IF you can disentangle

yourself from your selfish self

all heavenly spirits
 will stand ready to serve you
if you can finally hunt down

your own beastly self

you have the right

to claim Solomon’s kingdom
you are that blessed soul who

belongs to the garden of paradise

is it fair to let yourself

fall apart in a shattered house
you are the bird of happiness

in the magic of existence

what a pity when you let

yourself be chained and caged
but if you can break free

from this dark prison named body

soon you will see

you are the sage and the fountain of life
- Rumi (translated by Nader Khalili)

To Feel Rather than to Think


Mysore, India

"It`s always difficult. To feel, rather than to think, to tap into that source and let it come through you. It takes courage. Because we feel it and then we get scared and we analyze it. We live in this thought web, we identify things and put them away and distance ourselves from them. But to be completely present? That is source, that is art, that is spirituality. And meditation is a way to defy fear and experience that source."    — Ben Foster 

I've always had an active mind. I contemplate. I analyze. Please understand, I'm a Virgo. Haha. Excuses. Excuses. When first practicing yoga, I had a revelation when experiencing non-identification with thought. Truly, it was amazing. I felt more deeply connected to others, even myself. This spaciousness came into my awareness like a flood. I also learned wanting to maintain or hold on to the experience made it even more elusive. Live and learn. 

It's been a long road in holding what I feel with value. To not judge, and use it as a source of information. Every inkling carries weight. I'm just beginning to realize. Listening, observing, I learn multitudes, rather than spattering off at the mouth. In the silence comes strength. I don't have to be seen, because I already recognize what is important. There is a wellspring of wisdom that comes with the emotions and feelings that aggregate through the practice of yoga or in just living. 

Walking down a supposed 'spiritual path' one can get inundated with more concepts and ideas to fill the head with. Although I am an avid reader of books I know it doesn't necessarily make me anymore informed. In many ways I read to keep myself open. To be open to varying view points and experiences. I love reading about human exploits. I feel more humane doing so. It gives rise to compassion. We are not alone in our plight. It's grounding, in a way, as I put myself in the shoes of another.

More and more I don't see the value in holding onto more concepts and ideals. If I hold a belief system of some sort I want to stay open enough to be proven wrong in what I believe, if this is the case. There's a freshness that comes with this. I don't have to be identified with anything. There is nothing to loose. At the same time I can always stand for something. Truth is true.

If I feel scared there is something to learn about my fear. If I feel dislike, anger, sadness, distress, anxiety, this is all good stuff. This is where the intimacy of life lives. I don't have to run away from the discomfort. 

I have come to realize when practicing yoga, if I allow the energy to work through, there is a rawness that tends to emerge. This raw place leads one to possibly feel exposed. Vulnerable. Soft. Broken. Like a shattering of an exterior. Allowing the essence of being to bleed through. It never unfolds in any one way. It is as unique as the individual. It's beautiful. 

The One You Are Looking For


Mysore, India

"If you remain in the present moment, you will never get hurt. Forget about your past life. Forget about your future life. Unless your open your heart, unless you jump into the inner abyss, you are not going to become enlightened. Ultimately, you have to knock on your own door; you have to beg at your own door; you have to come back to yourself."
- Hindu Teaching 

"The one you are looking for is the one who is looking." This saying has given profound meaning to me as of late. The search is over. I only need look inward. Utilizing the tools, such as yoga, meditation, chanting, prayer, etc., drive us deeper into ourselves. However, we must choose to do so. These practices make the season ripe for inner knowing and connection, but if we become enamored more with the ceremony than what we are looking toward it is easy to miss the mark. All in all, no matter, it is important that we simply make the effort.

I have clearly observed the array of follies and insecurities that can arise within, or maybe not so clearly. How quickly I can mistrust myself when rubbed up against certain external situations. In retrospect, I always end up a bit disappointed that I didn't trust the inner knowing present. It can be so easy to deny this wisdom. As I mature it becomes more evident that the answers don't lie anywhere beyond my reach.
Truth undermines the self to which we so desperately cling. The truth is not hidden from us, we are hiding from it.”  - Kabbalah
Thank God, I have the practice of yoga.

