This year during YJ’s six-month cross country excursion, ambassadors Jeremy Falk and Aris Seaberg explore the trends that will shape the future of yoga in the West.
As a full-time yoga teacher in San Francisco, Jeremy Falk finds inspiration in observing how yoga is practiced and embodied around the globe. His own yoga journey began in 2003, and was ultimately transformed when he landed in Rishikesh, India, for five months in 2012. “The profound effects the city had on my mind and spirit were inescapable and life changing,” he says. Falk completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training there before returning stateside. He has since studied with prominent Bay Area yoga teachers Stephanie Snyder, Janet Stone, and Jason Crandell, finishing a 500-hour training. His mission: “At the end of the day, my passion is to heal the world by empowering people through the practice of yoga.”
In order to stay grounded while her mother was fighting terminal cancer, Aris Seaberg turned to yoga in 2014. The practice sparked a transformation that quickly led to a 500-hour Akhanda Shakti teacher training and additional study of prenatal, kids, and trauma-informed yoga. On top of all of that, Seaberg opened her own studio in Orange County, called Luminous Soul Tribe, designed to help community members stay healthy and balanced in body, mind, and soul. Seaberg sees the future of yoga as all-inclusive and therapeutic. “I have learned how helpful yoga can be for dealing with stress, grief, PTSD, injury, illness, and more, and I want to be part of a bigger movement that shares this incredible practice,” she says.
Fifteen years ago, yoga teacher Max Strom traveled to Varanasi, India. What he witnessed there sent him on the road to emotional transformation.
From time to time, nearly all of us are prompted to reassess our priorities. The trigger is usually an event or an interaction that leads to an epiphany. In that moment, we see the essence of who we really are. This can spark spontaneous and sudden growth at a deep level, altering the course of our lives.
One of the events that helped jolt me awake happened in India, almost 15 years ago.
My traveling companion and I had arrived by train at the teeming city of Varanasi—a pilgrimage destination for Hindus of all denominations who believe that bathing in the water of the sacred Ganges River remits sins, and that dying in Varanasi ensures the release of a person’s soul from the cycle of death and rebirth. Many Hindus travel to this holy city to die and be cremated on the series of steps leading down to the river, called ghats, and to have their remains scattered in the water.
On our first sojourn down the ghats, we found ourselves near billowing smoke. We were taken aback at the sight of seven bodies wrapped in muslin cloth, set ablaze. The families in mourning sat only a few feet from the flames.
My friend and I looked for just a moment, and then thought we should move away. We felt like we were intruders disturbing something very personal. But as we turned to leave, one of the attendants in charge of the burning approached us and asked us to stay. He ignored our objections and discomfort. Instead, he led us through the crowd and gestured for us to sit on the steps about 40 feet from the corpses. He left us to observe the sacred event after pointedly delivering the phrase “cremation is education”—an axiom I instantly memorized.
We both sat in silent contemplation as the afternoon sun glared through the thick smoke. I watched the attendants stoke the fire with long poles and even break off charred limbs from the bodies. As the muslin cloth burned away, I saw the feet and hands of the bodies turn black, and I felt moved by the weeping of the grieving families nearby.
I decided to use this extraordinary opportunity to engage in a form of active meditation I had read about many years earlier—a practice common in Tibetan Buddhism, Hindu asceticism, and Sufism aimed at helping one realize the impermanence of the body. The concept dictates that when a person truly understands how short mortal life is, he or she is launched into a deeper state of reality, able to live a profoundly richer life.
The practice was simple: Imagine that the corpses were the bodies of the people you love the most. In other words, make it as personal as possible.
After focusing my imagination for a while, the vision became very real. With open eyes brimming with tears, I imagined seven of the most beloved people in my life engulfed in flames. It was profoundly moving, and I found myself grieving deeply.
