Episodes

  • Contemplating Einstein's question, "Is the Universe friendly?" invites us to delve into profound existential inquiries, prompting reflections on the nature of the cosmos and our interconnectedness.

    Within the teachings of the yoga sutras, we continue our exploration of the five vrittis—mental fluctuations that shape our perception and understanding of reality. These vrittis, ranging from clarity to confusion, provide valuable insights into the intricate workings of the mind and its influence on our experiences.

    In our quest for knowledge and understanding, we encounter the concept of pramana, which refers to attaining the right knowledge.

    As we venture deeper into exploring the vrittis, we confront the concept of 'viparyaya, 'or false interpretation. Imagine a scenario where we misinterpret the information gathered through our senses, leading to distortions in our perception of reality.

    Jeff hints about a story coming in the next episode.

  • Before we dive into our discussion, let's take a moment to engage with the podcast. If you haven't already, consider subscribing to receive regular updates and new episodes directly on your device. Additionally, sharing the podcast with friends and loved ones who might resonate with its themes is a wonderful way to expand its reach and impact.

    As we embark on our journey through Patanjali's wisdom, it's advisable to start from the beginning to gain the most comprehensive understanding. Each episode builds upon the previous, offering a nuanced exploration of ancient teachings in a contemporary context.

    Central to our exploration is the concept of pramana, a method through which we source information. By honing our ability to discern truth from falsehood, we navigate the complexities of our inner and outer worlds with greater clarity and insight.

    As exemplified by the aklista vrittis, flowing in truth involves transcending ego and ignorance. This state of being allows us to align with the inherent wisdom of the universe, guiding our actions and perceptions with authenticity and integrity.

    This podcast offers a beacon of guidance and understanding for those grappling with existential questions or disillusionment with traditional religious frameworks. Through the lens of ancient wisdom and modern insights, we navigate the complexities of spirituality and self-discovery with compassion and curiosity.

    In today's episode, Jeff introduces us to Albert Einstein's "most important question." By invoking the name of a highly regarded scientist as a reliable authority, this quote serves as a poignant example of agama, or verbal testimony. Let's delve into Einstein's words and explore their implications for our understanding of truth and existence.

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  • In this episode, the focus shifts towards making the teachings of the yoga sutras accessible and applicable to everyday life, catering to the needs of "normal people" seeking guidance and understanding in their journeys.

    Jeff delves into the perpetual cycle of modification within the realm of the mind, driven by ignorance and ego. This ongoing process involves constant reshaping of the "mind-stuff," influenced by our perceptions and experiences.

    At the heart of our exploration lie the five vrittis: pramana, viparyaya, vikalpa, nidra, and smriti. These vrittis are not just concepts but keys to understanding how we shape our perception of the world. Understanding them can be transformative, inspiring us to delve deeper into our understanding.

    Jeff directs our attention to pramana, the vritti of right knowledge, and its significance in our pursuit of truth and clarity. He reminds us that our own direct perception, pratyaksa, is a powerful tool for gaining insights into the nature of reality. Your experiences are valid and can ground you in truth.

    Anumana, or inference, offers another avenue for understanding as we draw conclusions based on observed phenomena. Jeff illustrates this concept by inferring fire from smoke, highlighting the power of logical reasoning in discerning truth from illusion.

    Finally, agama, regarded as verbal or scriptural testimony, serves as a source of wisdom and guidance, enriching our understanding of the world through others' insights.

    These foundational concepts form the cornerstone of our exploration, providing a framework for navigating the complexities of our inner and outer worlds with greater clarity and insight.

  • If you're enjoying the podcast, consider taking a moment to engage with it further. You can subscribe to receive regular updates and new episodes directly to your device. Additionally, sharing the podcast with a friend who might benefit from its insights is a beautiful way to spread its reach and impact.

    In this episode, Jeff delves into a comprehensive review of the citta vrittis, illuminating the intricacies of our consciousness. The citta, encompassing the mind, the intellect (buddhi), and the ego (ahamkara), forms the backdrop against our experiences' unfolding. Within this framework, Jeff explores the concept of pramana, the vrittis of right knowledge, which serves as a guiding principle in our quest for understanding. Understanding these concepts can help us navigate our daily lives with more clarity and purpose.

    Pramana encompasses three distinct components: pratyaksa, anumana, and agama. Today's discussion centers on pratyaksa, gathering information through direct perception. By honing our ability to discern truth from illusion through firsthand observation, we cultivate a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

    Building upon yesterday's exploration of the blind men and the elephant analogy, we confront the limitations of perception and the importance of embracing a broader perspective. Just as the blind men's interpretations were limited by their individual experiences, so too can our perceptions be coloured by our unique vantage points.

