I had the most divine opportunity to be hosted on Marilyn Ambach’s radio show, Unwind, Rewind and talk about my favourite loves: Yoga, Music and inner connection.
It was truly amazing to share some of my favourite music, to be in the zone and let the Divine DJ create a flow of eclectic music and inspired thought on yoga and its magic.
So many of you ask me for my playlists, of which I have many. The main one is Aruna Yoga and it grows regularly to reflect my current musical vibes. Here it is if you want to hear more and see how I blend mantra and other genres to create inner connection.
The Sanskrit word guru has long since been accepted into modern lexicon to describe the role of teacher. It has in fact many connotations, from VIP, to teacher to expert. The name itself derives form the words, ‘gu’ meaning darkness and ‘ru’ which is dispeller of darkness through the bringing of light.
The process of self realization is predicated on the dynamic between guru and disciple or sisya. Self realization is said to rely on finding one’s guru and being guided to realize the light within us. But it is a process.
Our first guru is the mother, the second our father. We are then exposed to teachers throughout our lives that inspire our potential to be realized. These too are our gurus. I had a few growing up, from my first Hebrew teacher who opened the passion for learning, to my English teacher in high school who ignited a love for the word. She saw something in me and had the acumen to cultivate it. English became my passion and a life long connection to the word developed under her tutelage into a relationship with words, writing and poetry. My early twenties were characterized by me dropping into some form of expression of creativity through writing. As time progressed this connection to the word developed into a spiritual practice predicated on the power of intention or prayer. Today I am well known to drop into prayer, so deeply connected to the efficacy of the word to consciously create that I have been inspired to truly live on all levels.
Over the next two and a half decades I spent my every moment in pursuit of what is referred to as the sat guru. Sat is truth and the sat guru is the one that takes the aspirant to the realization of self, to the highest recognition of the light that is our essential nature. The pursuit took me (and my loved ones who had to shlep along for the ride) all over the world, to masters that were still in body form, and to a few that had long since left body behind. Each offered a pearl of illumination on the growing mala (garland) of my expanding consciousness. Each dispelled another veil of the darkness that kept me separate from my true Self.
The guru sometimes reveals itself in ways that are less obvious. The person you are most challenged by, the one that presses your buttons can be the real teacher to show you who you truly are beyond your reactivity. Your triggered response to people, actions or situations can be just as revelatory as the guru in the saffron robe or the baba in the loin cloth.
When the fallibility of the human guru with its concomitant disappointment led me to abandon the external search and look within me and to seek the guru that was free of form, I finally came to peace. That guru that I had been seeking was here all along in the form of the light within me. This light illuminates whatever wisdom is needed in the moment to expose truth.
I bow to each of them, to every guru that graced my path. They taught me in many ways either through the offering of knowledge, to the exposure of who not to be, or through the ultimate teaching which was to connect me the wisdom inside of me. Throughout my life all these mentors, gurus and teachers have pulled away whatever is obscuring the truth within me.
To come to realize the self is a universal destiny, inevitable now or later. The dynamic of guru-sisya will always be here for us to move from our minds to our hearts, from the darkness to the light. May you be blessed to find your mentors, guides and sat guru that will bring you home to the Self to the realisation that the true guru is here, right now within you.
With love and blessings,
Almost seven years have slipped by since my move to Israel. The move here has appeared as a fugue state in this dream, called life.
It seems that in this leela we are called to places, to surrender ourselves into the hands of destiny and to offer ourselves in service wherever we arrive. Seven years ago I knew that I was called to Israel for something, and my arrival here was like landing in a veritable fire of presence, transformation and awakening.
A deep remembrance of self has taken place over this time and through my process a clear vision for service was conceived. The vision has been transmitted in various ways and in significant places over this seven year cycle. At essence my purpose is to serve humanity through healing and awakening to the intrinsic self. The gestation of this vision has birthed Aruna, a healing modality that uses yoga, meditation and emotional release work to realize the self.
In the process of unveiling, I saw three aspects:
- Israel awoke the inner experience of the vibration of the letter Aleph and the vibration of Hebrew and offering of Kabbalah.
- India called me eternally to take me home to yoga, to the union with self. Mata Ganga offered me the vision of the AlephInfinity that my father put into form, as an amanuensis to my Divine creativity.
- Arunachala showed me the outline of the mountain profile and whispered the name and teachings that are now called Aruna.
