Jason's Articles

Why is It Better to HOLD Asana Poses Instead of Constantly Moving Through Them in a Yoga Class?

By Jason Winters.

Current modern yoga is filled with this style of Asana practice, leading students towards one goal… identification and personification of the external shape of the body! And for what reason?

If the true purpose of yoga is to experience & move through the densest aspects of ourselves, which we obviously recognize as the physical body, towards our true nature, as light, subtle eternal, divine consciousness… then Asana as continuous movement is simply a ‘preparation’. So… Why do all the work with no pay off? Why set the stage for no performance? Why build the temple, and not bask in its glory?

Traditional Hatha Yoga teaches us to…

  1. Do less poses (Asanas)
  2. Hold Asanas longer
  3. Remove all voluntary movement
  4. Observe (without judgment) involuntary movements
  5. Ease our effort
  6. Sit back as the ‘Witness’

So the next time you feel frustrated in a class because your being challenged to remain steady, calm, & truly present in the moment… even in something as simple as Tadasana (mountain pose)… ask yourself these questions and be willing to seek the answers with a sense of passionate curiosity.

  • Why choose to run away, fidget, check your phone, or avoid a new/challenging situation when life is so gloriously presenting an opportunity to learn something?
  • What is this feeling that there’s something better to be done or that you’re ‘missing out’? As if there is anything more important than devoting time, awareness, & patience to discovering your greatest purpose & potential?
  • How can there be ‘Life changing’ moments, wisdom, enlightenment, or clarity if Life is one endless multi-tasking event filled with notifications, swimming in a sea of spinning thoughts?
    Every chance you get in traditional Hatha Yoga practice to hold an Asana for an extended period of time will directly address these topics, and so much more.

We ARE energy ‘beings’ made of many layers with differing vibrations, so let’s get to the deep and meaningful ones through the most important aspect of Asana practice… to steady ourselves mentally & physically… to prepare, purify, & remove obstacles that are blocking us from realizing the immense beauty of our own inner LIGHT! And finally to remember that we are not separate from our Source, but instead a spark of infinite expression destined to return home.

Ami's Articles


By Ami Effendy.

The breath is the thing closest to us.  It is tangible, believable, understandable and controllable.  The gentle inhalation and exhalations sustains us, calms us, affects our thoughts and is itself affected by our activities, emotions and thoughts.

We have all had times where we have felt upset, our breathing quickens, we take shallow breaths, feel panicked and light headed. People’s advice is always to “take some deep breaths”, and they are right! Breathing deeply, inhaling slowly, filling your mind and body with oxygen calms us down, both physically but also mentally, and exhaling release tension and CO2 out of the system and body. 

It might sound funny, but in world today, we often forget to breathe. Not just the type of breathing that we do automatically (and keeps us alive), but the deep, belly breaths that fill our lungs completely.

Plenty of common habits lead to shallow breathing, which can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.  Having an unconscious lifestyle – all of that results in us not using our lungs to their full potential. Most of the time, we don’t even notice we’re breathing shallowly. 

Breathing brings us energy. We need to breathe to send oxygen into the cells in our body, which constantly need a new supply so they can produce energy. When breathing, we also allow our bodies to get rid of the waste products and toxins it creates, which can easily stagnate in our bodies and damage vital functions if not expelled. 

Breathing is a curious process, unlike any other in the human body. We do this unconsciously for a large proportion of the time much like the blood flowing around our body, but at any given moment we can choose to change its rhythm.

In the Yoga world, the practice of Pranayama, we become deeply familiar with the breath.  A good knowledge of the respiratory system will, therefore, aid and enhance the practices, and help in a better understanding of their physiological parameters. 

The classical yogic practices of Pranayama have been known in India for over 4,000 years.  The science of pranayama was developed by highly evolved yogis through an intuitive and experiential understanding of prana (vital force – a force in constant motion.  Prana exists in sentient beings as the energy that drives every action, voluntary and involuntary, every thought, every level of the mind and body) and its influence on the human mechanism at various levels. Scientific research describes prana as a complex multidimentional energy: a combination of electrical, magnetic, electromagnetic, photonic, ocular, thermal and mental energies.

The breath being the medium of pranayama, the system is based on the three stages of respiration: inhalation (pooraka), retention (kumbaka), and exhalation (rechaka).  By permuting and directing these three stages, the different practices of pranayama are obtained. 

Technically speaking, pranayama is actually only retention.  Yoga Sutra 2:49 state – Pranayama is the pause in the movement of inhalation and exhalation when that is secured.

There are several types of breathing but the majority of people breathe into their chest rather than their stomach. Throughout our lives we will have all experienced changes in our breathing patterns when processing different feelings, for example those of fear, anger, sorrow or physical exercise. Some of us sometimes unintentionally set up physical responses in our breathing when reacting to emotional triggers, for example when we see a rat!

Oxygen feeds your mind after all, and if you are not giving your brain enough oxygen, then it cannot cope sufficiently with your emotions.

We have all had times where we have felt upset, our breathing quickens, we take shallow breaths, feel panicked and light-headed. People’s advice is always to “take some deep breaths”, and they are right! Breathing deeply, inhaling slowly, filling your mind and body with oxygen calms us down, both physically but also mentally.

How Can I Breathe More Effectively?

A lot of you won’t know that most of us only use around a third of our actual breathing capacity.

There are three main compartments to the lungs and for the most part we take shallow breaths that only involve the upper lobes (the top part of our lungs).

Try this:

Find a quiet place and sit comfortable cross legged or kneeling so you can feel and experience your whole spine long and elongate.  This way you will be able to feel the movement of the breaths more freely.   You can do it as a standalone pranayama or preparation for meditation. 

MUKHA BHASTRIKA – known as the cleansing breath

Function – To clear the lungs of stale air.  It can be used before any class, as preparation practice.

How – Done from kneeling, sitting or standing, inhale fully and then as you fold forward blast the breath through the mouth in one rapid “whoosh” followed by a series of short cough – like spurts by forceful movement of the diaphragm.

MAHAT YOGA PRANAYAMA – Three Part breathing

Function – Complete deep breathing using three sections of the lungs (lower – mid and upper) to form one complete wave like breath. Promotes immunity, increase vitality and longevity. Healing and grounding.  Increase the breathing functions and lungs capacity.