    Drawing upon the profound wisdom of Wayne Dyer, Jeff presents the concept of maintaining a mind that is 'Open to everything and attached to nothing.' This powerful ethos encourages us to approach life with curiosity and receptivity, allowing for growth and evolution without becoming bound by attachment or preconceptions. It's a mindset that can truly transform the way we experience the world.

  • Citta, the expansive canvas of consciousness, encapsulates the mind, ego, and intellect, intertwining them into the intricate fabric of our being.

    Within this vast expanse, the vrittis emerge as whirlpools of mental activity, swirling currents that shape our perceptions and experiences. These fluctuations, categorized into five distinct vrittis, manifest as either klista, causing pain, or aklista, devoid of suffering.

    Tiwariji, a mentor to Jeff, imparted a profound insight: "The problem is not in the mind; the mind itself is the problem." This powerful reminder echoes through our explorations, urging us to delve deeper into the complexities of our inner landscapes.

    Drawing upon the timeless allegory of the blind men and the elephant, we confront the limitations of perception. Just as the blind men touch their small part of the elephant and believe it to be whole, our understanding may be partial, lacking the broader context necessary for proper comprehension.

    Amidst this elegant struggle, we embrace the essence of progress over perfection in our study of the yoga sutras. Each step forward, however small, signifies a triumph in our journey toward self-realization and inner harmony.

  • In this podcast, the exploration delves deep into the reservoirs of wisdom held by renowned figures in yoga and meditation, focusing on Patanjali, the revered author of the yoga sutras. Patanjali's insights serve as a guiding light, illuminating inner peace and self-discovery pathways.

    For newcomers embarking on this journey, it is advised to begin at the podcast's inception. This allows for a mindful progression through the rich tapestry of teachings and revelations that unfold with each episode. Each step taken in this deliberate manner opens doors to profound insights and transformative experiences.

    Central to our exploration are the vrittis, the ever-changing states of mind that shape our perceptions and experiences. Through meticulous study and introspection, we unravel the intricacies of these fluctuations, gaining invaluable insights into the workings of our inner landscapes.

    The podcast also delves into modern interpretations of ancient wisdom, such as the teachings of Byron Katie, who elucidates how our beliefs and thoughts can become sources of anguish and suffering. Her perspective offers a contemporary lens through which we can navigate the complexities of our minds with greater clarity and compassion.

    Drawing from the scholarly works of Edwin Bryant, whose commentary on the yoga sutras is highly regarded, we delve into the dichotomy of detrimental and non-detrimental states of mind. Bryant's insights provide invaluable guidance on discerning the subtle nuances that distinguish between thoughts that hinder our growth and those that nurture our well-being.

    These focal points converge in the current episode, sparking vibrant discussions and illuminating pathways to deeper understanding and self-realization. Each topic is a thread in the rich tapestry of exploration, weaving together ancient wisdom and modern insights to illuminate the path toward inner harmony and fulfillment.

  • Please do us a favour and help spread the word by sharing this episode with others and subscribing to the podcast. Your support means the world to us as we continue this journey together.

    In this episode, Jeff guides us through a chanting session of the yoga sutras we've explored thus far, setting the tone for exploring ancient wisdom.

    Together, we delve into Chapter 1, Verse 25 of the yoga sutras, unpacking its profound significance and practical implications for our daily practice and understanding, looking at klista vrittis and aklista vrittis.

    Jeff also makes reference to Arthur C. Brooks's inspiring book From Strength to Strength, in which we reflect on the power of resilience and personal growth in navigating life's challenges.

    As we move forward, let's take a moment to consider the nature of our thoughts this weekend. Are we nurturing painful and selfish thoughts, or are we cultivating painless and selfless thoughts? This introspective journey is ours to embark on, guiding us towards greater clarity and understanding.

  • In this episode, we consider the need to keep our journey of self-discovery straightforward and down-to-earth. There is no need to get lost in lofty spiritual jargon that leaves us feeling confused. Our goal here is clarity, plain and simple. We're on a quest for greater understanding, seeking to illuminate the inner workings of our minds.

    The relationship we cultivate with ourselves, and the thoughts that arise within us, hold immense power in shaping our reality. These thoughts, often driven by what yogic philosophy calls 'kleshas,' encompass five primary afflictions: ignorance, ego, the pursuit of pleasure, avoidance of pain and intensity, and the clinging to life.

