September 21st, the largest march in history took place in NYC and many other cities around the globe.
Our friends from the Jivamukti Yoga School of NYC were there of course,
and many other vegan friends … walking the walk, and most importantly walking the talk.
With 7 billion people on the planet and 70 billion animals used for food, animal agriculture is number 1 cause of 51% all greenhouse gasses.
The most simple, cheapest and most efficient way to slow (or even reverse climate change) is at the end your fork : GO VEGAN.
Wanna read from The Cookie Devi (she attended the March)? Here you are !
More facts? http://cowspiracy.com/fact-check/
Thank you for daring to care!
In our prayers, we often ask for what we wish for.
The health we lost,
The departed love,
The wealth we don’t have…..
We frequently forget gratitude.
When ever you start wishing for something,
Flip that thought over and be thankful for what you have presently.
And why not give,
With no expectation in return, just knowing your gesture will do some good.
If you feel like giving a great amount or just the few coins you can afford, that you like sweating during a yoga class, come and support me taking a vinyasa flow class, moreover, support children and women in need in India. Friday 19th of September at INSENS, from 18:30 till 20:00. No need to be a member, the space and class is open to all. Brigitte De Picciotto has generously provided the space for the class to happen, I will happily spend that time with you.
Every little helps so I hope to see you there!
Following my teacher – Sharon Gannon – ‘s instructions, I am getting ready to prepare the prasad.
The recipe is simple… it is a simple recipe for joy.
Please spread the word to all the yogis at the Geneva Yoga and Music Festival : Prasad will be served tomorrow after the Jivamukti Yoga class (10.15 am – 12; Ecole des Pâquis)
Greetings to you all,
Presently in our office, which is Janine’s kitchen, I am trying to get started with the sequencing for our class for the yoga festival and my beloved sister is making food for the soul, this raw green soup from Sharonji’s cookbook “Simple Recipe’s for Joy“.
It seems like we can’t help ourselves mixing greens with wisdom as working….
Peace, Love and Green Soup*
Some festivals require wellington boots…. we go bare foot.
Some festivals advise a hat…. we take a mat.
Some festivals provide alcohol…. we do kombucha.
Some festival finish really late…. we start when you go to bed.
Some festivals feed you with fast food…. we eat slow wholeheartedly cooked vegetarian food.
So come and fill yourself with love and joy…..because we are going!!!!
“The Magic of Cooking” is the focus:
A dash of Dharma talk
An ounce of meditation
A spoonful of chanting
108 pounds of Vinyasa Flow
All this will be finely baked in the
Sunday the 14th of September from 10:15 am till 12:00
Come and have fun, join, gather, share the love. Our dear Daniji has struck again! If you’re in town or around….drop in and take a yoga spin!
Geneva Yoga and Music Festival, from the 10th till the 14th of September 2014
Beloved students, dear readers,
Summer never reached Geneva and is already drifting away, however the sun never leaves our hearts.
Everybody is going back to their schedule and we are still juggling with ours : frantic conversations, extensive reading, ad hoc typing, tea drinking, brainstorming, head scratching, taking notes, losing the taken notes, starting all over again, questioning and changing our minds often ….
Something is cooking here… stay tuned!
Peace, love and greens,
Welcome to the Shala of the Lovely Kristina Karitinou…
If one day you are passing by Crete, she is more than worth a visit!
Manjuji, you are so wise and so friendly,
thank you for continuously sharing the knowledge of the tradition*
“I don’t do cheese at home.” -…….
“I am looking for my Moola Bandha.” -Barbara
“If I didn’t do yoga I would be on valium now!” -Pauline
“I’m the kind of skip savasana person.” -Tanya
“Where should I feel the pain now?” -Manouri
On your tip toes creep in
With great care, walk through the Shala
Avoid the gracefully strong legs and arms in motion
Mind to not step on the fellow practitioner’s mats
Unroll yours as carefully as possible, soundlessly
Find stillness in Samastitihi
Hands in Anjali Mudra, bow and pray, invoke
Crickets, cucumbers, hot nights, crystal clear water, white, blue, turquoise, wild nature, creamy avocados, dill in outrageous quantities, more cucumbers, sun, tones of sun, laughs, cats, dozens of cats, practice, practice, again practice, share, talk, enjoy, swim, little sleep, many naps and start all over again!
