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Saturday, Dec 01, 2018 A Message from Marydale – December 2018

 

On behalf of the Param Yoga staff: Kirsten, Sabrina, Stephanie, and Julie; our wonderful subs Cherise, Jo, Cindy, and Josh; our Kriya Los Angeles Center leaders Richard and Judy Peterson; and, of course, Yoda; I THANK YOU for your ongoing love, attendance, and support of our sacred space. We were established eight years ago through Grace to be a bright Light and offer the Chatsworth community true Yoga in a way that can be incorporated into daily life for your highest good. It’s always been—and continues to be—all about YOU!

As we approach our ninth year, we do so humbly, mindfully, and openly, offering a space for you to grow, to rest, to rejuvenate, and to gain peace from the inside out. Through the day-to-day challenges of a small business in suburban America, we are only as strong as our customers, clients, students, and friends. Therefore, we beseech you to contact us and assist our future by offering your requests, ideas, and desires to make the studio more well-rounded, accessible, and fulfilling for you and your circle of influence.

May this culminating month of December hold a promise of all good things for all of us, as we see with clarity, listen more, speak less, embody peace, and stay awake, living through endless gratitude and consciously breathing the essence of eternal Love, Love, Love.

This holiday season, remember who you are and share that Truth by offering your life as a Labor of Love in all that you do. Standing with feet firmly planted on this beloved planet of ours, with head reaching for the eternal goodness that created all things and heart wide open, I bow to you.

All Love, All the time,

Marydale Signature

 

“Let these festive days create a spirit of joy, peace, and love, not only at this time, but during every breath, for all time to come. Remember that success in life is possible due to sincere effort and divine grace. The grace of the Divine is more available to those who dedicate their lives to hard work with a positive and prayerful attitude. Gurudev (Paramahamsa Hariharananda) often reminded us that life is not an empty dream.

“Discipline, dutifulness, and devotion are the three determinants of our success in any field. As a regularly cleaned copper pot shines brightly, in the same way, when we work sincerely and diligently, we experience the crowning achievements.”

— Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, Christmas 2014

 

 


Thursday, Nov 01, 2018 A Message from Marydale – November 2018

 

Infinity painting by Kevin Petrossian

With heart wide open, I bow to each and every one of you who have chosen to be an ongoing part of Param Yoga’s community. It is because of you that we have shined our bright Light consistently and now celebrate our eighth year! Blessed and grateful are we to have made this landmark together! So grateful I am to YOU!

Bringing the attitude of gratitude into every moment of your life is the doorway to creating a sweetness in your world that is indescribable. We have all heard: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”— a positive and life-affirming instruction. Often, that is easier said than done for many of us. However, hear this, yogis: life serves up lemons to everyone in one way or another, and if you have been practicing day by day, there is not a lemon sour enough to take you from your calm, joyous, sweet center!

How to do this, you ask? In your daily practice, be determined to anchor your consciousness in a state of perpetual happiness with an open heart. This leads to freedom, peace, quietude, and bliss. With a mindset to always be moving in that direction, all will be well. And, guess what? It is living in gratitude—the very fabric of this practice—that is directly tied to your ability to be grateful for whatever shows up in front of you, knowing that somehow it is there to stretch you, to move you, and to be a needed catalyst for your personal growth, understanding and ultimate highest good. Bring on the lemons and allow your life to open huge vistas of knowing for you. Wow, what a blessing!

Stepping together into our ninth year of sharing, caring, uplifting, celebrating, and seeking ever onward into the Truth of who we are and where that Truth is guiding us, I bow to you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being an anchor in our community, for we would be nothing without you—therefore, I shall continue to celebrate YOU! Om, Om, Om.

Together let us acknowledge God’s limitless generosity that sustains all of us through endless…

Love, Love, Love,

Marydale Signature

 

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“If we really want to love God, we have to love everyone and everything without any type of discrimination. We have to be kind, compassionate, loving, and forgiving. These are the qualities of God, and thus we must work to cultivate them in our thoughts, words, and actions.”

— Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

 


Monday, Oct 01, 2018 A Message from Marydale – October 2018

 

Have you caught the splendor of the Harvest Moon as it has shined its luminosity in our sky for the last several nights? Beautiful. May we all slow our pace and pay close attention as nature subtly begins to change her clothes before our eyes into warm golden and burnt orange hues with the onset of shorter days, longer nights, and—perhaps—a snap of cooler weather(?)! With this entrance into the last quarter of 2018 comes the season of activity, gatherings, celebrations, and community.

It is my hope that you will continue to carve out the necessary time to care for yourself from the inside out by being persistent and consistent with your practice. Choose healthy food and drink when invited to celebrate the holidays. Don’t overindulge mindlessly. Remember that less is more. Don’t waste food, time, energy or resources. Keep things simple, pure and in integrity with your yogic values. Dive within often and be renewed in body, mind, and Spirit. Open your heart and let your love-light shine, for you are Sat Chit Ananda—Eternal, Conscious, Bliss.

Step up today and each day to leave the world a better place for having lived.

And remember to:

LOVE  SERVE  MEDITATE  REALIZE

See you on the mat!

Love, Love, Love,

Marydale Signature

 

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“Stillness leads to self-realization. When breath is completely still, the state of Samadhi dawns on the disciple. This is self-realization. Samadhi is the opposite of sleep. There is no awareness of the body, the senses or the mind and yet the self is immersed in a state of wakefulness or super-consciousness. Samadhi is the perfect union of the self with the Absolute.”

— Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

 


Saturday, Sep 01, 2018 A Message from Marydale – September 2018

 

Labor of Love.

With the arrival of September there is a promise of busy days ahead for all of us. How fitting that we start the month taking pause to appreciate all those around us who labor for the betterment of our lives personally and for the world as a whole.

As the holidays bear relentlessly down upon us, there is no doubt that a lot of labor is necessary to create goods and services that support our hopes, dreams, wishes, and all of the other necessities that make our world spin.

Diving deep into the underpinnings of what makes the daily practice of yoga so soul-inspiring and life-supporting, we discover an innate simplicity that translates to pure Love. What may appear to be an endless complexity of scriptures, ideals, practices, and promises of an integrated life experience would not fulfill us without the constant Presence of Love.

All of us contribute to either the ongoing harmony of a magnificent world and human experience or (often unconsciously) to the apparent chaos. Yoga, through the simple precept of constant presence, encourages us to choose the former through disciplined thoughts that ultimately become actions and, thus, create our experience.

This month I challenge you to commit yourself to living a life of love by deciding that your very life will be an endless contribution through the “labor of Love.” Constantly ask yourself: “Is this a loving thought? Am I acting and/or behaving in a loving way?”

You might think this is an impractical and radical approach to a world of conflict, indecision, lack of purpose, and so on…however, that’s the whole point! What you think, how you speak, and how you act matters! You hold the keys to the kingdom in your circle of influence—large or small. Energetically, you set up a chain reaction in everything that you create. Yoga pushes us to be responsible for who we are and encourages us to grow more in Love, in integrity, in peace, and in the Spirit of wisdom and Grace.

If you are willing to take this challenge, write back to me and sign the pledge to be a Labor of Love Advocate. Together, let’s hold hands as we create the life we love—for ourselves—for everyone.

Join me, won’t you? Your Love can change the world.

Love, Love, Love,

Marydale Signature

 

 

“The sooner we understand that we ourselves contain the entire universe, that we have the source of happiness within us, that we already possess all the objects we could desire, the sooner we can obtain the peace we seek.

“Rather than running endlessly after what dazzles us in the exterior world, we need to learn how to fix our attention on the magnificent universe within.”

 Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

 


Monday, Aug 27, 2018 Fun-raiser for Uganda

 

In addition to being a Param Yogi, Kerry Morris is enthusiastic about plants, birding, and mountain gorillas, which led her to visit Uganda in 2015 to experience them up close. While there, she made friends with some locals and discovered that one of their most pressing needs was school supplies for the children. In the years since, she has focused her energies on raising money to send school supplies to Uganda by gathering items on her travels to sell and holding fundraisers at Param Yoga. Many of you donated money and purchased items that Kerry sold at the studio to benefit the cause.

