allowah lotus beach


Welcome to Allowah & The Great Yoga Quest

This site has two main purposes

The primary purpose is to provide resources to you on your “quest” for understanding.

Their intention is to help question our deepest held beliefs about the nature of reality.

The site tagline “resources for the liberated yogi” plays on the word “liberation” which obviously means “freedom,” but can also be read as liber-ation, with the suggestion that freedom can be found through reading (liber = book, as in library) and reflecting on and applying what we read. This is part of the yogic path called “Jnana Yoga,” which some have called the most direct path to moksha, a Sanskrit word meaning “freedom, liberation.” Thus this site will provide you with a good deal of thoughtful writing to read for all who are ready.

The other purpose of this site is to let you know about my current events and offerings.

Please click on the “offerings” tab for more about this.

My intention in all of this is to provide you with the most useful information and services that I can that will truly help you in your life.

Thank you for being here!

Namasté _/\_ Allowah


ps. Here is the cover of my new book, Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment. Please click HERE if you would like to pre-order your own autographed copy.

Top Choice cover


Top Choice cover

“With his excellent book, Allowah Lani gives us a tour de force of several major subjects. I’m not well versed in yoga or psychedelics, but I certainly learned a lot about those things from this book. And I was particularly struck by the author’s ability to move into a discussion of A Course in Miracles from the perspective of his own journey, and do a fine job presenting its message. I highly recommend this book to all seekers of the truth. I believe you’ll be blown away, as I was, by its depth and wisdom.”

—Gary Renard, best-selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe



Book Description

Far more than a mere history of the practice of yoga and beyond a study of psychedelic-substance use to aid the pursuit of enlightenment, Who Am I? is a broad, expansive journey told through the eyes of a scholar and researcher—a pilgrim in search of the meaning of life.

While the use of psychedelics, yoga, and the interrelatedness of the two practices have been discussed in the past, Who Am I? explores these topics through both a scientific and a personal approach that is altogether new—the author’s own journey as he transitions from spiritual and yoga purist to open-minded examiner in the realization that psychedelics have been employed by yoga practitioners throughout its history. Does their controversial use in modern yoga ease the path to spiritual clarity, or does it hinder it?

Many questions and barriers face contemporary seekers of truth in the areas of psychedelics, yoga, and general spirituality. In Who Am I?, author Allowah Lani provides guidance on how to find the personal answers that must come from within.


About the Author

Allowah Lani has devoted his adult life to spiritual and religious scholarship, earning a BA in philosophy and an MA in liberal arts from the University of Pennsylvania and going on to study the Torah and the Bible in Hebrew in Jerusalem.

Lani began a PhD in Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University comparing Kabbalah and the yoga philosophy prior to becoming a full-time yoga instructor. He is the founder and director of Yoga University, which offers teacher training and is registered with the Yoga Alliance.

Lani currently lives in Naples, Florida. Who Am I? is his first book.


Top Choice cover

What Readers Are Saying…

“With his excellent book, Allowah Lani gives us a tour de force of several major subjects. I’m not well versed in yoga or psychedelics, but I certainly learned a lot about those things from this book. And I was particularly struck by the author’s ability to move into a discussion of A Course in Miracles from the perspective of his own journey, and do a fine job presenting its message. I highly recommend this book to all seekers of the truth. I believe you’ll be blown away, as I was, by its depth and wisdom.

Gary Renard, best-selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe


“We are in a time of resurgence, the next wave of psychedelic and entheogenic exploration and reflection. Allowah Lani tours the reader through many different perspectives and differing conclusions on this crucial subject. He observes, explores and researches with a most important tool of [inquiry] meditation and Yoga— openness and questioning as opposed to certainty. Since ancient Eleusis, and time immemorial, a philosopher stoned has always used potent psychotropic means that open windows into other realities, new perceptions and into life itself. Most serious explorers of living and dying have not denied theses powerful tools and catalysts. This book will get you thinking, and perhaps seeing.”

Ganga White, Director of White Lotus and author of Yoga Beyond Belief


“Wow!!!!!!! Just need to tell you I can’t put it down… Reading excerpts every night even when I’m thoroughly exhausted… It’s very engaging and written from such a deeply intimate place… Truly exceptional and unique in its honesty and your sharing these parts of your history and experience are a gift to anyone who will be fortunate enough to read it.”

Marie Colandrea, Yoga student and teacher

“Allowah Lani has written an incredible book combining deep insights from the teachings of yoga, psychedelics, and A Course in Miracles, each of which provides us with doors and windows into what is possible for us including an awakening back into the heart of God. Though I’ve had no experience with psychedelics since the 1970s, I know how incredible that experience can be. Each of these disciplines are “alchemies.” Let them “cook” inside and you will see another world your body’s eyes could never find.”

Jon Mundy, Ph.D. author of Living A Course in Miracles


“This book MUST be read by people. Period.”

John Allen Gibel, Yoga Teacher & Scholar


“Your insights of the Yoga tradition are original and unique. I truly hope you can make this happen.”

Estella Arias, Literary Agent, New Chapter Editions


“The author’s new book dealing with an important topic on the history of yoga is a very engrossing read and a very unique book. In exploring its topic areas with the author, we feel as if we are falling down the rabbit hole hand-in-hand with him. He treats his exploration with the intellectual honesty, respect, and open-mindedness it deserves and the reader is drawn into the narrative by the lucidity of his prose and by his ever-expanding exploration of this fascinating area of study. Drawing upon a wide array of ‘seekers’ who have come before him, the author presents a straightforward and engaging narrative that investigates his topic for anyone and everyone on the road to enlightenment. The fact that there are no other books on the market that engages this specific subject makes this book’s appeal that much greater.”

Anne Dillon, Project Editor, Inner Traditions, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont


“Incredibly well-written, highly personal and throughly researched, Allowah Lani’s new book Who Am I? explores the links between Shamanism, Rituals, Plant Medicine and Yoga. Shamans and Yogis were the original explorers of evolutionary consciousness, healing and communication with the Spirit Realms. Nature and all its tools have been their guides since the emergence of the human race. Ancient Egypt was one of the first great centers of the mystic and healing arts including early forms of what would later be refined in India as Yoga. The Egyptians developed sophisticated spiritual initiations and practices that are still alive in different forms today throughout the world. Read this book and you will learn of many of the possibilities that have existed throughout time for Humankind’s evolution and how they relate to you.”

Danny Paradise, Ashtanga yoga master





Learning to Let Go Yoga & Wellness Retreat in Costa Rica, May 21-28, 2016


Learning to Let Go Yoga & Wellness Retreat in Costa Rica

Dates: May 21-28, 2016

Location: Pura Vida Spa in Costa Rica (

The whole process of yoga is a learning to let go. Letting go of what? Of all that we have learned that has covered over our inner light and blocked our awareness of love’s ever-presence. During this magical week together we will be working on releasing those stagnant places within ourselves to enjoy a more dynamic free flow of energy. We will do that by various health & wellness modalities, including twice daily yoga sessions, massage and bodywork, spa treatments, spiritual wisdom teachings, breathwork, sacred song, the yoga swing, conscious films, delicious food, and enlivening excursions. And there will be plenty of free time, too, to just be & enjoy the beauty & wonder of it all in a land called Pura Vida.

