Hello and welcome. This is the yoga revolution podcast. My name is Jivana Heyman, my pronouns are he and him. This podcast is an exploration of how we can live yoga right now, and how we can apply the yoga teachings in our lives. We'll discuss the intersection of yoga and social justice, as well as how to build a practice that supports our activism. All my guests are contributors to my new book, yoga revolution, building a practice of courage and compassion. Thanks so much for joining me. Let's get started.
Hi, everyone. Thanks again for joining us. I'm so excited about my guest today, Yogi J. Miles is here with us. Hey, Jay. Hello. Hello, everyone. Hello. Hi. And I wanted to introduce you. So, J Miles is a yogi martial artists body worker, retired breakdancer, community activist and the son of a Baptist minister. He's been learning and studying Eastern arts and philosophy for nearly two decades. His classes aim to create for each person a fluid, sustainable, and enjoyable practice that, hopefully will prove to be beneficial over a lifetime. And even as this ancient practice continues to evolve, the mantra continues to be practices effort towards steadiness of mind. Also, I know that J, you didn't put it in your bio, but you're with account co founders with Shankari of the state of union yoga, right? and other stuff, too. He didn't put much in here actually.
Well, you know, the bio keeps evolving. And I used to be pretty good at writing bios and descriptions of things. And it's like, how much information is really necessary? How much do people really want to know? And I was listening intently cuz I was like, okay, is he gonna say like, is where I work? Current are, you know, the thing are things current. Yeah, there's other stuff like, you know, I'm a body worker. Like, I've practiced Reiki. You know, I mean, I'm an urban gardener. Yeah. You know, so there's, there's, there's other things.
And what about Project Yoga Richmond?
Oh, my gosh, yeah. It is, you know, but PYR has been around so long, long in terms of like 2010 I think when we like, open the doors to the studio, so we're going on 12 years will be 12 years in November of 2022. And they've done so much work, undergone some changes. So you know, there's no longer a studio place to go practice yoga in person. Project yoga, moved out of the big place and into an office to do operations. And there's a lot of outside things happening. Still a lot of community awesomeness that goes on. I was part of a beautiful Juneteenth ceremony. Back in June, and I'm teaching a big class on September 25, here in Richmond at the museum. Lord willing and the creek don't rise, which would be outside, you know, I mean, because you know, even though we don't know. And so I in the unknowing, sometimes I don't, I guess tell enough of myself. Because again, I don't know what people want to know about me. I appreciate you wanting to get to know me, though. Thank you so much. Yeah.
We can talk today more about that about you. I want to hear about you and your your past a little bit and experience with yoga. I like to start there. I've been starting these episodes, with the different contributors to my book by asking them to read their contribution, because I think that's a good like launching point for the conversation and it connects back to this theme of yoga revolution book. So do you want to do that? Do you have open, pull it up?
Alright, so my service and social justice work has become my practice. I feel like I've lost the distinction between what it means to have a yoga practice, and what it means to simply live my life according to my highest principles. Living in this black body has never been so important as it seems to be now. And it feels nearly as dangerous as it has ever been. Being steeped in a practice that provides me with the tools to address my spirituality has also given me the tools to fully address my humanity. Yoga has given me the ability to address and attend to my own individual healing. And therefore my own personal liberation. There safety within myself that no one can take away from me. I guess you could say that my yoga practice has given me courage.
Yeah, I love that. You kind of chuckled, while you're reading it. Yeah, I love that. It's like you forget, right, you forget
it. Wow. But as the as the meme and the gift says it's true, though. You know, through though, that's, that's how I feel. Yeah, there's a lot going on, even like, with my, with, you know, I guess what I view as my yoga practice, and I mean, we all, you know, it all changes, right? Like, whatever the goal was, when we started out. may not, and probably shouldn't be the same goal that we have 20-25 years. And you know, and so, I mean, I never had like these like, like physical goals to be maybe a little bit to be, I don't know, more flexible or stronger, or any of those things. But I, I went into yoga, looking for myself, you know, I was on a kind of a desperate search. To be in contact with that highest part of myself,
wherever you are worry desperate, though.
