WHAT CAN I DO by Rama Jyoti Vernon

WHAT CAN I DO by Rama Jyoti Vernon

Introducing the new “State of the Union” blog series where yogis discuss how to approach the circumstances of our world from a yogic perspective. 

Rama Jyoti Vernon
shared with permission from: https://www.rama.yoga/blog by Alumni presenter and lifetime world peace activist Rama Jyoti Vernon
June 16th, 2018

It is three o’clock in the morning.

I was awakened by vivid images: children being ripped away from their parents on the borders of our country; a baby pulled from its mother’s breast; two and three year olds weeping and wailing for their parents. For the rest of their lives, the endless pain of lack of trust will haunt these children and their parents. There have been repeated inhumane acts throughout history that have demonstrated the inhumanity plaguing the human condition. As Pete Seeger wrote, and many have sung, “When will we ever learn?”

How can those of us in Yoga, who understand the law of cause and effect, be silent and allow this situation to continue through the support of our current leaders who are deaf and insulated to the pain and suffering of others? Are they our representatives? I think not!

We become part of these decisions when we are born into a country of origin. We are part of the dharma of the laws of that land and if that law of dharma, which is supposed to bring order, social stability, and organization, creates chaos, instability, and suffering, it is no longer dharma but adharma. Adharma goes against the grain of the laws of nature and humane social conditions. It destroys instead of builds, and we become part of its destruction if we acquiesce in our silence.

In the scriptural studies of Yoga philosophy and the law of karma, it is believed that if we are born into a country that unjustly makes war upon another and we do not protest, at least in our own hearts, then in another life we will be born into a country that is made war upon.

What can we do? It is the eternal question wherever people feel helpless in making changes. Yes, in Yoga it is possible to rise above the sea of samsara, the sea of endless pain, to experience in consciousness a place beyond the duality, separation, and forgetfulness of the unified soul consciousness. However, in Yoga, even if we
have a glimpse of this paradisiacal state, does it mean we cannot try to alleviate human suffering on this earth plane?

Swami Vivekananda would say that the world (and its problems) is like the kink of a dog’s tail. As long as we are holding it we think it is straight. But the moment we let go, it will just kink up again. Does this mean we can never effect change? Is this the difference between pragmatic action and static inaction?

When we see injustice do we remain silent, thinking someone else will do something or do we go into our meditation and practices asking what our dharma, our destiny, our life’s purpose is in this instance? Do we shed our own tears for the suffering of others? Do we go to the border to light candles, participate in a “sit in” or go on a
hunger strike? Do we write our government representatives or participate in a march on our state and/or nation’s Capital? Or do we continue to turn a deaf ear to the lies told by leaders that thrust the blame on everyone else but themselves? Do we continue to share our thoughts with those who we feel are lacking in discrimination due to
radical political choices they are making?

I awakened in the middle of the night asking the invisible Masters what I can do, and wondered if Germans in l930s Germany did the same. It is always difficult to know when the tide of human decency turns into a cruel regime that conditions the minds of its people while insidiously stripping away the freedoms they are accustomed to. Why is it that so many leaders come to power only to have power over others, but not to serve the needs of their people? Are we being lulled into a hypnotic slumber until it will be too late to awaken? A frog when dropped into a boiling pot will jump out. However, if the heat is turned up gradually, it will be too late for him to escape the boiling cauldron. Is this the acceptance of the abnormal becoming the “new norm?”

Dawn is breaking, the birds are singing, and now rain is softly falling as my tears fall with it. Some might say this is not yogic thinking. We are to be unattached. However, there is a very thin line between non-attachment and indifference. As the Masters say “until we know attachment, we will never know true non-attachment”. I arose to sit with eyes closed, holding the people in all war torn countries in my consciousness. I felt the mother’s grief of the loss of her children, and the children’s loss of the parent. I felt the pain of the wounded in body and in heart. I felt the loss of those who will never return to their homes and lands wandering to seek refuge wherever they are accepted. I held the children and parents fleeing violence and persecution seeking safety and protection in the embrace of Universal consciousness.

That is what I can do! What can you do?

Now is the time to arise from within, like a spiritual warrior guided by the power of compassion, and discrimination, in whatever way we are called. Perhaps for some it is a time not to be silent but to speak out, and stand firm in the winds of growing tyranny and divisive policies that separate nations, states and people. For others, there may be a call for inspired, transformative action, or some may wish to offer the power of silence, prayer and meditation.

Yoga means Union, transcending the allusion of separation to see the Oneness of all humanity and human unity. Together let us hold a vision of a world where peace can prevail; where our thoughts, words and actions are no longer weapons of destruction but are divinely guided to lift the hearts, minds and spirit of others. Perhaps if enough of us hold this vision we can reach a critical mass to impact the collective consciousness of all humanity.

