Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Vivekan’s Weekly Bit: Coping with Loss & Fierce Compassion

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Image of Vivekan

Vivekan

This is a weekly post from Bodhisattva Yoga’s founder/director offering weekly bits of research findings, suggestions, and musings on all things directly & indirectly related to the broad Path of Yoga.

The morning after I learned of the tragedy that took place at the Boston Marathon I posted my thoughts and suggestions (16.4.2013) on how to move forward constructively, after such events. As the tendency, for many, is to fall paralyzed to the TV and allow ourselves to enter a passive state whereby we are fed a host of speculations and incriminations – by “all-knowing” pundits. Somehow, after all the media feed, you’re only left with contempt for mankind, along with suspicion and paranoia of your neighbor.

Yet, it is imperative to remember that despite terribly tormented individuals (and groups of them) committing heinous acts – and, more unsettlingly, the possibility of shadowy, international leagues of powerful people, corporations and groups masterminding &/or benefitting from such horrific, distracting tragedies – the vast majority of people (yes, even unenlightened people) would not side with what they know to be wrong, unless they are afraid. So, please do not allow yourself to become fearful or suspect of your fellow (wo)man. Alert, yes, but not fearful.

Meanwhile, when we do inevitably experience fear, loss or anguish, the best thing to do is to stay composed and positive – even if situations require you to be fierce. This may seem in contradiction, which brings me to sharing a dialogue that ensued after my posting the forthcoming coping with loss suggestion on facebook (16.4.2013) – after the Boston Marathon:

I am very sad to learn about the tragedy in Boston. However, please be constructive in mourning the loss of our fellows… Harboring emotions like anger, hate and vindictiveness surely led the perpetrator(s) to commit the tragedy. We need to avoid falling into the same destructive states of demonic tendencies whereby, as a society, we seek revenge. That’s never brought loved ones back, and it doesn’t help their mindstreams when leaving this life.

The Medicine Buddha (Skt., Buddha Baidurya; Tib., Sangye Menla), is a very powerful archetype of the enlightened mind – and, is perfect for the purposes of managing the suffering of loss of life &/or health.

Medicine Buddha with 7-Healing Buddhas

Medicine Buddha, with 7-Healing Buddhas, by Peter Islie

(I SHARE’d this, on FB, with the preceding quote – as posted by FPMT on facebook, 16.4.2013:)

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of the senseless tragedy that occurred today at the Boston Marathon.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche always advises to make strong prayers to Medicine Buddha for anyone who is dying, sick, injured, or who has

already died from the violence that occurred today in Boston and elsewhere.

The mantra of Medicine Buddha is:

TADYATA OM BHEKHANDZYE BHEKHANDZYE MAHA BHEKHANDZYE (BHEKHANDZYE) RAJA SAMUDGATE SVAHA

After the above posting (which included the above share from FPMT) a FB reader inquired (edited):

“I read your post and I wholeheartedly agree but how do I do that when I’m sworn to protect and in my job violence is usually met with violence. There have been times when I’ve almost had to shoot people. There were times when I had to use force just to survive situations. How do I reconcile the need for force as someone on the front lines?”

My reply:

“As one who’s taken an oath to serve, you must act for the greater good. It is possible to handle difficult, volatile, even violent scenarios with a sense of: ‘This is what needs to be done.’

“The trick, as an evolving being, is not allowing our frustrations, our squad, a violent suspect &/or our prejudices to cloud our clarity of mind and purpose. How can we act – even forcefully – because a situation requires it, out of responsibility, and yet, not allow ourselves to be overcome by hate, rage or anger?

“Although difficult, and on the surface it seems contradictory, it is not only going to help you be at your best in a moment of crisis, it is in keeping with the path of the advancing individual. Even if you have to shoot someone… How can that be done because the scenario left no choice, and not because you’re enraged?

“The great kung fu masters and samurai warriors were often noted for their lethality, while still maintaining a calm mind in the midst of battle. They were even trained to maintain a calm, compassionate mind. This is the avenue I’d suggest: Letting compassion – the wish to see others free of suffering – be your motivation. It will keep you poised, sharp and ready to take whatever action is required, in any situation, without succumbing to blind rage.

“I hope this helps in your reflections.”

