Earth Day Karma Seed Bombs

Karma yoga is the connection to oneness or God by renouncing the fruits of our actions.  

The Bhagavad Gita states “The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.  The steadily devoted soul attains peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me [Krishna]; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of their their labor, becomes entangled” (5.11-12)

The health of the planet, the purity of the air and water we thrive on effects our own health; one’s health depends on the health of Earth.  We are not separate.

It’s a little bit frightening to realize this and consider where our planet is at…

Many swamis have said that the external world is a reflection of our internal world.  How is the state of our environment reflecting what’s happening within us?  

We come to our sadhana to improve ourselves first and then it ripples out to effect our environment.

So for yoga teacher training on Earth Day, we engaged in some karma yoga, as pictured above: seed bombs.  These are balls of clay and wildflower seeds to plant in neglected spaces.  

To make a seed bomb get some overworked clay from a local potter to recycle- it should be moist but not a slurry.  Get your seeds, ones that can grow independently, and a little compost to give them some nutrients.

It’s 3-5 parts clay to 1 part seeds, 1 part fine or sifted compost.  Of course I don’t measure, so I recommend grabbing 1 inch diameter ball or hunk of clay, flatten, and then sprinkle your compost and seeds in the middle.  Fold the clay around it, start to ball it and work it it becomes an even mixture and you might be able to add some more seeds in.  If you mix in too much, the clay will crumble, so just split it into two and add a little more clay to each.

Let them dry for at least a few hours and then find some neglected spaces to spread some beauty!  Think about if someone is mowing or weed wacking the space and avoid planting seeds there…

Finally offer your seeds up to that which is Supreme.

For more detailed instructions on seed bombs: http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/diy-seed-bombs

Prashad!

Prashad! A new practice I am working on making habit: prashad is offering the food to the Divine and later enjoyed and eaten. Offering the food changes our relationship with it from feeling entitled to feeling so lucky to be receiving, digesting, and integrating the miraculous energy of God. Kheer with saffron, termuric, and cardomom.

Yoga Is my Art Practice 


This is me pouring iron four years ago.  I am an artist.  I went to school for a bachelors of fine art, concentrating on jewelry, metalsmithing and printmaking. I am still an artist, only most people probably do not consider me one.

My mission statement I declared as an artist was to improve the world.  As I continued trying to bring awareness to my community by smithing objects and prints, I realized yoga to be the most effective medium.  The most successful artists choose the best suited medium for their message and yoga delivers the message that my heart needs to share, the message of connection one has to all entities. Our purpose here is not to serve ourselves a cushy house with the luxury to vacation once or twice a year at the price of biodiversity of rainforests or the sea creatures, but to share the divine love that we’ve been gifted with all beings.  My mission is to inspire thinking about others first before serving the self, to empower ourselves to take a step out of the center at this crucial time when our planet is at a tipping point leaning towards destruction.  

My art practice now looks like this:

New class- Eco Yoga

Eco Yoga is a heart-felt asana class dedicated to serving our miraculous home, the only planet with life, in this crucial tipping point of climate change. Rainforests are massive carbon sinks, yet continuously they are burnt down to grow palm oil or raise cattle, returning the carbon back into the atmosphere. By stepping onto your mat, you fulfill your dharma to prevent another rainforest from burning; proceeds from each ten-class package are donated to prevent one metric ton from polluting our atmosphere and furthering our commitment to climate chaos. Eco Yoga is about connecting within and to Oneness, and realizing that Earth’s wellbeing translates to the wellbeing of one’s self. Dedicating your yoga to something higher than you empowers you as a channel for that higher energy. Eco Yoga transforms consciousness and karma as we start to see and treat the universe as an expansion of ourselves. The asana is creatively sequenced to challenge, with pranayama and options to play with arm balances and inversions. (Level 2-3)

This class is offered each Sunday at 10AM – 11:15 at the Pink House Studio on the intersection of Booth and Wright in Riverwest, Milwaukee, beginning April 30!

Yoga defined

“Yoga is a practice that empowers one to overcome the obstacles of the mind in order to realize one’s true nature” (Kaustubha Das). This is the best definition of yoga as it can be any practice that helps us to get past the limited mind to connect with the divine.  What is/are the practice(s) that you use?