She returned to Uganda recently and wrote the following letter to describe her experience and thank the members of our community for their generosity:

 

Dear Marydale, Kirsten & Param Yoga community,

Thank you for the amazing support you have given to provide school supplies for children in Bwindi.

For my journey, I traveled to Uganda with two suitcases to check: one, extra large, filled with pencils, crayons, sharpeners, notepads, paper and 24 deflated soccer balls, 24 pumps and extra needles.

Our first mission was to track down some boys that I had photographed on the banks of Lake Victoria near the Mubamba Swamp in 2015. The boys were collecting water in huge plastic containers, then putting them on their bicycles and walking back to their homes. They paused for a bit of soccer with a ball made of rags and twine. At the time, that image burned into my memory bank, as I couldn’t believe these kids didn’t even have a soccer ball. Livingstone and I drove right to the spot and saw a young boy walking his bicycle up a hill. We showed him the photo of the boys and asked if he knew them. “Yes!” he said. He said two were brothers, and he described to us where the brothers lived in the nearby village. We drove there and found the house. The boys were in school, but we met their mother. We showed her the photo and she smiled. Yes, two of the boys are hers. We explained that we wanted to give them each a soccer ball, pump and extra needles and why. We also gave her several photos, including extras for the third boy that was a friend. We gave her a soccer ball, pump and extra needles for the friend, and also gave a bag with ball, pump and needles to the young boy we met near the lake, who directed us to the boys’ mother, because by this time he had joined us at the house. We chatted, took some photos, and left. 

Driving North on day two, my dear friend Livingstone and I passed a school where children were playing soccer with balls made of rags tied with string. He turned to me and said, “Let’s turn around and go to that school and give some soccer balls!”

He quickly did a U-turn and we went back. We turned onto the school road and headed towards the main school buildings. Activity stopped as all eyes watched to see what we strangers were doing there. We quickly found some teachers and explained that we wanted to give some soccer balls to the school!!! In no time at all, the children surrounded us! We took some photos, shook hands, and then had to leave—the school bell rang and it was time for the kids to get to class! We didn’t get a chance to see them use the balls, but we left with the biggest smiles and our hearts full of love—it was the best feeling in the world! As we continued our drive north, we high-fived each other and the joy we felt was incredible.

1. This photo is from my first trip. It got me thinking about kids not having a soccer ball!
2. This is the mother of two of the boys we saw by the lake on my first trip. Standing next to her is the young man who ID’d them in our photo. Her kids were at school when we stopped by to deliver our gifts.
3. This is the first school we stopped at. As noted in my story, we drove by and saw the kids on the field playing with rag soccer “balls,” did a U-turn and gave them some balls. We left with the BIGGEST smiles on our faces! The experience was way better for us than the kids!

Each and every day brought lush scenery of varying types, lots of great bird watching and many, many animals. Oh, did I mention the people? Uganda is a beautiful country and the people living there are every bit as beautiful. Extreme poverty has not diminished their inquisitive, polite and giving nature. Daily life in Uganda is not easy, especially when you have no running water, no electricity and no vehicle. If you’re lucky, you have a bicycle. When villagers in Uganda need water, they or their children have to walk for miles, most often barefoot, to a well. Carrying the familiar, large, pale yellow, plastic containers of water—that must weigh at least 50 pounds—is hard work, especially in the intense Ugandan heat and monsoon-like downpours. Often, we met people who were kind and sometimes went out of their way to help us.

We traveled through vast African savannas dotted with elephant, giraffe, lion, hippopotamus, Nile crocodile, hyena, Ugandan kob, oribe, hartebeest, eland, impala, mongoose, jackal and African buffalo. At one park, we even saw a rainbow one evening!

Turning south, we stopped in a large town and, using funds raised through sales and donations at Param Yoga, we purchased boxes of school workbooks, paper and math kits to add to our stockpile.