All three encapsulate the holy trinity that is the foundation for Aruna and its expression.
My beautiful friends Sandra and Gary turned this triad into art that merges all three aspects into one beautiful expression of the highest vision: to serve through this teaching, to heal, to awaken and to offer the tools to realise the Self to all.
May the holy trinity inspire you as it has me. May you remember who you truly are.
Amidst the mayhem and drama of 2017, where my life as I knew it fell into an unrecognizable shambles, the universe or this ‘god’ thing, threw an extra bit of juice in the blender, an extra spoke in the wheel of my evolving consciousness. There is a belief that I seem to have that whatever is here, is arising for my highest good, to keep me present, wake me up from complacency and get me home to the Self. I like to simplify these wake up calls under the title of the “triple D’s“: Death, Divorce and Diagnosis.
The Triple D’s offer ample scope to direct your awareness deep into the core of your Truth, and if recognized as such, are usually the greatest gifts along our evolutionary paths.
Apparently Divorce alone wasn’t enough. Death of all that I knew my life to be, myself to be, my identity deceased. DOA! (Dead on Awakening)! Not enough!
Because I am so lucky and such a good student ;-), I got to get a Diagnosis thrown into the mix of a really challenging year. In May last year, after much testing and investigation, I was diagnosed with glaucoma. Now it’s not the worst diagnosis you can get out there in the field of the Triple D’s. Although treatable if caught early enough, it is incurable, degenerative and if left untreated, the pressure on the optical nerve will lead to loss of peripheral vision and then blindness. Not great, right?
My ophthalmologist may have assumed me to be crazy, and you, dear reader may agree, but I asked him to give me some time before starting medical treatment. My response to the diagnosis, was, to say: Listen, I have something in my pocket that you don’t, the ability through the release of emotional blocks to heal the body naturally. I was actually elated as I came home to share the news with my loved ones. There amidst the shock of the diagnosis was a palpable excitement that the universe was offering my eyes as my own little laboratory of Self. I have a chance to be my own little guinea pig and see if I could actually heal something this big for myself. This seemed like a generous gift from Shiva and the Gods of destruction and transformation, that like to see me awaken through letting some shit hit the fan. No impending death pressure, some time and space on my hands and off I went to put my money where my eyes are.
If you know me a bit you will know that I am pretty much focused on being present, on healing and on awakening to the Self. Everything else seems black and white in the wake of the technicolor of Self realization. I spent the last couple of decades learning various healing modalities, yoga and then some and came some years ago to the Journey work that was utterly life transformational. At the time I met Brandon Bays and the Journey work, my sister was terminally ill, with the clock ticking and no plan B. The Journey became her plan B and within 7 weeks she was utterly healed of lung and brain cancer and remains so to this day.
That seriously got my attention and I dove head first into healing, to experience a series of miraculous healings. Tumours would disappear after days, sometimes seconds, bones would grow, pains mysteriously disappear, warts, cysts and back ache seemed to be gone. It was and is a miracle fest and I am gobsmacked in the face of it. So much so that my life path diverted somewhat and healing and deepening into this that heals became how I spend my days and some nights. I once joked, that if I would get a tattoo, it would read:
Be realistic, plan for a miracle!
My certainty for the miraculous to unfold was immutable. At least for my clients and beloveds.
And then my diagnosis…amidst a whole lot of chaos and life change, seemed like a lot of work and it fell on the back burner as I tried to pick up the pieces of shamble that resembled what I used to call life. It was easy for me to facilitate others in their own healing path, but there was something jarring when it came to giving myself the time and attention to do the work to release the emotional blocks behind the glaucoma.
I made sure that I got some Journey processes, I stayed finely tuned in to what I used to call a spiritual practice but to what I now call, ‘sitting on my ass, shutting the fuck up and going deep inside of myself’, home to the truth of my being. Throw in a few prayers and that was pretty much it.
This ‘truth of your being’ business doesn’t sound like much. But when one meets this that is the source of Self, this infinite emptiness that has no limit, but presents as pure love, peace, stillness, omniscience, divinity…no words can encapsulate this meeting of Self or God or Truth. In the union with this, healing is accessible, inevitable. And it is available here and now. Here is is the God-like Self, the Infinite Self that does what is needed to be done. It is epiphanic as it shows from the perspective of omniscience, the bigger picture.
My bigger picture revealed that my eyes were manifesting my fear of really seeing what I didn’t yet have the courage to see. And when this readiness to truly SEE arose, so this pressure was able to subside.