The whole reason I share all of this is to: A., Give you tools, i.e., Medicine Buddha’s holy mantra, to help you cope with loss, injury, illness and death; and, B., To remind you that you can be strong, fierce, even lethal, if the protection/betterment of beings is at issue. However, my invitation is for you to be guided by compassionate activity – not hateful anger &/or blind rage. This is in accord with the Bodhisattva path.

If this speaks to your sensibilities, join me in any of BY’s offerings and begin/continue your training in compassionate activity.

In maitri,
Vivekan :)

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Vivekan’s Weekly Bit: Your “Sheerly” Sensational Ass

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
Image of Vivekan

Vivekan

This is a weekly post from Bodhisattva Yoga’s founder/director offering weekly bits of research findings, suggestions, and musings on all things directly & indirectly related to the broad Path of Yoga.

I am not a spokesperson for Lululemon (if they had any sense, they’d reach out to me); but I am so saddened by the current sensationalism about their “sheer” clothing.

I teach all the time; and the only time I have ever seen “sheer” bottoms was when practitioners wore some generic tights. (…And, I never caught anyone staring in a disrespectful manner.) Also, pray tell, why wear form-fitting clothing if you’re so concerned about your stinky, sweaty ass showing through? Plus, some deliberately choose to wear diaphanous attire. Are they to be ridiculed, now? Lastly, people are inordinately self-aware of their bodies (in unhealthy ways). So, now we’re going to foster greater self-preoccupation in a setting whereby we’re supposed to be practicing self-acceptance? Ahem!

Get over it! It’s called the human body. If you hate it, there are many fundamentalists waiting to receive you with open arms. What’s your choice: We’ve got Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, even some Buddhists! There are even schools of yoga that insist you appear pure by wearing white, loose, flowing clothing. They’ll take you too!

The planet is cooking and showing climate change. …And this is what calls people’s attention? It’s even sadder when “yoga practitioners” jump on the wagon! This is “sheerly” sensational! If you’re going to flatter yourself in the conviction that others are just waiting to see your butt, then please, cover yourself up! …But, don’t petulantly complain about the heat!

Remember: at best, one out of 10,000 people who “do” yoga, are really practicing YOGA. That “one” could care less if you’re dressed or nude. If you aspire to nothing more than that of ordinary beings, you’re still a bag of pus and shit to a real practitioner. (Thank you, Arya Shantideva!)

If you too are tired of sensationalism and you feel that are ready for some real yogic practices, join me. Although good hygiene is essential, at BY we foster body acceptance while seeking to optimize health and longevity – no matter what you wear, or don’t.

Finally, my wish is your happiness… So, if it makes your day, and it inspires you to practice, go ahead and look at my ass! I work hard for it.  :)

In healthy view of the body,
Vivekan :)

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Vivekan & Jess’ Top 10 Island Bliss: Bodhisattva Yoga Retreat Moments

Monday, February 18th, 2013

There are far too many warm and fuzzy memories to count, so here are just a few favorites in no particular order…

1. Dancing the night away under the stars with Georges.

bodhisattva yoga retreat photo

Photo via: Susanna Schrobsdorff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. The morning session where Vivekan spontaneously felt inclined to give the group the Generation of the Mind of Enlightenment. It was profound, beautiful and inspiring.

bodhisattva yoga retreat photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Inviting our fabulous retreat group over to our room for after-dinner drinks on Saturday. Great company, red wine, and warm ocean breezes.

bodhisattva yoga retreat photo

Photo via: Bill Mejia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. The green anol who attended the majority of the retreat’s teaching from a lamp above Steve’s head in the practice room. If we were a green anol, we would’ve camped there too!

5. How quiet all the noisy Dominican beach vendors became when they realized we were doing a pranayama/meditation session.

bodhisattva yoga retreat photo

Our workshop’s postcard-perfect backdrop. Photo via: Beth Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. The poolside hang-out sesh, complete with good company, laughter and fresh coconuts sliced open for all.

