Thursday, April 29, 2010


I'll be assisting the first two sessions (and taking the final one!).

Not only that, but "Lack of funds is no reason not to come. Open to all."

APRIL 30–MAY 1, 2010

Friday April 30, 2010 6—9pm $40
EARTH: Feet of the Summit

Exploring Inversions with Earth as the Consort
By opening ourselves to the still and grounding energy of the earth, we will explore the inversions central to asana practice, including headstand, forearm balance, and handstand, with an eye to precision, effective assisting and partnering, and full embodiment. By deepening our relationship with the earth in inversions, we can find greater ease, confidence, and a sacred rootedness that will allow the benefits of these ancient and tranformative postures to flower. This workshop is an excellent preparation for the Maha Sadhana. Basic yoga experience is strongly recommended.

Saturday May 1, 2010 2—5pm $40
WATER & FIRE: The Dharma Mittra Mahasadhana
The Master’s Master Class

A challenging and physically absorbing vinyasa series created by Sri Dharma Mittra incorporating Dharma III, IV, and V. It reintegrates the flow of prana through the spinal column and emanates deep into all areas of the physical, metabolic, intuitive, and bliss bodies. It promotes harmony within all these layers so a concentrated state of radiant health is achieved. The highest crowning meditative asanas, pranayama (breathing techniques), and yoga nidra (psychic sleep), which are embedded in the deep roots of Dharma Mittra's teachings, are imparted to the student. The Maha Sadhana includes a session of Dharma’s unique Psychic Development session to put power behind your thoughts, as well as a joyous Devotional Dharma Asana Satsang Jam. Personal attention and helpful hints are given throughout the session as well as direction toward the true goal of yoga. A jewel for all yoga enthusiasts.

Saturday May 1, 2010 7—9pm $20
WIND & SPACE: Restoring and Purifying
Secrets of Pranayama and Savasana from India and Tibet for Awakening the Inner Body

Coming into oneself fully and completely is the return home we all seek. In this workshop we will prepare for yoga nidra with some gentle yoga postures suitable for all and chanting the seed syllables that awaken the dormant energy of the chakras. In our deep yoga nidra practice, we will explore the awakened inner body and allow the subtle inner channels that connect to every one of our cells to open, arriving into a much deeper and sacred sense of who we really are.

$85 for all three sessions.

1474 N. Milwaukee Ave. Floor 3 Chicago 60622
Contact/preregistration: 773-294-7811

Michael Kersten (Mittra Om) has trained with Master Yogi Shri Dharma Mittra since 1997, and with Vajrayana teacher Dr. Reggie Ray in the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche since 2002, in both group and solitary retreat practice. Michael holds a Masters in Tibetan Buddhism from Naropa University, and combines spiritual end-of-life care in New York City with yoga workshops in the U.S. and abroad.
I HEART 4:29

Author and ashtangi Amy Krouse Rosental is asking everyone to text "I love you" to someone today at 4:29PM (in your time zone).

If you love a lot of people - and you should, since yogis see God in everyone - text all of them!

Read more at this blog post.

And wish happy birthday to Amy!


Video by Miss Amy KR. Happy birthday, Amy!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Until recently, when you clicked on the old website for the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, you were immediately linked to the K. Pattabhi Jois Asthanga Yoga Institute. Guruji started the AYRI in 1957. The name was changed to the KPJAI in 2008, after Guruji fell ill. I always liked that the term "research" was in the original name. To me, it meant that ashtanga wasn't fixed and finite. I also liked that Guruji never put his name on the practice that he spent his life sharing.

But now, if you click on, you get a yoga marketplace. The URL itself is for sale.

The times they are a-changin'.


Photo (c) 2004 of Lino, Amy Beth, Manju, CK and ? at Green Leaf Cafe in Mysore

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Photo (c) 4-24-10 by Desiree Trankaer; click on it to get a better view of the tees (and teeth!).


A big thank-you to Moksha and Yogaview for bringing Lino back to Chicago.

Yesterday I accidentally arrived a good hour early for self-practice with Lino. Oops!

So I had a lot of time to sit in front of Shiva, Ganesh, Hanuman and the many photos of Pattabhi Jois at the altar, and contemplate how may people around the world have been helped by this wonderful practice of his (Lino is opening a new asthanga shala next month in Estonia. Estonia!). The tears flowed of course. How I miss him. But how alive he still seems.

