Interested in yoga and gorilla trekking with me in 2017?
Email me or leave a comment in the comment section.
LOVE & A BLESSED 2017!
Focus Of The Month – January, 2017
You know the story of the student who says to the teacher, “I studied eight years with so-and-so and two years with so-and-so, and I know all about this and that and the other.” As he is speaking the teacher is pouring a cup of tea. The student is going on about all his credentials and why the teacher should teach him. The teacher is still pouring the tea, which is now pouring out of the cup, all over the table and dripping on the student. “What are you doing?” the student asks. “Are you crazy? Why’d you do that?” The teacher laughs and says “You’re like the cup. You’re already full, and I can’t teach you. It would be like trying to put more tea in the cup; it’s not going to happen.”
Letting go, or the release, of a restricted way of moving is essential to being filled back up. That emptying out process is a surrender. Surrender has a negative connotation to us. It usually means that we have lost. But in this case it allows us to let go of the way things have been and embrace newness as it appears in each moment. We are able to find a new range of motion with new possibilities and thoughts coming into our minds.
We can see how we’ve been indoctrinated by our culture in the ways that we move. In some places we shake hands, while in others that’s not considered a good thing to do. There are differences in how women and men move, and how people signal and interact with one another. We learn these ways of being. As we grow older, we become more attached to our own set of prohibitions and possibilities. They become narrower and less available if you are only walking down the same path every day.
A new way of approaching the future is expanding what is possible rather than limiting it. There are actually a thousand different ways you can get to work instead of taking the same route each day. The key is not clinging to how we’ve always lived our lives. Most of our decisions are made according to how we’ve been programmed instead of spontaneity, creativity and originality. If you were raised with writers, musicians or dancers you might be more likely to tap into the universal consciousness and conduct real creativity instead of the same old ideas.
We would all like to know how to step forward in a way that doesn’t hurt others. It is good for us and good for the Earth. We want to orient our self to the Earth in all kinds of ways so that we get different points of view; upside down, right-side up, half-way turned around. Those are very potent things to do with your body. They can deprogram you, opening up the list of possible ways of being. We all have certain prejudices about what we are capable of. For example, the thought “I have very little upper body strength.” That’s not a fact. That’s an idea. It’s not a matter of lifting weights. It’s a matter of what you already decided the possibilities were. “A world without war? No way!” As long as you have that thought, then you’re going to live in a world where there is no way of living without war.
Look at the hip socket. The possible range of movement is big, but if all you do in your life is sit at a desk and barely walk around, then you see the range as small. The joint is unable to find its full potential. That limited range of movement is also in your brain and nervous system. Your ability to understand, comprehend and accept new ways of being are also limited in the same way. The body’s limitation is a reflection of the mind’s limitation.
Usually what happens is the mind, because of its limitation, creates an action. The Sanskrit word for action is karma, which means any action: word, thought or step. The law of karma says that any action will continue on, reverberate and come back to you eventually. If you’ve ever thrown a pebble on a pond it sends out these waves. As soon as they hit the border of the pond they start to come back to the original spot. So every action we’ve done in this life and past lives are inside this body. The results are the restrictions, the tightness, the closed mind. The inability to be creative, spontaneous and to invent new possibilities is because of those past actions. The yoga practice allows you to bring those past actions to completion. Get them out of there!
~ David Life
Dear Friends, yogis, book lovers,
A year ago, I decided to empty my shelves of books I no longer needed (this process deserves a specific blogpost).
And this morning, I just started a new experiment: an instagram serie of posts about books, for the love of books.
Most probably because I’m too inconsistent a blogger and an avid reader.
Here’s the hashtag.
Feel free to join in.
You don’t have to write a lengthy review; or even a review at all. Share something about a book you love, two books or more.
To join in if you’re on IG, just use the hashtag. If you’re not, email me. I’ll share it.
Let’s see how it goes… thank you.
With love always.
We hope to see many of you!
This is a unique opportunity to study with my guru, Sharon Gannon, the co-founder the jivamukti Yoga method. And Berlin (the most vegan friendly place in the world) is just next door.
I’ll be there, will you?
