Yoga, Art, and Remembering to Remember

8 armed yogi with butterfly

Aloha, Friends!

In the age of the atom bomb, the internet, another war, a pandemic, and the rapid disappearance of other species from this Earth, it takes a certain level of Candide-like optimism to get up before dawn every morning and intend that we can both be good and do good in the world.

Considering the alternative — giving in to the dominant self-destructive paradigm — such passionate optimism often awakens me at 2 or 3 AM, my favorite hours to attune myself and spread ripples of peace into the atmosphere. While most around me are still asleep and the nervous system of the planet on my side of the world is calm, I believe I do make a difference.

You make a big difference too. Every time we tune into the upper realms of the soul, more of the World Soul returns.


I chant, practice yoga, and envision a peaceful world. I imagine friends and family healthy, clients and students happy, and all the movers and shakers on our beloved Earth enthusiastic in their aim for a sane, balanced, strong, green, and free Earth.

Singing Om Shanti Oms and Saraswati incantations, counting my blessings on healing fingers, and raising my body vibration with every breath may be just a small offering of hope in a cacophony of negativity, but I don’t mind the negativity. I welcome grief and often cry. I feel empathy for the haters as well as the healers and good people they have hurt, for I know that cruel people are wounded people who haven’t realized their true identity.

Why did brutal and difficult people become that way? They forgot who they were, spiritual beings remembering their true nature. The question is not, why this? It is, how can I help?

At that hour and in the soulful state, there is no us and them. There is only us. We broaden and embrace other viewpoints to expand our circle of awareness. As Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, a teacher of one of Hawaii’s greatest relationship healing practices, Ho’oponopono, said about the ancient ritual, “I’m just cleansing myself.”

So too, each of us is helping others simply by cleansing ourselves.


What kind art, yoga, and passion can fulfill the great needs of our time? Art of any kind is a discipline, not only a craft, but a discipline in the religious sense. We cultivate a holy communion between this that is, and that which we yearn for in the future.

Through yoga asana, the misaligned body becomes pono, balanced, aligned. Through each brushstroke, the paint becomes a picture. The garden, dance, song, business, service, or product becomes an expression of pure spirit assisting the common good through this communion.

Yoga is not only an art, but a life science that includes the vigil of waiting, keen observation, the creation of a receptive spiritual emptiness, and the denial of the false self. Both art and yoga can play a huge role in solutions that will redirect our species toward becoming a sustainable and compassionate global culture.

A tenet of creativity I discovered early in my life was the MIUAYGA principle – the Make It Up As You Go Along idea. The courts, the CDC, sociologists, warriors, spiritual leaders, and artists — virtually all of us — are evolving faster than ever. Speedily making it up as we go along, it might be easy to stop responding and start reacting to epic, tragic, difficult, and even wonderful events.


It’s more important than ever to be true to your moral compass, your North Star. That’s where Yoga is most powerful: it supports our responding with moral courage rather than unconsciously reacting.

Responding asks us to know our true center, our values, our code of honor. In Yoga, the heart of the practice is finding our center and connecting to our source, our highest wisdom. That includes the values of non-harming, truth-telling, non-grasping, non- stealing, and moderation, the middle way.

While navigating new poses, our habitual reactionary patterns tend to arise, and in a contemplative space, we dissolve them. We consciously overcome the unconscious habits of reaction and instead respond from a place of authentic power.

Through increasingly interesting and nourishing movements, as in encounters with people, attitudes, and toxic environments, we greet our own reactionary patterns with curiosity and kindness. But we don’t act on them. We listen. We harness the energy of our reactions by increasing our tolerance to discomfort while generating more heartful energy. Through the many yoga tools and rituals, we give birth to new treasures, new potentials, a new Earth.

Through the ecstasy of relaxed movement, we dissolve extraneous tension, so we feel better and look better. Without the heaviness, we lighten up and feel the soul’s natural play. Joy and creativity now have more space to grow.


And here’s the best part: we resolve reactions internally before hurling them into the world as behavior that incites conflict. We now have more inner peace to share with the world.

What a blessing it would be if Putin practiced yoga and harvested its teachings. He would learn you can be wise without being overbearing, funny without insulting others, and honest without hurting others.

Few among us consistently hit the highest mark, but that’s where we aim. We make our bodies into the bow, our minds into the string, and with our hearts, we pull back the string to shoot the arrow of spirit into the target of a hopeful and sustainable future for all of us. That’s true wisdom.