Rama Jyoti Vernon is a Yoga teacher and peace activist, and one of the founders of Yoga Journal. She founded the California Yoga Teachers’ Association, and the California Institute for Yoga Teacher Training, which later became the first U.S. Yoga Teachers’ Training program for the work of Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar. She hosted and organized programs for Mr. Iyengar and started his first organization in the U.S. She is considered one of America’s yoga pioneers, and one of the first yoga teachers in the U.S., beginning in the 1960s.

Her mother, a student of Swami Paramahamsa Yogananda, took her to her first yoga class at age 15. As an adult, Rama Jyoti was one of the earliest students of B.K.S. Iyengar in North America, and hosted him for two of his first workshops in California in the early 1970s. She founded the American Yoga College, and Unity In Yoga International that eventually evolved into the Yoga Alliance. Under Rama Jyoti’s direction in the 1990s, Unity In Yoga sponsored seven national and three international conferences in the Soviet Union, the Middle East and Central America. Richard Miller and Larry Payne, founders of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), have frequently acknowledged Rama Jyoti’s contribution to the creation of IAYT through the connections she fostered at the Unity in Yoga conferences. Rama Jyoti established the Center for Soviet-American Dialogue in 1984 to help connect citizens of the United States with those of the Soviet Union during the Cold War years. She served as a citizen diplomat, bringing groups of grass roots citizens to dialogue across borders, and was interviewed numerous times by U.S. media and Soviet television and radio. She later simplified the name of her organization to the Center for International Dialogue and expanded its out-reach of dialogue and conflict resolution trainings into Afghanistan and the Middle East, visiting Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, China and Cuba, with American citizens.

Rama Jyoti, mother of five children, twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild, continues to travel nationally and internationally to teach Yoga and Yoga teachers. Her work is codified in the ultimate yoga practice book, Yoga: The Practice of Myth and Sacred Geometry, and her yoga philosophy commentaries, Patañjali’s Yoga S?tras, Gateway to Enlightenment.

Learn more about Rama Jyoti: www.rama.yoga

7 Reasons to Get Your Asana to Sedona:  Reason #4: Music for Sacred Movement

7 Reasons to Get Your Asana to Sedona: Reason #4: Music for Sacred Movement

Maybe it’s vortex power, maybe it’s our incredible conscious community—or possibly it’s the magic that happens when the two come together. But Sedona Yoga Festival has always been known for its cosmic resonance…and this year, we’re taking that literally!

This year, there are more opportunities than ever to enfold yourself in sacred sound, and resonate with our deeply spiritual landscape. Whether you’re immersed in Kirtan, gettin’ down to the one and only MC YOGI or treating yourself to Secret Sessions at Mariposa, we’ve got so many ways to move that beautiful body.


  • YogiTunes sound lounge in Heart Center Village
  • DJ’d classes w/DJ Drez, DJ Hyfi, and Mental Physix
  • Concerts by Three Trees, Ashana, and Coburn Tuller
  • Exclusive Saturday night concert with MC YOGI
  • Sound healing sessions in the red rock landscape
  • Special live music yoga classes throughout the schedule

Tap into the healing and celebratory powers of DANCE—register today!


YogiTunes: Your Yoga Soundtrack

YogiTunes: Your Yoga Soundtrack

YogiTunes: Your Yoga Soundtrack

Offering an unrivaled selection of hand-picked yoga music from all over the world, YogiTunes offers studio owners, teachers and wellness enthusiasts an expansive library of curated music for yoga, meditation, massage and sound healing.

From global funk to kirtan to electronic trance, our resident DJs traverse the international yoga music landscape to find the best artists, albums and tracks, and sequence them into curated playlists suited to enhance any wellness practice, sorted by pace, duration and theme. Music fans can also create their own unique playlists: all YogiTunes music includes performance rights, so it can be publicly played without incurring additional fees. Steamed or downloaded, YogiTunes’ massive catalog enhances and deepens the yoga experience – anytime, anywhere.

Check out our most popular plans! (They both start with a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL)

PERSONAL PLAN (for the wellness enthusiast)

Imagine having a world-class collection of the best yoga music to set the tone for your workout or just enjoy during your day!

That’s what you’ll get with your YogiTunes personal subscription:

• The best yoga tunes with no ads or interruptions

• Music on any device – listen from your phone, tablet or computer

• Expertly crafted playlists for every mood or activity

• Custom personal playlists you can create yourself

• Always fresh – tens of thousands of tracks added to constantly

• Create custom playlists to set your own mood or tempo

Try 30 Days for FREE!


PRO & STUDIO PLAN (for yoga teachers, studio owners, performers)

YogiTunes PRO & STUDIO offers unlimited streaming of the world’s best yoga music with performance rights included for anywhere a yoga class is taught. You can enjoy a world-class collection of Yoga Music for your classes for as little as 50¢ per day.