The body felt good during practice.

Lino knew this better than I did, and adjusted me for the first time in Bhekasana. The ankle did not protest. I couldn't believe it.

He also gave me my first foot-on-foot adjustment in Supta Vajrasana.

The foot was fine!

So halfway through practice, I pulled off the ankle brace and threw it away.

It was like the flappers bobbing their hair.....

Like the feminists burning their bras....

Like the ashtangis tossing out the props!

It felt like a whole new beginning.

For the moment, anyway.

* * * * * * * * *

I spent the rest of the day at the workshop, observing the led primary series and taking the adjustments and techniques segment. The first is wonderful because you learn correct vinyasa (how to enter and exit the poses in coordination wtih the breath). The second is wonderful because you find out how the vinyasa count works, learn some adjustments, and hear the stories. The stories are the best. Lino told the one about how Guruji told him, shortly after they met, that by spending one month with him, he'd make as much progress as practicing 12 months on his own. Lino has that same effect. Five days with him has healed what probably would have taken another two or three months on my own. Kovalam, here I come!


Photo (c) 4-21-10 by Rena Goodfriend-Leve. Lino is sporting the Ashtanga Yoga Police tee.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


From Mary Billard's intriguing New York Times article, about the current state of yoga in America:

ZEN is expensive. The flattering Groove pants, Lululemon’s answer to Spanx, may set Luluheads, the devoted followers of the yoga-apparel brand, back $108. Manduka yoga mats, favored for their slip resistance and thickness, can reach $100 for a limited-edition version. Drop-in classes at yoga studios in New York are edging beyond $20 a session, which quickly adds up, and the high-end Pure Yoga, a chain with two outposts in Manhattan, requires a $40 initiation fee, and costs $125 to $185 a month.

You can even combine yoga with a vacation in the Caribbean, but it will cost you: in August, the luxurious Parrot Cay resort in Turks and Caicos has a six-night retreat with classes taught by the “yoga rock stars” (in the words of the press release) Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman. The cost? A cool $6,077. (In August!)

And is it surprising that yoga, like so much else in this age of celebrity, now has something of a star system, with yoga teachers now almost as recognizable as Oscar winners? The flowing locks of Rodney Yee. The do-rag bandanna worn by Baron Baptiste. The hyper perpetual calm exhibited by David Life and Sharon Gannon, who taught Sting, Madonna and Russell Simmons. The contortions (and Rolls-Royces) of Bikram Choudhury.

The article focuses on Yoga to the People, an NYC studio where the packed classes are by donation, and they don't tell you who's teaching (ie; there's no "star" system).

The writer neglected to mention the new, donation-only Dharma Yoga Brooklyn - which is in a beautiful space, and is run by two of my fellow teacher trainees. They definitely say "Om" there - and talk philosophy, too.

In Chicago there is Yogaview's donation-only studio.

Most studios offer free community classes.

And Chicago Yoga Center has never been hip (and teachers have never been encouraged to tell students when there's going to be a sub).

The article focuses on Y2P founder Greg Gumucio , who charges $8 per class:

Today. Mr. Gumucio has three studios in New York (including two hot-yoga studios that charge $8 a class), one in San Francisco, one in Berkeley, Calif., and one to open later this year in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He has just signed a lease in Chelsea and is considering expanding to Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles.


Or should I say, woo-hoo!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Today's practice was a bit easier, after yesterday's rest. I could breathe.... most of the time.

Plus a miracle happened.

I was in the front row, and Lino was doing dropbacks with the person on my right. I had just finished my five backbends.

It was the exact same setup - front row, Lino on my right, just finished five backbends - as the first time I stood up from backbend in Mysore in 2004 (after three weeks prepping with Lino in Kovalam).

Something clicked in my head this morning: Lino is here and can help you psychically. It's now or never.

I bounced a couple of times and stood up like it was nothing.

But the heart was racing. It took some time to slow it down.

I waited, palms in prayer, and collected my breath as tears streamed down my cheeks.

Lino went to the back of the room.

And I thought again, "It's now or never."

So I dropped back. And stood up.

Three times. One. Two. Three.

Like it was nothing.