The next step was to imagine that one of the corpses was my own body. I selected one of the burning bodies closest to me, and in my mind I converted its identity to that of my own. Then I watched the flames envelop and consume it. Just as this happened, a gust of wind whipped toward us, blowing smoke and ash our way. As I imagined my own body burning, the ashes from the pyre blew into my eyes, covering my face and hair, as if punctuating reality. I don’t know how long we sat there—perhaps two hours—but I do know that on our walk back up the ghats, in the light of the sunset, covered in the ash of the dead, I knew that I was going to make some changes in my life.
My mortal life was running out. It struck me that even if I were to live another hundred years, my body would one day be ash on someone else’s face. In that moment, I realized that there was more to do. I was being held accountable by something deep within me, and that something told me I had better get busy. As rich and meaningful as my life was, I knew it could be more so. I knew that I was being tempted by what I call the complacency of achievement. It is a well-known trap: when you achieve much of what you want, you can be tempted to stay where you are—and cease to grow. I realized I had been holding myself back from life due to both fear of failure and fear of success. I needed to learn to become truly vulnerable; I needed to take off the armor I’d been wearing so that I could fully complete my life’s purpose.
Emotional transformation like this shapes our understanding of the world, often giving us sudden insight into the essential meaning of life, which can cause powerful changes. Yet you don’t necessarily have to wait for life to present you with an extreme situation or circumstance to accelerate your growth. Instead, you can decide to take intentional actions that accelerate your evolution, so that you become wiser—faster.
The imperative to accomplish this is as follows: Do a daily practice of breath-centric movement, such as asana, and emphasize breathwork. Breathing patterns affect us emotionally and can heal us very quickly. Without focusing on the breath in asana, we may become physically flexible and strong—yet remain stagnant in our internal world. And most importantly, no matter how young or old you are, live as if your time and your lifespan are the same. After all, we only have a few seconds here on this earth.
The knowledge we need to transform ourselves and our world is available. And whether you feel ready or not, the time is now. So live! Look at your life. What things do you remember? Wonderful meals—or television shows? Long chats with loved ones—or endless social media and texts? When we begin to study ourselves, we can step more fully into our imperfect, impermanent lives.
From practice inspiration to books, jewelry, yoga mats and more, gear up with these hand-picked favorites from YJ editors.
This New York City studio offers multisensory yoga experiences with a 3-D sound system for a strong vibrational impact and immersive visual effect. Blindfolded segments of class will also help you tune in ($25–$45 per session; woomcenter.com).
Tom Myers explains what it means to practice with a “neutral” pelvis and spine, why it’s important, and how to know when you’re there.
Join Tom Myers for a seven-week online introduction to anatomy for yoga students and teachers. You’ll learn how to think of movement in holistic, relational, and practical ways, and how to identify common postural patterns, as well as strategies for cueing, to awaken parts of the body that may need work. Sign up for Anatomy 101 here.
The wonderful insights you find in asana practice need to come back to your daily life, right? Finding neutral—or what I call coming home to your body—is a practice of its own. What is your neutral? No matter what part of the body we’re talking about, it’s good to know the answer to this question, so you don’t keep returning to a position that doesn’t serve you or your yoga practice.
There are lots of differing opinions about what constitutes a neutral position. For yogis, Tadasana (Mountain Pose) describes a neutral standing position: easily resting upright, stacked up in gravity, and bearing weight on centered, balanced feet (figure A, in the slideshow below).
A second form of neutral is called “anatomical position”—a term coined in the early 1900s to describe the version of neutral that makes sense for anatomical naming (figure D). This neutral position is expressed in yoga as Savasana (Corpse Pose): lying horizontal, resting out of gravity, and fully supported with your arms open.
My sporty friends argue that there’s a third type of neutral, called “athletic neutral,” which happens when you’re alert: with weight resting slightly on your toes, knees and hips flexed, arms in front of your chest at the ready (figure B). “Athletic neutral” is close in shape, though not in muscle tone, to a fourth possible definition of neutral, called “floating neutral”: the position you’d take if you were totally relaxed under water, like a fetus in the womb or an astronaut in space (figure C).
