Krishnamacharya: The Father of Modern Yoga


For lovers of yoga history, this is a great little presentation by A.G. Mohan sharing his thoughts on the legacy and teachings of yoga luminary Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1989). “Let the message not be lost…”


Krishnamacharya was unique in many ways — as a master of yoga, as a teacher, as an Ayurvedic physician and as a scholar.

In the West, Krishnamacharya is mostly known for his contribution to the revival of the more physically oriented disciplines and practices of hatha yoga.  Therefore, he is often referred to as “the father of modern yoga.”

The notion that Krishnamacharya practiced and taught yoga that was somehow “new” or “modern” is primarily due to the many distortions or misunderstandings about the link between the physical practices of hatha yoga and the meditational practices of raja yoga.   He was the conservator of the ancient teachings of raja yoga.

As a master of yoga and a great scholar, he practiced and linked the physical practices of hatha yoga with the mental states of samadhi described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.    Let us listen to the great master on what is yoga.

View the rest of the transcript at

Unraveling The Science Behind Yoga’s Benefits

“If there was a drug that could mimic the effects of yoga, it would probably be the world’s best-selling drug.” ~Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D.

Thought this was a pretty interesting interview with John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, who led a five-year study that revealed how yoga and meditation practice affect genes and brain activity in the chronically stressed. It’s science, people!

Soul Freedom and How it Relates to Your Real-World Life

1470185_534981776595152_133338301_nCould you live free? Really, truly, free.

It’s a question that, these days, a lot of people are answering ‘yes’ to. Yes, we can be who we truly want to be. Yes, we can live outside the 9 to 5 box. Yes, we can create a reality that’s reflective of our dreams.

Here are five living proofs of real-world soul freedom, and how all of it relates to yoga, Tantra, your intrinsic soul desires, and moksha.


  1. Chris Gillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity. Living proof that freedom can be fun and financially rewarding.
  2. Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation and Body of Work. Another living proof that real-world freedom is not just possible, it’s already happening.
  3. Jonathan Fields, career renegade and author of Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, and founder of Sonic Yoga studios in New York City.
  4. Air BnB. Cheap places to stay with wonderful people. Travel on a tight budget? It’s happening. Vanity Fair reports some have noted that Air BnB will soon be booking more rooms per night than Hilton Hotels.
  5. Swami Maheshananda Saraswati, of the Bihar School of Yoga and my friend. He travels the globe, and has been for years since leaving the ashram. “I don’t really worry about where money is coming from,” he says. And it arrives. It just does.


Moksha, translated as freedom and liberation, is intrinsic.

Ancient Vedic texts describe four soul desires. The four purusharthas are also known as the four aims of life. They’re directly linked to the personal, unique Jivatman part of our soul, and the infinite, unlimited Paramatman, part of our soul.

  1. Dharma: your duty, calling or life’s purpose.
  2. Artha: prosperity, or having the things you need to do your dharma.
  3. Kama: pleasure, the reward of living our dharma.
  4. Moksha: liberation or freedom.


Tantra (which Kundalini yoga is a part of) teaches us that everything is cosmic. Our external reality is a reflection of the divine, and the divine within us. What we experience in our waking, walking, everyday world is directly connected to our divine nature.

And if our divine nature is shuttered, then our waking reality will reflect that. We might have a job we don’t like; a daily routine that makes us feel stressed, drained, and anxious; or feel like we have to do a lot of things we really don’t want to.

Soul freedom ignites real-world freedom.

When we free our soul, and begin to live from a place of love instead of fear, we see that begin to play out in our everyday lives. We find a way to create our dream career, we meet the mate we’ve been wishing for, and strange, magical things begin happening. Random opportunities come without us seeking them, we happen to show up in just the right place at just the right time, and things just seem to flow.

We free our soul, and liberate our life.

I invite you to look for more living proof that real-world soul freedom is not just possible, it’s already happening. All over the world.




Editor’s note: This was another guest post from the amazing Lindsey Lewis–life coach and yoga teacher. Stay up to date with her latest at www.libreliving.comFacebook, and Twitter.

