Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to Find Your Purpose in Life: 5 Key Questions

How to Find Your Purpose in Life

In my previous post "Karma Yoga Lessons from Steve Jobs" I mentioned that the way to find out what our purpose or duty in life is, is to search within and listen to our heart. But, how can we actually do this? A good start is to get to know ourselves better by answering these "5 Key Questions to Find Your Purpose in Life" that I have included below. These questions have helped me to find some direction in my life, specially after I quit my corporate job in Europe.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Karma Yoga Lessons from Steve Jobs

Karma Yoga Lessons from Steve Jobs

We all know Steve Jobs as a very successful and inspiring entrepreneur but how many of us know him as a Buddhist or a Yogi? I really admire him for everything that he has been able to achieve as an entrepreneur and CEO of Apple, but I never thought that he was involved with any eastern philosophy like Buddhism or Yoga until I read a couple of quotes published by the New York Times blog following the announcement of his resignation from Apple. While I was reading the quotes some of them reminded me of the Karma Yoga philosophy. I shared the quotes on my FB and a friend commented "he was in India before". "I knew it!" I thought right away.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The 10 days Vipassana Meditation Retreat: sharing the experience

Think about this. Ten days of silence: no books, no writing, no music, no talking. Ten days of doing nothing but meditation, meditation and meditation for about ten hours a day. Isn't that awesome? That's the Vipassana Meditation retreat

The Vipassana Meditation Technique and Yoga Philosophy

Continued from: "The 10 days Vipassana Meditation Retreat: sharing the experience"

Without going much into detail the Vipassana meditation technique is actually a very simple technique, at least the beginning stage that you learn during the first 10 days retreat.

The Vipassana Meditation Experience: Observing the Mind

Continued from: "The Vipassana Meditation Technique and Yoga Philosophy"

Observing the gross reactions of the mind


The first three days everything went very smooth, I didn't have any problem at all, I found it all very easy for me. But the fourth day I started to have so much pain on my butt! actually on my right sitting bone and in just 15 or 10 minutes after sitting down for meditation.

Vipassana Meditation or Yoga? Which is the best?

Continued from: "The Vipassana Meditation Experience: Observing the Mind"

I told you! stick to one path only: A mind in conflict


Though I did enjoy a lot the retreat I did have some conflicts especially during the first days. I came to this retreat not because I wanted to learn a new meditation technique, I just wanted to have the opportunity to practice meditation as intense as possible and to develop will power

Friday, August 26, 2011

The iPhone 4: Best Travel Gadget Ever

I'm not a geek and this is certainly not a technology blog but traveling in India with an iPhone 4 has made such a big difference on my trip. It is really such a cool thing that I feel the need to share it with others. I'm sure any other smartphone would work just fine as a travel gadget, they should all perform more or less the same functions, but I've only used the iPhone 4 and I love it! And honestly, all other smartphones that I've seen looks like cheap copies of the iPhone. I prefer to go for the REAL thing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Forever young: Swami Yogananda, the 103 years old yogi in Rishikesh

103 years old yogi: Swami Yogananda
One day my friends at the Parmarth Niketan ashram told me "Hey, we met an amazing 103 years old yogi called Swami Yogananda and he is going to give us a class tomorrow at 6am, do you wanna join?". "Yeah, absolutely!" I replied. Imagine that, a yoga class with this 103 years old yogi in front of the Holy Ganga River in Rishikesh! Amazing, and for sure, if somebody knows the secret to health and longevity it is him.

A good yoga teacher in Rishikesh? Try Surinder Singh's class

Surinder Singh Yoga Teacher in Rishikesh

I gotta to be honest, I have a big ego problem. Every time that I go to a yoga class I'm always judging the teacher and his/her class. I find myself with my cup completely full (full of preconceived ideas and judgements). I try to empty it but it is quite hard for me. Luckily from time to time I meet a good teacher with whom I can naturally become very humble and just break my cup. This was my experience with Surinder Singh. From my point of view a really good Hatha Yoga teacher in Rishikesh.

The Parmarth Niketan Intensive Yoga Course in Rishikesh

I came back to Rishikesh looking for an intensive yoga course but July is not the best month, most courses stop until October when the season starts again. Luckily by "coincidence" I notice an ad at the reception of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, where I was staying, announcing a two weeks beginners yoga course and a 4 weeks intensive yoga course starting the 1st of July. This was perfect for me since I will have to leave India the 31st of July. I was already following the open yoga class at this ashram so I thought I could get a better insight into the practice if I follow one of these courses.

