Thursday, March 29, 2012


"I believe it’s about power, and I don’t want to be part of it."

-CK's ashtanga teacher, Lino Miele, quoted here.


"Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal.
Yoga is not mine. But don't approach yoga with a business mind -
looking for worldly gain. If you want to be near God, turn your mind
toward God, and practice yoga. As the scriptures say "without yoga
practice, how can knowledge give you moksha [liberation]?"

-Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cheap Trick: "Take Me I'm Yours"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012


When learning the intricacies of the Victorious Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama), students often find it difficult to produce the correct sound characteristic of ujjayi. To do this, air is drawn in and out through the nose, but the sound should not come from the nostrils. If it does, you are in effect sniffing. When you are moving to the rhythm of the breath, your muscles demand a constant supply of oxygen. To meet this demand, airflow needs to increase - but if you sniff, airflow is, in fact, restricted. To prevent this, each breath is drawn in from the back of the throat so that the airflow can be increased and metered by the muscles around the glottis. It is the friction of air through the glottis that produces the ujjayi sound. This friction also warms the air before it enters the lungs. To help correct any tendency to sniff, lightly stretch the skin on either side of the nose to dilate the nostrils so that the air is being drawn in at the back of the throat.

The correct ujjayi sound is simlar to the noise waves make as they surge up a pebbly beach. To achieve this "free breathing" you must keep the glottis open at all times during the inhalation/exhalation cycle. Closing your glottis is like holding your breath; if this happens, the energy flow stops and your muscles become starved of oxygen and pranic energy, and therefore tighten up. In this state, it could be said that "where there is no breath there is no life," and thus vinyasa and the asana become lifeless.

The grunting noises practitioners sometimes make indicate that the glottis has been locked closed - this usually occurs at the top of the inhalation and the bottom of the exhalation - and so you need to refocus your attention on keeping the glottis open.

-John Scott in his 2000 book Ashtanga Yoga

Monday, March 19, 2012

MONDAY MUSIC: "Shambho Mahadeva" by Dr Manikantan Menon

Thursday, March 15, 2012


"A saint is a sinner who hasn't given up."

-Unknown (quoted by Swami Radha in one of her many books)

image from here

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The New York Times' Red-Tailed Hawk Cam is back - and live to boot!

Watch live streaming video from nytnestcam at

Read all about it here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Tunak Tunak Tun" by Daler Mehndi; one of the best bhangra dance tunes ever...
(and just the thing to take the sting out of March)

the phonetic Buffalex translation:

the correct translation:

and another another phonetic translation:

Friday, March 09, 2012

only in NYC....

Thursday, March 08, 2012


Articles Forbidden

Highly seasoned dishes, hot curries, chutnies, meat, fishes, chillies, sour articles, tamarind, mustard, all kinds of oil, asafoetida, salt, garlic, onions, urad-ki-dal (black gram), all bitter things, dry foods, black sugar, vinegar, alcohol, sour curd, stale foods, acids, astringents, pungent stuff, roasted things, heavy vegetables, over-ripe or unripe fruits, pumpkins, etc., must be avoided. Meat can make man a scientist, but rarely a Philosopher, Yogi or a Tattva Jnani. Onions and garlic are worse than meat. All food-stuffs contain a small quantity of salt. So, even if you do not add salt separately, the system will derive the necessary quantity of salt from other food-stuffs. The giving up of salt will not produce deficiency of hydrochloric acid and dyspepsia as allopathic doctors foolishly imagine. Salt excites passion. No ill-effects are produced by the giving up of salt. Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Yogananda had given up salt for over thirteen years. Giving up salt helps you in controlling the tongue and thereby the mind also and in developing will-power too. You will have good health. Sitting before fire, company of women and worldly-minded people, Yatra [pilgrimage], long walk, carrying heavy burdens, cold bath in the early morning, harsh words, speaking untruth, dishonest practices, theft, killing animals, Himsa [harming] of all kinds either in thought, word or deed, hatred and enmity towards any person, fighting, quarreling, pride, double-dealing, intriguing, back-biting, tale-bearing, crookedness, talks other than those of Atman and Moksha, cruelty towards animals and men, too much fasting or eating only once every day, etc., are not allowed for a Pranayama-practitioner.