And so it did. My peripheral vision well and truly expanded.
And you know, for someone on the brink of a really bad tattoo, I noticed some palpable doubt arise about my ability to manifest my own miraculous healing as I sat yesterday morning at the ophthalmologist’s office. Until the doctor’s diagnosis was spoken:
No. There is no glaucoma. Your eyes are fine.
DOA. Dead on awakening. Doubt, fear, blocks, all gone. All the obstacles to full optimal health and well being obviated! Perhaps the universe is ready for me to really see. To open into a greater vision of Truth.
Let’s all wait and SEE!
Sat Nam and excited yelps of delight!
Aruna Yoga is about the discovery of self, self awareness through yoga and meditation.
The fundamental tenet of the teachings of Aruna Yoga is Self enquiry.
Ramana Maharshi espoused Self enquiry a method for spiritual awakening.
“What is essential in any sadhana [spiritual practice] is to try to bring back the running mind and fix it on one thing only. Why then should it not be brought back and fixed in Self-attention (To this feeling of ‘I’)? That alone is Self-enquiry (atma-vichara). That is all that is to be done!”
Self-Enquiry is an awareness of the awareness itself. It leads us beyond duality, because the object of meditation (the “I”) is ultimately revealed as the Subject itself (the transpersonal Consciousness).
Self enquiry is the constant attention to the inner awareness of “I” or “I am”. By directing vigilant attention to the I thought, it will disappear and only I or self awareness will remain. This results in an effortless awareness of being, and by staying with it, it gradually destroys the tendencies which cause the ‘I’-thought to rise, and finally the ‘I’-thought never rises again, which is Self realisation or liberation.
The yoga technologies help us to cut at the root of this “I” thought, to still the fluctuations of the mind matter that is in constant movement and find the stillness at the core of our being. This is Self. Yogi’s have called this meeting, irrespective of lineage, self realisation. It is the ultimate boon of all yoga practice. When we meet Self, it is done. There is nothing further to do, learn or achieve. It is indeed done.
May we dwell here in this place of Self, abide as it.
Om Namah Shivaya!
Love and Blessings,
As the summer draws to a close, the start of a new cycle is birthing. This last cycle has been for me a rollercoaster turn on the wheel of my reality, providing me with daily opportunity to live in the presence of the very teachings I espouse.
I spent many years immersed in copious study, seeking various teachings, tools and healing. I was on an insatiable quest for teachings or Gurus on the outside. My hunger for truth led to me the feet of some of the greatest masters on this planet, to holy pilgrimage, to continue on this eternal search for truth. Until one day, I found what it was that I was looking for.
This was myself. Not me as in my personal identity, neither Nicki Forman, nor any aspect of this form or its story. In one cataclysmic moment the search party ended and I found what I was looking for. And it was here, right from where I had been looking. The Formless Self.
Here I met the Guru within. This Guru reveals through light all the teachings that are here right now in this moment. Whether it is revealed through the form of my life story, what arises in the now, in the form of circumstance, relationship or dynamic. All teachings are as they always were: right here, right now.
They reveal themselves though the emotions that arise and a gentle welcome of them just as they present. They reveal themselves through the deeper awareness I endeavor to have of myself. I ask myself who am I? How am I reacting? What is arising? I differentiate ‘story’ from self. And I observe. I watch. If it is here, it is a relevant teaching and I welcome it just as it is.
In this last cycle new teachings have emanated through me. They appear in the form of yoga, with flavours of diverse lineages of hatha yoga, but they have at their core the simplicity of self enquiry. The invitation to be present, to be still, to be here just as here presents.
I invite you to join me in this discovery of Self. My weekly Aruna Yoga classes resume on the 17th September 2017 in Herzliya Pituach. I will also be offering monthly workshops, children’s yoga and aim in 2018 to give a Yoga Alliance accredited Aruna Yoga teacher training offering these tools for personal transformation in Breda, Holland at Yogasite starting in August 2018.
There is no need to be flexible or even physically able to practice Aruna Yoga. It’s aim is to open up to emotional blocks that are released using the technology of the various lineages of yoga, pranayama and meditation. It is a healing practice which aim is to awaken you to YOU: to your true nature, to the freedom, peace and truth that is within us all!
I invite you to join me fifteen minutes earlier to enter into silent meditation for each Aruna Yoga practice. Please come in and settle in the stillness. When the practice begins, the teachings of Aruna Yoga will flow from this very stillness, from this that is present.