1.) Fri. 07.10.2016 11:15-13:45 @ Jivamukti Yoga Kreuzberg, Oranienstr. 25
2 hour JIVAMUKTI OPEN XL CLASS with Sharon Gannon followed by ca. 1/2 hour Satsang/Q+A
2.) Fri. 07.10.2016, 19:30-22:30 @ UCI KINOWELT Colosseum, Schönhauser Allee 123
“What is Real? The Story of Jivamukti Yoga” European and German Red Carpet Film Premiere Reception & Screening with vegan apéritifs, finger food by The JiVamukti Canteen and followed by Q&A with Sharon Gannon, Jules Febre + film director Jay Mac present
3.) Sat. 08.10.2016, 12:00-18:00 @ DELIGHT RENTAL STUDIOS, Saarbrücker Str. 37
JIVAMUKTI YOGA WORKSHOP DAY with Sharon Gannon + Jules Febre (includes approx. 1 hour break at ca. 14:30).
4.) Sun. 09.10.2016, 17:00-19:00+19:30-20:30 @ JIVAMUKTI YOGA BERLIN (Mitte), Brunnenstr. 29
JIVAMUKTI OPEN XL CLASS with Jules Febre followed by Satsang also with Jules
WORKSHOP LANGUAGE: English. Participants should have a basic understanding of English as there will be no translation.
YOGA JOURNAL magazine has called her an innovator in yoga. VANITY FAIR gives her credit for making yoga cool and hip in the West. FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE praised her for having made yoga, for the first time ever, presentable to Western urban dwellers:
Jivamukti Yoga Berlin feels so blessed to have Jivamukti co-founder Sharon Gannon back again so soon for a very special Jivamukti Yoga workshop weekend on occassion of the German and European premiere event of the new Jivamukti documentary “What is Real? The Story of Jivamukti Yoga”. These events are not to be missed and, as in the past when Sharon came to Berlin, we do expect a good amount of people from all over Europe for a very special celebration of the Jivamukti community here in Berlin.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
On Friday morning, you can enjoy a rare chance to take a classic (yet slightly extended to 2 hours) Jivamukti Open XL class taught by the co-founder of the method. So we guess this could be called a Master class (not meaning it is only for masters, but just taught by a master in her field and still open for all). A rare chance to experience how a Jivamukti Open class is taught right from the source. After the asana practice, there will be a ca. 1 hour Satsang & Q+A.
For Friday evening, you have the chance to still get tickets for the European and German red carpet premiere of the new Jivamukti movie “What is real? The Story of Jivamukti Yoga” with Sharon Gannon, Jules Febre and the director Jay Mac present. For more information on this great movie check http://www.whatisrealmovie.com
On Saturday, a Jivamukti Yoga workshop day from 12:00 until 18:00 with Sharon Gannon and Jules Febre will leave you blissed out and charged up with new knowledge. Expect new inspiring input on yoga asana taught the Jivamukti way but also new insights on the main philosophical aspects and yogic scriptures that Jivamukti Yoga is based on. But most of all, expect a vigorous asana practice as only Jivamukti Yoga can be. All of this direct from the source, the co-founder and main force behind Jivamukti Yoga: Sharon Gannon, accompanied by Jivamukti master teacher Jules Febre.
On Sunday, Sharon Gannon is off to Munich and Moscow, but we are extremely happy that Jules Febre will teach the 5pm Jivamukti Open XL class as well as the 7:30pm Satsang at our studio in Mitte to phase out the weekend nicely.
This is undoubtedly THE highlight of 2016 for all European Jivamukti Yoga practitioners and teachers (and those interested in becoming such) as well as yogis and teachers of all other styles and backgrounds of yoga. A very special opportunity to celebrate Jivamukti history on occasion of the movie premiere with the international European Jivamukti Yoga satsang. And a great chance to deepen your Asana practice, detoxify your body, heart and spirit, and to obtain a profound spiritual experience with the founder of this internationally recognized and practiced method of Hatha yoga.
Ready to sign up? Here (scroll down) http://jivamuktiberlin.de/events.html
KRISHNA, BUDDHA AND WHAT IS UNIVERSAL COMPASSION?
Shri Krishnah sharanam mama
I take refuge in the all-attractive Lord who is the true identity of all being.