Your class/studio/performance will benefit from:

• Expertly curated playlists to match every type of class

• Custom playlists to create your own mood or tempo

• Music on any device – play from a phone, tablet or computer

• Huge savings over buying even a tiny fraction of the tracks included

• The widest selection of yoga music available with tens of thousands of tracks

• Performance Rights 100% Covered in North America

• 20% discount for Yoga Alliance members

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Starting from $15/month*


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On Sale Now!!!

Yoga for Trauma and Resiliency: the Training

Optional integrated 20-hour training for Yoga teachers “Traumatic Stress: Resiliency and Healing with Yoga” is designed to provide teachers with the skills to share yoga with First Responders, Veterans, trauma survivors, PTSD and TBI sufferers and many more.

Note from the Director on intention: SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE | Effortless Action

Note from the Director on intention: SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE | Effortless Action

Hello Yogis,

How are you? Has your world changed since we connected last? Are you finding peace in your heart amidst the chaos? Do you feel that you are able to see clearly in the midst of all of it? Are you practicing? What does that look like for you? How are you doing with your expectations? Is letting go becoming easier… or harder? Are you finding ways to help others, even if that means getting your own hOMe in order?

The container that is SYF is spilling over this year like a waterfall… We find ourselves on the move and in the flow. Whatever you think you “know” (or we thought we knew!) about festivals and conferences and how they work and what to expect you can pretty much forget about now. We need you to get here and BE here, … Now is a time to show up, to engage, to stand clear in your center, in effortless action and ease. Can you feel it? Yes? No? Let SYF Shift Your Perspective.

There are hugs and tears, laughter and dancing, quiet times of deep reflection, provocative moments that challenge your usual reactions and ask you to respond meaningfully from the heart space. From space even. Carry your blood, flesh, and bones from session to session, venue to venue – some small and intimate, some so full of humanity you get lost in it… carry your SELF through and out and release any tendencies that no longer serve, build up an authentic strength and will that you don’t even know is available to you – until you feel SAFE, burn the passionate fire of love and inspiration in your belly, the warmth of your heart then beating the endless drum of love and compassion, the voice you’ve been seeking then flowing in kind and clear devotion, until the light bulb goes off in your mind.

Are you ready for this? I mean, truth, we’re all going to die – someday. What we need to learn to do is live – a joyful and peaceful calm in the midst of any storm. How do you connect with all that’s going on out there? Look within. Find and make the choiceless choice, effortlessly, and without grasping… Right? Could we be more shrouded in veils in this time that they are almost becoming easy to brush aside? What is your SOUL resonating with? We are being called on now more than ever to make time for that level of discernment. You have a role to play in the play, and i’ll wager that if you don’t yet know what it is you really, really want to know right about now.

SYF is set to amplify the force of the winds within you to wrack any stagnation, set light to the fire of the inner teacher, to wash away the stains of the past, and finally free you from the weight of your expectations by quaking you to the core. Who’s in?

How are we going to do this? Intention, circumstance, subtle programming, sharing in this intention with the faculty and presenters. It is what wants to happen… The program is different than in the past: we will need to align and realign, move together and move independently, move from a place of deep knowing and trust in oneself, and look out for each other. Take care of each other. Be in service. We’ll talk, dance, practice, pray, be quiet, be loud, hug the rocks, share in so much together, be utterly alone to reveal that we are never alone – the true picture of it is going to be created by who shows up! Will you be here? The amplifying force of the location all by itself – Sedona has always stood strong in its knowing and fearlessness – is a force that if we all align with it in the power of LOVE and UNITY could help us shift to the tipping point. Will this be the year? Are we ready to rise up in consciousness and evolve into an enlightened society? Are you?

So many questions, so little time.

As it turns out there are only 300 All Access Passes left for SYF2018 The All Access Pass will be a part of the State of the Union: Yoga Talks and once those are all gone most classes, workshops, and 1-3 hour sessions will be available as single ticket for general public (unless they are full). Turns out its a pretty tight tribe that’s feeling the call to amplify our consciousness evolving in this way. If you are feeling the call then be here, please. This is a container that is held for you to rise and shine. All the humans dropping in for a taste of what we’re doing for three and a half days together need you, too.

What’s the State of the Union: Yoga Talks? While still revealing itself it is now being called for to start talking about the big stuff – together – in person. There are many leading teachers that return to SYF year after year who can really shine a light on living our yoga and leading from the heart. Let’s take these deep discussions into the big room now and explore together how we as American Yogis are showing up in our culture, in our communities, and in the world. Nothing’s off limits, there will be Q&A and if we can get some support for it, it will be recorded. You’ll know if you want to be in the room. And, yes, there will be time for lots and lots of dropping in to practice. Practicing is the key!

