How To Meditate: A 30-Day Meditation Challenge

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I love to teach yoga and meditation because I feel it's my calling to help people become the best versions of themselves so that they can go and bless the world in best ways they know how. 

The world needs people who are present, living their lives mindfully, and growing into their True Nature with a regular, dedicated meditation practice. The world needs YOU to be operating at your highest potential. 

Regular meditation is perhaps the most effective way to evolve into your highest self. Presence is the key to experiencing your birthright of magnificence. A group of meditators benefits the world in vast ways, bringing magnificence into the world like expanding ripples in a pond.
Some of the most common personal benefits of regular mediation are:

  • Spiritual awakening
  • Reduced stress
  • Greater focus
  • Understanding your purpose for the world
  • Greater compassion
  • Being less reactive more responsive
  • Greater happiness


Like any worthwhile endeavor, meditation takes practice. So let's do it together!

Join me in a meditation challenge, a group that will meditate every day for 30 days. This challenge will benefit you personally and will make the world a better place. 
 

The Challenge:

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You will meditate every day for 30 days for 15 minutes or more. That's it. With the support of the group, you will have the encouragement and connection to tap into the power that happens when a collective of people are meditating together. Even if you meditate at different times, the power of intention that connects us will empower you and enable your greatest benefit.  

If you are new to meditation, this is a perfect way to start a new life-long practice. You will receive in-depth explanations, teachings, and follow up to demystify the art and science of meditation, and establish yourself firmly in your practice. 

If you are an experienced meditator, this is also a perfect way to join this powerful collective to bring new heights to your practice and open new doors and awarenesses. 

While I will be sending out guided meditations, you can also choose any style of meditation you'd like. We will each be tracking our meditations every day using Insight Timer, a mobile app designed to help you time and track your meditations.

Once you register, you'll receive emails and resources to encourage you and support you along the way, including teachings and explanations about the why and how of meditation. Plus, you'll receive an invitation to some live group meditations via Zoom or in person depending on where you live. Live sessions will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. You'll be able to see and comment to the others in our group who are also doing this 30-day challenge. 

This next 30 days will change your life as well as the lives of everyone around you! 

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Once you Register


Once you register, you'll receive a welcome email with information about:

  • Specifics of the challenge
  • Live meditations
  • Many forms of meditation you might choose to do
  • Downloading the app
  • Live group meditations, virtually via Zoom, an online meeting platform or in person
  • A catalogue of guided meditations, both my catalogue of recordings as well as literally thousands on Insight Timer, which you can keep to help support you on your medative journey.
  • Receiving supportive emails 

What does this cost?


I'm more interested in you succeeding and the world becoming more mindful than I am making money, so here's what I'm offering:
The 30-Day Meditation Challenge costs $30, so that you'll commit to it. And everyone who completes the challenge, meditates everyday using the app for 15 minutes or more, can opt to get a FULL refund of their tuition. No hassle. No questions. So, essentially this is free! My deepest desire is that I don't make a dime on this project!


I invite you to commit to your own wellbeing. I know you can do it and I'll support you every step of the way. Join me!

Register

Fill out the form and press submit, then click on the PayPal button.

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Grand Theft Auto: A Study in Mindfulness

Yoga Amalfi Coast

Yoga Retreat Along the Amalfi Coast

May 26–June 2 2018. Only 3 Spots Left!

Part 1: Chubby Hula Dancer's Last Ride

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Ever feel like life is all some absurd cartoon? Let me fill you in. This story is how my truck got stolen and how it helped me be more mindful. 

See, I used to drive a wonderful old truck ('93 Nissan) which was very generously given to me in February 2006 when crisis came to visit for a winter. Different story, different day. 

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My truck's name was Nina cuz she was red and sultry like Nina Simone and sounded like she'd been smoking without a filter and drinking gasoline her entire life. Over the years, I'd put a little money into her to keep her running, but largely she was a wonderfully reliable part of my life.

Nina was a great old lady. She was missing a tailpipe, her radio was broken, sun visors missing, driver's side mirror broken, and one of the windows on her shell was shattered, but she started up almost every time. It was a stark moment when I realized that the exterior had reached such a point of dereliction that washing her would only harm her more. 

I had a constant companion riding shotgun in this rusty ride. Affixed to the dash was Chubby Hula Dashboard Dancer. Over the years I'd learned that we share a love for jazz organ music. I know this because that's when did her best dancing. I mean she REALLY got into it. I'd often car-dance along with her but I couldn't compare to the sweet moves of Chubby Hula Dashboard Dancer.

1"

Another fun feature of my ride was the sticker on the back window which read 1". You know those stickers people post on the back of their cars that simply say 26.2? They are bragging rights for those who have trod the distance of a marathon. Well, I made a sticker in the same style that simply read 1". And yes, in a hyper-masculine world of lift kits and truck nuts it takes someone very secure in his manhood to roll around town with a 1" sticker on the back of his truck.

The sticker is a references to one of my favorite poems by Wendell Berry called "A Spiritual Journey." 

"A Spiritual Journey"

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And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,

no matter how long,

but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch,

very arduous and humbling and joyful,

by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet,

Nina 1 inch.jpg

and learn to be at home.

To me, this poem reminds me that the greatest journey I will ever travel or the greatest place I might ever hope to arrive is the distance of 1", to the ground at my own feet, the awareness of my True Self, the real, Divine me, and to feel at home in my own heart, and to know whatever lives there.

Honeymoon is Over

So, in August of  2014 my wife and I were living in Salt Lake City. We'd only been married for a few months and already we had been through tremendous highs and lows. Literally one week prior to getting married, I'd closed the doors on the two yoga studios I owned, both of which had been limping along for years. But getting married was bliss and we'd just come home from our honeymoon to Greece and Spain where we lay on the beach, ate pastries with abandon, and fell deeper in love with each other.

Before getting married, I had been under enormous stress and now, back from our honeymoon, I was eager to move forward in my life with more bliss, happiness and stability.

Not long after coming home from our honeymoon, Seneca's car, received a terminal diagnosis from the auto shop and we decided to sell it—I posted it online and it sold in 14 minutes for cash. So, for a few weeks were sharing my truck. Sharing a car made getting around a little tricky but we managed. Compared to the stress I'd already had that summer, the stress of sharing a car was nothing.  

Super-human Core Strength

One Saturday we decided to drive my truck down to the Farmers Market. We parked and walked the few blocks over to buy our produce. 

On our way back, we returned to the place I'd parked my truck and it wasn't there. Instead, it was parked about 100 feet away in a different spot. Confused, I started to think through the possibilities: Had I left the truck out of gear? Maybe it started to roll and someone had kindly parked it on flat ground for me? Was I parked illegally and law enforcement had moved it? Was there a free valet service at the Farmers Market? I hadn't given anybody my keys.

 

None of these options made sense and as I got closer to my truck I saw someone milling about it and it dawned on me what was happening—someone was stealing my truck at that moment!

I broke into a dead sprint toward my truck and the Truck Thief. Truck Thief saw that his heist's owner was bearing down toward him and panicked. He immediately jumped into the cab and started the engine. I saw that he had parked in front of a large concrete barrier and couldn't move forward and I soon arrived arrived to the back of the truck before he could back up preventing him from getting away. I began to scream at him to stop stealing my truck. 

At that moment, Truck Thief and I had the exact same thought: There's no way to steal this truck with someone standing behind it. Truck Thief soon thought of a different option, one I had not considered up to that point, which was to run over the lesser of the two obstacles blocking his way (read the crazy dude standing with his hands on the back, screaming).  Without a hesitation, Truck Thief threw Nina into reverse and floored it. Fortunately the tires we pretty bald, giving me a warning screech and a half of a second delay to jumped out of the way. 

As the truck whizzed past me,  I did the first thing that came to mind which was to grab onto the half-rolled window on the driver's side and proceeded to run with him as he was backing at an incredible speed. I don't know what I was hoping for with that desperate action. I'm a yoga teacher and I know that with enough core strength you can do anything. Perhaps I thought that if I could just lift the car up, immobilizing all four wheels, I could hold it there until the cops came. For a brief second we were our faces were mere inches apart. And though I was so close, I honestly can't say what his face looked like because it wildly distorted with a look that said, "Holy shit! That dude's running next to me and holding onto the window while I'm stealing his ride!" 