These four neutrals are common positions from which you move. Right now, take a moment to consider if one of these positions supports your health and helps you find a sense of calm. Can you feel yourself comfortably resting and happy in Tadasana or Savasana? Or are the neutrals you experience in these poses not actually neutral for you—therefore creating anxiety or draining your energy?
Consider Tadasana for a moment. Beginner yogis often believe this is the simplest pose; yet when you really break it down, it’s actually one of the most challenging poses to master. One of the reasons so many of us find Tadasana so challenging is because finding true neutral in this posture is rarer than you may think. Too often, our natural neutral—our birthright of balance—has been disturbed by accident, incident, or attitude, producing a front-back imbalance with hips jutting forward and heart falling back (figure E, on page 56).
Upright standing, as in Tadasana, with your heels on the earth, weight back, and back body lengthened, is a form of coming home to your body. Relaxed standing is calming, centering, and generally a parasympathetic stimulus, meaning it stimulates the repose, restore, renew, and repair part of your autonomic nervous system. Compare this to the athletic neutral position, which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system—commonly called your fight-or-flight system.
These days, way too many of us find ourselves halfway between the calming neutral standing position and the active athletic neutral position, which means we are neither fully at rest nor fully ready. For example, if your knees are straight and your pelvis is over your forefoot, you’re neither calm nor ready, neither resting in appreciative standing nor prepared to battle your demons. Either stance—resting neutral, or ready-to-go neutral—is a valid one, depending on the state of your world. However, constantly hanging out somewhere in between is an invitation for anxiety, tension, and backache.
Gravity does not fall cleanly through your skeleton, so the soft-tissues—your ligaments and muscles—have to work to keep you upright. Over time, this pattern creates pain or soft-tissue degeneration.
I see a lot of yogis and yoginis paying attention to what they do in practice, but not to what they’re doing the rest of the time. How do you sit? How do you stand? When you bend down to pick up your kids’ toys at the end of the day, do you return to an easy, upright neutral? Or do you return to something like the pose shown below (figure E)? Understanding your neutral will help you move from a place of structural integration as you practice yoga poses—and as you move off your yoga mat.
One key to fully stepping into your true resting neutral, or at-the-ready neutral—rather than something in-between—is learning how to access the balls of your feet.
In Tadasana, allow your toes to rest lightly on the floor, like a piano player’s fingers rest on the keys before playing. When you’re standing upright, your toes may exhibit a slight prehensility, gripping the earth lightly but without grasping.
If your toes habitually lift off the floor in standing poses, this is an indication of malfunction in your feet or lower legs; some tension is pulling up the toes. See if you can let your toes go, or try some ball work on the muscles in your calves, which can help those poor, overworked toes to relax. Keep in mind, however, that when you’re standing with your toes on the ground, they shouldn’t exhibit a white-knuckle grip. Test this: Can you lift all ten toes and one foot without feeling your weight shift backward? If not, your pelvis is likely forward of true neutral, so bring it back until your toes relax and you feel more weight in your heels.
Your weight should be distributed between your heels, the balls of your big toes, and the balls of your little toes—a tri-point contact, three-legged stool, or a tetrahedron (if you’re into geometry)–with an arch in between each of these three points. Once you find balance in your feet, come into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), and notice how the position of your foot is closer to the at-the-ready neutral position.
My hope is that this practice helps you understand this: If you’re standing, really stand. Stay back where your toes are free and your hips are directly over your ankles. If you need to be ready for action, bend your knees and hips, lean into your toes, and embrace being fully prepared to move. Just don’t get caught in no-man’s land, which usually amounts to pretending to be calm while feeling underlying anxiety. After months and years, this creates a pattern of strain that tugs on your muscles and ligaments, leading to pain.