It's something I thought I would never, ever do again. Ever.

I stood there with arms crossed over chest - the universal symbol for "I'm ready for my dropback, Mr. DeMille" - and the tears of gratitude kept a-coming.

When Lino came to help me with the final dropback, I said,

"It's a miracle."

He looked around. "God is here?"

"Well, yes," I said.

"But I stood up from backbend - and dropped back three times!" I continued.

"What you lose, it always comes back," he explained, and made gestures indicating that the losing it part is a struggle, but is something we must all go through and isn't permanent.

"I thought that was gone forever," I said. "I thought my body was finished."

"You are young. You are strong," he said, as I crossed my arms over my chest and he helped me drop back.

And I believed him.

* * *

When we finished, and I stood up and hugged him for real (not my usual stand-offish A-frame version of a hug) and said "Thank you," I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

How giving (and forgiving) this practice is.

And how wonderful its teachers.

Vande Gurnam indeed.


Photo of CK and Lino in Kovalam (c) 2002 by Randy Parrish.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


This week's self-practice workshop with Lino Miele has been an amazing healing experience. And after just two days of practice (I couldn't go Thursday because I was unable to sub out my classes).

As soon as I stood on my mat and brought my hands into pranamasana, I felt the energy and presence of Pattabhi Jois filling the room. It caught me off guard. Tears of gratitude and reverence started streaming down my cheeks and did not stop for some time. It was like Guruji himself was there.

Finally I collected myself, chanted the opening mantra and began my sun salutations.

It was difficuilt to catch the breath, and I sweated out at least half my weight in toxins as I struggled my way through a rickety second series practice.

From time to time I had to stop and catch my breath. Me - who is always telling the students not to futz.

I have had a modified and rickety little practice since injuring the left ankle a couple of months ago. That, plus chronic back pain has brought my practice back to its origins. After the ankle-twisting incident, I began doing modified sun salutations, then added the standing poses. As the ankle began to heal I did half primary series and then, eventually, a full modified primary series practice. There has been no jumping back or forward or putting weight on the feet in up-dog; there have been easy variations of Marichyasana B and D on the right; I've sat on a block for Triryang Mukha Eka Pada Pashchimottanasana; and have avoided rolling over the feet during vinyasa. For the back, I've sat on a cushion in the twists and used a block between the knees during backbends. I've also been going to a great doctor (and student) who does both chiropractic and acupuncture.

Thanks to her - and the practice, and bike riding, which the ankle loves - last week I felt good enough to add second series poses up to Kapotasana. I gingerly tried the whole second series on Saturday and Monday, modifying Kraunchasana, Bhekasana and Vatayanasana, and nothing bad happened.

But there is no slacking off when your teacher is there.

I kept apologizing to him, and he kept saying, "It's OK. It is only the first day."

My hair was drenched, the clothes were soaked, and the fingertips were wrinkled by the end of practice in that hot, sweaty room - despite having done my usual purifying Monday fruit fast the day before.

Lino got my hands to feet in Kapotasana - which hasn't happened in over a year. I also received many other lovely adjustments from him and Desiree.

I ended up doing 10 backbends. I haven't stood up in eons and did not want to throw out the back again, since I do it with splayed feet (the first time I ever stood up, in 2004, was in Mysore when Lino was practicing right next to me). This week, Lino did dropbacks with me for the first time in... eons. And it didn't hurt at all.

In fact nothing hurt. Not the back. Not the ankle. Nothing.

Lino has the magic.

After class we spoke about my injury, and he told me that the body is the teacher.

We also spoke about my life and I mentioned that some sort of change seems to be in the works.

"Change is good," he said.

"Yes, but before it happens it is scary," I said.

"Life is scary," he replied.

* * *

After this my mood lifted considerably. I pray that it may stay for some time.

I feel like something that was lost has been restored.

How grateful I am to him.

(He so reminds me of Dharma. And vice-versa).

* * *

I have to say the old cliche: "Oh, am I sore."

(But not in any of the previously-injured areas).

The body is not used to being pushed this hard.

It loves it.

But walking up and down stairs is hard.

* * *

Lino is in Chicago through the weekend. He will not be coming back to Chicago anytime soon. So. go. see. him. while. you. can.

Details here.