We birded along the way, often just along the side of the road. We stopped at a school in a very poor village in the mountains. Although it was a holiday week and kids were enjoying their time off at home, we found the headmaster and a few teachers there. We explained that we had some supplies and soccer balls for the school. He didn’t need to tell us the supplies were sorely needed: we could tell when we entered the school grounds. Again, we drove away from that school with the biggest smiles!

We arrived in Buhoma, the village at the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Sweet memories flooded my heart and mind as we drove towards our lodge. I was so happy to be back—my eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t stop smiling. I remembered the rough road, the rustic shops, the homes and the village.

At the new Park Headquarters the next day, I saw my friend Omax, who is a gorilla guide in Bwindi. What a great reunion! He didn’t know the dates of my arrival and was thrilled when Livingstone told him, “Kerry is here!” I also saw other people at the Park Headquarters that I had met 3 years ago. That night, Omax, Livingstone and I happily organized our treasures and decided to visit two schools the next day and deliver the supplies.

1. This is the first school in Bwindi. The sign shows the school’s goals.
2. Omax, Livingston, and the school principal taking some school supplies and soccer balls from us.
3, 4, 5, and 6. Classroom, kitchen, and school bell at Bwindi Ebeneezer School.

Our first stop was Bwindi Plus Nursery and Primary School. The motto of the school is “Laying a Strong Foundation for a Better Education.” Nursery School is 3 years and Primary School is another 10. The school headmistress, Elizabeth, is very driven and goal-oriented. There are several buildings, with dirt floors and chalkboards in each one. There are benches to sit on. Some had colorful decorations made by the children hanging from string, but the rooms had no books, no papers, no pencils, and nothing on the walls as we see in U.S. schools. Almost 3 years ago when I sent boxes of supplies to my friend Omax to distribute in Bwindi, he came to this school and it was simply a brick building. It was amazing to see what’s been done in 3 years. This school has a lot of donors from church groups in Sweden. Elizabeth was thankful to receive our supplies and assured us the children would make good use of them!

The second stop was about 15 minutes from the main village of Buhoma. We drove up a small hill within view of the village and below the main mountains in Buhoma. This was Bwindi Ebenezer Nursery and Primary School. The headmaster told us that he opened this school so children wouldn’t have to walk four or five miles to get to school. This school also had a few buildings, but they were not at the same level as the previous school. These buildings looked like former stables for animals. They were not made of mud, but of wood, and had uneven dirt floors inside. There were no windows with glass. It was dark inside and no electricity. There was a chalkboard and some benches for sitting. Nothing else.

Words can’t properly explain the feeling of happiness in giving these items to those who need them so desperately. With encouragement and loving support from Marydale, Kirsten and all of you at Param Yoga, we made a huge positive impact on the lives of so many.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Kerry Morris

 

 


Saturday, Aug 18, 2018 Put Your Best Food Forward

 

Did you know that more than a million people in Los Angeles County are considered food insecure? Food Forward is a local nonprofit with opportunities throughout Los Angeles for volunteers to harvest and recover fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. Food Forward’s backyard harvest and farmer’s market glean programs are volunteer-powered and have helped them recover more than 50 million pounds of produce, which is then distributed directly to hunger relief agencies in the area that serve a diverse clientele.

Karen, who is a dedicated Param Yogi, is seen at right taking a break during one of her gleaning sessions for Food Forward. She is passionate about the program and wants to share this information with our community for those who’d like to get involved. If you’re interested, visit Food Forward’s volunteer page to join one of more than 180 monthly events near you.

 

 


Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018 A Message from Marydale – August 2018

 

Om
Salutations:

Seven days without yoga makes one weak!

All of us know that having a regular yoga practice maintains a life that gives you ease and grace in your body, mind, and Spirit. Sounds great, easy, and pretty straightforward. Then why is it so difficult for folks to make it onto their mat with regularity? Why do we humans have a tendency to withhold from ourselves that which is best for us?

