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Have a Namaste :)

an even better alternative than the elbow bump I don't know about you, but it took me a long time to get into the habit of coughing into the corner of my elbow instead of my hands. Thus, my elbow crevice will probably keep receiving the brunt of any of my germic eruptions. However, I don't think my elbow will be the only one. No, i don't mean I'll be sneezing into your elbow as well, but I do think most folks will continue coughing and sneezing into (hopefully) their own elbow. Thus i hereby suggest we go with building up a Namaste habit at CYS instead of bumping and erupting elbows. On a deeper note... I suspect before many finish reading this newsletter they will have touched their face at least once; some are probably even doing it now; or just stopped upon reading this. That's because these are unconscious habits. They are as hard to break as the will of your cat for that tuna on your plate. However, i do not want to discourage you. Trying not to touch your face is a very powerful and austere yoga practice! You will have to become extremely mindful of not just what you are doing, but even what you are about to do, well before you can stop your hand from reaching your face within a few milliseconds!

For example, you may have seen it on Stephen Cobert, he played a clip of a government official reading off C-19 virus advice. No sooner than she explained how you shouldn't touch your face she licked the tip of her finger to help her turn to the next page of instructions. Then I noticed, after I gasped in laughter, that I was doing a face palm. Then I looked back at the video to see Colbert wiping a laughter tear from his eye; with his hand of course; as he continued to point out how futile this hygienic directive is.

Again, trying not to do such unconscious habits like touching your face is a TREMENDOUS yoga practice in mindfulness! So its worth the effort even regardless of hygiene. But believing you can do this in an instantaneously steadfast manner upon the directive of a government official is absurd. NEVERTHELESS this is still an awesome directive! Probably the best ever from the government. So keep trying. It is like a government mandated yoga practice. In fact, this is one instance where a government directive might actually solve many of the gravest issues in the world and in ourselves. For example, how often do you just unconsciously accept that plastic bag after you have unconsciously left your re-usable grocery bag in the car? How often have you sat in the parking lot with the engine running for no reason? How often have you said exactly what you should not have said until after you have said it? ~Such things as these are relatively easy compared to not ever touching your face. If you can even come close to breaking that unconscious habit those other things will also become easier. But ultimately they all help each other ~ they all make humanity and the planet more conscious and healthy. In other words, if you can become more conscious in anything it will help you to work towards becoming more conscious in other things. And if you become conscious in all things then, well, perhaps you have really arrived...

As Osho put it, "If you go in a hurry you will never arrive." This can be put into the context of being unconscious, and being unconscious can be put into the context of being in a hurry. Throughout an ordinary human's life s/he is always in a hurry. In a hurry to {going thru the chakratic ladder} get shelter, to get comfort, to get power... to scratch the itch at the tip of her nose, to rub the dryness out of her eyes, get some catharsis by joining in the gossip at the table, to get ahead in line, to get ahead... all of such is usually unconscious and usually done in a hurry; done before one even knows they have done it.

Also, one can do things consciously but without having first any conscious reflection. For example, before I realized that prayer hands in Namaste was much better, than an elbow bump, I was all ready to start creating the elbow bump habit as soon as I heard of it, because, yes, it is more conscious than a handshake. In fact, I dont really want to knock the elbow bump at all. I am just saying a Namaste is better on many levels. But an elbow bump is way way better than a hug (another unconscious habit) on many levels! Actually, don't even get me started about hugs; and not just for hygienic reasons. Ok, too late, I am started... but this leads to an actually bigger point...

Yes, as a conscious and mutually welcomed thing, hugs can be awesome. The world needs more of these kinds of hugs. But as an unconscious norm, a hug is often not a mutually welcomed gesture but rather intrusive instead. It is bad psychic hygiene being forced upon another. I see this happen among men hugging women all the time. It happens the other way around as well, but the point is that there is an unconscious assumption that both parties are wanting the hug; when its often quite likely that only one person wants the hug and the societal habit of hugging makes it possible for them to just take it; which leads me to an even bigger point. Maybe we are always fine with hugs, but sometimes it is not about us! Maybe we are feeling that we are in a very strong and healthy period of our life and therefore need not be concerned with the C19-virus. After all, many healthy people who have gotten it found it to be like a weak cold and beat it in just a couple of weeks. But what is a weak cold to you could be life or death to someone else; just a friendly hug from you may feel good to you, but the other could be reliving a bad memory. Going further, the gossip we speak may actually be the honest truth, but the reputation it destroys is likely not deserved. You may be able to take one drink and stop but the alcoholic next to you only wishes they could do the same. No, their weakness is not your responsibility but your compassion would ask you to not drink in front of them, to not tempt them.

