“Gratitude is heaven itself” — William Blake Thumbs upGratitude can be defined and understood as the only possible response to a gift.  A gift that is recognized as being utterly and freely given. Gratitude is a vision, a way of seeing, that recognizes a “gift”. Gratitude is not a feeling; feelings fade, for they are transient, and ephemeral. Gratitude is an ongoing thankfulness that comes from the knowledge of knowing how blessed we are and how many gifts we continue to receive.

The very core of all spirituality is gratitude. Without gratitude, one has no spirit and with it, one is spirited.

Remember what you have this Thanks-Giving. Think of just one thing that is wonderful about you; one thing that is incredible about the world you live in, and then you will have one hell of a Thanks-Giving.

It only takes a single blessing, a single gift, to make an entire life grand.



Praise the lord

The other day I had the pleasure of having two yoga teachers visit me at my home and as we soaked up a few rays, we also soaked in some good conversation.

Facebook, like any other tool, can be used for good or for bad; can be positive or negative, constructive or destructive. As one teacher spoke about her feelings regarding a recent Facebook battle, she said this, “I was disappointed, because he is a yoga teacher”.

It is my hope that we all hold ourselves to the highest standards, both personally and professionally. That we have enough self awareness to realize that we do not hold the title of yoga teacher; we teach yoga.

There may be pages upon pages written to communicate the differences, but I will save us from reading them, in order to encourage our own introspection and reflection.

We teach yoga and that is an honor. Because we are up in the “lights”, we are looked upon in a certain way.  Use that to lift you, but do not use it to fool you. We are just like the students we teach.  We simply play the role of teacher. Our winning formula comes from this truth.  It comes from being ourselves.  It comes from being honest with ourselves, with the world and secure in that knowledge!  We do not need to pretend or hide.  We do not need to be on an endless chase or “knowing more”.  We just need to speak to people’s hearts.  We need to make a great playlist and have fun with it; let it do the talking.  We need to get people sweating and thinking; that’s it!


What is clear is that we are not yoga teachers.  We are humans just sharing our hopes, strengths and wisdom with others. There is no pressure to be great.  There is only encouragement to be you!

Now that we understand that we share yoga and not teach it, lets push ourselves to be professional. It does not matter what anyone else is doing, or how they are behaving; be professional.  Smell good, look good and be on time.

Yoga teachers should spend more time talking about life than muscles and bones.  Talk about your music, or more importantly, why you play it.   Even if the same dialogue is used in every class, make it meaningful.  Have conversations that everyone is afraid of having and make them comfortable.   We have the opportunity to touch people in a moving, meaningful way, every day.

Lets seize the opportunity and bring our strengths and our weaknesses into it.

I can’t, we can!





It’s always hard to start when there is so much to say. I have dreamed many dreams that have come true.  Today’s dream, too, became a reality.

Yesterday’s gorilla trek was incredible.  Fifteen gorillas, only an arms’ length away, were playing, bickering, and holding each other as only families can do.  But this was only the warm-up for a much longer trek to ultimately meet the Rusa family, the largest family of gorillas in Africa.

The drive was hours long.  The final leg of our journey led us down a road (if you can call it that) which would make even the most seasoned sailor nauseous.  As we geared up and received our final instructions, we hopped on a trail that led us through the locals’ farmland and into the rain forest.

The entire forest was made up of bamboo and some basic plants, including ground vegetation. We had a three hour hike ahead of us straight uphill and surprise, surprise, the last half of the hike we had to make our own trail, eventually climbing up 9500 feet to meet our new friends.

In anticipation upon seeing these amazing creatures, I am drawn to thinking of my own family. I immediately have a pit in the bottom of my stomach and am overcome by anger, sadness, but most of all shame. I see my daughters’ faces, who have been so torn up by a divorce that only one of us in the family wanted (not me).  I think to myself as I have over and over everyday for the past year how could I have stopped this?  I still have no answer.  At least not one that would have solved the real problem.   For that, I am so sorry for my girls, my friends, family and community that have been torn apart because of this.

I envision the poachers who want to break up the gorilla families, to separate, and destroy them for their own self seeking agendas.  I begin to weep as I realize how many poachers prey on the human family.

