• Meditation to Cure Loneliness

    Savitri taught a beautiful Heartfull Meditation workshop at the NW Yoga Conference last month. The focus was on conquering loneliness by tapping into the “Master Chakra” in our hearts.

    One of the workshop participants, Jacqueline Quattrocchi, wrote an article about the experience, including the technique called “Mental Centering.” Check out the full article here , and posted below!

    From Peaceful Dumpling :

    Why The Heart Is The Master Chakra & A Meditation to Conquer Loneliness

    by

    In this heart-centered season of February and March, I was so pleased to get the chance to take a “heart-focused” workshop at the 2017 Northwest Yoga Conference in Lynwood, WA last month. At the conference, Savitri (wife of Aadil Palkhivala and co-founder of Alive and Shine Center in Bellevue, WA) spoke about the heart chakra as a place in the body “designed to tap into our own cosmic intelligence.” Savitri pointed out, however, that many yoga gurus often have a lackluster attitude towards this access point in the body, favoring instead more popular areas like the head, pelvis, belly button, or root survival chakras.

    We’re best served when we don’t ignore the heart chakra, though. Savitri says that accessing the heart chakra was her saving grace in handling life’s catastrophes, and she believes the meditations she’s devised around the heart helped cure the breast cancer she had in her twenties, as well as chronic fatigue and the effects of a severe head injury. On an emotional level, her focus on the heart helped her cope with the grief she felt after her only sister was murdered. It also helped her mourning process after the largest plane crash in history killed both of her parents when she was a teenager.

    Savitri describes this chakra as the “ master chakra ” to combat the perpetual loneliness people feel today–a loneliness that’s indelibly shaped by modern living. She believes her meditations can also counter the numbing techniques people use to handle loneliness, such as food, cell phones, sugar, stimulants, music (that’s too loud), books, and violent TV programs.

    “Cell phones are dangerous because you are immediately turning to others to not be lonely, “she says. As a teacher of yoga, I believe that yoga teaches us how to live life from the inside out, but numbing practices leave little room to be reflective or access the heart since our numbing vices are typically outwardly focused and external.

    So what can you do to turn inward and explore the beautiful feeling of accessing your heart–your “Soul Energy” as Savitri describes? First, Savitri suggests that physical, mental and emotional pain are alarm systems created by the body to warn you that your soul is not guiding your life story. Savitri says to look at these alarms as “blessings” and appreciate them, so that we can better understand what feelings such as depression, loneliness, hate, anger and jealousy are telling us. All pain and these negative feelings are the universe indicating to us that we are going off course.

    Second, we can practice heart-centered activities. As we commemorate the start of spring, we can direct our attention to the element of wood while cultivating heart-centered activities such as nurturing blooms, family, and friends through picnics and other activities. We can invite the spirit of spring into our homes as we open blinds and bring in light.

    Finally, we can spend a few minutes of each day practicing the following meditation technique called Mental Centering™ created by Savitri. She has generously shared her Heartfull™ Meditation with Peaceful Dumpling.

    1. Sit erect with your eyes closed. With the middle finger of each hand touching the front of each armpit, trace a horizontal line to the center of your chest. With the middle finger of your right hand touching your skin, you will feel a sensitive area on your sternum. Massage gently for a few minutes. This is your Heart Chakra, the doorway to your Soul. Imagine light glowing lovingly in your Heart Chakra.
    2. Next, place your hands with the sides of your fingers together, slightly cupped, on the right and left sides of your head, facing your ears. Your hands should be approximately three inches away from your head.
    3. Exhaling, move your hands forward and together in Namasté, not more than one inch away from your face, with the tips of your thumbs at the same level as your eyebrows.
    4. Inhale. On the next exhalation, move your hands down slowly to your Heart Chakra. As you do this, imagine your mind following a straight line in the center of your body, and offer your mind to your heart.
    5. Say inwardly, “I offer my mind and senses to my loving Soul within.”

    Do this technique three or more times and breathe slowly and peacefully. Benefits: Increases pratyāhāra (withdrawal of the senses), concentration and focus, enhances intuition, self-love, and respect while awakening your conscience. The increased awareness of your Soul’s presence brings calmness to your mind and body.