Allowah has been on the yoga and spiritual path for nearly 30 years and has much to share from his engagement with various spiritual traditions, including Kabbalah, Yoga, Plant Spirit Medicine, and A Course in Miracles. For more about him, please visit his website:

Allowah will be joined by the very gifted Ali Gardella as co-teacher and faciltator, who will also be offering massage and Reiki. Dr. Gerry Segal will also be offering massage and bodywork.

Cost of Retreat: $1700 and up

Contact # (239) 592-0898


❤ Pura Vida❤


Press Release for “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics & the Quest for Enlightenment”


Company: Yoga University

Address:  4301 Gulfshore Blvd N   Naples, FL  34103

Contact Phone: (239) 592-0898

Contact Email:



Pre-orders now available for book on yoga, psychedelics and enlightenment

Yoga teacher seeks support to share vision eight years in the making

Teacher and author Allowah Lani has announced pre-orders are now available for his book, “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment.” The book, which Lani has been working on for more than eight years is the product of research and in-depth interviews, and examines the interplay between psychedelic substances and yoga.

“I’ve been writing my whole life, and I was looking for a subject that I would feel so passionate about that I could not NOT write a book about it,” Lani said. “This subject is just that for me—it was just too juicy to not dive into wholeheartedly.”

Lani said that as he was growing up, even before he discovered yoga, he was interested in rock n’ roll, especially the music of the 1960s that was heavily influenced by psychedelic substances such as LSD. As he looked into the time period more, he found that there was a shift later in the decade toward mysticism, meditation and yoga, as exemplified both by Ram Das’ book “Be Here Now” and The Beatles’ turn away from LSD and toward Transcendental Meditation, which they learned in India from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

“The book opens the door on a debate and discussion that will be with us for a long time yet,” Lani said. “And I do feel that it will bring readers that much closer to an answer to the universal question that lies at the heart of our collective spiritual quest: Who Am I?”

The book has drawn praise from early readers, including Anne Dillon, an author and editor at Rochester, Vermont-based published Inner Traditions • Bear & Company.

“The book deals with an important topic on the history of yoga and is a very engrossing read and a very unique book,” Dillon wrote. “In exploring its topic areas with the author, we feel as if we are falling down the rabbit hole hand-in-hand with him. He treats his exploration with the intellectual honesty, respect, and open-mindedness it deserves and the reader is drawn into the narrative by the lucidity of his prose and by his ever-expanding exploration of this fascinating area of study.”

Lani graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy and religious studies. He started a Ph.D. in comparative mysticism at New York University, but realized that academia was not the path he wanted to follow.

He has spent hundreds of hours learning and practicing various types of yoga, including Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Dharma Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Partner Yoga and AcroYoga.

More information about Lani and “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment.” Is available at: and

Top Choice cover

Pre-Order “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment”


About this project

Dear Readers!

I am very pleased to offer “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment” to the world…

This project has been 8 years in the making and has taken countless hours of research, writing, marketing, editing, and now fundraising. It’s finally time to get it out and that feels good.

I’ve been writing my whole life and always knew that I would be an author, I was just looking for a subject that I would feel so passionate about that I could not NOT write a book about it. Well, the subject that this book deals with is just that for me, it was just too juicy to not dive into wholeheartedly.

And if you know me, you know that when I get into something, I really immerse myself in it; or, switching metaphors, it becomes all-consuming. Which is also one reason I am seeking your help, because all the time committed to this project has not afforded me as much time to devote to more profitable undertakings.

I believe that the subject matter of this book is of the highest import for each and every one of us because it deals head on with 2 of the most important topics of our time: Yoga and Psychedelics. Considering these subjects deeply with me in this book will be in and of itself a spiritual practice, if not enlightening.

(And, even though we all know not to judge a book by its cover, we also know that a “picture says a thousand words” and sometimes it is the cover alone that says it all — or at least all that one may need at that moment. I want to say right now that I LOVE the cover that Alexander Ward created for this project, and trust it will bring more readers to this book. Alexander is a brilliant visionary artist, you can learn more about him here:

I’m not going to go into all of the “story” and my process here, because after all, that’s what the book’s for, but I will say that I am not alone in this process, and I do know that there are many right now who will benefit from this book, because it is very much of this moment. It opens the door wide on a debate and discussion that will be with us for a long time yet. And I do feel that it will bring YOU that much closer to an answer to the universal question that lies at the heart of our collective spiritual quest: Who Am I?

Thank you for your help with getting this out and in your hands!

Namasté & AHO! : ) Allowah

Ps. And here’s a special message from my editor and award-winning author, Brian Francis Heffron:

Today I am delighted to tell you about a bold and informative new book created & designed for people just like you: people who are seeking spiritual answers to all the most important questions of our lives. Eight years in the making, Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment represents countless hours of research, numerous in-depth interviews, and months of organizing and editing all that material into a final polished, comprehensive, and accessible book.

Spirituality is a clearly a subject Allowah is very passionate about. He totally immersed himself in the mysteries of consciousness and enlightenment; topics that are for him, deeply engaging. Allowah’s book explores the practices of Yoga and Psychedelics, both individually, separately, and in combination. It’s time for his writing to meet his readers, and so he is seeking your help. Simply reading it will gently guide you on your own personal journey towards enlightenment. .

Allowah is not the only person in the world seeking spiritual answers to ultimate questions; there are many, many people who are also asking big questions, and who would benefit from an encounter with this book. “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment” opens the door to mysteries we have all pondered. The goal of the book is to bring YOU, the reader, answers to these universal, timeless questions.

This kick-starter effort is a major milestone in bringing this book into the world. By reaching out into the world’s spiritual community for assistance, Allowah is casting his bread upon the water. How can you get involved? How can you help? How can you get your questions answered? Today you can pre-order a copy of Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment, right here, right now, right on this page!

Thank you in advance for your help in birthing this informative and eye-opening book. Please join us by following the instructions below to pre-order your copy of “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment” today. Read it and be part of the spiritual solution. Thank you again for your time and consideration. ~ BFH


Some Advance Praise for “Who Am I?”

“This book MUST be read by people. Period.”

~ John Allen Gibel, Yoga Teacher & Scholar


“The author’s new book dealing with an important topic on the history of yoga is a very engrossing read and a very unique book. In exploring its topic areas with the author, we feel as if we are falling down the rabbit hole hand-in-hand with him. He treats his exploration with the intellectual honesty, respect, and open-mindedness it deserves and the reader is drawn into the narrative by the lucidity of his prose and by his ever-expanding exploration of this fascinating area of study. Drawing upon a wide array of “seekers” who have come before him, the author presents a straightforward and engaging narrative that investigates his topic for anyone and everyone on the road to enlightenment. The fact that there are no other books on the market that engages this specific subject makes this book’s appeal that much greater.”