Through it all, as I dive inside, that is where the praise ends up going. God. Yes, even bringing up the word has a tendency to freak people out. As my relationship and comfort in relying on this internal wisdom has grown, I have found my relationship with God, or whatever you want to call it, exalts itself into an intimate space. It's personal. It's quiet. It speaks in whispers and little nudges. It's gentle.

There is never a need to boast or verbalize what it is we do to connect. It doesn't matter. There is no need for competition. We are all made of the same stuff. We are connected to the same source. Truth. Imposing any type of arrogance into the practices we do sucks the essence out of our true nature. We've missed the mark. I guess that too is part of the process.

At the end of the day I feel the importance of relaxing about it all because it is here, now, in these intimate moments, always has been, always will be.

Samurai's Creed


Mysore, India

 I have no parents; I make the heaven and earth my mother and father. 
 I have no home; I make awareness my dwelling. 
 I have no life and death; I make the tides of breathing my life and death.  
 I have no divine power; I make honesty my divine power. 
 I have no means; I make understanding my means. 
 I have no magic secrets; I make character my magic secret.  
 I have no body; I make endurance my body.  
 I have no eyes; I make the flash of lightning my eyes. 
 I have no ears; I make sensibility my ears.  
I have no limbs; I make promptness my limbs. 
 I have no strategy; I make “unshadowed by thought” my strategy  
I have no designs; I make “seizing opportunity by the forelock” my design.  
I have no miracles; I make right action my miracle.  
I have no principles; I make adaptability to all circumstances my principles. 
 I have no tactics; I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.  
I have no talents; I make ready wit my talent.  
I have no friends; I make my mind my friend. 
 I have no enemy; I make carelessness my enemy.  
I have no armor; I make benevolence and righteousness my armor. 
 I have no castle; I make immovable mind my castle. 
 I have no sword; I make absence of self my sword. 
Samurai's Creed
I love the idea of a creed. Words to live by. Words to put into practice. It takes vigilant skill to keep watch over the mind. To make every action a work of art. The above Samurai's creed drives the point home. Transforming circumstance into something higher. I love it. 

Different Wells

Green Hotel - Mysore, India

There are different wells within your heart.  
Some fill with each good rain,  
Others are far too deep for that.  
In one well You have just a few precious cups of water,  
That “love” is literally something of yourself,   
It can grow as slow as a diamond If it is lost. 
Your love should never be offered to the mouth of a  
Stranger, only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife 
Then weave them into a blanket  
To protect you. There are different wells within us.  
Some fill with each good rain,  
Others are far, far too deep For that. 
- Hafiz

I'm a Hafiz and Rumi junkie. There is not one thing they have written that hasn't moved me on some level. The idea of the ecstatic dance they lived in fascinates me. The above poem came in perfect timing. I am entering a stage where it has become ever more important to keep watch over where I fill my well, so to speak. Where I take my energy, and who I spend my time with. Most importantly, keeping those who have offered their souls, who have given courageously in friendship and in love, close to my heart. Never taking any of it for granted. 



The ancient intuition that all matter, all “reality,” is energy, that all phenomena, including time and space, are mere crystallizations of mind, is an idea with which few physicists have quarreled since the theory of relativity first called into question the separate identities of energy and matter. Today most scientists would agree with the ancient Hindus that nothing exists or is destroyed, things merely change shape or form; that matter is insubstantial in origin, a temporary aggregate of he pervasive energy that animates the electron.
Peter Matthiessen

A week into my trip I was asked to assist the first shift of Mysore classes. Point being, it's crowded here, extra hands are needed, rounds of authorized teachers are being asked. This is not a status thing, and at the same time, I am honored to participate. If my teacher asks, I say yes.

