Reply to an email I received

Published on March 16, 2013

Below is my reply to an email I received from “A” that commented on my “Goodbye Vancouver” letter. The email said:

“I think that was a very negative email. You should always leave on a good note and not cut down others. You are a business as well.”

Dear A,

Thank you for taking the time and sharing with me your thoughts.

As for your observation of my email as a negative one:

I guess negativity is a perception, like everything else. By now I received, unexpectedly, 97 replies to my goodbye email, and only two of them considered my email as negative. Yours is one of the two. Nonetheless, these two emails are not less important to my heart than the rest. Somehow the other people didn’t perceive my letter as negative. Both perceptions are valued.

If you are interested in my perception ;-) my letter was simply an observation, only from my personal experience of the yoga world, today, and not anyone else’s. So you can either agree with it, or not agree, or be indifferent to it…

I started practicing yoga 36 years ago and I can tell you the practice was very different. Yes, the world is changing, as everything else, but I can share with you that one of the things we did with yoga, as westerners, is that instead of changing ourselves through the spiritual practice, we changed the practice to suit our restless mind and lifestyle, as it makes things easier ;-) . In this way we do not need to go through the transformation that spiritual discipline requires, and we all know how challenging this transformation can be.

And yes you are right, I am a business my self. You can call any exchange a business. The question is: what is coming as first priority… the business or the teaching.

From my humble point of view the distinction is between giving our students what they want so they keep coming to us and keep our profits rolling, or giving students what they need, without the fear that we may lose them if they can’t handle the transformational power of the deeper spiritual teachings of Yoga. The “job” of a spiritual teacher is to do whatever needs to be done without the thought of being either popular or loved.

But as I said, this is only my humble observation and experience as a yogini, and I accept with love that it does not resonate with everyone.

Love…
Shakti

Goodbye Vancouver… for now :-)

Published on March 11, 2013

The wind changed direction, it is time to leave. Leaving means going away and going away means arriving… so we are leaving to arrive.

17 years ago i arrived in Vancouver from Israel to open a yoga center. I remember walking on the streets with no idea where is what. I was lonely but not lost. I was looking for a location for a yoga center. A couple was chatting in the entrance of a store. I walked to them and asked where do they “think is a good neighborhood for a yoga center?” they both looked at me strangely and said: “Yoga? there is no yoga in Vancouver. Vancouver is an outdoor kind of a place, people ski and climb mountains, but they do not do yoga.”

Shortly after i opened Prana yoga center in Yaletown. I called the Georgia Straight and asked to have an advertisement in the “mind and body” section of the paper. As yoga wasn’t one of the categories in the section i asked to have a Yoga title above my add, the same as massage therapy and martial arts had. Kathy, the wonderful mind and body’s editor told me she can not put a yoga title as i will be the only one that advertises Yoga in the section. She had her reasoning but i wanted my Yoga title ;-) so i said: give me a yoga title and within a year you will have a list of yoga adds under the yoga section… and the rest is an history… :-)

In the last 17 years yoga boomed in north America and became the hottest trend.

In the last 17 years i observed many beautiful, sincere students that opened their hearts and lives to the yoga practice, expanded their consciousness and connected with their inner powers. As well, I observed many students and yoga teachers that embraced yoga as a pure work out that creates hot bodies ;-) .

As yoga grew up and got established as the “THING” to do i watched many yoga teachers that turned into yoga celebrities, moving in the yoga world as divas and giving the impression that it is an honor for the world to be in their presence ;-)

I as well watched many yogis that became dedicated humble teachers, serving their students genuinely with the intent to share their love and gratitude to the practice.

I watched many lovely yoga centers open as mushrooms after a rainy day, with owners and dedicated teams of teachers that hold the space for students to grow and transform. These wonderful centers are like sanctuaries in the desert of our fast paced existence.

Sadly i was witnessing as well, yoga centers opened by business people that have no idea about the practice and that transformed yoga centers into commercial spas with white towels and zero spiritual teaching, for the single purpose of making profit. These so call “yoga centers” lead astray innocent students from the spiritual path, leading them into the illusion that we are only physical bodies ;-)

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all our students, graduates, teachers and wonderful people that came on our path and became our energetic family.