I just needed to know, I just needed to like I needed to. Maybe a craving, but it's still it seems really intense, right? Um, I mean, I think at the time of my younger life, I grown up, you know, in the Baptist Church, and that suited me for time. I was going through a period of separation and subsequent divorce. I had young kids, like, financially, I was unstable, like, where I was living was unstable. And in all of that instability, what I started to look for was like, inner stability. Like, how can I like, you know, in the midst of all of this chaos, like find, like some steel point, and so something was calling me calling me in literally. You know, it's funny. I just, you know, I like words, I'm thinking about instability, the word or the two words instability.
right. Yeah. And I started to just, I realize that, like, what I was, seeking, what I was searching for, wasn't going to be found outwardly. I knew, I guess, intuitively that whatever I was searching for was already there. And so I started to look for the tools to help me dig that up. And martial arts became a tool, studying, researching ancient philosophies and histories became a tool. And then ultimately, yoga became a tool. To the point where, you know, some years later after, I'd been studying yoga for a while, my kung fu teacher, I remember him saying to me, you're already see full of yoga. Right? And I was, like, you know, that was like, coming from my teacher, recognizing me as a teacher was like, pretty profound. Because at that time, you know, I was teaching yoga class, and I understood that I had this sort of, I was dropping into this profession of yoga teacher, which was basically me sharing what I know, to being recognized as such, which was a little bit of a was a big, it was a different feeling. But back to the quote, like it's always been about, like some inner search, which is why now I'm at a place where, you know, 20 years later, almost I'm looking for ways to like sort of step outside of like who I've been as a yoga teacher, and drop back into that craving. Like, I want to drop back into like that inner search a little bit. You know what I mean? Because now I really know what to look for. You know, I feel like, I feel like I really know what to look for. I feel like I'm, I've maybe if I haven't mastered the tools, maybe I use them really, really well. And so now like, I need the I need the time to like really investigate myself a little bit more thoroughly. Oh,
awesome. Can I go back to something you said there you are saying that when you were younger, you always, you kind of always knew that what you're looking for is found inside you said something like that. And I just wondered if you could talk more about that, like, always, as a child, even you feel like you have that sense that? Yeah, like, what does that mean to you? I guess like to have that sense that what you're seeking is inside of you. That's like the essence of yoga and spiritual practice. And you said it so
clearly. Yeah. Did I know it as a child? Probably not. But I mean, I was a little bit. You know, as a child, I was a little bit more studious, a little bit more reflective. Um, you know, I feel like I might have daydreamed a lot, I might have like, been really like, trying to cultivate some inner space. I like to being quiet and alone. You know what I mean? So and I never really, I never really found my fulfillment from like, outer things. So I've never been like, I've never found Fulfillment by like material, like clothing, or cars, or maybe because I've never had the adequate resources to, like, have those things. And so, you know, basically, I was trained by life to not have these materialistic visions, because maybe they seemed unattainable at the time. You know, what I mean? And, you know, and so, as I got a little bit older, started to do with some life a little bit, you know, I was married very young, I had a family very, very young. And, you know, you know, it's just something in you that's just saying to you This ain't it. You know, they're saying it, there's something there's something more, how are you going to find that thing, and I floundered around literally flopped around for about four or five years. Until I found yoga. And yoga was the thing that it was like yoga. Again, I found martial arts, I found Kung Fu, I found capoeira. I started dancing again, at some point. And so then I started to find an outlet. I found some grounding. I found some discipline. And once I found discipline, like I craved more of that, at this time, you know what I mean? Like, I crave more like, and I do now, right? So I crave I crave a lot of craved a lot of discipline at the time, because I had never really had to be like disciplines to myself, like it was, it was at a point where I started to recognize that the only person who was gonna make the profound changes in my life that needed to be made was gonna be me. And