Photo credit: Yoga Inspiration

Sometimes You Just Need Your Daily Yoga Reminder…

It’s kind of a good question, but so true…

A little humor helps, especially when half the yoga world + Stephen Colbert can’t get over the fact that Chip Wilson doesn’t think his yoga pants are for everyone…

A Different Remembrance Day


This is my baby boy Harrison…he’s 3 months old this week…and he loves his tongue…

[Editor's note: When I read this guest post by Matthew Remski, it brought to mind some of the feelings I have about parenting and being a father.  We also just had our third child, Harrison, a few months ago. It's a full-time job just staring at his cuteness!  This post spoke to me about being a better parent everyday and I think it will speak to some of you.  Please check out and support Matthew and Michael Stone's indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to publish their book, Family Wakes Us Up. ~Brian] 

FWUU - Facebook Cover Image


On Remembrance Day, I didn’t wear a red poppy. Nor was I inclined to wear a white poppy. I am neither hawk nor dove, but a pragmatist at heart. But deeper than this I share with many others a sick discomfort at the emotion of the day. It’s not just because it presents an impossible tangle of trauma and politics. Or because we’re asked to digest the absurdity of Vimy Ridge together with the heroism of D-Day and the hubris of Vietnam. It’s not because I know my grandfather became a violent alcoholic in part because he survived the slaughter at Dieppe. It’s not because I can feel his fear and rage in my own heart.

I have misgivings about the emotions of the day because their performance reveals both the scarcity of other emotions and opportunities to share them. Specifically: those emotions that might arise from different forms of male intimacy. It feels as if only horror and loss and pride make emotional transparency permissible amongst men. (The demographics of veterans and casualties are becoming less gender-specific, but it is still mostly men.) Deeper than this is the strange resonance between celebrating the absence of men and the everyday fact that living men are so often absent to each other.

It’s appropriate that these rituals around the world take place at cenotaphs – literally, “empty graves” – symbolizing resting places for those who are vanished. I remember being ten and seeing a sepia photograph of the English poet Wilfred Owen, who was killed at twenty-five one week before the Armistice of 1918. His death and absence seemed to canonize him. I developed a strange wish to be like the vanished: exquisite in noble silence, remembered, but not present. Weep, you may weep, for you may touch them not, Owen wrote, shivering in a trench in France.

The dead soldier, the missing soldier: you can’t touch them. The dead man, the absent man. The dead father, the absent father: you can’t touch them. How often do men stand in elevators together, staring straight ahead, ascending the silent towers? How often do men fail to meet each other’s eyes, and quickly change of any conversation that approaches the heart?

I have a sense that the austere moods in the shadow of the cenotaph – this deference we pay to absence – distracted myself and other boys being socialized into this construction of manhood from nurturing other modes of bonding. Modes based on the presence, or simply: what we feel through our immediate relationships every day. Simpler sorrows and joys, unorchestrated by the transfer of wealth, unordained by the state. Things that are readily given, can be touched every day, and by touching, make you weep.


From admiring Wilfred Owen at ten years old, I’ll fast-forward thirty years. My partner Alix and I find out that she’s pregnant. Overjoyed, we tell our parents. Alix’s father grabs me by the lapels and says, shaking and through tears, “Now you’ll know what all of the words are about, all of this mythology and literature. All of these rituals. You’ll understand what everybody’s fighting and feeling about.”

Fighting and feeling. I was familiar with the first. But what of feeling? Where would I find my band of brothers in this? With whom would I share this heart bursting with love and expectation? This excitement and anxiety? The premonition that I was becoming more whole, and that I wasn’t ready for it?

I went looking for support and fellowship amongst fathers. Surely there must be fatherhood preparation groups, I thought. But I didn’t find anything in this modern and liberal metropolis. I made a point of taking out all of my friends who were fathers for lunch and asking them “What’s the most important thing you can tell me about being a father?” Many were embarrassed by the question, as though they couldn’t imagine having anything of value to say. I pressed them anyway. I dragged out their stories and drank them in. I said: You’ve learned so much. Do you see how much you’ve learned? We really have to share this. Isn’t this the most important thing?