These questions persist throughout time, reinforcing basic human nature that proves we are truly creatures of habit and, as such, changing and/or creating new habits can be difficult…if not nearly impossible! Thankfully, yogic science teaches us that everything begins and ends in one’s mind and that if we can change our mind, we can change our behavior, and if we can change our behavior for a long enough period of time, we will ultimately create new healthy patterns that indeed support a happy, healthy life. Let us be reminded that what separates truly happy people from the rest of humanity is living in sincere, authentic joy—day in and day out—no matter what life brings their way.

While these hot, dog days of summer bear down upon us relentlessly, may we make the conscious decision, on this day, to consistently make right choices that support our best, happiest, most fulfilling life. Then press repeat – repeat – repeat, growing stronger, happier, and more content with each passing day!

You can do this—promise. I believe in you. Enjoy the ride!

Love, Love, Love,

Marydale Signature

 

“We do not realize it, but the mental action, the power of thought, is very strong. Consequently, if we cultivate good thoughts, inspiring thoughts, positive thoughts, it not only transforms our lives, but positive, inspiring, good thinking will create a powerful energy all around us. When we think a good thought, this positive thought can be transmitted in a moment’s time and generate a positive response effect on the person we are thinking of.”
 Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

All our Love to you Divine Guruji Baba on your Birthday! 8/10.
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Sunday, Jul 01, 2018 A Message from Marydale – July 2018

 

Namaste Namaste Namaste

Let this simple word be our mantra over the 4th of July holiday.

Namaste“I bow to the God (Divinity/Spirit/Light) within you,” or “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you” – a knowing that we are all made from the same One Divine Consciousness.”

Take a close look at the photograph on the right of this unusual, magnificent hibiscus. What you don’t see is that it is blooming from a veritable twig of a stem, on what appears to be an incomprehensibly frail plant with a leaf here and there that masks the plant’s actual identity. Then, right there at the very top of a long bare branch blooms this extraordinary flower that demands all who pass to stop and admire its splendor, its uniqueness, its profound beauty.

This tiny expression of life is planted across the walk from my home and I was fortunate to admire it basking in full glory for three days and then, to my chagrin, it closed up and was no more. An ever-so-brief moment in time to grace the earth with its presence and bring a real sense of joy to the world for blooming into its full expression of life.

Many human beings have similar circumstances to overcome as this flower tenaciously made its presence known to the world. If we forget, even for a moment, that the same exact stuff that created all things thrives within all living things, then how can we ever afford to question the innate magnificence within all?

Our forefathers had the vision to note that every man, woman and child has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let us remember that during this week and make it our practice to truly see the Light within all. Change is inevitable, but the basics of our Soul stuff never changes, ever. It continues to expand endlessly to and from Infinity, taking us along for the ride. While happiness was not guaranteed by our forefathers, it was a basic right that they reserved for us. Yogananada made it clear that happiness is not only your God-given right, it is your responsibility to develop happiness every single day as you remember – remember that you are God/Sprit/Light/Source (whatever resonates in your heart). You are Namaste.

Pay Namaste forward on this day and ALL days, for I know through this simple act – your life will be blessed. I bow to you.

Love, Love, Love,

Marydale Signature

 

 

“When we must live in this world, we are not alone. Thus, we must think of others and ourselves. We should use our skill, talent, and whatever we have in a constructive way, making positive contributions to family, friends, community, humanity, or ultimately to God’s creation. Thinking like this improves our quality of living, it improves our attitudes about how to live in the world, and it helps us to help others.”

 Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

 

 


Tuesday, May 01, 2018 A Message from Marydale – May 2018

 

Little Bodhi, with parents Kate and William, is the newest member of the Param Yoga community.

Greetings to all of the mothers who rise each day to love, serve, and care for the children, grandchildren, stepchildren, adopted children, children-in-law, grown children, sick children, challenged children. I bow to you, for as women we have inherited the challenging, consuming role of birthing, training, and guiding the human race, one individual soul at a time. While some women are more adept at this lifelong responsibility, this arduous task, this gargantuan expression of energy, the constant selfless role of “Mother” is not easy for any of us.

