Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Manifesting Dreams with Yoga in Kerala

"Do your practice and all is coming" ~ Sri K Pattabhi Jois

So my trip to India has so far taken me from Delhi where I saw a friend, then to Calcutta where I volunteered with Missionaries of Charity, to Chennai where I saw my Aunty, and now Kerala, the birth place of my parents where I can see my family, where I am studying Ashtanga Yoga, where I am teaching yoga & Chakras, and enjoying the lush paradise scenes of the backwaters of India (Kerala).

As I have said to many of my beloved students in the past, write down your dreams, your aspirations, meditate on them and watch how the Universe brings those things to you. Our thoughts are the key factor of quantum physics, vibrational energy that brings to your life exactly what you seek, and exactly what you are meant to learn from or let go of. Key point, if you want to manifest amazing things, please let go of the things that no longer serve you (grudges, painful memories etc....This will lighten the load for your journey)

So the things I wrote on my list last year:
  1. To See my family in IndiaTo study Ashtanga Yoga & become a certified Ashtanga Yogi & deepen my practice.
  2. To Volunteer with Missionaries of Charity in India.
  3. To study Ashtanga Yoga & become a certified Ashtanga Yogi & deepen my practice.
  4. To Teach Yoga and study Yoga in a beautiful location surrounded by water and nature.
  5. To meet my Teacher in India
  6. To study Ayurveda
  7. To travel to the Northern part of India
  8. To Study Kriya & Meditation
Last year, I wrote that I want to go to India and see my family, it had been a few years since I was here. I spent my Birthday with my Uncle and Aunt, and have seen almost all of my relatives so far.

I spent one of the most amazing weeks of my life with the Missionaries of Charity, working at Daya Dan, the orphanage for children with special needs. This experience introduced me to amazing new friends from all over the globe, allowed me to see Mother Teresa's Tomb, and spend time with children who will forever remain in my heart.

I also wrote that I want to finally study Ashtanga Yoga. This was on a list years ago, but in the past I would get sick on my many trips to India, I had family obligations, and also I had many injuries (unrelated to Yoga), that left the Ashtanga practice as far to intimidating. But here I am today, enjoying Ashtanga and discovering new muscles.

If you look at my list above, technically I have crossed off item #1,2,3,4 & 6.

The location where I am studying Ashtanga and teaching yoga/chakra in Kerala is on a beautiful exotic Island, 15 minutes from my family. The experience has been so amazing! I am so grateful for the amazing teacher who invited me to teach here during her training, what a blessing.

On my list items #5,7 & 8 will happen in the month of march when I travel north to Dharmshala.

I share this post with tremendous gratitude for the opportunity to learn and teach in the place where my family originates from, in the place where Yoga originates from, and where many of my beloved teachers are from. Also, I share this to inspire people to understand how quickly the universe responds to our desires, our thoughts, our mind.

Watch your thoughts, as they are the map to your life. While the Asana practice is amazing, it is all preparations for us to become one with God, one with this Universe and experience Samadhi.

Namaskaram from Kerala

Ashtanga Yoga Clinic, Class with Ayurveda Doctor, and Me on the Boat getting to the island where I am studying & teaching in Kerala.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 10 things to do in Calcutta

The Top 10 things to do in Kolkata/Calcutta India. For me the main reason why I made the trip was to volunteer with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. The Missionaries of Charity is an organization I have been involved with for many years. The sisters are dedicated and kind. Aside from that there are many other things to explore and enjoy in Kolkatta.

