Discourse is one of the oldest means of spiritual growth. Conversation and proximity to community relieves the all too common pressure we feel to “get it” (whatever “it” is) instantly. There is a natural unfolding of intelligence that comes through conversation with another.  In this section of the website I invite you to ask questions concerning your spiritual progress.

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Question: What is the purpose of complex and challenging poses? To encourage mindfulness and concentration?

Answer: There is a certain amount of the game “Connect the Dots” going on in advanced asanas. Marma points are convergences of two or more energy channels. Put one point on another point and wow, you really can’t tell what effect you can have until you try it. Very satisfying to a still and aware mind. That and there are wonderful social effects to such asanas being performed at parties.

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Question: How important it is to do our practice 2-3 hours after eating? Does this apply to meditation also?

Answer: Yoga postures and breathing practices are, in general, best done with little or no food in the stomach. When the body is free of its digestive responsibilities, the energies of the body are allowed to be influenced as they could by the practices. Spiritual effects are easily trumped by physical ones. When the body is busy processing food it is effectively off the market to the subtle realms and can’t come up and out to play.

With this in mind, when eating fruit one can safely wait only 30 minutes before commencing practice. Moreover, there are many practices you can do after you eat that will clarify your energy and righten your perspective. Just remember to avoid deep bending and most especially direct compression of the abdomen.

Meditation can be done at any time. Before sunrise, after sunset, whenever suits your fancy. Mid-day and midnight are traditional moments to stop and move within. Food draws the awareness to the physical realms and can limit the depth of our contemplation. If you are experiencing low blood sugar or are very hungry, it may be better to eat something as you may become distracted by your cravings. Swami Sivananda suggests that a glass of juice, milk, coffee or tea can be taken if needed with no detriment to the practice, and in some cases it is best to do so as it may allow someone to be present in a way they might otherwise not.

There is an old saying that a yogic aspirant eats twice a day while a yogi eats only once. In this modern age our digestive system and lifestyle my lead us to eat more often, and we should not shy away from our practice if it bends the traditional rules. We must only use our discernment. Eat lightly of fresh foods when you are wanting more access to your soul. Be a scientist and experiment with your own actions. The effects of these personal experiments will be the most motivating way to mold your daily schedule.

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