This is why Tadasana is such a deep and worthwhile pose to practice (and practice, and then practice some more). If you can find true neutral in this pose—and you can carry this knowledge off the mat and into how you move and stand throughout your daily life—it will have long-term benefits for your physical and psychological well-being.
Searching for a meaningful mantra to use in your practice? Here are four powerful pieces to get you started.
The mantra: Om
Pronunciation: a-u-m Translation: The primordial sacred sound Why chant it: Om is said to be the first sound heard at the creation of the universe. When each syllable is pronounced fully, you should feel the energy of the sound lifting from your pelvic floor all the way up through the crown of your head.
The mantra: Om śāntih śāntih śāntih
Pronunciation:a-u-m shanti hee shanti hee shanti hee Translation:Peace peace peace Why chant it: Because we could all use more peace in our lives.
Om bhūr bhuvah svah | tat savitur varenyam | bhargo devasya dhīmahi | dhiyo yo nah pracodayāt
Pronunciation:A-u-m bhoor bhoo-va-ha sva-ha | tut sa-vi-toor va-rain-yum | bhar-go day-vas-yah dhee-muh-hee | dhi-yo yo na-ha pra-cho-duh-yat Translation:Earth, heaven, and all between. The excellent divine power of the sun. May we contemplate the radiance of that God. May this inspire our understanding. Why chant it: It’s one of the oldest Sanskrit mantras and very sacred in the Hindu tradition. It invokes the light of the sun and helps us to transcend suffering. It should only be chanted at dawn, noon, and sunset.
The mantra: Invocation to Ganeśa
Om gam ganapataye namah | vakra-tunda mahā-kāya sūrya-koti-samaprabha | nirvighnam kuru me deva sarva-kāryesu sarva-dā
Pronunciation:A-u-m gam ga-na-pat-ta-yay na-ma-ha | vak-ra ton-da ma-ha ka-ya soor-ya ko-tee sa-ma pra-bha | nir-vig-nam koo-roo may day-va sar-va car-yay-shu sar-va da Translation:Ganeśha, god with a curved trunk, of great stature, whose brilliance is equal to ten million suns. Grant me freedom from obstacles, in all things, at all times. Why chant it: Ganeśha is the god of wisdom and success and the remover of obstacles. It is always a good idea to begin any new endeavor by invoking him.
Ever wonder what you’re chanting during yoga class that always seems to instill a profound sense of calm? Take a look at the neuroscience behind how mantras make potent additions to your yogic practices, and find one that works best for you.
Looking for a spiritually satisfying life after college, musician Tina Malia moved to Fairfax, California, an artsy city north of San Francisco, and began attending sacred music concerts. Something in the ritual and the chanting moved her to tears and kept her going back again and again. Eventually, she started experimenting with the music on her own. One day, friend and fellow musician Jai Uttal invited her to sing backup in his band, the Pagan Love Orchestra, which combined chanting mantra with rock, reggae, jazz, and African music. Malia jumped at the chance to play and sing these sacred sounds and words—believed by practitioners to change states of mind and elevate consciousness.
“I loved the syllables and the way they rolled in my mouth, but I didn’t yet know how much I would grow to need them,” says Malia. Even though she was gaining success as a musician and was surrounded by loving friends, Malia was silently sinking into depression—an ailment she had struggled with on and off since she was a teenager. As a twenty-something, feeling lost and lonely in the world again, she was ensnared by negative thoughts and even contemplated taking her own life. “It was like I was falling down this pit,” says Malia, now 40 years old. Nothing she grasped for to ease her pain—food, sex, movies, alcohol, even spiritual books—gave her anything more than a quick and fleeting fix.
Uttal, witnessing her struggle, offered her a tool that he thought would help her deal with depression—a practice called japa, in which a mantra is repeated, silently or out loud, as the practitioner moves a string of beads (or mala) through their fingers. The mantra Uttal suggested was Ram, which can be interpreted as “the inner fire that burns away impurities and bad karma.” At the time, Malia says, she did not fully understand the meaning of the mantra. She just wanted relief from her despair, and she was willing to try anything.
