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    Is the Guru Dead? Embracing the Dark and Light In Our Teachers

Is the Guru Dead? Embracing the Dark and Light In Our Teachers

Greetings! I was recently interviewed for the Shift Network on the topic, Is the Guru Dead? Embracing Light and Dark In Our Teachers. This is a fascinating topic and worth talking about. I believe in today’s “abuse-of-power” culture, we have a big misunderstanding about the term “guru” and the role of the spiritual teacher. I went into more depth in the interview which is available on my media page. But I wanted to underscore a few things I said and explain more here.

The word “guru” means teacher. It also literally means the weighty one, or the heavy. It refers to the power of being in your center to such an extent that you become unmovable in your dedication to follow your heart and stay connected to a bigger energy. Like a cast iron cauldron, the guru is someone with the capacity to hold space for the full spectrum of light and dark, life’s joys and challenges, without getting knocked off balance.

In a broader sense, guru, comes from the term “gurutva” or the guru principle. This describes the process of learning that life is our teacher, if you are open to receive the lessons. If the student is ready, the teacher appears. If you are open and receptive, you will receive the lesson life is trying to give you. Guru is synonymous with grace in that the guru is the power of the universe to reveal your true nature, which is the highest joy, bliss, and the most unimaginable experience of the light of the divine. In this sense, guru is the process by which we are led from darkness to light, ignorance to knowledge, from the limited to the unlimited, mortal to the immortal.

“Gu” […]

Embracing Shame: Source of True Yogic Light

Greetings! Happy July!

I’m excited to share my inspiration recently generated from listening to Brene Brown’s CD set, “Men, Women, and Worthiness”, which is a beautiful piece on dealing with shame. She mentions how everyone experiences shame. Brown says that shame is one of the root causes for other dysfunctional or unskillful patterns, such as, perfectionism, addictions, rage, depression, and victimhood.

I’ve been riveted on this teaching as it relates to the authentic practice of yoga and to the power of the real light which can only be sourced from embracing our shadow. This is a new day. The light of yoga today is only true when it includes the power of self-acceptance and self-compassion for our blind spots, limitations, and our shadow. Brene Brown says that we have no choice but to walk through the shame in order to get to the light. Ashaya Yoga™ teaches you how to embrace the less evolved parts of yourself in order to weave back together the dispersed parts of yourself you’ve put out of your heart. This makes so much sense to me. How can I feel a sense of connection to life if I’m constantly pushing away the parts of myself I don’t want to face?

In the teachings of Shiva and Shakti, you can’t jump directly to Shiva, universal consciousness. You need to pass through Shakti. To reveal the great light of consciousness, you need to go through the darkness. You go through the limited to access the unlimited. I always say that I’ve never met anyone enlightened who didn’t have a body.

The shadows that cover the light of consciousness go by many names in yoga. In tantra, it’s the 3 malas. Mala means dust that covers the […]

Purnatva: A Moment of Fullness

Greetings! The fullness of spring in the Northeast is upon us! I’m usually teaching in Europe at this time of year. It’s such a delight to be home and witness the fullness of the season.

A few days ago I had one of the best swim workouts ever. I’m not sure why. It might have been because prior to swimming I did a deep hip opening yoga practice. I managed to be the lead swimmer in my lane, which hardly ever happens.

After swim practice I am driving home feeling fresh, clean, and clear. My breath is totally open and full from the swim. The sun is setting and the light of the early evening is crystal clear. As I’m driving, I look out the window and see the most beautiful spring colors. Everything is full and the colors and shapes seem to jump out at me. The flowers are full. The leaves are full. The grass and trees are super bright green. The sky is blue and the edges around all of the houses are vibrantly clear. I’m having a moment of Purna, fullness. I relax and feel the perfection of the moment. Everything is okay. I am at peace. I am merged with the now in full appreciation of all that is.

Purnatva, the principle of fullness and perfection, (Purna = fullness, perfection. Tva = principle, technology, or the quality of…), is an attribute of the Absolute: that part of us that is unbounded, infinite, eternal, and free. Paul Muller-Ortega (world renown tantric scholar), translates a famous line from the Brihadaranyka Upanishad and Ishad Upanishad:
Purnamadah purnamidam…..”Adam” means over there, “idam” means closer to home, or closer to myself. Fullness is that yonder over there. Fullness […]

Elephant Power: Strength to Follow Your Heart

Greetings! I hope you are having an awesome May! It’s so nice to experience a shift in the weather as we move toward warmer days.

I recently taught in Arlington Heights, Illinois (near Chicago) at Pulsation Yoga Studio. Thanks to the owners, Jim and Kathy, for creating a beautiful sanctuary for the practice of yoga. The weekend was so empowering. The workshop was called, “Light On Ganesh”, where I tie in the teachings of Ganesh (the elephant-headed God) into the asanas.

Ganesh is known as the lord of auspicious beginnings, remover of obstacles, and the “gatekeeper” of your mind. On the last day of the workshop I taught a session called, “Elephant Power”, based on this: As a spiritual seeker, you need to cultivate strength like that of an elephant, to follow your heart and stay true to yourself against the greatest odds. This life is not about sitting back waiting for something good to happen. This life is about standing in your power, figuring out what truly lights you up in life, and then setting an intention for yourself and following through every day with action. That’s the beauty and gift of this life of embodiment. When you act from a place of connection to your heart, karma is actively purified and changed. Ganesh is telling us that we have the power to change the course of our lives. Whatever you have created that you are not proud of, you can dis-create and recreate something better, something you can be proud of.

I believe there are stages to living a life of empowerment. We must move through the set of beliefs we all have that are disempowering and habitual. A common disempowering belief goes something […]

A Tribute to My Mom On Her 80th Birthday!

I was recently in California for my Mom’s 80th birthday celebration and family reunion organized by my sister. It was a huge success. A partial surprise party, my Mom rose to the occasion and allowed herself to be bathed in the love of the family that is so abundant and powerfully present for her. I was so proud of her ability to receive. This reunion was a fulfillment of a lifelong dream of hers to bring the family members (scattered all over the US) together in one place. Kudos to my sister for pulling off this magnificent event!
May I brag about my Mom? My Mom is a great being. A cancer survivor of over 10 years, living alone, supporting herself, and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle, she plays tennis three times a week, paddle ball once a week, and takes yoga and aerobic classes. In addition, she volunteers, takes educational classes, is a Hadassah past president and helps out when needed, sees all of the newest movies as they come out, and goes out on dates with her “man-friend” Lenny. Her zest for life and will to be fully alive never ceases to amaze me.

In addition to her active lifestyle, she has an extraordinarily warm and accepting heart. She is open, understanding, and compassionate. She and I can sit down and talk about anything. She has opened herself totally to yoga and all of the various philosophies I expound. My mom has always been my greatest fan. She supports me to follow my heart and become the best version of myself. I want to thank her for loving me and believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Click here to read […]