I am Bryan Kest, owner of Santa Monica Power Yoga & Meditation and poweryoga.com, located in Santa Monica, CA. Check out Bryan Kest's Power Yoga at home or on the go and take our yoga practice with you
I would venture to say the best yoga classes are online yoga classes! Now certainly that’s not a rule, and there are other factors such as cost. The cost of online classes is much more affordable, which helps many to access yoga content. How about free online yoga classes? There is not a brick-and-mortar yoga studio that has the ability to cater to most all the different needs people have, let alone all the different styles of yoga. Now honestly, there is no web-based studio that has everything either, but you can find most anything online, and a web-based studio certainly can offer much, much more than any brick-and-mortar studio. An online studio has the ability to touch many folks as well, as more folks can participate from more places, experiencing more personal content. You will find it all, from top online yoga classes, online yoga classes for beginners to advanced yoga classes online, to online yoga classes for seniors, yoga for addiction and yoga for sex, yoga for athletes and yoga for PTSD. It’s amazing and no doubt my favorite reason to be online. But is the content and quality of online classes equal to the content and quality in a brick-and-mortar studio? Yes, it is, or at least it could be. Regardless of the studio’s origins, whether it be web-based or brick-and-mortar, you are going to find high-quality and low-quality yoga studios. So yes, high-quality web-based studios exist. My suggestion, take advantage of the 7-day free trial most of these web-based studios offer, and take some class, as well as play around with the website; get a feel for its ease of use, tools it offers and its community, which adds to the user experience. Obviously I’m a fan of online yoga classes and you could say I’m biased, as I do own poweryoga.com and we are a super-high-quality web-based yoga studio with loads of offerings at pennies a class, with amazing customer service as well as a few hand-picked free online classes which are changed out monthly. Yet beyond being biased, my deepest, most powerful and profound yoga experiences came through lessons via video recordings. So I know online learning can be very effective!
I also own Santa Monica Power Yoga & Meditation, which is a brick-and-mortar yoga studio in Southern California. I’d like to counter-balance all above with the beauty, breath and energy of a great brick-and-mortar class. When I think of my studio, I think of the warmth, colors and people of our classes here in Santa Monica and the sweetness of being there! Group energy and instructors’ energy cannot be adequately transmitted through the video screen. So yeah, you are missing something when practicing online for sure, and what you are missing is the amazing group energy, great people, personal connections and your local community. So, if you’re practicing online, get out into your community and check out your local classes, because at online prices, you can have both! Enjoy!
The global wellness economy is 4.2 trillion dollars, more than half of the 7.3 trillion global health expenditures. My guess, diet is a big factor in wellness spending. With so much money at stake, you will find many people and companies touting the next great thing from vegan to paleo, from bulletproof to omega-3s, from organics to non-GMO, from protein powders to vitamins, corn-fed to grass-fed, raw or cooked, from juicing to intermittent fasting. Each one has a convincing argument why they have the best diet. Almost every food these days is a “superfood”, blueberries used to just be blue berries and kale was kale, now they are both a superfood. This is just scratching the surface of the myriad of diets, supplements and modalities being espoused. Each one of these diets and supplements has “scientific” studies and evidence to support their claims of effectiveness and benefit (until we learn something new), and sometimes they contradict each other. Let’s not forget how much money is saved if product growth is accelerated and spoilage is reduced, thus you have the science and industry of food colorings and preservatives, hormones and chemical fertilizer, all helping the bottom line, NOT our bodies.
I’d like to throw in my own two cents here to help wade through all this as well as to lend some perspective from my 40 years of dietary experimentation in the hopes my perspective will be of some help. Really, I just want to uncomplicate this mess, or simplify. Eating healthy should not take a scientific degree in reading food labels, our food shouldn’t be so messed with, and eating healthfully should not be complicated. The best diet there could ever be for anybody is personal, and this best diet will evolve and change over the years as we learn, evolve and change. Even if you always eat the same things, the amount you eat should shift as your needs and metabolism shifts. There also definitely needs to be experimentation. It’s pretty common that the foods you grew up on don’t necessarily suit you. I had major wheat allergies yet grew up eating wheat, never attributing my digestive issues with organic whole wheat. It took an open mind and a willingness to learn and experiment. This is necessary.
