In their drawing board versions, the winter holidays were designed to focus attention on our deepest emotions and spiritual feelings. But in the current swirl of commercial and social pressures, it’s easy to forget all that meaningfulness and just bull through the season, head down and teeth gritted, until it’s done.

That is, unless you know folks like those profiled below. Every year in just about every town, unique individuals tap right into the core message of the holidays and create their own traditions, whether that means giving back to their community, reversing the tide of over-consumption, reaching out to those overwhelmed with suffering, or celebrating the gifts of life and love. Here are four stories that for us capture the essence of the season.

Joanne “Rocky” Delaplaine
Giving Back

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Joanne “Rocky” Delaplaine has been teaching yoga since the early ’90s. But having been an antiwar activist in the ’60s, a women’s movementeer in the ’70s, and a United Mine Workers employee in the ’80s, she sees the practice a little differently than most. Like her idol, Mahatma Gandhi, who practiced yoga daily, she has never seen her spiritual and social passions as separate. And she’s found a perfect expression for this unified view in the yoga classes she teaches on New Year’s Eve morning, the proceeds of which go to nonprofit organizations.

For several years now, Delaplaine has held her benefit classes at the Unity Woods Yoga Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she is a regular instructor. Directed by noted teacher John Schumacher, the center donates the space, advertises the classes in its newsletter, and handles all the administration so that maximum dollars go to the target beneficiaries. Indeed, Delaplaine modeled her annual generosity on Schumacher himself, who had taught benefit classes at Unity Woods in the past.

In 1998, Delaplaine (“Rocky” is a nickname picked up in her UMW days) led a class that raised $500 for Grassroots Leadership, a North Carolina-based group trying to change the political dynamics of, well, the Jesse Helms state. In 1999, her class raised funds for My Sister’s Place, a Washington, D.C., shelter for battered women. In 2000, her premillennium workshop proved so popular that she led two classes. She managed to raise $1,635, which she split between a local rape crisis center and Awareness, a nonprofit organization helping victims of 1999′s devastating hurricane in Orissa, India. Delaplaine has also donated to a Maryland organization that teaches children how to prevent assaults.

The nonviolence theme that colors much of Delaplaine’s giving comes straight from the heart of her practice. She came to yoga in part to deal with the inner rage that fired her social actions but was burning up her relationships. “I had internalized the very violence I was working to end,” she notes.

She began feeling inner peace in her first Iyengar class, and then found confirmation for her vision of spiritualized activism in Gandhi’s life, Patanjali‘s teachings about nonviolence, and an activist/yoga teacher named Louise Dunlap. Having been inspired by so many others, she’s hoping that other yoga teachers will follow her lead in their own towns and centers. “[New Year’s Eve morning is] usually a time when both studios and people are available,” she says. “And there’s a great reward for little output.”

Cecile Andrews
Living Simply

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If your picture of a “simple living” holiday season is a gray blend of Scrooge and self-denial, you haven’t met Cecile Andrews. “Of all the people involved in simplicity, I think I’m probably the most hedonistic,” laughs Andrews, whose book Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life (HarperCollins, 1997), Seattle Times column, workshops, and on-line organizing have spawned simple living study circles all over the country. “We’re supposed to be celebrating and spending time with our friends and family and to me, that’s what the holidays symbolize.”

As she sees it, however, society’s shop-’til-you-drop concept of Christmas undercuts joy instead of spreading it. So when the holidays come, Andrews tests alternative ideas in her own life, and then shares the best ones with her friends.

Via her workshops, writing, and Web site contributions, Andrews helps like-minded souls weather the confused feelings that arise when you make big changes in tradition-steeped times. While her study circles meet year-round, their purpose is to help members to support each other in making lifestyle changes comes into sharp focus as the holidays approach. “People get very anguished about talking to their families and saying, ‘I don’t want to spend lots of money, nor do I want to have lots of stuff,’” Andrews notes. In the circles, she says, “They get support for not feeling like they’re crazy or bad, because during the holidays, there’s this real guilt.”

