Category Archives: The Love of Meditation



So here we are once again at the fall equinox, that time when the light and dark are balanced, and we sit on the edge of descending darkness. Time to move inside a bit. What does that inside movement offer you?

This time of year is a metaphor for how we balance our lives as householder yogis. As householders, we have many responsibilities in our lives: our careers, families, and all of our interests. Yet we know that to be productive in the world we have to take care of ourselves, we have to nourish ourselves. Much like the plants shedding leaves and growing dormant for the season, we have to pull in, take care, and refuel. We need to rest and draw sustenance from the root of who we are.

Our yoga offers us an opportunity to draw in. The asana practice with a focus on breath can calm our nervous system and allow access to a more centered place. And the practice of meditation takes us deep into the center core of our being, a wellspring of light that lies in the dark quiet core of who we are. That light is the source of love, and knowledge, which can serve us to gracefully navigate the many seasons in our lives.

Our practice sustains us in these darker days, like a plant with roots deep in the ground resting and accessing energy, drawing nourishment from the depths to continue to grow and offer its flowers and fruits.

If you’re like me, spring and summertime involve a lot of activity and pleasure in the beauty of the season. And fall offers an opportunity to move inside, rest a little, nourish our deep roots, and experience the beauty inside of our being. Our practice of yoga, and especially meditation, can take us there.

Please see my meditation page for opportunities to learn this life changing practice.

You are invited to contemplate:
– What opportunity does the fall and winter offer you?
– How do you appreciate inside time?
– What would you like to cultivate this season?
– How have you seen that the inward path has supported your outward path?



I previously wrote on “Refinement” ( and in the 3+ years since, I have refined my understanding of refinement. This points to precisely the process of refinement: it is a continuing process, and in that process there are many stages. And as I previously argued, this process of refinement applies to all aspects of your life. And yoga, particularly meditation, is a key means to facilitating refinement.

We all know this to a large degree on the surface of our lives. Take our bodies for example: many of us are continually refining our diet toward more healthy habits. Likewise with exercise.

As I discussed previously, our yoga asana practice is a continuing process of refining. We learn how to correctly align our bodies to an optimal pose, when to back off, and when to go deeper. We refine our ability to listen to our bodies.

Also in many varieties of yoga asana, we learn to work with our breath, which brings a deeper level of refinement. As we listen more deeply to our breath we notice its rhythm, if we’re holding it or it is agitated, etc. This somewhat more subtle avenue of awareness allows for refinement on a deeper level, as we begin to notice more subtle shifts in our being and awareness.

Our thinking also undergoes refinement. As we apply our minds to any subject, our understanding is refined. This is the process of vikalpa samskara: the refinement of our conceptual understanding of anything, be it it technical, philosophical or artistic.

To have maximum capacity for refining our lives and understanding on many levels, the yogic texts argue that we must refine ourselves. If the instrument we are using for refinement, our body-mind, is itself unrefined, then the results of using it to refine other aspects will be less than optimal. It is as if you’re using a blunt instrument to do fine work. To some degree it will work, but the results will be messy and unrefined.

The practice of meditation works to do this in many ways. First of all, the practice itself begins to rearrange and clarify our awareness. I think of one result of meditation as clearing a pathway to our highest self. So, first, meditation is like a cosmic cleaning service that clears out old, no longer useful patterns in our life. This includes anything that hinders our access to that pathway or connection to the highest part of our self.

And then, having established that connection, we are better able to access the wisdom and guidance that resides in that highest part of ourself. All of this allows us to begin to make better choices and generally just get clearer, which is the engine of refining our lives at the surface. Everything is impacted. As we access our hearts we can relate better to others. Our decisions are more aligned with our core such that we refine our lives to be more fulfilling.

Ultimately the connection and clarity allows us to be a conduit for sharing our highest potential and we find ourselves creating refinement not only in our own lives, but in the world at large.