10. Visit the Victoria Museum: The architecture of the building itself is a sight to see. The well preserved paintings and art work is also enjoyable. The surrounding garden is also a lovely place to sit and relax for sometime
9. Eating Bhel Puri at a friendly Veg Walla/street vendor.....This is like Indian Chips and Guacamole.....only better and without the chips or guacamole.....
8. Sipping Indian Chai (from a Chai Walla) Normally I sip herbal tea, but in India I enjoy a tasty cup of chai....with wonderful flavors, served in a shot glass, it is always a treat.
7. Enjoying Live Indian Music Concerts: I was fortunate to hear amazingly talented banusri playing friend, Eric Fraser have a morning concert at an awesome Bookstore with the brilliant Steve Gorn. I also enjoyed a bit of the 60th annual Hindustani Music Concert, and for music lovers, musicians or anyone for that matter, it is fun to go to a music concert.
6. Eating Masala Dosa at a friendly Veg Walla....my favorite Indian breakfast.....it is like a giant rice crepe filled with potatoes etc. While this is normally considered a Kerala food, the folks in Calcutta come to a close second place for their version.
5. Exploring New Market and Sudder Street Shopping area: you will find beautiful Indian clothing, handicrafts, jewels and crystals.....Vendors are eager to make a sale, so they will pull out half the clothing items from the walls to show you.
4. Visiting the Kali Temple: This is the largest Temple for Goddess Kali in all of India. On fridays many will come to make Puja. When I went with two fellow volunteers we saw the tail end of a beautiful Hindu Wedding. There are many temples, churches, a brilliant mosque, jain Temple, and the Hoogley....all places where one can witness the depth and variety of spirituality in India.
3. Sri Aurobindo Ashram: come here to experience peace and tranquility. There are nightly meditation classes and also Indian Classical Dance lessons in the adjacent building.
2.Bengali Sweets: the most delicious bite sized sweets that taste amazing! Shops are nearly on every street.

And the number 1 thing to do in Calcutta.....

1. Volunteering: Personally I did my volunteering with The Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. I spent time in Daya Dan with the orphan children who have mental and physical disabilities. In Calcutta there are a wide variety of Volunteer opportunities with where you can do short term or long term service. This is Karma Yoga at its finest. You will meet amazing people from all over the world, your life will be changed by the experience and you will leave with a deeper sense of connection with humanity and gratitude for your own life. While I took some wonderful pictures with the lovely children I worked with, I will not be posting the pictures on the blog, out of respect for the Mission.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Yoga and Art Part 2: Selling Sex or Simply just Sexy Yogis?

Recently an incredibly gifted Yogini, Briohny Kate Smyth who is part of the Dynamic Duo of the West with her amazing fiancé Dice, made an awesome yoga video with Equinox. The video is of her doing her brilliant Yoga Asana practice. It is shot in her room, sweet music echoes with panoramic views of her surroundings while she dives into one of the most inspiring Yoga Asana flows I have witnessed, and she happens to be in her panties while she is practicing. She looks amazing. Possibly one of the most inspiring Yoga Videos I have watched. I am grateful to have taken her classes, so I can honestly say, this lady is an AMAZING Goddess!

She flows through handstands into koundinyasana, lotus, and crow with such ease and grace. She is absolutely beautiful inside and out, and has a strength and power to her asana practice that many aspire for. She is a caring Yoga Instructor who demonstrates with expertise and humility, she teaches with compassion and care, and she practices with strength and power.....She is awesome.

After this amazing video was posted, there was a small uproar in the Yoga community. While most people, myself included, were awe struck by the video, some people sadly, had negative comments and saw it as sexualization of the Yoga Practice. Just because she was in her panties? The traditional Yoga Practice is actually done in a loin cloth, so in that case, Bri is overdressed. When will we be able to see the beauty of the female form as art? When will we lose our prudish views on the human body?

I myself often times practice in my panties or even less. Though never having the courage to set up a camera, when I watched Bri's video I was more mesmerized by her brilliant asana practice and saw it as truly inspirational. The same uproar happened when another Brilliant yogini from the West Coast, Kathryn Budig posed for Yoga ToeSox advertisements in the nude. The pictures in my view are incredibly artistic depictions of a beautiful woman doing challenging Yoga Asana. Kathryn's yoga practice is amazing! While some may argue, is it necessary to dress like that for yoga pictures/videos, or in Kathryn's case not dress, I say, if it bothers you so much, just don't look. Is it sex selling yoga? NO, these women just happen to be sexy and they practice Yoga.

In my own life I have noticed that when others have critical comments to make, or see things with negative goggles, it is actually their own insecurity, envy or even limitations that they are conveying. Many respected sages and Yogis in India practice naked, and this is because they have fully embraced the YAMA, "Aparigraha", non possessiveness.