For the upcoming season, Andrews expects to spread her own holiday cheer by throwing several small parties, offering throw-together fare such as sandwiches and ice cream sundaes. She plans to give singing parties, too. The concept? Gather small groups of people who can really enjoy each other, rather than throw one elaborate shindig that wears out the hosts. Gift-wise, she’ll be sharing things that matter a lot and cost a little: books, subscriptions to alternative press magazines, “green” goodies such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, games that families can play together, and items purchased from local businesses and socially responsible retailers.

Despite the lighthearted tone, there’s a serious subtext to all her efforts. “Simplicity is not going to go away,” Andrews asserts. “We have no choice. We’re not just doing this for our own lifestyle-we’re doing this for the environment. Sooner or later, people will see that we just can’t go on consuming as we are.”

Liz Koch
Supporting Families

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Yoga teacher Liz Koch and her family do not take their comforts lightly. For 14 years now, they have brought Christmas to parents and children who lack the means to create the holiday for themselves. “I never had the intention of doing good,” asserts Koch, who lives in the mountain town of Felton, California, with her husband and three children. “It was more that I was just thankful for what I have.”

That sense of appreciation began years ago, when she received assistance from the Parents Center, an agency in nearby Santa Cruz that teaches parenting skills to people whose troubles are ricocheting to their kids. Many of the clients come from abusive backgrounds and/or have become abusive themselves. In addition, they often suffer the effects of other hurdles such as poverty, addiction, and the emotional detachment that sometimes comes with a foster care background.

While Koch didn’t face the latter handicaps (“I came from a normal, middle-class dysfunctional family,” she laughs), she too had been abused as a child and sought the Center’s help to tame her own parenting rage. Koch was so grateful for the aid that she wanted “to take full circle what they had offered me.”

Thus the Christmas Project, suggested to Koch by her Center counselor, was born. “These parents are working very hard to learn healthy parenting skills because they love their children so much,” she says. “Supporting and congratulating them was a way our family could contribute.”

Every December, the three Koch children select new or near-new toys and clothes they aren’t using and spend a day creatively wrapping them. They make gifts for the parents, too, and often prepare baskets or holiday dinners for delivery. In the beginning, the Koch brood took on as many as three families, depending on their size and needs. Eventually, the home-schooling co-op and parent-run preschool that the Koch family was involved in signed on, so that more Center families could be served.

These days, local businesses sometimes chip in. For instance, last year a neighborhood store helped the Kochs buy a skateboard and sweatshirt for a 14-year old boy. The boy’s situation exemplifies the desperation of some Center clients. He had found his father, a heroin addict, dead from an overdose the previous Christmas Eve. His mother, herself an ex-addict, was working hard to provide for her children but had just been laid off.

For Koch, the project complements her family’s holiday goal of spiritual reflection. It also teaches the children that to receive, one must also give. “Through the years, our children would receive thank-you letters. But we really wanted to be anonymous. We chose to just be Santa’s helpers. I didn’t really want [the recipients] to feel like they had to thank another person, so much as feel the abundance that life truly has to offer.”

Wings of Warmth
Playing Santa

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If we assume the Santa story is factually correct, the tradition of delivering holiday gifts by air was established long ago. But if Mr. Claus ever retires and the NASA Goddard Flying Club takes over, expect a bunch of reindeer to be out of work.

For more than a decade now, the College Park, Maryland, group has combined a passion for aviation with the desire to help others. Their holiday program, Wings of Warmth, starts each November when the members begin collecting warm clothing, canned goods, and toys. They then ferry their cargo in a string of single-engine planes to folks living in mountain towns in their region.

Original credit for Wings of Warmth goes to a recreational pilot named Steve Kish, who lives in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. One winter evening in 1989, Kish watched a television news report about the crash of a small aircraft, and started thinking of ways to generate more positive coverage about the overall safety of small planes.

Then another news item caught his eye, a story about the struggles faced by the less-fortunate at Christmastime. The segue sparked an idea. Avid pilots like him often flew on the weekends just for fun. At holiday time, why not load up these planes with items that people of lesser means might need, fly to a chilly town, and hand the gifts over to a charitable agency for distribution?

