Spirituality, Yoga

Jnana Yoga study group

Namaste! I’ve been reading and re-reading this book by Swami Vivekananda. I absolutely love it! First published in 1902, it’s a compilation of lectures given by the Swami to large groups of people. Here’s the book’s description:

“In the pages of this book, one comes across a brilliant exposition of the philosophy of Vedanta and its practice through the method of enquiry and discrimination. These lectures were delivered by Swami Vivekananda at London and New York. The great Swami’s exposition of a subject so abstruse in a style which makes its comprehension easy even for an ordinary man is nothing short of a miracle in the English language. One of the best books dealing with the path of discrimination for attaining the summum bonum of human life and hence very important, not only for the seekers of truth, but also for the academicians and students of Vedanta.”

I’m beginning a weekly study group for this book beginning on Wednesday, January 12th at 1:30PM eastern time. Please contact me if you’d like to receive the Zoom link to join our discussions.

Peace to all!

Spirituality, Vibrant Health, Yoga

Layers of the Body

While Yoga isn’t primarily a “workout,” it balances all types of activities from golf to racket sports to running and weight lifting.  It also brings safe, healthy physical activity to those who find themselves sedentary on many days.  The reason Yoga helps us feel so good is that it works through what’s known as the five koshas (“sheaths” or “layers”) of our bodies. 

The first, most obvious kosha is the physical body itself, annamaya kosha.  The Yoga poses (asanas) keep the body both strong and flexible, and assist with balance and coordination. 

Deeper than the physical body is the energetic body, pranamaya kosha, which we most easily access through working with the breath in our Yoga classes.  A good Yoga class leaves us feeling refreshed with just the right amount of energy – not so much that we feel restless and not so little that we feel exhausted or lethargic. 

The next layer is the mental kosha, known as manomaya kosha, which includes our thoughts and emotions as well as our “witnessing” mind, the part of us that knows how to simply be “present” and aware of what’s actually happening moment to moment.

Deeper than this is the wisdom body, vijnanamaya kosha, which contains all knowledge, understanding, and intuition.  We experience this when we get a flash of insight seemingly out of nowhere. 

The deepest layer, anandamaya kosha, represents deep contentment, peace, even bliss.  According to Yoga philosophy, this is the deepest, truest part of who we are.  No matter what’s happening externally in our lives or in the world, we always have the ability to connect with this deep inner peace and contentment. 

When we do Yoga poses, breathing exercises, and concentration/meditation in a practice session, we automatically access all five of these koshas (because they’re interconnected), cleansing them and freeing us to face whatever we need to face in our daily lives. 

Yoga is for everyone! Please practice on your own, or locate a suitable in-person or virtual class to suit your needs. BE well!

Poetry, Spirituality

In the Sea

“In this world you will have trouble.”
(John 16:33)

“If you are alive and breathing, you will have trouble in this world. Either you will hunt the dragon, or the dragon will hunt you. There is no escaping it.”
(Jim Burgen)

Sea monsters
jump and dive
with gaping mouths
and teeth of daggers
never satisfied.
Hunt for the next meal
composed of human
souls, men and
women of faith.

Pray and work, then
pray and work.
Gasp for breath,
just one more
breath before going
under yet again.
Remember how to swim,
reach and kick. The surface
is not out of reach.

Relax and float,
trust the arms, strong
arms of support
bearing the weight.
Yes, float and trust.
Risk a breath now –
breathe –
air fresh and new.

Spirituality, Yoga

The Mind is Peaceful

Sri Swami Satchidananda at LOTUS, Yogaville (Buckingham, VA)

“Our first and foremost duty is to take care not to let the mind lose its peace. You don’t have to make the mind peaceful. If you leave it alone, it is peaceful. In our own lives we should see that we don’t lose our peace due to our thoughts, words, or actions.”

— Sri Swami Satchidananda