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10 things that make a workout spiritual

10 things that make a workout spiritual

A real hockey mom shares her search for exercise that tunes her body and soul.

BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE I am not tough. If a gang of men with sticks repeatedly pelted me with a rock-hard projectile you might find me on the ground in the fetal position, pleading with them to stop.

What I actually mean by that is that, unlike Sarah Palin, I am a real hockey mom. I live in Canada. And when I first saw my husband play goal and assume the iconic, fearless “bring it on” stance, I was in awe. As well-rounded as I consider myself to be, in that moment I saw that in my non-athletic development I had missed out on something important.

The fittest of the fit are sublimely aware that for the mind to be in optimal shape, so must the body, and vice versa.

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A cure for the reptilian brain

A priest and psychotherapist finds answers in Genesis, the work of Carl Jung and the science of meditation

BY DAVID RICKEY — Hate crimes are nothing new. They have been around ever since the homo sapien emerged from its evolutionary forebears.  Animals have an instinctive “fight or flight” response built into their brain structure.

Human beings, as they evolved, didn’t lose it; they just built on top of this “reptilian brain.” The new layer was the “cerebral cortex,” which allowed us to reflect on experiences and develop ideas rather than just act out instinctual responses. And therein lies the problem. Hate is the just the attitudinal equivalent of  “Fight or Flight”.

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Six ways to combine a job search with your spiritual path

Confessions from a job management coach on how to use surrender, service and grace to make your next career move

GUEST COLUMN: JEFF ROBINSON — From July 2005 until approximately April 2006, I began a spiritual transformation that changed the course of my life in some amazing and often difficult ways, and which continues to this day.

After more than 20 years of seeking a spiritual path that made sense to me, a friend introduced me to one of the best selling books on spirituality ever written: Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Yogananda-ji came to the U.S. in the 1920’s and stayed until the time of his death in 1952, introducing hundreds of thousands to the spiritual path of Kriya Yoga.   He is widely credited as being the driving force in bringing yoga to the west.

I couldn’t put the book down, and literally fell in love with both Yogananda and his teachings.

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FROM THE ARCHIVE: Vanity Fair Ranks the Top 20 Yogis

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Vanity Fair Ranks the Top 20 Yogis

Vanity Fair devotes 20 pages to The World’s Greatest Yoga Masters

SOUL’S CODE — The currency of America’s highest-end celeb zine is, in a word, power. Vanity Fair’s entire franchise is to portray power as A) good looks, B) political status and C) financial bling. Now they’ve discovered D: power can show up, even in their dimension, as prowess of the spiritual kind.

Among Vanity Fair’s top 20 masters, BKS Iyengar we get. Approaching 90 years of age, dude completely invented the style of yoga practiced in America —  and learned at the feet of a yogi in Pune, India in 1937.

And we’ll give the magazine a free pass for spotlighting super-model Christy Turlington, in the image above, in their pantheon of adepts. She owns the yoga-wear brand, Nuala, studied religions and philosophy at NYU —  and is married to Ed Burns.

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Waiting to exhale

“The process of dying, naturally, involves letting go. During full-body relaxation in yoga, called corpse pose, letting go is voluntary.”

GUEST COLUMN: HEATHER GREAVES — Yoga teaches us to journey inside and become an observer, showing us how to be relaxed yet alert.   Through yoga we practice the art of letting go.

The word YOGA can conjure images of twisted poses and unattainable contortions while standing on one’s head. Yet, whether the pose is simple or complex, the key to unlocking the secret of yoga lies in breathing.

How we breathe affects us on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. With practice, it is truly amazing that even when there is a challenge on one or more of these levels, the body itself continues to breathe quietly.

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My Pilates ‘body-rush’

My Pilates ‘body-rush’

Pilates is part of the training program of every professional sports team in America. It is also a meditation

BY PAUL KAIHLA — Some people don’t go to a gym at all. Some go to a gym, but they do their own thing, in their own silo of solo, whatever. For two decades, I was one of those muscle-heads. Then, I discovered the power of the group — and the “metro-sexual” workout that a German emigre made eponymously famous as, pilates.

It’s one of the reasons I go to the gym now.

There is an energy in the room, gracefully non-verbal, that invites my own attention to do a deep dive into my core, both somatically and pyschologically .

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Learning Iyengar yoga at the source: My adventure in Pune, India

“I spent a month at B.K.S. Iyengar’s yoga retreat, and my body has openings that were never there before”

BY RENEE TAVARES — We’re wrapping it up here, only two more classes with the best yoga teacher I’ve experienced, Geetaji Iyengar, the daughter of B.K.S. I feel my body has openings that weren’t there and wouldn’t be there unless I had been here. Since body, mind and spirit are connected, I am trusting there are openings in the latter two

I have been practicing in the Iyengar yoga studio next to all my colleagues. Geetaji and Guruji (B.K.S.’s honorific, which literally means “great teacher”) are always there, as well as their Indian students who we can observe receiving teaching from Guruji himself. That’s me, in the picture below, bowing to B.K.S. Iyengar.

A very few lucky westerners have spontaneously received some personal instruction from Guruji by strategically positioning themselves right in front of him.

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Meetings with Remarkable Men: B.K.S. Iyengar

My life-long dream was to meet the greatest yoga teacher in the world. I’m living it this month at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India

BY RENEE TAVARES — I guess you could say that B.K.S. Iyengar is my “personal god,” not that I believe in a god as an individual. But in my world, he’s about as close as you get.

I started doing yoga in my twenties, and taught my daughter, now an instructor in her own right, when she was a young child.

I continued to practice and study through the next decades, and B.K.S. Iyengar was a guiding light. The single figure who made hatha yoga accessible to the West, he even gets profiled in this day and age, at 89, in Vanity Fair magazine.

I saved up weeks of vacation, and some life-savings, to spend the month of October at his school in Pune, India. I dish from my journal . . .

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PHOTO CONTEST winners appear in new slideshow, “Meditation Junkies”

A dude doing a headstand in Times Square and a woman striking a tree pose in the ocean. Meet our meditation junkies!

For the latest Soul’s Code photo contest we asked readers to submit photos of themselves doing their spiritual thing — yoga, pilates, meditation, whatever — anywhere but where we’d expect to typically see them. We received scores of terrific entries — a guy perched atop a hotel banister, a couple poised along the ridge of a canyon — so cool, that we were called to feature our favorites in a new Soul’s Code slideshow, Meditation Junkies.

We chose two winners, and we’ll send both a $50 gift certificate to SoundsTrue, a sort of iTunes for spirituality.

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YOGA, PRANA, LOVE: This will change your life — both of them.

YOGA, PRANA, LOVE: This will change your life — both of them.

A six-part Soul’s Code series by RAQUEL TAVARES, both author — and model. Born in Brazil, she learned yoga from her mother as a child. Raquel is a certified Ashtanga instructor.

Introduction: Love and Yoga

The meaning of the word “yoga,” like the meaning of word “love,” has been butchered. The cynicism prevalent in America, coupled with the discredit of love as a concept, has led to an odd detachment from the word and its real meaning.

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