Yoke Magazine – For Discerning Yogis

yoke_magazine We came across Yoke Magazine a few months ago. It is an advertising free magazine that appeals to a young and young-at-heart audience, creatives, artists, yogis and food and travel enthusiasts, seeking out inspiration and adventure for a more balanced, happy and creative lifestyle, to empower themselves and at the same time, their community.

The ancient Sanskrit root for yoke is ‘YUJ’ युज् which is the root word of yoga योग. The word yoga means ‘to be yoked’ – the spiritual concept of ‘being yoked’ means to join or connect, to form a bond, to unite.

It is a subscriber-supported, independently produced high-quality eco-friendly print magazine. Published and distributed by YOKE PUBLICATIONS based in Sydney, Australia. The driving force is Cynthia Sciberras.

Cynthia is currently using crowd funding to publish the third edition which is getting released on 3 August 2015. We encourage you to check it out and support Cynthia in her amazing magazine.

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Yoga Teacher Podcasts

Yoga Teacher Podcasts
Yoga Teacher Podcasts is a hub of  featured interviews with revered Yoga teachers of our time. You can access the books they recommend music they love charities they support. The intention is to inspire your yoga journey through stories.

The creator and host of Yoga Teacher Podcasts is Bettina Mitchell. Her vision for this website is that it will:

* to establish a record of stories of revered yoga teachers making a significant contribution to yoga in our time, especially those who inspire our Australian yoga community.
* to explore what drew them to yoga and what keeps them in the service of yoga and their students.
* to satisfy students’ curiosity about how yoga has shaped these teachers lives, who their yoga teachers have been, and what inspires them.

It will include several teachers who have products on LiveYogaLife.com including Eve Grzybowski, Katie Spiers and James Bryan.

Join the community – on the Yoga Teacher Podcasts site you can suggest teachers to Bettina whom you would like to hear from, and even what questions to ask.

YTP has a mission, to speak to at least 108 yoga teachers who “make a considerable contribution to the yoga community and who enhance peoples lives with their knowledge, skills, wisdom and passion for yoga.”

So check out this amazing new resource, kick back and enjoy!

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What is Tantra Yoga?

Experienced Tantra and Kundalini Yoga Teacher - Gail Pisani

Popular Tantra

Tantra is currently and popularly defined and interpreted as a method of sexual practices, and modern Tantra is often not associated with yoga practices at all. However, this is a very limited view of Tantra. The true essence of Tantra is a meta – philosophy , a universal meditative method of being… which integrates the small personal self living its daily life into the larger arena… of spiritual evolve-ment and enlightenment. This aspect of Tantra has been completely missed in the common limited misinterpretation of this ancient body of principles.

The Essence of Tantra Yoga

General Yoga practice, as we’ve generally come to understand it today, involves practising a series of postures, meditations and breathing exercises on your yoga mat. These practices are a part of Tantra, and perfect as preparation for Tantra Yoga. But Tantra yoga is more than this. Tantra yoga is the “mother of all yogas” – leading one to the higher universal principles of “living Yoga.” It is about yoga beyond being in a studio or on a mat – where every aspect of your life becomes yogic or tantric.

A Different Approach or Perspective

Living in yoga, in awareness, in tantra – is a state of being which embodies the feminine energy – known as Shakti. Shakti receives life and celebrates all the pleasures of life, including our sexuality, as a gift. This is in contrast to the current western approach – which is goal-oriented, where the practice of yoga on the mat is generally understood as the “way to” achieve better health, a better body, a better mind, a better spiritual state.

This goal-oriented approach today is predominantly Masculine, goal-driven energy. Tantra acknowledges a balance in both Masculine and Feminine Energy, and hence, introduces Feminine Energy – as a way of receiving life rather than doing life. The feminine receives and the masculines does

Tantra says, ‘Receive every moment as a gift’. Receive the breath, the food, the sounds; receive yourself; receive the gift of another. It is an ‘Allowing’ of Life.

How Does Sex Come into the Picture?

Tantra honours the Feminine and Masculine energy that exists in each person, in everything in the world, and the universe we live in. In sex, one partner embodies the feminine or shakti energy and the other embodies the masculine or shiva energy. Tantric lovemaking is a prolonged meditation in the pre-orgasmic state. It is a way of empowering and nurturing each other, rather than simply being a way of achieving orgasm.

Why the focus on Sex?

In the context of love-making as a meditative practice, one allows the sexual energy to be in continuous never-ending flow – and the partners nurture this eternal and ongoing flow of energy in each other. This is different from the common masculine, logical approach to sex where the couple directs the sexual energy to the achievement of an outcome, that is – an orgasm. So in the practice of tantric sex, the goal is not to orgasm.