Meanwhile, Alix had pre-natal yoga, and a network of contacts through the midwifery clinic. We hired a doula, and this extended her web of connections through a whole underground city of expectant mothers. I remember walking with her down a busy city street and passing other expectant couples. Her eyes would meet with the eyes of the other women, and they’d share a moment of recognition. But I never met the eyes of my counterparts, except briefly, which provoked a shrugging, bewildered acknowledgement that we were standing outside something we didn’t know how to enter.

When men stand around the cenotaph – the empty grave – they know how to dress the part, to straighten their medals. They know how to cry, and we expect them to. But when in their ragged circle they stand around the fullness of their partners about to give birth, men become largely invisible to the culture and to themselves. In their emotional invisibility, they are assigned or fall into the thinnest of stereotypes. The bumbling father who screws up the laundry. The distant father, on his smartphone at the playground.

Why are we not socialized to share the wonder of life – the newness of our changing identities? As if it were the natural thing to do. Where is the emotional transparency of everyday things?

Over two millennia ago, the Buddha confronted a patriarchal, economically stratified and belligerent culture that was also fixated upon absences: invisible things like honour and the gods, which the priestly bureaucracies encouraged people to remember with grandiose rituals. The dominant culture encouraged remembrance –smriti in Sanskrit – of mythology, forefathers, glorious victories in war, and the divine nature of the social order and gender roles. One of the main things one was meant to remember was one’s place.

Like many other things the Buddha turned that upside down, using the word smriti in a very novel way. In essence, he said: Go ahead and remember the myths and the gods and your social customs and your gender roles and all manner of things you make up or can’t see. But more importantly, remember that you are alive here and now. That you are breathing. That there is sun and earth and grass. That you can love and be loved every day. That underneath every ambition there is a forgotten peace. Underneath every anger there is hurt that can be soothed. That your first duty is to nurture life. Viewing the eons of war, the Buddha suggested a different kind of Remembrance Day, not ordained by class, restricted to a date, defined by a ritual, or confined to a temple or an empty grave. Instead of two minutes of silent meditation upon absence, he encouraged an ongoing mindfulness of how we are present to the world and each other, lest we forget.

In the end I didn’t find an expectant fathers group. But I did become aware of how many people beyond my heteronormative bubble are pushing back against the gendered constructs that divvy up the labour of feeling.  And then I made a friend whose partner was also pregnant. So we started writing letters to each other, every morning. We’re collecting them into a book. For me, a different remembrance day began without flags or wreaths or homilies, or the ringing of guns. It began by writing Dear Michael, I have something to share with you.


[Editor's note: This is a guest post by Matthew Resmki.  Matthew is an Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga philosopher. His latest book, Threads of Yoga: a remix of Patanjali's sutras with commentary and reverie has redefined the practice of yoga philosophy. Family Wakes Us Up, a book about the spirituality of family life, co-written with Buddhist teacher and activist Michael Stone, will be published in June of 2014. He lives in Toronto with his partner and child. He blogs at]

What Will You Do with Your One, Precious Life?


“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”  ~Tony Robbins 

Today, promise to live more from intention and less from habit. Get clear on your key intentions for this one, precious life. Let go of half-hearted statements and declare your wishes to the universe. Be direct. Use I am statements such as: I AM CONFIDENT. I AM COURAGEOUS. I AM STRONG.

How do you know what you want? Well, that’s why we get on the mat and study ourselves. Ask questions such as:

  • If I really believed in myself I would…
  • If I knew the world could support me in the life I desire I would…
  • If I was really willing to stand behind my meta commitments I would…
  • I am ready for…

Take to heart what Elizabeth Gilbert writes in Eat, Pray, Love: “If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.”

Life without intention is like a leaf blown about in the wind. It is life in reaction mode, which can easily become habitual, where we check out. Be deliberate in your self-study and remain consistent. The work of intention needs to be like the practice of yoga, which is defined in the yoga sutras as something that is practiced over a long time and practiced in earnest. Behind the practice of yoga is the power of intention.

“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” ~Tony Robbins 

The more you practice declaring what you want, the easier it is for the universe to work on your behalf.  After all, we are all constituents in this beautiful life, and if we put ourselves out there, the universe listens.

So take a moment, repeat your intention, put it out there, make your case and stay focused. Don’t delay, because we can’t redo today. As Robert Braul puts it, “Life is short, God’s way of encouraging a bit of focus.”   Love yourself, love your day, love your life!



