Category Archives: Wisdom

Radical Compassion

Find peace through self-acceptance. This mindful vinyasa practice, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will help you embody Ahimsa (nonviolence) and love—for yourself and others.

Chelsea Jackson Roberts, PhD

I was 16 years into my practice when I found myself crying profusely in Savasana (Corpse Pose). Lying in this vulnerable posture during my beloved teacher Tracee Stanley’s yoga nidra immersion, I realized I had been treating myself as an enemy. Something happened during this specific Corpse Pose—one of hundreds I’d practiced by this point—that offered a glimpse of surrender, peace, and acceptance. Enveloped in stillness and silence, I noticed that for once, I was not trying to control, critique, or compare myself, and I became acutely aware that I had been missing self-love and compassion: that I did not know how to love myself fully. It was the depth and nurturing that I encountered through yoga nidra that gave me the strength to face the truth and acknowledge the parts of myself that I had been denying, such as my needs for rest and to be taken care of and held.

As I lay there, Tracee’s words moved into every fiber of my body: “We cannot teach what we do not practice,” she said. This statement prompted me to ask myself hard questions: How can I teach my yoga students how to practice compassion with their bodies if I am not accepting all of the parts that make up mine? How can I expect my yoga students to trust me if I dismiss, and lack trust for, the parts of myself that want to be seen?

See also Chelsea Jackson on Diversity + Embracing Who You Are

Because I truly felt held by the yoga and the guidance of my teacher, I felt liberated from self-judgment around these questions. …

The Namaste Breakup

To the casual observer, maybe you were the perfect couple—the nubby fabric to each other’s Velcro, the oat milk to her latte, the peanut butter to his jelly. But on the road called adulthood, lots of things lose their magic. That industrial-strength, grape-flavored sugar-goo we ate on sandwiches in kindergarten? Wouldn’t touch it now. Relationships can be like that.

Breakups are never easy, no matter who initiates the split. By nature, decoupling injects fear and doubt into so many parts of our lives. It can make us question our very identity: How could we have been so wrong about something so important? And because many of the things that seem to matter most in society are at stake—who our friends are, our economic standing, where we live—breaking up muddies our thinking; it can leave us feeling ungrounded, and it can turn our support systems upside down.

Twelve years ago, when my first marriage ended, I suddenly found myself lost in a strange and unfamiliar world. Up to that point, I’d spent most of my adult years as half of a pair, and suddenly I was…alone.

Or so it felt at the time.

During my divorce, people whom I’d assumed would always be there for me vanished. Others fumbled along, offering questionable advice and mixed messages. (My own mother, who has been married to my father for 51 years, still wistfully recalls things that happened at my first wedding while forever stumbling over the name of my current husband of nine years.) Some friends hedged their bets, picked sides, or went silent. Traitors! I thought.

Somewhere deep down, though, I had the feeling that I’d come out OK. I’d spent most of my adult life playing roles—mother, wife, daughter-in-law, student, employee—and in the midst of this breakup-induced gigantic upheaval, I hoped …

The Intention-Activating Power of a Daily Ritual

Sitting in quiet contemplation in the morning sets you up for success all day long. 

So, you’ve set some intentions for the Year 2020.

It is a natural next step to begin tuning into what resources you’ll need to bring your intentions to life.

The most-overlooked of these essential components for turning your intangible ideas, thoughts and desires into realities other people can see and interact with are inner resources, like: clarity, energy, calm, confidence, and inspiration.

If the question is how to get and stay grounded, inspired, energized and in momentum as you move toward your intentions, the answer is this: cultivate a well-crafted, beloved daily ritual, like an inner retreat you take every day.

I’ve taught the art and science of a daily ritual I call Creators Hour to over 20,000 people, and I’ve done some form of this ritual myself every day for about 8 or 9 years now.

There are four components to this ritual, which I’ll walk you through in a minute.

But first, let me tell you the origin story behind why I call it “Creator’s Hour”.

The Concept of Brahmamuhurtha or “Ambrosial Hours”

See, the yoga sutras mention a time of day called brahmamuhurtha. It’s the period of every night closest to the morning, beginning around 90 minutes before sunrise and ending 48 minutes before dawn.

Brahmamuhurtha is said to be the best time to meditate, practice yoga or do any other sacred practice, because the mind is naturally very still at that time. The upshot was that you could go deeper in meditation, deeper in contemplation or worship during this time—that your connection to Source and Spirit would be more intense during this morning hour than at any other time of day.

When I first read this, it instantly resonated.

I …

Manifesting in Service to Others

Can’t seem to follow through on your goals? Try creating intentions that are rooted in service to all. Plus, find 5 meditations to help you discover your life purpose.

Lara Land 

January is here, and you’re probably getting inundated with sales pitches and articles on how to make this your greatest year yet. Some of you may even had tried these “life-changing” approaches in previous years with varying results. I applaud you for not giving up on trying to improve your life.

See also 3 Secrets for Setting New Year’s Intentions That Work

For those of you who have never succeeded in reaching your goals or maintaining them long-term, I offer this: It’s possible that your goals are not rooted enough in service. Goals which focus on individual success rather than universal success and happiness have a short shelf life. They may allow us to prosper for a short time, but the most sustainable visions are ones that include us all.

Here are some ways to bring service to your manifestations, creating prosperity both for yourself and others:

1. Ask why.

Once you have a goal in mind, ask yourself why you want it. Try to recognize when the ego is involved. Find the places where your dream connects to the greater good.