Where to stay in Rishikesh? Try the Parmarth Niketan Ashram

Ashram to stay in Rishikesh

After over 20 days of solitude in Kukuchina I felt I wanted to come back to Rishikesh, to "civilization" again. I didn't want to spend any time looking for a good place where to stay, but as usual I wanted to find something comfortable and clean. I found my answer in "Whereiscallie's" blog. The Parmarth Niketan Ashram. One of the main ashrams in Rishikesh and famous for its Ganga Arati

Samatvam is Yoga, Equanimity is Yoga: Swami Sivananda's Teachings


What is Yoga? "Samatvam is the yoga that Lord Krishna talks about at length in the Bhagavad Gita. He defines yoga as: Samatvam Yoga Uchyate (2:48): Samatvam is Yoga; equanimity is yoga... He [Lord Krishna] explains that samatvam is being able to maintain one's balance of mind in success and failure, gain and loss, pleasure and pain, and that is the aptitude of a perfect master who remains equipoised in all circumstances. That is samatvam, the yoga of equanimity " Swami Sivananda.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Video: Babaji's Cave, the Pandavkholi Dharamshala and Kukuchina.

This is a short video made of several random videos that I took during my visit to Mahavatar Babaji's Cave, the Pandavkholi Dharamshala and Kukuchina in North India. It is kind of a summary to the last three posts that I wrote. If you want to understand the video then maybe is better that you take a look at the posts as well:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A meditation retreat in Kukuchina, near Babaji's cave. Dunagiri, India

View from my cottage's window
After three days of austerity at the Pandavkhuli Dharamshala, at the top of the hill where Babaji's cave is located, I decided that I needed a bit more of comfort so I came back down to Kukuchina and stayed for more than 20 days in a small cozy cottage at Jossie's guest house, from the 1st of June until the 23th.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Pandavkholi Dharamshala and Mandir, Dunagiri, India

Stones representing the 5 Pandavas
If you are visiting Babaji's cave in Dunagiri, India you should definitively climb a bit higher and visit Pandavkholi, the mandir (hindu temple) and consider to stay at the Dharamshala (pilgrims shelter) on top for at least one night. This has been one of the most authentic Indian experience that I've had so far. Pandavkholi is believed to be one of the places that the five Pandavas used as shelter during their 13 years exile from their kingdom, a story told in the Mahabharata, an Indian epic, which includes the great Bhagavad Gita.

Journey to Mahavatar Babaji's cave in Kukuchina, Dunagiri, India

Journey to Babajis Cave

This was my first visit to Mahavatar Babaji's cave in Kukuchina, Dunagiri, north India, not so far away from Dwarahat and it has been an amazing experience. What an opportunity to sit in Babaji's cave for meditation after reading all those stories in Paramahansa Yogananda's book "Autobiography of a Yogi". And the surroundings.... breathtaking. If you are a Kriya Yogi practitioner you should definitively come to visit this place and stay for a while.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Yogoda Satsanga Sakha (Kriya Yoga) Ashram, Dwarahat, India

Yogoda Satsanga Ashram

After 14 hours journey from Rishikesh I reached the Yogoda Satsanga Society Sakha Ashram in Dwarahat, India and stayed there for 10 amazing days, from the 19 of May until the 29th of May. I have so many positive feelings and memories from my stay at this Kriya Yoga Ashram, not so far away from Mahavatar Babaji's cave, dedicated to Paramahansa Yogananda's devotees. This visit connected me to my own country in so many ways.

Photos from Rishikesh

Rishikesh, one of the landmarks of spiritual India. A yoga market place with yoga ashrams everywhere you go and even an adventure sports destination. Yeah, many people come for rafting in the holy river Ganga.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Conversations with God. Really? Can we really talk with God?


"You've got to read this book!" A couple of friends insisted while I was staying at the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai. They were talking about Conversations with God, by Neal Donald Walsch. I had seen that book many times before but it never really called my attention. That title "Conversations with God," because of its religious connotation, was not very appealing to me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meeting with a Himalayan yoga master: Swami Veda Bharati

Swami Veda Bharati
Before arriving at the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, a Himalayan tradition ashram in Rishikesh, India, I made a list of all the questions that I wanted to ask Swami Veda Bharati, the founder of the ashram and disciple of Swami Rama. I have heard stories of people forgetting all their questions while meeting a master so I decided to write down my questions to make sure I wouldn't forget them.

The Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama Ashram, Rishikesh

Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama

Ever since I watched Swami Rama's lectures on the Patanjali's Yoga Sutras I felt connected with him. So much wisdom and with so much conviction. I felt like if he was indeed a great yogi and I got very interested in his teachings. I watched all his lectures and I read a couple of his books like "Living with the Himalayan Masters". But I still needed a more direct experience so I decided to visit the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama ashram, in Rishikesh founded by Swami Veda Bharati, one of Swami Rama's main disciples.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to stay connected with mobile internet while traveling in India

Updated Feb 2015 There is nothing like traveling all around India, visiting temples, practicing yoga and meditation while at the same time staying connected with my family and friends using the mobile internet on my iPhone (with Indian Sim Card). I can check my e-mails, Facebook, browse the web, book flights and trains and a lot more. Do you want to know how to do this with your own smartphone?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Photos from Delhi

And after a month wondering in the beaches of Goa it was time to get serious; next stop... Rishikesh! The land of the great Yogis. But on my way I had to make a one day stop in Delhi. Not so much time but I managed to visit a few places thanks to the advice of my Indian friend Samara, who hosted me at her place. Here are just a few photos that I would like to share.

