Update on Eco Yoga

Eco Yoga’s proceeds from the last two weeks went to protecting the rainforests that are :

Nestled in the southern coast of Borneo lies the Rimba Raya Orangutan Reserve. One of the most highly endangered ecosystems in the world, the High Conservation Value (HCV), lowland peat swamp forest is home to local communities and over 1,000 at-risk plant and animal species, including the Borneo orangutan, clouded leopard, and Asian sun bear. Everyday, paper and palm oil interests put Indonesian forests in jeopardy. If these forests are cut down, we run the risk of emitting one of the largest concentrations of natural carbon in the world.

Stand For Trees  helps protect these forests and all those who depend on them including local communities and local wildlife — keeping carbon stored in their trees and out of our atmosphere. In addition, your purchase helps improve access to clean water, efficient cook stoves, and health care for all those who live in the project area. (Quoted from the Stand For Trees website)

Show up to your practice at Eco Yoga and your practice benefits all of the beings that you share with the whole planet.

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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

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!

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.

If you feel like you’re being used, it’s because you are.

If you feel like you’re being used, it’s because you are.  You are an instrument of the divine.  Your voice, your actions, your deeds are all in service of the highest.  What the highest is, or what is divine, that is up to your beliefs, only you know for yourself.  All I can say is that you are powerful, especially if you recognize yourself as a channel or pathway of divinity.

In our time of feeling politically disenfranchised, in our time of feeling so small as individuals in face of climate disaster, in our time when we feel pitted against one another, as a yogi, as an instrument of divinity myself, as a teacher, a friend, a lover of you, I must say that you have the power of the universe, of nature, of God, of the divine on your side.  We all do, it’s just that many forget.  Even I can forget as I wallow in self pity over conflict.

What does the divine want?  How can you serve this higher purpose?  Well, you are divine.  So what do you want?  What are your goals?  And then, what is your starting point?  How can you connect where you are in this moment with where you want to be?  What’s your first step?  And then the second?  Don’t worry about filling them all in, one step at a time.

Empower yourself and others by believing and seeing the highest in yourself and in them too.  Finally, let yourself be used.  It’s a lesson in humility for sure, so the ego will want to fight it.  This is ishvara pranidhana, the last and most difficult of niyamas, or observances in our foundational yoga practices.  Ishvara pranidhana is the surrendering of our small self to our highest Self, the Self that is in all other beings.

Bicycling into the Future

Dear Yogis Around the World,

I write as a concerned yogi that shares the planet with you.  It is up to us, you and me, and our friends, to choose environmentally sound modes of transportation and fuel.  We can reduce the miles driven in fossil-fueled cars in order to ensure that all of the organisms that we share Earth with can thrive in the coming decades and centuries.  We are at a tipping point that doesn’t require terribly in depth research to understand the consequences of for yourself and all living creatures.  At the tipping point, every decision is crucial.  Empower yourself with tools of activity that slow down climate chaos!  One solution out of many?  Ride a bike or walk instead of sitting in the car.  Not only does your fuel switch from petroleum to your yummy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, but you are also pumping your heart, moving your body in an era of sedentary lifestyles, thereby preventing chronic mental, physical and emotional illnesses!  Let’s bike our way into the futures of sloths, tigers, and toucans and humanity!

This relief print is made from recycled styrofoam used for food packaging and printed with acrylic inks that were taken out of the trash pile left by art students moving out of their apartment!

It is 5 by 8 inches and only $10 (plus shipping).  Email morganherum@gmail.com if you’d like to order one!