    When these afflictions steer the course of our thoughts, they give rise to what we term 'klista' vrittis—mental fluctuations that keep us tethered to suffering and limitation. Yet, regardless of the form these fluctuations take, the ultimate aim of yoga remains unchanged: to realize our true nature and attain discerning wisdom.

    Through practice, we strive to untangle the knots of misconception and illusion, paving the way for greater clarity and insight. It's about getting to the heart of who we are and navigating life with a clearer, more discerning perspective.

  • At times, I find myself grappling with Patanjali's teachings, questioning whether my level of wisdom is sufficient to grasp their depth. Yet, at their core, these teachings offer a simple philosophy—a philosophy aimed at addressing the root of human suffering and guiding us toward liberation.

    Patanjali's philosophy is designed to unravel the complexities of the mind and pave the way for inner transformation.

    During our discussions, Tiwariji often emphasized the inherent negativity of the mind—a tendency that can hinder our spiritual growth. Aklista thoughts, those that perpetuate our ego, usually keep us entangled in the cycle of suffering. Conversely, klista thoughts, which foster selflessness, offer a path towards liberation.

    The challenge we all face lies in translating these philosophical concepts into practical, everyday practices. This elegant struggle is one that many of us share as we seek to integrate philosophy and spirituality into our daily lives. Ultimately, both philosophy and religion serve the purpose of leading us out of human suffering, guiding us toward clarity of thought and action. Through practice and introspection, we endeavour to cultivate a mindset of clarity and understanding, one that enables us to navigate life's challenges with grace and wisdom.

  • In Patanjali's teachings, the fluctuations of the mind are likened to waves, referred to as vrittis. Patanjali's approach is characterized by clarity and organization, as he delineates these modifications as either painful or not painful, selfish or selfless, as interpreted by Satchidananda.

    We constantly engage in the modification of our thoughts, shaping them into either painful or non-painful constructs. For some, like Jeff, alcohol served as a coping mechanism. However, if reliance on such substances leads to dependency, it becomes evident that the perceived solution is, in fact, a painful modification.

    As Shakespeare famously remarked, "There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so." This insight invites us to question the nature of our thoughts and their impact on our perception of reality - just like Patanjali. Amidst the ebb and flow of mental activity, the question arises: how do we channelize the mind-stuff, steering it towards the truth of our inner joy?

    Stay tuned for our next discussion, where we'll delve deeper into the intriguing concepts of 'klista' and 'aklista.' We'll explore their profound implications for our journey of self-discovery and inner transformation.

  • The podcast caters to a broad audience, extending its reach even to those who may consider themselves "Yoga haters of the world." It serves as a platform for anyone interested in exploring consciousness and delving into the depths of the human experience. Each week, we start our journey by revisiting the yoga sutras, ancient texts that offer profound insights into the mind and consciousness. This practice isn't just theoretical-it sets the stage for the week ahead, giving us a practical framework for our exploration. Throughout the week, we delve into concepts like 'klista' and 'aklista'-Sanskrit terms that describe painful or non-painful thought modifications. These terms, particularly as they relate to the five vrittis or fluctuations of the mind, are key to understanding our inner landscape and the factors that shape our perception of reality. By examining these concepts, we understand our inner landscape and the factors that shape our perception of reality. As we navigate the week, we encourage listeners to see what the day brings and what "present" the Universe has for us. Then, we observe the realities of their day-to-day experiences. By staying grounded in the here and now, we can glean valuable insights and wisdom from the world around us, enriching our journey of self-discovery and growth.

  • In Sanskrit, "shasa" denotes something imposed from the outside, while "anushasanum" describes something that arises from the inside out. These concepts form the essence of the Yoga Sutras, where yoga teachings extend beyond the confines of the mat and become relevant for individuals of all backgrounds, not just yogis.

    Unlike religion, which can feel imposed upon us, yoga invites us to explore our inner landscape and discover our true nature. This week, our discussions centred around seeing ourselves in our authentic essence. When we fail to recognize this truth, it's akin to viewing ourselves through a muddied mirror, clouded by misconception and illusion.

    As we approach the end of the week, I invite you to try a simple practice that can anchor your mind in the present moment: box breathing. This technique is straightforward and easy to follow. It involves inhaling for three seconds, holding the breath for three seconds, exhaling for three seconds, and then holding the breath out for three seconds before repeating the cycle.

    Consider incorporating box breathing into your weekend routine. Take a moment to observe how it affects your mind, fostering a sense of calm and clarity amidst life's fluctuations. This self-observation can deepen your understanding and engagement with the practice.


  • The movie and tornado analogy offers profound insights into the nature of our minds. Like spectators in a cinema, we often find ourselves entranced by the unfolding drama of our thoughts and emotions, caught in the whirlwind of our mental turbulence.

