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March 5, 2014
In America, we avert our gazes and move out of people's ways. We are expert at it. In an elevator with strangers? Look at the floor numbers lighting up as you move or stare at your smartphone. God Forbid we should make eye contact, offer a smile, say hello, ask how their day is going. We have built cocoons around all of us, plastic bubbles that no one can penetrate. I wonder how any of us have successful relationships, when this is our landscape. India is quite the opposite. There is no "excuse me" or "sorry" or "after you." It's all push your way forward and sit where you want, step over and...

Forgetting the Calendar

March 4, 2014
I think it was Sunday when I couldn't remember what day it was. That is the definition of vacation. Letting go of time, losing track of days, not being tied to the calendar - where do I go now, what's in an hour, where do I have to be next, oh shit I'm late... It's good to let go of the schedule. I was sitting at Tip Top, a thatched roof, second-story restaurant overlooking the Ganges, and I had no idea what day it was or what time, and truthfully I didn't really care. I ordered a pizza with spinach and eggplant and a banana lassi and just watched the water as it passed by down below. We were...

Blow Your Mind: the point of yoga

March 3, 2014
In Gurmukh's Kundalini yoga class on Monday, she said the point of this practice is to blow your mind. Literally. Blow it up, blow it out, silence it. Take away the control. And give it to your heart. I've never thought about the meaning of those words before, and I've often said the phrase, "blow your mind." I always meant that it would be something unbelievable, ecstatic. I never thought about the literal meaning. Wipe it out. Get rid of it. Why would I want to? Except that's the key to true happiness and success. Blow your mind. Really, you ask? I kind of want to hold onto it. That's...

Kundalini with Gurmukh on the Ganges

March 2, 2014
Perhaps the best yoga class ever. Kundalini at Karma is already fantastic. But picture it amped up like this: The waters of the holy Ganges River rush by in a fast current under a white-cloud sky. Fresh air swirls around you, carrying the scent of the forested Himalayan foothills all around the peaceful city of Rishikesh. On the stage sits the majestic Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, the revered Kundalini teacher from Los Angeles who learned the tradition directly from Yogi Bhajan. Her head is wrapped in an ornate cascading white turban, and her tanned face looks positively angelic. Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa We...

The True Yoga: an Indian train ride

March 1, 2014
It was pre-dawn when we wound through donkey-driven carts and the early morning traffic of Amritsar to the train station. This was what I had dreaded most about this India yoga retreat - an 8-hour train ride from Amritsar to Rishikesh. Even though Katherine insisted that the experience would be transformative, even though she had taken this very train ride a year ago herself, even though we had all sailed through our early Indian experiences with (mostly) flying colors, the train ride was a big question mark. And it turns out, the train ride was the most real yoga any of us have ever experienced. The...

Transformed by Yoga at the Radisson Blu Amrit

February 28, 2014
It was to be hatha yoga poolside, but Katherine got the divine message that what we needed was Kundalini. The sun was setting behind the hotel and the cool Indian night easing in. The trees swayed more than they had all day. We moved in our postures as she directed, the honey-sweet voice of Snatam Kaur and other inspired songstresses our soundtrack. When we began class, each of us were in our own swirl of discomfort from a day of intense sensory stimulation - good, all good, but hard, too. Coming to India is the ultimate yoga class, Katherine had said earlier today. And as we moved through the...

What It Means to be On Retreat

February 27, 2014
It took something like 30 hours to circle the globe, from Detroit to Amsterdam to Delhi to Amritsar, a night in a big-city hotel, several trips through immigration and customs and x-ray scanners, to finally start our retreat. Totally worth it. And totally trying. Like yoga, going on retreat takes you to your edge. It changes how you see the world. It brings up discomforts and hopefully, inspires you to look unease in the eye and come out victorious on the other side. When I first started practicing yoga, I summoned the courage to change my life. It was a gradual transformation, and one that...

We Made it to India

February 25, 2014
We traveled from our humble Detroit roots across the rocky ocean waters to Amsterdam Schipol airport, where, having not slept much at all on the first flight, we had the energy of children excited to be on an adventure. The airport activities showed as much. We had strong coffee in little glasses with the blue and white designs of the Dutch. We invested in massages, meditated in the meditation center and marveled at the energy of being in another country, with all the bustle of people on their way, on the journey, in transit. And then we boarded the flight to India. That became the demarcation...

Mantras in the Mainstream

February 21, 2014
Several years ago I was in Rishikesh, India attending the International Yoga Festival. I had a life-changing opportunity to spend a week receiving a rapid induction into gurmukhi mantras via taking a Kundalini Yoga class every day, two times a day. Little did I know where they would take me, and many others in my community, once I brought them home. Let's get some technical stuff out of the way. "Gur" means Guru and "mukhi" means from the mouth. From the mouth of the Guru these mantras come. A mantra  is a vibrational sound containing wisdom and knowledge from a sacred sound current.  The...

Chuck Gaidica's Big Move - bRight Alignment

February 17, 2014
"God picked me up by the collar and put me on this track…..sell your house, give up your job and go this way…" That's how Chuck Gaidica described his journey of listening to his soul or what we call in yoga, following his dharma. (Check out the video.) When he announced last week that he was leaving a 27-year TV news meteorologist career to become a minister at Oak Pointe Church in Novi, I wasn't surprised. I don't know Chuck, but I know well the urge to follow a spiritual path - and I know that we are in an Aquarian Age where we are meant to align our spirituality with our daily...
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