For now we are going to teach in other destinations: Bali, Israel and Montenegro in Europe. Pepe and myself are inviting you to come and share with us the bliss of the Path, wherever we are. We are coming back to Vancouver for a short teaching visit in March 2014. Please stay in touch with us through the Prana website, Facebook and emails to the office, that will be run by Su.

We are now in Bali for teaching 200 teacher training starting March 25 and 300 course starting April 22. After Bali we are heading to Israel to open a yoga college. If you are in the neighborhood please come and visit, otherwise, if you would like to connect with us, please do so as we are fully available to you in our hearts.

Thanks for being in our lives

Shakti

How to be in a relationship while walking the spiritual path, with Shakti Mhi & Pepe Danza

Spiritual Intimacy with Shakti Mhi & Pepe DanzaSaturday March 16th – 1:00 – 4:00pm
Location: The Yoga Barn – Jalan Raya Pengosekan (behind Siam Sally Restaurant), Ubud – Bali, Indonesia
Cost: 300.000rp (270.000rp if pre-registered by Thursday March 14th)

Intimacy and passion are what most people wish to keep throughout their relationship. However, they are the first thing we let slip between our fingertips because it takes a conscious effort to nourish them. Intimacy and passion demand attention and awareness, the same two disciplines required for practicing meditation. Spiritual people will often put so much effort into the practice and discipline of a daily meditation, so why not have your love relationship practiced with the same care?… Make your relationship your meditation and your lover the focus of your concentration.

In the seminar Shakti and Pepe will give a satsang about spirituality, intimacy and the way they connect. The discourse will be based on questions and answers, to insure the teaching is personal.

You can also download the poster for this event.

Illegal love

Published on March 2, 2013

Illegal love In many states and countries and in most religious systems, Gay* marriages are still not legal. In a way, this fact makes gay and lesbian love illegal, which makes gay and lesbian feelings illegal. From this perception a gay’s heart turns out to be a criminal organ, since it contains the wrong feelings to the wrong person. Gay shining love eyes are not acceptable by most people because they are looking at the “wrong” gender. In the name of “GOD” the churches took ownership of the definitions of “love” and “relationship” and left outside whoever does not fit in their poor, limited, small box. In the name of God the Church took ownership of what is right and what is wrong. It took all the rights from people with genuine love for others of the same gender, and declared everything relating to this love as WRONG.

It is an astonishing realization that still to this day, when human consciousness expands beyond matter, when quantum physics demonstrates again and again that everything is energy, everything vibrates, that we all started from the same sparkle of light; that Gay love is still a subject for an article as this one. It is pretty devastating that still to this moment, when human awareness expands far beyond Darwin’s evolution theory, we are still stuck on the idea that we are here just for continuing our species… and that gay and lesbian love is still an ISSUE!

If people that are attracted to the opposite sex are called “straight”, what does it make  gays… “crooked”? The controlling society distorted the term “love” so it can be used and abused by the system.

Weddings and marriage ceremonies are ancient rituals that stage a special moment of unity. Anyone that stops or cuts through unity, creates more separation and destruction. For these limited minds that cannot see beyond their poor programming, we should have compassion and love so we do not create more separation.

And yet!

I would like to call all gays and lesbians to celebrate their love in ceremonies and rituals, even in places that don’t permit it within the system yet.

Love cannot be dominated by any authority’s command!

I would like to call all spiritual priests and priestesses and male and female ministers to conduct and support gay and lesbian unions and marriage ceremonies.

I would like to call all spiritual parents to educate their children that love, when it comes from respect and without harm, has no shape, definition or gender.

Celebrate your love!

Shakti Mhi
Prana Yoga College

* When the word gay appears not followed by the word lesbian, it refers to both sexes.

New Grants Available for Students in Bali

Published on February 7, 2013

I am very pleased to announce that we have introduced grants for our upcoming 200 & 300 hour programs in Bali.

These grants will make our teacher training more affordable for students who need a bit of financial help.

Terms & Eligibility:

For grant application and contact information, visit our financial aid information page.

Do animals have consciousness?