There is no finish – the journey of being completely present and “with the other” is celebrated as an ongoing meditation. As a Holistic Practice Yogic practices on the mat, such as– meditation, yoga postures, and breathing – prepare each partner to be a pure vessel for the orgasmic energy – my physical body as strong, flexible and healthy as I can make it, my emotional body as joyful and light as I can make it and my mind as clear, open and receptive as I can make it for sacred love making. By bringing sexuality into our yoga practice, and sacred lovemaking into our relationships, we are moving closer to making our lives truly enlightened.


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What is Vedanta?

Vedanta is a philosophy taught by the Vedas, the most ancient scriptures of India. Its basic teaching is that our real nature is divine. God is our innermost Self, an underlying reality that exists in every being. Religion is therefore a search for Self, a search for God within. We don’t need to be “saved”. At worst, we are unaware of our true nature.

“Children of Immortal Bliss, what a sweet, hopeful name. Allow me to call you, brethren by that sweet name, heirs of immortal bliss. The Hindu refuses to call you sinners. You are the children of God, holy and perfect beings. Sinners? It is a sin to call a person so. It is a standing libel on human nature. Come up, oh lions, and shake of the delusion that you are sheep! You are souls immortal, spirits free, blessed and eternal.”Swami Vivekananda

Is there such a thing as Right or Wrong Conduct?

All ethics are merely a means to the end of finding God within ourselves. “Right” action is action that brings us nearer to the knowledge of God (the God within us). “Wrong” action leads us away from that knowledge. Our ideas of “good” and “evil” are therefore only relative values and must not be used as an absolute standard by which we judge others. Each of us has our own problems and our own development – our own path to self-mastery. But the goal is the same for all.

“Find God (the divinity that is you). That is the only purpose of life.”Sri Ramakrishna


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The Paths to Yoga

Whatever you choose to pursue in this life, you must have a heart-felt realisation that your true nature is spiritual – that you are one with the universal spirit. Vedanta stresses the idea of self-effort or working on yourself (i.e. personal development). It encourages everyone to realize the God within by certain methods, called paths to yoga, which channel the tendencies we already possess. The ideal is to practice a harmonious balance of the four paths to yoga.

Bhakti Yoga is for the person with an emotional nature. It teaches a devotional relationship with God, since God is love itself.

Jnana Yoga is the approach to spiritual enlightenment through discrimination and reason. This makes strong use of the powers of the mind. It is the path of the philosopher who wants to go beyond the visible universe.

Karma Yoga is for the worker. It teaches us how to work in spirit that will bring peace of mind, and yet harness the natural desire to be productive.

Raja Yoga is sometimes called the yoga of mediation. It is the soul of all the yogas. The emphasis here is controlling the mind through concentration, meditation, and asana practice. Raja yoga is called the psychological way to union with God.

Note that none of these paths to yoga ask you to give up your reason or submit your power to the hands of a spiritual teacher. You are divine and power is within you. Determine and be clear with what you want to express from your essence and go and create it! Live in creation – instead of in “reaction” to your world.


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Eight Limbs of Yoga

This is also commonly referred to as ‘Patanjali’s Eightfold Path’.

Your successful and well-rounded growth through Yoga will depend on how effectively you integrate these eight limbs in your practice. These are wonderful fundamental principles found in the ancient text, Yoga Sutras, by Patanjali, an ancient Sanskrit scholar who wanted to make Yoga principles accessible to everyone.

The eight limbs are as follows:

1. Yamas (also called ‘the Laws of Life’). These sutras cover your external relationships, or the relationship you have to your environment and those around you.
There are 5 sub-limbs to Yamas:

  • Ahimsa – Non-violence
  • Satya – Truthfulness
  • Asteya – Non-stealing or Non-taking
  • Bramacharya – Positive Sexual Conduct
  • Aparigraha – Greedlessness

2. Niyamas (also referred to as “Rules of Living”). This limb covers our internal relationship or the relationship we have with ourselves.
There are 5 sub-limbs to Niyamas:

  • Santosha – Contentment
  • Soucha – Cleanliness
  • Tapas – Discipline; Passion; or “fire in the belly”
  • Svadyaya – Study of Self
  • Ishvarapranidana – Devotion to God

3. Asana – These are physical postures/ asanas that open up the energy centers in the body allowing the flow of prana (life force, also called chi). Practising the asanas regularly, with a view to being able to hold a meditation posture comfortably still for extended periods. When the posture is steady, so is the mind.

4. Pranayama – The expansion and increase of life force/ prana in the body with the asanas / yoga postures, and as a separate practice. Also means, “controlling the life force”. Commonly over-simplified to refer to “breathing”.

5. Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses from external noise/ distractions/ stimulation. This serves to prepare the mind for visualisation and concentration.

6. Dharana – Concentration – learning the one-pointedness of the mind.

7. Dhyana – Practising regular meditation so that the fluctuations of the mind or the internal dialogue ceases and you become calm and undisturbed by interrupting thoughts.

8. Samadhi – The final goal: bliss/ enlightenment/ transcendent consciousness.


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