It is so easy to point a finger at someone else, but remember when we do there are 3 fingers pointing back at you. Sadly, the same men who say women use sex to sell yoga, have their shirt off half the time.

Thank you Briohny & Kathryn, my fellow Yoginis. You both inspire my practice and the practice of many other people worldwide.

If you have not seen the amazing video yet it is under my favorites on my Youtube Page, or click the link below:

Yoga and Art

While many people understand and study the Yoga practice as an eight limbed practice, there is something very artistic about the third limb, the asana.

B.K.S Iyengar says it best "When I practice, I'm a philosopher, when I teach, I'm a scientist, when I demonstrate, I'm an artist."

If you approach yoga asana like me, it is an offering to something beyond a physical exercise, a moving prayer/meditation. When asana is captured in photos, the beauty in the pose comes from the beauty within the yoga aspirant. That connection with the divine energy that exists in all of us, is the true beauty behind the yoga asana practice. For those who have seen the beloved picture of Sri Dharma Mittra doing the 908 poses, (I have it framed in my room) you may know that Sri Dharma took the pictures himself. Each picture he would be concentrating on God, and the finish product was a gift for his beloved Guru, Swami Kailashananda.

Recently a beloved student of mine sent me an email with an attached photo. The photo was of me doing Pigeon Pose, and it was edited by her friend, an incredibly talented artist named JB Rodriguez. Apparently, JB had seen my photo on Facebook, and felt inspired. I was so touched to see the picture and amazed at how cool it looked, vivid and electric is how I would describe it. JB later asked if he could work with some more of my photos, and of course I said yes. I am so honored that he was inspired to work with my photos, and want to express my appreciation by sharing his incredible talent with you all.

I have seen a lot of his artistic edits, and it truly is amazing! If you are interested in having your photos edited, manipulated and enhanced by an incredibly talented artist, please look up JB Rodriguez on Facebook, he has a page called Way I see it: http://www.facebook.com/way.I.see.it?ref=ts

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Delicious Green Smoothie

Starting this new amazing year with vibrant Green Juices and Smoothies. Green drinks provide plenty of chlorophyl, and oxygenation to the cells of the body. These beverages replenish our system and energize us. Benefits include glowing skin, healthy hair, increased energy, and much more. Recently I used my brother's Vita Mix (the best blender around....pricey but worth the investment) to make the most delicious Green Smoothie. Here is the recipe....
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 head of Romain Lettuce
  • 1 1/2 cup Spinach
  • I cut apple
  • I cup chopped Pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped Mango

The Vita Mix will pulverize anything.....If you are interested in making Raw Vegan Cheese with Various Nuts, this is the blender to invest in. Many of my friends who are Raw Foodies, swear by this awesome appliance. The great thing about the Vita Mix is that it incorporates everything from the veggies & fruits.....no waste & optimal health value. You can make Raw Soup with this machine and it heats up just enough so that you don't lose the nutritional value of the food.....Last night I had Asperagus soup and it was AWESOME!!!

You can try this recipe with a regular blender, but you might have to spend a lot of prep time chopping your Veggies....Nonetheless make your health your priority. Cheers to Amazing Health!!!

photo: Delicious Green Smoothie......Recipe Served 5 people

Sunday, January 1, 2012

More Highlights of San Francisco

San Francisco was truly an amazing experience, words cannot express the level of gratitude I have to Stephanie for such an awesome experience. The city has a lovely energy. We explored walking the hilly streets, riding busses, and trolley's and had a wonderful time!!! If you are ever in the Bay area and want to get a healthy juice or shot of wheat grass head to the Castro District, you will drink your wheat grass in the sexiest Shot Glass you could ever sip from. Also, if you are looking for a place to get some new Crystals or have a reading or healing session with one of their healers, I highly recommend Crystal Way, an amazing assortment of lovely pieces, incredible energy (waft of sage as you enter is always a wonderful sign) and pieces at reasonable prices. A Variety of Yoga places, and of course the incredible Golden Gate Bridge where you can meditate and do some Yoga with the beautiful panoramic view of the city.