Being in the room, observing people of various age groups, nationalities, body types, backgrounds, and personalities, breathe and move through this transformational practice is an amazing sight. It is literally one of the most beautiful images I have set my eyes on. I don't exaggerate. It again validates why I do what I do, and how integral it has woven into my day to day life. I live better doing this practice. I feel more profoundly. At first it was a challenge to live with this heightened sensitivity.  However, the more I have honored and trusted this space created, it has strengthened over time. I am able to connect to my higher wisdom. To experience it. To taste it. And, it never comes from a cerebral place. It lies deep down in my gut and into the chambers of my heart. A knowing. A pulsation.

This pulsation reverberates throughout the shala like a rhythmic heartbeat. Sometimes slow and steady. Other times fast and sharp. It's always a continuous march. As the hours progress a steam starts to rise. Much transformation happens here. Sometimes I get lost in it. More often I feel at home. 



Practice today was one of those rare moments where everything felt like it fell into place. Doesn't happen very often, and when it does, it's like a little gift. One can never get too attached to these experiences, however, as well all know, they are fleeting.

With all that being said, there really is nothing like practicing here, and practicing with Sharath. I dunno if I can explain it. I'm not even sure if I can. He's simple in his approach, and it works. Translating the practice in way that goes beyond my understanding. I am not sure I want to. That would taint the experience. Just being in the space, enjoying the ride, is enough.

In Led Intermediate class today Sharath added a few unprecedented postures in Advanced A. Now that was interesting. What's up his sleeve I wonder? Hahaha. I can only imagine.

Complaining Solutions

"Whenever you complain about something negative in your world,you reinforce your connection with that negativity. Your
complaint can actually focus your energy toward perpetuating
and empowering whatever you’re complaining about.
A much better strategy is to come up with a positive
alternative, and then to act on it. Instead of merely
reinforcing what is wrong, you have an opportunity to change
the situation for the better.
Complaints, because of their negative nature, are usually
met with some degree of defensiveness. Positive
alternatives, on the other hand, will naturally be met with
cooperation and appreciation.
The next time you have the urge to complain, stop and ask
yourself what it is you really want. Do you simply want to
complain or do you want to do something that will improve
the situation?
Somewhere within each complaint is a genuine desire to
improve the situation, but the complaint itself is never
enough to do that. So skip beyond the complaint and use your
efforts and resources to truly make a positive difference.
Make the choice not to aggravate a bad situation with your
complaints. Choose instead to transform it with your
positive thoughts, ideas and actions."
Ralph Marston


"Don't think you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and practice. This is egomania. Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life energy toward the light. Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness."   
-- Lao Tzu

It has taken a while to get grounded this trip to Mysore. I had a year of go, go, go, and when given the opportunity to truly power down, for the first time in my life, it has been a challenge. Consciously, I have chosen not to hang in the social scene as much. Which has proven invaluable. I like my time! I need to recharge. 

Sharath has spoken on several occasions in regards to conserving energy when it comes to idle talk and excessive indulgence in any one area. I can appreciate this, and at the same time, I have come to realize there is a season for everything. There are instances when I feel more active and social and others where I feel more withdrawn and silent. I think it's good to honor both sides and be truthful with what is needed at any given time. 

As I keep watch over my energy I am learning how easy it is to become distracted and scattered. Lessons that hold significant value. More and more, maintaining my center holds greater importance versus grasping for external confirmation and/or validation. Constant striving becomes a bottomless pit of reaching outward for value and we all know it doesn't start there. 

Maintaining a peaceful equilibrium teaches what is truly important in life, and how that connects to my own internal state. The mind has a way of making things more complicated. The heart just wants to feel and be true to what arises in the moment. Acknowledging the part of myself that adds complication, as well as separation, strengthens my awareness to transform back to truly seeing things as they are. 