The life is simple here, no cell phone, hardly no clothes, warmth and kindness is all you need and what you get on this fantastic island of Greek Gods, Crete. For the last couple of weeks, the few items I possessed to cook are one pan, a knife and a cup. I very much appreciate coming back to simplicity, no juicer, no oven, no blender…. it is all considerably raw and plain, but so tasty, just the essential.
I have ran into the cutest organic store ever, it doesn’t provide much, but again, I am right now very appreciative of the lack of choice. It makes everything so much more special!
All here is absolutely sun kissed! The sea, the scenery, the people and no need to mention the fruits and veggies. So grab a few greens, add your favourite “fava” as the locals would say, a touch of red, then squeeze some lemon, drizzle this taste explosion with the most exquisite olive oil and do not forget the heaps of fresh herbs! Enjoy*
From anger, strength arises
From sadness, softness
From tiredness, energy
From anxiety, serenity
From fear, confidence
From unrootedness, stability
From perplexity, clarity
From happiness, delight
Every day one has to compose with their feelings or emotions as hitting the mat. Twelve years down the road of asana practice I am still fascinated, if used in an appropriate way, how asana can shift for the best one’s mood.
My moods don’t swing as much as when I was younger and hadn’t yet discovered this beautiful tool of yoga, but I still have my ups and downs, my good and bad days, sad times…. Something happened the other day, and after the initial shock, the next daybreak I became pretty cross. I took my emotion, addressed it in order to not get overwhelmed by it and used it.
I ripped my mat that morning with my anger, until it cooled off and it did. My practice was simply fantastic, savasana still and blissful. I was amazed, once again in the shift of my mood. Rage and anger can be pretty destructive feelings, by if used positively one can benefit of huge amount of physical and mental strength, followed by release and maybe interesting achievements.
Look, observe, breath throurgh it and use it, what ever is going on. You can be victim of your emotions or overcome them by feeling them, welcoming them, embracing them, talking to them but don’t hold on to them! It takes a little experience to be able to observe and compose with it, but not that much… again, awareness is the key word. So flip that switch on and be the observer.
Enhance the beautiful also, learn to have fun during practice, smile and even laugh. Float through postures if ease is on the menu today. Find buoyancy and steadiness effortlessly using your positive mindset. Anything can grow in any way, a little will power and you’ll do wonders.
My mat is my shrink, my therapy, my friend, my consoler. Asana my salvation, my refuge. If badly started, my practice will get me through the day, if I got up with a big bright smile, which is most days, post mat time I hopscotch to my bike which I’ll ride to the class I am happily going to teach.
An urban setting,
A few Kind Souls,
Tons of laughter,
A touch of knowledge,
Heaps of will,
Many bold Colours,
One great vegan chef,
Some food for the soul,
A patchwork of patterns,
Big Bright Smiles….
The perfect blend for a marvellous evening*
IN GRATITUDE TO
NICOLAS FOR HOSTING US
CAROLINE FOR YOUR GENEROUS HELPING HAND
KWAI FOR COOKING OVER AND OVER AGAIN FOR US
OUR STUDENTS FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE
WE LOVE YOU ALL
Have you ever been to the Jivamuktea Cafe in NYC?…. if you had you would remember….mouth watering and energy packed savoury meals, scrumptious deserts and more than juicy juices. Jeanine and I love remembering the pleasure of savouring the dishes of the cafe and try to replicate them but a “je ne sais quoi” is sometimes lacking. YAY!!! It sounds like some of their famous recipes will be in Sharon Gannon’s new cookbook, we can’t wait to lay our hands on it.