I mean, shoot, man. What, like, I'm almost 50 now, so like, you know, people here that don't think that like from 25 on like, I became like, this mock like character who had all his shit together, far from it. It's taken a long, long time. And so I think that's what we do his teachers like, we we go through the fire of life. And we figured out like how to take like, the philosophies and the disciplines and apply them to life. And then we're like, okay, I wish I've been doing that longer, but I haven't, maybe I can help somebody else. Yeah, you know what I mean, not go through the struggle and have the difficult circumstances that I had that were A lot self inflicted a lot, just not being self aware. You know, and I saw this beautiful quote, in this book I'm reading it's, it's a book of Tantra on wish he was out here. It's called Desire. And it just sort of talks about being completely, like, mindful and aware, from time to time of the moments. And then learning how to string those those moments together. Until we're at a point
where the the awakening the the deep self awareness is actually is the awareness. Right? Like, we don't have to drop into into, you know, 15 minutes of Nadi shodhana. And, and then drop into the space of stillness and quiet contemplation to then become aware of Oh, shit, I'm connected. No, like, that's our every waking sort of existence. That's why I say like, there's no distinction now. between what I deemed as a yoga practice, from the way that I sort of live my life now, I recognize that if I don't continue to clean out and sharpen my tools, they're not going to help me as much. You know, which is again, why like, I've been feeling this call recently to to drop back into that, that place where I was when I was young, when I had like, the urge, like the Nadi like is like, what is that thing that we feel that spirit is calling us, right? So now that now that I know what that sounds like, now that know what that looks like, right? Now, I can go back in and say, okay, spirit, I've cultivated like awareness, I've cultivated the tools to like really, like be able to sit down at the table with you. Like, now I want like a really deeper and even more personal relationship with that deeper part of myself. Yeah. So that probably didn't answer your question, man.
Yeah, you did. I always know. You guys knew that. That's awesome. you're answering me. I think it was really clear I love I love that aspect of Tantra, the idea of like, integration between you know, different parts of ourselves, because I think in the yoga tradition, there's duality, you know, we have the body and spirit lay separate and or the body in mind, and then the Spirit. And we're trying to like, in a way separate the more even though we're talking about yoga, being union, really, we're always trying to like, separate out, like, what is spirit? What is body mind? And then it seems like there's more that intersection, like,
an easier task to take what you have that intrinsically connected, and understand those connections, as opposed to trying to, like tear those connections apart. You know, it just seems like I mean, maybe not the easier path. But yeah, this formidable to work with you got, as opposed to breaking down what you got completely, and then trying to build something else up without all the parts of yourself, like we need all the parts of ourselves to like, it's like, yeah.
Seems like you need both right? Like, you need to like, first, I think you kind of need to see, Oh, I see. There's this part of me. And there's this part of me, and then see, wait, how do these actually work together? And what is the relationship between my spirit and my body and mind? You know, not, not just were they distinct, but also how do they connect to each other? In the in quote, you talk about feeling that there's danger. And I think he said, let's see. It feels nearly as dangerous as it has ever been. That's the part where you kind of had a reaction. And then you go on to say that there are safety within myself that no one can take away from me. And I thought that was so powerful, the way you identified how, you know, the world doesn't feel safe, but you can find that within I wonder if you could talk about that.
So the whole quote is something around. It feels really important to be a black man in the world, but it still it feels every bit as dangerous. Yeah, like to be a brown person in the world right now. Everywhere, especially where lots and lots of brown people live, whether it's India or Haiti, or in the Middle East, there's a lot of calamity here in America, you know, every everything that's going on. Where as as the bipoc community This is from my perspective, I feel like we always get the shortest end of the stick. Even when legislation is passed, remember, they recently passed like the Asian hate crime bill?
That's awesome. How come there's never been a black hate crime bill.
