Sad Passing in my Family

    published on Mon. Jan. 16th, '12 by Swami Atma

    Samsara sucks sometimes.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Blog Redesign

    published on Sun. May. 16th, '10 by Swami Atma

    When I woke up Saturday morning I got some ideas about a new design for my blog which has been long overdue.

    Then I felt compelled to start working on it and before you know it I was half way through. Anyway it was a fun weekend project. I'm glad it's done and I can move on to real work tomorrow morning.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink


    published on Mon. Mar. 8th, '10 by Swami Atma

    This is only a test. Please ignore.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Swami Atma's status

    published on Fri. Feb. 12th, '10 by Sita Chaitanya

    Om Namah Sivaya
    Dear Yogis

    This is Sita sending you all a message to let you know that Swami Atma made it to Germany, however, his computer is totally fried and had to be taken to the repair shop. It may be 2 weeks until it is fixed.

    He wanted to let you all know if you sent him emails or chats of some sort you may not hear from him for awhile but he will get back to you when his computer is working.

    Happy Sivaratri and many oms to all of you.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Fixed Problem with the RSS Feed

    published on Thu. Sep. 17th, '09 by Swami Atma

    After a lot of procrastination I've finally fixed up the RSS feeds for this blog.

    This post servers both as an announcement and a test.

    I've published of my trivial stuff on my Facebook account lately

    I'm planning to resume posts here with some essays resulting from the thinking I have been doing in the last few months.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Just Joined Facebook

    published on Fri. Apr. 3rd, '09 by Swami Atma

    I have resisted this for a long time but I just decided to join Facebook. It seems it could help get back in touch or keep in touch with folks I have been privileged to know over the years.

    Become a Friend

    I haven't contacted anyone yet to become friends but if you read this and would like to connect go ahead do so. I guess this should be the right place to see my profile.

    Other Social Networks

    My google chat id is: and my twitter profile is at:

    So many ways to connect and so little time.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Asteroid Over Edmonton Filmed Live From Police Car

    published on Mon. Dec. 1st, '08 by Swami Atma

    No commentaries needed. This happened a few days ago. Stunning images.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Shopping Tip

    published on Wed. Nov. 26th, '08 by Swami Atma

    Unusual type of post for this blog. Here is a tweet that might be useful to many of you.

    I just saved $100 on Amazon by not logging in. The price quoted changed when I signed in and out.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    The Human Calendar

    published on Fri. Oct. 10th, '08 by Swami Atma

    This is a different and creative calendar. Check it out.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Amazing Dolphins Playing with Bubbles

    published on Wed. Oct. 1st, '08 by Swami Atma

    Most yogis love dolphins so I guess you'll enjoy this video.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Einstein on 'The Mysterious'

    published on Mon. Sep. 22nd, '08 by Swami Atma
    The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

    published on Fri. Aug. 29th, '08 by Swami Atma

    Another good animation illustrating the connection between sound and image.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Do You Know Freecycle?

    published on Tue. Jul. 29th, '08 by Lalita

    There is a possibility to reduce your garbage and to change the world "one gift at a time". You sign up in the Freecycle-Yahoogroup which is nearest to where you live and then you receive emails in which people say what they have and need no longer or what they're looking for. And you can write emails yourself containing what you would like to offer or what you need. The only conditions are: It has to be a gift, so you really offer it without wanting something in return. It has to be a thing and not a service or something alike. And the other person has to come by and pick it up, so no shipping is involved.

    It exists all over the world and is really a great thing! I already offered some things there which I didn't need any longer and someone else needed right now, as my older bed for example. And I found a great cupboard for my kitchen there which would have been really expensive otherwise. It's nice to have something like this really working well in times of online auctions where most people just think about how they can make a little more money or just throw away good things. Probably it's something for you, too?

    Freecycle Logo

    You can find out more about Freecycle here.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Trap Jaw Ants

    published on Tue. Jul. 29th, '08 by Swami Atma

    This incredible video shows how trap jaw ants escape from their predators in a hurry using their unique trap jaws. Beautifully filmed.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Email Heaven

    published on Thu. May. 22nd, '08 by Swami Atma

    After struggling with a huge email pile for several months I have now managed to clear up my inbox completely. This feels VERY good!

    If you have written me and haven't got a reply this means your message must have slipped through the cracks. Or may being filtered out by my spam detecting system.

    In this case just resend a new one. In the upcoming week I will carefully monitor my spam mail box for possible false positives.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Awareness Test

    published on Tue. Mar. 18th, '08 by Sita Chaitanya

    This is an interesting video pointing out selective awareness.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Funny Signs

    published on Sat. Mar. 8th, '08 by Sita Chaitanya

    Stumbling around the internet I found a blog with some funny signs:

    stop signs
    stop signs

    If you would like to see more of the signs go here.

    Posted in: General - Jokes & Fun | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Outer Space is Cool

    published on Sun. Feb. 3rd, '08 by Sita Chaitanya

    I like to look at pictures and learn about things from outer space. Generally I really like looking at the photos because they are often really beautiful and wonderful. I also like it because it helps keep a balance on remembering in the grand scheme of things how teeny our little world is and the usually overly-imagined importance of our place in it.

    A good web site for looking at photos of outer space is the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day website. They also have explanations of the photos written by professional astronomers so you learn about what you are looking at.

    star photo
    Light Echoes from V838 Mon

    This is today's picture from that website. It's a star (V838 Mon) that in 2002 for some unknown reason got really bright and then dimmed. This picture shows how the "light echo" from that event is now reflecting off the interstellar dust that is all around the star. The light echo spans 6 light years in diameter.

    Posted in: Nice Photos - General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Learning Strategies

    published on Sun. Jan. 13th, '08 by Swami Atma

    Lately I have been doing quite a bit of reading about learning theory and the different strategies to learn better, faster, and easier. As yoga teachers I feel many of us can gain from gaining a better understanding of the process of learning.

    learning the first 80% of something new takes 20% of the effort. Seth Godin

    The No-depth Learning Strategy

    The quest for knowledge is universal. In our whole life we keep on learning and there are two ways to go about it: 1. learn for years one topic and gain great depth and 2. learn the basic foundations of many different fields and topics.

    For yoga I have been sticking to one path, one tradition and going to as much depth as possible but for other fields I have been taking advantage of the law stated in the quote above and explored a whole range of topics superficially but trying to extract their essence.


    Modern Tools for Learning

    While books are still good to learn a number of things you can now get great information, practical and theoretical on many topics through online encyclopedias, regular web sites, blogs, and forums.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Sorry About the Outage

    published on Wed. Jan. 9th, '08 by Swami Atma

    This site was down for a few hours due to an outage at the web host level and some internal configuration issues. It's all fixed now. OM OM OM

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Best Wishes for 2008

    published on Fri. Jan. 4th, '08 by Swami Atma

    May you be blessed in this new year with health, peace, prosperity, and spiritual illumination. May your sadhana be strong and joyful.

    Starting tomorrow I will resume the publication of entertaining posts.

    Posted in: General - Nice Photos | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    God Is Inside

    published on Mon. Dec. 31st, '07 by Lalita
    The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, "Lo, here it is!" or "There!" for behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Jesus Christ, Luke 17.20-21
    No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. Jesus Christ, 1 John 12-13

    I'd like to wish all readers of this blog a new year full of light and love. Shalom!

    Candles on church floor

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Happy Holidays to All

    published on Sun. Dec. 23rd, '07 by Swami Atma
    Holiday Greeting Card with Swami Vishnu-devananda and peace dove

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Freedom of Thought & Speech

    published on Sat. Dec. 8th, '07 by Swami Atma
    People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. Soren Kierkegaard

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Feed a Homeless, Go to Jail

    published on Mon. Nov. 19th, '07 by Swami Atma

    This incredible story illustrates that compassion is not only undervalued in our modern society but can be frowned up and treated like a crime.