Regardless of your dietary preferences, Paleo or Vegan preferences or your Non-Fat or Saturated Fat preferences or your gluten-free status or the myriad of other choices, I have found three essentials to diet invaluable, and if you can stick with these three things, diet should never again be an issue, barring any medical issues. These three things are 1) quantity of food, 2) quality of food and 3) variety of food. After you have these 3 things, eat whatever you want. Let’s have a look at these in more detail.
1) Quantity of food ingested: This is huge factor in diet, as it relates to health. The body is the absolutely most amazing machine ever built. If not overburdened, it can metabolize and digest most any food product you put into it. Whatever value a food has in it, the body will get it. Yet overeat, and the body is helpless. Due to evolution, the body is way better handling less food than too much food, which is why fasting and intermittent fasting has always been and still becoming a health aid. One by-product of calorie restriction is a lighter body, which moves easier with less energy expenditure and fewer burdens on the heart and other organs, as well as fewer burdens on the skeleton, which means less wear and tear. Which adds up to not only a longer life, as we will get into, but also a physically more comfortable life, meaning less structural discomfort or pain. Studies have already shown that rats and monkeys put on a calorie-restricted diet live 30% longer with 80% less age-related disease. Basically, that says it all. So experiment with reducing your portion size and possibly reduce the quantity of meals in a day, and lastly, keep your hand out of the cookie jar. Snacking, 9 times out of 10, is completely unnecessary calories. Research fasting and intermittent fasting and see how you feel about that as well.
2) Food quality is not only important for you but also for the planet. Science has a tendency of making things easier yet not necessarily better. Convenience and health are sometimes polar opposites. Chemicals and preservation techniques save money, which can contribute to a corporation’s enrichment and bottom line, yet they detract from the environment, wildlife and most all life that comes into contact with these fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, colorings, additives, hormones and processing, including our own life (nitrates cause cancer in labatory animals, why you putting that in my food?). Now with the genetic modification of food (GMO), cloning of animals, we are entering the realm unknown. Lets stay in the realm of the known, nutrient dense whole foods that have not been compromised by convenience and corporate interest. This means minimally processed organic produce, pasture and humanely raised additive-free poultry, meats and dairy, wild-caught fish and products like ice cream or cake or anything that’s made up of these things. The interest in all this is so high that finding this type of simple clean food is getting easier than ever.
3) Variety of food means just that. Meats (if you like animal protein and fats), dairy, veggies in lots of colors, grains (if you’re into them), fruits, beans, seeds and nuts. Even if culturally you eat a certain type of kitchen like Indian food or Mexican food or Thai food, eat a variety of dishes. This way, your body has the ability to draw what it needs from your diet. Truth is, the body is a creature of habit and thrives within consistency. So eating a certain kitchen at similar times is very helpful (just eat a variety of foods).
Obviously all this is easier said than done. Food addictions along with family meal habits and cultural customs may interfere with personal needs. What about emotional eating? Could you imagine dealing with emotional issues instead of burying them in food? Nobody said this would be easy, especially without cultural support. If I’m not mistaken, USA leads the world in obesity. Cultural gluttony is the norm. It might not be easy for you and the people around you, as you stand out and make a healthy shift. Yet there needs to be a paradigm of self-care and personal choice, and the people around you would benefit from seeing that paradigm, even though initially it may be difficult (misery loves company). If you are not willing to lead the way who is? Yogis, did you know sacrifice and self-restraint are synonymous with yoga practice? Maybe you need some support in this type of shift? This is what our classes are meant for (and much more). Yes, the yoga class’s highest purpose is to empower the practitioner in all their life choices, by developing awareness. All these qualities go a long way in the world of diet.