Like they hung 1000s of people all over the South from the late 1800s, to the 60s and still like, they're still kind of hanging people. Now. It's just kind of you don't hear about it mainstream, but they're still hanging black people, listeners. If I mean, I don't know what what constitutes a hate crime. But I feel like hanging black people is a hate crime. Yet, there's never been any type of bill passed, to make it a federal offense to target black people with hate. Again, I mean, we kind of, I think, in the, in the, in the shoot, like get, like some of the repercussions because I think is not just Asian, it's about hate crime in general. But they were really, really quick to this bill got passed at lightning speed. And so then we start getting into them conversations about approximate about proximity. And like, so as a person of color as a black man of color, like, I feel like, I mean, if you're a black trans person, you're probably even, like, further away proximity from from from power. But, you know, I see, I don't feel any safer than probably the my dad felt in the 50s or 60s. You know, like, whether it's from the laws that are passed, or even, you know, I don't live from far from, you can't tell it, because there's so much nature here, but I don't I live like three blocks from high crime area in my town. So there's like that kind of safety, you know, you got a bunch of disenfranchised people who are like some of them are really, really desperate. You know, and then, even when there's like good things that happened, like so Virginia became a state that legalized cannabis. In order to actually like step into the arena of in the material capitalist business world, that is the most difficult difficult for us to gain any access to that, whether it's we don't have the land to grow crops or the resources, or, you know, the licensing procedure is way more expensive than the average person can can actually afford. And so it just feels like in the days and times that we have, like, we're still not at the equitable playing field, but where we all want to be. And so, with that all being said, as how I said, there's universal reality. So I understand that we're all one that I'm connected to source, that even ultimately, this might not be real. You know, we're living in the Maya and the illusion and in what's the divine in the Lila? Like, right, we're all here in the play. And so like, when we're somewhere where it's all an illusion, and it's a part of play, what do I What should I be doing? I should be playing. I should be having fun, right? And so there's a recognition that I have, again, the tools always come back to the yoga and the discipline. So I have the understanding within myself, that ultimately no matter what's going on, is A choice that I can make to either be enjoy or not enjoy. I can choose to, like live in a place of manifested abundance or not, I can choose to recognize within myself that not only do I have resources, but I'm I'm literally the resource. Right? resourceful means that we're full of resource. It doesn't mean like we we can fucking like use like safety pins and paper clips. So like, like MacGyver and like make something happen. It means that we're connected to the source and resource like it's continuous, like it continues to reestablish itself, it continues to like, come forth.
No love your pus J, it's like Swami Satchidananda, you know, and his puns. I don't even know you studued with him too. Because resource, right? It's like your time out source and then resource. So resource. That's a good one. I mean, these words come from somewhere. Yeah,
these words are someone who like who identified that the word had power. And we can identify with the power in the words like we have that power to, you know, I mean, do like the all of these. All of the manuals that we have here, right that are been placed given us, whether it's the Bible, or the Quran, or the yoga sutra, the Bhagavad Gita, or the purines, or like the doubt ag or, like, whatever, like the thing was, like, it gives us like, not so subtle clues of what to do. It's like, those teachers or masters, like said, I'm gonna lay out a formula, I'm gonna lay out a plan, I'm gonna give you a path. Now, nowhere in that doesn't say the formula is easy to figure out, or the path isn't going to be Rocky and difficult and hard to navigate. And there's going to be some stumbles along the way, you're going to stub your pinky toe through life numerous times. We still got to, like, keep, like, move into whatever that that thing is that's calling us like, like, what is Dharma? You know what I mean? And like, how do we like, what does that even mean? It's not just a word. It's like something that like, that's an actual thing that we if we want to, if we decide to align ourselves with it, it gives us It gives us purpose. So I think what that quote, at the end of the day, said is like, I've chosen to live my life with purpose. And there's a lot of comfort and strength in that there's a lot of power in that. You know, I relate everything to yoga and martial arts, like when you when you get to a place when you're practicing martial arts, where you know, that you can defend yourself. let you know that you are safe, because you know, you can do something about it. That's a powerful feeling. And so I took, I took that and ran with it.