Peace, love and green beans,
Despite all our religions, all of our twelve-step programs, all of our self-help books, our technology—I find it interesting that there is moral consideration given to some expressions of life and not for others…. And it reminds me of a quote from Leo Tolstoy, who said something to that effect: he said that as long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields. And I think that’s what he meant: as long as there’s an attitude of apathy toward a certain group, it will mirror itself in humanity – Shaun Monson
We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? ~ Swami Satchidananda
… it is the most important co-product of the meat industry » – Stella McCartney
More information about leather tanning, which is highly toxic to humans, to groundwater and to the environment
« If we are buying and eating meat and dairy products, then the slaughterhouse workers, meat packers, and factory farm workers are all working for us. To live by violence and then to deny that you do is to live a lie. Living a lie causes a deep fissure in the human psyche. Yoga seeks to heal that fissure » – Sharon Gannon
We don’t have to contribute to this brutal industry.
In a coming blog post, I’ll share my tips on where to find fashionable and cruelty-free shoes & bags (of course, at affordable prices) … Stay tuned!
Thank you for daring to care,
YAY! It is SUMMER!
Swinging practices on wooden decks by the river, swimming in the river, no more tones of clothes to wash and dry, eating plenty of juicy local fruits and hanging out-doors with friends…. what more can you wish for?
I hope you are all enjoying lovely weather wherever you are.
Summer is a time for light food, popsicles, salads, raw food and more. I am sure you all have lovely recipes… what is your favourite summer dish?
Always searching for new ideas, I stumbled across The Green Kitchen Stories, it is such an inviting and inspiring blog. David and Luise even made really attractive short videos with their recipes. Though the blog is vegetarian but not all vegan, it is really easy to replace the ingredients with plant based ones, they also advise you for alternative and seem to avoid altogether gluten, BRILLIANT!
It is much, much more simple than one can imagine to replace all animal based products by plant based ones. I remember before being fully vegan over 20 years ago and struggling with finding good green recipes in Switzerland (nope, no internet at that time), buying regular cook books and just using tofu, tempeh or seitan to substitute the animal products. I do the same today with my old vegetarian cook books and just use soy yogurt, nut creams or egg replacer depending on what I have to exchange. Why not try out your favourite dish and turn it into a mindful plate….. be creative!
Ok, I have to dash….. I just watched this video, I have all the ingredients in the house and I cannot resist one minute more the temptation of this mousse…. Yes, that is my favourite dessert.
Love and sunshine to all*
Un petit billet en français… pour un vrai coup de coeur!
Hier soir, je lisais mon Elle (oui je lis Elle) et voilà qu’Elle suggère une liste de « green blogs » dont celui de Marie Laforêt (que je ne connaissais pas… shame on me)
La cerise sur le gâteau est son livre, VEGAN, tout juste sorti.
Les photos vont vous faire saliver.
Et le blog… 100% vegetal est fait pour le bonheur des yeux et des papilles.
Peace, love and vegan treats!
Jeanine ( qui sautille de bonheur)
I am nut for nuts ( all sorts of them) and I keep wondering how my life was before the vitamix.
I make daily smoothies, vegetal milks and this delicious cashew cream. The original recipe is from one of my favorite websites http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/cashew-cream/ – I make it almost every week.
- 1 cup raw cashews ( I soak them overnight, the original recipe says 4 hours)
- One organic lemon ( for a sour twist)
- Optional: himalayan salt, spices i.e. curry and cayenne pepper
Sometimes Angels take their life to put their children on a Spiritual path
Excerpt from the lyrics of the song « Sometimes Angels »
I met Jeffrey Rama Cohen for the first time at the Jivamukti Tribe Gathering in London, in 2010. It was then that I totally fell in mad love with the jivamukti yoga method.
Jeffrey-ji taught a wonderful class. He told us the story of a mythical phoenix and we closed in circle, in a powerful forgiveness ritual. There were tears and sweat. Laughter and joy. There was music. It was magical and mystical.
Ever since then, every year, I’ve had the good fortune to take classes with Jeffrey-ji; either when he tours Europe or at a Jivamukti Tribe Gathering or more recently at the Wild Woodstock Ashram. Jeffrey-ji is a truly rare human being… and now that I know more about him, through « sometimes angels », I am at loss with words. …But, unlike Joanna, I’ve never attended his signature rock’asana class!
