-changing experiences. The truth is, I’ve never met a boring person. Everyone has a story to tell, a hero’s journey of overcoming challenges, loved ones lost, amazing successes, failures, moments of grace, ecstatic joy, pain, and heartbreak. Every person has a family or set of relationships that have influenced their life. I wondered which of these people were Trump supporters and which were not.

The truth is no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, we all long to be free of suffering. It’s just that we have different views on how to get there. What unites us all is the notion of our shared humanity.
Cosmic Insight
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, like I was suddenly dunked into a tub of cold water. A sobering and complex insight came. I witnessed this perspective from a distance high above the earth, as if I were an alien looking down on the buzzing planet earth. I realized that we are all individual cells inside the body of universal consciousness. We are thinking cells. Together we […]

Purpose is Power

I just swam the US Masters 1-Hour Swim which is a national annual event to see how far you can swim in 1 hour. This year, our coach, Bill Meier, who created the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation, invited us to make this year’s swim a fundraiser to support Swimming Saves Lives which offers swim lessons to adults to get parents to inspire their kids to swim. Thanks to all those who donated to this event! I swam 3475 yards which beat my distance last year by 105 yards!

I sent out the invitation to pledge late in the game. I’ve been super busy writing my book and honestly, I didn’t want to hassle with the logistics of the fundraiser. But at the 11th hour I said to myself, “Oh, what the heck.” I sent out the email on Friday afternoon. In less than 24 hours I received a total pledge of $1275.00 and donations are still coming in. As the emails began pouring in with enthusiastic responses like, “What a great cause”, “Go get ’em tiger”, and “Give it your all”, I was overwhelmed with your love.

Whether you pledged or not, I felt all your support and made the swim about the cause rather than myself. I felt grateful for all of you, the good work my coach is doing, the team, and all those who chose to make a difference. I can’t tell you how freed up I felt swimming for a cause. I tuned into an energy bigger than myself and it sustained me throughout the swim. It was as though I wasn’t swimming. Something else was swimming me.

Do I hear the yoga of swimming here? Do I hear an Ashaya theme? Yes.

How […]

Release Regret, Bring More Joy!

Greetings! Happy New Year! May 2017 be your best year yet! May yoga be your guiding light.

One of the gifts of yoga is the recognition that your true nature is joy. That underneath it all – the worry, stress, loss, sadness, unfilled desires, and regret – is joy. As the Tantra teaches, joy is already within you. You can’t add anything more to it and it can never be diminished.

Your true nature shines like 10,000 suns. But it’s concealed. Yoga is the process of unpeeling the layers of the soul, like the skin of an onion, to get to the core in the middle. In yoga, you peel away what no longer serves you; peel back what’s blocking the light and allow your heart to shine. From the Katha Upanishad, “Yoga is unravelling the knots of the heart so that the mortal can experience the immortal.”

Through paying attention, you eventually come to see how your mind works and which habits of thought cover up your joy. Two of mine are self-doubt and procrastination. If you’re not sure what your limiting habits of thought are, just try writing a book. Every trick of the mind will be revealed to you. Or at least it has for me! Ugh!

But one habit of thought I’ve recently gained some leverage on is the habit of regret. Regret is a natural human emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It’s not about eliminating regret. It’s about managing it. If you’re not careful, regret can steal your joy and take you in a downward spiral of emotional “stuckness”. Regret is a combination of guilt and shame bound together. Guilt is the feeling that you did something wrong. Shame is […]

Gratitude for 2016!

Dear Friends,

Holiday Greetings! As we move closer to the nadir of darkness (winter Solstice), daylight becomes rarer and more precious. This morning, after a deep practice, I just stared out the window at the amazing light of the new dawn. It was breath-taking!

There is a preciousness in the waning of the light. It reminds me of the preciousness of life and how little time we have on this earth. I’m filled with gratitude for all the abundance in my life – abundance of love, relationship, health, purpose, community, and meaningfulness. It reminds me not to take life for granted because it is here today and gone tomorrow.

Knowing that our time here is short informs my life in a profound way. I choose to risk being authentic and truthful rather than lying to protect myself or another. I prioritize serving others and shining my light instead of playing small. I choose to rise up in times of challenge rather than shut down and allow fear to stop me.

When I reflect over the past year, I am grateful for the blessings I’ve received both personally and professionally. I had my busiest year of teaching on record. I taught 160 days and traveled 58 days. I taught to sold out rooms in San Antonio, Toronto Yoga Conference, Essex, NY, Defiance, OH, Redding, CT, Kripalu Yoga Teachers Conference, Portland, ME, Nantucket Yoga Festival, Collingwood, ON, Fayetteville, WV, and Cincinnati, OH. In addition, I co-taught with my dear friend and teacher Professor Douglas Brooks, world renown tantric scholar, in Lenox, MA. It was thrilling!

Ashaya Yoga® grew and expanded exponentially. In September of this year, there were a total of five Ashaya Yoga 200-Hour Trainings happening at the same time […]