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Enlightenment, What If It's Already Happened?

Just because you may not feel perfect Doesn't mean you aren't. What if life's biggest secret is that: There is no problem That nothing is missing You're perfect just as you are. Could you handle it? Would you believe it? Could you bear the knowledge that Everything is perfect? What if your issues Weren't issues at all? You were already forgiven Would that change the way you see things? Would it take a load off your mind? Could you bear the happiness and freedom? I think it's worth the risk.  
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What Modern Art Taught Me About Yoga

Erin and I sipped our lattes after a tour through Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. The exhibits, in all their bright colors, strange yet compelling images, and wry insight and humor, had had the always-thrilling effect of shifting our perspectives on culture and reality. As we sat in the ground-level cafe at the ICA, looking out over the frigid Boston Harbor, talking about art, life, and creativity, the ideas started to flow. The paths and purposes of yoga, spirituality, and self-development started to emerge and morph as we spoke, like colors in a kaleidescope. Here's what became clear above all else: you and I, we practitioners of yoga or other spiritual disciplines, are on the path because we're excited by what lies beyond the status quo.  We're moved by the experience of transcendence and greater meaning. We want to live in and create a world that expresses more consciousness and care.  This has very interesting implications.
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Blow Up Your New Year's Resolution. Do This Instead.

Happy New Year! Almost. I honestly couldn't tell you what my last New Year's resolution was, which means it probably didn't get very far. Still, this is the prefect time of year to reflect on how many incredible changes can happen in just one year. In my own life, my core relationships have shifted dramatically and surprisingly. My career goals have taken a sharp turn away from the track I thought I wanted to be on. The spiritual path I followed looks completely different and for the first time in years I find myself holding the reins of my own development, causing me to think about life and the world in new and unexpected ways. What's most interesting about all these changes is that there was no big decision-making moment for most of them.
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Meditation: Freedom vs. Indifference

While I am far from a meditation expert, in leading workshops for the past few years, I have had the opportunity to explore questions and insights that come up in people. Recently, a question was sent my way about meditation and indifference. In the form of meditation I practice there are just three simple instructions to follow (you can experience them for yourself in this audio). Mark: “My fear is that if I constantly have a meditation practice where I’m trying to be indifferent of the things that float by, it will transfer into my everyday life and I will be more and more indifferent to events in my life. I think that I feel emotions rather strongly and that it has made me the person I am today and if I practice being indifferent to it all, I will become indifferent to peoples pain and joys. I’m not sure how to deal with this fear and was hoping you could shed some light on a different perspective. I loved the meditation but I’m struggling not looking at things with heart.” First, of all the concerns to have in the world this is one that is especially important. To not want to be indifferent to the people and space around you is a good thing! It is also important to remember that what we are doing in meditation is taking a brief reprieve from the world. When you are engaged in daily life, of course you want to be connected and available to move through it with your eyes open. I would argue that in fact is the core reason to meditate. Meditation helps you to be more available for life.
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S#*T Bad Yogi’s Do

I have been teaching yoga for over 10 years and recently, it has been my privilege to work with new teachers as they learn how to guide classes. As instructors, we have an amazing job working with wonderful people. But every so often someone walks in the door (seemingly voluntarily) who doesn’t seem to want to be there at all. There is debate as to how to treat a disruptive, unresponsive or downright negative student in class.  Some teachers take the “my way or the highway” approach, while others either ignore the offender or resort to “do whatever you want to do” language. When this power struggle happens, it is important for the instructor to know where they stand so today, I want to share my thoughts about teaching with fellow instructors and offer a few tips on etiquette to all the students out there.  The Down Right Difficult Student For Teachers: New age-iness would tell us that when a difficult student comes into your class room, they have been sent to teach you to look within. Are you expecting too much of your students, too little? Are you teaching the level and style that is actually advertised in that time slot? These are valid things to investigate to be sure. However it would be fairly narcissistic to assume that everyone who wandered into a drop-in class with a bad attitude was there with something to teach you. Some people are just not that nice or socially appropriate…plain and simple. I have been teaching for enough time now, that when someone is out-and-out rude or disrespectful, I either ask them to leave my class or don't give them the time of day. Sadly, the people who have the more disruptive ego trips during class have usually been practicing yoga asana for at least a few years and therefore, think they know what yoga really is. Here is the thing, any real Yogi knows not to take their own garbage out on another human being (especially staff or teachers at a studio who have devoted their life and livelihood to sharing the practice with others).  Tips for Students: Remember, ninety percent of instructors are standing at the front of the room to guide you through a practice designed to make you feel better. You may not love every moment of every class or appreciate every style out there, but if you are able to be open (even just a little bit) there is probably some gem you can pick up.
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What Transformation Demands

