Author Archives: AYB

KPJAYI: new Jois Yoga Shala in Encinitas

Sharath, Saraswathi and Manju to teach in the new Jois Shala in Encinitas, California, from the 20th of August. From

Ananda Shankar Jayant fights cancer with dance

Inspiring talk, amazing performance… gotta watch this!


“I feel no need for food and water” states Prahladbhai Jani, a seventy-six year old Indian ascetic who lives in a cave near the Ambaji temple in the state of Gujarat. Mr. Jani claims that he has not had food or fluids to drink for the last sixty-five years.

Practice and all is coming? Western vs Eastern approach interview

An interesting discussion is going on in the Yahoo Ashtanga Group, where some practitioners encourage us to (respectfully?) question the contemporary yoga traditions as they are being “abused” by brahmins, claiming that Westerners have the advantage of being able to «go beyond dogmas».

I completely agree, everything should be questioned. Everything, including the questioning, intellectual mind, which is just another judgement that in the West we often hold to be the Ultimate Truth.

The point is, we are also conditioned by our culture, and as human beings we are not always aware of the dogmas our minds operate with, so how can we accuse other people with a different approach to learning/knowledge of not being able to surpass theirs?

In the first part of the yoga sutras, Patañjali explains that correct knowledge is direct, inferred or proven as factual (Y.S I.7). However, he also warns that verbal knowledge devoid of substance is vikalpa or imagination (Y.S I.9), and insists that truth-bearing knowledge is first-hand, intuitive knowledge (Y.S 1.49), different from the knowledge taken from books, memory or deduction.

This intuitive knowledge tends to be forgotten, undervalued, or directly despised in the West as superstition, blind faith, simply not valid, since it doesn’t come from inference. Isn’t that another dogma?

In this interview translated from, Tibetan buddhist teacher SS Gyalwang Drukpa throws some light on the difficulties Westerners experience along the spiritual path:

Q: How do you see the understanding of Tibetan Buddhism by Westerners, do you see any difference in the way it is comprehended and practiced in the West, compared to the Tibetans?

SS: I see a big difference between Western and Tibetan students. Now that I mix with very different kinds of people, I think that Westerners have a very peculiar way to start their spiritual life, very peculiar. There’s nothing wrong with it, it is just unique, very different from the Tibetan way.

Tibetans have a structure that is almost fanatic. They already have a path that’s been built by their cultural and spiritual ancestors, so it is already there. They don’t need to create it, to invent it, and that helps a lot. But the Western way is very interesting to me, because they have to create everything from A to Z. For this reason, they need to pay a lot of attention, they need to put a lot of effort into it to understand, they have to use their brains a lot, their intellect, and that’s what they’re doing, that’s what they’re fighting.

However, in terms of what is real, of the practice, I think that Westerners are still far behind. This is because they use their intellectual knowledge very well, they do the intellectual effort really well, that is the interesting part. But when it comes to experiential knowledge, they can barely do it. They have too much intellectual knowledge in their minds, which makes people go crazy.

It may be because too much intellectual knowledge makes people go crazy, or because your head becomes too big and you turn into an idiot. It is very easy to get carried away by stupidity, or by madness.

And it is not that holy madness: some people believe that when they go crazy like that it is because of that crazy wisdom, and it’s not like that. You know, in Tibetan Buddhism we usually talk about «holy madness» and then Westerners think «oh, this must be it». This is totally wrong, it is regular madness. This is the main issue in Buddhist societies, particularly in the West.

On the other hand, the way Western people understand is very good, very interesting, because they use their intelligence, their knowledge, their effort and their brains.

In our case in Tibet, we don’t really need to use our brain a lot, we only need devotion because the structure is already there. So anything the Guru, the Teacher says, you only need to follow. He’s already done all that previous hard work and he’s merely giving it to you. Whereas in the West, the Teacher gives it to you, but you need to work it really hard, this is they kind of society Westerners live in.

Q: So would you recommend that we focus more on faith and devotion and not only on the intellect?

SS: Yes, yes, this is what I always recommend, devotion is completely necessary. Devotion meaning clear understanding: you have to put yourself in a state of deep understanding, enter deeply that state of realization. Even if you don’t really know what realization is, try to get deeper into realization with your heart, rather than keeping it in you mind. Just put your heart into realization, and try to find something really deep there. Then you will obtain true compassion, true devotion, really easily. This will mantain a balance between intellectual and experiential knowledge.

Even if you don’t have much experience, it doesn’t matter, you have to experiment with it, try it out. Don’t just look at it, experience it. Try something and then you’ll know what it tastes like. Is it delicious, is it bitter? Does it have any taste at all? Or what?

When you try it you’ll know how to talk about it, you’ll know what to think about that particular thing. Otherwise, you’re just exposing everything, and you think you know everything. If you say: «This is yellow, this is white, this is red, this is beautiful or this is not» and you think you know everything and you haven’t even tried it, you haven’t even experienced it, that knowledge is only in your mind. That is the kind of knowledge that most Westerners have. Western students have a lot of knowledge because they’ve read thousands of books, they’ve listened to thousands of teachings and they know every corner of every teaching. Vajrayana, Mahayana, Hinduism, Christianism, Chatolicism, Judaism, EVERYTHING they know. That is fantastic. But they haven’t had the experience, they don’t really know anything!

So they doubt everything: «Er… I don’t know if this is sweet or not, someone told me it was sweet but I don’t know, it looks bitter to me, but I don’t know if it’s bitter…»

So take it, experience it, try it and you will know what it is. This is the factor that is lacking in Western societies.

___________________ end of the interview ____________________

Om! This is Sanskrit

Practical Sanskrit

I am thrilled to have been introduced to a blog called Practical Sanskrit, and I want to recommend it to all of you Indian culture maniacs!

Saraswathi, the goddess of wisdom and learningIt’s a great resource, useful and entertaining. The author seems to have both a vast knowledge, the willingness, and the ability to convey it in a simple way. The articles are intelligent and fun, leaving us with some golden drops of wisdom in each post.

Beautiful shlokas are carefully dissected and explained, always relevant and fascinating. The author uses a very simple version of the Sanskrit transliteration that I’m totally in ❤ with. The whole thing is very well structured and they actively encourage reader participation.

This is love of knowledge… Thanks for sharing it with us, keep it up! ॐ

No fear, no paranoia

“Mysore: Here, The Mind Is Without Fear

People of various nationalities, their well-toned bodies glistening with sweat in the early morning sun, gather around Imran’s mobile tender coconut shop for a ritual drink in an upscale Mysore locality. There is natural as well as a cultivated calm as they respond to questions about their safety following the blasts at the German Bakery in Pune last week.” (read more)

He who thinks him (the Self) to be the killer, and who experiences him (the Self) as the killed - both of them know not. He (the Self) neither kills nor is killed. [Bg. 2.19]

NB!! Yoga Visa

Planning to study yoga in India? From now on you will need a yoga visa. Check out the latest news from the KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore:

# From March 2010, all students coming to study at KPJAYI must enter India on a yoga visa, as required by Indian law. You may email for admission letters from our Institute to include with your visa application form to the Indian Embassy in your country. Upon arrival, students should follow the relevant registration formalities with the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) in Mysore.

# Please note, according to Indian law: There should be gap of at least 2 months between two visits to India on tourist and other visas.

# For more information on visa and registration requirements, please refer to the Bureau of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs, India. They have published clear rules and instructions for foreigners coming to India.

The Love Police

“This is The Love Police and I will be checking your smiles in a second”


Are you right brain or left brain?

… Or can you switch?

I need a yogi