    Amidst the chaos, Patanjali's wisdom acts as a compass, leading us to a deeper understanding of our inner world. By recognizing the various influences shaping our consciousness—our mental, cultural, and familial conditioning—we can start to untangle ourselves from the movie's narrative.

    Swami Satchidananda's teachings hold a key to our liberation. He urges us to recognize our true essence—the 'eternal peaceful you.' When we dwell in this essence, we transcend fear and uncertainty, finding solace in the calm depths of our being.

    Conversely, when we lose touch with our inherent nature, we become trapped in the whirlpools of our mind-stuff, perpetually caught in the chaos of the mental tornado. To break free from this cycle, we are encouraged to anchor ourselves in the present moment, finding solace in the rhythm of the breath.

    As we consciously connect with the breath, lifting the heart and expanding the crown of the head, we align ourselves with the eternal peaceful essence that resides within. In this state of expansive awareness, we discover the profound serenity of living in our own true nature.

  • Episode 18 is here, moving right along, mirroring the rhythm of life itself. For additional insights into living life to the fullest, consider exploring the concept of Tristhana. On the website, you can find helpful hints in our complimentary Anxious to Awesome e-book.

    Today, our focus shifts to chapter 1, verse 4 of the Yoga Sutras, a profound text that holds the key to understanding life's mysteries. Delving deeper into the wisdom they impart, we uncover profound insights. If you're seeking further commentary on the sutras, I recommend Swami Satchidananda's insightful analysis, which is conveniently available on Amazon through our affiliate link. Your support helps sustain the show, so every contribution counts.

    Now, onto today's lesson: Within each of us resides the spark of divinity, and as we draw closer to the present moment, we uncover the potential for inner calm and composure. Amidst life's complexities, we strive to understand our true essence and identity.

    Reflecting on Sri O.P. Tiwari's analogy of citta vritti as watching a movie, we realize that we are not merely the characters on screen but the conscious observer. Similarly, when we gaze into a mirror, we see only a reflection, recognizing that our true essence lies beyond the physical form.

    As we navigate the day ahead, let's endeavor to embrace the present moment and apply Pattabhi's principles of Tristhana. With this intention, we move forward, seeking inner peace and harmony. Om, peace out!

  • In our previous episode, we discussed the importance of focus, posture, and breathing in yoga practice. To apply these principles to your daily life, we recommend the practical and insightful Anxious to Awesome e-book, which is available for download on our website. This resource is particularly beneficial for managing anxiety, offering valuable techniques you can use today.

    As we delve deeper into the Yoga Sutras, we encounter the transformative concept of 'tada,' a significant milestone in our journey toward self-discovery. This realization ignites a spark within us, propelling us towards a deeper understanding and introspection.

    To further elucidate the teachings of the Yoga Sutras, I reference Satchidananda's insightful commentary, available on Amazon. (This is an affiliate link; your support helps sustain the Podcast, and you get a great Yoga Sutras book.)

    An illuminating analogy explored in our discussion is that of the dirty mirror, symbolizing the fluctuations of the mind, known as "citta-vritti." As we strive for clarity and self-awareness, we gradually cleanse the mirror, transcending these fluctuations to gain a clearer perception of ourselves.

    However, it's essential to recognize that even the mirror represents "citta vritti" and must eventually be relinquished to perceive our authentic selves truly. Through continued practice and introspection, we journey towards the profound realization of our true nature.

  • As we delve into Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, it's crucial to dispel the common confusion between Patanjali and Pattabhi Jois. While Patanjali lays the foundation of yoga and meditation, Pattabhi Jois stands out with his unique interpretation of Ashtanga Yoga, introducing a series of postures and the practice of asana.

    To navigate our lives and the study of yoga, it's crucial to always maintain clarity regarding your goal and intention in practice.

    One of Pattabhi Jois's most practical contributions is the concept of 'Tristhana,' which hones in on three crucial areas of attention: breathing, posture, and focus. By embracing Tristhana, practitioners can gain a profound understanding of their actions and interactions in the world. This approach fosters a holistic perspective, showing how each aspect of practice can enrich daily life.

    Jeff offers a personal example from studying in Mysore, India, under Pattabhi Jois's guidance. He highlights the importance of focusing on the breath and the tip of the nose to cultivate concentration and awareness.

    Through this focused attention, practitioners can enhance their connection to the present moment and deepen their understanding of themselves and a practice for life that anchors us in the present moment.