Please see www.yogaform.be and click on the link for classes for the schedule and recommendations for practice.
May this new cycle be still, peaceful, loving, joyous and divine.
May I be used to serve, to remind, to remember.
May we abide in the stillness of Self, intoxicated in and by its Divine Love.
Blessings for a miraculous new cycle.
After years of voracious study of yoga, meditation, theology and diverse spiritual practices, I find myself birthing a new practice that I am calling Aruna Yoga. Aruna yoga is a yoga practice, birthed through these myriad teachings I have studied and explored and encompasses all forms of yoga, including hatha, vinyasa and Kundalini inspired practices and technologies.
It is born of the transmutational potency of the sacred Mountain Arunachala in Tiruvanamallai in India. Aruna Yoga is premised on the teachings of self enquiry born of Arunachala itself, and espoused by Ramana Maharshi. Its premise is Advaita Vedanta, or non dualism, the philosophy of there being only one reality, this that may be called Truth, God, Divinity, Creation, OM, nature. All the rest is illusion or separation from this one. Our aim is to realign with this One which is our real identity as Truth or Sat Nam. (Sat = Truth, Nam = Identity).
It is a practice based on being present on all levels: to what is here and to be still with what arises.
No matter what that is.
There is no need to be flexible or even physically able to practice to do Aruna Yoga. Its aim is to open up to emotional blocks that are released using the technology of the various lineages of yoga, pranayama and meditation. Of course if practiced vigilantly it has a strong physical asana (posture) practice with a palpable flavor of Kundalini Yoga. Yet it is a bodiless yoga too and even lying in class, without physical activity will open you up to its healing capacity.
Aruna Yoga is a healing practice which aim is to awaken the practitioner to their true nature, to the freedom, peace and truth that is within us all! From this space of the Infinite Self all healing, transformation and awakening is available.
Music, sound, emotional catharsis are part of its characteristics. We use yoga asana (posture), pranayama (breathing exercises), concentration and meditation to come to the answer of the question, Who am I?
I am here in the process of birthing a new child. This child is the hybrid of yogic lineage, echoing a language of Truth, one that speaks through the instrument of the form, into the pervasiveness of the formless. While I am watching this new language formulate, I remain as the awareness that witnesses the conduit of my being, being used to evoke healing. This indeed has been my prayer, whispered by St Francis of Assisi, to be an instrument of peace, of healing and of light.
What comes through me is really none of my business, but I invite you to participate in this formulation of this new language, one that encompasses body, breath, mind, emotions, wisdom and the Infinite Self as its grammar, vocabulary and ultimate expression.
Join me on this divine experiment through yoga into Yoga (which means union). May Aruna Yoga yoke together the shards of separation into an envelopment into this that is One. One consciousness, One Union, the ‘I am’ that speaks soundlessly and remains untouched. The invitation is to really meet the Self, and to abide here as it. From this space, the miraculous is accessible, peace is here, now. The answer to the inner quest of searching is silenced. Let us meet here.
Join me to experience Aruna Yoga in regular sessions in Israel, Europe and India. Visit www.yogaform.be for more.
Sat Nam and love,
- Thursday 20th April: 9:00-10:30am: Aruna Yoga in Herzliya Pituach
This is the leela. Leela means the Divine play, the illusion of our lives. This thing that we ascribe all meaning to, life as we know it, along with the life story, identity and who we assume ourselves to be. This is leela. Leela is illusion or maya. In other words our lives are just like the many movies we see, or books we read, or plays we watch. A fucking show, some entertainment for awareness. If only we could wake up to this illusion and recognize that this thing called life is no more real than any story or movie.
We as awareness are the greatest producers, scriptwriters, casting, design and directors ever. As we think it, so our story line is set. As we speak it, so we create the show. As we live as it, so is our perceived reality. We just seem to forget that who we really are, is not the story, neither the cast, nor the roles that are played out. Who we really are, sits in the audience that watches the show, seated safely in the lap of omniscience, keeping in the excellent company of the Divine. We are the awareness that is untouched by all that transpires on the cinematic screen of our mind’s projection. From here we have phenomenal seats! Front row. But never believe a thing. It is all nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Not real. Never was. Watch every thing. Feel each nuance. Let every emotion pass through. But don’t believe a single thing.
