Halloween Apple Love



I was marveling at the beauty of these deep red apples and then realized I had enough for a Food Heart. The Zen Board was near to hand and it's red color fit right in. Now that the weather is dry it erases much faster than in the high humidity of Summer, so I had to hurry. Happy Halloween! Only accept apples from people you know and love ;--)

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A Little Something We Can Do To Build Community





Ray's Perspective

Today is the Sixth Day of the SPOOKYASANA Yoga Challenge! Today's pose is Dancer Natarajasana.

Here on full display is something I wonder about. Why if I am half bald is the hair I have left so darn red. Of course I've grown to like it and will be sad to see it go, but usually hair vibrance retreats as age advances, so I count myself lucky, so far. Random people still comment to me how lovely may hair is when I am out and about. Ok, that happens more in Canada and Italy where people actually talk to strangers than it does in the US but sometimes it comes up around here too.

That reminds me. Evidently we live in an age where people feel isolated. All these various ways to communicate instantaneously and we are more alone than ever. What if we each made an effort to have at least one conversation with a stranger every time we left the house. I bet if we got in the habit of building these little bridges they would grow into a network that supports community. One little conversation at a time.





Skelly's Perspective

Whoa! You can see my energy is building as all Hallows Eve approaches. I hope to be positively spectral on the big night. But don't be frightened my sweet. Deep inside I'm  still just charming little old Skelly. Brewhahahaha!

Happy Sixth Day of Spookyasana!

This post is part of a series! To learn more about this Yoga challenge and win great prizes, get the rules here: Instagram Yoga Challenge

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Doing Yoga In My Little Town




Ray's Perspective

Today is the Fifth Day of the SPOOKYASANA Yoga Challenge! Today's pose is Side Plank Pose or Vasisthasana .

I'm guessing this is the first time someone has done yoga on the steps of the Gardiner Town Hall. I was so focused on what I was doing that I didn't really think about it and well I suppose I'm used to being the only one doing yoga in lots of situations.
At the airport or in the aisle of the plane and sometimes even in my seat, yeah I'm that guy. Or at the highway rest stop or behind my car while I'm getting gas. Or at work while waiting for the xerox machine to warm up. On line at the bank or the supermarket, I try to modify enough that it is not obvious but I'm practicing there too. If a friend is late and I have a few minutes to kill or if I arrive early and don't want to intrude I always have something to do.
How about you? What are the funny little places you sneak in a little yoga? Share about it and help me feel less alone.



Skelly's Perspective

Yesterday was our first snow of the season and I got a chance to come out of my coffin and bust a yoga move for Spookyasana. I love this time of year when everything is dying. The trees are bare or nearly so, insects retreat to where ever insects go in the winter and a soul can be very much alone in the middle of a field that a few weeks ago would have been full of insect and animal life. This fallow, quiet time is perfect for me to rise from my crypt and walk the earth. Some people don't like winter but I hope we can all appreciate the beauty of the first snow and the release of energy from the spirit realms to flow and whistle on the North Winds.

Happy Fifth Day of Spookyasana!

This post is part of a series! To learn more about this Yoga challenge and win great prizes, get the rules here Instagram Yoga Challenge

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Taking Support Where We Can Get It




Ray's Perspective
Today is the Fourth Day of the SPOOKYASANA Yoga Challenge! Today's pose is Wheel pose chakrasana .

OK, I will admit it, backbends are not really my thing. If I did my natural wheel it would look like I had a flat. Really. More like table pose for sure. OK, so I looked around my hometown of #gardinerny for a circular prop to help me pose the shot and there in front of the firehouse was a ring that I think is part of some sort of old-fashioned gong that was used for an alarm in days gone by. I have never seen it rung but I imagine it gives off a massive tone. As I considered how to relate to it I realized it would make a great prop to support my backbend and help me get an arch that I could not achieve otherwise. Of course, now I want one in my backyard ;--)




Skelly's Perspective

Hello, yoga peeps! You may recognize the arc below me from Ray's post earlier tonite. When you are only 5 inches tall you get a deeper perspective on things. Imagine all the cool stuff you could see if you were atomic sized or better yet a zooming around little quark or neutrino. Well, I will have to settle for the textures that a bendy little skeleton gets to explore. I enjoy this special view and hope you do too!