After nearly two weeks of silently reciting Ram for several minutes (and sometimes hours) each day, Malia started experiencing a shift in how she was feeling.
“What appeared like a small speck of light—a little spot of relief—grew and grew with every recitation of that mantra,” she says. As she began to detach her true, deeper self from her thoughts, she slowly stopped acting on negative ones. “All these feelings of being unworthy, lonely, and lacking a purpose on earth were just thoughts,” she says. “When I gave my mind something to focus on, something besides my thoughts, it gave me relief.” After six months of daily japa practice, Malia says she was able to access true joy deep inside her. “In short, mantra gave me the will to live again,” she says.
Malia had tapped what yogis have known for several thousand years: mantra, whether chanted, whispered, or silently recited, is a powerful meditation and therapy tool. Western science is only now starting to catch up.
Neuroscientists, equipped with advanced brain-imaging tools, are beginning to quantify and confirm some of the health benefits of this ancient practice, such as its ability to help free your mind of background chatter and calm your nervous system. In one study recently published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, researchers from Linköping University, in Sweden, measured activity in a region of the brain called the default mode network—the area that’s active during self-reflection and mind wandering—to determine how practicing mantra meditation affects the brain. From a mental health perspective, an overactive default mode network can mean that the brain is distracted—not calmed or centered.
Researchers behind the Linköping University study asked a group of subjects to take part in a two-week Kundalini Yoga course that included six 90-minute sessions over the course of two weeks. Each session started with yoga exercises (asana and breathing) and finished with 11 minutes of mantra-based meditation. The subjects recited the Sat nam mantra (roughly translated as “true identity”) while placing their hands over their hearts.
The same group also performed a finger-tapping control condition—in which they were instructed to perform slow-paced button pressing on a four-button keypad.
The subjects’ default mode networks were more suppressed during the mantra meditation than during the finger-tapping exercise—and suppression grew as mantra training increased. “The study suggests that mantra training can more effectively reduce [default mode network]–related distractions than something like tapping along to the beat,” says Rozalyn Simon, PhD, who authored the study.
Research findings such as these do not profess to prove that mantra is a life-saving technique. But as Malia knows well, when we are beholden to our discursive mind, we can easily be led down the path to negative headspace—further away from our true, relaxed nature. In fact, research suggests that it doesn’t matter whether you recite an ancient Sanskrit mantra such as Sat nam, or the Lord’s Prayer, or any sound, word, or phrase—as long as you repeat something with focused attention, you’ll get results.
Since the 1970s, Herbert Benson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and founder of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, has been researching how meditation and prayer can alter mental and physical states. He’s been particularly interested in what brings on a meditative state, which he calls “the relaxation response.” Benson has experimented with subjects repeating Sanskrit mantras as well as nonreligious words, such as “one.” He’s found that regardless of what the practitioner repeats, the word or phrase has nearly the same effects: relaxation and the ability to better cope with life’s unexpected stressors.
More recently, scientists at several universities and institutes have applied modern brain-imaging tools to reach roughly the same conclusions as Benson. A 2015 study from researchers in Israel found that people who silently repeated the word echad (“one” in Hebrew) experienced a quieting of the mind, particularly a deactivation of the typically active default mode network in the brain. “When people said ‘one, one, one,’ everything that had been active during the resting state in the default mode network was shut down,” says Aviva Berkovich-Ohana, a neuroscientist in the Department of Education at the University of Haifa. “Subjects reported that it was relaxing and that they had fewer thoughts.”