~ Anne Dillon, Project Editor, Inner Traditions, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont “


“Just read the manuscript. Really liked it.”

~ Ganga White, Director of White Lotus and author of Yoga Beyond Belief


“Am reading your book. I think it’s important and well-written.”

~ Alisande Sweeney, Permaculturist


“Wow brother… just after a couple pages I’m hooked… I really really like it and your writing style. Please understand that I’m not just trying to make you feel good… it’s really really excellent.”

~ Joe Marshalla, Author of Repeatlessness


“Good read. Well written and held my attention, up after midnight a few nights not wanting to put it down.”

~ Carey Turnbull, veteran TM teacher & yoga scholar


“Wow!!!!!!! Just need to tell u I can’t put it down…Reading excerpts every night even when I’m thoroughly exhausted…It’s very engaging and written from such a deeply intimate place…Truly exceptional and unique in its honesty and your sharing these parts of your history and experience are a gift to anyone who will be fortunate enough to read it.”

~ Marie Colandrea, Yoga Student & Teacher

Some Thoughts on Leela, the Play of God

Someone Caught God Playing With Herself


Thoughts on Leela ~ “The Play of God”


Dedicated with Love to our Prince George Yoga Tribe, Thank You Beautiful Souls!❤


tad ekam sat vipram bahudha vadanti
“Truth is one, yet even the sages call it by many names.”
~ Rig Veda
Who really knows, and who can swear,
How creation came, when or where!
Even gods came after creation’s day,
Who really knows, who can truly say
When and how did creation start?
Did He do it? Or did He not?
Only He, up there, knows, maybe;
Or perhaps, not even He…
~ Rig Veda 10.129

These amazing passages from one of the oldest and most sacred of the world’s scriptures express something that attracted me from the very beginning of my love affair with yoga about India and the Hindu yoga tradition, namely, it’s open-endedness and absence of dogma.  This has translated into Hinduism’s great tolerance for even seemingly contradictory ideas.

This tolerance and flexibility, if you will, can be seen in the fact that there is no one founder of Hinduism (such as a Moses, Buddha, Jesus or Muhammed), and no one scripture that is considered to be the sole authoritative one (even the Holy Vedas are not).  Rather, there are many Hinduisms, many yoga schools, and many saints, sages, swamis, and gurus with their respective schools and lineages.   The idea, as expressed in the Vedic hymn (above), is that there are many ways to get there, numerous trails up the mountain, something for everyone in the smorgasborg of spirituality laid before us to partake.   But at the end of the day, there is only one place to go…

Truth is One, paths are many,”

said the late Swami Satchidananda, echoing the ancient Vedic dictum.

      And thus, when the student is ready for a particular teaching, the teaching will appear in some form or another, and the form itself ultimately does not matter.  And when that lesson is learned –or rather, embodied — then the next, deeper teaching will present itself to the seeker, and then the next, and the next…  At least in theory, this will go on and on until there is Nothing more to learn and Nowhere (Now Here) to go, in other words, until the point of “enlightenment” — a point to be considered in due time!

Since we’re on the subject of Creation stories… In the Hasidic tradition, there is a beautiful quote that runs,

             “God created the world because God loves stories.” 

     Whether this is at all true is also something that will be touched on here, yet I at least love stories, you?

Well, here’s a wee little one…

I believe Freud is to be credited with the observation that when we’re young, our parents are like gods to us, and up until a certain age, we treat them as such, becoming chips off the old blocks, so to speak.   When I was eleven years old, my parents went through what I experienced to be a painful separation.  Painful because the fairytale was over for me, the Queen banished forever from the King’s Castle, and my hot air ballooning sense that we would be one happy family forever deflated quite abruptly and decidedly.

So one day, a few years later after the Queen’s exile…

I was over at my dad’s house when my mom happened to call and start to berate me for something, related to the fact that I was with my dad and she didn’t like that (this happened often enough at that time).  My dad overheard some of what was happening with me and my mom there on the phone and he said something that I still have not forgotten to this day, partly because it was a little out of character for him, I thought:

                                                           “Tell her you didn’t ask to be born.”  

He said it facetiously, like to get her off my back, yet this was an idea that I had already begun to really ponder and vibe with, namely, the feeling that I could let go of all feelings of guilt and judgment because hey, I didn’t ask for this life, it was just thrust upon me (Gee, thanks, mom! )

If so, why was everyone on my case about everything?  Why this big heap of guilt and judgment all the time?  Sheeshkabob!

Of course, I could have said the same thing to my Dad when he was giving me a hard time about something.  This is all your fault, bro, lay off!

[btw, Bill Cosby, one of my favorite comedians but who has been drawn and quartered of late, has drawn much comic material from his own childhood and has a new book out called “I Didn’t Ask to Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was)“]

I do believe this idea of not asking to be born, if taken to its extreme, contains a very strong kernel of truth. On the one hand, from the standpoint of reincarnation (which I do believe is true in a relative sense), we did in fact ask to be born. We even planned it all out and wrote the whole bloody script, even down to who was going to be in our family, core group of friends, etc.  So we’re not off the hook that easy! And to bring the above story to a close, I never got off the hook with either of my parents that easy, either!

On a still deeper root level, though, the question arises:

Who, or what, is this “I” personality that seems to keep reincarnating lifetime after lifetime after lifetime, how did that happen?

Was that something that “I” asked for?  And again: Who, or what, is this “I”?

    Who the heck Am I anyway?

    Recently I’ve gotten very much into A Course in Miracles, recognizing it to be the next big thing in the unfolding of my own spiritual journey.  I’m noticing that a lot of other people are waking up to the profundity of this work, too. Another little story…

So I’d been living on Maui and happen to be of the Mosaic persuasion (i.e., I’m Jewish by birth — did i sign up for that, too?) and even though I didn’t make it, I heard that there was this great rabbi here who was flown in to lead Yom Kippur (aka, the “Day of Atonement” – the “holiest” day of the year on the Jewish calendar) services.  This rabbi was not traditional in the sense that he didn’t stick solely to the Torah, Talmud, and other Jewish sources.  He was just as much at home quoting Rumi, the Tao Te Ching, and guess who… our old messianic and similarly unorthodox friend, Jesus, who is the stated voice that dictated A Course in Miracles (aka “The Course”) to Helen Shuchman nearly 50 years ago now.

So I was told, the rabbi began his sermon with the opening words of the Course:

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

     Wow, a rabbi on Yom Kippur quoting the words of Jesus as channeled by an atheistic Jewish psychology professor in the heart of the Big Apple some 5 decades ago (!)  Surely a sign o’ the times, which perhaps could be described as “post-traditional,” a time when the best of the world’s spiritual traditions are being brought together all on one buffet table, much as your Whole Foods superfoods section contains the most superb foods from various tradtional cultures around the globe.

Yet back to the main point, which is how A Course in Miracles views the Creator’s creation of the world.

Essentially, it never happened.

Really?  Yes, really.