  • Patanjali's teachings illuminate the path to organizing our mind, offering a roadmap to inner harmony and clarity. Through diligent practice, we can attain the transformative "tada" moment—a state where we reside in our true nature, free from the constraints of mental fluctuations. This process involves gaining control over the stories that populate our minds, channelizing our thoughts, and uncovering the truth of who we are at our core.

    Socrates echoed a similar sentiment with his famous statement, "Know thyself," emphasizing the importance of self-knowledge in leading a fulfilling life. Despite the confusion surrounding the interpretation of Ashtanga Yoga, introduced by Pattabhi Jois, his teachings contain invaluable insights.

    By focusing on posture, breathing, and point of concentration—collectively known as "tristhana"—, we can expand these principles beyond the mat and integrate them into our daily lives. But, what an interesting personal exploration... change your posture and change your attitude. Wow!? Think about that!

    Ultimately, the practice of yoga is not a destination, but a continuous journey that transcends mere physical exercise. It is a lifelong exploration of self-discovery and growth.

    By embracing its teachings and applying them diligently, we unlock the potential for lasting transformation and inner peace—a practice that accompanies us throughout our lives, always offering new insights and opportunities for growth.

  • The Sanskrit word "tada" reveals a profound depth of meaning, resonating with a positive vibration that guides us toward liberation and joy.

    This ancient term encapsulates the essence of transformation—a shift from constraint to freedom, from darkness to light.

    Jeff's journey offers a poignant illustration of personal transformation. As a medic, he was intimately acquainted with the rigours of life's challenges, often seeking solace in alcohol and high-adrenaline sports. However, a pivotal moment led him to veer towards a different path of introspection and self-discovery, a path that would change his life.

    However, a pivotal moment led him to veer towards a different path—one of introspection and self-discovery.

    Stepping away from his previous lifestyle, Jeff found himself drawn to yoga, seeking refuge in its transformative power. His journey took him across India, where he delved deeper into the study of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras—a timeless guide to navigating the complexities of the human experience.

    In the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred text of Hindu philosophy, it is said, "samatvum yoga uchyate." Here, the essence of yoga is revealed as the art of keeping the mind steady amidst life's fluctuations. This profound wisdom serves as a beacon of guidance for all seekers on the path of self-realization.

    Ultimately, the key lies in finding a personal practice that resonates with our individual journey. This could be yoga or another discipline, but the goal remains the same—to cultivate inner steadiness and resilience. By embracing this practice wholeheartedly, we discover a path worth traversing—a practice for life, a practice that is uniquely ours.

  • Yoga Sutra 1:2 introduces us to the enchanting realm of Sanskrit, laying the foundation for a profound journey of self-discovery. Within its magical verses lies the key to unlocking the truth of our existence. As we embark on the path of understanding and mastering the mind, we realize the essence of who we indeed are.

    In this profound realization, we encounter the 'seer' within—the eternal witness of our own true nature. No longer are we bound by the sway of external opinions and thoughts; instead, we stand resolute in our authentic selves. Striving for complete alignment within our personality, we cast off the burdens of limitation and embrace a sense of lightness and expansiveness in our being.

    With each step on this transformative journey, we feel liberated from the shackles of our existence. We reach the pivotal "Tada" moment through dedicated practice and diligent effort—the culmination of our endeavours, where happiness and freedom reign supreme. Embracing the practice of yoga as a way of life, we find ourselves infused with a sense of purpose and vitality, ready to greet each day with joy and openness.

    It is an inspiring Practice for Life!

  • "Nirrodhah," a concept embedded within the Yoga Sutras, serves as a focal point for understanding the practice of yoga. These sutras, akin to sutures stitching together the fabric of yogic wisdom, offer profound insights into the human experience. Contrary to common belief, one does not need to be a seasoned yogi to grasp the essence of the Yoga Sutras. Instead, they provide a roadmap for anyone seeking to navigate the complexities of the mind and achieve inner peace.

    At the heart of this understanding is the concept of achieving a "full stop" or cessation of mental fluctuations, although this translation may not fully capture the depth of the original text. The real challenge lies in redirecting the citta-vrittis, the swirling patterns of the mind, much like spinning in our cultural conditioning. It's a tough task to break free from old habits of mind and ingrained ways of responding, as Jeff's recent blow-up with his son vividly illustrates.

    Yet, we can equip ourselves with the necessary skills to navigate these inner storms and liberate ourselves from their grip. The key lies in dedicated practice, a commitment to our own growth and self-discovery.

    Channalizing the tornadoes of our mind is undoubtedly tough, requiring patience, persistence, and a willingness to embrace the journey of self-discovery. Yet, with each step along this path, we move closer to finding peace amidst the chaos and clarity amidst the confusion.