He then popped the truck into gear and shot off, ripping my hands from the window and tearing out of the parking lot then down the road like a fugitive, leaving me standing there like an idiot—but an idiot who didn't get ran over. Seneca stood 50 feet away and watched the entire event transpire in complete horror.

After it was all done, we stood there staring at each other with a look like, "Well, that just happened." It was over in 10 seconds or less.

We called the police. They filed a report.

Then we walked a half block to one of Salt Lake City's best coffee shops, The Rose Establishment, to have some coffee and wait for someone to come and give us a ride. While waiting for our ride, I posted on social media, "Because when someone has just stolen your truck, you deserve a really nice cup of coffee." While waiting for the baristas to make our brew, it dawned on me that in a matter of two weeks, we had gone from having two cars, to one, to none. And while we don't mind walking, it feels differently when you gotta walk cuz someone ripped off your ride.

Mindfully Pissed

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Here's where this get's a little deep. This might sound out there but, even while my truck was being stolen and then directly after, I felt a strange sense of grand awareness about the whole thing. Even while it was happening, I could see that in the big picture, what's true is that getting your truck stolen really isn't that big a deal. In fact, in some ways it feels completely absurd, like I'm staring in my own cartoon, as my friend Nan puts it. I'm sure I'd feel differently if the guy had ran over me. 

Yet with the very same awareness that getting your truck stolen is ultimately inconsequential, came the realization that what is also true is that my smaller self has real and intense feelings about getting my truck stolen. Despite my intermittent "grand awareness," the stoic and bland "it-is-what-it-is" mindset doesn't cut it with me. Not entirely. "What it is" sucks! And to deny that is to deny the part of me that despite not having the grand awareness, still exists, at least to some degree.

Yoga and meditation has taught me not to deny my feelings but rather to drink them in and thereby use them to illuminate the True Self, tools for practicing being aware. 

Awareness of the True Self is actually about freedom. The freedom , for example, is to be absolutely present with emotions, not to deny them. So with that in mind, I felt free to choose to be mindfully pissed off and honored my primal need to shout loudly through my clenched teeth every four letter word I know . . . besides love . . . and hope . . . and nice.

I wonder if Truck Thief was thinking to himself, "I'm very mindfully pinching this dude's ride. Vrrr-Ommmmmm."?

As I saw my truck reseed into the distance, my 1" sticker reminded me that the crucial step along the journey toward the True Self is to be at home in my heart and to learn to be comfortable with everything as just it is. This spiritual journey of 1", like Wendell Berry says,  is "arduous, humbling and joyful by which I arrive at the ground at my feel and learn to be at home." And at that moment I was forced into learning this lesson which lay at my feet because for the unforeseeable future, I would be walking. 

Driving It Home

May our practice, whether on or off the mat, be to strive to always experience this "arduous, humbling and joyful" journey of the human experience to the fullest, and use the events which befall us as tools to become ever more aware of our True Self. Be the small self of emotions and the True Self with the grand perspective. Practice this and be responsible and kind to other people. 

GIF at https://tenor.com/

GIF at https://tenor.com/

Sometimes this life really does feel like some wild Sponge Bob Square Pants episode that the Divine is Netflixing alone on some late night while drinking a beer and eating some non-GMO corn chips and salsa.

In the big picture getting my truck stolen wasn't very important. I actually enjoyed riding my bike for a while, burning off some of the pastries I ate while on my honeymoon, and simultaneously burning off some of the anger resulting from getting my ride pinched. 

I'm sure Chubby Hula Dashboard Dancer never danced for Truck Thief as wildly as she did for me. 

And while I pedaled around Salt Lake City,  I hoped that Truck Thief would return my truck with a full tank of gas.

The story continues . . . 


3 hours of relaxing Guided Meditations for Sleep Plus Much More.

Guided Meditations for Sleep is an complete system designed to promote deep, nourishing, and peaceful sleep. It incorporates body, mind, and spirit to calm the nervous system, quiet the mind, and relax the body, essential conditions for good sleep. In addition to the extraordinarily relaxing guided meditations, you'll also receive, calming music, pre-sleep breathing practices, yoga postures, checklists, and general guidelines, as well as other empowering information about how to sleep well. This is a digital download with 13 files total. While you can download it on your phone, it works best to download it on your computer or laptop.

    Selfie Conscious

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    https://9gag.com/gag/ag3Pe1K/mona-lisa-selfie

    https://9gag.com/gag/ag3Pe1K/mona-lisa-selfie

    The following is a rewrite of a piece I did a few years ago and which was recently published on Medium  under the title Selfie Awareness. It outlines and experience I had which taught me more about being conscious with trying to capture the moment with photos and selfies. 

    A few years ago, I was in Paris for the first time, visiting the Louvre, perhaps the finest art museum in the world. While there were many paintings I’d been waiting my entire life to see, and I know I’m cliché here, the Mona Lisa was primo on my list.

    I mean, almost 60 years ago, they tried to insure the Mona Lisa for 100 million dollars* but had problems because many felt that the sum was much too low, and that was 1960s dollars. Today, they value the painting at closer to 800 million!

    Fun fact: Napoleon used to have the Mona Lisa hanging on his bedroom wall and would spend hours in rapture starting at it.

    So finally here, and giddy with anticipation, I stepped into the spacious, well-lit gallery, dying to get a glimpse of the most (in)valuable painting in the world. There she was at last! At a distance, I could see the renaissance rockstar enshrined on her own dedicated wall, protected behind a guardrail and bulletproof glass, and flanked by two bouncers.

    Suddenly, the hallowed hush of the Louvre was irreverently replaced by the din of excitable tourists. As I approached her, I felt pressed in a hot vice of adoring fans, all craning to ogle the most mysterious woman on canvas. The venue felt transformed into an arena at a rock concert where I was squeezing through hordes of fans, desperately hoping to making eye contact with that infamous seductrice and her inimitable half-smile.

    As I jockeyed my way forward, I began to notice something very peculiar. Nobody was looking at the paining. Not really. Rather, everyone was looking at the viewfinder on their smartphones, tablets, and cameras. More than taking a moment to drink in this priceless work of art, most people were worried about getting the perfect photo of it.

    http://catnapsintransit.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/1382338_10151797344753183_1393716417_n.jpg

    http://catnapsintransit.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/1382338_10151797344753183_1393716417_n.jpg

    http://www.bbc.com/news/av/entertainment-arts-35031568/does-mona-lisa-have-a-hidden-personality

    http://www.bbc.com/news/av/entertainment-arts-35031568/does-mona-lisa-have-a-hidden-personality

    And as I looked around at the crowd, I noticed a distinct pattern. People would fire off several photos, including a few selfies with the Mona Lisa, then without so much as a pause, would scurry off to some other masterpiece to do likewise. For what? To brag to their friends that they were in the same room as the Mona Lisa but never took a second to actually see it?

    Something about this phenomenon is natural human behavior. Hasn’t everyone been guilty of experiencing something extraordinary, a resplendent sunset, an aromatic cup of coffee, or a masterpiece like the Mona Lisa, and we’re afraid the moment will end, so we try to capture it with a photo because doing so and posting it to social media will somehow make it permanent?

    And have you ever tried to show some innocent, unsuspecting person the photos of that moment? It goes like this, “Here’s the great hotel I stayed at, only it’s so much nicer than the photo suggests, you should really see it. Oh, and here’s the most amazing latte I had at the perfect café, but you had to be there, this photo doesn’t do it justice. Here’s the Mona Lisa but she’s much smaller than you’d expect. . . ”

    This is when you look up to see your friend’s eyes gloss over or start to check their watch. The photos don’t translate because the optics of the picture represents only the smallest part of what you hopefully experienced in the moment. Or which perhaps you didn’t experience . . .

    Trying to capture any moment ironically prevents you from having it in the first place. It’s because you’re thinking about the future rather than experiencing the present. To really experience a moment requires a practiced presence with all of your senses. Your senses are an incredible tool for presence.

    Photo permission by John Cottrell

    Photo permission by John Cottrell

    Without being present to the experience, when you’re back at home, looking at your dozen or so selfies with the Mona Lisa, you’ll have no connection to that moment. The photos will mean about as much to you as they would to your friend whom you abused with photos of your latte The photos won’t recall an experience you thought you had because you never really had the experience to begin with.

    And this is getting a little Zen here, but since our identity is the product of our ability to pay attention, if you weren’t present with all of your senses, there was really no “you” to have the experience in the first place.

    I’m just as guilty as the next guy of trying to capture the moment with a photo. But by bringing my unconscious actions to consciousness, I can deliberately make a choice to do something different.