I love that reminds me, it reminded me of Viktor Frankl who I talked about in the book a lot enough, you know, has his work, you know, from the Holocaust. And Man's Search for Meaning because you talk about purpose. And that's given you sounds like you're saying, that's giving you the courage that's giving you the sense of safety. And that's why he talks about, you know, like, his whole philosophy is based on that, like, if you have meaning, if you have purpose, which I think is another word for resources, connected to the source, then you have courage, you have strength to continue on, no matter how hard your challenges are, right? Like even in the Holocaust, and the prison camps. He was able to survive. He had purpose he had meaning. And he watched other people too, who had that same reaction. I feel like a similar thing. Yeah. I want to go back to something else. You said that was touching to me, I don't know where we got piqued my interest, which was about how you feel like at this moment in your life, you want to turn back within more and use the teachings that you've been teaching for yourself. Like that's what I heard you say? And I'm just curious, what about that? Because, I mean, as a teacher, you know, I've been teaching a long time and I think it's really easy to get into a trap where You're always teaching, and you're not really practicing, you might be practicing a little bit, you're not taking it to that next level. And I know for myself that that's been true, because when I was younger before I had kids, honestly, right kids, I had the time, the space for long retreats and tons of practice. And then once the kids came along, and life got busy, it's harder, I fit in practice everyday, but it's not the same as going off for a week, or a month, or whatever. So I guess I just wondered Is that what you're talking about is like spending more time. Going deeper.
Everything's been building up to this, I think, you know, we do a lot of research and study for other people. So that we can we gather information, internalize it, so that then we can give it to other people maybe in a more palatable form, and easier to understand or navigate form. And so there's a lot of information coming in, and a lot of information going out. And like, we do retain some, but I just for my own self. Like, I feel like I haven't taken the time out to do that. And you said something really important about going on these retreats and everything. So we we've created these, these tranquil spaces for ourselves. for the sole purpose of like, every day in our life, it feels like we're on a spiritual retreat. It feels like we're on a spiritual journey, even if you don't do anything, like you walk out inside in your garden. And it feels like you just stepped into a vortex. Right? Because you've you've put so much love energy into that thing, you've put so much care into it, you've created a space of peacefulness for yourself. And so stepping away from a lot of these different roles I hold as teacher to free up that time and energy to drop into my own practice, like even like self led, I see folks that are you know, who are just stepping into like, a yoga practice and saying, well, I've been mostly like self led, right or self taught, which is good if you had a place to start from, you know, but if you didn't have a place to start from what happens when people are self taught, when they actually meet a teacher, the teacher has to go in and like undo all of the bad habits that you formed. Because you felt like being self taught was the best way to establish now for some networks. So I just want to take all of the teachings that I've received over the years from all of the teachers, and I want to like drop into those spaces, whether it's yoga Asana, or pranayama, whether it's deepening my meditation, whether it's, you know, dropping into other practices that I've always been curious about. And as I stepped into, like Kundalini, whether it's getting more of what I can get from my kung fu teacher, as he gets old, and gets to a place where he can show me the things like I learned a lot from him, but I probably learned like 10% of what he actually knows. And you know, and probably needs to share at this point in his life. And so I can't really do that, if I'm worried about other people. If I'm, if I'm leading, you know, 15 hours of ytt every weekend, and like, you know, trying concerned about people signing up for my zoom class, and you know, all of these different things that pull us away from the desire to get more closely connected with that innermost part of ourselves. And so I feel like by the stripping down of some things I think it will give me the time now, I have to be disciplined. Like, I can't like move like myself away for some things where I have energy, space and time and then start filling that up with with these other people need for me, oh, Jay, well, since you're not doing this thing, can you come do this thing for me? Right, because that's what happened, which is why when I made this post about me, like easing up on taking any classes, one of the things that I said was forgetting entirely that I had this happening today was I might do a podcast or two. So I'm like, look at like, we're connected to the source. Like, it's magic. You know what I mean? Even if we pre planned it, you know, you ever like, like, set yourself up for future success? Whether you you you bought something. It's like, Oh, this thing I don't I sometimes we do stuff materials like random purchases, and the thing never
comes out the back, let's put every so often we we might buy a thing not know why. And then when the need is there, we pull the thing out, it's like magic is like, Look, I knew it, I knew I was going to meet this thing. You know. And so I just feel like when when we're like really connected to abundance. I wrote this whole like prayer, mantra, positive affirmation, whatever you want to call it about being in recognition that we can call in abundance, and that we can call in resources, and that we are undoubtedly connected to the source of all things. Because the source of all things wants us to, to do our best. Yeah, that's how I feel.