    In April, Montanez was arrested for violating the city ordinance that bans mass feeding in one area. His attorney will argue that the law is a violation of civil rights and say Montanez did nothing wrong, because every feeding that he participated in was done at a public park.
    "The law itself should be illegal. Feeding people should not be criminalized. ...," Montanez said.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    On Genetically Modified Food

    published on Sun. Nov. 18th, '07 by Sita Chaitanya

    Recently I read a book about genetically modified (GM) food called "Seeds of Deception" by Jeffrey M. Smith. The following article describes some important ideas from the book. I highly recommend everyone who eats read this book in its entirety.

    seeds of deception book cover

    What is Genetically Modified Food?

    All throughout history mankind has intentionally bred plants or animals in order to create desirable traits. Sometimes it worked and other times it didn't.

    We know of many cases where it worked very well. For example, there are many breeds of man's best friend - the dog - bred for different functions such as cattle herding, lap-sitting, protection, and breeds notable as good family pets.

    Another example would be the many varieties of roses, which have been bred to withstand mildew, or to look or smell a certain way, or to have less thorns and long stems.

    When these small-scale and deliberative attempts at modifying the genes of a species through breeding or grafting failed, the resulting animals or plants died or were discarded, the experiment failed, and not much damage to the total gene population of the species, or any other species, occurred as a result.


    Genetic mutations can also change species in a natural way, leading to good or bad characteristics within a species. Good mutations are passed down to future generations and bad mutations are not. Nature takes care of the process.

    On the other hand, genetically modified food which is created through genetic engineering is a whole new ballgame. It is not an extension of natural breeding. In genetic engineering biologists cut a gene out of one species' DNA, modify it, and insert it into another species' DNA.

    And since virtually all organisms have DNA, scientists don't have to limit the source of their genes to members of the same species. They can search anywhere in the plant, animal, bacteria, even human world to find genes with desired traits, or even synthesize genes in the laboratory that don't exist in nature.

    When you read the book, you will be amazed at the amount of guesswork involved in genetic engineering, and how pervasive and unpredictable the consequences are. The book cites 21 significant ways in which the process of genetic engineering can go wrong, and in which the intended result of the genetic engineering may not occur.

    Unbelievably, most of the time scientists don't even know which, some, or all of these unintended results have occurred or not. The result of all this guess work includes unpredictable changes in DNA, antibiotic resistance, other genes that get 'turned off' and don't work anymore, awakening of sleeping viruses, cancer, immune reactions, allergies, nutrition problems, and many more.

    ...genetic engineers are not simply changing a specific species. They are tampering with the evolution of all species. "The results will be essentially new organisms, self-perpetuating and hence permanent. Once created they cannot be recalled."

    Is GM Food Safe?

    The book "Seeds of Deception" describes the truth of what is going on in the GM food industry. It cites numerous examples pointing out that genetically modified food has never been adequately tested.

    The book is truly shocking in its portrayal of the extent to which the biotech industry led by Monsanto has been basically forcing its genetically modified products into the food supply. In order to do this they have used faulty and unscientific testing, bribery, theft, distortion or omission of scientific data, threats of lawsuit, and firing of knowledgeable individuals.

    family eating dinner

    Even when FDA scientists were warned about toxins, allergies and new diseases resulting from the food, the scientists were silenced or ignored. Events like this are happening:

    • In one case, rats were fed from a GM crop. They developed stomach lesions and seven of the forty died within two weeks. The crop was approved without further testing.
    • In another case, the FDA withheld information from the US Congress after a genetically modified food supplement killed nearly a hundred people and disabled thousands more.
    Integral to the plan was Monsanto's influence in government, whose role was to promote the technology worldwide and to help get the foods into the marketplace quickly, before resistance could get in the way. A biotech consultant later said, "The hope of the industry is that over time, the market is so flooded that there's nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender."

    Wisdom of the Animals

    It is well known that animals instinctively know what is good for them. They are very in touch with their biological needs and when left to their own devices they exhibit behaviors that support the health of their bodies.

    squirrel eating berries

    In "Seeds of Deception" there are many first hand examples related by farmers who tried to feed GM crops to their livestock or who noticed specific food preferences among wild animals on their farms.

    ...two or three cows were led into a feeding area at a time. The first trough they came to contained fifty pounds of shelled Bt (GM) corn. The cows sniffed it, withdrew, and walked over to the next trough, which contained fifty pounds of natural shelled corn. The cows finished it off. When they were done and released from the pen, the next group came in and did the same thing... the experiment was repeated on six or seven farms in Northwest Iowa, in 1998 and again in 1999. Identical trials with hogs yielded the same results, also for two years in a row.

    Some other examples from the book include wild geese who wouldn't eat GM soybeans; squirrels, elk, deer, raccoons and mice who wouldn't eat GM corn; rats who would not eat GM tomatoes unless force fed with gastric tubes; and chickens who died when fed GM maize. When mice were fed a mixture of GM and normal corn and soy they lost weight in statistically significant amounts.

    If animals will not eat GM food when given a choice, there is something wrong with the food.

    Milk and Genetically Engineered Growth Hormone

    One of the significant chapters in the book talks about genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH). It is injected into cows to increase their milk production. rbGH is a drug of questionable safety which was passed by the FDA without adequate testing. It exists in milk sold in the US unless the milk is labelled "organic" or "no rbGH".


    Some of the problems that cows experience when injected with rbGH include: birth defects, reproductive disorders, udder infections, higher incidence of foot and leg injuries, metabolic disorders, uterine infections, indigestion, bloat, diarrhea, lesions, shorter lives, increases in the size of their hearts, livers, kidneys, ovaries and adrenal glands, and many other problems. When Monsanto provided this information to the FDA, they dismissed these problems as "harmless physiological shifts".

    Besides the obvious nightmare that this causes for the cows, after the rbGH gets injected into the cows it passes along to humans through the cow's milk and meat.

    There have not been enough scientific studies done to determine exactly what is happening to people as a result of the use of this growth hormone. Based on what happens to the cows, there is a significant question which should be addressed about the safety of this hormone.

    What Should I Eat?

    The book continues on with many more examples, studies, cover-ups and media manipulations when it comes to GM food. There has simply not been enough testing done on these products to determine their safety for human consumption. Right now, the guinea pigs for this huge experiment called GM foods are the unknowing public.

    And so, the big question for consumers is - what should I eat?

    There are a number of relevant websites that will list for you what foods and products to avoid if you want to stay away from GM foods and food additives. A great place to start is the Seeds of Deception web site. They also provide a lot of related information regarding GM foods.

    beautiful vegetables

    One thing to say for sure, if you live in the US and are eating non-organic food, the chances are 100% that you have eaten GM food and you didn't know it.

    If you want to avoid GM food and GM food additives, shop and eat organic whenever and wherever possible, and support organic grocers and manufacturers. By supporting organic producers and distributors, not only will you be eating healthier and safer food, but also you will be putting economic pressure on the food industries to produce better food.

    Posted in: Book Reviews - General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Earth Clock

    published on Sat. Oct. 13th, '07 by Swami Atma

    The earth clock is a fascinating web site which gives you a live snapshot on the conditions of our planet. The picture below does it little justice since the real clock's statistics are rolling live under your eyes.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    World Vegetarian Day

    published on Thu. Sep. 27th, '07 by Sita Chaitanya

    Coming up October 1 is World Vegetarian Day. Started in 1977 by the North American Vegetarian Society, its popularity has grown over the years and now there are events and celebrations held throughout the month of October all over the world.

    For those new to vegetarianism, it serves as an enticement to give meatless fare a try (even for a day) and learn about its many benefits. And, of course, it's the perfect occasion for vegetarians and those already moving towards plant-based diets to celebrate their healthy, compassionate food choices.

    The main goal of Vegetarian Awareness Day and the following Vegetarian Awareness Month is to promote the benefits of being vegetarian, through community events, outreach materials, and sponsorships.

