Welcome.

I teach Buddhism and Yoga based in many years of practice and study, working with āsana, prānāyāma, meditation, devotion, and inquiry, supporting those who hold these practices as part of their spiritual path. All are welcome to come and explore the mystery of this human life together. No religious belief is necessary, but my teaching is strongly rooted in the Theravāda Buddhist tradition as expressed in the Thai Forest and Burmese Vipassanā traditions. Like many contemporary teachers in the Insight Meditation lineage, I supplement this foundation with elements from both Buddhist and Hindu yogas, classical and tantric, as tools for the awakening of the heart to freedom and ease.

I write about current issues in western Buddhist and Yoga communities, as well as art, performance, politics, and social justice. Shorter writing is under “blog” and longer academic essays under “poems + essays”.

I am cutting back my teaching in 2015 to take a dissertation-writing sabbatical. Yoga āsana classes have ended for now, and Surya Prakasha has taken over our monthly kirtan. Thursday night Insight Meditation at Yoga Tree Telegraph continues as my ongoing public offering. Workshops, daylongs, and Teacher Trainings will continue. Sign up on the left for my monthly-or-so newsletter to hear about workshops and classes.

Blessings for your practice.

Ongoing classes

Insight Meditation Satsang: Thu 7:45-9:15pm Yoga Tree Telegraph

Meditation with instructions, wisdom teachings from Theravāda Buddhist and yoga traditions, and community discussion of practice.

Offered fully and joyfully on donation, in the Buddhist practice of dāna (generosity). Your monetary gift sustains this kind of gathering in deeper ways than a class with a “price” can, because the act of heartfelt giving itself is a practice of living in a way we most deeply long for: connected to each other in sacred community. Thank you for your support as we challenge inhuman capitalism through the subtle and profound practice of gift economy.

Yoga + kirtan have ended for now

Wed + Fri vinyasa at Yoga Tree Telegraph has ended. Thank you to all my regulars for many years of rich, evolving practice. I’m doing no ongoing āsana classes currently. At Yoga Tree Telegraph I recommend my wonderful colleagues and friends Rachel Shaw and Lucid Dawn. Last Sunday of the month kirtan at Yoga Tree Telegraph has also ended (for Sara and I). Our dear friend Surya Prakasha will continue leading on the Last Sundays, and Sara and I will join sometimes.

**Kirtan every Sunday 7-9 at Yoga Tree Telegraph, with rotating leaders, continues.**

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upcoming workshops

The Yoga Sutra of Patañjali: Meditation & Liberation
Yoga History & Practice Series, part 2

May 10, 12-5pm
Yoga Garden SF, $55
YG registration link

The “Yoga Sutra”, written by the mythical sage Patañjali perhaps 2000 years ago, has become the core philosophical text of modern yoga. Its definition of yoga as the quieting of mental fluctuation and its 8 Limb structure for spiritual practice has influenced modern yoga in profound ways, but its core belief system is subtle and widely misunderstood.

In this practice-based workshop, we’ll explore Patañjali’s core theory on the cause and end of human suffering, and how the 8 Limb structure can be seen as describing both a specific meditation practice and a general guideline for spiritual life. We will learn basics of meditation practice including posture, breath work, and the relation of ethical action and renunciation to the inner tranquillity necessary for Liberation in the Yoga system.

The day will include self-guided āsana practice, suitable for experienced yoga students. Experience in meditation is encouraged but not required. This workshop is primarily for students in the 200 hour Teacher Training programs at Yoga Garden, but is open to all. Contact YGSF for registration & cost.

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From Awareness to Energy: Roots of Haṭha Yoga in Śaiva Tantra
Yoga History & Practice Series, part 3

May 23, 12-3pm
Yoga Garden SF, $35
YG registration link

The yoga we practice has roots in several Indian traditions, most prominently the late medieval Haṭha Yoga tradition, which itself grew out of the vast medieval traditions called Tantra. Understanding some of the belief systems and core practices of Tantra can help us to deepen our own practice toward a rich and nourishing spiritual practice.

In this final workshop of the Yoga History & Practice Series, we look at the most fertile period of yoga’s development in India, exploring how the physical and energetic focus of Haṭha Yoga grew out of the rich philosophical and experiential soil of Tantric ritual process. Topics include mantra, guru, kuṇḍalinī, and the extraordinary non-dual View of reality preserved in the Śaiva Tantra of Kashmir.

Experience in yoga āsana and meditation helpful, but precocious beginners welcome. This workshop is primarily for students in the 200 hour Teacher Training programs at Yoga Garden, but is open to all.

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Insight Meditation + Yoga: day-long mini-retreat

Saturday, June 6, 1:30-6pm
on dāna (generosity)
Ed Roberts Campus, Oakland

A day of practice together in a new accessibility-oriented space. Meditation, mindfulness-oriented yoga, and Buddhist teachings. Beginners welcome.

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Trauma and Spiritual Practice

Sat June 13, 12:30-5:30 pm
Yoga Garden, San Francisco

I’m excited to be offering my new workshop on trauma and spiritual practice again this summer, looking at our yoga and mindfulness practices through the lens of nervous system resilience. This lecture-practice will draw on the Organic Intelligence approach to Somatic Experiencing, which is a beautiful modality for working with trauma and disorganization in the subtle body. SE is deeply complementary to Buddhist and Yogic approaches to healing, but also challenges some of our habits in yoga and meditation. We’ll weave between theory and exploration, learning some simple exercises that can be incorporated into any yoga or meditation practice.