The family is the most precious system in the universe.  A place where we feel whole.  A place where we feel safe.  Where memories are made, stored and shared forever. The family is our chance to have one group of people witness our life span.  A place where we have the opportunity to work through our problems. The family can also be unsafe, unfriendly, and dysfunctional.  In fact it can be flat out destructive!


A family is all encompassing just like in the macrocosm.  The world is made up of opposites and only exists as such.  The same is true of the family in the microcosm.

The biggest threat against the family is the human mind.  A place within us that at any moment can switch from partnership to riding solo.  To change from long term vision to short sightedness. To move from working things out to getting out. The mind, at its very core, can enter into a marriage for a number of reasons and then leave it for the same, without us even realizing it.


One has to be steadfast to hold a family together.  The mind is impulsive. One has to sacrifice his or her little self for the good of the whole.  The couple who starts a family no longer has the right to think of themselves first.  They do not have the luxury of selfishness. Their only concern should be to focus on what is  best  for the children.

Over and over again I hear the cry from individuals within a marriage, or from one person in the partnership who claims that “it’s best for the kids that we opt for a divorce because I we are not happy”.  That is how cunning the poacher’s mind works, speaking to him as he prepares for the death blow.

There is nothing more cruel and selfish than hurting our children through our childish pursuit of happiness.  Modeling for them that sometimes vows have to be broken. Happiness comes through keeping our word.  From facing adversity, through raising ourselves to our highest heights.   Happiness does not  come from saying, “I no longer am in love with you”.  That “I don’t have this in me any longer”.  Or that “my needs have changed” and “I am no longer attracted to you”. Or maybe that, “we are better off being just friends”.

Whatever the mind produces, it is nothing but a lie in order to procure whatever it is after and the cost/ratio to the payoff is enormous. However, even  those that claim to have made the best decision and are happier now, in reality the agitation just shifted.

One may “feel better” but not be better.  The prison is the same.  The cell may be nicer and the amenities more suitable.   But a prison is a prison!

As I keep walking, I realize that during our journey as parents and couples we often forget why we are in it.  We become distracted by all the challenges; the aches and pains, the fatigue that comes from managing the entity and trying to get “ours”.  Sometimes the trail ends, and we think ” well this is it”.  However, just as the trackers forged a new trail extending the path they were on supporting their goal, we, as families, can do the same. We can cut through the dense jungle of the mind.  Chop down the branches that impede us.  Whack the vines that tangle us and knock down the bushes that cloud our vision, keeping us from seeing where we are going.


The trackers used machetes to accomplish their task in Africa.  We must use our Intellect to slash through our mind’s devices that thwart us from holding our family together.

I keep thinking about how much effort the poachers put into destroying these gorillas. I cry thinking about the destruction I have witnessed this year.  The brutal murder of an incredible family, devastates me.

I realize that  my children and I are suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  But we are not alone.  There are millions of families that have experienced what we are experiencing.


But unlike the gorillas that are defenseless in a shrinking jungle with growing brutality, we, as humans, can rise above the vicissitudes of the world and forge out a safe haven. where not even poachers of the worse kind can touch us. For the children who have been hurt by divorce, they can have the same opportunity, if we as parents show them the way.

In the end there is much that separate us from the gorillas. The most important one is our ability to go through trauma, and to out-maneuver our greatest predator, the human mind.



Being a “Today Yogi” (just made the name up), I travel a ton. I have discovered over the years that traveling is one of the best ways to unravel the mystery behind man. Who are we? Why are we so far away from being at peace?

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We know several things about life.  First, we are going to die and second, we reap what we sow, we sow what we reap! Both laws are incredible helpmates for us humans and they should act as our guides to go and shape a life that we want to live. Instead they are ignored by most and we live lives that produce stress and strain. We ask how do I make the stress go away?  But we do not ask the right question which should be:  What is it about the way I think, feel and act that produces stress?

Stress does not come from outside agencies. It comes from inside of us. It forms in our operating principals through the way we see the world and ourselves. Our beliefs, in layman’s terms, come from not what we do but how we do it.

So here I am on another plane with all of the above in mind and what do I see?  A plane full of magazines with humans covered by them not understanding that Us Weekly isn’t about Us! People really isn’t about People and In Touch gets you out of Touch!

