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Yogic practitioners can benefit by modifying their diet and life style relative to their predominant biological humor according to Ayurveda, so as to avoid causing imbalances in the life force.

Those who do not know their constitutions can follow the general guidelines of a sattvic diet ( a vegetarian diet, using fresh organic fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains and dairy products, along with mild sweet spices like ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. Beans except mung in moderation as well as natural sugars, salt and sour articles in moderation)

More specifically, yogic practices are part of Rasayana (rejuvination) therapy in Ayurveda… Those interested in the topic further can examine Ayurvedic teachings on Rasayana and Kaya Kalpa (transforming the physical body)

Paraphrased from Dr. David Frawleys – “Tantra Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses, Tantric and Ayurvedic Secrets”

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From Dr John Drouillard:

Traditional cultures around the world cooked their food slowly over many hours. Perhaps this was because heating an oven to over 300 degrees was just not practical without electricity. Little did they know the incredible benefits they gleaned from cooking at low temperatures. Or did they?

According to Ayurveda, cooking foods slowly is a way to preserve the prana (life force) and nutrients in the foods. The concept of a microwave is forbidden in Ayurveda, and maybe for good reason.

In a recent study, foods that were cooked at over 300 degrees were shown to inflict damage to the body’s cells after this food was ingested (1).

Scientists have also found that high temperature cooking significantly increases the rate of aging, causes chronic inflammation, and excessive glycation (2).

Advanced glycation end products (AGES) produced from barbecuing, frying, broiling or baking are responsible for increased risk of abdominal fat, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, immune changes, inflammation, obesity, skin damage and early aging (3).

Cooking foods at high temperatures results in a “browning effect,” whereby sugars and oxidized fats react with proteins by sticking to them and forming glycotoxins, which the body has a tough time ridding itself of.

In one six week study, when food was cooked at low temperatures the glycated LDL cholesterol was reduced by 33%. When the exact same foods were cooked at high temperatures, the glycated LDL cholesterol increased by 32% (4).

In another study performed at the University of Minnesota, women who consistently ate “well-done” overcooked hamburgers had a 50% increased risk of getting breast cancer (5).

To be safe, consider boiling, poaching, stir-frying, steaming, stewing and/or using a slow cooker. According to researchers, cooking in water can protect the food from heat and slow the process of creating glycotoxins. Marinating foods in olive oil, wine, lemon juice, or cider vinegar can also help protect the foods.

1.Mutation Research 2005 July
2. Proc Nat Acad Sci US. Nov 2002
3. Proc Nat Acad Sci US. Aug 2012
4. Proc Nat Acad Sci US. Nov 2002
5. J National Cancer Institute. 1998;90(22)

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Focus of the Month Teaching Tips

Shake It Up Baby (Febuary, 2013)

John Lennon sings, “Well shake it up, baby, now twist and shout,
come on, come on, come on, come on baby now, come on and work it on out.”
(from the song “Twist and Shout,” originally written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns, and covered by the Beatles with John Lennon on lead vocals and released on their first album, Please Please Me)

How to use this focus? I would say use it in a very direct way-get people to shake. Shake out their bodies. Encourage uninhibited shaking. Shake off the inhibitions, tameness, domestication, boredom, predictability and normalcy.

Blind-folds could be helpful in allowing people to feel free to move. But let’s keep the focus on shaking and not on dancing in general. I don’t think you should try to lead a trance dance-keep it to shaking. Big shakes, hand shakes, trembling, vibrating.

The goal of Yoga is moksha-liberation, freedom. Through the practices of yoga we can dismantle our present culture and resurrect ourselves as the wild beings we really are! Remember that originally Yoga was a reaction against the increasing urbanization, which was focused on exploiting animals and the earth-taming, enslaving and confining, and in the process we became tamed (estranged from our creative source), enslaved (can’t think for ourselves-no common sense) and confined (can’t move-we are in a head-trip and don’t acknowledge the body from the neck down as intelligent).

The teacher could point out the perhaps not so obvious facts about “confinement” and how normal it is in our culture. As we have tamed, enslaved, domesticated animals we ourselves have lost our ability to explore the fuller potential of movement experience in our own bodies. Our bodies have become heavy and in many cases, modern people feel imprisoned in their bodies. This often leads to unhealthy entertainment just to feel some kind of stimulation, which can play out in becoming a couch potato-sitting and watching other people live out their lives on television or movies or on You-Tube, etc. Feeling imprisoned in your body can also lead to other types of unhealthy activities like gluttony-drinking and eating too much, which then in-turn causes the person to become more and more immobilized-and easily seek immediate gratification from shopping. Have you ever seen obese people, who are unable to walk very well, sitting in motorized carts, navigating their way through huge shopping malls on a quest to buy stuff?