Published on January 30, 2013

Do animals have consciousness?Often people ask me if animals have consciousness, meaning, do they have an awareness that is beyond the instincts and drives that come from the program of their species.

A definition for consciousness can be: the ability to observe and process information, not purely instinctually but in a unique, intelligent, manner.

The answer is in the below documentary ;-)

The Nature of Things: A Murder of Crows
(note: the documentary may not be available to visitors outside Canada)

 

 

The difference between Bliss and Happiness

Published on January 19, 2013

This article is a reply to questions posed by a reader of my earlier article, The danger in the “Karma” concept.

Angus said:

Thank you for the insights. I’m reminded of the biblical Job’s friends who concluded that he must’ve done some great evil to invoke such a harsh treatment from his god. The opposite was true and it turned out that his god was only sporting with him.

My question regards the apparent need for suffering, or existentialist benefits of it, as contrasted against thoughts suggesting a blissful life is attainable. How can we grow and remain empathetic to the plight of others while living a blissful life?

Below is my answer to Angus’s questions.

I wouldn’t say we need to suffer but rather that we are convinced suffering is inevitable. The reason for it is that we are identified with our temporary form as who we are. Our physical form is fragile and can get hurt or injured or can cease in any given moment, so we are in constant fear, either consciously or subconsciously. We are as well identified with our self-image/ego=small self, so anything that we perceive as not serving our small self, such as rejection, separation, failure, etc., is as well source of suffering for us.

Q. How can we grow and remain empathetic to the plight of others while living a blissful life?

First we should define what Bliss is. Even though it is a direct experience that is too large to describe in words, I will do my best to define it for the sake of our communication.

The difference between Bliss and HappinessMany people confuse Bliss with happiness. The difference is that happiness relies on external circumstances while Bliss is a state that does not get affected by the dramas of life or by our mind’s constant evaluation of good and bad.

I am so happy because we are going on a vacation…

I am very unhappy because our flight was canceled…

Bliss has nothing to do with the ever changing reality. Bliss is a state of supreme awareness and gratitude.

Happiness streams from our mind’s satisfaction, while Bliss is the permanent state that shines from our higher self, the ultimate observer that cannot be affected by our mind fluctuation.

Many of us, even if not dwelling permanently in the Bliss state, have random moments where the mind ceases and we experience a state of serenity, inner peace, complete awareness, and gratitude for being.

Usually this state lasts until the mind takes over again, flooding us with doubts, fears, hesitations and a sense of lacking. this when we say Goodbye to Bliss… we are back to suffering and pain.

Imagine Bliss as sun rays breaking through the clouds of ignorance, shining upon us. As a metaphor, the state of realization is when the clouds of ignorance disappear and we unite with the light that shines from the blissful sun.

When we start walking on the spiritual path some days are cloudier then other days but now we are aware that the sun is always behind the clouds. This is the same with Bliss, always there, but often blocked by the clouds of our minds.

People think that in the state of Bliss one does not experience feelings such as sadness, grief, empathy, pain and other human feelings. We need to keep in mind that the whole spiritual experience happens within the human experience; it is a part of the human experience. So the “Human” does not disappear as Bliss starts shining from the higher self… Instead it gets illuminated.

When the sun is shining we tend to feel up and high, and still you need to deal with the daily life challenges. Unlike rainy, cloudy grey days, when it is sunny we tend to move around with a positive attitude and full of energy.

The same with Bliss, you live life with a constant light as there are no more clouds (fear, hesitation, despair, anger) to block the sun rays but you still need to do whatever needs to be done and experience whatever needs to be experienced…It cannot be avoided in the physical dimension. If your beloved one died you grieve for her, and yet the sense of awareness and gratitude are not touched. When you face ordeals and harsh times you may not look happy but the sense of acceptance through your blissful essence will guide you to go through the maya mindfully and in peace.

I myself experienced a blissful state while my human form experienced a great ordeal. In an accident I fell down 32 feet, crashing on a rock. My body was broken and wounded badly. I was lying down on the ground experiencing horrifying pain in each of my cells, and yet I could observe a state of Bliss shining from my higher self.

I was lying there not sure if I am going to live, and yet weaves of Bliss were flowing through my injured body. It was a very profound moment that I owe to my practice.