How – Both inhalation and exhalation through the nostrils are initiated from the bottom up. 

The abdomen is pushed out as the diaphragm is lowered to pull air into the bottom of the lungs; then the rib cage is expanded out to the sides to fill the mid-lungs and finally the whole chest is raised to pull the air into the top lobes. 

Exhalation follows the same sequence; the diaphragm is raised, and abdomen drawn in to expel the air out of the bottom lobes. Ribs are then pulled in towards the centre, forcing the air up and out and finally the chest is dropped down, forcing the last of the air out of the top lobes. 

Begin to count your breath to internal 6 counts (divide it in to 3 different part of the lungs), meaning 2 second at each section on both inhalation (2-2-2) and exhalation (2-2-2).  After about 5 minutes of this, you can move to the next one..,


Function –  Another name for this pranayama is Gayatri which considered to be the most sacred ‘meter’ for chanting Mantra. There is no other breath that offers such supreme balance to the nervous system and mind.

How – After the balance breath through MAHAT YOGA PRANAYAMA, begin to lengthen both the inhalation and exhalation to an internal 8 counts. 

After becoming established, begin to hold the breath in for 4 counts at the top of the inhalation and at the end of the exhalations. 

The complete practice will be:

Inhale for 8 counts, hold the breath in for 4 counts, exhale for 8 counts, hold the breath out for 4 counts


Continue to practice Savitri for 27 rounds which will take between 12 – 15 minutes. 

Once you master this breathing technique, it will help you to build more awareness and instantly feel how the breaths is able to nourish your mind and nervous system, create more healthy breathing patterns.



Octavio's Articles

Tantra is Not About Sex. Don’t Get Distracted.

By Octavio Salvado..

Today, Tantra’s innocence is being robbed by charismatic perverts, fooling the masses that Sex is Tantra and sensuality can lead to enlightenment. Its nonsense. Don’t buy into the hype. You’ll only slow down your progress, and probably create an absolute mess of your relationships in the process.

This grand deception is a prime example of Maha Maya (cosmic delusion) in Her most dazzling cloak, where She has even tricked us into poisoning life’s greatest medicine – practice itself. Such fun She has! But the time has arrived for us to wake up to the reality that although sex can be sacred and should certainly always be conscious and beautiful, for yogis like us, it cannot be truly Tantric.

Why can’t Sex be Tantric?

Because the ritualistic rigours of the Left-handed path (the aspect of Tantra that involves sexual practices) are far beyond the reach and capacity of general practitioners. Ask yourself, can I:

  • Sit perfectly still for 3 hours?
  • Sense, guide and direct my own Prana perfectly?
  • Focus my mind in a non-distracted way for long periods of time?
  • Activate my own Kundalini Shakti at will?
  • Remove all sense of lust and desire from the sexual act?

Now ask yourself, would I:

  • Want to perform sexual practices in the presence of other people?
  • Be willing to learn the hundreds of necessary Mantras and long list of Mudras and Pranayamas required to perform the Tantric sexual ritual correctly and safely?

If you cannot answer YES to every single one of these questions, then forget about the Left-handed path. Its not for you. 

Dabbling in this façade is pure distraction and will only increase our addictive tendencies and unhelpful habits, which will slowly weaken the mind, destroy memory and concentration power and keep our Pranic force bound to the lower Chakras – the exact scenario Tantra is designed to combat.

Just to clarify, a true Tantric Guru would never initiate a practitioner who hadn’t first demonstrated a clear mastery over their own mind and energy and a strong capacity to access their own vast inner pool of Kundalini Shakti. So, if this is not yet a part of your daily Sadhana, let go of the idea.

You cannot sleep your way to Samadhi.

Anyone who tells you differently is either trying to steal your money or get in your pants. Having lived minutes away from one of the biggest (and most notorious) ‘Tantric’ schools in the world for several years, I’ve seen every Tantric hustle in the book. Yet surprisingly, I’ve never met a self-proclaimed Tantric Guru, or even teacher that emanated the true essence of actual Tantra, Yoga, or just human decency. 

My advise is to get a grip on your own life and practice first by mastering the methodologies laid out in Tantric texts like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, or study with solid Tantric Hatha Yoga teachers who’s lives, practices and relationships truly inspire you. What does a Tantric Practice actually look like?

  • Asana (postures)
  • Kumbhaka (breath retentions)
  • Bandha (Energy locks)
  • Mudra (The fusion of Asana, Kumbhaka and Bandha)
  • Kriya Meditation (Meditations involving inner light, sound and Pranic movement)
  • Mantra Japa (Silent repetition of Mantra)

I am not saying don’t work on intimacy, or ignore the value and wonder of a loving, sexual connection, because these things are a beautiful part of being human. My suggestion is that out of respect, we stop insulting actual Tantra by calling these couple’s workshops, sensuality seminars and masturbation books ‘Tantra’, because they are not. They do not even belong to the same universe.

In reality, if we did manage to find a true Tantric text on the left handed path, we probably wouldn’t even want to read it – far too dry, technical and unsexy! Forget about 50 shades of grey! Think instead, 50 chapters of dense technical information!

The answer is simple – Do your practice! Do it correctly and consistently. Do it daily. Meditate every single day and touch in on that self-luminous being that exists inside of you, full of beauty and free of fear. This is the goal of true Tantra. To transform the inner world and become a living shrine. Then, everything you do, including making love, will be Sacred.

This blog was originally published on the Moon Sun Fire App.


Emma's Articles

Anandamayi Ma – The Bliss Permeated Mother

By Emma Salvado..

Anandamayi Ma was born Nirmala Sundari (Translated- Immaculate Beauty)  in 1896 in West Bengal. Her name was extremely appropriate for her , because she was not only spiritually beautiful , but physically beautiful too.

She was regarded as a happy and contented child by all who knew her, but not particularly intelligent. As a child she had a tendency to stop all activity, and stare off into space for long periods of time, which made her parents and those who knew her extremely uneasy.

Their concern started the day she was born, because their newborn infant didn’t cry. Years later, when asked about this Anandamayi Ma responded “ Why should I cry? I was watching the tree’s through the slats in the window”

After 2 years in school Nirmala was taken out of education to begin full time housekeeping, and at 13 yrs old was betrothed to her future husband Bholanath.