Kish shared his idea with nearby flying clubs, and the first Wings of Warmth flight took place that winter to Coatesville, Pennsylvania. In later years, the NASA Goddard Flying Club, a group of NASA Goddard Space Center employees that was involved since the beginning, adopted Wings of Warmth as its own. The project is fueled by a sense of gratitude that runs deep among pilots, say longtime participants Tom Paradis and Fred Pierce.

“Pilots realize how fortunate they are,” says Pierce. “For millions of years, people have been trying to fly, and we actually live in the time when we can. There’s a saying that those of us who fly have a debt to pay.”


Source: Karma Christmas by Alan Reder from Yoga Journal
Originally published on August 28, 2007.
Alan Reder is the author or coauthor of five books, including The Whole Parenting Guide (Broadway Books, 1999) and Listen to This!: Leading Musicians Recommend Their Favorite Artists and Recordings (Hyperion, 1999).

Swami Kriyananda


by Swami Kriyananda

First published in Clarity Magazine on December 1, 2005
Used with Permission

 

 

In observing people I’ve noticed that the capacity to be grateful is a mark of spiritual refinement. I don’t mean the capacity to express gratitude but to feel it.

Many people express gratitude outwardly, but the real expression of appreciation is not in words but from within. This kind of inner appreciation, which is a feeling of love, is tantamount to attuning yourself to the Divine.

Gratitude closes the circuit

Think of your own experience when someone does something for you that you really appreciate. You don’t necessarily have to say, “Thank you,” but you feel love going out to that person that creates a link between the two of you.

When I first met Ananda Moyi Ma, I had brought some messages for her from people in America. One was from a brother monk who had asked her for a bit of cloth — something she had used. When I asked her for this on his behalf, she gave it so gladly that I thought I’d better get in on the act, too.

Quickly I added, “Could I please have two?” Understanding my intent, she lovingly brought me a towel and a shawl that she had used for many years. I was deeply moved by her graciousness and generosity and afterwards, humbly thanked her. Ma’s answer always intrigued me: “Would you thank your own mother?”

In America, of course we would, but in India, generally speaking, they don’t express thanks to their nearest and dearest because it seems too formal. The more typical Indian expression of gratitude is simply to offer their love in silence. I’ve noticed that sensitive people everywhere express gratitude this way. Whether or not they actually say, “Thank you,” is incidental.

Try to expand your consciousness so that when you say, “Thank you,” what you mean is, “God, I love you and through your gifts I see how you love me.” The proper kind of gratitude isn’t for God’s gifts but for His love.

Fear: the enemy of gratitude

The ability to feel and express appreciation deeply is not all that common. Often when you do people a favor, they act as if you owed it to them. It’s as though they don’t want to express appreciation for fear of being taken advantage of, or hurt.

I’ve noticed in big cities, especially, that people are constantly hedging in their consciousness, for fear of being struck by an unkind remark. When you smile at them in a crowd, they look at you suspiciously, as if you were trying to put something over on them.

Try to have the consciousness that says, “It doesn’t matter how I’m treated by other people; I just enjoy feeling and expressing love and appreciation.” What we give is ours to give and it shouldn’t matter how it’s taken.

A mark of spiritual refinement is the willingness to give more than you receive, to remain open to others under all circumstances, and never to be afraid of what might come as a result. When you’re able do this, it’s a sign that you’ve developed enough inner strength that you no longer need to protect yourself.

Try to feel gratitude at all times

Only after we’re able to give real appreciation to God do we begin to understand that all gifts, good or bad, come from Him and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. In actuality, nothing is bad because the things that are painful always come for some important lesson or purification. Even the most unfortunate things prove in the end to be great gifts.

Perhaps the loveliest story I’ve ever heard on this particular subject was from the book, The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom. Corrie and her sister, Betsy, were thrown into a concentration camp and put into a barracks-like room ridden with fleas.

Betsy, who was a saintly soul, kept saying, even amidst the cruelty and deprivation of the camp, “We have to be grateful to God for everything.” Corrie was able to accept all the other hardships, but she simply couldn’t accept that the fleas were from God.

A beautiful thing happened, however, when one day, they were holding a prayer meeting in their room with other women prisoners. Suddenly they heard the guards about to enter for an inspection. Betsy and Corrie became very frightened because they knew that if they were caught, they would all be subjected to severe punishment or even death. Just as the guards were about to go in, one of them paused at the door and said, “Let’s not go in there. It’s full of fleas.” And they moved on.