So that’s a little ramble about this year’s intention: Shift Your Perspective, Show Up in Effortless Action, Leading from the Inner Teacher – the voice of your soul – which knows its purpose. Easy 😉 Easy for me because its my purpose to orchestrate this. Let me acknowledge to you that I am grateful for all of the adversity I/we/SYF has faced so I could truly SEE how easy it all is – in the midst of any storm. Guaranteed this isn’t the first age that has seemed so hard… So, here we are. I see you here already and I feel it in my being – its going to be sooooo good.

In joy & service – and hopelessly devoted to you~

Heather Shereé Titus
Director, Sedona Yoga Festival
Co-Founder | CEO, Aumbase

Summer Solstice & International Yoga Day Savings

Summer Solstice & International Yoga Day Savings

(Summer Solstice Savings ends at midnight June 25th.)

Happy Solstice
International Yoga Day!!!

We are stoked to share the NEW VIDEO of SYF2017!  Produced and directed by Live Free Productions.  Enjoy!
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Don’t forget to get your tickets!  $100 savings ends on Sunday night… (June 25th).  Click here to check it out! 

From Presents to Presence… the best gift of All.

From Presents to Presence… the best gift of All.

This is part 3 of a multipart blog series.  Click here to read part 1.

It’s time…  the glory and the chaos of the holidays is drawing to a close; the new year is ahead now and our sight may drift to the future as we contemplate where we’ve been and where we would like to go… in presence.

Where do you want to go?

This time of year is universal in its opportunity to grow and expand our horizons; to find an inner solace that soothes the past in hopes of wiping the slate clean.  We all carry baggage; our  bodies often bearing the scars of times past and humanity as a whole has come to see the New Year as the time for fresh starts and letting go…

On the heels of Christmas (I grew up celebrating this time of year in this way), I think we have an Aumazing Opportunity!  I mean, let’s think about it…  The Spirit of the Holidays is the same, regardless of the Holiday one celebrates… Presence.

“Be like Him that we celebrate today… regardless of race, religion or creed; kindness and compassion. Love everlast.”

Spirit…  The Life Force, Consciousness.  God.  Whatever you choose to call it, even whether or not you choose to acknowledge it, it exists and is the very fabric of reality that weaves us all together in inexplicable ways. 


But, what does it want?

I have come to see, through a lifetime of empirical studies, my path, that it, ultimately wants nothing more than to expand into new territories of experience, and we, the human being, appearing to be its most advanced avatar, must realize that in its omnipresence it could not possibly want to destroy us, rather it is the giver of LIFE and without it I could no longer write, sit, think, or type, nor could it experience itself expanding through me anymore…  Why would it want to harm me, let alone any of its Creations?

Yet, we look around us today and there is such uncertainty and fear… tumultuous times, I have said often, even now, this Holiday Season, humanity seems to be walking the razor’s edge, precipice on either side, wondering when it all may come crumbling down.

I awoke today, the day after Christmas, with a slight panic…  like, something is wrong, and yet, I know this is not true.  It means something is out of balance within me, the scales tipped to the darker side of consciousness where fear and uncertainty live and after looking deep inside, again I find my solace; my peace.  Presence.  Om Shanti.

I have come to realize that  I HAVE A HUGE PART TO PLAY IN ALL THIS.  (and so do you… it turns out.) 

You see, my teachers have all told me, as have pretty much ALL the saints, sages and masters that have come before, that I (and you… ) are Happiness itself… Joy itself… Love itself… BLISS… ANANDA…  Ecstasy.

I have experienced this to be true, maybe you have too!  Fleeting at times, yet  when I release all the stress and trappings of our modern ways,  quiet my mind, purify my body and tune into my Souls’ voice… Peace is there.  Joy is there.  Happiness is there.  Presence.

Mark Whitwell tells us that if we come away from our practice in any other state than described above, then we aren’t  doing yoga….  I laugh out loud at this now, as it sinks in…

And like a ton of bricks it hits me (again)…  head in palm…

I don’t go to my practices to seek aggravation, frustration, anger, or fear… those only exist in my fragmented and unbalanced mind, body and spirt…. NOPE!!!!  what happens when I find my way… my balance… is undeniably PEACE…. Happiness, Joy Itself.

THEREFORE… that is the underlying reality for ALL OF US…

So, we have our work cut out for us… and to be true it is our work… your work.  Mine.

Focussed practice ahead!  Presence.

It is time…. that we come hOMe.

(I am planning to do a spiritual detox and total body cleanse beginning in the next few days…it has helped me in the past to gain, presence and clarity… let me know in the comments if you would like to join in!  and Click here to see part 1 in this multi-part blog series!)


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