Five years later she married him, and they moved in together, but much to Bholanath’s annoyance his beautiful bride refused to consummate their relationship.

His annoyance with his new wife grew greater, when he awoke in the night to find his wife, contorting her body in mysterious ways on the floor , and making odd sounds.

He became convinced that his wife was possessed and asked for some help from an exorcist.

Neither Bholanath nor Nirmala had any kind of formal training, so they didn’t know at the time that Nirmala was actually spontaneously assuming Hatha Yoga postures, and the strange sounds she was channeling were actually sacred Mantras.

Throughout most of her early life Nirmala passed through various stages of Sadhana, without realising. She remained in a lucid witnessing state in yoga called Sakshin. She was unaware that she was doing anything, it was all just happening.

She shocked her family, and husband even more, when she refused to Bow down to her elders , which was customary in India. Nirmala said she heard a voice that told her “You are not to bow down to anything….. You are everything.”

Through this message, she realised, the universe was her own Manifestation.

This was such an unbelievable realisation for an illiterate young woman , who had never had a Guru to guide her.

So she was encouraged to seek out a teacher to formally initiate her into spiritual life. So Nirmala went to all of the local pandits to initiate her, but none of them would, they were uninterested in teaching a poor low caste illiterate girl.

On the 3rd August 1922, in a break with the entire history of Hindu tradition , Nirmala initiated herself. Such was her self Realisation. 

Yoga teacher, the Guru, the mantra he or she imparts, and the mantra are all one. The Guru receives the mantra from the sages of the lineage through meditation, and initiates the student into it. Amandamayi Ma dramatised this unity, when she played the parts of teacher and student simultaneously. Her higher self conferring the mantra to her lower self, she received the mantra directly from the divinity within.

In 1922 after her initiation, her husband finally realised that she had not been possessed by demons, but realised in fact that she had been possessed by God.

So he asked to become her first student…

This unorthodox act was criticised by many people around them, because it was seen as improper for a male to bow at his own wife’s feet.

Anandamayi Ma ( Joy Permeated – In Sanskrit).

As she was now known as , followed her husband to Dhakka where he was given a job as gardener of an Estate. He and his wife moved into a cottage there, and she began her work of healing devotees and chanting the glories of God.

In 1924 Anandamayi Ma stopped feeding herself , her hands would simply not carry food to her mouth , so from that moment onward until her death , she was only ever fed by her husband or her devotees.

Her Inner Guide (Kheyal) directed her life course, and was seen as sometimes being impulsive or erratic.

The esteem for Anandamayi Ma grew, and was reflected in her appearances at the Kumbh Mela ( the biggest religious gathering in the world). The Kumbh Mela is a religious fair which draws millions of pilgrims, and is seen as an opportunity for religious leaders to promote themselves and often rival other religious dignitaries. However Ma’s appearance there was revered by all who went to see her. Disputes and and Egoism were left at the door, by all who went to see her, just to sit in silence in her presence.

It was here that Anandamayi Ma was given the title of UNIVERSAL MOTHER. A saint whose compassion knew no boundaries , caste or religious background. All were AWED into stillness in her presence.

Many Westerners’ introduction to the UNIVERSAL MOTHER was in Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi” when he asked her about herself, and she replied….

“My Consciousness has never associated itself with the temporal body. Before I came to this earth I was the same. As a little girl, I was the same. I grew into Womanhood, but I was still the same. Ever afterwards through the dance of creation changes around me in the hall of eternity, I shall remain the same.”

Her message was not one that she taught… it was what she embodied…And what she was.

She was a radical example of a truly liberated woman. She loved everyone who came to her, as if they were her own children, and yet she remained unattached to anyone or anything. She selflessly served others, traveling from place to place to give people access to her “Divine Presence.”

She was a living example of the Goddess.

She supported you in whatever Sadhana you had, it didn’t matter what religion you were. If you were Christian and came to Ma, she would initiate you with the name of Jesus as your Mantra. She saw no separation, she never stressed loyalty. But ultimately the people who came to her knew who their Guru was…

She took Samadhi in 1982 at the age of 86 leaving behind the Bhav of emotional legacy of being…

“The most perfect flower Indian soil has ever produced.”


Ellen's Articles

Vedic mantra and Kirtan what’s the difference?

By Ellen Arthur.

Chanting mantra has a physical, mental, emotional and energetic affect on us. Meaning, it is a powerful tool that is able to influence all dimensions of the human system. 

Vedic mantra was traditionally only chanted by Brahmin men, a member of the highest caste or varna in Hinduism. There are 4 varna‘s, Brahmin, Kshatriya’s, Vaishya and Shudras. Those on the outskirts of these 4 varna‘s are called Dalits, who are ostracised and considered untouchables.

It is from the Brahmin caste that priests are drawn from. Brahmin priests study religious texts such as the Vedas (large body of religious texts, of which there are 4 Vedas) and the Puranas (wide range of Indian literature, of which there are 18 Puranas). It is their responsibility to teach these scriptures to members of the other caste systems to maintain sacred knowledge. For thousands of years this was the only way for house-holders or common folk, to have access to such sacred teachings, through the Brahmins. In many ways this knowledge was kept only for those “worthy” of receiving it. 

It is said, T Krishnamacharya (Indian yoga teacher, Ayurvedic healer and scholar) opened up Vedic chanting to all, in the twentieth century. Revolutionising the way that is was shared and received. No longer a priestly offering but a practice that could be accessible by many. 

Vedic chanting, as the name implies is when you chant the Veda’s.

These mantras are expressions of hymns from the Vedas. This practice dates back to at least 3000 years ago and is said to be the worlds oldest continuous vocal tradition.

There are precise guidelines around Vedic mantra and the recitation of it. The teacher will chant, whilst the students listen closely and then repeat the mantra back in exactly the same way. This form of teaching is called adhyayanam, the journey to our inner most self. The process of transmission is as follows;

1 Śravanam = listening 
2 Grahanam = what is heard is grasped 
3 Dhāranam = it is held onto 
4 Mananam = reflected upon 
5 Uccāranam = recited 
6 Anubhavam = experienced 
7 Pravacanam = sharing what you know/teaching others

It is a strict way of practicing mantra. 