For Wheat Grass Virgins.....Wheat Grass is a wonderful source of nutrients for your body. It provides as much nutrients (vitamins, minerals and amino acids) of 2.5 pounds of veggies!!! It is perfect to improve your immune system, alkalize the body, fight off winter bugs, and give your skin a healthy natural glow.

If you have yet to try Wheat Grass, and are curious of the Health Benefits....please visit my Youtube Link:

Cheers to Good Health!!

Yoga, San Francisco & Metallica

So while I have been so busy these days and unable to keep my blog up to date, I still need to share the awesome experiences that I am so grateful for. In December of 2011, one of my dearest students, Stephanie, who became who became a certified Yoga Instructor last year with me, invited me to join her in San Francisco. Ironically, I have always wanted to go to San Francisco, and I had a feeling many months prior that one day I was meant to take a trip with Steph, but I wasn't sure when that would be. While I feel so much gratitude for the amazing Love I have received from so many students and fellow yogis throughout my years, how lucky am I to be invited to go to San Francisco??? WOW. Thank you so much Steph!!! Steph had won a chance to see Metallica for their 30 year anniversary concert series for members of the fan club only, and Steph chose to bring me, I was her Plus-One. This was a Metal ROCK event of a lifetime, with artists like Ozzy Osborne, Kid Rock, Apocolyptica John Bush, and Dave Mustaine just to name a few sharing the stage. The concerts were not like regular giant stadiums, these were intimate events at the Filmore, where the band chatted and joked with adoring Met Club fans, Collective Consciousness of "Metal Mudras" were all around in the air, and just awesome vibes.

Though I knew Metallica's music, I was never claiming to be a serious fan before, I now have a new appreciation for their music....THESE GUYS ROCK!!! Steph knew I would appreciate the experience being that I am a musician myself. Before venturing to San Fran, Steph also invited me to a Meet & Greet Event where I met the members of the band and a few other celebrities, sharing casual conversations with Lars, Kirk and Rob.....I was so impressed with how down to earth these guys are.

We had the intention to do daily Yoga in San Francisco, and unfortunately I had 4 days of fever due to a Healing Crisis from an amazing Reiki Certification I had conducted with Joseph just days before. It did not stop Steph & I from having fun, exploring the gorgeous city of San Francisco, meditating and doing Yoga at the gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge, riding trolly cars, getting Wheat Grass shots in the Castro District, Shopping on Haight Ashbury Street, lounging at the Warf, visiting a gorgeous Crystal Store, seeing everything on our list & more, and enjoying 4 of the most AMAZING Concerts I have ever been to.

This post is to express my gratitude to Steph (my student, my friend, my fellow Yogi) for inviting me to San Francisco with you. It was such an awesome experience that I will forever cherish.....a trip that will be hard to ever trump! And also tremendous gratitude to my amazing Yogi friends Jen & Dan at Yoga On Studio who had invited me to Teach a Workshop, thank you so much for the invitation, next time we will have more time to connect and it will be amazing!!! Thank you also to Metallica for giving me the music experience of a lifetime!!! You guys really know how to put on an awesome show!!!

  • Ambria & Lars (The Metal Drummer Lord himself) & Ambria & Kirk (the most Zen Kick *ss Guitarist) at Meet & greet (When talking to Lars about how using Orion for Yoga is ideal, he mentions how he doesn't do Yoga enough LOL)
  • Ambria doing wheel on a narrow ledge at Golden Gate Bridge while Steph panicked & snapped the picture
  • Both of us at the Bridge (the second time we went to the bridge, it was sooo peaceful)
  • Steph doing Warrior Pose, a picture that deserves to be in an advertisement
  • Metallica chatting with fans before the concert....we were so close it was amazing!!!
  • Steph & I at the Filmore
  • Steph & I at the Warf
  • Steph and I with Rob (Kick *ss Bass player) & his Beautiful Wife

Happy New Year!

Reflecting with tremendous gratitude for the incredible blessings in year 2011, for family, friends, students, teachers, experiences, lessons, and so much more!!! Wishing Love & Light to everyone in this new year, 2012. May the rivers of love & peace flow abundantly in every home & heart. ~ Namaste