* * *

Favorite moment so far:

Looking up at the third eye yesterday while Lino was adjusting me in Yoganidrasana and accidentally reading his t-shirt:

"Ashtanga Yoga Police"

There is nothing like giggling in the middle of practice, when you're on your back, legs behind head, inches from your teacher's funny t-shirt.

Now that's yoga.


Photo of CK and Lino circa 1999, by Chad Satlow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


On Wednesday from 12-1 Central Time I was be part of a live chat on the Lunchbox, a co-production of Chicago Public Radio and Vocalo. You can read the transcript here.

The topic was the media (I've been a media columnist for Illinois Entertainer since... 1992? 1993? 1920?). The questions were supposed to be:

1)Do brand-name columnists need newspapers anymore? And how are our news start-ups doing?

2)Spanish station WOJO is #1 in the radio market (25-54) – What does this say about the future of radio? What is the next trend for Chi radio?

3)TV anchors are moving around like a firesale – what is going on? Will people follow personalities from station to station? [This will be fun, since I don't watch TV news]

The other panelists were my journalism mentor, Robert Feder, plus Andrew Huff of Gapers Block, Larz of Chicagoland Radio and Media, and communications consultant and author Walter Podrazik.

I played the role of token female.

There were no people of color on the panel.....

Which shows just how much the media has changed in the past 100 years.

Maybe that should have been the topic.

(Aw, just be quiet, little girl - and be glad we let you join the party).

It's all maya anyway....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


One of the definitions of sattva (peace, harmony, purity) in the Bhagavad-Gita is, "What is poison in the beginning becomes nectar in the end."

Having my two favorite Indian fast food places close in quick succession was indeed like the poison.

Jai Hind closed a couple of months ago. I loved their home-made $3.49 meals, which came with kaman dhokla, sambar and three chapattis. It was always quiet, warm, friendly and clean in there. There was somehow a devotional atmosphere. Now, there's a meat restaurant in its place. Jai Hind has plans to re-open on Devon Avenue near Rockwell, but it hasn't happened yet.

Then, Annapurna closed. This was my safe haven during the months of torture in the old apartment. I always knew I could go there for a $3.99 veg plate meal or $2.99 masala dosa and .75 cup of chai, and read the Indian newspapers.

But now they're closed, too.

(I recently saw the manager next door at the Patel Bros murti-and-kitchenware store, in his street clothes. He looked relaxed! [The Patel brothers own most of the block, by the way - including Annapurna and Mysore Woodland. For the record, they're Gujarati, not Kannadiga] Anyway he assured me they would re-open May 1. [With higher prices, I bet]).

The result is that I've been eating home more often.

I've been eating healthier. More live.

And I've been eating less.

It's been good for the practice.

It's been good for the mind.

It's become nectar in the end.... least until Annapurna opens again.

Then it will probably be back to the rajas (nectar in the beginning, poison in the end).

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Suzanne Somers calls them "the Seven Dwarfs of Menopause": Itchy, Bitchy, Sleepy, Sweaty, Bloated, Forgetful and All Dried Up."

I think she's referring to peri-menopause - the decade or so of hormonal torture many women experience prior to the so-called Change of Life.

No one likes to talk about it, but it's real. Especially the insomnia, mood swings, depression, anxiety, lethargy, twice-a-month periods and inability to control the mouth.

Not to mention the forgetfulness.

A couple of weeks ago I actually forgot the words to the asthanga opening mantra. While leading it. After more than 13 years of saying it. Fortunately the students remembered the words.

The jury is out on bioidentical hormones. But this amazing New York Times article by Cynthia Gorney suggests that the estrogen patch could be a godsend.

An excerpt:

The patches my gynecologist prescribed worked, by the way. I didn’t understand how, beyond the evident quieting of some vicious recurring hormonal hiccup, and neither did the gynecologist. But she had other women who came in sounding like me and then felt better on estrogen, and I would guess many of them, too, decided after the W.H.I. news that they could surely find other ways to manage their “mood swings,” to use the wondrously bland phrasing of the medical texts. (I’m sorry, but only someone who has never experienced one could describe a day of “I would stab everyone I know with a fork if only I could stop weeping long enough to get out of this car” as a “mood swing.”) We muddled along patchless, my mood swings and my patient family and I, until there came a time in 2006 when in the midst of some work stress, intense but not unfamiliar, I found myself in a particularly bad Pit episode and this time unable to pull out.