Thus our practices enable the process of refinement for us individually to create a healthier and happier life. Through the alignment with our highest self that we contact with practice, we begin to fulfill our life’s purpose. Each of us has the opportunity to create a more fulfilling life that also can contribute to bringing forth in this lifetime our own unique talents and gifts.

May we each seek greater refinement and alignment with our highest self, for ourselves, for those with whom we interact, and to create a better world for everyone.



On social media these days, I see a lot about “self-care,” truly an important thing to do. Most of us know we must take care of our physical health through diet, exercise and rest, which are so fundamental to our well-being. And many of us understand there is some relationship between our physical and mental health that moves in both ways, each affecting the other. Yet few of us understand that there are deeper layers, beyond the physical and mental that need to be taken care of as well.

The beauty of yoga is that it can address all of these layers of being with its different practices. The practice of yoga asana, the postures, can stretch and align and heal our physical body. And as with many exercise modalities, we’ll feel better mentally and emotionally from our physical practice.

If your yoga practice incorporates turning the mind more consciously toward awareness of your breath and observing your internal sensations, feelings, and thoughts, you will begin a process of healing that goes beyond the physical. You will start to stretch and align and heal deeply held patterns of being.

And when you incorporate meditation as part of your yoga practice, you penetrate to even subtler layers of yourself, and eventually to your deepest Self. And that traverse which clears out the most tightly held chronic patterns and challenges will yield healing and positive effects in all the levels and domains of your life.

As you penetrate to your deepest Self, you connect with the Source of everything, that which connects and permeates everything. That process begins to align all levels of your being with all that is. You will find not only that you are healthier in all aspects of your being, but that you begin to flow more fluidly within all aspects of your life: your relationships, your work, everything.

And remember: yoga and meditation is for everybody. Often people feel they can’t do yoga or meditation is impossible. But the truth is: you can! You can experience the transformative effects of these practices, though you may have to find the right teacher. If you’ve ever been discouraged I hope that you seek out a teacher of these modalities to guide you into the depths of your being to facilitate the profound healing and alignment in life that is possible.

Taking Care of Myself and My Self

Lately I have had a lot on my plate. My to-do list each day is way too long, and at the end of the day, I sometimes see myself feeling frantic and starting to rush, and also getting rather grouchy. I’m sure some of you can relate.

I know better. We all know better! Yet somehow we allow ourselves to get sucked into the drama of our lives, our checklists, and need to get things accomplished. I know this pattern well: I can do it all. I can tough it out, do one thing after another without a break, for days on end. Fit it all in, check things off my list. Then I find myself grumpy and sad, and feeling a little sick.

I know better. I have to slow down a little and take care of myself. And I have to take care of my Self.

Yet, unfortunately, like many of us, I start to cut corners. I grab fast food and forgo physical activity. I skip or cut corners on my practices. I don’t give myself or my Self the love, respect, and support I need. Keeping my body, heart, and spirit, healthy and connected is fundamental to being my most productive self.

If I take the time to take care of myself by getting enough sleep, good food, and exercise, I’m laying the groundwork to do my best. I know this.

But what was less obvious to me, and is becoming much clearer lately, is how essential it is to take care of my Self. That is where my daily practice of meditation comes in. When I meditate, it feels like I clear a channel to my Self: a deeper, fuller, wiser part of me. And that place feeds me in a way not unlike food and exercise.

The access I cultivate in my meditation practice supports all of my other activities so they become less effortful. I cultivate a channel to this Self during my meditation, which serves me during my everyday activities. It is not only a source of wisdom, but of energy, and of perspective as well.

The wisdom helps me in my studies, in my teaching, writing, in so much of my work, including my own personal inner psychological work of clearing out my old unproductive patterns.

Access to a deeper source energy allows my days to be less effortful. I feel like I don’t have to push so hard because it isn’t only “me” doing it, I can channel an unlimited ocean of energy to support me.