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Our heads are on celebrities, as my teacher says, rather the eternities, and on the Times rather than the Timeless.

The law of causation works perfectly and we are always sitting in the seat we created from our past choices. If we want to change the seat, then we must change ourselves starting now!

Instead of reading about other people’s dramas, work on taking the drama out of your life. Replace your fascination with other people’s lives with a dedication to make yours incredible.

Finally wake up each morning to a rich study of the universal principles of life rather than a dose of caffeine. Follow these simple instructions and you will sow one hell of a life.



Where do you come up with the shit you say? A good toilet read? An article in a Yoga Journal? A teacher training? An ancient text or from someone famous? None of these places are good or bad.  However, we must follow this formula in order not to just live our words, but to make them work!

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The first step in a yogi’s spiritual education is Sravana, which means studying the truths from the yoga scriptures particularly the Vedas (it is best to enlist the aid of a teacher to achieve this goal).

The second step is Manana, which is independent reflection upon those truths.  This involves thinking! Yes, spending quiet time contemplating on what you have studied, questioning it, and testing it.

I have come across many people who are very knowledgeable, but few whose philosophy, when tested, stands up to the challenges we face in life.  It’s great to read, wonderful hear.  But if we want to live, we must learn to think, study and question.

We must understand what is coming out of our mouths and be able to prove to ourselves through fact not make believe that what we “Believe” is real.

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Few take the necessary time to figure out what life is really about; what we are suppose to do here and how to manage ourselves.

Don’t leave your life up to the universe!  Be the universe that creates your life, live it well and question your own beliefs!  Your beliefs must be based on reason and logic in order to defeat the obstacles we all face on this journey.



I am sharing with you an inspirational letter that I sent to Electric Soul Yoga teachers recently.

As I sit here looking for words to describe the journey I have been on, all I can think of is how I wish for unity within myself, for our Electric Soul Yoga and for all creatures.


I have literally lived in palaces, tents and today, I sat in a prison in Stone Town (Zanzibar) where over 6 million slaves were either sold or died because of starvation, dehydration, exhaustion or infection. I have seen what is left of our beautiful gorillas and the care that each family provides one another. I have absorbed the perfection of the Serengeti. Each animal perfectly designed to live and die for each other. I became part of a mountain that helped me reach bottom and then lifted me up to her top. I have cried and cried and cried. I have laughed. I have reflected. I have learned. I have witnessed the “quit” in me, the desperation to avoid discomfort in so many ways. I have witnessed the strength in me to keep going; the power to carry on; to journey forth and to keep moving forward.

So much of the world has so very little and does so much with it.  Yet so many of us have so very much and do very little with it.  Most people, here in Africa, work and live in dust, dirt and decay.

This past May I was locked out of my house and to this day I have not retrieved many of my belongings.  But never once was I homeless.  Never once was my bed a slab of stone, nor was the roof over my head half torn open leaving me exposed to the sun and rain.   Yet at times, I “felt” like it was the end of the world.  We, and that includes me as well, all are so spoiled that we make problems for ourselves out of sheer boredom.

Our Shelter is perfect, or its not, depending on how we look at it. Our students are amazing or annoying.  Its only a matter of what glasses we are looking through. Our business is hurting or its reigniting?  We are sitting in paradise or smelling shit! Check your pants, clean them out if you must.  But even “shit” in paradise is better than trying to find paradise in conditions that are not fit for animals.

Vedanta points out “all sorrow and misery you experience in life belongs to your egoistic self”.  Let us drop that little “I”, the “me”, and the “my”.  Electric Soul Yoga was founded and is run with a “we” attitude.


The beauty about the poorest village here is that everyone works together.  Lets not forget that our greatest resource is one another. When we stick together we are a force; objects and beings are at our beck and call.  When we work separately, we fall.

For me, Paradise has always been about one thing, sticking together.  Therefore, if we are to get “stuck”, lets get “stuck” together.

The stories we tell with our problems can always be outdone by another one’s woes. There is always someone better off or worse off than us.  But our duty lies not in comparing or contrasting our stories, our riches,  or our debts, but in keeping ourselves mentally self sufficient, self poised, and self pleased.  Our primary service to the world is to keep ourselves cheerful and happy.  All other services we perform are secondary!