Happy Fourth Day of Spookyasana!

This post is part of a series! To learn more about this Yoga challenge and win great prizes, get the rules here Instagram Yoga Challenge

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It's Good To Be A Tree



Today is the Third Day of the SPOOKYASANA Yoga Challenge! Today's pose is Tree pose.

Ray's Perspective...

5 months ago my girlfriend became my ex-girlfriend and she and her daughter both became my ex- living companions. This happened during a very busy period in late spring when I was traveling a lot for work and though I grieved in the periods when I found myself alone; weeping in the airport shuttle from the parking lot to the terminal or once home as I pushed the cart down the aisle at the supermarket were better than not mourning at all but left more work to do, since they were necessarily truncated. As Summer has turned to Fall I have grown more reflective and I have developed a personal practice to help me move through the incredible range of difficult feelings that come up.

With days growing shorter my sense of unease mounts and all kinds of feelings are emerging that need to be recognized. I have a tendency to distract myself with crossword puzzles, work, computer chess, tv and other activities, pushing the discomfort away. I also realize, when I do this, I am just pushing off into the future looking at what is alive in me now.

To combat my tendency to look outward, my habitual damming up of emotion with distraction, I have set up a new practice which I have been liking a lot, even when, or rather, especially when, it is hard to get through. It is a simple three step process that has been great for helping me keep things in perspective and keep going, but I don’t have room to detail it here. 
                                                      Skelly's Perspective...

The Fall is such a lovely time of year to be a tree. Relieved of the pressure of holding all those nasty, heavy leaves, stripped to the bare essence a tree can really show the beauty of it's architecture. No X-ray is necessary to see it's bones. Of course,  you might say in the Autumn a tree becomes more like me. How nice for the tree ;--)

Happy Third Day of Spookyasana!

This post is part of a series! To learn more about this Yoga challenge and win great prizes, get the rules here Instagram Yoga Challenge

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Yoga As Devotion




Today is the Second Day of the #SPOOKYASANA Yoga Challenge! Today's pose is Crescent Lunge.

It is interesting how my mind works. Some poses have indelible associations with them. Doing this demanding thigh and back stretch often reminds me how my teacher would clasp his hands sharply with a clap, throwing his shoulders back and suggesting after we had been in the pose for a long while that we offer it to the Lord.
I offer it to you now in that spirit of happy reverence. As the days grow shorter and primitive feelings of fear and inadequacy arise trying to greet it all with unlimited acceptance and then offering it back to the Universe from whence it comes can be transformative practice.

Happy Second Day of Spookyasana!
Sponsored by @evolutionyoga and @goyogalifestyle
Hosted by: @squidlysidney @celinegoga @jssca.bnntt @hotpilatesboss@mrplakio @_cloudysworld_ @brigitta_baka_garcia
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A Few Words From Skelly on a Fall Afternoon





Today is the Second Day of the #SPOOKYASANA Yoga Challenge! Today's pose is Crescent Lunge.

I love the long shadows late on an Autumn Day. The cold wind whistling through my bones. A few yoga poses to keep me occupied and limber. What more could my skeletal remains ask for? Brew ha ha ha ha !

Happy Second Day of Spookyasana!
Sponsored by @evolutionyoga and @goyogalifestyle
Hosted by: @squidlysidney @celinegoga @jssca.bnntt @hotpilatesboss@mrplakio @_cloudysworld_ @brigitta_baka_garcia
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Moving Mountains


I just love this simple surprise message that reminds me of something I already know but often forget ;--)

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Spooky Asana Up Dog


Today is the First Day of the #SPOOKYASANA Yoga Challenge! and Skelly and I are psyched! Today's pose is Up Dog so Skelly and I headed immediately to the dog park for some appropriate ambiance. My Skull and Roses tye-dye tee is the spookiest clothing I have and you will see it a lot this week ;--) Skelly is just plain Spooky so she is not dressed up. Later you will be treated to a close up of her but for now, you just have to look for her at the top of the frame. Happy First Day of Spookyasana!