    The simple act of choosing vegetarian meals is a powerful force for positive change — impacting ourselves, other people, animals and our Earth home.
    beautiful vegetarian food
    beautiful vegetarian food

    Posted in: General - Positive News | comments disabled (?) | Permalink


    published on Sun. Sep. 23rd, '07 by Sita Chaitanya
    One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done. Marie Curie

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Sea of Pink

    published on Sun. Sep. 23rd, '07 by Sita Chaitanya

    Here is an uplifting story about two 12th graders at Central Kings Rural High School in Cambridge, Nova Scotia, who fought back in a peaceful way against the bullying of a 9th grade boy who wore a pink shirt on the first day of school.

    They went to a nearby discount store and bought 50 pink shirts, including tank tops, to wear to school the next day.

    Then the two went online to e-mail classmates to get them on board with their anti-bullying cause that they dubbed a "sea of pink."

    But a tsunami of support poured in the next day.

    Not only were dozens of students outfitted with the discount tees, but hundreds of students showed up wearing their own pink clothes, some head-to-toe.

    No one has heard from the bullies since. Just shows what an impact peaceful protest and working together can have.

    picture of the two boys
    picture of the two 12th grade boys

    Posted in: Positive News - General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Satellite Views of Earth

    published on Sat. Sep. 22nd, '07 by Sita Chaitanya

    There are tons of web sites which have satellites and different views of earth. This web site is nice because it lets you choose your satellite, your location and direction, and what kind of map you want to see. They also have a moon viewer.

    satellite view of earth
    View from 147,354,066 km above 1°22'N 33°40'W

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Strange Maps

    published on Sat. Sep. 22nd, '07 by Sita Chaitanya

    A couple weeks ago Swami Atma posted an article about US States to Countries By GDP.

    That posting has received a large and unexpected number of hits.

    One of the comments received was what the original source of the information was. It comes from a blog entry in the Strange Maps blog.

    Over at Strange Maps they post an astounding array of maps that cover all sorts of things humorous, serious, political, ancient, etc. which can sometimes be fun to check out. Here is a humorous map about Texans.

    Posted in: General - Jokes & Fun | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Salt Water as Fuel?

    published on Tue. Sep. 11th, '07 by Sita Chaitanya

    This is an interesting story about John Kanzius from Erie, Pennsylvania who invented a radio-frequency generator, and by accident was able to burn salt water in a test tube, producing a whole lot of energy.

    Dr. Roy said the salt water isn't burning per se, despite appearances. The radio frequency actually weakens bonds holding together the constituents of salt water -- sodium chloride, hydrogen and oxygen -- and releases the hydrogen, which, once ignited, burns continuously when exposed to the RF energy field.

    A lot more research is needed to determine if this method could be an efficient energy source to power things like cars. If it can, the implications are enormous.

    "This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere," Dr. Roy said of salt water. "Seeing it burn gives me chills."

    Let's hope the politicians don't mess this up. Original article here.

    Posted in: General - Positive News | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    War & Peace

    published on Mon. Sep. 10th, '07 by Swami Atma
    War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.Thomas Mann

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Pedestrian Traffic Flow

    published on Sun. Sep. 9th, '07 by Swami Atma
    Pedestrians all over the world are moving faster than a decade ago, according to scientists who have conducted a study into the pace at which people walk.

    There are studies about everything nowadays. This sociological study ponders the social implications of pedestrians' speed in the world's major cities.

    Wiseman said walking speeds provided a reliable measure of the pace of life in a city.
    pedestrians walking in a big city

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Two from Gandhi

    published on Thu. Sep. 6th, '07 by Sita Chaitanya

    Lately as I have been stumbling around the internet I came across these two great quotes from Mahatma Gandhi. I wanted to share them with you because they are inspiring, although in completely different ways.

    Mahatma Gandhi

    The first quote is for all the yogis and spiritually minded people, and those striving to make the world a better place:

    Seven Blunders of the World

    1. Wealth without work
    2. Pleasure without conscience
    3. Knowledge without character
    4. Commerce without morality
    5. Science without humanity
    6. Worship without sacrifice
    7. Politics without principle
    Mahatma Gandhi

    The second quote is for hope for all the oppressed people of the world, in rich and poor countries, in occupied or occupier lands, who suffer under the false leadership of misguided political rulers. Although most of them will probably never read this, the thought goes out to them:

    When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it -- always. Mahatma Gandhi

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    New Pages Added To The Web Site

    published on Wed. Sep. 5th, '07 by Swami Atma

    These days AYA karma yogis are very busy improving the web site content and web pages. We are working on a number of projects. Lately we have added a bunch of things including:

    We hope you enjoy the reading.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Two New AYA Affiliates

    published on Tue. Aug. 28th, '07 by Swami Atma

    I'm in Amsterdam now and just finished a whole Summer of teaching in Germany.

    I'm very happy to welcome to the AYA family two new affiliate teachers.

    In Witten & Bad Meinberg

    Our two new affiliate teachers reside both in Germany. Soon I will link to their respective yoga pages and bios but for now you can know that Lalita Devi just graduated from the English TTC we just had in Bad Meinberg and Vivekananda is a long time yoga teacher and we know each other since the mid nineties or so, back in Los Angeles. LA yogis may remember him as Misha.

    More posts to this blog coming soon.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Improved View By Section Or By Author

    published on Sun. Jun. 3rd, '07 by Swami Atma

    For those of you who don't know we (I) have created the whole programming for this site from scratch. This is the case for the main pages, the glossary, this blog, the upcoming store and everything else.

    Anyway I just improved this blog software a bit by showing the full text and photos of each post when you select a specific author or topic section.

    Unfortunately I was unable to paginate results coming from the sections so some of them have LOTS of posts. Oh well, it's still easier to go through all posts of a specific section than before.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Flower Essence Therapy

    published on Mon. May. 21st, '07 by Sita Chaitanya

    In England during the 1930's, Dr. Edward Bach developed Flower Essence Therapy. This healing therapy captures the vibrational essence of whole flowers in pure water by using sunlight and fresh air.

    Trained as a medical doctor, Dr. Bach came to believe through his practice that certain negative emotional states of people seemed to correspond with certain diseases, and that homeopathic treatments were better able to help the mental state of the person than could traditional medicine.

    To understand how flower essences work requires a recognition that the human being is more than a physical body, but also incorporates a "body" of life energy, a "body" of sensitivity and feelings, and a spiritual essence or Self. Flower essences are energetic imprints of the life force of plants which interact with these subtle bodies of the human being, and evoke specific qualities within us.

    Generally, flower essence therapy is designed to help people work with mental and emotional issues. By studying the form and function of flowering plants, Dr. Bach was able to determine a corresponding relationship to various mental and emotional states in people.

    He found that the vibrational essence of certain flowers resonates with these mental and emotional states, so if you administer the appropriate flower essence a person can rectify personal patterns of imbalance in their lives, replacing negative mental and emotional states with positive ones and curing or preventing disease.

    Cerato - flower essence for intuition, self-confidence

    Over the course of many years work, Dr. Bach was able to identify 38 flower essences which are still being used today. They cover a whole range of emotional and mental states such as trust and confidence, tolerance, patience, spiritual surrender, selfless love, joyous service, etc.

    There are many websites where you can get more information, such as The Original Bach Flower Essences and the Flower Essence Services who have gone on to develop a number of additional flower essences using the same techniques as Dr. Bach. Over the years there are many people who claim to have benefitted from this therapy.

    The understanding of the Unity of all things: that the Creator of all things is Love, and that everything of which we are conscious is in all its infinite number of forms a manifestation of that Love, whether it be a planet or a pebble, a star or a dewdrop, man or the lowest form of life.

    Dr. Bach, Heal Thyself

    Posted in: General - Positive News | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    On True Progress

    published on Mon. May. 14th, '07 by Swami Atma
    Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things. Russell Baker

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    More Flushes

    published on Thu. Apr. 26th, '07 by Swami Atma

    When the fight for the environment goes against the environment on top of inconveniencing users.

    Because of the increase in the number of 'double flushes' the introduction of the so-called "low flow" toilets has actually increased water consumption.
    funny airport sign

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Relative World Maps

    published on Mon. Apr. 23rd, '07 by Swami Atma

    Here is something fun and instructive. A world map drawn according to the relative population of each country.

