Posted on December 24th, 2012 by in Conscious Living, Yoga

The Wisdom of Yoga: The Spirit of the Strivers

An excerpt from The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Wisdom (Bantam 2006).

In this book, Steven Cope, MSW, investigates the wisdom tradition of yoga from the point of view of six contemporary characters—modern yogis struggling with issues of love, work, addictions, careers, and unfulfilled longings of many varieties. Weaving together narrative story and expository teachings, the book brings alive the rich, and very relevant, applications of yoga’s ancient teachings.

The following piece, “The Spirit of the Strivers,” is taken from the prologue. 

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Posted on December 23rd, 2012 by in Moment of Quiet

A Holiday Moment of Quiet

“Only love can bring unity and remove the separation between all living beings. Only love purifies the body and mind.”—Swami Kripalu

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Posted on December 22nd, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Relationships

How to Have a Happy Holiday

Holidays are about friends and family, eating copious amounts of comfort food, and enjoying our downtime. This year, in particular, we are faced with challenges that can weaken our immune system, and generally leave us feeling run-down, or drained. In the midst of holiday preparations we can lose sight of our exercise routines, our healthy eating habits, and our beneficial day-to-day patterns. On top of this, entertaining, late-night parties, and generally getting off our usual schedule can wear us down. Here are some tips for getting back into the groove during holiday time.

Relax! You have time off from work, so make good use of it and enjoy quiet time by the fire, reading books you’ve been yearning to pick up, getting back onto your cushion, and luxuriating in a hot bath. Since we don’t often make the time for self-care, take advantage of this opportunity for relaxation and rejuventation.

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Posted on December 21st, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Food for the Soul

Food is life. It not only provides nutrients for our bodies, but it can also bestow love and vitality—prana—to our entire being. The holiday season is a perfect opportunity to offer our love to friends, family, and community by infusing the food we make and share with gratitude and good wishes (and to make Kripalu’s Pumpkin-Chocolate Pie!)

In many families, when we gather at the table we begin by saying grace, an expression of gratitude for the life our food provides, and a blessing that honors our guests. The practice of saying grace not only gives voice to our appreciation, but also offers us the chance to harmonize with others and with the food we eat. Pausing before we eat to experience our food through the senses supports digestion. This cephalic (meaning “in the head”) digestion actually triggers the flow of digestive juices and prepares the body to receive food.

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Posted on December 20th, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Yoga

How to Give Like a Yogi

You may be well along in your holiday gift shopping. But if you’re like me, buying gifts because the calendar says so feels a bit hollow—and you have therefore been dragging your heels. Here are some ways to make giving more meaningful.

Meaning kicks in when you give in a way that’s aligned with your values like, say: stepping lightly on the planet; supporting local and/or small businesses (a.k.a. people following their passions); helping those in need; giving experiences over stuff; tapping your creative juices instead of Amazon.com’s; and more. But it’s also important to stay mindful of the receiver: Just because you think your mom should do yoga, giving her a mat might read as unwelcome pressure.

That said, here are some conscious ways to give:

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Posted on December 19th, 2012 by in Life Lessons

Navigating the Darkness—Self-Care and Connection in the Wake of Tragedy

How can we, as mindful people, make our way through this time of senseless and unimaginable loss? Here, Aruni Nan Futuronsky, Kripalu Senior Life Coach, shares some ways we can all seek solace and cultivate connection in the wake of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

Renew your gratitude for what is. Take a few minutes today to appreciate what you have in your life: Speak your gratitude to others. Savor the love that is present. Enjoy and appreciate your children. We live in the illusion of permanence. Life, by definition, is impermanent. By becoming more aware of what is, by savoring it more, perhaps some meaning might emerge from this tragedy.

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Posted on December 18th, 2012 by in Nutrition

The Skinny on Fat: How Bad is Fat for Us—Really?

The total fail of the fat-free ’80s and ’90s taught us that fat isn’t perhaps the villain we made it out to be, and that following a low-fat diet not only isn’t the cure to obesity but also may actually make things worse. That’s because fat plays an important role in giving us energy, building [...]

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Posted on December 17th, 2012 by in Outside Our Walls, Yoga

Yoga for the Visually Impaired

When she was growing up, Lauren-Victoria (Tori) Hellrung’s family raised guide dogs in their home, so Tori has always been sensitive to the needs of people with visual impairments. After completing her yoga teacher training at Kripalu in 2009, Tori went home to Montreal and immediately started a class for legally blind adults at the MAB–Mackay Rehabilitation Centre (at the MAB site, formerly known as the Montreal Association for the Blind).

“When I started, I didn’t realize the impact this program would have on their lives,” Tori says. “As I began to learn about the community, it became clear that beyond the gym and aquafitness, my students had no other physical outlets, since most sports are not accessible to blind people. They had no other way of exploring their bodies’ potential, and none as mindful as yoga. I have not heard of a program other than my own in the Montreal area that provides this kind of opportunity for students to be in their bodies in a safe, spiritual, and physical way.”

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Posted on December 16th, 2012 by in Moment of Quiet

Moment in Quiet

“When performing actions, allow a part of the mind to observe yourself objectively. At first you see only your faults and lower qualities, which is why you must always do your self-observation with love. Gradually you begin to recognize there are good qualities also.”—Swami Kripalu

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Posted on December 15th, 2012 by in Yoga

Ancient Wisdom for the New Year

So what are you doing this New Year’s Eve? Watching the ball drop over Times Square on television … again? For many of us, the typical New Year’s celebration can feel like old hat after a while. We start looking for more profound ways of honoring the space between letting go of the old and embracing the new. For those seeking a spiritual connection during times of transition, the world’s wisdom traditions—including Peruvian shamanism, Kabbalah, and yoga—offer rituals rich with meaning.

Shamanic philosophy sees the turning of the year as a time to honor and give back to Mother Earth, and a way of tapping into and acknowledging nature’s cycle of transformation. According to Ray Crist,  founder of the Jaguar Path, which fuses yoga practice and the philosophy of Peruvian shamanism, the Q’ero of Peru believe that we’re all shamans—each of us possesses an intuitive power and wisdom that connects us to both the world around and the world within. Rituals empower people because, he says, “through ritual, we can be the catalysts that bring forth healing and change into our own lives.” To celebrate the power of change that the new year brings, the Q’ero shamans perform rituals such as the despachio, an offering of gratitude to Mother Earth for all she provides.

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