Above, I posted a shot with me in the foreground and Skelly in the back. We are both doing today's pose Up Dog, but Skelly could barely be seen. Since she is so lovely and timely I wanted to give her the close up she deserves.



I hope you like our day at the Dog Park. We had fun there.

This post is part of a series! To learn more about this Yoga challenge and win great prizes, get the rules here: Instagram Yoga Challenge

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A Whole New World




Skelly is out on her magic yoga mat bringing joy to the world this Halloween Season. This cute printable mini-poster is on the Skelly page with other mini-posters and an animated Sun Salutation Skelly Video. Go to my website http://www.yogalifestyle.com/MISpookyYogaBendySkeletons.htm

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Grapes And Melon




One morning a few weeks ago I put some melon in an old pint container from a Chinese takeout dinner and then put some grapes on top of the melon. Without trying I had made something that was at once complex and simple, beautiful to look at and meaningful to me in terms of self-care. Some mornings I would have just popped the lid on and thrown it in my backpack and left the house but on this particular morning I was very open and the special energy of the moment and my gratitude for it were palpable. Later that morning I found a leaf suspended on spider silk bobbing in the wind and watched it in fascination for some minutes. And inside the house, a picture of my ex-girlfriends daughter when we went to Disney brought me to tears because my memory of that day and the pluckiness of that little girl who was red-faced and exhausted but hung in till she got her picture with a princess. In some ways, I felt too open to engage in the world, to go to work and be the boss. And yet those are exactly the days when I am the best at what I do. There are times when I don't appreciate anything. I barely notice the world around me. And times when it all pours in. Practicing yoga, meditation, and other somatic practices seem to create the right environment for having the world register in me. Beyond fear and anxiety and into the simple beauty of life. I hope you like the grapes. ;--)

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Summer to Autumn





I saw this earlier in the week when @domaniapower became a follower and I checked out her page. Right now this full palette is on display here in the scenic Hudson Valley. The roads are full with leaf peepers. I'm still squeezing the last drops of Summer out of the late afternoon warmth playing tennis and paddle boarding but that will all end before long. A full range of colors and mixed emotions swirl around this time of year and this painting captures it in interesting ways.

Summer to Autumn vibes. "Energy in Rhythm" 24x30" oil on canvas by Domė Betz. In private collection CO.

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Continuum Movement Arts




I love artwork that is evocative of the experience of deep listening to inner states and the slow movement of the workings of our bodies. Continuum Movement Arts is collecting and promoting the work of somatic practitioners in the arts who capture this process in many different media. They have an impressive array of artworks on their website. Continuumovementarts.com

This piece is MY GESTURAL PAINTING
By Melissa Forbes
www.melissaforbes.net

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How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body




The most impressive thing I learned from this article was that a few days of meditation will have lasting effects on your body chemistry, even four months later!

Check it out at the New York Times http://nyti.ms/1KY24TK. Copy and paste link or go to the Times site and search for How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body.
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OM



I just thought this was lovely and wanted to pass on the vibe.

It comes from Nu Movement Co-op in Rochester who holds a monthly OM chanting session to charge up the Shakti. Enjoy.  On Instagram @numymntny.

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Liberation



We did it! Day 7 of October's #LiberateThyself. The Intention is: I am liberated. Pose: #Compass #ParivrttaSuryaYantrasana

Ahhhh. It is over. This is the last day of this month's Liberate Thyself challenge. I am glad. It was interesting navigating doing poses I could only partially manifest and writing about intentions supplied by someone else that made me really consider things about my personal truth that might not have been up for me otherwise. It has been an enjoyable learning process in many ways.