    As the opening salvo of the rabbi’s sermon above indicates, if only God is real, and the world of impermanence that we feel to be so real is in reality not real, then how could God have created this world?  Why would, and how could, what is Real create what is false?

As the poet-sage of the Rig Veda humbly admits, he didn’t really have a clue either, but he was pretty damn sure it was a toss up between 2 possibilities: Either God did it, or God didn’t!  Pretty brilliant, no?  Hey, anyone’s got a 50-50 chance of getting that one! They didn’t call ’em sages for nothin’!

So later, it seems, some of these wiseacre sages got cleverer about how to answer this whole question.

God didn’t create the world, actually, but somehow it still came from God.


um, How?

“The play’s the thing…”

(remember Hamlet?)

Yes, the idea somehow came through that God was lonely or some craziness like that and wanted to feel what it felt like to have a playmate, namely the dualistic Universe of namarupa, name and form, yin and yang, Shiva and Shakti…

This is the idea of “Lila,” that the whole cosmic manifestation that we find ourselves in is the “Play of God,” sometimes also referred to as the “Divine Drama,” in which we are all merely players/actors (again, Shakespeare).  Now, the squeaky keen reader will still be wondering WHY on earth God would/could do this if God is perfect Oneness for which nothing could possibly be added or taken away…?  Sounds preposterous, no?  Why would God need a “playmate” (the Universe) in other words when She could just Self-Pleasure Herself for all Eternity (figuratively speaking, of course ; )?

Here’s one recent, decent answer to this that I found in Gary Renard’s second book dealing with the Course, Your Immortal Reality, which is a dialogue between Renard and two ascended masters, Arten and Pursah:

Gary: “…there are people who think that God couldn’t experience Himself in Oneness, and the only way He could experience Himself was to make this world and live in it….

Pursah: “…The idea of thinking that God would have to make this world in order to experience duality so he could enjoy Himself is the equivalent of the idea that in order to experience and enjoy sex, you would have to also experience getting shot in the gut.  No. Pain is the result of the guilt that came from thinking you separated yourself from God, and you don’t have to experience pain in order to experience the pleasure of reality.  But you do have to forgive pain and suffering and give it up in order to return to reality.”

It’s at this point that the idea of paradox perhaps needs to be brought in, paradox being a Greek word that literally means “beyond belief.”  A paradox is the concept that two seemingly contradictory ideas can somehow be reconciled, like having your cake and eating it, too, or the chicken and egg manifesting at the same time, something like that.

For if the conception of God is one of Absoluteness – that God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent — or even that God is absolutely transcendent of everything, then we still want to say that some way somehow, God did create the world, or that it came to be through God’s agency somehow, otherwise God wouldn’t truly be God, would God?!?  The idea we find in A Course in Miracles is that a “tiny, mad idea” was somehow in the Cosmic Mind that “gee, what would it be like to be separate from God…?”

Now, most people I’ve spoken with do not find this completely satisfying, because it still seems to suggest that God had something to do with it, otherwise where could that tiny, mad idea come from?

Well, if God is truly infinite, then there might be a sense in which God contains within Godself infinite possibility. This could also mean that God contains within Godself even the thought “not-God.” Yet even that thought is still part of God and could never actually be separate from God – it’s a possibility and could even appear to become an actuality, but that would only be from within the idea itself that it would all seem real. In and of itself, however, it would really only be a possibility in the Mind of God, nothing more, but also nothing less.

To return now to the idea of “Divine Play” (lila/leela) that we find in the Hindu tradition, and one that has definitely taken hold in the minds of many…Perhaps we can now reconcile the seemingly opposing view that we find in the Course with this idea. On this view, God also did not willfully create the world, yet it still rose from God as God’s “Lila” or divine play from out of the eternal bliss of God’s Self.  As one commentator has put it:

   “Brahman is full of all perfections. And to say that Brahman has some purpose in creating the world will mean that it wants to attain through the process of creation something which it has not. And that is impossible. Hence, there can be no purpose of Brahman in creating the world. The world is a mere spontaneous creation of Brahman. It is a Lila, or sport, of Brahman. It is created out of Bliss, by Bliss and for Bliss. Lila indicates a spontaneous sportive activity of Brahman as distinguished from a self-conscious volitional effort. The concept of Lila signifies freedom as distinguished from necessity.”

                     —Ram Shanker Misra, The Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo

For those who need an answer to this question, there you have it, and I do feel that this is the closest we’re going to get to it using just our intellects.   While for those deep thinkers (or overthinkers : ) out there I realize that even this will not be sufficient, I do feel this is enough. What I especially appreciate about both the Advaita Vedanta and what is presented in A Course in Miracles is their downplaying the theological and philosophical speculation on these Big Questions in favor of the actual empirical experience of these truths through the continual practice of removing the cloudiness in our minds that have obscured the light of the sun.   As the Course famously says:

       “The ego will demand many answers this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you.”

The Course (or Jesus, the narrator of the Course) goes even further to tell us that actually, the only reason the ego has these questions to begin with is to say something like: “See, I exist! I’m real! Now tell me (or don’t tell me!) how I’m not real!” So at various places in the Course, Jesus makes radical statements like the following:

“Your questions have no answer, being made to still God’s Voice,

which asks of everyone one question only:

“Are you ready yet to help Me save the world?””

         Another way of putting all of this is that the only way for the ego to have a truly satisfying answer to these ultimate questions is for the ego to be completely dissolved – at which point there will be no more ego to appreciate the answer! Until that point, there will only be, there can only be, doubt and questions.   This is where faith must come in, and a firm commitment to keep that faith and keep practicing, even with doubts. The good news is that even just on the illusionary level at which we currently are, the practices that will “undo” the ego will also generally create a happier, healthier, more peaceful life. So we do get our cake and eat it, too!

In other words, while it is indeed helpful to be aware of the questions and these metaphysical issues, they mean nothing if there is no practical application of them.

And so I will leave you with one of my favorite philosophy jokes:


What is Mind?

Oh, no matter.


What is Matter?

Never mind!


Introducing the Ohmazing Yoga Swing


      The Yoga Swing is a great new way to stretch, strengthen, and invert your body in a safe and fun way. It can take your yoga practice to a whole other level. It’s also easy to travel with and makes a great gift!   What we are offering is essentially 20-40% off the regular price of the basic yoga swing (parachute model), including a personalized skype class ($20 value) that will teach you how to install and use your swing in a safe way.

We also work with , the maker of some of the best yoga swings on the market today.  Their swings are of the best quality and most durable, though they are also more expensive, so this option is for those who have the $ to spend for a higher-end product.  Also highly recommended!


Talia in the original parachute model.




Full Cost of Swing & Class Together:

 $160 (includes shipping)


Most Major Colors Available.

SPECIAL! Purchase 5 Swings, Get One Free

 Contact Us for Bulk Orders:

To Prepare for your Swing, PLEASE Watch the Following Videos…

Here’s a video we created with the amazing yogini Sasha Dae in Nosara, Costa Rica:

Here’s one of Allowah teaching some Yoga Swing basics on Maui:


And this one is by Yogi Zen, the creator of the yoga swing:

Nice little video on how to install your swing once you get it:

You can email us @ for more info.