    So never take photos, right? Never post anything on social media? No, let’s not be luddites. But maybe try having the moment first, then if you want to, take a photo to remember a moment you truly experienced.

    And sometimes, try allowing yourself to simply experience a moment without a camera. Soak it up and be 100% there by consciously involving all of your senses, raw and unfiltered.

    Before there were cameras or smartphones, people had to use memories to recall experiences. Go old-school and create a real mental repository of experienced events. What did the light look like in the gallery? What does the smell of paint of canvas evoke to your imagination? What sounds did you hear in the gallery? What were the textures and temperatures you felt on your skin? How did it taste? And remember that if you try to taste the Mona Lisa you better be prepared to lose a tongue.

    I realize that it’s a little glib to simply say simply, “be present.” But practices like yoga and meditation help us to establish presence as our default when we are having any experience, whether mundane or extraordinary. And with presence, even an otherwise mundane experience can prove to be extraordinary once your come senses alive.

    Without presence, even the miraculous or priceless moments (read experiencing the Mona Lisa) will pass you by without leaving an impression. I’m thinking about those simple but perfect moments like hanging with our kids, focusing on good work, or experiencing live music, dance, or poetry. To receive the gift of these moments truly requires presence.

     

    The immortal poet Rainer Maria Rilke speaks to being existentially destitute as the result of lack of presence in his rather stark poem, "Already The Ripening Barberries Are Red."

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    Already the ripening barberries are red,
    and the old asters hardly breathe in their beds.
    Those who are not rich now as summer goes
    will wait and wait and never be themselves.
    Those who cannot quietly close their eyes,
    certain that there is vision after vision
    inside, simply waiting until nighttime
    to rise all around them in the darkness
    it’s all over for them, they feel old and tired.
    Nothing else will come;
    no more days will open,
    and everything that does happen
    will cheat them.
    Even you, my God. And you are like a stone
    that draws them daily deeper into the depths.

    He’s saying that without presence, without any poetic imagination for things as they are or could be, you’ll never experience the heaven which is here. Indeed, he suggests that even the notion of God offering you a future heaven is itself like a stone drawing you deeper into the depths of hell, the product of unconsciousness.

    I teach yoga for a living and sometimes in a yoga class, I see the fidgets, the distant stares, and the vacancy of someone whose mind is somewhere else. It happens to all of us sometime or other. Still, I want to say, “Come back. We’ve missed you. Be here now. Be there later.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Miyagi

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Miyagi

    When you sense you’re having an extraordinary moment, or hell in any moment, try closing your eyes and run through all of your senses for a minute or two. Then open your eyes and add the most dominant sense. Ask yourself, how does this make me feel? Truly involve all your senses to practice being completely present to the experience.

    This might all sound like a Mr. Miyagi mantra and probably is. But hey, that dude could break boards with his forehead so that’s gotta count for something. Plus you can’t break boards with your forehead if your head is somewhere else.

    This week, I invite you to practice being fully present in all your experiences whether mundane or extraordinary. Be completely present by using all your senses and truly experience the moment.

    When that’s done, then you can take your selfie.

     

    Have you had an experience like this? Have you ever tried to capture the moment and realized that by doing so, you actually lost the moment? Leave your comments below. 

    Do you mind sharing this with a friend?


    JOIN ME, ONLY A FEW SPOTS LEFT!

    This Is Courage

    Will you do a quick courage exercise with me?

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    Courage

    What is your biggest dream? Is it to be an actor, to write a NYT bestseller, or to run an ultra marathon? What is it? Give yourself a second to visualize how incredible it will feel to succeed at this dream, and do so by involving all of your senses. Allow the excitement which surrounds that dream to surface in your heart.

    After a minute or two, ask yourself what perceived limitations seem to stand in your way between where you are now in relation to that dream and where you dream to be. And while there might be a hundred practical reasons why it’s not “reasonable” to reach for your dream, I ask you to get real and ask yourself about how much of that perceived limitation simply comes from good old fear.

    How often is fear getting in the way of you having the kind of life you want to live?

    Now, close your eyes for a few seconds and give yourself a few deep breaths into your heart. Connect to your heart by remembering something that you love, maybe your biggest dream, and bring to mind again the excitement you feel when you imagine your biggest dream. Now you are connected to your heart and from this place, re-examine your fears with a full heart. Any new insights?

    This is courage.

    cour·age

    ˈkərij/

    noun

    1. the ability to do something that frightens one.

    Courage comes from the French word for heart, Coeur. It literally means full of heart. Courage isn’t the opposite of fear but rather is the action of putting fear in its proper place. Some may argue that fear is good, it keeps us alive. I say that fear merely keeps us safe. We must learn to walk through the flames of our fears, with full courage, toward that which makes us truly alive.

    Living courageously, from your heart, gives you a relationship with your world that is beyond fear, a presence and perspective that can hold life’s losses and joys, struggles and possibilities, understanding that life’s joy is bigger than merely ease and comfort.  

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    Caroline Paul is a NYT Best Seller and was one of the first women ever to serve in the San Francisco Fire Department. She was on an elite team that performed very dangerous rescues. Caroline is expert at acting courageously in the face of fear and speaks about doing so in one of her books, The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure. Paul says that courage can be taught, that it’s okay to have fear, but that despite fear you must take action. She encourages a practice called micro-bravery, which is doing small courageous acts regularly to build your courage muscles. After all, your heart is a muscle.

    Fear is an excellent tool to help you be present. To use fear as a tool, instead of pushing it away, lean into it. Notice how your body feels fear and ask fear what it’s really trying telling you. With this presence, you’ll begin to notice the other emotions that often coexist alongside fear when taking important action in your life. Emotions like excitement and anticipation sometimes have the same physiological effect but are very different than fear. Don’t let fear squash these other emotions, but  put it in the back of the line of emotions, instead of the front where it often it is used to being.

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    Speaking of fear, I’m deathly afraid of bungee jumping. The mere thought of it makes my stomach churn and adrenaline begin to pump through my body. That’s a fear which simply keeps me safe. While there may be some sort of small value in “conquering” that fear by going out and jumping off a bridge with rubber bands strapped to my ankles, I believe that there is really no benefit to humanity or myself for doing so and therefore will most likely go to my grave having never bungee jumped.

    I have a greater fear, however, involving what I’m doing right here—teaching and writing about yoga and mindfulness. It’s scary to expose myself (my spirit, my thoughts feelings, and fears) by stepping up in front of a room to lead a class or push send on an email to thousands of people. Each time I send an email, I’m afraid that it will be riddled with typos and that people will learn my dark secret that I can’t spell my way out of a paper bag.

    Send Anxiety.png
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    The reason teaching and writing about yoga causes me fear is because it’s one of my greatest dreams and my heart’s gift to the world to share yoga and meditation with people to make the world a better place. I’m afraid of not reaching my potential or failing in my job. I think it's a very big deal and I take it very seriously. But, I look at those fears squarely in the face and practice courage by continuing to step in front of the room to teach and sitting down to write and publish. Often times, I hover over the publish or send button wondering why I do it. Then with courage, I push send, close my laptop, and walk away knowing I just made one small, brave step. I practice this courage regularly because I believe that what I do matters, both to me and to the world. I still have fear around teaching and writing but I’ve also built up my courage greatly and push those fears to the back and bring excitement and possibility of connecting to people to the front. Plus, the more you do it, the more confidence you have about it.

    The world doesn’t care if I bungee jump.  I yield to that fear and it keeps me safe. However, the world does care if I connect people to their best selves through yoga and meditation so I walk past that fear in the hope to possibly make a difference in people’s lives and therefore I experience courage which make feel truly alive.

    What is one small, courageous step you could take today that will push you toward your dream? You don’t have to register for an ultra marathon today but maybe you could go buy some shoes and begin walking.

    Or perhaps that small, courageous step might be to register for my next course: Sourcing Your Heart’s Gift. It’s an online yoga and meditation course that helps you live an extraordinary life from your heart. The world needs your gifts. Dive deep into your heart to discover and develop your purpose and courageously share them with the world. 
     

    Registration ends next Monday, February 12th!

    If you've ever been moved by any of my emails, would you mind please forwarding this onto some friends who could use this message or post it on social media? It helps me enormously.

    Namaste,


    Sourcing Your Heart's Gift

    an online meditation and yoga course designed to help you to dive deep into your heart to discover and develop your purpose and courageously share it with the world.