This is what his website says about « Sometimes Angels » :
At age 12, Jeffrey Rama’s mother committed suicide. Before her passing, they shared an indelible bond that was filled with music, mysticism, complexity, but mostly love. “Every time I pick up a guitar I still feel like I am playing for her.”
And play guitar he did. Cutting his teeth in the 1990’s NYC East Village punk scene, rama went by a different moniker, coco, with the well-known band Clowns For Progress, making albums and getting to tour, playing every s@#t hole in America. During this time he began practicing yoga at fabled Jivamukti Yoga on 2nd Avenue.
Subsequent break-downs later, rama found dharma in the practice of yoga and became a teacher of some note, opening two Jivamukti Yoga Schools in Charleston, SC with his wife Andrea Boyd.
The rocker heart never sleeps as The Jais were formed featuring rama, churning out their own brand of rocking kirtan (call and response chanting), releasing the album, “Blow Horn”.
“Sometimes Angels” marks the first single release of a collection of songs to be released in late summer 2014. It is the album he was destined to make, drawing together the teachings of yoga and spirituality with the drive and fervor of timeless rock n’ roll.
As the venerable Swami Satchindanda has said, “with sound, we can make—and at the same time, break”. With this single, rama reached out and ask other suicide survivors if they would like to share a photo of them holding a picture of the one(s) they lost. The response was overwhelming and the video features of over 40 suicide survivors. The Sometimes Angels Project will continue to allow more suicide survivors to share their story of resilience and promise. A documentary is in the works.
The Bodies of the Self
“shravanadibhiruddhiptajñana gniparitapitah jivassarvamalammuktah svarnavad dyotate svayam”
“By hearing, thinking, and meditating, the light of the Self is kindled.
Once this light of Self is kindled, the individual “I” becomes free from all impurities and begins to shine forth as the universal “I,” in the same way as gold shines when it is purified by fire.”
It’s often said that “You are what you eat.” According to yoga philosophy the material substance of our physical body is made of the food that we eat, derived from the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether. In Sanskrit our material physical body is referred to as theannamayakosha. The word anna means “food.” But yoga reveals that we have four additional bodies: an energetic body (pranamayakosha), a body comprised of emotions and feelings (manomayakosha), an intellectual body (vijñanamaykosha) and an innermost subtle body comprised of bliss (anandamayakosha).
But even though we have five bodies, or koshas, they are still not who we really are; they are coverings that together make up our subjective experience of being alive. Our true Self is theatman, the eternal soul, and it lies hidden within these bodies. The five bodies form a vehicle for the soul and provide us with our unique individual identities, allowing us to share existence with other beings and to evolve our consciousness. All of our interactions with others affect all five of our bodies. Those interactions or relationships either hinder or support the revealing of the atman, the true Self.
Satchidananda—existence, knowledge and bliss—is the nature of the true Self, and it is this truth that underlies all manifestation. Through our karmas, by how we treat others as well as ourselves, we can cause that truth to be obscured. The yoga practices aim at purifying our perception of ourselves, others and ultimately God, by purifying the bodies that cover the Self, so that we will be able to see through the illusion of separateness. What separates our physical body from our spiritual essence is illusionary. The truth is that our spiritual self is more real than our physical self. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience, not the other way around. The life span of our physical bodies is short compared to the eternity of our true soul, which is immortal. Often people mistake physical existence for reality and refer to the spiritual as unreal. Actually that is upside down thinking. The spiritual reality is real and eternal, whereas physical reality is unreal and temporary.
The physical reality cannot exist without its underlying causes, which come from the more subtle realms of being. Every action that we take leaves an impression on our bodies. When those actions (karmas) are self-centered, we reinforce the sense of separation from the spiritual realm and can appear to ourselves as comprised only of dense, physical matter. When our actions come from a place of love and true other-centeredness, our physical bodies become lighter and more transparent, and awareness of our true nature shines through and illuminates all of our bodies.