Thank You & Hope to Swing With You Soon!

Om Shanti ~ Allowah @ Yoga University

3~’ 3~’ 3~’


Video Testimonials

“STOKED TO MY CORE !!! I just received my yoga swing, up side down hammock creative handle climb and stretch play tool in the rafters under roof in the gentle Haiku wind…. ah, I am stretching to new horizons in there.

       Mahalo for this item that was/is my inner child dream . Mahalo Talia and Allowah to make my dream come true… Anyone would love the ease of use and ease of installation ! LOVE IT !!! BODY MEDICINE.”

                                                            ~ Stephanie, Maui










Radical Forgiveness Breathwork

Radical Forgiveness Breathwork

What It Is…

The intention behind Radical Forgiveness Breathwork is simply to provide a vehicle for deep healing via the medium of the breath and communal support. In this safe and loving setting, participants are allowed to let go of all that is no longer serving them, and to be “reborn” into a truer, more authentic version of themselves.

The main practice of RFB is deep, connected breathing through the mouth for a period of an hour or more. This can be intense and does give new meaning to the word “work” in “breathwork.” Yet it pays off in deep releases that occur if sustained for a period of time. These releasings can include crying, laughing, ecstatic states, kundalini, release of stored memories, etc. None of these are to be denied, and all of them are welcome in the group. They are deep traumas and/or blockages that are being released, and as such are to be embraced.

In reality, the deeper practice of this form of breathwork is the mind’s firm decision for healing. As A Course in Miracles teaches, getting to the “radical root” of the “problem” means recognizing that it is not the body that needs healing, but the mind. Yet our belief in the body is yet so strong that these practices can indeed feel very helpful. Still, let us not lose sight of the fact that the only thing that really needs healing is our investment in the belief that we are separate from God. This is what is meant by “radical forgiveness.” In this forgiveness, we re-mind ourselves that there is no need for forgiveness, because the separation from God never happened.



The session is approximately 2 1/2 hours.

Participants gather in a circle.

The first 15 minutes are explanatory: What it is. Q & A.

The next 15 minutes is intention setting, aloud in the circle.

The next 20-30 minutes is warm-up with ecstatic dance.

Then the breathing begins, first standing, then kneeling, then sitting, and finally lying on one’s back. This takes approximately 1 hour, possibly a little more or a little less.

For the next 15 minutes, the group rests in Shavasana, in silence or with relaxing music. At least a few minutes of silence is recommended.

The final 15 minutes is a closing circle where participants share about their experience.

What It Does & What Might Happen…

     Radical Forgiveness Breathwork is akin to shamanic practices and has the potential of bringing about an altered state. This state might include blissed out breathlessness (Samadhi), a Kundalini awakening, and even a full awakening to one’s essential nature, among other things.

   On occasion, intense fear might come up, and this is nothing to be afraid of.   The Facilitator/Space Holder will insure that you are safe and feel protected at all times. He/She might also assist you in the process through some comforting thought, word, or action. The music that is played throughout will also be uplifting, inspirational, and supportive of your journey.

     Some people experience something called “tetany” when they do this form of breathing. Symptoms of this include a curling in of the hands, sometimes feet, and sometimes a change in facial expression. Again, this is nothing to be afraid of, but comes with the territory. In fact, it’s a sure sign that you have been successful in your breathing!

     In physiological terms, you are introducing a very increased amount to the upper respiratory system. This often induces feelings of heat, increased heart rate, shaking and trembling. Again, all of these are signs that you are well on your way!


Forgiveness is my only function here.

I remember my function with each breath.

Inspiration: I breathe in the guidance of Spirit.

Expiration: I let go of all false images that hide the Light of Spirit.

I Breathe in Love

I Breathe out Fear

I Breathe in Forgiveness

I Let Go of All Judgment

Inhale Love

Exhale Fear

Inhale Love

Exhale Peace to All

Inhale Joy

Exhale All that Does Not Serve


Faith Quest: The Mystery That Is Nadi Astrology




“Passage to India!”

                              ~Walt Whitman


“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

                                ~ Shakespeare

For many, like myself, getting into yoga was like falling in love. Suddenly, it’s like you’ve come home and it’s so beautiful, you just can’t get enough and your heart is full to overflowing. Yet the Honeymoon period doesn’t last forever. Doubt begins to creep back in and the real work starts. If we were truly in touch with and honest about our feelings, we could look squarely at it and see that something just isn’t working any more. At this point could either jump ship, or try our best to plug that hole in the relationship.   For me, there was no question of jumping ship, because yoga had awakened something in me so deep in those first few years that there was never any way I could go back to my former life. The Beloved had rocked me awake from my slumber and had me knocking at Her door for further sailing.

In the realm of relationships, we have this curious expression in English of being “faithful” to our partner, and one of the greatest taboos in our society is to be “unfaithful” in the realm of love. In reality, how many marriages and relationships that remain intact do so while in a state of shipwreck. Again, is it more noble and courageous to stay with the sinking ship, or to swim for shore? Wisdom suggests that there are no wrong moves in this game of life, yet that wisdom also needs faith to support it and make it more than mere regurgitation of sage advice. In my case, I was left wondering when and where that faith would come from as I had always seemed to get so close, so close…only to have the Great Whale slip through my fingers, leaving me to tell the story of the big one that got away. In other words, I was on a quest for true, unshakeable faith in something that I could hold onto both as a guide and source of continual inspiration. My teachers alone, when I was honest with myself, still left me doubting.  This book, and the story you are about to read in particular, is a document of my search for that archimedean anchor point by which I could in a sense prove my faithfulness to my lover and myself.


When I was in Bangalore during my first India trip, my mentor, L, strongly suggested I go get a palm leaf reading. Now, like you most likely, I had no clue what a palm leaf reading was… “Is it like reading your palm?” I asked naively.   L laughed and explained that thousands of years ago, in deep meditation, certain yogi sages were able to access the life information of souls who were to incarnate in the future. In other words, they were able to read what has now popularly known in New Age circles and beyond as the “Akashic Records,” which is believed to be an etheric storehouse where all material impressions (karma) are archived. These great seers then recorded this information on palm leaves and the leaves were passed down from generation to generation via lineage with the knowledge of how to read and interpret them.

So essentially, a palm leaf reading (known in India as “Nadi,” or “lifestream” readings) is, at least in theory, a soul analysis done by a highly trained person who knows how to find, read, and interpret a person’s individual leaf. The idea, as mind blowing as this sounds, is that if you go to a palm leaf reader, you’re probably meant to, and your leaf has been there waiting for you for possibly thousands of years, collecting dust until that moment when you arrive to get your reading.