Yeah, I agree. Like, when you talk about the magic of it, I sometimes think of it like, in my practice, to that practice prepares me for when I really need it, you know, it's like, when I am when I am facing a challenge in my life, I think thank God, you know, I've had that practice to support me, because otherwise, this situation right now would just be completely overwhelming. And that practice that I've done, prepared me a little bit more, so at least I had that. So I always feel very grateful, that, that I have a practice, I have a connection to the teachings that I can draw on them in times of need, you know, and that's why it's good to practice when you feel good to write because then you're like, you don't know what's gonna happen next.
I literally so I, I did this 31 days of transformation challenge back in January. And every day, I had a positive affirmation. And I kept those 31, affirmations, some familiar, some had come to me. And so I've started to draft them, and a 31 day transformation. I don't know book, I guess. And literally, in day two, as I'm going back, and I'm looking at the Facebook videos of myself, like leading these meditations or whatever. The thing that I said is when we breathe consciously, like we're continuing to connect ourselves to the magic to that mystical part of ourselves. When we're in our practice, like we're, we're always always like, rubbing up against the divine. Like, every time we we, with full awareness and sovereignty, like we're always reconnecting with the divine each and I mean, even the word like the word respiration has something to do with spirit returning. You know, constantly, over and over again. And I don't know at some point in time, even I just decided to look at life like that. Like, how can I become like you see them the old monks they used to come on to yogaville, all them old dudes and be happy, jovial all the time, most of the time. I feel like old Swami Murugananda that old Swami who lived out there was like a little bit like the bitter monk from one of my favorite kung fu movies. But I feel like he you know, he had like, a little bit more of a challenging life you always need like, one old grumpy monk. You know to like balance out all the rest of it like jovial like making silly joke, monks. You know what I'm talking about? Shout out, Swami Murugananda. like super cool guy. I've had many many conversations with him, but he's definitely like grouchy a lot of the time
you're talking about yoga bill. Such an awesome yeah, there's there's some great people. They're amazing. In spring, yeah, they
aren't. I mean, look. Do you ever talk about I know you're asking me the questions. But do you ever like when do you ever talk about lineage in the way that we that people talk about There are people, we don't have lineage. You know what I mean? So there's a lot of there's a lot of disparagement in the yoga community about who has lineage and who's abusing power and who's taking yoga for granted or not acknowledging there's a lot of, as Angela said, of what yoga isn't, and not enough of what Yoga is. Out in the, in the world, especially in social media. And one of the things that I realized is like, I don't talk about my lineage enough. Now, aside from whatever, how can I put this whatever dramas they made, that may unfold in a, in a community of humans, no spiritual or otherwise. The teachings themselves are pure, I think and through line. Right, that lineage goes, you know, beyond yogaville, even goes beyond Swami Satchidananda. To an extent, you know, what I mean? And, and we should, I think we should, like, be a little bit more proud that we do come from a lineage of Yogi's, you know,
I mean, I talk about in the book a little there's a tension there for me, for sure. Because I want to be, I want to be respectful. And share and express my gratitude for that the teachings for which I feel incredibly grateful, I got to spend a lot of time with Swami Satchidananda. And a lot of the senior teachers were there, my main teachers in my life. And those monks that you mentioned through yogaville and San Francisco integral yoga Institute, mostly Swami Ramananda, in particular, and so many others. And I should say, we share the same lineage, obviously, from this conversation, people get that, but I do talk about in the book, but I also say, there has been, you know, there's some abuse within integral yoga and I and I try to talk about that