    Notice that at the end of this technique, your hands end up in Namasté. Savitri explains that when this mudra is taken, your mind withdraws its ego perception of others and returns to the Soul self. Her suggestion is to do Mental Centering as often as you need throughout the day.

    This meditation is also available on Savitri’s website, HeartFull.Life , and she will be teaching a course on Heartfull™ Meditation on March 11-12 at Alive and Shine Center in Bellevue, WA.

    © Copyright 2017 Heartfull™ Meditation and technique trademarked by Savitri.

  • Teacher Spotlight: Marchella

    Marchella

    2,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

    Practicing Yoga since: 2003

    Teaching at ASC since: 2007

    Why do you love teaching yoga?

    I love teaching yoga because it allows me to work with people in a deep and profound way that is very fulfilling. Purna Yoga has helped me heal and grow in so many beautiful ways that I naturally wanted to share this with others. It is an honor and true joy to guide students through the process of loving their body, focusing their mind and opening their heart. As I teach, I also grow as an individual and as a teacher. ​

    What is your favorite quote?

    There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved. – George Sand.

    If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

    Enjoy the process and trust that you are making progress even if you can’t see it. Don’t force your body and self through this process. Let yourself unfold one breath at a time, one pose at a time, and one moment of love at a time.

    What benefits have you received from Purna Yoga?

    Purna Yoga has healed me of back pain, depression, and has balanced my relationship with myself and others to name just a few. The biggest benefit Purna Yoga has given me is the gift of understanding and knowing myself as an eternal being of Love and Light. It has given me an open minded perspective from which I can understand my body, my feelings, and my thoughts. My teacher Savitri, through Heartfull Meditation (a petal of Purna Yoga), has given me clarity that everyone on earth has a purpose here and when we connect with this purpose, loneliness disappears and we can live our life with clarity and love.

  • Aadil & Savitri on the Dr. Pat Show

    Savitri and Aadil were recently invited to the Dr. Pat show to share their inspiring journey over the last 25 years. Savitri, creator of Heartfull® Meditation, and Aadil Palkhivala, renowned yoga master, are owners of our yoga home- Alive & Shine Center. From the show:

    “There are some people out there who have a message that transcends…all things that get in the way of joy. Today we are talking to them.”

    Listen here .

  • Teacher Spotlight: Angelica Rose

    Angelica Rose

    2,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

    Practicing Yoga since: 2003

    Teaching at ASC since: 2006

    Why do you love teaching yoga?

    When I came to Alive and Shine Center in 2003, I was very stressed and unwell and the only time I felt good was after yoga class. When I healed myself from several physical issues and started feeling better emotionally and mentally as well, I knew that I had found something so special, that all I wanted to do was to be able to share it with others. I left my career at Microsoft to become a Purna Yoga™ teacher. I love being able to share my love of Purna Yoga™ and Heartfull™ Meditation as it opens my heart as well as the hearts of others.

    What is your favorite quote?

    I don’t have a favorite quote; I like many! Here is one I use often. It is from the book Savitri by Sri Aurobindo: “Awakened to the meaning of my heart, that to feel love and oneness is to live.”

    If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

    Don’t be concerned with whether or not you are “good at yoga.” Notice how you feel. If you are feeling better, if you are feeling a larger capacity to love, then that is what is important.

    What benefits have you received from Purna Yoga?

    I could never list all the benefits. Purna Yoga™ and Heartfull™ Meditation have changed my life so fully that a list would be a mighty undertaking. Here are a few highlights: Better relationship with myself and others, being part of a beautiful community, getting to study with Savitri and Aadil who are two exceptionally wonderful teachers, ability to love more through a more open heart, ability to have my daughter and to have confidence raising her as a healthy and loving person, fully healing from scoliosis, having an easy and powerful way to manage stress, and a much healthier lifestyle (and therefore a much healthier body).

  • Teacher Spotlight: John Davie

    John Davie

    4,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

    Practicing Yoga since: 1989

    Teaching at ASC since: 1992

    Why do you love teaching yoga?

    I love teaching yoga because yoga can bring out the best in each of us. Helping others find the best parts of themselves is very satisfying. Encouraging others to make progress and supporting them to realize their wholeness is one of the best jobs that one could have. ​

    What is your favorite quote?