    6 weeks February 12—March 26

    A Mindful Writing Practice to Source Your Magic

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    I write. And I love it when I'm writing and something magical happens, like words that I didn't know could even come out of me start popping out onto the page. But writing takes practice. And what if you could also practice accessing the magic within you. 

    Writing Practice

    I love this story. It's about just that. 

    Once, Laurence Olivier, the master of masters, perhaps one if not THE best play-actors of our time, had just delivered his finishing lines of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The entire theatre was cupped in a quiet, magical revery, a rare experience that only happens when witnessing a spell-binding performance. Then after several long seconds of pure reverie, the audience exploded in exuberant applause.

    Instead of graciously accepting such resounding adoration for his magical performance, Olivier stormed off stage, marched straight to his dressing room, and slammed the door in a huff.

    Perplexed, the stage manager eventually gathered his courage and knocked timidly on Olivier's door.

    "Mr. Olivier, what's the matter? You were absolutely brilliant!" the manager said. To which Laurence Olivier roared, "I know, and I have absolutely no idea how I did it!"
     

    Have you ever read a poem, seen a performance, heard someone speak, or witnessed or something, where you sensed that the performer was tapped into pure magic, something enormous, much larger than just the every-day conversation? 

    I'm confident that YOU have had an experience where you sourced that kind of magic within yourself to do say, or create something extraordinary.

    Sometimes, experiencing that kind of magic is purely accidental. But what if you could practice sourcing that magical part of you so that you could somehow turn it on at will.

    The Writing Practice

    Well, my good friend, and writing facilitator, Nan Seymour and I have developed a beautiful method of accessing that magic within you through mindfulness and writing. It's called Dream and Write and it's brilliant.


    Dream and Write is born from two practices: Yoga Nidra, a relaxing Awareness practice that feels like guided meditation, and River Writing, a writing practice of inviting words to flow, unobstructed from a river of inner-narrative. Paired together, this practice creates a unique mindfulness writing experience that taps profound Awareness for clarity and flow of writing. 

    Nan and I have hosted several Dream and Write workshops and retreats. However, THIS Saturday, December 2, Nan and I will be hosting our first ever virtual Dream and Write workshop. This will be live but online and hosted in the comfort of your own home via the internet. This relaxing and heart-opening workshop will help you source the magic inside of you. 

    Once you register, you'll receive a link to join us online at a virtual meeting platform called Zoom. 

    Anders Carlson-Wee

    Anders Carlson-Wee

    As a writer, I've experienced first-hand the miracles of Dream and Write. Through this practice, I've witnessed incredible memories, stories, and beauty in the form of words spill across the page. I've had delightful ideas appear through this process. Those words were  already in there, I simply needed the process of Dream and Write to get them out, to  help organize them, and to cut them down to find their raw expression. 

    There are several advantages to having this event be live but online. First, you can do it in the comfort of your own home on your computer, laptop, or smart device. Also, Nan and I can co-teach despite the fact that I will be in New York City she will be in Salt Lake City. And last but not least, we will get the pleasure of having the incredible poet Anders Carlson-Wee joining us live to share his astounding and beautiful poetry with us as prompts to inspire our own writing. (Read his poem Birdcalls)

    This will be a unique and special event. We are limiting the size of this event to only 20 participants, for intimacy and efficacy. Please register today before the spots are gone; they've already started to go. This event will sell out and s.

    Hey, you have gifts and the world needs your gifts. Practice sourcing the magic within you. 
     

    Details

    When: Saturday, December 2nd, 2017 from 12-3 pm ET, 11 am-2 pm CT, 10 am-1 pm MT, 9am-12pm PT. (There will be bio breaks.)

    Where: Your house, via the internet

    Price: $57.  20 spots

    Thanks.

    I hope you'll join us.

     

    Join me for the yoga retreat of a lifetime. One week along the Amalfi Coast doing fantastic yoga and meditation, breathtaking ocean excursions, and eating authentic Italian food. Space is limited. 

    May 26-June 2 2018

    Mastery

    In order to gain mastery, you must dismantle as much as you build.
    — ~Master Sinon. The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak.

    What is mastery?

    Scott Moore Yoga

    Author and poet David Whyte illustrates mastery with a great story about an old welsh sheepdog named Kumro. According to David Whyte, Kumro was “the Joe Montana of the canine cosmos,” despite the fact that he was ancient in dog years, limped on a gimpy leg, and was missing key visual and hearing functions.

    David Whyte describes seeing the younger, spry dogs trying fruitlessly to direct the sheep by spending enormous amounts of energy all the while Kumro stood back and simply watched (with his good eye).

    Finally, Kumro decided something needed to be done. He took merely two or three steps in one direction, slightly turned his body a few degrees in the direction of the sheep, and almost like magic the entire flock funneled obediently into the narrow opening in the wall where he had wanted them to go.

    Kumro’s edge, his mastery, was his radical simplicity—minimal effort for maximum benefit.

    Richard Simmons.jpg

    In decades past, the mantra for mastery was “Mind Over Matter.” As I’m writing this, I’m conjuring visions of high-waisted leotards, leg warmers, and headbands. It was conquer and conquest of body and nature. But to mistake body and nature as our foes unfortunately results in broken and bodies and annihilated environments.

    Today we live in the Information Age. By applying correct information, we can achieve and practice mastery by doing less to get exponentially more and without the high cost of conquering ourselves. Instead of “Mind Over Matter,” the new mantra is “Mindfulness With Matter.” The information we gain for mastery doesn’t come from the internet, a course, or a book (remember those, or did they go out with the leg-warmers?). The profound and life-changing information I’m talking about comes only by learning to listen to the master within, like your own personal Yoda, the quiet and wise whispering of body, mind, and spirit. While a teacher can help, they can never substitute for that inner master. Mastery, therefore, involves learning to listen to the wisdom already inside of you.

    John Coltrane had mastery. He had teachers, yes, but who taught Coltrane to be Coltrane? Coltrane did.

    Learn to listen. Listen to learn.

    Of course, this applies directly to our yoga practice. In my mind, there is no “achievement” by putting your foot behind your head. That mentality is so “Mind Over Matter.” In class I like joke that if there is a pose I can’t do, that pose is overrated. Sure, I’ll keep practicing it because of what I can learn in the listening, but I have no delusions that by putting my foot behind my head will make me more spiritual, more valuable, or a better person.

    Instead, the achievement is all internal and mind-bogglingly more expansive than flexible hamstrings. It’s the invisible flexibility of my constant growth into Awareness, a mastery which is facilitated by the tools of my body, mind, and breath but which fundamentally isn’t body, mind, and breath. And this expansiveness can only come from a mastery of what is most subtle.


    Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.
    — Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Author of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
    le petit prince.jpg
    One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.
    — Bruce Lee
    Mastery

    So, if mastery is minimalism, what do we need to cut in order to practice it? Start by cutting everything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Start by radically cutting everything but the breath.

    Try this experiment:

    Sit. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly in and out. Listen and feel. Visualize your breath as a color or texture and localize your breath to any place on your body you choose. You’ll soon feel a tingle, a heaviness, a lightness, or something else. If you chose a hand, it might feel as if that hand is larger or lighter than the other. This kind of attention and focus on the breath will localize Prana, the yogic term meaning life-force energy. You can feel Prana. Also, this focus brings Awareness. Now what if you could breathe this Prana, this life-force energy and Awareness in into your mind, your emotions, or hell, your finances or love life? That’s mastery.

    “Dude, how did you finally let go of all of your anxiety?”

    “I found my breath.”

    I invite you to practice and cultivate mastery by cutting everything but the essentials. Practice breathing and meditation. Practice styles of yoga like yin, restore, and pranayama that celebrate getting much more by doing much less. There’s nothing wrong with vigorous yoga. And as you approach whatever poses or life situation, try simplifying down to the essence. Learn to breathe life into whatever you are experiencing at the moment.

    Next week I’ll continue on this theme of mastery with even more practical ways of using our breath, and Prana to develop mastery in our yoga and meditation practice, our love life, and our work.


    Virtual Yoga Nidra Series October 8-November 12

    Time Is a Phony

    The ancient and epic poem the Ramayana says that long ago there was a powerful Demon king named Ravana. His power blinded him with pride, deceived him into thinking he was larger than Dharma or Truth. Ravana stole a princess, Sita, another's wife, and a war was waged to get her back.