-From Sri Swami Sivananda's "The Science of Pranayama"

Which reminds me: I'll lead a Pranayama Workshop on Saturday, 4/28 at Sweet Pea's Studio. It is highly recommended for those who have a regular asana practice and want to go deeper. Register and learn more here.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The next one is November 3-4 at the same beautiful place. Learn more here.

On the final day, as the morning Maha Sadhana was getting underway (and I was reading a passage from Swami Sivananda), everyone suddenly gasped and looked up. Outside the window, a massive bird gracefully swooped down and perched on a nearby branch. The regal Red-Tailed Hawk stayed there for some time, watching us.

It was a magical ending to a memorable retreat.

Thank you to Felicia for her pictorial contributions, to the karma yogis who provided carpools (Beth and Odie), to the table-movers at the end (Tony, Dorothy and Daisy), to Tina for the book loan, to Kristen for the amazing food and support, the Port for Prayer - and to all the yogis who made the weekend so wonderful!

Om Namah Shivay!

* * *

FULL DISCLOSURE: Upon leaving the Port for Prayer on Sunday, I was mortified - utterly mortified! - to realize that I had unwittingly parked the car in a handicapped spot on Friday night. Yes, it was dark/rainy/sleety when I parked. But it was nonetheless a violation of ahimsa, satya and asteya - which I'd been talking about all weekend. I immediately moved it of course.

* * *


The color red symbolizes the “kundalini,” the seat of the primal life force, the root chakra (sexuality). Once activated the Hawk may enter and start to show you how to move toward your soul/life purpose more dynamically by empowering and fulfilling your visions.

Hawk teaches you how to soar to great heights while keeping your feet firmly on the ground, to grow spiritually, to live in this earth plane but not be a part of it but to expand to much greater dimensions. As smaller birds occasionally attack hawks, you are likely to be attacked by smaller people who do not understand your lofty beliefs or gifts. These people may try to impede your great ability to soar, to keep you grounded in their version of reality.

Because of this strong Hawk energy, this intensified life force activated by this totem, you must be careful how you express yourself. As the Hawk, you will develop the ability to use your words as he uses his beak and talons to rip the heads off snakes; i.e.,the enemies or disbelievers in your life. Be mindful of your words so as not to shred those who oppose you, but take the higher road and fly above them and their way of thinking. Deliver your messages with tact and patience...

The sky is Hawk’s realm, and through its flight it communicates with Heaven and the Great Creator Spirit, and conveys that knowledge to Earth: Hawk medicine unites Heaven and Earth.

Thank you to Tina for the link.
Prayer of St. Francis of Asisi from the 1972 film "Brother Sun, Sister Moon"

Friday, March 02, 2012

Thursday, March 01, 2012


The secret of your individual progress in this world, physically and mentally, as well as spiritually, lies in giving. To give does not mean only charity of money, clothes, food and other tangible things. Good mental disposition towards others and forgiveness towards others are better types of giving than charity of money. By giving good mental disposition and forgiveness to others, you don’t lose anything, but you gain manifold. On the other hand, when you give in charity objects, you really lose the object of giving. This is one of the great secrets of my progress, and it can bring progress and happiness to you in your life.

Charity is rather incomplete without charity of disposition, understanding and human feeling. Charity is self sacrifice on different levels of one’s being without the pride of self-sacrifice. When a person gives charity in order to show to society his importance or wealth, it is guided by inferior motives and takes away the very spirit of charity. Charity in its true sense should be without any motive and desire.

-Swami Kailashananda (Yogi Gupta)