As Swamiji says ” to be sorrowful is a social, moral and religious crime. You do not spread the disease of melancholy to your fellow men. Your highest duty, your religious duty in the world, therefore is to keep yourself peaceful and joyful. This is the duty demanded of you by your nation, society, family and yourself”.  If we adopt this philosophy in our classes everyday, only then can we be of service to the world and be successful as teachers and as people.

All of us want the same thing.  Our differences lie in how to get it and/or how it is delivered. If you are under a Electric Soul Yoga roof, set aside whatever “differences” you may have.  Remind yourself that we are all on the same mission.  Our peace lies in working together, in setting aside  gossip, jealousy, and objections.  Look for the similarities, not the differences, and then there will be the productivity and the peace that we all crave.

I leave you with this poem, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, as a reminder of who we strive to be for ourselves, and who we need to be for our students and for one another.


Laugh and the world will laugh with you,

Weep and you weep alone:

For this brave old earth must borrow its mirth,

It has sorrow enough on its own.

Sing and the hills will answer,

Sigh, it is lost on the air.

The echoes do bound a joyful sound,

But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice and men will seek you,

Grieve and they will turn and go:

They want full measure of all your pleasure

But they do not want your woe.

Be glad and your friends are many,

Be sad and you lose them all.

There is none to decline your nectared wine,

But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;

Fast, and the world goes by;

Succeed and give, and it helps you live,

But no one can help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure

For a long and lordly train,

But one by one we must all file on

Through the narrow aisles of pain.




I remember reading a story years ago that made a lot of sense to me. The story is about a man falling from a cliff and asking for God’s help. God actually answers, but the man does not like the answer.   So he asks again and once again he receives the same unwanted response.   Then he asks if there is “anyone else up there”?

I do not know who or what God is, but I do know that I need saving.  Often times the answers and help I receive to make me whole are not the ones I am looking for.

I have spent countless years fighting off the life jackets and life boats that have come my way because I did not like how they looked. Never once did my rejection of those life savers help me, other than to keep me from drowning.

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The business of saving our asses is a tricky one.  Because the same head that gets us into trouble is the one that “invents” what the solution should look like, sound like and feel like. To make matters worse, it even tells us how long the problem should last and how quick the solution should work.

Of course when it does not go down as our mind intended it to, we give up, change courses and look for new solutions from the same mind!

The questions I ask myself all the time are, “am I willing to do what I do not want to do, and listen to what I do not want to listen to? Am I ready to take the heat from those that will not approve? Can I stand up to those that will misinterpret or twist my actions, words or intentions”?

These are but a few of the questions anyone who is yearning for change must be ready to answer. If change was easy, we would not have to talk about it so much.  Our world would not be full of self help groups, healing circles, therapists, therapies, books and DVDs that all talk about change.

Ever think about prison? How many of those prisoners tried to be different and just could not? More than you think! The truth is that most of us are stuck.   Many of us do not even know and those that do have one hell of a time changing, myself included.

I have taken change so seriously that I built an entire organization around it! An organization to protect me from me and to help others stretch beyond the confines of their own personality.

Electric Soul Yoga is a life saver and a game changer. It gives “the makeover business” new meaning. However, I have found being involved in it everyday does not exclude me from having to go through the treacherous struggle of change. It certainly does not absolve me from the resistance that comes up when I get the answers I need, but do not like.

What Electric Soul Yoga helps with is offering support to go through the pain of “gain”. We all must understand there is a deep cutting pain that comes with real change,  especially the kind the breaks us free from attachment or addiction. The person who can go through this pain differs in only one way from the person who cannot, and that is they have a bit of knowledge. The person doing his or her work has the knowledge that the pain and discomfort that comes from the work is nothing compared to the pain and discomfort of staying the same.

In all my years of helping myself and others there is very little to do to get a person to see that truth.  It all comes down to pain tolerance. Those with a greater tolerance for pain will stay unhealthy for longer than those that do not.

Knowledge is what should make a human being change.  But it is pain that makes most of us change . Therefore pain is not always a bad thing.  In fact, in many cases, it is the impetus for change, truth and freedom. If this is so, then the discomfort that comes with change is only proof that one is changing, and that changes the meaning of pain and the impact it has on us.