Not only is there a process of transmission, there are also 6 rules of chanting;

1 Varṇa (Not to be confused with the 4 levels of the caste system, note the diacritic mark, nasal n) = pronunciation 
2 Swara = notes or pitch (only 3 notes are used in Vedic chanting) 
3 Mātrā = length 
4 Balam = amount of strength used 
5 Sāma = musicality 
6 Santāna = continuity or stream  

This precision is what defines Vedic chanting. Whereas with kirtan and bhajan, the rules are less structured and the one who is chanting can allow their personality and their musical ability to shine through.

Kirtan and bhajan tend toward group experiences of devotion, offering, reverence and service. 

In the early 16th century a Hindu saint by the name of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, known as the father of kirtan, made it his duty to travel far and wide spreading the message and power of kirtan.  Beginning a movement that still continues to this day. 

Kirtan is shaped in a way that encourages the audience to participate, in this call and response method. Including instruments both rhythmic and melodic to inspire a community feeling, a sense of togetherness and to help those feeling less confident to sing out loud. A Bhajan, is experienced as a sing-a-long or offered as a silent prayer. 

Chanting the names of the Divine, the eternal one, the many facets of The One God, is what eventually and with practice allows you to then merge back into that field of unified consciousness. 

Unlike Vedic Mantra, the idea with Kirtan/Bhajan is to build a connection with the participates, to invoke emotion, share a common experience and to offer a safe place for emotion to be conjured up. This setting is more so about exploring ones voice and the connection between the voice, divinity and our inner strength and resilience. 

In many cases the kirtan experience will reveal excitement, outwardly expressed emotion through movement, clapping, swaying and dancing. 

What can be agreed upon and honoured is that both offerings of mantra practice, lead the student toward better mental cognition and clarity. Mantra is an agent for purification of the mind and helps to dissolve lingering emotional or energetic baggage that leads to stagnation. Proven to be a method that increases mental focus, listening and communication skills.

The methods may differ but the idea is the same, that you as the student be guided back into a revered and sacred aspect of the self, known as Ātman. From that place, there is no questioning your infinite potential and eternal nature. 

Ami's Articles

Sankalpa Shakti – The power within you

By Amy Effendy.

Behind every achievement, every success, there is Sankalpa Shakti, the power of will and determination. 

Shakti is a power.  Without Shakti you cannot be successful.  All the great ones on the earth needed Shakti.  There was a shakti behind to inspire them.  Without inspiration, even the greatest ability is scattered. We need to stoke and sustain our inner fire if we want to pursue our personal growth. 

And now what is sankalpa…

Let me break down the words for you…Sankalpa which is the compound of two Sankrit words; Kalpa, which means “a way of proceeding” or, move revealingly, “the rule to be observed above or before any other rule,” and San, “a concept or idea formed in the heart.”

Thus, sankalpa means determination or will, an intention, conviction, vow, or, most commonly, a resolution, one that reflects your highest aspirations.  In practical terms, a sankalpa is a declarative statement, resolution, or intention in which you vow or commit to fulfil a specific goal.  A sankalpa at first glance looks a lot like a modern-day resolution or intention.

Each New Year we find ourselves looking towards the future, eager to make new goals and promises of who we want to become and how we will shape our lives with big changes. Then halfway through the year, perhaps we start to feel discouraged about the lack of progress towards our set goals and maybe in guilt we abandon them altogether. However if we look deeply, perhaps it’s not our lack of effort that’s the issue, but rather a flaw in the traditional practice of goal setting. 

When we set general goals, we tend to only focus on a vague outcome, for example – we create intentions to lose weights, find a more rewarding career, get organized, or attract the ideal relationship, we resolve to change our diet, be more disciplined, work harder, work less hard, spend more time in nature or with our families, do something about our stress levels, enrich our spiritual life, write or read more, stop smoking, get a degree, be a greater force for good in the world, or any one of countless other things we aspire to achieve….

and forget to define the process of getting there – the structure that brings our goals to fruition.  By fixating on the outcome rather than the journey, we set ourselves up for discontentment in the present. The goal-oriented mentality of “I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal,” teaches us to continually put happiness and gratitude off until the next milestone.  By committing to a process rather than a goal, it takes the stress off our shoulders and creates a structure we can operate within to enjoy progress and accomplishment each day.

It is said that average American makes 1.8 resolution per year.  However, based on the research it shows that at least 80% of us do not achieve our resolutions.  A recent study found that “four out of five people who make New Year’s resolutions…will eventually break them.” What explains this failure of at least 80 percent of us to fulfil our resolutions?

One very important reason, is that we too often focus on fulfilling our desires without giving much thought to how our desires serve the greater meaning and purpose of our lives.  Another reason, from the perspective of the Tantric tradition, is that there is a science to the process for manifesting intention, and if you don’t apply it, you will likely end up as part of the 80% percent who don’t see their resolutions fulfilled.

The simple truth is when a resolution is little more than a wish, even one that you think many times a day, it has relatively little or no impact or power to affect your destiny.  However, when you work through the steps involved in achieving a resolution methodically, its reach and its power to affect your destiny become nearly limitless.

The yogic practice of Sankalpa Shakti gives us a tool to shape meaningful intentions and guides our journey towards inner transformation. In its simplest term, a sankalpa is an intention or inner resolve. In its deeper, more profound meaning, it’s a connection to your highest truth and life purpose, your dharma. What’s beautiful about the sankalpa practice on any level is that it starts from the belief that you already embody these qualities and by drawing your attention to them in practice, you’re refining and sharpening your connection to this deeper purpose and desires, and direct that energy in a positive way. The next layer to this is working with Sankalpa Shakti in the more subtle layers of the minds programming. Often, a sankalpa is stated before beginning and ending your Yoga Nidra Meditation to serve as a guide for planting seeds in this deep practice of relaxed states.

Sankalpa or resolution holds a special and highly esteemed place in the ancient teachings.  The concept of sankalpa appears even as early as the Rig Veda, the most ancient of all the Vedic text.  The art and science of applying sankalpa was considered to be the foundation for achieving or becoming anything of real significance.

Throughout the Vedic and Tantric traditions it is made exceedingly clear that a student cannot make meaningful progress toward any worthwhile goal without first cultivating the power of resolve, what the yogic tradition calls sankalpa shakti. 