In understanding how mantra works, it can be helpful to look at its translation. The word mantra is derived from two Sanskrit words—manas (mind) and tra (tool). Mantra literally means “a tool for the mind,” and was designed to help practitioners access a higher power and their true natures. “Mantra is a sound vibration through which we mindfully focus our thoughts, our feelings, and our highest intention,” says music artist Girish, author of Music and Mantras: The Yoga of Mindful Singing for Health, Happiness, Peace & Prosperity. Over time, that vibration sinks deeper and deeper into your consciousness, helping you to eventually feel its presence as shakti—a powerful, if subtle, force working inside each of us that carries us into deeper states of awareness, says Sally Kempton, a meditation teacher and author of Meditation for the Love of It: Enjoying Your Own Deepest Experience.
One of the most universally recited mantras is the sacred Hindu syllable Aum—considered to be the sound of the creation of the universe. Aum (usually spelled Om) is believed to contain every vibration that has ever existed—or will exist in the future. It is also the energetic root of other, longer mantras, including Om namah shivaya (“I bow to Shiva”—Shiva being the inner Self, or true reality), and Om mani padme hum (which essentially mean “jewel of the lotus,” and has been interpreted as, “By practicing a path that unites method and wisdom, you can transform into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha”).
These popular Hindu mantras are in Sanskrit, but mantra has deep roots in every major spiritual tradition and can be found in many languages, including Hindi, Hebrew, Latin, and English. For example, a popular mantra for Christians is simply the name Jesus, while Catholics commonly repeat the Hail Mary prayer or Ave Maria. Many Jews recite Barukh atah Adonai (“Blessed art thou, oh Lord”); while Muslims repeat the name Allah like a mantra.
So, how do you get started finding a mantra? In some practices, such as Transcendental Meditation, students hire and study with a trained mantra and meditation leader to learn and receive specific, personalized mantras. But there are plenty of ways to practice mantra independently and free of charge.
Consistency is key, says Kempton, regardless of your chosen mantra. “You enliven a mantra through regular practice over a period of time—months or even years.” she says. “It’s a bit like rubbing a flint against a stone to strike fire. The friction of the syllables inside your consciousness, the focus of bringing yourself back to the mantra again and again, and especially the attention you give to the felt sense of the mantra’s resonance inside your awareness will eventually open the energy in the mantra, and it will stop being just words and become a living energy that you’ll feel shifting your inner state.”
If you’re interested in incorporating mantra-based practices into your yoga and meditation routines, start by asking a teacher to suggest a mantra for you to try.
Mantra and meditation teachers recommend to begin by lying down or sitting in a comfortable position and silently repeat the mantra, once on the inhalation, once on the exhalation. Don’t fixate on it (you’ll know if your brow starts furrowing). When thoughts or feelings enter your mind, try to simply notice them, and then return to silently reciting the mantra. See if you can set aside 10 to 20 minutes a day to practice. Several traditions suggest staying with one mantra for several months before switching to another, in order to deepen your practice and cultivate a sense of ease, presence, and peace.
“As a beginner or intermediate practitioner, it’s important not to assume that you have the power to enliven a mantra through a thought or awareness,” says Kempton. “You have to practice, often for quite a while, before a mantra really opens for you.”
Years into her spiritual chanting practice, Malia, who credits the Sanskrit mantra Ram with saving her life, has experienced deeper connection with the mantra. “It’s almost as if these mantras start to feel like your friends—even lovers,” she says. As she tours the globe performing in sacred-music and yoga festivals, she shares her love of mantra and its healing effects. “Sometimes I wish I could stand on the top of a building and shout it out to the world: Mantra is free! It has no side effects! It’s simple and so easy!”
Sadie Nardini, wellness expert and founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, shares her recipe for vegan, gluten-free glazed donuts. Satisfy your sweet tooth and bask in the benefits of her star ingredient: antioxidant-rich matcha.
Sadie Nardini’s go-to glazed matcha donuts from Fit Girl Treats
Makes 12 regular donuts or up to three-dozen mini donuts
“After I started doing yoga and high-intensity interval training—and especially once I hit 40—I realized my weekly donut habit wasn’t going to cut it. I searched far and wide and found this amazing recipe from Leah Boston, a plant-based food blogger and creator of Fit Girl Treats. Her donuts are baked, vegan, gluten-free, and full of antioxidant-rich matcha—known worldwide for benefits like supporting heart health. They’re perfect for when you’re craving something sweet!”