    There are other such maps as well. The carbon emission map might be the most shocking.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Mount St. Helens Volcanic Eruption

    published on Wed. Feb. 28th, '07 by Swami Atma

    Powerful animation.

    Mount St. Helens eruption

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    All Posts Are Reformatted

    published on Mon. Feb. 26th, '07 by Swami Atma

    I have finally completed the reformatting of every single post from this blog.

    It was a long (about 20 hours) and tedious job but it was worth it. Now all posts are formatted according to clean html standard and they all look the way I want them to.

    Biggest perk; Content is now totally separated from design for the entire web site and the blog which means further design makeovers will be a piece of cake. Just a change to the style sheets and templates.

    Enough self-congratulating, now on to find cool things to blog about.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Understanding The Size of Our Planet

    published on Sun. Feb. 25th, '07 by Swami Atma

    This is a very nice series of photos illustrating the sizes of our planet and sun and relation to the rest of the universe.

    size of planets

    Posted in: Nice Photos - General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Miniature Earth - Expand Your Awareness

    published on Wed. Feb. 21st, '07 by Swami Atma

    Sometimes it's good to put things in perspective. It can truly change our world view. The 'Miniature Earth' animation does just that.

    miniature earth snapshot

    And if you want to feel how lucky you really are, visit the site 'how rich are you?'

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Live Search Across the Board

    published on Fri. Feb. 16th, '07 by Swami Atma

    I have just finished implementing the live search engines for all main sections of the site. From now on it's possible to access any content in fractions of second for:

    • this blog - you can try it by typing something on the 'live search' field on the right side and watch the magic
    • the content yoga pages - focused on the teachings and the AYA activities
    • the Sanskrit glossary - to quickly look up words

    Of all web 2.0's bells and whistles this feature is my favorite and, I think, the most useful AJAX implementation.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    No Comments

    published on Wed. Feb. 14th, '07 by Swami Atma

    There is something unusual on this blog. There are no comments at all.

    A reason for this is that I did not transfer the comments from the old server. It would take a lot of work partly because it would involve transferring the users who authored each comment.

    At the time of implementing the new comment system I realized that we had few comments on the first 300 posts.

    Obviously there is really good value to get enriching comments but if you look at many blogs on the internet I'm not sure this advantage outweighs the inconvenient of dealing with spam, logically flawed arguments, and other kinds.

    I need to say here that these remarks do NOT apply to the comments posted on this blog in the time of the old server.

    In the near future we might direct all comments to a new AYA discussion forum.

    If you have any remarks about this post or the blog in general you can always contact me via my contact page.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    I Design Web Sites for Food & Board

    published on Tue. Feb. 13th, '07 by Swami Atma

    In the last few years I haven't had a fixed home and have been moving on from place to place teaching yoga and taking teaching breaks in between, often times staying with students/friends.

    During this last break I took advantage of the time to design a web site for my good friend Laurent who was hosting me and who is a champion and teacher of billiard Carambole.

    I helped him create a site and blog. Below is the screen for his site.

    Laurent Guenet's web site

    Laurent offers in-depth lessons for all level of students on his blog and he even illustrates some of them with videos.

    It has been fun working on this project.

    A few years ago I worked on another interesting site for Yogini Carol Guze, who happens to be a professor of biology and genetics.

    This site has become a reference for quite a few biology students around the world and below are two screen captures of her site as well

    Carol Guze's home page

    Above is the splash page and below is an introduction lecture.

    a genetics into lecture

    Incidentally this lecture features Gregor Mendel, considered the father of genetics and who happened to be a monk with an inquisitive mind. Science and Spirituality can, did, do and will work together for the benefits of all.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    What to Expect

    published on Mon. Feb. 12th, '07 by Swami Atma

    Looking Back

    Today is a good day.

    This blog is mostly transfered and reprogrammed properly. Most old posts are reformatted but some remain to be done

    At this point I want to thank Sita Chaitanya for co-designing the new AYA web site, transferring many of its pages onto the new database, making the Itrans for the glossary entries and overall beta testing the whole thing.

    Looking Forward

    I intend to publish lots of content. I have many things in store for you all.

    There will be some high quality yoga posts of course but a lot of educative worldly posts as well a a good number of entertaining ones.

    I will go myself at the source of interesting stuff on the net by going directly to Digg and YouTube. I'll sort out the good stuff for you.

    I will keep putting energy into finding positive and bright piece of news as well, much needed in our troubled times.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Entertaining Video

    published on Mon. Feb. 12th, '07 by Swami Atma

    Lots of skill involved in this performance.

    little flying plane

    Watch the amazing clip here!

    Posted in: General - Jokes & Fun | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    This Time It's For Real

    published on Thu. Feb. 8th, '07 by Swami Atma

    After a 7-month interruption I'm about to start seriously blogging again.

    It's a long story but for the last several months I have been learning web programming and that led me to transfer the whole AYA web site to a brand-new database-driven Rails system and this blog is now been integrated with it.

    Soon I'll publish my vision for the blog. It will be pretty much similar to before but better.

    And for good measure, a nice photo from Tibet.

    Tibetan grasslands


    Posted in: General - Nice Photos | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    This Blog is Back. Well, Sort Of

    published on Mon. Jul. 24th, '06 by Swami Atma

    It took me a month to figure out how to restore the database and reactivate the blog.

    All the data was succesfully restored from the server's hard disk failure but I still need to fix a few things.

    At the time of this writing the header and a couple of other graphics and functions don't function well.

    Thank you for your patience.

    I will start posting actually interesting and fun things as soon as I fix these bugs.

    Posted in: General - Traveling Journal | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    $1 for a bag of airline pretzels?

    published on Mon. Apr. 17th, '06 by Swami Atma
    Ask for a pillow and blanket to help get through a long flight and you may be out of luck. Or you may be able to buy a "comfort package" from Air Canada for $2.

    There seems to be an ongoing thread about 'traveling rants' in this blog. This is the latest installment.

    Another excerpt here:

    Carol Mundt, a retiree who lives in the Washington area, travels frequently for visits and vacations. She heard about Northwest's new seat assignment charges.

    "I was appalled that they would charge me for my aisle seat," she said while waiting to pick up a friend at Washington's Reagan National Airport.

    Please read the whole story here.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Bar Sweep Sparks Controversy

    published on Wed. Apr. 12th, '06 by Swami Atma

    This happened in Texas.

    TABC agents and Irving police swept through 36 Irving bars and arrested about 30 people on charges of public intoxication. Agency representatives say the move came as a proactive measure to curtail drunken driving.

    After proactive war comes proactive arrests!

    People got actually arrested for drinking in a bar. :-)

    Some of the suspects said they were registered at the hotel and had no intention of driving. Arresting authorities said the patrons were a danger to themselves and others.

    Please read the whole story here.

    Posted in: General - Jokes & Fun - Politics | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Good Quote

    published on Sat. Apr. 1st, '06 by Swami Atma
    People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. Soren Kierkegaard

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Saw a Movie Star

    published on Wed. Mar. 29th, '06 by Swami Atma

    A couple days ago, while taking my morning walk in Venice, I saw somebody I knew. I made eye contact to determine whether he was a yoga student or somebody else I knew but realized quite fast that although I knew him, he did not know me. It was famous actor John Leguizamo.

    He was taking a walk with child and dog, very relaxed.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Hamburg in Spring Time

    published on Thu. Mar. 16th, '06 by radha rani

    Not quite like the Switzerland photos on the blog, but quite spectacular for the flat Northern Germany 10 days before the official start of Spring!

    Hamburg at mid-March
    Taken a few days ago.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Collonges sous Sal

    published on Wed. Mar. 15th, '06 by Swami Atma

    Collonges & the Sal
      <p class=Posted in: General - Traveling Journal - Nice Photos | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Oil Well Photos

    published on Tue. Mar. 14th, '06 by Swami Atma

    This is what we saw on our drive back from Houston to Austin.