We don’t always strike the bullseye, but that is our quest. And so, we keep practicing.

With shocking changes on the ground, in the air, and in our hearts, it’s vital to stay resilient, in touch, and true to what really matters – what matters TO YOU – and that’s another way yoga informs our better natures. It guides us away from reactionary habits and toward what really moves us.


We live by honoring ideals for living well, our value systems, and each person is obliged to know what their code is. Because what matters to your friends or a family member may not be what matters to you.

To one person, the code, the ultimate goal of life, could be helping children. To another, truth-telling is the purpose, or love, or peace, or both peace and truth, the first two Yogic yamas. Someone else wants to convert the planet to artificial intelligence, or veganism, or education, or a religion, or the color of mangoes. One may want to run faster than anyone else, or make more money.

To most of us, making enough money for our families to survive and thrive in these uncertain times is at the top of the list. But to some, spending money well is a top priority.

For me, saving the birds, bees, oceans, animals, and trees, our planet, with compassion and humanity for all, is the goal. That’s the Earthling’s code.

Without a code, we are easy targets of the propaganda of zealots, pirates, grifters, and unskillful parents who, loved as they are, don’t share your values.


During my recent sabbatical, as I reflected on my own code, I often drove over the Saddle between two of the volcanoes that form the backbone of Hawaii Island. I would stay in Hilo with my beautiful artist friend Susun and paint seaside scenes of happy yogis and hula dancers. One depicts a yogis in boat pose resembling the ancient double-hulled canoes sailing toward them from the painted horizon.

Depicting the harmony of opposites, the old and the new, the solid land and fluid water, made me feel happy. It was as though the old Hawaiian sailing vessels on the ocean and the human vessels on the beach brought something ancient back to me. As the colors shaped up and vibrated their holy hues, they brought more clarity to the canvas, and to me. I felt something shift. There was a new feeling in my bones. I felt centered and totally at peace.

When more people find and feel empowered in their own true center, and when we can truly connect with another who also knows their true center, we will find more middle ground, the fertile ground of brilliant solutions and pacts with the angels — our common ground.

Staying centered and true to our highest wisdom, our code of honor, we don’t always have to agree. But we do have to be kind and agree to be agreeable even when we disagree.

As I write, I pause to look out at the Sunlight shining on Holualoa Bay. I remember that I, like the Sun, still have work to do, and I am grateful. Working at my computer stacked on books on a table so that I can stand in mountain pose as I write, I notice two of the little notecards I have tacked up on the wall as reminders.

“Compassion without wisdom is folly. Wisdom without compassion is ruthlessness,” says one. “What would serve the highest good?” asks another.

The answer to the question, for me, is teaching yoga, making art, and writing to help us all achieve our highest dreams. And if you don’t believe that’s doable, recall what Katherine Hepburn once said, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’”

Big Blessings and Namaste,

There are two ways to practice yoga as art and science in Kona, and two ways to connect globally if you are not on Hawaii Island.

KONA —————————————————————————————————————


Yoga at SKEA

Give yourself a sacred sojourn and receive the gifts that Yoga gives to you: life force energy, strengthening, lengthening, and repositioning the body for greater ease and joy.

Authentic Yoga is an art and science devoted to alignment, to being “pono” — the Hawaiian word for aligned in the spine, good, in balance, and excellent.

In these 90-minute classes, no matter where we start, we can, through meditation, asana (poses), pranayama (breathwork), mantra (sound), and mudra (hand gestures), progress on the path to freedom. Yoga accepts that hard and beautiful things are happening in the world and in our lives. We bring it all to the mat and work with sensation, feelings, and thoughts. We steady our focus and inner balance. With heightened awareness, a natural joy arises and reminds us how to live well, with less pain, and in service to a greater good.

WHEN: Mondays, 5:00 – 6:30 pm
WHERE: SKEA – Society for Kona’s Education and the Arts 84-5191 Mamalahoa Hwy. Between Mile Markers 106 & 105 Honaunau, Hawaii
WHAT: Gentle Vinyasa– All Levels Welcome– Joyful –Being Kind to Body & Mind


At The Lotus Center —Royal Kona Resort in Kailua-Kona.
Call to schedule at 808-334-0445.
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