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7. Pina coladas and plenty of playtime at las playas (beaches). :)

bodhisattva yoga retreat photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Vivekan’s secret beach. After going MIA, he returned to us, led us through a wooded path, and we ended up here…

bodhisattva yoga retreat photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. How much everyone loved and respected eachother. So many bonds were made and reinforced.

bodhisattva yoga retreat photo

Photo via: Bill Mejia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. The romantic apagons. That’s Dominican for, the electricity is out. Enjoy the Caribbean natural luminescence: moon, stars and candlelight. You’re on retreat! :)

Vivekan’s Weekly Bit: Spirituality versus Religiousness

Monday, January 28th, 2013
Image of Vivekan

Vivekan

This is a weekly post from Bodhisattva Yoga’s founder/director offering weekly bits of research findings, suggestions, and musings on all things directly & indirectly related to the broad Path of Yoga.

Many of my practitioners are moms, many more are moms soon to be, and others yet would like to one day have a child. Yet, there are important considerations when raising a child. For example, as H.H., the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche & Thay Thich Nhat Hanh repeatedly mention, when it comes to children, we need to do more than just give them the traditional course through academia. Today’s education system is far more about memorizing facts, and developing the intellect, rather than also championing the development of secular ethics and a good heart.

This societal norm increases the odds of having a child that, although may be very bright on test scores, lacks a sense of empathy for others as well as a constructive sense of purpose in life. Attempting to correct this, many parents are turning to the very religions that they themselves found questionable, basically repeating the cycle.

All is not lost

A recent study affirms what I’ve suspected and have been encouraging my practitioners to do all along. That is, dispense with obliging the child with religiousness (i.e., institutional religious rituals, practices and beliefs), and incorporate more of a spiritual tone in the home (i.e., an inner belief system that a person relies on for strength and comfort).

Although both religion and spirituality have been linked to increased happiness in adolescents and adults, up to now, little study had been done on younger children.

In an effort to identify methods to increase children’s happiness, Dr. Mark Holder along with his colleagues Dr. Ben Coleman and Judi Wallace, from the University of British Columbia in Canada, set out to better understand the dynamic between spirituality, religiousness and happiness in children between the ages 8 to 12.

The researchers found that children who said they were spiritual were happier. “In particular, the personal (i.e. meaning and value in one’s own life) and communal (i.e. quality and depth of inter-personal relationships) aspects of spirituality were strong predictors of children’s happiness. Spirituality explained up to 27 percent of the differences in happiness levels amongst children. However, counter intuitively, religious practices – including attending church, praying and meditating – had little effect on a child’s happiness.”

In concordance with H.H., the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche & Thay Thich Nhat Hanh’s exhortations, the authors concluded, “enhancing personal meaning may be a key factor in the relation between spirituality and happiness.” In order to help raise happy children, the investigators suggest strategies directed at increasing personal meaning in children – for example, expressing kindness towards others, as well engendering acts of altruism and volunteering.

The reflections built into Bodhisattva Yoga’s presentation lend to us adults cultivating spiritual qualities. As we get better at embodying these qualities ourselves, it will be easier to raise a child with a sense of purpose too. Join me!

In health,
Vivekan :)

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Jess’ Weekly Bit: Not Taking One Moment for Granted…

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

jess root bodhisattva yoga photoThis is a weekly post in a series from Bodhisattva Yoga’s co-director offering weekly bits of inspiration, tips, and musings on all things directly & indirectly related to the broad Path of Yoga.

“I’m not taking one moment for granted.” That’s what I said to Vivekan in a spontaneous hug last night, hyper-aware of time and its fondness to slip away.

I had just found out a childhood friend passed away at 29 in the comfort of her family. She had battled an aggressive form of breast cancer for three years before it relapsed in December. Becca was the Barbie-doll blond that every girl wanted to be, but for the time I was friends with her, it was because what I found her most beautiful trait of all: she was unaware of how put together she was. She was a perfect straight-A student without even trying, an Olympian gymnast if she chose to be (I use to tag along to her practices just to watch her), and a fearless leader. She wouldn’t let her friends settle for average.

Even tho our friendship was relegated to adolescence after a change in our friends circles and interests, I was happy to reacquaint with her on Facebook. By then she had already graduated with honors from Columbia University, married her handsome college sweetheart, was a mom to a toddler with perfect blond ringlets, and an executive at Subway’s corporate headquarters, the sandwich chain.