The fleas were a minor inconvenience compared to the torture they would have been subjected to had it not been for those pests. Betsy quietly smiled at Corrie, who now understood that everything — even the fleas — were truly from God.

“Master gave me a beautiful apartment”

When we can thank God for everything, then and only then do we really grow. If we thank Him for a beautiful dinner, then we should also thank Him for the times when we have no food at all.

I’ve heard so many people say things like, “Oh, Master gave me a wonderful new car or apartment.” And I think, “You don’t really understand what Master can give you if you can get so excited about getting an apartment.” It may be that he gave you the apartment or it may be that it was just your karma. The point is that when people speak that way, they’re thinking in terms of the material blessings or comforts God gives, rather than of the lessons involved or the sweetness of God’s love.

So let’s thank God for our blessings, yes, but let’s not define those blessings only in terms of good things. Let’s define them in terms of the opportunities that He gives us to grow and to deepen our love for Him.

When you’re willing to give everything

Very often, those who love God the most are subjected to the hardest tests. It doesn’t mean that he’s happy to subject us to tests, but he knows that our spiritual growth may require them. It’s like a doctor who subjects you to a painful operation to save your life.

A child, not understanding the purpose of the operation, may scream bloody murder, but that doesn’t mean that the doctor would be more loving by not doing it. So it is with the guru: he would rather give us a little bit of pain now to spare us a great deal of suffering later on.

Be grateful when more is asked of you

You should be glad if God is asking more of you than of others, because that means you’ve shown a greater willingness to give. I learned long ago that the spiritual life is not defined in terms of what God is giving us but in terms of what we are willing to give — and to keep on giving — to Him.

When you’re giving every ounce of your energy, you’ll be the one that He will call on to do more. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be a coward or a hero?”—because if you want to grow spiritually, you can’t be a coward. It’s not as if God were trying to strip us naked and ruin us. Rather, He’s trying to strip us of ego and attachment, so that we can relate to Him in a selfless, divine way.

One of the great paradoxes of the spiritual path is that when you’re willing to give everything to God, when you can love Him unconditionally as He loves you, He gives back a thousand fold. As St. John of the Cross said, “If you want to own everything, then desire to own nothing; if you want to be everything, then desire to be nothing.”

When you reach the point where you can say, “It’s all yours, Lord, my body, my possessions— you could take everything this moment and I’d never look back”— that’s when God gives you everything you could possibly want in return.

But then the thought doesn’t arise, “Yogananda gave me this apartment,” but only the feeling that because Yogananda is in your heart, everything seems to go right. The same words could be used, but in a completely different spirit. We don’t think, “Yogananda is taking care of me,” but rather, “How wonderful it is that He is so loving. How grateful I am to love Him.”

You’re simply enjoying God’s presence

This is the true essence of gratitude. We should strive always to show this spirit toward everyone and especially toward God. We should try to hold the consciousness that says, “I give you everything and want nothing in return, and I take everything you give me only as a symbol of your love.”

We then find that our hearts are always filled with deep appreciation, and when we lie down in bed at night, we’re not just saying, “Thank you,” we’re simply enjoying God’s presence.

From a 1980s talk

Source: Clarity Magazine

Alice McLeod, commonly known as Alice Coltrane, was born August 27, 1937. She was raised in Detroit’s east side in a home where prayers and hymns extolled the Lord. Her interest in music blossomed in early childhood.

By the age of nine, she played organ during services at Mount Olive Baptist church in Detroit, Michigan. Alice’s interest in gospel, classical, and jazz music led to the creation of her own innovative style. In time her talents expressed more fully when she became a solo recording artist. Her proficiency on keyboard, organ, and harp was remarkable. Later her natural musical artistry matured into amazing arrangements and compositions.

Alice collaborated and performed with Kenny Clarke, Kenny Burrell, Ornette Coleman, Pharaoh Sanders, Charlie Haden, Roy Haynes, Jack DeJonette and Carlos Santana. Her twenty recordings cover a time span from Monastic Trio (1968) to Translinear Light (2004). Her last unreleased recorded work is Sacred Language of Ascension (2006).