On this path you must first awaken your sankalpa shakti, the power of will and determination,’ said SWAMI RAMA, ‘overcome your resistance.  Expand your capacity…you must order your body and senses to function under the leadership of your mind.’

The ancient concept of Sankalpa is predicated on the principle that your mind has measureless capacity to affect the quality and the content of your life.  The ancient traditions, including the Veda, Tantra and Yoga venerated the mind and appealed to the Divine for the mind to be filled with ‘auspicious thoughts’ because they saw the mind as the chief architect of our lives.  In other words, they viewed your mind as the ruler of your fate. “The mind is everything.  What you think you become,” said the Buddha.

The power to affect your future, therefore, begins by learning to focus your mind.  “Each thought influences your mind and creates therein a vibration that affects your whole life, your destiny”.

It is critical to recognize that there is a difference between having a desire and having a sankalpa.  You may want something, but that is not the same as creating a sankalpa that you will achieve it.  Consider this: a desire is little more than a feeling (sometimes strong and sometimes not so strong) related to a want – to have, to become, or to achieve – something; a sankalpa, on the other hand, is a desire that you are absolutely determined and committed to achieve.

It is not always easy or convenient, but you manage to fulfil your resolve despite the challenges. You make it happen, come hell or high water.   Its no longer just a desire, something you would like to happen – it has become a sankalpa, which means that practically nothing can stop it from happening.  The essential requirement is that we must have the desire (make it happens no matter what), and, concurrent with that desire, the determination that you will fulfil it.  Indeed, according to the Tantric Tradition, this principle of marrying desire with determination is the key to making a Sankalpa truly effective. 

Here is the key points for crafting your sankalpa, which is simply to ask yourself of these two questions:

  1. What do I want to achieve or become?
  2. What would having it look and feel like to me?

The most efficient way to set down your sankalpa in writing is to imagine that you have achieved your desire; now decide on the words you would use to tell someone that you have done so.

In putting your sankalpa into words, you may also want to include the emotion you would feel when you’ve accomplished it.  A statement that is affirmative and clear, and it has the power to influence your thoughts, your actions, and the forces of destiny toward achieving your desires. 

Key points to keep in mind when drafting your sankalpa:

  1. Your sankalpa can focus either on the result you are seeking, the attitude that will help you achieve it, or both.
  2. Your Sankalpa needs to be specific.
  3. Your Sankalpa needs to be achievable in six to eighteen months. It is important especially in the beginning, to develop confidence in your ability to achieve your goals.
  4. You need to believe you can achieve your sankalpa. 
  5. Your sankalpa needs to be worded in the present tense and stated actively.  It is essential that your sankalpa statement reflect that you’ve achieve your intention, not that you hope to achieve it someday.
  6. Your sankalpa needs to be stated in worlds you would actually say. Avoid getting overly poetic or dramatic.  Make it simple, direct, clear, believable and concise.  Don’t overthink it!

Emma's Articles

Healing The Feminine

By Emma Salvado.

In India there are more saints per capita, than anywhere else in the world.

1000’s of them were Female Saints, but there was never a lot of information documented about them. During the Vedic period women were culturally held in very high esteem, and enjoyed the same equal rights and opportunities as the men of that time.

They had the opportunity to study the Vedas and were given training in archery, yoga, music, and drama.

Gradually however over time as India became suffocated by battles against foreign invaders woman’s positions became less esteemed and her freedoms were minimised, women lost the privileges they enjoyed in the Vedic times, and began to lag behind in education due to their family responsibilities, and because of the controversial caste system in India many of these women remained with their families, and so women began practicing yoga in their homes, away from prying eyes.  

These women would arise in the mornings before their families wakened, sit at their altars worshiping and praying in their homes… and uncaring for fame and notoriety, not even the people in the next village are unaware of who they are…

The Caste system in the Indian culture meant that many women were betrothed to their future husbands at an early age, because love was not necessary for a successful Indian marriage. Girls had no part in the decision of who they would marry. This was, and still is, in many respects the choice of a girl’s father.

Bad marriages frequently spurned Indian women to immerse themselves in spiritual life, as a way to alleviate the shortcomings of the rest of their lives.

Mira Bai the devotee of Krishna and Mahadevi the devotee of Shiva, were two such Yogini’s who even though they were married,  immersed themselves in devotion to their Guru, and were then seen as being mad, as a way of discrediting them and their devotion.

Tantra was a tradition of Spiritual practice that flourished across India because of its inclusivity. Gender and caste were not a conversation when it came to Tantra. The desire to want to experience divine presence in your heart, through self discipline, motivation and sincerity was all that was required.

This is why many women Sages were Tantrica’s.

This is also mirrored in Hinduism, as it is practiced morning and evening in indian households, primarily by the women of the home at their personal family altar. They are the backbone of Hindu Religious Life, and pass most of hinduism’s highest principles to their children. This is the way things have been for thousands of years.

Women are the backbone of religious life in India and they pass on the principles of worship to their children.

Deities are commonplace on the walls and altars, and Indian children grow up hearing the mystical stories of love, war and life lessons based on these avatars.

How different if the population of the west grew up not with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty or Ultra unhealthy Models or Tv Personalities as role models, but pictured themselves as these divine beings, who could move at will through the corridors of the universe.

It’s no accident that in India the deity who governs education, the arts and knowledge is Saraswati, the deity who governs strength and protection is Durga, the deity who rules wealth and commerce is Lakshmi – They are all Goddesses.

The Goddess is adorned in these households reminding the devotees of the spiritual dimensions of life and the compassionate motherhood of God.

Women in India are free to worship the Goddess freely and even imitate them.

This has also trickled down though Yoga’s lineages, one after another the male heads have been passing their spiritual mantles to women.

Some examples of this have been:

  • Ramakrishna (Devotee of Kali) who passed his spiritual authority to Sarada Devi, his wife.
  • Paramahansa Yogananda – One of the keepers of the Kriya Yoga lineage to American Born (Daya Mata)
  • Swami Sivananda  passed the teachings of Sivananda Yoga to Shivananda Radha Saraswati  (German born Sylvia Hellman)

In the 1900’s the tantric adept UPASANI BABA taught that women are capable of “ Faster Evolution than Men”,  and that all male devotees needed to cultivate “Feminine qualities such as Egolessness and Purity, in order to progress.