I welcome this, and honor how the daily discipline sharpens the saw, cutting through illusions and delusions, that in turn, create further separation. We live in a time where joining together and abolishing illusory hierarchies that only lead to more suffering, not only to ourselves, but into the larger scope of humanity is of utmost importance. What is it all for? The time is ripe. We need only work this paradigm to its fullest. To trust and to experience what yoga is all about. Union. It's a choice. It doesn't matter if we practice for 1 hour a day or 10 hours a day, what difference does it make if we further divide and put ourselves on top of others? 

No label, status, or pecking order comes even close to the truth of who we are. We must drop everything. We must shed the layers that have been built through generations and get back to the bare bones of what it means to live a life as one. We can't deny this truth any longer. What are we afraid of? 

View Over Mysore


My view over Mysore

"A yogic life illumined by devotional love requires conscious, diligent discipline on the yogī's or yoginī's part. It involves contemplation, meditation, study, service, attention to harmonious living, care for the body, mindfulness and other intentional practices. It is also a life infused with increasing joy, spontaneity and wonder lived in the warmth and boundlessness of the divine Heart. In a larger sense, the yogic life of love and devotion is the spiritual life in all its fullness."    

-Exquisite Love: Heart-Centered Reflections on the Nārada Bhaktī Sūtra, by William K. Mahony 

Two Things I Know For Sure


"Always go with the choice that scares you the most because that's the one that is going to require the most from you." - Caroline Myss 

There are two things I know for sure upon arriving to Mysore. One, I will practice Ashtanga yoga, and two, I will get a sinus infection. Yup. This is all I know for sure. Not even enlightenment is guaranteed, but blowing snot bubbles during led Intermediate class is. My shining moment. The annoying itch of the uncomfortable while practicing yoga seemed to be the theme of my first week, as it should be. The path of most resistance standing in my way give greater opportunity to dive inward, building mental strength, aligning to what is real, my determined spirit.

Banished to the corner my first three practices became the running joke. Sharath would point at me and then point to the corner space in front of his office offering only a mischievous grin. Not really the most optimal spot with having to practice perpendicular to the rest of the group, along with running traffic from the male practitioners coming and going from their dressing room. In reality, I'm simply grateful to be here.

What I've come away with is, bring on the discomfort. Why should I be too comfortable? What will I learn if I become attached to one spot in the shala? How will I grow? Can I still feel ease and equanimity in the challenge of being forced outside my comfort zone? If every opportunity to practice was the perfect scenario what would I learn? How will I experience what I am really made of? We never really know until we are forced to rise to it. One of my favorite quotes from Caroline Myss, "God never descends to fear, rise first, then God will meet you there." 

Back home in Sweden, almost every opportunity to make practice harder came to the forefront over the past year. There were too many to count. I had to learn to move through the practice differently with an awareness that enabled me to feel every single bit of resistance in my body. No, not the most optimal set up, and one that I might have tried to avoid at all costs, but one that brought with it a new sense of strength that I was amazed to discover. The adaptability, in essence, gave more than it took, all I had to do was step through the fire, or in this case the cold. I found new meaning to the word tapas I might not have found otherwise.

On the other end of the scope, I am not saying we need to look for ways to suffer. No, that is never necessary, however when handed lessons of stepping into the uncomfortable, coming face to face with our vulnerability, what I have learned is it's not about powering up, but maybe it's about softening around.

"Like water, be like water," as Bruce Lee used to say.

A New Year in Mysore!


In Mysore, India that is, for the NEW year. Is it really 2012 already??? Can hardly believe it. I'm a little late in the game but I'd like to wish all of you out there a Happy New Year! Once again I have been off the blogging train and am attempting to get back on board! I am always pleasantly surprised when I meet people, in person, who have been reading my blog. It's awesome to have the opportunity to connect with others in this way. I'd like to give a shout out to Julia from Russia who I met today! Hopefully you will read this. Hello to you! Nice to have met you!

Looking forward to another year of blogging! Looking forward to whatever 2012 has in store . . . 

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