The teacher could do some research to discover ways where wild, ecstatic, physical experience was replaced by predicable rituals and routine ceremonies in many spiritual and religious traditions-the result being far from an ecstatic religious experience of feeling one’s reconnection to all of life. At one time ecstatic experience was considered the religious experience and it was encouraged. I am thinking of Christianity and Buddhism, where at one time actual physical means were embraced to feel magic and be moved by the spirit within. I am thinking of the Shamans of the Bon religion-an early form of Tibetan Buddhism and of course the shaking of the early Quakers (hence their name), speaking in tongues and spontaneous physical take over of spirit forms in many forms of Christianity. But now everything has been put inside a box-a big box called a Church or temple-it has all become housed and the keys to the house given into the hands of appointed authorities. But there must still be some communities where shaking is alive-like among the Zulus and Kalahari bushman in Africa, Siberian shamans, and how about the Quakers? -anyway many of us may want to investigate this further during this month.

I don’t think that any of us want yoga to become just another form of entertainment for bored members of a culture who just want to find another way to estrange themselves from the natural world. Jivamukti Yoga, after all is known as the wild-child of yoga-I hope we can continue to explore the wild.

I know that with a whole month of shaking, we will at least feel a bit better as we loosen up and let go of things we don’t need. It is in the letting go (shaking off) of what we don’t need that healing begins

~Sharon Gannon

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The Ayurvedic Institute
A Good winter rasayana (rejuvenative tonic) is pippali rasayana. Pippali rasayana is particularly powerful. It is made by mixing 1/2 cup each of milk and water and adding 5 whole pippali (long pepper) fruit. The pippali should not be powdered. Boil this mix until the added water has evaporated, which may take up to half an hour, then drink it before bedtime. Milk can be mucus forming in winter but if you take this mixture, it will not produce mucus. ~Vasant Lad

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‎”Yoga is awareness, a type of knowing… Yoga will end in awareness. Yoga is arresting the fluctuations of the mind as said in the Yogasutras of Pantanjali : citta vritti nirodha. When the mind is without any movement, maybe for a quarter of an hour, or even a quarter of a minute, you will realize that Yoga is of the nature of infinite awareness, infinite knowing. There is no other object there.” – Sri Krishnamacharaya in 1988 at 100 years old.

Via A.G Mohan

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NBA legends from Kareem Abdul Jabbar to Shaquille O’Neal have practiced yoga, but few as enthusiastically as two-time MVP James. He began practicing two years ago to counter the imbalances in his body resulting from a pro ball career: strong in certain areas and weaker in others. Yoga gave him flexibility and calm. In 2009 James took a vicious fall in which he rolled head over heels. He credited his yoga practice — especially the shoulder-stand pose — with enabling him to avoid serious injury.

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-by Greg Nadri 


Often times as yoga teachers, we appeal to tradition in order to claim authenticity for our teaching.  But we often have an ambivalent relationship to tradition, enjoying the authority it implies while simultaneously editing anything that presents itself of a distasteful, unappealing, or inconvenient nature.  It seems as though we would like to have our tradition cake and eat it too.  Recently academic research in Yoga studies has attempted to trace the influences that have shaped Modern Yoga.  It should be clear when we look around to the culture surrounding yoga in the west that not everything that is found in Modern yoga is traditional.  The least of which is the abundance of products, styles of yoga, and studios, the celebrity around some yoga teachers, and the pedagogical approach of group classes.  This might leave us to divide up our current yoga culture into “real” yoga and everything else.  Of course, most people interested in these divisions assume that they sit squarely in the midst of a “real” tradition.  According to the textual tradition of yoga, these types of divisions are common, but symptomatic of an underlying problem that yoga seeks to address.  Yoga posits that the conditioning influence of the mind that creates such divisions is actually at the root of all suffering.  Instead, we can approach concerns over authenticity by probing deeper into the meaning of tradition and how we can make room for innovation while still cleaving to those aspects of tradition that make yoga effective.