I can see some of you turning this off already, yet hang in there. While it is true there are all manner of frauds in India making one outrageous claim or another, if there is just one that is true, then it is worth examining these matters.   Being a seeker myself and new to all of this, I was all for going to the Nadi Reader and seeing if my leaf was really there. I wasn’t that naïve, however; I was trained in philosophy and did know how to think criticially and ask questions. As with Paul Brunton, I wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything more than exact details there on the leaf – names, numbers, past and future events foretold, etc.   Having been in India for a couple of weeks already, though, I was realizing that this kind of certainty was going to be hard to come by. Still, I was hopeful and game, so off we went…

[What follows is a reliable reconstruction of the events based upon my journal, recollection, and notes I took during my Nadi reading.]

Praying to Ganesha all along, yet still there are obstacles…First thing that happens when we arrive at the Nadi reader’s place is that it looks like he won’t have time for me today, and after all, I haven’t made an appointment. But we wait it out (my friend, at least, knows not to take “no” for an answer in India) and after an interminable wait with lots of mantras and attempts at meditation, we’re finally led into his inner chamber, which is basically just a little office with a small room in the back of his desk housing the leaves.

This Nadi reader is very sweet, speaks good English and seems somewhat cosmopolitan.   He’s probably seen not a few westerners like me, after all.   He first asks me some basic questions about my life, which I have no idea why he needs really, but I obligingly answer everything he asks. Then he takes my thumbprint and goes into his little back room to look for my leaf. It isn’t too long before he comes back and asks me a few more questions to narrow down his search. After another trip back into his inner chamber, he comes back with my leaf (or, at least, my reading). He asks me some more questions, and then proceeds to give me the contents of the leaf. He suggests that I take a pencil and paper and make notes as he would not be able to record what he says, which I do. What follows is a transcript of the shorthand notes I took.

My Nakshatra [astrological sign in the Vedic Astrology system] is Chitra. This is the most mystical of signs. Overcoming sexual desire is a big thing, or can be. I was the third child. I was formed first and came last. [I didn’t understand this at first, but later guessed this meant that my fraternal twin is really the youngest, the fourth – something that the psychic in Jerusalem had already told me.]

   I have “researching potential.” I know 3 languages, Spanish being one of them [this is true to an extent – I am very familiar by this time with Hebrew and Sanskrit, too]. I will be a writer, philosopher, and teacher. I will write a philosophy book that synthesizes psychology, Vedanta, and religion. [While I have yet to do this, I have begun work on another book dealing with these subjects.]

I will do “unification work.” I will also teach philosophy. I will be a traveler to learn. I want to meet my guru, but my guru is not alive. I will meet many masters, but find my own way. I will find the reality of knowledge and life. [This definitely all spoke to me.]

     I am aware that I have some blockages inside. These blockages will go when I learn these “knowledges” and languages.

     In my last life, I was born in India, and was a teacher of non-dualistic knowledge and Vikarana [Grammar – didn’t know what it meant at the time.]

   In this life, through the practices of Kundalini Yoga, I will learn all Vedanta and grammar. Patanjali’s Yoga system will open my third eye, which will “give brightness in inner life.”   He also said: “Yoga will give strength for inner life.”

     I was born in Israel in Jesus’ time, and had close contact with Jesus. I was a witness to Jesus’ punishment at the time. [Ain’t I special.]

       I went to Nepal at the bottom of the Himalayas. I criticized my masters and gave away secrets to “non-permitted people.” As a result, in this lifetime I have these certain blockages, and due to awareness of these, I am very careful about mistakes in this life. [In the margin of my notes, I wrote: “Is that so?” which is a question the Nadi reader asked me in regard to making mistakes. I answered “yes” because I was becoming increasingly conscious and careful in regard to my every thought, word, and deed, making sure that I was truly living in accordance with the wisdom I was learning, though I certainly was making mistakes (or what felt like them).]

     I will also have a lot of experiences in the region of the Himalayas – I will go in this lifetime. [Have yet to go].

   I was born in Spain, but the land in which I was born no longer exists now. [I take it this meant in one of my past incarnations, which might explain my interest in Spanish and in studying abroad in Spain at one moment in college, but then again, it’s too general and I wasn’t that interested in any case.]

   I have a desire to live in the countryside and do research. I will live in the Southeast of North America [I was then living in the Northeast, and am now in Florida, the Southeast].

     The Nadi reader then asked if I have taught? I said that I have taught in High School. He said that I will teach languages in college. He later said I would do many kinds of work. [I have not taught officially at a college as of yet, though I do run a yoga school called “Yoga University.”]

   Health: Stomach is sensitive. Must eat slowly. Having a regular time of eating is best. May have an operation on stomach or throat [None such operations to date, though eating slowly has been a challenge]. Pranayama will give good health for me. Also, water therapy: Drink water in the early morning and 30 minutes prior to lunch and dinner.

     Relationships: I am separated from my partner. I would marry second important girl in that year. I would find her in 19-20 months. My coming partner will be a good healer and counselor. We would have 1 child “if both minds permit.” We would live together for many years, then marry. [Well, I was “separated” from my partner only in the sense that I was in India and she was in Philadelphia at the time, though it wasn’t long before we were to go our separate ways, and that might have been about 19-20 months later. If that’s what he was referring to, then he was right on, but I did not find someone new that year or in 19-20 months (you can see there were some contradictions there). I wasn’t to get into a relationship for another 8 years, in fact.]

     I was told to recite a certain mantra for jnana (wisdom, spiritual knowledge, gnosis).   The Nadi reader wrote it on the page in both Sanskrit and English. I was to repeat it 30 minutes each day – 10 minutes in the morning, 10 in the evening, and 10 just prior to sleep. [I never kept up with this practice, partly due to doubts about all of this, and — so many practices, so little time!…]

The Nadi reader then asked if I had any questions? Yes, did I ever. First I asked him about meditation…He said I should do Patanjali’s 8-limbed path like he said, and that path includes meditation.

   What about music? Do it as a hobby, I was told.

   Then I hesitantly expressed my doubts to the Nadi reader, telling him that while there were a lot of accurate things in the reading, some things were incorrect, such as his saying that the woman I am separated from is older than me (not to mention the fact that we weren’t truly separated, though I did not say this).   He had a ready response for that: You can read it that she is older than me in knowledge, or spiritually older, not in years. This didn’t seem right, however, as originally he had said that she is one year older than me.

So overall I was not over-impressed, somewhat under-whelmed, yet nonetheless intrigued. Clearly there were some things that seemed pretty right on, yet this could be due to the initial questions he asked (which included my birth date, so he could have based a lot of it on astrology), educated guesswork, and his own intuitive powers. I was even more inclined to think this guy didn’t have the goods when I found out my roommate from Australia got a very similar reading, which included the same curse and the same mantra to alleviate it. Good thing I only paid 850 rupees, or $17, I thought, though this was a good living for him and I’m sure if he was deceiving people, the placebo effect was in effect for many.

Later, though, I was to hear about another Nadi astrologer not too far away in the Chennai area. This guy apparently really was the real deal with a tradition going back to an ancient sage named Agasthya and whose palm leaves contain specific names and other details about one’s incarnation. At the airport on my way back to the States, I ran into a fellow ashramite who had gone to see this particular Nadi reader.   He was clearly sold and excitedly told me that his leaf contained the following information:

His Name

His Father’s Name

His Mother’s Name

His First Wife’s Name

His Second Wife’s Name

And more.