In other words, maybe C-19 is forcing us to a new and more compassionate consciousness towards others. All illnesses have an important message for our life and what we are dealing with today is a pandemic, a global illness. Thus, you can be certain there is a message, or perhaps what may better be understood as a training in this for all of us, all humanity.

I suspect most folks will have an immune system strong enough to beat C-19, are good with hugs, could survive all gossip and climate change, etc., and therefore need not be that concerned. But I also believe that concern is an important ingredient in ones education. [But don't confuse concern with seriousness. "Seriousness is illness."] Sincere concern is easy to have for our self, family and friends, but how often does it sincerely extend beyond this? I mean in a way that also educates. For example, I have had many students take my yoga teacher trainings with no interest in becoming teachers. So for a while I let them skip out on doing the actual "practice teaches." However i quickly realized that all of those who were not concerned with being teachers were also not fully imbibing the trainings teachings nearly as well as those who had to do practice teaches. I have also seen that when YTT students are under the impression that there will be no evaluation the students are less involved. (I even found this in myself when i attended a university that didn't give grades.) But once they know there will be a quiz they start picking up their notebooks more often. This gets back to my point that illness can be a great teacher. Once students realize that there will be a test they then begin to realize that they are possibly not adequately comprehending the lessons, or not as sincerely as they could anyway; and probably not enough to pass any test; much less make any real life changes. Likewise, there's nothing like a potentially devastating illness to get ones sincere attention; where true education begins.

The Gnosis in Diagnosis

Interestingly the meaning of gnosis is "knowledge of spiritual matters; mystical knowledge" ( and yet those who look for spiritual meanings in illness are often banned as quacks from the legal realms where only hard, dry facts apply legally to a diagnosis. Yes, ironically yoga teachers cannot legally go near making a diagnosis while those who can make a legal diagnosis are forbidden to go near spiritual implications. Meanwhile most people feel that it is from the spirit that they can derive the most meaningful meanings of their struggle, as they know that they cannot even consider this an option within mainstream systems.

In the search for cures, there is a vast difference (to say the least) between reading the back of a pill bottle and a book upon the deepermost meanings of life; but the former tends to win out; despite the fact that most people when asked want to squeeze all the meaning they can from an illness they are struggling with than to just go thru it all, and perhaps come out healthy in the end, but with no greater understanding about themselves or the world; no enlightenment. As for me, and i think for most yogis, we would like to squeeze such challenges for all that they are worth. We simply admit very well, at times i will have to suffer, but if I am going to go thru this, let me come out, not just better, but a better person, perhaps even wise, nay enlightened. This is the difference between the reading the directions on the back of the pill bottle and studying the book of life; it is an elbow bump vs a sincere Namaste.

Honoring the divine within oneself and one another, sincerely, means a sincere attempt at gnosis; the spirit of a matter. It is also the goal Vishwa Ayurveda; which is also the title of my new book -which is actually not a new book, but the 6th edition of my Yoga Teacher Training Manual -now available to the general public. I am tempted to write more here on the matter, but the book does it better and the main point of this article has already been made. Nevertheless, if your interest has been peaked then this book is the next best step.

Though, yes, it is still much like a training manual for students, but as i hopefully pointed out above, the best way to get the most out of this book is like a student reading an elemental yoga training manual. But you don't have to take the training to learn the power of the elements and how they relate to yoga. The book will unequivocally take you to another level in your yogic development whether you ever do a formal training with CYS or any other elemental yoga training (...if you can find one). Currently there is only an E-version of the manual as it cost over $40 to print and bind just a black and white version of its 400+ pages. However, the E-version is just $20 and has clickable links to even more tools, information and resources. You can also print it on your own from the e-version.

To order email Will at


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