It is not an easy task to maintain connection with our blissful sate in the fast paced, ever stressful reality we all deal with. Easy to fall in despair when you see how humans often treat each other and other beings on Earth as well as the Earth itself.

Never suppress your feelings for the sake of fitting in a preconceived image of spirituality… there is no such thing. The practice is about flowing smoothly between whom we are as an essence and who we are as a physical form and find peace as we go through it all.

Love Shakti

The danger in the “Karma” concept

Published on January 14, 2013

Part 1: the meaning of Karma

The danger in the "Karma" conceptThe meaning of the word Karma, in Sanskrit, is action. But beyond the dictionary meaning, Karma gives birth to the concept of “cause and effect.” The cause makes the effect happen. The driver driving fast was the cause for accident – the effect. The accident was the cause for Lily to be late for her work and get fired – the effect. Getting fired from her previous work was the cause for Lily to find the job of her dreams.

Another way to describe Karma is through action and consequences. The action is the cause for the consequence – the effect – that will become an action for another consequence.

We cannot argue about the concept of “action and consequence,” since in our physical reality, it is a fact. However we act, if we are aware and still alive ;-) , we will be able to observe the consequences of our actions.

BUT! The concept of Karma is not based only on “cause and effect.” There are 4 more aspects that are involved in karma: Good and bad / right and wrong. These are four aspects that are unified and cannot be separated.

There is no wrong without bad.

There is no right without good.

There is no good without bad.

There is no right without wrong.

These are the four wheels that set the karma concept in motion.

So, it is not anymore just about “cause and effect” or “action and consequence.” Now it is about wrong causes creating bad effects and bad actions bringing wrong consequences. The same principle applies with good actions and right causes.

By the law of karma, if you accumulate “Bad Karma” by doing wrong actions, you will attract pain and suffering.

This means that the concept of Karma is based on fear, the greatest way to control people.

As well, this means that the concept is based on punishment and rewards, the fundamental foundation of all religions.

The above 2 principles are never part of the spiritual path!

There is another twisted aspect for the “Karma” concept that will be discussed in part 2 of the article.

Part 2

A few weeks ago, in India, a 23 year old Indian girl was violently raped on a bus by six men. By the law of Karma, if something bad happens to you or if you have a rough and harsh life it is because you carry “Bad Karma.” “Bad Karma” could be accumulated from past lives, from this lifetime, or both. The karmic principle is that people with “Bad Karma” need to pay the bill for their wrong actions or their bad causes, by experiencing uneasy realities.

From this explanation it is easy to deduce that people with “Bad karma” will require other bad people or bad events to create harsh realities for them. Someone needs to be the “evil” one so life becomes hell for the one with “Bad karma” that deserves it.

So… if this is how it works, what reason would we have to go after criminals and punish them for hurting and harming people with “Bad karma?” After all, they help these people to learn their lessons and pay their dues for their bad actions. Should they be rewarded and not punished for doing the “dirty work?”

So the question is: If we do believe in the law of Karma, where people get punished for their bad actions, can we still accuse the six men that raped and killed the young girl that obviously at some point in her many lives collected “Bad Karma,” as guilty?

The concept of Karma can be very tricky and dangerous…

With sadness and grief for the young Indian girl

Namaste

Shakti

Liver Cleanse Workshop with Shakti

Published on January 13, 2013

Don’t miss this upcoming seminar:

Sunday, Jan 20 | 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm ($60 cash only)

The liver is the largest internal organ and a blood filter.

Gallbladder stones
These are gallbladder stones that came out from the anus, with no pain as a result of a leaver cleanse

When the liver is cleaner, the blood is cleaner. The cells are nourished with blood, which has more space to bring nutrients and oxygen to every part of your body. As a result, we are slowing down the aging process and increasing health and vitality.

Necessary for:

  • Anyone who is taking or has taken medication at any point in their life.
  • Anyone who is not eating healthy during the year. (Particularly non-organic foods)
  • Anyone that consumes or consumed alcohol on a weekly basis
  • Anyone who lives in (polluted) urban areas.
  • Anyone with allergies
  • Anyone suffering from moods swing
  • Anyone who deals with uncontrolled anger
  • Anyone having problems sleeping
  • Anyone who wants to age gracefully and stay young in the spirit.