Screen Shot Front Silvia Card[Editor's note: This is a guest post by Daily Cup of Yoga contributor Silvia Mordini, E-RYT, retreat leader, happiness coach, and yogipreneur. Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia. Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted! Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe, she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and after being run over by a car used yoga to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia leads Alchemy Tours Yoga Retreats and Alchemy of Yoga RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training.

Silvia can be reached on the Web at or, or via email at Twitter: @alchemytours@inspiredyogagal; Facebook: Silvia Mordini; YouTube: lovingyourday; Pinterest: Silvia Mordini; Intagram: alchemytours.]

Photo credit: Silvia Mordini



Yoga and Transitions

Camillia Lee yoga on busI have never been good at transitions. I like to rush through Surya Namaskaras, getting hot and sweaty, without taking a moment to breathe in between. I used to cry every night before a major trip or event. I’ve been known to have a complete life meltdown conveniently placed in the midst of a (sometimes: every) seasonal change. Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, points to transitional periods, in seasons especially, as crucial opportunities to find balance in our lives.

According to Dr. Vijay Jaim, M.D., “Health is a harmonious relationship of mind, body and spirit with our extended body i.e., environment. Health is also a harmony of all the rhythms in our physiology. As the rhythms influence the physiology of the universe, so do they affect the physiology in our body. As is the macrocosm, so is the microcosm.” Even when change is happening around us, it affects us internally as well.

As you may notice looking back in the transition from summer to autumn, or as you may be currently experiencing in the transition from autumn to winter, the changes in seasons can really shake us up. It’s only recently as I began delving deeper into my yoga practice and the study of ayurveda that I’ve begun to notice that the transitions in season aren’t the only times I’ve felt a little shaky during a time of change.

Change can be scary; really scary. But as I’ve noted before we can choose to melt away from challenges, or we can step up with courage and take on whatever life throws our way.

I’ve recently begun my 500-hour teacher training, and couldn’t be more excited about it. My intention at the beginning was to keep my “day job” for one more year.  My plan was to continue my training and then after I had graduated begin to immerse myself more into the yoga community, and eventually, maybe, begin teaching full time. As the seasons changed from summer to fall and my training date grew closer, I had an all-too-familiar feeling of anxiety about what the future held. How much was it worth to stay comfortable where I was at instead of taking the logical and, eventually, inevitable next step toward my passion for sharing yoga? How was next year going to be any closer to “the right time” to step out of my comfort zone of earning a regular paycheck and letting my dreams and my future sit on the back burner? I realized and finally decided, like many have before me, that it was never going to be the right time.

So, I made that call and here I lay my heart open before you today to admit to you how scary it was. The hours after I walked out of the place where I had been employed for the last two years, the place that I had spent as much time at as I had in my own home. I totally lost my shit. I pouted and cried like I had never left  a job or done something courageous and daring in my whole life.

I’m happy to report that the week has been getting progressively better. I contribute it to a few key practices that I would like to share with you:

  1. Do yoga – By this I don’t mean just the asana, or posture practice, although that is definitely part of it as well. Twisting especially helps to clear anxiety; forward folding helps cool the nerves.
  2. Do pranayama – Even more important right now is my pranayama, or breathing exercises. Taking a few deep breaths and retaining before letting it spill out helps tremendously to calm the nerves. Practicing Nadi Shodhan pranayama (look it up!) also helps find calm and balance.
  3. Do meditation – After your asana practice and a few rounds pranayama your body and mind will be clearer, calmer, and more receptive to meditation. Meditation is where it’s at! Let your eyes close, focus on your breath and don’t stop! At least 10 minutes of meditation is recommended if you are new to the practice. Any meditation is better than none though.

Take some time when you are finished to sit with your new state of being, noticing and reflecting on your experience. Don’t be discouraged if you come out of your practice feeling slightly agitated or angry or any way but deeply cool, calm, and collected. Our practice has this neat little tendency of bringing to the surface all of our  “stuff” that we like to push deep down into our unconscious.

But all that “stuff” — those anxieties and worries and fears — are keeping us out of balance and making our transition more akin to a sailboat in a storm than a yacht cruise along the coast. We can continue to allow every change in direction to send us into the mercy of the sea, or we can chill out and enjoy the beauty of the sunset. That choice is completely up to us. Learning how to deal with transitions just might be one of the greatest gifts yoga has to offer.


