In this post…

  • My Practice As A “Bridge”
  • Fitness & the Infinite
  • Bibliography
    • African Origins of Yoga
    • African Americans Experience Buddhism
    • Bikram Yoga
    • Buddhism
    • Chinese Medicine
    • Controversies
    • Shadow
    • Integral Life Practice
    • Meditation
    • Yoga & Beyond Yoga
    • Yoga Nidra

My Practice As A “Bridge”

If all this is the case, why is it necessary to begin with the physical body?

The physical body is given a privileged position because it is a useful “bridge” to experiencing our “subtle” and our “causal” bodies.

In what ways does the body become a bridge?

As Shearer, like Bikram, notes, one of the key principles in practicing yoga is that we consciously engage our “nervous system,” which we know is part of our physical body. Shearer goes on to note that.

The techniques of yoga are methods of purifying the nervous system so that it can reflect a greater degree of consciousness and our lives can become an increasingly positive force in the world.

During yoga practice, “the whole nervous system is revitalized” if we practice the techniques correctly. And, with a revitalized nervous system: (i) our body enjoys better health and more energy, (ii) the rested mind is “freed from the burdens of past experience,” and (iii) perception is “restored to its primal freshness.” 

When practicing yoga, we create conditions for more coherent thought and activity and a richer and more fulfilling life.

When practicing yoga, we are honoring “God” within our bodies.

Do you plan to continue to practice Bikram Yoga?



As I’ve noted, the mystical has been demystified due to my ten years of practicing Bikram Yoga and other practices.

We know what the “best practices” are. We know how to apply them, and Bikram Yoga is a convenient “off-the-shelf technology” that meets my needs and guides me toward my desired outcomes.

I consider Bikram Yoga to be a current “best practice.”

How long do you plan to practice Bikram Yoga?

Coincidently, my 10th anniversary of practicing Bikram Yoga came around the same time I completed my 40-year life plan. The focus of my project was on my financial future. My dream takes me to the age of 106, 40 years from now.

If I want to enhance the chances of my body lasting as long as my memory, I will practice Bikram Yoga or some other “best practice.”

So, are you saying you will practice Bikram Yoga for the rest of your life?

Yes. My father passed away at age 88. His father passed away at age 90. My statistical life expectancy is to age 84. Statistically, I’ll practice “something” for at least another 20 years.

Is it correct to say you have a 40-year fitness plan corresponding to your 40-year financial plan?


So, as long as I have a nervous system, I will need practice to purify it continuously. As long as I want my thoughts and activities to be coherent and integrated and my life to become more prosperous and more fulfilling, I will need a practice that produces these desired outcomes. As long as the guidelines exist for experiencing an “optimal experience,” I will need a practice that follows those guidelines. As long as the Universe is evolving, I will need a practice that helps me evolve at the same or faster rate than the Universe is evolving.

Do you plan to drop the name “Bikram Yoga?

Before I answer that question, let me say a word or two about the “Bikram Yoga The Product.”

As I noted above, some studios have begun to drop “Bikram Yoga” from their name. I think this is due in large part to the “controversies.” However, if we look at “Bikram Yoga The Product,” the “product” has had a good run. From a business perspective, the product is probably due anyway for “an update” or a “reinvention.”

I would predict that once studios drop the name and let go of the “Bikram Yoga The Monopoly,” then innovations will sprout forth. Just like “America” welcomed “Bikram Yoga,” “America” will welcome new variations or new forms. All so-called “fundamentalist approaches” get new competitors; from an economic perspective, this is good.

So, will I drop the name “Bikram Yoga”? If the legal allegations hold, I will try to stop using the name. I say — “I will try” — because “Bikram Yoga” as a name is now a “point of reference.” I can see myself “Prince-like,” saying I’m practicing “the yoga formerly known as Bikram.” But then again, I may migrate to one of the “new yoga products.”

Also, I think the “Bikram Yoga The Institution” will survive no matter what happens to “Bikram Yoga The Person.” Look at some references in the “controversies” section of the attached bibliography. You will see that “institutions” can survive “controversies.”

From my perspective, the most significant challenges to “Bikram Yoga The Institution” are “the soon-to-develop competitors” to “Bikram Yoga The Product.”

What is the basis for your prediction that “new competitors” will arise?

Bikram Yoga and most practices based on long-standing traditions have been “demystified.”

Currently, yoga, in general, and Bikram Yoga, in particular, have a competitive advantage because they draw on a rich history and offer a counterpoint to the conditions of today’s fast-paced, multi-tasking world.

But remember that the market and science have “demystified” mystical practices.

Yoga hasn’t been an esoteric practice for decades.

With all the “fact-checking” and all the “reverse engineering,” a series of “best practices” will be developed, and “consumers” will begin to experiment with the type of practice that will provide them the desired outcomes most efficiently and effectively.

For example, MihalyCsikszentmihalyiy has identified the conditions necessary to have an “optimal experience,” which sounds awfully like the transcendent state that yoga can take us to.

For Mihaly, for one to have an optimal experience, one must be prepared, focused, be unaware of a self, and have an altered sense of time:

  • Prepared
    • Skills are adequate to the challenges at hand
      • In a goal-directed, rule-bound action system that provides clear clues as to how well one is performing
  • Focused
    • Concentration is intense
    • No attention left over to think about anything irrelevant or to worry about problems
  • Unaware of a “Self”
    • Self-consciousness disappears
  • Have an Altered Sense of Time
    • Sense of time becomes distorted

Mihaly focuses on the nature of “optimal experience” and the techniques and skills we can enhance to access optimal experience “at will.”