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Piedmont Philosophy Series
Tantra: Exploring the Pratyabhijña-hṛdayam, “The Heart of Recognition”

Sat, July 11, 1:30-4:30pm
on dāna (generosity)
Ed Roberts Campus, Oakland

The Pratyabhijña-hṛdayam (The Heart of Recognition) is an accessible root text in the Śaiva Tantra yoga tradition, written by the sage Kṣemarāja. It describes in radiant verses the nature of consciousness and the journey of the self from bondage and the illusion of separateness to full liberation and realization of our true nature.

We’ll read excerpts from Christopher Wallis’s authoritative (and unpublished) new translation, and explore teachings on the subtle body, breath, awareness, meditation, and energetic cultivation. Tantric texts and the practices (sadhana) they teach are traditionally considered initiatory teachings, to be transmitted only from a qualified guru to appropriately-prepared students. Our reading of this text will not constitute formal initiation, but will give us a beginner’s tour of the philosophical orientation of this beautiful tradition, and we’ll learn basic tantric practices that anyone can do to great benefit.

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Sutras, Cakras, Bliss: Yoga Garden Core Module 2 intensive

July 12-Aug 1
Tue + Fri evenings, Sat + Sun days (50 hour training)
Yoga Garden, San Francisco

Understand what it means to practice Classical Yoga according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Understand and experience the energetic body practices relating to the Nadis, Chakras, and Kundalini of Hatha Yoga. Top it off with an overview of Tantra, the profound vision of non-dual awareness at the heart of yoga. Practices include: asana, pranayama, bandha, mudra, visualization, and meditation.This session, part of the Yoga Garden 300 hour Teacher Training series, focuses on the integration of embodied practice with self-inquiry and the study of the core texts of the yoga traditions. In this philosophy and practice intensive, we’ll look closely at two primary root texts of modern yoga: Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra and Svatmarama’s Hatha Yoga Pradipika. We will weave between historical context, close reading and discussion, and embodied practice. These two texts teach a full range of yoga practice, including ethics, meditation, mindfulness, and personal inquiry; asana, pranayama, energetic cultivation, and the awakening of the feminine embodied force called kundalini. Exploring the roots of Hatha Yoga in Tantra, we will also look briefly at an accessible tantric source text, Kṣemarāja’s Heart of Recognition.

Topics:
The path of Classical Yoga, including meditation and embodied inquiry.
In-depth engagement with Patañjali’s 8-Limb model.
The Tantric roots of Hatha Yoga, with emphasis on the beautiful Śaiva Tantra tradition.
Understanding Hatha Yoga’s subtle anatomy of nadi, cakra, and kundalini.
Working with energy: asana, pranayama, and bandha as an integrated practice.
Nervous system and trauma physiology, working safely with energy and attention.

Attendance at the full intensive is required for Yoga Alliance credit. Students not doing the 300 hour program are welcome to take the intensive as a stand-alone course.

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The Power of the Heart: A Benefit Class for Nepal with Karen Macklin and Sean Feit

Sat, July 18, 7:30-9:30pm
Yoga Garden SF
Registration link

Please join us in this special event to raise money for earthquake survivors in Nepal. This evening will consist of a candlelit, mindful flow class taught by Karen Macklin with live music by Sean Feit, and a closing Buddhist meditation on compassion. ALL proceeds go directly to Upaya Zen Center’s Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund, which works closely with local organizations in Nepal. Cash donations preferred, but checks can also be accepted. Suggested donation: $25 and up.

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The Bhagavad Gita: Action and devotion in a complex world

Fri-Sun: Sep 11, 9-5:30pm, Sep 12, 12-5pm, Sep 13, 12:30-5pm
Yoga Garden, San Francisco

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the core texts of the yoga tradition, and one of Hinduism’s most beloved spiritual books. It contains practical instructions for yoga and daily life, meditations on the nature of God, and a deep exploration of the question of how to live a good life, framed as a battlefield conversation on the brink of a terrible war.

We will read the Gita in Stephen Mitchell’s accessible and poetic translation alongside traditional commentaries, exploring multiple viewpoints on this powerful and complex text, and wrestle with the challenging and powerful teaching on renunciation of the fruits of action.

Required text: Stephen Mitchell, The Bhagavad Gita, a new translation. Students who own other translations of the Gita are welcome to bring them, but we’ll mainly read out of the Mitchell.

$295 Earlybird by August 20, $345 after. Register here.

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Fall 5-day Bodhi Silent Yoga+Meditation Retreat: Pete Guinosso & Sean Feit

Wed-Sun: Sep 30 – Oct 4
Vajrapani Institute, Boulder Creek
http://petegyoga.com/event/bodhi-silent-yoga-and-meditation-retreat-2/
registration link

I’ll be co-teaching with renowned Forrest Yoga teacher teacher Pete Guinosso, offering meditation interwoven with his vigorous vinyasa practice. Experienced students of both yoga āsana and meditation are invited to join us for a beautiful 5-day silent retreat in the redwoods.

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Yoga History + Practice: Timeline
Yoga Garden SF 200 hour program, open workshop

Sunday, Oct 11, 12-5pm
Yoga Garden San Francisco

3000 years of (mostly) Indian cultural history in 5 hours. A beginner’s tour of the landscape, focusing on understanding the interaction between groups of people, culture & economics, and the textual traditions that would become the foundations for the many lineages we call “yoga”, including Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Tantric, Haṭha, Colonial, Modern & Postmodern.

This workshop is primarily for students in the 200 hour Teacher Training programs at Yoga Garden, but is open to all. Registration link.