There is some uncanny timing to all this. A night prior to learning of my old friend’s passing, a girlfriend asked me over a glass of wine whether I had been feeling any social pressure to be married and bare child because yes, we aren’t getting any younger. :) I immediately thought of Becca. She was the poster child of having all great things in a genuine way. She never complained, but only expressed gratitude for her daughter and the life she had carved out. All this, and she beat breast cancer to boot. (I’ll never forget an e-mail message a year ago where she updated me on her life and nonchalantly mentioned, “I’m at Sloan Kettering hospital a lot these days battling aggressive breast cancer. Maybe we can meet for lunch.” That was Becca, so graceful and composed.)

The next day, after I thought of her fondly as, “the woman with everything,” I find out she passed. You can imagine the life reminder I’ve received from this. The timing is too much to not use this as a wake-up — and share my goosebumps with others. For me, Becca, could perhaps be a Bodhisattva, here to share with the other women like me who wish to sit atop the world as a fearless leader with all great things: purpose, partner, family, friends… There are some things in our control in carving out the life we wish. There is a lot that lies outside of it.

Since I don’t know if I’ll be given the privilege to live another moment (let alone, grow old), to kiss or hug one more time, to say I love you…I’m not taking one moment for granted.

Becca, you may not know it, but you’re an angel.

x Jess

You can also find Jess on Facebook & Twitter.

Jess’ Weekly Bit: Winter Warming Poached Pear Oatmeal

Friday, January 18th, 2013
bodhisattva yoga jess root pear oatmeal photo

The best part…the cinnamon stick!

This is a weekly post in a series from Bodhisattva Yoga’s co-director offering weekly bits of inspiration, tips, and musings on all things directly & indirectly related to the broad Path of Yoga.

Oatmeal. It’s what’s for breakfast, at least for el yogi (Vivekan) and I. We’ve made enjoying overnight-soaked oats a near daily habit. It’s a great quick, pre-prepped breakfast to fuel busy mornings juggling yogic practices, classes and behind-the-scenes. Plus, oatmeal helps reduce belly fat and lower cholesterol.

To stay enthusiastic about the healthy habit, I mix up weekends with treats like egg-white omelets with veggies, black-bean breakfast burritos or a moderately portioned splurge of multi-grain french toast and turkey bacon. Or, we spice up our oatmeal by cooking it (I know, check us crazy kids out  – *said sarcastically*) and creating yummy flavor creations. This morning I came up with a seasonal Poached Pear Oatmeal. It’s a great way to sneak in a good serving fiber-rich fruit early in the day and a nice dash of anti-oxidant, blood-sugar-stabilizing cinnamon. It hits the spot and tastes like a healthy dessert– much like poached pears. Yum! :)

Ingredients (yields two servings):
1 and 3/4 cups of milk or milk alternative (we used organic, unsweetened soy)
1 cup of quick-cooking oats
1 Bosc pear sliced and cubed (organic, if possible)
2 tbsp. agave syrup
1 tsp. real vanilla extract
1-2 whole cinnamon sticks
Ground cinnamon to taste

1. Heat milk in medium saucepan on low. Add cinnamon stick(s).
2. Slice and cube pear setting aside stem and seeds.
3. Stir in agave, vanilla and pear cubes into milk.
4. Allow milk to get hot (adjust temp as needed) and occasionally stir to prevent burning.
5. Stir in oats and cook/stir on low-medium heat until consistency is thick but still soupy to avoid dry, overcooked oats. Taste until it’s at the perfect level of cooked for you.

Divide between bowls, including the cooked cinnamon stick(s). Bliss out over the natural spicy, sweet you derive slurping from the bark-like straw. This is according to el yogi, the Dominican way to enjoy the spice. And as of this morning it’s my new obsession. What else can I cook with cinnamon sticks? Recipe ideas? They are like nature’s chupas (Spanish for “to suck” or lollipop)!

x Jess

You can also find Jess on Facebook & Twitter.

Jess’ Weekly Bit: Resolution Roll-Over and Practicing Relaxed Relentlessness

Sunday, January 13th, 2013
bodhisattva yoga jess root forearm stand photo

…Years in the making! My evolving practice of Pincha Mayurasana, Peacock on its Chin Pose

This is a weekly post from Bodhisattva Yoga’s co-director offering weekly bits of inspiration, tips, and musings on all things directly & indirectly related to the broad Path of Yoga.

