the journey within – quotes

December 1st, 2011

Here are ten motivational quotes…

For those times when you just don’t want to do the right thing and need a kick in the pants.

1. The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. –Paul Valery

2. The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. –Robert Cushing

3. Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. –Louis Pasteur

4. Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure. –Edward Eggleston

5. The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling. –Lucretius

6. Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance. –Samuel Johnson

7.  It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. –Confucius

8. The only journey is the journey within. –Rainer Maria Rilke

9. Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. –Doug Firebaugh

10.  Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still. –Chinese Proverb

BONUS

11. Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Meditation and Yoga in Phuket

November 11th, 2011

We are pleased to announce our new center location north of Chalong on Phuket. In addition to daily yoga and meditation, we are now able to offer Qigong instruction and traditional Chinese medicinal treatments.

The new bungalows are higher quality and set in the Yuwadee Resort, with an onsite restaurant and gorgeous pool. The center is near the Chalong Temple which is a popular destination for excursions.

Please join us for a 3, 5, 7 or 9 day retreat, connecting with a deeper sense of yourself.

Coming soon: new locations and teacher training!

July 23rd, 2011

We are very excited to be providing new and exciting options for our clients and guests in different exotic locations throughout Thailand… and Yoga Alliance-accredited teacher training courses in Koh Samui and Koh Chang!

In addition, we have expanded offerings in meditation retreats and classes in the US (Florida and Colorado). Please visit Summit Dharma Center and Meditation Florida for more information on these very special, mind-awakening retreats.

Thailand’s Life Lessons & Yoga

October 19th, 2009

Living among the Thai people, there are opportunities for self-discovery and growth that are a constant surprise.

I have to remember that, as a Westerner, my ancestors have a history steeped in the throes of a feudalistic dark age, various global crusading and colonizing, revolutionizing industrial & information systems and designing the modern world. I inherit their world, beliefs and ideals.

Meanwhile, the lovely and beautiful Thai people were immersed in a thousand-year culture driven by the Buddhist values of loving-kindness, joy, compassion and peace. This is not to say that this is a paradise beyond suffering. Simply that if one slows down and is present and open to encountering the Thai on their terms, an amazing lesson can be learned.

Consider our cook, Nong.  She knows she is assisting foreigners who are developing spiritually through the practice of both asana yogic practice as well as meditation in stillness. So she shops very efficiently, trying to maximize the food she presents us with a minimum of expense.  She will go to the “super cheap” store on her day off, just to take care of us. She always has a smile and a ready laugh, as well. She speaks little English, but communication happens more subtly, through broken language, gesture and warm smiles.

It is this kind of simple, joyful, selfless approach to life that can be found here and can be developed by all of us. We need to learn to leave our western beliefs a little, and learn to enjoy the day and this present moment, as we are able. It is truly all we have. Taking care of the present is taking care of the future. There is a simple beauty in being with others, no matter their history or your relationship to them. There is more joy in being simple and present than simply trying to be something.

At the Thai seem to be masters of this.

It is the reason we practice yoga with mindfulness, and the reason we have sitting as a part of our daily practice. We are trying to heal the schism between our bodies and minds and regain a sense of wholeness that allow us to act from the heart. With a sense of true compassion. To leave behind our neurotic histories and open up to our true limitless potential.

Karma Yoga

Bringing the practice to life and embodying the lessons we learn on the cushion are valuable lessons. The practice is not sterile – just another check listed event to get through in the day. Rather our mindfulness practices are a training for the balance of our lives. We learn to live fully and completely and to overcome the stresses of achieving, controlling and manipulating every little thing. We learn to open to our experience and to allow it to unfold – without need to meddle or fix every arising. Of course, the deeper the stillness and focus, the deeper the mindfulness, the deeper the realization of interconnectedness and change that we can experience.

So we invite you to join us for an introspective, quiet and meditative experience. We look forward to assisting you on your journey.

Karuna Yoga in a nutshell – what we teach.

September 7th, 2009

To let you know where we are on the spectrum of yoga and how to describe who and what we are… here is a  little tutorial…

Hatha is used as an umbrella term for yoga practice of poses (asana).  Other branches would include Bhakti yoga (devotional- often using the practices of chanting – somewhat related to guru yoga practice as a part of Tibetan Buddhist Ngondro), Karma yoga (service/action) & Jnana yoga (discriminating knowledge- parallel to the  Buddhist logic- it’s using the intellect to figure out/understand the nature of reality.)

Raja yoga includes all 8 limbs: ethics, cleansing practices, asana, pranayama & meditation.

At Karuna, we teach hatha yoga – but this is like saying “yoga” – the practice of asana/poses  is Hatha yoga.

Within Hatha – you have many lineages… Ashtanga is a lineage practice, specifically refering to to K. Patthabi Jois’ lineage through Sri Krishnamacharya. (Patthabi Jois passed away in May- his grandson Sharath will take over the lineage.)  Asana-wise it is based on specific series of poses.  The first series taught is the primary series, which we teach regularly at Karuna with most of our teachers having very deep experience with the series.

Ashtanga isn’t just the primary series- after the 2nd series, deeper techniques of breathing are  taught, and there is a focus on study of scriptures, chanting, meditation. There are technically 6 series, although only 2 people in the world have been taught the 5th, and the 6th is still only theory.

So when we say we offer Ashtanga yoga,we mean the primary series and occasional dabbles into the secondary series. Some of our teachers vary things a bit and some are purists…

Vinyasa is basically modern ashtanga – ie less structured, more free-flowing.  Also called Flow yoga, vinyasa flow, etc.  We frequently teach something like this, since it can be modified for anybody at any time and we are very open to working with people where they are.