We do not know… How many times were we convinced that someone was great and they were not? That someone who appeared awful turned out to be great? How many times have we been convinced that the worst has happened only to have it be the best?  Or the best thing turned out to be the worst?

From these scenarios, we should learn to suspend belief or disbelief and just “go with the flow”.  That, my friends is where its at!

Nature works in its own way.  Every creature is unique.  Each is designed for a wonderful purpose in keeping a balance in this ever changing world. The song bird sings, the eagle soars, the lion roars and well… we fuck things up!  BUT that is part of the perfection.  It has to be. We are the only creatures on earth able to be incredibly wonderful or horrible.  Yet, in spite of us, the world has always found a way to keep spinning.

I know what you are saying. It may “not be for long”.  Maybe so, but the point is all I can do, all you can do, is tend to the business of saving our asses and “go with the flow”.  Because we don’t know!

This might be the end of the world or it could be a new beginning. Sitting on the sidelines trying to figure it out, is not where life is at, brothers and sisters.

Life is to be lived with every breath, working on taking ourselves to our highest heights! The world cannot stop us from soaring.  Nor can it lift us up. We have to do it ourselves.

So yes, we ask for help and I know the Electric Soul family can help.  But then we must let go, let go of the fear of the way things “should” look or feel.  Let go of what others may think or do. Let go of where we may land, and when all of that letting go is done, we soar. We sail to a dream come true, sweet freedom alas…. I hope….

Reclining in the Serenity Garden

The story:

Clifford was leaning against the fence, enjoying a beautiful view of the Grand Canyon, when the wooden posts suddenly ripped from their cement moorings. Seconds later Clifford was plunging down into the abyss. Halfway to the bottom, his desperate arm waiving, helped Clifford catch and clutch a single branch that grew from the canyon wall. Grasping and gasping he looked both up and down. No way could he climb the sheer cliff. But below yawned the chasm, with nothing left to brace his fall. To fall would be to die and be horribly crushed by the rocks below. No one had seen him fall, and he hung there out of sight, knowing that the wind would scatter his weak voice no matter how loudly he shouted.

Desperately, Clifford cried out to heaven, “God help me!” Hearing his own trembling voice he shouted again, “please God help me”. To Clifford’s amazement he heard a voice respond. “All right” came the voice. The initial warmth Clifford felt turned to a chill as the voice continued, “let go”.

Looking down, Clifford saw the huge boulders waiting below and knew if he let go he would surely die. Let go? he thought…. “but God you don’t understand”!  He yelled. “I’m far up, I’ll”….

“Let go” the voice repeated.

Silence filled the canyon. Then, in a weak terrified voice Clifford called out, “is there anyone else up there”?

And so it is folks, even if we heard the voice of God, would we listen if it was not what we wanted to hear? So long as we cling, we are bound!

Change involves release and one cannot be released when clinging. Our own minds hold us hostage and letting go is the enemy. The mind produces lies which become phobias, fears and addictions. Let us not feed those lies.  Let us starve them to death.

Remember these two delicious writings:


” No we will fall”


” No we will fall”

They came to the edge.

He pushed them and they flew. By Apollinaire

Everything terrifying is, in it’s deepest being, something helpless that wants our help….. Rainer Marie Rike

May we all fight the good fight!



Once again it’s that time of year. The time when we all say “Happy New Year” to one another and wish each other a new, a different, a changed year where we resolve to do better, be better and improve ourselves.

One heart, many lovesAt Electric Soul Yoga, we have a different perspective…sure, to be polite we share the well wishes. But we know that a new year cannot be marked on the calendar – it has to be created within ourselves. A real “new year” means clean-dropping our egos, our separateness and our selfishness. It’s a time when we seek shelter from the storm of emotions and desires that flood us daily.

All happiness comes with conditions. If you say you are happy, ask yourself, why? There is always a reason: health, relationships, money, weather, people and circumstances outside of ourselves. Eliminate the condition, and you lose your happiness.

If you want this to truly mark a “NEW” year, where you are really happy, try the Yoga Shelter approach. We do not necessarily wish you a “Happy New Year”. Rather, we work hard to create an environment in which you can create a new YOU…the BEST you!