Is the ‘happy’ in Happy New Year already losing its zing? Listen in my loves!

You won’t find it in the dictionary but the ‘resolution roll-over’ is how I roll. Instead of giving up on past year’s resolutions, I’ve allowed them to simply spill over for years– much like credit card debt or muffin tops. :) The good news is my gathered resolutions have helped me better manage finances and a healthy weight. That’s why as sour as might taste to swallow my “this might take years” cautionary bit, resolution roll-over is far more effective than quitting as it removes the variable of self- hate in all its manifest forms (self- criticism, scrutiny, etc.) that can leave us in a worse state than where we started. Have we ever quit and felt good or motivated? Hell no!

Resolution roll-over is basically a clever way of saying: take your intentions seriously but ditch the hard-to-keep deadlines and think along the lines of several months or years. Long-lasting lifestyle changes are worthy of our longtime tender, loving care, time and attention. If we knew our healthy relationship with our spouse was only bound to grow more profound and loving, we wouldn’t slap a deadline on that, right? We have to learn to unconditionally stick with our self like we would a life partner — in sickness and in health. When sick, we rarely give our partners the same TLC we’d give at our best, energetic moments. But never do we ignore and give up on them altogether! We have to start practicing treating our dreams and aspirations — really our relationship with our self — the same way.

I’ve spent the past few years having some seriously sexy dates with myself and despite minor hiatuses here and there, low energy, illness, lazy bursts… I never gave up on little ol’ me. A few case studies…

  • Forearm stand took years of mustering up courage to balance. When I gave myself a few-months span to successfully execute it, and that didn’t work, I gave myself a whole year and then eventually no deadline at all. What I did do was set a weekly practice goal. While it’s still not an asana siddhi (accomplishment), I’m starting to feel more confident in it. It’s not really the pose I care to tackle (the pose isn’t my property after all!)– it’s the inner confidence in starting to taste progress that reminds me that I can do whatever I set my mind on. We have to start practicing treating our dreams and aspirations — really our relationship with our self — the same way.
  • The once-a-week self-taught Spanish lesson vows I pledged to keep broke entirely but on two separate occasions in the past week Vivekan’s Dominican relatives and a Mexican friend told me my Spanish improved. Was it last year’s DR retreat? Am I more relaxed? It was clear that the goal I had set myself of a formal weekly Spanish study sesh was unrealistic since I couldn’t keep it. But in not dropping the idea of greater Spanish proficiency altogether, and in informally conversing with Vivekan in Spanish whenever we can, I’ve managed to successfully get closer to my Spanish resolution. Que bueno!
  • Two years ago I set about chewing more thoroughly — at least 30 chews per bite (especially for complex carbs and proteins). I still haven’t mastered remembering and implementing this but when I do I feel like I’m treating my body like the temple it deserves to be. My digestive tract always gives me a high-five for my inflammation-fighting efforts.
  • Blogging fell by the wayside despite my public proclamations (just like my Spanish declaration) to do it regularly, but hey I’m doing it now. Can I get a what what? :) (Thanks, Lauren, for re-inspiring me!)

Life’s messy and imperfect and stuff has, and will, continue to get in the way of my regular dates that inject my daily routine with meaning. But taking up each task nice and slow — and continually re-adjusting my time lines — has resulted in nothing but increased health and happiness. When I’m operating from that state of personal fulfillment, I feel at my best for others.

Why pick-up a new resolution if you still have some oldies but goodies from years past? It might just be time to re-design your approach.

Roll with me! :)
xo Jess

You can also find Jess on Facebook & Twitter.

Portrait of a Bodhisattva Yogin: Julie Regina

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
bodhisattva yoga julie regina photo

Julie rocks her yoga glow on retreat with us. :)

This Bodhisattva Yoga Blog series spotlights our rock star body of practitioners, for whom we are proud. The series is intended to inspire, thought-provoke and nurture the growing, friendly Bodhisattva Yoga community. When you see a featured Bodhisattva Yogin in class, say hello!