It was profoundly scary. In retrospect, I managed a surprising level of public discretion about what was going on; competence at the cover act is a skill commonly acquired by midlife women, I think, especially those with children and work lives. If the years have taught us nothing else, they have taught us how to do a half dozen things at once, at least a couple of them decently well. Like other women I have met recently with stories like this one, I relied for a few months on locked office doors, emergency midday face-washings and frequent visits to an increasingly concerned talk therapist. But one afternoon I got off my bicycle in the middle of a ride with my husband, because I had been crying so hard that I couldn’t see the lane lines, and I sat down on the sidewalk and told him how much I had come to hate knowing that family obligations meant I wasn’t allowed to end my life. The urgent-care people at my health clinic arranged a psychiatric consult fast, and after listening and nodding and grabbing scratch paper to draw me an explanatory graph with overlapping lines that peaked and plunged, the psychiatrist wrote me two prescriptions. One was for an antidepressant.

The other — I recognized the name as soon as she wrote it down — was for Climara, my old estrogen patch.


Click here to hear SKPJ chanting the Mangala Mantra (ashtanga closing mantra).

Friday, April 16, 2010


Many students have been injured over the past couple of weeks.

Not from yoga asana.

But from extracurricular activities.

(During a conference in 2008, Sharath talked about the jogging craze he got involved in when he was young(er). He said it practically ruined his yoga practice, and advised, "No extracurricular activities." If you have extra energy after doing (an intense) asthanga practice, you should volunteer to help poor people, he said).

He was - is - right.

Students in my classes have been injured from:

-Competitive Dodgeball

-Paddle Tennis




-Doing the Limbo

-Running a Marathon

-Walking Down Stairs

At least they have lives outside of yoga (not the last one - that was me). But still.....

You should rest one day each week. You should not even stretch. In general, no other exercise should be done. Period. Because your body becomes very stiff if you do other exercise. Yoga is the opposite of other types of exercise. Sharath got into the jogging craze when he was 17, and Eka Pada Sirsasana (a leg behind the head pose) and Kapotasana were a struggle. He has struggled the whole time with his practice, especially since he had Rheumatic fever as a child - which affected his joints.

"You have to keep struggling, because once you get [it], there is nothing like this." You should have dedication and faith in the practice. The guru can only do so much. It depends on the students' dedication to the practice, and faith.

Read more about the conference where Sharath said this here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


This just in - Sri Dharma Mittra will be at the 2011 Yoga Journal Conference July 8-11 at the Grand Geneva in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Start saving now!

Dharma will be at Kripalu July 2-5 and at the Omega Institute August 27 - 29. Click here for details.

Dharma will do his Labor Day retreat in the Catskills again this year. Read about last year here, and see the official photos - including CK with the wake-up conch and Little E minus the wake-up bell (not to mention a disheveled CK with legs behind head) - here.

Dharma's annual Mexico trip to Otam near Playa del Carmen will take place December 6-10. See 2008 photos here.

Or just visit his website. Sometimes just seeing the opening page, here, can make you feel a whole lot better.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Lino Miele will lead Mysore-style ashtanga classes at YogaView April 20-23. More info here.

He will lead a weekend workshop at Moksha Yoga April 24 and 25. There's a discount if you sign up before April 14. More info here. Details below.

Lino is an amazing teacher.
Read my article about his 2008 workshop here.
Read about 1999 here.
Read about 2000 here.
Read about my studies with him in India in 2002 here.

Lino Miele is a first generation student of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and is one of the few officially certified teachers of Astanga Yoga in the world. Lino began practicing Astanga in Mysore, South India in 1988 and now leads the Astanga Yoga Shala in Rome, Italy.

Lino is the benefactor and creator of Astanga Yoga schools in Milan, Helsinki, and Copenhagen and is the author of the seminal book, Astanga Yoga. Lino’s DVD’s for Primary, Intermediate, and Advanced Series were produced with the exact vinyasa as prescribed by Pattabhi Jois. Lino conducts Astanga Yoga workshops and retreats in Italy, India, and around the world.