My leela has been rocking for a while now. It’s like my scriptwriter got seriously delirious and decided to change the whole show from a romantic comedy to a terrifying tragic tear jerker. I never know what turn events will take each morning and I, hooked into the next episode, remain spellbound and gob smacked. This leela is a show stopper: divorce, illness, accidents, drama, love and family saga are some of the scenarios. Sometimes I am so entwined in the story I forget it isn’t real. When my second car in a year was written off and my neck and back ached for weeks, I was so convinced. And when my child landed up in hospital with an undiagnosable cyst in his mouth for a week where I slept with him, while my other son was celebrating his barmitzvah I had planned for a year and loads of guests were pouring into town as my twenty year marriage was falling apart, I was seriously playing my role with conviction. Never mind the cancer episodes in my loved ones, seemingly replays there are so many. Or my parents enforced immigration due to illness. And so on and so on and so on …
Every once in a while, I’d remember, sit back. Breath deeply. Stop. Stay still. And remember that it is all not real. Nothing really.
It is all a tale about nothing. Not a thought is true or real. Not a character is anything but a role played, so convincingly that even the artist playing it believes herself to be the role. Nothing that passes is real. Papaji reminds, that which comes and that which goes, is not real. Our body, gender, identity, family, material things, even and especially our thoughts, they come. They go. It is all nothing. Nothing.
Zoom out. That which stays, only that is real. The awareness that watches. Be the audience. Sit in the lap of God and enjoy the show. Don’t believe it. Just be it. Be the Infinite Nothing. And awake to everything. To the only thing that is real, and that is everything.
Sat Nam and nothing,
P.S: Nothing! Mooji’s clip woke me up. Literally. Inspired my yoga class and kicked the shit off the plate. What a delightful mantra. Om namah shinothing! Nothing!
These are two separate pieces I wrote on Courage, at a time in my life where I have been most called upon to find some. It is not easy, at no point do I feel courageous or brave. At times I feel like I am holding on to the edges of a boat so as not to capsize into the tumultuous waves of life that are rocking all stability. At times I am thrown too into the water and then courage is needed to wade my way back. Or sometimes just drown.
When I wrote Part 1, I felt courage to be an impetus for action. Now I feel that it is nothing but the ability to stay here in the tsunami that engulfs everything. And being willing in this, not to die but to live in it. Through it.
Today courage is being splayed open to fear.
It is being fully present.
It may be time to get out of the boat and to watch the storm from the water’s edge. Where I can feel both the ground beneath me and the simultaneous washing of the ocean’s caress. From here I meet the place beyond both fear and courage that I mention in Part 2.
Meet me here?
What is courage? Is it a new found emotion that I have yet to encounter?
Courage isn’t found in words. It is born of the power within you to act on the knowing that whispers through beneath the din of the mind’s chatter.
Courage means living with integrity and holding true to what you know to be right, even if every thought from your mind begs you to do otherwise.
Courage is in letting go when you don’t want to, but staying true to what you know is in the highest and best.
Courage is outrageous, draws on every impetus that you have to be able to live aligned to your truth.
Courage means all acceptance and all compassion especially for yourself.
Courage requires the ‘rage’ of ‘cœur’, the fire of the heart, propelled by a momentum that defies mind and its limitations.
Courage is acting now and in clarity.
Courage is in saying no even when it takes every morsel of your power to do so. Courage is in saying yes despite it defying all logic. Saying yes to Self.
Courage is there as an undercurrent, like presence or awareness. It is not something you have to acquire or garner. It is an extant place to access, like a secret doorway to limitless power.
Find the key to the doorway. Open it. Unlock and fall into the Unknown. Be content to not know. To never know. You never can. There is only the unfathomable. Here you are Home.
OM sweet OM.
Courage… Part 2
Courage is not the absence of fear,
but the ability to face it head on,
sit right in it,
in its core
and let its fire consume you.
Courage holds you still here,
where your impulse would be
to run, to hide, to distract.
Courage is like a hand, holding your head down
in the inevitably unavoidable
and not letting you run from this that is here.
Courage means stopping.
Right into the fear.
In the terror of all unknown.
Stay still here.
As all fear is consumed,
you may meet the root
from which courage is born.
From this fire of truth
courage will awaken from its dormancy.
Take you through somehow.
It’s not even you doing any of it.
There, beyond this
you may meet Self,
stripped naked of
both its cloaks
of fear and courage.
Absent of it all
into the emptiness of Self.