Something happens when you start to take care of yourself, you start to feel good, and that alone inspires us to keep going. Make a move!
Which yoga is best for fitness? What is yoga fitness? Yoga fitness might not be what you think of when you think of fitness, although it might also not be to far away from your ideas of fitness. Yet it is different. It’s common to come to your first yoga class wanting a certain type of fitness, as we are imprinted by what we have learned and seen and in our culture; we have learned and seen a certain type of fitness, and quite possibly believe that to be what is necessary for health. Maybe you have searched for “best yoga for fitness” or “free fitness yoga videos,” looking for something vigorous or super-active. Something that burns calories and builds muscles, something that will change you into a lean, mean fighting machine. We offer daily yoga routines for fitness within each and every one of our classes. The reason is because yoga for overall fitness is the absolute best. Before we go on, let’s define fitness. Fitness means health.
Health is a personal state of balance, or homeostasis. This means that this generic image of fitness may not be what healthy looks like on you. Like, maybe you are supposed to look like you and not some generic prototype. So when someone asks me “how to do fitness yoga,” I interpret that to mean, how can I create a yoga practice that helps me maintain health and balance. Yoga is a tool that can be used benevolently or malevolently, as it is just a tool. Why would someone use yoga in a harmful manner? I do not believe anyone would use yoga in a harmful manner purposely. Yet the goal of yoga is enlightenment or awareness, because awareness is lacking, and if there is no awareness then you could be using yoga in a harmful manner without even knowing. This is actually what is happening all over the fitness world. My teacher is my life experiences and my teacher has taught me that “the harder you are on anything, the faster you destroy it.” So in pushing your body hard to achieve the generic prototype, the body is abused. Yes, you will get bigger and stronger or more flexible as the body responds to the abuse, but we are actually damaging ourselves and end up breaking ourselves down instead of building ourselves up. We still do not have proof that prettier, skinnier, stronger or more flexible people are healthier or happier. Yet if all you know pertaining to fitness is to push and be aggressive (“no pain, no gain”), then you will actually be doing this in your yoga practice, rendering it malevolent. So, let’s bring some awareness into our yoga practice, so we are not breaking ourselves down but building ourselves up.
Our physical aim is the best fitness yoga course on a daily basis. I call it the ultimate cross-training, as every aspect of the fitness paradigm is included, “strength, balance, flexibility, CVR, stamina,” and most every place in our body touched. Remember, you cannot take of something that’s not touched (gently). Yet we do all this with an awareness that we are not trying to change ourselves to conform to the generic prototype, but we are trying to take care of ourselves. The mentality shifts, and finally a yoga fitness class becomes healing, because we are honoring what we are feeling. Enjoy our wide selection of the most well-rounded, complete fitness class on earth. My opinion, of course. For a yoga class, always use a yoga mat vs. a fitness mat.
Welcome to the new millennium and, to a large degree, the new way to learn.
I was at lunch the other day with a very motivated and highly intelligent thirty-ish young man who answered my question as to how he learned the subject we were addressing by announcing that he learned the subject where he learns everything, on YouTube. YouTube is the second-leading search engine, after Google, for young people. Learning through video does have its benefits as well as its detriments. Einstein once said, “all knowledge comes from experience, everything else is just information.” I believe the yogis would concur. Learning from a video can be like an animated book, loads of information yet no experience other than imagination. Yet if the video got you involved, if you participated with the video, listening, responding and feeling, learning through video can give you access to powerful experiences that are transformative. This is what I would consider a Yoga Video could be! Many of the health conditions these days can be traced to technology, as technology allows people to accomplish that much more, creating a situation where people are more busy and stressed. Yet the issue is not technology, it is our ability to handle technology in a balanced manner. Yet yoga videos are one way we can use technology to help alleviate the effects of technology, which is rare and special.