And yes, being the human being I am, working within the boundaries of our culture, I have many challenging experiences. And I absolutely can not do it all. But my daily steeping in the quiet of my meditation practice helps me keep a greater perspective. I remember why I am doing what I am doing. And I am less reactive and more able to stay calm.

I know I have a long way to go with all of this, which is why, each morning when I get up, I head to my meditation cushion. I understand how much I need to take care of my Self.

So recently, as I make my to-do list, I include one item that takes care of myself, and one to take care of my Self. I know if I continue to add these things into my life, all of the other things on my list will get done in a much more efficient and easeful manner.

I invite you to try this out. Whenever and however you consider what you need to accomplish in the next period of time, consider as well one thing to better support yourself, and another thing to support the connection to your deeper Self.

If you’re willing to share what these two things are, please do so in the comments below.


My Self Whispers…..

I’ve had a bit of a busy teaching schedule this last couple months, and then last week I faced a few moderate challenges.  In the midst of these times, being tired and overwhelmed, there is a part of me that wants to sleep in, or get work done, and skip my meditation. Yet there is another part of me that gently whispers: meditate.

One of this week’s challenges was going to the dentist to deal with a cracked tooth.  The assistant, knowing I was a yoga teacher rather jokingly said: “just breathe.”  I smiled at her wanly and thought, “yeah, right.” But I did, repeatedly, and found a degree of serenity sweep over me when I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths.  For some reason this surprised me.  And as I felt myself calming down, something became clear to me: this is a result of my meditation practice.

Each day I sit to meditate, and in some ways it feels like not much is happening.  Yet when I look closely at the rest of my life, how I relate to people, how I deal with challenges, I see a definite positive effect. The part of me that knows this whispers to me: meditate.

These days, when I don’t meditate, I feel like something in myself is “off.”  It is not unlike how I feel when I’ve not eaten well.  It can be subtle and hard to detect, but as I’ve been cleaning up my diet, I’ve noticed more the effect when I’ve made poor food choices.  I just don’t feel well.  I feel “off.”  Likewise if I don’t get exercise, or miss my asana practice.

As I’ve pondered this, I’ve realized that I’ve gone to great lengths to sustain my physical body through food and exercise, with the positive effects of feeling better.  Why wouldn’t it make sense that meditation is feeding and exercising a part of me that also needs nourishment, and that by doing so, I would feel the effects?  The meditation practice is helping me to align and center, allowing me to function so much more effectively and easefully in my life. It has opened up a calm spacious awareness that is now more readily accessible during the challenges of my life. And it is that space that continues to whisper to me: meditate.

That whispering voice has been there for many years.  As I cultivated a rigorous asana practice, and began to explore yoga philosophy, that whisper was always there: meditate.  But I ignored it: I didn’t have the time, the time wasn’t right, I don’t have the resources, insert-your-excuse here. My major excuse was that I wanted a meditation teacher whose philosophy aligned with the tantric yogic path I was pursuing. That finally gave way when I heard Paul Muller-Ortega speak at a teacher training.  He was talking about philosophy in a way that made so much sense, and I when I found out he taught meditation, that voice got a little louder: meditate.

From the time I received initiation from Paul, my biggest regret has been that I didn’t start sooner. Over and over, I have said to myself and to others: I am so lucky.  I am so fortunate to have finally heeded the call of my inner voice and made meditation a part of my life.  Not that it has been entirely easy.  I have had lapses, I’ve wanted to quit.  But that voice kept calling.


Live Your Yoga….

As I return from retreat with my teacher Paul Muller-Ortega, I am even more committed to this slogan: Live Your Yoga. I’ve had this as my tagline for many years, and what it means to me keeps changing, as my practice and life continue to transform in a multiplicity of ways.