For me, liberation is not a goal state but rather an ideal. Like world peace or the end of suffering it is something I can work toward but never expect to get to. I like the idea that I can make some progress in this lifetime and I constantly strive to. In this sense, I am liberated from being completely locked into my old patterns. I am aware I have habitual behaviors and I am actively involved in trying to see myself more clearly and acting more consciously.

One big thing that has been hard for me is accepting that I will experience fear, anger, pain and all manner of suffering and that it is OK. Leaning into these things helps me to learn from them. Understanding helps them to pass more quickly, leaving me open for what's next.

It is funny in a way. This striving for liberation is the great work at the center of my life and I expect never to achieve it. Yet, I pursue it every day. Whenever I think I have made some progress, I see more clearly how vast is the gulf between me and my goal. Having a sense of humor about these things helps a lot.

Please note: The Blue 908 Sarong in the background is a comprehensive posture chart with 908 yoga poses created by #SriYogiDharmaMittra. You can find more information about it on my website at http://www.yogalifestyle.com/sarong.htm

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Balance in Giving and Receiving



Day 6 of #LiberateThyself is about reorganizing your relationship with money and work. The Intention is : I give freely and I receive freely. Pose: #Visvamitrasana .

Giving and receiving is the basis for all relationships. Whether it is energy, money, food, time, or even the cold shoulder, the silent treatment or the evil eye we are constantly giving something and receiving something from others. A work relationship is no different. And like everything else these things need to be in balance.

Giving freely in a balanced situation where you are receiving a lot in return is a beautiful thing. Striving to create that in your life is something we can all aspire to and hopefully achieve.

Please note: The Red 908 Sarong in the background is a comprehensive posture chart with 908 yoga poses created by #SriYogiDharmaMittra. You can find more information about it on my website at http://www.yogalifestyle.com/sarong.htm

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Funny Yoga Outtake

video






Hello Yoga Peeps,
Here is something I am surprised we don't see more of out here. Yoga outtakes. I'm sure I am not the only one who has some funny experiences on the way to "that perfect shot". This was my first attempt at #visvamitrasana for the camera and obviously, I hadn't worked it out entirely yet.
Back in the day, all we had was Light on Yoga and the desire to do stuff we could see in the book. There were no step by step videos to help us figure out how to bend ourselves into all these unusual shapes. As you can imagine miscues like this one were very common, until one figured out a good approach to each pose.
I love that there is so much clear instruction available today. Even when working on something alone at home you can feel connected to this whole community of people striving to do similar stuff as you are.
And if something funny happens I now have close to 800 friends I can share it with right away.
Peace and Love,
Ray
Technical note: I have the camera set up on a 20-second delay. So, I hit the shutter release button then hurry onto my mat and try to organize myself quickly so I am in position when the camera makes 9 exposures in rapid succession. When I go to review it loads the 9 images one after the other so I saw basically what you see in the video. I was so busy tipping over that I didn't realize the camera capture the whole event and I laughed out loud when I saw my arms and legs akimbo ;--)

Please note: The Red 908 Sarong in the background is a comprehensive posture chart with 908 yoga poses created by #SriYogiDharmaMittra. You can find more information about it on my website at http://www.yogalifestyle.com/sarong.htm

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Working with Love




Day 5 for #liberatethyself with #EkaPadaSirsana or #FootBehindTheHeadPose. Today's Intention: I treat my work with responsibility, devotion, and care.
My teacher used to say if as a teacher you always approach the work with love you can't go wrong. I think this is true of most things. It is like the Fourth Agreement from @DonMiguelRuiz : Always do your best. It sounds so easy but how do you manifest it when you are tired, cranky or otherwise not in top form.

Doing today's pose I was struggling. Many years ago I used to be able to put my legs behind my head and I was frustrated that even though I was well warmed up I was not even getting close. I pressed on and tried to hold the leg up by my ear with one hand and made half a prayer position with the other hand by my heart and it looked super awkward. Then inspiration struck. I could make an ugly attempt at a pose that is lovely when done properly or I can make a lovely photo with my heart in the right place while doing something much easier.