too openly and about the tension I find there between those two things, you know, it's how there's appreciation and also frustration and like, you know, how do we how do we find how do you get the good part of the teachings without getting caught up in all that drama and, and I talked about my relationship with Swami Satchidananda, personally, and how and how that was so inspiring to me. I mean, he was incredibly kind to me, and generous with me personally. And yet, I know that there's people who he had sexually abused. So I feel like there's this tension there for me, and I do feel grateful to have a connection to the teachings. He was an amazing, amazing teacher and like, he translated the teachings beautifully, you know, in the whole, like, he said, the lineage back to Swami Sivananda. And then before that, I mean, it is a long lineage, connected to I say, classical teachings of yoga. So the sutras in particular, you know, it is almost satchitananda translated so beautifully. And the Bhagavad Gita he also translated so well, and, and that's, like, the guiding lights in my life, you know, so how can I not feel just so grateful to him, but also get that he was a person and so then he had his human faults? So there's that is that tension I tried to explore in the book because I feel like yeah, like he said, These days, we kind of just throw the baby out with the bathwater. But again, you know, because abuse is unacceptable. So, right, it's like how do you find the teachings you know, and how do you find a source? You know, what does it mean to have a guru Yeah,
yeah, it's it's difficult because a lot of the the teachings that I learned over time and the yoga I guess organizations or styles that I was affiliated with seem to have over the course of time come under fire for different things. And and I think that it's important to have a teacher I think, along the path at least someone who's who's taken the time out to have done the studies and and and done the work. But there's a a difference and making somebody your guru and honestly, like, I don't think we are Obviously, like, I've never been in India, and so I know that you know, they're still like gurus. But we call everything a guru now as my accounting guru, you know, to me is my, my, you know, my whatever guru my, my swimming guru.
Yeah. But, but I literally think there's a shift, I feel things have changed now. And I mean, it's just yoga, contemporary Yoga is different than traditional yoga, because the teachings, of course, are the same, but the way they are being shared and taught is different. And I, I think we're so connected now. Like, you and I are connected, like all the time, like, occasionally we reconnect, and like so many. I feel like there's this community, of people of yoga practitioners that I'm connected with. And I honestly would say that's my guru right now. Is that community? Is my teacher. Yes. Swami. Community. Yeah, I mean, Swami Satchidananda, I would say he had that place in my heart, and he still does, but I no longer look to him for that guidance, I look for the teachings, but I find them also from you. I find them from all the people like all the people in this book. That's what I did this for, like, that's why I have contributors in this book to show that there's so many incredible teachers out there. And I talked in the book too, about what does it mean to have a guru today? Like, how do we find that in the community? And actually, we have to do a better job at that. We need to be a little more generous, I'd say with each other, right? You know, and supportive, supportive and share openly because I think one of the things I see is like a lot of the sharing we do is the kind of social media sharing just of the good stuff. And you I have to say you do a great job. In my opinion, you share honestly, like, I watched you on social media, YouTube videos, you just say what you're feeling and you don't really, you're not worried about what people are going to think about you so much, you feel very much very authentic. And I think you're just trying to be or be yourself, for others, like connect in that way. And that's what I'm talking about, like how do we, how do we show each other that part of ourselves and also the hard the dark side too, so that we can be more like humans and spiritual beings together. As we kind of grow and learn from each other and this kind of evolution, right, that we're going through?