Sat, April 24
8:00 am - 10:00 am Mysore Style $50 ($60 after Apr 14)
10:30 am - 12:30 pm Primary Series $50 ($60 after Apr 14)
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Adjustments & Techniques $65 ($75 after Apr 14)

Sun, April 25
10:30 am - 12:30 pm Full Vinyasa $50 ($60 after Apr 14)


PRIMARY SERIES: The Primary Series, referred to as Yoga Chikitsa (which literally means Yoga Therapy), detoxifies and aligns the body. The led class is an introduction to the entire primary series in a group pacing. The vinyasa or breathing system is emphasized.

MYSORE STYLE: A set series of asanas practiced by the student at their own individual pace and assisted by the teacher, the way it is taught in Mysore, India by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Previous Astanga experience required. Primary through Fourth series students accepted.

FULL VINYASA PRACTICE: In this led class, the traditional primary series is taught including a full vinyasa (to Samasthihii between each pose) and half vinyasa (between each side). This class is a challenging and vigorous practice guaranteed to turn up the heat (tapas). Open to all skill levels.

ADJUSTMENTS AND TECHNIQUES: This class is geared toward teachers and dedicated students who wish to deepen their understanding of the art of adjusting. This workshop class will include theory, discussion, and hands-on adjustments.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Last night I went to see Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji perform a concert at Elgin Community College.

He is Kali Ray's guru. His main ashram is at the foot of Chamundi Hill in Mysore (which Krista and I visited in 2008 - after getting caught in the monsoon. While driving the scooter through traffic. At night. While laughing.).

Each of the ragas he performed was meant to stimulate different chakras, heal different aliments (insomnia, diabetes, restless leg, etc) or parts of the body (lower back, etc), and represented different astrological signs and elements. He was accompanied by keyboards, violin, tabla and dhol.

The music was mostly uplifting, and occasionally irritating. He LOVED to play! He told us to relax - we could lean back, close our eyes, sleep - even dance. He said to do whatever was relaxing (apparently fidgeting the entire time was comforting to the poor vata fellow on my right). He played lead keyboard, explaining it was "the modern-day veena."

At one point there was an AMAZING talk-drumming session (one of my favorite things in the whole wide world), followed by a couple of riveting drum solos.

When they came to the main raga, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji said, "This one for all Chicago." This raga was for ALL the chakras, ALL the astrological signs, ALL parts of the body and ALL five elements.

I guess we need to be healed. Everywhere.

I know we need it, and so did he. This place is a little (!) off.

After the concert, they gave us prasad - a sattvic Indian take-away meal (vegetarian, with no garlic, onion or spices).

On the way home, I passed the hospital where I was born. I'd never seen it before. (Well, maybe that one time).

Last night I slept soundly.

And this morning I awakened with no pain in the wrist, ankle or lower back.

The gurgling in the stomach (which I'm sure is an E. coli invasion resulting from the sink explosion) had ceased.

And all the money-worries, etc. had vanished.

Did I mention the concert was free?

And that beforehand, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji sat quietly and patiently through speeches and whatnot by an endless parade of minor Illinois dignitaries?

No fidgeting, foot-tapping or eye-rolling from him.

Just fortitude and forbearance.

Om shanti indeed.

Friday, April 09, 2010


....started coming up out of the kitchen sink today, just as I woke up from a wonderful, much-needed nap.

Then more came up, like bubblin' crude, and contaminated the dishes.

Then some more bubbled up, with another loud, disgusting belch.

So much came up that I started collecting it in buckets and dumping it down the toilet.

Interestingly, the landlord does not pick up his phone. Or call back. Hmmmm....

So I took matters into my own hands.

After two searches of the building, I dug up a man who had just finished routing the third floor sink.

He's in the kitchen right now, dismantling the plumbing.

The stench is wafting into the dining room as I write this. Feces!

At least this happened after the nap.

Ah, lila!


It seems we're at the age where the generation that had the most influence on our little window of culture - Lux Interior, Alex Chilton, MM - starts dropping like flies.

(In this case, MM gave us the Sex Pistols, Adam and the Ants, Bow Wow Wow, plus his own solo career, not to mention managing the New York Dolls for a short stint - and the influence of all that on the wider culture).