When the dirt of ignorance (avidya) is removed from the bodies of the self the atman shines through. Yoga practices purify or cleanse the five bodies of avidya in particular ways. The annamayakosha, or physical body, is purified by a vegan diet, asanas, nadam and bhakti. The pranamayakosha, or energy body, is purified by kriyas, pranayama, asana, mudra, bandhas, nadam and bhakti. The manomayakosha, or emotional/feeling body, is purified by satsang, chanting, yamas, compassion, nadam and bhakti. The vijñanamayakosha, the intellectual body, is purified by satsang, chanting, niyamas, meditation, nadam and bhakti. The anandamayakosha, or bliss body, is purified by samadhi, joy, nadam and bhakti. In order to embark on this path of purification we have to intensely desire the knowledge of the Self, have a passionate yearning to know God and be willing to let go of what we think we know about reality.
I hope you all enjoying your Sunday? I am fully, since on Sundays I have desert after breakfast…. It feels like you are doing something naughty and I love it! To be honest, I have also had sweets straight for breakfast and before practice the other day… which wasn’t the best idea but I couldn’t resist the goodness of a pie sight in my fridge at dawn.
So I borrowed a couple of books from Jeanine the other day and one of them is “The Everyday Vegan”, it really is every day cooking, many receipes can be done with what is in a vegan pantry and nothing is too fancy. A few recipes caught my attention, more particularly this one with coconut, something I am hooked on presently. Well, you know, the kind of after travelling in a Southern Tropical place effect…..
Having invited my friend and travel agent David for dinner, who always gets me out of sticky situations with flight dates and non-changeable or non-refundle fares that I often screw up for various reasons, I felt inclined to treat him accordingly to his kindness, which was making him a special three course meal. Perfect time for coconut pie! He isn’t vegan, but loved it to bits.
The crust is just prefect, wholesome and sweet and the toping is as creamy as you can desire, plus it really isn’t too heavy. The only modification I would bring to the recipe, since the base gets too wet and soggy after a night in the fridge, I would bake little individual shells and fill them up as you wish to eat it if you are not planning to devour in one go or serve it a big dinner party.
So this is how it goes:
- 2 cups of oats (grind in the blender till it is like a corse flour)
- 3 tbsp of agave syrup
- 2 tbsp of maple syrup
- 1,5 tbsp of canola oil
- few good pinches of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a bowl combine all ingredients, mixing them with your fingers until a crumbly texture that somewhat sticks together when you press it. Press mixture into a 9″ pie pan or in little individual molds (if so reduce baking time!). Bake for 10-13 minutes until a golden brown colour. Set aside to cool.
- 300 gr. silken tofu
- 1 cup of coconut milk (recipe says low fat… I like full)
- 1/4 cup of unrefined sugar (I used raw palm sugar)
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp of arrowroot flour (I feel like a little more could have been added)
- a couple of pinches of salt
- 3/4 of a cup of shredded unsweetened coconut (I put a whole cup in)
- 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract (optional, I din’t have any)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp of coconut extract (optional, neither I had any of this)
In the blender, combine all ingredients except from the essence extracts. Transfer to a saucepan and over medium heat slowly bring the mixture to a thick slow boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat (add essence extract if you wish). Let it cool uncovered and stir occasionally. Now cover and let it cool completely, at least an hour. Pour mixture on to the crust and put in the fridge to set, this will take at least a couple of hours.
Thank you Dreena! This pie is so good I will for sure bake it again!
Have a lovely Sunday and don’t be too heavy handed on the breakfast servings….
Love and more,
PS: All gone!
A video by my friend Alessandro Sigismondi
Jivamukti Yoga and Ashtanga yoga are the two loves of my life!
So if you wish to share my passion for these practices, join Jeanine and I Friday 18th of April for a Jivamukti Yoga workshop (scroll down for details) followed by a conscious dinner at l’o13tôt.
Monday 21st will be a Mysore class at the usual Babayoga location (rue Pré-Jérôme 6). From 10:00 am till 11:30 am I will happily and lovingly adjust you during a traditional Mysore Style Class.
For this class a minimum of participants is requested, so please do sign up latest Sunday 20th of April 7pm at the following address:
I will email you back with the door code and confirmation if the class is taking place.
Have a smashing Easter!
Greetings to you all!