    Two of my favorite quotes are:

    “The time is always right to do the right thing.” – Martin Luther King.

    “The Truth shall be the leader of their lives.” – Sri Aurobindo

    If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

    Feel love as you do the poses. Feel a Beautiful Feeling as you meditate

    What benefits have you received from Purna Yoga?

    I have become part of a community of people whose joy is inspiring and whose struggles have helped me grow. I have leaned to become more humble. As my body opened, so has my mind, for it is often the case that we start out thinking we know everything and are not as open to instruction as we think we are. We come to class and with our own agenda and lose sight of the wisdom that others have to offer. As I’ve grown in yoga, I’ve learned to become more receptive. I have come to love myself more and more as I have learned to be more and more inside my body.

  • Teacher Spotlight: Sandra Storwick

    Sandra Storwick

    2,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

    Practicing Yoga since: 1983

    Teaching at ASC since: 1994

    Why do you love teaching yoga?

    The practice of Purna Yoga and Heartfull Mediation has had a profound effect on my life and the lives of my children. It has given me the ability create a relationship between my mind, body and soul. Teaching Yoga has become an expression of that sacred relationship. Teaching yoga gives me the opportunity to give back. ​

    What is your favorite quote?

    “If mankind could but see though in a glimpse of fleeting experience what infinite enjoyments, what perfect forces, what luminous reaches of spontaneous knowledge, what wide calms of our being lie waiting for us in the tracts which our animal evolution has not yet conquered, they would leave all & never rest till they had gained these treasures. But the way is narrow, the doors are hard to force, and fear, distrust & scepticism are there, sentinels of Nature, to forbid the turning away of our feet from her ordinary pastures.”

    – Sri Aurobindo

    If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

    • ​Don’t give up
    • Be patient with yourself
    • Try not to compare yourself with others
    • Try not to be afraid when you begin to feel your body, or feel your body changing as a result of the work you are doing. You may feel feelings that you have never felt before.
    • As you become aware of your body through the lens of the yoga poses, try not to judge but see it as a starting place.
    • 10 years of aging will go by anyway
    • ​Read the above quote. There is a gem inside of you waiting to be discovered. ​

    What benefits have you received from Purna Yoga?

    Countless benefits. To know myself as an eternal being with a purpose – to be the Light in this physical form. ​

  • Teacher Spotlight: Mana Iluna

    Mana Iluna,

    2,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

    Practicing Yoga since: 1963!!! I was 28 when I started doing it from a book.

    Teaching at Alive & Shine Center since: 1993

    Current class times:

    • Gentle Yoga on MWF at 11:15am
    • Spa Yoga on Fridays at 7:30pm

    Why do you love teaching yoga?

    I love teaching yoga because I love seeing positive mood changes, body changes and life changes as students continue taking classes.

    What is your favorite quote?

    My two favorite short quotes are:

    “Courage has no age.” – Anne Fortier, The Lost Sisterhood

    “Carpe Momentum!” which means “Seize the Moment!”

    If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

    Do yoga with a sense of love for your body and giving it what it wants and needs…do it consistently and persistently and never give up!

    What benefits have your recieved from Purna Yoga?

    Purna Yoga has taught me how to live my life in the best possible ways, philosophically, emotionally, mentally and physically. It has given me the gift of knowing that I am living my purpose.

  • Alice Evans: Coming to class when you think you shouldn’t!

    Should your practice Yoga when you wake up with low back pain? Words of wisdom from long-time student, Alice Evans.

  • Teacher Spotlight: Aurora

    Aurora

    4,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

    Practicing Yoga since: 1993

    Teaching at Alive & Shine Center since: 1999

    Current class times:

    • Sunday 4 pm Level I
    • Sunday 5:45 pm Spa Yoga
    • Thursday 9:30 am Level II
    • Thursday 5:45 pm Tune Yoga

    Why do you love teaching yoga?

    I love connecting with people in deep and meaningful ways. To be in an environment in which people are working towards discovering and bringing out the best of themselves, and to play a role in supporting that is a very special opportunity. I love sharing what has been so impactful and healing for me, and seeing students grow and awaken to more of their true Selves is very fulfilling.