    And though Ravana was often blinded by pride, he was not completely blind to profound understanding. There was a moment in the tale where Ravana is mentally preparing to go to battle against Rama, the unbeatable prince, God incarnate. That night, he went up to a great tower, onto the roof of his palace, and suddenly had a great insight regarding time. With this understanding, he suddenly had a great feeling of freedom like a band had broken from his chest. He danced for all of the heavens looking on and with his last step felt as though he'd crushed the tight hold with which time had him.

    On his way down the stairs from the ramparts, Ravana is confronted by Kala, the god of time. Kala is old and decrepit and wasted like a skeleton. He tells Ravana that soon he will be in time's power and that Ravana will have to spend the rest of time paying for the sins of his lifetime.

    Ravana listens for a moment then scoffs, "You little liar!"

    Kala retorts,"What? You stole Sita and you'll pay-".

    "You are the thief and not I," said Ravana. "For a few moments' pleasure you take whole lives in payment. And whatever you give you steal back, by fraud, from hiding, when you're not watched. Death and misery are your good friends-but you are yourself unreal: you do not exist; you cannot steal from me."

    "Do you know who I am?" cried Kala.

    "A marketplace of sorrows," Replied Ravana

     Kala said, ". . . your home is empty your friends have died and all the good times are long gone . . . all must change and die . . . ."

    "We know better than that," said the Deamon King, "Love is eternal and we are beyond your reach. . .  But I must be on my way now, I can't be late, and my time is far too valuable to waste on anything but daydreams. . . Good love never dies."
    (Buck, pp. 334-9)


    Despite his faults, Ravana exposes a startling truth: the past has dissolved, the future is an abstraction (has never been, really). All we have is now. We are always in the present. But despite the unreal natures of past and future, we seem to spend a lot of time there. Pining or regretting the past, biding time or biting our nails waiting for the future. What we need is here. What we have is now. I think what we really practice in yoga is presence. Presence with our breath. Presence with our muscles and bones in postures. Presence with other practitioner's in class. What we pay for when we go to a yoga class isn't the space, isn't the time to do yoga, isn't even necessarily instruction. What we get when we do yoga is a reminder to look inside and experience the timeless, the result of living continuously in the present.

    One morning I was sitting in Small Town Coffee House in Kapa'a Kauai soaking up the morning sun, feeling the tropical sweetness, and savoring a cup of jo when I looked over to the clock on the wall and instead of numbers pointing to the hour, each hour mark read, "Now."

    I believe clocks are mostly misunderstood: they only point to now but we translate what we read into what has or hasn't happened, into past or future.

    This week, break the illusion of time and practice being present. Yoga is a wonderful reminder about presence. We can practice presence at any moment of the day.
     

    What We Need Is Here
     
    Geese appear high over us,
    pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
    as in love or sleep, holds
    them to their way, clear
    in the ancient faith: what we need
    is here. And we pray, not
    for new earth or heaven, but to be
    quiet in heart, and in eye,
    clear. What we need is here.
     
    Wendell Berry
     

    Works Cited:
    Buck, William. Ramayana. Berkley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1976

    Scott

     

    Some Powerful Women

    Friends,

    With all that is happening socially and politically this week, I wanted to add my voice and vote toward the power of women.

    I believe in women. I believe in their essence, their mystery, their strength, and their wisdom. I believe in equality of all people, including and especially women. I believe to fully understand my power as a man, I must understand the essence of a woman.

    With that in mind, I thought I'd write a little about the power of women, specifically two of my favorite goddesses, Shakti and Akhilandeshvari. Understanding their story helps me to understand myself.

    This following are excerpts from my Deepen Your Practice course I did several months ago. I'll include the link below so if you want, you can go to my website and supplement this email by hearing stories, reading poems, and seeing videos about these goddesses and concepts. Please do, there's some really excellent stuff there.

    First, Akhilandeshvari: Goddess Never-Not-Broken

    This amazing Goddess sources her power from acknowledging the fact that she doesn't have her shit together. It's not that she's a hot mess and refuses to do anything about it. Rather, she refuses to shy away from those harsher realities we all go through: heartache, disaster, crisis, and grief. Akhilandeshvari is the compassionate Goddess who remains broken into pieces to show us how that too can be a power.

    Even her ride is a reminder of her ability to hang with disaster. She rides around on a ferocious crocodile to remind us that the very fear of disaster can be the vehicle for transformation, for stepping into action, and for seeing the absolute Truth in the moment. Often in times like these, what is most important in life shines through. That's the power of Akhilandeshvari.

    While we may never wish for an encounter with Akhilandeshvari, her presence marks the absolute truth of freedom from habits that don't serve us, stifling routine, and the past. Though it may not be the path we'd chosen for this awareness, her presence unmistakably wakes us up. 

    Akhilandeshvari's sister Goddess, Kali, similarly deals with destruction, the thrashing of things that need to expire, but in a fundamentally different way. She's the one who deals the blow with her uncompromising sword.

    Opposite is Akhilandeshvari who yields to the destruction in submission and humility as powerful teachers. 

    May we borrow the power of Akhilandeshvari's ability to transform heartache and crisis into illumination.

    Second, Shakti: Goddess of Energy, Power, and Movement
    Shiva is of consciousness pure and simple. Another word for this in Sanskrit is Perusha. He is the primordial male energy. The reason I bring him up is because the perfect and equal balance of Perusha, is the godess Shakti demonstrating Prakriti or movement, change, beauty, flavor, and suchness. Shakti is the primordial female energy and represents Mother Nature. There's a beautiful marriage between Shiva and Shakti, Perusha and Prakriti, consciousness or being and our physical and changeable nature. 

    It's said that the Shakti power within all of us resides in our sacrum, the sacred bone close to our root that generates our deepest power. Through yoga, meditation, mantras, and ceremony, this power may be released and is felt as physical energy which moves up the spine along the nadis (energy chanels) Ida and Pingala, primary paths of prana (male and female), and that power once released is called Kundalini. Many practitioners have described the physically enlightening moment when their Kundalini awakened. Kundalini Yoga is a style of yoga whose practice is to make this power rise through its practitioners. 

    Go to my web site and check out all the extra videos, stories, poems, etc around these two powerful goddesses. May they remind us of the distinguishable power that resides within all of us. Let us stand in solidarity and celebrate the power of women.

    Come to class on Friday night and practice to my fabled "Girl Power" playlist. Really fun!

    Scott

     

    The Worry Haiku

    Salt Lake City Yoga

    We are all subject to doubt and indecision from time to time. Recently I was wallowing in my routine despair about life and all of its desperate decisions.

    You know, the typical: What am I doing with my life? What would have happened if I would have done things differently? Why is Pluto suddenly not a planet anymore and why didn't I get to vote?

    So, feeling burdened by the weight and whirlwind of indecision about what direction my life should go, I decided to meditate. After mulling my mind over the various directions I could choose, I got tired of the fruitlessness of freaking out and instead tried to simply be aware, to focus on my breath rather than focus on my problems, to find that place that I've heard is always peaceful.
     
    It took a while but I found some peace there in my heart. And in a moment of clarity, my mind recalled that all these temporary and illusorily (but still important) decisions will be made clear the more I cultivate and understand that peace, that inner self. I realized that I didn't need to make a decision about those things now. That what I could to do is grow my relationship with what I call the True Self, the part that isn't defined by all of these temporary details of those momentarily important decisions.

    I felt that perhaps whatever my decisions, actions, or endeavors I faced, when made based from a grounded place of inner-peace, will be the product of something trusted and sure. Also, when I looked at my decisions or problems from that place of real clarity, I could see how I was reacting to fears and worries instead of looking at these questions with objectivity where I could move forward with power and conviction. With that sure knowledge of seeing things as they are, I had the courage to step out to those precarious edges of potential, pushed by a power of my own grounded knowledge of Self.
     
    And then suddenly there was no more searching because I'd momentarily found the source-it was right here all along. I've also discovered that when I've made a decision based on this knowledge of Self, it doesn't exempt me from problems or struggles further down the road but at least I know that the difficulty I will encounter is necessary turbulence for the path I've chosen. It is the Tapas, the Sanskrit concept meaning the heat necessary for transformation. It's the medicine.  It's what will continue to lead me down my path of self-discovery, the path that feels the most right to me because ultimately it is the product of my True Self.
     
    And as I go that True Self whispers like Gandalf in my ear, "Speak your truth, act with honesty and integrity, and always listen."
     