Yes, I think we need to shift the way that we consider one of my students actually, who was like, just like already, like this wise woman, um, was in ytt. And when I say like, literally, like this wise woman, she just hadn't been in a yoga teacher training, but in terms of, you know, herbalist and meditation and all of that medicine woman stuff, like, like, the yoga teacher training certification was just like, the thing really wasn't necessary. But now she has this tool. But she reminded us during her 30 minute demo that things germinate in the darkness, right seeds, you know, this seed, you can't put a seed on the picnic table and keep it wet and expect something to happen to it. It has to go to a dark place where it can be somewhere in comfort somewhere, you know, in some dark, energetic warm healing energy so that I can grow even us like we can. I mean, you ever tried to go to sleep with the lights on right it sucks you know what I mean? So even us taking rest is an invitation for us to check in with some darkness you know, and so I think literally that like the difficult times that we've had or even the times when we chose to maybe do something that maybe we wouldn't do now. Right that those dark times those darker times were like our opportunities to learn something to grow to germinate something or you know something else grows in that like even the smelly old compost pile shit loves the grow out of there all the time. You don't me like you like us so disgusting you got tomatoes growing and you have like peppers and pump you'd like have everything wants to grow in this in this sort of dark murky immune is the the easy story of the lotus. Yeah, you know, the whole humble beginnings dark murky under the like, not even under water but like in the in the muddy dirt under the water. Yeah, you don't have to rise up out of that.
I love I think that it's like the theme of our talk today is like, spiritual practice as compost. Yeah, that's like that's what you're talking about. We got to make that good soil man. Yeah, you're talking about
soil and it takes sometimes it takes like a little bit of the messy parts of our lives and make that good soil is not just like, we just can't like pour like some lime and vermiculite and think that it's going to, like we got to put like something else in there. And we got to moisten it up a little bit, you know, with our experience with our practices with our relationships. It's awesome being in community. I'm with you. And even though I'm, you know, I'm not an Accessible Yoga teacher, but I feel like I'm in the Accessible Yoga community. Yeah. You know what I mean? Because, like, I just appreciate the fact that, that someone decided to address the needs of everyone.
Yeah, anyone who wants to be in the Accessible Yoga community is in the Accessible Yoga community? Is that the whole deal? The whole point? Oh, awesome. Awesome. It's accessible to anyone who wants it. I'll take it, I'll take it. Okay, J, what's up, we need to wrap it up. So tell me anything else that you wanted to share? This has been amazing.
So what's honestly, um, if you are a, I don't know, if you're a yoga studio owner or someone who's offering or leading a yoga teacher training, I love to come and be a part of your training in some way. Whether it's like teaching yoga philosophy, from my perspective, or teaching how yoga philosophy and transformative justice intersect. Otherwise, you can go to my website, mahavirarva.com. And whatever programs I have coming up, like if you want to get on a zoom and have a private yoga coaching session, or just shoot the breeze, hit me up at Yogi J Miles at Mahavira Yoga. We'll
put those in the notes. We'll have those in the show notes so people can click, you know, on the description for the podcast and find your links. Awesome. Yeah. Thank you so much, Jay. No, thank you so much. I really appreciate you spending this time with you and learning from you. Hello, my guru turn this for this time that
Yeah, well, I appreciate you, you know, like attracts like brother and we're all mirrors and reflections of each other. So there you go.
Okay. Thanks so much. Take care much love you as well, man.
Thanks so much for listening and joining the conversation. Yoga is truly a revolutionary practice. Thanks for being here. If you haven't already, I would love for you to read my book, yoga revolution, building a practice of courage and compassion. It's available wherever books are sold. Also, you can check out my website JivanaHeyman.com There's some pre classes on there and a meditation and you can find out more about my upcoming trainings and other programs. Hope to see you next time. Thanks. Bye
Transcribed by https://otter.ai