Reach high to the sky

Rest assured, we are doing our work, personally and professionally, to serve you. Together, let’s forget about wishing “Happy New Year” and instead do something new.

Let’s make the changes we need to make…start things we have not started…stop things we need to stop.

You are never alone; Electric Soul Yoga is with you for the whole ride.




“Implore your intellect not to be attached to anything the world offers. It is simply knowledge, and understanding. Analyze at every level. You feel the next level of achievement will [lead to] happiness. But you get acclimatized to that level; it is simply a matter of time…you eventually feel the same sense of imperfection at that higher level. This only ends at the point where you understand there is no such point. You gain the understanding that nothing in this world can give it to you”.

– Swami A. Parthasarathy

This sheer understanding is Renunciation – controlling yourself from craving the next level – any level!



My Dear Teacher, Swamiji, spoke these words.  My dear brother, Justin Verier-Dunn, passed them to me; he so wisely placed himself at the foot of Swamiji for the past 2.5  years.

Anyone of us can repeat these words. We can discuss and pontificate on and on about them, as I am tempted to do.

But none of it is worth a shit. These are words to be lived.  The only way to live them is to reflect and contemplate upon them.

Knock yourself out!
Peace, EP

I am in Estes Park, Colorado teaching classes at The Yoga Journal
Conference.  It’s Colorado!  Need I say more about the surroundings?


On the first day we (a small Electric Soul Yoga gang and me) were greeted by a coyote.  We said our “ahhhs” and quickly checked in. I must say its quite fascinating to see dozens of dead, stuffed carcasses when registering at a yoga conference.   Who knows maybe the coyote is next?

We then drove about a half mile to our lodgings and guess who met us
there?  The same coyote!  Being both an animal lover and stupid, I
approached the coyote. He (could have been a she) looked me right in the eye as
if to say, “ok yoga man I will go along with all of your tree hugging love
shit” and held his ground.

I shouted out to the crew to bring me some food.   A plate of black beans, rice and plantains soon appeared. The coyote walked away from it as if to say “back off and
give me space so I can eat my Mexican feast”.

We started unloading the car and the coyote came back to eat the
food. But was met by a woman who began to shout, “you are not a dog, get
away”.   The meal was left for whatever brave creature whose stomach could eat left over beans and rice.

What’s the point? Be patient!
I am getting there.

Last night we decided to head for a Golden Double Stuff Oreo cookie
run at Safeway. Yes, the cookies are vegan and crazy good.  So are Nutter Butters!

As we left our digs, Ian spotted a bull elk in a small pond.  It was dark.  So we turned the car around to put the headlights on it.  What we saw was nature’s finest; a huge,
beautiful creature in pure bliss (aside from the headlights) eating and
drinking. We watched, sighed, and of course, emailed our loved ones photos of
our discovery.  The Elk eventually had enough of us and took off.  So did we.

No sooner than we got into the car, in unison, all of us just
blurted out, “can you imagine what kind of person would want to harm that

I listened to everyone, and then commented.  Just as we see the beauty in that animal and feel the love automatically, so does the person who sees the bull elk and feels the thrill of killing it. That person is as helpless with his response to that animal as we are.

Just as we wanted to feed the coyote, another person wanted it gone.

We are all just living in this world reacting and responding to stimuli without thinking, reflecting and questioning.  The world is on auto-emotional pilot.  There is no one better or worse.

We are all prisoners of the same captor.  A human being who simply acts on what he or she feels without questioning, living a life without thinking how his or her actions impact other people and beings, is not human at all.

My hope for my own life is that I keep questioning what I am thinking, and feeling.  That before I act,  I understand what I am doing and why.  That I take careful consideration of what may happen to me and others around me by my actions.

I/we have been giving the gift of Self Effort.  I wish to use that gift everyday to curb any desire that is selfish and self indulging, especially when that selfishness may
harm another person or creature.  I want to be free of the prison of thoughtlessness and emotion.

I know I am behind the wheel in my life.  But am I really the driver?
Are you? I am grateful today that I have a teacher, a family, friends, students and one hell of a community to help me with my vision for my life, to inspire me and extract the best from me. Do you?

If not, do not expect to budge from the life you are living now.

It takes a village….

Best buds