    Oil well in a field

    Oil well by the road in Texas

    Although it's a big state and most don't realize the richness of its culture some things in Texas are as you imagine them to be.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Amazing Photos from Switzerland

    published on Fri. Mar. 3rd, '06 by Swami Atma

    It's almost too late to post these photos. There were taken in a small town of Switzerland near Geneva.

    The shots are stunning even though the picture technical quality is weak.

    Snow in Versoix

    Snow in Versoix

    Please see the web page with many more photos here.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink


    published on Wed. Mar. 1st, '06 by Swami Atma
    The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion, 1926

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Customizing the Clock

    published on Tue. Feb. 7th, '06 by Swami Atma

    New feature of this website. So far the clock on the right side was always set on the time in Austin, TX, site of the AYA headquarters.

    Since this is a personal blog and that some readers may be interested to know where I am, from now on I will make it a habit to change the location and, if necessary, the timezone whenever I get somewhere.

    Obviously nobody knows where Collonges sous Saleve is but photos and a post should come soon.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    I May Be Back

    published on Mon. Feb. 6th, '06 by Swami Atma

    It has almost been a week since I have arrived near Geneva. All this time it has been a nightmare trying to connect to the internet via a friend's DSL connection.

    I may have succeeded in doing it reliably. If so the publication of blog entries will resume tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Winter in Berlin

    published on Thu. Jan. 19th, '06 by Swami Atma

    Lietzen Lake - improvised hockey game

    When I saw the snow yesterday I asked a friend: 'but i thought it was not going to snow until the end of the week?'
    To this the response was: 'but it just snowed a little bit'!

    Meanwhile folks go to the lake with their brooms to push the snow around and make little ice rinks everywhere.

    I do realize two things:
    1) To many people living in cold countries this is no big deal but it made my day to take a walk on the lake. I can say that I did walk on water but unfortunately pranayama had nothing to do with it.
    2) I don't want to seem to be complaining since they are having a really severe Arctic cold front in Western Russia right now.

    Another View

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    A Last Look at Basel

    published on Mon. Jan. 16th, '06 by Swami Atma

    Just before leaving Switzerland I went to Basel a last time to take a walk through the old town, small Basel and by the Rhine. Here are the photos.

    A big feature of both Basel and Liestal, I think, is the way they have painted and decorated the city halls. I'm not sure whether this is a typical 'Swiss' thing as it does not seem to be the case all over Switzerland but it's a regional feature as it appears that some towns in Southern Germany and may be in Austria have the same types of city halls.

    I don't know how to explain it so I'll just show the few photos I took and that I like.

    Basel City Hall
    Basel City Hall

    Different angle
    Another angle

    And a few close-ups:


    another close-upl

    close-up again

    a last one

    And a last one for today: the majestic Rhine

    the Rhine

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    What's Wrong With This Picture?

    published on Wed. Jan. 11th, '06 by Swami Atma

    flight invoice with big taxes

    Lately it's not the first time that, when booking a flight, the taxes and fees total to a much higher amount than the flight itself.

    I guess we have to pay a prime fee for the chance to be treated like criminals when trying to get on board. But what about terrorists, you might ask?

    Well I'll answer this question with another: how much are we ready to tolerate in terms of inconvenience, wasted time, facing rudeness and lack of consideration, and paying huge taxes for the sake of lowering our risk of blowing up in the air from 0.0000002% to 0.0000001% ?

    Granted, I don't know the exact figures but my point is that the chances to crash and die in an accident or from a terrorist attack were pretty low before and they are not nil now.

    May be I'm just in a bad mood because I'm about to fly a few times over the next few weeks.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Football Star to Take Advanced Yoga Teachers Training Course

    published on Tue. Jan. 10th, '06 by Swami Atma

    Ricky Williams
    not your typical yoga teacher

    For those who don't know Ricky Williams is a major NFL (American Football) star.

    In a move that most people, including me, had not understood he took a year off in the middle of his career. It turns out that he enrolled in the Ayurveda College in Nevada City, California.

    Since that ayurveda school is located only a few miles from the Sivananda ashram in Grass Valley I knew he was going to go to the Sivananda ashram there.

    Well I learned from this 'Sports Illustrated' article that Swami Sita became his guru!
    He then took the Sivananda Teachers Training Course, then started playing football again and played quite well, especially at the end of the season.

    Now for the off season break he's going for more by taking the Sivananda ATTC in India.

    ... Williams said. “ In the old days, it would be about going out and looking for something, but I’ve really turned my thoughts and focus inward toward improving myself as much as possible.”

    To that end, Williams already has signed up for a month of study in India in what he called 'an advanced teacher's course.'
    It's all the stuff I did before, just harder, Williams said with his trademark grin.

    Posted in: General - Yoga | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    U.S. Opening Some Private Mail

    published on Tue. Jan. 10th, '06 by Swami Atma
    He said he was shocked and amazed that the letter -- which he received last month from another retired history professor with whom he has corresponded for 50 years -- had been screened.

    No comments.

    Please read ful article here.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Christmas Hymn by Paul Gerhard

    published on Wed. Jan. 4th, '06 by Swami Atma

    Ok so I'm a bit late to post this.

    These are two verses of a Chirstmas hymn called "Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier" and authored by Paul Gerhard.

    Many thanks to Bernhard Ennemoser for translating and sending us these two verses.

    I do behold thee rapturously but shall ne'er wholly fathom thee and sadly no more I can and be than keep and stand here adoringly. Oh, that my mind an abysse be my longing soul a vast, wide sea that may be wholly filled with thee.

    One thing, I hope , my saviour, you me will not deny, that I may carry thee in and with me to my own soul nigh, and let me be thine little manger small. So come, yes come and lay in my heart first thyself and then thine blisses all.

    baby jesus

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Happy New Year

    published on Sun. Jan. 1st, '06 by Swami Atma

    I would like to wish you a very happy new year. May 2006 bring you health, peace, prosperity, happiness and spiritual liberation.

    Downtown Liestal

    Posted in: General - Nice Photos | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Readership Higher Than Expected

    published on Wed. Dec. 28th, '05 by Swami Atma

    Truthfully in the first few months of maintaining this blog I thought only a couple people would read it but every so often I have been getting feedback about it, mostly through e-mail.

    This gave me an inkling that more people were reading it than I thought.

    A couple weeks ago I decided to add a counter to the sidebar and to the permalinks and it turns out there are 80 to 90 visits per day. This means probably between 40 and 50 visitors on a given day and since I assume most people come only occasionally, there must be well over 100 casual readers.

    To all of you, thank you. and feel free to leave comments to the posts.

    It's actually fun to do this, especially finding good photos which are more or less related to the post in question. If the photo is not directly related then I try at least to find one that is pretty, or interesting in some way.

    one of kind tulipe
    This to honor each individual reader in the crowd

    Talk about unrelated photos! :-)

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    New Phone Number

    published on Tue. Dec. 27th, '05 by Swami Atma

    As I'm still in the process of moving to Europe I had to get a new European-based cell phone. This means that in a couple days my previous cell phone number will not be valid anymore.

    Tomorrow I'll be sending an e-mail to many who have my ex phone number and tell them the new number. If you don't get that e-mail please send me a message via the web site or e-mail to request the new number from me.

    Thanks for your cooperation as I want to stay in touch with everyone.

    cell phone wallpaper
    At least the phone's got an inspiring wallpaper image

    Fittingly the phone carrier is called "Orange".

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Don't Forget To Adjust Your Clocks Sunday Night

    published on Tue. Dec. 27th, '05 by Swami Atma

    I did not know they did that but every so often the duration of a given year is modified by one second as explained in this story.

    Deciding when to introduce a leap second is the responsibility of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, a standards-setting body. Under an international pact, the preference for leap seconds is December 31 or June 30.

    Earth Rotation is slowing down.
    The Earth rotation is slowing down

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Quote on Argumenting

    published on Sun. Dec. 25th, '05 by Swami Atma
    It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument. William G. McAdoo

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Merry Christmas

    published on Sat. Dec. 24th, '05 by Swami Atma

    I would like to wish you all a Merry, Merry Christmas.