I began my yoga practice in a rigorous hatha yoga lineage, which in may ways was fortunate, for it taught me a lot about the nature of practice in general, the path of inward turning, and the existence of an abiding Self.  “Live your yoga” in this context demanded a rigorous, dedicated, diligent effort, while at the same time releasing expectations for particular results. The practice required an inward focus on the breath, and as I watched my mind in that practice, I discovered there was some part of myself that was steady, consistent, and unchanging, even in the midst of the wild undulations I was putting my body through.

Nonetheless I yearned for something more that I couldn’t quite articulate. I felt uncomfortable with a sense of austere asceticism, so when I learned of  a more tantric based system of hatha yoga, I was drawn to explore it more and more. The philosophy that everything is an embodiment of the divine, with an emphasis on becoming aware of, and celebrating that innate divinity was extremely enticing.  I appreciated the sense that the body itself is divine, rather than something to be controlled. My body appreciated an asana practice with greater variety, and the clear ways of aligning my body allowed me to heal a back injury that had been debilitating.

I deeply resonated with a philosophy of intrinsic goodness and the idea that life was a gift to be celebrated. It was at this point in my practice that the “live your yoga,” tagline was formulated, as I was immersing myself in myth and tantric philosophy, and using these teachings as a metaphor for how to live life as a householder yogi. Yet eventually that practice, too, left me feeling like something was missing, a certain grounding and abiding stability.  It felt increasingly shallow, and I missed the discipline and focus, and inward turning that I had experienced in my earlier years of practice.

So I started meditating.  The discipline I had learned early on serves me well: I get on my cushion twice daily, no matter what I feel like or what comes up in the course of the practice. I’ve learned that the deep withdrawal into the heart of my Self can feed my life on the surface. I see how both these streams of yoga come together to form a beautiful pulse in my life.

On a daily basis through my meditation and other practices, I follow the stream deep within to the stable abiding Source, which benevolently brings greater clarity and alignment.  Then this connection helps steer me as I ride the outward current into my householder life, manifesting more creatively and efficaciously as I move through each day. Now I know I need both the inward moving current and the outward manifesting current to fully live my yoga.


After being on a ten day meditation retreat, I returned home to find many changes, both gross and subtle.  Walking out into my garden the evening I arrived, the roses and lilies (much to my delight and surprise) were still blooming, the tomato plants were almost as tall as me, and the squash were producing countless fruits.  More subtly, I noticed that as we had moved further from the summer solstice in my 12 days gone, the light was slightly different, mellower and more golden.

Stepping into my studio practice space, I found that dust had settled on the floor and as I swept it, I felt renewed gratitude for the trajectory of my life and for the great good fortune to have found the path of yoga, to have the resources to pursue studies of its most profound esoteric teachings, and to have this beautiful home space in which to live, practice, and teach.

I sat down on my cushion curious to see what would unfold inside this first meditation after my intense period of sadhana and studies. Nataraja was still dancing on my altar, but as the day was slightly shorter now I had to light a candle.  I chanted to Daksinamurti, the primordial guru teacher, in honor of my teacher, this space of teaching, my path of teaching I return to, and the teachings themselves.

I closed my eyes to begin my meditation.  I heard the familiar sounds of my home: traffic and dogs barking outside, my partner moving about quietly below, my sweet cat Pearl singing….and the usual thoughts of all that faced me “to do.”  I noticed some bodily discomfort from the many hours of sitting practice and my travels home.

And underneath that, a sweet pulsating throb drew me closer, deeper into a new place I had discovered by leaving to go on retreat. Much as I had just swept the floor of my studio, the retreat had allowed me to remove some of the dust that we all accumulate inside ourselves.  As I settled into that new place, I truly felt home. By leaving my physical home to immerse myself in deep practice, I had uncovered a new home in my heart. It has always been there, awaiting my attention, and now it feels like home, a place to return to daily wherever my physical body is.

As I write this, an immense gratitude fills me once again.  Any of us that have been touched by yoga know that we are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to penetrate beyond a superficial level in our lives.   May we seize the opportunity daily to remind ourselves of, and refresh our connection to, that home in our heart.