Sharanam means refuge. This beautiful initiation mantra from the Pushtimarg tradition in India invites us to seek refuge, particularly when we are driven by strong emotions. Anger, hate and fear close us off to love and compassion. Seeking refuge means having the capacity to step back and to use particular tools or techniques—in this case, the repetition of mantra—to protect us from reacting immediately. Instead, we engage the mind with something calming, which buys us time and gets us back in touch with our true essence: boundless love and compassion, Krishna. Resolving a situation from this place yields much more constructive results. It means responding instead of reacting. It gives us the ability to stop cycles of violence and the escalation of conflict. Even if the other party refuses to cooperate or feels threatened, taking refuge in the mantra cleanses our heart and spirit, and moves us from separateness toward oneness.
Mantra transcends the calculating intellect and awakens a feeling of love and sweetness, gradually melting away the hard walls we have built around our hearts. The vibration of the Sanskrit language has a profound, transformative effect on a cellular level. Yogi Bhajan describes how chanting mantra affects our electromagnetic field and brain patterns, the master glands and even the stability of the blood. Mantra can totally remake our psyche. Asana and meditation practices have similar effects, inducing a mental focus and an energetic shift that become stronger than habitual, conditioned, reactive behavior.
Every major spiritual tradition agrees that love and compassion are the most important qualities for sustaining and protecting life. Each tradition has a figure who embodies perfection in love and compassion. In the Hindu/yogic tradition it is Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, the preserver of the universe. He is often depicted as a child whose disarming qualities inspire us to love without inhibition. In Buddhism it is the supreme bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara, who made a great vow to assist sentient beings in times of difficulty, and to postpone his own Buddhahood until he has helped every one of them achieve nirvana. His mantra is Om mani padme hum, meaning that, in the same way that the lotus flower grows out of the mud, compassion is often deeply understood through great suffering and huge spiritual challenges. In Christianity the iconic figure is Jesus, whose story holds many parallels to Krishna’s. Krishna was born in a prison, Jesus in a stable, and both had to spend much of their lives in exile. Through the practice of sincerely contemplating these divine, enlightened beings, we do our very best to awaken their luminosity inside us, and to tailor our lives according to their examples.
Sister Chan Khong, a Buddhist nun ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh, endured unimaginable suffering during the war in Vietnam and has become one of the most outstanding living embodiments of compassion in our times. Although she had a degree in biology, her main mission was always to feed the hungry and the poor. What makes her service even more powerful is that she has had to serve anonymously, under a false identity, so as not to put the recipients of her aid in danger. Many times she risked her own life, dodging bullets and bombs while riding her bike through the streets of Saigon. One day, after a bombing, the streets were littered with dead bodies, and the government did not clean them up. The community of monks, nuns and peace workers took it upon themselves to remove the bodies and give them a proper burial. They could accomplish this extremely difficult task only by seeking refuge in the breath and in mantra. When boat people started drifting ashore in neighboring Southeast Asian countries, those governments ordered them pushed back out to sea, where they would eventually drown. For Chan Khong the first priority was saving lives, and in order to circumvent senseless rules and inhumane practices, disguises had to be used, laws had to be challenged in nonviolent ways and violations of human rights had to be reported to the international press. She was exiled from Vietnam, separated from family and friends and expelled from countries that did not want their cruelty exposed to the world. Sometimes she would be overwhelmed by strong emotions and start sobbing uncontrollably, until she remembered to take refuge in her breath. She and her sangha practiced walking meditation to learn the art of calming their feelings before taking action. From this practice came the ability to understand and have compassion for the people committing atrocities.
Compassion is a big word that is often trivialized. Most of us have been conditioned to be selective about our compassion. We may be able to express some degree of compassion to our family and friends but are unconcerned about those who live on the other side of the world, don’t look like us, or speak a different language. Chan Khong describes returning to Paris after being expelled from Singapore and being appalled to see people eating, drinking, laughing and enjoying life in cafes. Did they not know that their fellow human beings were drowning at sea? Through the practices of Yoga we learn that compassion does not discriminate. As PeTA founder Ingrid Newkirk says, “Some people seem to think that our compassion is a limited commodity, like a cake with only a few slices. » –