    What is your favorite quote?

    “Awakened to the meaning of my heart

    That to feel love and oneness is to live

    And this the magic of our golden change,

    Is all the truth I know or seek …”

    – Sri Aurobindo from the book, Savitri

    If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

    I would tell myself to trust more – especially in the process of meditation. The techniques and concepts I learned in mediation were so different from anything I learned until that point that I had a certain amount of reservation. While this is understandable (one has to be discerning since admittedly there is a lot of falsehood in the world), I now know after so many years of experience that I was in fact learning how to connect with Truth. More trust in Light, more trust in Love always creates faster progress.

  • The Kleshas: Conquering the Fear of Death (Abhinivesha)

    It was a cold night in the Pacific Northwest and my beloved wife, Savitri, was dying. All her systems were failing and doctors had given up all hope. I sat beside her bed, holding her head in my hands. I met Savitri when I was 18 and was instantly captured by her haunting beauty and kind heart. I loved her beyond measure. I was calm on the surface, but deeply shaken inside. She was the only woman I had ever been with. My whole life was her, and it was about to end. So on that evening over 25 years ago when I thought I was about to watch her die, a deep inner fear started to seize me. I prayed. I prayed hard. She could barely speak a word, her breath was failing, her skin was turning blue, and her limbs were as limp as wet rags. Her eyelids were fluttering. I gazed at the beautiful woman who had experienced the death of her entire family before she was 22. Now, was she really going to meet them at 30, in the prime of her youth? No, I thought, and redoubled my efforts to hold on to her tightly. I was convinced I could save her. Then, she took a sharp breath and groaned in a labored whisper. I bent close to her mouth to hear her soft words. In an agonizing attempt to speak, to communicate, she moaned, “Let … me … go. Love … me …, let … me … go.”

    Let her go? Wasn’t I the one keeping her alive? My ego was suffering. I was completely averse to the idea of letting go of control. Would she die if I let her go? Did I really know what I was doing? Did I have the correct knowledge? Doubt crept in. I had to replace it with faith. But faith in what? A God who could allow her to suffer so much? I slowly realized that I had no control. Conquering death was beyond my grasp. So, I let go of my ego that held on to her so tightly. Savitri was right. If I loved her, I had to let her go.

    With a heavy heart, I took some deep breaths and gently pulled away from her. She was right. I had to let go of my arrogance, my attachment to her. Still sitting beside Savitri’s bed, I waited into the night. Seconds turned to minutes and minutes to hours. With a semi-detached gaze I waited into the night. A slight flicker of her hand, a twitch of her head — it all prompted me to wonder if this was the moment she would leave this world. I watched her lungs carefully to make sure that the breath was moving. Now time stood still and all I could do was wait. And wait. After a tangible eternity, her breath jerked. She was coming back! It was not in a glorious rush, but rather slow and painstaking, one movement after painstaking movement. It took weeks for Savitri to fully return, but she did. It was a marvelous miracle.

    A Deep and Personal Lesson About the Kleshas

    The obstacles to the path of yoga (kleshas) were taught to me by Savitri during that one night. Avidyā (my ignorance), asmitā (my ego), rāga (my attachment to her), dvesha (my aversion to letting go of her), and abhinivesha (the fear of her death). Since then Savitri has clinically “died” three more times. She has endured the ultimate fear of humans again and again. She has been to the other side. She understands its workings. Over 30 years she has gained incredible awareness of the spiritual worlds.

    Savitri has been my greatest teacher, and that night she taught me a deep and personal lesson about the kleshas. The lesson she taught me was that I had to learn to surrender the desire of my ego to make things happen my way. It had to be surrendered to the true owner of the body, the Spirit. Savitri explains that the way to bring the Spirit into the body is to connect with the Pillar of Light, the sushumna. Using Heartfull™ Meditation techniques that she had created, such as Mental Centering, she saved her life. Indeed, after I let go, she said that she could connect more freely with her Pillar of Light and her Spirit chose to return to the body. But it had to be her decision. It could not be me deciding for her through my attachment. Powerful lesson.