I am so grateful that in this century Women have taken even greater strides to empower themselves spiritually,  even though they have had to face tremendous obstacles to fulfill their spiritual desires.

When Tantra describes the Goddess, it is not talking about a multi armed deity in a Sari. The goddess is Reality… she is what we mortals call existence.

Whatever is at the root of you and me… That is She…

Through these women saints we can see the incarnate of the divine, because they unselfconsciously evoke her in us!!!!!

Honour the embodiment of what they represent in you…


Love Emma x

Octavio's Articles

The Howler

By Octavio Salvado.

Several hundred years ago, when the West was first being exposed to the philosophies of the East, many of the key concepts were simplified, or miscommunicated. Orientalists at the time, in doing their research on advanced topics, unskillfully questioned the common folk instead of adepts better suited to answer questions dealing with the intricacies of the subtle world.

Imagine asking a rice farmer about molecular biology. Undoubtedly their response would be lacking in both accuracy and depth. The same thing happened with Tantric philosophy. Complex questions were asked, yet very basic answers were given. We can clearly see this demonstrated with the concept of Rudra, the Howler.

The Layman’s understanding is that this primal version of Lord Shiva is so fierce and violent that he causes us to howl in fear and cry out in terror. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Rudra is howling out of deep compassion and love for humanity, seeing our deep pain and anguish, having separated ourselves from Him.

So then who, or what is Rudra?

Rudra is that primal force that breathes life into everything, causing life to thrive. The word Rudra is a composite of two root-sounds. RUD means ‘that which lifts us up’ and DRA translates to ‘that which calls forth’. Rudra is about calling forth the power within us that lifts us up out of darkness, out of fear and worry. Rudra is determination and will, the inner motivating force that protects us from sloth, laziness, procrastination and inertia – the inner drive within all beings to fight in favor of life!

On the grandest level, Rudra is the energy that ensures that all of life, nature and the cosmic order continue to exist in symbiotic harmony. Biologically within us, Rudra is the governing force behind our breath, our heartbeat, our lungs, the metabolism within the cells, the fire that breaks down and assimilates the food we eat. Rudra is that which fills us with energy and vibrancy.

In short, Rudra is Kundalini Shakti Herself. Forget about gender here, folks. Personified expressions of Deities are nice, but from Tantra’s lofty perspective, they are for knuckleheads who lack the subtle sensitivity required to register pure, vibratory truth. The reality of God is beyond all divisions and all form. Rudra is both our heavenly Mother and Father, existing eternally inside of us and all around us, as the spark of life within all things – the sacred Fire at the source of all creation.

The connection between Kundalini, Rudra, the sacred Fire and our own human excellence is the central most theme, or pillar of Tantra.

It is therefore a great calamity that the concept of Kundalini, along with its complimentary fire-based practices, have been so widely misunderstood, or ignored by modern Yoga.

Today, Kundalini is considered, for the most part, a myth, or at the very least, an inaccessible aspect of the Yoga tradition, particularly for regular, daily practitioners like us. It isn’t. Nothing could be further from the truth. Kundalini is VERY accessible under the right circumstances and EXACTLY for people like us.

Here’s why –

Our gross and subtle bodies are designed specifically to be conduits of activated Kundalini energy. Why do you think you came equipped into this life with a more advanced nervous system and Nadi system than all other creatures in God’s grand and vast creation? Did nature make a mistake?    

Nature does not make mistakes. We are living shrines to Rudra, the life-force power that guides and governs all creation and as humans, our primary directive in life, is to yoke ourselves so completely to this sacred Fire, to Rudra, to Kundalini Shakti that we illuminate every space we enter and positively activate everything we touch. Therefore, the practices that connect us to Kundalini Shakti were designed precisely for people like us.

Tantra says that the very reason there is so much darkness, forgetfulness, anger and corruption in the world today, is because we have renounced the idea that each person is a living Kundalini shrine.

As a result of this, we no longer live in ways that are aligned to Kundalini’s power and glory – which is OUR true power and glory – and we continue, against our own best interest, to neglect the practices designed to remedy the situation.

It’s time to end this madness, born of inner spiritual poverty and absolute confusion about who we are. It’s time for humanity to reclaim its rightful throne as sovereign protectors, healers and guides for all of life’s creatures and to embrace the hidden power buried deep within us. And this all starts with practice.

Tantra invites us to ignite the sacred Fire through the time-tested, complimentary sciences of Hatha Yoga and Rudra Yaga (Tantric Fire ritual). These methods, when performed accurately and with the right intention, are how we slowly, safely and systematically empower ourselves to move beyond all fear, doubt and disease and regain the fundamental trust in ourselves and in life necessary to lead a truly exceptional inner and outer existence. Everything else, in regard to practice, is a distraction.

Any practice that doesn’t address Kundalini, simply isn’t real Yoga. It is a fake, plastic log-fire pretending to burn, giving off artificial light and only pseudo-comfort. Do not believe the lie that you are not worthy of Kundalini, or are unable to reach Her. She is your Mother. He is your Father. It is the source of your own true being, calling out to you – Howling.

Yogi, Yogini, I’m talking to you right now. Renounce the modern Yoga lie that Kundalini is a far off dream, only fit for Sages in caves. This idea is nonsense and it is destroying Yoga. It is destroying us, one fear, one doubt, one unhelpful reaction at a time.

Practice is about one thing and one thing only – providing practitioners with the precise tools and means required to become a living embodiment of the sacred Fire, the force of Rudra – the most vibrant, energetic, determined and valiant expression of Kundalini Shakti. So strike the match, Yogi. Stoke the flames, Yogini. Offer up for sacrifice everything that is holding you back from stepping into your power and then do what you were designed to do.

Ignite the whole fucking world with your brilliance.

Ellen's Articles

The Hanumān Chālīsa

By Ellen Arthur.

A Hindu devotional mantra that goes about addressing the great Lord Hanuman in fine detail, symbolising strength and devotion. It is believed to have been created around the 15th Century by an India poet and philosopher Goswami Tulsidas.