In my spare time I may continue to strive to do the full pose but for today I have chosen to be loving with myself and share something that I think is beautiful. Sometimes doing your best means accepting your limits and hoping it is enough ;--)

Please note: The Purple 908 Sarong in the background is a comprehensive posture chart with 908 yoga poses created by #SriYogiDharmaMittra. You can find more information about it on my website http://www.yogalifestyle.com/sarong.htm. The Tee Shirt is a sample I received many years ago from @iloveyogastudio_

Go to Instagram and check out these awesome people.
Gracious Hosts: @anitawinglee
@theyogacouple
@elisheva_yoga
@pattyyuniverse
@myogalasvegas
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@solosolmovement - yoga apparel
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Loving the Work You Do



For Day 4 of #LiberateThyself, the Intention is "I make a living doing what I love - easily!" Pose: #UtthitaHastaPadangusthasana #extendedhandtobigtoepose .

Here are some tips on turning things you don't love to do into things you enjoy doing. Notice as you approach the work you are not naturally drawn to how you feel in your body. Do you get tense, your breath shorten? Try to relax, recognizing the task won't be any easier if you are rigid and breathing shallowly. Take some deep breaths and maybe do some stretching into the areas that feel tightest. Once you are more comfortable perhaps you can re-imagine the work so that it is easier to do.
One of the things I used to not like to do at work was paying bills. Settling down to check the invoices against the receiving tickets and the prices charged against the negotiated costs I expected to be paying is the kind of niggling detail work I liked the least. Just thinking about all this made me anxious and uncomfortable. So here is what I did to change my situation. I started thinking about the goods I was receiving and how happy they were making people and how the money I was paying out was supporting folks who were creating things of value that I love being able to sell. This made it so much easier to do what had been a distasteful task. Now I look forward to paying my bills because it is a chance to come into contact with all the connections that make the business I love work.
I suggest you try this. Meditate on the work you don't like and let yourself be open to all the good things that flow from it. Try to keep those things in mind as you move through this work and soon you will be doing what you love - easily.

Go to Instagram to check out these awesome people.
Gracious Hosts: @anitawinglee
@theyogacouple
@elisheva_yoga
@pattyyuniverse
@myogalasvegas
Generous Sponsors: @citrinebeautyaz - skincare
@solosolmovement - yoga apparel
@goyogawear - yoga tops
@reikiwomb - dreamcatcher
@unconditionallovehat - scarf hat

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No Help From Above




Day 3 of #LiberateThyself. The Intention is "I always receive divine guidance on what to do next." Pose: #Parsvottanasana #IntenseSideStretch .

I'm sorry but this is where I get off the bus.

I know intentions are set in simple affirmative statements as if they already are true like, I always treat people kindly or I only eat foods that are good for me and good for the planet or other nice ideas that I hope I can manifest but, "I always receive divine guidance on what to do next," is just a bridge too far for me.

I have learned that I am happier if I follow my heart's stirrings and I have made some major decisions based what I feel deeply more so than what I think. I like living this way. I feel happier and freer than I did when I let my head guide everything. And while it feels right, I would not ascribe the guidance to the Lord or the Universe. Getting really quiet so I can hear from myself is sublime, but the voice of what I hear, even when it is a novel insight, is mine.

Maybe I have been reading too much Pema Chodron lately. She seems to say that reliance on divine beings for guidance or anything else is the kind of fantasy that blinds us to our true situations. Looking for help from above all we are likely to get is stiff necks. But going within and becoming familiar with our best and worst impulses may give us a chance to make the same mistakes fewer times than we would if we could not sit with all the stuff that comes up. So today I am going to reword this intention to make it mine. " I always strive to listen to my heart's stirrings and to greet whatever comes up with friendliness, compassion, and joy. I will let this process influence my decisions. "
Go to Instagram and check out these awesome people.