She met and eventually married the legendary Jazz musician, John Coltrane. Together they embarked on a deeply spiritual journey of musical exploration and forged a new genre of musical expression. Many people are unaware that Alice replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with the John Coltrane quartet and continued to play and record with the band until John’s death on July 17, 1967.

Alice was left to raise their four small children, Michelle, John Jr, Ravi, and Oran. Alice entered into a most significant time in her life. As a seeker of spiritual truth, she spent focused time in isolation, fasting, praying and meditating. In 1970 she met a guru, Swami Satchidananda. She traveled to India, and was divinely called into God’s service. Alice dedicated her life to God and came to be known as Turiyasangitananda.

Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda became the Founder and Director of The Vedantic Center in 1975, and later established a spiritual community in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. She would orate discourses, and then play the organ to lead the members in devotional song for Sunday services. Spiritual guidance was always given without any mention of compensation.

Her spiritual music contributions include Divine Songs and Infinite Chants CDs.

Her writings include Monument Eternal, Divine Revelations, Endless Wisdom, a trilogy of three volumes inscribed as sacred texts received in her meditations. The booklet, Turiya Speaks, consists of five discourses. A.C. Turiyasangitananda, known as Swamini to many, left her physical form January 12, 2007. Her spiritual and musical legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of the people. The innovative, futuristic sound of the Coltrane musical heritage known around the world will always be revered.

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois - Father of Ashtanga Yoga

“Yoga is 99 percent practice, one percent theory.” —Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

The month of July celebrates the father of Ashtanga Yoga, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ birthday. All of us from Inner Path would like to honor his teachings, which were instrumental in bringing yoga to the West in 1975.

Jois developed a set of 240 postures in six successive series and called the practice Ashtanga Yoga. The six series of postures are mastered sequentially. The primary series is called yoga chikitsa (therapy) with 75 postures. The intermediate set, nadi shodana (nerve purification), comes next, followed by stira bhaga, which cultivates strength and requires immense endurance.

jois in americaPhysical movements called “vinyasas” tie the postures together, while “jump-throughs” connect the vinyasas. The vinyasa resembles the Sun Salutation, which makes the 75 posture set challenging. Each movement is synchronized with ujjaya breathing, a unique, powerful, heating breath in the throat. Practitioners lock their perineal and abdominal muscles (bandhas) in each posture to move vital energy upward in the body. The locks control the breath and directs “prana”, both imperative to keep the body warm.

The Jois Ashtanga system is most effective when the body is hot and rigorous from the continuous vinyasa movements. Normally there is no pause in a 90-minute class because the overriding intention is to purify the body through heat. “The practice of asanas and pranayama is learning to control the body and the senses so the inner light may come forth. That light is the same for the whole world and it is possible for man to experience this light, his own Self through correct Yoga practice,” Jois says.

“This is the natural outcome of a good practice and one will gradually learn to control the mind because one eventually will come to experience the very support of it. But the mind is indeed very difficult to control, but everything is made possible with right practice. We must therefore first and foremost practice, practice, practice for any real understanding of Yoga to take place. Then eventually we will be able to break the fixed patterns of the mind and taste the greater underlying support of it all.” Jois adds, “Philosophy is of course important, but if not connected and grounded in truth and practicality, what is really for? Just endless exhausting our minds! Practice is the foundation for the actual understanding of philosophy. Unless things become practical and we can come to experience it, for what use is it? Yoga hinam katham moksam bhavati druvam. Without Yoga (practical experience), how can the pursuit of liberation ever be possible?”