INGREDIENTS ¾ cup almond milk, divided 14 pitted Medjool dates 1¼ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (I like Cup4Cup or King Arthur), plus more for dusting 1 tbsp tapioca starch (or tapioca flour) 1 tbsp organic matcha powder, plus ½ tsp, divided (I love Positively Tea Company) 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp cinnamon, plus/tsp, divided 1 tbsp lemon juice 1½ tsp vanilla extract, divided 1 cup organic powdered sugar 1 cup coconut chips or organic shredded coconut coconut oil for greasing
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat ½-cup plus 2 tbsp almond milk in 30-second intervals in the microwave until warm. Add dates and let soak, 10 minutes.
In a bowl, mix flour, tapioca starch, 1 tbsp matcha powder, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ tsp cinnamon.
In a food processor or high-speed blender, blend date-and-milk mixture until smooth and creamy.
Make a hole in the center of your dry ingredients and add your date paste, lemon juice, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix ingredients together until batter is smooth. Batter should be wetter than cookie dough but too thick to pour.
Grease donut pan with coconut oil, and dust with flour. Scoop batter into pan (either mini or regular) filling each donut cup to the top.
Bake until tops are slightly brown, 8–15 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes, then flip pan on a flat surface to remove donuts. (If donuts stick to pan, run a butter knife gently around their edges until they come loose.) Transfer donuts to a cooling rack, 60–90 minutes.
Once donuts are completely cool, make your glaze: In a bowl, mix together powdered sugar and remaining 2 tbsp almond milk, ½ tsp matcha powder, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, and ½ tsp vanilla extract. Dip donuts in glaze (it will harden, so dip right away) and then into coconut chips. Serve, or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
NUTRITIONAL INFO 214 calories per regular-size donut, 3 g fat (2 g saturated), 46 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein, 148 mg sodium
Feel like you need a life change, or to craft better, healthier habits and a more consistent practice? Consider Kundalini. Here’s why it really works.
Are you ready to discover your life’s purpose and activate your fullest potential? Kundalini Yoga is an ancient practice that helps you channel powerful energy and transform your life. And now there is an accessible, easy way to learn how to incorporate these practices into your practice and life. Yoga Journal’s online 6-week online course Kundalini 101: Create the Life You Want offers you mantras, mudras, meditations, and kriyas that you’ll want to practice every day. Sign up now!
Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of deep awareness and transformation. We cannot practice Kundalini Yoga without experiencing magical shifts. I was certified in Hatha yoga before my certification in Kundalini Yoga. I love them both. However, when I need a miracle or the ability to break free of limiting beliefs or fears, Kundalini Yoga is my go-to practice. And here’s why:
1. Kundalini Yoga clears blocks in your energy field.
Kundalini Yoga is a magical science that uses sound, mantra, energy healing, exercises and meditations to release trauma from the energetic body, which surrounds the physical body. It is this field, known as the aura, that holds wounds. When those wounds are healed, radiance can occur. Radiance is the magnetic frequency that draws in beauty, love, and light. Attracting abundance into your life starts in the subtle (energetic) body–not the mind.
Kundalini Yoga helps us recognize that abundance is our birthright and living from our hearts is the surest path to prosperity. When we are able to listen to the whispers of the heart, we are able to tap into the magnetic force of the universe, which is love. When we live in that frequency of love, we feel gratitude. Like attracts like, and therefore gratitude attracts more gratitude.
Many people feel as if they have done everything possible to create the lives they want, however they still feel stuck. Kundalini Yoga is a technological miracle that makes the impossible possible through the laws of quantum physics and energy.