As you may have read the title, yes, this workshop is going to emphasise on putting your feet above your head. No need to know how to do it!!! You will take it at your own pace to your own limits, but we will happily help you out of your comfort zone, BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE MAGIC THINGS HAPPEN!
In India, headstand and shoulder stand, just to mention two main inversions, are called the King and the Queen of postures. The benefits are just so numerous and very encouraging. Seriously, if we had more time in our daily practice (it often takes us about 2 hours just to mention asana) we would Jeanine and I most likely spend an hour inverted. Well, maybe not, but we could stay much longer then our regular 25 breaths.
Turning yourself self upside down doesn’t just increase self-confidence, it tones the muscular body, it slows down the aging proces, it reduces stress as well as anxiety, is good for the immune system, gives you a complete different perspectives of things… and the list is so much longer.
So come and join us for a workshop packed with inversions, don’t fear the practice, we will be two teachers lovingly assisting you through all the class.
It will take place at Soluna, Rue du Môle 14, 1201 Geneva. Easter Friday the 18th of April. The workshop will start at 18:00 and go on for two hours, please arrive 15 minutes early. We have plenty of mats and props, just bring your lovely self and enough change….. we usually lack that!
You may also join us for “one of a kind of dinner” that will be a three course vegan meal cooked by our loving and conscious sister Imane. The restaurant is an institution and Imane has been cooking for all for over 20 years. The food is entirely local, organic and seasonal. Don’t miss the best conscious Easter Dinner! Ilôt 13 – Rue des Gares at 20:30.
The workshop is 50 CHF (35 CHF for students with cards and unemployed, dreamers, drifters 40 CHF)
Three course vegan meal 27 CHF
So do send us an email if you are attending the workshop, the dinner or both. The earlier we know the best! We will email you back with the door code for the Yoga hall. You may also invite friends or your partner and family to join you at the dinner table later.
That’s it, I have returned to base camp a couple of weeks ago. I am happy to be back, I am happy where ever I go. I am grateful for where the wind has blown me and will continue to be wherever that will be next. This journey, my tenth, eleventh or twelfth trip (I don’t know) to India, has been one of a kind this year. I feel young, I am young, but a “je ne sais quoi” of “life experience” has kicked in….. I went deep into my practice, had extensive philosophical conversations, sleepless nights thinking matter over, sound sleep with enchanting dreams, chanted till I was in trans, read a huge pile of books….. My soul has been fed and I am now chewing on it all. It is still unfolding and it will take me further more time to understand what I have been through.
I want to take the opportunity of this post to thank life for its generosity, for the offerings life grants you with constantly, just open your eyes, everyday is a gift. For the souls I met when on the road, Alyx, Adam, Priya, Sarah, Marta, LadyRuth, Tomo, Pete, Louise, David, Pippa, the Tiagos, Arun, Mark, Clive, Christiane….. I am delighted to have shared these precious times with you or connected with you again. Thank you, thank you for the laughter, thank you being yourself, thank for having been so kind and generous to me, thank you for sharing your food, your wisdom, your knowledge, your house and heart.
Thank you Sarath for you kind and loving way of conveying the teachings of Ashtanga Yoga, thank you Shiva Dev for being so patient with me trying to learn to play the harmonium, thank you Jayeshree for year after year chanting with all the Sutras of Patanjali and shedding light on them. Thank you Lakshmi for putting up with chuckling throughout Sankrit classes and interpreting the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in such an authentic way.
You all have been part of my journey and for so responsible for shaping me in a slightly better person. I wish that life continues to help me grow into being a better teacher, to be of service to whoever is in need, to act without expecting result of my actions, to be non judgemental, to develop equanimity, to be kinder and more loving. To be…. free.
“I shall pass this way but once; any good therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall pass this way but once” – Stephen Grellet
I also want thank all my friends and family that put up with my crap when I leave, deal with my flat rental, post and non attended matters… you are all a key for these journeys to come true. Thanks to all the staff of Soluna, Babayoga and Insens for letting me go and take me back on when I return. I cannot express my gratitude to all the teachers that subbed all my classes in order for me to have plenty of work when I returned, BIG UP! Thank you Larisa for taking care of my nest so lovingly. And I thank ALL MY STUDENTS coming back to me as I return, it fills my heart with joy when I start teaching again to see you dedicated to the practice.