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois - Father of Ashtanga YogaBorn on July 26, 1915, Pattabhi Jois began to study the Vedas and Hindu rituals at the ripe age of 5. In 1932 Patthabhi Jois discovered his guru, Sri Krishnamacharya, at a university yoga demonstration. A solid relationship ensued for 25 years. Jois was the head of the yoga philosophy department at the Sanskrit College of Mysore from 1937-1973. In 1948, he established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India which became training grounds for yoga teachers from the West. He made his first tour through America in 1975 at the age of 60 and returned 15 times. For the ensuing 20 years, word of Jois and Ashtanga Yoga spread internationally and an increasing number of students flocked to his Mysore yogashala and highly regarded ayurvedic clinic. Jois passed away at home in Mysore on May 18, 2009 at the age of 93. His entire life was devoted to the disciplined practice of Ashtanga Yoga, the development and mastery of the Yoga Korunta system, and his faith and enthusiasm of Sri Krishnamacharya’s teachings.

Reaching your center

Greetings Friends,

If you’ve read the first post on the Inner Path Home site, you’ll know that this is a continuation of explaining the vision and purpose of Inner Path. In this case, the discussion deals with Inner Path Lifestyle, the information and inspiration side of our ministry. The purpose of Inner Path Lifestyle is to provide you with a number of services to enhance your understanding and ability to use yoga in your daily life. That’s actually a big job considering the many facets of our life – health, travel, relationships, meditation, the numerous decisions we make each day – they are each influenced by our level of consciousness and basic life-skill understanding.

Here’s a simple example: You’re in serious traffic and it appears that you’re going to be late to your next appointment. How will you react? What should you do? Depending on your attitude and focus of attention (also called level of consciousness), you could get angry and blame the obvious external circumstances for your unease. You could fret (and get sick doing so) about having to sit in traffic. You could also become anxious about being late and the problems that it will cause. Perhaps there will even be an argument or other complication when you finally arrive at your destination. Not a very happy situation.

Here’s another view: The same situation. The same traffic. You could turn on Kirtan Radio and start chanting along with the music, or do mantra or affirmation. You could thank the Divine for placing you in this perfect situation for your life, knowing that patience and calmness are some of the greatest gifts you can develop, and here’s your chance to put them to the test. You could also say prayers for the possible accident victims that may be the cause of the traffic. And you could comfortably assume, in the Here and Now, and Here and Near Future, that the Greatest Good is manifesting for all concerned.

Those two scenarios of the same situation provide very different responses and in the world of cause and effect, they will also provide different results. Which of the two would you prefer? If you find yourself too often caught in the first response and wonder how to develop the ability to have the second response, you’ve come to the right place.

Listed below are some of the numerous projects we’re working on. Enjoy!

Articles, Videos and Blogs – Simply put, our goal at Inner Path Lifestyle! is to provide you the tools you need to adopt the wonderful resource that yoga can bring to your daily life. Through a library of articles, videos and blogs we will be presenting an every growing base of information to help with that intent. Here’s a short list to give you an idea of what’s to come:

Articles – Some of the topics to be included are meant to increase your understanding and appreciation of yoga, both as a classical spiritual teaching, and how it applies to daily life. Some topics will include a short study of the history of yoga in the U.S. (based on Philip Goldberg’s wonderful book, American Veda), and an understanding of such topics as Patanjali’s yoga sutras, the primary dieties of Hinduism, and basic Sanskrit terms.

Videos – To be best of our ability we hope to establish a library of live recordings of talks of many of the influential yogic teachers of our times. We hope to also have a few especially fun bits and pieces as we find them. Here’s one of Pastor Eddie Smith teaching the term “Namaste”.  If you are able, your help in locating useful articles and videos would be appreciated.

Blogs – We are blessed to have a number of great souls who have offered their services to write on-going series of articles on important subjects. Coming soon will be blogs on Ayurveda, Following Dharma, Hatha Yoga, Health, Meditation, Music and Consciousness, Spiritualizing Your Child’s Education, and Vedic Astrology.

Customer Comments – At Inner Path, God is the Doer and the Receiver. Each of you are held in the highest regard. Consequently, we make every effort to provide the best products available and to give 100% to each person who orders or writes with questions or other concerns. At Inner Path, you’re not just a customer and an order number. Who you are as a Divine Soul is of immediate importance to us. Thankfully, the many comments we receive back confirm the positive effort we put forth. For your review and inspiration, we share some of them here.