I remember, before computers and the new tech wave swept our world, at a time when we were just being teased with the possibilities of technology, I remember thinking we could use the computer to bring yoga videos into everyone’s house with the best yoga videos for beginners, intermediate and advanced practitioners. The teachings of yoga in all its diversity would come to us, instead of us needing to drag our butt to a yoga class. When I use the word diversity, this is an understatement, as what you can get at an online studio like poweryoga.com dwarfs what you can find at any one yoga studio. You can find therapeutic yoga videos, yoga videos for kids, yoga workout videos, yoga videos for relaxation and yoga videos for meditation, even free yoga videos, etc…. You can find ten-minute classes and thirty-minute classes, one-hour classes and two-hour classes and even three-hour classes. This is just the tip of the iceberg! Driving in the big city can be stressful, hazardous and time-consuming, yet with streaming yoga videos, all these issues are alleviated. Now you can practice at your convenience, and if you have not tried this, you will see the online classes are every bit as effective — you could even argue more effective, as you can more easily personalize your experience.
Now as you practice power yoga in class or at home, you not only get an amazing, dynamic complete exercise program, you also learn how to develop the ability to face greater and greater difficulties, whether it’s gridlock traffic, marriage or family issues or career stuff, in a less reactive way so those situations effect you less stressfully. How is all that for streaming yoga videos?
Healthy relationships start with the relationship we have with ourselves! All relationships are enhanced and thrive under the same conditions, just as all relationships are hindered under the same conditions. This includes the relationship we have with ourselves. Developing the qualities that heal and enhance the relationship you have with yourself means developing the qualities that heal and enhance our relationships with all things and all beings.
To quote Einstein, “all knowledge comes from experience.” Our experience is our teacher, and our teacher has taught us: The harder we are on anything, the faster we destroy it. Doesn’t matter whether it’s your automobile, body or marriage. If you want something to last a long time, the key is gentleness, not aggressiveness. Our experience has taught us that healthy relationships don’t respond positively to force and aggression, and it’s a cultural delusion to believe our bodies do. Although our culture has taught us “no pain, no gain“ and “more is better.“ The truth is, “no pain, no injury“ and “more is the same as not enough, it’s an extreme; how about something more personal, something in between.“ This something in between might be a foreign concept to Western culture; its called “moderation.“ Experience has taught us the keys to healthy relationships are benevolent qualities like being a good listener, gentleness, humility, calmness, patience and acceptance, amongst many other benevolent qualities. Can you imagine our physical health depends on these exact same qualities?
Exercise is a time dedicated to health and wellness. It’s a time period we are supposed to be focused on doing good to our bodies and mind. Our bodies are our sacred primary relationship, our bodies speak to us in the succinct language of sensation. Just like the wellness of all relationships depends on engagement, not avoidance, including the relationship we have with our bodies, these same relationships need the engagement to be gentle, not aggressive or forceful. So in order for our exercises to be beneficial, we have to approach and perform these exercises in a certain way. We have to be listening (patience & being a good listener) to how things feel so we can be gentle (moderation); when we feel we have reached a degree where the exercise is no longer gentle or moderate, we need to back off (humility), as we experience our boundaries of no longer being calm or safe, and our bodies are asking us to stop in that language of sensation (pain), we need to be respectful (acceptance). As we integrate these qualities into our exercises, which is what is necessary for benefit, we develop these qualities just like we develop muscles, by using them. These developed qualities benefit all our relationships. It’s like when you strengthen your biceps in exercise, those biceps help you pick up groceries and children. In other words, the muscles you develop in exercise help you outside of exercise. Same with these benevolent qualities, they are like muscles; if you use them, they develop, but also, if you don’t use them, they atrophy. As you use them, they strengthen and start to benefit all relationships. So health and wellness for the most part comes from a mind full of benevolent qualities, as benevolent qualities reduce stress. Stress is the precursor to most all disease. These same benevolent qualities are the foundation to all healthy relationships.