"I was taught that to create anything, you had to believe in failure simply because you had to be prepared to go through an idea without any fear. Failure, you learned - as I did in art school - to be a wonderful thing. It allowed you to get up in the morning and take the pillow off your head."

-Malcolm McLaren

Om Trayambakam

I meditate on Shiva
The three eyed one (Third Eye)
Of sweetest fragrance,
Helping me flower spiritually.
Like the fully-ripened fruit easily snapped
May I be free from the Bondage
of Death.
May I not be without the nectar of immortality.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Her name is Rachel Fiske, she does tantra yoga (still trying to figure out what that is*), and she sets "audacious intentions".... that actually bear fruit.

Read all about it here.

Jai ma!


*I'm currently reading Georg Feurstein's Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy. Apparently, the Dalai Lama is a tantra adept (did anyone else see "The Buddha" last night? Could it have been more beautiful / inspiring?), and it has next to nothing to do with sex.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


The New York TImes says gray hair is in, so it must be true.

Apparently models - models! - have been sporting gray-streaked hair during Major Fashion Events.

Even the editors have been sporting gray....

including a famous 13-year-old blogger and fashion mascot named Tavi Gevinson.

Pink did it at the Grammys.

And even Kate Moss has been sporting "graylights" of late.

Sharon Dorram, an influential New York colorist, said that among her downtown New York patrons, it is mostly younger women, renegade types, who request gray. Not lost on Ms. Dorram is the irony that their older, more conventional counterparts spent $1.3 billion to cover their grays last year, according to Nielsen....

“These women are showing that they have the money and the inclination to make gray a fashion statement,” said Rose Weitz, a professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University. Professor Weitz, the author of “Rapunzel’s Daughters: What Women’s Hair Tells us about Women’s Lives,” suggested that to dye one’s hair gray is to flout one of fashion’s last taboos.

For a 16-year-old, it is something akin to having multiple piercings or tattoos, she said. “It takes confidence to pull off the look,” Professor Weitz said. “It’s going to be the head cheerleader who does this, not the nerdy science student.”

Of course here in Chicago we've been doing it for years....

not because it's fashionable,

but because it's practical.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


The first time I heard the theory that Jesus was in India during the missing years (ages 12 to 30), I was like, BS!

Now I'm not so sure.

Today, when Shiva called and talked about the idea that Easter is symbolic for Jesus reaching samadhi and re-joining God, I was like, Of course.

* * *

This photo shows the view of the church across the street; it looks upside-down when one is in Uttana Padasana. The wonderful vibes from their two Easter services kept flowing in through the open window during practice today (as did the allergens. But that's another story).


*Click here to view the BBC documentary, or here for another film about it.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Today marks the 13th anniversary of my mother's death.

This is the first year without her ashes, which are now here, there and everywhere (including the Atlantic Ocean, above).

Because of her, I am here.

Because of her, I attended college.

Because of her, I practice yoga.

I owe Her everything.

Jai Ma!

* * *

The Divine Mother prayer.

“Oh, Divine Mother
May all my speech and idle talk be mantra
All actions of my hands be mudra
All eating and drinking be the offering of oblations unto Thee
All lying down prostrations before Thee
May all pleasures be as dedicating my entire self unto Thee
May everything I do be taken as Thy worship.”

Om Shanti shanti shanti


*As in, large-"S" Self.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Yesterday I saw this rather spectacular sunset on the way home from the fancy brown health club. I was already flying high from the unseasonably warm weather, the students' wonderful energy and the awesome bhangra dance party on the radio - which featured more than one fast and furious harmonium solo. And then I saw this. (The mood dissolved a tiny bit when I got home and found that all the street parking had been taken by attendees of the pre-Good Friday event at the church. But who minds prowling for parking while the bhangra is blasting?).

This morning I got up, sat, retrieved the car, and saw this amazing sunrise on the way to teach. Same street, opposite side of the El.

And this time, bhajans were playing on the stereo.



That would be WW's former building on the left. How I wish he still lived (t)here.

Never, ever take photos while on LSD.


Click on the links above to hear bhangra and bhajans.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Or is it?


I was trolling around for photos of "yoga" to accompany a post last month, and came across the image above. Of course, we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But shouldn't the back foot be flat (not sickled) in that particular posture? (And shouldn't it be subtitled, Brahmacharya, My Ass!).