[Editor's note: This is a guest post from DCOY contributor Sean Devenport. She is currently completing her 500-hour RYT.]

seanyogaA quiet and curious observer by nature, Sean was drawn to human psychology as an undergraduate at Ripon College. Determined to learn just what it is that makes people “tick”, she travelled the globe studying some of the ways we, as humans, can be – spending a semester on the golden beaches of Australia, and another in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, Sean returned home to discover the key ingredient  to understanding others was first to understand the Self. Since 2009, Sean has been a dedicated practitioner of yoga and life, dabbling in every style from Bikram to Kripalu. As a former dancer and dance enthusiast to this day, the fluidity and dance-like quality of Vinyasa was what really spoke to her soul. After studying under Gioconda Parker in 2011, Sean began teaching her own personal style of Hatha Flow, a melding of Vinyasa, the dedication to precision and alignment of Anusara, and Iyengar, and the core teachings of Hatha Yoga. Sean was highly influenced by William J Broad’s 2011 best seller The Science of Yoga, and strives to offer a safe and judgement-free environment for practitioners of every level to seek higher understanding of themSelves. Sean encourages students to pour the compassion and love that they cultivate for themselves on their mats, in to their every day interactions with others. Under the guidance of Gioconda and Christina Sell, Sean is currently pursuing her 500-hour teaching certification, The Alchemy of Flow and Form, at the San Marcos School of Yoga. Connect with Sean on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Photo credit: Camillia Lee

Halloween + Pumpkin Props + Spooky Places + Yoga = Goofy Halloween Yoga Video

Find a spooky place…the more I watch this goofy Halloween yoga video the funnier it becomes–had to share cause I thought you might enjoy it too. Happy Halloween!

pumpkin yoga 3Pumpkin yoga 2

pumpkin yogaom pumpkin

To Obtain the Benefits of Yoga Requires More than Just Putting on the Garb of a Yogi

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Yoga teaching New Yorker photoI’m re-reading Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and rediscovered this gem on p. 5, which I love because it motivates and reminds us that true understanding of yoga only comes through diligent practice:

“We now have to ask whether it is possible to realize the true nature of yoga simply by understanding its meaning as a word. By the mere study of texts on yoga, by the mere grasp of yoga’s meaning as a word, by a mere discussion of the pros and cons of this intellectual grasp, one cannot have a thorough knowledge of yoga. For, just as a good knowledge of culinary science does not satisfy hunger, neither will the benefits of yoga be realized fully by a mere understanding of the science of its practice. Thus, the scriptures only show us the right path. It is left to us to understand them and to put them into practice. By the strength gained through this practice, we can come to know the method for bringing the mind and sense organs under control. Thus can we achieve yoga. For it is only through the control of the mind and sense organs that we come to know our true nature, and not through intellectual knowledge, or by putting on the garb of a yogi.”

15 Ways Yoga Transforms the Body

yoga transforms

Most of us take our bodies for granted until they quit cooperating. When our bodies act up, that’s when we either make the decision to pop another pill or try something different. Twelve years ago I decided to try something different–yoga–and it’s literally been a life-changing journey ever since.

Maybe you’ve discovered like I have that whenever my body decides to rebel it’s usually because I’ve slacked off in my yoga practice. When I get back to the yoga, everything seems to just fall into place.

Scientific research backs up many of the claims about the benefits of yoga.  The infographic below (originally shared on The Huffington Post) shows 15 of the ways yoga can transform the body.  Check out the infographic and then head on over to Huff Po to delve into a multitude of links with the scientific research and studies that support many of these claims.

If you want extra credit, then you’ll definitely want to take a look (if you haven’t already) at William Broad’s The Science of Yoga or Dr. Timothy McCall’s Yoga as Medicine. Dr. McCall’s website and newsletter also have some great resources on the transforming power of yoga on the body and I give these my highest recommendation.

Happy practice and namaste!

How Yoga Transforms Your Body

Photo credit: not me, it’s another dude on Facebook

a yoga blog with tips, tools, & wisdom on yoga, books, & technology