The rewards of motherhood, on the other hand, are profound, including the unconditional love one feels for her child, accompanied by boundless joy for their individual accomplishments, no matter how small. In the end, motherhood makes all of us women somehow a part of an exclusive club with knowing expressions of understanding shared on a subtle, almost psychic, level.

As we approach May 13th, the day set aside to honor mothers this year, make it your responsibility to reach out and honor as many moms as you can with a kind word, a thank you for raising such awesome kids, a big hug, and a welcome smile for a job well done. Then consider honoring mothers around you each and every day. Be kind to them, considerate, patient, tolerant, encouraging, and as loving as you can be to support them as they care for the future of our world.

As yogis, let us lean into the knowing that the Divine Mother is ever-present in all of our lives, just waiting for us to approach her with heart in hand and ask for her loving support and continuous guidance. She is always waiting and available to assist you, whether you are a mother or not. Lean into her, climb on her lap, give her your troubles, and celebrate your joys with her. By doing so each and every day, your life will open through endless Grace.

I celebrate you and thank you!

May great blessings be yours, now and always,

Marydale Signature

 

“Divine Mother, may Thy love shine forever on the sanctuary of my devotion, and may I be able to awaken Thy love in all hearts.”
 Paramahamsa Yogananda

 

“A real pilgrimage is to experience inner peace and love. Through the cultivation of virtues such as compassion and love, as well as the practice of meditation, a seeker will ultimately attain realization.”
 Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

 

 


Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 A Message from Marydale – April 2018

 

Greetings!

Happy Springtime and Happy Holy Days to you and yours. In the lineage of Kriya Yoga, we honor, respect, and include all religions as an intricate part of our Spiritual family. Of Christ, the great Yogi Mahatma Gandhi has written, “I am sure that if He were living here now among men, He would bless the lives of many who perhaps have never heard His name…just as is written: ‘Not every one that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which art in heaven will enter.’ (Matthew 7:21) In the lesson of His life, Jesus gave humanity the magnificent purpose and the single objective toward which we all ought to aspire. I believe that He belongs not solely to Christianity, but to the entire world, to all lands and races.”

Throughout time, Avatars have visited the earth plane to uplift humans into remembering their true identity as Divine Souls in human form. Yet, as history has proven, few among us are able to remember and to live a life of wisdom and Grace orchestrated through endless love. Perhaps it is our sense of individuality, which cries for specialness, that keeps us from our very identity, or a hungry ego that wants recognition above others to prove we are in some way superior that keeps us from our greatest knowing. Alas, there has always been a deep yearning within us to know Truth. Oddly, in our modern times when the world has gone quite mad and out of control, many of us turn to holidays like Passover, Easter, and the like to reclaim some sort of sanity within the fray.

Be cautioned, however, that it is easy to miss the entire focus of religious holidays by ignoring the true meaning behind them, to be caught up in the clever, materialistic trappings of the days filled with festivities, food, and drink. The day Christ was born, there was no Santa Claus nor was the Easter Bunny lurking behind the rock as it rolled away from the tomb where Christ rose from the dead. I’m confident that there was no hiding and finding matzah on any night of Passover. Please, go back into the scriptures of your religious or Spiritual tradition and reacquaint yourself with the essence of what these ancient stories have survived to teach us. Go to the Source. Get down on your knees and ask for clarity, for understanding, for inspiration, for your Truth. Christ taught to: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” This invitation is as fresh and new today as the very day He uttered these simple, yet profound, words from his Holy mouth 2000+ years ago.

So reboot yourself, Dear One, by moving into the middle of the heart of that which created you, and know that you are being breathed endlessly by the Divine with Love. It is through this constant knowing that your ultimate peace will take wing.

May great Blessings be yours.

Love, Love, Love,

Marydale Signature

 

 

 

“Love is a state of experience that is obtained through sincere effort and the grace of God, and should last through all the stages of life.”

 Paramahamsa Prajnanananda


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