Friday, March 4, 2011


I think i should just do yoga and not proselytize and I am sure many people share this view. So then why do I always feel compelled to suggest that people try yoga, convince my friends and known associates of its life transforming benefits, try to get more people to class? I don't really know the answer to this question but I'll try to come up with one nonetheless.  I don't want to use big words and sound bathetic but of course I will. but yoga is a gift, and like pathabi jois said everyone, old man, young man, sick man, can benefit from the practice. or is there my ego lurking in the back and i just want to be proven right when i see a class full of student that i recruited? omg... the path to nirvana is long and hard.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

today's recipe

Today I have made a really nice cake with my little daughter. It is in my effort to make do without grains and flour, which we use too much in our diet. The cake is made with seeds, nuts and dried fruit. It is important that the dried fruit be organic (as in the non-organic varieties all kinds of horrible chemicals and additives are used). Here is the recipe: (use 1 tablespoon of everything unless otherwise noted.)

sunflower seeds
poppy seed
buckwheat flour (buckwheat is a seed)

grind all the above into a fine flour-like consistency. Add:

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 egg
canola oil or melted butter
2 tablespoons of honey
3 tablespoons of soy milk

dried raisins
dried cranberries

mix well, pour mixture in a well buttered pan, sprinkle with caster sugar, bake in hot oven for about 20 mins.

I removed the cake from the overn 15 mintues ago. There's nothing left.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Yoga Tradition

The Yoga Tradition
by David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) 
By Yoga here we mean primarily the classical Yoga system as set forth by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali taught an eightfold (ashtanga) system of Yoga emphasizing an integral spiritual development including ethical disciplines (Yama and Niyama), postures (Asana), breathing exercises (Pranayama), control of the senses (Pratyahara), concentration (Dharana), meditation (Dhyana) and absorption (Samadhi). This constitutes a complete and integral system of spiritual training.
However classical Yoga was part of the greater Hindu and Vedic tradition. Patanjali was not the inventor of Yoga, as many people in the West are inclined to believe, but only a compiler of the teaching at a later period. Yogic teachings covering all aspects of Patanjali Yoga are common in pre-Patanjali literature of the Puranas, Mahabharata and Upanishads, where the name Patanjali has yet to occur. The originator of the Yoga system is said to be Hiranyagarbha, who symbolizes the creative and evolutionary force in the universe, and is a form of the Vedic Sun God.
Yoga can be traced back to the Rig Veda itself, the oldest Hindu text which speaks about yoking our mind and insight to the Sun of Truth. Great teachers of early Yoga include the names of many famous Vedic sages like Vasishta, Yajnavalkya, and Jaigishavya. The greatest of the Yogis is always said to be Lord Krishna himself, whose Bhagavad Gita itself is called a Yoga Shastra or authoritative work on Yoga. Among Hindu deities it is Shiva who is the greatest of the Yogis or lord of Yoga, Yogeshvara. Hence a comparison of classical Yoga and Buddhism brings the greater issue of a comparison between Buddhist and Hindu teachings generally.
Unfortunately some misinformed people in the West have claimed that Yoga is not Hindu but is an independent or more universal tradition. They point out that the term Hindu does not appear in the Yoga Sutras, nor does the Yoga Sutra deal with the basic practices of Hinduism. Such readings are superficial. The Yoga Sutras abounds with technical terms of Hindu and Vedic philosophy, which its traditional commentaries and related literature explain in great detail. Another great early Yogic text, the Brihatyogi Yajnavalkya Smriti, describes Vedic mantras and practices along with Yogic practices of asana and pranayama. The same is true of the Yoga Upanishads. Those who try to study Yoga Sutras in isolation are bound to make mistakes. The Yoga Sutras, after all, is a Sutra work. Sutras are short statements, often incomplete sentences, that without any commentary often do not make sense or can be taken in a number of ways.
Other people in the West including several Yoga teachers state that Yoga is not a religion. This can also be misleading. Yoga is not part of any religious dogma proclaiming that there is only one God, church or savior, nor have the great Yoga teachers from India insisted that their students become Hindus, but Yoga is still a system from the Hindu religion. It clearly does deal with the nature of the soul, God and immortality, which are the main topics of religion throughout the world. Its main concern is religious and certainly not merely exercise or health.
Classical Yoga is one of the six schools of Vedic philosophy (sad darsanas) which accept the authority of the Vedas. Yoga is coupled with another of these six schools, the Samkhya system, which sets forth the cosmic principles (tattvas) that the Yogi seeks to realized. Nyaya and Vaisheshika, Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa (also called Vedanta) are the remaining schools, set off in groups of two. Yoga is also closely aligned with Vedanta. Most of the great teachers who brought Yoga to the modern world, like Swami Vivekananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, Sri Aurobindo, and Swami Shivananda, were Vedantins.
These six Vedic systems were generally studied together. All adapted to some degree the methods and practices of Yoga. While we can find philosophical arguments and disputes between them, they all aim at unfolding the truth of the Vedas and differ mainly in details or levels of approach. All quote from Vedic texts, including the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Puranas for deriving their authority.
Some Western scholars call these "the six schools of Indian philosophy." This is a mistake. These schools only represent Vedic systems, not the non-Vedic of which they are several. In addition they only represent Vedic based philosophies of the classical era. There were many other Vedic and Hindu philosophical systems of later times.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ashtanga vs power yoga