Daily Inspiration – Sometimes it’s just one uplifting thought that helps set the direction for our day. If that’s what you’re needing, you may have come to the right place. Each day on the Inner Path websites you’ll find an inspiring quote from one of the many yogic masters that have helped influence yoga in America. Coming soon they’ll be posted on our Facebook page, and available also, as personal emails. We’ll keep you posted as this service expands.

Healing Prayers – Each day at Inner Path we have a period of prayer, affirmation and meditation. During that time we include a Divine Mother prayer for those who have specifically asked for assistance. For those who have had the experience of receiving prayer you know the great blessing that comes. Like a wave of grace, the prayer envelopes one’s consciousness, bringing with it the all-knowing energy of Spirit for healing in body, mind and soul. Even the ones who pray receive a blessing, for the energy flows through them prior to being sent to those we pray for, confirming the biblical saying: It is more blessed to give then receive.

Our goal with the Healing Prayer ministry is to offer you a chance to both receive prayer and offer your prayers as well. Here’s some information to help you do this.

Holy Sites USA – I don’t know about you, but when I go traveling I always look for uplifting environments to visit. The great saint, Paramhansa Yogananda said that “Environment is stronger than will power.” Thus, where we spend our time has an important influence on our well-being, and particularly, our consciousness. Through Holy Sites USA we strive to offer information about the hundreds of wonderful uplifting places one can visit in the United States. Regardless of your faith, these places provide a calm space for reflection and meditation within the chaos of everyday life.

Holy Sites USA is still in it’s early stages of development, but please do take a look, and if you have a particular place that you go to for spiritual upliftment, let us know about it. We’d love to share.  Click here on this hyperlink, plus you’ll also find it listed at the top of the Lifestyle! website. Enjoy!

Inner Path Directory – Coming soon we’ll be creating an important list of resources and services. These will include information on the major yoga organizations in the United States, and useful services such as ayurvedic consultations, pilgrimage tours and vedic astrology readings.

Inner Path Forum – This one’s for you. A place to share your spiritual search, your successes and failures. You’ve perhaps heard the phrase “It takes a community to raise a child.” We’d like to suggest that it takes a community to also grow in consciousness. Why is that? Because we are not alone, and our mutual effort and support assist our growth. Once up and running the first question we’ll be answering is this: “What is my Inner Path.”

Kirtan Radio – Needing some uplifting music in your life? Kirtan Radio, our on-line radio station features kirtan music, 24 hours a day, from a wide variety of musicians. These include many that you have heard of, such as Krishna Das and Deva Premal, but also many you may not know about, including Swami Nirvanananda, Simrit Kaur and the Gurubhakti Brothers. Although still in development, the web radio station is already on-line for your listening pleasure and upliftment. Click on the Kirtan Radio hyperlink if you would like to see its progress and listen in. Enjoy!

Product Information – One of the goals of Inner Path Lifestyle! is to help you better understand the products within the Inner Path Store. Choice is nice, but sometimes too many choices bring a sense of confusion. In this section our goal is to help provide you with a sense of clarity about your options, allowing you to be an informed shopper, confident that the choice you make is the best one possible. Some examples of what we’re working on include more detailed information about such products as Ayurvedic remediesharmoniumsincense,malas and meditation timers. In fact, pretty much any time there are more than just a few choices you should assume that we will seek to bring clarity to your selection.

To help do this we’re also redesigning the Inner Path Store and reviewing each of the product descriptions. In each case, clarity and ease of understanding are the underlying purpose. As you see the upgrade, your feedback and comments would be appreciated.

Spiritual Crisis Hotline – In my younger days I used to work on Crisis Phone Lines helping people who were on drug overdoses, lonely or distraught. The purpose of this hotline is not too different, but is meant particularly for those who are in spiritual crisis, which is to say, questioning the purpose of life and their relationship to Spirit.

The teachings of Yoga are uniquely qualified to provide wonderful life-saving answers to those questions.  These answers are found through three aspects of Sanatan Dharma – Sankhya, Vedanta and Yoga. Briefly explained, Sankhya discusses the unique problem we face, our sense of isolation and unfulfillment. Vedanta shares the experience derived from living a life in attunement with Spirit, and Yoga shows the way.

Once developed, the Hotline website will discuss these topics as well as have spiritual counselors available by phone and email to ease the burden of those who call.