Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2014

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62.8 Percent of American yoga practitioners ages 18 to 44 44.8 Percent of regular yoga practitioners who consider themselves beginners 44.4 Percent of yoga non-practitioners who consider themselves "aspirational yogis," i.e. "some day" 78.3 Percent of practitioners who cite fl exibility as a motivation to do yoga 59.6 Percent of practitioners who cite stress relief as a motivation to do yoga 58.5 Percent of practitioners who cite improving overall health as a motivation to do yoga 55.1 Percent of practitioners who cite physical fi tness as a motivation to start yoga 87 Percentage increase of yoga class and product spending from 2008 to 2013 Sources: Yoga Journal, Sports Marketing Surveys USA, NAMASTA, YIAS, LiveStrong WHAT COUNTS YOGA: THE SEQUEL Whether you're a beginner or advanced yoga practitioner, how well do you know your fellow yoginis? With near 20 million U.S. practitioners, it's time to check out your downward-facing neighbors and bet- ter understand who they are. And who knows? The hottie down the street in gym sweats just might be headed for yoga class. -Tim Posada T alk about not trendy. "Prayer" is something we like to talk about almost as much as we like to talk about death. Raised in traditional religions that demanded we beg God for mercy on a regular basis or suffer the consequences, most of us just don't want to hear about it. Besides, begging isn't something we do well in our culture. None of which is to say that prayer—which, curiously enough, has the same Latin root as "precarious"— is gone from our lives. It's just that what many of us might consider to be prayer is somewhat different from Hail Marys and Mah nishtanahs. For some, kirtan and meditation use ritual words or chants, whether our own or another's devising; for others, an appreciative connection with nature inspires thanks to its source (though perhaps Congress would be better entreated to protect it). One way to think of prayer is as a visualization, or as Shakti Gawain described it in her 1978 bestseller, Creative Visualization: "Learning to use your natural creative imagination in a more and more conscious way, as a technique to create… whatever your heart desires." The anecdotal evidence was there, but in 1985 scientifi c tests proved that positive thinking can infl uence a positive outcome (see page 24). Fortifi ed with degrees in transpersonal psychology as well as four decades of spiritual practice, Granada Hills-based teacher Jagadish has launched a new "Prayer Project." Devout Muslims bow and Christians kneel multiple times daily, but the American-born teacher's vision for world change is simpler: he calls it his three minutes, three times a day (3 x 3) prayer solution, using "concentrated prayers and wish-fi lled visualizations of compassion, joy, health and happiness" at morning, midday and evening as the fi rst step to a healthier, happier, more peaceful planet. And if you don't know what to say? His book by the same name (Golden Avatar Press) includes ecumenically derived prayers from Hindu Sanskrit to contemporary culture, which you can also access free online. There is another element to prayer and visualization, which explains the origin of houses of worship, and that is community. Our words and energy are amplifi ed when we join forces. You can, of course, join prayers from anywhere, but if you'd like a little boost of group energy to get you started, check into Jagadish's Prayer Intensive August 23 at the Gateway Center, or drop into one of the regular meditation classes at Self-Realization Fellowship, Ananda, Agape, Art of Living, Shambhala, Kadampa, InsightLA or dozens of other venues in Los Angeles. It's one more way to connect. city of angels …and with whom By Abigail Lewis HOW WE PRAY august/september 2014 11

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