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A Gift Giving Guide for Yogis

Hold the phone! A gift giving guide on a yoga website… I thought yoga people weren’t about material goods and consumerism. In fact, I love giving gifts!  Most of the time I can’t stand waiting for someone’s birthday or the holidays to give a gift if I think I have found the perfect thing.  If you run in spiritual circles you might hear a lot of belly aching around this time of year, but there are many ways to give and receive and there is nothing inherently unyogic about it if you do it right.  That being said when the pressure is on (hey, it’s December and if you hadn’t noticed every advertisement is telling you the pressure is ON) and the idea well is dry, that can be stressful. We end up buying people things they don’t want, don’t need or we acquire things we will never use but feel too guilty to get rid of.  Today, I want to give you some of my favourite ideas for gift giving and how to navigate the etiquette of the holidays in yogic style.
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The Myth of Instant Transformation + Brand New Program

I work one on one with a lot of people. Whether it’s in my Chinese medicine practice or with private yoga clients, EVERYONE is looking for a quick fix. I have literally been asked by students what postures will mend a broken heart, dissolve stress for good, or help them sleep well at night (even though they drink 10 coffees a day). The whole thing makes me cringe a little bit, but also I understand why we all play into this mindset to some degree. It would be amazing if a treatment or a yoga class could drastically and dramatically change the current situation. For one, people often mistake yoga, a treatment, or almost anything that feels good as "the moment" that everything is going to change and new life will be born. Time and time again, people walk out of class or a treatment inspired and ready to take on the world only to return looking for the next “feel good” hit after it fades.
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The Art and Science of Making a Change

I’ve made some big changes in my life. I’ve switched careers, changed life contexts, and generally shaken things up in ways that some people might consider to be a bit extreme. For instance, I went from being a well-employed musician (literally, my only job was playing the trumpet, plus I had remarkable colleagues and extremely reasonable hours) to being a broke tech entrepreneur working all hours of the day and night for next to nothing. I went from living with my wife in our cozy suburban Washington, DC home to being a celibate quasi-monk living in a spiritual community in the mountains of western Massachusetts. Now I find myself back in a well-paying job, with a company I truly believe in, and deeply in love with one of the boldest/sweetest people I know. I’m still making music, and I’m sharing all the principles I learned from my time in the ashram to enrich other people’s lives. About Commitment  I want to share with you my approach to making life changes.
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Yin & Yang: "Self Care" That Both Nurtures AND Inspires

When I hear the phrase “self-care”, all I used to think about was warm baths or buying myself flowers. But as anyone who works alongside other human beings knows, self-care means so much more. Today I want to explore its Yin and Yang nature. One dimension of self-care is the more traditional version (the warm baths and flowers route). This is considered the Yin form as it is nurturing and enveloping. Yin self-care is what the person who loves you most in the world does for you when you are having a rough day or feeling sick, encircling you with warm fuzzies.  Another aspect of self-care is the Yang dimension. It’s the type of care that a coach or mentor might deliver. It is positivity that pushes you forward and doesn’t let you hold back your potential. Yang self-care doesn’t let you eat cookie dough on the sofa while you watch your favourite childhood movie for the millionth time—it gets you off your butt and out to the gym or to yoga.
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