       Mind you, this was all written in Tamil so he couldn’t actually read the names himself, yet still…I was so blown away by this that I wanted to go see this guy immediately. My friend said he was going to both film him doing his readings and also try to bring him to the States. I doubt this ever happened, only because I haven’t heard about it, and also because if more people knew about it and this was all more accessible, there would be droves getting readings and I doubt there are that many leaves. I am very glad to be wrong about this.

This is now all pretty ancient history, from way back in about 2001. Since then I have heard of a project to put all of the Nadi leaves onto a computer database that people can access (if they are meant to have a reading).   I suspect the readings won’t be as cheap as they are in India.

Also, since my last India trip in 2001, I have heard several more reliable first-hand reports about Nadi readers who certainly seem genuine, including a pretty convincing one on Youtube of a man who apparently went to see the same Nadi reader in Chennai [endnote]. This and the original blog posting containing this story from back in 2008 received several very interesting comments, both for and against. Some said that these astrologers are basically con men who are very skilled at the game of 20 Questions; essentially, you give them all of the information prior to their “finding” your leaf and then they just basically regurgitate that same information in an official and authoritative sounding way. While I would agree that this is no doubt true for some if not many of the Nadi readers, again, we must consider those few and far between cases that are not so easy to dismiss.

Some of the commentators on my original blog piece also begged to differ with those crying “fraud.” On October 24, 2008, someone by the name of Robert Miller wrote in response to one of the comments on the thread that was critical of Nadi Astrology:

“Sorry dude, the permutations and combinations possible even with the info given by you is simply too much to just zero into the right name and date of birth. Try it yourself. As far as I am concerned, I went to a Nadi Astrologer in Kanchipuram. He gave me a different date of birth and insisted that he was correct and that my official date of birth is wrong. I went back home a month later and checked with my mother. My mother told me that the hospital officials gave a wrong date of birth. WOW. I was stunned as I was celebrating my birthday a day ahead for the first 25 years of my life…He [also] predicted that I will completely change direction of education and pursue higher studies abroad. All this apart from [author’s note: I think he meant “including”] many family details and future predictions came true. I was a hardcore skeptic before this incident. Now I am not so sure about things we don’t fully understand.”

Another commentator similarly mentioned how her father went to a Nadi reader when she was 10-11 years old and all of the information told to her father was true, adding that “a copy of the Tamil verses was given to us, which I was able to understand with some difficulty…I don’t think they can cook up or come up with so much info on the fly.”

Another commentator wrote:

       “Do not stamp the leaf as fraud. First one in Tambaram West in Chennai I found read out from the leaf that my younger brother was killed in a bomb attack as he was in public service He did not ask me about my brothers and their jobs. My brother was killed in the bomb attack on RSS office in Chennai on 8/8/93. I consulted them on 19/8/93…Later in 2008 I consulted another Nadi [reader]. There it is written that I have opted for VRS and I was working in a financial institution. I did not give my date of birth in Tamil or Christian calendar yet he gave it to me in Tamil year and month. He also said my age now. How can he calculate my age without knowing my date of birth?”

While fairly convincing to me, especially in light of my other research and firsthand reports, this anecdotal evidence still would not be sufficient for the skeptic, and I, too, would still want to witness all of this for myself.   In other words, I would still need to go see the Nadi Reader in question and see all of these things with my own eyes to really feel this was real, and even then there might still be questions in my mind. That said, recently I heard a report from a very reliable witness of the truth of Nadi Astrology, a report which I will relate to you momentarily. Before I do, I feel it will be interesting to present one other fascinating response to my initial blogpost on this subject, posted by one Debasish Sen in 2010. This commentator claims to have insider information on how Nadi Astrologers fool the public into believing that they are reading from ancient parchment when in reality they are contacting a “hereditary deity” who is reading your mind(!)

Nadi Astrology: How it works…just read on…

   Recently I was under pressure from family members to visit a Nadi Astrologer. The procedure is that one has to give the thumb impression to the astrologer and answer to queries regarding details of siblings, parents, property owned, placement of letters in names, etc. etc. Such details are to be given by the person but the full names are not asked or revealed. The astrologer then says the full names of all persons and many details of the past which generally are 100 percent correct. He also mentions some of the incidents of the past life. Later he predicts the future and proposes to do some poojas [rituals to propitiate a deity] or yagna [fire ceremonies for same purpose] for 1 mandalam (48 days) or 2 in a far away place/temple inaccessible by the person and also gives an option or a short cut for the pooja by giving the money directly to him. The accurate portrayal of the past generally overwhelms most persons and they happily agree to part with the money for the poojas and the costly service charges. One may find more about Nadi Astrology by surfing the net. This is another method to fool the person and encash his ignorance by bringing into the picture the great saint Agasthya.

       Demi-gods or lower gods also finds a place in creation. Some of the services of the lower gods are easily purchased for a so-called “joint-venture.” The percentage of profit is agreed from the temple they purchase it and has to be given to the temple failing which the results could be disastrous.  It is not possible to cheat the demi-gods as the demigods are after all divine incarnations.

   When the victim approaches the astrologer for help, the astrologer asks various queries – as mentioned above. The answers of these queries are actually questions posed to the demigod to get the correct identity of the person. Once it is got, all other past details are easily available by the demigod. These details are only heard by the astrologer. This may sound unscientific but really is not.

   Demigods are unable to accurately predict the future and hence the predictions are mostly not correct. Demigods are also used by astrologers, sooth-sayers, magicians, fraud god-men who materialize processed goods from scratch, which really is only shifting i.e, dematerializing, shifting and rematerializing.

     How I came to know about it?

I have a friend who is an ardent Shiva devotee and who made a small portion of his house a Shiva temple. He has been a Shiva Devotee and has been continuing for the past 25 years or so. But their hereditary god is a demigod. It seems the hereditary god also wanted to be revered and so he wanted a separate temple for it. He was also given the privilege of asking questions (or thinking and posing questions) to the demigod and he would get the answer about past incidents. But my friend never used this privilege for monetary gains. For those who come with a problem, he just queries it and suggests solutions for their well-being. He has helped me many times, such as when I misplaced a very important file in my office and also when my colleague created havoc by creating a bad name for me in the office. When I wanted to know about the practice of Nadi Astrology, I asked for his help and he let me know the actual functioning of it by querying it with the demi-god.

     Sage Agasthya no doubt was a great sage. But it is ridiculous to say that he wrote the names and fate of persons 1200 years ago as if everything is destined and future generations do not have free will at all. I just wanted to share the information. It is the wish of the readers to believe or not. If at all you believe, please share the information and prevent the cheats from taking over.”  