Just as it is absurd to try and change yourself to fit some misguided cultural ideal of how you should be, jamming and forcing yourself to fit some image that’s been implanted in our minds by family, media and culture, it is equally absurd to be jamming and forcing your opinions down other people’s throat. Reducing stress (health) means loving and accepting yourself as you are. You could say health and self-love (benevolent qualities) are one and the same. Enhancing and healing relationships with others means loving and accepting them as they are. I hate to get to mushy on you all, but it looks like love is the answer to most any question of health and wellness.
You could say the best yoga videos are free yoga videos. I wouldn’t say that, though. Free is nice, no doubt, but what is nicer is quality. So let’s start again, the best yoga videos are high-quality free online yoga videos! High-quality is not a reference to the photography, although high quality footage is nice, it’s a reference to the instructor. As with everything, experience is our greatest teacher, so the more experienced instructor chances are the higher the quality online yoga class. If you are fairly new to yoga, do a little research on the instructor’s free yoga videos you are watching. Their bio, notes, comments and reviews of their classes may be available. Be open-minded about yoga’s multitude of expressions, as one class does not represent all. The many expressions of yoga represent the many personalities of the instructors, and there is a good chance you will find more than one instructor you resonate with. Besides style varieties, you will also find free yoga videos for beginner, intermediate and advanced practices. Yet if not, remember, not all the world’s amazing yoga classes are free online yoga classes. Some may charge a fee to access their classes and online archives. I believe here at poweryoga.com we have found a nice balance, offering a few of the best free yoga videos, which we rotate monthly. Free high-quality online yoga videos, led by highly experienced and locally popular instructors here at Santa Monica Power Yoga and Meditation: https://poweryoga.com/yoga-videos/. Our free online classes give people a chance to have access to our amazing high-quality online yoga classes, regardless of their situation, as is in line with our philosophy that this sacred, special and healing practice should be available to all. This is why our Santa Monica, Ca. (USA) studio is run on donation basis. We are dedicated to giving our best to all. Our studio is an amazing place to practice for doctors, musicians, contractors, movie stars, homeless people along with students, housewives, retirees and anyone else who desires some time dedicated to the type of fitness that includes silence and meditation, which adds up to calmness and relaxation, side by side with the most dynamic, well-rounded exercise on Earth. Indulging in our free online yoga classes, you will find yourself right in the midst of our daily, public classes which have been recorded live in our Santa Monica Power Yoga and Meditation studio in the heart of the Southern California yoga scene. Those who would like even more variety and access hundreds of classes at pennies per class can subscribe to our online yoga studio’s video library where you could literally do a different online yoga class every day for years without repeating the same class. Yet you will repeat classes and add them to your favorites as you find classes that just hit the right spot for you. Some yoga classes are like songs that just never get old. Hopefully you will find that to be the case with our free yoga video offerings, as we try to upload a nice variety of classes and change the classes monthly. Power Yoga is a special class that’s designed to be dynamic yet approachable. Power Yoga meets you where you are at and leads you to a wellspring of lightness, freedom and energy. Come check it out: https://poweryoga.com/sign-up/
Meditation and Yoga is like Human and Heart. Yoga vs. Meditation is a ridiculous concept, as they are one and the same. They are inseparable and necessary to complete each other. So yes, yoga does include meditation; actually, yoga is meditation with an option to add poses. I’ve heard the question, what poses are yoga meditation poses? Meditation needs to occur in all yoga poses, otherwise they are not yoga poses. So maybe we should just keep the words yoga meditation together. Although when focusing solely on meditation, the meditation yoga pose of choice is a comfortable seated pose of one’s choosing, where one can sit with a tall spine, soft shoulders (tension-free) and closed eyes (to minimize distractions). This seated pose is recommended but not obligatory.