2. Kundalini yoga quiets your mind.
The practice of Kundalini Yoga quiets the thoughts that keep us feeling fearful, stuck, and insecure, so that the heart and soul can flourish. Our heart shows the pathway to our highest potential, not the mind! But our heart’s voice is quiet. It can easily be drowned out by the whirling thoughts of our ego-driven mind. When our heart is in in alignment with our soul’s mission, everything flows. Our sensitivity awakens, and our intuition opens. We can let go of the pain of the past and the fear of the future by being present in the moment.
The breathwork and sacred mantras of Kundalini Yoga are wonderful for quieting our mind. Slowing our breath down puts the brakes on racing thoughts. Next time your mind is really spinning out of control, try playing a sacred mantra. The soothing sound current will shift the vibration to one of peace.
3. Kundalini Yoga gives you confidence.
Kundalini Yoga helps you recognize that you are worthy. In a Kundalini Yoga session, you are likely to come face to face with your self-imposed limitations–your inner walls–but you can miraculously dissolve them with the practice. The iconic Kundalini Yoga quote from Yogi Bhajan, “keep up and you will be kept up,” really works. After meeting the challenge of a Kundalini Yoga exercise, many of life’s challenges seem less overwhelming.
The confidence you get from Kundalini Yoga arises from deep within. It does not depend on external circumstances. It is confidence that comes from having the genuine experience of connection to a reservoir of light and love that is much deeper than your limited sense of self. When we truly feel worthy of happiness and success, we are able to manifest our deepest dreams.
4. Kundalini Yoga connects us with the divine.
Kundalini helps us to let go and live without attachment. We work our body, mind, and soul in a way that integrates oneness with the universe. This allows us to feel a connection to higher realms. The higher realms remind us to trust ourselves and to recognize that our pure essence is one with spirit, and, when we trust ourselves, we let go of attachment. We begin to give and receive energetically.
We learn the beauty of giving by silencing the constant chatter in the mind. We stop “doing” and begin allowing. We learn that our true heart’s desire comes from the Divine, and we stop needing approval from others to honor our inner truth – our Sat Nam. When we free ourselves from the expectations of others, we begin to attract love into our lives by giving love.
5. Kundalini Yoga builds strength and resilience.
Our true strength comes from our core energy, not our muscles. If our energy reserves are low, we feel weak in body and in spirit, and our ability to persevere through the challenges of life diminishes. With regular practice, Kundalini Yoga helps us develop a profound core of prana–or life force–and a reservoir of love inside. We gain the ability to depend on that reservoir to deliver the strengths needed to meet the daily demands of life.
Exercises like Ego Eradicator help to free the flow of energy through our body and mind. An incredible strength becomes tangibly accessible when the energy flows. The energy has always been available to us, but we were separated from our own light.
Life will always mirror the challenges found in our inner energy field. By working through and releasing the inner energy blockage, a corresponding release in our life, thinking, and our spirit also occurs. This parallel of micro and macro is the secret power of how Kundalini Yoga enables us to create the lives we desire. When we are cleared of wounds and vibrating in the frequency of love, we attract more love. This is the law of (Kundalini Yoga) science.
Hoping to find the perfect music to listen to during the new moon? This playlist from #YJInfluencer Lauren Eckstrom will help you harness the moon’s comforting energy.
Many of us are familiar with the sun’s energy through Sun Salutations, but what about the moon? The moon is full of tranquil, feminine energy that can be tapped into as we move and flow. This energy is rejuvenating and restorative, and this playlist will be the soundtrack of support.
A lot of people believe they aren’t strong enough, or that they weigh too much to balance. All that stuff just isn’t true. With proper alignment and practice, you can do this.
Create an empowering mantra. Envision that you’re already in the pose, and meditate on how you feel when you’re in the inversion. This will melt fear away. Also, go slowly. Most people think the faster they kick, the quicker they will invert. But that doesn’t honor the laws of physics! When you slow down, you can use proper alignment and feel more in control of your body. It also gives you the chance to fall out safely when needed.