    Haiku:
     
    The Clash wails questions
    Weighed down by indecision.
    All things grow from Self.
     

    You Take Care of Everyone. Who Takes Care of You?


    Begin an incredible journey of deep self-discovery through blissful practice of
    Yoga Nidra.

    I get it.

    There's a lot on your shoulders. It feels like if you weren't there to do your job at home, work, and the community, that life would fall apart. It's true, you're very important to making sure that the world runs well.

    You take care of everyone but who takes care of you?

    First and foremost that should be yourself. And how do you take care of yourself? Do you have a weekly yoga routine? Do you schedule a massage for yourself? Do you make time to have time with your dearest friends? Do you schedule a haircut or manicure or something for yourself? You gotta take care of you.

    Part of taking care of yourself is understanding how you are also responsible for your own happiness. One of the most valuable teachings I've ever received is to be responsible for my own happiness, instead of misplacing that responsibility onto someone or something else.

    Once, while I was living in Korea, I visited a monk in who lived alone in the forest. I hiked through the forest and found his house and he invited me for lunch. As we sat down to an exquisite yet simple meal, the trees were early-spring-green, the air was humid and fresh, and the air was quiet. I felt a calm excitement that everything in the world were perfect at this moment.

    The first thing I told him was that it was very beautiful where he lived and that he must be very peaceful here. He looked straight into my eyes and without malice asked, "Why do I need a peaceful place to live to have inner peace? If the forest burned down tomorrow, would my peace burn with it?" It was a powerful teaching for me to realize that peace could only truly come from within.

    Yogi's often recite the ancient Gayatri Mantra. It teaches us that if we were to truly understand the unity of all things, we would understand that we already are the happiness, peace, or prosperity we feel that we lack. Even if this idea is easy to understand philosophically, it takes a lifetime of practice to experience this truth. In essence, yoga is uncovering the layers that blind us from seeing what is already there, including our own care and happiness.

    If you're interested in hearing me chant the Gayatri Mantra and perhaps would like to incorporate this mantra into a meditation practice of your own, click on the link below where you can hear and learn the mantra. If you're up for a great meditation/changing practice, learn the mantra by heart (or read and follow along) and use a mala to help you count as you repeat this mantra 108 times.

    With such a practice you'll emerge feeling grounded, in tune with yourself, and closer to the understanding that you are in control of you. You'll feel as if you are no different than the happiness you seek.

    This powerful theme of sourcing the deep power within you through the art and practice of meditation is the primary focus of my course that goes live on Friday, January 13. It's an online Yoga Nidra Meditation course that is designed to help you Source Your True Power through the blissful practice of Yoga Nidra (guided meditation).

    Some of the features and benefits of this course:

    Lifetime access to a vast library of meditations, breathing practices, stories, myths, chants, podcasts, articles, and more
    It's online so you can go at your own pace
    It's a practice that will help you reduce stress, feel verrrrry relaxed, while also uncover the deep power within you
    You'll be sleeping better, have greater confidence, and be a better whatever you are


    Registration ends and the course begins Friday so don't miss out. Click below to read more about the course.

    All the best to you!

    Scott

    A New Meditation for a New Year

    SOURCING YOUR TRUE POWER an online Yoga Nidra Course.

     

    Basic Information:

    • 6 modules
    • Includes audio recordings, discussions, chants, lectures, videos, etc.
    • Recordings are yours to keep, repeat as often as you like
    • Connect to other students via social media
    • Perform at your own pace, at a time that works for you

    Happy New Year!

    We made it!

    We've got a bright new year ahead of us, full of possibilities and opportunities. 

    This is a great opportunity to set a powerful trajectory forward for possibilities in your life through setting intentions by practicing yoga and meditation.

    Intentions are powerful. They streamline our forward movement. You ever hear the phrase, "If you're not sure where you want to go, any path will take you there?"

    There's untold power in simply knowing what you want, even if you're not sure how to get there. A mentor once told me, "First, figure out what you want, then you'll figure out how you'll do it."

    Both understanding what you want and setting the intentions for possibilities in the new year takes practice.

    So I've created something to practice. It's a Yoga Nidra (guided meditation) recording designed to help you become very relaxed, define what amazing things you want for yourself, and then visualize what your life is going to look like when this thing happens. It's is an extremely powerful tool to help you to set forward motion for yourself.

    The meditation is about 31 minutes long, so plan on setting aside just a little bit of time take care of yourself in this way. Plan on getting comfortable, lying down, and setting aside all other distractions. It's designed to make you feel very relaxed. Don't worry if you fall asleep, the part of you that I'm speaking to is still paying attention.


    In yoga, Sankalpa means a slow growing seed of intention you plant in your heart through intention. This meditation plants the seed and starts to prepare the soil for it to grow and to bloom. With the help of this meditation, you'll find your life begin to open up in new and exciting ways.

    I've made two versions, one with background music, and one without. You can stream or download them by clicking the buttons below. 

    I hope you enjoy this recording, everyone. Share it with anyone you want. Consider practicing it regularly, maybe daily for a week or so, then at least once or twice a week after that. Come back to it regularly to keep your mind and heart honed to your forward motion of 2017. 

    And if you're interested in learning more about the mind-blowing practice of Yoga Nidra, consider registering for my online Yoga Nidra course, Sourcing Your True Power.  It's dedicated to the idea that you are more powerful than you can imagine and through this illuminating practice of Yoga Nidra, you can Source Your True Power. I loved putting it together and I'm really proud of it. You can see more details below and I'll be sending out more information about it. 

    Happy New Year! 

    Scott


    Download

    Stream

    Holding Space

    salt lake city yoga

    We don't need to change or be better than we are. We practice deep compassion as we extend this same privilege to other people and things around us and allow them to simply be, especially those things that would easily turn our hearts bitter.

    As we practice yoga and meditation, we cultivate and practice being. We also reduce the suffering known as Dukkah, which would hold us back from experiencing our highest self.

    One act of holding space is allowing yourself to be with a person or thing and allow them to be just as they or it is. I'm thinking of a friend who is sick or experiencing something mentally or spiritually challenging. Simply being with that person and holding space for them, without the need to fix or change anything, just being, allows a deep compassion to exist between the two of you.

    Another act of holding space is the decisive act of making room in your heart for that which would sooner canker your heart with feelings and make your mind fester with "shoulds" and what-ifs." When you hold space for someone or something, you don't have to fall in love with this person or thing but you are simply offering compassion toward them or it by not becoming sour toward it. And by so doing, you ultimately offer your own heart and mind in the same compassion--the heart that flourishes when it feels abundance and love, not bitterness, and the mind that abounds when it is sheltered from shoulds and what-ifs."

    Here are a few examples of holding space:

    The NYC 4 Train: stopped en route causing me to miss my flight home (years ago).
    Me: bought a NYC 4 Train T-Shirt--holding space for the 4 Train.

    World: Just as it is.
    Me: Accepting the world as it is.

    Holding space is often the first part of forgiveness toward yourself and others.

    This week, practice holding space for things that your either don't understand or which bother you.

    Scott

    On Stillness


    Yoga Sutra 1:2 Yoga citta vrtti nirodhah. Yoga is the cessation of fluctuations of the mind.

    One of our principle objectives in yoga is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is awareness. We can practice mindfulness while doing almost anything: walking your dog, riding your bike, practicing yoga, or just sitting.

    Getting quiet and drawing in to stillness is necessary for any good work to happen. It's this quietness, this stillness, that allows the busy waters of our mind and emotions to settle enough for us to see what's down in the depths our being.

    When we find this True Self, our work becomes effortless because we no longer feel that we are trying to affect anything from a personality we've conjured from a pretense. Rather, our work generates from this deep relationship with who we truly are. Our work is simply an extension of our deeper selves, the self that knows everything.

    Our work, our medium is, as one good friend says, the loudspeaker of the soul.

    To find this voice, we get quiet.

    Can I suggest a stillness challenge? Give yourself 10 minutes of meditation each day this week. Devote a time, lock the door, turn off your phone, let your family members and pets know that you are having some alone time and even set a timer. Start with 10 minutes and if it feels incredible, go longer.

    Here are a few simple ways to practice:

    There Is Practice
    Simply sit, close your eyes, and acknowledge what you sense, all of your senses. Without value or judgment, simply state what you are experiencing. Rather than identifying with the pronoun "I" simply say in your mind, "There is the sound of traffic, there is fatigue, there is worry, there is an incredible urge to rush to
    Hatch Family Chocolates and eat 40 pounds of truffles." You know, whatever thought, emotion, sensation occurs. Simply state what is. Try not to identify with it. Just watch it.