We will not heal relationships and solve problems with loose hamstrings, yet we will with the benevolent qualities of our mind. This includes the relationship we have with ourselves. Yoga poses without meditation is like a body without a heart, basically it’s dead. So what is meditation, and how do we bring meditation and yoga poses together, so these poses become yoga poses? Meditation can be described many ways, and certainly the way I describe is not the only way. I describe meditation as mental fitness, and I describe mental fitness as developing the benevolent qualities of our mind. Benevolent qualities reduce stress, as opposed to malevolent qualities, which create stress. According to our medical communities, stress is the precursor to most all disease. So if wellness is the objective, meditation is all-important. Benevolent qualities are like muscles; when you use them, they develop, and when you don’t, they atrophy. So, mental fitness is using these benevolent qualities. How you do yoga meditation is a diverse subject, but we could start with focus and concentration. This means being a good listener. As one listens or observes something, including our body, within these poses (which is necessary for these poses to be healing, as we need to honor what we are feeling, which is why we are given feelings, to guide us), our mind quiets down. This quietness opens up a world of possibilities; this world is called yoga meditation! This is one answer to the question: How to do yoga meditation? Just pay attention. As you pay attention, your mind quiets, and a quiet mind is the opposite of a stressful mind. Yet paying attention, lessening thought distractions is difficult and a skill that can be developed. This is yoga meditation for beginners and remains yoga meditation as the practice matures. One simply continues developing this skill.
The benefits of yoga and meditation are diverse. How you meditate with yoga begins with focus and concentration. Yet from there, the modalities are many. Check out our “Meditation of Wisdom” or our “Meditation of Gratitude.” From there, there is so much to explore.
Yet, circling back to keeping yoga poses a meditation in motion, remember, if these poses are not meditation, then they are not yoga, they are simply Eastern calisthenics. When they are meditation, they become healing, because you are tuned into the subtleties you are feeling.
How does yoga help you express your gratitude? Why do we practice yoga? The common answer is health and/or wellness. What detracts from wellness more than stress? What is more opposite than stress than gratitude? Yoga and gratitude is like parent and child. Gratitude is a by-product of yoga as the goal of yoga is awareness as we become more aware we start to see how blessed we are and it starts to seem really silly that gratitude is not a larger player in our mind state. Especially when we understand the negative effects of stress and gratitude reversing those effects. Yet in the rat race where everyone is running around trying to get somewhere and trying to accumulate more somehow feeling like we are not good enough where we are at now. Somehow feeling like something is wrong or something is missing. When business 101 teaches us to create a need for what we are selling. A industry called marketing blossoms. The key to marketing is creating a need and one way to create a need is to make people feel inadequate without what they are selling, or feel like something is missing, feeling like we are not good enough the way we are. People see these messages in the form of ads or commercials, billboards, etc…. We see how beautiful we should be and what we should have to be cool and what we need for a good time, we see what we are missing and what we should have and even how we should act. Over time this stuff has an effect. It’s like we are being programmed by our culture and the program is making us sick but we can’t stop because we have become addicted to the program. Like the cigarette smoker is addicted to smoking even though they are poisoning themselves. Our mentality dwells more in lack than abundance. We become more focused on what we want than grateful for all we have. We believe our salvation will come from accumulation instead of appreciation. Accumulation has no end. Appreciation is the end, it’s the foundation of contentment and satisfaction.
Gratitude yoga is when you consciously attempt to be grateful. Ways to express gratitude within our yoga practice is to keep remembering the trillions of reasons you have to be grateful. Yoga poses that inspire gratitude and yoga sequences for cultivating gratitude are simply poses and sequences where your priority is to keep gratitude in the forefront of your mind. A yoga class for gratitude or dedicated to cultivating gratitude is lead by a person who value’s gratitude and is constantly reminding themselves or the class participants to bring ones mind back to gratitude.