Chālīs translates from the Hindi language to the number 40, hence the name, as this mantra has 40 verses in total, not including the couplets at the beginning and end. The 40 verses of appraisals to hanuman are said to be the link between God and the masses. Allowing us mere mortals to have an experience of the divine through this mantra.

Who was Tulsidas?

An esteemed poet, preacher, writer and philosopher, who encouraged many to seek refuge in God, through devotion. Having wrote over 12 books, he wrote these books under the direction of Hanuman.

Regarded as an incarnation of Valmiki, the author of the epic Hindu tale the Ramayana. Tulsidas founded the Sankat Mochan (reliever of troubles) Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman in Varanasi.

A young Tulsidas was said to have been running with bad company, drinking, gambling, moving in low moral crowds, when his father insisted that he turn his attention toward God. Being born to a noble family Tulsidas had the opportunity in his lifetime to become an enlighten being. Advised not to waste his precious life in sexual pleasure, but to repeat the name of Ram and attain liberation. After some time of dedicated practice and service, his name was spoken throughout the streets as a great master. A nearby emperor demanded that Tulsidas perform a miracle for him. Tulisdas replied “I am merely a servant of Rama, he is the worker of miracles, not I”. The emperor was angry and threw him in jail for not obeying him.

Tulsidas coined the 40 verses of the Hanuman Chalisa from the emperors prison, 40 verses for each day that he was confined.

The mantra became a prayer to Hanuman, to save him from the predicament he was in. At the end of the 40 days an army of monkeys appeared at the prison and caused much chaos and turbulence. They clawed at people, tore clothes, entered homes, destroyed gardens and buildings. The emperor finally realised this must be the work of the man he imprisoned. Falling at his feet the emperor begged for forgiveness and eventually Tulsidas was released. Tulsidas set about preaching the power and strength of these verses far and wide.

Who is Hanuman?

Hanuman is a Hindu monkey God, with a human body and a monkey head, that represents our monkey, distracted, chaotic mind. If we harness the power and intelligence of the mind we are able to use that power for good, rather than exacerbating our fears and doubts.

Hanuman is a devotee of Lord Rama & Goddess Sita, and one of the central characters of the Ramayana. Hanuman is praised for his strength, courage, resilience, wisdom, celibacy and his pure devotion to Rama. All of his qualities are detailed within the Hanumān Chālīsa at great length.

When we chant the Chālīsa, we rid our physical and mental weaknesses, our tendency toward negativity decreases and anything inauspicious in our lives dissolves. We are also asking for the boon (a divine blessing) of grace, so that the discomfort, pain and suffering we endure in our lives be eased, as we hold God in our hearts at all times.

As we wipe the dust from our own hearts, through the guidance of the Guru (the remover), we call upon Rama, who bestows the four fruits (phalam) of life, honesty (Dharma), riches (Artha), delight (Kama) and freedom (Moksha). Triumph to Hanuman, Ram’s greatest devotee, who is the epitome of knowledge, devotion and strength, every difficult task in this world become easy by your grace.

Jai Hanuman Ki Jai.

Words and translation of the Hanumān Chālīsa found here.

Emma's Articles


By Emma Salvado.

Journaling is a canvas for our thoughts and feelings, a canvas for how things fit, for how WE fit, for how we refine Unity.

Journaling is how we stay in conversation with the Universe.

Journaling is how we sketch truth within our heart.

In a deep and lasting way, Journaling is how we practice the art of correspondence within ourselves. Where a diary is a place to track the circumstances of our lives, a journal is a place to unfold the events that lift and drop us through our days, a place to ask all the questions that have no answer, a place to find and gather meaning from all we go through.

The Inherent Sequence of Learning

The threshold of all learning is question and response. It’s the gift of inquiry that draws an inner response from us. This is how we return to promise, this is how we turn into our possibility. By inquiring and inwardly responding, we become authentic.

Real thinking involves question and response, which is at the heart of dialogue. When honest, we enter and engage true questions and stop seeking answers. While the surface world requires answers…. Which foods are safe to eat…? Can I drink the water in Bali …? Etc …The things that give us meaning – Truth , Love, Peace, Paradox .. – are unanswerable. They reveal themselves when we are in relationship with them, not when we answer or try to solve them.

A journal is a private , sacred place where we work out these relationships. The base of all learning is wonder ….. Our chief task as teachers , seekers, students, is to re establish and reaffirm the inherent sequence of learning, to open wonder with a question, and then to respond, to see how things go together, and then unify them.

Any practice, instrument, experience or technique that fosters the sequence of learning is a significant aid in the art of living.

One Common Assumption

One such instrument is the journal. Its use is extremely versatile. Its can serve as a lamp, a mirror, or magnifying glass.

A journal is a personal workspace of inwardness, a soul’s logbook.

These descriptions all share one common assumption – that there is something worth inquiring into, and something worth responding to. It’s the fundamental belief on which all learning is based. We often react to life, before inquiring into it. The importance of self study through a journal, is that is actualizes who we are by exploring our relationship to everything we encounter.

Once committed to the practice of reflection as a conduit between our soul and the universe, a journal can animate our concerns and curiosities, providing a way to weave a tapestry of all the different strands of life …, ( This is living Tantra)

We are always on a journey, and so there are always spaces waiting to be entered and explored. The journey of learning, whether we like it or not, never stops.

We question , then respond.

We correspond, feel and become real.

What sketching is to a painter , Journaling is to an awakened soul.

The Workspace

What then is the nature of this tool, a journal?

It is a daily and personal practice , that is significantly tied to the rest of our lives. Its a travel log, of our souls journey through the world. Just as exercise strengthens our muscles, our practice of question and reflection can enliven us, keeping us open, acute , perceptive, and thorough.

By being faithful to the art of inner dialogue, searching for meaning in events, issues , ideas and feelings we can inhabit the life we are given by engaging the world.

The Manner and Reach of the Journal

A journal seems to work best when its established as a daily or regular practice. I would encourage you to regard it as an intimate place where you can enter time and bear witness to the wonder of your life and all its hardships and wonders. Where you can be honest about how life is happening around you.

It’s a place where you get to tell the truth as only you see if, even when you’re wrong. Write as if no one will see it. Only after you have possibly for meaning from your questions, should you share what you have found…. Do the work yourself first…What’s most important is that you remain honest, without fear of invasion ( others reading it)
Above all, It’s YOUR journal.