    Count Your Breaths
    Choose a number and count your exhales down from that number to zero. When you loose your place start back at that number. If you get to zero, start back at that or a different number. Keep you mind only on your breath. This is a deceptively difficult practice, I feel.

    Mantra
    Mantra means to transcend through the use of your mind. Simply find a phrase that means something to you, a scripture, a poem, some tidbit of inspiration, and repeat it in your mind. Words are powerful. You are your word.


    Scott

    Check out this incredible event:

    San Francisco Yoga Tour May 19-22

     

     

    The Cosmic Taco

     

    The Power of Intention
     

    Several years ago, I decided to move to a different place in town. I had been looking for a place to live for a while and had even committed to leave my old place by February 21st. I looked and looked and looked. Nothing. Nothing that made me feel comfortable enough to move. I soon found myself with 5 days left to find a place, sign a lease, and move and I had no real prospects. Needles to say, I began to get a little nervous.

    Maybe its because I'm a slow learner but it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I wasn't finding what I wanted because I didn't even know what I wanted. So, I took literally 30 seconds and wrote down about 12 things that I really wanted in a place. I didn't compromise, I didn't hedge what I wanted. I just laid it out: how much money, how much space, where, architecture type and era. Everything. Why not?

    The very next day, I found it. Not just something that sort of matched what I was looking for. Everything I was looking for, down to the neighborhood, price, and even charm factor. Oh, and it had to be clean.

    I was certainly pleased but not terribly surprised. Things like this have happened to me before. One dear friend says that if I really wanted a taco (perfectly Random), all I have to do is intend it and watch as my cosmic taco appears from the sky. Now I'm not so naive as to think that I get whatever I want from life, I have my share of disappointments, but I do see the effect of regularly setting intention manifest itself over and over in life. I feel that and meditation is simply a concentrated form of setting intention.


    I don't believe that I'm particularly charmed, but I do believe that we should all be brave enough to ask the Universe for what we want. I think it has something to do with what we feel we deserve.

    What do you deserve?

    In yoga we call this Sankalpa. It is the practice of setting an intention like planting a seed or finding a star by which to navigate your ship through this existence. This Sankalpa is one of the ways by which, I believe, we have commerce and conversation with the world that is bigger than ourselves.

    Try it out. Plant your seed of intention. Choose your star. Then devote your yoga practice and your practice of everyday living to this intention and keep your faculties of attention acute.

    Watch out for falling tacos!


    Scott

     

     

    The Woman I Love

    10527643_10152182536671641_5965825224206265878_n.jpg

    I'm married to the greatest woman in the world.

    I just LOVE her! She's the perfect partner for me. One thing about her that I discovered about her early on in our relationship was that because of my relationship with her I was a better man and a better person. She sees and celebrate my strengths. I want to step up to the occasion to be honor such an incredible woman as this. THAT'S how I knew that she was the woman that I'd spend the rest of my days with.

    I'm so happy to have celebrate that love with her this Valentine's Day weekend by collaborating with her to host our Couple's Retreat.

    We try to treat our relationship like yoga: as a practice. We all know that with relationships, just like with yoga, we can get out of practice, we can get into ruts, and we can down right suck at relationships sometimes. Sometimes the circumstances of a relationship can be out of your control. Sometimes you can steer things differently. Even when things are going really well, there is always something to practice.

    Truly relationship (any relationship) is just the closest mirror to the growth that is happening within yourself. If you're not growing, your relationship is not growing. And vice versa.

    Like yoga, we can always practice. Practice gives us permission to learn without the need to be perfect. Practice lets you use all for faculties and experiment until you start to get it dialed in. Practice lets try again if you've messed up.

    I invite you to treat your relationships like a practice this week. Remember, the greatest gift we can give any relationship is PRESENCE.

    Because the Woman I love lives
    Inside of you,
    
     I lean as close to your body with my words
    As I can--
    
     And I think of you all the time, dear pilgrim.
    
     Because the One I love goes with you
    Wherever you go,
     Hafiz will always be near.
    
     If you sat before me, wayfarer,
     With your aura bright from your many
    Charms,
    
    My lips could resist rushing to you and needing
     To befriend your blushed cheek,
    
     But my eyes can no longer hide
     The wondrous fact of who 
    You Really are.
    
     The Beautiful One whom I adore
    Has pitched His royal tent inside of you,
    
     So I will always lean my heart 
     As close to your soul
    As I can.

    ~Hafiz

    “The Woman I Love” by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky from The Subject Tonight is Love by Daniel Ladinsky, published by Penguin Compass. Copyright © 2003 by Daniel Ladinsky. All rights reserved

    There's Something In The Tea

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    I lived in Korea for a year teaching English and studying meditation. I loved to explore the locals-only part of this fascinating country.

    One day a few friends and I wandered into a tea shop in the old part of town. At the back of the shop was a man, dressed in the Han Bok, the traditional Korean habit, who noticed us enter the shop.

    Without a word he began to prepare tea. It took us a few moments to wander to the back of the store. By the time we noticed the man sitting behind a small wooden table, the water was hot. He motioned for us to join him. Delighted, we sat on a few cushions lying on the floor in front of the low table. He poured the tea into the pot and allowed the tea to steep.

    After a few minutes, he laid out a few delicate tea cups and performed the proper ceremony to serve tea.

    He didn't speak English. We didn't speak Korean. Together we spoke the language of human beings sharing tea. We simply sat in each other's presence and enjoyed tea. We didn't need to make small talk. We didn't need to make charades. Words would have been excessive.

    Several long minutes passed. Then, we rose and bowed humbly to him. He smiled and bowed humbly back. We left the shop but he has never left our hearts.

    There's something in the tea.


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    You Can Never Go Back

    standingatthecrossroads

    The crossroads is a magical place. It’s the place where the ethereal, spiritual, and philosophical meets the physical, real, and practical. Where these two roads intersect is the holy ground of transformation, it’s the place where we have to drop our one-track thinking and see the many roads. Practicing yoga means to be at the crossroads.

    crossroadsyoga

    One legend of the Crossroads involves the King of the Blues, Robert Johnson. It is said that one night, deep in the South, the Delta, Robert Johnson left home and as the clock struck midnight, he found himself standing at the intersection between here and there, now and then, this way and that way. There he found the Devil who showed him what was possible with a guitar and told him he would never amount to anything unless he sold his soul in exchange for learning how to play the guitar like nobody’s business. Robert Johnson weighed his options and cashed in his soul (or maybe found it) by making the deal with the devil. He threw his guitar over his shoulder and walked down the road to there, possibility, and everything, giving up on the roads from there, safe comfortable, and the predictable. As he strutted down the road he said to the Devil, “I am the blues.”

    These crossroads don’t only involve the devil and the blues. Crossroads exist all over the place, wherever the other world meets this one, wherever the spirit world meets the physical one. Places like churches, temples, and holy sites. Places like your yoga mat. It’s like a tabernacle, what ancient people used as a traveling temple. Your yoga mat is the traveling temple where spirit and body meet to show you what’s possible inside of you. And yes, I’ve meet the devil there before. I’ve seen him in sitting on my tight hip in kapotasana, pigeon pose; on my steel hamstrings in hanumanasana, the splits pose; and I’ve seen him doing a victory dance on my quivering raised leg in that damned standing splits pose. I’ve come face to face with my physical limitations, yes, but also with my own neurosis, my deepest fears, self-limiting thoughts, and deep, deep wells of grief. I’ve seen that everything is linked to everything else. I’ve meet the divine on my mat as well.  I see regular joy in handstands, pleasure and peace in savasana, fun in transitions, and possibilities in postures. I get regular hits of insight, of purpose, and a deep sense of belonging. Most importantly, at the crossroads of where physical meets spiritual, I get regular glimpses of the real who and what I am.

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    Robert Johnson sold his soul, meaning he gave up the simple, naïve way of seeing the world for a richer, more comprehensive and real view of the world. And for us to experience the larger view of ourselves we have to give up something. I believe instead of selling our soul, we sell the armor that protects us from experiencing only the good, the simple, and the happy. I believe that sometimes we must walk down the roads of grief, struggle, and pain to see how immensely beautiful life is. It’s the larger view. It’s the view of heaven and it will cost you your life. At least, the way you’ve been living it before now. And you can never go back. But in the end after seeing what’s possible, would you want to?