Well, if these individuals truly can communicate with hereditary deities to gain information for their clientele, not only is this worthy of our attention, but we might even be able to overlook that they are fooling the public if their information is accurate and helpful. That’s assuming that this alternative hypothesis about what Nadi readers do is really true. Obviously, if the information is written on a palm leaf in Tamil that can be dated back to Sage Agasthya’s time, then this explanation would be incorrect.

You will note that one commentator on my blog was given a copy of the Tamil verses, though she did not say that she was given a copy of the actual leaf, which means that they could have been written on the spot, however unlikely that sounds. In the video mentioned above, the man who received his reading brought with him someone who could read Tamil and who confirmed what was written on the leaf. This is rather strong evidence, unless what was written on the leaf was composed right there on the spot. It might be a question of to what extent the Nadi astrologers will go to in order to fool the public and keep themselves in business. For me, as with the subject matter of this book, this still remains an open question and a mystery that will perhaps never be completely unraveled in any satisfying way for everyone.


I attended Bhakti Fest for the first time in the summer of 2014 and there had the pleasure to hear Dr. Manoj Chalam give a talk on the archetypes of the Hindu deities.   During the course of that presentation, Dr. Chalam seemingly digressed to tell us the story of his going to visit that same Nadi reader that has been rocking people’s world.   Someone had told him about the astrologer and on a recent trip to India he just happened to be in the area, so…

Dr. Chalam’s report was similar to the others: He was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the astrologer was not a fraud and had access to information that he not only did not give him, but which the man could not have gotten without access to either a higher power or psychic abilities. Not only did his leaf apparently have very personal details of his past and present, but the leaf also contained the exact time of his death. When the astrologer asked him if he wished to know the date, he said yes. Perhaps this is how some Indian gurus have known the date of their death. On the other hand, if the other explanation of the hereditary deities is correct, then this also explains why some gurus have incorrectly foretold the time of their death, as was the case with Sathya Sai Baba.


A Balance of Roots & Wings: The Bliss of Flying Yoga

“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children:
One is roots, the other is wings.”

 ~ Hodding Carter

      There’s a new a new yoga craze sweeping the nation: Acro-Yoga (which we call “Flying Yoga” — see below). Actually, this style of yoga has officially been around for nearly a decade or more already (click HERE for more), but it’s only in the last few years or so that it’s really taken off. Before that, it was known in yoga circles, but no one had yet made it into its own unique, identifiable, trademarked brand of yoga. In reality, it’s probably a pretty ancient practice, maybe as old as the circus (not to mention something that mommies and daddies do with their kids all the time!) In the world of yoga, it’s at least as old as the 1930s when the “godfather” of modern yoga, TVK Krishnamacharya, taught it to his students, who did public, circus-like yoga demonstrations to advertise the power of yoga to the world. Here’s a link to a Youtube video showing the master and his students practicing this form of yoga:

      So why did it take so long for this type of yoga to catch on, one might wonder? It’s so fun, everyone seems to love it. Well, I would suggest it’s at least partly because there has been some lightening up and loosening of boundaries in the yoga world, and this is probably a good thing. It also seems that when something gets trademarked, branded, and made into a system, there’s much more of a chance of it really becoming an identifiable entity in its own right, a household term.

       Before I go on, let me just say a little something about the name for this kind of yoga, and why I do not use the term “Acro-Yoga.”

       Personally, I prefer the designation “Flying Yoga” not only because I have never officially been trained in “Acro,” but because it sounds too much like we’re doing circus tricks. This isn’t any put down of the founders of Acro, Jason Nemer and Jenny Klein. No, they are well grounded in the yoga tradition, and they also acknowledge that when we are doing any kind of yoga, it’s really the inner work being done — the qualities of courage, trust, perserverance, patience, listening, etc. — that are really the most important, not necessarily what we can do. On the other hand, when we see a pose artfully done, or a move gracefully executed, we generally give props because we know what it must have taken to get there (however many incarnations — in this lifetime, or ones before!)

      I prefer the term “Flying Yoga” because we do really fly high when we do this kind of yoga, it’s so much fun, and even blissful (more below on this). On the other hand, perhaps the designation “Roots & Wings” would be even better, to highlight the fact that in order for one person to fly (the “Flyer”), the person who is assisting (the “Base”) must be really very well grounded to make it all possible! As it is with every “flight” we take in life — we won’t be airborne for long if we don’t have a stable foundation to support it!

My Flying Yoga Story

    Although I have been practicing yoga for the past 19 years, admittedly it is really only in the last 5 that I have gotten into Flying Yoga. Early on, I found a great partner in crime, my friend Ali Gardella (who also assists with our Yoga Teacher Trainings). People see us now and are fairly amazed at what we can do, but little do they know that Ali had to take many a one for the team to get to where we are now. Yes, she ate sand numerous times on the beach here in Naples as we were learning how to do our flying stunts. Ali, a grandmother of 2 has been a super flying trooper, always ready to try new things and No one would ever suspect that she is a grandmother!

     Ali also knows how fun it is! And yoga of all things should have at least a little fun to balance out the discipline!

     So anyway, you can thank Ali when I take you without a hitch from “Folded Leaf” into the “Bat Pose,” or have you stand and balance on my hands, etc.

    More recently, I have begun “flying” with another truly amazing yogini, Meenakshi Angel Honig, who has been practicing and teaching yoga for the past 4 decades, currently residing at the Spirit of Aloha on Maui. Angel is an internationally acclaimed yoga teacher with so much wisdom to share! It is a great honor for me to work together with her and we are really so blessed to have her joining us on the teaching staff of our yoga program at the Spirit of Aloha.

     I would also like to highlight one intriguing element in our working together: The fact that Angel actually experiences Kundalini Shakti through practicing Flying Yoga, which is why she calls it “The Yoga of Bliss.” She feels it has to do with the energy being released by pressure of the Base’s feet against the sacrum. [This makes perfect sense to me. Yesterday at Earth Day I spoke with a woman who believes her recent spontaneous kundalini awakening was directly related to her hooping practice, specifically by the pressure of the hoop against her sacrum.]

     Angel and I have already choreographed 2 Flying Yoga “peaces” (as Angel calls them), and I have posted the Youtube videos of these below. The first is a piece set to Josh Groban’s version of “You Raise Me Up,” which Angel chose as a perfect soundtrack for Flying Yoga.  I think you’ll agree it’s not bad at all for our first month working together, and somewhat sporadically at that:

The second “peace” Angel and I co-created is a Flying Yoga tribute to Whitney Houston, using her incredibly beautiful song from The Bodyguard, “I Will Always Love You.”

And here are two other “peaces” that Angel and I have created more recently for your viewing pleasure:

     I feel really good about the work that Angel and I have done together, mainly because for me it fulfills something that I have for a long time now wanted to do with my asana practice, which is to turn it into a work of art, expressing, as Rodney Yee has put it, the “Poetry of the Body.” And that is is just its outward expression, of course. Asana’s inward expression is greater awareness and self-knowledge, health, bliss, peace, freedom, and love of life. May it be so for us all!

Love, Allowah

For a nice piece on Jason & Jenny and Acro Yoga, click HERE: