If you’re like me, yoga has helped you find peace and balance in what can, at times, feel like a chaotic world.
In fact, yoga has become such an integral part of modern life that it has encircled the globe, with people in every country practicing this ancient science and art that is estimated to be over 5,000 and possibly even 10,000 years old.
This is why we are thrilled to celebrate the third annual United Nations International Day of Yoga.
We have gone above and beyond with the Yoga Day Summit this year. We sent Philip M. Hellmich, our Director of Peace, together with Sandra de Castro Buffington (Founding Director of the Global Media Center for Social Impact), Richard Bergin (professional videographer) and four Shift community members to the birthplace of yoga: Rishikesh, India.
To watch Philip’s 90-second video invitation to the Summit, click here.
For nearly a month, they traveled the banks of the holy Ganges River in the foothills of the Himalayas visiting ashrams and sacred sites, participating in the International Yoga Festival and interviewing swamis, swaminis, world-renowned yoga teachers and students.
The Yoga Day Summit will feature interviews and presentations from more than 50 luminaries, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Sri Prem Baba, Vandana Shiva, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Kia Miller,Tommy Miller and Anand Mehrotra.
The Yoga Day Summit will also feature UPLIFT’s new film, The New Science Behind Yoga, which highlights cutting-edge research showing the power of yoga therapy and yoga. The film features Bruce Lipton, Sharon Gannon, Seane Corn and Sat Bir Singh Khalsa.
The Yoga Day Summit is unlike any other yoga offering in that it will share over 20 hours of free video content, most of it filmed by our team in the birthplace of yoga, that explores the ancient roots and wisdom of yoga and its practical role in modern transformation, including improving health, overcoming addiction, opening to deeper states of love, taking action guided by natural intelligence to improve the world… and ultimately, awakening to self-realization.
The Yoga Day Summit will also feature hatha yoga classes, meditations and music breaks, all designed to inspire and uplift you.
I am so excited that we can offer you one of the highest quality video productions available on the ancient roots of yoga and how it can help transform your life and the world.
Our Featured Artist is Yopi & Lotta, German musicians whose new album, Namasté Pachamama, is a gorgeously uplifting album of spiritual world/folk music.
We would love to hear your answer to the question, “What’s been the biggest difference in your life since you started doing yoga?” To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.
Our Shift Philanthropy section features the Give Back Yoga Foundation, which supports and funds certified teachers in all traditions to offer the teachings of yoga to underserved segments of society; and the Quiet Time meditation training program, dedicated to healing traumatic stress and raising performance in at-risk populations.
Philip Hellmich, The Shift Network’s Director of Peace and the host of The Yoga Day Summit, filmed a special 90-second video inviting you to the Summit. Click here to watch it!
No discussion of the chakras would be complete without discussing Kundalini, the underlying spiritual force of chakra awakening. Often misunderstood and always mysterious, this serpentlike goddess of the chakras is the form that Shakti sometimes takes as she rises up the spine. As Kundalini-Shakti, she rises in search of her eternal lover and counterpart, Shiva.
Kundalini is a force that lies latent within each person. Latent, there is little drive toward awakening or perhaps the drive is scattered or sporadic. Spirituality may well exist, practices may be beneficial, but the underlying force that activates these practices may be absent. Many people have said to me over the years, “Oh, I’ve tried meditation (or yoga or pranayama or…) and it just didn’t do much for me.” I’ve never met anyone with a Kundalini experience who would say that.
Join The Shift Network, The Gaiafield Project and people around the world for Global Shift Meditations the first of each month — click here to register for free. On June 1, we featured Anandra George, a pioneer in the global yoga community who created the world’s first registered yoga teacher training based entirely on the transformational power of sound. (The free recording is available here.)
Some years ago, I was involved in a women’s circle where an older woman, while dancing vigorously after a deep internal process, had a spontaneous memory of a long-buried trauma. As she fell into the vast emotion of this trapped experience, she became unhinged, unable to escape the emotional vacuum of this memory. With experience dealing with trauma, I supported her to come back into her body and find safety so that she could ground and return to stability.
It was extremely challenging to bring her back and it took me and another facilitator some time. But what was most important was not to let her re-experience the emotions to the extent that she was being re-traumatised, and to support her to move through it safely, and find a place of calm in her body that could anchor her once more.
Without a deep anchor in ourselves and our bodies, we are adrift in the sea of life, vulnerable to the storms and unexpected distress that can be unlocked at any time by a sensory trigger. Nearly all victims of acute trauma experience extreme disconnection from their bodies. This is where yoga comes in as a potent somatic technique for healing.
I started this practice of not using commands in teaching yoga four years ago. I know I didn’t immediately eliminate commands from my teaching: I’ve seen some footage of my prison class in which I am… using commands.
On the other hand, I’ve also become allergic to being commanded. On the rare occasion that I take a yoga class on the outside, I’m usually met with a well-meaning, perfectly nice yoga teacher, ordering me around.
I take it personally. I’m not used to it anymore. I can just imagine what it’s like to be commanded all day long, like prisoners.
How can we possibly connect with people if we’re ordering them around?
The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel or disk, and you can think of the chakras as vortices of energy that exist at the meeting point of mind and body. They function as resistors or capacitors for increasing or diminishing the energies that come into us from the outside, and move out to the world from our insides. In this way they are portals between the inner and outer world.
My particular definition is that they are “centers of organization for the reception, assimilation, and transmission of life force energy.” This life force energy exists on different levels and is represented by the elements of the chakras: earth, water, fire, air, sound, light, and thought.
As our car pulled into the driveway, my dad checked the mailbox. “Did it come? Did it come?” I gasped excitedly. The year was 1986, and I had been waiting in breathless anticipation for the past two days. I knew that the results of my black belt test had been mailed and my heart plummeted into my stomach every time I thought about it. My dad handed me the thick envelope – filled with handwritten evaluations of the five senior black belts who had assessed my test. Each would have written “pass” or “fail” at the bottom of his detailed analysis of every mistake I’d made in my katas and sparring. At fifteen years old, I was one of the youngest girls, and certainly of the non-Asian girls, to ever test for black belt in Los Angeles. As I forced myself to keep breathing, I gingerly opened the envelope and reviewed the results. One by one they said “pass.”
The rhythm of the heart beats steady and sure while pumping blood to our organs. The breath silently slips into our lungs, expanding and releasing. Our bodies move with each inhalation and exhalation, focused and calm, as it orchestrates this union of the mind, body and breath.
Yoga — a spiritual science and art, widely known for its physical postures or Asanas, goes far beyond the bodily movements. Practitioners learn to connect to themselves, to an inner knowing, to an essence within that is a part of every other being, the environment, the earth and the entire universe.
In February, I traveled to Rishikesh, India with my longtime friend, Sandra de Castro Buffington (Founding Director of the Global Media Center for Social Impact) and new friends Richard Bergin (professional videographer) and four Shift community members. Sandra and I were leading a Shift Sacred Pilgrimage into the Soul of India and we also were conducting interviews for the Yoga Day Summit, celebrating the third annual United Nations International Day of Yoga.
We traveled to the birthplace of yoga to explore the ancient roots and wisdom of yoga and to better understand its role in transforming lives and societies around the world.
It’s almost here! The Yoga Day Summit, a free two-day online video event held on June 21 and 22, will be sharing over 20 hours of free video content, most of it filmed by our team in Rishikesh, India, the birthplace of yoga. Click here to sign up so you can listen to visionary speakers such as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Seane Corn, Michael Singer, Deva Premal and Miten, and Bruce Lipton. Hosted by Shift’s Director of Peace, Philip Hellmich, the Yoga Day Summit is a one-of-a-kind experience with a global community of yogis — sages, musicians, scientists and beloved teachers from around the globe — that provides you with yoga practices, guided meditations and healing breathwork for restoring, balancing and invigorating your body, mind and soul. You’ll get to experience more than 50 Yoga Day Summit sessions over two days, including exclusive videos with yogis on the banks of the sacred Ganges River! See our list of dynamic speakers and find out everything you need to know by clicking here.
Join us from September 8 to 10 in Piedmont, South Dakota, to celebrate the fourth and final Black Hills Unity Concert. It’s free to the public, and native youth from the surrounding areas will be invited to attend a special program of traditional teachings just for them. Given today’s political environment and the challenges in the Black Hills, this coming together promises to be like no other.
There is no shortage of statistics and heartbreaking stories within native communities. However, the strength and determination of our youth became apparent for all the world to see during the months-long prayer at Standing Rock. They have decided to fight for the future of our communities and for Grandmother Earth. This year's celebration is a thank you to them, acknowledgement of the commitments made, and a prayer for the future.
For more information, to watch a two-minute video about the concert, click here. To support this free event with your donation, click here.
Within the potent sounds of Sanskrit mantras for peace is connection to a deeply established network of peace — within and without, modern and ancient. Join a global community of peacemakers actively using their minds and hearts to transmit peace into the atmosphere! Together, we learn simple Sanskrit mantras, syllable by syllable in exquisite detail, and invoke peace for all beings. Click here to join the 108-day experience — and to hear the Sanskrit mantra that translates to, “May all the beings in all the worlds be happy.”
This brand new book by Shift faculty Anodea Judith is a must-have resource for anyone who teaches or wants to learn more about yoga. It includes 232 full-color photos, detailed alignment instructions, chakra-based posture sequences, pranayama techniques, mantras, yoga philosophy, and more!
Take a 36-page sneak peek here. You can order your copy — and watch a 2-minute video from Anodea — here.
This brand new book of prayer and contemplation is for evolutionaries and activists, for deep ecologists, for spiritual seekers engaged in passionate renewal, and for all those thirsty for a spiritually coherent worldview.
Prayer and contemplation can access the deepest aspect of our will to radically change our lives and transform the world — the deeper the contemplation the more profoundly we can be stirred to meaningful action.
Each set of poetic reflections concludes with a short essay by outstanding spiritual leaders and thinkers: Barbara Marx Hubbard on soul awakening; Anodea Judith on heart opening; Ervin Laszlo on light shining; Michael Singer on wounds dissolving and Hopi elder Mona Polacca on peace radiating.
This global webinar educates adults in the Connection Practice®, an efficient, scientifically-based social-emotional skill for creating a world that works for everyone. Attend this free hour-long webinar, A Simple Solution for Our Disconnected World, and learn about this powerful antidote to violence that is enriching lives around the globe. For more information, click here.
If you’re ready to deepen your practice and immerse yourself in conscious community, then join us for four epic days of master classes, music, inspirational talks & celebration in the heart of Boulder. Featuring Seane Corn, Rod Stryker, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Annie Carpenter, Amy Ippoliti, Sianna Sherman, Saul David Raye, Janet Stone, and so many more. Come together to raise the vibration! For more information, click here.
The intention of the 5-day Kriyas Conscious Living gathering in Ibiza at the end of September is “to bring the divine feminine energy shakti into our everyday actions such that a life of consciousness can arise from within its authentic form.” Click here to read an article on this gathering by Shakti Anand. For more details, click here.
The Sattva Summit is a boutique conscious gathering, offering the opportunity for yogis from across the globe to gather as a community for a week of deep healing, expansion and reasonless joy at The Sattva Retreat, a luxurious sanctuary nestled in the foothills of the Himalayans. We will gather as a community to deepen in our silence through daily group meditation and rituals, harmonize with the body in our yoga practice with globally renowned teachers, connect to ancient yogic wisdom and the evolutionary teachings of consciousness, and nourish our bodies with healing foods from leading Ayurvedic chefs of India, while enjoying live music, chanting and dancing. We will also have the opportunity to discover the beauty that Rishikesh has to offer, including hikes to Himalayan villages, temple tours, ganga dips, cave meditations, rafting, ayurvedic spa treatments, cooking classes, and much more! Click here to watch a short video invitation to the Sattva Summit.
Join us for a week of deep spiritual exploration in the serene and beautiful surrounds of the Blue Spirit Yoga and Meditation Retreat Center in Nosara, Costa Rica (Blue Spirit has been named a Yoga Journal “Best Yoga Escape 2017”). We will be breaking down the walls of resistance by going deeper into peace and tranquility through meditation. The week will include in-depth exploration of the technology of Kundalini Yoga for re-rooting, rest and restoration of the Complete Self from the stresses of daily life. You’ll develop a fulfilling everyday discipline, creating devotional practice with Sadhana at the ambrosial hour, meditation and chanting, and breath walks on the oceanfront, experiencing deep immersion into the Soul! For more information, click here.