Gratitude is like a muscle, if you use it, it will grow and if you don’t use it, it will atrophy. So bringing gratitude back into ones life means taking the time out of ones day and developing it. Thus here at poweryoga.com we offer you the meditation of gratitude. Your teacher is your life’s experiences and your teacher has taught you that you cannot develop something you do not use. So to cultivate gratitude you need to use it and if you’d like you can develop gratitude until it becomes the largest player in your psyche.
You can find loving kindness with yoga, I did. Loving kindness is the natural by-product of my yoga practice and my growth as a yogi. To be a yogi is to desire and strive for my potential. I’m not sure how that will look yet I can keep moving in that direction by following what makes sense to me and what feels right. I see nature’s perfection and I know I am part of that. I see that challenges are important tools that facilitate growth. I know wisdom and knowledge comes from experience whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant. More and more I am embracing my whole life. Awareness is the key as I catch myself slipping into stress inducing qualities and I pull my mind away knowing there is nothing wrong even when this don’t feel good. Then placing my mind in a place of my choosing.
As I started my yoga journey about 40 years ago the concept of karma (the law of attraction) struck me hard. The idea that what goes around comes around. Somehow I believed this law and principal to be true. Believing this was my first steps toward awareness as I needed to be aware that how I treated others would come back and bite in the keester. You could say this was the beginning of loving kindness in the sense I was engaging in less and less harmful (to others) activities. This is a selfish reason to be kind as I cared less about others and more about experiencing less personal unpleasantness yet it was a beginning.
Soon I started becoming aware of all the trouble I had caused others and myself and all the problems I created and basically what an A-hole I was to so many so often. Yet I have not only forgiven myself I realize that all of that and all of the ramifications to all of that have helped me learn and grow and become all I am today. So I understand the importance of my past. So when I see others acting out in a harmful manner I simply see myself at another time. I have compassion towards them as I know there was a time when I harmed many as well. This allows me less enmity and more loving kindness. I also realize a lot of my hurtful acts were a by-product of a hurtful childhood and the messages I absorbed as my character formed (between the ages of 0 – 6). I understand others are acting out as well. This helps in being less reactive and more patient, forgiving and tolerant. This also helps curtail any negative, vengeful or spiteful responses reducing the negativity bouncing back towards me.
This all stems from awareness and acknowledging the truth about myself. Denial is like walking into a wall over and over again. Awareness is one day realizing the pain of truly seeing your self is less painful then walking into that wall. Now when I realized the pain and suffering in my life was for the most part the outcome of my malevolent thoughts and actions eventually I graduated to the next realization which was if malevolence creates malevolence then benevolence can and will create benevolence. This was like a f@#king light bulb turning on in my head.
Long story short I have not been in a verbal or physical altercation and I have not been in jail in 20 some years. Not only am I not attracting this in my life but when the sh*t hits the fan I’m less reactive and not fanning those flames of harm. Mahatma Gandhi’s most famous quote was “ Be the change you want to see “ I can almost guarantee he was not talking about your hamstrings. Basically if you want loving kindness in your life than develop loving kindness. We can cultivate loving kindness with yoga practice, which might be yoga’s highest purpose. We can have loving kindness meditations we can have loving kindness yoga sequences. Loving kindness in our yoga practice, whether it’s asana or meditation is basically the intention behind the action. When doing a forward bend are you doing it to get flexible or to get well? Your teacher is your life experiences and your teacher taught you the harder you are on anything the faster you wear it out. Are you being aggressive or gentle? Are you trying to change it or care for it? Can you express loving kindness towards yourself even if it’s not egotistically gratifying? This means being more dominated by your awareness (wisdom) than your vanity or (fear). In doing so you start to develop loving kindness. This is very difficult and our previous learned behaviors are imbedded deep and we get little support from our culture and society. Yet this is the highest purpose of a yoga class and we are here to support this. Here’s a little gift from me to you…The Meditation of Compassion.