Gracious Hosts: @anitawinglee
@theyogacouple
@elisheva_yoga
@pattyyuniverse
@myogalasvegas
Generous Sponsors: @citrinebeautyaz - skincare
@solosolmovement - yoga apparel
@goyogawear - yoga tops
@reikiwomb - dreamcatcher
@unconditionallovehat - scarf hat

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Full Split (Sort Of ;--)




For Day 2 of #LiberateThyself , the Intention is "I create my destiny." Pose: #Hanumanasana or #fullsplit . Today’s step is about consciously deciding what you want.

How much do I consciously decide for myself? On a very deep level, many things are decided for me. For better or worse I was subjected to compulsory education and inoculations. I grew up in a culture that values money, education, white men, individualism and many other things that have informed me, whether I embrace them or not. My parents, family, community all have values and have created structure that I need to navigate or lose connection. Often this is the choice of growth. True independence means letting some measure of safety and security die so that whatever we hope will be more satisfying can take its place.


I have shed a lot of skins to get where I am today personally. I have had more death dreams than I can remember. I moved from the suburbs to the country. I quit my high paying job to start my own small business. I have spent countless hours on personal growth and yet I know I am still acting out much that was preprogrammed into me as an infant.
Just like Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita; the field of battle I am offered is not my own creation. I have a role to play which is foisted upon me. The Lord decides all outcomes. What I can do is to play this role in a way that is satisfying. I can decide to fight or to go home but I can't decide whether there is war or not, nor can I decide who wins.

I did not create Instagram nor even this Yoga Challenge. The last time I tried to do a full split was many years ago when I was practicing advanced yoga regularly. Even then, I was a few inches off the floor. That few inches have grown to a foot. This is not a battle I have been waging. It is fun for me to be in this place where many physical posture warriors share their excellence and to make my offering here as well. I like holding the space for the journey. We each can only offer what we have or decide not to make an offering. That much is up to us. In taking this challenge I have decided to add my voice in this community. I appreciate the warm welcome.

Please note: The Orange 908 Sarong in the background is a comprehensive posture chart with 908 yoga poses created by #SriYogiDharmaMittra. You can find more information about it on my site at
http://www.yogalifestyle.com/sarong.htm

Go to Instagram and check out these awesome people.

Gracious Hosts: @anitawinglee
@theyogacouple
@elisheva_yoga
@pattyyuniverse
@myogalasvegas
Generous Sponsors: @citrinebeautyaz - skincare
@solosolmovement - yoga apparel
@goyogawear - yoga tops
@reikiwomb - dreamcatcher
@unconditionallovehat - scarf hat
I'd love to hear from you.  Please connect with me on the  Facebook Page and Instagram feed to get more Yoga wisdom, science, style, and fun everyday! And make sure to Subscribe to Everyday Yoga for more great posts like this one delivered to your inbox!
   

Finding Balance




Welcome to Day 1 of #LiberateThyself! The intention is: I am willing to see my career differently. The pose is #Virabhadrasana 3, #BalancingStickPose. Today is about sharing my personal definition of success.

This is a tough one for me. There are so many ways to be successful as a seller of yoga supplies and a yogi and of course then there are so many ways to fail. The days when I can give each goal the attention it deserves and also the space to happen, however, it is meant to happen, are good days.

As a businessman, making money is a key aim. As an employer being sure my employees have the resources to do their jobs and attain satisfaction from the work is important. As a yoga prop supplier, some of my deepest satisfaction comes from knowing my products alleviate suffering. That many backs, knees, wrists are soothed and protected by my products. The fact that people are helped on their personal journeys by the books I sell and the ideas I share on social media means a lot to me.

As a yogi, some of my most satisfying days are when I can stop myself every hour or so and breathe and feel into my body and stay in touch with present moment consciousness. These days, when I can keep in touch with first order reality amidst the swirl of all the other competing goals are the most satisfying of all.

Please note: The Pink 908 Sarong in the background is a comprehensive posture chart with 908 yoga poses created by Sri Yogi Dharma Mittra. You can find more information about it on my site by going to  http://www.yogalifestyle.com/sarong.htm
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