This is Patthabi Jois on those who want to exploit the Ashtanga system to get rich and famous quick. I was particularly touched when he says:

The title "Power Yoga" itself degrades the depth, purpose, and method of the yoga system that I recieved from my guru, Sri T. Krishnamacharya. Power is the property of god. It is not something to be collected for one's ego. Partial yoga methods out of line with their internal purpose can build up the "six enemies" (desire, anger, greed, illusion, infatuation, and envy) around the heart. The full Ashtanga system practiced with devotion leads to freedom within one's heart.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Pranayama, or breathing technique, is very important in yoga. It goes hand in hand with the asana or pose. In the Yoga Sutra, the practices of pranayama and asana are considered to be the highest form of purification and self discipline for the mind and the body, respectively. The practices produce the actual physical sensation of heat, called tapas, or the inner fire of purification. It is taught that this heat is part of the process of purifying the nadis, or subtle nerve channels of the body. This allows a more healthful state to be experienced and allows the mind to become more calm. As the yogi follows the proper rhythmic patterns of slow deep breathing "the patterns strengthen the respiratory system, soothe the nervous system and reduce craving. As desires and cravings diminish, the mind is set free and becomes a fit vehicle for concentration."

Today I was having yoga class with Adele. Sometimes it is a real struggle to get into a pose and stay in it with dignity. In these instances I start breathing really hard, hyperventillating. Today Adele admonished me for not having a long enough inhale. My exhales are good, she said, but there's not much to exhale if I inhale almost nothing. 

In six years of practice I have never paid much attention to my inhale. In the second part of my practice I made a conscious effort to lengthen the breath especially the inhale.  It makes a world of difference, I can now attest to that. I felt immediately calmer, and I stayed longer in the postures. In fact, I realized, that when you are already in the posture, it's best to just forget about it, and concentrate mostly on the breathing. I found that when I did that, the posture automatically took care of itself and got better, or deeper.

Friday, February 11, 2011


1. Ahimsa – Compassion for all living things
The word ahimsa literally mean not to injure or show cruelty to any creature or any person in any way whatsoever. Ahimsa is, however, more than just lack of violence as adapted in yoga. It means kindness, friendliness, and thoughtful consideration of other people and things. It also has to do with our duties and responsibilities too.!/video/video.php?v=1378237514624&comments

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ashtanga yoga in Tallinn

I remember Tallinn very well. I went there over 15 years ago and spent a week, wandering the enchanting medieval streets during the day and talking to my ethnic Russian landlady in my rudimental Russian at night. I will never forget that city at that time,  just waking up after long decades of communism and Russian rule, trying to figure out its place in the new order.

I have seen this absolutely beautiful video recently on Youtube posted by a guy named Jock who follows my guru Lino Miele and has his own Ashtanga school in the Estonian capital. I hope to go back to Tallinn sometime soon, see the changes the city has gone through since I last went there, and practice with Jock, who seems an overall nice and interesting guy. What I find nice about the internet is that you can create these virtual relationships in the yoga world that are nonetheless relationships and which one day can come true. 

Here is the vid, enjoy, relax by just watching and listening.