I also encourage you to make the space of your journal personal. So it matters what it looks and feels like. It should be chosen with care, something that you have a connection too, something you want to return too. Something welcoming. It doesn’t need to be well organised, or logical, or neat. Let it unfold organically in a way that mirrors the questions moving through your heart and mind. It could be full of sketches or scribbles….. (I write upside down and back to front sometimes)

Generally is most effectively entered in three ways :

  • It can be written in by responding to the impact of your experiences
  • Responding to the things you read ( when I’m moved by a poem or text from a book)
  • By inquiring into a journal question ( I am always on the lookout for questions that stir me, or others….. The kind of questions that have no immediate answers.

Ultimately these questions are carried by us like lanterns, that we swing in the dark to help us find our way.

The Life of Oneness

After initially beginning to journal, we can sometimes get frightened at times , because of the depth of life that opens up for us. In a world where we have grown accustomed to separating what matters from what needs to be done, your journal might seem a little disorientating.
It brings us back to our innate yearning for unity, for a life of oneness, for what we have in common, rather than what separates us.

We return to the art of correspondence, to see how things go together, so see how we fit into our life. Be ready to be opened as you enter a life of new depths. Because you may start to see your life differently, you might start to see all of life differently. You may have to allow other views in that you once thought didn’t belong.

We cannot make anyone learn but ourselves…… so work in your journal , by living closely to the heart of your experience. Feel it within yourself. Do not try to run or escape from the feelings or sensations that might arise from the work. Acknowledge them , and journal through them.

Discover what your thoughts and feelings point to, rather than summarizing what you already know.

Remember your journal is an experiment in authenticity. There is no right or wrong way.

Trust whatever comes.

The Magic you’re looking for, is in the work you’re avoiding.


Fall in love with taking care of yourself = Yoga

By Amy Effendy.

I now choose to rise above my personality problems to recognize the magnificence of my being. I am totally willing to learn to love myself.” – Louise L. Ha

For many of us, the concept of self-love might conjure images of self-obsession, perfection, or even with the label of narcissism. According to study, self-love and compassion are key for mental health and well-being, keeping depression and anxiety out of the windows.
There are huge different between self -love and self-obsessions. It is important to understand the difference between these two. Self-love means acceptance, kindness, encouragement, and care.
When you love yourself, you show kind behaviour to your soul and encourage it. Self-obsession, on the other hand, compels you to compare yourself to other people.

We lived in an incredibly fast-paced world, that is constantly on the move – between jobs, relationship, family, friends and everything in between to be who we are, to accept who we are seems required a big amount of work. With high level stress on demands and expectations, looks, appearances, professional achievements, social elevations that constantly urge you to compete to the need of perfection on everything you do.
Most of the time, when we’re being too hard on ourselves, we do it because we’re driven by a desire to excel and do everything right, all the time. This entails a lot of self-criticism, and that persecutory inner voice that constantly tells us how we could’ve done things better is a hallmark of perfectionism.

“Why is self-love important?” you may ask…

For many of us, self-love might sound like a luxury rather than a necessity, too much investment on your time, money and energy — or a new-age fad for those with too much time on their hands.
Ironically, however, self-care and -compassion might actually be needed most by those of us who work too hard and who are constantly striving to surpass ourselves and grasp the shape-shifting phantasm of perfection.
Studies have shown that perfectionists are at a higher risk of several illnesses, both physical and mental, and that self-compassion might free us from its grip. Therefore, perfectionism and self-compassion are inextricably linked.
We think that by giving our absolute ALL to others was the right thing to do – and in believing this we miss a vital piece of the puzzle. The truth I’ve learned is “in order to be able to serve others we first need to serve ourselves and to look inward and practice loving our own unique spirit”. Going through this stages help me got the conviction that doing so will help me to lead a happier, more fulfilled life.
Self-compassion and self-love are largely used interchangeably in specialized literature. Research shows that having more self-compassion builds resilience in the face of adversity, helping people to recover more quickly from trauma or romantic separation. It also helps us to better cope with failure or embarrassment.

According to the researchers, “Self-kindness entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than flagellating ourselves with self-criticism”. Mindfully trained self-compassion

‘Be kind to yourself in the midst of suffering and it will change.’ Mindfulness says, ‘Open to suffering with spacious awareness and it will change.’”

NOW the question is how to start….

Invest yourself to SELF STUDY, the yogis called this as Swadhyaya….it can be spending time with your holy beings, reading spiritual text, practicing mantra japa, mindful yoga, affectionate breathing, and meditation practice that will cast a light on the mind and reveal its shadows.

Mindfulness exercises that one can do to develop self-compassion are various.
For me studying and practicing Tantra Hatha Yoga have change my life immensely. Moving from Corporate World to being a wife and mother of three beautiful princess, and a Yoga Teacher….

Yoga with no doubt strengthen my personality, to know myself in a deeper and intimate levels, radiate my luminous capacity to love, to heal myself so that I can love and heal others.

Yoga is about cultivating self-knowledge. “It’s a system and methodology to awaken clear perception and the light of both self-knowledge and knowledge about the world we live in”. Yoga allow us conjure an image of a mirror with which we can look inside ourselves.

And in fact all the great texts introduce us to ways of seeing that create opportunities for us to recognize ourselves better, allow us to remember who we are, figuring out (and owning) who we are not. It evolves self-inquiry and inner contemplation. When you do your yoga practice mindfully (this include meditation, because yoga is meditation) you are able to listening to yourself.

It can mean two things :
Firstly, paying attention to how you internally talk to yourself is crucial for learning to cultivate an intimate feeling of self-love.

“What type of language do you use with yourself when you notice a flaw or make a mistake? Do you insult yourself or do you take a more kind and understanding tone? If you are highly self-critical, how does that make you feel inside?”

We are much harsher to ourselves than we would be to others, or than how we would expect others to treat us. So, to replace this harsh inner voice with a kinder one, you can simply notice it — which is already a step toward quietly subduing it — and actively try to soften it.

Finally, you can try to rephrase the observations that you may have initially formulated quite harshly in the words of a kinder, more forgiving person.

With love always,
Ami Effendy