2. Look for the holes.

Sometimes, we think we are doing good but there could be variables in our plan which could negatively affect others. Explore your vision from multiple angles and include different perspectives in your evaluation.

3. Always give with an open heart. 

It’s how we give that’s most deeply felt by others. Resentment always leads to a cycle of loss. Work on yourself first, so that you can give freely without expecting anything back in return. 

See also A Heart-Opening Sequence to Expand Your

Our Favorite Features from the Past Decade

From a deep dive into psychedelics and spiritual enlightenment to the #metoo movement in the yoga community to the healing effects of yoga in our schools and military, we have rounded up some of our favorite features from the past decade.

Pour a cup of tea, grab a blanket, and sink into the sofa to enjoy some of our most illuminating features of the past ten years. We look forward to bringing you continued coverage of the evolving, rapidly growing community and timeless practice of yoga in the years to come.

3 Secrets for Setting New Year’s Intentions That Work

New Year’s 2020 ain’t just a run-of-the-mill milestone. It’s the dawn of a whole new, iconic decade. Here’s how to effectively focus your energy towards authentic transformation.

What are your intentions for the new year? 

Last year, I surveyed over 20,000 people who identify as “conscious” to see how these ever-evolving souls might be changing the way they approach the whole “New Year, New You” cycle.

The number one trend was clear—resolutions are out: Only 14% of respondents said they were setting New Year’s Resolutions.

And intentions are in: 72% of those surveyed said they were setting an intention for the coming year.

With all this intention-setting going on, the natural next question is obvious: How do you set intentions that actually work? How do you set intentions that have deep, personal meaning and that hold power to help you make the shifts they require to your thoughts, your actions and your emotions, so you can feel the delectable momentum of progress on the issues and projects that matter the most to you? 

See also Live + Practice From the Heart: Identify True Intention

What Intentions Actually Are

Deepak Chopra said, “intentions are the starting point of every dream—the seed of creation.”

To get even more granular, intentions are statements and declarations of what you both desire and consciously intend to be, learn, do, have, feel or experience in a coming period of time, like the coming year.

A well-set intention is a statement of pure, clear, decisive focus that kickstarts the process of aligning your whole being and your whole life to your desire. When you are clear, firm and decisive about your intention for the year ahead, it’s a bit like you’ve placed a cosmic order for what you desire and intend. Your thoughts, beliefs and even …

The End of an Era for NYC Yoga

The Jivamukti Yoga studio in NYC closes its doors on December 22. Here, dedicated students share their stories of the iconic studio that changed the face of yoga.

David Life and Sharon Gannon of Jivamukti Yoga Center on the cover of our June 2002 issue 

As long as there has been a New York City, there has been a Jivamukti, at least for me. When I first stepped off the plane in 1997 from California, hoping to penetrate the New York theater world, my dancer friend Kelly told me I had to go to a class. “It’s this amazing yoga studio,” she told me, “All the teachers are great, but you have to take class with David or Sharon.” David Life and Sharon Gannon, I soon learned, were the studio’s founders. But what did Jivamukti mean? “Liberation in this lifetime,” Kelly responded.

The Second Avenue studio was inconspicuous on the outside, perched beside a Thai restaurant and jazz club called Purple Basil, but once you climbed the rickety steps to the second floor, you were hit by a waft of Nag Champa incense and the glow from Christmas lights bedecking images of saints, sadhus, and deities. A picture of Gandhi floated over a picture of Paramahansa Yogananda, whose image shared space with images of John Lennon, Mother Teresa, and Bob Dylan, and assorted Indian mystics, all wreathed in garlands atop a massive altar. This festive atmosphere was laden with a deeper meaning; the collective energy of devotion and meditation practically dripped off the fixtures.

The first time I visited, Kelly and I nudged through the throng of sweaty hipsters at the front desk, passing Willem Defoe as we purchased our classes and rented our mats, then made our way into the packed main studio. I felt like …

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Yoga Mat

Wondering how often you should clean your mat—and the best way to remove germs, dirt, and stink? Read on.

Just how important is it to clean your mat? 

There’s nothing worse than rolling out your sticky mat before you practice and noticing a layer of grime or sniffing a subtle hint of days-old sweat. Yet it happens to the best of us, because keeping a yoga mat clean is often an afterthought.

However, think about this for a moment: Yoga mats absorb all the sweat, oil, and grime that they’re exposed to, which means they can become dirty, smelly, and even contaminated with germs quickly. To keep all that gunk off your mat, establishing a consistent cleaning routine is crucial. Craig Stiff, the director of hardgoods at Manduka, recommends “cleaning your mat after every practice or use.”

“You’re entering a sacred space when you practice, so the way you keep that space has an effect on what you get out of your practice” says Heather Lilleston, one of the founders of Yoga For Bad People. She continues, “the whole idea of the dirty hippie yogi should be thrown out the window. A huge part of practice is cleanliness.” If you can’t remember the last time you thoroughly scrubbed down your mat, it’s probably time to give it a wash.

So, Just How Dirty Is Your Yoga Mat?

In an article for ABC-13, Melanie Rech, the Laboratory Director at EMSL Analytical, examined swabs taken from personal and communal yoga mats. Mats from the local yoga studio “came back the cleanest with 3 million counts of normal environmental bacteria”, writes KTRK Houston. This isn’t the most surprising, since yoga studios are supposed to regularly wash their communal mats (whether they do or not is a different story). The results …