This year marks Julie’s third year with us at Bodhisattva Yoga and boy are we grateful to have this aspiring yogini in our tribe of trained teachers and practitioners. She’s sweet, fun, and moves with a beautiful grace that brings calm where she goes. It’s no surprise that same spirited calm she exudes on the mat is found in the new logo she generously developed for Bodhisattva Yoga. (Check it out on our Facebook page!)

In addition to teacher training with us, Julie has joined us on several workshops, retreats to the Catskills and Dominican Republic, and gained invitation to the Sati (Advanced – Invitation Only) class.

While Julie ranks among one of our strongest practitioners, we love and champion her beginners-mind (you’ll still spot her in Basics-level classes)– and attitude. She’s quick to laugh and smile, and is modest of her current asana siddhis (accomplishments). She’s a wonderful embodiment of the Bodhisattva Yoga aspirant.

Let’s give it up for Julie! Whether or not you’ve met the friendly, consistent aspiring yogini yet, give her a shout the next time you see her in class.

1. Bodhisattva Yoga: What is your age? Your profession and other life interests?
Julie Regina: I’m 26. My profession consists of two passions– being creative, and helping people. I work as an interaction designer, making digital products (e.g. websites and mobile apps) easy and intuitive for people to use. Sprinklings of other things I love include reading, cooking, biking, and trying to beat my sister in Words With Friends.

2. BY: How often do you practice at Bodhisattva Yoga on a weekly basis?
JR: I do my best to make it to class at least twice a week. I love that BY offers weekday evening classes that fit in well post-work.

3. BY: What classes do you take on a weekly basis?
JR: I love starting my week off with a dose of inspiration and motivation from Monday’s Bodhisattva Flow class. I often take SHILA as well as SATI. I enjoy taking the instructional classes so that I can ask lots of questions related to the asanas.

4. BY: Where do you live and what is your trip like to and from Bodhisattva Yoga?
JR: I live on 16th St. off of 8th Avenue– it’s about a 10 minute walk or a 5 minute bike ride. While my trip to the studio is often rushed, my trip home is always blissful, usually enjoying a piece of dark chocolate offered after class. :)

5. BY: What is it that you like about practicing at Bodhisattva Yoga?
JR: What makes BY stand out from other studios is the care and attention Vivekan and Jess give to each of their practitioners. They know from personal hard work and experience, the best, safest way to approach the practice. This knowledge is imbued in their instruction and seeing first-hand the development of their students is a testament to their offering. The studio itself is intimate and relaxed– walking in feels like being wrapped in a warm, cozy blanket that you never want to leave.

6. BY: What is it that you like about your fellow practitioners at Bodhisattva Yoga?
JR: I love that regardless of the gap in age or practice careers, everyone is warm, welcoming, and quick to share a smile. Props and encouragement abound, and it’s easy to feel surrounded by the most kind, kick-ass people in Brooklyn.

7. BY: What is it that you’ve mentally/physically/emotionally experienced as a result of practicing at Bodhisattva Yoga?
JR: Physically, I’ve become more in-tune with my body and have found it easier to maintain a balanced diet, sleep easy, and melt away stress. Mentally and emotionally, my happiness has increased exponentially. Meditation and breath work have helped calm my mind, build self-confidence, increase patience, develop deeper intuition, empathy, mindfulness, creativity… I can go on! I like to compare my (ongoing) experience to Michaelangelo chipping away all the marble that was not David until David emerged. BY has helped me chip away the excess, and damn it feels good!

Want more? Read the inspiring past Portraits of Bodhisattva Yogins here!

Vivekan’s Weekly Bit: Hell on Earth!

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
Image of Vivekan

Vivekan

This is a weekly post from Bodhisattva Yoga’s founder/director offering weekly bits of research findings, suggestions, and musings on all things directly & indirectly related to the broad Path of Yoga.

It’s another day with your family and friends with the usual banter that keeps everyone entertained. All of a sudden, aggressive movements, noises and sights send all of you into a dizzying, horrifying state with everyone trying to go into different directions…Just to realize that you’re all trapped and being corralled into an increasingly fearful setting. In whatever capacity you have, you exclaim, “What the hell is going on!?” – because it sounds, looks and feels like hell.

Suddenly these demonic-looking creatures, that maybe have a bit more intelligence but a whole lot more cunning and ruthlessness, begin to descend upon you and your loved ones. They are mercilessly spearing the adults among your kin for food; and greedily kidnapping your beloved children to showcase them in artificial environs to be jeered at and treated condescendingly.