Our detailed liver cleanse seminar offers a simple, step-by-step process for removing toxins, encrusted colonic materials, and gall bladder stones. These materials accumulate in the body as a result of unhealthy eating habits and/or the consumption of alcohol and prescription or non-prescription drugs. After the leaver cleanse that is done at home and takes a day and a half you will feel full of energy, light and radiant. Join shakti for this informational seminar and learn the tools to perform this cleanse on your own again and again, whenever your body needs it. (NO IT’S NOT A FAST)

It is surprisingly simple and modified for the busy people who care about their health.

Please bring a note book and pen as you will take lots of notes.

Please call to reserve or email info@pranayogacollege.com

Do you grow old or grow up?

Published on January 11, 2013

Do you grow old or grow up?Some people grow old but do not grow up

Other people fear to grow old because they never grew up

Many people are afraid to grow up, so instead, they grow old.

Fewer people grow up and never grow old ;-)

What IS the difference between growing old and growing up?

Growing old has to do with the physical body. The physical body is a form of matter. Matter exists in space and time so it flows with the direction of time. We can say, in the beginning of our life, our bodies were new and with time the physical body grows old until it ceases. Growing old has to do with the changes that take place in shell that holds our consciousness in the physical dimension …In other words our PHYSICAL BODY

And growing up?

Growing up has to do with consciousness. Growing up is about growth of consciousness, awareness and knowing. It is not about gathering information. Collecting information is more like growing to the side, the same as when we collect too much food in our body ;-)

Growing up awakens our inner wisdom as the growth of a tree awakens the inner flowers to come out and blossom.

In many spiritual disciplines the age of 40 is considered as the age of wisdom.

If we perceive ourselves as spiritual seekers and yet we arrive at the age of wisdom while still being trapped in the illusion that we are our Bodies, we are fools.

In my teaching, I sometimes come across young people that are very wise and have great capacity to observe reality as it is and not as their minds and emotions project. As a result of being wiser for their age, these youngsters often deal with a great sense of loneliness and feeling like outsiders. In the right order these young spiritual people should be able to go to the elderly in their close circle and ask for spiritual guidance and support. But finding wise elderly as mentor is not so simple anymore.

Many elderly people (50 plus and on) that naturally should be the wise ones, more grounded, and with vast consciousness, are often confused themselves, dealing with doubts and crises as “ageing” approaches their bodies. The reason is that our model of aging is all upside down instead of inside out. Why upside down? Because as we age, we are expected by society to look younger than our age and stay sexy all the way to the end.

Aging should take place from inside out. That means, as we age, internal wisdom, should surface from inside out, replacing fleeting physical youth with eternity Consciousness.

Do you grow old or grow up?Take Madonna as an example:

  • She is a celebrity, and many young people follow her as a role model
  • She is in the age of wisdom
  • She has declared for many years that she is deeply involved in spiritual practices such as Yoga and Kabbalah.

Despite of the above, in her performances, she keeps demonstrating how she is completely identifying herself with her physical body. She is growing old without growing up.

If after so many years of practicing Yoga and Kabbalah one still demonstrates deep attachment to the physical body while having reached the age of wisdom, the practice never went deep and may just have been a shallow following of trends . If being sexy and attractive is still the aim at the age of 50 and older, as a consequence, suffering, fears, and denial will pave the journey to our departure day…

Consciousness growth is a process where we shake off all the identifications we been programmed to believe we are. Consciousness growth is a process where we start uniting with our essence beyond form and all the concepts we identify with. The first one to let go off is our identification that we are the physical body.

When you meet wise elders it is always a blissful experience. Being in the company of wise older people, who moved beyond their physicality, who accept and observe with peace and humour the process of aging, is a celebration. In the age of wisdom, the wise elderly naturally start to serve, support, and guide the ones that are on the way… These are the people that inspire the young ones to see that there is much more to our life experience than just aiming for physical beauty and sexual attraction…

Namaste

Shakti

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Shakti is the author of the book "The Enigma of Self Realization"