    This week, meet me at the crossroads. Meet me at Centered City Yoga on your yoga mat and explore that place where heaven meets earth.

    Ayurveda: The Science of Life

    salt lake city yoga

    Ayurveda is the fascinating and practical science that studies the world and how we can best come into harmony with it. It is the sister-science of yoga and is an observational practice that puts you into the driver seat of your own wellness. What I love about Ayurveda is that while it can heal imbalances and maladies, it is most often used as a method of maintaining balance and well-being rather than only treating illness. One of my teachers told me that to truly understand yoga, you must also have a working relationship with Ayurveda.

    Ayurveda studies three basic qualities called doshas. In their combination these doshas describe everything in the universe. To simplify, these qualities are: vata, wind quality; pitta, fire quality; and kapha, earth quality. Just like everything in the universe, each person has a unique expression of these qualities called a prakruti. Understanding your prakruti empowers you to negotiate the elements in your life in order to guide yourself toward radiant wellness for body, mind, and spirit.

    Have you ever wondered why you don't feel fantastic even though it seems like you are doing all the right things that should make you healthy and feeling great? Have you ever followed a popular diet or exercise regimen only to feel worse? Sometimes even the kind of yoga we practice makes us leave feeling off. Understanding your prakruti helps you to guide yourself (sometimes with the help of an Ayurvedic practitioner) toward specific types of life-practices that optimize your unique chemistry. Remember, Ayurveda suggests that each person has a unique pathway to optimal wellness.

     Excessive amounts of any dosha causes us imbalance. Understanding this and correcting imbalances, often by simple and practical means, puts us back on the path to balance. Ayurveda acknowledges that what may be health promoting for one person may be diminishing for another. Regarding anything that affects our health, be that medicine or food or yoga, Ayurveda always asks, "For whom, how much, when, and why."

     Sometimes it takes an Ayurvedic practitioner, a trained guide, to help you figure out your prakruti and place yourself on a regimen that will guide you toward optimal wellness. With even a little understanding of Ayurveda and your prakruti, you'll be amazed at how easy it is to keep yourself feeling wonderful. With this understanding you will find the best food choices, sleeping, yoga and exercising patterns, and even scheduling, that will keep you feeling amazing.

     For fun, take this online dosha quiz and find out which dosha seems to match you.

    This week, perhaps you can choose which yoga classes you attend based on what you feel like would give you the greatest balance. Feeling Kapha, (earth): sluggish, slow, or weighed down, or unclear? Get your bones outta bed and try coming to Monday morning’s 6 am (you heard me!) Rise and Shine class and give yourself a powerful start to your day and your week. Feeling Vata (wind): ungrounded, flighty, agitated, or nervous? Try coming to Restore Yoga on Saturday and settle your nervous system. Feeling Pitta (fire): overheated by a project or feeling of expectation or perfection? Try channeling some of that energy into a Power Class on Monday or Friday night at 5:45 pm. Use Auyrveda to direct your yoga choices.  

     This week we have the unique opportunity to have Arun Deva in town. Arun is an Ayurvedic practitioner whom I trust and have worked with personally. Getting a little insight about your particular balance will help empower you to find the wellness and balance you’re searching for. Details below.


    Well-Earned Pearls

    Ring the bells that still can ring.

    Forget your perfect offering.

    There is a crack in everything.

    That’s how the light gets in.

    ~Leonard Cohen

    Brilliant!

    Like the grain of sand that becomes the oyster so too is the illness, the imperfection, or the improbable life-circumstances that beset us and therefore makes us perfect. Truthfully, it is not our problems that make us perfect but the practice we must develop to problem-solve around them that does.  Choose a problem, any problem, and whether or not that problem ever resolves, in working toward overcoming (or sometimes simply yielding to it) you will be put on a path of understanding and mastery that will illuminate all your gifts, that will enlarge your soul, and will teach you more about the Universe and yourself than any other thing. An easy life free of problems does not ask you to give birth to that immense but perhaps latent power within you, the being of light within.

    The university decal I want for the back of my ride is one that says I attended Knocks University, The School of Hard Knocks. And if you’ll forgive the dad joke (I am a dad now and those come readily), it's actually quite true that those things that have taught me the most have been my struggles and challenges. This is why one of my teachers, Judith Lasater, says, “My gurus all share my last name,” meaning that while close relationships are sometimes hard, they are the things that will teach us most poignantly about our True Nature and place us on the path to our own understanding.

    We celebrate and even embrace the natural process of our own growth through our challenges as we bask in the heat of our own transformation through our yoga postures. Knowing and celebrating that we are all imperfect allows us to practice yoga without any end in mind other than simply practicing. The same way that we are not perfect, none of our poses can be perfect. Or better said, we and the poses we express are all perfect in their imperfections, the well-earned pearls of our textured existence.

    Come and celebrate your own divine nature through your imperfections and see how the light gets in.

    Yoga Emergency!

    It's a few years back. I'm traveling home from Lander, Wyoming after a weekend of teaching some fantastic workshops. I’m riding with my friend Tam and we’re traveling over the pass toward Rock Springs when we hit a full-assault blizzard with 65 mph winds which trying its best to blow us off the road. We decide to call this stretch 32 miles of hell, especially after we saw the trailer that had just flipped. White knuckled at the wheel, Tam tries to calm her nerves by singing along to The Grateful Dead (irony isn't lost on me). She is breathing sighs of relief between choruses. After we reach the summit and start to head down the other side of the hill, the worst part is over and Tam turns outright giddy with relief.  

    Whether it's a tricky spot in winter driving or something else in life, sooner or later we are bound to run into a tricky sitch. When these inevitable crises do occur, what do you have in your yoga first-aid kit? Here are a few suggestions of things you might want to have as a quick go-to that could help in tricky times to keep you going in the clutch moments when you've got to be on or when life's throws you a curve.

    First, off: presence. Open your eyes. Times like this make you wake up from that anesthetized state. There is no cruise control, here. If you've practiced presence in meditation or yoga, it will be easier to really be on when you need to be. If not, no time like the present (I have a pun permit, so back off). Notice what's going on around you. Even when things are really tough, notice what's going on in your body. Take a moment, close your eyes (unless you're driving through a blizzard) and allow yourself to actually feel all of your body's sensation, all your emotions, thoughts, etc. without the need to change it. It's always surprising to me how readily this practice of seeing things objectively, even for a brief moment, helps me develop a clearer perspective of my problems.

    Second: breathe! Ujjaiyi breath, the whisper breath we practice in yoga, is done by breathing in and out through the nostrils and slightly constricting the breath in the throat to feel and hear a whisper. It is one of the most effective things I know to lower anxiety levels and oxygenate the body to perform optimally. If you want to watch a video on YouTube of the one and only Matt Newman at the old Prana Yoga space demonstrating this technique, click here.

    Third: do grounding poses like forward folds and seated or lying-down twists. They ground the nervous system and reduce tension from the body. Any poses that reduce muscular tension (stretches) are great to reduce stress and make you feel good. Remember body and mind are connected, so release tension from your muscles and watch how tension leaves from other parts too. Stretchy poses send endorphins running through your body and give you a mega-dose of Feel Good when life is crazy.

    Fourth: take care of yourself. Even if you feel like you don't have time for anything superfluous, keeping yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically well is not superfluous. Too much relies on you being on and therefore you must keep your body/mind/spirit happy. This might mean taking the morning off and strolling through Red Butte Gardens or take a jaunt into Hatch Family Chocolates (8th Ave between D and E St.) for a Peanut Butter Truffle. Eat well with simple and nourishing meals (with occasional chocolate). Get enough sleep. Especially in times of crisis, do something for yourself to replenish the source so you have something to give back to everything that needs you. Otherwise, others will have to take care of you. Do it for yourself.

    Fifth: simplify. Kindly say no to that extra social engagement. Stop trying to be perfect. Minimize and simplify. 

    Sixth: if you ever need a yoga 911, go to my web site and click on the yoga nidra tab. You can listen immediately to a recording of a guided mediation that will calm you down and give you some clarity to help you go on through your day with grounded clarity. 

    Finally, The House Martins help. If you don't know this band, check them out here. When I feel like life has slapped me down, this band has always helped me get back up. M-m. Love that band. 

     What is in your yoga first-aid kit? Please comment here and add let us know what you do in a yoga emergency. See what others are saying.

     Take care of yourself!