The paradigm shifting work of yoga scholars have begun to seek into the origins of Modern Yoga in both India and America. They make the case that the rupture that occurred in India as a result of colonization caused a re-interpretation of yoga tradition in order to accommodate post-enlightenment and modern values.  It is this re-interpretation that had the greatest influence on modern yoga through the work of Swami Vivekananda.  A careful study of the cultural influences surrounding the yoga taught by Krishnamacharya in the mysore palace show a tremendous amount of innovation to re-invent traditional yoga techniques and themes in a way that allowed them to thrive in a modern world.  It is this environment that spawned much of the renaissance of Modern Yoga as it is commonly practiced today.  Research has shown that there were traditional practices that were considered entirely unsavory and unsuitable for practice by modern, civilized people and for a long period, yogis, sometimes deservedly, held low esteem in Indian culture due to their uncivilized ways and practices.  Modern Yoga was able to flourish in America as a result of careful editing of the tradition as well as appending it to other popular movements such as the new age movement and alternative health.




If all of this is true, then how do we make sense of “tradition?”  Elizaebeth DeMichelis, in her A History of Modern Yoga, rather generously includes Modern Yoga as a western graft onto the tree of traditional yoga, whereas Mark Singleton in Yoga Body, The Origins of Modern Posture Practice recommends that we view Modern Yoga as a homonym rather than a synonym for traditional yoga.  In other words, it shares the same name, but refers to a wholly different set of practices.  I find that Joseph Alter comes the closest to a definition of tradition that will help us to make sense of modern yoga’s place in the history of yoga.  He defines tradition as something that is unbounded, meaning that instead of a fixed set of practices traditions can be more malleable. In order to find practitioners, it must survive over long periods of time by adjusting to current needs.  While the technique of yoga may change according to culture and period, there are some aspects that will need to remain fixed for the sake of continuity.  What matters most if we are to see the progression of yoga through time is that we understand the aims of traditional yoga.




Traditional yoga, according to the texts is a liberation practice that seeks to free its practitioners from suffering through methods designed to overcome the conditioning influences of the mind.  Accepting that the mind, then, can delude us, it becomes important for us to learn discernment and perspective in our approach to traditional yoga.  There is an element of surrender that comes from understanding that sometimes self- guardianship fails us.  While we have become skeptical of the guru figure in modern culture, it is important to have checks and balances in the form of trusted teachers and peers to help guide our process.  We must put our faith in practices once we have done our due diligence to ensure that they are safe and a good fit for us.  In this way, we elevate the practice above our own desires approaching it with the reverence due to a tradition designed to save us from the whim of desire and fleeting happiness and suffering.  Yoga tradition seeks to establish us in abiding peace by transcending the allure of sensual pleasure.  This isn’t to say that the pleasure of the senses is good or bad, but simply that our attachment and inability to transcend the will of the senses can bind us in a cycle of seeking happiness outside of ourselves, a tactic that will inevitably cause some misery in our lives as our self esteem would then be based on fickle trends that are bound to change leaving us falling flat.




With the proper attitude and approach, we should then approach our practice of yoga with some earnestness.  We will find benefit from any practice, and as Krishna reminds us in the Bhagavad Gita, no effort in yoga is wasted.  If our goal is to find greater health and more mental peace, then even a little yoga goes a long way.  Yoga should be practiced according to our means and our constitution and this is why we find so many methods throughout the texts of yoga.  However, it is important that we understand that traditionally, increased health was a collateral benefit of the path to wholeness that is yoga.  It is Patanjali who, in the Yoga Sutras, gives us the means of both Abhyasa, or practice, and Vairagya, or non-attachment.  If our goal is total inner freedom, then Patanjali says we should practice with earnestness, uninterruptedly, and over a long period of time.  In the second chapter he gives us his Kriya yoga method of Tapas, or purifying self-discipline, svadhyaya, or study of the sacred texts and self- reflection, and Isvara Pranidhana, or dedication to the sacred.  While many traditions and styles of yoga exist, most would agree that these ingredients are necessary for success in yoga.  It is our commitment to yoga and our reverence for the practice under the guidance of a qualified teacher and in a community of equally dedicated peers that will determine our results.  There are many different aspects of practice that can be discussed as more or less necessary for a traditional practice, but I think that more than upholding dogmas in the name of tradition, we should evaluate our traditions and hold them up to the standard of effectiveness for meeting the stated goals of teachers and practitioners.  The combination of the right teacher, community, method, and practitioner often has everything to do with sharing common goals and approaches, as well as mutual respect and an openness to innovation in our shared passion for yoga tradition.  This perfect combination will lend authenticity and effectiveness to our yoga practices.