For me, asana was the gateway to finding all the other tools that I use to stay connected to the Supreme.

Reading sacred texts, satsang, being in and serving nature, gardening, making art or music, and meditation are a few of the practices that I find that keeps me out of the center and connected to the Supersoul!

Karma Yoga

Murray and I each voluntarily taught 30 yoga classes and 30 meditation classes for the Bali Silent Retreat this past March that ranged from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. Many students were new to yoga and many did not speak English as their first langauge.  Since it was a silent retreat, we were the only people they got to listen to each day, so we wove dharma talks into our classes to help them progress on their inward journey.  A reoccurring theme I incorporated was oneness or connection that they have to all life and that each of their actions effects everything and all beings in some way.
Murray and I also maintained the “Bale,” or open air studio space, blessing the space with mantra or bhajans, sacred songs, sweeping the floor, sending blankets and mat towels to laundry, refilling mosquito lotion bottles and the holy water, so as to set a more sacred space with fewer mosquito bites.

In addition to teaching and maintaining the space, we also replaced faded signs and dyed 30 napkins yellow with tawas, which is hydrated potassium aluminum sulphate (I think?), and temulawak, a big tuber similar to turmeric (see photos below).

It feels rewarding to have offered 30 days of my time and skills to the Bali Silent Retreat, a utopic place that is almost entirely sustainable- solar energy illuminates all of the spaces and walking paths, most of the food is grown on site to feed the guests, and the founders are working to educate people on sustainability and trying to replace plastic bags with a plant-based material. It feels good to offer my service to those doing good work in service of humanity.
If you go to Bali and want to stay at an eco-friendly yoga and meditation silent ashram out in the rice paddies of Tabanan, check out balisilentretreat.com



Three Practices to End Suffering

Humans are conditioned to suffer; suffering seems normal and we just accept it as part of life. We continue destructive behaviors even after we’ve been shown the harm we are inflicting on ourselves and others. Once we see the harm we cause, we feel guilty and the cycle is complete, we’re suffering again.
Often the ego tricks us into believing we are the victim, when we’re perceiving from the center, it seems things are happening to us- watch out for this voice!  In an early part of our journeys, victimhood holds some truth. We can fall victim to unconscious thinking and acting.  Once we recognize that we are free to choose what we think and do, we free ourselves from suffering. Pain is there and will arise- how do we react?  Do we complain, or with awareness realize it as a passing moment.  It’s not immediate, but it’s a challenging process of recognizing thoughts and impulses as they arise and choosing – do I go with the impulse? Where does the impulse come from – my True Eternal Blissful Self or the false self? (Hint: the false self usually wants to keep us suffering – stuck in the illusion of self as center; the True Self wants to serve the center.)  
 There are three ingredients in the recipe for success for relieving suffering, according to Sri Prem Baba: svadhyaya, or self-study and the study of sacred texts, humility, and sadhana, or spiritual practice.
Svadhyaya allows us to discover ourselves – what is ego, or the false self, and what is our True Self?  Notice your thoughts, daily patterns and choices this is your starting point.  Sacred texts are helpful in describing the true self. Sat chit ananda, your true self is eternal, unchanging, blissful. My suggestions for useful texts: Light on Life by BKS Iyengar, Sri Swami Satchidanda’s commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Swami Vivekenanda’s Jnana Yoga.  As you read these helpful texts, now observe yourself in light of the texts- what would Iyengar, Vivekenanda, or Satchidananda say?
Humility attracts wisdom, and pride or arrogance chases wisdom and divinity away. Humility also keeps us on our toes. When we’ve think we’ve gotten control of our senses and emotions, they can more easily sneak up on us. Pride also makes us feel like we know, so in a way it makes our cup full; humility is like an empty cup in which lessons from the divine can flow in and further fill us up.  
Sadhana keeps stripping away the false self and brings us back to the present moment to check in with ourselves. Sadhana is like an internal cleanse, all day long we are collecting impressions, like a house gathering dust. Sadhana is our way of directing the impressions for a set amount of time in order to keep a cleaner house.  Sadhana is making a conscious choice about what we’re doing and what we’re focusing on.