    When I asked her about her experience of nearly dying that night, she told me that the only thing that could keep her alive was her light. What’s more, not only did all of my attachment, fear, and worry do nothing to help the situation, it actually blocked Savitri from uniting with her light, preventing her soul from deciding its story. “The energy of the room needed to be filled with true, genuine love—not with fear and attachment,” she told me. Of course, when it comes to those we love the most, feeling no attachment can be so very difficult to do. My lesson was to love her enough to let her go. In yoga we call it vairagya.

    But what was her lesson? She explained: “My lesson was to have no aversion for my body, to have no aversion for life, no aversion for death, no aversion for my sicknesses (dvesha). I had to go into to a place of light and love. To a place of complete surrender where the prayer was, ‘Thy will be done.’ Then only could the Divine and my soul decide whether to keep me alive or to die. I could not have fear of death. I could not have fear of life. Only then could the decision be made. And the decision was: return to your body.” She continued, “Both of us had lessons: to learn what true love is and witness its amazing wisdom.” It is humbling to learn that clinging to another person to keep them alive may actually cause them to die. And, perhaps as importantly, the fear of death, abhinivesha, may actually be its cause.

    3 Reasons for the Fear of Death

    I believe that there are three reasons for the fear of death. The first is the fear of change. Most of us like the status quo. Death certainly is change. We seldom fear change if we are certain it is going to be better than what we have now. So, subconsciously, we fear death because we are not sure it is going to be better. We are justified in such a fear. We subconsciously know, deep within, that what happens after life is a direct consequence of our thoughts, words, and actions while alive. Are we living upright lives of extraordinary honesty and luminous character? The yogic solution: meditation on attachment to stagnation, meditation to explore what in me fears change. Meditation to release the samskāras that have always tried to be normal, ordinary, and feared change.

    Next is the fear of the unknown. Perhaps the unknown will be more joyous. Perhaps it will be more miserable. I do not know. Therefore I fear it. For most of us, death is unknown. The yogic solution? Meditate on this fear. Ask yourself why you do not trust. Is it not more likely that if I anticipate joy, I am more liable to receive it? Do I not trust the law of attraction which, in yoga, we call karma? What I put forth, I must receive. What am I putting forth? Am I giving enough? Or, do I practice greed? My translation of an old Sanskrit proverb runs thus:

    “Though in life we strive with pride to possess The many things that give us sway, All that is left in your cold dead hand Is what you have given away.”

    Third is the fear caused by a memory of pain from a similar experience. This is an amazing realization. Surely not everyone fears change and the unknown. Yet Patanjali holds it true that all of us fear death. If this is true, then could it be that the memory of the pain from a similar experience in the past is creating the fear this time around? Perhaps our past lives have not been so clean that our death was a pleasant experience. Perhaps the fear of death is less in those of us who have lived lofty lives filled with kindness and love.

    Let us make three resolutions to reduce this pervasive klesha, abhinivesha or the fear of death: First, to get to know ourselves through meditation and live a lofty, honest, egoless life. Second, to open our hearts and love deeply so that there are no regrets. Third, to explore, discover, and live our mission (dharma) in life so that we feel that we are fulfilling the purpose of our Spirit. After all, our fear of death is never so great as our fear of not having fully lived.

    About the Author

    For nearly 30 years, Aadil Palkhivala has had the reputation of a “teacher of teachers.” Palkhivala began the study of yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar at the age of 7 and was introduced to the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo at the age of 10. When Palkhivala was 20, he embarked on his first teaching tour of Europe and North America. Two years later, Iyengar awarded him the Advanced Yoga Teacher’s Certificate. Palkhivala and his wife, Savitri, are the founders and directors of internationally renowned Alive and Shine Center and Purna Yoga College, both in Bellevue, Washington. Constantly educating himself in his passion for teaching the “whole yoga,” he is the author of the book Fire of Love . He has studied holistic healing and Ayurveda extensively. He holds degrees in law, physics, and mathematics, is a professional speaker and co-hosted the Alive and Shine Radio Show with Savitri. Today, he is considered one of the finest yoga teachers on earth. Learn more at aadil.com and practice with him at Yoga Journal LIVE! Article posted on the Yoga Journal website, September 16, 2016: http://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/kleshas-fear-of-death-abhinivesha/