    And as a special Christmas gift is this link to an entertaining video (a new twist on Christmas decorations). This link was sent by Sita.

    Santa Claus

    Posted in: General - Traveling Journal | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Where is God?

    published on Thu. Dec. 22nd, '05 by Swami Atma

    According to Lord Krishna Himself, He says in the Bhagavad Gita ...


    I am the sweet fragrance in earth and the brilliance in fire, the life in all beings; and I am austerity in ascetics.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    On The Proper Attitude in Life

    published on Thu. Dec. 22nd, '05 by Swami Atma
    Be thou in this world as though you are a passer-by on the road, or like a lotus in the water. Swami Sivananda

    In case you don't know, the lotus rests in the water however it's never wet. Water glides on its leaves and never stays on them or wet them.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Raga Dvesha Example

    published on Wed. Dec. 21st, '05 by Swami Atma

    One thing I like about Western Europe. Since, compared to Texas, California or other places I have spent much time at, it's closer to the North Pole the days in Summer time are very long. With the daylight savings time that makes for long evenings and if you are at the edge of the very broad European time zone like my home town in Normandy it's even more so. Darkness doesn't come until 11 pm or something.

    Something I don't like so much about Western Europe. For the same reasons the days are very short in the Winter. With overcast weather, not a rarity, it's still dark at 8:30am and by 4pm you feel it's all over. So most people who work regular hours rarely see the light of day.

    Truly I don't really care that much about it but it's fun to notice the change. One thing for sure is that it could be worse. I could be staying in Northern Sweden or Northern Alaska!

    By the way, one of my too many desires would be to see the Midnight Sun in July in Northern Sweden. Who knows? It may happen someday.

    Midnight Sun in Norway
    The way of the sun in the "night" of the 5./6. july 2005 between 23.00 pm and 01.45 am in Uttakleiv on the Lofoten-islands in the north of norway. Composite of 12 exposures made every 15 minutes.

    Posted in: General - Nice Photos | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Nice View

    published on Mon. Dec. 19th, '05 by Swami Atma
    View from my room
    View from my room a couple days ago in the morning.

    Posted in: General - Nice Photos | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Good Quote by Michelangelo

    published on Mon. Dec. 19th, '05 by Swami Atma
    The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. Michelangelo
    climber and edelweiss flower
    climber and edelweiss flower

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Good Quotes

    published on Thu. Dec. 8th, '05 by Swami Atma
    oak tree
    Where all think alike, no one thinks very much. Walter Lippmann

    and another one ...

    Men can know more than their ancestors did if they start with a knowledge of what their ancestors had already learned....That is why a society can be progressive only if it conserves its traditions. Walter Lippmann

    Posted in: General - Nice Photos | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Calling a Free Number and Talking to a Human Right Away

    published on Thu. Dec. 8th, '05 by Swami Atma

    Wouldn't it be nice, huh? Guess what? It's possible with the IVR Cheat Sheet by Paul English

    The default list is for companies in the US but there is a link to a resource page for other countries as well.

    Waiting for operator
    Waiting for operator for hours? No more!

    Bookmark this link.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    There is No Better Gift for the Holidays

    published on Mon. Dec. 5th, '05 by Swami Atma
    Oxfam web page

    With the holidays coming up everyone's thinking of what to buy and for some of us, :-) , what to receive as well.

    The truth is that many of us have more than we need and our life would benefit most by sharing with the less privileged. A good way to do that is to create a charity gift "wish list".

    How does this work? You make a wish list at this site and tell your loved ones of what you want for Christmas/Hannukah.

    Link provided by Radha from Hamburg.

    Posted in: General - Yoga | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Inspiring Quote

    published on Mon. Dec. 5th, '05 by Swami Atma
    To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Just put religion and spirituality aside for a moment. If everybody tried to live up to this quote the world would be a better place.

    smilie laughing

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Meat and Unmeat at the Same Time

    published on Fri. Dec. 2nd, '05 by Swami Atma

    I'm not sure what to think of this except that it does not sound good at all.

    What is cultured meat?
    Cultured meat is meat produced in vitro, in a cell culture, rather than from an animal. The production of cultured meat begins by taking a number of cells from a farm animal and proliferating them in a nutrient-rich medium. Cells are capable of multiplying so many times in culture that, in theory, a single cell could be used to produce enough meat to feed the global population for a year. After the cells are multiplied, they are attached to a sponge-like "scaffold" and soaked with nutrients. They may also be mechanically stretched to increase their size and protein content. The resulting cells can then be harvested, seasoned, cooked, and consumed as a boneless, processed meat, such as sausage, hamburger, or chicken nuggets.

    Full article here.


    Contributed by Sita.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    A Time Waster

    published on Thu. Dec. 1st, '05 by Swami Atma

    Now this is a BIG time waster. A modern version of the old classic. The URL says it all:

    ping pong game

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink


    published on Mon. Nov. 28th, '05 by Swami Atma
    Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine. Sir Arthur Eddington
    View from satellite. Europe at twilight
    View from satellite. Europe at twilight - Please click on photo for enlarged version

    Photo sent to us by Sarasvati from Houston.

    This amazing photo comes with the following explanation.

    The photograph attached was taken by the crew on board the Columbia during its last mission, on a cloudless day.

    The picture is of Europe and Africa when the sun is setting. Half of the picture is in night. The bright dots you see are the cities lights. The top part of Africa is the Sahara Desert. Note that the lights are already on in Holland, Paris, and Barcelona, and that's it's still daylight in Dublin, London, Lisbon, and Madrid.

    The sun is still shining on the Strait of Gibraltar. The Mediterranean Sea is already in darkness. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you can see the Azores Islands; below them to the right are the Madeira Islands; a bit below are the Canary Islands; and further South, close to the farthest western point of Africa, are the Cape Verde islands. Note that the Sahara is huge and can be seen clearly both during Daytime and night time. To the left, on top, is Greenland, totally frozen.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink


    published on Thu. Nov. 17th, '05 by Swami Atma
    Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    The Best Country in the World

    published on Mon. Nov. 7th, '05 by Swami Atma

    ... and getting better every day!

    The FBI came calling in Windsor, Conn., this summer with a document marked for delivery by hand. On Matianuk Avenue, across from the tennis courts, two special agents found their man. They gave George Christian the letter, which warned him to tell no one, ever, what it said.

    Under the shield and stars of the FBI crest, the letter directed Christian to surrender "all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person" who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away. Christian, who manages digital records for three dozen Connecticut libraries, said in an affidavit that he configures his system for privacy. But the vendors of the software he operates said their databases can reveal the Web sites that visitors browse, the e-mail accounts they open and the books they borrow.

    Christian refused to hand over those records, ...

    Read full article here.
    The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Yoga Retreat in Spain

    published on Sat. Oct. 15th, '05 by Swami Atma

    I just finished the web pages for the yoga retreat taking place in Spain this coming June.

    The retreat's pool
    The retreat's pool

    Posted in: General - Traveling Journal | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    The World Clock

    published on Mon. Oct. 10th, '05 by Swami Atma

    If you want to know what time it is, anywhere!

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Closing the Loop. Rewilding the US

    published on Wed. Aug. 17th, '05 by Swami Atma

    In an interesting twist of fate a number of modern scientists are seriously suggesting to repopulate a good part of the US with wild animals such as cheetahs, elephants, camels, lions etc.

    The idea seems wild but may make sense. Good food for thought.

    Full article here.

    "If we only have 10 minutes to present this idea, people think we're nuts," admits Harry Greene, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. "But if people hear the one-hour version, they realize they haven't thought about this as much as we have.
    African Lion

    Cheetahs, woolly mammoths and relatives of the camel were just a few of the large mammals that roamed America during the Pleistocene era, which ended 10,000 years ago as the last Ice Age retreated. Studies have shown that their demise was due largely to hunting by humans, not from climate change, as one theory held.