Last but no least, I am overjoyed to be with my sister Jeanine again… WE ARE COMING UP WITH A DATE FOR OUR NEXT WORKSHOP AND DINNER THIS WEEK! I can’t wait to work in our loving messy way to get our monthly Jivamukti Open Class together for you.
For ever grateful,
Chloé, my niece, is fascinated by the harmonium….
Bhakti Trumps All
The Lord does not reside in the heart of one who is always focused
on worldly affairs, …and is falsely attached to the path of action.
A practitioner must be careful not to lose sight of the ultimate goal of yoga, which is God realization. Remembering God and being able to serve God should be foremost in our minds and hearts and should permeate all of our actions. When we ask, “Make me an instrument for Thy Will, not mine but Thine be done, free me from anger, jealousy and fear, fill my heart with joy and compassion,” we are asking God to reside in our hearts and to use us as His instruments. That plea invokes the arising of humility within our hearts and diminishes pride and with it the tendency to identify ourselves as the doer of actions and instead acknowledges God as the ultimate doer.
The simplest definition of Jivamukti Yoga is “a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings.” Even though bhakti and ahimsa are both tenets of Jivamukti Yoga, there could arise a tendency to forget bhakti, devotion to God, and become overly consumed with promoting animal rights, veganism and environmentalism—or you could say saving the world—as a way to practice ahimsa and develop compassion in one’s daily life. We must be careful not to allow our activism to take priority over our devotion to God. If we do we will undoubtedly be bound by avidya and asmita—ignorance and ego identification and all the debilitating vices that come with those hindrances, like pride, anger, revenge and impatience, for example.
It is understandable that when a person becomes vegan and experiences the truth that has been kept from them for their whole life it can be a huge, cathartic awakening. Realizing how caught they had been, how indoctrinated into a cultural system founded on unquestioned prejudice against other animals, on enslaving, exploiting and eating them, as well on consumption of the Earth’s resources and the quest for money, it is not surprising that that awakening would come with a certain amount of zeal and a full on commitment to activism. After all, to have your world turned upside down, to see that what you previously thought of as “normal” is in fact a lie, could certainly motivate a person to a life of action. Passion for compassion is a good thing and should be fostered and honored. But if you become too obsessed with thinking that it is up to you to save the world, you could easily become prideful and identify yourself alone as the one that must accomplish great goals.
Remember that karma yoga is the yoga of selfless service. As described in the Bhagavad Gita it can only be truly practiced by someone who is willing to relinquish the fruits of their actions. A karma yogi is one who acts selflessly for the greater good, is humble and does not expect any reward, not even acknowledgement or appreciation from others for their good actions.
I am not saying that we should be apathetic and not aspire to live a committed life that focuses on uplifting the lives of others and making this world a better place. On the contrary, we should aspire to living in a way that enhances the lives of others and strive to abolish all forms of animal and Earth cruelty and selfish exploitation. I am only pointing out that if we neglect to remember God in our whirlwind of compassionate activism we will lose sight of our ultimate goal and mire ourselves in undeserved fame, trapping us deeper into the grips of ignorance and ego identification. The solution is to devotionally offer every thought, word and deed to God—striving to align with and love God more. Be humble and remember that the cause of everything is God. Don’t try to do everything all by yourself. Let go and let God be the doer; be His instrument, His conduit. When you can become a conduit for God’s grace then you “can-do-it.” Allow God to work through you and give God credit for any accomplishments you may appear to have achieved. When others congratulate you, immediately defer to the real doer who is behind every action and proclaim, “All glories to Shri Krishna!” If invoking Krishna is too religious for you, that’s fine, but at least be humble enough to defer to a power higher than your own limited, mortal self.
~ Sharon Gannon
“I knew you were in here, I recognised your Havaianas” -Ajay
“I knew I got the day wrong when I didn’t recognised any of the shoes outside the Shala” -Jo
“I can’t find my shoes” -All of us