Recommended Reading:




“The Story of Yoga in America, The Subtle Body” by Stefanie Syman


“Yoga Body, The Origins of Modern Posture Practice” by Mark Singleton


“The Body between Science and Philosophy, Yoga in Modern India” by Joseph S. Alter


“The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace” by N.E. Sjoman


“A History of Modern Yoga” by Elizabeth De Michelis


“Sinister Yogis” by David Gordon White




Greg Nardi


Greg is one of a select group of Level 2 Authorized Ashtanga yoga teachers worldwide. This designation reflects his years of dedicated practice under the guidance of the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India. Greg has been integrally involved in the development of numerous yoga centers and Ashtanga Yoga programs around the United States. For the past 5 years, as a partner, he has been developing the Miami Life Center along with Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldmann. In the past year, Greg has been involved in a teaching and development alliance between White Orchid and Miami Life Center. His studies in yoga, eastern philosophy, and Sanskrit mantra chanting include his numerous trips to Mysore, India, as well as Georg Feuerstein’s Traditional Yoga Studies course, and instruction with the American Sanskrit Institute. In 2009, at the age of 94, Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois passed away leaving behind a legacy that has touched countless lives around the world. Greg is committed to honoring his teacher by spreading the Ashtanga method, which has been such a blessing in his life. Greg teaches internationally sharing the method of Ashtanga Yoga with every interested, inspired student His view on yoga respects the ancient teachings that have been passed down unbroken through the centuries and give the practices the power to transform our consciousness. Greg’s style of teaching assists students in finding the approach to the practice that is most beneficial for them. Through the use of hands on adjustments he will aid each student in building a connection to their body and help them understand how to work in a safe and healthy manner through the series. Go to for more information about Greg.


See Greg Nardi’s schedule

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Shanti Yoga Shala’s FREE Kids Yoga Valentine’s Day Party

Saturday February 12th, 1-3pm


We will be offering Valentine’s themed Yoga activities, snacks, games and more.

Join Shanti Yoga Shala’s Karma Kids Yoga teacher Debbie Mangel for this fun, free event! Bring your kiddies and drop them off or hangout and play!

Yoga is a discipline that can lead kids on the path toward a calm and balanced mind, as well as help them build a strong and flexible body – tools they can use in their everyday lives.

In our Karma Kids Yoga classes, we practice fun-filled yoga poses and breathing exercises to promote:

• Physical Strength and Flexibility

• Concentration, Focus and Attention

• Inner Strength and Body Awareness

• Confidence and Self-esteem

• Relaxation and Self-control

• A Feeling of Well-being and Respect for Others

• Love for One’s Self, Inside and Out

In our fun environment, children play yoga by imitating animals and nature, and by using creative expression, games, music, art, and storytelling.

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Michael Franti is the creator and driving force behind Michael Franti & Spearhead, a band that blends hip hop with a variety of other styles including funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock. He is also an outspoken supporter for a wide spectrum of peace and social justice issues. For more information visit

I believe that every Yoga teacher I know who plays music in his or her class plays at least one Michael Franti song a day. His music has such a wonderful message for yoga students and all people! I’m so excited that he is playing at the Electric Factory here in Philadelphia on October 30th! Check out his website for more tour dates and info.

Here’s a video to wet your appetite!

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The Yoga of Regeneration with Mark Whitwell
Dates / Times: Monday September 27th & Tuesday September 28th; 6-9pm, Cost: $50 for one day, $80 for both days.

When you make a promise to practice yoga, yoga will meet you at every level, offering healing solutions to your unique needs. During this workshop you will learn an authentic yoga practice that takes you into account. It is a real yoga for real people. By the end of the workshop you will have a practical yoga designed personally for you, with your health, age, and lifestyle fully considered. The gifts of this yoga can benefit all aspects of your daily life — health, intimacy, well-being,

and joy.

It is not enlightenment we want, but intimacy with life in every aspect. This intimacy and unity with life is freely available to everyone, even amidst our difficulties. A promise to yoga is an interwoven, mutual promise. You promise to practice yoga seven minutes each day, naturally, not obsessively. You open yourself to the gifts that yoga can give back.

This course of two workshops is designed to provide advanced yoga understanding and practice for those new to yoga. The program will also be helpful for yoga students of any level who wish to understand the principles of Krishnamacharya, “the teacher of our teachers.” Participants will study how to apply these principles to the yoga they already know and love in order to make it efficient, powerful, and safe. Emphasis will be given to developing a personalized practice, which you can take away and continue to effectively practice for, in Krishnamacharya’s words, “peace and power in your daily life.”

These workshops are suitable for everyone: longtime or beginning students of yoga.

Mark Whitwell has enjoyed a lifelong relationship with the teachings of Krishnamacharya through his students T.K.V. Desikachar and Srivatsa Ramaswami. He travels the world teaching yoga and is the author of Yoga of Heart: The Healing Power of Intimate Connection.

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