In March of this year, I went to Sarnath, India, where Shakyamuni Buddha gave teachings for the very first time. While I was there I had the incredible good fortune to have a private meeting with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. My meeting was limited to 3 minutes, so I had time for one question and one photo. In answer to my question, he essentially reminded me that the best way to use this precious human birth is to practice taming the mind through meditation, and to use that training to develop compassion for all sentient beings.
Just finished our 3rd annual Contemplative Practice and Wellness Retreat in Phuket, and the incomparable Amanpuri Resort. We hosted a small group of graduate level psychology students in a training designed to share mindfulness practice for practical application in the clinical setting.
It was a fabulous reminder that being a pilgrim, learning to train the mind and body to be present does NOT have to mean self-denial through ascetic practices.
Though we did practice yoga and meditation each day, and discussed ways to inspire compassion to arise in our hearts, we also ate fantastic Thai food, discovered the beautiful beaches Thailand is famous for.
We will repeat this program again in October 2014, so if you are interested to join send me a message in the form below, or click here for more information.
One thing I love about Cambodia is its incredibly rich spiritual heritage. It’s one of the few places where you can get a felt sense of how the Hindu and Buddhist traditions mixed, merged and eventually diverged. Outside of Nepal, I have not come across another culture that has such a vast treasure of the intertwining of these rich heritages.
I spent a day recently at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, enjoying the cultural offerings.
A while ago I met a young woman who had just become a yoga teacher.
When she learned that I also teach, she said, “Oh, where did you do your teacher training?”
My mind went blank for a moment (which was a blessing in itself). It was such a bizarre way for me to think of my journey of practicing yoga. I suppose I had been training to be a teacher since my first class 22 years ago, and I have indeed received numerous “certificates” that show in black-and-white that I am qualified to share the practice with others.
But this young woman seemed to have a very different idea of “teacher training.” To her, it evoked images of a program designed to share a skill-set, culminating with a letter of authorization. To me, it represents years of pilgrimage and practice spanning nearly half of my life.
People are often surprised to hear my reply when they ask me if I have recommendations on yoga teacher training courses.
I’m just back from leading a 2 week retreat at Jungle yoga in Khao Sok National Forest, Southern Thailand. It is my new favorite retreat center in Thailand!
All of the buildings, including the yoga shala, are on floating rafts on the Ratchaprabha Dam. The retreat season is from November to April, with various teachers coming in from all over the world to share a wide array of offerings.
Gorgeous scenery surrounds a man-made reservoir that is home to an incredible variety of nearly extinct wildlife. Every morning we woke up to the sound of gibbons and hornbills.
It is one of the most peaceful environments I know. I will definitely return here to host another retreat. Click here and leave your email address to stay updated on when that will happen.
Nepal Yoga Retreat and Pilgrimage, March 2015
Practice or learn yoga and meditation while visiting sacred sites throughought the Kathmandu Valley with masters of yoga and meditation.
Join us for a magical 10 days of practice and pilgrimage through the Kathmandu Valley. We will visit sacred Buddhist sites throughout the Kathmandu Valley and practice daily yoga asana, meditation and teachings from Tibetan Buddhist masters. This is an incredible and rare opportunity to study both yoga and Buddhist philosophy and go deeply into both practices with teacher experienced in both traditions while immersed in the culture that spawned the Buddha.
Send me a message if you are interested to learn more about this amazing retreat. There are very few spaces available. This is an incredible opportunity to experience the sacred sites of this mysterious land with experienced guides. If you have ever wanted to visit Nepal but didn’t know how or where to start, this is your chance! Don’t miss this unique opportunity! Write to me if you have questions.
No, this is not about airport closures and political stand-offs. This is a much more fundamental conflict.
On your way out of Bangkok next time, check out this massive installation at Suvarnabhumi airport. This is a classic Indian story about how we process the experience of life and turn it into nectar. The god Vishnu transforms himself into a turtle to allow the gods and demons to battle it out. As expected, there is no clear winner between good and evil, but simply experience, and character, that results from engaging in the battle.
After all that pilgriming, sometimes it’s nice to sit down to a good wholesome vegetarian meal. Aum Cafe on Assi Ghat is a little haven of fresh salads, juices and creative vegetarian food. My preferred lunch spot on the Ganga!