My argument is twofold: (i) Bikram Yoga is just one of many practices that can lead one to have an “optimal experience” on an ongoing basis; (ii) Out of the experiences of the many long-term Bikram practitioners, teachers, and studio owners a new and improved Bikram Yoga will evolve.

Fitness & The Infinite

Would you like to provide any closing thoughts?

Yes. Like many folks, I got started with yoga, in general, and Bikram Yoga, in particular, as a “fitness practice.” Still, once I got into the “fitness practice,” I discovered that these practices are also bridges to “The Infinite.”

Yoga Nidra-like:

I have a body

 I am aware of this body

I honor my body with

good fitness

good food and

good, healthy activities

I have a body

 I am aware of this body

This body experiences different conditions 

sickness & health

stress & calm

tension & relaxation

weakness & strength

depletion & vitality

I have a body

I am aware of this body

 This body is an ever-changing, energetic expression of


fluidity, and


I have a body

I am aware this body

This body is an experience

“arising, unfolding and dissolving”;


 in my Awareness 

I have a body

I’m aware of my body

I’m aware that I am more than my body

I am aware that my body abides in my Awareness

I’m aware that I’m not my body

I’m aware of Being Aware

I am my body …

I am not my body … 

I AM … 



African Origins of Yoga

Edward Bruce Bynum. Dark Light Consciousness:; Melanin, Serpent Power, and Luminous Matrix of Reality. Inner Traditions: Rochester, NY

Edward Bruce Bynum. The African Unconscious; Roots of Ancient Mysticism and Modern Psychology. NY: Teachers College Press. 1999.

Edward Bruce Bynum. The Roots of Transcendence. NY: Cosimo. 1994

African Americans Experience Buddhism

Charles Johnson. Turning the Wheel: Essays on Buddhism and Writing

Angel Kyodo Williams, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace

Jan Willis, Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist – One Woman’s Spiritual Journey

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Choudhury (with Bonnie Jones Reynolds). Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class.

Bikram Choudhury,  Bikram Yoga. The Guru behind hot yoga shows the way to radiant health and personal fulfillment. 


Michael David Eckel. Buddhism

Shinzen Young. The Science of Enlightenment.

Chinese Medicine

Harriet Beinfeld and Efrem Korngold. Between Heaven and Earth; A Guide to Chinese Medicine. Ballantine Books: NY, 1991.

Paul Pitchford. Healing with Whole Foods; Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, 3rd Ed. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, CA. 2002.


Jack Kornfield, Grace Shirerson, Lamda Palden, & Shinzen Young (Discussants). “Sex in the Sangha”, Tricycle, Fall 2013

Michael Downing, Shoes Outside The Door; Desire, Devotion And Excess At San Francisco Zen Center. Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 2001

Pilar Jennings. “Looking Into The Eyes Of A Master”. Tricycle Spring 2014

Mark Oppenheimer, “Sex Scandal Has U.S. Buddhists Looking Within,” N.Y. Times, August 20, 2010.

William J. Broad. The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards. NY: Simon & Shuster, 2012.

Zoe L. Hewett, Lynda B. Ransdell, Yong Gao, Linda M. Petlichkoff, Shelley Lucas Jaeger Circuit, Bruce. An Examination Of The Effectiveness Of An 8-Week Bikram Yoga Program On Mindfulness,  Perceived Stress, And Physical Fitness


The Portable Young, ed. by Joseph Campbell.

Reading #5 The Relationship Between the Ego and the Unconscious

Reading #6 Aion: Phenomenology of the Self (Recommended)

“The Dark Side in Individuals and Nations,” Chapter 5 in How to Read Jung by David Terry.

“The Shadow,” pages 64-67 in Jung: A Very Short Introduction by Anthony Stevens.

“The Shadow Module,” Chapter 4 in Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening by Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard, & Marco Morelli. Boston: Integral Books, 2008.

“You and Your Story,” Chapter 1 in The Secret of the Shadow; The Power of Owning Your Whole Story by Debbie Ford. CA: HarperSanFranciso, 2002.

Integral Life Practice

Wilber, Ken. Kosmic Consciousness. This audio format was my initiation into Wilber’s idea. September 1, 2003.

Wilber, Ken. The Integral Visio: A Very Short Introduction to the Revolutionary Integral Approach to Life, God, the Universe, and Everything Else. Boston: Shambala, 2007.

Wilber, Ken. Integral Spirituality; A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World. Boston: 2007.

Wilber, Ken; Patten, Terry; Leonard, Adam; and Morelli, Marco. Integral Life Practice; A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity and Spiritual Awakening. Boston: Integral Books, 2008.


Pema Chodron. When Things Fall Apart

Shenzin Young. The Science of Enlightenment

Tara Brach. Radical Acceptance

Yoga & Beyond Yoga

Alistair Shearer. (Translated and Introduced) The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. NY: Bell Tower, 2002.

Stefanie Syman. The Subtle Body. The Story of Yoga in America. NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow; The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

Thomas Metzinger. The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self

Yoga Nidra

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati Yoga Nidra: Extreme Relaxation of Conscious Deep Sleep CD
Robin Carnes Yoga Nidra with Robin Carnes CD Email Robin for information and orders:
Swami Janakananda Experience Yoga Nidra CD
Joy Kirstin Birthing the Phoenix; Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation & Personal Transformation CD
Richard Miller Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga CD & Book
Xenia Splawinski Yoga Nidra MP3
Robin Carnes Yoga Nidra II CD Email Robin for information and orders:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.