Dolphin slaughter

Japanese fishermen slaughtering dolphins at Taiji Cove

If your child survives this holocaust, they’re relegated to a life of confusion, misunderstanding and abject depression. Finding themselves penned in cramped quarters they’re endlessly pointed at, or worse yet, thoughtlessly poked and prodded by the same race of monsters that ruined your family’s life.

The recollection of the horrors of their capture, compounded by your child’s realization of their enslavement, often amounts to the lonely and traumatized one committing suicide.

This is not fiction! This terrible account is taking place all too regularly with dolphins. Us humans better check ourselves, before we wreck ourselves. Please do everything you can to end the holocausts of today! Sign petitions, inform your friends and avoid supporting hotels, resorts and aquariums that take part in this vile trade. For Bodhisattvas look out not just for humans, but all beings – let alone, intelligent beings with no recourse.

Motivated,
Vivekan

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Vivekan’s Weekly Bit: Yoga is not Hinduism

Saturday, December 15th, 2012
Image of Vivekan

Vivekan

This is a weekly post from Bodhisattva Yoga’s founder/co-director offering weekly bits of research findings, suggestions, and musings on all things directly & indirectly related to the broad Path of Yoga.

The recent fear-mongering argument that yoga is religious indoctrination is absurd and has no basis in reality. Yoga can be as secular, religious or spiritual (spirituality is not the same as religiosity) as you’d like it to be. (Off the top of my head: 90% or more of the “yoga” found today in the US is completely secular; about 7% present a “spiritual” theme (e.g., Bodhisattva Yoga); and, maybe 3% at most have a religious tone to them – commonly an off-shoot of Hinduism or Sikhism. See my point on this below.)
This discussion merits a bigger forum, but I’ll try to be succinct. Strictly, yoga is a series of systematized physical, respiratory &/or mental practices geared to calm and concentrate the mind while benefiting the body. What you do with that concentrated mind is up to you.
Historically, orthodox Hinduism frowned upon the system of practices known today as classical yoga, which was chiefly practiced by those who questioned the mores of a stratified society and its religious exclusivity. Hinduism, despite being one of world’s great religions, rich with tradition, with many pearls of wisdom to offer (drawn from the Vedas) had (has) a caste system based on birth. It had a segment of society worthy of being intermediaries bridging aspects of the Divine with ordinary beings through rites, observances, prayers, etc. – these being Brahmins, the priestly and highest caste. Conversely, at the extreme other end of Hindu society there were those regarded as being so low that they did not even merit hearing of the spiritual teachings, they were the untouchables.
Fortunately, a period came (at least, +/- 700 years B.C.E.) whereby keen thinkers, of all castes, sought the Divine experience for themselves without the need of intermediaries – and what were often perceived as their hollow rituals. (See Karen Armstrong’s book, “Buddha”.) It is in this period that free-thinking, radical, norm-breaking mavericks began questioning Hindu orthodoxy and its social stratification, and began systematizing yogic practices enabling the sincere adept with the ability to experience the Divine directly (inspiring the Upanishads, etc.). No matter what caste one was born into!
These yogic disciplines and the adepts capable of instructing them were all but lost from India until the mid-19th through early-20th centuries, when yoga began to enjoy a renewed interest in the Asian sub-continent. (Many Hindus were ready to embrace a source of its nation’s pride that England didn’t produce.) Coincidentally, this renaissance of yoga was being led and transmitted by charismatic individuals that happened to be Hindu (e.g., Krishnamacarya and his disciples, Pattabhi Jois, Iyengar, etc.)
It is via this connection that yoga today has been misconstrued as being Hindu in origin. (As many Evangelicals are attempting to claim in order to scare Americans from yoga. This belief is further fueled by a contingent of contemporary Hindus asserting that yoga is the exclusive domain of and originated strictly from Hinduism.)
So, it’s up to you. Do you want strictly secular yoga; or, do you want yoga that inspires the spirit; or, do you want to use yoga as part of your religion? My development of Bodhisattva Yoga is geared to not only benefit the body but to also enrich the spirit. Join me

In health,
Vivekan :)

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