Anusara yoga is John Friend’s version of yoga asana.  It’s not flowing-  classes move more like calesthenics classes – jumping or moving between poses – a collection of Iyengar (lineage alignment-based practice — another student of Sri Krishnamacharya) than the flowing Ashtanga or Vinyasa practices.  Maria is our primary Anusara yoga teacher, although she teaches Ashtanga as well.

All of our asana practices are in union with sitting meditation and a quiet contemplative lifestyle. We look forward to seeing you join us.

In Metta – TG

Practice is peace – by Erik…

August 21st, 2009

Knowing something was “missing” in my life, I studied Dharma and practiced Buddhist meditation for years.

I felt like I made some progress with seated meditation -  my mediation practice was very helpful to reduce my suffering. But it remained very cerebral – there was a rift between my mind and my physical being – a disconnect. Much of the time, the practice remained stuck as a “neck up” endeavor. I find this to be common among Western seekers. We are great thinkers, but just so-so as feelers.

Yoga asana has helped me to reconnect mind and body. Bringing these two aspects of my being together through the movements of asana practice has helped to make the journey more complete for me and is conducive to a regained sense of wholeness. There is nothing better than being completely mindful, in the present moment, deeply feeling all of the sensations in the body as they arise and fade away.

Using the breath as a focal point in seated practice is the foundation of many mindfulness practices. Returning again and again and eventually staying with the movement of the breath though each pose in yoga has been priceless.

I practice because I’m sick of suffering! Without a yoga practice the stories of the mind run wild for me and cause me suffering and discontent. My practice is my true home – a place to come back to again and again when my mind and body become disconnected.

I also practice to be of assistance to others. I am more present & more pleasant and am finally available in a meaningful, mindfully engaged manner with those in my life when I am practicing yoga regularly.

My practice has made my relationships with my family much more peaceful, enjoyable and enriching.

Practice is peace.

It is worth all of the time and effort.

I wish you peace and happiness.

See you in Phuket!

- Erik

Yoga Sign Posts – by Julie…

August 15th, 2009

I can remember one of my teachers addressing a group of students, saying that the practice of yoga was a “calling,” something that you really didn’t have much power over.

It just felt like this urge from deep inside you that you must pursue. He felt quite sure that if you had pursued the practices of yoga in a past life that the “calling” to continue in this present life would be almost overwhelming at times, and the rest of the time, be laying a path, full of signs, for you to follow back to your yoga practice you had left in your past life.

All you had to do was follow the signs, and not resist taking that most noble of paths. Although that group was probably 40 or more, that teacher could have been talking directly to me, because that was in fact the exact experience I had felt about my yoga practice.

Up until then, I had never mentioned those “feelings” to anyone, of being drawn into something, and I even spent many years rebelling, or at least trying to ignore the sign posts. It all felt a bit “cultist.” I’m still not sure exactly when I finally pulled my head out of the fog and started to “sit up and take notice.” That’s a phrase my parents used to remind me to do all my life…  I’m sure now that they were my first teachers, and the earliest sign posts.

When that time came, it was like a series of doors started to open and all I had to do was step through, follow the path.

Don’t misunderstand me, there were many other doors and many other paths presenting themselves, but for me one of the paths seemed clearly marked and felt right.  I had finally stopped resisting and was taking notice of the signs.

This all brings to mind a passage from the TAO TE CHING,

“The Great Way is quite level, but people are much enamored of mountain trails.”

When exactly I first noted this,  I don’t recall.  It was, of course,  another sign post.

Today in my life, the level path is very appealing, and the few up-hill stretches along that path are just reminders to get back to the level parts, and proceed…

Be brave, take notice, don’t resist….follow the signs!  It’s simply that easy…. Trust your heart.

Perhaps a retreat in Phuket, Thailand is just the thing to allow some of your “signs” to manifest.

See you at Karuna soon -

Cheerio,   Julie

Welcome to Karuna Yoga & Mediatation Center

July 30th, 2009

Welcome to Karuna…

Karuna means compassion in Sanskrit. Compassion is defined as the wish that oneself and others do not suffer.

Our mission at Karuna is to practice the causes and create the conditions for the recognition of suffering and its immediate pacification. We do this through several activities:

Mindfulness within yoga asana practice. As you may know, deeper and more profound levels of awareness and bliss are available through your yoga practice. Consistent practice is a direct cause of this and you will have the chance to participate in our daily instructor-led sessions at one of our venues. Practice is available either with a class or independently.

Mindfulness within sitting meditation practice. The concentration and focus developed through asana practice is reinforced by participation in a regular sitting practice. We have a dedicated meditation hall and sessions are offered at times between 3:30 am and 11:00 pm. You may participate in as much scheduled meditation as you wish or may meditate on your own schedule. Crystal-clear instruction is available from experienced meditation retreat participants in understandable English and delivered in a practical manner once each day.

Mindfulness in intervals. We encourage the constant practice of mindfulness in all areas of your stay at Karuna. To support this, some guests choose the practice of noble silence in which only functional speech is permitted.  Some participants choose to remain predominantly silent, although this is optional & at the discretion of the individual. Respect for others is assumed in this regard.  This practice allows the yogi to deepen their connection to the present moment which informs their asana and other practices.

Finally, conducive nutriment, massage and the balmy climate found in Phuket are all inducements to a cleaner, clearer consciousness and body, marked by less suffering and dissatisfaction – one remarkably more peaceful, more joyful and more tranquil.

We invite you to join us on this journey to bliss.