    Their absence has altered the biodiversity of the continent and potentially the evolution of other animals. Large prey such the antelope like pronghorn of the Southwest evolved lightning speed over millions of years to escape cheetahs, for example.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Shuttle Coming Back

    published on Tue. Aug. 9th, '05 by Swami Atma

    Personally I don't think the shuttle flying again is such a big news and drama as it is reported but I think this photo looks really cool.

    Shuttel in the air

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    My Favorite Thing About Germany

    published on Wed. Jul. 20th, '05 by Swami Atma

    First of all I grew up in France so I heard a lot of bad things about Germans and Germany while growing up. A result of several wars between the two countries. What I think is cool these days is that Germany and France have become truly allies and friends on many levels: politically and diplomatically of course but also culturally. There is no more German bashing in France except the occasional joke and I believe the reverse is quite true.

    Unfortunately when many people from around the world think of Germany they keep thinking about Hitler and the Nazis very much like saying the words "I live in Chicago" in Europe ellicits the knee-jerk answer: Al Capone. Hello! Al Capone has been dead for a long, long time and so has Hitler. Bringing back the Nazi issue every time Germany is mentioned is equivalent to bringing back slavery and the disastrous treatment of Native Americans in US history every time a positive aspect of American Society is discussed. It's intellectually weak.

    Forest Path
    This is not in Germany. Could not find a photo with very dense forest not looking like the rainforest.

    This being said my overall impression of Germany from the previous years has been much strengthened this year and that is: the abundance of woods and forests everywhere. In many cases, woods were part of city planning for ever and certainly since the beginning of the major expansion of cities in the 19th Century. As a result it feels that wherever you are you don't have to go far at all to be in woods and wilderness. For a long, long time reforestation has taken place vigourously and every 20 years there are more trees and woods in the country than two decades ago. I think it's cool and contributes to a good quality of life.

    While walking in Bad Meinberg last week I stumbled onto one of those visual maps where mountains and nature are represented, it turns out that most of the country (except for the Northern Part) is covered with woods. I understand this post may have made for boring reading but I needed to share this.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Vedantic Sadhana

    published on Thu. Jun. 9th, '05 by Swami Atma

    Warning!!! This is not for everyone.

    While under the influence of Maya the jiva (individual) tends to think he will live for ever. This incurs a false sense of security and satisfaction and prevents him from being as eager doing his sadhana as he should. Swami Sivananda and many sages tell us that the secret of wisdom is to live your day as if it were the last of this lifetime. In other words one should keep in mind the ephemeral nature of this existence. What better way to do this than with the death clock?!?

    The death clock guestimates one's death date and give a countdown in seconds. The clock's address is:

    Below are my stats! :-)

    Swami Atma's death clock

    I better increase my pranayama sadhana to push the date back some.

    Posted in: General - Jokes & Fun - Yoga | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Going to Hawaii. Again!!!

    published on Thu. Jun. 9th, '05 by Swami Atma

    I'd say I have got a pretty good karma after all.

    After going to Hawaii (Big Island) for the first time at New Years, I get to go again tomorrow for a 10-day program with Yogarasa.

    This time the retreat will take place at the Tara Yoga Center which is also located on the big island. Among other things I'm looking forward to swim with the dolphins. Again! Yes I already had a chance to swim with none other than movie star "flipper". Iwas told it was actually one of the two dolphins which they used in the movie. Anyway, this time it will be a dolphin from the Pacific as opposed to the Caribbean.


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    The Sun May Be Good For You!?!

    published on Sun. May. 22nd, '05 by Swami Atma

    When it comes to health precepts I'm sometimes quite a contrarian and of course I enjoy running into stories that validate my bizarre beliefs. So that's why this article peaked my interest.

    Many people aren't getting enough vitamin D. It's hard to do from food and fortified milk alone, and supplements are problematic.

    So the thinking is this: Even if too much sun leads to skin cancer, which is rarely deadly, too little sun may be worse.

    No one is suggesting that people fry on a beach. But many scientists believe that "safe sun" - 15 minutes or so a few times a week without sunscreen - is not only possible but helpful to health.

    Please read the whole article. It's quite interesting.

    In Europe it's conventional wisdom, and everybody knows about it, that one should get sun exposure but preferably in the mornings and late afternoons, when the sun is not as high and is therefore less dangerous for our skin. I never hear about this here in the US of A.

    Swiss Alps

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Yoda & Yoga

    published on Thu. May. 19th, '05 by Swami Atma

    Coinciding with the release of the latest Star Wars movie I stumbled upon this article that explores the influence of yoga and Hinduism on Star Wars' director, George Lucas.

    The Bhagavad-Gita may well have been Yoda's manual for teaching Luke Skywalker the way of the Jedi.

    This does not even explore obvious similarities such as "the force" and "prana/shakti", etc.

    Posted in: General - Yoga | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Why Worry about Weather in Space?

    published on Mon. May. 16th, '05 by Swami Atma

    As if it were not enough to worry about the weather in our neck of the woods, we also need to worry about how space weather affects our lives in this modern world.

    This article found at is telling us about the latest geomagnetic storm.

    The Sun
    Possible impacts from such a geomagnetic storm include widespread power system voltage control problems; some grid systems may experience complete collapse or blackouts. Transformers may experience damage. Spacecraft operations may experience extensive surface charging; problems with orientation; uplink/downlink and tracking satellites. Satellite navigation may be degraded for days, and low-frequency radio navigation can be out for hours. Reports received by the NOAA Space Environment Center indicate that such impacts have been observed in the United States.

    So much for finding my way with my GPS navigator.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    What the US Were Like a 100 Years Ago

    published on Sun. May. 15th, '05 by Swami Atma

    Interesting story I found on the net. I don't know how accurate all this info is. Anybody cares to comment?

    THE YEAR 1904

    Maybe this will boggle your mind, I know it did mine! The year is 1904. One hundred and one years ago. What a difference a century makes!

    Here are some of the U.S. statistics for 1904:

    • The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
    • Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
    • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
    • A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
    • There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
    • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
    • Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.
    • With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
    • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
    • The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour.
    • The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
    • A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
    • a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year.
    • A mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
    • More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
    • Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education.
    • Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as 'substandard'.
    • Sugar cost four cents a pound.
    • Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
    • Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
    • Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
    • Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
    • The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
      1. Pneumonia and influenza
      2. Tuberculosis
      3. Diarrhea
      4. Heart disease
      5. Stroke
    • The American flag had 45 stars.
    • Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
    • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30!!!
    • Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
    • There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
    • Two of 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write.
    • Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school.
    • Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores.
    • According to one pharmacist, 'Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.' (Shocking!)
    • Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic.
    • There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.

    And I forwarded this from someone else without typing it myself, and sent it to you in a matter of seconds! Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years .. it staggers the mind.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    On the New Pope

    published on Tue. Apr. 19th, '05 by Swami Atma

    Ok, they just chose the new pope and it prompted a few thoughts. I grew up catholic and even though I haven't gone to mass for what seems like ever I still feel it's part of my identity.

    First of all I have no idea whether the new pope will be a good pope or not. I don't even know what "good" pope means. It means different things to different people.

    New Pope Photo

    Although I did not feel very strongly about it I was secretly hoping that a cardinal from the developing world would be elected. The church is strongest in South America, Asia and other parts of the world, it would have made sense to me to elect a cardinal from those regions.

    As for the new pope, Benedict XVI, he is described as many as very conservative in his views and even has been less than tolerant in some of his actions towards other religions, Christian branches and spiritual paths. This of course does not endear him to yogis but I like to remain open-minded and see what will happen with time.

    There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction in the US against the label "traditionalist". Many open critics of the current and former popes seems to think that the church should just get along with the modern world.

    The problem is that many of those critics have no religious or spiritual backgrounds and take for granted that everything that science, capitalism and materialism brought to the world is essentially good. Issues such as decline of morality and dharma (righteousness) seem to them to be irrelevant and purely abscract concepts.