The Global Indigenous Wisdom Library is a collection of audio and video interviews featuring Indigenous leaders from around the world sharing prayers, sacred songs, prophecies, spiritual teachings and pathways to healing, as well as concrete examples for birthing a new era — one in which all members of the human family are treated with respect, understanding, compassion and justice. This sacred wisdom is important medicine for us all. The production of The Global Indigenous Wisdom Library is a gift from The Shift Network, designed to inspire, inform and involve you by highlighting the voices and important messages of Indigenous leaders from around the world. We thank all the speakers who have contributed to this body of knowledge! To learn more, click here.
Book by Stephen Dinan: Sacred America, Sacred World. Infused with visionary power, Sacred America, Sacred World is a manifesto for our country’s evolution that is both political and deeply spiritual. It offers profound hope that America can grow beyond our current challenges and manifest our noblest destiny, which the book shows is rooted in sacred principles that transcend left or right political views. To order your copy, click here.
Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World by Phil Bolsta of The Shift Network. Through God’s Eyes is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the only book that shows you how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to bring joy and vitality to your daily life. One reviewer called it “the owner’s manual God should give you when you’re born.” To order your copy, click here. To request a sample chapter from the author, email Phil at GodsEyes@me.com.
World Peace Library— Free Resource — Be sure to take advantage of the World Peace Library, a wide-ranging resource on peace newly compiled by the Shift Network: It contains more than 300 inspiring talks and mini-workshops from individuals such as Archbishop Tutu, Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Jane Goodall, Deepak Chopra, James O'Dea, Karen Armstrong, Chief Phil Lane and many more. With neuroscientists and lamas, faith-based activists and political leaders, this Library offers something for all in their peacebuilding efforts. The Shift Network has made the World Peace Library a free resource for all and encourages its use to promote peace in your families, schools, and wider community.
If you would like to submit something to The Catalyst, please see the submission guidelines: click here.
The Give Back Yoga Foundation believes in making yoga available to all those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the transformational benefits of this powerful practice. As a national nonprofit yoga organization, they support and fund certified teachers in all traditions to offer the teachings of yoga to underserved and under-resourced socio-economic segments of the community. Through this work, they aim to inspire grassroots social change and community cooperation.
In low-income urban schools, traumatic stress is a reality for millions of children who grow up in an oppressive climate of poverty, violence, and fear. This stress impedes learning and undermines physical and mental health.
The Quiet Time program is a practical, evidence-based approach to reduce stress and dramatically improve academic performance, student wellness and the school environment.
Quiet Time provides students with two 15-minute periods of Transcendental Meditation each day to help balance their lives and improve their readiness to learn. This schoolwide program complements existing educational strategies by improving the physiological underpinnings of learning and behavior.
The Hanuman Academy believes that within each of us lives a superhero and that we can awaken this vast potential to live in alignment with our passion and purpose. By practicing yoga, both on and off the mat, we can create a balanced, healthy and vibrant life for ourselves and our communities. By raising our own vibration we affect the world in immeasurable ways. To learn more about how to dive deep into the transformative practice of yoga, click here.
The SEC Festival is a growing community of practitioners, coaches and high-performance athletes who come together to connect, grow and support each other, and to learn the transformative, multi-disciplined methodology of accessing higher consciousness through sport.
At the SEC Festival — held annually at beautiful Dominican University, just outside of San Francisco, you’ll receive powerful training, profound consciousness shifts, flow-hacking techniques, deep connections, incredible adventures and unique opportunities to take your connection to sport into the stratosphere, so that you can elevate your game AND consciousness to new heights. For more information, click here.
Panelists, presenters and speakers include Shift Network faculty and speakers Dawson Church, Katia Peterson and Michael Murphy. Donna Eden's organization, Innersource, is also participating.
Singer-songwriter Yopi, and singer-violinist Lotta, have joined together to create Namasté Pachamama, a gorgeously uplifting album of spiritual world/folk music with influences from various South American, Indian and European traditions. Yopi follows the devotional path of Bhakti Yoga, and each of the nine songs he's composed is a profoundly moving expression of the all-consuming love of the Divine. My heart feels especially full while listening to the songs, Pachamamita, Luciole and Jay Ma, which instantly transport me to a wholly luminous, joyful, eternal space. Each song is a sacred prayer for guidance, heart-opening and healing.
Click here to listen to the album, Namasté Pachamama. Click here to visit Yopi & Lotta’s official website.