Which Beach to Visit in Goa? - Top 3 Beach Destinations in Goa

Best Beaches in GoaAfter three months of intense yoga practice at the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai a nice break this April to enjoy the best beaches of Goa was not a bad idea at all. If you would like to know which beach to visit in Goa here you'll find my top 3 beach destinations in Goa. Contrary to what I expected April was a great month to visit the beaches in Goa. Less tourists, more accommodation available and for a better price and... perfect weather.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Looking for a Yoga Class in Dunedin, New Zealand?

Are you looking for a Yoga class or course in Dunedin, New Zealand? Well, a friend of mine that I met at the Sivananda Ashram in India is giving a classic hatha yoga class starting the 9th of May (updated June-19: Her course went so well that she is opening a new class during July). Jasmin Amrita is a Sivananda trained Master of Yoga. She teaches around the world, including residencies in Taranaki, Canada and India. She is an amazing and dedicated teacher.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Practice Ashtanga Yoga in Goa, India

After my three month-stay at the Sivananda Ashram I contacted Carol, a dear friend of mind that I met in Mysore at the KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute. She is great, a very dedicated ashtanga practitioner. She always has some good tips for me and she immediately replied to my mail recommending me a place in Candolin, Goa where her own teacher practice ashtanga yoga. It is called Yoga Bones and it is run by two famous ashtanga yogis, Rolf and Marci.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Steps to Yoga: Inspiring Book by Swami Satyananda Saraswati


"Steps to Yoga and Yoga Initiation Papers" by Swami Satyananda Saraswati is an extraordinary book. It's a collection of inspiring letters written by Swami Satyananda to two of his disciples, with detailed instructions on yoga. These letters gives us a rare opportunity to witness how a real guru guides and instructs his disciples in the deepest aspects of the yoga path and the spiritual life.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What is Arati? - Rituals at the Sivananda Ashram

If you have visited any ashram in India or even temples you most likely have witnessed different kinds of puja (act of worship) or an Arati (waving light before a deity with reverence) which is a form of Puja. At the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai or in Neyyar Dam we performed twice a day the Arati at the end of each satsang

Concluding three months of Sivananda Ashram life

I can't barely believe that I just spend three months in one single Yoga Ashram, the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai. Time went so quick, it feels like I just arrived yesterday and now I'm already preparing to leave, just a few more days. I had such an amazing time and so many different experiences.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Sivananda Yoga Advanced Teachers Training Course

Sivananda Yoga Advanced Teachers Training Course Group January 2011

And this is how I ended two month and a half of yoga training at the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai, with the one month Advanced Teachers Training Course (ATTC). I loved it! The content of the course was exactly what I like, the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai is beautiful and with a great atmosphere, but one of the most important thing is the wonderful people that I met. You might arrive alone to one of this trainings but you never leave without making a few good friends, and of the best kind, spiritual friends!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sivananda Yoga Sadhana Intensive: A Pranayama Retreat


Two weeks of intensive pranayamas ( yogic breathing exercises aimed to control the prana or vital force energy, or Chi like the Chinese call it ) at the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai. It was tough, it was hard and it was intense, just the way I like it. And it included all the good stuff that all yogis love: all sorts of pranayamas including mudras and bandhas. It was an awesome experience and I recommend it to anybody who is really serious about yoga.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Back to business!

Ok, it was about time to update my blog. So what have I been doing since my last update two months ago? After Mamallapuram I went straight to Kovalam Beach and spend a whole month there. "A whole month??!!!"

A visit to Amma's ashram, the Hugging Saint, in Amritapuri


Four years ago, during my first trip to India, I heard about the "hugging saint" a lovely Indian lady guru called by her followers "Amma" (Mother) who would just sit down and give hugs to hundreds of people each day, a hug that according to her disciples can open your heart and awaken the spiritual energy dormant within ourselves. This is called Amma's Darshan and believe it or not she has been given it for about 30 years already embracing about 26 million people!

The Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training Course (TTC), India

Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training Course India

My stay at the Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam, India for their Hatha Yoga Teachers Training Course started with an early visit to the nearest hospital. I felt very sick so I went to see the ayurvedic doctor from the ashram. I was a bit worried, I thought he would just recommend me an ayurvedic massage or tea but he actually gave me a very good advise.

Kovalam Beach

From Mamallapuram to Kovalam Beach...... that was a looong journey! I took a local packed bus from Mamallapuram to Pondicherry, then an overnight bus from Pondicherry to Bangalore, from Bangalore an overnight train to Trivandrum and from Trivandrum a local bus to Kovalam Beach.