    From the standpoint of spirituality dharma, ethics and morality are more important to the welfare of society and the world than any other factor. Just think about it before dismissing this argument.

    This being said I wish the church would adjust its views on finding practical ways to combat AIDS throughout the world and to balance out their views in a number of subjects.

    In the meantime we should all try to be better people. If all Christians tried to be better Christians, Jews to be better Jews and Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Yogis, etc. tried to be better Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Yogis, etc. the world would be a much better place. Same can be said of atheists and agnostics, they can contribute better to the world by applying themselves to be decent, moral individuals.

    Amen. Om.

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    Web Site Redesign

    published on Thu. Apr. 7th, '05 by Swami Atma

    My main karma yoga lately has still been to prepare for the MTTC but following the start of this blog I became very interested in the latest techniques of web design, especially the advances use of CSS.

    So I have been working on a complete redesign of the home page.

    At first there will just be little visible improvements but by changing my template for the whole site and by updating all the pages I expect to reap the following advantages:

    1. No more tables, therefore ...
    2. The pages will load much faster
    3. More flexibility in design for easier future transformations
    4. Strict adherence to XHTML and CSS standards so that pages will look good on future browsers no matter what
    5. More attractive design without sacrificing speed. CSS allows to create colorful and elegant rollover menus with very little code and no images. I will use this on the main menu on left of page, the context menus on the right side and some tabs for the top menus. Same idea for quotes, photo albums as well as other features.

    Posted in: General - Traveling Journal | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    On Theory & Practice

    published on Tue. Apr. 5th, '05 by Swami Atma
    In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, theory and practice are different.

    I just found this saying in a book and I thought it was very clever therefore I wanted to share it.

    It might be well known but it's new to me.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    World Resources Running Out

    published on Wed. Mar. 30th, '05 by Swami Atma

    So much for good news. A few weeks into writing this blog I'm still struggling to find positive news items but there is plenty of depressing ones.

    Anyway the environment being so important check out this article from the Guardian.

    The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.

    The study contains what its authors call "a stark warning" for the entire world. The wetlands, forests, savannahs, estuaries, coastal fisheries and other habitats that recycle air, water and nutrients for all living creatures are being irretrievably damaged. In effect, one species is now a hazard to the other 10 million or so on the planet, and to itself.

    "Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," it says.

    What will it take for us to really look for solutions and change our ways?

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Two Amazing Optical Illusions

    published on Sun. Mar. 20th, '05 by Swami Atma

    According to Advaita Vedanta this world is illusory in nature. However we are fooled by our mind and senses to take the perception as reality. If you think your senses are totally reliable check out the following two examples:

    First the almonds. Keep in mind this is a "still" image. The movement is illusory.

    Created by Akiyoshi Kitaoka. More of his works here.

    Now check out the unbelievable checker illusion:

    illusion of shadows

    Both squares, A and B, are of the same shade of gray.

    You can read the proof and detailed explanation there.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    A Very Disturbing True Story

    published on Fri. Mar. 18th, '05 by Swami Atma

    This blog is fascinating. It makes for riveting reading but at the same time it's very difficult to stomach.

    A first-hand account of a 15-year old experience in a 63-day "tough love" camp for troubled teenagers that took place in 1989.

    The anecdotes are horrific but the writing style is exceptional.

    You need to read the stories in order. Here is the link to part 1. As of today she has written 10 installments.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Pen Spinning at its Best

    published on Mon. Mar. 14th, '05 by Swami Atma

    Apparently these people are not always focused at work. This is called pen spinning.

    This time you need to turn the volume DOWN, unless you don't mind the rajasic music.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Relief for Non-profits

    published on Mon. Mar. 14th, '05 by Swami Atma

    I needed to buy some expensive piece of software for the Advaita Yoga Ashrama (AYA).

    Turns out the program costs over $1,000 retail price. Ouch. After doing a bit of research we found out that the manufacturer could sell us the program at about half price because AYA is a registered 501(c)3 corporation.

    Our research led us to find other specialized foundation-like web sites where they redistribute donated software to non-profits for a very low fee.

    So if you are running or working for a non-profit, make sure you get informed before purchasing.

    Posted in: Computers - General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Where Are We Going?

    published on Fri. Mar. 11th, '05 by Swami Atma

    You want to feel rich? Check out the US National Debt Clock. Chances are that in comparison, your finances are in good shape.

    The fun thing to do, although very sad in some ways, is to hit the reload button and see the debt grow under your eyes.

    Current debt at time of posting

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    The Earth at Night

    published on Wed. Feb. 23rd, '05 by Swami Atma

    Another Amazing NASA Image:

    Earth at night

    Click to see the whole thing. If you have a large screen, maximize the window.

    It turns out traditional lights are a waste of money and energy by sending light up instead of directing it where we want it. Furthermore it spoils star gazing. If you would like to know about more efficient lighting, check out

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Stunning Space Images

    published on Wed. Feb. 23rd, '05 by Swami Atma

    Stunning images taken by the Hubble Telescope

    Sample image

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    Water for Thought

    published on Wed. Feb. 23rd, '05 by Swami Atma

    Glug! You may be drinking too much water

    This is something I have been believing for a long time. Again, it's all about moderation.

    A: No. Water is essential, but there's no need to mega-water our bodies. The body has a built-in way of controlling hydration and telling us how much we should drink. It's called thirst.

    Posted in: General | comments disabled (?) | Permalink

    About this Blog

    published on Tue. Feb. 22nd, '05 by Swami Atma

    I have created this blog as a way to keep in touch with the many friends and students who are kind enough to ask me for news occasionally.

    Truth be told while on the phone or by e-mail there are only so many things we can say and I don't often think about what to talk about in those instances.

    So this web log will provide more details for those interested. There are a few categories which I have started at the onset and which I am planning to address now and then:
    - journal: keeping you up to date on the projects I am working on
    - yoga: covering different topics of spirituality and health
    - good news: spreading the positive news from around the world
    - general: anything goes here
    - humor: always interested in finding amusing things
    - computers: useful tips and programs

    Here is some more details in terms of what to expect for each category.

    Journal Originally this was supposed to be the main feature of this blog. Now I'm not so sure and the general content of the blog may evolve greatly according to the comments I receive.
    It turns out many blogs out there based on journals are a major yawn. Without any writing skills the sharing of one's daily activities can soon become very boring for the reader. Therefore I will primarily focus on the karma yogas I'm involved with.

    Yoga Obviously the majority of spiritual teachings will be posted at the web site but as I get inspired or get some little insights coming out of the projects I am working on I will share them in this section.

    Good news A couple years ago I had the strong impulse to start a web site that would collect and link to positive, good news articles. This type of alternative news source already exists but most of them are heavily Christian influenced which is not bad in itself but leaves room for a similar effort based on interfaith and/or Eastern culture influence. I had temporily given up on this because of the sheer amount of work involved. So I will use this blog for this purpose and here I must mention that the readers' contributions would be of great value. Feel free to post a comment to this post to suggest inspiring and positive news stories.

    General Anything of interest will go to this section. It could also be name "other news" or MISC articles.

    Humor Humor is a great adjunct to yoga and life. This platform is better than the web site to share jokes.

    Computers Back in the days I used to be known as the "computer swami" and occasionally I get requests for advice on computer problems, equipment purchase or other issues. Through this blog the regular readers will know everything I know about this topic.

    We need you! If you find any interest in this blog and would like to make it better, please use this post to add all comments and suggestions. They will be very welcome.

    Oh yes, one more thing. The comment section is moderated. This is to primarily avoid spam and tamasic communication. Feel free to disagree. Most comments will make it to the page.

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    Welcome to my new Blog!

    published on Mon. Feb. 21st, '05 by Swami Atma

    Om Namo Narayanaya!

    For those who would like to know what I'm up to on a regular basis, I am starting this blog which I intend to update a few times a week.

    Feel free to leave some comments to the posts you feel strongly about.

    Om Shantih Swami Atma

    P.S. In the meantime I will start the postings with a joke to set the informal tone right away.

    Swami Atma

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