Equality and Yoga

The Bhagavad Gita states that when one knows Truth, one sees all living beings as equals with equal vision. One sees oneself, the trees, plants, insects, birds, animals, and all varieties of humans as all children of the same source.

“One who sees Supersoul equally present everywhere, in every living being, does not degrade himself by his mind” (13.29).

If we awaken to this commonality, Earth and all of its waters, forests, wetlands, oceans, creatures, crops, and all humans whether or not we agree with them, deserve equal reverence, protection, rights, and most importantly love.

Because many humans think we’re more important and more deserving than the rest of life is how we got to be in this state of climate catastrophe and social injustice. Like children raised by parents who are more interested in their own selves, nature is beginning to aggressively cry and act out for the attention and love that it had always deserved.

In degrading nature we degrade ourselves. For example, if the water is polluted and we rely on the water to drink, cook, and bathe, we ingest the pollution through our bellies and skin. Same goes with the air, soil, etc.

Yogis: you have the knowledge. You must act on this every moment, embracing all life as your family. It is time to put the rainforests and respect for animals before our taste and diet preferences. It is time to bury consumeristic conveniences in the past by spiritualizing the way you cook, eat, walk, and live. It is time to recognize the sacred in everything, and then turn towards and serve the Supersoul. After all doing so is our True Nature.


Making Peace with Death

According the the Bhagavad Gita, death isn’t the loss of life, but it is the soul’s exchange of one body to it’s next. The soul is infinite and simply acquires and lets go of bodies just as we acquire clothes and let go when they’ve become worn out.

Fear of death is one of the kleshas, or obstacles of Yoga, which is resolved in the Bhagavad Gita, death really is not an issue because the essence of a being is eternal. Sadhguru stated a question that illuminates this point, that I paraphrase: when someone loses weight, have they lost part of themselves? No because they are not the body. When a tree loses its leaves it is still the same tree.

When you love someone are you in love with their body? When parents love their children and after ten years their children have completely different bodies, yet they still love them, so they must be loving something much deeper than the body.

Our thoughts and state of mind at death determines the body and the conditions of our next life, and death could arrive at any time. So, we must tend to the spirit as if today was our last. How do we know the state of mind or what we will think of at the time of our death which could happen at any moment? Look at what you fix your mind on. What are your daily and moment to moment focuses?

Yoga, Horses and Divinity

The world is an external manifestation of what is inside. What we see is a perception through the lens we created through thoughts, ideas, and values. We can choose to see the divine behind everything or not. The results of that decision is either to feel entirely supported or completely alone.

Why don’t we choose to live simply in the support of the Highest?  The horse above, and your pets and all the wildlife, are not bound to the dramatic news everyday, and even if they are feeling the effects of climate chaos, they don’t choose to suffer over it, but rather embrace and respond to each present moment.

I challenge you to stand where your feet are.  To exist just in awareness for a few minutes, or many, each day.  Allow whatever is there to be there with an acceptance as if the experience, whether pleasant or not, is a gift to pull you closer to your Source.  Yoga is this connection to the Source.

This is what I practice while working with horses.  Each act is an attempt to pull the horse into a deeper and more trusting relationship with me, whether the act is rewarding good behavior or redirecting something a little less desirable.  I aspire to learn from horses the humbleness of collaborating with what horses consider predators and the ability to not take offense at those less-desired behaviors, because  horses, like all beings, only do what they think they have to do to survive.


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!